I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Alaska, which was amazing and I would highly recommend to anyone. It’s a stunningly beautiful destination that feels so well preserved and uninhabited compared to the rest of the U.S. There are abundant amounts of wildlife, mountain ranges, and vast wilderness. It’s a truly remarkable place.
My wife and I were lucky enough to travel to Alaska for virtually nothing due to a travel agent discount via a family connection. Something I am truly grateful for. Our 10-day guided tour through Alaska retailed at approximately $4,000 per person, plus $500 per person for airfare. So roughly $9,000 per couple, plus spending money, and Alaska is really, really expensive. I heard it was expensive, but it was even more than I expected…like New York City and San Francisco prices for dinning out.
Our guided tour through Alaska included 30 other people on board, most of which were Baby Boomers, if not older. We did introductions at the beginning and everyone was very educated. We had teachers, dentists, accountants, engineers, scientists, and a number of other professionals. And what was truly remarkable was their appearance. Everyone appeared to be your average Joe. No one “looked” like they would spend well over $10,000 on a vacation. That’s an expensive vacation for anyone.
I know this is judging a book by its cover, but it brought me back to one of the best, and most enlightening, books I have ever read; Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door. A big premise of the book is that millionaire’s don’t usually “look” like a millionaire. They often don’t drive luxury cars; they’re more prone to drive a Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry. They don’t exclusively wear designer clothing and they are not shopaholics. They are frugal savers, not spenders.
Well the group of 30 Baby Boomers I traveled to Alaska with recently felt like this very crowd. Their attire consisted of wore jeans, sweatpants on some individuals, old sweatshirts, cheap windbreaker jackets, etc. A lot of JC Penny and Kohl’s shopping it looked like. Nothing fancy whatsoever. These were people who had money, they just spent $10,000+ on a vacation, but they save and spend on experiences, e.g. travel, versus materialistic items like cars and clothes.
It’s all very eye-opening to me, as a Millennial who wants to retire rich. As every passing day goes on I am becoming better at delaying short-term gratification because of my long-term financial goals. I’ll hold off on buying a “want” item so that I can continue to save more and more aggressively for my family’s future. So that I can ensure I am one day truly wealth via net worth, not the vanity items people see me with where I “appear” wealthy. The perception of wealth is very different than truly being wealthy. I am locked in only on the latter because I am striving to be the Millennial Millionaire Next Door.