The millennial generation is at the point now where they’re starting to think hard about how to build long-term wealth for themselves.
When I was young, I was really bad with money, but now I’ve learned that when it comes to building personal wealth, often the best strategies are the simple habits that, when properly implemented, end up paying off big in the end.
The challenge, of course, is that financial responsibility is not always easy when bills are piling up and you feel as though you don’t have the ability to save. But part of building wealth is learning to discipline your spending habits so that you are always operating in the positive – instead of racking up debt.
If building true wealth for yourself is something you’re interested in, these 10 steps will be your foundation for establishing positive financial habits that will move you closer toward your goal.
1Never operate at a loss
The most simple step toward building wealth that people struggle with is spending less than they make. It might seem ridiculous, but it’s the truth – many people spend more than they make and float the difference on credit cards.
They assume they will make more in the future and that it will all “even itself out,” when in reality, the moment they start making more money, the more they spend.
The bad habit stays, and they continuously operate at a loss.
2Place a tax on yourself
If the government suddenly increased taxes and forced you to pay an extra $100 each month, you’d find a way to pay it. You would have to. Yet when it comes to saving money, people constantly find ways to rationalise their inability to sock away $100 each month.
Set up an automatic bank transfer so that as soon as you receive your paycheck, a small portion of it immediately goes into your savings account. You should pretend it doesn’t even exist. And a few years from now, you’ll thank yourself.
3Open an IRA account (to accumulate interest tax free)
One of the best things a young person can do is open an IRA account, which can double as either a primary or secondary savings account. The intention here, however, is that money is not touched until much later in life.
If you withdraw from it before the age of 65 you are penalised. The bonus, though, is that your money in an IRA account can grow tax free, which compounded over three or four decades ends up being a lot of money.
4Don’t play the stock market
Unless your day job is trader, don’t try to time the stock market. Don’t think you’re smarter than the stock market. Don’t think you know which stocks are going to do well and which ones are going to do poorly. To think that you can do casually what some people make their entire careers is naive and reckless. At best, it’s gambling.
Instead, invest a portion of your money that you’re willing to lose in companies you like and want to hold on to for years to come. It’s best if you make these decisions with a financial advisor, and even better if you purchase these long-term options inside your IRA account. That way, your gains remain tax-free.
5Build a side hustle
Even the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have side hustles. According to Warren Buffet, the average millionaire has seven sources of income. Having multiple income streams is just part of the process.
The best thing you can do is figure out what you can provide or offer people that delivers true value. A perfect example is internet famous entrepreneur Sam Ovens, who has made millions selling online courses and consulting business owners.
“The big lesson I learned is that you have to sell something that the market actually wants,” he told The Epoch Times. Simple, but that’s how it should be.
Bonus: If you can refrain from spending your side hustle money and save it instead, you’re in remarkable shape.
6Always pay off your credit cards
No matter how entrepreneurial you are, maxing out your credit cards without reliable streams of income to pay them off in a timely manner is irresponsible.
You always want to make financial decisions based on what you’re currently making, not what you think you’re going to make. Wait until you’ve got the money in the door before you go reinvest or spend it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself drowning in interest payments.
7Set financial goals at the start of each quarter and year
When you have a goal, you tend to be more responsible with your money. It’s when you don’t have a goal that it’s much easier to rationalise spontaneous purchases.
At the start of each year, set a big goal for yourself and then break that goal down into three-month increments (quarters) so that you can check on your progress as you go along. These smaller goals are what help the larger one seem more attainable, and will give you a sense as to whether you’re on the right track along the way.
8Follow the 50-30-20 rule
Summarised in a great article by Nerdwallet, many financial experts suggest that 50 percent of your income should be spent on needs (such as housing, car payments, food, etc.), 30 percent should be spent on what you want (clothes, nice dinners, etc.) and the remaining 20 percent should be saved.
Especially when you’re young, you’re most likely going to operate closer to 70-20-10, living off 70 percent of your income, spending 20 and saving 10. If you can even follow that, you’re in good shape. But your goal should be to work toward following the 50-30-20 rule.
