I worked on Wall Street for years, where I managed money for super wealthy clients with at least $25 million in the bank.
Now as a wealth coach at my company, Invibed, my clients are a little different. I help millennials manage their money. Spoiler alert: None of them are millionaires... yet.
A lot of my clients feel like there's no means to an end. Regardless of whether or not they have student loans or a good salary, they feel like they're just getting by and they are hungry for more.
Truth is, you can hustle your ass off, but your chance of becoming a millionaire just from your grind is rare. Most millionaires don't become rich just from working hard at their 9-to-5.
They don't inherit their money either; 80 percent of millionaires in America are first generation.
They commit to serious lifestyle changes, set concrete goals and tap into additional streams of income. If you want to make the changes to go from hungry to rich, here's what you need to do:
1. Get a side hustle.
A good first step to increase your net worth is to get a side hustle. This basically means you take a few of your “free time” hours and turn them into earning hours.
Whether you walk dogs on your lunch break or tutor online in the evenings, you are capitalizing on your skills in a profitable way outside of your career.
2. Generate passive income.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and you need to sleep. Even if you kill it all day, it'll probably never be enough to make you rich. You need passive income.
Passive income is money that you receive on a regular basis without having to put in much effort.
Owning rental properties or a blog that generates advertising revenue are two popular ways to make your money work for you, even when you're not working.
3. Start investing.
People who don't invest either think it's too risky or just don't know how.
Let's start with the first excuse: Investing is not always risky. The S&P 500 has had an average annual return of about 10 percent from inception in 1928 through the present.
And you know what's riskier? Keeping wads of your hard-earned cash in a savings account. Right now, our country's inflation rate is higher than the interest rate your bank is paying you, so if you're not investing, you're automatically losing purchasing power.
Another common reason is just not knowing where to start, but with today's new services and technologies, it's OK if you don't know how to invest.
I work with my wealth coaching clients to determine the amount of money they can safely invest and refer them to the best apps, roboadvisors, and money managers for them based on their preferences.
4. Lower your overhead.
Stop living like you're already rich. I get it, you're out of school and you finally have that big boy/girl paycheck.
But rather than spending every cent you earn, you should be spending smart. Not to mention this is the one time in your life when you can totally rough it, and it's socially acceptable.
Take advantage of that. Eat eggs for dinner, drive your shitty car into the ground.
Some of my most successful clients opted to move back in with mom and dad after college so they could pocket their entire paycheck and use that money to invest or start a business. Not the ideal long-term solution, but a smart short-term one for sure.
Even billionaire Elon Musk decided to live on just $1 per day when he was younger.
Knowing that he could live off of such a small amount of money helped him figure out that he'd be OK no matter what career path he chose.
Seeing how little of your paycheck you actually need to survive is empowering and actually eliminates stress.
5. Understand your spending habits
You work hard for every dollar you earn. Don't you want to make sure you're spending it on things that actually add value to your life?
I analyze the spending habits of each of my wealth coach clients, and they are usually shocked to see how much money they spend on things that don't matter to them.
Small purchases that seem innocent at the time, like that massive “I'm hungover” Seamless order or those subscription services you pay for but rarely use, can really add up.
Yes, budgeting does take time, but you'll feel a lot richer when you're spending your income on stuff that actually matters to you.
6. Focus on your goals.
For most people, making smart money decisions feels like a sacrifice. They think of all the things they can't do or buy.
That's why the very first thing I do with my clients is get them to develop a goal-focused mentality. From there, every single money move they make is tied to a specific life goal.
This is a game changer because what once felt like sacrifice now feels like progress toward the things they most want to achieve.
7. Re-evaluate your friendships.
You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and that applies to net worth, too.
If your friends are focused on becoming future one percenters, you'll probably become one as well. If your crew is racking up credit card debt at the bar every weekend, you'll likely wind up in the same boat.
Choose the people you spend your time with wisely.
A friend who was really fun to party with in college may not be the best person to surround yourself with if you want to build an amazing life as an adult.