Bill Danko on Richer Than A Millionaire

About BILL DANKO

Bill: Around 1910, both sets of my grandparents emigrated to the US, one set from Poland, my father’s side, and one set from Lithuania- my mother’s side they settled in New York State and they didn’t speak a word of English. And they somehow toughed it out with some manual labor, some hard work on their own part. But one of the things that they instilled in me, and I only knew one of my grandparents, but she always said, “Look, we’re in America, we’re going to be part of the system, we’re going to learn English, you know, you will get an education. And I’ve been hearing that forever when I was growing up. And my parents said the same thing. So my mother finished high school. My father finished 10th grade. And hard working guy worked for General Electric during his working years, he died at the age of 38, unfortunately, and I was five years old. But I was brought up in a pretty blue collar environment. There is love in the household, that’s for sure. I that’s incredible. And my mother always said, Bill, stay in school, you know, and I guess I took her literally because now, you know, I run continuously through my PhD. And then after that became a professor myself, so I never really left school until I became an emeritus professor A number of years ago. But my point is this. The education I got, and the idea of hard work and focus, and listening to my mother, as one very good, you know, maybe there’s something to that Honor thy father and mother, right? There’s something to that. I think we’d be all a lot better off if more people follow that simple advice from the commandment. But because of that, what I call a pretty modest upbringing, and the desire to be a student, and not having any money. I was limited to where I could go to school. So I went to a State University. And this is where I met Professor Tom Stanley. He was a young assistant professor in the early 1970s, when I was a student at the State University of New York at Albany. And I took a course from him and consumer behavior. What a fascinating marketing course that was, it’s about anthropology. It’s about ethnography. It’s about demography. It’s about why people do the things they do. And it’s research based. Well, in that 1973 class in which I got an A, Tom liked my work ethic. And he invited me to participate in the very first study that he conducted on the affluent market. And so that from 1973, what when you talk about the roots of rock and roll, that’s, that’s where it really came from that that one chance meeting. And that chance was all based on those events that preceded this, ending up at a state school and meeting Tom Stanley participating in a study. And he said to me, Bill, you got to go get a PhD. And I said, Okay, so I enrolled at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lally School of Management. It’s otherwise known as RPI. It’s mostly known as an engineering school, but it’s, you know, a very good rigorous program, that’s for certain. So I entered the Ph. D program. In the meantime, I got married, had three kids. Still have three kids still have the same life. It’s all good one. One’s enough, right. And I have five grandkids now. Now, it was in 1993. And between 73-93, Tom and I had done a number of marketing studies together, both for consulting purposes, as well as academic research, which I’m proud of, you know, there’s but the problem with academic research is 12 to 20 graduate students read your work.

 

The Millionaire Next Door, which was the concept that he introduced me to in 1993, has now sold more than 4 million copies. But we’ll talk about that in a moment. And it’s really not an academic exercise in the purest sense. But certainly, it’s based on academic and rigorous research methods, which I’ll talk about momentarily. Well, so in 1993, he calls me up and says, Bill, I want you to drop everything. Yeah, something like that. You know, so here I am, I’m married. Just establishing my career, I have three little kids at home. And he says, I want to do a project called big hat. No cattle. I said, cheese. What does that mean? Because that’s about the illusion of wealth. It’s about people who look like they have money. But they’re really phoneys. And it’s about people who we can’t imagine have a lot of wealth, because they don’t look the part but have a lot of substance. They have a lot of cattle. So the big hat, no cattle, that was the running title of the book. And then, over the next three years, or until 1996, before I got published, we put together the draft to the research we had our 20 years of experience, from other working with various financial firms and other academic studies that we had done over the years. And of course, we had access to IRS data, Census Bureau data, and our own paper and pencil questionnaires. And we did a meta analysis of all this and look at what are some of the common characteristics that we really want to investigate further, until we put together a unifying questionnaire and launched it. And importantly, and again, this gets to, I think the integrity of the research that Tom wanted to do. He says, We’re not going to ask for a sponsor, we’re going to fund this ourselves. I said, Oh, great. So here I am a young assistant professor, a littlekids and all that he had some cute little kids two little older than me. But he says we’re going to do it ourselves. So we can say we’re not beholden to anybody. And that was important, very important. Because we were able to map our own destiny on this, we had what is called convergent validity. That is we had numerous sources of truth that we were investigating. And we had our hypotheses that we came up with some really neat findings that that really became, well, in retrospect, I don’t like to use the word earth shattering. But when you look at some of the initial reviews and say, Wow, astounding, this changed my life. And I suppose it did change a lot of people’s lives. I mean, to change my life, that’s for certain, I mean, it’s sold 4 million copies so far. It’s still selling, okay. It’s really a runaway bestseller. It was a New York Times bestseller for three consecutive years. Wow. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s been wonderful. It’s been wonderful. But that’s how it all came about. And, you know, we can certainly talk about some of the elements of what we found, but that’s how I got to that level, which I’d call, you know, the 1996. And then, when the book was launched, in then there were some other issues that I had to deal with. You know, I was represented by some very prestigious speaking firms and had gigs all over the country and all over the world, for that matter. I was still teaching still doing the research. And, but in 1996, my mother had a major stroke. Okay, so why am I telling you this? Well, she was the primary caregiver to my quadriplegic brother, and she could no longer care for him. And I was fortunate enough to have some significant resources. So my wife and I bought him a house, kept him out of a nursing home. You know, sometimes a nursing home is the only place a person can go, I understand that. But if you have the ability to keep somebody out of a nursing home and keep them in their own environment and provide care, it’s worth it. It’s worth it. Okay. And so kept them at home.

