7 Minute Read: Everyday Millionaires Book Summary By Chris Hogan
Last year, when I first heard that Chris Hogan (part of the Dave Ramsey Solutions team) was writing an everyday millionaire book, I realized it had been over twenty years since I’d read The Millionaire Next Door.
Luckily, I still had the copy I purchased when it was released in 1996 (my senior year of college) and set out to reread it before I bought Hogan’s book.
The Millionaire Next Door is one of the best classic personal finance books that highlights what high net worth people looked like, but now, over twenty years later, it’s a bit outdated.
Many of the stats mentioned such as salaries of common occupations and cost of goods have changed.
For instance, the book stated that the average physician makes $140,000 a year but today it’s closer to $223,000.
Let’s get going…
What Is A Millionaire?
Hogan states that there’s both an emotional and mathematical component to the word “millionaire.” Emotionally, most people want to someday experience financial independence (FI).
My goal for this website is providing the white coat community information to become debt-free and reach FI.
The mathematical component is something that can become confusing when you ask random people about their definition of a millionaire. The true definition is simply someone with a net worth at or above $1 million dollars.
In The Millionaire Next Door, its’ authors also used the same definition:
Net worth = Assets – Liabilities
Ex: If Dr. A has a home worth $300,000 and owes $200,000, his equity in the home would be $100,000.
If he also had:
- $50,000 in a 401k
- $8,000 in a savings account
- $2,000 in a checking account
- $10,000 value in his paid-for-car
Total Net Worth = $170,000
Three Common Myths
One big difference between this book and The Millionaire Next Door is that it’s broken down into three of the most common millionaire myths our society has.
- The wealthy didn’t earn and don’t deserve their money.
- The wealthy take big risks with their money.
- The wealthy have a leg up in education and careers.
Let’s break down each one and in doing so, compare how they relate to your current beliefs.
Myth #1: Didn’t Earn and Don’t Deserve Their Money
Everywhere we turn, we’re bombarded with negative financial news that the American Dream is dead or that the little man can’t get ahead. Our culture feeds us the lie that it’s impossible to become a millionaire in America today.
After reading Hogan’s book, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, especially with your current income potential.
This negative news is possibly why he found that 74% of millennials and 52% of baby boomers believe millionaires inherited their wealth.
Hogan’s team conducted the largest study ever of millionaires. They surveyed over 10,000 millionaires and found that:
- only 21% of them received any inheritance
- 79% didn’t receive a dime
Their research also showed that:
- most were first-generation rich
- 8 of 10 came from families at or below the middle-class income level
No silver spoon in their mouth? I guess not.
Are Millionaires Just Lucky?
76% of millionaires say that anyone in America can become a millionaire with discipline and hard work.
Wait a minute. You mean they didn’t get rich quick? Obviously not.
Here’s the problem: Fewer and fewer people want to work hard these days. Take a look at the teens and college kids working in your town. How can they work hard when they’re glued to their phones!
Most want everything instantly. Many times, doctors acquire an “entitlement” attitude after delaying gratification after completing many years of school. I know I did.
Let’s take a look at the “smart” phone. Growing up, when I needed to look up a phone number, I had to grab the white/yellow pages or use the computer in between my ears. I can barely remember more than 5 numbers now!
Also, if I needed to find a statistic such as the winner of the first Super Bowl or the best debt-free blog ever :), I’d have to resort to pouring through our set of encyclopedias or head to the local library.
Now, we can literally found out any fact or stat in less than ten seconds with the device we carry in our pocket. The world has changed and unfortunately, this “instant information access” has clouded our thinking.
We are so used to getting information instantly that we lose patience when we have to actually put an effort into it. This spills over into the public’s beliefs about millionaires. The problem is that they don’t recognize the time and energy millionaires put into building wealth.
Bottomline: If you want to become a millionaire, the two biggest factors they found were that you must have:
- Financial discipline
- Save consistently
Myth #2: They Take Big Risks With Their Money
Hogan’s research says this myth is supported by these two beliefs:
- Wealthy people make risky investments.
- Wealthy people take stupid risks to get rich quick.
When I got to reading this part of the book, I realized something. Like with most things, if we want to get good at something, we should do the OPPOSITE of what we think we should do.
I used to play golf before I had kids. I don’t anymore due to time constraints. When I was first learning the game and wanted to hit the ball far, naturally I’d tense up and try to “kill” it.
Now, to most people, this seems to be the logical thing to do, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t.
Once I started doing the opposite, gripping the club lightly and swinging smoothly, the ball started going farther. Again, doing the opposite is the key.
Do the opposite
I’m a member of several doctor finance private groups/forums. It amazes me how so many “educated” professionals want to take risks because they think they can get rich quick to retire sooner.
