The Millionaire Next Door

Factor 7: A Key Characteristic of The Millionaire Next Door

“Underdog” is a term often used by readers to describe the millionaire next door.  There is a subsegment within this millionaire fraternity whose stories are particularly compelling.  It contains the beta millionaires, both men and women.  About 20% of millionaires were raised in an environment that was anything but nurturing.  And these beta millionaires had a great amount of work experience during their formative years. 

So it was with Maria McFriendly.  While in high school her father, a chauvinist and an elitist, told her she was not college material and that she should take up a trade.  She repeatedly scored in the 900s [out of 1600 at the time] on her SATs. Maria defied her father even though it meant paying  for 100% of her college expenses herself.   She was a B student in high school and graduated with a 3.2 average from the local state college.   While in school Maria was never out of work.  Working was a necessity, but it also gave her an excuse to be away from the non nurturing home environment provided by her parents. 

During her formative years Maria relied heavily upon her friends and their parents for psychological support.  Today she credits these relationships with enhancing her self esteem.  She was always doing favors for her friends.  She excelled at “matchmaking”; if you needed a date just call Maria!  She also was a whiz at finding jobs for herself friends.

Maria’s transition from amateur head hunter to the professional ranks began when she was a junior in college.  She was hired to bolster the employment staff in an executive search firm.  She moved quickly from clerical work to actual “matching.”  Later at age 30 she opened her own business which  specializes in staffing the intellectually gifted-those with advanced degrees in physics and engineering- for the high technology sector.   Isn’t it ironic that one who supposedly does not possess high analytic intellect [given her SAT scores] finds jobs for those who do possess this characteristic?  In fact, only 8% of millionaire business owners reported that their choice of vocation was indicated by aptitude test results.

One does not need to be intellectually gifted to become a socioeconomic success. With a net worth of $3.8M,  Maria has succeeded because she scored high on Factor 7 from The Millionaire Next Door:  they chose the right occupation.  Beta women especially often excel in businesses that provide some form of promoting, protecting or supporting others. 


4 thoughts on “Factor 7: A Key Characteristic of The Millionaire Next Door”

  1. I just finished reading Stop Acting Rich yesterday and will enter law school next fall. Studying for the LSAT as I read your book. I will be aware of all the pitfalls of a high-consumption lifestyle often exhibited by lawyers thanks to your books.

  2. I especially like this post.”Beta women especially often excel in businesses that provide some form of promoting, protecting or supporting others.” I’m chosing to hang onto this phrase because I think it supports what I would like to do now that the kids are beginning to graduate and start adult life.

    I married young, had kids young, and am now recently divorced after 18 years of marriage. None of this is how I planned out my life. We separated after 14 years of marriage and I spent the next 4 years grieving the marriage until I could finaly go through the divorce process.

    Now I feel poised to begin a new life. Through all of that time I worked- sometimes 2 jobs, gained office & customer service skills in various fields, and then went to community college. I’ve paid off all of the debt from the marriage & I am now debt free. I am buying a fixer-upper that has two potential housing units & a couple of acres of land near a local university my kids plan to attend.

    Some mornings I wake up and think, my God, I am almost 40 & just starting over again. Other mornings I wake up and think, my God, I’m 39 with the kids nearly grown & a whole new life ahead of me. The fact that she did not start her business until she was 30 gives hope that it is not too late for me to catch up on the missed years. Thank you!

  3. Yeah I empathize with Maria as an intelligent person who was the underdog scholastically. My school said I had a near-genius IQ but my GPA said “paper or plastic?”

    Thanks to Dr. Stanley’s books and a few other solid teachers I hope to be a deca-millionaire with these “underdog” habits in years to come. 28 and already through the valley of the shadow of financial stupidity. Thank God that I still have years to make this happen!

  4. My brother had dyslexia as a child. He was in special reading for several years. He had almost an obssesive focus on numbers from an early age. His english grades were always b-c range which brought the rest of his gpa down. He continued in college with a b minus average in his nonmath classes. He focused on mathematics and obtained a partial scholarship to the university of georgia. After a short time at uga he was given a full scholarship to cover his phd. He published important articles while working on his phd. At graduation he was accepted to be a visiting assistant professor of mathematics for 3 years at Berkley. He is now tenured at Georgia Tech in the mathematics department. He has been invited to the institute for advanced studies at princeton. He has been invited to Oxford to spend a semester to visit and lecture. All from my brother who as a grade school student who had dyslexia and could have easily been written off.

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