Overnight wealth is one in a million. If “rich” seems far away from your situation, you have to start planning. Building wealth is a life-long process. It never ends. That’s a good thing. It means you can achieve financial success. In fact, there are things to do now to be richer next year, and the year after that.
However, the earlier you start planning and doing the right things with your money, the earlier you will achieve the wealth you are looking for. Since we can’t change the past (and erase all of those bad financial decisions), we need to focus on what we can change. I’m sharing 10 things to start doing now to be richer in exactly one year from now. Time flies (I mean, wasn’t it just 2017?!), so start these things now and we’ll pulse check in a year!
10 things to do now to be richer next year
#1 Set up an automatic savings transfer
Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out. If you already have automatic saving transfers set up, but you constantly need to pull money out of your savings, you need some tweaks. Refer to your budget to see where you are overspending. It may be that you are putting too much into your savings to begin with. Once you analyze your numbers, adjust your automatic savings transfer to an amount that you won’t miss. Automatic transfers into savings add up quickly, but only if they aren’t touched.
Here’s your challenge: Open up a high-yield savings account with an online bank. Review your numbers to determine a consistent amount to transfer into savings that will not be missed. Set up the transfers and don’t look at the account until one year after the account was opened. You will certainly be richer in a year!
#2 Cut back a few more expenses, just for a year
Go without cable. Cancel your gym membership and work out at work or your housing complex. Downgrade your cell phone data plan (everywhere has wi-fi anyways). Find a few impactful expenses to cut out for a year. I promise you won’t miss them, especially if you have alternatives. Cutting back costly expenses will adjust your cost of living and allow you to put that money into savings or paying off your debts (both of which will make you richer over the long haul).
#3 Ask for a raise
The easiest way to get richer? Make more money. The easiest way to make more money? Asking for a raise with the job you already do. Imagine if you were doing the exact same thing, only making more money? We’ve all been there (yes, me too) – we make just enough money to stay put, but not enough money to get ahead. Never again.
If you know you are under paid in your position, or you’ve shown that you excel at your role, it’s time to woman-up and ask for the raise you deserve. Did you know that 70% of employees feel they deserve a raise, but don’t ask for it? Whether you’re too scared or giving yourself excuses, you are hindering your financial success. What’s the worst that can happen? You being in the exact same position. That’s not so scary. I’d take the alternative (the best thing that can happen, which is making more money for the job you already do).
#4 Use cash-only for fun spending
If you’re serious about being richer in one year from now and building true wealth, you need to be serious about sticking to a budget. Taking on a cash-only approach for all discretionary purchases can make it near impossible for you to go over budget or rack up new credit card debt. More importantly, you will probably spend less when using cash-only. When you have to physically count your cash and hand it away, you subconsciously cringe. You will start thinking through those “fun” purchases and evaluating if it’s worth it.
#5 Start investing
46% of millennials say they don’t invest because it’s too risky. The thing is, it’s too risky NOT to invest, especially when you’re young. When you start investing early, you have so much more time to ride out the waves of the market. This means you have more opportunity to earn, because investments grow on themselves, thanks to their compounding nature.
If you invest $1000, make $200, and now have $1200, future growth will be on that $1200, not the original $1000. See how that can make a huge difference over time? Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to investing, but isn’t wealth worth the risk? You can do things the right way and make it work for you. Start with Betterment.
#6 Find forms of passive income
In the article Why You Need Passive Income, you were taught how powerful passive income can be. Passive income basically means you don’t have to exchange time for money, like a normal job. You can make money and focus on other things, like a normal job. The more money you can bring in, the more you can use it to save, pay off debts, invest, and build wealth long term. Start your passive income plan now, so in a year you can benefit much more from it.
#7 Increase your 401k contribution
Head over to human resources, or your retirement plan holder, tomorrow and ask them to deduct 1% additional from your paycheck for an additional investment in your 401K. You will hardly notice the additional deduction from your paycheck, and it will start working for you in the form of a larger investment account. You’ll be glad you invested more now when you see the difference it makes in a year (and longer).
#8 Double your debt payments
You can have a negative net worth, thanks to debt. That means you can’t start building wealth until you’ve gotten rid of your debts, because anything you do earn is technically owed to someone else. Start doubling up your debt payments, or using the snowball method, to get out of debt as soon as possible. A majority of Americans are in debt, but once you get out of it, you are in a league all your own.
#9 Find cheaper housing
I know, this one sucks, but did you know that one-third of Americans are overpaying for housing? If you fall within that 33%, you need to make a change. Overpaying for housing is one of the worst ways to suck your wealth, especially if that housing is rent (and not a mortgage). The standard measure of affordability, when it comes to your living quarters, is 30% or less of your pre-tax income. However, if you can find something for 25% or less of your post-tax income, you can put the extra cash into savings or investments.
#10 Go on a spending fast
Read The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living. Author Anna Jones went on a no-spend spree for a year. She was able to get out of debt, build a savings, and improve her quality of living. If you have never followed a budget before, or you tend to constantly overspend, a spending fast can help you build up a cash reserve. Combine the spending fast with an increase in income, and you will be unstoppable.
Related: 18 Changes to Make to Your Finances in 2018.
A year may seem like forever away, but time goes so fast. It was just a year ago, a minute ago. Don’t procrastinate doing things that will help you build true wealth. Starting now, even if it’s minimal, will have long-term effects. You just have to stay consistent. Are you doing anything right now to be richer in a year from now? Share how you are building long-term wealth in the comments section below. Do you have any questions about building wealth? Ask away!