They Became Billionaires….and it all started by sharing……


The very first billionaire John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. founder of Standard Oil Company was the son of an itinerant medicine peddler and bigamist who wandered in and out of his son’s life.  John D. Rockefeller,  by contrast a straight-laced, devout Baptist who did not wait until he became rich to become generous said, “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”  As his wealth grew, so did his giving.

While every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth he said mere moneymaking had never been his goal.  A millionaire at the age of 23,  Rockefeller,  became a billionaire, by the age of 50.   At the age of 53 his entire body became racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, “He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him.” His personal, physicians predicted he would die within a year. 
Rockefeller awoke one morning from a dream, during this miserable time of his life realizing  that he was not in control of his life and that he could not be taking any of his success with him when he passed on.  On that day John D. Rockefeller  called his team of attorneys, accountants, and managers to establish his foundation that would channel his assets to hospitals, research, and mission work. 
 Rockefeller spent the last forty years of his life creating foundations that had a major impact on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research  and was instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever. His foundation  led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria along with an enormous amount of other discoveries.   
Rockefeller supported many church-bases institutions throughout his life.  He gave $80 million to the University of Chicago, turning a small Baptist college into a world class institution by 1900. His General Education Board was especially  active in supporting black schools in the South.
Giving away more than $555 million during his lifetime, Rockefeller  believed he was a steward of all he had. He taught his family that what they inherited was theirs on a service basis. And, that money brought tremendous responsibility as well as opportunity. Rockefeller  strongly believed that the ability to make money is a gift from God to be developed  in order to make as much  as possible, and then the money is to be used wisely for the good  of mankind.   
The amazing part of this story — the moment John D. Rockefeller began to give, in this way, his body‘s chemistry was altered so significantly he got better. Instead of dying at 53,  he lived to be 98. Rockefeller learned gratitude and gave back from his wealth. Doing so made him whole. It is one thing to be healed it is another to be made whole. 

John D. Rockefeller certainly the richest man in his day taught his children to always give to others.

His grandsons (the sons of John D. Rockefeller JR): 
David Rockefeller – at age  seven he received on allowance of 50 cents a week. Ten percent (five cents) belonged to the Lord–it was his tithe to God and he saved 10%.  He said, “Our parents made us feel, from an early age, that we had to contribute, not just take.” 

Nelson Rockefeller said that his father’s creed, much like his grandfather’s was  “Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” 

Andrew Carnegie, probably the richest man of his time held that while it was legitimate to accumulate a fortune “the man who dies rich is disgraced.” He felt that it was important to give it away.

When candy manufacturer John S. Huyler started out in business, he took Jacob’s pledge: “…of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Gen. 28:22). 

Going to the bank, he opened a special account which he initialed “M.P.” Into that fund he regularly entered a proportionate amount  of his income which was more than the tithe of 10%. When anyone asked what the strange label meant, they were told that it stood for “My Partner.” 

As he kept God uppermost in his mind in all his transactions, his industry grew at a phenomenal rate, and each week the “Lord’s treasury” received increasingly large sums. His gifts to worthy causes and private individuals amazed his business associates. These contributions were always accompanied with the request that the donor should not receive any thanks or glory for his actions.

He asked each church and recipient to offer praise to God alone, for he said, “After all, the money isn’t mine; it’s the Lord’s!” God enabled him to become one of the great philanthropists of his day. He died in 1910. 
See: Luke 6:38; 1 Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 9:7 

J.L. KRAFT, head of the Kraft Cheese Corporation, who had given approximately 25% of his enormous income to Christian causes for many years, said, “The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.” 

Anthony Rossi (Tropicana Orange Juice) came to the US from Italy in the 1920’s as a young teenager, with nothing but the clothes on his back. A Christian couple befriended him and through them he came to know Christ as his Savior and Lord. One Sunday in church, he prayed: “Lord, if you give me an idea for a business, I will be faithful to give a portion of everything I make back to Your work.” 

That very morning, the idea of “Fresh squeezed orange juice” popped into his head – and the rest is history. Rossi  founded the “Tropicana Co” and has been faithful to give God – not 10% of his income, as many faithful believers do, but 50% of his income, for the past 60 years! He also gave truckloads of FREE orange juice  to Christian colleges throughout the country! 

Milton Hershey lived his life by the  Biblical maxim of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Anxious to use their wealth to help those less fortunate than themselves, the Hersheys founded a school for orphaned boys in 1909. Originally called the Hershey Industrial School, it was designed to train boys in farming and industrial trades so they would become able to support themselves. After Kitty Hershey died in 1915, Hershey put his $60 million fortune in trust for the school. The bequest was held in confidence until 1923, when it was discovered and revealed by The New York Times. 25 years before he died, he give away all his money to strangers. 

