Rules of Wealth
To build wealth you must go beyond "spend less, save more." Follow these simple rules to build the solid foundation you need to meet your financial goals.
The basics of achieving wealth haven’t changed. Don’t spend more than you make. Save. Invest. The action of achieving wealth is a little more difficult. It takes discipline. But maybe it just takes a shift in how you prepare and tackle the rules of wealth. This year, try these seven simple steps to achieving wealth.
What works for one person may not for another. Start by looking inward. What’s your level of risk tolerance? Which sacrifices are you willing to make to earn more or save more? When you know yourself, you can make better and more realistic choices about how to build wealth.
Learn about personal finance.
You don’t need an MBA. But learn more about the basics, such as how compound interest grows savings and why investing in low-cost index mutual funds is wiser than trying to pick individual stocks.
Increase earning power.
It’s hard to build wealth without adequate income. Consider getting more education, seeking promotions or taking a second job to increase your earning power. And make the money you accumulate earn more by maximizing interest and appreciation on savings and investments.
Build an emergency fund.
Before investing for retirement or other goals, save for a rainy day. Build an emergency fund with enough to cover at least three to six months’ worth of essential expenses. Keep it in a safe place such as a savings account.
Make saving automatic.
Participate in company retirement plans that withhold savings contributions out of your paycheck. Set up automatic transfers from checking to savings every month. Plan the amount, set it and forget about it as you start to stack funds.
Protect with insurance.
The financial hit from an uninsured illness, accident or natural disaster can have an adverse impact. Make sure you have adequate health, homeowners and automobile insurance to protect your wealth.
Not all debt is bad. Purchasing a home or automobile and paying for college usually require borrowing. Taking vacations, dining out and making luxury purchases should not. Avoid nonessential debt. Especially avoid carrying a balance from one month to the next on high-interest credit cards.
Still not sure of your next move? If you want to boil the rules of wealth down to just one:
Harold Pollock, co-author of The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated, suggests, “Live modestly, invest boringly, for the long term.”