When you think of a millionaire, what do you picture? A big house? Fancy Cars? Extravagant vacations to Europe?

According to “The Millionaire Next Door,” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, the majority of millionaires don’t live in Beverly Hills. They live next door. They found that there are a disproportionate number of millionaires located in middle-class and blue-collar areas compared to their more affluent, white-collar counterpart communities.

Why is this? The authors found that one of the main differences between real millionaires and those that only appear wealthy is the importance put on status items and luxury goods.

Here are some of my key takeaways and rules for success of your millionaire neighbor.

1. Didn’t get cash from parents

The average millionaire is not a trust-fund baby. In reality, the average millionaire didn’t receive any cash from their parents at all. In the book, studies found that receiving cash from parents was a contributing factor for people making less than their peers.

2. Lives within their means

No matter their income level, the average millionaire lives below their means. It doesn’t matter if they make $40k a year or $200K a year. They find a way to spend less than what they make which leaves room for saving and investing.

3. Spends 2x as much time on planning

The average millionaire spends twice the amount of time planning their financial lives compared to the average Joe. They take the time to set budgets and often know exactly what their family spends on things like food, housing, and transportation. They set financial goals and know what they are working toward.

4. Values security above looking fancy/wealthy

The average millionaire doesn’t let the Joneses bother them. They value financial security over a fancy car or a big house. They don’t look to status symbols for affirmation but trust in their plan and what they are trying to do.


. Invests a lot

The average millionaire invests religiously. They understand that wealth is built through consistency and patience. According to the study in the book, the average millionaire consistently invests 20 percent of their income. Some might read that and believe that 20 percent is far more than they’ll ever be able to invest. Start small. Don’t get discouraged and be patient.

6. Understands the opportunity cost of consumption vs. investing

The average millionaire understands what things actually cost. For example, let’s say we buy a brand-new phone for $1,000. The average joe will think that the phone only costs $1,000. The average millionaire, however, understands that if he were to invest that $1,000 instead, it would be more than $6,500 in 20 years (assuming a 10 percent annual return). I am not trying to say that millionaires never buy nice things. All I am saying is that they understand the true cost of their purchases.

Conclusion: All that being said, life should be much more than just becoming a millionaire. If that is all we do with our lives, then we have completely missed the point. The purpose of this article is merely to show that millionaires live closer than you think and that the “millionaire” title is not just reserved for those we see on TV. They are just normal people that follow simple rules for success. They are just normal people that are willing to invest into a brighter future.