The Bible says specifically “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” (The Bible mentions many times that we are to help the poor and the widows. Remember the church is the people not the building. When we give our tithe to help the poor….isn’t that doing it unto God? )

Charles Page, was born in 1860  to compassionate parents who helped support five families of women and children whose husbands and fathers were in the Union Army. These families would otherwise be destitute. 

Charles was 11 when his dad passed away and Charles quit school to help his widowed mother. 
At the age of 12 Charles left home telling his mother “I must be about my Father’s business. ” He took a job first with the Wisconsin Railway and by his late teens was the Police Chief in a small Wisconsin town.   Working for  Pinkerton Detective Agency he gained a deepened insight and compassion for his fellow man which strengthened his determination to help others. A venture in mining in the Pacific Northwest allowed him to  invest in real estate. In 1905 he came to Indian Territory where he  became a successful oilman.

While living in Tulsa Charles met Capt. B.F. Breeding with the Salvation Army and began helping those in need. His desire was to  help them to become self-supporting and independent without robbing them of their initiative, by  leaving them something to do for themselves.  Transient men who were broke  were provided supper, a bed at the rooming house on First Street (which had 30 beds)  and breakfast from the restaurant next door before going on their way. He paid the  bills no matter how much they were and helped families in need of groceries due to  sickness or unemployment. 

In 1908  Charles purchased land to build his dream house for children and also homes for destitute widows and their children. He purchased additional land for town, factory site,  a park a lake and  a large farm with herds of livestock, the profits all to be used for widows, orphans and others who were struggling. The colony, for mothers of at least two children (widows or divorcees) consisted of a row of about 30 homes, a children’s nursery building and chapel, with a home for the head matron. Later screened porches were added in the front and back of the homes along with indoor plumbing. Large side porches provided extra sleeping space for larger families. Mothers paid no rent with water, natural gas and electricity provided free of charge. Child care was free for mothers who were able to find work. Higher education was provided for all who wishing to take advantage of it. Each child received a pint of milk a day from the Sand Springs Dairy.  The family could reside there until the children had graduated from high school.
Children living in the home attended Sand Springs schools and worshiped at the church of their choice.  Children took turns ringing the bell for the mandatory weekly chapel service. 

In May 1908 twenty children from Tulsa’s failing Anchor and Cross home for Children, were brought to the large home which was made as much  like a real home as possible. The dormitory accommodating fifty children was completed. On Christmas Day 1918 the  beautiful home was dedicated at a large party with food served all afternoon until the evening to hundreds of guests, employees, friends, relatives and home children. The celebration dinner included bear, buffalo, venison, opossum, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, duck, goose. Every year the tree was surrounded by many nice gifts for the kids.
Charles Page established the Sand Springs Railway, between Tulsa and Sand Springs with fair rate in order to support the home and Widows Colony. He encouraged the establishment of industries, providing low rental and low fees for water, natural gas and electricity.

A friend once remarked  that Charles  had used great judgment in establishing Sand Springs on it s present wooded location instead of the low land  that flooded at times. Charles replied that he didn’t do it–“Sand Springs is God’s town”. A member of the Presbyterian Church, Charles contributed liberally. 

Charles made provisions for churches, schools, a library, established a state bank, the Sand Springs Greenhouse (now Sand Springs Flowers) and warehouses. He provided water at Shell Lake for both Sand Springs and Tulsa as well as Sand Springs park and the lake for recreational purposes.

Charles Page died two days after Christmas 1926. Today you might hear of Charles Page High School or Charles Page Blvd. At Triangle Park there is a statue of him which  says “In as much as you have done unto the least of these brethren, Ye have done it unto me.” which we find in Matthew 25, verses 31 to 40:

 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”
And don’t forget to read the next part. Matthew 25: 41-46

It has been said that when we try to get rich for the sake of prospering ourselves, it is on a very shaky foundation. It doesn’t sound like any of these guys set out to become rich. They started with the right heart.


Lew Wentz

Long before he had the money to do it Lew Wentz  would  borrow money in order to help the needy. he  chose to keep secret that he was the year-around Santa who bought gifts and shoes for needy Ponca City children.  Few knew who it was, until he died.

  •  Wentz  who was too poor as a boy to go to college, started  a loan program  at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University that had helped more than 2,000 students before his death and is still functioning today
  • He  lent money freely to hundreds of young people who wanted to start businesses. A number of his businesses at his death were those he took back after his proteges failed.
  • Financing treatment for a crippled boy led  Wentz to become one of the founders of and the largest contributor to the Oklahoma Society for Crippled Children, an agency that helped thousands. His generosity reached beyond children and Ponca City as he gave  millions to a myriad of charities.
  •  He was among a handful of prominent citizens who had furnished the funds to build the garden and crypt at the memorial in Claremore where the bodies of Rogers, his wife and infant son are buried.

