More than 20 years ago, affluence researchers Dr. Thomas Stanley and Dr. William Danko surveyed a vast number of millionaire households in the United States.
What they discovered was groundbreaking at the time.
The average U.S. millionaire, they found, lives a frugal lifestyle. They are disproportionately clustered in modest, middle-class neighborhoods. They drive used cars. They don’t spend money on jewelry, watches, boats or other high-ticket items. They’re self-made, meaning they did not inherit their wealth; they’re first-generation millionaires.
In 1996, the researchers published their findings in a book called The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. The book became a mega-bestseller and, to this day, remains a top personal finance classic.
Fast-forward to 2012.
Dr. Thomas Stanley’s daughter, Sarah, followed in her father’s footsteps. She’s grown up to become a researcher, earning a Ph.D. in applied psychology and exploring the world of behavioral finance. She became the Director of Research for the Affluent Market Institute, the research company her father founded, and she launched her own research firm, DataPoints.
In 2012, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw and Dr. Thomas Stanley decided to update their research on millionaire households in anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Millionaire Next Door. They wanted to see what attributes are different, 20 years later, and what qualities remain the same.
They crafted another large-scale survey of millionaires. Yet before they could complete the project, tragedy intervened.
In 2015, Dr. Thomas Stanley was killed in a car accident. He was hit by a drunk driver.
His daughter resolved to finish the research that the two of them started together. She sent out the survey they created, gathered and analyzed the results, and published a sequel, The Next Millionaire Next Door, co-authored with her late father.
The book is Dr. Thomas Stanley’s final, posthumously-published book. The book was released in October 2018, twenty-two years after the original.
On today’s podcast episode, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallaw joins us to describe what’s different about millionaires, more than two decades later …
… and what’s remained the same.
- The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
- The Next Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley & Sarah Stanley Fallaw
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