Being a millionaire would be nice, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not a status easily achieved by the masses. There are a few folks who have reached this status as they live inconspicuously in our neighborhoods, driving cars we “regular folks” would drive, and dressing as normal as the guy standing next to you in the grocery store.
The problem isn’t with them, though, it’s with most of the “regular folk” who believe common misconceptions of what millionaire status should look like. You know, misconceptions like if you’re a millionaire you drive a beamer, live in a 5-bedroom brick house in the suburbs and buy whatever the hell you want, whenever you want it.
Fortunately for myself and many others in the personal finance blogging community, we are becoming hip to the real games the millionaires play and it isn’t what the majority believe when they think of someone who has acquired this sought after status.
So, who exactly are the millionaires we aspire to be? What do they do differently that very few people understand? What can we learn from them so we can check ballin’ off our financial to-do list? Well, I’m glad you’re curious because I’ve been reading some good stuff and I’m going to share with you a few things you need to understand before you can become the next millionaire riding through these streets.
Who is the Millionaire Next Door?
The millionaire next door is named Jimmy. Jimmy and his wife Camilla have been married for 20 years. They have two kids and they live in a small suburban area right outside of Columbia, SC. Jimmy is a mechanic and his wife Camilla is a high school teacher.
What? Were you thinking they were going to be a doctor and a lawyer? Nah.
Their kids never attended private school, they attended schools in the same district where their mother worked. They never brought brand new vehicles, drove each of their cars for 15 years until they could no longer manage to get them from point A to point B. Jimmy did know a thing or two about cars after all.
They budgeted every dollar that came into their account; however, they never felt deprived. Their son, Jacob, was involved in sports and their daughter, Camryn, took dance classes. Their kids never tried to keep up with whatever everyone else at school was doing because their parents made sure they hung out with well-grounded kids who weren’t mesmerized by every new gadget or vehicle that hit the market. Simply put, their kids hanged around regular old folks who didn’t know Camille and Jimmy were ballers in the making.
By time Cam and Jacob were heading off to college, their parents had 529 college accounts that covered the entire cost of tuition for a public in-state university. If the kids chose to go to school away from home, they were responsible for working and maintaining their place of residence and feeding themselves. If they went to USC or another local college, their parents were willing to allow them to stay home rent free and of course, they would feed them. Suffice to say, both Cam and Jacob decided it would be best to go to local colleges so they could work and save money.
After the kids graduated, Camille and Jimmy retired millionaires.
Sounds too good to be true? Unrealistic?
Actually, it isn’t. This describes many of the millionaires next door that are discussed in Thomas Stanley and William Danko’s book, The Millionaire Next Door.
How to Become the Millionaire Next Door?
See, there are a few things that set Jimmy and Camille apart. First, the careers they chose show that millionaires understand achieving a millionaire status isn’t automatically guaranteed just because you pursue a higher education with a fancy title.
In Jimmy’s case, he acquired no student debt and chose an occupation which allowed him to study the trade during high school and further at a local two-year technical college. He worked his way through school and graduated with no debt.
Camille chose a public service occupation and her student loan debt was forgiven. This couple started their journey together a step ahead of many of us who have gone to college to pursue expensive degrees without a guaranteed job.
Other things that set these two apart is they lived below their means. They sought financial independence and didn’t portray to society that screamed, “Aye, I’m ballin’ in these streets!” They raised self-sufficient children who modeled their behaviors, they budgeted, and they didn’t purchase a home that exceeded two times their income.
So what can we learn from them?
- Budget. Millionaires become millionaires by budgeting and that’s how they stay millionaires.
- Don’t live like you’re “rich”. Just because you have a couple of million in your account doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it.
- Earn and invest money early. Jimmy’s educational path was shorter and he was able to get to work early and begin investing earlier than most. Even if you do choose to go to college, you can still get a job and start investing as early as possible.
- Don’t make purchases based on how much you anticipate making in the future. Even though their income grew over the years, they didn’t purchase a home in anticipation of what they would make later on. They purchased a home well below their means and stayed there regardless of their increase in income.
- They didn’t live in a neighborhood that encouraged consumption. They lived amongst “regular folks” who sent their kids to public school, went to work every day, paid the bills, and didn’t try to keep up with the Joneses. (Although, I’m sure their neighborhood probably had a Mr. and Mrs. Jones lurking around there somewhere.)
Related Reading: Become More Frugal to Save More Cash
Here are a few things you can do to start living like a millionaire
- Stop buying bottled water and get you a plain ole water bottle and fill it up.
- Earn cashback on groceries with Ibotta. Plus, all new users get a $10.00 bonus for trying the app. Sign up here!
- Shop online using Ebates. If you’re new to Ebates, receive a $10 gift card to a retailer of your choice with your first $25 purchase. Sign up here!
- Open up an online account with Capital One 360 and set up an auto-deposit from each paycheck. This will solve all of your savings issues because your savings will grow in no time!
- Save money on eating out by using Restaurants.com.
- If student loan refinancing is suitable for your situation, check out LendEdu and fill out their quick questionnaire and compare up to 12 different lenders.
- Sign up for Swagbucks and refer everyone! You even get Swagbucks for their Swagbucks (if that makes any sense).
- Cut cable.
- Make sure you’re insured with the best insurance rates. Compare policies with Policy Genius to get the best term-life insurance your money can buy.
- Make sure you keep monthly tabs on your credit report using Credit Sesame. This is a free tool that gives you your credit score and monitors your identity.
- Purchasing a gift card for someone? Purchase it using Cardpool and save up to 35 percent off the gift card amount!
Should You Read, The Millionaire Next Door?
There are a lot of details in this book that can’t be discussed here, but I’ve touched on some of the basic principles anyone who aspires to become a millionaire should know.
However, if you truly want to reap the benefits all this book has to offer its readers, I definitely encourage you to put this on your to-read list. The authors go into more details about the basic characteristics of three types of people: prodigious accumulators of wealth, under accumulators of wealth, and average accumulators of wealth.
It was interesting to learn what category I fell into and the behaviors I must possess to become the next millionaire next door. To become wealthy, it truly requires a change in mindset, a thorough understanding of certain financial principles, and the ability to not be influenced by the media and society’s expectations.
If you haven’t read it already, get your copy of The Millionaire Next Door and learn how to set yourself apart and be more like Jimmy and Camille. Or, you could be like those rappers and athletes on television. You know, the ones who are broke (I won’t say any names)!
Have you read The Millionaire Next Door? If so, what was your key takeaway from the book? If not, do you think it will be worth the read?
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