Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Living Like A Millionaire...The Right Way!

I am a huge fan of Thomas Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door. According to Stanley and his surveys, the true millionaires are not the ones buying Grey Goose Vodka and Saks Fifth Avenue...they're the ones who shop at Wal-Mart and Ross, and spend less than $200 for a good watch. (Actually, more like $50!)

The library hold finally came through, and now I'm reading Stanley's latest -- Stop Acting Rich -- and Start Living Like A Real Millionaire. It's just as good, though there are some unintentionally amusing parts -- like reading that "wanna-be" millionaires prefer Mercedes-Benz, Lexus...and Jeep brands! (We drive a Jeep Cherokee.)

On the other hand, these wannabes have, on the average, five cars -- and we have just one (which just hit 149,000 miles), plus temporary use of Daughter #1's Toyota. What Stanley (or the millionaires) don't seem to know, is that Cherokees wear like iron. We bought this model used. (#3 of the Cherokees we've owned over the past 27 years.) And the $1000 repairs it currently needs (sigh...a crankcase) are the first, other than basic maintenance, in the near-decade we've owned it.

That brings up another mention. The real millionaires? They prefer Ford and Toyota. Hear that, Ford? You did the right thing, hanging in there...Toyota, you'd better listen up and shape up!

Stanley's website is just as interesting. His surveys are rife with numbers and statistics -- a little tough for this English major to wade through, but worth it, once you get to the conclusions. (This is a man who likes to prove what he's suggesting.) The best part, though, are the personal stories, like this post and this from a scientist who's amassed a million-plus, yet still eats at Burger King once a week. (They drank a bottle of French champagne -- their first -- when they passed the million-dollar mark; their mortgage was celebrated with California sparkling wine.)

You'll find Stanley's newest book just as good as his previous ones...perhaps even more thought-provoking. He believes that people have cranked down their lifestyles and are beginning to save more, thanks to the financial crises of 2008 and 2009. He also argues, though, that we've gotten so used to giving ourselves whatever we want -- no matter what the cost in the long run -- that this is just temporary. When people stop being afraid, they'll start spending again. And this time, it will be worse -- they'll try to make up for the 'deprivation' of the past few years.

And after a few years of 'prosperity,' the financial climate will only get worse.

The scary part? I think...he just may be right.

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