Like anything in life if you want to get good at something you have to start with the basics. You must crawl before you can walk and you must walk before you can run. It seems that everybody has heard the story of the person who has won the lottery and within a year or two you find out that they are flat broke. I happen to live in the same town as one of these people. Many people scratch their head at this fact and say "If I had a million dollars I would do things differently". I believe that the reason that these people find themselves in the exact same situation is because it is impossible to break the rules. They were thrown into a running position before they even knew how to crawl, and before you know it you they are flat on their faces. If they haven't learned to manage their money on a small scale they will be that much more inept at managing money on a larger scale! One of the biggest failings of North American society is our lack of financial education. Many parents know little to nothing about money management and pass on their ignorance to their children, and we certainly don't learn a whole lot about finances in the public education system. So we stumble through our adult lives trying to find financial stability and freedom.
So why don't we take a few lessons in "wealth preparedness" so if for no other reason we will be ready should we be so fortunate to be the inheritors of such a windfall.
Rule #1 Saving
This single rule can put you on the road to wealth and financial freedom. Many people today have little to no savings and are living paycheck to paycheck. Many factors contribute to this epidemic one of the many being that in our instant gratification culture saving money isn't sexy. So people opt for credit cards which are instant gratification now and pay later, and I can say from experience you really do pay later!
This is such a broad topic with many vehicles and facets for different financial goals. The key is to educate yourself and start small somewhere. There is a quote that says "the difference between rich people and poor people is that poor people work for their money and rich people make their money work for them." Investing is a vehicle that makes your money work for you.
These two simple rules can drastically effect your financial picture. If you can't afford to save and invest much then start small. If you want to walk you must first crawl.