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How to live like a millionaire

Posted by Richard on March 8, 2010

So you want to live like a millionaire? OK, but if you're living the typical upper-middle-class lifestyle, you'll have to give up some things. Like that big house and fancy car.

Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., is a former business professor who's been researching the wealthy for 30 years and has written numerous articles and best-selling books on the subject. He's conducted studies, surveys, and focus groups of millionaires. His latest book, Stop Acting Rich: And Start Living like a Real Millionaire, contains some interesting findings about millionaires (which he defines as people with investments worth at least $1 million, not including their home, personal property, etc.):

  • Three times as many millionaires live in a home worth less than $300,000 than one worth $1 million or more.
  • The most popular car brand among millionaires is Toyota. Almost 9 out of 10 owners of luxury cars aren't millionaires.
  • Almost two-thirds of millionaires have never owned a second (vacation) home. Even more have never owned a boat. Among those who at some point bought a boat, most sold it and never bought another one.
  • Millionaires are much more likely to wear a Seiko watch than a Rolex. If they're wearing a Rolex, they probably got it as a gift.
  • A millionaire's clothes typically come from J.C. Penney and the like. If it's from Saks or Brooks Brothers, it was probably purchased at 60% off. One exception: millionaires buy good-quality shoes (Cole Hahn, Allen Edmonds, etc.) and then have them resoled when needed.
  • The median price that millionaires pay for a bottle of wine is $13.

None of this should be shocking or surprising. The way to accumulate wealth is to accumulate — that means spend much less than you earn. But the people who think that the rich are the "winners of life's lottery" don't get it. They spend all they can. And then they buy a bunch of lottery tickets and hope for the best. 

It's not just a problem of the poor (although it's especially a problem of the poor, in particular the lottery tickets). That's why the country's full of people with $80,000 incomes facing foreclosure on their $500,000 homes.

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One Response to “How to live like a millionaire”

  1. David Bryant said

    A friend once told me the secret of happiness is living beneath your means. It certainly is the secret of accumulating wealth. If you don’t save any money, you’ll never have any savings. How tough is that?

    Oh — I saw some “good” economic news today (11 March). Household net worth increased some 1.3% during the fourth quarter of 2009. Unfortunately, much of the increase can be attributed to the large amount of mortgage debt written off through foreclosures and the bankruptcy courts. Perversely, ”household net worth” increases when a bank forecloses on a loan that was “underwater”.

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