Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Steps to Achieving Wealth

Everyone wants to be wealthy. Only a few actually achieve it though so following these steps could help put you into that minority group of the rich.

Check out these 10 steps then apply them to your own personal situation:

  1. Set down a plan and chart your course.
    You need a plan if you want to obtain financial independence. Be clear about what wealth is, as far as you are concerned, and what having wealth means to you. Take tangible action and steps to achieve success in your wealth program. The first thing therefore, is to set your course and stay with it.
  2. Believe in yourself.
    Many people have low self-esteem. Others have very little confidence in their own abilities. Remember, everybody has been given the same amount of brain matter as well as the ability to think logically, in most situations. You have to believe you can achieve what you set out to do. Almost everyone has a gift or talent in some area. If you feel that you lack confidence, take a course to strengthen that weakness.

    If it is financials; if you do not understand finances, maybe a course in basic financial management and investment will help you. You may be good with your hands and feel that a course at night school, or some other institution, will help get you started. It doesn’t matter if you make a few mistakes along the way because most people learn as they go. Don’t write yourself off because most people can achieve what they set out to do - if they put their mind to it.

  3. Keep away from debt.
    Debt can be like a millstone around one’s neck. Debt can get you so deep down into a hole it is hard to dig yourself out. Debt is expensive. Debt will put you into bondage. You therefore need to get out of debt and stay out of debt. This should be a top priority. Be wary of people or companies getting you into debt because it suits their agenda or business. Try and maintain a good credit rating. If necessary, ask for a credit report and check if there are any inaccuracies that need correcting.

    If you have to get into debt make sure it is for things you need, rather than things you want. Even though you can use debt sensibly it is best to stay out of debt, unless there is an opportunity, which will result in growth of wealth. This debt needs to be controlled, e.g. if you need to borrow money for an asset that will definitely increase in value, as well as provide an income. This is termed a ‘good debt’ and should not be discounted - provided you do your homework before taking the debt on.

  4. Take control of your spending.
    The latest government figures show that consumers’ outstanding credit rose by 10% annually while the personal savings rate dropped to a new low, as consumer spending continued to grow. This negative savings rate implies that consumers finance their spending through borrowing, selling investments or other assets, or by spending past savings. With so many consumers living beyond their means, what can people do to rein in spending?

    It’s simple - they need to sit down and figure out a plan to budget the amount they spend each week and then stick to it. Is that all it takes, then - a plan? According to the self-help books (of which there are shelves upon shelves in any bookstore), the first step to better personal finances is to know where your money is going and keep it under budget.

  5. Watch your cash.
    Having cash available is more important than having a lot of assets. This simply means that our world today requires cash to pay for things. You need to watch your cash flow to ensure that you can lay your hands on cash when it is needed for an emergency. While it is good to build up your assets, if you have a cash emergency or cash crisis it is not always easy to realize or sell off assets and turn them into cash.

    Make sure that you have some cash away in a savings account for your immediate and emergency needs. The rest of your net worth can be put into assets and investments that grow. Always keep close to your cash flow to ensure your spending does not get out of hand, and that your spending is according to your cash budget. One of the biggest enemies of creating wealth is spending. Study the many tips available for saving money and keep good records of your cash payments so you can see where your money is going at all times. Wealth creation comes about because your cash going out is a lot less than your cash coming in - so maintaining a watch on your cash flow is critical.

  6. Make sure your money is working for you.
    If you have spare money after meeting all your needs, make sure this money is working for you. This means investing in products that grow and produce an income. If your money going out is less than your money coming in you will end up with a surplus of cash. Make sure you set some of this aside for emergencies and the rest should be invested; to grow and multiply. The whole area of investment is complex and there is a lot of information available to help you to make decisions. You may need to talk to a financial planner or investment adviser because you should be aware of the risks, as well as the income and gains the investment products can produce.
  7. Invest for Growth.
    You need to move from being a good saver to a wise investor. Do this slowly, after obtaining the right advice. It will be your first step on the road to building wealth. It’s only by putting your money to work that you will get ahead in the struggle for prosperity.
  8. Pay yourself first.
    This is a well-known principle of wealth growth. It simply means that when your income comes in, make sure you pay yourself first before paying your bills and other costs. This may mean paying yourself $50.00 a week before meeting your other expenses. The $50.00 will mount up each week in an investment account, growing and building in wealth. It may be a cash savings account, which will build up into an emergency fund to cover any unexpected costs, or it may be a set plan of investment along the lines of dollar cost averaging strategies that your investment adviser can tell you about.

    Dollar cost averaging is simply a process of continuously investing a fixed dollar amount into a fund specifically for the purchase of shares. The term ‘dollar cost averaging’ seems technical and complex, but basically that is what it is. Through a dollar cost averaging strategy you will actually end up buying more shares when they are down, and fewer when they are up. It becomes a compulsory savings technique and means that those extra dollars are actually working for you, rather than being frittered away.

  9. Protect your assets.
    If you don’t protect what you own - you are foolish. There are many ways to protect your family, your income and your possessions. You need to have the right insurance cover and you may need to introduce or create structures (such as trusts). The use of asset protection strategies is an important part of protecting your wealth. There also has to be a plan in place to meet your needs in case of accident, sickness or disability. This may require something as simple as an insurance policy. Also, protect your wealth by putting security measures in place, to cover yourself from theft, burglary as well as identity theft, which is a big area of concern these days.
  10. Look to the future.
    Teach your children the principles of finance and wealth growth. If they are going to thrive and develop in the years ahead they must understand how money works and how debt can affect their wealth. They need to learn about finances and how to avoid financial mistakes. They need to appreciate that the cost of education is heavy and that they may have to contribute towards this cost by saving (on their own account) from money given to them, or income earned.

    Education is a key factor in obtaining the best job opportunities and earning more money, as well as developing the necessary skills and knowledge to create wealth. The end of the line is providing for future retirement and this could mean putting a retirement plan in place that will enable your wealth to generate income to support you and allow you to retire in comfort.

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