I tried to read that old standby The Millionaire Next Door. I think I got less than half way through it. There was quite a bit of repetition. Basically they discovered that most millionaires are business owners who are extremely frugal. They’d rather have the money than look like they do. From this, they tried to spin out a book. It ended up sounding like a broken record. Be frugal, real millionaires don’t spend tons of money on status things (insert endless examples here). Real millionaires save. Real millionaires don’t have a ton of debt. Basically, all the things I am hoping to do to be financially independent.
I bet this book was revolutionary when it came out in 1996. Not anymore. Almost 20 years later, most people who are truly interested in being financially free know that the path is through spending less than you earn. Especially after the recession, we saw status spenders losing their homes just as quickly as the rest of the nation.
The strangest part of reading that book is seeing the very 1990’s mentality. Real estate as an investment. The median family income was $33,000. Frugality as newsworthy. Much of that world was burned away in 2008. Global recessions will do that.
The book is an interesting look back at the mindset of a generation who lived through the 1980’s boom, but it doesn’t seem entirely topical today. This book may be the reason we understand that frugality is the way to independence – it spent 3 years on the NY Times bestseller list – but it’s old, excessively repetitive news now.