No-Nonsense Financial Advice From a Seasoned Financial Advisor

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My best friend, Bill King, is 11 years older than me. Like me, he’s a CPA and a CFP. When I was just starting out in my career, Bill gave me the best financial advice I ever heard.

Bill and I were discussing what it takes for the average individual to become financially free. Bill said that most people live paycheck to paycheck. Bill continued. “The worst part about living paycheck to paycheck was that at the end of your working life, you literally have nothing to show for all of your hard work, except a small amount of equity in your home and your Social Security benefits. As a result, most are forced to sell their home and survive on Social Security benefits, when they can no longer work.”

I asked Bill why that was so. Bill said people have a tendency to spend exactly what they make. They increase their standard of living as their income goes up. They buy bigger homes with bigger mortgages, bigger utility bills, higher maintenance costs and higher real estate taxes. They buy more expensive cars. They go on more expensive vacations. They go out to restaurants more. They buy new furniture even though the old furniture looked just fine.

“So, what’s the solution? What’s the secret to being financially free when you stop working?” I asked. These were Bill’s exact words:

Same House, Same Spouse, Same Car.

I never gave those words much thought until I began studying the daily habits of the rich and poor. In my five-year Rich Habits study I discovered that there were two primary paths towards wealth for most self-made millionaires:

Path #1 – Pursue a Dream

Pursuing a dream comes with enormous risks and enormous sacrifices. Very few are willing to take those risks and make those sacrifices and this is why only a few brave souls take this path.

Path #2 – Live Below Their Means

When you live below your means, you are able to save money. When you have savings, you can then wisely invest those savings. Given enough time, your wise investments can make you financially independent or even wealthy. In my Rich Habits Study, 83% of the self-made millionaires chose Path #2 – living below their means. They bought a modest home and lived in it for the rest of their lives. They purchased good used cars. They ate at home, not in restaurants. They went to Goodwill stores to buy their clothes. They were frugal with their money.

Path #2 is the path most everyone can take. It does not require enormous risks or enormous sacrifices. If you automate your savings, you can direct part of your paycheck into savings accounts, retirement plans and investments. Once automated, the heavy lifting is done. Through automation, you put yourself on autopilot for living below your means because you will be forced to live off of what’s left. Automation forces you to live below your means.

Becoming financially independent is a process. The path you take, is the process. Which path is right for you, only you will know. But if creating a life of financial freedom is important to you, you must choose a path. At some point, you must begin the process of creating your wealth.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. But the worst mistakes I see are actually the series of mistakes made throughout the accumulation phase that lead to simply not having enough money to retire on.The worst money mistakes I see are also the most common; people spending their retirement dollars to pay for things they truly can’t afford.


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