I hope to become wealthy one day. But, despite my desire to have a big bank account balance and a ton of money in a brokerage account, there are three popular wealth-building approaches I’m unwilling to even consider trying. Here’s what they are.
1. The FIRE Method
FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. It’s a movement focused on becoming financially independent at a young age, with financial independence defined as being able to produce enough income from investments that no paycheck is necessary.
The FIRE movement is focused on extreme savings, with some people saving 50% to 75% of their incomes and living very minimalist lifestyles.
While this is great for people who are interested in slashing living expenses to gain financial freedom at a young age, it’s not something I’m willing to try. I don’t want to sacrifice and scrimp for years and years just to have enough saved to be financially independent at some future date. Being able to go without a paycheck just isn’t that important to me. Instead, I’d rather do a job I like for more years, save a reasonable amount of money over a long career, and plan to retire at something closer to the normal retirement age.
Before jumping into the FIRE movement yourself, you may want to think about whether financial independence at a young age is worth the sacrifices required to get there. This may make sense to you, but for me, it just doesn’t add up.
2. Living in a tiny house
Living in a tiny house is another wealth-building move that I’m saying “no thanks” to. The tiny house movement is focused on living sustainably, often both to help the planet and avoid high mortgage costs and living expenses.
Tiny houses are typically around 100 to 400 square feet and the bills associated with them are very low. You may be able to buy your house outright or borrow a very small amount, and since the space is so small, you won’t need to spend a lot of time or money on utilities, cleaning, or maintenance.
While I definitely could keep a lot more money in my checking account if I didn’t have my mortgage, electric bills, and property taxes to pay, I absolutely would never even consider living in a tiny house. With two kids, a dog, and a husband, I am willing to pay a premium to have a lot of extra space — especially because I work from home, so I need a place to get away where it’s quiet.
3. Real estate investing
Investing in real estate is another wealth-building endeavor that would never go on my list. I have many friends who own and rent out commercial or residential properties and I know others who purchase fixer-upper homes and flip them for a profit. And I know, if you are smart and disciplined, you can make really good money doing this.
However, it simply isn’t something I want to try my hand at. I don’t like the idea of getting a mortgage loan to invest, since borrowing to buy something I could lose money on seems too risky to me. It also seems like there’s too much work involved, either dealing with tenants or finding a property management company or arranging for the work to be done on a remodeling project.
Many people are successful in real estate and it’s often billed as a surefire way to get rich, but considering the downsides is important too.
You don’t have to try every wealth-building technique out there
These are three approaches people take to building wealth that are hard limits for me. But, I do other things to try to grow my net worth, such as investing in the stock market and working to regularly increase my income.
The reality is, there are many ways to get rich and you don’t have to try many or even most of them. You just need to decide what your path to financial success and freedom will be and stick to it.
To make that choice, think about your comfort level with different investments, the sacrifices you’re willing to make now in exchange for more money later, and the lifestyle you want to lead both now and in the future. By considering these issues, you can find the techniques that make sense to you.
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