11 Most Effective Wealth Building Strategies Used by Personal Finance Pros in 2020
People often wonder why the rich keep getting richer.
Do the rich have some secret sauce that allows them to continue to propel their wealth year over year, while the average individual struggles to pay their bills and save for retirement?
I’ve written many articles about investing, wealth creation, and the wealth-generating mindset. The article below isn’t mine. I posted a request on HARO (help a reporter out) looking for feedback to my question: “what are your best wealth-building strategies.”
I received close to 60 responses from the financial community.
I curated the best responses from the 60 submissions, where required shortened and did some minor editing, but, what you will find below is a list of the 11 best ideas.
In the end, if you’re hoping for a magic wealth potion or secret, I’m going to disappoint. There’s no secret sauce.
Creating wealth is about diligently investing in yourself, education and knowledge, learning the basics of finances, understanding risk and reward, and taking appropriate risk where required. Once you have those mechanics, it’s about leveraging your wealth by investing appropriately and earning out-sized returns. That, in a nutshell, is the strategy for wealth creation.
If you do the above over and over, you will build generational wealth that will extend well beyond your lifetime, and extend to your heirs.
When I write about creating wealth, I focus on the top 0.1%. I’m not referring to one or two million dollars, but rather, $30 million and more (the top 0.1%). That’s the wealth you want to achieve, and that’s what I write about. How to become a decamillionaire.
I’ve listed the 11 responses in a logical order.
1. Spend Your Time Investing in Yourself, Not Investing in the Markets
My top wealth-building strategy might be slightly unpopular, but if you’re young – don’t focus on investing. Investing only really pays off when you have capital. Instead, invest in yourself before thinking about investments and retirement.
Having a focus on personal development during your younger years will help you significantly increase your earning potential. After that, once you have achieved a high earning potential, don’t scale up lifestyle expenses – this is how even extremely highly paid C level executives end up marrying their jobs.
Hopefully, by your late twenties, you can comfortably fund your lifestyle with just 20% of your income, consistently dollar average 50% of your income into growth-focused ETF that has a long term horizon – commit to NEVER drawing from this fund until the day you retire. Allocate 10% as an opportunity fund to start businesses or angel invest.
Lastly, save the other 20% for long term plans like getting married, getting a house and traveling.
Author: I’m Jeremy Ong, owner of HUSTLR and multiple other blogs and eCommerce stores, including vapeclubmy.com. The websites I own as a whole bring in about 60,000 visitors, 3,000 email leads and close to 1,000 conversions each month. We’re currently doing about $50,000 in revenue each month. I know that isn’t much, but I started this company with $400 in paid-up capital, and now have 7 full-time team members.
2. Rethink and Understand Your Relationship With Risk
My top wealth building tip is to rethink your relationship with risk.
It may seem like wealthy individuals, especially entrepreneurs, tend to be risky. Yet, when you study the lives of great entrepreneurs and businesses, you learn that these supposed risks were very calculated.
If you’re looking to become wealthy, identify some low-cost risks you can take today. Examples include starting a side business or if you already own a business, adding a different revenue stream. When you find a risk that starts to offer some payoff, that’s when you go all in.
Author: R.J. Weiss is a CFP® and founder of the personal finance site The Ways to Wealth.
3. Build Multiple Streams of Income
Stop Trading Time for Money:
Tip #1: Building out multiple passive income streams is, by far, the most realistic way to build wealth — but notice I said build and not find.
Passive income, despite what some may say, isn’t found. Most people will work towards creating a passive income stream during their spare time on top of their traditional 9 to 5. From aggressive (but risk-balanced) investing tactics, to slowly acquiring rental units, to creating a knowledge course and selling it online, those focused on building wealth outside of exchanging time for money generally find that it may even take several passive income streams to get them over the hump.
Start simple: if you’re responsible in spending, make sure you have liquid assets in a high-yield online savings account (or money market account) and grab a cashback credit card for purchases you already have cash on hand for; consider renting out unused property or stationary vehicles; and then, look for ways scale yourself out of your skillset.
If you know how to teach soccer, don’t teach soccer. Find a way to create soccer tutorials and sell them online so they create revenue around the clock.
Start Saying No For One Month
Tip #2: Practice saying no to virtually everything for one month — then, do it over and over again. Like clockwork, the personal finance community argues about whether or not it’s okay to deprive oneself of your weekly latte habit. I’m saying do that, and go further. It’s true, the $5 weekly (or even daily) Starbucks habit isn’t going to break you, but mental weakness will.
If there’s no gut-check moment over a $5 purchase, there’s less likely to be one present when you go to make a $20 purchase or a $100 purchase. And if you’re fortunate enough to be making $1,000 or higher purchases, it might not even be there too.
Practice the Art of Self-Discipline
If passive income is the gold standard for creating wealth, self-discipline is the gold standard for what keeps it. Furthermore, self-discipline is what helps you get to whatever you determine wealthy to be in the first place.
