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Better to give than receive

Danko served on the Marketing faculty at UAlbany for 31 years.

(Nov. 16, 2017) ALBANY, N.Y. – In William Danko’s new book, Richer than a Millionaire: A Pathway to True Prosperity, co-authored by Richard Van Ness, the authors seek to discover what actions can truly bring fulfillment in life when money is not a factor. What can make one “richer” than a millionaire?

The authors conducted a survey of more than 1,300 households, separated into two categories: those with a net worth of $100,000 to one million, and those with one million and higher.

Each participant was asked to answer questions about life satisfaction, according to Danko, an Emeritus Faculty member in the School of Business. He said the survey results showed that the wealth disparity between the two groups did not make a significant difference in terms of personal happiness."

“There were people with modest net worth who were very satisfied with life, and then there were millionaires who were very dissatisfied, so it’s not entirely the money that makes the difference,” Danko said.

He and Van Ness found, however, that acts of philanthropy and life satisfaction were interrelated.

“The data shows that being charitable and personal happiness are positively related beyond statistical chance,” Danko said. “The findings suggest that givers are indeed happier.”

The authors provide a pathway to financial well-being that is connected with happiness. Letters requesting advice and vignettes are used throughout the book to illustrate their points.

Richer than a Millionaire also explores the multi-generational transfer of wealth. They pursue the question of whether building a “dynasty,” or preventing the depletion of substantial wealth over a period of several generations, is possible (spoiler: it is, but you can’t be lazy).

The book, which became available on Amazon last month, is in part a sequel to The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, a bestseller that was published in 1996, written by Danko and Thomas Stanley.

A Multi-generational Audience

Danko said the inspiration behind Richer than a Millionaire stemmed from long discussions he’s had with Van Ness, a colleague of over 30 years.

“We’ve had various conversations about our kids and grandkids,” he said. “We started taking notes about what lessons we wanted to impart to them,” Danko said.

He said the book can be applicable to anyone, regardless of age.

“This is not a financial investment book – this is about values,” he said. “Students need guidance, but there are also grandparents who are watching their grandchildren and saying, ‘The world is what it is, and there are so many disparate sources of information. I want them to have at least this version of the truth to ensure their personal growth.’”

Danko served on the Marketing faculty at UAlbany for 31 years, nine as chair of the department. He achieved emeritus status in 2007.

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