Who are among the best at serving the needs of the millionaire next door types? Often they are those who have had experiences with these types of people during their formative years. Tony Schuman, a successful investment manager, was sensitized early in his life to the significant differences between the low profile millionaire next door and those income statement affluent, aka the pseudo affluent, the aspirationals.
Tony had a newspaper route when he was 10 years old. He reports that
the blue collar people always paid on time and tipped. [In contrast for example] one woman, an attorney, would run around her house for twenty minutes or more before she would think of giving me 55 cents for the paper. Both she and her husband worked but would never tip.
Later Tony became a caddy, as I did. His early impressions were similar to mine regarding the characters who can be found at golf clubs. I mentioned in Stop Acting Rich that the blue collar, self-made millionaires whom I caddied for at a public course were sigificantly better tippers than most of the aspirationals whom I caddied for at a private country club. But those who did tip tipped very well. According to Tony:
I look back now and realize that I learned more about business working there than all my time in business school. The self made men all tipped well and continued to encourage me while I was working my way through college. One member mentor, Mr. R, owned a large general contracting business and had bankrolled more than half of the club’s construction. Because of the cold Connecticut winters, he had to double his work time during the summer months. He couldn’t play golf on Saturdays with the rest of the members because he was working. Mr. R would come to the club Saturday afternoon for a beer on the patio. . . wearing his ‘millionaire next door’ uniform of work khakis and steel-toed boots. One day a new member’s wife had designated herself the club’s doyenne saw Mr. R drinking his beer and smoking a cigar on the patio. . . . . . . she scream[ed] at him. . . that he, as a mere workman had no right to sit on the patio to drink and smoke. Her final bombshell. . . ‘who do you think you are; do you think you own this place?’ Mr. R calmly answered back, ‘Almost, lady, almost.’ Naturally she ran screaming [to the manager] who proceeded to inform her that Mr. R actually owned about 75% of the club equity and if she had any more questions, she should talk directly to him.
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. Proverbs 13:7