1. You absolutely must have a plan before you go into invest. This means clearly writing down the exact plan( the more specific it is, the better)
- What are you investing for?
- How much do you need for that?
- When do you need it?
Since desire is an infinite thing we need to prioritize.
- First pay off all unsecured debt: like credit cards, lines of credit and similar things. Then don’t use them again.
- Next pay down or pay off your mortgage.
- Save as much as you can for your retirement. Do not think of starting an additional investment program until you have reached the maximum retirement savings allowed by law.
- Only after doing these things, think of saving for college for your kids.
2. Remember that your money is your responsibility.The main reason we save and invest is to get financial freedom for ourselves and our family. Each one of us have to define what that means for you. You do not hand over the responsibility of your money to somebody else. Yes, they can help you, but you need to make sure you make all the right decisions. You need to educate yourself on financial matters from quality teachers to do that. You need to have specific goals to work towards and you need to have the discipline to save and invest regularly for the long-term. However you need to make sure that the subject of money does not consume your whole life, because that is foolishness and will make you unhappy.
3. Do not be naïve and fall prey to promises of fast wealth. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We have to wear the armour of prudence and discernment when we invest. When choosing investments, you have to do your homework. When we are greedy we fall prey to investment scams. When we financial hardship stresses us, we fall prey to investment scams. Multilevel marketing, limited partnerships, high-flying stocks, and other ‘new’ investment products lead usually to loss. Stick to tried-and-true methods.
4. Choose your travel companions on the road of financial freedom carefully. Investing is simple but not easy. If it were easy, then everybody would be Warren Buffet. There are two important things to remember. A loss hurts more than a gain. Hence you should craft your portfolio in such a way that you do not suffer huge losses. Or if you are really brave, you need to be consciously aware , that for higher potential returns, you need to be ready to face higher loss. The second important thing is to buy when prices are low and sell when prices are high. The simplest way to do this is by rebalancing. If you want investment advice, go for a fee-only advisor who does not make money by commissions. Teach yourself to distinguish between a sales pitch and solid advice.
5. You need to be generous. Building wealth is good and proper but only if you use some of what you have to the benefit of others. Know how much is enough. And then give some money to others without any thought of repayment or favours. Find a way to share a little of what you have.
6. Live below your means. Spend money on your needs, not your wants. Then over time you will amass enough savings for your needs. Not many people do this. Yes, it is true as we grow older, we have more commitments and we need to spend more money. But that is not all. We fall prey to advertising that makes us buy things we don’t need, don’t want, can’t afford, and otherwise not worth the price. We also think that we can buy happiness, which is not true at all. There are many things in life that bring happiness and many of them are free. Eating in less expensive restaurants, buying store-brand products, generic medicines are all smart ways of spending less.
The opposite of frugal is wasteful. We define wasteful as a lifestyle marked by lavish spending and hyper-consumption. Being frugal is the cornerstone of wealth building. Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning and most of all, self-discipline. They become millionaires by budgeting and controlling expenses, and they maintain their affluent status the same way.
– Thomas Stanley and William Danko, The Millionaire Next Door
7. Pace yourself. Slow and steady. Work hard. Make your riches, but enjoy those around you. Enjoy your family. Spent days can never be recaptured. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the work. Enjoy the journey. Choose contentment for today but think on the future. It takes a long time to accumulate a lot of money for most people. Do not despair, though. The lessons are learned in the journey, not in the destination. If you become rich too fast then you will learn the lesson of how wealth is made and kept and therefore you will lose it sooner or later. You will also fall prey to self-destructive behaviour like other famous rich people have. Be content with your life. Be thankful for what you have. Be happy with where you are while saving and investing for the future. Don’t wait until you are rich to be happy. It’s a waste of life. Enjoy today while planning for tomorrow. Slow and steady wins the race.