“I found employment with a financial institution!” I beamed with glee at my mentor during our early morning coffee talk. He smiled and laughed with me joyfully. “Today, I start shadowing a seasoned Financial Consultant, studying financial planning books, and enrolled in Financial Services University!” I exclaimed with sheer amazement.
My mentor smiled at me and replied, “You're a diligent young man, Chris. I knew you could do it!” Then he looked at me straight in the eye and with his deep baritone voice said, “Mark my words, Chris, if you grasp this truth, then you'll continue on the road to wealth. Decide that a part of all you earn is yours to keep.” He continued looking at me but said no more.
“Is that all?” I asked.
“It's sufficient for now,” he said with conviction. “Along with your new found career, your heart will turn from a dabbler into the heart of an investor.”
“But isn’t all I earn mine to keep?” I demanded defensively.
“Far from it,” he replied. “You pay for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, health care, education and communication, recreation, and other goods and services. We can't live in the good ol’ USA without spending money." he smiled. "Until now you've paid everyone but yourself. You've worked for others. If you keep for yourself one-tenth of all you earn, then how much will you have in ten years?” he tested my basic math knowledge.
“As much as I earn in a year.” I responded pragmatically.
“That's partially true, Chris,” he responded. "Every dollar you save must work for you. Every penny it earns must also work for you. If you desire to become wealthy, then the money you save must earn more money, and the money it earns must earn more. Grasp this truth, ‘A Part of All You Earn Is Yours To Keep.’ It shouldn't be less than ten percent no matter how little you earn. It can be as much as you can afford. Pay yourself first. Don't spend more than you can pay out of the rest. You'll still have enough for food, clothing, shelter, charity, and the rest of your expenditures. Wealth is like a tree. It grows from a tiny seed. The first dollar you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth will grow. The sooner you plant the seed the sooner your tree will grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water the tree with consistent savings, the sooner you'll rest in contentment beneath its shade.”
He paid for our coffee, with a gratuity, shook my hand in congratulations for my new job, and then he was on his way.
Chris Bryant is an American financial advisor.