Review: The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko

The Millionaire Next Door book

I first read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko before starting law school in 1997, and it blew me away. The book demolishes the myths about who the wealthy really are in America, and more importantly, shared their spending and planning habits so we could learn from them. It’s my first choice whenever anyone asks for a personal finance book recommendation.

The spending stats are dated, and Stanley wrote a follow-up book in 2011 Stop Acting Rich:…And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire that provided some updates. However, the points come across loud and clear and are based on research about millionaires and surveys of them.

It presents formulas like how to determine if you’re on track to becoming wealthy and how much home you can afford.

It shares data on what the average millionaire spent on things like cars, watches, wine, meals, and haircuts.

The Millionaire Next Door also highlighted seven traits shared by wealthy Americans:

  1. Living well below their means.

  2. They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.

  3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.

  4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.

  5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.

  6. They are proficient in targeting marketing opportunities.

  7. They chose the right occupation.

Others have shared these insights, but never this clearly and well-organized. This is the original, and I strongly encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already.


Suggested Further Reading:

Your Personal Finance Curriculum – toolkit of books, videos, articles, podcasts, and blogs broken down by category and expected takeaways that you can work through based on interest level and time covering…

  1. Hall of Fame Personal Finance books everyone should read.
  2. Deeper Dive Three books to teach you more about investing in stocks, building a portfolio, and avoiding behavioral investment mistakes.
  3. Market History “History doesn’t rhyme, but if often repeats itself,” Mark Twain. Learn about previous markets and events.
  4. Lessons in Unique Places & Great Stories Teach Too Six great books that also have a lot to teach about investments.
  5. Financial Planning Articles covering the main planning topics you need to understand
  6. Newsletter, Blog, and Podcast Recommendations to help you stay informed and continue the learning process