I was at a meetup the other day, and after chit-chatting for a bit one of the guys in the group asked me what I did for a living (shocker – when does that NOT ever come up in life?).
I told him I blog about money online, and not only did he “get it” right away, but his eyes lit up! Turns out he was thinking of starting a blog of his own, and after we got to talking a bit he shared a handful of his own financial observances with me.
Which I told him not to blog about until I did :)
It seems my new friend spends 8 months a year on upscale golf courses teaching players – both noobs and professionals alike – on how to be a better golfer. And throughout the years he’s noticed the difference between those who have been wealthy for a while (what he deems the Ultra Wealthy) vs those who have just recently come into a sizeable amount of money (the New Wealthy).
I should have recorded our convo because it was super interesting, but here were the major differences he saw:
The New Wealthy:
- Cocky, arrogant, flashy
- Always showing up in fancy cars (Maseratis, Ferraris, Porches) with fancy watches (Rolexes) and fancy attire
The Ultra Wealthy:
- SUPER nice (one of the first things he said!)
- They wear and drive whatever they want – a mixture of old/new/practical/expensive (says you’d have no idea whether they were wealthy or not just by looking at them.)
- 95% of them are thin and athletic (he thinks due to spending time and money on health-related items vs materialistic ones. Many tell him they work out a lot and try to eat as healthy as possible.)
Now perhaps the Ultra Wealthy once started out as the New Wealthy and eventually worked themselves out of all that nonsense, but either way it was interesting to hear. And pretty much backs up the entire Millionaire Next Door mentality too.
But the REAL fascinating part here – and the one that makes for a great experiment! – is when my friend noticed that BOTH types of wealthy keep their cars spotless inside and out. No matter the value of them. He wondered if this was part of their success and a millionaire habit, or merely coincidence?
So he started checking out all the parking lots where he lived :)
He walked around a handful of Walmart lots (“the messiest of them all”), Target lots (“50/50”) and then varying restaurant lots as well. And by and large the more expensive the spot was, the cleaner the cars were. Particularly on the inside (i.e. no junk scattered all over the place and everything nice and tidy).
Now obviously none of this is scientific and just based on one dude’s observations (plenty of wealthy/smart people shop at Walmart!), but still – what an experiment! I would have never thought to compare such a thing, especially in relation to money.
But of course the next day I had to test it for myself :)
So I hit up Target where I had errands to run anyways, and sure enough it was roughly 50/50, with maybe a few more messier cars than clean (60/40?). I wanted to hit up Walmart next, and then figure out where the nearest golf course is (it would have been much more fun seeing the extremes if any existed here!), but sadly time only permitted so much.
But I think we know what we’ll be doing THIS week! Haha… And you guys should join in :)
The next time you’re out, jot down the store and the % of cleanliness across the lot, and then drop your data down below and we’ll start compiling a global map of it all. And then afterwards we’ll hunt down all the car owners and ask them what their net worth is to prove once and for all if this is correct! *Evil laugh*…. LET’S GET TO IT! (Haha… Just kidding. Maybe.)
Validity or not, though, no harm in keeping your property nice and tidy, eh? There’s a reason one of the best selling books out right now is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A clean surrounding = a clean mind. Which all leads to a more productive and happier life.
Now if only I followed my friend to HIS car to see how wealthy he was!
PS: My car screams DIRT POOR and MILLIONAIRE at the same time… The paint is chipping off and it hasn’t been washed in years, but the inside’s immaculate! Perhaps that’s why I’m HALF a millionaire? ;)
[Vintage parking lot pic by Alden Jewell]