Louis Haines  Wentz was one of seven children of a Pittsburgh blacksmith and toolmaker. When he graduated from high school, college was out of the question. He played on and managed semi-pro baseball teams and became the coach of all the high school teams in Pittsburgh.

His job as coach left Wentz time for Republican ward work, and by chance he called on John McCaskey, who had made a fortune selling bulk sauerkraut and who had invested in E. W. Marland’s wildcat oil venture on the 101 Ranch near Ponca City but couldn’t go to Oklahoma because of his kraut business. McCaskey hired Wentz to go to Ponca as his personal representative, and the two became partners with Marland. 

Wentz soon split off from Marland and  had made his first million dollars by the time of World War I and by 1927 the Wentz Oil Corp. was making a million dollars a month. After McCaskey  died, Wentz  bought McCaskey’s interest from his heirs. Wentz sold out before the stock market crash of 1929 and invested in government bonds.

When Wentz first arrived in Oklahoma in 1911, he rented a room at the Arcade Hotel, a rooming house a block from the Santa Fe Railroad depot where owner Annie Rhodes treated him like a mother.  When he was too broke to  pay his room and board bill, she told him to “pay me when you can.”   He never never forgot her generosity and paid her with high interest after his wells came in. Many others who stayed there under the same arrangement didn’t remember their debts. He later  built a mansion outside of Ponca City but returned to the rooming house to be close to his friends and lived there the rest of his life.

He later invested in auto agencies, a string of newspapers, agriculture and many other businesses, even a mortuary. But he retained an interest in the oil business and his fortune continued to grow.

One of America’s richest men, Lew Wentz had a fortune estimated at more than $25 million — a tremendous sum in those days — when he died in 1949. After his death, his fortune continued to grow because of oil discoveries on land he had bought or leased. Only a few years earlier he had been identified as one of seven Americans with annual incomes exceeding $5 million.
Tavis Smiley (Author and TV/Radio host)  
His aunt was murdered, leaving four children. His grandmother stepped in but when her health deteriorated his parents took in the four children kid to raise as their own. His mom cooked, cleaned, disciplined and cared for a family of 13, including her ailing mother. He says it was empowering to a young kid to see that kind of work ethic–to understand the discipline of hard work and that there is dignity in it. With no money for presents, his mom baked birthday cakes instead. Her stipulation: Share, and don’t be stingy!  It was a lesson in generosity. After family members got cake the rest belonged to the honoree. But you had to start by sharing. In 2004, Tavis Smiley pledged $1 million to Texas Southern University’s School of Communications. 
 “Life is about who and what has influenced us and how we share that with others.“- Tavis Smiley

Oprah-Winfrey  overcome her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others.  
 Winfrey personally donates more of her own money to charity than any other show-business celebrity in America. In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America’s top 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $250 million Her philanthropy has included a $10 million donation to Katrina relief. Winfrey also put 100 black men through college with $7 million in scholarships.

In 2004, Winfrey a traveled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS, visited schools and orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and  distributed Christmas presents to 50,000 children with dolls for the girls and soccer balls for the boys. In addition, each child was given a backpack full of school supplies and received two sets of school uniforms for their gender, in addition to two sets of socks, two sets of underwear, and a pair of shoes. Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate money to Oprah’s Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa, and pledged that she personally would oversee where that money was spent. From that show alone, viewers around the world donated over $7,000,000 Winfrey invested $40 million and much of her time establishing a school for girls near Johannesburg, South Africa. 
Oprah’s Angel Network is a charity aimed at encouraging people around the world to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged others. Accordingly, Oprah’s Angel Network supports charitable projects and provides grants to nonprofit organizations around the world that share this vision. To date, Oprah’s Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000. Winfrey personally covers all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised go to charity programs

Bill Gates – modeled his philanthropy after David Rockefeller.

J Paul Getty gave serious gifts to art galleries and institutions.

Sam Walton funded scholarships to bring Central American students to Christian Universities. Walton supported various charitable causes, including those of his church, the Presbyterian Church. The Sam and Helen R. Walton Award was created in 1991 when the Waltons made a gift of six million dollars which included an endowment in the amount of three million dollars to provide annual awards to new church developments that are working in creative ways to share the Christian faith in local communities.

