One of my favorite books is The Millionaire Next Door… by Thomas Stanley. You must read this book if you are just slightly interested in personal finance.
The author, Thomas Stanley, talks about how many high income earners don’t really accumulate great long-term wealth. The reason for this is because of their poor spending habits. They spend money as fast as they make it.
The book focuses quite heavily on spending and people spending habits. It also makes some interesting points statistically such as that… 80% of America’s millionaires are first-generation and 50% of millionaires own a business.
What does this mean? It tells me that working on building a business is a great thing to do if you are striving to become wealthy
The other point that the book focuses on is spending. I think most people struggle living on a minimal budget. Fortunately for me growing up in Siberia, it was a necessity. After moving to the United States living on a small budget was not very difficult. It is one of those traits that I grew up with and is still with me today (fortunately). For others that have a spending problem this can be quite a burden on their lives.
Key points you should learn:
1. Wealthy people live well below their means:
Many people believe that wealthy people are huge spenders. They believe that they purchase the Ferraris, crazy homes, and go on vacation eight months out of the year. This is totally NOT true.
The fact is, most wealthy people live well below their means. This in the end is how they become wealthy by living below their means. In fact if you live above your means excessively you could become a broken millionaire that has to file for bankruptcy. (It is not unheard of).
2. Allocation of time, energy, and money efficiently builds wealth
The things you focus on typically grow. If you focus all your time and energy on buying highly expensive items then your bank account will take a hit.
On the other hand you spend your time and energy focusing on how to build wealthy then wealth eventually will grow. It won’t grow overnight, but it’s like planting a seed, watering it for months, and soon after seeing the end result. What you focus on grows – focus on building wealth if you want wealth in your life.
3. Financial independence is more important than displaying high social status
I’ve known quite a few people in my life that love to show off what they had. Someone is always interested in showing the brand-new car that they just purchased, the expensive shoes, or the crazy new tech gadget.
High social status especially for expensive objects that are not that meaningful will cost you excessively. Not only will you have to keep up the appearance to other people around you that you have a lot of money, but it will drain your time and energy to continue to show this prestige.
That to me is really no fun. It is of course nice when people acknowledge you or recognize you – but I prefer it to be for non material things like great causes that I helped or charities I’ve contributed to (not just in terms of money – but time).
Quit worrying about other people and showing off to them. Most people that are your friends now – will not be your friends in 20 years. They typically rotate over your lifetime.
4. You should learn to spot opportunities in your life
Learning learning to spot opportunities in your life is one characteristic that the wealthy do it exceptionally well. As you evolve in your life you should learn to spot opportunities. The better you can get at this task the quicker you’ll be able to grab things that present themselves.
This may be new opportunities to start a business, purchase something at an exceptional deal, or invest at the appropriate time in the markets.
There are hundreds of opportunities that come our way all the time, the only problem is most of the time we are not experienced enough to take that opportunity and seize it. Keep practicing this skill and it will exponentially help you in the future.
5. You too can become wealthy if you take the appropriate actions in your life
I think one of the greatest insights from this book is that you too can become wealthy. Wealth doesn’t necessarily imply you will be driving a brand-new Ferrari, but it can mean you can live your life fully without working like a horse.
If you do the right things that set you up for financial freedom early in your life, then there is no reason why you can’t live a great lifestyle with minimal work.
It may take a slight change in behavior, attitude, or mindset – but once you master that, then you can achieve that personal freedom as well.