This past weekend I read the book, "Stop Acting Rich and Start Living Like a Millionaire." It is written by the same guy who wrote "The Millionaire Next Door" and basically says many of the same things but with updated data.
It is amazing how much of life is really about the search for contentment. As I shared what I was reading with John throughout the weekend he commented how the book was really about contentment. Those who are content with their lives and with who they are. They don't define success by what everyone else is doing, what the truly rich are doing or by what the want-to-be rich are doing. They march to the beat of their own drummer and the book found they are as happy if not happier than those of us trying to keep up with the Jones by pretending to have what we don't actually have, wealth.
Chapter after chapter in the book sites research that people who have a true net worth over $1,000,000 (not including their homes), live in modest homes, drive modest cars, drink cheap alcohol, wear modest clothes and watches, have never owned a boat or a vacation home. They live below their means.
While I like to think that I am my own person and not given to do what others do I would be lying to say that I haven't spent my fair share of time and money trying to look wealthier than I actually am. Trying to put on an air of success that I don't actually have. And what has it gotten me but a net worth well below what it should be for my age, stress and a lack of financial security. Pretending to be well off has never made me happy or content.
John and I went through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University a few years ago and it has totally changed how we approach our money, our ability to discuss our finances and our confidence that we can get ahead. And while there is definitely a re-ordering of your priorities in FPU it has a large practical side teaching about budgeting and whatnot. This book is all about changing the way you think, what you prioritize and giving you a sense of what real financial security looks like. Not necessarily glitzy but perfectly happy and content.