Farewell, Tom

Jonathan Clements

BESTSELLING AUTHOR Thomas J. Stanley died in a car accident over the weekend at age 71. His death has received scant publicity—which is surprising, given the popularity of his books and his impact on the way we think about money.

With co-author William Danko, Stanley wrote the 1996 blockbuster, The Millionaire Next Door. Who are the rich? It isn’t the folks with the flashy cars and designer clothes. Those aren’t signs of wealth. Rather, they’re signs of lavish spending, and the people involved are poorer for it.

Instead, the typical American millionaire is the couple who live in a modest home, drive their cars until the bumpers drop off and buy their clothes at J.C. Penney. Thanks to their frugality, they’re voracious savers—and that, more anything, has helped them to amass seven figures. This was Stanley’s powerful insight—which was not only a great rebuke to conspicuous consumption, but also a roadmap for everyday Americans who want to accumulate significant wealth.

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