Introduction

Hello visitors.

Welcome to 1DriverAtAtime, a website founded on the principal of building personal wealth, by following the Ten Drivers in my Automatic Wealth Building Program.

My name is Peter and after spending the last decade developing a step by step plan to manage our expenses, savings, and investments I felt the program I developed could benefit many people. The simple step by step program consists of Ten Drivers to build your wealth with my Automatic Wealth Building Program. My wife and I started years ago contributing a small amount each month into our employers 401k plan and once we were comfortable with our net paychecks we each opened a Roth IRA and began contributing a small amount each month directly from our checking account. Over the past ten or so years we have been able to build our wealth without missing the money we contribute to our Automatic Wealth Building Program. We found by treating our automatic investments as a monthly expense, just like our mortgage payment, car payment, credit card payment, and utilities we have been able to build wealth without feeling we can’t afford it. By using the Ten Drivers we have developed a different view of money and our spending. For instance, we now have conversations about money and building our wealth where as in the past just talked about what we wanted to buy next. We talk about whether we want to spend money going out to dinner, whether upgrading our mobile phones every two years or waiting until the third or fourth year, etc. This has also allowed us to have conversations about our long term plans & goals as we near retirement, which we both agree is exciting to dream a little while having a plan in place to turn our dreams and goals into a reality.

By having these conversations we realized we had the wrong view of money. We make money to buy ‘wants’ (mostly that we don’t need), instead of making money to build our wealth FIRST and spending what’s left. After realizing this we changed our thought process to follow a monthly budget with our investment accounts listed as a monthly expense so we save first. Then we decide as a couple how we want to spend our excess funds. With arguments over money as one of the most frequent areas of disagreement among couples, our plan has brought us closer together because we now have shared goals.

When creating your budget (the blueprint of our plan is the 1DriverAtAtime Monthly Budget, which you can find on the resources tab.) which is the backbone of your Automatic Wealth Building Program list your investment expense right below rent, food, and utilities. We even go as far as putting our investment expense above our auto payments. Lastly, the leftover can be spent on ‘wants’ (Starbucks, nice cars, vacations, technology, designer clothing, etc.).

It took some time but eventually, we learned to change our habits to invest first by listing our investment accounts as an expense on our 1DriverAtAtime Monthly Budget and spend on ‘wants’ later. Make your Automatic Wealth Building Program the blueprint of your saving and spending budget. It is truly amazing how much wealth can be amassed with this approach.

You have many options available when setting up your Automatic Wealth Building Program, ranging from banks, traditional investment brokerage firms, discount brokerage firms, etc. Some investment ideas are savings account (pays very little interest, if any), Certificates of Deposit, Bonds, Equities (Index Funds, Mutual Funds and ETF’s). We personally have our accounts with Vanguard a discount brokerage firm with very low fees and many investment options to create a well diversified investment portfolio.

I would like to close my introduction with some some random thoughts and ideas:

This money should be looked upon as untouchable, Invest It and Forget It.

Start Now, Start Small. Take the first step TODAY on a new approach to invest FIRST. There are many companies that offer investments with a small initial investment and the ability to automatically invest more on a regular basis (line it up with your payday), which is the method we use with our Vanguard accounts.

Take advantage of your companies 401k plan (if offered) and invest the maximum percent to receive the full company match (FREE money). Take advantage of an annual step up (automatic 1% increase in 401k deduction each year up to a company determined maximum deduction (commonly 15%) if your company offers it.

Have the mindset of; how much will my money be worth in the future if I do not buy the ‘want’ and instead invest the money with everything you buy. Example, I want a new cellphone this year that costs $1,000. What if I invest that $1,000 and earn 5% per year for 10 years, how much will I have? The answer is $1,628.89. The cell phone doesn’t cost $1,000, by looking at the future value of $1,000 the cell phone cost is $1,628.89.

When we got married, we had IRA and 401k assets of approx. $40,000 and credit card and auto loans of $25,000. We planned to start a family and needed to get our financial picture turned around. Our plan included eating at home, as newleweds we made this romantic and fun, making triple the minimum payment on our credit cards and when one card was paid off, we took that money and added it to the amount we were paying on the other cards.

My mom ran out of money in her late 70’s, had her house foreclosed and lived her remaining years with declining health in an apartment. I don’t wish this on anyone so developed this website as a way to help others have a plan in place to secure your financial future. The great news is, we have more control over our financial health (wealth) than we think. If we change our view of Money and ‘wants’ we can build wealth without feeling that we are sacraficing our standard of living.

Your retirement age should be driven by how much money you have and will need to live a healthy, fulfilling life with the financial freedom to take advantage of your free time.

The longer you wait to retire, the less you will need in invested assets for retirement.

Start Your Automatic Wealth Building Program Today, and Start Small.

Think in terms that every year you work will provide X number of Months or Years of retirement income. Create a worksheet to track this, i.e. saving $10,000 is equal to ____ months of retirement income, not including potential investment gains.

When my wife and I started our Automatic Wealth Building Program it felt like we were beginning a climb of Mount Everest. Without a plan or support system, we initially struggled and were often frustrated that we weren’t making progress, or so it seemed. Born out of this frustration is the Automatic Wealth Building Program, which tracks our monthly income and expenses and as a look ahead so we know how much we can pay each month toward our credit card debt and still have money for food and a few nights out.

Start with Driver #1 and move on to Driver #2 once you complete Driver #1. Continue to add Drivers until you have all Ten Drivers.

Think like an investor – Think of the annual value of each dollar spent today. Weekly Starbucks trip is equal to $______ per year.