Building your savings may seem intimidating, but in fact, it is much more within your reach than you realize. When you shift your perspective. In my 29 years in the financial services industry, I have seen many people with modest incomes accumulate significant sums of money.  Most of these people followed a few basic principles:

  • They start young
  • They spend less than what they make; and
  • They utilize retirement savings vehicles

To put this in perspective - did you know that a 25-year-old who puts away $4,000 a year for 40 years accumulates more than $1,000,000 at 8%? However, if you don’t begin saving until you are 35, you have to save over $8,000 a year for 30 years at 8% to reach $1,000,000.   At 45, it takes over $20,0000 a year for 20 years at 8% to reach $1,000,000.

It never gets any easier, so start healthy savings habits now.  At 25, you are probably just getting started in your career, planning for an upcoming wedding, paying off student loans and saving for a new car. Life seems to always be eating away at your budget.  At 35, you might have children and be looking for a nicer home. At 45, the kids may be close to college age, and between club soccer, school dances, and home repairs everything seems to cost a small fortune. Life is expensive...

Early on my marriage of 30 years we, like many young couples, had very little money.  We very rarely went out to eat on our own dime. One exception was Don Jose’s, almost every month we would receive 2-for-1 coupons in the mail. When we went there, our goal was to spend less 10 dollars or less. We made it a game! To this day, Sharon and I laugh about these priceless memories. Living within our means continues to this day. Now, 30 years later, can you find a fun way to have fun with your spouse or friends on less than 20 bucks?

Starting young and living off less than what you make are timeless principles for long term success.


Alan has been a wealth management advisor since 1989. He has also served as an MBA mentor for the Crowell School of Business’ MBA program for more than 10 years. Alan is active in the community and is a member of the Brea Kiwanis.  In the past, he has served as an Elder at his church, on the Board of Directors at Forest Home Christian Camp, with the Cerritos College Foundation Board, and as President of the La Mirada Chamber of Commerce.