The Top 10 Steps to Extraordinary Personal Wealth

I recently came across startling figures about the average American's finances. Only 4% of us have significant savings when we hit age 65, and a majority of Americans have less than $1000 in savings. Perhaps even more troubling, nearly one-fifth of us have a negative net worth, meaning that we owe more in debt than the total value of our combined assets. In a land of wealth and opportunity, and in an age of unlimited freedom, attaining wealth is primarily a matter of choice and determination. The following are my suggestions for rapidly increasing your personal income and wealth.

1. Develop a healthy awareness of money. Most of us either ignore our cash flow and don't have a budget, or we think of money as a "problem". Instead, begin thinking of it as energy, as a resource and as a tool to be managed and used wisely.

2. Develop a healthy desire for money. Money is neither evil nor the source of happiness. It is a tool that can be used well or badly, but most importantly it can be used to achieve many of life's dreams and priorities. Having more of it increases your choices, and your responsibility.

3. Develop a healthy personal foundation. It is difficult to attract or keep money if your life is in chaos. To achieve significant wealth, pay attention to your attitude, your relationships, your values and your integrity. Money tends to flow to those who are prepared to handle it well.

4. Resolve ALL addictions. Substance abuse will obviously undermine any real ability to attract and manage large amounts of money, but other addictions are equally dangerous. Addictions to shopping, drama and excitement, to power or sex or a need to have the newest gadget will all destroy freedom of choice, and your ability to handle money responsibly.

5. Spend less than you make. An obvious point that most of us ignore. Have and use a budget, track your cash flow, decide what you need compared to what you want. Unless you use credit cards as a tool to monitor your spending, avoid using them at all. If you're living on credit, juggling one card against another, get professional help!

6. Save a significant amount. Most experts recommend paying yourself first and saving anywhere from 5% to 20% of your income. The amount or percentage that you save is probably not as important as the principle. If at first you only save 1%, make that deposit every single week, do it without fail, and congratulate yourself! Even 1% is a great beginning!

7. Cut your spending by 25%. That's a huge amount! For most of us, it's also entirely possible. Take your lunch, buy less junk, rent a movie instead of going to the theater, make a picnic instead of dinner at a restaurant, re-cycle and repair rather than throwing things away and buying new. Live cheaper, simpler and closer to the earth.

8. Learn the principles of investing. Most community colleges have courses on investing in stocks, real estate, commercial property and even collectibles. Pick your preference, study hard, buy smart, and let your money work for you rather than you always working for money. But, never try to get rich quick! We're talking about investing, not speculating.

9. Develop long-term passive income. Whether this is interest from bonds, profits from a business, or residuals from your last TV commercial, develop assets that will generate positive cash flow for years to come, whether you are working or not. Rental property has been a favorite, but so are stocks and mutual funds.

10. Develop wealth consciousness! This is a conscious, specific desire to be aware of money, to have money, and to use money to reflect your values and your priorities. Some of us virtually choose poverty because of our refusal to take responsibility for how we handle money. Others, live as misers and never use money to expand their horizons and develop their lives. You can decide to have a healthy, exciting and profitable relationship with money. Choose wisely. Start today!

� Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved. This article may be copied and used in your own newsletter or on your website as long as you include the following information: "Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, writer, speaker and success coach. Dr. Humbert has over 300 free articles, tools and resources for your success, including a great newsletter! It's all on his website at:

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