If your're looking to build more wealth in 2020, money won't simply appear — you're probably going to have to make some changes to reach your goals.
Here are five lifestyle changes that have helped self-made millionaires get to where they are today. If they worked for them, they could also work for you.
The richest people focus on earning, and they typically aren't content with one source of revenue.
As author Thomas C. Corley found in his multi-year study of self-made millionaires, the rich "do not rely on one singular source of income," he writes in "Change Your Habits, Change Your Life." In fact, "65% had at least three streams of income that they created prior to making their first million dollars," Corley says, such as real-estate rentals, a side hustle or a part-time job.
Once you start bringing home two paychecks, try Jay Leno's strategy: Save the bigger of the two checks and live on the other. It not only frees up more cash that you can save and invest, but it helps prevent lifestyle inflation, which is when you increase your spending as your income increases.
In fact, how much you save and invest is often more important than the size of your paycheck, says personal finance expert Ramit Sethi. "On average, millionaires invest 20% of their household income each year. Their wealth isn't measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they've saved and invested over time," he writes in his book, "I Will Teach You to Be Rich."
Ready to put your money to work? Read this investing guide for beginners.
Once you've committed to investing your money, the easiest way to stick with it over time is to make the process automatic. Set up a regular transfer so that money from your paycheck is sent to your savings or investment accounts every month, before you even see it.
Say one of your 2020 goals is to put $2,000 into an emergency fund. Start by figuring out how much you'd have to save per paycheck over the course of the year to reach that goal. Then set up an automatic transfer so you move that amount from your checking account to your savings each time you get paid.
If you have even bigger wealth goals, automation can help get you there, too. It helped one millennial, Grant Sabatier, save over half his income and eventually become a millionaire. "Automation is essential," he tells CNBC Make It. "When I first started saving and investing, I was a little more old school — I was trying to invest as much as possible into the online savings accounts I had set up, and it was a pretty manual process. Now, one of the biggest recommendations I make is to automate as much of your savings as possible."
Your community matters. It can even affect your net worth, says self-made millionaire and author Steve Siebold: "In most cases, your net worth mirrors the level of your closest friends. … We become like the people we associate with, and that's why winners are attracted to winners."
Coreley agrees: "Wealthy, successful people are very particular about who they associate with," he writes. "Their goal is to develop relationships with other success-minded individuals."
If you don't have highly motivated people in your network, Corley suggests joining groups for people who share your same career goals or personal interests.
If you set your expectations exceptionally high and are up for any challenge, you're on the right track. After all, "no one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations," Siebold writes.
And don't put off setting money goals or implementing these lifestyle changes — if you want to build wealth, jump in today, says Sethi: "The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room."
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