Unfortunately when someone mentions a “wealth building” program the initial impression by many is an immediate look of disgust. They envision the late-night informercials with all sorts of personalities touting their fool-proof no money down system that will earn you money while you sleep! Everything from buying mystical perfect-shape real estate for pennies on the dollar to a magical stock picking software that will trade your money for you and you can sit back and watch the checks roll in….
There is only one rule to building wealth that matters: Spend less than you earn. To do so puts you on the road to wealth, to ignore it leaves you in a hole of debt that you have to climb out of. The use of credit, particularly in the United States, has gotten pushed to the breaking point, as the recent sub-prime mess has shown. No matter how much or how little you earn, it is entirely possible for you to put yourself on the road to wealth. The key is patience and time, both of which you’ll need plenty of. Here are the 3 aspects of your life that you must properly manage in order to spend less than you earn and build your way to wealth.
Everyone is always talking about they need more money. If only they made X amount, they would be happy and satisfied. Then they get that big promotion, often having to put even more hours in at the office, and their dream salary is finally met! How many people hit that point and live their lives feeling happy and fulfilled? Not many. Instead what happens is that we adjust our lifestyle to our income. If we’re making $30,000 a year and get boosted to $50,000, we move into a new house, get a bigger car, start eating out more, etc. If you want be on the road to wealth, you are going to have to adjust your lifestyle to a point that you are saving more than you are spending. Always.
2. Income and Spending
What you do with what you earn is just as important as how much you earn. If you buy things you can’t afford, especially large purchases such as a outlandish mortgage, you will always be behind the 8-ball and living paycheck to paycheck. The very first thing you need to do is create a budget. If you have a tough time creating a detailed one, that’s not a problem either! Create a flexible spending plan, give a rough estimate of how much you’ll need and make sure not to go above a certain level of spending. There seems to be a common misconception that being smart with your money makes you a miser. It doesn’t. It’s just preserving your wealth and building it over time.
It isn’t enough just to save, if you expect to be wealthy over the long term you’ll need to know where to put your money and why. Investing is a topic that I’ve written about quite a bit, and falls beyond the scope of this article. However I’d suggest getting yourself educated financially so that you can make investment decisions on your own. Listed below are some great sites to get you started out:
This is one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the web. JD has accumulated years of experience and has been through it all. Going from over his head in debt to financially secure, if you want to know how to get on the road to wealth, JD can help you get there.
A great beginner’s source for learning about investing, The Motley Fool has articles about all sorts of investing styles. I’m not advocating their paid newsletters, but there is a ton of free information as well as savings calculators on the site!