Learning how to become rich slowly might not sound interesting or fanciful but those who have built wealth – people like Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio, and Mark Cuban – have always insisted that the best way to build wealth is slowly rather than quickly.
Those who have tried to take the route of get-rich-quick schemes continue to burn their hands and lose their money to various fraudsters and schemers. Or, perhaps worse, they become entangled in various legal complications.
Consequently, it’s better to stick with the proven way to become rich – slowly and steadily – rather than lose it all in an attempt to create millions out of thousands in a few days.
In this article, we highlight four steps you can take to become rich slowly.
- Get your house in order through a budget
The first step to becoming rich is to get your financial house in order. This means you can no longer allow your money to control you; rather, you have to control your money and direct it where you want it to go.
How do you do this?
You start by creating a budget. A budget is a simple way to organise your income and expenses. The goal of the budget is to ensure that you are not spending beyond your means; that is, the budget ensures that your expenses are lower than your income.
A popular budgeting system is the 50/30/20 rule where you spend 50% of your income on your needs (housing, health insurance, groceries, etc.), 30% on your wants (vacation, entertainment, eating outside, etc), and save the remaining 20%.
The key to budgeting is to ensure you stick to it. This is why the first step to becoming rich slowly is a willful and disciplined commitment.
By saving money every month, you have a basis upon which you can build wealth.
- Start an emergency fund
Once you have created a budget and inculcated the discipline to stick to it, you need to use your first round of savings to create an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is a fund that you can access when emergencies occur (unexpected medical expenses not covered by insurance, unplanned car repairs or travel). An emergency fund prevents you from taking on debt (and paying high interest rates) or selling off your investments (at the risk of selling them at a loss) to meet your emergencies.
Financial advisors have advised an emergency fund that is worth three to six months of your living expenses (needs and wants).
- Create an investment plan
Once you have the security that the emergency fund provides, you can start investing your money in the financial market. To do this, you need an investment plan.
An investment plan will state how much you are investing every month, what you are investing in (stocks or bonds, for example), and your approach to investing (passive or active investing).
To minimise your risk and maximise your returns, it is always better to diversify by investing in different assets – stocks, bonds, REITs, etc.
Regarding your approach to investing, passive investing is cheaper, more transparent, less risky, and allows more diversification. ETFs and index funds are examples of passive investing vehicles.
On the other hand, active investing is more flexible, it allows you to hedge against risk and harvest tax loss, and there is a possibility (though seldom realised) to earn better than in a passive investing approach.
Ensure you choose the investing approach that aligns with your time horizon, risk tolerance, and financial goals.
- Invest consistently over the long term
Whether you are an active or passive investor (or a combination of both), the key to becoming rich is to invest consistently over the long term. The longer you invest, the less the risk of losing money and the higher the chance of making money; that is, the longer you spend in the market, the lower your risk and the higher your returns.
By investing for the long term, you enjoy the benefits of compound returns and you are able to enjoy the long term growth in the market without selling off in the short term due to fear or greed.
Do you want to get rich? Consistently save every month and steadily invest your savings in the market with a long-term focus.
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