I was asked to participate in a book project from a young entrepreneur/author who is exploring what it takes to become a millionaire…why some people never get there…why some people seem to make millions in their sleep…and juxtaposing millionaires with those who stay “stuck in the middle class.”
First, it is not necessarily one or the other.
Lots of shades of gray.
And let me state at the outset that this is not a book I would ever want to write because there are so many interpretations of the terms.
But being interviewed for it? I figured what the heck.
When I got deep in the weeds during the interview, I was (somewhat) regretting being involved…but I stuck with it and came out the other side with some things to think about further (and I will share those in a brain dump with you today).
I apologize in advance that I didn’t have any definitive conclusions…I usually save these kinds of brain dumps to share with my Titans Xcelerator mastermind members…where I can get immediate feedback in real time…and test any conclusions I come up with a group of the most giving (and intelligent) marketers and entrepreneurs.
But it is such a fascinating inquiry that I couldn’t resist writing about it.
I invite your feedback…just email me…and I will share some of your opinions (or counter arguments) in future posts.
And check out the P.S. for an exclusive offer to prove me wrong in person. 🙂
How do you define “millionaire?”
I wanted to answer his question literally (at first) so I said, “liquid assets totaling $1MM” …that includes cash in the bank, fully paid real estate holdings…but not necessarily investments in businesses or stocks and bonds etc. (or anything that cannot be converted to cash easily because those assets would be considered “speculative,” and even risky…see FTX/crypto).
Although everything seems to appear on most people’s net worth statements.
There are many ways you can do millionaire math like when you do marketing math.
As an analogy, talking about “revenue” (or sales) as opposed to “profit” when assessing the value of a business…or a launch…or how CEO’s brag about their businesses (which is usually the top line or revenue) …is quite similar.
As I said, this is my brain dump…I understand it is not yours…and it is not a well-researched thesis (yet).
For me, the term “millionaire” entails lots of squishy numbers.
Regardless, I was not satisfied with my first crack at a definition.
I think a better way to think about being a millionaire is to determine your individual wealth based on your needs and wants and not by whether you have a million dollars.
That is, calculate how much you need to live your life at a lifestyle you will be content with until you die (and work backwards from there) …and determine when enough is enough…and when you can you start giving some away.
This might get covered in the book (if the author paid any attention to what I was saying) despite not answering his question directly…which was to define what the word millionaire means (and I think he was looking for a number) …but that would have been too easy.
Given my definition, the number is a lot more than $1 million.
But who’s counting?
Now…how do you define “middle class?”
That was a more difficult conversation—with me anyway—and I believe this ambitious author was beginning to regret he chose me as one of his 30 interviews for the book.
Basically, there are strata within “middle class” (as there are strata within “millionaire”) …another version of list segmentation with these two, mile-wide, terms.
I challenged his notion of people who consider themselves middle class always aspiring to become millionaires…many find joy and comfort in having what they need and focus more on creature comforts…and finding ultimate joy with family and friends and not necessarily a fat bank account.
I know…everyone plays the lottery too. 🙂
We talked about the value of money…and I believe that money doesn’t buy you happiness (which is proven by the many millionaires I know who have more money they will ever need who are broken, depressed and find little joy in their lives).
However, money buys you freedom which then creates joy…if you allow it in.
For me, that is the “millionaire mindset” …and I know it is different for everyone.
We then got into the “middle class mindset “and that became a maze too…without firm conclusions (of course).
I talked about my own middle-class upbringing…which emphasized frugality, “saving for a rainy day,” not spending on expensive literal and figurative toys or material luxuries…focusing on the basics (food, shelter, and clothing) without fanfare (e.g., not going out to eat regularly, not upgrading to a bigger house or traveling much for pleasure, and buying generic or less known brands).
I thought that was a decent definition of middle class…but far from definitive.
There are many who might consider themselves middle class who are above or below that threshold.
I assume the young entrepreneur writing this book will have 30 different takes on middle class mindset (and examples) and millionaire mindset (with examples too) …with only minimal overlap…which makes the book either very useful…or not useful at all.
I’ll let you know when I read it. 🙂
The interview was supposed to take a half hour…but lasted two hours…partially my fault, of course…because I felt the need to give counterexamples to everything I shared.
I can’t help myself playing devil’s advocate with myself, refusing to denigrate anyone who chooses one of the two mindsets…or a melding of both…or anyone who hates to be pigeonholed with broad strokes.
But somewhere during the second hour, the most intriguing question came up:
Do you think it’s education or behavior that dictates why someone remains middle class or why someone wants to become a millionaire?
