Is There A Secret To Building Wealth?
Is There A Secret To Building Wealth?
This question originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Answers below are by Tony Manso, Kenneth Ndlovu, Kurt Hadsall, Mark Rigotti, Mark Lukas, Mike Winfrey, Tim Halloran, Milo Kelley, Doug Armey, and Zachary Taylor.
Tony Manso, Algorithmic Trader at Tony Manso Forex
Answered July 14
1.Spend less than you earn.
2.Spend what you save on investments.
3.Go to step 1 and repeat until you die.
Kenneth Ndlovu, B.Com Economics
There is indeed a secret to building wealth, but allow me to sort of divert from what you have asked. I feel like when people speak of building wealth, they always put more focus on building the wealth itself, including how one should go about it. In doing so, we leave out a huge gap that is on the flip side. I mean, why do we always ignore the fact that one could be trying to build wealth but at the same time working hard to pull himself down to poverty? I used to also put more focus on creating wealth and ignore our bad habits that end up driving the same wealth away until I found this article, (Pro Content Blog), it kind of opened my eyes and now I have my things balancing.
Kurt Hadsall, Early Retirement Quality of Life & Wealth Building, School of Hard Knocks (2023)
Answered July 26
Save! Big secret huh? Actually, the formula is spend less than you bring in! Again no real mystery revealed here.
Investing in the stock market slow and steady has served me well.
I now feel like I can someday soon (say age 63) retire comfortably and manage my estate to actually leave some behind for kids and grandkids.
Mark Rigotti, BBA Accounting & Computer Science, University of Notre Dame (1981)
Answered July 13
A2A – Becoming a millionaire is easy. Anyone can do it. You don’t even need a college education to do it. And you don’t have to do anything illegal. All you need is a decent paying job. Self control. Motivation. And tenacity.
Still interested? Work your job as best as you can and be the best you can at that job. Save as much as you can. Retirement plans MAX every year. On the side invest everything that you can. Live frugal. This means no iPhone 6 stick with the iPhone 1. No S7 stick with the S 2. Delayed gratification is the key. This is difficult in today’s instant gratification society. Next you need to invest your savings well. Don’t go for binary options, puts calls etc. Those are bets. Invest in long-term growth.
And finally the last key to the puzzle. Repeat the above for 30 years, give or take 5 years or so. You do this you will be a millionaire. Anybody can. I’ve seen it done.
Mark Lukas, former CEO (1979-1997)
Answered July 13
There is no secret. Get a good education and work very hard, in your chosen field. Learn to budget and live below your means and invest excess income wisely. Slowly, but surely, your wealth will grow. I hope this simple formula, will help you on your way to financial security.
Mike Winfrey, Retired (2012-present)
Answered July 16
I’m not wealthy but I think the basic things that have gotten me where I am are common to anyone seeking to accumulate wealth. Live below your means, stay out of debt as much as possible, build up a slush fund to cover unexpected expenses so credit isn’t required, start investing while you’re young (lots of dividend-producing index funds are available), and buy whole term life insurance while you’re young.
Those are the basics, not secrets. But they will get you started. As time goes on and you have all those basics covered, look for passive income opportunities. I’m not much help with that.
Tim Halloran, former SEO Content Strategist at Looking4Parking.com (2013)
Updated 5 hours ago
There are definitely strategies which wealthy people use and know about that not everyone knows about.
Simple things like not doing debt, living beneath your means, paying off mortgage early etc that can help build wealth.
The wealthy know to pay themselves first. Most people pay all their bills and spend what’s left. Wealthy people first pay into a savings account, and then live on what’s left.
When most people get a rise in income, they increase their standard of living. Wealthy people don’t. They increase their investments and savings. They look for more wealth building opportunities.
Income which is earned from multiple sources is another key to wealth building. The wealthy focus on building sources of income which aren’t based entirely on trading time for money.
This might be business or investments. Ultimately wealthy people want to earn from money they already have – either from interest on savings or dividends from investments. So they concentrate on building savings and investing it in money-producing opportunities.
Milo Kelley, Financial Literacy Coach (2015-present)
Answered July 13
Yes. Begin. So many never get started. Follow the steps below.
1. Live on less than you make. Create cash flow, have expenses less than your income.
2. Buy assets. An asset is something that puts money in your pocket. A car and a house are not assets they are expenses. Think taxes, insurance, utilities, gas, etc. All expenses.
