Johnita Ellerby, a single mother of four, is studying social work while working full time. Art Silverman/NPR hide caption

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Sarah Bidgood is managing editor of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. She says her parents helped her start adult life with no debt, giving her a leg up. Art Silverman/NPR hide caption

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Michael and Amy Tiemann estimate their personal wealth at about $25 million — and say luck played no small part in their financial success. Art Silverman/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Art Silverman/NPR