If you’ve ever listened to the radio show hosted by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, you know that most of what he says is for the benefit of people in financial trouble. They’re seeking his advice to get out of debt, put more into savings, and generally do a better job of managing their money.
In addition to his show, Ramsey travels the country, dispensing advice and encouragement at live events. While he’s primarily there to help people get their financial lives back on track, he often meets people who are doing quite well with their money.
He says, “I get pumped every time someone leans in and tells me with a big smile on their face that they are retired, or are an everyday millionaire.”
Ramsey says that these financially successful people are not necessarily high earners nor do they come across as being financial wizards. In fact, when he asks them about what they did to achieve their success, they invariably answer that they followed a small set of basic principles, but they followed them diligently.
You don’t have to host a radio show to recognize that forming fundamentally disciplined habits is something that anybody can do.
First, they’re responsible spenders. They live well within their means and they know where every dollar is going. They achieve this control by having a budget and sticking to it. It doesn’t mean they never go out to eat or to concerts or take big vacations. They simply set aside money for these kinds of things in advance, and know exactly how much they’re spending on them.
Second, they’re intentional savers. Having a budget is a big part of what makes this possible. It curtails the untracked spending that hamstrings so many people’s intentions to save. Ramsey notes that they tend to set aside at least 15% of their income, paying themselves first (as he likes to describe it), when they get their paycheck. And when it comes to saving for retirement, they invest for the long-term.
Third, they get help from a qualified professional. Not only do they look to this person for help with creating a long-term plan, but they also rely on this person to help them adjust that plan as their circumstances change.
Ramsey says, “They (the financially successful people) keep tabs on their investments through annual check-ins with an investing professional. They also meet with their pro after big life changes like a new baby, job transition, or family move.”
However, just because these principles are simple doesn’t mean they are always easy to follow. Just knowing about them is not enough. Following through on them requires a lot of discipline.
But the good news is that if you would also like the same kind of success, you can set up systems that will make sticking to these basics much easier to do over the long run. Your trusted advisor wants to help you get a hold of the reins of your financial life so you, too, can reach your goals.