If you wonder how some people seem to have it ‘so good’ by having enough money to do what they want, it’s time to learn about wealth accumulation and how to make it happen for yourself.
It’s not just the people born with a silver spoon in their mouths that achieve financial independence. Anyone can achieve it if they know the proper steps.
We aren’t providing you with a get-rich-quick scheme here. Instead, we’ll show you how to grow your wealth so that you, too, can feel financially secure and proud of your accomplishments.
What Is Wealth Accumulation?
Wealth accumulation is just what it sounds like, accumulating money or increasing your net worth. It doesn’t happen overnight or in a few months. It’s a work in progress after putting the right steps in place.
When you accumulate wealth, you not only acquire more money, but you also learn to put it into the right investments so that your money grows exponentially with or without your contributions.
Just how do you know when you’re wealthy? Unfortunately, there isn’t a cut-and-dry answer to it. Some people think that if you have a net worth of $1 million, you’re wealthy, yet others believe you need at least $2 million.
It’s a subjective definition, but it comes down to understanding how to achieve the level of financial independence that you want to consider you and your family wealthy.
In technical terms, wealth accumulation means you’ve accumulated enough economic resources (goods or money) to live a financially secure life. You can reach your financial goals and consider yourself financially independent.
Types of Wealth
When you think of the word wealth, you likely think of money. It’s the most common definition, but it’s not the only one. You can also calculate your wealth status by looking at your social, time, and health wealth.
- Financial wealth – This is the most apparent type to consider. The amount of money, resources, or assets you have that make up your net worth determines your wealth level. Finding the right job, becoming financially literate, knowing how to invest, and learning how to save are all essential ways to build your net worth.
- Social wealth – You are who you surround yourself with, so your social wealth is important. If you surround yourself with like-minded people or people that want to achieve financial independence like you, it will be a lot easier to make the decisions that will help you get to that point. Nurturing positive connections and even networking yourself is one way to grow your net worth socially.
- Time wealth – Too many people ignore this aspect as they build their empire. They don’t focus on the freedom to do what they want. Instead, they get caught in the rat race and are focused on their financial goals. Try to find ways to earn passive income to have both time and financial wealth.
- Health wealth – You could have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you can’t enjoy your money. Your mental and sometimes even physical health can be tied to your financial health. If you are stressed about money, you may suffer from anxiety or depression. You could isolate yourself from others which affects your social life, and all of these factors can affect your health overall.
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Why Is Wealth Accumulation Important?
Wealth accumulation is important for many reasons. As we talked about above, if you are stressed financially, it can hurt your mental and physical health. When this happens, you may be unable to work, which leads to a smaller cash flow.
When you accumulate wealth, you feel better about retirement. You may even achieve financial independence and be able to retire early. You know that you’ll be able to cover your bills, even if an emergency happens. When you’re wealthy, you have an emergency fund that can cover any unexpected life events.
If you’ve started accumulating wealth, you know that you can achieve your life’s goals, whether you want to buy a vacation home, travel the world, give money to charity, or leave behind a legacy for your loved ones.
No financial goals are out of reach when you build wealth. The key is to start saving early to achieve both the large and small goals you set for yourself.
Hurdles to Wealth Accumulation
Thanks to various obstacles that can get in your way, not everyone can accumulate wealth.
- Socioeconomic status – You can’t do much about your socioeconomic status, especially how you grew up. The type of house you grew up in, the kind of education you received, and how your parents dealt with money.
- Obligations – We all have different commitments. Whether you’re married, support elderly parents, have child support obligations, or have other financial obligations, they can get in the way of your goals to invest and build wealth.
- Career – The type of career you choose can determine how much (or little) you have to invest. If you’re in a career that won’t allow you to earn more money as time goes on or that you only work part-time, you might find it hard to take the first step to building wealth.
- Debts – If you’re in over your head in debt, that has to take priority. Debt only reduces your net worth, so it should be paid off first. Most people can’t earn more than the amount they pay on high-interest debt, so it’s best to pay it off before investing or saving.
