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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2001
The book is a kind of research paper. The authors are, after all, academics. They have attempted to provide a "composite" picture, based on extensive research, of the average American Millionaire. What they have found is that such an individual is difficult to identify. In general, though, they are self-employed, hard-working, thrifty, etc. They do not drive expensive cars, live in mansions on golf courses, and wear a Rolexes.

One of the biggest contradictions in the book is this: The authors have found that most millionaires will die rich. But they have also found that most people who inherit great wealth end up as good-for-nothing parasites, rarely accomplishing much in their own lives. My tongue-in-cheek analysis, then, is that these millionaires shoud try to die broke.

The book is filled with statistical information about the habits, professions, and lifestyles of millionaires. At times, the reader will feel somewhat bored as a point is driven into the ground. Overall, though, the book is worth reading. We can all benefit by adopting some of the implied suggestions of this book. Work hard, plan for your retirement, live within your means. Just don't get carried away. Stop and smell the roses from time to time; strive to be rich in experience. When you're on your death-bed, I seriously doubt that you will say, "Gee, I sure wish I'd spent more time at the office." Ask a dying person what they would give for another year or two of life. The answer: everything they have. The sunset on Maui is beautiful. Life is short and precious; enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2001
When I started reading the book, I felt very optimistic. After all, I clip coupons, get my hair cut for less than 10 bucks, don't buy things I don't need, and save a large amount of my income. I spend a great deal of time trying to cut back on my expenses. Could I be a millionaire too?
I read on to see how millionaires became that rich. Many of them started their own businesses. But what about all the businesses that fail? Also, almost all of them invested. This is the key reason that they are millionaires, I have no doubt about that. But this book was written when the economy was so good. With today's stock market, how safe is your money? These days, companies' stocks are often worth less than a tenth of what they used to be. Businesses, especially small-scale businesses, are closing and people are losing their jobs. What's more, under "fears of millionaires" are several entries about increased taxes, but nothing about the stock market crashing. In fact, I think that probably a lot of the millionaires in the book are no longer millionaires because of the dip in the economy. Keep that in mind.
Second, with all their "frugality" and "not giving financial assistance to children," more than half the millionaires send their children to private schools, and more than 2/5 pay for their grandchildren to go to private schools. The last time I checked, a private high school can be close to $25,000 a year, and a top private college can be close to $35,000 a year. You call that frugal? I'm a proud public school graduate and really don't see the need to send kids to private school; of the millionaires, only 17% of them went to a private school, and they're obviously doing fine.
The third point that bothered me was the "price per pound" shopping strategy for a car. I'm really confused as to what that has to do with the overall value (best deal considering price and quality) of the car.
The only people that would benefit from this book are those that do waste extravagantly. There are plenty of them out there. But this book is useless for the people who earn $25,000 a year and/or live just as frugally as the millionaires. I found the "Why aren't you a millionaire? You must be wasteful!" attitude very condescending.
The book is fatally flawed in its assessement of priorities. Having three luxury cars while being in financial danger doesn't make you happy. However, having a million bucks in your stock portfolio or bank account also doesn't guarantee happiness. The book should promote a balanced lifestyle in which one can reduce financial worries by learning to appreciate a simpler life. Instead, the book places far too much emphasis on gathering up that wealth instead of finding that optimum balance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2000
Ok so you have made it to the final question in the TV show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE! For your chance at $1M Dollars, please answer the following question:
According to the author Dr. Thomas Stanley's best selling book, The Millionaire Next Door, what traits do most typical millionaires have? Do they
a. Spend most of their time working instead of enjoying their money
b. Prefer to vacation with the family by visiting Aunt Mildred in New Jersey instead of sailing in a private yacht in the Caribbean
c. Drive a used Ford pickup truck instead of a Rolls Royce
d. Shop at Sears and Wall Mart instead of Sak 5th Avenue
e. Cut coupons out of the newspaper to save on groceries each week instead of paying for butlers and maids
f. All of the above.
What, your not sure and you want to ask the computer to eliminate some of the wrong answers? Ok. The computer leaves you with two choices. Do typical millionaires:
e. Cut coupons out of the newspaper to save on groceries each week instead of paying for butlers and maids
f. All of the above.
Your still not sure and you want to use one of your remaining lifelines to call a friend? Ok then read the following friendly review.
According to the author, the answer is "F", all of the above. If this surprises you then so will some of the other traits that these millionaires apparently have in common. According to the author they also prefer being cramped like sardines and fly economy class instead of flying in a private Lear Jet. They also frequent well know five star restaurants that serve only the finest cuisine including McDonalds and Pizza Hut. And they prefer purchasing off the rack suites from J.C. Penny's instead of custom made ones and they typically resole their shoes.
Basically, these millionaires have millions but no "airs" about them. In fact they are transparent and indistinguishable from your typical blue-collar, middle-class American family. They are the "Millionaire Next Door". So what sets them apart and makes them so different? Well, the for one thing, they have a bank account, investments and total assets that exceed the total earnings of most individuals in their entire lifetime...and then some.
To see if you qualify as being wealthy, use the following formula:
Your Total Wealth should equal your age times your total annual income (combined if your married) divided by ten.
