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We just spoke about saving your way to some capital to start a business and here’s Steve Olsen talking on his blog about a man that he met who managed to do just that by saving 50% of his income:
I heard a 60+ year old man say this today…
When I was 18 I made a decision. I decided I never wanted to be under financial stress. I have lived that decision my entire adult life and have never experienced financial stress. How did I do it? I saved 50% of my take home income without exception. I’ve had months I’ve made $100, and other months I’ve made $100,000. But regardless, I still saved 50% of my income. My income has fluctuated but my saving percentage hasn’t. This has enabled me to purchase several business and a large ranch without incurring debt. I hear people say ‘I couldn’t possibly live on 50% of my income.’ Oh! baloney, you choose not to. Sure it’s harder once you have a 400K mortgage and kids in private colleges, but you decided to live that way. You don’t need to live that way. And if you had decided when you were younger to live differently, you could have your 400K home and private college today without a dollar of debt.
I’m not trying to preach. I don’t save 50%. But I know everything this man said is true. I could have saved more, and if I had, I’d be much better off today.
First of all, I stick to my guns: you CAN’T save your way to wealth!
For example, let’s look at Mark from our 7 Millionaires … In Training! ‘ grand experiment’:
My current monthly net income after taxes is about $6,425
I haven’t tracked my expenses in detail for a while even though I’ve been using Quicken and I’m surprised to see some areas where I can easily cut down.
Current Monthly Expenses (average for the last 12 months):
- Housing – $980
- Gifts (gifts for family and friends, mostly family) – $925
- Auto – $267
- Entertainment (been to many concerts, musicals, activities and events) – $266
- Utilities – $256
- Dinner and Lunch outside – $228
- Vacation (low number since I’ve used airline miles for 2 international trips) – $224
- Charity – $191
- Misc (Electronics, Clothes, Insurance, Cash) - $406
The total is about $3,743.
This indicates a savings of $6,425 – $3,743 = $2682
Jeff put it best:
Your “living the good life” activities account for about 43% of your monthly expenses (gifts, travel, eating out, entertainment). I’m not proposing eliminating everything, but if you cut those expenses by 1/3 – 1/2, you could increase your monthly surplus (or profit ) by 20-30%. In an extreme case, eliminating them all together could boost your monthly profit [savings] by 61%.
Sure adding an extra, say, $800 p.m. can put Mark into High Income / High Saver territory, producing a HUGE $11 mill. in 25 years …
1. That’s ‘only’ $4 mill. in today’s dollars and Mark has to wait 25 years to get it … Mark’s Life Purpose requires $5 million in just 10 years
2. In 10 years of frugal living Mark will ‘only’ have $1.25 Mill. in today’s dollars … certainly not enough to even reopen up the spending gates
It seems that you really can’t ‘save your way’ to your Number – even if Mark saves 50+% of his income – unless he’s happy with the $4 Mill. in 25 years scenario (better than being broke, right?) …
… but, the secret is in what the person in Steve Olsen’s article did with the money he saved; here it is again:
My income has fluctuated but my saving percentage hasn’t. This has enabled me to purchase several business and a large ranch without incurring debt.
Now, what do you think the businesses and ranch did for his income and lifestyle?
So, the reason why I promote making Money 101 activities such as saving more, paying cash, and delaying gratification is that it allows you to build the capital required to make a lot more money later …
… you really need to be saving more to help you increase your income:
a) By building up a ‘war chest’ (working capital, R&D costs, etc.) for your investing activities and/or business ventures, and
b) By building up a ‘backup reserve’ in case things don’t work out.
As I told Mark:
Save a little now, so you can still afford to spend more later …
… but, ONLY if you are serious about your Number, otherwise spend away! Go ahead and enjoy your life as it is, you’re already ahead of 99% of those in your age group