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Book: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

Author: Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko

Published: 1996

Reviewer: Jamie Moon, Staff Writer

Written after twenty years of research on the American wealthy, The Millionaire Next Door provides readers with an unprecedented view into the lives and habits of America's wealthy.

In The Millionaire Next Door, Stanley and Danko outline and explain the seven characteristics shared by all the millionaires they studied:

1. They live well below their means.

2. They allocate their time, money and energy efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth.

3. They believe financial independence is more important than displaying social status.

4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.

5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.

6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.

7. They chose the right occupation.

In a country where hyper-consumerism (the excessive, unnecessary consumption of “stuff”) is the norm and the media is full of noise about the lifestyles of the “rich and famous,” The Millionaire Next Door not only provides vindication for those who live below their means, but also gives a little more guidance to those of us who are struggling to orient ourselves in a sea of misinformation and steer toward the goal of economic self-sufficiency. Realizing that the lifestyle and habits of the real millionaire in the United States are vastly different from our cultural perceptions of what it means to be a millionaire -- Stanley and Danko's millionaires budget and plan meticulously, save or invest fifteen percent of their income yearly and are goal- driven -- enables us to more clearly see not only what it takes to become a millionaire, but also what millionaire's value. These millionaires value things like financial independence and family rather than status symbols and “stuff.” They value traits such as thrift, discipline, and hard work and try to develop these traits in themselves and look for them in others. In turn, they show what they value by how they spend their money and their time.

If you are interested in a portrayal of America's wealthy that is “above the noise” and accurately depicts the lifestyles and habits of America's millionaires, then buy The Millionaire Next Door. What you find out may just surprise you—or reinforce your long-held belief that living frugally and consuming less is financially advantageous.

This in one of Robert Hockett’s favorite books…he routinely gives away 20+ copies per year to clients and friends.