Accumulating wealth is a necessary step – many would say the necessary step – to living a comfortable life. People can’t truly be comfortable and secure until they achieve financial independence. The ability to maintain a lifestyle without an earned income is both liberating and reassuring, but it’s also not a goal that can be achieved without planning, sacrifice and persistence – or a sizeable inheritance. Unfortunately, too few people will enjoy the benefits of wealth earned by previous generations of their family. For those who are still intent on building enough wealth to live comfortable, the following steps are paramount.
Minimize your budget. Let’s address the obvious item, first. If you want to accumulate wealth, you need to cut expenses wherever possible. The reasons for doing this extend beyond the fact that spending more leaves less money for saving. Our spending habits also define our lifestyle, so cutting back on expenses helps to create spend patterns that are easier to sustain. In other words, cutting back will make it cheaper for you to continue living comfortably.
Pay down debt. It’s extremely difficult to starting building wealth when you owe debts. To really start saving more and growing your net worth, be sure to first pay down debt. Look initially to higher-interest items like credit card debt, then move on other loans. Paying down debt will not only improve your personal balance sheet, but also help you develop habits to help you to save and continue building wealth after debts are paid off.
Save, save, save. Once you have paid off debts, take the habits that you’ve developed in setting aside money each month for loan payments, and instead apply them to saving. As soon as you get a paycheck, immediately set aside a predetermined amount for saving. Make sure to spend only what’s left after you’ve set aside savings. Many people refer to this as paying themselves first, and this way each month you have more money set aside that you can contribute to a savings account or other investments.
Get your money working for you. Simply saving a little bit each month is a very slow way to accumulate wealth, and it will unfortunately limit the degree to which you can growth wealth to live comfortably. To be truly able to live comfortably, you need to put your savings to work for you. This way you can be building wealth while you’re eating, sleeping, or at work. This means investing, and there are numerable strategies that you can pursue based on your preference, situation, risk tolerance, or knowledge of different industries or businesses. Investing in something you don’t understand is the quickest way to lose money, so invest in what you know. Whether it’s real estate, stocks or a small side business, you want to acquire assets that will provide you with passive income, appreciate in value on their own, or some combination of the two.
Don’t try to do it alone. Seek advice. Get input from experts. Make sure you’re getting solid tax advice and working with knowledgeable consultants in fields you choose for investment. Family or friends that have been successful accumulating wealth may be willing to share insights or help you on your way. Look to people who know your goals and can help you accomplish them. Whether talking to family members or independent consultants, make sure that you work with honorable people who will put your interests ahead of their own. Yes, it will cost money to work with accountants, attorneys and consultants. However, the fees you’ll pay for professional advice will be far less expensive than the cost of losing money in a bad investment.
Comfortable living is everyone’s goal. We want to be secure in our lifestyle, and able to afford it without working so hard, if we unexpectedly lose our job or encounter large surprise expenses like medical bills. If you want to live comfortably, you need to start growing wealth and improving your personal balance sheet. Start with the steps above. You’ll learn a lot as you progress; what works for you and what doesn’t. You’ll also develop good habits over time that, with dedication, will last and help you to build a lifestyle that’s sustainable. They’ll also help you build wealth so that you too will be able to live comfortably.
Sarah Porter is a money-savvy writer and mum of two based in Manchester, UK. She is the Brand and Marketing Manager at the UK loan website Oink Money (oinkmoney.com), as well as the founder of a well known money-saving website. Sarah is originally from Edinburgh where she studied Business and later worked in finance for a FTSE 100 company. She left her career in finance to pursue her passion for writing, a move which allowed her to travel the world with her laptop while running her blog.
Sarah has been writing about money, debt and marketing for the last 6 years and has contributed to a number of prominent finance and marketing blogs with many of her market-leading money saving tips. When she’s not working, she enjoys skiing, travelling and days out with the kids.