Chief executives at the US’s top companies earned an average of $17.2m in 2018 according to a survey by the Economic Policy Institute. In fact, the pay of the bosses of the country’s largest 350 businesses has grown by 1,007.5% over the past 30 years, adjusted for inflation.

But salary only plays one part in most CEO success stories. Along with making sure their company always brings in enough revenue, they’re also incredibly careful when it comes to spending and managing money. 

From knowing when and how to make investments to the correct reporting of wages paid, there’s a lot the average Joe could learn about economics from the world’s top entrepreneurs.

Chris Terrill, CEO of ANGI Homeservices

Reward yourself for good choices.

“Live way below your means, but afford yourself a little ‘above your means’ splurge every now and then. The most stressed-out people I’ve ever met are the ones who are making good money but living so far above their means that you can tell they aren’t enjoying their life.

“Instead, live your day-to-day life below your means and your stress level will be much less because you know you have some cushion and weather bumpy times.” 

Rahul Gandhi, Co-founder & CEO of MakeSpace

Cut back on small expenses.

“While long-term financial planning is incredibly important, I find that the best place to start is to find small ways to minimize spending on a daily basis.

“Limit Uber rides when necessary. Ride-sharing makes hailing a car easy, but you’ll eventually spend more than you realize. And keep an eye on your latte habit. Those $6 drinks add up quickly, so if you can, caffeinate at the office.”

Katelyn Gleason, Founder & CEO, Eligible

Pay off your debts

“It wasn’t until later in my 20s, living paycheck-to-paycheck working as a waitress in New York City, that I really realized how dramatically money could impact my career trajectory. 

“I realized that until I paid off my debt, necessity would continue to limit my current and future career options. So, I buckled down and focused all of my energy on saving until I was finally debt-free.”

Joel Wishkovsky, Co-founder and CEO of Simple Contacts

Pay yourself a salary

“If you are starting a company, make sure to pay yourself. I made an enormous error not paying myself at my first company, going nearly three years without a salary and depleting all of my savings.

“All of this advice about ‘don’t raise capital’ comes from people who either haven’t started a company or who have the luxury of not worrying about money to live.”

Keith George, Co-founder & CEO, CoEdition

Invest in yourself

“Although it’s true that money invested in your 20s can pay huge dividends in your 60s, your 20s are also a time to take a chance on yourself. Investing in your own ideas is so much easier in your 20s than it is in your 40s when you are likely to have children, a mortgage, and other expenses.

“So, yes, invest and save money, but also take risks and put your money and time behind your own business ideas.”