(If you are unemployed, congratulations, you qualify as one of them.) Well, all of this is very interesting but I am afraid that there is a VERY major flaw in this author's treatise. This flaw can be found buried in the back of the book under Appendix 1. Let's face it; millionaires represent only a small fraction of the entire population of 100 million people in the US so finding them isn't easy. What makes his task even more daunting is trying to separate out the real millionaires or what the author calls PAW (prodigious accumulators of wealth) from those pretending to be millionaires or UAW (under accumulators of wealth). Since it wouldn't be very practical to go door to door and say, "excuse me, are you a millionaire" or "may I please take a look at your portfolio and assets", the author decides to employ the use of a demographer who supplies him with the names and addresses of potential millionaires. Next a questionnaire is sent out to these individuals and the responses are tabulated and analyzed.
Here is the author's Achilles' heel. The author has SELECTIVELY sampled through the use of demographics, only 384 millionaires out of an estimated 3 million! The entire book and all of his data rests on this biased data and shoddy statistics that are the equivalent of those commercials on TV that inform us, "3 out of 5 doctors survey recommend". Amazing!
Basically the author is telling us what we want to hear. That typical, everyday, working middle-class, garden-variety, every day people can fulfill the great American dream through hard work, determination and frugality. I will grant you that these people do exist, apparently there are at least 384 of them, but I am skeptical about this picture accurately representing the typical average American millionaire.
Although this book fails to deliver a scholarly profile of a typical American million, it still makes for surprisingly interesting reading, up until about page 50 or so. After that the book becomes painfully repetitious. You can achieve the same affect by sitting quietly cross-legged on the floor with a penny in your hand in repeating the words, "Frugality, Frugality, Frugality...." for a period of a few hours.
The author also did mention one very important trait that some millionaires have which this author apparently possesses and that is ingenuity. Hey, you have to give Dr. Stanley some credit for his ingenuity. At least this book got him rich and it was one step up from those advertisements that say, "send me $1 and I will tell you how you too can become a millionaire".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2003
I thought the book had a lot of though put into it. There was a lot of interesting facts, but it was all information I already knew. I know that if you want to become wealthy you must get assets and save your money instead of spending it all on material possesions. For some people this is very hard to do. For me it is a very cncept for me to accept: frugality. In my opinion, if you make enough money to buy nice things why not buy them. Why work so hard all your life to save money and hand it all over to your heirs. Now some people don't do that and just make a lot of money so that they may retire early and spend the rest of their life relaxing. Maybe traveling the world. But my whole point is, at least spend what your earn doing what you want as long as you have all of your other financial affairs in order.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2003
I like the book in general, but hated the ending. On the VERY LAST PAGE, (the 3rd to last sentence) the authors state ALL their statistical evidence is based on the results from surveys of only 385 "Millionaire families". 385! Do you have any idea of the statistical inaccuracies that can result from such a small sample group? No wonder they buried this piece of information. It would be like a political pollster asking people of conservative area a question, then stating that's how all Americans felt. Plus the way they use the statistics only help to confuse the reader, not make their point.
Their anecdotal evidence is much better. There is a lot to learn from the stories they tell. As a whole, I liked the book. But I never like it when authors try to slip one past me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 1999
I liked this book very much, but much less so the people it depicts. The authors say the millionaires describe themselves as happy, but to me they just come off as selfish cheapskates who make their wealth by taking rank advantage of others. I would suggest that the authors, in their follow up work, study the correlation between millionaire auctioneers and other self employed types and exactly how much income tax they pay. What isn't said is that much of their wealth comes from unreported cash income. Also it would be revelatory if the authors described wealth and religion, rather than the more politically correct "ancestry." But if you're willing to pay the high price of paying underprice, you too can become one of the boors this book so aptly describes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2001
A biased book on millionaires. Points that were applicable to many people were stressed, e.g., _EVERYONE_ can be a millionaire if they saved. Not very objective. Felt like a self-help book marketed in order to sell more copies. For instance, some facts were skewed ("not a lot of millionaires buy expensive cars" exclaims the auther, however, if ~30% of millions own 40K+ cars, I would consider that a fair amount).
Religion maybe the panacea for the masses, this book wants to be the panacea for the masses' fiancial problems. For a different perspective on millionaires, read "Rich dad poor dad."
Which book is right? I don't know, but if millionaires live like middle-income people, I'd rather be just middle-income :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2001
Overall I thought this book was pretty good in convincing Americans that anyone can be millionaires. Danko and Stanley provided a behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyles of millionaires and the techniques of improving the way we look at money. I thought it was a good book for teenagers to read because it gives early advice in the ways of making smart investments and building money-saving habits for a successful future. It was a good motivator for those who often spend uneccessary amounts of money. However, the book was also a bit too redundant. It kept on talking about the same thing over and over again, which was pretty annoying. I guess it was the author's way of getting the ideas in our head, which became quite bothersome at many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2001
I would say that this book helped me think of ideas I have never thought about. These ideas and concepts could work with pretty much everybody, or so the book tells you. I even have started to put these concepts into practice, like saving my money from the beginning to reach a higher income and choosing the same quality goods and services for a lower amount of money/price. Stanley and Danko tells the readers that the only way to succeed is to follow the 7 basic principles. It does not apply to everyone, even though this book tells you so. In this way, it is biased. I would only recommend this book to those who truly wants to be a millionaire and who would use the secrets in this book of becoming one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2001
Many of us work extrememly hard and have sacrificed a great deal in order to live a better quality of life (vacation, nice home, car, etc.). Although I appreciate the underlying thesis of this book, there is no way that I would live like a pauper so that I can die with a few million in the bank, so the Goverment can take it away in estate taxes. It makes no sense. Yes, we should live sensibly, but unless you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy a few of the finer things in life, why work at all? So, get the book, appreciate what these people have done to earn their wealth and then go out and buy a Rolex! Put the extra in a good mutual fund
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