The Millionaire Next Door Book
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The Millionaire Next Door Book

I read a very interesting book just recently called The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Thomas Stanley. Now, I want to give you the premise of what this book is about before I give you guys my take on it. And this is a book that really illustrates that perceptions aren’t necessarily reality most of the time.

The Millionaire Next Door exposes who the real millionaires are in our society. The author of this book, Dr. Thomas Stanley, conducts a study to find out who the real millionaires are. And in order to participate in this study, you had to have assets of $10 million or more. So Thomas sets up an event at a Manhattan Penthouse where there’s classical music playing, caviar, expensive vintage wine, the whole works.

At the proper time, the millionaires start showing up. Now, keep in mind too, there was also a food buffet set up in an another room of the penthouse, the same kind of food buffet you find in average casual, inexpensive restaurants. As this event went on for a while, Thomas noticed that none of the rich people we’re eating the caviar and the expensive wine, but were eating from the inexpensive food buffet. Then Thomas went up to of the millionaire guys and asked, “Why aren’t you guys eating the caviar and drinking the expensive wine?” Then the guy said, ”Man, I don’t eat this stuff. You got any Budweiser?” So what Thomas found out further in the study was that the real rich people aren’t the people most of us have always been told are rich. And I’m going to discuss this more in depth.

The real rich people are people, where if you look at them on the surface, you wouldn’t be able to tell they’re rich. In some cases, some of these rich people would even look like scumbags to most of us. Because they’re very inconspicuous to the general public.

Now, let my get into the characteristics these millionaire next door people have.

- They’re religious or have some type of religion. They have great ethical behavior.

- They drive modest cars -- a Ford Crown Victoria, a Ford Taurus, Toyotas, basically inexpensive, American-made cars, just to name a few, and they buy them used, not brand new. They don’t buy expensive import cars because they don’t have to impress anyone because people think they’re scum bags anyway. Plus, a brand new car is a bad investment (one day I‘ll talk about that more in depth). Because once you drive the car off the lot, it loses it’s value by 20%-25% at that moment.

- Over 95% of these millionaires have very strong marriages and very strong families because these people have very strong financial principles. Because financial problems (and statistics have proven it) is the number-one cause of divorce and stress.

- They are first generation rich people. In other words, they did not get rich through an inheritance. They didn’t come from rich families. They did not get rich by playing the lottery or gambling. It was through hard work. And as for their adult children, they taught their kids how to be economically independent.

- They live in middle class neighborhoods, that are located in small towns or inexpensive places. And most of their homes are paid for or close to being paid off. They don’t live in mansions or lavish neighborhoods.

- They dress very modestly. Some may wear jeans and a flannel shirt. Basically they wear clothes that the average Joe wears.

- Their form of entertainment is cheap. They do things as a family. They go camping, water events, ride bike trails, go to theme parks, and so on.

- Their occupations: they own small businesses, like janitorial, septic tank service type of business, junk yards, just to name a few. Some of these millionaires are farmers, especially if their debts are paid off on their farms. But they are mainly business-owner type of people.

- There are more characteristics, but I won’t name all of them. I just want to give you some basic examples. But, you know, for people who have these characteristics, they don’t seem like really bad people. These are people with really good character. They’re very quiet, humble people, that blend in with the rest of the crowd, while they (unknown to the crowd) are the most financially successful people.

So then you might be asking yourself, if the real rich people live like this, then who are the people that are driving the Mercedes and BMWs, living in mansions, living in Beverly Hills, going to the finest restaurants, wearing the tuxedos, dating the swimsuit models and so on? Well, that’s an easy answer. High-income (or even low-income, in some cases) people financing these things on credit, in debt up to their eyeballs. And what kind of people are these people, you might ask? Well, that’s easy -- Doctors, Attorneys, Athletes, Actors/Actresses, CEOs, music artists, etc. These people are referred to as the “fake rich,” who I would like to refer to as “whores” to the credit card companies and banks (which would make them the pimps) in which they’re making their hefty car payments and enormous mortgage payments to. Basically, people who look rich on the outside, but when you look behind the scenes, and look at their bank accounts, they hardly have money in their account, or worse, a negative net worth, and they don’t even have a pot to piss in. Then they later wind up broke or bankrupt. And they may even look happy on the surface, but, again, if you look behind the scenes, in actuality, they’re unhappy and depressed, and possibly contemplating suicide. So don’t be fooled, because sometimes what you see isn‘t necessarily so. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying this behavior applies to ALL people in this category, but the majority of them. And let me add another twist to it. Having these expensive materialistic things may bring you attention from other people, which is why most (note: I said “most“) people buy them to begin with. But keep in mind, any attention also brings UNWANTED attention, i.e. stalkers, car thieves, house burglars, the taxman, paparazzi, people who want to sue you, moochers, the list just goes on and on.

