Whoever you are and wherever you come from, there are 10 steps you can follow that, given time, will secure you a wealthy future.
You’ll need to cut you cloth to suit your own position, sure, but don’t fool yourself – these steps have applied throughout the ages, across civilisations, and they certainly apply to you.
There are no excuses. Got a well-paid job? You still need to know where your money is going or it will trickle through your fingers. Three hungry kids to feed? That’s treble the reason why you should stay out of debt, not an reason to give up.
You can cure your money woes, and turn your financial fears into dreams.
Excited? Let’s go!
1. From now on, you’re good with money
No ifs and buts, no saying “I’m terrible, I don’t know where it goes…” Take responsibility for your finances and you’ll be happier, more determined, and, in time, richer. By reading Monevator.com you’ve already shown you’re ready to change. It starts now! (More)
2. Take stock of You, Yourself Ltd
You need to work out what you’re worth in financial terms, where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Then you need to work out where you’ll be in a year, five years, 10 years, and 30 years. Finally, the fun bit – deciding where you want to be. (Note: ‘deciding’. It’s up to you). (Click to learn how).
3. Get rid of debt. Really! Everything except the mortgage
Your debt makes other people rich. You’re not borrowing from anyone other than your future self, who will be poorer, less financially secure and/or live a less abundant life because you wanted something now, before you could afford it. You can’t save while you’re in debt, and it grows like a weed. Kill it! (More on debt)
4. Discover the secret all successful savers know
You believe it’s hard to save money? Some of us find it easy, simply because we have a few tricks that change how we view our outgoings. The key is to allocate a certain percentage of your salary every month to savings. It goes out the moment you’re paid. You won’t miss it – it was never yours to spend. It’s yours to save, and given time and determination that will make you rich.
5. Splash out on a rainy day fund
Before you put a penny into the stock market or any other kind of financial investment, get some cash savings. Then, when the boiler blows up or you need new glasses, your financial plans aren’t derailed and you don’t go into debt. Having cash in the bank feels great, and you’re even paid interest for the pleasure. Try to save three months’ salary so you can cope if you lose your job. Six months’ worth is even better.
6. Buy what you want – but cut out the crap
To remain financially motivated over the long haul, you need to know what you’re saving for – only misers love money for its own sake. So what’s it to be? A secure retirement? A holiday home? That classic sports car you buy without a penny of debt? Your daughter’s wedding? Personally meaningful goals will help you save, but you’ll need to sacrifice some of the small stuff to get that big prize. It’s time to stop the waste – the surplus shoes and doomed electronic gadgets that steal money away from what you really want.
7. Commit to long-term investment in the stock market
If you want your money to grow comfortably faster than inflation over the next 10, 20 or 30 years, you’ll need to invest in the stock market (possibly via a pension). Markets go up and down over shorter periods of a few years, but over the long-term shares have always risen. By drip feeding in your funds, you can smooth out the highs and lows. A low-cost index tracking fund that spreads your money across the main market is the best way to begin. Indeed, it may be the only stock market investment you ever need.
8. Own your own home (when you’re ready to)
Why does your landlady rent a home to you? Because she believes she’ll make a profit out of it, either because your rent at least covers her mortgage and maintenance costs, or because she thinks property prices will grow faster than the difference. If you buy your own house, you can pocket this profit yourself, tax free. One downside is property currently looks an expensive, risky investment. But it won’t forever, and most generations have done very well from property over the past 100 years.
9. Work hard and smart to create multiple income streams
Ideally, you’ll run your own business to really reap the rewards of your labour. However full-time entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. The second best way to enjoy the benefits is to set-up extra revenue streams that supplement rather than replace your salaried job – anything from a hobby that makes money or an investment property you rent out, to the royalties you get from a book you wrote about local celebrities. Get a second income stream, then try to get another.
10. “Never, never, never give up”
Money is daunting. Here in the UK we don’t like to talk about it, despite being one of the richest countries in the world, and with some of the world’s most insatiable (and heavily indebted) consumers. Perhaps that’s you, or someone you know. Whatever your circumstances, you’re setting off on a road to somewhere better. Some readers will start in debt and end up in a comfortable retirement. Some will start with modest savings and finish their days rich. And let’s be honest, a few who take this road and stick to it could still find the future difficult, and maybe wonder why they bothered; unlike James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life, they’ll never see the even worse outcome that would have awaited them if they’d condemned their old age to true poverty.
Fact: tragedies aside, we’ll all get old and need someone to look after us. But we can start by looking after ourselves. Sure it will take guts to stay on course, with all the temptations and challenges life throws at us. So let’s remember the words of Winston Churchill, the greatest British Prime Minister of all time: “Never, never, never give up”. (And he got the cigar, after all).
I’ll expand over each of these points in the coming days. Subscribe to Monevator.com to make sure you don’t miss a step!