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6 Things I Learned from the Book "The Thin Green Line"

I read The Thin Green Line by New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan. It's a great book about how to think about money, and how wealthy people do it differently than others.

Here are six things I learned.

1. There's a difference between rich and wealthy:

Wealthy [is] ... having more money than you needed to do all the things you wanted to do. It wasn't a number so much as a psychological feeling: you weren't worried about running out of money because you had more than enough, even if it might be less than someone who was worried about going broke. Wealthy was different from being rich. Rich was a number, and as we saw in the Great Recession, one that did not equate to being financially secure. Wealthy could be a successful corporate attorney; it could also be a teacher who lived on her pension and savings.

2. Rich comes and goes:

[Researchers found that] 12 percent of Americans would be in the top 1 percent [of wage earners] and 39 percent would be in the top 5 percent for at least one year of their life. Over half would crack the top 10 percent -- with an income greater than $115,000 a year -- during their lives ... half of the people who earned more than $1 million between 1999 and 2007 did so for just one year; only 6 percent did it for the entire period.

3. Being poor leaves no room for error:

[Are low-income children], whose parents cannot afford this kind of education, stuck at the bottom? Not necessarily. But they have to be more careful and, to be honest, lucky.

4. Having money has downsides, too:

5. It even affects charity:

Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecommunications mogul and the only man in the world richer than Bill Gates, had a more nuanced view on not being charitable.

6. This is such an important topic:

Knowing the difference between being wealthy and being rich is the difference between living a secure or a fraught life.

Go buy the book here . It's great.

The more you know about the most common mistakes that investors make, the better your likelihood of building lasting wealth. Click here for more commentary on how I think about investing and money.

The article 6 Things I Learned from the Book "The Thin Green Line" originally appeared on Fool.com.

Contact Morgan Housel at mhousel@fool.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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