The month-long exercise of saying “no” to virtually everything isn’t in place to deprive yourself of the things that make you happy – it’s to help you realize what’s important to you and what isn’t when it comes to money.
Be reasonable, ask yourself each time you approach a financial transaction, “is this a want or a need”? And even it’s a need, do you need it right now, or could it wait? These wealth mindset-oriented decisions are often the differentiating factor between someone who makes good money and just “gets by,” and those that make an average income and thrive on it.
Author: Ben Huber is a personal finance writer at, and the co-owner of, DollarSprout.com a leading resource in helping millennials make and manage financial decisions. A consumer spending and behavioral economics expert, he helps young adults make the most of their hard-earned money. When he isn’t writing or attending Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games, he’s almost certainly at the gym lifting weights and trying to impress strangers.
4. Pay Yourself First and Diversify
The top wealth-building strategy for business owners and employees is to pay yourself first. Not only is it at a must, but it also needs to be completely automated. The profit or savings needs to be funneled to a separate account that is hard to access to remove temptations of spending the money.
If you don’t have excess amounts of profit or savings yet, start with 1% or basically $1 out of every $100 you earn. You won’t miss the dollar and over time you can increase the percentage by 1%. If you did that every six months in 5 years you would be automatically channeling 10% of your income in a savings program. After 10 years you would be saving 20% of your income and after 20 years 40%!
Because it’s automated it occurs without hesitation or friction. Since you are making tiny changes you never notice the 1% which means there is no struggle put the amount aside. What you never receive you never miss.
The key is to make the funds impossible to access so that you are never tempted to spend them. You can use these funds to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or over time in real estate or other diverse assets. The key is to have a stockpile of wealth separate from your main income source.
This process works for both employees and business owners and ensures wealth over time.
Author: Rocky Lalvani, MBA, EA is a wealth coach who helps small businesses put Profit First to ensure business growth and creating the life of your dreams. He works with successful business owners to create harmony between their life and business. Ricky blogs at Richer Soul.
5. Develop a Wealth-Oriented Mindset
My number one tip for building long-term wealth is changing your mindset. Everything starts there because you are the only one holding you back. Sure you need to pay off debt, manage your money better, and make saving automatic BUT you really have to believe you can do it and that it’s worth it.
You have to get out of your own way. The majority of North Americans are broke and living paycheck to paycheck even in the best economy and lowest unemployment rate we have ever had.
This is because of how they think about money and how to manage it. It is crucial for you to understand how you think about money and why and then test those thoughts against facts and reality.
This is especially true if you want to build wealth. You have to believe that you should build wealth, that wealth is a good thing, and that your future self will need income.
If you think money is evil, the wealthy are soul-sucking devils, or that you will never retire someday, why in the world would you try to build wealth.
Some things to think about in order to change your mindset includes testing your views against reality. For example: do you think millionaires make a million dollars a year? The reality is that they don’t. Most millionaires make an average income. Being a millionaire means they have a net worth of a million dollars.
Another example: Do you think rich people are terrible people? Find someone in your life or community that you think is wealthy that doesn’t fit this mold. If you find one good wealthy person, that means that all wealthy people are not evil.
Then think about how you want to live when you get older. What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children? Building wealth isn’t just about whether or not you need or want it. It’s about building the life you want for you, your children, and your grandchildren.
Once you start to examine your thoughts and feelings around building wealth, then you will be able to do the practical things you need to do to actually get there.
Author: I am Ashley Patrick, personal finance expert, and Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach. I am the founder and CEO of Budgets Made Easy and The Money Mindset Podcast. I help families eliminate debt using simple strategies so they can stress less and live the life they want. I have been featured on numerous sites such as Yahoo! Finance, Fox Business, MSN, CNBC, and many others
6. Track Your Net Worth
My best tip for building wealth is to track your net worth.
A recent study at the Dominican University of California found that those who wrote down their goals and met with an accountability partner each week to discuss their progress were 33% more likely to achieve their goals than those who did not write down their goals.
If you really care about achieving something, you should take intentional steps towards that goal — right? If you are a student, you want to make sure you are completing the required courses for your degree. If you want to be a professional athlete, you should manage your diet and exercise strategically daily. So why would you treat your wealth-building and financial independence progress differently?
Tracking your net worth with an intentional frequency forces you to recognize your progress (or lack of progress) over time and gives you an opportunity to change your strategy if you are not meeting your own expectations. Even if you only check your net worth quarterly or every 6 months, you’ll still be able to see its change over long periods.
This tracking habit can positively reinforce good money behavior, like investing and reducing debt. As you make progress, your brain will experience pleasant endorphin releases which will further motivate you to focus on your wealth goals.
Author: Mr. SR writes about personal finance, behavior, and early semi-retirement at Semi-Retire Plan. He is a fan of college football, Taylor guitars, and extra-large coffee mugs. Mr. SR has been featured on G2, Databox, The Public Slate, and The Money Mix.
7. Remember to Always be Learning
One of the best wealth building tips I have is to remember to ABL – Always Be Learning.
