Are you sick of watching those rich & famous programs on TV and would rather get on with the business of creating your own lifestyle, one that includes solid financial security and long-term wealth? It's not a dream because you can achieve it if you take the right steps, have the proper attitude, and decide to make it happen. But, it's not all about perseverance, wishing, and a positive mental attitude. Those factors are necessary but won't get the job done all by themselves.
You can't just think of an abundant lifestyle into existence. Like so many millions of people who have already make the journey, you need to make sustained, focused efforts and be patient enough to wait for measurable results. Expecting overnight success is the first of many pitfalls.
Here are the key ingredients that will help you reach your goals without falling prey to numerous temptations along the path.
Make saving a habit. Begin as early as you can, and don't worry about the amounts you put aside for the first couple of years. The key idea here is to create a monthly habit. How much should you aim for? In the long-run, many people have found 10 percent of earned income to be an effective benchmark. Whether you're paid weekly, monthly or irregularly, simply place one-tenth of what you get into a savings account. If you can arrange with your bank for a time-locked account that only allows access once or twice per year, get one. Limited-access accounts minimize the temptation to withdraw the funds on a whim and instill a sense of monetary discipline into your life.
Get a College Degree
When you earn a college degree, you are setting yourself up for success. Armed with a formal, recognized education, the path to the top is only limited by your own thoughts. Don't let a lack of sufficient savings get in the way. Applying for a private student loan without a cosigner is one of the first pieces of the financial abundance puzzle. What are the benefits? For starters, private loans come with higher borrowing limits, reasonable terms, and competitive interest rates. Not only does this kind of loan let you cover your major tuition, room, board, and other school expenses, it helps you build credit in your own name as soon as you begin paying it back. With no cosigner, you establish your own credit history and along the way are actually boosting your credit score, an essential component of long-term wealth and monetary fitness.
Build a Solid Credit Score
In addition to repaying a private, no-cosigner student loan, what are the factors that make for an attractive credit score? The basics include things like low use of bank cards, paying your bills on time, not filing for bankruptcy, and having few or no disputes in your file. Choose one of the many monitoring services that lets you check your score regularly and see which factors are holding you back at any given time. People with sterling scores tend to only carry one or two credit cards, regularly increase card limits, and always pay down their balances to less than 30 percent of the allowed total.
Once you have established a regular saving habit, consider putting a small sum aside each month into an investment account. This can be a managed stock fund, a precious metals portfolio, or a real estate account. Speak with a licensed stock broker or a certified financial planner for specific advice that pertains to your individual situation. One common approach is to designate a fixed percentage of your income for investment purposes, focus on long-term returns, and buy only blue-chip stocks. There are hundreds of variations on this theme, but try to pick a strategy that appeals to you and then stick to it.
Do Long-Term Planning
Planning for retirement is a core concept that many people skip. No matter how young you are, set up an IRA or 401k plan to provide for your retirement years. If your employer offers any type of matching, it's usually wise to take it. If you're self-employed, you can set up your own 401k or IRA and contribute to it annually. For planning purposes, consider setting a fixed amount aside each month.