Book Review – The Top 10 Distinctions between Millionaires and the Middle Class
an engaging little book
Keith Cameron Smith has written an engaging little book that is brief and to the point as regards a basic understanding of what might separate the wealthy from the middle class. From reading his book, you get the idea that if you think differently about money and finances, approach the world from a differing perspective and let that perspective help you make different choices, then you could change your financial bottom line. Keith uses a simple numbered outline to make his points regarding the differences between the societal classes he labels "millionaires" and "middle class."
In his preface Keith Cameron Smith gives as his first of three reasons why he wrote the book to be his belief "...that each of us has a responsibility to share those things that produce good results in our own lives...." He also says that each person has a purpose in life and he believes "...we all have a song that we are destined to sing and this book is part of my song...." And thirdly, he believes in leaving a legacy.
This book begins with the end, with Distinction number 10. He says it is actually the beginning point "...for achieving success because it makes you focus on what you want...." Keith's 10th Distinction is"Millionaires think long-term. The middle class thinks short-term." His examples hold up the calendar of thinking that the rich do compared with the rest of society. He says the rich think and plan decade-to-decade, the middle class month-to-month and the poor basically day-to-day. Makes sense.
In this book, Keith Cameron Smith breaks down the differences between those at the financial top and those in the financial center as to:
- how they plan: Distinction 10: thinking long-term versus thinking short-term.
- what they talk about: Distinction 9: talking about ideas versus talking about things and other people.
- how they approach the changes that life brings: Distinction 8: embracing change versus feeling threatened by change.
- the degree of risk-taking they are willing to do, speaking financially: Distinction 7: taking calculated risks versus being afraid to take risks.
- their attitudes towards continual self-improvement and education: Distinction 6: Millionaires continually learn and grow versus the middle class thinks learning ended with school.
The next four differences are specific to money itself and attitudes held about it. He sees "profit" as being a different form of income than "wages" in Distinction 5. Keith says that "...People who work for wages end up earning enough to live on but not much more...Millionaires understand this and choose to work for profits instead of wages...." In reading this chapter - Millionaires work for profits; the middle class works for wages - it seems to fit with the 7th distinction of being a risk-taker. It is far less risky to work for wages than to hope an investment pays off...perhaps this is the thinking of those in the center?
The topic of giving money away, of being philanthropic, is the topic of Distinction 4. He says that "Millionaires believe they must be generous. The middle class believes it can't afford to give." This is probably the only distinction that I, as reader, took issue with. My own background with nonprofit giving showed me that the middle class and lower middle class, are the most generous segment of the population, giving proportionately to their income, far more than the rich...and in greater numbers.
Distinctions 3 and 2 made sense:
- 3: Millionaires have multiple sources of income. The middle class has only one or two.
- 2: Millionaires focus on increasing their net worth. The middle class focuses on increasing its paychecks.
Distinction 1 is interesting. With this one Keith Cameron Smith says that "Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions. Middle -class people ask themselves disempowering questions." In this chapter he gives an intriguing example: "...Instead of asking ‘What's the meaning of my life?' ask, ‘What would make my life meaningful?' That is a more empowering question...."
This little book of distinctions between the rich and the not rich as seen by Keith Cameron Smith is intriguing and thoughtful, but not a true "how to." He concludes his book with the thought, "...Being a millionaire is about being, doing, and then having...." If it were just that simple.