Having wealth means having to think about money less at a later date. The payoff is that you have to give it a bit of thought now. Whatever stage you’re at in your wealth-creation journey, reacquaint yourself with the 25 tips below to ensure you’re making the right moves toward living the life you want. And once you have, make sure you’ll live long enough to enjoy your efforts.
1. Know Where You Want to Go
What does your perfect life look like five, 10, 20, 40 years from now? Where do you live? How will you spend your time? Whom, if anyone, will you be supporting? What makes good investment sense for most people may be in total disharmony with where you want to be. You need a plan that’s all about you — bespoke, not off the rack. Thinking out of the box with the endgame in mind can pay off massively in your wealth-creation plans.
2. Make goals and bucket lists along the way
Set short- and long-term goals to help measure your success. Keep wealth, career and lifestyle goals in the same list because, well, they all have to be more or less harmonious. Break the list into your 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. to ensure the achievements correspond with your wealth-creation and lifestyle benchmarks. If you don’t plan for it, you likely won’t experience it.
3. Check your health
Your health is everything. You know who says that most often? People who’ve been sick. You may wonder what being in good working order that has to do with wealth. Well, for starters, you can’t get richer if you’re falling apart at the seams. Think how bitter it would be to discover that you’re in tatters by the time you’ve achieved your goals. So keep it simple: A balanced diet, some good exercise, sufficient sleep and regular doctor and dentist visits for checkups and at the very first sign of a problem.
4. Define what will make you happy
When imagining the sort of wealth you want to create, consider the minimum fortune you’d be happy with. Hungering after a nest egg is good, but if your appetite is too big or out of step with how you want to live your life, you risk a raft of serious consequences — jeopardizing your relationships, health and well-being, for example.
5. Don’t always sweat the small stuff
You don’t want to be pennywise and pound foolish. Spending hours accumulating savings may not be your wisest way to build wealth. Investing those hours in gaining a deeper understanding of investing — or actually investing — may be a much better idea.
6. Get a good financial advisor & accountant
An hour of consultation may look expensive, but consider that, over your lifetime, one insight from that meeting might create tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of wealth. You’ll need a financial advisor that will look at your wealth from all angles, including your investments, career, business, home, family and will. As a doctor does with your physical health, you want an advisor and accountant that take an holistic approach to your wealth creation.
7. Know and improve your credit score
At some time in your life, you’ll probably need to borrow some cash. Even the wealthiest people and businesses borrow funds to create greater wealth. Don’t wait until you need to borrow to check your credit score. Do it when you don’t need to borrow. If your score could be improved, adjust your plans to better it.
8. Keep an eagle eye on expenses
It’s easy to drift into a situation in which you’re no longer living within your means. Take a stern view of what’s really necessary for your life by making a list of priorities. Make changes while you’re still well funded. Also consider whether you should be investing what you are spending on discretionary items — every little bit helps in building wealth.
9. Think about saving versus craving
Whole industries are built on blurring the lines between what people want and what people need. Spending $5 on a coffee, when you can make one at home for less than a dollar, may be a craving that’s better saved. With any purchase, ask whether you truly need it.
10. Live your life fully
OK, so here’s the immediate caveat to the previous point. If a $5 coffee really puts you in a great mood and/or bolsters your productivity or creativity, it may actually be wiser to enjoy one. Don’t completely deprive yourself of anything you’ll miss too much, such as good food, fine wine, the occasional vacation and regular time with family.
11. Care for your assets
Otherwise sound investments in homes and other tangible assets can go bad if you don’t maintain, preserve and update them in a smart way. A car in good condition will command a much higher resale value for example. Being organized and healthy is also conducive to wealth creation.
12. Don’t take your foot off the gas
If you aren’t working at growing your net worth, it might idle out. Every waking hour can be strategically invested in wealth creation. That’s not to say leisure isn’t a necessary investment of your time — we all need downtime to recharge our batteries. Play hard to work hard to play harder.
13. Ask yourself if home ownership is really right for you
Your home is probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Most of us can’t afford to buy a home outright, so a mortgage is the only option. Consider the pitfalls of home ownership versus renting — maintenance, taxes, and other fees can drain your account and time. Generally speaking, a home can be one of the best investments you make, but plenty of people have lost their shirt in real-estate deals gone bad. Decide if home ownership suits your specific needs.
14. Accumulate wealth gradually
Commit to a life of slow and steady wealth development, not the hope of a sudden windfall. You might need to institute some austerity measures at first, which sounds neither fun nor glamorous. But some of the richest people in the world have accumulated wealth without flaunting it — Warren Buffett, for example.
15. Think hard about vacation homes and boats
Although a summer home or a boat may make good lifestyle investments, typically neither are good financial investments. Boats cost a lot and once you possess one, they can often become watery money pits. Holiday cottages and second homes can cost a fortune to maintain. One needs to consider owning versus renting someone else’s vacation home. If you think you will be worried about the costs of maintaining a holiday cottage, then you should probably rent or stay in hotels instead.