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Enjoy the Journey to Wealth

By Thomas J. Stanley on Jan 12th, 2010 in Lessons Learned

How do I categorize millionaires who inherited all or most of their wealth?  I do not consider them to be fortunate. Actually, I think of them as being deprived. They were deprived of the great pride, joy and satisfaction derived from building one’s own fortune. Countless millionaires have told me that it is the journey to wealth which is much more satisfying than the destination. When they look back over their history of building wealth, they recall constantly setting economic goals and the great satisfaction gained from achieving them. Yes, in the context of economic achievement, it is the trip, the journey to Independentsville about which they most often boast. 

One should never envy those who inherited their destination. Most trips to financial independence begin with the first dollar saved. Next time you see an acorn lying about take it home and put it on your desk. It will be there to remind you that even the most gigantic oak tree, like fortunes, began with a simple acorn. 

If you have read The Millionaire Next Door, you may recall  the excerpts of an interview I conducted with Dr. North (pages 72-93). Dave was just elected to the millionaire next door hall of fame on his first nomination. He maintained that it was his journey to financial independence (net worth of over $7 million) that was much more satisfying and gave him much more pride than the condition of his current balance sheet.  During my interview with Dave he explained how he enhanced his self-esteem and satisfaction during his early years of building wealth.  

Even when I was eleven years old, I saved my first $50 from working in a grocery store.  It’s just like today . . . only today the number of zeros change. . . .  More zeros, but it’s the same rule, same discipline.

When I was going to school, my wife taught.  We had a small income. . . .Even then we always had a rule . . . to save-even then we saved.  You can’t invest without something . . . . The first thing is to save.

You must take advantage of investment opportunities. . . .You have to have something to take advantage of excellent opportunities. . . . It’s part of my background. 

You don’t have to be a highly compensated professional or executive to become financially independent. Four out of five millionaires in America are self made. Fully 42% of the 944 millionaires profiled in Stop Acting Rich had a net worth of  $0.00 or less when they first began working full time. Learn to derive happiness from the journey to wealth, not the appearance of wealth.  Experience the constant joy of being in control of your life and not allowing consumption to control it.

3 responses to “Enjoy the Journey to Wealth”

  1. eric says:

    Great post Dr. Stanley. I love reading your blog and whenever it pops up on my reader with a new post I navigate quickly over to the site. Your books and posts are great reminders (and I need constant reminders) to me to stay focussed as I’m on this path towards financial independence.

    Cheers!

  2. Debby Clark says:

    Dr. S: Agree wholeheartedly! We’re not millionaires yet, but we just finished “Stop Acting Rich” on audio and my husband says “it changed life and thinking” … thank you so much! We are on the same track, which is great.

  3. John says:

    Eric really says what I’m thinking. I can’t wait when I see that you have another post waiting for me to read!!! I follow the Dave Ramsey baby steps and am completely debt free including the house. Your teaching just goes hand-in-hand with his. I love it!!!

    I’ve already read Stop Acting Rich and can’t wait for your next book (LOL!!) I’ll let you get some rest but I really am looking forward to seeing what you come out with next.

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