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Stop Acting Rich: ...And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire Hardcover – September 28, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Now Millionaire co-author Thomas Stanley is back with a dose of financial tough love for high-spending wannabes in Stop Acting Rich … and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire." (Better Investing Magazine, January 3, 2010)

"This is all fascinating stuff and Stanley presents it in a very readable style. Stanley has written two other best-sellers on millionaires. It seems he's done it again." (The Star-Ledger, January 3, 2010)

"…not only is this a book that everyone should buy, it's a book that every parent who loves his or her kids should buy for them—and bribe them to read it." (WalletPop, October 7, 2009)

"Contains some surprising data that makes for a convincing argument supporting a simple lifestyle as a path to security." (Associated Press)

"After reading through Stanley’s engaging anecdotes about how the other America actually lives, you may come to feel that perhaps you don’t need to impress the other guy so much. This in itself is no small thing. Your wallet will thank you. And you may end up happier." (Smartmoney.com)

"Thomas Stanley has written a fascinating book that is based on years of research into how the truly wealthy live. Stanley’s main contention is that those with millions aren’t among the nation’s hyper consumers. Rather it’s the "aspirationals," those seeking recognition as members of the moneyed set, who are loose with a buck. It’s a hypothesis offered often, but the difference is Stanley’s research. He has packed his book with oodles of statistics — and not just the usual numbers. For example, 75 percent of millionaires pay $19.79 or less for a bottle of wine. When it comes to a dinner, 75 percent pay $24.53 or less and 95 percent keep the tab to less than $40. This is all fascinating stuff and Stanley presents it in a very readable style. Stanley has written two other best-sellers on millionaires. It seems he’s done it again." (The Star-Ledger)

"If you’ve read the 1996 best-seller The Millionaire Next Door, you already know it’s hard to identify the truly affluent based on appearance. . . Now Millionaire co-author. . .Stanely is back with a dose of financial tough love for high-spending wannabes. . . offers surprising insight. If your goal is long-lasting wealth and not just the appearance of affluence, start reading ASAP." (BetterInvesting magazine)

“Stanley is right in advising people to have a re-look at their spendthrift ways and to avoid getting trapped by symbolism. “If you spend in anticipation of becoming rich, you are unlikely to become truly wealthy,” he quips.”(Personal Finance Magazine Moneylife)

"Stanley's research does a great job of proving there's a big difference between income and net worth. Many pretenders have become very good at generating income and enjoying a high standard of living. But take this Stanley gem to the bank: ‘Those who are among the least productive in transforming their incomes into wealth are in the higher-status occupations.’ Don't be a great pretender, pretending you're doing well when you only look the part. Read this book and find out how to emulate real-deal millionaires." (The Washington Post, Michelle Singletary)

From the Inside Flap

With the financial crisis, high unemployment, and tight credit, you may be saying to yourself: who is acting rich these days? We're barely making ends meet.

You would think that our wastrel ways are over, we're erasing debt, and stocking up on savings. The reality is that not only are we spenders who barely understand the concept of frugality, we are big spenders on expensive elite brands, and we do it in an attempt to emulate the rich people we see on television, in magazines, and down the street. The recession may have caused us to take a breather, but every indication is that we will pick up right where we left off when gentler economic winds blow again.

Before you spend another dime, read this book and understand how to become rich instead of act rich. Stop Acting Rich . . . And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire will upend every assumption you have about wealthy people: where they shop, what they buy, and most shockingly, where they live (it's not where you think).

Did you know that three times more millionaires live in homes valued at under $300,000 than over $1 million? Would it stun you to learn that more millionaires drive Toyotas than BMWs? How about a second home? Not for the millionaire.

Bestselling author of The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind and leading authority on the wealthy, Dr. Thomas Stanley uncovers the truth about spending to show you how you can really live rich.

It all starts with where you live. Live in a prestige neigh?borhood and you will spend more on everything from your car to your watch. Real millionaires understand that living in communities where their neighbors have less net worth than they do naturally leads to spending less. It's easier to be rich when keeping up with the Joneses hardly costs anything.

Dr. Stanley's research also uncovers what makes rich people happy. Life satisfaction comes not from cruising down the highway in a chunk of your net worth, but from having the financial resources to choose—to spend time with family and friends, to volunteer, to pursue interests.

Stop Acting Rich . . . And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire rips the lid off just about every assumption we have about what rich looks like. Few people become rich by way of a high income, and even fewer high-income people are truly rich. The good news is that almost anyone can become wealthy—even without a super high income—if you would just stop acting . . . and instead start living like a rich person.


