Wealth: nearly everyone wants it, but few people actually know what they need to do in order to get it. Becoming rich takes a combination of luck, skill, and patience. To get rich, you’ll need to set yourself on a path that leads to a monetarily enriching career, then handle the money you earn wisely by investing it, saving it, and reducing your living expenses. Getting rich isn’t easy, but with a little bit of perseverance and skillful decision-making, it’s definitely possible.
Save money for retirement. Keep saving. It seems that fewer people are saving adequately for retirement. Some feel they may never be able to retire. Take advantage of tax-deferred retirement plans such as IRAs and 401Ks. The tax treatment they embody will help you save faster for retirement.
- Don’t put all your trust in Social Security. While it’s a good bet that Social Security will continue to work for the next 20 or so years, some data suggest that if Congress doesn’t radically alter the system — either by raising taxes or reducing benefits — Social Security won’t be available in its current form. It is probable, however, that Congress will act to “fix” Social Security. In any event, Social Security was never designed to be the only resource for retirees in their later years. That makes it all the more important that you save and invest for the future.
- Invest in a Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is a retirement account to which working individuals can contribute an annual sum of $5,500. That money is then invested and gathers compound interest. If you wait until retirement age to take money out of your Roth IRA, the money that you withdraw isn’t taxed, because it was taxed at the time you first earned it.
- Contribute to a 401(k) account. This is an account set up by your employer where pre-taxed contributions can be invested. Your employer may choose to match all or part of your contributions. This is probably the closest thing you’ll get to “free money” in your life! Contribute at least enough to take full advantage of the match.
Invest your time. For example, you might like having free time, so you give yourself a few hours a day to do nothing. But if you were to invest those few hours into getting rich, you could work towards having 20 years of free time (24 hours a day!) with early retirement. What can you give up now in exchange for being rich later? Investment advisor Dave Ramsey likes to tell his radio audience, “Live like no one else today so that you can live like no one else tomorrow.”
Stay rich. It’s hard to get rich, but it’s even harder to stay rich. Your wealth is always going to be affected by the market, and the market has its ups and downs. If you get too comfortable when times are good, you’ll quickly drop back to square one when the market hits a slump. If you get a promotion or a raise, or if your ROI goes up a percentage point, don’t spend the extra. Save it for when business is slow and your ROI goes down two percentage points.