In fact, I still have the house, it’s our rental unit, which is, which, which is wonderful, but it’s all wheelchair accessible. And I’m keeping it, you know, a zero entry bathroom, very wide doors, you know, everything is one floor. And because I might need it one day, who knows, because just like that, things can change. And, and once you realize that, you know, you just know that it can change and you just prepare for it.

The problem with keeping somebody at home is hiring aides to work with you. It’s not really a career for an aide, it’s a job. And there’s a lot of no shows, for a lot of different reasons. They have their own personal issues they’re dealing with, like, their car doesn’t work, they have childcare issues, they have all sorts of issues they’re dealing with. And so to make life easy, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, or most every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was my brother’s personal aide. You know, here’s a guy, you know, a quadriplegic who can’t even scratch his nose. And so you got to feed them, bathe them, dress him, and everything, you know, and, and talk with him be be a friend, be a brother, you know, be be a companion. And, and at that time, I said, You know, I used to drive a Mercedes Benz. And I said, Look, this is nuts. I got to buy a wheelchair van. I traded in the Mercedes pod, a wheelchair van, got the best parking spaces. It’s great.

But you know, you do what you got to do. And when you in fact, the new book, richer than a millionaire is dedicated to my brother, Tony. Because he is richer than a millionaire. And we’ll talk about that as well. Okay. So for nearly 20 years, I was able to be his, you know, weekend aide, and with him to the very last day of his life. So it’s something I would never trade. It’s a convenient, Hi, I’m not going to say it wasn’t. But the point is, you’ve got to keep it in perspective.

 

Alan

I agree the your upbringing from grandparents immigrating to your dad dying in early age, nothing was handed to you, then also the passing of your mom, you received the stewardship of helping your brother. And I think it all gave perspective. And so when you went out and did the Millionaire Next Door that launched the book with Dr. Stanley, what, what why do you feel it was so successful? People have written books on wealth generation in the past, but what would you attribute the success of this book?

 