Take Michael Jackson, for example, when he passed away in 2009, he left as much as $400 million in debt behind him. Then you have to ask yourself how does a man so powerful and famous have so much in debt. Very simple: just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you know what to do with the money. This kind of behavior also translates into lottery winners, people who received an inheritance, etc. and so on. Basically, these are the same people who wind up going broke a short time later after receiving this money. Because these people have never been exposed to this type of money before in their life, so they become like a starving man going to an all-you-can-eat buffet; they can’t control themselves. Same thing with lottery winners: they just go berserk and spend like crazy, and wind up broke a few years later. So simply having a lot of money doesn’t make you rich, because the more you make, the more you spend because your bad spending habits still remain the same.

But the millionaire next door people, on the other hand, are very frugal people and have very good spending habits. They may make a lot, but they live only on a very small percentage of their income. In fact, very few of them, if any, have a credit card. Instead they have their own emergency fund set up they put money into and when and if a financial emergency does happen, it’s paid for immediately. So, yeah, these guys are far from broke. These are people who’ve made so much money, but at the same time, they don’t need the recognition that says, “Hey, I’m a millionaire!” because they don’t care about what other people think about them.

Here’s the deal. If you get a Mercedes or any expensive car, you can’t just drive those cars wearing cut-off jeans or a flannel shirt, no. You have to dress nice. You have to wear clothes that come from Banana Republic. And You can’t live in a middle class home, you have to live in a lavish home. You can’t go to regular bars and restaurants, you have to go to the finest ones. So all that really does is create a very expensive lifestyle and then you wonder why you can’t get ahead financially.

Most of us have been told all our lives by society that rich people are greedy and evil people, lazy fat cats, who lie, cheat, and steal, just like these Hollywood movies and TV shows betray them to be. Some examples: Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard, Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, just to name a few, who just laugh while they put money in the bank and sniff all the poor people‘s hair, and all that crap, right? But I think that is far fetched. Not all, but most rich people are the most generous people in our society. They have the ability to donate money to charities. They’re the ones that make the world go round. But because of the fact that these real millionaires are hidden to the general public, as I said earlier, this is why most of us have these misconceptions of who the rich really are. The wool has been pulled over our eyes for so long.

Now that you guys some understanding about this book, I want to give you guys my take on it. While I, myself, don’t agree with ALL of the concepts covered in this book, there are some things I have taken from this book, though, and implementing them into my life as well. Now, I won’t get into the things I disagree with on this article. That’s something I’ll discuss in an another article one of these days. But I’ll just talk about what I’ve taken from this book.

Now, I happen the be the type of person who has no desire to live high on the hog. I’ve never had a desire to own an expensive sports car. In fact, they don’t even catch my attention. In other words, if one was to drive by me, it wouldn’t draw much interest in me, where I would just be saying, “Yeah, yeah, whatever“ while people, if one went by them, would be exclaiming, “Wow! Look at that car! I wish I had one of those!” And this doesn’t just translate into cars. This also translates into lavish homes, expensive clothes, expensive electronics (like plasma TVs) and so on, as far as things I'd like to own. So when I do get to where I what to be financially, my materialistic needs wouldn’t change by much from what they are now. Don’t get me wrong. I do have certain materialistic wants/needs, but I do have my limits, though. And I don’t want the stress that comes along with having a lot of materialistic things, either. I don’t even have a credit card, and guess what? I never intend to, either. My main focus in life is to be financially free -- free from debt, free from financial stress, freedom from other unwanted things that enslave a lot of people, like working a job you hate, having the ability to take care of a financial emergency right off the bat, having the ability to go where I want, when I want, and so on and so on. And I think that’s what a lot of us want, too. So, yeah, THAT’S what I look at money as, and these are some of the things I’ve gotten from this book. But that’s just me, though. You guys may have a different perspective on it.

Even though I am no where near that level yet, at being a millionaire, I’m heading in that direction. But I just want to give you guys the basic premise of what this book is about, what I’m taking from it, and, hopefully, will inspire some of you guys to do the same thing.

There’s a lot more to talk about, but I think we get the gist of what’s going on here. So I think this book gives hope to people who want to become rich, also. It just goes to show you, you don’t have to be an athlete, a rock star, an actor/actress, and famous in order to be financially successful. All it really starts with is a different mindset and not being attached to materialistic things. So, hopefully, you guys can adopt some of these strategies from this book.

I just want to end the article with this. Be very careful who you try to imitate in life, because that person you see driving that BMW or Mercedes may look like they’re doing well on the outside, but they could be treading water financially, and maybe even depressed. So be comfortable with who you are, and stop going into debt just to look good for other people.

So, now that you have some education on who real rich people are, it’s up to you to ask yourself: Are you ACTING rich or are you trying to BE rich? Which one do you want? You be the judge.

Street Talk

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