Reggie White   1961- 2005, Professional football player; Baptist minister; philanthropist

His 15 year NFL career included Memphis Showboats , Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers , Carolina Panthers 

Raised in Chattanooga,  by his mother and his grandparents the deeply religious family attended the local Baptist church regularly. As a youngster White was inspired by the ministers and teachers he met there.  His mother, told Sports Illustrated that when he was 12 years old he announced that he wanted to be two things: a football player and a minister.

White’s strength and size indeed seemed to be God-given. He never lifted weights or conditioned himself rigorously, but he was always in shape. He was a talented and determined athlete who spent his Sundays preaching sermons in churches all over the state. White earned the nickname “minister of defense.” 

Curiously enough, White’s singular gift for mayhem began and ended on the gridiron during his 15-year career with the NFL. The rest of his time was always been spent in pursuing humanitarian work inspired by his deep Christian faith. The citizens of Philadelphia soon discovered that they had won the services of more than just a star athlete. “I believe that I’ve been blessed with physical ability in order to gain a platform to preach the gospel,” White told Sports Illustrated. “A lot of people look at athletes as role models, and to be successful as an athlete, I’ve got to do what I do, hard but fair…. I try to live a certain way, and maybe that’ll have some kind of effect. I think God has allowed me to have an impact on a few people’s lives.” White spent hours and hours of his spare time preaching on street corners in Philadelphia’s troubled inner-city neighborhoods. He gave money to dozens of Christian outreach organizations and spoke as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And he led by example. In the rough-and-tumble world of professional football, none of his opponents or teammates could ever recall hearing him curse or seeing him fight.

In 1989 White signed a four-year, $6.1 million contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL at the time. 
Unrestricted free agency descended upon the NFL officially on March 1, 1993. Reggie White quickly became the most visible—and sought-after—unrestricted free agent after the 1992-93 football season. Green Bay was one of a half dozen teams that bid quite openly for White’s services at that time. . Everywhere he went he was courted not only by team owners, management, and player personnel, but also by ordinary citizens who had heard about his community work and his Christian ethics. In the end, White signed with Wisconsin’s Green Bay Packers. The Packers’ offer was the most generous financially, with guaranteed earnings of $17 million over four years. Under the contract White became the most highly paid defender in the NFL. He also tithed a good portion of his NFL income to several Baptist churches. Reflecting on his work in the Philadelphia Daily News, the “minister of defense” concluded: “The Bible says, ‘Faith without works is dead.’ That is just another way of saying: ‘Put your money where your mouth is.'”

Reggie White announced his retirement in  1999. Green Bay honored White’s retirement by retiring his jersey number, which was 92, and he spent one year out of football and involved in his ministry. White returned for one final season in the NFL, lured from retirement for the 2000 season by the Carolina Panthers who paid him one million dollars for the effort. He retired for the second time at the end of that season.

White’s other career–carrying the gospel of Christ to those in need–will last his entire life. He and his wife built Hope Place, a shelter for unwed mothers, on property near their home in rural Tennessee; they also founded the Alpha & Omega Ministry to sponsor a community development bank in Knoxville. “I’m trying to build up black people’s morale, self-confidence and self-reliance to show them that the Jesus I’m talking about is real,” White explained in Ebony.

One of the most trying moments in White’s career in the ministry came in 1996, when his church was burnt to the ground, one of dozens of black churches torched throughout the South in a string of hate crimes. In addition to this work, White pursued missionary work among teenaged gang members, abused children, and young women seeking an alternative to abortion. 
Alpha & Omega Ministry, founder (with wife, Sara) and president, ; Hope Place, founder and president. Served as a spokesperson for Nike; active in fund-raising and blood drives for Children’s Hospital of Chattanooga and Eagles Fly for Leukemia.

Barry Sanders came out of Oklahoma State University and was signed immediately by the Detroit Lions and went on to become what people regard as the best running back of all time, even considering such stars as Gail Sayers and Jim Brown and Walter Peyton. But like Mark Clayton, he stunned the sports world when he collected his major paycheck including his multi-million dollar signing bonus. 

Barry Sanders immediately made out a check in the amount of  one-tenth of his signing bonus of $2.1 million to the little Baptist church in which he had grown up in Wichita, Kansas. “Because the Bible says you should tithe,” he said.  l. He never bragged about it or made much ado about it. He just humbly and quietly wrote out his check for ten percent and sent it to his little church back home. Committed to his faith – No questions about it, the first ten percent of anything he might make would go right back to the Lord.
His last contract with the Lions was for $35.4 million over six years with an $11 million signing bonus. He continued to give 10 percent of his annual salary to charity throughout his career. (He is deeply but quietly religious, a product of his upbringing.)

Denzel Washington, the son of a minister, did not start out to become an actor. It was a teacher who kept insisting that he had a gift and sent a letter saying so.

