While we can’t assure a millionaire bank balance, doing these things certainly won’t damage your odds:
- Shift your focus on earning: Realistically you cannot save your way to millionaire status, I mean, today it costs more money to go to the movies than it does to fill your tank of petrol. So the first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and then repeating that. That may mean changing jobs, companies, up-skilling or opening up second revenue streams.
- Know that there is no magic: Our use of the word “secrets” in the title of this article might have brought you here hoping for a guaranteed, magical solution to make you wealthy. There isn’t one. The fundamental objectives are simple: Make more than you spend, and use the excess to invest wisely.
- Develop multiple streams of income: One way to earn more is to increase your streams of income. Interestingly, a study of self-made millionaires has found that many of them develop multiple streams of income:
65% had three streams,
45%had four streams, and
29% had five or more streams.
- Create a budget: Remember the steps from point 2: Make more money, spend less, and invest wisely. So, make a detailed budget for yourself based on your projected income and your current expenses. Set firm limits for your expenses, and keep a close eye on where most of your money goes. You might be surprised at some of the areas where you waste the most money. You don’t want to be one of those people who in their 30’s says, “I bought so much useless stuff in my 20’s”.
- Save to invest, (as opposed to saving to save): The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one (increase income). Investing is not as complicated or daunting as we make it out to be. (The key to consistently setting aside money is to make it automatic. That way, you’ll never even see the money you’re contributing and you’ll learn to live without it).
- Focus on growth, not survival: Adjust your days to mimic your goals, though easier said than done when you are young. Keep in mind that not everyone reaches financial security, so if you plan to be someone who does, you’ll have to behave as such today. If you spent most of your day on social media, eating out with friends, watching TV, and the other half going to work; then ask yourself if repeating what you are doing today 365 times will have you in a better place next year or will it have you simply in the same place as now? You need to change your routine, focus on earning.
- Eliminate credit card debt: One of the best investments you can make in your young financial life is to eliminate high-interest credit card debt. With the average interest rate hovering around 13%, credit card purchases can get really expensive, really fast. I know there are all sorts of arguments for keeping a credit card around (they’re great in emergencies, you can earn rewards and cash, helps you build a credit rating) and I don’t deny that, if used properly, a credit card can be an extremely useful tool. It’s just so laden with possible pitfalls (accidentally miss a payment, rate hikes, temptation to overspend) that the downside often outweighs the benefits. Remember, it’s possible to navigate life without a credit card.
- Don’t show off : There are many people still driving their first car when they hit the big time. Be known for your work, not for the things you buy.
- Continue to learn: Read about your industry, continue learning and seek out mentors vigorously. Learn as much as you can; swallow it all like a little sponge without complaining. Even if you had previous experience, let them teach you without contradicting or fighting their advice.
- Ditch the steady pay cheque: While the safest, staying in a steady job is often the slowest path to prosperity. Some argue that self-employment is the fastest road to wealth.
- Set goals and visualise achieving them: If you want to make more money, you have to have a clear goal and then a specific plan for how to achieve that goal. Money won’t just appear – you have to work at it. If you want to save for a deposit in 2 years, do it.