If you really want to be a wealthy woman, you must act like one.
Start by cultivating these five habits:
1. Own your own business.
Even if it’s just a small side business like making cakes for your friends or selling your beaded earrings on Etsy.com. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who has become wealthy without owning their own business. And, treat it like a real business.
Get a Tax ID (EIN) number for it at IRS.gov
Open a separate bank account, even if it has your name on it (it’s harder and more expensive to get business bank accounts) and/or a Paypal account. Put all your sales receipts in it and pay all your expenses with the earnings.
If you loan the business money to get started or expand, write up a loan agreement even if there’s no interest and no payments due.
File a schedule C (review one now to see what expenses you can claim and the documentation you’ll need). You can reorganize it when you can afford to become an LLC or corporation the important thing is to get started.
2. Open and contribute regularly to tax advantaged retirement accounts.
IRAs, 401Ks and their various cousins for public workers and teachers are the cornerstone of wealth building savings. And now, by using Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), you can build a portfolio with the most minimal of balances that is diversified, low fee and can grow, tax deferred or tax free for later use.
If you can, have contributions automatically transferred from your paycheck to your account. Make an investment plan and review it quarterly. This helps you develop discipline and patience, two hallmarks of wealthy investors.
Once you’re regularly maxing out these accounts you can start a regular brokerage account and increase your investments in the financial markets or save up to get started investing in real estate (another thing almost all wealthy people have in common).
3. Monitor your discretionary spending, particularly your restaurant bills.
We’ve all become accustomed to eating out as both a social activity and a convenience. It’s unreasonable to think you’re going to prepare and consume all your meals at home but, for most modern workers, this is a budget item that needs constant monitoring.
Set yourself a realistic goal, document your food and drink expenditures and make adjustments before it gets out of whack.
Find cheaper, alternatives to fancy restaurants. Drink water with your meals (healthy too) or find a BYOB place and consider making a meal of an appetizer or two. Be proactive when the check comes and know what your fair share is based on your order, tax and tip instead of just splitting it. If your friend look down on you for trying to control your social spending, maybe some new friends who share your goals are in order?
4. Keep your NEEDS spending to 50% or less of your after-tax income.
It seems like lots of things that used to be nice-to-haves have now become needs: cable TV, internet, mobile phones… so keeping them all at 50% of your net pay is super important if you want to be wealthy. Many successful wealth builders do this by:
Living in an inexpensive home/area of town/region. Another way to keep housing costs down is share – get a roommate or rent out a room in a large family house or buy a duplex and rent-out one side. Living in a neighborhood that’s full of residents at or below your income level will also help you avoid the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ overspending temptations.
Driving older cars. If you buy a 3 -year-old car and drive it until it’s 10-years-old, you’ll maximize your vehicles’ usability while minimizing its costs. Research used cars (libraries usually stock Consumer Digest and Autotrader magazines plus the online ratings). Pay particular attention to annual costs and reliability issues. Have the car assessed by an independent mechanic and have then checkout any problem areas your research has identified.
Insurance is also a fact of modern life that falls in the needs category. Shop around and evaluate both the premiums and the out-of-pocket costs. Find out if your trade or fraternity group gets you a discount. Often, bundling as many types of insurance as possible with one carrier gets you a substantial discount.
Don’t sign any long-term contracts that put you over your 50% limit – find a cheaper alternative until your income increases.
5. Practice healthy habits.
The #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in the USA remains medical bills. After covering yourself with decent medical insurance, developing and maintaining health supportive habits can help you avoid the expensive and energy draining problems of poor health. You know what you need to do:
- Take the stairs, walk further (or bike to work) and regularly get that heart rate up.
- Eat your fruits and veggies and complex carbs.
- Pass on the rich desserts and empty calories in sodas.
- Don’t smoke
- Drink plenty of water and
- Get enough sleep.
Ultimately, you want to spend time and money on what matters most to you and contributes to living a wealthy life. If you want more ideas on how to cut back on expenses so you have more to save and invest, visit DoughRoller.net where they’ve got over 50 suggestions for the frugal minded.
So, what new wealth habit will you develop in the next few weeks? Commit to making one positive change now and you’ll find yourself living a richer, more secure life which usually leads to being happier too.
Live Long and Prosper – Leah the MoneyDiva.com