After graduating from college, Grant of Millennial Money moved back home with just $2.26 in his bank account.
"That was a huge wake-up call for me," the now 31-year-old — who goes by his first name exclusively — told CNBC. He took a screenshot of his balance, set the goal of having $1 million in assets in five years, and immediately started educating himself.
"As soon as I began this journey, I looked up the best reviewed personal finance books on Amazon," says Grant, who reached seven-figures exactly five years after taking the screenshot, thanks to a side hustle that he turned into a lucrative consulting company.
Since, the Chicago-based self-made millionaire has read over 360 personal finance books and "the best book on money period" happens to be the first one he picked up: "Your Money or Your Life," by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.
It changed his relationship with money, and his approach to spending and saving, he told CNBC: "The premise of it is that you exchange your time for money. And when you start thinking about how many hours of your life it took to save up the money to buy something, you really start thinking twice about your purchases."
For example, "say I work eight hours a day and after taxes, make $10 an hour, meaning I'm earning $80 a day. I want to go out for a nice dinner on Friday and that costs about $80, meaning I spent an entire day of my life working for this meal. And then you start thinking about even larger purchases, like a $1,000 TV, and you think, 'How much of my life did I trade for this? Is it worth it?'"
During his five-year journey to seven figures, Grant saved 50% of his income. Today, despite his financial success, he still focuses on living simply and sets aside 40% to 50%.
He doesn't just save half of his income — he puts it to work. After all, "in order to build wealth you need to be making as much money as possible on your money," Grant writes on his blog. "Because you can only make so much money at any career, investing is truly the key to wealth."
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