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Mon 06 Oct 2003
The Millionaire Next Door
Category : Commentary/millionaire.txt
There's this book "The Millionaire Next Door", by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, that I enjoyed reading and just realised that, if I had looked carefully, much of what they described also happens here in Singapore.
The other day, we were talking to the owner of a noodle shop about why he's decided to move his operations somewhere else. He said that he's paying $10,000 a month in rent and the landlord refused to cut the rent by even $500 to help him out of the current recession.
As we were talking, he pointed out the landlord, and it was the little lady who runs a fruit stall in the next shop. Not only does she own the two shops, she also owns the third and all three are in a high pedestrian traffic area. And as we were talking, she was clearing up what's left on a table. It can't be true, can it? Yes, it can, because a few days later I met her in the lift, on her way to a management meeting for people who own units in the building, and she confirmed it.
Down the street where I live, there are a couple of other little old ladies who have no evident sources of income, who have no cars, and who wear the same clothes almost everyday. Yet their houses are always well-maintained. And they seem happy and they do live well, if not ostentatiously. How do they do it? Passive income, from either property or other investments that they or their family had made.
So I asked my friend Hai Hwee who would she rather be? The guys who are visibly rich with their beemers and condos bought on credit. Or one who is really rich though nobody can tell? Her answer? She'd rather be that little lady. Of course.