Millionaires spend their money smarter than other people and don't buy into luxury brands [xfloat=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/millionairenextdoor.jpg[/xfloat]Roy Nankano - LA Car - Dec. 22, 2006 "The Millionaire Next Door," a best-seller book that showed millionaires spend their money smarter than other people, recently marked its 10th anniversary. The book by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, subtitled "The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy," was published in 1996. Gregory Karp, a personal finance writer for The Tribune Company says the striking and profound findings revealed in that book as true today as they were then - especially when it comes to spending money. And rather than spending it on a BMW 7-Series, they are more likely to be found spending it on a Prius or other inexpensive Toyota. "The book showed that people with average, steady jobs can become millionaires over their lifetimes - that most millionaires are made, not born. Indeed, 80 percent of millionaires are first-generation rich, the authors found. They are modest. In fact, they might live next door." During a conversation with Karp, Stanley talked about common spending traits of millionaires a decade ago and in his current research, which will be explained in his next book, which has the working title "Looking Rich in America." Stanley's most recent research for his coming book is evidently about brands that wealthy people use. "There are a lot of millionaires buying stuff at Wal-Mart. They don't have a problem with buying, maybe, socks or underwear there or at a Costco or Sam's Club. Men's Warehouse is selling them a lot of suits, I can tell you that," he told Karp. Evidently, the wealthy don't drive away wealth. The No. 1 make of car owned by millionaires in 1996 was Ford. Today, it's Toyota, according to Stanley's new study. "Luxury brands do not top the list, and many millionaires, 37 percent in 1996, bought used cars," reports Karp. "There's certainly something about buying used cars," Stanley said. "Today, they're a little more likely to buy new cars. But what they'll do is buy a $22,000 Toyota and keep it a long time." "What's interesting about spending is that everybody thinks all the millionaires in America have BMWs. Even among the highest income levels, about 60 or 70 percent have never owned a BMW," he said. "I think BMW is a great car. I'm a car guy. But I won't buy one because there is a relationship between wealth and how much people spend for cars. There's no doubt about it. It's a significant relationship." Stanley told Karp that the biggest thrill he ever had came a decade ago when "The Millionaire Next Door" approached No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list. To celebrate, he went out and bought a Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle is still in his garage. "It has 140,000 miles on it," he said. "I'll never own a BMW or Mercedes or Rolex because ... I know how many people who are not wealthy at all but have the glitz. It says nothing about your inspiration, your wealth or anything else."