Over 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin strung together a handful of proverbs about wealth and success from his yearly publication, “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” which he wrote and published for 25 years under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders.
The proverb-filled essay was published as the preface to his 1758 almanack before being reprinted in over 100 languages and titled “The Way to Wealth.”
Today, a couple centuries later, many of Franklin’s insights about building wealth still ring true — and one is particularly relevant.
“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting,” the Founding Father wrote. “A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last.”
Sure, making money is important — after all, rich people focus on earning and tend to have at least three streams of income — but wealth is also defined by how much of your income you keep and invest.
At the end of the day, a salary with a bunch of zeros tacked on the end doesn’t necessarily make you rich. Your salary is just a number and if the cash behind that number is not managed properly, it can disintegrate in the blink of an eye.
As Ramit Sethi explains in his bestseller, “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” “On average, millionaires invest 20% of their household income each year. Their wealth isn’t measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they have saved and invested over time.”
The good news is that anyone can start saving. You don’t need to be rich to invest and take advantage of the power of compound interest; you just have to be smart about it and start as early as possible, because when you start to save outweighs how much you save.