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Affluent Christian Investor | February 25, 2024

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5 Things The Millionaire Next To You Is Doing With Their Money That You’re Not

  • They spend less than they earn, a lot less.

The number one contributor to financial success is living within your means. That millionaire sitting in the booth next to you at your favorite restaurant learned this at a young age. Maybe a wise sage imparted this holy grail of financial wisdom to him as a child, or maybe he figured out on his own that you can’t build wealth if you don’t have any money left over at the end of the month.

  • They Invest regularly in their tax-deferred accounts and then don’t look at them again.

You know how ALL THE BEST investors watch CNBC Every. Single. Morning? The best investors also are always talking about the latest stock pick that’s about to go through the roof while using words like ‘Leverage” “Parabolic” and “Crypto.” The Millionaire next to you probably doesn’t care about any of that stuff. In fact, he likely spent a little bit of time finding a few diversified, low cost index funds which he invests part of his paycheck into via his 401k and IRAs every month. Incredibly, he probably only looks at his accounts a few times per year when he meets with his financial advisor.

  • They don’t care about the BMW you’re driving

In Thomas Stanley & William Danko’s classic book “The Millionaire Next Door,” they found that the most popular vehicle amongst millionaires was the Ford F-150. So that BMW with the cringey vanity license plate idling next to you at the stop light likely doesn’t have the rich owner you think it does. On the other hand, the blue-collar wife & husband in the pick-up truck two lanes down very well could be.

  • They have always kept little to no debt.

The average American household debt has increased by 19% over the last decade. That millionaire next to you avoids credit card debt like the plague and pays her balance off each month. She probably also doesn’t own a car she can’t afford in order to keep up with the vehicle-du-jour sweeping the neighborhood this year.

  • They value family over status

That millionaire next to you who actually looks like a pretty normal person, really cares about family. Actually, the thing that most people associate with millionaires-status symbols, he doesn’t give a hoot about. He would much rather spend his money on a family trip or a second home where his family can all spend quality time together in the summer. And because they’ve been so wise with their money in the past, they can afford it.

As an advisor I work with a lot of well-off families and individuals. Maybe it’s our celebrity driven culture, but it’s fascinating to turn on the TV and see programs exulting lavish lifestyles, only to juxtapose that image with what most financially successful people actually value.

*Note I was inspired to write this article about my own experiences from this great/hilarious article from The White Coat Investor:


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