If I had the capacity to influence all young people or any 40-something who’s disappointed with his or her track record in building wealth, here are 10 steps I’d recommend they take to turn around their money fortunes.
1. First up, you have to know what you want and then you must write it down
You might want an investment apartment at Bondi, St. Kilda or New Farm. Write down that goal. Then get an idea of what this apartment would cost. You also need to get a picture of it where you see it every day, for example, on your screen saver. If you can’t do this, you really don’t want to achieve your goal. And remember, change is critical if you’re going to change your wealth results.
2. You need to do a financial inquiry into “you”
What assets do you have, such as a car, cash at bank, shares, super, etc? You then compare this to your debts and the leftover bit is your equity. To understand equity, imagine you bought a house for $800,000 and the loan was $600,000. You’d have equity of $200,000.
3. Get to know your “money you”
Now you have to work out what you can save to grow your wealth or use it to pay back a loan on an asset that could help you grow your riches. This is about getting to know your money “you”. Work out your after-tax-income and then create a forensic financial file on your spending. This is just a sexy term for a budget, which many people find boring. However, there’s old saying about successful businesses: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. And you have to manage your money if you want to grow richer.
4. Create the plan that starts to build your wealth
For example, it might be this: “I spend $50,000 a year so I’ll GST my spending and cut back by 10 per cent to find $5,000 worth of saving. I might invest $5,000 in an Exchange Traded Fund that buys the top 200 stocks on the Australian stock market. I’ll do this for 10 years and put $50,000 into the stock market, which should become about $100,000 by then. That will be used as a deposit on a home unit, which I’ll rent out to someone else for income and tax-effective reasons, until I can afford to live in it and pay it off. You might even plan to form a relationship so you can own that home unit earlier! That’s real money-life planning!
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5. Seek advice on tax and financial planning
Do this either by doing your own homework or by paying experts to do it for you. Knowledge is not only power, it can also help you build wealth by knowing the rules and laws that can help turbo charge your wealth-building.
6. Create a plan to build up your income
You might study at nights, create a side hustle or part-time business. This can not only really bump up your savings and help achieve your “get rich” goal, it could become a great full-time business.
7. Become an expert on investing
We started in property, buying old places that were the worst houses in the best streets. We learnt how to renovate, paint, landscape, etc. and we traded up. Then I started to learn about the stock market. One of the best lessons I learnt was that it’s good to invest in quality stocks after a stock market crash and that a market often went up for 10 years on average after a crash. I then learned how smart it was to buy stocks that paid good dividends. These were like great properties that paid a good rent and also delivered capital gain over time.
8. Make getting richer a full-time hobby
Read about it, watch videos, go to conferences and hang out with people who can teach you stuff about investing to build wealth and to get great jobs, big promotions and pay rises or to build a business that ends up in the fast lane for growth.
9. Link the happy things in life to your efforts to building wealth and getting rich
It can be the material stuff you love such as cars, clothes, holidays overseas and property accumulation but it can also be the ability to help the people you love or those you know need your support. It doesn’t have to be all about you. It can be about others, if you stretch yourself to become exceptional with money, business or success as an employee.
10. Finally, you have to really want it
I’ve always loved this quote from one of the greatest athletes of all time: Chris Evert, the tennis great, who once said “There were times when deep down I wanted to win so badly I could actually will it to happen. I think most of my career was based on desire.”
To build riches above the average Aussie doesn’t come from dumb luck. It comes from you deciding that you want to be different, committed and focused on becoming a money expert. It’s about building a new and improved you. As Kevin Costner’s character said in that film Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come…”
The “they” are those life goals that can only come after you build the foundations for change and building riches.
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