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There’s a lot of talk about what you need to build wealth, from a purely financial point of view. Things like a matched 401K, a solid savings habit and a great investment plan. But there are also things that are nothing to do with money itself, that can really help when you’re trying to build wealth.
The right relationships
Building wealth is easier with the right partner. Or no partner at all. Either one will work, but the wrong partner will make building wealth a real challenge. You and your significant other need to find some sort of consensus and alignment when it comes to financial goals. Ben Le Fort has written an excellent piece on this topic, about how he and his wife got on the same page about money. They managed it in spite of the fact that they naturally have very different approaches to finances. Ultimately, talking to your partner about finances, and teaming up to meet joint financial goals, is one of the best things you can do for your finances. Given how many arguments are about money, it’s also one of the best things you can do for your relationship.
It’s not just your romantic relationships that matter, though. Your friendships will impact your ability to build wealth, too. One study found that we tend to be highly influenced by the spending habits of our closest friends. This means it can pay to surround yourself with friends who have healthy finances and sensible spending habits. If you’re at a stage in your life where your closest friends are your biggest influence, it might even help to talk about finances with them. You could do some financial goal-setting together, or commit to a some sort of challenge, like a no-spend month, or a pay-down-debt year.
A Growth Mindset
A growth mindset tends to go with a love of life-long learning and continuous improvement. And that really helps when it comes to growing wealth. Constant financial self-education is a part of getting good personal finance habits in place and building wealth. Setting aside time to regularly learn more about money management is a great investment. Whether you spend that time reading personal finance blogs, studying online courses, attending investment seminars, or reading great books.
A growth mindset also allows us to move with the times, and learn from our mistakes. Many of us have fixed ideas about money that may not serve us well. This is especially true given that the personal finance landscape is always changing. Be prepared to explore new ideas, learn about new opportunities, and assess past mistakes, to see how you can improve your financial situation.
Some people will never achieve the degree of self-awareness needed to grow wealth. They won’t face up to their own money mindset issues, take responsibility for their spending, or question their own ingrained ideas. I once knew someone who spent a lot of time complaining about how she never had any money because her employer was stingy and didn’t pay well. She did a lot of that complaining over mojitos in a fancy cocktail bar, but would never have admitted that there was a connection between her mojito habit and her lack of money.
Later she got a better job, and then a better one, but to this day she’s still in debt, as far as I know. Lifestyle inflation followed her from job to job, and she never learned to equate her lifestyle to her lack of money. It’s still her employer’s fault she doesn’t have money, and always will be.
Developing a high level of self-awareness around how you manage your money is a key step when it comes to making changes and improvements. You can’t fix what you won’t admit is broken. And you can’t take control of your finances if you convince yourself that your boss, the cost of living, or some other external circumstance controls them for you.
The road to wealth is paved with setbacks. Some investments don’t pan out. Sometimes you blow your budget. Sometimes you just don’t reach the income or savings goals you set. Being able to accept that, look at what went wrong, and move forward with a new plan, and a new sense of determination, is vital.
Fixing these issues won’t make you rich. But it will create some very favorable conditions for managing your money and growing your wealth.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.