If I had to choose one, I’d say behavior…based on education being mostly an outside force and behavior an inside force.
There I go painting my own broad strokes because I don’t have complete confidence in my answer (like all of my answers during this interview).
But I always feel compelled to answer the questions…and it is clearly a combination of both that determines mindset.
For example, someone who is highly educated might not care about money or success.
I recall the valedictorian from my high school turning down every top college (and she was accepted to all of them) to go to France to become a pastry chef.
I don’t know if she ever became rich or famous…and I also don’t know if she had a middle class or millionaire mindset.
I bet she was able to make a mean eclair whatever her mindset was.
Could it have been neither? Or a little of both?
Another example could be someone who can’t afford meaningful or formal education or simply hates school… and isn’t even thinking about going to college…but what is their “ambition mindset” whether they grow up middle class or come from privilege?
They might end up middle class their entire life (happy or miserable); or become so motivated to “learn from the ground up” which takes them to super stardom.
I’ve seen this play out many times…both ways.
Regarding the latter (i.e,, humble roots yielding huge success), I have a recent example:
I was watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last week and one of the inductees was Jimmy Iovine, a college dropout, who was in the studio as an assistant while Bruce Springsteen was beginning the recording of his landmark album, Born to Run.
Bruce described him as a “kid plugging things in and out for no particular reason.”
The story goes, the way Bruce tells it, as one of those “fake it until you make it stories” that we all seem to love.
Bruce said that the mixing/sound engineer up and quit right before they were ready to record the album and someone asked Jimmy if he could do the job.
He said “yes” not knowing if he could really do it…and the fact that he is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tells you all you need to know how he did with that request…and thousands of others. 🙂
It was partly due to on-the-job education (what he had learned up to that point) …but his behavior and mindset told the story.
Jimmy came from a middle-class family in Brooklyn…but did he have a millionaire mindset?
Or… did he have just tremendous motivation and ambition which eventually made him a millionaire (under any definition) without even thinking about it?
Maybe Jimmy can be the 31st interview. 🙂
So many questions…so few concrete answers…but lots of ways to live our lives richly.
Maybe this book will give us the secrets behind all of them.
P.S. Whether you have a middle-class mindset or a millionaire mindset…or a “combo” … everyone needs community, feedback loops and “education to support their behavior.”
At least that’s what has fueled me for over 40 years in direct marketing…and will fuel me for the next 40.
To support that need, I created Titans Xcelerator, which I can say, with certainty, is the best value in masterminds in the world.
I know…that’s a bold statement…but after writing a book titled Overdeliver, I set myself up for the rest of my life to be committed to overdelivery.
And I’m proud to say when I put the word “Overdeliver” into a Google search (on my computer anyway), my book came up as the second listing (out of 1.5 million), after a Wiktionary definition of the word.
That’s as close to owning the word as I can come…and Titans Xcelerator epitomizes overdelivery…and caring…and community…and learning direct response marketing the right way.
Of course, I am now curious where my book shows up when you search “Overdeliver” on your Google… 🙂
All of this to say that I am opening seats to this magnificent group until the end of the year…at a price that’s less than most online courses or “how to programs,” many of which are impossible to implement on your own…and I’m sure you have many collecting dust inside your hard drive.
While Titans Xcelerator is not “done for you,” it is “done with you” (and more than 250 other dedicated direct response marketing professionals looking for, finding, and helping their business family which you can now be part of).
…the benefits that make it the most valuable and actionable mastermind for the money
…success stories from members
…and the priceless bonuses for joining during this launch (which are the most generous I have ever offered).
Did I say I like to overdeliver? 🙂
Click here to check it out…and I hope to see you on the “inside” soon.
P.P.S. We will be sending you additional emails over the next few weeks with more information about Titans Xcelerator.
But an advantage of joining today is that you will be “active” for our next LIVE call on Thursday, December 8th with the one-and-only Joe Polish, talking about his new book, What’s In It For Them?
Joe has been my friend for over 20 years…he’s a master at marketing and connection…and his new book is How to Win Friends and Influence People for the 21st century.
Joe is as influential as anyone in our industry.
Even if you don’t know him, just put his name in your Google search bar and you will see the depth and breadth of his contributions.
He is the tip of the iceberg that is Titans Xcelerator.
When you check out the Titans Xcelerator page here, you will see many more names you will recognize who have appeared on our calls.
You can Google them too. 🙂
After 40 years of being in the trenches of direct marketing, paying attention, always contributing, always learning, and committed to coaching the next generation, I have made a lot of friends…all of which are deep and lasting relationships.
I’d love for you to become one of those friends.