After Denzel and his family visited soldiers at the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. Denzel made a sizeable donation to the Fisher Houses, small hotels that provide rooms for soldiers’ families while the soldiers are hospitalized.

In October 2006, he published a book entitled Hand to Guide Me, featuring actors, politicians, athletes, and other public figures recalling their childhood mentors. The book was published in commemoration of the Boys and Girls Club of America’s centennial anniversary. Denzel had participated in the club as a child. 65% of the profits will go to the Boys and Girls Club of America. The other 35% goes to the publisher.

Denzel and his wife have also given $1 million to Children’s Fund of South Africa and $2.5 million to the Church of God.

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life has earned tens of millions of dollars from book sales. He ad his wife give 90 percent of their earning to charities and programs dedicated to starting microfinance and preventing HIV.

To Whom Much is Given Much Is Required.

John Wesley (1703-91), founder of Methodism. In the city of Oxford’s prison many were confined merely because they owed money. With  a small sum, Wesley purchased release for these debtors.  As his financial situation improved, he capped his living expenses at a fixed level and gave away the ever-increasing surplus.  John Wesley’s Wisdom for Hard Economic Times: Earn All You Can, Save All You Can, and Give All You Can. When questioned by a tax collector about his lack of his material possessions, he replied that buying silver spoons (a luxury) was out of the question when the poor still had no bread (a necessity).

John Wesley knew plenty about economic uncertainty. Rural economies to collapse and created numerous problems in city centers: overcrowding, disease, crime, unemployment, debt,substance, abuse, and even insanity (London established its first asylum in 1781).

Wesley, having grown up in relative poverty himself, consorted mostly with people who worked hard, owned little, and could never be certain of their financial future. But he preached so widely and became so well-known that his income eventually a large sum. Still, he chose to live simply but comfortably on very little while giving the rest away. In fact, he donated nearly all of the $75,000  he earned in his lifetime. He gave so extensively that, when he died in 1791, his monetary worth didn’t amount to more than a few coins. He once wrote, “If I leave behind me ten pounds and all mankind [can] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” With 789 preachers serving in the Methodist Church he had founded, Wesley’s legacy revealed the greater heavenly investment he had made of his life. In his classic sermon text, he articulates his own Christian posture toward money: “having first gained all you can, and secondly saved all you can,then give all you can Stewardship should be of utmost importance to the believer as it is the nature of our relationship with God during our life on earth.

English Baptist Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s view of money. Spurgeon viewed his responsibilities as the Lord’s steward seriously, scrupulously avoiding debt and relieving his congregation of financial burdens such as the “pew rent” and his salary. The money earned from book royalties and speaking engagements were enough to ensure that he always had plenty of money at hand to aid the needy. His giving was so extensive that, at his death, only the value of his house and the copyright of his books remained for his heirs.

This entry was posted in Great ideas! and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to They Became Billionaires….and it all started by sharing……

  1. Alice says:

    Notes from the book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of American’s Wealthy


    The vice president of a trust department was surprised to learn that millionaires don’t look like millionaires, don’t dress like millionaires, don’t eat like millionaires,
    don’t act like millionaires–and don’t even have millionaire names.

    Many people who are not wealthy think millionaires own expensive clothes, cars, homes, and other status artifacts. (So this is how the”unwealthy” attempt to look.) However, that is not the typical millionaire.

    The trust officer spends significantly more for his suits than the typical American millionaire, striving to give the appearance of being well off. He also wears a $5,000 watch while the majority of millionaires never spent even one-tenth of $5,000 for a watch, according to surveys. The Trust officer drives a current-model imported luxury car but most millionaires are not driving this year’s model. Only a minority of millionaires drove a foreign vehicle while an even smaller minority drive foreign luxury cars. Further, only a minority of millionaires ever lease a vehicle.

    Big Hat-No Cattle
    A wealthy thirty-five-year-old Texan refers to those who “want to appear rich” as Big Hat-No Cattle. This successful business owner’s company rebuilds large diesel engines. He drives a ten-year-old car, wears jeans and a buckskin shirt and lives in a modest house in a lower-middle-class area. (Yes, you read that correctly!) His neighbors are postal clerks, firemen,and mechanics. His business does not look pretty and he doesn’t play the part of having money; he doesn’t act it. When his British partners first met him, they assumed he was one of the truck drivers. He doesn’t own big hats, but he has a lot of cattle. (In other words he doesn’t show off by buying frivolous things trying to give the appearance of being rich. By not wasting his money he has plenty.)