Without taking the time and initiative to learn about money, investing, and marketing for my career, I would not be on the wealth-building path I am today. I’m not a millionaire nor make an insane salary, but in the last five years I have made huge strides that are leading me to where I want to be.
By reading books, especially with different viewpoints, listening to other successful people in personal finances or entrepreneurship, and reading financial websites, I was able to refocus my entire money mindset. Yet, even after I gained more knowledge, I still re-read books I have already finished and continue to learn from others. Knowledge is never-ending, regardless of your expertise, and can truly impact your path to future wealth.
And every time I re-read or listen to a new podcast (or old one) I discover something I missed that impacts my wealth-building process in a positive way. It’s amazing how often you can get more golden nuggets of information with a second or third read-through.
Author: Todd Kunsman – Founder of Invested Wallet and featured in Time, Business Insider, & HuffPost. Self-educated on personal finance and investing. He’s passionate about financial freedom, investing, side hustles, and helping others realize they too can transform their finances
8. Learn How to Invest Like a Billionaire
The best wealth building tip out there, hands down, is to invest. And yes, I might be biased (I do run a site called Just Start Investing), but I am not alone with this opinion. I mean, it is how people like Warren Buffet made their fortune.
The reason investing is such a great wealth-building technique is because of compound interest. Or, how Albert Einstein calls it, “the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
The beauty of investing (especially index investing) is that when you earn 7 or 8% per year on average, the next year, you’ll earn that same amount on your new base of cash. So your snowball keeps getting bigger as it rolls down the hill and gains momentum. So get started today and get that ball rolling towards the valley of wealth!
Author: Kevin runs the personal finance website Just Start Investing, where he focuses on making investing easy. Just Start Investing has been featured on Business Insider, Forbes, and US News & World Report, among other major publications for his easy-to-follow writing. Check out Just Start Investing to learn the simple strategies to start investing today, as well as ways to optimize your credit cards, banking and budget.
9. House Hacking To Eliminate Housing Expenses
My top wealth-building strategy is to build wealth in real estate through house hacking.
If you’re currently living in an apartment, consider buying a 2-4 unit multi-family property and living in one unit. This strategy, called house hacking, allows you to use rents from other units to pay for the mortgage.
When you house hack, you eliminate your housing expenses. Assuming your rent and utilities are $1,500 per month, you would be saving $18,000 per year. Not only are you eliminating that expense, but you also get tax breaks, property value appreciation, and loan paydown by house hacking.
Once you live in the property for a year or two, you can save up $18,000-$36,000 for a down payment on your primary house. You can even use the cash flow from the multi-family to pay for the mortgage on your primary house too.
If you don’t want to own or live in a multi-family property, you can use this same strategy on a single-family house. Just rent out your rooms or section off a portion of your house and rent it out, like an in-law suite or a finished basement.
Author: Shawn Breyer started Breyer Home Buyers with a mission to empower people to enjoy life by simplifying and solving their property issues. He and his wife flip 35+ homes in the metro Atlanta area every year.
10. Invest Wisely, Stop Wasting Money, and Work Hard
– Saving and/or investing a percentage of your monthly income. It may sound old-school, but in reality, saving and/or investing a portion of your monthly salary is still on top of the many ways to build up your wealth. By doing so, your money increases over time without having to do anything.
– Stop buying things that you do not need. This is one practical way to build wealth. It takes a lot of discipline to not buy anything beyond what you need. But once you are used to it, it’s super easy.
– Work hard now, enjoy the perks later. When I was still single, I used to do an extra job after office hours to earn more. I used my free time to work from home because I was driven by my goal to retire early at the same time, to save money and build on my personal wealth.
Author: Pratibha Vuppuluri is the Chief Blogger at She Started It, an online resource guide for working moms. Pratibha has more than ten years experience in the financial services industry including seven years in the Healthcare, Private Equity Secondary Market and Technology Investment Banking space at both UBS and Deutsche Bank. She has also authored and published an economic thesis on “The Impact of Negative Economic News Coverage on Consumer Confidence”.
11. It’s Not Timing the Markets, It’s Time in The Markets (Jeff’s addition)
There’s no shortage of stock picking tips. The best ETF in the market, the hot tech company that’s just gone IPO that everyone needs to own. Catching the bitcoin craze, or the cannabis market. Most people are looking for the next 200% hot stock so they can ride the wave. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but, creating wealth is about a long-term, appropriate asset allocation strategy that’s designed to grow during good times, and weather the storm during the bad. It isn’t about finding the next hot stock. You won’t create wealth by jumping in and out of the markets. Develop a strategy, and stick with it.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy this one: How to Become a Decamillionaire, Grow your Net Worth to $10 Million, and Join the 1% Club
Good luck with your wealth-creating journey.
You should also consider subscribing to my blog. I publish one article a week on small business and wealth creation. You can subscribe here.
Also, I published a book during the summer of 2018, “The Kickass Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing, Three Simple Steps to Create Massive Wealth with Your Business’s Profits.” It was number 1 on Amazon in both the business and non-fiction sections. You can get a free copy here.