Financial Literacy - How to Prosper
investing
Get rich without marrying a millionaire

If your plan to get rich involves dating eligible millionaires or regularly buying lottery tickets, you could be employing more effective wealth-building strategies. Though hanging out at polo matches and loitering in lucky convenience stores might be fun, there are better sure-fire ways to get rich.

Anyone can take steps to make themselves wealthier, no matter their income. In fact, working hard to build wealth and financial freedom is much more likely to pay off in the long run than trying to marry rich.

But first you have to define financial freedom. Are you likely to join the ranks of the superrich with a fleet of European sports cars at your disposal and a haute couture designer on speed dial? Probably not. Keep buying the lottery tickets for a chance to realize that dream.

But, can you achieve financial freedom and never need to worry about money? That dream is likely within the grasp of your hard-working mitts.

Take charge of your destiny by following these five simple steps.

1. Commit to your financial goals

Financial goals can't be an afterthought, or your efforts are likely to fail.

To succeed at anything, "You have to make it a priority in your life," says Todd R. Tresidder, founder of FinancialMentor.com.

"If you're not clear on your commitment, other things will always get in the way," he says.

According to Tresidder, making the commitment is crucial -- and you'll know when you've cemented it into your brain.

"A commitment is easy to judge. You know what you're committed to financially. Simply look at your results," he says.

Those who commit to being comfortable financially will have greater freedom in their lives. Those who commit to always looking great will have a wardrobe full of fabulous clothes.

As with everything, it's all about the choices you make.

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2. Make a budget or spending plan

Get a handle on your cash outflow by tracking expenses. That means writing down every single thing you spend money on for about three months.

"There are things that come up quarterly that wouldn't be captured if you only did it for one month," says Scott Bombeck, president of Acanthus Associates, a financial services firm in Holmes, Pa.

Call it a spending plan initially. After that you can frame it as traditional budgeting, in which you allow a certain amount of money for each of your spending categories, including long-term savings and emergency savings, for example. Or you can think of it as a reflection of your values.

"You ask yourself two questions: 'Is this congruent with what I really want in life? Is it taking me to my highest and most important goals?' And the second question is, 'Am I getting the best value for this expense?'" says Tresidder.

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