The $1,000 Plan: A Post for Anyone Ages 8-80

Do you think that Warren Buffett made 66.7 billion dollars overnight? Or Bill Gates just checked his bank account one day and it contained 79.2 billion dollars? Or that Mark Zuckerberg built a website in college and made 35.7 billion dollars? (OK, maybe he did, but your name isn’t Mark Zuckerberg, is it?)

Anyone who is rich of their own accord, whether they are a small business owner or a titan of industry, built their wealth over a period of years, or even decades. You don’t go from $0 in your bank account to $1,000,000 in one fell swoop, it happens in increments. And if you want to jump around naked, celebrating your newfound wealth like Mark Cuban did, you have to take that first step towards greatness.

I once read somewhere that if you have $10 in your pocket and no debt, you have a higher net worth than 25% of Americans. While jumping from last place to average among those below average may seem like an accomplishment, a homeless man can achieve the same by picking up a few stray greenbacks off the street. Plus, you’re ambitious enough that you want to get as close to average as you can, right? Right?

Whether you are a starry-eyed teen with dreams of one day owning a Lamborghini and a mansion, or an adult trying to solve the complex puzzle of the modern financial system, I think that $1,000 is a reasonable savings goal. My own goal is to save $1,000 by May,and I’m already 98% of the way there, with another paycheck on it’s way to cover that last 2% with change. And if a kid who will drink Starbucks frappuccinos as long as the grass is green and the sky is blue can do it, you can, too!

Unfortunately, a lot of you may have no money in your paycheck at the end of the month, or you have a large amount of debt, whether it be student, credit, or a large mortgage. But if you focus hard enough, you can slowly but surely make your way towards that first goal. Instead of going out to the club with your friends, watch a movie at home and put the $50 difference into your savings. Set a budget for eating out, and if you blow it in the first 2 weeks of the month, have fun eating ramen noodles for dinner every night!

One of the hard facts of life is that there is no reward without sacrifice. Even if you can only manage to put away $3 a day, you will have $1,095 in your bank account after 365 days; you’ll reach your goal and have enough left for a night out on the town!

I don’t promise to make you rich overnight, in a year, or even 10 years, depending on where you are starting from. But I do promise that if you commit to taking that first $1,000 step, and slowly but surely add to that initial stash of cash, you will wake up one day and realize that you have created a financially secure future for yourself and your family.

-Andrew

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