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Have you ever had the experience when something hilarious happens to you at some point throughout the day… And you just can’t wait to get back to your wife and tell her all about it?
Personally, there’s the combination of fear that I’ll forget the most important details and just lack of patience that both provide me with a sense of urgency.
Combine that with the fact that these Grade A+ stories just don’t land well over the phone – so you know that waiting is what’ll provide the best result.
Well, a Saturday morning exactly one year ago provided me with one of these exact moments.
All courtesy of my neighbor. You know… the one that wants to make sure you think he’s a millionaire…? Oh, you know him, too? Cool.
His subterranean sprinkler system popped up from beneath the grass when he started telling me about the invisible fence they had just purchased for their new dog
As he committed to the conversation and started walking toward me, I couldn’t help but notice the brand new Infiniti QX80 SUV in his driveway. Freshly washed and oh so shiny.
Just a measly $68k on the base model…
You see, I couldn’t hear this neighbor too well because we had some friends in town that had parked in our driveway, and their car was acting as a barrier.
As I walked down toward the sidewalk, I finally caught his question, “You guys finally moving up in the world, eh?”
“You know, I thought I finally nailed perfection with the lines from my most recent mowing session. Thanks for noticing!” He didn’t appreciate my obvious attempt at humor and just stared at me coldly… “I have no idea what you’re talking about??”
“The Beemer, man. It looks awesome!”
Confused, I turned around to see our friend’s car still in the driveway. A new-ish BMW X5 (~$52,000) – also shiny
“You kidding? I’m not spending $50k on a car. Not our style.”
The neighbor was a little disappointed. “Oh, I thought you guys took a couple steps up,” was his penultimate comment as he pointed over my shoulder and into our garage. There, our 9-year-old Camry and 11-year-old Buick hung out together in the shade… Just chillin’.
“Maybe someday,” was his almost pitiful and hopeful closer
We exchanged pleasantries and I ultimately jogged back into the house before his facial expressions faded from my memory. (Monica is visual and I knew that me conveying the neighbor’s looks while delivering the story would go a long way toward earning a solid belly laugh).
Why was I so concerned with telling my wife the details of this story?
Well, it was because she had sent me this article a few days earlier: 19 Secrets Your Millionaire Neighbor Won’t Tell You. And after reading through this together, the Mrs. and I had a pretty thorough discussion about the current state of our family’s finances – and the direction in which we currently traveled.
We had started perusing those really nice houses in a different part of town… You know, the ones that cost 1.5(x)-2(x) what our current awesome 4 bed, 2.5 bath house is worth. My 10-year-old Camry was getting “A little closer to unreliability,” is what I was telling myself.
After 7 years of frugality, we started making some decent money, relative to our expenses, and we were on the verge of letting that lifestyle creep kick in.
But then Monica forwarded this article my way and it was like we recalibrated instantaneously
“I want freedom, not a bigger house. I’d rather be free than start making purchases that will ultimately delay that freedom.” – Monica
The quote above is how my thoughtful and incredibly intelligent wife punctuated our discussion of this post. I couldn’t help but nod my head and agree with her wholeheartedly. Who doesn’t want freedom?
The truth is that we’ve always aspired to financial freedom. It’s been the basis for our large-scale decision making and ultimately why we decided to be entrepreneurs in the first place. We had just veered off course slightly… Until we came across this article and recalibrated our process, that is.
1- Millionaires (and people that generally win at life) don’t tell you they’re rich
Humility is a virtue and it should be practiced. These folks that have deceptively high net worths don’t tell you they’re rich because they don’t care. They got to this point in life not by keeping up with the Jones’ or by some grand display of wealth.
They put their head down and got to work. Then they woke up and did it again the next day. And the next. And because they had a plan, stuck to it, and learned along the way, they were financially successful.
2- The millionaire doesn’t pay for today’s stuff with tomorrow’s money
Rather than seeing the shiny new toy and buying it, the millionaire will sleep on the decision to purchase. And if it is a needed item, she will craft a plan to either pay cash for the item or buy it with a credit card and immediately pay it off (she loves tax free money in the form of credit card rewards).
3- Millionaires know the value of hard work
As opposed to complaining that there’s not enough room in the budget to _____ (get a gym membership, pay off extra debt, go on vacation, etc.), the millionaire will commonly seek opportunities for additional income. Whether that’s a second job or a side hustle, these folks always have the idea wheels churning.
4- Millionaires know the value of a well thought out plan
There’s a quote in the piece:
“…money is like a toddler; it is incapable of managing itself.”
There’s a plan for telling your money where to go, for where he sees himself in 5 years, and for how he’ll get there. All different aspects of life but with one constant – there’s a plan for that.
5- And finally, the millionaire doesn’t care about your kick @$$ car/house/status symbol
Oh, you mean that thing that takes you from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and now takes up 25% of your take-home pay? Yeah, that’s nice. I’ll be over here driving my solid reliable car that’s been paid off for 5 years. And it’s pretty good on gas. But if you’re interested in a weekend hike or taking the kayaks out on the water, the millionaire is likely all-in.
Well, there are a few takeaways from this one. First off, if you’re married or in a relationship, or it is vitally important that both are on the same page when it comes to money. Sure, there should be a varying point of view and discussions about process, but the overarching goals should be the same.
Without Monica steering the ship back to the correct course – that we had set for ourselves years earlier – we may have found ourselves taking a significant financial step backward.
Secondly, know your game, keep learning continually, and stay humble. These millionaires that Len Penzo talks about in the article above aren’t boastful. In fact, they’re perfectly content with you thinking they’re poor – because they know who and what they are and frankly, they don’t care much for your opinion. They’re too busy getting the most out of life.
And finally, I’ll close with the culmination of my story…
(Mike jogged back into the house, found Monica, and proceeded to relay all events of the past 5 minutes…)
Monica said, “Two things. 1) maybe he’s worth a ton of money and that car was a drop in the bucket and, if not, 2) you should tell him about the blog. Maybe he’ll get a few ideas.”
No belly laugh. No judgement of a fellow neighbor. Just perspective. Thank God I found this woman…
Do you practice any of these “millionaire habits” or is there anything that I left out? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
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