9Surround yourself with financially responsible people
Nothing breeds financial success like hanging out with people who have already attained it. This means finding people older than you that you can learn from and also making sure that your group of friends is comprised of people who share similar financial goals.
It can be difficult to adhere to financial disciplines when you’re spending time with spontaneous spenders.
A great way to learn about the art of finances is to find a family friend who can mentor you throughout the process – someone who has achieved their own financial success. If you show an earnest interest in learning how to build the same for yourself, chances are someone will be happy to help. A willingness to learn goes a long way.
10Judge yourself over the year, not the month
While it is important to keep a tab on how you’re doing month to month, it’s far more important to judge success over longer periods of time. A year is a good indication of your financial practices. Some months might not be great (things happen), others might be wonderful.
But what’s important is that, come the end of the year, you saved at least 10 percent of your income. Otherwise, if nothing is being saved, how do you expect to build true wealth for yourself?
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
(Infographic) The Financial Advice Millennials And Gen Zers Want To Know
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful. And that starts with getting the right advice.
Whether it’s saving for retirement or paying off credit card debt, money management can be a challenge. Of course, different people have different concerns – and that often comes with age. While a 60-something baby boomer might be organising their savings for retirement, your 20-something millennial might be focused on paying off student loans.
In a recent study, financial intelligence company Comet surveyed more than 1 000 people to uncover the top financial concerns of various age groups, as well as the financial advice millennials and Gen Zers want to know and what they hear instead.
Overall, saving for retirement was the top concern across all age groups, with saving for an emergency and affording monthly bills following in second and third. However, it’s no wonder these are some of the most pressing worries – according to the research, 23 percent of people admit they don’t have a savings account, and 43 percent reported not being on track towards their retirement goals. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t hear the right advice growing up. At least that might be the case for Gen Zers and millennials.
According to the research, these young people want to learn things such as how the stock market works, how to manage an investment portfolio, how to invest in real estate and how to build credit. Instead, they’re simply told how to create a budget, save for retirement and pay credit card bills in full every month.
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful and comfortable. To learn more, check out Comet’s infographic below.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
14 Ways To Make Quick Cash On The Side
If you need money quickly, here are some solid ideas.
Need to make some fast money on the side, whether it’s to pay off a credit card or to make your rent?
Keep in mind, making quick side cash isn’t about making a lot of money or getting rich. It’s about getting a shot of capital to help tide you over and put something extra in your pocket. However, some of these side-income ideas can build up your wealth over time. There’s many ways to accomplish this: By participating in the gig economy, the sharing economy, online sales networks, passive income techniques and more.
If you’re looking to make extra money in a relatively short period of time, check out these 14 slides.
Take Advantage Of Financial Democracy Made Possible By The New Stock Exchanges
Why should financial democracy matter to entrepreneurs?
Because it creates a society able to afford products and services. Without it, even the innovative products and services that are entrepreneurs’ bread and butter will fail.
What is financial democracy, exactly?
It’s both the right and the ability of the (wo)man in the street and business people to make the decisions that affect their financial circumstances.
Financial democracy does not automatically follow political democracy. For almost 25 years after South Africa’s political transformation, the exclusiveness of our financial markets continued to deprive the vast majority of South Africans of the means to invest, save, and build wealth. South Africa has, therefore, never developed a retail stock exchange environment. So, it has deprived the majority of small and medium sized business of access to capital.
For entrepreneurs to truly flourish, they need a mechanism that easily and seamlessly connects the investor pool with every size of business. And, they need affordable ways to enter both the retail and institutional market.
In short, they need stock exchanges. Ones on which listing takes weeks rather than years, doesn’t break the bank for listing fees, and provides the shortest route to the largest possible potential investor base.
That’s not been possible in the stock exchange monopoly that existed for six decades. Now, it is.
We now have four new stock exchanges. The resulting competitive environment will significantly reduce the cost of listing – and the cost for investors of buying and selling shares.
