If you want to build wealth, many financial experts recommend a simple tactic: Automate your finances. By paying yourself first, you're putting money toward your own future before spending it on other things.
But Grant Sabatier, who went from $2 in his bank account to $1 million in 5 years, sees it differently. If you dream of retiring early, he says, automating your finances can actually prevent you from reaching your goal.
"The whole strategy to reach financial independence as fast as possible is that you want to make and save and then invest as much money as you can," the Millennial Money founder tells CNBC Make It.
Automation, on the other hand, is "really just the status quo," Sabatier says. "It increases the chance that you're going to be complacent."
That's because, "if you're just automating your savings, you're going to be saving a consistent amount, but you're not going to be saving as much as you can."
Sabatier experienced this himself: He was able to become financially independent in his 30s, thanks to working lots of side gigs and saving 80 percent of his income.
"Automation, it's a great start," Sabatier says. "If you're saving 5 percent in your 401(k), congratulations, that's better than most people. But that's not going to be enough."
If you want to become financially independent, you need to save and invest every extra dollar you can. That could include every bonus you receive, all the profits from your side hustle and even the $50 your grandparents might send you for your birthday, Sabatier says.