Dad's Savings Advice to His Son Entering the Workforce

It is the parents' responsibility to teach their children how to save. This education should begin when children reach age 10 and include not only how to set aside money for savings but also how to manage their spending. Of course young kids have very few expenditures. Most will involve things like movies, wasting money at the mall, buying candy etc. The smarter parents make their kids spend their own money on those things. It's the only way kids will learn to appreciate the value of a dollar.

When my son graduated from college I sent him the following email:

Hi Son. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about saving and budgeting since you moved into your apartment. I wanted to give you some financial advice that I wish someone had given me at age 23:

  1. Live below your means – Set aside 20% of every paycheck. Live within that 80%. Do this no matter how much money you make. Surviving on this 80% forces you to live below your means. This enables you to accumulate wealth. This is a Rich Habit. Most have the Poverty Habit of living beyond their means. This is why so many in America are in debt with credit cards, student loans, auto loans and mortgages that exceed the value of their homes.
  2. If you get a raise or bonus set aside 20% of that raise or bonus in addition to the 20% on your regular pay. Same principle as in #1. This ensures that you stick to your savings strategy no matter how much money you make. Not doing this may lull you into increasing your standard of living through the purchase of more expensive things like a bigger apartment, an expensive home, an expensive new car, a boat etc.
  3. Max out your contributions to your company retirement plan. If the company matches your contributions, great. That’s free money. Not doing this is a Poverty Habit and means you are foregoing retirement savings and the free money from your employer.
  4. Know what you spend every month. Create a monthly budget and track what you spend every day in that month. Not doing this means you really have no control over your expenses and could cause you to spend more than you make.
  5. The power of compounding is your friend and will help you accumulate more wealth.  If you invested just $250 a month for the next 40 years you would have $500,362 (using a 5% return on investment) when you hit age 64. The power of compounding turned $120,000 into nearly $500,000. $600 per month will turn in to $1,200,900. Of course your net pay is going to rise during your career. If you stick to Rule #1 and #2, your savings will increase with your earnings.

Son, every young person thinks if they work hard they’re going to hit it big and make a lot of money but the reality is very few ever do. The bulk of wealthy people are wealthy because they were taught how to manage money by their parents or they learned about money from some mentor in life. Those who learn these Rich Habits accumulate much more wealth than their peers. Most of the wealthy don’t make a lot of money but they do save a lot of money. Wealthy people know where their money goes. They budget their expenses. This gives them total control over how they spend their money. In order to be wealthy you have to accumulate wealth, not wait until you make a lot of money. Focus on accumulating wealth and if you get a big payday one day – great. It’s icing on the cake. If you stick to the 80% Rule above you will save a lot of money and you will be wealthy by age 45. You will be one of the few among your friends and colleagues because most parents don’t teach their kids the importance of saving, so nobody saves. Accumulating wealth is not about hitting it out of the park. It’s about getting singles. You get enough singles and you will win the game.


I love you



About Tom Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor… At age 9 his family went from being multi-millionaires to poor in just one night.

Tom Corley spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 wealthy people and 128 people living in poverty. Corley discovered there are vast differences in the daily habits of the two groups. During his research he identified 149 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” The culmination of his research can be found in his book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Corley is a CPA, CFP and holds a Master’s Degree in Taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, CPAs. Corley has shared his insights on WABC, WCCO, KOA, KDKA, and KKOB and more than 150 radio stations, a host of publications and TV shows.

For more information on Tom Corley visit:


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