6 Real Ways to Build Long-Term Wealth




We have a special guest post today from Greg Johnson at Club Thrifty.  I'm really excited that Greg shared the article with us today.   Greg and his wife, Holly, have an exciting story to share.  After you've read Greg's article, make sure to jump over to Club Thrifty and check them out.

- Colin / Building-Income

Becoming wealthy is not something that happens overnight. Sure, some people win the lottery or have a windfall of money from an unexpected inheritance, but you should not be holding your breath for something like that to happen to you.

Instead, to build real wealth, you need to think long-term. Rather than living lavishly, it’s important to adopt a lifestyle of disciplined saving and investing. These simple actions can help almost anybody grow a massive nest egg over time.

Here are six of my favorite ways to gradually grow real wealth.

1. Stock Market Investing

Many people think of the stock market as gambling. They think that if they had only thrown a few thousand at Apple or Amazon in ’98, then they could be rich too. For most people, that’s not how this works.

Investing in the stock market is not just about finding the next hot and profitable company. It is about diversifying your portfolio and making wise investments that will gradually grow over decades.  

For those who love doing research and have a lot of time to invest in investing, then buying and trading individual stocks may be for you. You can make educated financial decisions and calculated risks that grow your wealth at a faster rate than those investing at a lower risk.

With that said, most people don’t have the time or the skills to make this a winning proposition. Instead, you may want to turn to an investing professional for help. DIYers might consider investing some money into index funds.

Regardless of the path you choose, there are plenty of tools you can use to track your progress – including my favorite free tools from Personal Capital. The Investment Checkup Tool analyzes the success of your investments and points out areas where you can do better. Personally, I compare these suggestions to the suggestions made by my brokerage account. If they both agree, I make the necessary changes.

2. Real Estate Investing

I have so many people tell me that they can never see themselves as landlords. Unfortunately for them, they’re missing out on a wonderful way to build long-term wealth while still generating an extra paycheck every month.

When you collect rent on properties you own outright, it is easy passive income. Yes, you might have to hire someone to make repairs occasionally, and you’ll likely deal with the occasional pesky renter. In the long run, though, I’ve found investing in real estate is worth it.

Don’t want to deal with managing your properties on your own? You can always hire a property management company to manage your rentals for a reasonable percentage of the monthly rent.

3. Real Estate Investment Trusts

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is the next best thing to owning property yourself. REITs are companies that own and manage a variety of income-producing real estate properties. You can invest in these companies and earn dividends that are based on a percentage of their profits.

Investing in a REIT is similar to investing in mutual funds. Think of them like stocks for real estate. The REIT uses your money to invest in more properties. It then makes money through rent payments and property appreciation. You’ll receive dividends while you own your shares, and you can make (or lose) money when you sell those shares, as well.

4. Passive Income

Imagine taking a vacation for a month and coming home with more money in your account than when you left. That is one of the joys of passive income. You do the heavy lifting once and reap the benefits over time.

There are a gazillion passive income ideas out there, but my favorite streams of passive income include our rental properties, our investments, blogging (it’s sort of passive, anyway), and selling our courses online. With each of these, my wife and I put in the hard work and financial investment upfront. Now, we can enjoy the fruit of our labor.

Of course, some forms of passive income require a little upkeep. For example, I might write a blog post that generates income for years. However, I still need to keep up the rest of my website and social media posts to ensure that the old blog post keeps churning passive income. (That’s why I say blogging is only “sort of” passive.)

5. Building Up Your Skill and Career

Wish you had more money to save and invest? Even the most frugal individuals realize there’s only so much they can cut from their monthly budget. When this happens, you need to find ways to increase your income instead.

If you find yourself in this spot, start brainstorming ways to increase your income. You might be able to earn more money through side hustles like freelancing, getting a more advanced degree, switching career fields, or performing at a higher level at your current company.

All of these could be good options to pursue, but they will require you to invest in yourself. For some reason, many people are afraid to do this. They look at a $200-300 course or $30,000 degree and immediately write it off as too expensive. But what if that $300 course or conference led to $1,000 of income, and what if that $30,000 degree led to a career that earned you $10,000 more each year?

The right type of investment in yourself can pay you back 300 to 3000 percent over the span of a decade. Now that’s a return which is hard to beat!

6. Starting a Business

Starting your own business is risky, yes, but so is counting on somebody else to give you a paycheck. A well-planned business endeavor that takes wise and calculated financial steps to grow has a greater chance at success than those that don’t.

When it comes to starting a business, you don’t have to channel Shark Tank to come up with something original and creative. Your new business could be extremely similar to what you are doing now.

For example, if you are an accountant who files taxes for a company, you could branch out on your own by creating your own practice. Or, maybe you can create products that fill a gap in your current industry. Starting a new business is not synonymous with reinventing the wheel, so don’t make it an impossible feat.

If you are ready to build real wealth, now is the time to start. It’s important to remember that this is not a quick journey. It takes a lot of patience and consistency to build wealth, but in a decade or two, you’ll be thankful that you started today.  

Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. He is the co-owner of the popular blog Club Thrifty, where he teaches others how to spend less and travel more.