Bill

Yeah. Yeah, a couple of things. One, that convergent validity idea of we, we had survey research, and we just, in other words, we just didn’t have our own opinion as to what you ought to do. We had the actual empirical evidence as to what the wealth builders did do. And so for example, the I mean, one of the, one of the classics, and I haven’t used this anecdote lately, but it’s absolutely true. When we were interviewing a group of deca millionaires. And this is for a private bank. And we had, you know, the pet tase and the fine wines and, and all the gourmet food that anyone would want it in walks, the guy wearing a kind of a shabby brown the suit kind of smelled funny. He was in the fuel oil business, but he was worth $10 million. And we go up to him and say, Sir, may I offer you a glass of Bordeaux 70. And he looks at me and says, Son, there are two kinds of beer that I drink free and Budweiser. Okay, it’s up this idea of, you know, the millionaire wearing the gold Rolex and driving the Porsche or some high end car. There are some people that do that. In fact, you know, we find repeatedly in our pedicle studies that for every wealthy person who can actually afford one of these luxury items, there are four to five others buying the same item because they want to look wealthy. Well, you can either look wealthy or be wealthy. You know, one of the, the pieces of evidence, and it’s included in the richer than a millionaire, but that we have a graph. And we ask people, what is your current net worth? And a follow up question is, how much do you think you need in order to feel wealthy. So if you have $500,000 net worth now, you feel you need two and a half million based on the surveys. If you have two and a half million, you think you need 5 million to feel wealthy. If you have 5 million you think you need 8 million? Well, you can see it decreases a little bit, the more you have. But when you realize the median net worth in the United States right now, is $120,000. Okay, to be in the top 10% of the distribution. One and a half million dollars will put you there. So when people say they need more than they have right now, and they’re already a millionaire, they’re just in fantasy land. I mean, they have this saying they have this goal of saying, but if I had more money than I could buy more things, I could have a bigger house. Well, the way the Millionaire Next Door has done it is not doesn’t think that way. They think in the way of saying, look, I have an enterprise I’m trying to grow. This is my baby. I’m trying to nurture it. And money is a byproduct from the good works that I do. In the Millionaire Next Door, we have a chart that looks at those who have inherited their wealth versus those who have earned their wealth. And we look at a number of consumer items such as jewelry, clothing, housing, cars. And we ask how much did you pay for your last whatever that was your last wristwatch your last house, your last car. And we do the contrast and compare between those who have inherited their wealth, versus those who have earned it on their own. And just with a statistical test t test, in this case, a test of means we look at systematically, those who have inherited their money tend to be looser in their spending habits. And those who have earned it tend to be more frugal, and more directed and saying, Wait a minute, this is money that I earned. Do I really need that second pair of shoes or another? Yeah, you can have a second pair? Do I need another pair? After you’ve had multiple pairs of shoes? You know, there are people out if you have multiple wristwatches, how many wristwatches does one need, you know, to maximum right two wrists. Okay. But the point is, when you look at how, in the reality of 80% of the millionaires in the us right now are first generation millionaires. We understand because most never inherited anything. They understood that frugality and hard work and perseverance is really one of the ways of building wealth. And you make money as the byproduct, you know. Yeah, this goes back to that 1957 essay from Earl Nightingale called the Strangest Secret. And in that essay, he says, most people have it all wrong, he uses the metaphor of the person who says to the wood burning stove, give me heat, then I will give you would think, wait a minute, it doesn’t work that way. You have to put the wood in stoke the flame, then you get the heat. In a similar way, you have to put the effort in, pay ohata dues, do what you have to do. And then the rewards come because people want to buy what you’re selling. And when you say but the world poses to me. Yeah. You have it all wrong. The world owes you nothing. Right. And and it’s all about those the reality of frugality and perseverance, and the idea of being a good steward of your resources are really become the central issues with the Millionaire Next Door.

 

Alan

We always see difficulty and will transition from wealthy parents to children. What advice would you have for wealthy parents about?

 

Bill

Yeah, yeah, you know what I’m a number of years ago, I was on the West Coast dealing with some software engineers, children. It’s the it was a luncheon, the parents brought their children and it was about this intergenerational wealth thing, based on the chapter in the Millionaire Next Door on economic outpatient care. It’s about what does it mean, when a parent becomes overly indulgent with a child, you’re really dead in their senses. They don’t have that, that. I don’t want to say Killer Instinct, but they don’t have that urge to want to take a chance because they have this safety net that has already been given to them. Now, the parents loved the presentation. The adult children, you know, late age teenagers who are in the audience, I think, didn’t like me so much. Because my advice was, you’re going to spoil these children if you’re overindulgent with them. I think Warren Buffett had it right. Yeah, he was asked about well, how much should you give your children? There’s a famous quote from him that says, Give your children enough so that they can do anything, but not so much. They can do nothing. So yeah, you know, you don’t want to see him suffer, but you don’t want to see them.

 

Alan

That’s good advice about being lazy. Yeah. So Bill, how do how most first generation millionaires achieved their well?

