Hurry up and wait.
It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before, and to me it’s not just ironic – it truly described the first part of my life! Some of the celebratory milestones I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve have been quickly overshadowed by the thought of “what’s next.”
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be thinking ahead, but when you constantly look for the next thing, you’ll probably miss out on the present.
I think I can trace this thought process back to friends and family members pointing out that I’d need to “just wait and see” what the next phase of my life would hold.
Just wait and see – once you can drive you’ll understand.
Just wait and see – once you have a job you’ll get it.
Just wait and see – once you pay off your debt you’ll be able to start making good money choices.
Ultimately, all of these things happened. But, I came to the realization at the end of all of them that you can’t wait for the next thing to start making healthy choices now.
One of those healthy choices involved my decision to continue building wealth no matter what season I’m in. I’m here to tell you that it’s never too early or too late to start building wealth!
Here’s 5 ways you can start building wealth no matter what stage you find yourself in.
Get out of that debt
It’s important to start with paying off your debts before your money can begin building. Payments you make towards debt you owe are holding money back from being used to build wealth- and the sooner you pay off these obligations, the better!
This part of building wealth might seem like a bit of a holding pattern. But before you can build up your nest egg, you might want to pay back some or part of what you owe. Mainly, you’ll want to focus on debt that involves the most interest.
You can try using the famous snowball method to gradually pay off the debt with the most interest first.
It’s up to you if you think you can continue making more “advanced” wealth building moves while holding onto some debts. My husband and I, for example, decided our mortgage was a debt we’ll be paying off for some time. However, this isn’t stopping us from building wealth now!
But we made sure to pay off school loans and one of our cars before really diving into building up our financial status.
Start making a habit of saving
Getting into good habits is such a huge part of building wealth. Contributing to your investments is such a key component of building wealth (we’ll talk more about this later), and it begins with learning to set aside part of your paycheck in the first place.
Start practicing this discipline with a savings account sooner rather than later and watch your money grow!
Were you the kid who held onto the birthday check you got each year? Or did you find yourself itching to spend it right away? No matter your disposition, now’s the time to begin practicing saving a portion of whatever you earn.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming – start small and put aside a portion of your paycheck into a separate account so you’re not tempted to view it as something that can be quickly spent. Voila! You have an emergency savings account that sets you up to have the healthy habits to build money over time.
Once I built up my emergency savings account by contributing month by month, I realized that working gradually towards my wealth goals wasn’t as hard as I thought. I even found it easy to begin working towards the next step of building wealth…
Invest. Invest. Invest
One of the most effective ways to build wealth is investing. And the sooner you start, the sooner your money can grow!
You might be sick of hearing that investing is a great way to use your money. Well, there’s a reason it’s a popular form of building wealth: it works! Go ahead and open an investment account and start to build a portfolio you’re comfortable with.
You can enlist a financial professional or do some research on your own to find out your risk tolerance, which is essentially just how much your situation could handle your investments rising and falling.
Once I started investing in my retirement account, I realized how much I could make in a short period of time. Because my retirement is years down the road, my portfolio is pretty “risky,” meaning the stocks in my portfolio tend to rise and fall frequently. This doesn’t bother me since I know in the long run I’ll probably see a huge increase.
And in the few years that I’ve had my account, it’s already grown quite a bit. I’m building wealth for my future situation and it gives me so much peace of mind!
Live below your means
Choosing to give up something now for a better thing later is a skill most of us could learn. If you learn to give up a small sum of money now and put it towards building the wealth you’ll enjoy in the future, you can’t lose!
Certainly easier said than done! Living below your means isn’t as complicated as it might seem – start by checking out your monthly budget portioning off a margin for investing and saving a bit of your income.
You might have to sacrifice now for a large payoff later, but living below your means will ensure that you build up wealth for later in life.
There are so many ways you can start doing this! Shop around for cheaper phone services. Be frugal with your grocery runs. Cancel one of your three streaming subscriptions… One way my husband and I have cut down on our cost of living expenses has been through eating out less – we make a point to meal plan and save so much in the long run!
In any case, money saved is money earned. Sometimes something as simple as meal prepping can be a step in the right direction of building wealth.
Think quality, not quantity
Choosing to buy quality items (not ones that cause you to go into massive debt, of course) can be a sure way to build your current and future wealth now.
I know this seems to be opposing the step of living below your means – but make sure you’re investing in quality items! What I mean is this: do your research and shop for purchases that will last you for some time. Try buying one pair of quality shoes instead of twelve disposable pairs. Invest in a car that is known for its reliability.
The minimalists are certainly onto something – less is more and quality will usually serve you over quantity.
Your “wealth” isn’t only measured by your bank account; it’s also measured by the assets you hold and the investments you’ve tucked away for retirement (and for fun). Did you know that as you accumulate “stuff,” you are technically investing? Every purchase is an investment.
If you can, choose items that will hold value over time rather than quickly losing their luster.
In the end, you control how wealthy you become. Don’t let the “just wait untils” stop you from starting to build wealth now – it’s never too early or too late! I’m glad I didn’t hurry up and wait to begin building my wealth, and I’m sure 10 years from now I’ll feel the same.
Contributor’s opinions are their own. Always do your own due diligence before investing.