There are three ways of making money:
1. Work hard
2. Own assets that earn money
3. Work hard and own assets that earn money
Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you can't start adult life with option 2. So, you have no option but to work hard - whether at a job, or a business.
What you do with the money you earn by working hard will determine whether you will achieve your financial goals and will be able to retire later in life to benefit from option 2.
The simple strategy to achieve your financial goals? Save and invest. And the sooner you start, the better.
But you knew that already - right?
Do you also know how much money you will need to save today, and what mix of assets you need to invest in so that when you eventually stop working you will be able to live comfortably on what your assets will earn?
Probably not - as per anecdotal evidence from a few young working people.
One complained she hardly has any savings left after paying for rent, food and the daily commute. Another said he is putting some money into a mutual fund every month, but hasn't figured out how much he will need 30 years from now.
Would it be a surprise to know that both own high-end smartphones and laptops, commute only by app-cabs, wear designer clothes, eat out 2-3 times a week and rent apartments in posh localities?
Living the good life now may mean that you will neither be able to retire early to do the things you really love, nor will you be able to enjoy retired life without cutting corners.
Is there a way to live reasonably well now - and in future when you will not be able (or willing) to work any more?
There is - but you will need to plan for it:
- Set financial goals - near-term, medium-term and long-term
- Figure out how much money you will need at each stage
- Save and invest accordingly
For longer term goals, you can and should invest in riskier assets like equity or equity funds for better returns. For nearer term goals, invest in less risky assets like bank fixed deposit or debt funds.
From your monthly/quarterly earnings, invest first (according to your financial plan) and then spend.
Stay a bit farther away from town, commute by autorickshaw or train, eat out only once or twice a month, buy a cheaper phone and laptop, pay off your credit card dues in full every month.
You will be amazed how much these small sacrifices now can lead to a more comfortable retired life. (Believe it or not, you will get old and retired life will be upon you sooner than you expect!)