Dr. Thomas Stanley (author of The Millionaire Next Door) recently noted that auctioneers are 10 times more likely to be millionaires than the average American. Why is this? Two factors -- high income and low expenses. Here's how Dr. Stanley summarizes it:
The combination of a high income and the low cost of living in a small town is a powerful force underlying wealth accumulation.
They are quite frugal in part because they see how little previously owned consumer products sell at an auction. Many auctioneers are also experts at appraising the value of certain assets. They often leverage this knowledge when they invest.
It makes sense. If you see items being sold day after day for a fraction of their "new" value, you probably wonder why anyone would buy these things new. Or, if you can get 40% off a few major purchases simply because you're in the right place at the right time, then that can save you a bundle -- especially over a 40-year career.
Three shows come to mind when I think of this situation: Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Auction Kings (yes, we watch them all.) They all have to do with:
1) knowing the value of items that have no official price tag associated with them (thus getting a good buy on them)
2) selling items for (hopefully) more than they are worth.
If you can do these things over and over again, you're bound to become wealthy. And auctioneers take advantage of both of these. They buy for themselves when they see a great deal (or can use their knowledge to save on purchases) and they make money (a commission) the more they sell an item for. Quite a good formula for wealth accumulation.