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710 of 766 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Whose Time Has Come--wisdom long OVERDUE!
I used to be one of those people who spent all or at least most of my money and thought I was doing okay with the little savings I had in the bank earning 2% (wow).I always bought brand new cars, new clothes, went on vacations 6-8 times per year and partied. I had a great time! One day my company shut down and I was forced to live on 50% OF MY INCOME. My savings...
Published on September 4, 1998

1,100 of 1,214 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative - but be careful!
Let us get one thing out of the way. This is NOT a bad book. In fact, it is a well-done, interesting, and much needed study that gives us all new insights about what millionaires are really like as opposed to people's misconceptions of them. If this was merely a study of what millionaires are like, I would give it five stars.
The problem begins when people see...
Published on November 27, 2001

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5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING PORTRAIT & INSPIRING HOW-TO!, April 21, 1998
By A Customer
This is an outstanding book. It brought back the maxims that my late PAW father took with him. More importantly, it reinforced my new beliefs that living well below ones means is a great idea. I just got diagnosed with a serious illness and had I not been living well below my means (50%) then I would be concerned about survivng on my disability and half pay.
As the child of a PAW who seriously carried the whole thing too far (after he died I found his "miser file" with articles on how H.L. Hunt brownbagged his lunch, the strange economies of the millionaire inventor of Rubic's Cube", etc.). This made me angry when I was younger and I misspent my youth as an UAW.
But what about my PAW dad? I can say that he really enjoyed life. He loved to drive from store to store to save a nickel. The day he got me a car (his last gift) I had to tell him he shouldn't take the bus to the dealership in downtown Los Angeles to save on the gas of bringing two cars home if he was paying cash for the car.
What did he do with his scrounged wealth? In addition to threatening his children with: "If you____, I'll cut you out of my will". He gave a tremendous amount to charity and worked tirelessly for causes he believed in. He traveled extensively but lived modestly. Most of all, he was never worried about money.
I see all these reviews that castigate people for "wearing sadly out-dated clothes", "driving an old car", etc. Dear friends: If impressing people with your posessions makes you happy - do it and enjoy your UAW standing. But some of we PPAW's (Potential PAW's) prefer the security of knowing we no longer have to worry about daily living because we've re-designed our lives to move from UAW to PPAW.
I thank the authors for recreating my dad's wisdom for me so that now when I want to emulate him I have their book to guide me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The rest of you may wish to follow this book's teachings too, August 23, 1997
This book's findings are intuituively obvious, but many will fail to see the light. Sure, there are some silly statistics, such as the cost per pound of car. However, it does tell you what the majority of affluent do (independent business owners, including MD's and lawyers), what they do with their money (save more than they spend - well, gosh, just do the math all of you who doubt this), and what they need to do to teach their children about money and frugality (something which will come in handy with my six year old daughter).

The issue of spouses being equally frugal is very important. My wife was not frugal, in part, because she was taught not to be frugal by her parents. Her parents' habit of spending more than they earned has left them working at age 68 in fulltime jobs, with income of nearly $80,000 per year, with no retirement in sight (and not because they do not want to retire). It was not until I pointed out to my wife that her parent's situation has a cause, and they are living the 'effect', that see realized that she did not want to be in that situation. Most people do not realize that this lack of savings behavior is taught to them by their parents (mine included). My days of eating peanut butter sandwiches in college, because I generally never had more than $10 a week to spend on food (this was in the late 70's, early '80's), made me realize the requirements of frugality (no frugality = no food).

Do these well-do-do people, who live beneath their means, live boring lives? Well, my family is among those folks, and I do not think our lives are boring. We have traveled to Europe and Asia numerous times (perhaps 9 or 10 times in the past 13 years) - usually I am on a business trip and my family comes with me. Do I have a life outside of work - yep. I love white water rafting, fly fishing, and sailing. Do we give to charity? Absolutely. Like most others in my boat, we rarely discuss these aspects of our lives, as they are generally done with our families, and what we do with our families is not discussed in public. This is likely why a lot of this qualitative fluff is not found in this book.