    The average American believes that wealthy refers to people who have an abundance of material possessions. In reality, being wealthy or affluent has nothing to do with material possessions. Many people who have an abundance of possessions have little or no investments, appreciable assets, income-producing assets, common stocks, bonds, private businesses, oil/gas rights, or timber land. Conversely, people who are wealthy get much more pleasure from owning substantial amounts of appreciable assets than from displaying a high-consumption lifestyle with lots of material possessions.

    Take Away Point: Attempting to give the appearance of wealth can lower your net worth.

    Wealth can be attained in one generation by many Americans. Most of America’s millionaires are the first-generation to become rich. They did not believe that one must be born wealthy, choosing instead to have confidence in their own abilities. Most (about 80 percent!) are the first-generation rich/affluent. (This means they are from families with modest means yet they become millionaires.) America continues to hold great prospects for those who wish to accumulate wealth in one generation. A study conducted in 1892 of the 4,047 American millionaires shows that 84 percent “were nouveau riche, having reached the top without the benefit of inherited wealth.”

    Sadly, people of modest backgrounds, who believe that only the wealthy produce millionaires, are predetermined to remain non-affluent.


    – More than half never received as much as $1 in inheritance. Ninety-one percent never received, as a gift, as much as $1 of the ownership of a family business.
    – Fewer than 20 percent inherited 10 percent or more of their wealth; fewer than 10 percent even believe they will ever receive an inheritance in the future.
    – Fewer than 25 percent ever received “an act of kindness” of $10,000 or more from their parents, grandparents, or other relatives.
    – Only 19 percent receive any income or wealth of any kind from a trust fund or an estate.
    – Nearly half never received any college tuition from their parents or other relatives.
    However, most have never felt at a disadvantage because they did not receive any inheritance.


    – About one in five millionaires are not college graduates.
    – Only 17 percent of millionaires or their spouses ever attended a private elementary or private high school.


    Many of the types of businesses millionaires are in could be classified as dull/normal: welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, trash collection owners, roofing contractors, excavation contractors, scrap metal dealers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors. First-generation American Entrepreneurs have typically been characterized by their thrift, low status, discipline, low consumption, risk, and very hard work. (On average, 21 percent of their household’s wealth is in their private businesses.)
    About two-thirds of millionaires work between forty-five and fifty-five hours per week.


    – Fifty-seven-years-old average- male married to the same wife
    – About one in five is retired. About two-thirds who are working are self-employed*. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. 75% who are self-employed consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants. (*This does not suggest that self-employment ensures membership among the ranks of millionaires. Most self-employed Americans will never accumulate even modest levels of wealth. )


    – Most are homeowners, with about half occupying the same home for more than twenty years. Thus, they have enjoyed significant increases in the value of their home.
    – Millionaires have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of their non-millionaire neighbors. However, in their neighborhood, non-millionaires outnumber millionaires better than three to one. It is because non-millionaires choose to acquire high-status material possessions, in order to appear rich instead of actually attaining wealth.


    On average, millionaires live on less than 7 percent of their wealth. They choose to live well below their means by wearing inexpensive suits, only a minority drive the current-model-year automobile and only a minority ever lease a vehicle. One millionaire stated: “I’d rather have money in the bank than be driving it around and having it go down in value each day.” (It is this low-consumption lifestyle that helps them become wealthy. It has been said that they prefer club sandwiches to caviar. )

    Millionaires are tightwads. Many completed a long questionnaire for taking a survey for the book because they were given a crisp $1 bill. However, being frugal allows millionaires to save more and invest more than others in similar income groups.


    – About half of the wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher.
    – Most millionaire wives are planners and meticulous budgeters. Most millionaires will tell you that the wife is a lot more conservative with money than the husband.


    – Millionaires have an average household net worth of $3.7 million. ( Nearly 6 percent have a net worth of over $10 million. Again, these people skew our average upward. The typical (median, or 50th percentile) millionaire household has a net worth of $1.6 million. This was prior to 1996 so it may be much more now.)
    – Millionaires have accumulated enough wealth to live without working for ten or more years. Thus, those with a net worth of $1.6 million could live comfortably for more than twelve years. Actually, they could live longer than that, since they save at least 15 percent of their earned income.
    – Millionaires are fastidious investors, investing on average, nearly 20 percent of household realized income each yea. Seventy-nine percent have at least one account with a brokerage company, but make their own investment decisions.


    Millionaires want a better life for their kids than they had. A better life for his children, to the millionaire, means a good education to obtain a much higher occupational status than he had. The first generation millionaire may believe that the ideal occupations for their sons and daughters would be providing affluent people with some valuable service such an accountant, attorney, or

    Encouraging their children to go into those professions essentially discourages their children from becoming entrepreneurs and postpones their entry into the labor market. And, of course, he encourages them to reject his lifestyle of thrift and a self-imposed environment of scarcity because “better” means fine homes, new luxury automobiles, quality clothing, club membership.
    But neglecting to include in this definition of better many of the elements that were the foundation stones of his success. He does not realize that being well educated has certain economic drawbacks.

