[ExI] millionaires and billionaires

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 15:54:54 UTC 2011

2011/9/24 John Grigg <possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com>:
> This is very true.  My eyes were opened by reading the great book, "The
> Millionaire Next Door."  I recommend it to everyone.

Yes, I also recommend this book to everyone. Those who want to be
millionaires, as well as those who want to understand them. My
grandfather was one of these kinds of millionaires. He followed what
today would be called the Dave Ramsey plan. Dave is the author of "The
Total Money Makeover", also a good read. Grandpa avoided debt, paying
for EVERYTHING, including his first house in cash. He borrowed money
once early in his life, to buy a fridge, it was a $7 payment every
month. He had to scrounge so hard for that $7 (in the 30s) that it put
him off of borrowing for his entire life. Like many who lived through
the depression, he always thought another would come, and he wanted to
be ready for it. He was right, but didn't live quite long enough to
see what we're going through now.

I don't think understanding these kinds of millionaires gives us as
much insight into our future as the other kind... the ultra rich who
are not caught in a pattern of saving everything they find. We will
have no reason not to "spend" our capabilities in the future. It's all
just going to be computation, and savings will not enter into it. So
while this is a pattern for a successful life, and I recommend it to
anyone who wants to have a better financial future, I don't think it
is quite as relevant to the future we envision here.

> I read the book "Bobos in Paradise" that talked in fascinating detail about
> the social hierarchy among the wealthy.  At a dinner party, deferential
> treatment is given based on wealth (among other things), and the guy worth
> $200 million just does not rate on par with the 1.2 billionaire, just as he
> is seen as the social inferior of the fellow worth 5 billion.  And a
> "titan/demigod" of wealth (Gates, etc.) can make them all by comparison be
> seen as minor players.  A proper dinner host keeps these things in mind, but
> tries to keep it low-key as they plan the gathering.  It made me think of
> Victorian England...

I've never seen or heard of this sort of behavior around here... but
that could be a side effect of the leveling influence of Mormonism. It
encourages humility, and discourages this kind of chest beating. I
can't say it doesn't happen elsewhere... I have also heard that there
are differences in some societies between old money and new money...
but I don't know how relevant that is either.

> An interesting comment.  Yes, for some, real introspection will end with
> great wealth, but for others, it will not.  I agree with the notion that
> riches magnify the major aspects (good or bad) of a person's personality and
> character.  And I do think that some wealthy people do realize that if they
> are not careful, their possessions will in time actually own *them.*

This is perhaps the most important point in your post... I have come
to believe that after some amount of money, usually between $30 and
$50 million dollars, there is a shift from "I have money" to "money
owns me"... at that point society begins to look at them as a
philanthropic resource to be tapped. Like a gold mine. And their life
begins to look like a series of meetings where people try to talk them
out of some of their money.

I have one neighbor that is worth in the neighborhood of $40
million... who had an unfortunate meeting with an accountant who
thought he could save him some money on taxes. He set up a tax haven
of some kind, and in the end he spent a year and a half in jail. His
unfortunate wife, who was truly innocent, but signed the return, also
spent a year in jail. The accountant also spent some time in jail.

While he was in jail, he had a 64,000 square foot home constructed
within sight, but a couple of miles away from my home at the time. It
was reputed to be the largest single family residence in Utah. It's a
true mansion! By the time he got out of jail, it was at least half
done. His money truly owned, and in fact, imprisoned him. Had he been
less greedy, or more wise, it would not have happened.

There are others with so much money that I know who are constantly
hounded. People want them to support this charity and that. I have
decided that if I ever get into the situation of earning a great deal
of money, that I will make sure and stop collecting money at $30
million. I simply will not have money own me. There is nothing I want
that comes with more money than that. I will just stop. It is not for
me. I do not want to be one of the rich that part of the underclass
wants to "eat".


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