Here are five lessons we strugglers can “learn” from millionaires, according to Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money. How are the rich different than the “rest of us?” Let me enumerate the ways:
1. They give away more. Households with more than $500,000 of investible assets give away 6% of their incomes. I’m not sure this statistic has relevance; if we’re talking about 6% of income, we should consider amount of income rather than net worth.
2. They are much more likely to own businesses. This is widely viewed as a better path to passive income than investing in stocks or real estate.
3. They borrow strategically. The rich still borrow money like us “po’ folk” (ie., not millionaires), but they’re only half as likely to have that debt on credit cards. Instead, their debt is concentrated in mortgages — for primary and secondary (or rental) homes.
4. They don’t blow a lot of money on cars. The average value of cars owned by millionares is higher, but this value as a percentage of total net worth is significantly lower for the rich than for the average.
5. They’re almost always homeowners, and many own investment property, too. 95.8% of the top 10% own homes while the average is 67.7%.
So I’m not sure what we can “learn” from these facts as the article suggestions other than the higher the net worth, the more flexibility one has. There’s only so far you can cut back expenses, but the opportunity to grow income is limited only by the individual (theoretically). Maximize your net income after expenses and save what you can, invest what you can, to allow for more flexibility in the future.
Updated February 7, 2012 and originally published November 10, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.