A very insightful book and body of research that bust the myth that popular media tells us that wealthy people are high living people who spend vast amounts of money in expensive homes, exotic cars and branded goods.
Just because a person looks the part by driving a fancy sports car and wears an expensive Rolex, does not mean that he actually have money in the bank. A very sobering fact.
In fact, the true millionaires of America, according to the book are frugal, live simply, and spend most of their income on investments. A very good and insightful research on the true nature of America's stewards of wealth.
It was hard to imagine seeing our neighbor as a Millionaire before reading this book. Although I believe I do save enough for retirement, I still picked up great encouragement to do better. I played excellent Offense [could make a decent salary] but played terrible Defense [spend it if I have it]. From reading this book, I have put together a plan to be a millionaire in 14 years. Even if I do or don't make it, it's better to working at it with the tips given here!
The beginning of this book really held my interest as it described the general characteristics of millionaires in America. It was difficult, however, to really think through many of the statistics that were presented because some terms are not well-defined. In a print book I would have been able to flip back and forth from definitions or go look them up elsewhere, but it's harder to do that with audiobooks.
The last third of the book drags quite a bit, and there are sections that get so preachy that I found it irritating. The book also ends very abruptly.
In general I think this book isn't well-suited to the audio format.
I learned alot from this book. Most importantly, how to THINK like a millionaire. You first have to change your way of thinking before you can change your wallet thickness. It made me re-evaluate what's important in life. Social status or financial independence? This is a must read (or listen) for anyone with money.
If you have problems saving money, and you're a high income earner, then this book may interest you. Don't get me wrong, for most people that are interested in personal finances and wealth, it will give some insight and interesting stats that you may not have thought of before. But it could be summarized in a much much shorter book. Definitely get the abridged version (and that comes from a person that hates abridged versions)
The book brings nothing new: if you start saving when you're young and be frugal (miser is more proper :) and have a good job all along, chances are you will accumulate wealth and be a millionaire when you retire, if any of these conditions are lacking then it will be harder to have the seven figures on your account.
This is obvious. Why save so much if you can't enjoy what your means can buy without resorting to second hand cars and mediocre neighborhoods? Beats me.
Their conclusions were obtained on research done on millionaires that accepted to be paid 100 to 200 dollars an hour to be interviewed, as mentioned on the text. Isn't it obvious that this would force any conclusion on their levels of frugality and their viewpoints to be skewed by the inherent biasing of the sample group? In other words, millionaires that are "frugal" enough to sell their time for a couple hundred bucks an hour are people that are naturally tight with their money anyway. That doesn't imply that millionaires in general behave this way, their research needs revising. Every sparrow is a bird but not every bird is a sparrow.
Apart from that, the text is repetitive and the few formulas given are mediocre at best.
The good effect of reading the book is that in a debt-crazy risk-taking America, a little serious self-examination comes in handy and the book reminds the readers of that. But don't expect the book to bring any original idea or surprising revelation.
The book has lots of information on the wealth in America and how do the millionaires get there. There were too many number and statistics that they throw at you that for the first few hours, it might seem it's getting no where. The book is written like a research paper. I would have preffered that they created a summary of the major points to become wealthy, and then elaborate to prove or strengthen their points. I'm not sure for the abridged book, but for those who loves numbers and percentage and can appreciate the research style of the book, then go for it. If not, maybe you can try the abridged book(don't quote me on this because i've not listened to the abridged book). Overall, other than the organization of the book, i believe that the information is an eye opener especially in terms of how we define and maintain wealth.
If you wish to retire as a paper millionaire, the basic advice presented in this book is sound, particularly if you happen to have disposable income. Careful planning, living below one's means, adequate income and proper investing can lead to economic self sufficiency. The book provides many examples of folks who did, indeed find financial success.
But there are issues with some of the advice the authors provide. Single minded dedication to amassing wealth is often penny wise and pound foolish. Living in better neighborhoods might be more expensive, but they are often safer, provide better schools, and may generally provide a better investment in real estate. Saving money by not going on vacation deprives both you and your children potentially life changing experiences. Hoarding money by not giving to charity, or even your own children, does it's own kind of spiritual damage.
The sections involving children are especially worrisome. If one follows the advice in this book religiously, a first generation millionaire family will likely end up a third generation pauper. It is important to teach children self sufficiency, but it is equally, if not more important, to teach one's children to manage million dollar investment portfolios, and to make informed decisions on budgeting and allocations of large amounts of money. After all, a wise person would not leave a large financial legacy without the tools to use it properly.
The generation of wealth is not a goal in itself. In one example presented in the book, a woman expressed the goal to retire with five million dollars. Yet in the process of doing so, they live like paupers. This woman might never see retirement, might never enjoy all that money she carefully hoarded, might forever miss out on the joys and experiences that wealth can provide. Save for retirement of course, but never forget that we only get one life.
And in the end, that's where this book fails. Truly wealthy people certainly plan for the future, invest properly, and save much of their income. Yet they also try to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and they share their wealth as much as possible.
If you are not a millionaire but want to be, read this book. It's much of what your upper middle class parents should have taught you, but it's not everything, If money is all you care about, you will do well to follow the advice in this book. Yet if you wish to lead a rich life, the kind of life full of experiences and learning and yes, even of civil responsibility, you will do well to moderate your zeal of living the frugal life outlined in this book.
This book should be required reading in high school and college, especially where "conspicuous consumption" abounds. I am trying to get my 23-year-old to read it, as I think it will give him a perspective he is unlikely to have otherwise.