PETALING JAYA: An online survey has revealed that 96% of today’s youth aspire to become millionaires and three-quarters of them believe that they can by age 35.
They also indicated that this was the most important goal in their lives.
The Sunday Star survey “So you want to be a millionaire?” with YouthSays and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman polled 1,678 people below the age of 30 thoughout the country.
The 96% figure is significantly higher than that expected by some financial planners.
Securities Commission-licensed financial planner Rajen Devadason said: “I’m surprised such a high proportion of respondents want to be millionaires. In my own experience, it is usually in the 60% to 70% range.”
He pointed out that most of the respondents were between 18 and 27 years and at that age, most people usually did not think too much about their future.
“They are busy living for the exciting present,” he said.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s children and youth psychology specialist Dr Khaidzir Ismail, however, said the findings showed that those surveyed had high self-esteem.
“At least they have the motivation even if the goal is not easy to achieve,” he said. “I believe that if they are given the opportunity and shown the way, they will achieve it.”
Rajen, however, found it disturbing that 75% of the respondents said to become a millionaire was the single most important thing in their lives.
“It is soul-damaging,” he added.
Help University College vice-president and psychologist Dr Goh Chee Leong said that while a big number aspired to be millionaires, only about half agreed that it would make them happier.
Dr Goh said he was pleased that only a minority (25%) would be willing to give up ethics to be become a millionaire.
He also pointed out some conflicts within the respondents. “On one hand, they say it is the most important thing in their life, but at the same time, they are not willing to sacrifice family time or social life.”
Dr Khaidzir said this might be due to idealism on the part of the respondents.
“Usually millionaires will have no time for family or social life,” he said. “The respondents are still young and may have a different perception of how things should work.”
As for the most important factor to becoming a millionaire, 47% believed that it all boiled down to chance and opportunities – being at the right place at the right time. Only 34% believed it was due to hard work and determination.
“They might have a fatalistic view of wealth acquisition. It’s a case of whatever will be will be,” said Dr Goh. “It almost sounds as if they are not in control of whatever they can achieve or not.” To another question, only 25% of the respondents said they would marry someone just to become a millionaire.
“This shows the majority of respondents believe in true love,” said Dr Goh.
As for the respondents’ idols, among the common names listed were Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Tan Sri Anandha Krishnan, Tan Sri Robert Kuok and Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.
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