For many upper middle class Americans, building wealth is a priority. You might want to retire early, purchase a second home or provide generational wealth for your family. No matter the reason, there are steps to take to set yourself up to become richer than you are today.
Here’s a look at some of the things you should focus on if you want to build wealth to become rich in 2024.
Focus on Smart Investing
One of the best ways to build wealth is through investing. Investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ETFs are all easily available through online brokers. While investing might be intimidating for many people, a lot of information is available to help you succeed.
However, it’s important to understand that the real winners are the investors who are thoughtful about where they’re putting their money to work. They understand the importance of optimizing their investment portfolio.
“Investment optimization isn’t merely about increasing investment amounts but more about strategic and smart investment choices,” said Khwan Hathai, CFP, CFT and founder of Epiphany Financial Therapy. “Adapting investment portfolios to align with the current market trends and personal financial goals is crucial. This might involve diversifying across various asset classes or considering alternative investments. Each investment decision should be made based on one’s individual risk tolerance and future plans.”
Get a Second Income Source
Having multiple sources of income can help you build wealth at a much faster pace. It’s also going to provide you with a sense of income security. If something were to happen and you lost your primary job, you would still have a source of income to support your family.
As you start generating additional income, don’t lose sight of the goal of building wealth. Too many people get sucked into the lifestyle inflation trap, where they use their extra income to purchase the things they want. Instead, make sure this income is helping you build an emergency fund, pay down any debts you might have or increase your investment contributions.
Consider Real Estate
Investing in real estate is a great way to build wealth and add passive income. With real estate, you can purchase physical properties or invest indirectly through crowdfunding platforms.
Many crowdfunding platforms are available for as little as $100. However, the risk and reward can be much greater if you choose to invest in a single-family or multi-family property. You’ll need to have a significant amount of cash to cover a down payment, and there will be upkeep needed on the property. Still, if you purchase a property with a high rate of return, your investment could help you quickly build wealth.
Invest in Education
Investing in your education is something that can help you earn more money in the future. Learning new skills and acquiring new certifications or degrees can further your career, leading to a higher-paying job.
Prioritize Financial Planning and Wealth Management
Financial planning and wealth management can help you build and maintain wealth. If possible, work with a financial advisor. They can help with tax optimization, retirement strategies, risk management, estate planning and more.
Be sure to regularly review and revise your financial plans as your circumstances change over time.
“Consult with a qualified financial advisor who understands your individual goals, risk tolerance and investment timeline,” said David Reyes, founder of Reyes Financial Architecture. “They can help you build a personalized portfolio and navigate complex financial decisions.”
Ask for a Raise or Get a New Job
Although it may be scary, asking for a salary raise is one of the easiest ways to boost your wealth this year. If you haven’t had a raise in a while, you may be due for one to help your salary keep up with inflation.
Before asking for a raise, you should prepare by doing research on comparable salaries for your position. You should also make a list of the reasons why you deserve a raise. Include things like how much money you help the company generate and your successes. You should highlight your value to the company, not how badly you need a raise.
If a raise at your current job is not an option, it may be time to look for a new job that offers a higher salary.
“Don’t underestimate the power of negotiation,” Reyes said. “Research your market value, gather evidence of your accomplishments and confidently approach your manager for a salary review. In a tight job market, employers are often willing to retain valuable talent.”
Increase Your 401(k) Contributions
If you aren’t taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan, you could be missing out on free money. Many employers will match your contributions up to a certain percentage. If you are taking advantage of your plan, boost your contribution. In 2024, you can contribute up to $23,000 into eligible 401(k) plans.
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to do all of these to become rich. Pick one or several that resonate with you and your goals. By taking action now, you could end 2024 wealthier than you are today.
Hathai said, “For the upper middle class aiming to reach the next level of wealth in 2024, the strategy involves a blend of increasing and diversifying income sources, making astute investment choices and fostering a psychological framework that supports wealth growth.”
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