Sometimes called the “Invisible Rich,” those who qualify as the millionaire next door can be good design clients. Few have inherited their wealth, instead they’ve worked hard to earn it and they are selective in how they invest it, including in design.
Two thirds of these self-made millionaires are self-employed. They chose the right business path to earn steady income and be able to save a lot of it. They live on far less than they make, usually less than 10 percent of their worth.
The millionaire next door is closer than you think.
The majority are homeowners and they live in homes valued less than $500K and have occupied the same home for more than 20 years. Warren Buffet is a famous example living in the same home, in Omaha, NE, for more than 50 years. Don’t be fooled by their home value; they will invest in design and they often own second and third homes.
What makes the millionaire next door worth working with is that they will spend money on what they like and what they value. And they are open to being educated into goods with sound value. They are also very loyal. I’ve worked with several for more than 20 years in my interior design practice, and done multiple homes for more than one.
The millionaire next door lives in an unassuming neighborhood.
Be prepared as they live in unassuming neighborhoods: they’ve chosen to accumulate wealth rather than acquire high status possessions. In every posh neighborhood you’ll find at least 10 percent (and sometimes as high as 30 percent) of the homes with leased luxury cars in the driveway and empty rooms as the owners are busy investing in status symbols and worrying about what other people think, while real millionaires next door care nothing about that and are living without debt and paying cash for their kid’s college education.
The millionaire next door knows how to manage their money and they stay out of debt.
You may find yourself doing more consulting and specifying as they sometimes manage their own projects and source the contractors to do the labor. They pay promptly by check, not credit card, and respect expertise. When you build rapport and trust, they’ll be clients for a lifetime.
When you’re ready to capture more affluent clients including the millionaire next door, grab the book “Marketing Luxury Design: Attracting Affluent Clients.” It’s your design trade blueprint for richer projects in less time with less stress.