But your parents can only teach you so much because they grew up in a different time and things change.
What I learned since then is that not all debt is bad. If you have a low-cost deductible mortgage like we have, why in the world would you be in a hurry to pay it off?
And student loans: A lot of times it is worthwhile to take out a moderate amount of student loan debt so you can get a good education that can increase your income.
If someone wants to get rich, how would you tell them to begin?
The first thing I tell them is understand, or try to understand, the power of compounding.
And the example I always give is: If I give you a penny on the first day of the month and promise to double it every day, how much would you have at the end of the month? And some people might say, $500 or $5,000. The answer is $10,000,000.
Compounding doesn't actually work that fast. Nobody is going to double your money everyday. But it gets across the point that once you've got that money set aside and you give it time to grow for you, it can really add up.
But you have to put it aside and keep your hands off it.
My advice would be just start. Especially if you are in your 20s, there is no better time to start saving for retirement than when you are young because within a few decades you will have a ton of financial freedom. You can take time off if you want, you can retire early. You'll have so many more options than somebody who waits.
How do people sabotage their wealth-building efforts?
Every which way. People don't really understand how radically the credit card world in general has changed just in the last 15 years. The credit availability has exploded. Since 1990, we've got more than quadruple the amount of credit extended on credit cards than we did back then.
And creditors' standards have really loosened quite a bit, so we had this huge change in the way credit is given to people. But we didn't have an increase in consumer education with how to deal with all this credit.
So, credit card debt, not saving for retirement, cashing out when they leave a job -- I forget what the exact percentage is, but 40 (percent) to 50 percent of people who leave a job cash out their retirement account, which is just insane.
Every $1,000 you take out of your retirement is going to cost you $10,000 in retirement income, and the younger you are when you do it, the more it's going to cost you.