The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley

The book I chose to review for this course is titled, “The Millionaire Next Door”, by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., and William D. Danko, Ph.D. After learning that it was published in 1996, prior to the widespread availability of the internet, and subsequent e­business boom, I was slightly sceptical that the information held within might not be relevant for someone like myself trying to thrive in today’s chaotic economy. Fortunately, I was wrong. The Millionaire Next Door is full of concepts and principles that put into perspective how we view money and status in our society, and also debunks the myth that America’s wealthy are the ones doing most of the spending while living elaborate and carefree lives. There are several ‘takeaway’ principles that are presented to the reader. I will be focusing on the five concepts and ideas that impacted me the most.

“A Millionaire in Blue Jeans?” One of the most valuable principles is found in the very first chapter. Our authors do a wonderful job at dispelling any delusions we have regarding what a Millionaire looks like. I had long assumed, like many others, that the Millionaires of America were the hyper­consumers and elaborate spenders. In fact, we learn that just the opposite is true. I came to understand that, “Wealth is not the same as income”. (The Millionaire Next Door, p. 1, Stanley & Danko) In many cases, income is not at the forefront of relevancy when determining whether someone will become wealthy. There are several factors involved, but ultimately, if a person spends their entire income, the number value of said income simply doesn’t matter. The old age adage regarding spending less than you make is of much more importance. In the Church, this is referred to as ‘living below our means’. We have often been counseled to exercise restraint regarding our spending habits, and have also been commanded to obtain a level of financially secure by building up our savings, staying out of debt, and living within our means. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006), 114­23) It seems rather silly that a large percentage of our population would be under the assumption that living a large lifestyle, along with the accumulation of fancy things, would somehow equate to wealth. After reading the book, I have come to understand that many of us have an extremely distorted relationship with money, in the assumption that money is to get and spend, while those who are authentic accumulators of wealth understand that money should be invested and stored up as a measure of safety and peace.

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