Don’t kid yourself, you wish you were rich. After all, most people wish that had more money, or more freedom to have and do the things they enjoy most. But more often than not, when your savings are nearly depleted, you are mired in debt, and you are working yourself to exhaustion just to stay above water, it may seem like getting rich is all but impossible. But the truth is, most of us have the capacity to be considerably richer and happier than we are right now. However, becoming wealthy often requires fundamental changes in who we are and what we do. For many, dramatically altering lifelong routines can be extremely difficult. But if you are willing to try, here are some habits that can put you on the path to wealth today.
Studies have shown that the wealthy are more disciplined than the poor, often considerably so. They wake up early, set goals for the day, and then move out relentlessly to accomplish them. They do not procrastinate. They eat less junk food, exercise more, and optimize their time; they’ll read a book instead of watching television, and listen to an audiobook during the morning commute. They are less emotional about money, and not prone to making impulsive purchases. Improving your personal ethos like this is not about being tough; instead, self discipline makes your time and effort more valuable to you. No one is perfect of course, and we all are prone waste time or indulge from time to time. But you know better than anyone if you truly lack self-discipline. If your personal assessment leads you to believe you’re a bit on the lazy side, maybe it is time to make some big changes.
While it may seem counterintuitive, many studies have shown that the wealthy live well within their means. They do not drive the most expensive cars or live in lavish homes. Rather than hemorrhage their hard-earned money on luxury items that will only depreciate upon purchase, they instead invest in things that appreciate and make them even wealthier. Are you living within your means right now? If you do a self-appraisal and find yourself holding extensive debt, or are dedicating more than 25 percent of your monthly income to housing, and another 25 percent to food, transportation, and entertainment, your lifestyle is on the lavish side. Take stock of your budget, and make a strategy to pay down your debt, decrease your other monthly bills, and start investing.
Maximize Your Earnings
While living within your means is important, becoming wealthy will almost certainly require you to earn more money as well. In fact, most wealthy people focus on finding ways to earn more. Assess how much money you make a month, on average, and determine a way to make more of it, even a modest amount. There are many ways to do this. Strive to be the indispensable employee in your field, so that your bosses are willing to invest in you and pay more to keep you on board. If you are a salaried employee, try to work more hours, and earn overtime if you get it. You could also consider a side hustle, a part time gig to help you earn more money. Driving for Uber, for example, can be a lucrative part-time job that allows you to set your own hours. You might also want to consider some ways of generating passive income, or earnings from activities you do not directly participate in. If you own or rent a home, you could lease a room out. Services like airbnb also make it easy to earn money renting out your home, or a room in it, even for a day or two each month. However you choose to do it, earning more money each month is a step on the path to more wealth.
Don’t Gamble, But Be Willing to Take Risks
There is a world of difference between gambling and taking risks, and those who are wealthy often pursue the latter. A gamble is a rash willingness to lose everything, with little thought to the consequences or how to mitigate them. A risk on the other hand is a calculated exposure to chance, and possible loss, in order to achieve an outsized gain. The wealthy are more willing to gauge the odds of a venture, and put something they value – their money, their time, or their reputation – at stake to gain something. Those unwilling to take risks, who are uneasy leaving their comfort zones, may not suffer losses; however, they will never, unless through dumb luck, realize substantial gains, either. Likewise, those who carelessly hazard everything on poorly thought out ventures are likely to meet with bad outcomes sooner or later.
Build a Network
No matter how hard you work, you almost certainly will not become wealthy all by yourself. To get rich, you will need a network. The wealthy leverage relationships of like-minded people who can provide advice, identify opportunities, and help them achieve their goals. In fact, the wealthy believe that building and maintaining networks is critical to their success. In a recent survey, 88 percent of wealthy people cited building and maintaining relationships as a major factor in their success; conversely, only 17 percent of poor people noted the importance of networks in their daily lives. These days, with sites like LinkedIn, it is relatively easy to build and maintain rudimentary professional relationships. However, your willingness to invest time and effort in professional organizations – boards, civic groups, clubs – can lead to greater opportunities than trying to go through life on hard work alone. Being a dependable person who is willing to provide advice or help someone at a critical time, beyond merely being the right thing to do, can open doors for you down the road as well.
Virtually no one sets out to be poor and unsuccessful in life. But if you seek greater wealth and the freedom it provides, you must set out on a deliberate path. Building wealth requires you to be disciplined, to focus your life on achieving goal after goal, and to strive to make every moment count. You have to live well within your means, and at the same time work harder to increase your earnings potential. Take calculated risks in pursuit of fleeting opportunities. Finally, you have to build a network of likeminded people who will help you achieve your potential. Embrace these habits today, and get yourself on the path that leads to wealth and success tomorrow.