Wealth Accumulation Example
Wealth accumulation will look different for everyone. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Finding the right way to achieve it means looking at your spending pattern, savings rate, risk tolerance, and overall expenses.
There are many examples of wealth. Here’s a simple one.
A couple married young and decided to start saving right away. They both worked 9 to 5 jobs, but they added freelance work to increase their income and get ahead of their debt. They prioritized paying off debt to focus their efforts on passive income from savings and investments.
In addition to paying off their debt, they also decreased their expenses, living well beneath their means. While they worked on paying down debts, they contributed to their 401K accounts to get employee match, and they maxed out all other tax-advantaged accounts, including IRAs and HSAs.
They invested any remaining funds in a diversified portfolio to earn passive income while learning that they did not need to spend money to achieve happiness.
What Is a Wealth Accumulation Plan?
A wealth accumulation plan is your strategy to increase your net worth. Keep in mind that both goods and services are counted as wealth. There’s no right or wrong way to create a plan. You can do it on your own, hire a financial professional to help you, or a combination of the two.
The right way to create a plan to increase your net worth depends on your comfort level, knowledge of personal finance, total assets, and the amount of funds you have to manage right now.
You might start with a basic plan that allows you to set the framework for building wealth but then graduate to hiring a professional to help you make an even larger difference in your efforts to increase your net worth.
There isn’t a formal way to create a plan. You can write it down, use a financial planning app that tracks your financial goals, or just verbally say what you want to do. We recommend writing it down and keeping it somewhere visual to keep yourself on track.
Periodically, revisit your plan and assess your spending, saving, and investing, comparing it to what you planned to see how it’s going. If you find that you’re off track, think about what might have gone wrong and change your habits. For example, were your spending habits out of control? Did you not invest enough, or were your savings not quite as high as you anticipated?
Make small adjustments to your habits or adjust your plans based on what you determine in your assessment to get it right.
What Is the Wealth Accumulation Phase?
The wealth accumulation phase involves a few steps:
- The amount of money you make from your job
- The money you make from any side gigs or freelancing work
- Any interest you earn from savings
- Any earnings from investing
- Money you save by paying off high-interest debt or cutting back on your costs
Think of the accumulation phase as the time you accumulate the money needed to increase your total assets. You’ll put that money to work by investing it, but you need to accumulate the funds to do it for now.
11 Tips for Accumulating Wealth
Accumulating wealth doesn’t have to seem impossible. With these 11 tips, anyone can increase their earnings and take advantage of passive income.
1. Pay Yourself First
Most of us are programmed to spend first and save last. It’s almost subconscious. You get paid, and you pay your bills right away. Next, you spend any extra money you have and forget to save. By the end of the month, most people don’t have enough money available to save or at least enough to reach their financial goals.
Instead, pay yourself first. Make saving money like a bill. Create a line item in your budget so that it’s non-negotiable. An even easier way to make sure it happens is to set up auto-deposits. Suppose you have a direct deposit with your employer. In that case, you can easily split up your deposit between accounts to save enough in both your regular bank accounts and employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
2. Invest Wisely
Investing your money is the key to passive income. When you invest, you give your money a chance to work for you.
Investing wisely starts with a diversified portfolio. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Invest in stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate as much as possible. Talk to your financial professional about the right investments, given your risk tolerance, financial goals, and timeline.
Don’t assume you don’t have enough money to invest in things like real estate or even high valued stocks. Today there are many ways to invest, including buying fractional shares in the stock market, leveraging your real estate investments to invest in physical real estate, or investing in assets like real estate investment trusts to take advantage of real estate returns without the pressure of owning physical real estate.
Make sure to revisit your portfolio often to ensure your allocation is on track and that you don’t need to make any adjustments. As the market performs (or crashes), you may need to alter your allocations to stay on track with your goals.
3. Pay Off High-Interest Debts ASAP
You won’t be able to outpace the interest you pay on high-interest debt, so pay it off as soon as possible. If you are choosing between investing and paying off debt, always pay off the debt first.
