Not all of the interesting information in the Forbes 400 issue deals with billionaires. For example, in Matthew Schifrin’s article, he profiles several amatuer investors who became millionaires by significantly outperforming the market. One of these investors, not surprisingly, is a civil engineer and is pictured standing next to his no frills Ford 150 pickup truck. Remember that Ford was the #1 make and the F150 pickup truck the #1 model among the millionaires profiled in The Millionaire Next Door.
The characteristics of the investors profiled in the article are certainly congruent with those that I have found among self made millionaires who grew their portfolios via their own research and intellect. In The Millionaire Next Door I discussed Mr. Martin whom I interviewed twice as part of a study of investors with portfolios of over $5M. Mr. Martin never had an earned annual income of over $75,000. He started out as a history teacher, then quit and became a firefighter. He did so because, as a firefighter, he had much more time to study and manage his investments! He would work one week and be off the next. During his “off” week he worked on his investments. The average millionaire next door allocates about 10 hours per month to studying and planning his investments. It was not unusual for Mr. Martin to spend 50 hours or more on this task.
I included Mr. Benjamin in The Millionaire Mind; he retired as a school bus driver with a portfolio of over $3M. This is quite an accomplishment since he funded his childrens’ private school tuition all the way through medical school. As Mr. Benjamin’s daughter told me, “my father had plenty of time to read investment literature every school day between his bus routes.”
According to Mr. Schifrin the only real requirement for becoming a good investor is committing the time. But not all of those who spend an inordinate amount of time studying investments become wealthy. Keep in mind that Mr. Martin and Mr. Benjamin allocated more hours in studying and planning their investments than it would have taken each of them to earn multiple law degrees or MBAs!