28-year-old self-made millionaire has learned that: ‘The slow way to wealth is to save’

Tanner Chidester’s net worth crossed $1 million before his 28th birthday, thanks to the two seven-figure businesses he built: Fit Warrior and Elite CEOs.

Having started from scratch, the self-made millionaire has learned that if you want to get rich, “it’s a lot easier to make more money than to save more,” he tells CNBC Make It. “The slow way to wealth is to save.”

It took Chidester, now 28, a few years to actually figure out how to make money. When he was 22, he dropped out of Texas A&M during his senior year to start a business creating personalized fitness and eating plans.

The former Division I college football player made just $2,000 off the program in his first two years. To pay the bills, he worked six-hour shifts at Olive Garden.

It wasn’t until he took a course about how to build an online training business that he started to see results. “That’s when I learned that people will pay high ticket prices—meaning $1,500 plus—for a service,” says Chidester, who was 25 at the time.

“I was selling my fitness programs for like 40 bucks.” That’s when I learned, “Oh, people will pay me $1,500 for my service.”

Chidester homed in on one-on-one coaching, which people will shell out four figures for, he realized. As soon as he increased his prices, he started seeing big money: He made $10,000 in one week.

Eventually, he worked his way up to making between $30,000 and $50,000 a month. By 27, he was a millionaire. While saving money is important, he says, focusing on earning is a more efficient path to building wealth. Plus, if you make a lot, “it’s a lot easier to save anyway,” he says. “If you make $3,000 a month, at the end of the day, you can only save $500 or $1,000, max—you have to pay for rent and food.” But if you increase your income, you’ll have more left over after your fixed costs to save.

Chidester isn’t the only self-made millionaire who encourages this kind of thinking. Grant Cardone, who was deep in debt before building a multimillion-dollar fortune, says the only way to get really, really rich is to focus on earning. “I can promise that you will not get rich by skipping your daily latte,” he writes for CNBC Make It.

“If you don’t have income, then there is no money to save.”

Rather than giving up coffee or avocado toast, “you need to get your mind focused on income,” says Cardone. “Increase your income enough, and you will be able to save something substantial.”

Steve Siebold, who studied wealthy people for more than 25 years for his book “How Rich People Think,” brings up a similar point. “The masses are so focused on clipping coupons and living frugally that they miss major opportunities,” he writes.

“Meanwhile, the wealthy are focusing their energy on not just earning, but earning a lot of money.”

The wealthy are focusing their energy on not just earning money but earning a lot of money.
Steve Siebold, author, professional speaker

This doesn’t mean rich people disregard saving, Siebold notes: “The wealthy also know saving is important. But they know earning money is even more important.

Most people are more concerned with the modest gains they accumulate from their savings and investments than they are with using their billion-dollar minds to create a fortune.” In conclusion, if you want to make it big, follow the money.

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