A while back, someone gave me a little book titled “Independently Wealthy,” written by Dr. Robert Goodman.

Dr. Bob, as his friends call him, is an economist with a wit and flare for writing.

Chapter 10 is titled, “Summing up: Ten Rules That Can Make You Independently Wealthy.”

Rule 1: Start now.

Timing is everything in life, except in the stock market. “Time-in” is more important that timing. It takes time to make money. Rarely are investors lucky enough to hit home runs by buying the right stock at the most opportune time. Start now.

Rule 2: Set realistic goals and objectives.

Sometimes realistic isn’t even necessary. It is the goal part that is missing for most investors. They don’t know where they want to go, so any route will take them there. Remember the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. The cat was right.

Rule 3: Chose a competent adviser.

Most of the time, it should not be yourself. Dr. Bob said the ABCs of selecting an adviser are: Accessibility, Believability, and Compatibility. Get comfortable with someone you trust and don’t hold back about your holdings and your dreams.

Rule 4: Educate yourself.

Knowledge is empowering. Your adviser is better if you know more and your comprehension of the advice will be better if you are better informed. Read. Attend seminars. Ask questions.

Rule 5: Pay yourself first.

At the foundation of wealth is following this advice. If you don’t pay yourself first, there may not be any money left if you wait to pay yourself last.

Rule 6: Invest regularly.

This is the implementation of Rule 5. Quarterly investments are better than semi-annual. Monthly is better than quarterly.

Rule 7: Choose your investments carefully.

Match your investments with your objectives. Match your risk tolerance with your investments. Singles are often better than homers. To carry the baseball metaphor further, some investments are like pitches you take. Swinging at every pitch is rarely a good strategy. Some of your best investment decisions will be to let some investments pass.

Rule 8: Diversify.

I can think of few circumstances where someone would want to put all their eggs in one basket. It just makes all the sense in the world to spread the risk. Diversification doesn’t mean more of the same thing.

Rule 9: Be an owner, not a lender.

Most wealth comes from owning things, not from lending money to banks or insurance companies in the form of bank accounts, bonds, or whole life insurance. Equity, or ownership, can take many forms. Stock ownership is one. Owning a business is another.

Role 10: Avoid temptation.

This is good advice for life in general, but especially for building wealth. After some initial financial success, it may be very tempting to tap into the nest egg for some of the finer things in life.

Rocket science?

Hardly, according to Dr. Bob only about 3 percent of Americans are truly financially independent. These rules are followed by many of those who have made it.

Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, MillsWealth.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.

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