 

Bill

Yeah, well, you know, it starts with a saving plan, doesn’t it? You know, there’s a in 1985 Nobel Prize winner, Franco Modigliani the Nobel Prize in Economics, he won his prize for something called the life cycle of money. And it’s about savings and this savings, you know, acquiring and dis acquiring. And he basically says this, if I could summarize his research, he says, when you’re young, you work for money. And when you’re old money works for you. And with that, we have the idea of compound interest. And if you start young with a systematic saving plan, and then you have those savings in a diversified portfolio, and I don’t give investment advice, but a diversified portfolio is probably in your best interest. You’re going to have greater compounding opportunities. And this opportunity really, to retire on your own terms. You know, it’s not even necessarily about retiring. Yeah, when I left the university, the provost of my high school says, Bill, but you’re too young to retire. And I told her, I said, Look, I’m not retiring, I’m refocusing. I’m doing things on my own terms. I don’t want to be confined to 15 week semesters, where I have to be in a classroom at this time every week. Not I mean, that’s just the way the business is. But after, you know, 31 years that I was at the university, so wait a minute, I’m not getting any younger, there’s a lot of other things I want to be doing. I still have friends at the university, and I still give a couple of lectures a year, you know, that I’m invited to various classes to talk about my research at various schools. So you know, I like it. But this is my new classroom. You know, Alan, you’re just you’re the new facilitator to my career. I appreciate that. I thank you.

 

Alan

That the balance between following dreams and making a living? Is there a methodology behind that?

 

Bill

Yeah. You know, in fact, I think it’s in the last chapter of richer than a millionaire. But we use the phrase because there are so many young people want to follow their dreams and I get it. But what my colleague rich Van Ness and I and richer than a millionaire talk about is, yeah, follow your dreams, but don’t forget to make a living. You know, you really have it, you can’t ignore that idea that we live in a material world. And cars cost money, rent costs money. I mean, it just got to understand you sometimes you got to do things you don’t want to do. And I think that’s one of the secrets of success of so many millionaires. They are the people who do the things that some people don’t want to do, and they find this niche They can develop an exploit. I mean, for example, I know this very prominent, multi, multi millionaire, and he made his money, you would think, oh, he must be an investment banker, he must be a surgeon. Now, he owns, I don’t know, probably over 1000 storage units. And he collects rents. And he doesn’t have to worry about evicting anybody gets the rents. And if these people then default on their rent or skip town, he has an auction of their belongings that are inside the storage unit. I mean, yeah, that happens on occasion. But when you realize you can make a tremendous amount of money by doing things that are saying, oh, man, that is, so day class, say owning storage units, come on, you’re an educated person. Well, yeah, I’m educated. And I want to do things where I’m not likely to get sued, because of, you know, housing laws, and you know, eviction issues. And so I have storage units, or people that own billboard companies. It’s great. You know, it’s, um, wow, talk about passive income opportunities. You know, when people get started, you know, I met this guy in Tennessee, who now has 40 rental units. And he manages them himself, and he has his children involved. And it’s been a, it’s a family enterprise. I know many people use property managers, but he does it because he wants his kids to understand how to do drywall painting and dealing with people. Okay. And he says, 40 has upper limit, but he started off with a duplex. He says, Wow, I got the person living next to me paying my mortgage. And that was the light in his head saying, This is what I’m going to do for a living, I’m going to be buying some houses that people would want to live in, as opposed to being a slumlord. And yeah, people treat people with dignity, and get my children involved in the construction business. And it’s, it’s a family enterprise.

 

Alan

In life, there’s the individuals that aspire for wealth, and then the people that have the wealth, sometimes they come forward and say, Boy, we just miserable. Is there. Is there a formula for word? What makes the millionaire miserable?

