Another year has passed and you're another year older. Still trying to climb that ladder of success and prosperity? In politics, the rhetoric that giving tax break to the wealthiest 5% of Americans will filter down to you and I is a total myth. "Trickle-down" economics, preached by politicians, does not and will not boost economic growth and income for the rest of the American population. You alone, are the only one that can help boost your own wealth. Here is a helpful article: 9 ways to build Wealth in 2011:
Want to build some wealth in 2011? Revisit those New Year's resolutions.
You probably haven't thought about your pledges in more than a month. But odds are at least one of them involves getting rid of debt, increasing your income or building some financial security.
To help you out, nine experts in the fields of money, debt, real estate and consumer affairs have shared their best wealth-building tips for 2011.
1. Funnel that FICA Cut into a Retirement windfall
2. Look for low-cost mutual funds and watch those fees
3. No shortcuts: Year after tear of consistent savings
4. Get rid of high-interest card debt
5. Buy a home
6. Balanced, diversified portfolio plus education
7. If you have an HSA, max it out
8. Do your Due diligence
9. Start your own side business
A description of each of the nine tips can be found in the link.
I am not a financial guru nor do I claim to be one. I have regrets on many past decisions I've made for my financial future; I'm sharing because I am opinionated and maybe one can learn from my actions and mistakes. Here is my 2-cents worth of the advice from above - respectively:
1. Every year, add money to your personal Roth IRA (not a traditional IRA but a Roth). Always try to put in the max.
2. Be mindful of those operating expenses with your brokerage firm. Repetitive buying and selling activities within your account can add up fees. Be careful of your financial advisor calling you every month recommending these transactions. Whether the market is up or down, your financial advisor gets paid a commission with every transaction. Always ask, if your investment is not broken, why does it need to be fixed?
3. Pay yourself first! Yes, we all have bills and expenses, but the concept here is to first, take a portion of your income and invest it in yourself before you start paying off everything else. Yes, this is hard concept to swallow. Keep in mind that your bills will never go away but the years you need for investments to grow will.
4. Never use one credit card to pay off another and NEVER spend more than what you earn. My best practice is to always pay in full your monthly credit card bills before the deadline - therefore, it doesn't matter how high your interest rate goes, you can't be charged an interest if you don't have any debts.
5. Homeownership is always the best investment. My biggest earnings were never my savings account nor my retirement account, it came from the purchase and sale of my house. The interest paid to a mortgage is tax-deductible. Your monthly apartment rent is not.
6. Diversity rules. Spread out your investments. Never put all your eggs in one basket is an excellent rule. Imagine if ALL your assets were with Lehman Brothers before 2008.
7. No comment on HSA.
8. Yes, vet your financial advisor - no matter who he or she is (even family). My own blood-related sister was my financial advisor (aka. stock broker) and I thought, who better has my best interest than family?! Almost 20 years of investing with her, my portfolio was pathetic - yet, with every year that passed, she got paid handsomely for managing my small account. That account ended quickly last year and so did my relationship with her. Remember, your financial broker will not surrender their commission. Like the insurance company, they are there to make money - for themselves.
9. Reinvent yourself. Is there something you enjoy doing during your free time or have a skill you are good at? Well, find a way to market that talent of yours! Volunteer your time is also a wise and generous investment.
My last thought:
Although the "trickle-down' theory does not work (because the rich always get richer), if you ever do hit it big - and become financially successful, please do give back! Invest in your family and friends. Invest in your community. Donate money to a cause. It is the right and wise thing to do.
Best of Luck to your Financial Future!