August 22, 2016
It’s 2016; do you know who’s next door?
It’s been 20 years since Tom Stanley and Bill Danko co-authored their signature book, The Millionaire Next Door (Longstreet Press). Using sound research, they countered the Thurston Howell III illusion (the rich guy on Gilligan’s Island) with the reality of rich people in America, who were – most likely – successful business owners who drove Explorers and lived with a level of frugality.
In two decades, the climb in net worth has changed the American landscape. If they were writing today, they might release their sequel: The Billionaire Next Door. Worldwide, there are nearly 2,500; over 400 live in America. California claims 111 of the total; 70 call New York City home; Texas weighs-in with 40. There might be one camped-out around the corner in your neighborhood…
In TMND, Stanley and Danko described the lifestyles that were enabled by seven figures; sixteen years into the 21st Century, Wealth-X is a consulting firm with 200 worldwide employees focused on marketing strategies for the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) tribe. Their researched picture of billionaires is uncontested; 87% of the UHNW made it through entrepreneurship, not inheritance. Their ascension to economic royalty happened in one generation, and their lifestyles are intriguing.
Even billionaires go to work. But, like most of those behind them in the race to riches, it’s what they do in their “free time” that is intriguing. Once their professional agendas are set-aside, what are the hobbies that define them and provide their fulfillment? Wealth-X has the answers, with statistics rather than speculation. The top-five pursuits of the well endowed, and the percentage who engage:
|4. Fashion and Style||25%|
Hunting, jewelry, fishing, watches and skiing all pulled less-than-10% in participation. Among the people who could do anything, their preoccupations had little to do with their occupations.
My neighbors don’t know it, but they could have the billionaires next door. The Shanks are living a billionaire lifestyle, even though we don’t have their tax challenges or monthly expenses. How so?
Philanthropy is no longer practiced as a check-writing exercise: among the wealthy, they’ve linked their time and talent with their contributions, to create breakthroughs that are truly world changing. The generosity that populates heaven – and addresses felt needs while solving the eternal problems as well – is a key part of our “free time.” We’re living like billionaires…
Travel is on the calendar. I’ve stood in 65 countries since my first flight, coming home from our honeymoon 45 years ago. Most of those international excursions had a ministry purpose. Cheri has more stamps in her passport than most, with annual treks to South Africa in support of the orphan crisis there. Mission trips are the best trips. We’re living like billionaires…
Rich folks doing art: they’re not painting, they’re investing. While they enjoy the pieces on display, they expect to see their holdings gain value because they chose well. God is into art, as well: Paul explained that people are God’s handiwork – “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do…” (Ephesians 2:10) – and that people are our greatest investment. We’ve spent the last two decades collecting a gallery of masterpieces – people, released into their Kingdom life of service – who are a living Louvre of eternal art. We’re living like billionaires…
You don’t have to be rich to have a rich life. How extravagant is your lifestyle?