Understand that it has taken 17 years to do this... hence the epicureans among you will find that this path to be very difficult to follow. For those of you who have the patience to make a change in your financial behavior, the rewards are significant. Where do you want to be, financially, in 15-20 years? This book will suggest the behaviorial changes needed to make a positive effect on that picture for the overwhelming majority of people who wish to be financially successful in the US. As with anything else in America, it is your choice to change your behavior. Read the book, and best of luck
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Millionaire Next Door, September 8, 2005
Interesting and useful studies on who & how of self-made millionaires and their families, including their legacy. Not too much of in depth How-To, but a good pointing in the right direction. I am looking forward to reading the Millionaire Mind next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Financial Book Ever if you want a million!, July 12, 1999
By A Customer
I am a financial professional and after working all day in the field, I read financial books, magazines etc for fun. Like diet books, there are many degreed people who have written books with vastly different theories on how to get from 1 to a million. This is the first book that draws conclusions form an in-depth and scientifically conducted study. We all know how Michael Jordan and Bill Gates became wealthy but they do not represent how the vast majority of people with a net worth of over $1 million got their piece of the pie. These people are well described in the book and actually represented in my life by my parents and my husband's parents. In my teens and twenties I questioned their teachings dramatically since my peer group at work and socially was sending the message 'get the BMW now!' Fortunately , I had just enough presence of mind to remember that these people were not millionaires and although they might get there someday it wasn't easy to see how they would accomplish this. By following the path laid out by Stanley and Danko's real life millionaires, it seems very clear that even those of moderate income can get to a million dollar net worth. There are other paths - just ask Madonna but the probabilities of getting a millionaire using another method are very low like a lottery. There could be barriers beyond one's control such as serious health problems but barring these types of extremes, there are no excuses, only lack of planning and implementation. Incidentally, by following their methods - my husband and I crossed the million dollar mark this year (our ages 46 & 39) - next step early retirement!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in debunking the myth behind millionaires, but..., February 1, 2005
S. Park (Bay Area, CA) - See all my reviews
It was interesting to learn that the people with high net worth were not generally those who look that way -- according to the surveys the authors conducted, wealthy people were most often those who didn't appear wealthy. The secret of their high net worth, the authors contend, is that they are PAWs ("Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth"), or in other words frugal, those who save or invest a much higher percentage of their income compared to the rate they consume. The authors even go ahead to redefine what it is to be wealthy. Congruent to the results of their study, "wealthy" people are exactly those who continue to accumulate no matter what their income, and are not those who currently possess much but do not accumulate. Though simple at first sight, I found their new definition to be useful, and this much I can say that I have gained from the book.

However the lesson I mentioned I learnt is just about everything the book offers. There is no so to say royal way to make money other than being frugal, evading tax as much as one can, and allocating as much time and energy to financial planning as possible, the authors claim. Perhaps this is the reason why the second chapters on appear redundant. The car example the authors quote repeatedly throughout the book is typical in this regard. It was indeed interesting to learn that the Ford pickup model was the most popular (and not some conspicuous foreign made high performance car) among the millionaires surveyed, but calculating the cost per pound of a good fraction of the cars currently available in the market? The very first time the authors wrote about "you aren't what you drive," I got the message. It would have been much more educational if the authors instead included a study on the distribution of the industries those millionaires worked in (there is a such list at the end of the book, but no distribution statistics).

Speaking of examples, I found some statistical results curious. For instance, in a early chapter of the book where the authors present a study on the ancestry groups of the millionaires surveyed (to ultimately claim that millionaires are mostly self-made) I could not find data for Afro Americans, Hispanics, or Asians. It is plausible that these ethnic groups (representing 28%+ of US population as of 2000) were not included because they did not have high percentage of millionaires per ethnic household and the table presented contained only the top ten in this measure. But recent studies of net worth stratified by ethnicity (for e.g. studies by L. Hao of Johns Hopkins Univ.) indicate Asian immigrants having higher median net worth compared to other US immigrant ethnic groups including Whites. Could it be that the majority of Asians are UAWs (the opposite of PAWs -- "Under Accumulators of Wealth")? As for a glaring omission. The authors assert that an overwhelming majority of millionaires they surveyed were self-employed. This much I am able to believe in good faith. But what exactly is the ratio between self-employed and not (for e.g. physicians, lawyers, engineers etc)? Wouldn't this ratio be more meaningful than including the types of credit cards those millionaires hold?