Do You Know How to Spot a Millionaire?
Discover surprising facts about how the affluent class really lives, saves, and spends [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470482559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470482551
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Thomas J. Stanley is the author of six award winning books concentrating on America's wealthy population. His seventh book, Stop Acting Rich, was published in September 2009 by John Wiley and Sons. He began studying the affluent in 1973. Dr. Stanley wrote The Millionaire Next Door, in 1996. Over 2,000,000 copies of this New York Times bestseller have been sold. In 2000, he published The Millionaire Mind, which explored America's financial elite and how they became so. The Millionaire Mind debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Dr. Stanley's first book, Marketing to the Affluent, was selected as a top ten outstanding business book in America by the editors of Best of Business Quarterly. The author lives in Atlanta, holds a doctorate of business administration from the University of Georgia in Athens and was formerly a professor of marketing at Georgia State University. Visit Dr. Stanley at www.thomasjstanley.com for more information.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read Thomas Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door three years ago and was thoroughly impressed by the insights and research. While reading it I wished the author had published a revised edition with updated numbers - the book was published in 1998. This book (Stop Acting Rich...) covers similar themes as the book I previously mentioned. However, it has updated numbers and includes insights gained from the financial crises of 2008-2009.
The central theme of this book is that there is a difference between those that are genuinely rich and those that act like they are rich. This book details the differences between these two groups of people - what they wear, drive, eat, drink, etc. These differences, presented throughout the book in the form of several tables and lists, are backed by empirical data that are drawn from the author's extensive research on the affluent.
We live in a culture of hyperconsumerism. It is far easier to act rich than to become truly rich. All we have to do is to buy the luxury goods/services that we think the rich buy and we get the feeling that we are rich. But this kind of excessive consumerism is detrimental to our net worth. The author explains that most rich people become wealthy and stay that way by being frugal and by being investment oriented as opposed to consumption oriented. As for wealth and happiness he warns, "those who think that acting rich must be predicated on hyperconsumerism are likely to end up on the short side of both the wealth and happiness scales".
Throughout the book many myths about the rich are dispelled. Their consumption habits are described and compared with those of the pretenders.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big plan of Tom Stanley's research and books. I first encountered Stanley at a trust conference many years ago, and I've read and recommended his books to dozens of clients and prospects. His insights are helpful and entertaining.

His newest book, Stop Acting Rich: And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire, reveals the differences between what we say and what we do. He chronicles the spending patterns of genuinely rich people, and the lifestyles they enjoy. It's interesting, because there are two groups of people with serious money: the glittering rich (think Donald Trump or Bill Gates) and the millionaires next door. And, as you'd guess, they consume differently.

Spending by the glittering rich, well, glitters. These are the few folks with so much money that spending really doesn't matter. They own multiple cars, multiple timepieces, and they tend to entertain lavishly. We all know who they are and they set a remarkable standard for living.

Other rich people are remarkable for differing reasons. As Stanley has recorded previously, they stand out for their modesty and good sense. These millionaires drive Toyotas, wear Seiko watches, and surround themselves with value-oriented merchandise. We know who these neighbors are, too, but we probably don't realize how financially successful they truly are. They set a different kind of standard.

Here's the paradox of this book. Almost everyone else (and that's a huge chunk of our society) dwells in yet another culture. This is the culture of false wealth. Where looking rich is more important than being rich. It's the world of luxury goods sold to high-income buyers. But, sadly, that spending pattern yields no genuine wealth.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely adored "The Millionaire Next Door" and loaned my copy out regularly. The message of that book was spot-on and there were mounds of research to back it up. I was brought up with depression-era parents who were value-oriented and frugal. They didn't do without and splurged on things that were important to them but didn't waste a dime. I can remember going out to eat and not being able to order a cheeseburger and had to order a hamburger because the cheese cost 5 cents extra and that wasn't worth it. Cars were a means of transportation and were driven until they became undependable. The cars were also ordered without radios since they didn't listen to the radio when they drove, so why pay for something you weren't going to use?

As an adult I have largely maintained the basic philosophy of not worrying about what other people think of you and spending money based upon doing what makes me and my family happy. I have had friends who drove the BMW, that had the huge house, that took the elaborate vacations (philosophy they lived by was that if you can make the payment, you could afford it). Now that I am in my late 40's and time as moved forward, many of those same friends have filed bankruptcy, had to sell the house due to drop in income, etc. and several are having a hard time making it with the current economy. Saving was considered boring and I was actually ridiculed for not spending more money by one friend who eventually filed bankruptcy. Even after all of that, it seems that most people don't really learn their lesson. As soon as they are able, the spending on luxuries ramps back up, little shoring up of savings is done and they are no better off than they were before.
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