By Kelli Kiemle,  AIF®, Director of Marketing and Client Experience

As a firm, we love to talk about disciplined savers – but you may not have heard us describe what that means to us?  More than one individual has asked me for a definition. Definitely a conversation starter.

After participating in hundreds of discovery calls with prospective clients, I can quickly identify certain traits that we attribute to disciplined savers. It could be their approach to saving, investing, or the markets – or their views on spending – there are many possible indicators. Hosting many discovery calls has given us the benefit of continually reviewing the characteristics we identify with disciplined savers.

Here are the top five characteristics of disciplined savers that I have noted over the years:

They spend below their means.

Disciplined savers have generally taken an active role in their spending to ensure they do not over-reach. It doesn’t mean they don’t splurge – but those splurges may have been thought about in advance and saved for accordingly.  We get this isn’t for everyone. Some people truly enjoy spending – with a decided emphasis on spending over saving – the money they’ve earned. However, I’d say, seven times out of 10 calls that I’ve participated in over the years, some words to describe frugality or striking a good balance of enjoying life while saving is brought up.

They save aggressively.

When I think of these disciplined savers – they are saving aggressively. Not just in 401(k)s, but in IRAs, Roth IRAs, health savings accounts, college saving accounts, trust accounts, etc.  Their saving is well thought out and takes many different avenues.

They are looking for steady and consistent growth – but aren’t looking for the home run.

They want to avoid a huge hit to their hard-worked-for assets.

Many of our legacy clients have made, or already saved, their money and are looking to consistently grow it in a fairly conservative fashion to support their lifestyle and then to gift to family or charities. Other new, and prospective, clients want to keep their saving plans in place and are looking for steady growth without taking on too much risk on the downside. They are looking to protect their hard-saved money, while investing for their future.

Their assets are diversified – and not just in the investment kind of way.

Yes, we love to preach diversification in investing, but this goes beyond just investment allocations. Most disciplined savers also own a home(s) or have business interests, just to name a couple. They have diversified their assets and potential retirement income. Additionally, as mentioned above, they have utilized various account types and structures to diversify how their savings has been accumulated.

They think they don’t have ‘enough.’

I can’t tell you how many calls with potential clients have started off with: We aren’t sure if we have enough to even be having this conversation. Then they proceed to list all their assets. Usually I’m blown away – they are very successful and yet they are very humble about what they have saved and accomplished. This sense of modesty is something I admire. I wish there were more of that in the world.

There’s no exact mold here and we have a very diverse client base. But these are similarities I’ve noticed across regions, occupations, and various aspects of clients’ lives. If you are looking to become a disciplined saver – these are some characteristics to mull over. And if you’re already a disciplined saver, my guess is you’ve consciously worked at it. I commend you.

How do you balance having the life you want to enjoy today with what you’re going to need in the future? Are you doing what it takes to enter your dream retirement? TAKE OUR QUIZ to find out.


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant. All opinions or views reflect the judgment of the author as of the publication date and are subject to change without notice.