 

Bill

Well, one of the things that makes you miserable is when you bring it on yourself. Divorce is a big one. Now we have an attorney and our, who advertises in this market that I’m in in New York. And the advertisement says marriage is grand, divorce is 20 grand. But you get the idea of proportions here, it can be a lot bigger than that. I interviewed this neurosurgeon who had a $20 million net worth, and he told me in one afternoon at the divorce attorney’s office, his net worth became $10 million, just like that. Sometimes marriages don’t work, I understand. But the point is, you bring it on yourself, you know, maybe you can work things out. I mean, that’s one thing that makes you miserable. When you have a big loss like that in your life, that’s for sure. But some of the things that really make you happy, and this gets into the research of richer than a millionaire. You know, rich, Vanessa and I are both professors. He lives about 10 miles north of me in New York, and we had socialized. And we talked about what kind of what kind of legacy do we want to leave our children and our grandchildren? After we’ve taught literally 10s of 1000s of students over our career, and we talked about the kind of complaints and concerns and issues that our students had during office hours. Now, we came up with this idea that, you know, our students are good people, but many of them are like ships without rudders on the high sea of life, right? They want to, you know, get into port, but they don’t know really, how to do it. And that’s what inspired the book, along with the fact that I was dealing with my brother and looking at this guy, you can’t scratch his nose. Okay, so things can happen in your life beyond your control. And then also this issue of, you know, once you come in touch with your mortality and say, Well, how many more incremental dollars does one need before you say, I have enough What is the greater purpose for my money? Well, in 1758 Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym Richard Saunders as in poor Richard’s Almanac, wrote the essay called the way to wealth. Now, you know, I was emphasizing in the Millionaire Next Door about perseverance, frugality, industriousness? Well, one of the paragraphs in the way to wealth is, no matter how industrious and persevering and frugal you may be, it’s all blasted without the blessing of heaven. And therefore, asset blessing humbly, and be charitable to those in need. If you really want to be wealthy. Wow. After we talks about Yeah, you must be focused, you must be directed, you must be persevering. You must do all these things in a very, if you want to build wealth. But don’t forget, there are so many people in our society in our community, who are in need, who could benefit from your time, treasure and talent, and therefore you must give it to them. Well, okay, this was interesting. So we have Franklin’s thinking from 1758. We have the diktat, if you will from the Millionaire Next Door that says these are the things you got to do to build wealth. And it’s true. That’s how you build monetary wealth. And it’s all good. But in richer than a millionaire, we use a construct from the psychology literature called subjective Well Being (SWB). Now, and this is good that Professor Ed Diener, who developed this along with his colleagues about 20, maybe 30 years ago, he put his measurement scale in the public domain. And he says anybody can use it, and he’s used it internationally. I’m looking at satisfaction and countries all over the world. He says, just give us a citation. And so professor, here’s your citation. It’s Diener at all, I don’t remember the whole citation, okay. But the scale that he’s shown to be is valid and reliable, is composed of five statements you respond to, and it’s in richer than a millionaire. And that’s on a seven point scale. And so if you, you can score a low of five points, or a high of 35 points and a midpoint of 20. And if you score higher than 20, you’re considered to be well adjusted. You understand your place in the universe, if you score lower than 20, you’re maladjusted, you’re angry, things did not go your way. And, well, you’re not happy? Well, so when rich, and that’s and I did some new survey research for richer than a millionaire. We’d looked at near millionaires, those between 100,000, and a million dollar net worth and those over a million dollar net worth. And we find that there’s parallels in both groups. And that’s how you get to be richer. In other words, you could be a non millionaire, millionaire, but still be richer than a millionaire if you have the right attitude. Okay. And that’s really critical here.

 

