Financial Literacy + Self-Discipline = Wealth

November 15, 2019
wealth

If you are a part of the millennial generation or younger, there is a steady path you can pick that can over time make you a self-made millionaire. It does not require a unique set of skills, specialized knowledge, or even excessive risks. Americans who achieve millionaire and multi-millionaire status using this technique took an average of about 32 years to accumulate multi-million dollar wealth with some achieving it in as early as 18 years. They are called saver-investors, and when you encounter one, at first glance, they might not seem that rich.

Saver-investors typically are ordinary people without any particular advantages in life. They did not come from a wealthy family. Nor did they have unique or advanced skill sets that brought in high salary income. Primarily, investor-savers did not attend elite universities, get advanced degrees, inherit money or own high-end cars, clothes or homes. What saver-investors do have is the disciplined ability to follow two simple rules. The first rule is you must save 20 percent or more of your income and have the discipline to live off of the other 80 percent. The second rule is you must consistently and prudently invest your savings. Prudent investing means doing your homework for each investment vehicle and then continuously monitoring its progress. Typically, a saver-investor puts their money in retirement plans like a 401(k), equities, and real estate and then let valuations grow.

If the key to building wealth is so simple, then why isn’t everyone rich? Quite simply, it comes down to habits, the financial habits of people. It requires enormous fiscal discipline and a long-term commitment to become a saver-investor. It can require sacrifices, like running a side business or working a second job. John Jacob Astor famously said, “Wealth is largely the result of habit.” Long-term wealth creation is built on the foundation of consistent application of sound financial habits.

One habit is to eliminate distractions by learning how to say no often. If something is not aligning with your goals and dreams and will keep you from moving forward, it is a distraction and should be eliminated. When you do say yes, say it infrequently. Say yes to the things that are directly tied to your goals and dreams. Every day you need to learn something new. Grow your financial literacy and develop new skills. Use this new knowledge or expertise often to maintain and perfect your skills. Save money because it gives your options, empowers you, and gives you freedom. Opportunities are only as good as the financial resources you have to take advantage of them. Surround yourself with other like-minded individuals because social circles influence our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Calendar your day by the hours or even half hours to be highly effective. Isolate blocks of time in pursuit of those things that will help you build a foundation for success through financial independence. Finally, develop patience. Acquiring wealth as a saver-investor takes time. When things get tight in day to day life, remember to survive until you thrive. It isn’t good luck that is going to make you wealthy; it is the persistence of good financial habits that will.

Part of living off 80% of your income includes choosing to live a modest life. Warren Buffett famously still lives in his first home purchased in 1958. Drive an ordinary car and wear simple clothes and jewelry. If you have children, send them to public schools. If they need more or better education, then supplement their learning by teaching them or signing them up for free online courses. There has never been a better time for humans to become knowledgeable about how to gain wealth. The internet has put a wealth of information in the palm of our hands. If you genuinely want to be wealthy, then develop good habits, live beneath your means, and employ the saver-investor method.

The next step is to plan to protect your wealth. Give us a call to discuss your planning options or options for if you’re planning for a loved one. You can reach any of our six locations in Maryland by clicking here to send us a message or by calling us at (443) 393-7696.