David Bach started learning about money early.
The self-made millionaire and author of "The Automatic Millionaire" told the personal finance site Grow that as a kid his family "talked about investing all the time." That's likely related to the fact that his father was a stockbroker and financial adviser.
However, one of the most impactful money lessons he learned was imparted over a meal at McDonald's with his grandmother when he was only 7 years old.
"It was a transformative experience," he told Grow's Jennifer Barrett.
He told Barrett:
We were eating at McDonald's and she said to me: There are three types of people. There are those like you who come eat here, those who work here for minimum wage and those who own this place.
If you want to be wealthy, she said, you want to be an owner … She said to me, you're going to save money from your allowance and from Hanukkah gifts. And I'm going to help you buy this [stock].
That was a major lesson at a very young age.
It was only the beginning of his career as an investor. In fact, decades down the road from that first stock, he's surprised more people don't recognize the wisdom in investing early and often, rather than trying to time the market and take advantage of fluctuations.
"You'd be better off with a boring, balanced approach that you invest systematically every two weeks and you leave it alone for your lifetime," Bach told Business Insider during a Facebook LIVE interview. "And that's not sexy, and that may not sell, but that's what works."
Investing is a key part of Bach's best money advice: Pay yourself first. "When that money is moved before you can touch it, that's how real wealth is built," he told Business Insider. Bach himself started saving 1% of his gross income in his mid-20s, gradually increasing it to the 20% he puts aside today. In order to "never need to worry about money again," he says, it's smart to save an hour's worth of your income per day.
For example, if you make $50,000 annually and you work a full-time job, 40 hours a week, you'll be paid for about 2,080 hours of work in a year, equaling roughly $25 per hour. Bank that much each day, and you'll be golden, according to Bach.
Then, automate your accounts so that a portion of your paycheck moves into your 401(k) plan or savings account before you even see it. This takes the effort out of manually saving and ensures that your money will grow exponentially over time thanks to compound interest.
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