From time to time I like to share some of the notes and e-mails I receive from millionaires in hopes that you may gain insight into to the lifestyles of these self made, financially independent people. One such profile came from a respondent to my latest national survey. You may find Mrs. T and her husband’s lifestyle boring, even common. But they are uncommon in the sense that they are financially independent. In contrast, there is nothing more common than those people in America who live paycheck to paycheck.
The note attached to Mrs. T’s returned questionnaire said, “Dr. Stanley, thank you for the crispy one dollar bill [given as an incentive to respond to the survey]. I will donate it to a good cause.” However, Mrs. T gives a lot more than one dollar to charity. In fact she is a ten percenter, giving ten percent of her household income to charity every year.
And the couple has been generous in other ways. “Our (my husband and I) financial wealth probably would be higher; instead we invested in our four children. With some help from scholarships and from us, they attended and all graduated from college without any school debts. Today they are all successful adults. They are our future. And they are planning, saving for their children’s educations.
In the questionnaire, Mrs. T also revealed many of her product, brand and store patronage habits. Here is just a glimpse. At the top of the section that dealt with her wine and spirits consumption and brand purchase habits she wrote, “We don’t drink; sorry I am unable to answer.” Brand of watch? Timex. Apparel purchases? Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, T.J. Maxx, the Jones Store. Motor vehicles purchased in the past ten years? 2 Ford Tauruses. Current market value of home? Approximately $275,000. Most recent hair cut? $18. Most recent set of tires? $250.
But is Mrs. T happy? Her response to that question was, “I’m extremely satisfied with my life.” Here is yet another case to support my strong contention that satisfaction in life does not come from what you can buy in a store but rather from the values, beliefs and behaviors that most wealthy people possess.