by Rick Kahler
three decades as a financial planner, working with successful wealth-builders,
you'd think I would have a clear idea of the right path for creating wealth.
what I've learned is that there is no such thing. Here are just a few of the
paths that aren't the sure routes to wealth they might seem to be:
- Education and career choices. Going into a field like law or medicine might
seem to guarantee financial success. Not necessarily. I've seen many
physicians, for example, who have accumulated significant wealth. I've seen
just as many who live paycheck to paycheck.
- High earnings. Again, this isn't the reliable predictor of wealth it would seem
to be. True, someone who spends decades in low-wage jobs is unlikely to be able
to accumulate much financial security. But a person earning $1 million a year
will not necessarily have a larger net worth than someone earning $75,000. I’ve
seen people who worked as janitors, nurses, and mechanics become millionaires. I've
worked with others, earning a hundred times more in careers like sales or entertainment,
who reach retirement age with absolutely nothing.
- Owning your own business. Many hard-working, creative entrepreneurs build
successful businesses that provide wealth, not just for themselves, but for
their children and grandchildren. Others might see a business or even a series
of businesses fail. Still others might work hard all their lives but never
achieve more than the equivalent of an average salary in their field.
- Investment choices. Some people have had great success investing in various
types of real estate, businesses, and commodities. Others have lost everything
they ever owned investing in those same vehicles.
sorry, I can't give you a simple list of the top ways to build wealth. There's
little commonality in how my successful clients have made their money. What I
can suggest are a few ways to help you find your own path to accumulating
- Define "wealth" in your own way. Maybe you're willing to live
frugally in order to accumulate enough money to feel secure that your needs
will be met even if you live to be 100. Maybe wealth to you is living a lavish
lifestyle and being willing to work hard to pay for it. You might see wealth as
the satisfaction and responsibility of having your own business. Maybe it means
being able to give generously. Or perhaps you define wealth as the freedom of
owning little and traveling around the world on a bicycle.
- Know what you are willing to sacrifice—and what you are not—in order to accumulate
wealth. There's nothing wrong with earning a high salary doing work you hate for
a time, as part of an overall strategy to get you to doing something you love.
But doing so for a lifetime is hardly the road to either happiness or wealth.
- Think long term. The most reliable way to build lifetime wealth, with the
lowest risk, is through a long-term commitment to diversified investing. Yet
even those who are successful on riskier paths to wealth take the long view.
Business owners may fail more than once before they succeed. And those who have
made fortunes in high-risk investments have also lost fortunes. They understand
that success is about taking calculated risks.
- Learn to make conscious financial decisions. I've seen many intelligent, capable
people stuck in financial chaos and poverty because of emotional pain and
dysfunction. Emotional health may not be essential for building financial
wealth. It is, however, essential if you want to use that wealth to support a
rich and satisfying life.
Rick Kahler, Certified Financial Planner®, MS, ChFC, CCIM, founded Kahler Financial Group, and became South Dakota’s first fee-only financial planner in 1983. In 2009, Wealth Manager named Kahler Financial Group as the largest financial planning firm in a seven-state area. A pioneer in the evolution of integrating financial psychology with traditional financial planning profession, Rick is co-founder and co-facilitator of the five-day intensive Healing Money Issues Workshop offered by Onsite Workshops of Nashville, Tennessee. He is one of only a handful of planners nationwide who partner with professional coaches and financial therapists to deliver financial coaching and therapy to his clients. Visit KahlerFinancial.com today!