Grant Cardone went from swimming in debt at age 21 to self-made millionaire by 30.
Today, the 58-year-old entrepreneur has built a $350 million real estate empire.
Despite his financial success, he still calls himself “broke.”
As he explains on Entrepreneur: “The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. … To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures I cannot access.”
This is the epitome of paying yourself first — Cardone invests his money before paying anyone else, which is the opposite of what the average person does.
As self-made millionaire David Bach explains in his book “The Automatic Millionaire,” “What most people do when they earn a dollar is pay everyone else first. They pay the landlord, the credit card company, the telephone company, the government, and on and on.”
However, “Nothing will help you achieve wealth until you decide to pay yourself first,” Bach emphasises, which means just what it says: “When you earn a dollar, the first person you pay is you. Most people don’t do this.”
A simple starting point is to contribute to your 401(k) if your employer offers one, and take full advantage of your company’s 401(k) match program — which is essentially free money — if it has one.
Next, consider contributing money toward a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, individual retirement accounts with different contribution limits and tax structures — which one you can use depends on your income. If you still have money left over, you can research low-cost index funds, which Warren Buffett recommends, and look into the online investment platforms known as “robo-advisers.”
The key to consistently paying yourself first is to make it automatic and to put it in untouchable accounts. That way, you’ll never even see the money you’re contributing and you’ll learn to live without it.