There are two personal-finance chestnuts in nearly every article about saving money: Putting money away (instead of spending it) is difficult, and people should generally save more than they already do. But despite these truisms, one subset of Americans seem to be doing pretty well at saving: the super wealthy.
This may not seem all that surprising, but the reason isn’t simply that they have more money to save. According to a new survey by Bank of America U.S. Trust, the bank’s private wealth management arm, many wealthy individuals in the U.S. start saving in their teenage years. The report, “Insights on Wealth and Worth,” surveys nearly 700 people and offers an inside look at the attitudes and behaviors of ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The survey’s respondents have at least $3 million in assets, and 30 percent have more than $10 million.
The report offers some insights into the kind of financial discipline and responsibility taken up by wealthy individuals in their early years. On average, respondents said they started saving money at the age of 14—which is actually not that rare, as another, broader, survey found that over 52 percent of American teenagers report having some kind of savings account. It’s worth noting that many wealthy people are born rich, and the fact that they started saving early is likely more the result of their backgrounds than it is a sign of any special abilities that would lead to wealth.