Most people have a near-constant desire to keep up with our neighbors or what we see on television, to live a slightly more glamorous life. We might think our house isn’t big enough or our car isn’t fast enough. So we seek to attain a lifestyle that doesn’t fit our income or our budget.
With the right planning, you can achieve those goals and dreams. But there is no get rich quick scheme. There is no Nigerian prince who will give you two million dollars if only you give him your bank account information. There is no 2 a.m. infomercial that will make you a millionaire overnight.
But you can become a millionaire. You can win with money and become ridiculously wealthy. Even if you are solidly middle class and never make six figures.
The path to prosperity is paved by the choices you make today when you are planning for tomorrow. Here are proven strategies that will make you wealthy, beginning when you are 18 years old.
Choose a College Major or Trade that Makes Sense
When you are just 18, you have your life ahead of you. There is nothing worse than spending four or five years in college, receiving a diploma and not knowing what you are going to do. Whether you are going to a four-year college or have a career lined up, choose wisely. And this is more than just choosing the career that will make you the most money tomorrow.
Look for a career field that is growing. Look for a career that is booming in an area you want to live. Find something you are passionate about and something that will provide value for a company. If you do that, you’ll be on the right track.
Live Within Your Means
We are all familiar with the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” for a reason. We have an addiction to material possessions that we don’t really need just to impress our friends – and people who aren’t even our friends.
Have a budget. Live in a house that is right for you. Drive a car that will meet your needs. If you spend your life making a $500 car payment each month rather than putting that money into retirement, you will live to regret it. Is it really worth it?
Begin Investing Today
The sooner you begin investing, the better it will be thanks to the magic of compound interest. Here are some numbers to keep in mind: If you invest $5,000 a year beginning at age 22, you can a little more than $2 million in savings if you work until you are 67 years old. And of that, you will have contributed just $200,000.
Oh, and if you wait until you are 30 because you think retirement is so far down the road, you will have about half that, a little over $1 million. Nice, but could be much better by planning earlier.
Don’t Try to Get Rich Going into Debt
Investing in property is a great path to wealth. But it is something you should pay cash for. We often have this belief that you get rich by going into debt, and then going further into debt.
Perhaps you can, but you can also lose it all. The way most men and women become millionaires is by following the path we have outlined: Live within your means, work hard, invest and don’t go into debt.
Think About the Future
People have criticized the book “The Millionaire Next Door” because they don’t think it is applicable today. That isn’t the case. It is more relevant than ever.
It just requires a major commitment and some sacrifice to see what the future can hold. Think about your life. Think about your family. Think about the generational change that can occur. No, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen because of the choices you made.