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Most Millionaires are like the X-men: Superhumans among regular people

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Most Millionaires are like the X-men: Superhumans among regular people. I would like to discuss a book I reviewed for my school project. The book is called The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. It was originally published back in 1996 and was very popular. This book should be part of the core curriculum of high schools in North America.


“These people cannot be millionaires! They don’t dress like millionaires, they don’t eat like millionaires, they don’t act like millionaires--they don’t even have millionaire names.”

The book explains in detail that the popular concept of a millionaire is false and that most millionaires live very simple lives among regular people. It also details that many high-income professionals such as doctors, lawyers and executives are not rich. These people fail to accumulate any lasting wealth. They look rich and might feel rich, but they are not wealthy.

Most millionaires in the book live below their means. They wear regular clothes, save and invest their money. Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not live in upscale neighbourhoods. They don’t spend $5,000 on watches or drive new luxury cars. They budget and watch where they spend their money. They believe that a $100 watch tells the same time as a $5,000 one. They believe being frugal is the key to wealth building. They always live below their means and don’t care what other people think of them. Read that last sentence again.


These Millionaires blend in with regular people; they don’t stick out. They remind me of the X-men movies where the mutants blend in with regular people. The mutants have superpowers, but they don’t want regular people to know, afraid of what regular people might think of them once they find out. I can see that. The millionaires in the book like to be left alone.


The millionaires in the book are focused on increasing their net worth. That is why they avoid loans to buy things that may have no value in a few years. Most of them have lived in modest homes for decades but have no mortgage. They view a new car as a depreciating asset; it decreases in value each year. A brand new high-end Mercedes might be $100,000 but might only be worth $30,000 after five years. That is why these people don’t like to buy new cars, they prefer used cars and have no car payments. The millionaires know exactly how much they spend every month. This all increases their net worth.


Many high-income/low-net worth people have no idea how much they spend each month. Successful doctors, lawyers, accountants, executives believe they are expected to live in mansions. They also are expected to dress well, drive nice cars, go on exotic vacations and send their kids to expensive private schools. If they didn’t, then people might think that they were not successful. The book details that they constantly need to convince others of their success. I guess it makes sense to some degree. Would you hire a lawyer for an important case if he showed up in an old pick up truck in ripped jeans with a baseball hat?


“Self employment plays a major part in building a higher net worth.”

The book states that self-employed people are four times more likely to be millionaires than those who work for others. A person who owns a small plumbing company will most likely have a higher net worth than a Vice President of a local bank.


The book details that people who are self-employed end up paying less taxes overall than someone working full-time at a company, even if they earned the same income. Income tax is high. Depending on income, it could be as high as 50%. Entrepreneurs have more flexibility with taxes because they can write off expenses such as vehicles and pay themselves a smaller salary reducing taxes they would have to pay. People who work full-time at companies or government jobs can’t do that. That is why entrepreneurs account for a large number of the millionaires in this book. They keep more of the money they earn.


In the first X-Men movie, Magneto states: "Mankind has always feared what it doesn't understand."

The millionaires in the book did not get rich overnight. This book changed my views on who millionaires are and how they manage their money. They watch where they spend money, acquire assets that grow, and don't try to show off by buying expensive houses, cars and other luxury items. They don’t care about what people think about them. There is nothing to fear once you take the time to understand them. Read the book.


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