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The Millionaire Next Door

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Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D

William D. Dank Ph.D

Number of pages: 273

Audible Book: Available


“The Millionaire Next Door” was originally published in 1996 but was updated and republished in 2010. Many individual investors and entrepreneurs considered the book a classic must-read personal finance book.

It is not the regular step-by-step “how-to-become a millionaire” book, rather it is a compendium of observations about how the thoughts and actions of self-made millionaires differ from the typical middle-class worker. The basis of the content emanates from a 20-year research of over a thousand real-world millionaires. Conclusions drawn from the study emphasized the keys to building high net worth. 

Millionaires Think and Act Differently

The deductions drawn from survey responses confront pre-conceived notions of what it means to become wealthy. In particular, most people assume that being a millionaire means having enough money to never worry about how much you spend and that the keys to accumulating wealth are to:

i. Inherit it from successful parents or relatives.

ii. Earn advanced degrees at the best universities

iii. Be smarter or more intelligent than others.


In reality, the results of their real-world study showed that most millionaires live below their means and carefully plan their lifestyle expenses. They also showed that the keys to building a high net worth were more likely to be:

a. The application of a solid on-going work ethic

b. Application of consistent, long-term savings habits

c. The enduring self-discipline to spend less than they earn and invest the balance


The authors went into details — with examples and logical analysis — about the seven prominent characteristics millionaires have in common:

1. They have conservative lifestyles.

2. They are efficient in allocating resources (time, money, energy).

3. They place a higher priority on financial independence than on social status.

4. They made it on their own efforts without significant help from their parents.

5. They teach their own family members to be economically self-sufficient.

6. They focus on emerging market opportunities.

7. They choose an occupation where they can become self-employed.


The authors assert — and their evidence seems to confirm — there is a direct relationship between controlling family expenditures and the accumulation of wealth.

Under-achievers tend to let their household expenditure levels be determined by their annual income. Successful wealth accumulators, by contrast, have pre-determined annual budgets they operate within and carefully limit their expenditure to be less than their annual income.
“Most people have it all wrong. Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income and spend it all, you’re not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.”

So, how do you become wealthy? “Most people get this wrong too. It is seldom luck or inheritance or advanced degrees or even intelligence that enables people to amass fortunes. Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning and, most of all, self-discipline.”



“The Millionaire Next Door” is not meant to be a “how-to” become a millionaire. It is, however, an excellent book to get an inside look at the mind of a millionaire, based on a statistical study of 1,000 actual millionaires over a 20-year period.

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