Millionaires Like You Today's Wealthy are the Millionaires
Living Next Door
By: John Shepler
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be rich? If only you could hit
that winning lottery number or have Meredith Vieira hand you
a million dollars for the correct final answers. Who wants to
be a millionaire? You do, of course. So do all your neighbors
and friends, glued to their television sets, dreaming that someday
their money worries will be a thing of the past. But how likely
is that? Would you be surprised to know that there are millionaires
living in your neighborhood right now? Would you be even more
surprised to know that they weren't born to rich families and
probably never won a dime in their lives? What if I told you
it was possible, even likely, that you, too, could become a millionaire?
First, forget everything you know about the wealthy. Except
for a select few, the people you think are rich really aren't.
It's the ones you might never guess that are really the millionaires.
That banker who dresses in $1,500 suits, throws the most lavish
Christmas parties and drives this year's model Mercedes? Not
rich. The major league pitcher in his 10th year of winning seasons?
Nope. How about that bright new star sure to win an Oscar? Sadly,
no. Well, then, if these people, living lives to be envied, aren't
the millionaires, who could possibly be?
See that ranch house up the street? The one with the plumbing
contractor who parks his pickup in the driveway overnight? You
must be kidding! Uh uh. The construction business is booming
and twenty years of treating customers like friends has really
paid off. Instead of blowing the profits on a new mini-mansion
and weekends in Vegas, the contractor and his family have quietly
reinvested their earnings back into the business, some rental
houses and blue chip mutual funds. The kids go to public school
and hand down the clothes they've outgrown. These perfectly ordinary
looking folks are worth about a million more than the upscale
couple living two blocks over, with matching BMWs and a family
income well into the six figures.
Shocked? Surprising twists like this are exactly what two
Ph.D. researchers, Thomas Stanley and William Danko, found when
they went looking for the rich in America. They wrote up the
results in their best-selling book, "The Millionaire Next
Door." What they found is that many of the people who are
living rich really have few assets and need every bit of their
substantial incomes to maintain the images of success that they
think are so important. Even some entertainment celebrities and
well known sports figures spend their money as fast as it comes
in. The people with the real stores wealth, the solid bank accounts
and investments, tend to be regular folk, who live in average
neighborhoods and drive average well used American cars.
So the question is: Do you want to be a millionaire or just
look like one? If looking the part is important, then get a job
with a decent income, spend every cent that comes in and pile
up the mortgages and credit card debt. Even modest earners can
appear to be on easy street...for a short while.
Now, if what you want is real wealth, forget the high-flying
lifestyle. Join the dentists, the plumbers, the engineers, the
professors and the machine shop owners in quietly amassing a
fortune that will sustain you in retirement...maybe even very
early retirement. Here are some perhaps surprising keys to the
secrets of the rich but not so famous:
First, and most importantly....live well below your means.
You've heard the expression pay yourself first? Take 10 or better
yet 20% of what you make and invest it. Live on the rest. Compounded
earnings in stocks, bonds or even CDs will make you wealthy,
but only if you let them multiply for decades. Start this practice
with your first job and continue until you have enough to live
on the rest of your life.
Need seed money to get started? Give up some bad habits. A
25 year old smoker who swears off and puts the cigarette money
into an IRA can expect to have over a quarter million dollars
accumulated by age 65...and a better chance to get there.
Live simpler. Stay in the apartment or starter house a few
years longer, sell the boat and all that stuff overrunning the
basement, polish up "old Betsy" and don't trade her
for a new car until next season or the one after that. Don't
spend your next raise. Increase your savings instead. When you've
got it, DON'T flaunt it!
Become a small business owner. When you work for someone else,
you're being paid the wholesale value of your skills. When you
sell directly to customers, you can often command a higher retail
price. The difference is that when you own the business, you
get the profits as well as a salary. Many millionaires got that
way by building a small retail store, restaurant, professional
office, building trade, industrial supply or other entrepreneurship
from the ground up. Even a sideline can make you wealthy if you
work hard and stash the profits away for later.
Who can become millionaires? Teachers, accountants, salespeople,
doctors, electricians, franchise owners, computer programmers...and
you. That is, if you buy the notion of "get rich slowly"
and have the gumption to stick with it until you inevitably do.
Books of Interest:
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's
Wealthy - by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.d and William D. Danko,
Ph.D. In this phenomenal bestseller, Stanley and Danko reveal
surprising secrets about America's millionaires -- and provide
a valuable blueprint for improving anyone's financial health.
The Millionaire Mind by: Thomas J. Stanley. An in-depth
companion to "The Millionaire Next Door." Find out
how the true millionaires think, what choices they make and how
those choices have led them to wealth. You'll be suprised to
learn that average people with average intelligence are the backbone
of America's millionaires. Find out what makes them tick and
how you can build your own wealth regardless of present circumstances.
The Roaring 2000s Investor: Strategies For The Life You
Want by Harry S. Dent, Jr. Using his proven ability for predicting
specific financial trends, the author of the nationally bestselling
"The Roaring 2000s" provides pragmatic, innovative
investment strategies designed to revolutionize financial planning
for all investors. Read
my article about this book, "Let's Hear that Roar, Bull!"
365 Ways to Become a Millionaire: (without Being Born One)
by: Brian Koslow. Digest one of these every day before starting
your quest for wealth and you'll be way ahead of the pack.
The Millionaire Kit: Surprisingly Simple Strategies for
Building Real Wealth with CD-rom by: Stephen L. Nelson. No
need to buy any secret software, everything is included on the
CD ROM that comes with this book. Mac and PC compatible! Find
out what the cigarette habit really costs and how dumping the
butts can inflate your bank account. See what your real odds
are in the lottery. Compare interest rates on loans and analyze
the benefits of buying or leasing a home or car. More programs
and directions are included in this handy package.
Everything You Know about Money Is Wrong: Overcome the
Financial Myths Keeping You from the Life You Want by: Karen
Ramsey. Did you grow up learning that more money will make you
happier, that you have to pay for your kids educations, that
you should stay at a job you hate or that you absolutely have
to buy a house? You may have been deceived by the "money
hype" for years. Find out what's wrong with these maxims
and what better options may be available.