And so, we find that about 20% of those we surveyed are disgruntled 80% are pretty well off and happy, no matter what your net worth. So what makes them happy? Following the golden rule is critical. Those who follow the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, is part of the mantra or the philosophy of the well adjusted millionaire and their millionaire. They’re givers. Okay. They are at peace with their soul. And that’s really important. You know, one of the things we all have to struggle with is, are we doing the right thing? Are we justified? Are we doing enough? And, and you know it when you are, when you’re not selfish, and you say I’m a giver, and I’m helping others there’s a sense of gratitude. And this is what the well adjusted have this sense of gratitude, being at peace with their soul. It’s that’s an important aspect. We also have the empirical evidence about well, how much do you give to charity on a yearly basis in a monetary sense, and how many hours a year do you volunteer? volunteer your time? And we find that in both cases, the more you give, and the more you volunteer, the greater your satisfaction is in terms of the correlation. And so you know, since we’re dealing with survey recently We can’t talk about cause and effect of the effect the cause. But we can say there’s a real association between being a giver, and being at peace, and following the golden rule with life satisfaction. Now, here’s not a curious but I think a very important point that has to be recognized here. You know, Franklin wasn’t a particularly religious man and in a formal sense, but he believed in, he believed in God, from what I gather in his writings. And you look at the great religions, you look at Judaism in the book of Isaiah. And I know it’s in chapter 58. Where, what is the Lord expect from me, he expects us to, you know, give your coat to the naked and feed the hungry. And this is what justifies you. And, and Matthew and Christianity, you know that what you’ve done to the least of these you’ve done on to me, you know, you’re being charitable. One of the pillars of Islam, the one of the five pillars of Islam is almsgiving, being charitable. And so we look at the great religions, and part of their philosophy and expectation is you must be a giver, and helping your fellow man and woman. There’s something to that, you know, I can’t imagine a religion that’s going to make you miserable. And so you have greater life satisfaction when you follow some of these simple admonitions of being a giver. Okay, so when you’re just wound up saying, I can never have enough, well reminds me of the James Bond movie, the world is not enough. Well, come on. There is there is an upper limit someplace, isn’t there? So how much is enough? You know, that curve I alluded to earlier about if you have 500, to me, 2.5 million, it tends to bottom out at about 5 million. If you have $5 million, you’re in the top 3% of the wealth distribution of the United States. If you say, Well, I need more than 5 million. Well, why? I mean, I understand California, and some other places can be pretty expensive to live in. I understand that. However, you know, not everybody has to live in the highest rent district to be on an economic treadmill that you can never get off. One of the sad things I see, especially want to interview physicians. Some of them make $500,000 a year and more I get it. And but there’s this one physician who I interviewed a number of years back, who is making 400,000 a year. But he says bill, I have a problem. I said, Well, how can you have a problem with 400,000 a year, you know, you’re like in the top 2% of all income producers in the country. He goes, I am such a good credit risk at my bank. I tend to live on $450,000 a year.

I’m never going to get ahead. I’m always on this economic treadmill. And as long as I keep working, I can maintain it. But I asked you and the viewing audience out there. Do you really want a 90 year old surgeon?

 

Alan

Yeah. Bill in recent months, yeah. The pandemic has existed throughout this country, as well as the world. And there’s been discussion about leveling off of wealth, universal income, wealth taxes, trying to, you know, make the inequality equal to how would you approach wealth inequality?

 

Bill

I think one of the biggest mistakes in the United States was in the 1960s when President Johnson created the Great Society. Let’s just throw more and more money into a welfare system. You talk about creating a disincentive to better yourself.

 

Now look, there are some people are hard Scrabble, and not everybody has a brother who is going to take care of the details for them. I understand that. But when you find like my immigrant grandparents, there was no welfare system. You got to get there. You got to go get your shovel. You got to start digging. You got to do what you got to do to make a living. With the skills that you have, and if you have a strong back, that’s your skill, right? And I’ll tell you this idea of saying everybody must have the same income. I just think it’s bizarre, that that’s not sustainable. That’s not sustainable. You know, in concept, you say, yeah, wouldn’t it be great all this Kumbaya stuff? You know, everybody, everybody, I want to have everybody give everybody the same chance. But don’t prop it up with all of these giveaway programs. It’s, that’s going to be a huge mistake. So. So I think, you know, where I stand now on the political spectrum,

 

Alan

you know, a friend whose father was a rancher. And they talked about living law of consecration where everybody would contribute their property with they had into a central pool. And everyone would share out of that, and they were going through hypothetical and so one guy on 2000 acres, he says, look, you guys, I, I wouldn’t mind putting my property in there. But I’ll need you guys to come run my ranch. If I do that. It also never got really quiet thinking. Well, that’s not what they wanted. They just wanted the wealth. They didn’t want the work. Yeah. And, and I think that, in a way, on this approach to wealth inequality, it really comes back that there’s a lot of stewardship and responsibility that go with the wealth.

 

Bill

Yeah, yeah, sure is. Yeah, yeah. The more you have, the more you have to protect to, you know, you don’t, you know, yeah, in some ways, you know, life gets more complicated with the more money you have.

