Understanding the Millionaire Next Door 22 Years Later

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by HereAboutAThing

In the book Millionaire Next Door a number of facts are stated including the average prices of the cars, suits, and watches. 30k, $300, and $200, respectively. These values are often recited as guidelines for r/pf readers but rarely seem to be adjusted for inflation. This is bothersome because it obscures the facts and should be updated in the interest of the truth.

MND was written in 1996. Talking about the values of “things” in ’96 as if they are relevant in 2018 is disingenuous as it ignores the 65% inflation that has occurred in those 22 years.

That 30k car? 48k in real dollars now. For reference, the Audi A4 base model was 23k and was usually optioned to about that 30k mark (awd, v6, auto trans). The A4 bases at 36k now and will be optioned closer to that 48k mark these days. Furthermore, new cars that base at 23k and will be optioned to 30 include Camry, Accord, Prius, and Kia Optima. CRVs and Rav4s start at 24k (relevant given the booming success of crossover vehicles).

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So you say, “millionaires drive 30k cars” and people think Toyota Camry when they should be thinking of small Audi’s, BMW 3s, or Toyota Avalons.

Also, that $300 suit? $500 now. Given that most millionaires are blue collar or working class, it would follow that nicer suits and watches are not viewed as currency in business dealings. Honestly, this is akin to disparaging a contractor over the cost of his hardhat and harness. I realize the menswear landscape has changed in 20 years, but you can score quite nice suits suits for $500 from Spier and Mackey, Suit Supply, or J Crew.

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This isn’t to advocate for people in business or law to waste money on clothes, rather, to set realistic expectations for people to budget based on the uniform of their given occupation.


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