You’re never too young to set a course for wealth and success. Whether you’re just launching into your career or working toward your next big break, now is the time to start making your vision a reality.
There’s no foolproof fast pass to becoming rich. But instead of daydreaming about that six-figure (or, even better, seven-figure) income, here’s information you can put to good use. Put these 15 steps into action now, and you’ll be laying the groundwork in your 20s for an overflowing bank account in your 30s.
1. Have a plan of action
If you want to become wealthy, you’re going to need a plan. You’re going to need a budget that you can stick with for the long haul. The key to any budget is that it’s a plan to help you live below your means and spend mindfully -- which is crucial to accruing wealth.
Sticking with your budget also ensures you’re paying down and eliminating your “bad debt,” especially on high-interest credit cards. Your budget should set aside money for your cash reserve to cover monthly expenses and help you build an emergency fund to cover the unexpected.
2. Maximize your earning potential
If you want to become wealthy, you’re going to need to focus on making career decisions that will help you earn more money. Finding ways to increase your earnings and bring in more income is fundamental to becoming rich. Is it time you asked for a raise? Are there better-paying career opportunities you should be looking at?
Ask yourself if you would be able to earn more with a degree or credential in your field. What can you do to maximize your earning potential? Also, make sure you’re working hard and giving your all to whatever job you’re doing.
3. Have multiple streams of income
You’ll never become wealthy on one income. Anyone who is serious about getting rich needs to build multiple income streams. This can include a side hustle or a second or part-time job. Can you offer a service or sell something?
What about starting a home-based business, perhaps in an area you’re already interested in? Do you have an idea for a product you can create, or something you’re passionate about that you can monetize, like selling items on Etsy or another online store? Be creative and think outside of the box.
4. Create passive income
Residual passive income involves assets that pay you monthly for little to no work, or from work you did once but no longer do. This income is key to automatically generating wealth over time. Some examples include collecting royalties from books you wrote, selling advertising on your blog or website, or selling digital products like e-books, online courses, online workshops or videos.
Dividend-paying stocks can be another form of passive income. Other options include renting a room out of your house, creating an online store or signing up for cash-back shopping apps that offer bonuses for buying things you already buy.
5. Whittle down your living expenses
To build wealth, you’ll need to live frugally. Most wealthy people don’t drive expensive cars or live in mansions. They keep their living expenses as low as possible so they can use their surplus income to continue investing in wealth-building opportunities.
The more money you have to reinvest, the faster you can accumulate wealth. Ruthlessly cut your expenses on things that don’t serve you. Look for ways to reduce your bills, including your energy bills and your credit card rates. You may even consider getting rid of your vehicle and using carpool options or public transportation.
6. Own your own enterprise
If you want to become rich by your 30s, you should be looking at wealth-building opportunities that pay off quicker than traditional long-term investments. One of the best ways to do this is to get into the entrepreneurial game and own your own business. Once you own a business, you have unlimited potential to earn, although you also assume more risk.
Owning your own business comes with tax benefits that you don’t get when you’re someone else’s employee. Consider what areas you know best or are interested in learning more about, and look into business opportunities.
7. Plan for the long term
Starting in your 20s, you should be investing in a retirement plan. If your employer has a matching program for a 401(k) plan, don’t miss out on their generosity by not contributing. If that’s not an option, look into starting a Roth IRA.
It’s crucial to begin saving for retirement early on, so you can take advantage of the magic of compound interest. And you should also be socking some money away into an emergency fund to protect you and prevent you from going into massive debt if the worst happens. By saving for the long term, you’ll ensure you’re building a nest egg to see you beyond your 30s.
8. Take risks
If you’re serious about becoming rich, you’re going to need to step out of your comfort zone and recognize that the path to success is through uncertainty. Traditional paths, like having a steady job and a fixed check, are safer, but wealth often comes through taking calculated risks. Don’t let fear hold you back. If you dream of something more, learn to embrace different possibilities.
9. Put your financial plan on autopilot
The easiest way to grow your wealth is to make sure you don’t have to constantly think about your money. To keep things simple, automate your finances. Here’s how it works: when your paycheck comes in, you’ll direct a portion to be automatically transferred into your emergency fund and retirement savings accounts.
You’ll set up recurring payments for all your bills, including credit cards, utilities, tuition and car payments. Then you’ll set up automatic payments into your investment accounts. Make sure you review your automated plan at least once a year, and try to increase your transfers over time.
10. Find good mentors
The path to success and wealth means navigating risk and challenges -- a tall order for someone in their 20s. Having an experienced mentor on your side will be invaluable. A good mentor can give you advice and be a sounding board when you’re faced with dilemmas or suffering a setback. Most of all, a mentor knows what it’s like to be in your shoes, but can help you see beyond yourself.
11. Cultivate a money mindset
Your beliefs and attitudes about money influence your ability to achieve and maintain wealth. What is your philosophy when it comes to money? What do you believe about saving money and paying your debts? What kind of lifestyle are you accustomed to?
If you want to become rich in your 30s, you’re going to need to cultivate a money mindset. You have to not only desire financial freedom and be willing to work toward financial success; you have to believe you can become rich and that you deserve it.
12. Invest in yourself
You are your own best resource. In order to increase your options and discover your best opportunities, you must invest in yourself. That means taking a hard look at your talents, interests and skills, and considering the best ways to maximize your potential.
This may mean spending money and time on your education and working to increase and refine your skills. You’ll need to branch out, broaden your mind and connect with others. You should be gaining experience and looking for valuable opportunities that will help you build your financial foundation.
13. Think big
Being young and seeing the world through your unique vision gives you an edge; you may be able to see possibilities that others look past. Tap into your creative mind and unleash your ingenuity. See things bigger than yourself.
Your mind is nimble and flexible. Find your own path to greatness and wealth. Know that you’ll likely have some failures along the way -- accept that. Own your mistakes, but also own your successes. And always, always push yourself to keep dreaming.
14. Surround yourself with money-minded friends
The relationships we build influence us in so many ways. Not only are friendships important to your personal and professional life; there is also a correlation between your friends and your level of wealth. If you want to become rich, you would be wise to befriend people who are wealthy and successful.
Hanging out with other successful people can help you hone a money mindset. And socializing and networking with wealthy, like-minded people has the potential to open doors and help propel you toward your own goals.
15. Give your mind a continual upgrade
Rich and successful people are voracious readers, always challenging themselves to learn new things. They’re constantly giving their brains a mental upgrade by absorbing new information and gaining knowledge, experience and insight.
Growing wealth takes time, effort and dedication. But continuing to learn and grow will help you adapt to change and make wise long-term financial decisions that ensure you’ll meet your goal of being rich in your 30s.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors