- Grant Sabatier, founder of Millennial Money and author of Financial Freedom, is a self-made millionaire who at one time only had $2.26 left in his bank account.
- Instead of religiously focusing on his spending, he thought of ways to maximize his income through side-hustles.
- Sabatier says cutting back on your three biggest expenses, diversifying your income, and investing voraciously is the path to financial freedom.
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Grant Sabatier, founder of Millennial Money and author of Financial Freedom, isn’t your typical 34 year-old millennial.
He’s not laden with student debt and struggling to make ends meet. Far from it. In fact, he’s amassed over $1 million.
But he wasn’t always successful. At one point he couldn’t pin down a steady job, was living at home, and had just $2.26 left in his bank account — barely enough to afford a cup of coffee.
“The journey really started with just feeling shame and worry, like I disappointed my parents,” he said in an exclusive interview with Business Insider. “There’s an expectation in our culture to always get better, always perform, always chase the next thing — better better, more more.”
But Sabatier didn’t let this notion discourage him. He used it as the fuel to change his life.
“I went from being completely broke, unemployed, living with my parents at 24, to a year later I had saved over $200,000,” he said. “I set a really arbitrary goal to try to save $1 million as quickly as possible.”
Today, he says his net worth is well above $1 million.
So how did he do it?
Sabatier was able to grow his wealth exponentially by focusing on a part of the personal finance conversation that seems to fall by the wayside: his income.
“Unfortunately, most of what’s written about money — or what exists in the money world — falls into one of three buckets,” he said. “A complete scam, designed to perpetuate fear, or advice that’s so widespread that people think that it’s truth.”
He continued: “There’s a limit to how much you can cut back, but there’s not really as strong as a limit how much money you can make.”
A focus on income
That’s an important note. Conventional wisdom says an individual needs to focus religiously on their spending and saving, but very few advisers expound on increasing ones’ income. It’s an area Sabatier centralized his efforts around — and in doing so, he was able to materially change his life.
He started an array of side-hustles — ranging from building WordPress websites to managing Google ads — which eventually snowballed into stand alone businesses. It was this entrepreneurial spirit that led him to a 7-figure net-worth.
Sabatier put tons of time and energy into growing and marketing his skill sets — and was rewarded accordingly for his efforts.
“We live in a time where so many people are stressed about money, but it’s literally never been easier in history to make enough money to live a life you love,” he said.
By no means is he suggesting that saving is less important than income, or to save less. Sabatier is simply suggesting an equal focus on maximizing ones earning power.
“I viewed saving as an opportunity, not a sacrifice,” he said.
It was this shift in mindset that really set him on his path to financial freedom.
What makes Sabatier even more unique is that he’s never once used a budget.
He realized that if he reined in his spending on his three biggest expenses — housing, transportation, and food — a need for a budget wouldn’t be necessary.
“I realized pretty quickly — once I got on this path — it’s going to be easier for me to save the most amount of money where I spend the most amount of money,” he said. “If I can reduce my housing expense, my transportation expense, and my food cost — I’m about 70% of the way there.”
This led Sabatier to drive an $800 car, live in a “crappy” apartment, and cut back on eating out.
Against that backdrop, Sabatier shares his best advice for getting ahead in today’s world.
“The trifecta is really: cut back on the biggest expenses, increase and diversify your income, and then invest the largest percentage of your money so that your money can start working for you,” he said.
Sabatier concluded: “Financial freedom is not even about having millions of dollars and being to retire early, it’s about having enough money that you have control over your time, and you’re able to live a life that you want — not a life that you’re beholden to because you’re reliant on your job or a bi-weekly paycheck.”