If you don’t have an emergency fund yet (more on this below), split your efforts between stocking your emergency fund and paying off debt. But hold off on investing until you’ve at least paid your debts down. Every penny you spend on high-interest debt is an opportunity cost for other things that could likely help you achieve your long-term goals.
It might take some work to pay your debts off, including cutting down on your expenses or finding ways to increase your income, but your efforts will help you have more money to help build your assets.
4. Avoid Being House Poor
Being house poor means you spend a large majority of your income on housing expenses. Many people end up house poor because they don’t realize the true cost of homeownership. Focusing only on the mortgage payment could get you in trouble because a lot more goes into owning a house than making the mortgage payment.
You must consider the real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, annual maintenance and repair costs, and any mortgage insurance you might be obligated to pay. When you’re house poor, you put most of your monthly income into your home and not enough into other assets.
Real estate can be a great investment, but it shouldn’t be your only one. Being able to put money away for emergencies, unexpected expenses, retirement, and other goals is just as important. Rather than making yourself house poor, buy a home that suits your family’s needs, but allows you to keep your expenses in check.
5. Live Modestly
We’re going to say it, don’t keep up with the Joneses. Leave beneath your means, so you always have funds for investing and growing your assets.
What does it mean to live modestly?
Here are a few ways:
- Only buy cars that get you from Point A to Point B rather than buying more expensive cars than you need or can’t afford. You don’t need the latest model or all the bells and whistles. Cars are a depreciating asset, so they won’t help you reach your goals.
- Don’t buy items just to achieve specific status. Instead, worry about you and your family, ensuring you have what you need but not what will make others like you. Don’t fall into the competition trap. You never know how much debt your friends and neighbors have to have the ‘status level’ they have, but you shouldn’t want any part of that.
- Buy a home that meets your family’s needs but doesn’t exceed them. Don’t worry about buying the biggest house in the best neighborhood. Instead, buy a house that’s moderate, safe, and will grow with your family without being excessive.
- Don’t let lifestyle creep happen. If you get a raise at work, it doesn’t mean you should increase your lifestyle because you have more money. Instead, live the same lifestyle, take the difference in what you earned, put it in an investment, or start saving more money.
6. Plan for the Future
Planning for the future is essential for your loved ones. If you want to ensure that your wealth goes where you want it to, you must talk about things like death and what will happen when you’re gone.
Creating a will, estate plan, and carrying proper insurance is the key to planning for the future. Talk to a professional about what you need. For example, are you better off setting up a trust? Should you have transfers on death deeds and bank accounts? What type of life insurance do you need?
Planning for the future will make it easier for your loved ones when you pass. When it’s done right, your estate won’t go through probate, and your loved ones will get a larger portion of your estate rather than paying estate taxes, fees, and other expenses, lowering what they receive.
7. Create a Budget
To accumulate wealth, you need a budget. Budgeting tells your money where to go, and it also means how you spend your money.
Create a simple budget and reassess your progress monthly. Track your spending and see how it stacks up to your plans. Are you saving enough money each month? Have you stocked your emergency fund and contributed to your tax-advantaged plans like you hoped?
If you find that you’re spending too much money or you don’t have any extra money after paying your bills and spending money, figure out where you can cut back or make changes. Think about negotiating certain bills or expenses or canceling subscriptions and expenses you no longer need or can afford.
You can budget on paper, use a spreadsheet, or a budgeting app. There are plenty of free apps like Mint that make it easy to track your spending, pay your bills on time, and stay on track with your financial plans.
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8. Monitor Your Net Worth
Just as you should track your progress budgeting, you should do the same with your net worth. It’s easy to calculate it as it’s your total assets minus your total liabilities. As you pay your debts down, your net worth will increase.
But if you take on more debt or don’t increase your assets fast enough, they may not grow as fast as you want. Keeping track of it can help you make the necessary changes immediately to see faster progress.
