For many millennials striving for success in their careers, starting their own family and seeking to build up a nest egg for a comfortable retirement, the journey of wealth accumulation can often be fraught with challenges and pitfalls.
Many think that wealth accumulation is just having lots of money. In fact, “having money” and “wealth accumulation” are two different things.
Having money allows you to pay for your expenses but it is typically spent shortly after it comes in. The latter goes a step further – it is taking disciplined steps over a period of time to achieve wealth accumulation. Here are some tips for the millennial on how they can accumulate wealth.
Saving, Saving, Saving!
For wealth accumulation, you need cashflow. The very first step is to set a financial goal and stick to it! Once you are clear about your objective, the next step is to be disciplined enough to achieve your money goal.
A good suggestion is to use “automation”. Automation adds built-in discipline to your financial life and reduces the likelihood that you will forget your objective or spend money on things you do not need.
You can set up automatic deductions from your paycheck bank account to send money directly to another savings account, unit trust or investment account. By automating these payments, you are making sure that you are paying yourself first.
Cutting unnecessary expenses is the key to living below your means, so you can reach your financial dreams. Challenge yourself by resisting expenses that are most tempting. For example, you might:
- Cook at home every day for a month instead of eating out;
- Refrain yourself from buying any new clothes or handbags for six months;
- Avoid window shopping as that will cause unnecessary spending;
- Say no to cinema and other entertainment places for six months; and
- Cancel or delay your annual trip to another year.
Imagine how much money you could save if you are successful in overcoming the above challenges. You could easily have an additional RM10,000 to RM20,000 to add up to your savings.
Multiple Streams of Income
You need cashflow to build wealth, and the best way to generate that extra cashflow is to earn more money. In Robert Kiyosaki’s book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, he mentions four types of income streams: Employee, Self-employed, Business Owner and Investor.
For the first three sources of income, you are exchanging your time for money. It is a form of active income whereby you need to be “actively” working for money. However, please do not underestimate these sources of income, as it can be useful when you want to utilise this as a leverage power to accumulate your wealth.
You may buy your first property with this financial leverage. And if your investment is a positive cashflow, you would probably end up owning the property for free as your rental income is able to pay down your mortgage loan.
The last source of income – Investor – is the status that people most closely associate with wealth. This is where “money works for you”. As an investor, you earn the best kind of income possible – passive income by investing in assets such as stocks and properties.
Why is it the best? Because you earn money while you were sleeping! If you can generate enough passive income, you may never need to work again in your life. In short, you can retire early.
Get Rid of Your Bad Debt
In the journey of wealth accumulation, we also want to identify the obstacles preventing us from achieving our financial goals. One big obstacle could be having too much debt. However, not all debts are bad – there are good debts and bad debts.
Good debt is money you borrow at a low interest, with which you could make a higher rate of return, such as your mortgage rate. Bad debt, in contrast, is consumer debt. For example, money you borrow at a high interest rate to buy things that do not produce income or grow in value such as cars, electrical appliances, furniture and even luxury trips.
The price of bad debt is the impact of compounding rates of return working against you instead of for you. If you have credit cards or bank loans costing you 18% or more a year, that’s 18% compounding against your retirement.
The Bottom Line
In summary, wealth accumulation does not happen overnight, it is a gradual and a disciplined process that requires proper planning and execution.
Nevertheless, It is always good to have a licensed financial planner to guide you in setting up a blue print for your financial journey. They are generally able to help you to make better investment decisions and make sure your money is being deployed in the best manner.
About the Author
Pauline Yong is the CEO of Sigma Wealth Sdn Bhd. She is a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner), a licensed financial planner with a Securities Commission license (CMSRL) and a Financial Advisor Representative (FAR) licensed by Bank Negara.
She has published five investment and financial planning books and writes regularly for various publications. Pauline is also a regular commentator on stock market outlook for City Plus FM radio station.