“Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions”- Algamish from The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Wealth-Steps.com is not about me. It’s about building wealth by taking it one step at a time and the belief that almost anybody, just like you and I, can achieve that.
I know there is a lot written about ways to make money, personal finance, investing, saving and so on. But ask yourself, what is the ultimate purpose of doing all that? … To create wealth…to create a state of independence and personal freedom where you get to live the life you choose without being constrained by financial circumstances.
That is the “why” behind this website, however I am sure you are curious to find out about the “who” behind the website. First, let me give you the important stuff. I am a husband, father, son, athlete, coach, explorer and lover of the great outdoors.
The secondary stuff: I am an investor, project manager, military veteran, entrepreneur, college graduate, business owner, money manager and overall obsessed with the idea of building wealth to create personal freedom.
My beliefs about wealth
My father was responsible for setting a good financial example for me. He helped me set-up my first budget, taught me about investing - not just saving - and certainly helped me start my “grown up” life debt free. I took these principles with me once I started life on my own.
My first “real” job was when I entered the Air Force right out of college and as tempting as it was to start spending my first real salary I had some sense in me already to control that urge. At that time - in what probably was one of the smartest financial decisions I have ever made – I signed up to have part of my paycheck automatically deposited into a Roth IRA.
Without realizing it, it was the whole “pay yourself first” recommendation in action. The great thing about this is that I kept this going for every paycheck I got for the next ten years. This habit alone was responsible for creating a large part of our investment and saving portfolio.
In 2006 I decided to leave the military and pursue a change of careers…I wanted to do something more in tune with my desires and personality. I found a new position in a field that I thought was going to be much better for me only to find myself in the unemployment line seven months later due to “downsizing”.
What now? Of course I needed to find a job in a hurry since I am after all the sole provider for my family. However it was a great relief to have that six month salary reserve in our savings and a zero debt financial state.
I eventually found a better position with a better company that also paid better. But the point here is that I never again wanted to be in such a position where my financial well-being is dictated by my salary and/or who I work for. In other words I was dependent on a company for financial survival and this company can get rid of me whenever they choose.
This is why I believe so strongly in the pursuit and creation of wealth and the fact that I don’t want to rely on one source of income for my survival.
Because of the knowledge gained by life experiences, what we have achieved so far and what I have learned from hundreds of hours of education I’ve developed some key beliefs:
- Wealth is more important than money. A high income is useless if you spend all of it every month on crap. You can make or have a lot of money and still not be wealthy. The purpose is not just to accumulate money but to create a state of wealth.
- Wealth is achievable by anybody. My father did it and he really had it rough when he was younger. He led by example and showed me the basic principles however it is up to me to put them to good use. We can find excuses all day long why this guy can do it and I can’t. The reality is that the principles to become wealthy can be applied by anybody, but you have to do the work.
- Wealth creation is driven by goals and these goals require a plan for their achievement. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it should be written in pencil instead of ink and it doesn’t have to be overcomplicated – but you need a plan. “If you don’t care where you are going it doesn’t matter which road you take”
- Building wealth is not easy. It sure has not been for me. I spend hours reading and educating myself, I review my budget weekly, I take classes in real estate investing, and I calculate the returns on my portfolio every quarter and on and on…Like most everything in life that is worthwhile you will have to work hard at it. But little by little I have seen my net worth grow and that keeps me going.
- Debt is the enemy of wealth. Over consumption, materialism, keeping up with the “Jones”, excessive consumer debt - these are all behaviors that will prevent you from achieving wealth. Worst yet, there are many corporations out there that are working very, very hard to keep you in a state of eternal debt. The #1 recommendation from a survey of millionaires for achieving wealth is getting out of and staying out of debt .
You will not find here a story about recovering from a disastrous financial condition.
I was not in thousands of dollars of credit card debt or was poor and now I am rich. We have actually worked very hard to avoid those exact situations (not the rich part ;-) ). My wife and I have always been mostly responsible with our financials, borrowing carefully, avoiding debt and saving and investing for more than a decade.
We are debt free, own both our cars and own one house free and clear with an emergency fund built up for 6 months of my salary. We have accumulated a fairly sizable investment/retirement portfolio. At least we did until 2008 hit our stock market investments – which is one of the reasons we decided to diversify with real estate investing.
We have achieved this on a single income, since my wife and I chose family over more income - meaning that she is a full time mother.
We must be doing something right because according to the US Government, our net worth makes us wealthier than 91% of the US population.
Now I don’t say all this to brag but to show you where I am coming from. Hopefully so you can see it can be achieved by a regular family on a single-income, regular salary, common knowledge and skills.
Our net worth is the result of fundamental principles applied consistently over time. They are simple but not easy.
It starts with the example set by responsible parents, and then followed by a life of living on less than we make and consistent saving and investing over the last 13 years and counting. All of this fueled by the vision of a future of financial independence. Oh yeah, we are both 36, in case you are wondering, with two wonderful children that are 7 and 4.
It is because of this approach that we have gotten where we are and we have discovered along the way many things that work and don’t. I have been a student of the money game for more than a decade, read dozens of books and publications on the subject and I am constantly seeking to learn more. Education is key.
One more thing, this site is only good if you find it useful and it’s content has some value to you. The only way for me to know that is if you send me feedback. Please take a moment and let me know what you think: click here or email me: contact(at symbol)wealth-steps(dot)com
Thanks for reading!
References: The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley, William Danko.
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