From growing up as a Croatian immigrant who left his homeland with his family in order to escape poverty, Robert Herjavec has come a long way to become an internationally recognized entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert. As we spoke with him for the HLMS January/February 2016 cover story, Herjavec shared five key tips on pursuing and aspiring for financial freedom.

 Q: What is the best advice to build positive credit, why is it so important and when should you start learning about it?

A You have to have credit. You can’t build without credit. Start early, get credit, pay it back and always keep an eye on your credit rating.

Q: How would you prioritize saving within a paycheck and then within your overall budget?

A: The most important person to pay in life is yourself. It’s easier to take a little bit off every paycheck than to save a large amount.

Q: Was growing your net worth ever a top priority for you, and should it be for individuals?

A: Escaping poverty was my number one priority, not so much about building great wealth. Financial freedom is a better priority. Financial freedom is the ability to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want, with who you want, and that is an individual explanation for everybody. For my dad financial freedom was paying off his mortgage and two weeks in Florida every year.

Q: How can people further educate themselves to be fiscally healthy?

A: Leaders are readers. There is so much valuable information in the world, pick up a book.

Q: What is your ultimate goal for financial health?

A: It’s really about creating financial freedom, and at my level it’s about creating something that’s going to live beyond me in terms of a company, or taking over a market, or expanding globally; but even if you’re a small business owner, it’s doing the best you can do in your market. Greatness is a definition of how you choose to live your life.