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The Millionaire Life: Beyond Those Next Door

By Thomas J. Stanley on Oct 20th, 2009 in Studying the Wealthy

Why did I write The Millionaire Mind? Because many of those who read The Millionaire Next Door felt that the “frugal” millionaires profiled there were too monk-like! I refer to the millionaires in The Millionaire Mind as 27-percenters, i.e. only 27 percent of those people who live in homes valued at $1 million or more are millionaires. Unlike the “millionaire next door,” they live in expensive homes yet they were able to accumulate high levels of wealth at the same time. The 733 millionaire respondents that I profiled had overall net worth, income, and house value characteristics that were nearly three times those profiled in The Millionaire Next Door. Plus they lived in affluent communities such as New Canaan, Ct; Kenilworth, IL; Atlanta (Buckhead), GA; Summit, NJ; Palo Alto, CA and the like.


You may not be able to match the wealth characteristics of the 27-percenters. Still you can emulate many of their lifestyle activities. Yes, even in this down economy, you may wish to take your cues from these millionaires. I asked them the lifestyle activities that they participated in during the past 30 days.


What activity ranks first among the 27-percenters? SOCIALIZING WITH YOUR CHILDREN AND/OR GRANDCHILDREN (93%). Second on the activity scale is: ENTERTAINING CLOSE FRIENDS (88%). And millionaires don’t spend much to entertain close friends either. How much does it cost to play bridge or have a few friends over for dinner? Not a great deal – it’s the interaction with people you care about that’s most important.


The 27-percenter millionaires are extraordinarily successful at producing high incomes and accumulating wealth. Activities that directly relate to these goals, like planning investments (86%) and consulting with advisers (59%), normally make up a large part of their activity lists. In many other aspects of their lifestyle activities, millionaires are anything but extraordinary. They have a few habits that set them apart from most of us. The proof is in the data. The typical millionaire is, in three words, A CHEAP DATE.


Would you expect that attending religious services is too common an activity for self-made millionaires? Surely these people only believe in themselves and their ability to generate high levels of income and wealth. Wrong (52% attended). Maybe you expect that these millionaires would be more likely found shopping at Brooks Brothers (19%) than eating at McDonald’s (46%)? Try again. 


Too many young people feel that real fun has a dollar cost built into the equation. Fun has become a marketing tool for many consumer goods and services. Do you really need to buy a $50,000 boat so you can hang out with your best friend? Is fun only experienced by spending a small fortune at Disney World? It is important for America’s youth to discover that millionaires, even most decamillionaires, don’t depend on consumer goods to enjoy life. Their pleasures and self-satisfaction have more to do with their families, friends, religion, financial independence, physical fitness and perhaps a bit of golf (45%)! In fact, there is a strong positive correlation between the number of people-related lifestyle activities one engages in and the level of one’s net worth.


It’s just as a multimillionaire once told me. He coached his daughter’s softball team for several years, and although it was not premeditated, he met many successful parents who were millionaire business owners (61% at least watch their children/grandchildren play sports). 


What if you are just not interested in the lifestyle activities discussed thus far? Then try gardening; 67% of these 27-percenters do so. Or photography (67%). But please keep away from habitually playing the lottery. Eighty-six percent of the decamillionaires within this population never play the lottery. 

5 responses to “The Millionaire Life: Beyond Those Next Door”

  1. Marius Wilson says:

    Boy was I fooled by what being a millionaire is all about. Thank you Dr. Stanley for revealing the truth about millionaires next door.

  2. David @ Money Under 30 says:

    The divide between actual millionaires and those that spend to look like millionaires never ceases to amaze me. What ARE all those non-millionaires doing living in million dollar homes???

    The lessons here are, as usual, quite inspiring! Thank you!

  3. Peter says:

    Spending time with family, who would’ve thought? I guess that family game night at our house is a great idea – all the millionaires are doing it!

    Just listened to the millionaire mind on audio while on vacation – it’s a very motivating listen (or read!)

  4. mike says:

    hi,
    This might be news to you. Your book, the millionaire mind, has been translated into persian(farsi) in Iran. I have first-hand knowledge that they tried to contact you back then to no avail…

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for writing these 2 books! Will you write a 3rd book Millennials Mindest next door?

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