What's the secret to making money like the rich? Capital gains.
A study from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center looked at the sources of income for American taxpayers of different income levels. It found that the higher you go up the income ladder, the greater share of income comes from capital gains.
For the 99 percent of taxpayers making less than $500,000, salaries and wages account for 75 percent of their adjusted gross income for 2012, the latest period available from Internal Revenue Service returns. Of the remaining income, about half came from retirement programs such as pensions, annuities and Individual Retirement Accounts.
For taxpayers making $500,000 to $1 million, salaries and wages account for more than half of earnings.
But for those making $10 million or more, salaries and wages only account for around 15 percent of their income. Their real money comes from capital gains, with capital gains accounting for about half of their earnings. Another 15 percent to 20 percent came from interest and dividends. About 25 percent of their income came from business income, which means they owned or held a stake in a private company.