This Self-made Millionaire Has One Simple Rule for Growing Wealth

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Personal finance knowledge is important to just about everyone, but with the emergence of social media, the conversations we see about it can also be filled with misguided opinions, hot takes or even lies.

Jeremy Schneider, founder of Personal Finance Club, is cutting through the noise of risky cryptocurrency bets, leveraging debt and overspending with one concise message to help others build wealth: Live below your means and invest early and often.

This principle — along with selling his first company, a start-up called RentLinx — allowed him to retire at 36 years old. Now, he spends his days running a popular Instagram account featuring all things personal finance.

Select recently sat down with Schneider to get a better understanding of his journey, the Personal Finance Club’s growth and impact — and his best advice for building your own net worth.

A man with a plan — and a big exit

Before Schneider struck it big, he lived the life of a regular college student, attending and running track at the University of Michigan. Thanks to some help from his parents, scholarships and money earned by working on the side, he was able to graduate debt-free.

Following graduation, Schneider decided to take a big risk, turned down a full-time job at Microsoft and set out on his own as an entrepreneur.

While building his first company, RentLinx, throughout his 20’s, Schneider lived a very modest lifestyle. He still brags about the 1999 Ford Explorer he bought used and how he paid himself a low salary of $36,000 per year despite being a CEO and living in a high-cost-of-living area. All the while, he was still persistent about investing the way his parents had taught him at 16 years old — in low-cost index funds inside a Roth IRA.

In 2015, at 34 years old, Schneider struck gold by selling RentLinx for $5 million. He immediately began dreaming of sitting on an island forever until its new CEO asked him, “What are you going to do when you get back?” It was then that he knew he had to do something else — after celebrating a bit of course.

Following the sale, Schneider put more than $2 million in his pocket and continued to work for the same company under new management. Shortly after, he decided to take a year off.

So, what did this self-made millionaire do with all his newfound free time? He played video games. Schneider admits it was a waste of time, but since he was heavily invested in market-tracking index funds, his net worth still continued to grow significantly, even as he enjoyed hours of gaming. Schneider also mentions on his website that he spent time traveling and figuring out smart ways to handle his money.

After his year off, he created the Personal Finance Club and its community has since grown to more than 400,000 followers.

Schneider says he’s always been passionate about the subject. The Personal Finance Club actually began as a social drinking club about 10 years ago and what started as friendly banter — and eventually became a simple Instagram post about a two-step plan to become a millionaire through investing in index funds — has since turned into a full-scale business with a purpose.

The impact of Personal Finance Club

His best advice for growing your personal wealth

Even with $4.4 million in net worth, Schneider continues to practice what he preaches both on and off the Personal Finance Club Instagram account by living frugally and investing in index funds on a regular basis.

Besides his two golden rules, Schneider tells Select his personal advice is three-fold:

  • Keep things simple rather than complex
  • Pay down all of your debt (aside from a mortgage) before investing
  • Peace of mind makes you money

Schneider references a never-ending list of potential investment opportunities that are now available, all clamoring for your attention and money. By simply keeping your expenses low and investing consistently in proven index funds, you’ll be able to grow your net worth, regardless of how much your annual salary is.

He often suggests consistently investing in index funds that track the S&P 500, which have produced an average annualized return of about 10% since 1957 (note that past results do not guarantee future success). Dollar cost averaging and compound interest can help your money grow exponentially over long periods of time. In the example below, if you were to invest $10,000 a year ($833 a month) into an S&P 500 fund starting at the age of 25 until you retired at age 65, you’d have over $4.4 million. While you may not be able to invest that much, it still illustrates that with consistent habits you can become a millionaire when you retire.

How to start investing in index funds

To get started on your own investing journey, consider buying low-cost index funds that track the S&P 500, such as the Charles Schwab’s S&P 500 Index Fund, or the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund which tracks the entire U.S. stock market. Note that you will need to open either a brokerage account, traditional IRA or a Roth IRA — or choose to invest in index funds via your 401(k) — to get started.

Select ranked TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest, E*TRADE, Vanguard, Charles Schwab and Fidelity as the best brokers that don’t charge trading fees, making them all great options for those who want to purchase index funds.

Vanguard

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Vanguard account, but minimum $1,000 deposit to invest in many retirement funds; robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® requires minimum $3,000 to enroll

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero commission fees for stock and ETF trades; zero transaction fees for over 3,000 mutual funds; $20 annual service fee for IRAs and brokerage accounts unless you opt into paperless statements; robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® charges up to 0.20% in advisory fees (after 90 days)

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

    Robo-advisor: Vanguard Digital Advisor® IRA: Vanguard Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Spousal and SEP IRAs Brokerage and trading: Vanguard Trading Other: Vanguard 529 Plan

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, ETFs and options

  • Educational resources

    Retirement planning tools

For a more hands-off approach, robo-advisors such as Wealthfront or Betterment might be a better fit, as they can make investments in certain index funds and ETFs on your behalf. These types of investment accounts can also rebalance your portfolio based on market conditions and other factors such as your financial situation, risk tolerance level and investment timeline.

Wealthfront

On Wealthfront’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. $500 minimum deposit for investment accounts

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero account, transfer, trading or commission fees (fund ratios may apply). Wealthfront annual management advisory fee is 0.25% of your account balance

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash. Additional asset classes to your portfolio include real estate, natural resources and dividend stocks

  • Educational resources

    Offers free financial planning for college planning, retirement and homebuying

Bottom line

Schneider started his business and community with a simple message nearly everyone can follow: By keeping your expenses low, not spending money on frivolous purchases and investing early and often, you can quickly build up your net worth and take financial control of your life.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

Christopher Lewis

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