9. Build Up an Emergency Fund
One emergency can wipe out any money you’ve accumulated if you aren’t careful. So before putting money in stocks, bonds, commodities, or real estate, make sure you have money saved for life’s unexpected events.
The best way to stay on track is to save at least 3 – 6 months of your monthly expenses in a separate account that you can’t touch. Only use the funds for true emergencies, such as losing your job or falling ill and being unable to work.
10. Find Ways to Earn More Money
In today’s economy, it’s easier than ever to earn more money. While you’ll likely make most of your income from your 9 to 5 job, there are other ways to earn more.
- Ask for a raise – If you think you deserve a raise, ask for it. Outline all the reasons you think you deserve it and time your request during a time that your employer can listen to you with an open mind.
- Start a side gig – There are many ways to make money on the side. Whether you drive for Uber or Lyft, shop for Instacart, or deliver food for DoorDash or UberEats, you can work as an independent contractor and on your own time, keeping all the earnings for yourself.
- Start a freelance gig – If you have a special skill, such as freelance writing, web design, or marketing, you can offer your services online, setting your own rates and working as your own boss.
11. Invest in Yourself
Don’t discount the benefits of investing in yourself. Reading books, taking courses, and continually learning how to increase your wealth can help you reach even more goals.
You will never know everything there is to know about personal finance, so give yourself the time and money needed to keep learning. If you have a bad relationship with money, consider working with a money coach to change your money mindset. If you want to learn more about investing, read blogs and take courses.
How to Accumulate Wealth FAQ
How Is Wealth Accumulation Measured?
Most people measure wealth accumulation by a person’s net worth, but every person can have their own way of measuring it. For example, you might have a certain number in mind that makes you feel financially secure or want to reach specific goals. So you decide what makes you feel the most financially secure, and that’s how you should measure your wealth accumulation.
How Does Compounding Help in Wealth Accumulation?
Compounding earnings is like passive income. You contribute money once, and it keeps growing, and you don’t have to do anything to make it happen. The earlier you contribute money, the more time it has to compound and grow, helping you to reach your goals.
Is There a Correlation Between Happiness and Wealth Accumulation?
Happiness and wealth can go hand-in-hand. When you have enough money, you may feel happier and more secure, but you can feel anxious, depressed, and insecure when you don’t have enough.
While money doesn’t buy happiness, it makes life a lot easier to handle and allows you to do what you want with your time which can often equate to happiness.
How Do You Accumulate Wealth Quickly?
There isn’t a get rich quick scheme to use to accumulate wealth fast. Every person has a different method to reach their financial goals. You aren’t better if you accumulate the funds you want fast and aren’t ‘bad’ if it takes you longer.
The key is to create a strategy, follow it, and track your progress along the way to see how you’re doing.
Why Should One Accumulate Wealth for Their Children?
It’s not a requirement to accumulate wealth for your children, but it can help build a positive money story for them and get them set in life when they’re starting out. Kids with a positive money story usually grow up with a positive money mindset and the ability to handle their finances well. While kids need to learn financial responsibility themselves, having parental wealth can also help them get off on the right foot.
Wealth Accumulation Final Thoughts
Everyone can start working on their wealth accumulation habits. It won’t happen overnight, and it can take some trial and error. Think of it as an ongoing plan, one that you may have some peaks and valleys, but if you stick with it for the long term, you’ll be happy with the outcome.
Samantha Hawrylack is a personal finance expert and full-time entrepreneur with a passion for writing and SEO. She holds a Bachelor’s in Finance and Master’s in Business Administration and previously worked for Vanguard, where she held Series 7 and 63 licenses. Her work has been featured in publications like Grow, MSN, CNBC, Ladders, Rocket Mortgage, Quicken Loans, Clever Girl Finance, Credit Donkey, Crediful, Investing Answers, Well Kept Wallet, AllCards, Mama and Money, and Concreit, among others. She writes in personal finance, real estate, credit, entrepreneurship, credit card, student loan, mortgage, personal loan, insurance, debt management, business, productivity, and career niches.