I purchased the book ‘The Millionaire Next Door‘ by Thomas J Stanley & William Danko second-hand, from Amazon.
Inside was a handwritten inscription:
Merry Christmas 1999.
Here’s to the First Million!
Love [unreadable name]”
At first glance, it looked like ‘Cindy’ hadn’t even bothered to open the book as it was in pristine condition, with no creasing in the spine or cover and it had all the appearance of having been left on a shelf with other unread books.
However, throughout the book, there were a few handwritten notes and certain paragraphs were underlined, so she did at least have a read of it.
In a nutshell, from the results of an extensive survey, the book depicts how folk on above average salaries (mostly but not exclusively entrepreneurs/self-employed) become millionaires and maintain their millionaire status by living below their means, budgeting, not succumbing to consumerism, investing their money and making the most of opportunities to make money.
Those who regularly read the various FI/PF blogs will feel like they’ve read all this before and bought the t-shirt – I found that the book did seem to be covering some ‘old ground’ but there were interesting examples and stats.
I guess it was worth reading first hand the book which many people have cited as being inspiring and changing their way of thinking how they live their lives and how they view ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’ folk. None of the millionaires in question achieved their wealth via inheritance or lottery wins.
It had me checking out my own neighbours and wondering which ones were possibly millionaires.
Becoming a Millionaire
It sounds like the person who bought this book for Cindy thought that it would be a guide on how to become a millionaire.
Perhaps it is, but in order to become a millionaire, it helps if:
- you earn a decent income ($70,000 per year is cited, although the book was written in 1998, so a much higher salary might be needed today);
- you marry someone who is good at budgeting and is frugal;
- your grown up children (if you have any) are also frugal;
- you buy your cars second-hand instead of new;
- you invest your money and spend time planning your investments
I’ve never had any real aspirations to become a millionaire – it has only ever been a dream for me and sadly, a dream which involved winning the lottery!
I did wonder what would have happened if, like Cindy, someone had gifted this book to me in 1999, a time when I was probably at my most ‘spendy’ and deep in credit card debt.
If I had read it back then, it would certainly have been a complete revelation and could have changed my financial outlook – I could have been well on my way to achieving FI much earlier in life.
The reality however is that I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to read it and it would have been on a bookshelf gathering dust. The person I was in 1999 would not have been mentally prepared for a lifestyle change, nor I’d say, be willing to change.
The good news is that I don’t need to be millionaire to retire early. Or even a half-millionaire (Semi-millionaire? I’m making up words here!).
Like the successful millionaires interviewed in the book, I think I know what my “enough” is and I’ve shown over these last couple of years that I won’t succumb to life-style inflation.
I just need to keep plugging away at the savings and investing to keep my wealth ticking up.
I wonder if Cindy ever became a millionaire?
Anyway, the completion of this book means that I have achieved one of my reading goals – yay!