Instead of restricting share trading to people or organisations who already have tens of thousands of rands to invest or millions to spend on listing, by licensing four new stock exchanges, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA, formerly the FSB) has recognised that most financial decisions do not call for high levels of education.
Most people know how to spend their own grocery money. Most know that it’s better to keep their R1 000 monthly income in a coffee jar than spend R50 of it on bank account fees. People who can barely read and write are immensely skillful at manipulating air time deals to their advantage.
There is significant financial savvy in all social strata.
In the same way, although the mechanics of bookkeeping and accounting may be unfamiliar territory to many entrepreneurs, most have a clear understanding of the difference between profit and loss.
The FSCA has therefore enabled democratisation of the financial markets by enabling the broadest possible spectrum of entrepreneurs and investors to use stock exchanges to participate in and contribute to the economy – on their own rather than prescriptive terms.
How do you take strategic advantage of this democratisation?
- Base your business strategy on people’s instinct for making decisions in their own best interests. Trust financial decentralisation, such as one sees in crowd funding and in digital environments such as block chain, where people would far rather trust one another than institutions and governments. This is democracy innately at work in the financial environment and it’s accelerating organically as digital technologies give people more means and the confidence to help themselves – to information and opportunities. Ride the wave.
- Tap into people’s desire to innovate. Consumer organisations have proved that letting people interactively help them develop products is a powerful growth engine. Apply the principle by letting people grow your business by buying shares in it, giving you capital and themselves a platform on which to build wealth.
- Remember, the ultimate loyalty reward is equity.
Your financial democracy business plan
Look to list on an entrepreneurial stock exchange; one that was founded by entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial principles.
That means: A stock exchange that is already built on financial democracy and decentralisation. One that has, at its core, a single operational concept that keeps things simple for you, automatically gives you an immediate competitive advantage, and, ensures that no matter what your business needs in terms of attracting capital, the exchange can provide all the options in the same, consistent way.
What does such an exchange look like?
It has fintech capabilities. So:
It slashes your listing costs. It achieves this, among other things, by enabling you to populate an electronic prospectus, demonstrating your financial viability, and self publish.
It gives you control by having the granularity and agility to impose relevant governance right down to the individual investor. You get to decide the types and quantities of investors you want to attract. This also enables you to achieve black economic empowerment in perpetuity.
It leads the world by clearing and settling trades in T+0. No-one in the value chain has to hold large sums of money for days following a transaction. Small transactions become profitable. Investors don’t have to risk their life savings on a single large trade. A retail market is opened. An investment and savings culture is entrenched. The economy expands. Your business grows steadily.
It enables anywhere, any time trading via a mobile app that allows investors to see share value in real time. See economy expansion point above.
It integrates processes and procedures, simplifying them and ensuring rapid onboarding of issuers and, therefore, speed to market with new concepts and alignment with the digital economy.
It operates a principles-based regime. So:
It treats you, as an executive, with respect. It’s not prescriptive. It does not insist on excessive oversight, allowing the Companies Act to guide you to sustainability.
It does not attempt to squeeze your company into a pre-defined business or listings format. It recognises and works with your uniqueness.
It obviates the need for expensive specialist listings advisors.
It focuses on financial inclusion and access. So:
Shares can be bought and sold for no more than R1 000. See economy building point above.
The new world of stock exchanges is integrated, synergistic, holistic, organic, self-fulfilling
Decentralisation of financial control, democratisation of opportunity leads to a whole new economy. One in which, for instance, a taxi operator can finance a minibus through a company in which his purchase gives him shares. A single purchase gives him two benefits: a vehicle on which to found his business and a longer-term investment in shares that he can trade. The funding company gains liquidity through access to a wider base of investors while being able to control who buys and sells and the conditions on which trading takes place. Increasing black equity in business becomes an organic, natural, self-perpetuating process.
Everyone wins in a decentralised, democratised financial market. And it’s the stock exchanges that drive the process.
As an entrepreneur, can you afford to ignore the acceleration that listing could give your business growth?