 

Alan

exchange of emails yesterday with one of my clients, and he sold his company at 600 employees. And he said, You know, I got out of this before the pandemic hit a couple years before, but he says, he wouldn’t know what he would do with 600 employees in today’s world, he says, He says, there’s the haves and the have nots, he goes that the have nots are barely getting by, no. They’re cutting into their savings. And, and he says, and then after they run out, then what, because there’s a there’s a real pressure on closing out the small businesses. And, and a downward, you know, trend towards a free capitalistic society. So,

 

Bill

yeah, everybody can’t be an entrepreneur, either. You know, that’s just not possible. I mean, it takes a lot of courage. But at the same time, there’s a lot of rewards if it works, you know, boy, you know, it’s been attributed to Thomas Jefferson. But I’m not sure maybe that’s apocryphal, but there’s a quote that says the heart, the harder I work, the luckier I get. Maybe Jefferson said that, but anyway, it’s a good quote, saying, there’s really no substitute for getting out there and just doing it. And in fact, Benjamin Franklin in that same 1758 essay, there’s a phrase in there, there is no gain without pain. You know, you think Nike invented that slogan. It was, you know, from 250 years ago, Franklin said, there was no gain. without pain. You know, there’s a lot of stuff that you just don’t like doing that half has to be done.

 

Alan

Why is it difficult for people to change their behavior, then?

 

Bill

Yeah, boy, change is hard. And again, I got to give Franklin credit for this because he’s what a genius. And the concluding paragraph of that same essay from 1758. You know, after he gives the whole outline about perseverance and industriousness and being generous with the others, he was frustrated, because the concluding paragraph said the town’s people heard the message, agreed with it, and then practice the contrary. Change is hard. You know, it’s hard, you know, as a bodybuilding coach, I know, says, Look, I can’t do your push ups for you. You got to do it. You know, it’s there’s this personal responsibility, this personal initiative that has to be ingrained in you. There’s no substitute for that. Well, other than winning the lottery and, and marrying Well, okay, those two things can work.

 

Alan

Well, it’s been a pleasure to have you with us today. And in talking about the, you know your story and how you came to write the Millionaire Next Door and then the sequel, book Richer Than A Millionaire.

For all the listeners you can get them on Amazon.

 

Bill

Yep. Yeah, Amazon is, you know, by far, you know, Amazon sells more than 50% of all the books in the country. I mean, it’s been a real changer, business changer for the independent bookstores, or even the major chain bookstores I but that’s reality. And the reality is the books are readily available just like that next day, through Amazon. So business model has changed and getting books into the marketplace. That’s for sure. Ellen, this has really been a pleasure. I am glad you afforded me the time to share with you my thoughts and perspective and I and I really wish all of the listeners and viewers out here the very best You know, there’s no substitute for just doing it. And you know, one last anecdote. You know, when Millionaire Next Door, we are searching for a publisher. I believe it was more than 20 it may have been 25. But we had 25 rejections from publishers before long street press said yes. Now listening to 60 minutes the other night they had a Pulitzer Prize writer Colson Whitehead, I may have gotten his name wrong. But a young guy who is a novelist, and yeah, successful being on 60 minutes. And he says, he told the interviewer showed the interviewer here are 24 rejection letters I got from my very first novel. Now, most people would say, nobody loves me. I’m going to quit. Well, you’re just one phone call away one letter away one email away from getting that final. Yes. And once you get that into your head, saying, you know, there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome.

But once you win, that once somebody says Yes, let’s do business, you’re in business. And it’s all from there. Just like 1973 and a classroom, a nondescript classroom. That’s how it starts. Be nice to your professors.

 

About Bill Danko:

After 31 years on the marketing faculty – nine as chair – Bill Danko achieved emeritus status in 2007 at the School of Business, State University of New York at Albany. During his tenure, he studied consumer behavior, and in particular the topic of wealth formation. He is the coauthor of The Millionaire Next Door, a research-based book about wealth in America that has been ranked as a bestseller by The New York Times for more than three years. More recently, he coauthored Richer Than A Millionaire ~ A Pathway To True Prosperity, a book that shows how to build wealth with a greater purpose in mind. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Advertising Research, and other leading journals. He has presented his research findings in nearly every State, as well as in Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

Dr. Danko earned his Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Lally School of Management in 1983. In recognition of conspicuous attainments and service in collegiate activities, Professor Danko was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa society in 2005. He resides in upstate New York with his wife, and is the father of three, and the grandfather of five.

Bio Source:richerthanamillionaire.com

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