The strength of this book compared to others in the same category is in that the authors conducted real field work. Some results were revealing, but as noted earlier, many of them were redundant. It would be interesting to read a volume on the same subject that does not try too hard to appeal to the general public.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good if you're already making a huge wad.., January 25, 2004
Pennypacker (Walnut Creek, CA) - See all my reviews
I suppose this book is good if you're already earning quite a bit. It is not really a guide book for the average, or even moderately above average, wage earner on how to become wealthy. Once you finish reading about how frugal they are, it's more of a description of how already fairly well-to-do people kept and enhanced their wealth, particularly aiming towards their retirement years.
Ironically, a chunk of the book describes gift-giving and passing the wealth on to the adult kids. So we have all of these years of frugality (really the majority of their lives) only to end up distributing tons of dough to the offspring so they don't have to pay estate taxes. Then, irony upon irony, the adult kids are either a) independent professionals who don't need, nor necessarily want, the inheritance or b) "under-accumulators of wealth" in which case they end up wasting it in one fell swoop to maintain a high-lifestyle image they can't genuinely afford through efforts of their own. It is, of course, fine for the retired wealthy to spend or give away their money in whatever manner they wish. But what does this matter to the person looking for advice on how to best reach this stage of wealth? It matters very little. People want to know how to get there, not what is done after they've already reached their financial goal and are able to maintain that level of prosperity.
I think being a slightly above average accumulator of wealth, rather than a prodigious accumulator or under accumulator of wealth, is just right. Money is earned to be used, not hoarded. Why not invest some, but also have a bit of enjoyment from 25-65. As long as you're responsible, what's the problem? So you'll have $600,000 or $700,000 instead of $1,000,000 at retirement - big whoop! It's all about trade-offs and you're only on this merry-go-round once. No matter how much you accumulate at retirement, you can't buy back a single day, let alone 30 or 40 years of your past life.
Regarding the prose itself, the book had somewhat of a snobby, condescending tone, often giving the impression that, by and large, there are only three professions with which the wealthy and their offspring are to be involved - that of entrepreneur, lawyer, or physician. There is mention in one chapter of other occupations that are thought to benefit FROM the affluent, such as accountants, real estate agents and so forth, but the book is peppered throughout with a kind of snobbery that seems to focus one's attention in a very superficial way on a very narrow field of scholastic and occupational achievements/choices if one wants to operate in this rarified environment of wealth. Frankly, I think the authors are spending too much time with their charts and tables and statistics. A reader would be better served simply buying a genuine personal finance book, such as The Truth About Money or Personal Finance for Dummies. This way, you can focus on your own specific situation and figure out how to best make it work for you going forward, rather than dealing with all of the authors' hypotheticals and seeing if you pass this book's intimated minimum income litmus test. They emphasize having a good Defense (living below your means), but they presume you have a stellar Offense (income). Incidentally, their expertise is in the field of marketing, not finance or economics. The book is a very good reflection of both these points.
(Just FYI, in addition to learning about one author's love for his Z28 Camaro [in itself, horrible enough], the reader gets a clear sense of the authors' political bent when reading statements such as, the affluent are a "segment of our economy that will be under seige by the liberal politician and his friend, the tax man." [page 216] How does this get past the editor? Is this really the appropriate book to be making such political statements?)
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stanley and Danko's Doctoral Theses Makes Them Millionaires, October 31, 2002
June 2002: Anyone wanting to learn how to make money should buy one of Andrew Tobias' books and use this one to stop that kitchen table that you bought 30 years ago from rocking back and forth. Thomas J. (my other car is a Z-28) Stanley and William D. Danko go to great statistical links to explain why your neighbor has more money than you. In fact, this book is overloaded with statistics on everything imaginable.
There is some practical information here, but the reader has to be ready to wade through mounds of data and numbers. Much of the information is obvious, too. In a nutshell, want to save a lot of money? Don't spend any!
Stanley and Danko have published their doctoral theses and made a lot of money in doing so. Now Stanley is going to tell us about the Millionaire Mind? I haven't looked at that one yet, but I'll bet a quick thumbing of the book will show a lot of charts and stats. Prepare to help Stanley get richer at your expense and prepare to be bored.
October 2002 - After looking at this book again, I decided to adjust my thinking a bit on its usefulness. It is true that there are many people out there that would find the tips and views presented here useful because they would seem to be a revelation.
Many people live above their means in this country and their competitive nature requires that they buy a new car every few years or engage in some other type of conspicuous consumption that in the long run only wastes their wealth.
But to many of us the tips in this book won't be revealing at all. I recall reading a book on wealth building a few years ago in which the author suggested that ways to save money include re-using the blade in your razor several times rather than discarding it after one shave (do people really do that?) and bringing your lunch to work rather than going out to eat (among other things). The "revelations" in Stanley and Danko's book seem as obvious to me as those suggestions.
If you really want a study of millionaires in this country, I guess this book is a decent one (though dated now). However, my assumption is that most people who see this book will look at it as a "how to..." And some of it may be "how to" if you are among those who have money but seem at a loss as to why you can't save. Some of these stories can be helpful in that sense.
I still maintain that if you are looking for wealth building tips, pick up Andrew Tobias' book "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need". It's much better at helping a reader understand how things work and how best to use your money.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very insightful, May 22, 2000
P. Green (San Mateo, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This book could have been summed up in one chapter. Know what is important to you, be thrifty, and invest the difference between what you make and what you spend wisely. Too many meaningless statistics included to keep it interesting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a how-to-be-a-millionaire book, September 17, 2002
I found this book fascinating. It is not a how-to-be-rich book. As the title implies, it is the combined conclusions from a number of statistical studies and focus-group interviews by authors Stanley and Danko, the purpose of which was to find out more about the spending and saving habits of the rich. For their purposes they defined "rich" as more than $1 million in net worth. The results I found pretty eye-opening. Of particular interest for me was the authors' comparison between 2 groups: the true millionaires (according to their definition) and those who fit the more popular image of millionaires - high spenders who had less than $1 million in net worth. The study includes lists and tables of occupations of millionaires, categories of businesses they own, and so on. Yes, most millionaires are owners of businesses (cf Kiyosaki's "Cashflow Quadrant"). Another section of great interest is that on the children of millionaires vs those of high-spenders. There is much implied in the book (the frugality, discipline and low-profile lifestyle of millionaires are treated with obvious sympathy and respect), but the authors did very well to stick to their brief and avoid preaching, or even advice (althought there is an excellent concluding section, in true academic style, on how one might exploit the statistical information). Finally, as a non-American, I found the wealth of analysis on cars hilarious! The table on cars' cost per pound is highly thought-provoking, though. Very well written with humour and a complete lack of pretentiousness or "academese". All in all, the results of their excellent research speak for themselves.
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22 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fairly worthwhile, but limited and annoying, October 22, 2004
All in all, this book has plenty of good advice. However, I was annoyed and even slightly angered by a few things.

