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Societal Views on Wealth: The Next Millionaire Next Door

When I heard there was going to be another “The Millionaire Next Door” book I just had to do a review.  But of course we can’t do just any review, I have to tie the review into something ongoing.  This book covers many other topics, but the one below seems to be the most relevant to current discussions within the personal finance community.  So here we are, exploring “The Next Millionaire Next Door”, and also society’s views on wealth.

You can find below an affiliate link to purchase the book from Amazon.  Should you decide to purchase via this link I shall receive some renumeration through no cost to you.

I Am Not A Big Fan of Personal Finance Books

Why was I so excited for the new The Next Millionaire Next Door?    Well, I have a confession to make.  While I read a lot about personal finance in magazine and blog form, I don’t tend to enjoy personal finance books.    It really comes down to why I read about personal finance in blogs and magazines. 

 I enjoy reading about other’s experiences and learning about more advanced financial moves.  But honestly, most books focus on generic personal finance.  You know the type, get your finances in order by budgeting, spend less than you earn, and work on increasing your income.  These types of books have a place.  If you are looking for a way out of the debt/consumption trap so common in America this is the message you need.  The problem is, I am not in that trap and have not been for quite some time.    So generic financial advice is just RAH-RAH cheerleading for something I already know. 

The Next Millionaire Next Door Has Data!

 I’d be remiss if I didn’t note “The Next Millionaire Next Door” does have its share of cheerleading.  If you are just starting personal finance focus it will work out well.  But unlike most generic personal finance books, “The Next Millionaire Next Door” has something for those of us who do not require a personal finance rally cry.  This comes in the form of data.  

Like the original “The Millionaire Next Door” to which this book is a sequel, this book provides all kinds of insight into millionaire habits and statistics.  Thomas Stanley wrote the original book with a significant amount of research in this area.  Professor Stanley unfortunately passed away part way through the writing of this sequel.  Thankfully for us his daughter picked up both the writing and research.  

Updated for a New Century

The whole book is just as interesting as the original but more in line with the world today.  A lot has changed, from the cost of trading stocks to personal finance blogs.  It’s great to see the data updated for the digital age.  The book is well worth the read.

Relating the Book to Societal Views of Wealth

But what does this have to do with the views of Wealth in Society?  I read an excellent piece the other day by She Picks Up Pennies about the ups and downs of sharing your salary.    In her case she was talking about sharing her salary on a Podcast and how it felt to do so.  She noted the fear of the potential judgement from society.

Society has certain preconceived notions of who is wealthy and what it takes to be a millionaire.  “The Next Millionaire Next Door” is all about dispelling some of these myths.    Those same myths are a lot of what I suspect leads to that fear of judgement She Picks Up Pennies mentioned.

Millionaire’s Struggle Too

We have this weird perception in society that those who are wealthy cannot relate to struggle.  That if you are a millionaire that you can’t write about being frugal.  They couldn’t possibly provide some insight that would help someone making $35K a year when you make 6 figures and have 1 Million saved.

Well to be honest that’s a foolish attitude.  “The Next Millionaire Next Door” really says it all, pointing out how many millionaires are self-made.  Even more so the data shows that the average individual who is now a millionaire had to work through struggles to get where they are today.     Everyone has privileges, but almost everyone also has hurdles to success.

The Value of Reading About Those With Wealth

The value of reading about higher income individuals, even if you make a pittance, is the search for near analogous situations where you can take advantage of learnings.  No one individual’s situation is 100% the same as any other’s.  As such no individual’s results will be the same.  But the hope is that you can take pieces of learnings from many individuals’ experiences and adapt them as part of your approach while making it uniquely yours.  Part of obtaining those learnings is observing both those currently experiencing those difficulties, and those that may have gotten past some of them.

Evaluate Solutions to Fit to your Situation

A note before I proceed.  Nothing in my above paragraph says anything about comparison or they did this, so you will get the same result.  You need to consider everything in your unique situation and evaluate solutions as to how they fit for you.      You should not judge your results by those of others.   However, seeing what others have done before has inherent value in your path forward.

Value of Understanding the Full Picture

So, our society shouldn’t judge people by the money they have or don’t have.  Money does not define people.    There is some value in knowing what income and Net Worth a person has when reading about their struggles.  Understanding this variable can help you to know whether the solution might be applicable for you.  It’s disappointing that culturally so many are shamed into not providing this important information.

I Will Not Share My Information on My Own Wealth

Honestly, I am one of those people who will never share his income or wealth.  Sure, I give you some hints around it.  I will be very clear I am higher income and near Financially Independent.  But beyond that I will continue to practice stealth wealth.     I am unwilling to deal with the judgement that may come from sharing, especially when considering this blog is not completely anonymous.  Also, I am contractually obligated not to share my income.  I will however commit to attempt to call out if my income was a factor in my results.  

Maybe someday society will change, and we will stop defining and demonizing people based on their wealth or lack thereof.  For now, all I can recommend is to continue to read and attempt to learn about finance from those around you.  You never know when you might find something that will be applicable to your own life.  I know I still do.

5 Comments

  1. Cubert
    Cubert November 19, 2018

    I would love to read this new book myself. The first one was quite the eye opener for me. I still am not driving a used mini van, but does a Honda Fit count?

    No worries about not sharing your deets man. I would estimate that 90% of the RE crew make 6 figures and have $1M+ in the bank. Question is how are doing with the other dimensions of life?

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance November 19, 2018

      Thanks Cubert, and thanks for asking. Everything else is going well for us. We actually have a big personal announcement on the horizon that will be shared in the coming weeks.

  2. Steveark
    Steveark November 19, 2018

    I had breakfast at the home of another runner in our running group the other day. Because he was a part owner of the company I worked at in my 9 to 5 days I know his net worth exceeds $100 million. But his house is nothing special, nice but strictly upper middle class at best. And the orange juice, waffle syrup, milk, etc. set out in the kitchen were mostly Walmart store brands, not Whole Foods. His car? A Ford pick up truck. He is 66 and has no plans to ever retire from the family business. He is one of the kindest and most generous people I know. I look forward to reading the new edition.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance November 19, 2018

      Its always the people you least expect. Thanks for the comment and Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Millionaire Mob
    Millionaire Mob December 9, 2018

    Nice post, I’m a big fan of reading about millionaires and their successes. I keep reaching the same conclusion: own a business or cash flow producing assets. People pay multiples off of cash flow generating businesses & assets. They will never pay a multiple off of your personal cash flow.

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