A long time ago, while at a friend’s house, I picked up and read her roommate’s copy of The Millionaire Next Door. It confirmed things I’d already known, and had some valuable life lessons in addition to ideas on managing capital.
This morning, someone sent me an article which summarizes many of the points it made. I’m excerpting and editing part of this to give you a rough idea of how important this knowledge is.
Who is the prototypical American millionaire? What would he tell you about himself?(*)
* I am a fifty-seven-year-old male, married with three children. About 70 percent of us earn 80 percent or more of our household’s income.
* About two-thirds of us who are working are self-employed. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants.
* Many of the types of businesses we are in could be classified as dullnormal. We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.
* About half of our wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher.
* Our household’s total annual realized (taxable) income is $131,000 (median, or 50th percentile), while our average income is $247,000.
* On average, our total annual realized income is less than 7 percent of our wealth. In other words, we live on less than 7 percent of our wealth.
* Most of us (97 percent) are homeowners. We live in homes currently valued at an average of $320,000. About half of us have occupied the same home for more than twenty years. Thus, we have enjoyed significant increases in the value of our homes.
* We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles.
* We have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of our nonmillionaire neighbors, but, in our neighborhood, these nonmillionaires outnumber us better than three to one. Could it be that they have chosen to trade wealth for acquiring high-status material possessions?
* As a group, we are fairly well educated. Only about one in five are not college graduates. Many of us hold advanced degrees. Eighteen percent have master’s degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D.s.
* Only 17 percent of us or our spouses ever attended a private elementary or private high school. But 55 percent of our children are currently attending or have attended private schools.
* On average, we invest nearly 20 percent of our household realized income each year. Most of us invest at least 15 percent. Seventy-nine percent of us have at least one account with a brokerage company. But we make our own investment decisions. ^
This list is from 1996, but the same basic principles are going to be true today. Filed under psychology because being ready to be wealthy is a state of mind.