A few weeks ago I spoke at a church luncheon. The topic was "money myths" and focused on several statements that most people consider to be true about money -- but are actually false.
One thing I shared was the fact that most people assume that if someone drives an expensive car or lives in a million-dollar house, then they are wealthy. According to the facts, this is not true (for details, see Cars Driven by Millionaires (And Me) and Why Many Homeowners are Having a Tough Time.) It's not true because most people who spend a lot on homes and cars are more likely to be spending most of their incomes in an attempt to "keep up with the Joneses." And since they are spending most (or all) of their incomes, they don't have much (or any) left over to grow their net worths.
On the other had, most millionaires live "common", quiet, less showy lives. They don't worry as much about appearances so they don't feel compelled to spend money to look wealthy. This, in turn, helps them do something very important: spend less than they earn. As a result, they become wealthy.
Interestingly, the Bible addresses the issue of showy people not having wealth and non-showy people having it several times in various verses. Here are a few of my favorites:
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. Proverbs 13:7
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food. Proverbs 12:9
As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? Ecclesiastes 5:11
Insightful verses, huh?