    His well-educated adult children have learned that a high level of consumption is expected of people who spend many years in college and professional schools.

    Today his children are the opposite of their blue-collar, successful business owner dad. His children have become Americanized. They are part of the high-consuming, employment-postponing generation. They will spend all theirs to keep up with the Jones family and need the inheritance from Dad to keep up their high lifestyle.


    Comparison of a professional and a blue collar worker, both in the same income/age cohort:

    – The owner of a mobile-home dealership, making it on his own without help from his parents: total household income last year of $90,200. His net worth is expected to be $451,000. But his actual net worth is $1.1 million. (He is a builder of wealth.)
    – The attorney,accountant, physician or other professional whose parents had the money to send him to school: income last year was $92,330, slightly more than the mobile home dealer. His net worth is only $226,511, while his expected level of wealth is $470,883.(He is an under accumulator of wealth)

    The professional may have spent seven years or more in college, yet, the mobile home dealer has nearly five times the net worth of the professional. One must consider how much money it takes to maintain the upper-middle-class lifestyle of a professional and his family compared to maintaining the middle-class or even blue-collar lifestyle of a mobile-home dealer and his family.

    The professional has a higher propensity to spend than do the members of the mobile home dealer. He must spend significantly more of his household’s income to maintain and display his family’s higher upper-middle-class lifestyle. A luxury vehicle is congruent with the status of an professional, such as the attorney who needs to wear a different high-quality suit to work each day, join one or more country clubs, buy expensive jewelry for his wife and the nice vacations for the family to show the world that he is successful. These people tend to live above
    their means.

    It makes one wonder, with his high-consumption lifestyle, how long could the professional sustain himself and his family if he were no longer employed?

    Many people with similar socioeconomic backgrounds will never accumulate even modest amounts of wealth.


    Let’s take a forty-one-year-old fireman and his wife who is a secretary who know to live on a fireman’s and secretary’s income. They save and invest a good bit by having a low-consumption lifestyle and thus, have been able to accumulate an above-average amount of net worth. Given this lifestyle, they could sustain themselves for ten years without working. Within their income and age categories, they are wealthy.

    Two percent of INC. magazine’s top five hundred business entrepreneurs are first-generation American. First-generation Americans tend to be self-employed. Self-employment is a major positive
    correlate of wealth.

    The children become Americanized and fully socialized to a high-consumption lifestyle. However, by wanting better for their children and grandchildren the typical traits among most
    self-made millionaires (thrift, discipline, economic achievement, and financial independence) do not get instilled in successive generations. The “next generation” is often economically
    less productive and successful than the first generation Americans.

    This is why America needs a constant flow of immigrants with the courage and tenacity. Immigrants and their immediate offspring are constantly needed to replace the the first generation that understood thrift, discipline, low consumption, risk, and very hard work.



    Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by ten. This, less any inherited wealth, is what your net worth should be.

    For example, a forty-one year old man, making $143,000 a year, and has investments that return another $12,000, would multiply the two added figures ($155,000) by forty-one. That equals $6,355,000. Dividing by ten, his net worth should be $635,500.

    Use your age and income, to see how your net worth matches up. If you are in the top quartile for wealth accumulation, you are a PAW, or prodigious accumulator of wealth. If you are in the bottom quartile, you are a UAW, or under accumulator of wealth.


    To be well positioned in the PAW category, you should be worth twice the level of wealth expected. In other words, your net worth/wealth should be approximately twice the expected value or more for your income/age cohort. PAWs are builders of wealth–that is, they are the best at building net worth compared to others in their income/age category. PAWs typically
    have a minimum of four times the wealth accumulated by UAWs.

    Net worth determines whether someone is wealthy or not. Net worth is the current value of one’s assets less liabilities (exclude the principle in trust accounts). In the book published in 1996, the threshold level of being wealthy was having a net worth of $1 million or more. Based on this definition, only 3.5 million (3.5 percent) of the 100 million households in America were considered wealthy. About 95 percent of millionaires in America have a net worth of between $1 million and $10 million. This level of wealth can be attained in one generation by many Americans.

