Jeff Savage, a member of Generation X, earned his first million by age 34. Now, eight years later, he shares his secrets with the next generation in his book, Millionaire by 40: 100 Secrets to Creating Wealth Not Taught in School.
Savage is the son of John Savage, one of Toledo’s most successful businessmen and founder of Savage & Associates, an insurance and financial planning firm. And, while his father passed away some years ago, Jeff recalls two of his sayings that stuck with him. The first is the sign his father placed over Jeff’s bedroom door. It read: “You come in alone, you’re on your own, you go out alone.”
As you can see, Jeff knew early on he’d have to make his own way. His father further insured that by not allowing his children to work in his business while he was alive.
The second bit of advice is Jeff’s favorite from his father: “There are two types of people in this world: a) Those who spend and save what’s left; b) Those who save and spend what’s left. The people in group A always work for the people in Group B.”
That’s the nut of Jeff’s book, an age-old axiom of saving money and putting compound interest to work. For Jeff, that meant marrying later than most, sharing a cheap apartment with a roommate for seven years, and driving a beater car. Jeff chose to save money while his peers were partying and buying image cars. He shares his advice on saving money in short chapters titled Don’t smoke; Live at home after college; Drive your car until it has 200,000+ miles; Eat and drink at home and Remain single as long as possible.
I know what you’re thinking, how boring. Maybe so, but this is not the only price for financial independence at 40. While saving can create wealth in the long run, if you want to be a millionaire by 40, you also need to maximize your income. Jeff’s advice for the workplace is as old fashioned as his advice for building a nest egg: Have big expectations; Select your job wisely and stay there; Work almost every waking hour building your career; Be organized and Complete what you start.
If you thought this book of secrets would reveal an easy way to accumulate wealth, you’re reading the wrong author. Try one from Enron. But, if you want to come by your million honestly, it’s hard work. In Jeff’s case, after graduating with a degree in marketing from Ohio State University, he sold Mack trucks until joining Andy Malcolm as his partner in Malcolm Meats, a Northwood Company that in 1999 employed 100 and distributed two million pounds of top-grade beef to Ohio’s best restaurants. The firm was purchased by Sysco Corporation, one of the nation’s largest food service firms.
Jeff still works there as executive vice-president but, like those who mentored him, he has a passion to help young adults. This slim 134-page book is written for a generation which has grown up with short attention spans. The chapters are half to one page in length. The book’s format provides a blueprint to developing the habits of wealthy people as well as serving as a dose of inspiration when you only have a few minutes to read.
Such words, strung together in a phrase, can inspire one to make a leap of faith, change directions, or accomplish what they once feared to attempt. While much of the advice is old fashioned, it comes from a 42-year-old man who says he made his first million by age 34. So, it carries the weight of success.
You will also find this wisdom:
If you drive drunk and seriously injure or kill someone you will bury yourself so deep with all the ramifications that it will take years to recover;
You change a lot between the ages of 20 and 30 and the spouse you want at 20 is not the same one you’ll want when you’re 30;
If you think your competitor is better than your employer, then they will win the majority of the time. If you’re not on the right team, get off of it and join the team you feel is the best;
Don’t worry if you’re not flamboyant, most successful people are just good solid citizens who are what they are.
Jeff has been inspired by many quotes from successful people. He includes one on each page. Here are two of my favorites: “Skate to where the puck is going; not to where it has been,” by Wayne Gretzky and “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to get it,” by Jonathan Winters.