First, I lost count of how many times I saw the word "frugal." After what had to have been the seventeenth time, I thought to myself: Mr. Stanley, I get the point.
The point being, live in squalor and hoard your gold coins like you're a king of avarice.
Except, not me. That's not how I want to live. I'm more of a Kiyosakian. Being cheap might help you get rich, but once you're rich, you're still cheap. So why bother?
And in my book, being cheap doesn't help one to get rich at all. It only helps to pay the bills. That's important, but it's not getting rich.

Another thing I couldn't stand isn't so much bad advice or bad writing as it is an example of behavior that the book advocates, in the same cheap/frugal vein.
A woman is clipping coupons like she does everyday, because she is . . . . frugal. Her husband comes home,and his ship has come in. Much of the stock he owned has up to this point appreciated immensely, he cashes out, and decides to give his wife a major anniversary present. He lays down $8 million in stock in front of his wife, and says, happy anniversary. She says, "Thanks." And then she goes back to clipping her pathetic coupons.

This book admires this lady's . . . frugality. I, on the other hand, get nauseous. $8 million. If it had been me, I would've taken the money back, divorced her on the spot, and called my lawyer in anticipation of legal battle to follow.

And an issue that is more style than substance. The author lists attributes and behaviors of the millionaires next door, and one item on that list is the cars they drive. Apparently, they all drive American cars. Not Japanese cars. Not German. Not Korean. American. And only full size cars. Not compacts. Not mid-size. Not mini-vans. Not SUVs. And only sedans. Not coupes. Not convertibles. Not motorcycles or electric scooters. Only full size American sedans. And when these cars aren't being referred to as full size American sedans, they're being referred to as "Detroit metal."

Ooooooh. Detroit metal. Now THAT'S cool.
Apparently, people who are . . . frugal . . . spend their money on third rate gas guzzlers. I'm sticking with my Toyota, because it sips gas, and it NEVER breaks down. Ever. That saves me money.

Aside from these things that stick in my craw, this book is not without merit.
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