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Millionaire: Tell Me About Your Spouse

By Thomas J. Stanley on Jun 7th, 2011 in Studying the Wealthy

Last Friday I posted an article from Biz Daily which highlighted the findings from The Millionaire Mind about the importance of having a supportive spouse while building a business and wealth.  As I said in the beginning of Chapter 6, Choice of Spouse:


Can you live forever?  Marry the wrong spouse and every day will feel like an eternity.  Marry the right spouse and life will be a joyful and perhaps even a rich experience.


I have asked thousands of millionaires,  What can you tell me about your spouse?  Among the first things they say include:  down to earth, unselfish, has traditional values [frugal], my emotional backbone, patient, understanding.


A recent e-mail from a “supportive spouse” gives testimony to the importance of couples working in unison for the common good and productivity of the family.


Both of us have relatively high paying jobs. Together we make $185K on W-2 and we also own a bunch of rentals including a commercial retail building, a 1bed ski condo and two other condo units. We have a 10 year loan on our mortgage and we have 8 years left. We own three cars, all paid with cash. And we have one baby girl who just passed her 1st birthday. We saved $450K in our retirement, close to $100K in cash and taxable account and $500K equity in all of our real estate assets. 10 rules: 1) get really good education and credentials( I went to Ivy League grad school and my husband is a CPA) 2) Go for the high paying industries – I am in IT and he is in financial world 3) Live well below our means (We bought our house for $305K, while our friends who make half of what we make buy more expensive home) 4) pay big ticket items like cars with cash. No cash, no things. And always buy used cars. 5) pay off credit card charges every month so we benefit from kickbacks while maintaining no debt. 6) put money away like squirrels put nuts away for winter. 7) spend money on things that matter, like family, friends, experiences (i.e. travel) instead of THINGS. 8) Study and acquire financial and investment knowledge 9) have a plan and let money grow on auto pilot. 10) save, save, save and invest, invest, invest.. A bit of background on me since I brought 90% assets into the marriage. I am a Chinese immigrant. My mom taught me how to save and invest while we started with just $200. So, looking back, it’s a long way from no money at all to a million bucks. I thank my parents for their teaching and persistence on giving me the best education they can give to me… Without education, I can’t be where I am now. So love you mom and dad!!

7 responses to “Millionaire: Tell Me About Your Spouse”

  1. Dave says:

    The supportive spouse testimony has some great points. It is great when a couple can squirrel away money and live below their means, especially before starting a family!

  2. A. Lynn says:

    I am a Dave Ramsey fan (which is part of how I found out about Dr. Stanely), and pretty much everything that was stated here is the plan I follow. I owe this methodology partially due to Dave Ramsey’s teachings, partially due to Dr. Stanley’s research (which I use to spread the word to others), and partially beacuse of my parents who went bankrupt.

    I graduated from the School of Finance Hardknocks, so to speak, so to me it’s a no brainer that I cannot purchase incredible vacation packages and the fancy car until I have the money. Most of the peers of my generation however (I’m 25) seem to think that the car comes with being an adult and that they are “entitled” to having the best house.

    My boyfriend on the other hand is learning how to live within frugal means, but fortunately he is very open-minded and listens when I explain why I think something may be a bad idea. It also helps that Dr. Stanley’s research is so succint and powerful, and I often bring up his books when the situation calls for it.

  3. michelle says:

    this is absolutely beautiful. There is a lot we can learn from the Chinese, Dave, and of course Thomas. To attract the kind of spouse Tom speaks about, we need to be that kind of person.

  4. Patrick says:

    Do women like that even exist anymore in this day and age?

  5. FemalePhD says:

    “Do women like that even exist anymore in this day and age?”

    What the heck? If this is really a concern of yours, you need to meet new people.

    Becoming a millionaire is not hard if you work in the ‘right’ professions. My parents were lawyers and pulled in over $500k/y together. I went to a top Ivy and have worked in developing countries and gotten a PhD in infectious disease research (but not the kind industry would ever pay me for). My highest salary has been $50k/y. It all depends on your priorities. The spouse part doesn’t seem so relevant.

  6. Rob G. says:

    My dad’s a Cuban refugee who came over dirt poor almost 50 years ago, before the Bay of Pigs. He has drilled into us the exact points made by the Chinese Supportive Spouse above, and married a woman with a strong finance background (my mom), who was instrumental in their wealth creation (not because she earned a ton, but because she shared the same goals and didn’t work against him by pushing for a larger house, more clothes, etc. etc.).

    In my personal life, my first marriage was to a woman who was terrible with money. She always spent more than she made, mostly on clothing, and perpetually needed bailing out for unexpected events (parking tickets, medical expenses, etc.) since she did not have an emergency fund. When we bought a car, rather than buying a Hyundai, which I could have paid for with cash, she insisted on buying a more expensive hatchback and financing $10k of the purchase. Rather than going to a state school for a graduate degree, she insisted on going to a private university, which was ranked about the same but MUCH more expensive. Etc. etc.

    My net worth decreased during the marriage. In the 18 months since it’s been dissolved I’ve saved over $30k.

    So I 100% agree; having a supportive spouse can make or break your long term financial goals. Chinese Supportive Spouse above sounds fabulous, and this time around it’s primary among my criteria to find someone who is like-minded in this way.

  7. Jim says:

    I’m not sure if the writer is implying that a “good education” needs to be from an big name Ivy League school, but if she is I 100% disagree with her.

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