North Texas Daily

Finance book co-authored by UNT professor challenges young people to start saving up

Finance book co-authored by UNT professor challenges young people to start saving up

Ricky Grunden, Sr. and UNT professor Dave Ragan co-authored The Wealth Builder Challenge. The book's purpose is to advise readers on how to save money and build wealth. Paige Bruneman

Finance book co-authored by UNT professor challenges young people to start saving up
November 06
23:56 2017

UNT finance professor Dave Ragan and his business partner Ricky Grunden Sr. have co-authored a new book titled “The Wealth Builder Challenge.” The book looks to help those in their 20s and 30s with finance and planning.

Ragan is a UNT alumnus and graduated in 2003 with a finance degree. He now serves as a shareholder and vice president of financial planning at Grunden Financial Advisory, Inc.

Grunden founded and serves as the CEO of Grunden Financial Advisory, Inc.

The 145-page book uses the duo’s combined 55 years of wealth management experience to advise people about how to build wealth using six core principles:

  • Defer gratification: live beneath your means.
  • Recognize the only free lunch is investment diversification (investing in multiple assets and classes to protect a portfolio).
  • For pennies on the dollar, protect yourself and your financial plan.
  • Do not leave money on the table; maximize employee benefits.
  • Make tax law work for you.
  • Combined with the strategies in the book, time and a reliable process are the most important ingredients of financial success.

“We wanted to write [the book] because we’ve heard time and time again, clients tell us, ’I wish I would have met you 20 years ago,’” Ragan said. “It’s something that continually came up over and over again. We decided to put our combined years of experience down on paper and look at some of our most successful clients have done and write a book about it.”

Grunden talked about his and Ragan’s goals to make the book as easy to read as possible, attempting to take out as much jargon as they could.

“There are so many books out there that are complicated and they have all the jargon in it,” Grunden said. “What our desire was is that you can pick it up without having a great deal of understanding about investments or anything and follow the steps, which would then put you in the position to become more experienced.”

Ragan said the book is meant to be interesting to readers and not a burden of information.

“This is not a college textbook,” Ragan said. “While there are facts and figures in it, I think [Ricky and I] do a good job with the part that ties in emotion to money.”

“The Wealth Builder Challenge” mentions two types of people: “HENRYs” (High Earners, Not Rich Yet), a term coined by FORBES magazine in 2003, and “STANs” (Spends Today, All Now), a term coined by Ragan and Grunden.

Ragan said many people in their early 20s risk becoming “STANs” and challenge them to live beneath their means and save up money.

“’Lifestyle creep’ is huge in that age bracket,” Ragan said.

Lifestyle creep, as defined by Ragan, is spending as much money as you have, sometimes more. He used the example of someone earning a raise and having a natural reaction to spend it.

“I would challenge this 25-year-old, 20-year-old graduate or soon to be graduate to live beneath their means,” Ragan said. “Be aware of lifestyle creep.”

Kinesiology senior Jordan Kindred said she thought the book sounded interesting and helpful.

“My finances are something I’m worried about because I’d like to further my education,” Kindred said. “I am about to graduate next semester and the money is starting to dry up. I’m literally going to have to take a break and then go back to school to continue my education.”

Grunden talked about how to get ahead of the curve when it comes to finances.

“Time is the most important thing,” Grunden said. “A little bit of money with a good plan and a lot of time puts you in a position that 95 percent of Americans never reach.”

Ragan gave his advice for 20-somethings as they begin their adult lives, saying it is a lot easier to increase your lifestyle than it is to come back down.

“I know a lot of college students who are used to being accustomed to practically nothing,” Ragan said. “So imagine if you could maintain that mentality in the first five years of your professional career, how much more money you could save by living like a college student while you’re earning like a college graduate.”

Featured Image: Ricky Grunden Sr. and UNT professor Dave Ragan co-authored “The Wealth Builder Challenge.” The book’s purpose is to advise readers on how to save money and build wealth. Paige Bruneman

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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