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August 28, 2013


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This sounds like it will be a great read. I really enjoyed reading 'The Millionaire Next Door' because it showed what traits actual self-made millionaires had, as opposed to what 'the experts' think. I had a good chuckle when the author described how he ordered catering for his first millionaire group interview and no one ate because they did not recognise the fancy cheeses and pates - they just ate the crackers that they recognised!

You know what they say - those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

Make sure to ask them what car (or truck) they drive.

I'm a 78 year old retired aerospace engineer, married for 57 years, but am not willing to be interviewed for this topic because my experiences are really not very relevant or useful to today's generation but here's a short synopsis of my track record.

Emigrated from England in 1956, had 2 years in Canada, and the rest of the time in the USA after moving to the SF Bay Area where I worked until retiring in 1992.

We got off the boat in Montreal with $450 to our name, my wife worked until the first of our 3 children arrived and then resumed working when it became feasible without the need for babysitters. I was the principal wage earner and my salary started at $4,300/yr in 1956 and ended at $72,500/yr in 1992.

Our investment portfolio was $320K when we consolidated everything at Fidelity at the end of 1992. It reached $1M on 8/6/1997 and thanks to the internet bubble reached $3.07M on 2/29/2000 when I moved my investing style into the slow lane where it still is today but with a value of $7.36M.

Real estate was also very profitable. We purchased our first home in 1963 for $27K, sold it in 1977 for $90K, upgraded to a nicer area paying $107K for our present home which is now worth $1.3M. Along the way we also bought a vacation home that today is worth about $500K.

We stopped travelling in 2010 because of my wife's health but managed to see most of the world before that happened. These days we enjoy a very quiet and happy lifestyle. Our three children ages, 55, 53, and 50 are each doing well and will be our beneficiaries even though they are each very comfortable financially.

The bottom line is that we were very fortunate to live through a very favorable period where aerospace jobs were easy to find, raises were generous, and homes were inexpensive. Today's world is frighteningly different from the one that we spent our working years in.

Really looking forward to reading these. You make a great point that many people can talk facts all day long, but they aren't millionaires. It would be great to hear how these people made it and lessons they learned along the way.

Old Limey, I want to say that I always appreciate your comments. Not just because you and your wife obviously worked hard and invested wisely (good advice for everyone!) but also because you recognize that you were in some respects lucky to live in the time period you did, and you realize that it's a vastly different world for us younger folk to be struggling through. I really appreciate that you see that.

I'll go out on a limb and guess very few drove new cars every few years or went out to eat very much.

@Old Limey,

Haven't seen you comment for few months. It's good to have you back!

I firmly believe that used cars are a much better buy than new ones. Our primary car is a 1998 Mercedes C230, now with 69K miles, purchased in 2002, and our backup car is a 1991 Mercedes 560SEL, now with 89K miles, purchased in 1996. The reason for calling it a backup is that my wife gave up driving about a year ago and it's handy if one has to go in the shop.

As for eating out, we hardly ever dined out when we had kids at home. These days now that we are down to just one driver we eat at home every night (with take-out twice/week) because since we enjoy a bottle of Chardonnay with our evening meal I can't take the risk of getting a DUI on the way home from a restaurant and having my license suspended. While some of our much younger friends drink expensive wines we have found one that we enjoy very much indeed and it's only $2.48/bottle at the case price.

I am also one of the few multi-millionaires that does all of his own gardening, grows many of his own fruits & vegetables, and performs almost all of his home repairs and maintenance. It doesn't bother me at all to be called "cheap".

did you mean 'benefiticial' or 'beneficial'

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