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The art of saving

moneyBy Ellis Liddell

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a three-part series.

In the early 90s, while searching for myself, I came across a book “The Essence of Success” by Earl Nightingale. What makes this period of my life so interesting is the fact that I no longer wanted to be who I was or to be in the situation I found myself living.

I was 26 years old and determined to change my life for the better. My money was funny, and my change was strange. I never met a dollar that I liked, for it seemed as soon as money came into my pocket, it went out even faster.

I recall going to the bank one day, asking to get a $400 loan against the title of my car that was already paid off. The branch manager met with me that day. She had taken the liberty of pulling up my account and said she noticed that I had made over $36,000 in deposits and withdrawals that year (and the year wasn’t over yet).

However, she noticed that I had never set up a savings account. We discussed that without a savings account, one of the primary principles of money management had not been established. She said I was typical of most people who start a new job. I was making good money but didn’t really have anything to show for it.

Over the last 30 years, I’ve noticed several reoccurring principles that I have followed throughout my life. I will share with you these principles that brought me from financial lack to where I am today.

I have traveled the road of “less than enough,” crossed the bridge of “just enough,” and now I’m happy to say I live on the mountain of “more than enough.” If you incorporate just one of these principles into your life and truly live it, not just with academic understanding but through the pursuit of helping yourself while helping others, you will indeed understand the bounty of “more than enough.”

  • Savings Principle #1: It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep. I’ve often been asked why ELE Wealth Management specializes in retirement. The simple answer is most people retire once in their lifetime, and the monies associated with retirement have to last the rest of a person’s life, which is always an unknown. So, we have to plan for the future while still supporting the client’s desire to live in the present.
  • Savings Principle #2: 10 percent to charity, 10 percent to you (paradigm shift). You don’t go back to the charity and ask for that which you’ve given, so you shouldn’t go back to your account and take that which you’ve deposited. I am referring to a legacy account. It can be used for leverage (to borrow against), but the funds in this account can not be compromised.

Just think how much would be in your legacy account today if you had saved 10 percent of everything you earned. Once you have conquered your ability to give to a charity and yourself, it becomes contagious.

Ellis Liddell is president of ELE Wealth Management LLC in Southfield. He can be reached through

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