As a luxury homebuilder, I observed something very odd. People buying million dollar homes often didn’t have much wealth – they just had large incomes.
They pulled into the sales office in a luxury automobile and coveted the appearance of wealth. But wealth is much different than income. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend. (Remember my Italian mentor from my first job….. )
Have you dreamed of owning a nicer home? We all love things of beauty. I made my living in the housing industry by identifying a profitable niche. I loved building big, great quality, beautiful homes and neighborhoods. They were my art. However, there is a balance in being able to afford things in the short term and being able to accumulate wealth in the long term.
The tension comes when we handle our unlimited desires within our limited budgets. Good news!! We are not the first generation to wonder about this – Jesus himself addressed this very issue. In the book of Luke 14:28 NLT “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
A great tool to back up and elaborate this Biblical teaching is The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley and William Danko. They found that people who live in wealthy neighborhoods often are not wealthy. In fact, it is the people who do not live in wealthy neighborhoods have considerable wealth. What an irony!
The book is fascinating and will be the subject of many blog posts. Its insights are truly astounding and based entirely on Biblical principles.
The authors discovered seven common denominators among those who successfully built wealth and became millionaires.
1. They live below their means.
2. They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth.
3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
4. Their parents did not provide economic assistance.
5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
7. They choose the right occupation.
In The Millionaire Next Door you can study these seven characteristics of the wealthy. Look for ways to make them work in you circumstances.
Also, Thomas J. Stanley has a wonderful website with information on all things pertaining to the habits of wealthy individuals at www.thomasjstanley.com
Imagine what could happen when you truly understand the difference between wealth and income. We are capable of creating substantial wealth in one generation!
Living beyond our means and making decisions based on purchasing power and not focusing on real wealth is a chronic problem in our society. Be part of the solution!
Attitude: Are you willing to change your thinking about wealth?
Action: What steps are you willing to take to change your future?
Recommended Resource: Stanley, Thomas J. and Danko, William (1998). The Millionaire Next Door. Gallery Books.
Proverbs 27:20 “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
That’s a powerful image – let’s not devour all we have but learn to store up both treasure on earth and in heaven! I’ve got more to say on this one. Keep in touch!