3. Be patient you will eventual create/accumulate wealth.
Creating cash flow can be challenging, but even more so is determining what assets to buy. Start with a saving account – I prefer to call it an asset account. It will cover emergencies when they happen. Next, a no load index fund such as one that follows the S&P 500 or Russell 2000. After that you will need to do your homework to discover/determine what assets you understand and prefer then buy them. There are numerous ones to include starting a business or continue your education. You may need professional help, but they come at a price.
Doug Armey, Successful entrepreneur, investor and financial consultant
Answered July 26
Here are my top 10.
I’ve been poor and rich. Rich is more fun.
- There are secrets. The bad news? Luck isn’t it. The good news? You can learn them. You can chase luck or the real secrets. No one has enough time and money to do both. It’ll change your life.
- Visualize wealth. What does wealth look like for you? The answer is not “more.” Seriously, take time to picture your wealth. You can only achieve what you see. The rest if fantasy.
- Dream out loud. Refine and visit your vision often. Experience it in your mind. Say it out loud. Probably best when you’re alone. One day you’ll wake up surprised that it’s no longer a dream.
- Become more valuable. When you become more financially valuable people will pay you more. Yeah, your mom told you you’re the best. Sorry, to disappoint you. Now become the best.
- No magic. People want, “Quick, easy and sure.” I tell them, “Pick two. Three is a magic box. And magic boxes don’t exist.” Given enough time even I accomplished it. You’re a snap.
- Little steps. Just keep moving forward. One step towards your goal every day. You don’t need home runs. Singles are perfect. If you get a double have a beer and celebrate.
- Contentment. Learn to be happy with what you have. If you want more then earn more. Finance only your house. Then your money will go towards building your wealth rather than someone else’s.
- Enjoyment. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy learning. Enjoy experimenting. Enjoy successes. Frankly, if you’re not happy now you won’t be much happier when you’re wealthy.
- Sharing. Discover the joy of sharing. Help others who aren’t as far along as you. Thank those who help you. I don’t know how, but I believe it all comes back around. Try it and see. Let me know.
- Love. Love the ones you share the journey with. If you gain wealth and lose your loved ones, you lost. If you forgo some wealth yet have a life filled with love you win. Be a winner.
That’s what I’ve learned. And believe me I’ve tried a lot of freaking stuff that didn’t work.
Thankfully, I’m not smart enough to quit.
There are secrets to building wealth. Just not the ones everyone is looking for.
Zachary Taylor, former System Architect at Nokia (2000-2017)
It took me over a decade to learn the real secret. I had a typical income after graduating from college but was always broke, deep in debt, and living paycheck to paycheck. I couldn’t seem to make any progress.
I had no mentor or role models in my life to help guide me so I became a vociferous reader of financial success books. But so much of the advice seemed alien to my life and nearly impossible to achieve. How am I going to save 6 months living expenses when I am barely treading water? From my rough calculations, it would take me many many years to make a significant dent on saving my emergency fund. And some unexpected expense seemed to always come up pushing the goal post further into the future. Then on top of that challenge the typical financial advice is I am supposed to pay off all my debts. Seriously? Using any number of techniques such as snowball, highest interest first, debt consolidation, etc. would still require 5 or 10 years.
So, let’s say you are really disciplined, no major setbacks occur and you are able to accomplish both of these goals in 10 years. Great! Now you have zero debt and $10k or $20k in a 0.1% savings account. That only took 10 years of effort. Feeling super rich yet? And remember, you are not allowed to touch that money except in an emergency. So that money contributes absolutely nothing to your wealth building.
According to most financial gurus you now finally have permission to start building wealth from a starting point of zero. Take 5% or 10% of your paycheck, play it safe and buy a balanced stock index and bond fund. But wait! You just lost 10 years of your early critical earning years focusing on the other 2 financial goals. That is a lost decade that will take tremendously more money to overcome compared to if you had started on day one.
The secret: Automatically take as much money as you can from your income, divert it to your investment accounts and start investing aggressively for yourself now – not tomorrow, not next year, not when you have your financial life cleaned up – start today. Prioritize this over everything else.
Corollary: No matter how desperate you are, never touch your Building Wealth Fund and assets for any other purpose.
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