  2. Alice says:

    -How the wealthy act

    -Don’t go all out Christmas-
    -Why do we want credit companies to be richer. Biggest things don’t give to kids…live below means
    -Learn to be a millionaire whole your friends live paycheck to paycheck –
    -spend like the rich to get rich: clip coupons and shop yard sales. Save $40 a week by buying bargains and deposit in an investment acct and yu will have $249,000 in 30 yeears.
    -Make wise investments.You can make high 6 figure incomes, but if the money doesn’t grow, or if you put it into losing investments than you aren’t optimizing your assets. You’re basically spinning your wheels and wasting your time. You want to reach a point where you could live off of the interest of your investments!
    – Look for business opportunities by seeing a need and filling it.. If you jump into something because everyone else is doing it, you’re going to have too much competition . Find an unoccupied niche. Be sure you do market research and be willing to take financial risk.
    – Find good mentors. Learning amazing qualities from highly successful people is easier than learning the road on your own and success follows.
    – Live below your means, ALWAYS. If your expenses are raising as fast as your income you’re never going to save a good amount- no matter what you’re income. When you live below your means as your income raises, do not increase your expenses. This will keep your net worth rising.
    -According to real millionaires the best people to get financial advice about the best place to put your money is from knowledgeable CPAs and the Lawyers who are trained in that field.
    -Attitude is the greatest difference between millionaires and the rest of us.

    -Who becomes wealthy? Not the exotic back-stabbers and dabblers in high finance you see depicted on TV, The average person with a net worth of $1 million or more is usually a businessman who has lived all his adult life int he same town. He owns a business such as a small factory, a service company or a chain of stores. They tend to own “boring,” unglamorous businesses—the type that wouldn’t create interesting cocktail party conversation. The book says: “We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.” Millionaires are business owners. Some have full-time jobs plus side businesses, while others are full-time business owners. (Read about businesses you can start on the side.) “Self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires,” the book says.
    – Many who live in expensive homes and drive luxury homes and drive luxury cars don’t have much wealth. The rich man’s attitude can be seen in his car. Many drive old unpretentious sedans and live BELOW their means.. The most successful accumulators of wealth spend far less than they can afford or houses, cars, vacations and entertainment for the simple reason that these things offer little or no return. He lives in a middle class neighborhood, next to people with a fraction of the wealth.
    – Most millionaires measure success by net worth, not income. Instead of taking their money home, they plow as much as they can into their businesses, stock portfolios and other assets. the reason: Because the government doesn’t tax wealth; it taxes income . And the more income you bring home for consumption, the more the government takes.
    -The person who piles up net worth fastest tends to put every dollar he can into investments, not consumption.
    -Live close to work to save on car- Walk to work to save money. If you are buying a $35,000 car every 4 years that is money you are blowing. That could be going into a paid off house.A car depreciates-house appreciates so pay off house first, near to work. What you save in gas and repairs, build in equity …Most houses appreciate and cars depreciate – so pay off house first,Live near to work. What you save in gas and car repairs pay toward principal on your house mortgage and build in equity in your home.
    -Tired of paying high taxes?

  3. Bill W. says:

    Forbes Feb 14, 2005, Rich Karlgaard, Publisher wrote this about Tithing….An Irrational Act

    A friend grew up tithing but turned against it and the church.
    After he earned degrees in engineering and law from elite colleges, married, started a family and earned a great salary he and his wife found they couldn’t save a dime of it.

    Returning to church he heard a modest promise that tithing liberates the tither from financial worry. The minister told them not to give all their money to the church, but to spread it around. The couple pledged to tithe and started to give away 10% of their income, every paycheck.

    They found they were able to save 10% of their income and still retired their house mortgage ahead of schedule. His income has gone up since he began to tithe, even though his industry is flat. He calls it the 10-10-80 rule. Tithe, save and spend joyously, in that order. He says that absent financial worry he feels more creative and energetic about his work.

    Greg Gianforte, the founder, chairman and CEO of RightNow technologies is another enthusiastic tither. He started his Web services company in 1997 in the spare bedroom of his Bozeman, Mont. home and at the time the story was printed (in Feb 2005) his company had grown to $40 million in sales. It went public on NASDAQ in 2004, becoming Montana’s first tech startup to do so.

    Gianforte is quick to say that tithing is a duty of his faith. One must never tithe with expectations of divine rewards, yet he says tithing has brought these benefits:

    • freedom from his possessions. He doesn’t hold on to things as tightly anymore. He became more wiling to take a chance. Entrepreneurial risk is less terrifying.
    • discipline begins to show up unexpectedly in other areas. He was able to rise earlier in the morning and is more patient with people.
    • puts you in touch with people’s needs; an excellent habit to acquire in business. If you want to build a company, you have to be in touch with customers’ needs.
    • you begin to see your role as a steward of resources. You don’t engage in wasteful spending. You learn to become a bootstrapper.

    Why does tithing work? Nobody knows. Only that it does for many.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s