Advertising
Advertising

13 Basic Rules To Grow Your Wealth Effectively

13 Basic Rules To Grow Your Wealth Effectively

Perhaps you started this year vowing to grow personally, expand professionally, or simply grow up.  Do you also want to grow your wealth?

While no two financial pictures are exactly the same, healthy portfolios do have similarities. Follow these 13 rules to grow your wealth effectively.

Think of money as a tool.

That’s all those papers and coins are — a tool to get you what you want. They aren’t the only way, but it is a universally accepted exchange. Thinking of money as a tool empowers you to avoid many of the negative, intense emotions that can be associated with it, and to make rational, calm spending and saving decisions free of emotion. Money is a tool. That’s it.

Advertising

Accept that it takes time to expand your tool kit.

It takes time to grow wealth. Period. “Time” in this case means years, sometimes decades. This can be a frustrating concept for young folks who are rarin’ to earn that cash, accustomed to getting what they want with the click of a button and bombarded by stories of internet sensations who made it big overnight and photographs of 20-somethings with luxury cars and diamonds in their ears.

Define “wealth”…

Do you desire a fat bank account, for uses to be determined in the future? The ability to fund an expensive hobby, like horses or photography? The chance to take years off work and afford time to raise your young children? Your definition of “wealth” may, or may not, be a McMansion and six sports cars. Whatever your definition is, congratulations! You’ve established a goal that is yours. Your definition of “wealth” is the one that matters.

… then define “wealth” again.

Accept that you will end up spending vast amounts of money on unplanned expenses. Your car will break down. You will have kids before you’re financially ready. You or a loved one will incur a hefty medical bill. This is called life. Money, that tool we keep in our pockets, will help us meet life challenges. So take a deep breath, relax, and accept the fact that your financial goals will change time and time again. Staying calm during times of unexpected spending will help you keep your eye on the long-term prize; freaking out or giving up on your savings plan in the face of adversity will not.

Advertising

Acknowledge that cash is king.

If you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it. Treat your credit cards like cash; this means sticking to a lifestyle that suits your income level so you don’t rack off more than you can afford, and paying them off regularly. Do your best to avoid assuming car loans — if you can’t pay the sticker price, search for a used car or take advantage of public transportation for as long as possible. If you have a take a home loan, keep it modest, and wait to look at homes until you can afford to put at least 20% down.

Save.

This is frequently repeated advice, and for good reason — the secret to growing wealth is to accumulate it. Read up on the latest from accountants and peruse personal stories online, check books out of the library, or hire a consultant through your bank to help with financial planning; however you do it, you must develop a savings plan. Once you have at least six months of living expenses for you and your family readily available, you can start to grow your wealth through different types of funds, according to the level of risk you want to assume.

Diversify your tool kit.

Talk to a certified professional about the benefits and drawbacks of savings accounts, stocks, certificates of deposit, IRAs, mutual funds, and any other number of savings and investment options. The key word here is “diversify.” You want to build a broad foundation, so that if something unfortunate happens to any one area of interest, your financial ship simply bobs along in a different direction, it doesn’t sink (and neither do you). Remember that purchasing land or a rental property, or upgrading a home you currently own are also ways to invest.

Advertising

Shop around until you find a no-fee, cash back credit card.

Avoid complicated rewards point structures, or even airfare cards unless you are a frequent traveler; it can be difficult to gauge whether you will actually use these rewards and the value back on each dollar that you spend can be minimal. Annual fees add up and mean you often end up paying for your plane ticket or hotel room yourself with the fee. Once you find a card you like, stick with it for maximum benefit to your credit score.

Shop around, period.

It is tempting to purchase what we want, when we see it. Online shopping, however, means that nearly every product can be compared to a competitor, whether in your community or across the globe. Take the time to compare prices before you buy, especially on big ticket items. Once you have a good feel for the market, don’t be shy about negotiating for a lower price from a local merchant if you find an item cheaper elsewhere.

Expand your mind.

Get creative in seeking out ways to increase income — there are a lot of ways to earn money out there. Make a list of your skills, whether learned in a professional setting or elsewhere, then hop online to do some research, and talk to everyone you meet about how to possibly leverage those skills. Your local chamber of commerce, or meet up groups advertised online, can be good places to start. It’s a freelancing nation, and you may be surprised at what and how much you can pick up on the side of conventional employment.

Advertising

Get your hands dirty.

Nothing is ever “too small” or “beneath you” in the money-growing game. Do not shirk from the hard jobs, the dirty jobs, or those that pay only a little in the beginning — pick them up, see where they go, and remember to save, save, save.

Find a good accountant.

Once you have money, you don’t want to give it away, do you? That’s exactly what you do come tax time — give your hard-earned cash back to the government. Tax codes are complicated, to say the least, so make sure you are giving exactly what you owe and not a penny more by enlisting the help of a seasoned professional. Though Certified Public Accountants are more expensive than do-it-yourself options, what they save you this year and in the years to come truly make this investment worth it.

Treat money management like a job.

Set aside time each week to review your financial accounts. If you’re starting out, this time may be as simple as going over your credit card statement to confirm that every charge is legitimate; if your financial picture is intricate and complicated, this could mean a weekly meeting with your financial planner or bank. Take time to study articles online, read a book from the library, or attend a local class that will teach you more about what all of those financial terms mean and how they apply to you.

Want to make progress today?  Find out The #1 Thing Stopping You From Becoming Rich Right Now 

Featured photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Flickr

More by this author

20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home To Destress 11 Things Highly Charismatic People Do Differently 20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities 30 Life Lessons From Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma These 8 Tips Will Help You a Lot When Meeting Your Partner’s Parents for the First Time

Trending in Money

1 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 2 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 3 How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps 4 5 Books You Must Read if You Want to Be a Millionaire in Your 20’s 5 20 Better Money Habits to Help You Increase Your Savings

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

Advertising

5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

Advertising

Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

Advertising

6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

Advertising

So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

More About Personal Finance Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Read Next