The Millionaire Next Door

Living Among the Income Statement Affluent

Daniel wrote an insightful comment about my blog entitled Stop Acting Rich: Do-It-Yourself.  He mentioned a case study from The Millionaire Next Door about a man I had interviewed called Mr. W (see pp. 241-246).    Mr. W was a very wealthy self made entrepreneur who often bought or invested in distressed real estate.  Mr. W detailed an episode that happened to him after he bought half interest in a luxury vacation high rise condominium.  Eventually he sold all of the condominiums except for the penthouse condo.  He intended to use it as a vacation destination for his family.  But then something happened. 

The members of the condominium’s action committee passed an amendment to the covenants stating that no one could have a dog on the premises which weighed more than 15 pounds.  Up to that time,  dogs had been permitted regardless of size.  Mr. W’s lab, Jello, did not fit the parameters of the amendment.  He received several letters from the head of the action committee threatening legal action regarding the removal of his dog.  Plus his wife was verbally chastised several times by action committee members while she was walking Jello.

Not long after these encounters, the action committee called a homeowner’s meeting to discuss the dog and other related issues.  Mr. W came to the meeting and said:

I’m the guy that you have been sending letters to. . . about our dog. . . I have given your proposal some careful consideration . . . .  I’ve decided I’m not going to get rid of my dog, nor am I going to sell my condominium.

Mr. W proposed to turn over his condominium to his company’s working class employees to be used as a vacation resort 52 weeks a year.  He then asked the homeowners if this would be allright with them.  Several attendees shouted, “Keep the dog, keep the dog!”  The action committee quickly met in private and issued this statement:

After reviewing all the elements of this situation, the action committee recommends that the Ws be allowed to keep their dog!

Not long after this brilliant victory, the Ws sold their condominium unit.  They did so because, as Mr. W observed, I don’t want to live in a building with people who don’t like dogs.

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