The Quiet Millionaire: Part 1 – What is Important about Money to You?


You’ve heard of The Millionaire Next Door (see Nora’s post on this book), now there’s The Quiet Millionaire. Whereas Next Door considers the mindset of the millionaire, Quiet offers practical advice on building and preserving wealth, beginning with an exploration of your life goals, reasons that money is important to you, and your possible motivations for desiring wealth. Its author is Brett Wilder, a Certified Financial Planner and President/CEO of Financial Management Group, Inc., a fee-only financial management and investment advisory firm. Through Wise Bread, I’ve been given a copy of the book so that I can give you an idea of what it has to offer.

Topics for most chapters are straightforward and cover issues such as borrowing intelligently, winning at investments, and making college affordable. In the first chapter, however, Mr. Wilder builds the platform for helping you make financial decisions and provides guidance on defining what is truly important; he proposes that

Money is the fuel for achieving your life goals and objectives.

He also suggests that each of us have a money personality and specific reasons that money is important, such as:

  • Security (you may fear being impoverished, which is motivating to save but may lead you to be too risk adverse)
  • Freedom (you have enough money to live the way you choose and work with enthusiasm)
  • Gaining Love (you feel that money helps you to attract persons who will love you)
  • Respect (you associate having money with being respected)
  • Power (you want to influence people with the power that money can bring)
  • Happiness (you enjoy the experiences and items that money can buy)
  • Self-worth (you equate self worth with net worth)
  • Accomplishment (you consider wealth a measure of success)
  • Entitlement (you feel deserving of money because you have endured years of struggling without money)
  • Helping others (you want to use your money to help others, possibly because you have been helped yourself)

Mr. Wilder recommends exercises to detect what drives you the most:

The objective is to discover what you really feel and truly believe is important about money to you in order to understand the reasons behind your earning, saving, and spending activities, which can be financially healthy or unhealthy and may require adjustments to be made.

I enjoyed the “building block” method, which might go like this:

Q. What is important about money to you?
A. Security. I like the security that money can bring.

Q. Why do you like security?
A. Because once I am secure, then I can focus on the things that are important.

Q. What are the things that are important to you?
A. Being able to pursue work that is meaningful, being able to spend time with my family, being able take part in activities that are rewarding to me.

Q. What about money allows you to do those things?
A. Enough money will give me freedom with my time.

It’s up to you to decide whether your reasons for wanting money are valid or not, and if you need to reshape your approach to money. (For further insight, read what Wise Bread writers and readers had to say in What Did Your Parents Teach You About Money?) While you’re pondering money motivations, I’ll be reading The Quiet Millionaire and sharing strategies (in future posts) for saving, investing, and protecting wealth so that you can realize your dreams.

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Guest's picture

I like the descriptions of why money is important to different people. I don't think most people understand why they want money, just that the think they need it. Perfect Life Project is all about making enough money to live the way you really wish you could live. By definition that could mean that someone on $50,000 pa who is chasing their dreams is actually rich.

Julie Rains's picture

Those descriptions were straight from the book -- I most identified with security and freedom. I think it would help to revisit those descriptions from time to time, as what is important in one phase of your life may change, and then how you spend your time, invest, etc. should be reviewed and updated.

Guest's picture

This post resonated. Speaking as one of those "quiet millionaires" who was motivated by security issues to acquire money, "security" has become a moving target. The number of assets which will constitute "security" keeps mentally going up and up and up and always feels unattainable, and the fear of risking assets continues.

Guest's picture

I'm security all over. I don't think that's a good thing though, that way leads to paranoia and never leaving the house.

Guest's picture

I love the descriptions. It feels like one of those color wheels where one is kind of the opposite of the other. I took one glance and knew exactly the reason I even have a job. I'm a "happy" and "freedom" type.

Guest's picture

Thanks for sharing this book, Julie. I will definitely check this out. I'm wondering whether it's appropriate for our situation. We've read a lot of books in this area, including Millionaire next door, and we're kind of "there" already. But, a problem we're experiencing is exactly how to discover the passions and goals to live out once the money part is taken care of. We pretty much know what values are driving us, but as we're about to get "out of the rat race" we don't know what comes next. Do you think this book is enough of an exploration as to how to live life "on the other side?" If not, do you know of any? :D

Julie Rains's picture

The Quiet Millionaire is more of a how-to financial guide; its usefulness to you would be on ways to protect your wealth. The philosophy ends with the first chapter; next are budgeting and financial worksheets. I don't know of a particular title that meets your needs but will welcome others to share books that may cover discovering passions and setting life goals.

Guest's picture

I highly recommend the book Wishcraft by Barbara Sher if you are trying to discover your goals. The first part of the book is about discovering/uncovering your "wishes" and the second part lays out the craft of attaining them.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the recommendation. We've looked at some Barbara Sher, but not that one in particular.

It's funny, you know, after years of doing the right (financial) things and establishing the security you need through frugality, moderation and self-control. . . then you can sometimes be left wondering, "OK, now what?" :)

Guest's picture

This is probably one of the best books I've ever read on personal finance, investing and just understanding the overall industry. I now understand why I need to do certain things and when. The advice is sound, easy to understand and I have personally found to be extremly successful. I will recommend this book to my business partners, family and friends. The college funding section was so eye opening, even though my children are past this need, I wish I would have read when they were younger it would have changed my planning. The retirement section was amazing and has changed my families life. Thank you, Thank you...a great resource and life changing book.

Julie Rains's picture

Glad you have enjoyed the book -- it is slightly textbooky but is very thorough (covers key points an investor needs to know) and, to me, fairly easy to read. I have made some changes in my financial life based on information that Mr. Wilder provides (mainly relating to taxes).