How do the most successful people handle their finances? Are you inspired by rags to riches stories? No matter where we are in life or our career, we all strive for more financial independence. Educating yourself and learning more about how you can make good financial decisions are the first steps towards a more successful and prosperous future. You have the power to build your American Dream from the ground up!

A recent article in Investopedia discussed a few ways that individuals manage, invest, and build their money successfully.

Using tips from this article and from our previous ‘Everyday Affordability’ posts, there are a few simple concepts you can focus on to start to build your finances.

  1. Invest in Yourself

Successful individuals understand that furthering their education and enhancing their skills set  can advance their career and ultimately lead to promotions/raises. Furthering your education does not have to mean earning a college degree; it could simply mean continuing your learning through online webinars or staying up-to-date with the latest leadership books! Never stop striving to learn more, even if it is just a little bit at a time, it will pay off!

  1. Pay into Your Future

Many people put money into a savings account or retirement fund each month before they put money towards anything else. Starting to save for retirement at an early age is extremely important. While retirement may seem a long ways off, starting early guarantees a more comfortable future. Over time, all that money you are putting away will earn interest and provide you with a bigger return! Talk to your employer about retirement account options available to you.

  1. Take Advantage of Employer Programs

Many companies will match the monetary amount that you contribute to your 401k each month. For example, if you put $200 into your retirement account, the company may match that money, and in turn give you double your initial contribution. Many successful people have taken advantage of this type of employer benefit and used it to set up an even more comfortable retirement. There are other programs, like employee stock plans, that you should consider and look to capitalize on the “free” money offered to you.

  1. Live Below Your Means

Even if you find yourself making a decent amount of money, it doesn’t mean you need to or should spend all of that money. There are many people who only spend money on the necessities and choose to save everything that is left over. By sticking to a strict budget and only allowing yourself to splurge on special occasions, you can discover newfound wealth. By budgeting, you avoid developing a lifestyle that is just too expensive to sustain, especially if your circumstances were to ever change.

  1. Embrace Other’s Expertise

We all need to seek the expertise and advice of others at times. Even the most successful of people, look to others for guidance. When it comes to finances, think about the areas you need the most help. Do you understand taxes? Do you know what retirement funds are best for you? Are you paying down your debt effectively? If not, it may be worth consulting with a knowledgable family member or friend or even hiring a professional to walk you through the process. Use expert advice to your benefit and continue to achieve your financial goals!

Whether it’s living below your means or putting money aside for retirement, being fiscally responsible is vital for a successful future. Finances can be confusing at times but there are easy steps you can take and plenty of resources available to you to help you achieve your goals and lead a comfortable and prosperous life!