The Millionaire Next Door

Ivy League Achievers

Mr. JF recently contacted me regarding The Millionaire Next Door

I finally understand why I’ve lived my life the way I have and become the millionaire next door.  It would have been nice to have had this instruction manual early in my life but it’s also rewarding at 52 to realize I was blessed to figure it out on my own.

Among the early adopters of The Millionaire Next Door was a high concentration of self made millionaires who used the book as confirmation of their own identities.  And many of these people asked their children to read the book so that they would better understand the motives and behaviors of their millionaire next door parents. 

Mr. JF went on to mention that his son, a high school sophomore and scholar athlete: 

. . .had already been contacted by Yale, Brown, Cornell, Notre Dame . . . .  But my millionaire mind set says those will lead to [a] high consumption lifestyle and will create many roadblocks on his road to acquiring wealth.

My response to Mr. JF is as follows:  Don’t give up on the Ivy League schools! I have worked with a variety of Ivy League school graduates who are among the most frugal people you could imagine.  But beyond that, several of my key contacts at corporations were varsity athletes at Ivy League schools.  I found them to be extremely bright, capable and great leaders.  The key here seems to be their upbringing.  You may recall reading about Todd in The Millionaire Next Door.  He is 4th or 5th generation Princeton, varsity baseball and football.  He was competitive and focused upon achieving. In spite of his family’s substantial wealth and his trust funds, he worked in the college’s cafeteria cleaning and removing trash. [So did Nelson Rockefeller at Dartmouth!] And Todd told me his mother insisted that he always work during the summers cleaning up “nasty” things at construction sites.  Today Todd is considered by many, including myself, to be the top marketing executive in the technology industry.  And his considerable success has had nothing to do with whether he came from a wealthy family or not.


In most cases, by the time a young man or woman leaves home to go to college, his/her orientation towards consumption and saving is pretty well established.  If their parents are balance sheet affluent and have emphasized achievement over accumulating “things,” it shouldn’t matter how many “rich kids” they rub shoulders with.  However, if Mr. JF’s concern is with the tuition and fees associated with an Ivy League, he may wish to read my blog  Colleges Ranked: Tuition vs. Incomes of Graduates.

1 thought on “Ivy League Achievers”

  1. I kind of agree with Mr. JF.

    The thing is, more kids now need a graduate degree. If you get into an Ivy school at college level and then still want an advanced or professional degree, don’t plan to teach, and furthermore your family doesn’t qualify (like barely) for need based scholarships, the family is going to end up paying like half a million in tuition.

    I feel like I could afford a quarter of a million for my kid to go to an ivy college if she got in, but if we thought she’d want an advanced degree along the way, I might just tell her to consider waiting to go to Harvard until then?

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