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I am sure you’ve heard it before ‘5 ways the wealthy become rich’ or ‘8 habits of millionaires’ – after all is distilled it comes down to only two things: earn more incomes and save & invest more (a.k.a. earn more, spend less). Each comes with its own sacrifices, that you may or may not be able or willing to make – if you are aiming for being a millionaire before your thirties, forties or maybe fifties, let’s have a look at the break down.
“The very first step to building wealth is to spend less than you make”
– Brian Koslow
Earn more income
There isn’t a real first or second in these two key steps – however, plenty of people are already at their limits with their income with just spending on the essentials, with things like renting becoming increasingly more expensive. I would say that earning more income would be the first step to allow a positive cycle to start to increase your savings rate.
The first option is ‘simply’ finding a better paying job, or get a pay raise. But if that isn’t in your realm of possibilities, you could find some side hustles i.e. babysitting, cleaning other peoples houses, start a YouTube channel. Whatever your skills are, there is sure to be someone in need of it and willing to pay for it. Remember, anything helps to get the cycle going!
When you feel that you don’t really have any marketable skills (which you probably have, but just don’t recognize), there is the option to educate yourself. Using the motto, you have to spend money to make money, education will open you up to new side hustles, but also better paid jobs and/or promotion. Speaking from experience though, having a high amount of educaction, it does not mean automatic millions! You still need to educate towards marketable skills and you will still have to work hard to get them to work for you!
Continuing the theme spending money to make money, for those willing to take a risk at the stock market – investing in dividend yielding stocks and/or funds will allow you to build some passive income (money you don’t need to work for), just in case your YouTube channel isn’t working out.
For those with some deeper pockets, getting into real estate and becoming a landlord can offer you access to rental income – increasing your monthly income (but also your maintenance costs). I’ll focus on this a bit more in the future.
Does this all sound too much work? Not willing to spend time and energy getting more money? Marry someone with a good income and just don’t spend too much – can’t make it any easier. Already married and they don’t make a good income? Make them do the steps above! Kidding aside, although it will help to have a financially stable partner, relying solely on others will make you financially dependent on someone else and put you in a marrital form of Economic Inpatient Care. Don’t forget the independence in financial independence.
Save & invest more
How does one save more to invest? Spend less, sounds easy right? Well not in the ways some of the extreme outliers do in many of the circulating articles on how to retire before you’re 35 or such. It isn’t alway realistic to say you’ll save every month, but the secret is awareness and keep trying.
Side note on extreme savers:
A trend in the world of personal finance, mainly the FI/RE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community, is going to the extremes – making your own soap and living in your car to not pay any rent kind of saving. Another option to prevent this financial drain called rent is going the Economic Inpatient Care route, recommended mostly to the younger people to stay with your parents as long as possible (and not show them any financial gratitude). Which is probably not for everybody – I mean, if you intend to earn more income by renting out apartments, you should hope some people are not going to forego paying rent right!? Lastly, to me at least, an extreme is the recommendation to not have children. Now, I am definitely not suggesting everybody should have children (definitely not), but I do feel it should be a personal choice based on other things than building financial wealth. Yes, children cost a lot of money (and time), but they also provide personal growth and changing perspectives – better than any education can offer.
Depending on your life style, it might be considered an extreme suggestion – but saving more money can go easy by simple following this rule: Don’t go outside where it costs money.
Well this is made a lot harder now with online (grocery) shopping – but you get the idea, limit your spending on luxuries, stick to a budget.
The important part is, make the money you save work for you – Invest it, let it grow, provide dividends and that way increase you income, allowing you to save more etc.
There really isn’t any alternative to building wealth besides these two steps. But if you’re into the idea Early Retirement and are building wealth just for this reason, you might consider retiring into something else. A new career that can maintain your desired standard of living, but with minimal (and enjoyable) labor. Check out the needed earning & spending to retire at your desired age using this retirement grid.
I would be lying if I said that anyone can get rich easily, but building wealth can happen at any level. Have nothing? Celebrate your first savings! Don’t focus on the pie in the sky, but look at the next step to take.
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