Maybe that’s why most millionaires surveyed in the book weren’t doctors after all. If you read this book, you’ll quickly realize that there’s no reason to take big risks.
The average income of those surveyed was $100,000 or less so there’s no reason why doctors shouldn’t become millionaires.
Here’s Hogan’s findings:
- 79% of millionaires reached millionaire status through their employer-sponsored retirement plan.
- The average millionaire hit $1 million for the first time at age 49.
- Not one millionaire put “single stock” in their top three wealth-building factors.
- 9 of 10 have never taken a business loan. They didn’t take out high-risk loans
Let’s face it. Most that visit this site either have a great income or potential for one. It’s too easy to get distracted by a new opportunity or a friend’s “can’t lose” investment. Many times we can become complacent with (boring) long-term index fund investing and think if we could just hit it big with our friend’s deal then we’d get to FI quicker. Think again.
As stated above, the average millionaire hit $1 million for the first time at age 49. Remember, most of these folks don’t make anywhere near what you are capable of making. You can and should get there much faster simply by saving more.
If someone earning the median US household income of $59,000 started investing 15% of their income at age thirty, they’d have over $1 million by age fifty-five. If they can do it, you can too!
Unfortunately, most people don’t want a twenty or thirty-year plan, and instead, they want a three-year plan. But as we’ve seen thus far, that’s not how these millionaires have made their money. Remember, building wealth is a long-term play.
Til Debt Do Us Part
The book’s research showed that 63% of millionaires never took out a home equity loan or line of credit. Also, nine out of ten had never taken out a business loan and they didn’t have credit card debt, student loans or car payments. It seems that they took Dave Ramsey’s advice and became debt-free as soon as they could.
In the end, millionaires aren’t risky when it comes to investing nor looking to get rich quick. In the race between the tortoise and the hare, they’re more like the tortoise- slow and steady wins the race. Because of this, they get rich slowly.
Myth #3: They Have A Leg Up In Education & Careers
The last myth is that “the wealthy have a leg up in education and careers”.
Most believe that:
- Wealthy people have prestigious private-school educations.
- Wealthy people have high-paying jobs.
Here’s the facts:
- Millionaires attend college. No surprise there. 88% graduated with a bachelor’s degree versus 33% of the general population.
- Millionaires work for companies. Only 18% are business owners.
- The top three occupations are engineer, accountant, and teacher.
- 79% didn’t attend prestigious private schools
- 62% graduated from public state schools
- 8% attended community college
- 9% never graduated college
One of the key stats that stood out that was the same in both this book and The Millionaire Next Door had to do with income and occupation type.
In general, millionaires don’t all have high-paying jobs. We saw that in The Millionaire Next Door.
- 1/3 never had a six-figure income in a single working year
- Only 31% averaged $100k/year
- Only 7% averaged $200k household income over the course of their career
As I mentioned earlier, as doctors, we have tremendous income potential. If the “average millionaire” from Hogan’s book can do it based on the income stats above, there’s no reason that white coat professionals can’t too.
When I asked family and friends what they thought the average millionaire occupation was, typical answers were: doctor, lawyer, dentist, pro athlete, Hollywood actor, etc.
When they learned that they were actually: accountant, engineer and teacher (yes, teacher!) it blew their mind.
Now, I realize that “teacher” is rather vague. They didn’t specify if it meant being an elementary/high school teacher or college professor. If I had to take a guess, I bet it was a combination of all three.
Even though most of the millionaires surveyed attended college, only 32% took out student loans. Unlike doctors and other professionals that are in school several years post college, perhaps this is a way they got wealthy.
They didn’t have to start their careers off several hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt which can make a big difference.
Here’s a student loan example from the book:
The average student loan payment in their 20’s = $351/month
If instead, that same person avoided loans and invested that $351 into an index fund monthly, they’d have close to $3 million bucks by age 65.
Who says it pays to keep your student loan payments around?
Hiding In Plain Sight
By now, you realize that what most people imagine as being an everyday millionaire is not the case. Too often we focus on what we think rich people have:
- expensive education
- high-income job
- BIG house
- expensive cars
- fine jewelry
Those are nice to have but most of the millionaires portrayed in the book avoided these things. Most millionaires are hiding in plain sight but most don’t see them. Why? Because they don’t look like you’d expect them to look.
Everybody wants to make more money. Myself included. But I don’t think more money is what most need. After reading this book (and many others like it), the only real qualification for becoming a millionaire is developing a millionaire mind-set that makes the most of every opportunity.
If you can adopt this mind-set, no matter what your income, you can build wealth over time.
The Main Difference
Overall, I think Mr. Hogan’s book is a fantastic read. It not only inspires those that are making a normal wage that they can do it, but also gets the high-income professionals’ attention too. If you’re making over $100K a year, there’s NO reason why you shouldn’t become a millionaire.