Friday, June 14, 2013

My Book Review: "The Millionaire Mind" by Thomas Stanley

In all honesty, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to type out a book review. Thomas Stanley’s, “The Millionaire Mind,” is not just a must read, it is a must own and on my personal, albeit self-declared, short list of books you need to pick up and read right now. Seriously…work this book into your upcoming budgets and buy it. This book, along with Dave Ramsey’s, “The Total Money Makeover,” belong in every home that is working to climb the economic ladder.

“The Millionaire Mind” delves into the nitty gritty details of some of the top notch economic producers in this country. Stanley surveyed, studied and interviewed those who are multi-millionaires, whom have earned annual incomes of at least medium six figures, and sustained each for several decades. These were not run of the mill trust fund babies, overnight dot com millionaires or the unfortunate lottery jackpot winner. These individuals created wealth in one generation and did a lot more than just sustain it over the years. Stanley’s work focuses on common threads and trends among some of the best producers walking the Earth today, and its findings were astonishing.

My favorite part of this entire book was that the path these titans of industry blazed was not neat, clear or pretty. The average high school GPA of this group was fortunate to crack a 3.0, and their SAT scores did not raise interested eyebrows from pedigree generating private colleges. In fact, and I was extremely comforted to learn this, that some of the “best of the best” of these economic producing superstars, specifically scored below 1,000 out of 1,600 on their SAT scores! This just delighted me as I also fall into the “Under 1,000” club (and yes I realize that I’m dating myself with that info I just passed along to you). 

Most of these future multi-millionaires were often told that college was not for them and to not expect much from life. They didn’t take advanced placement courses and hop on the fast track to a top tiered school.
Instead these subjects worked their tails off to either put themselves through college or navigate their way to discovering the vocations that they would happily and lovingly pour their hearts and souls into. And through those experiences, both college and work, they honed a vital skill that would pay dividends, and then some, throughout their lives:  being able to assess the character of others.

One chapter that particularly peaked my interest was focused on the marriages of these subjects. Honesty, integrity, trust-worthiness and trusted advisor were just some of the characteristics that exist within marriages of what these super producers. In not a single case study did there exist an example where finances were divided. Both partners were on the same page, working towards the same goals and in unison on decisions and directions.

I really could go on and on. Stanley also relays, through statistics, breakdowns and real life case studies how these households buy and sell real estate, plan their investments, spend their free time, choose/find their vocation, live below their means and leverage time over resources. Stanley’s study is absolutely fascinating and had me captivated from cover to cover. I genuinely did not want the book to end.

In addition to the extra notes I took down, “The Millionaire Mind,” was further reassurance to me that Dave Ramsey’s plan has set me on the right path to economic prosperity. The similarities lined up in the way our households tax plan, value our time, put work, energy and intention to build a strong marriage, and our affinity for being cheap dates J.

On the flip side there were lots of areas in which I can improve and see in a new light. Real estate is one of them. Stanley found that his subjects placed an area’s public school system highest on its priorities when evaluating a primary residence. The school of thought is that the better the public school system, the better appreciation the home will have over decades. Multi-millionaires also by and large purchased homes in old and well established neighborhoods, not brand new subdivisions.

Another is a shift in perspective of what it means to be frugal. The subjects in the book paid extra in upfront costs for selected everyday items/tasks for the purpose of freeing up their time. A crude example lies with a self-employed lawyer. Working, the lawyer would earn hundreds of dollars an hour working in his vocation. If he took the do-it-yourself approach to say, lawn care, he would lose hours (which translates to lost dollars) tending his lawn rather than earning money. So to recoup, again by and large, multi-millionaires outsource tasks such as painting walls and mowing lawns to free up their time to either work their vocation or, and this really is more often than not, spend quality time with family and friends.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. “The Millionaire Mind” is an excellent read with real life examples that you and I can finish reading and implement into our daily lives this very moment.

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