When I first picked up Middle Class Millionaire from the library I thought it would be about middle-class people who had become millionaires through saving and investing, similar to some of the lessons in The Millionaire Next Door. Instead I was slightly disappointed to find that it was about millionaires that held so-called “middle class values” as opposed to the values of the super-wealthy. Although it was an interesting read I thought overall it was just “OK”.
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The authors surveyed people who had a net worth between $1 and $10 million for the “millionaire” segment, and people earning $50k-$80k per year for the “middle class” segment. They then compared the two sets of responses to come up with some insights into how these two segments of the population shared-and diverged in-values.
There were some interesting facts in this book. Apparently these middle class millionaires were mostly baby boomers, with money their made-not inherited-through technology, real estate, entrepreneurship, or a mix of those. They tended to congregate on the east and west coasts and place a high value on career, education ,and financial independence. They work hard – on average 71 hours per week – and are much more likely to work nights and weekends than the middle class. Their financial independence comes from a distinguished career and developing a unique set of talents and skills that you can take from one job to another.
These millionaires also differed in their thoughts about failure. They were five times more likely to try again or keep going after a failure than the middle class. I enjoyed the story of an overachiever financial consultant with 1242 clients who had essentially no life and re-tooled his business to triple his income while gaining time for hobbies. How? He moved to flat-fee wealth management vs. commissions, and shed his least profitable clients. The lesson I took away here was that you can spend less time focusing on the core of your business and find greater success than if you scattershot your approach and try to do everything.
There were a few parts of the book that I didn’t find I took away quite as much:
- Concierge medicine – the authors spend a lot of time exploring the idea of medical care through a flat retainer fee, where you can pay to jump the line for medical care. The example they give is MD VIP, where you pay a membership fee of $1,800 per year. It was an interesting concept, but they spent way too much time on it
- Coaching – the authors spend a lot of time talking about coaching, and coaches, in various aspects of life (financial, work, etc.). And what does one of the authors do for a living? Why, he just happens to be a coach! Russ Alan Prince is a wealth coach, and according to his website “He consults with the ultra-wealthy, entrepreneurs, and select professionals to strategically expand their networks and maximize the value of their relationships.“
- Fractional Luxury Homeownership – Now instead of buying a second home, apparently you can buy a fraction of a luxury property so you can get all the benefits of a second home without the hassle! And apparently you can do the same with luxury motorhomes, instead of dropping a lot of money to buy one outright. This book was published in 2008, so it was written right before the financial crisis. I would guess that at least some of these places struggled during 2008 and its immediate aftermath
All in all, the book has a few good tidbits of information but a lot that I didn’t find useful. Have you read this book – and if so what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments.