7 Financial Steps I Wish I’d Taken Sooner

7 Financial Steps I Wish I’d Taken Sooner

7 Financial Steps I Wish I’d Taken Sooner

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You might think that people in the upper middle class — they who generally earn anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 a year — have it all figured out. But even upper middle class earners sometimes make mistakes along the way. In some cases, they’ll look back on their financial journey and think about the things they wish they’d done sooner or differently.

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GOBankingRates spoke with two such individuals — Logan Mallory, the vice president of marketing at Motivosity, and Curt Clemens, the co-founder of MegaCharts — about the financial steps they wish they’d taken sooner in their lives and why. Here’s what they shared.

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Diversifying Investments

Many experts suggest diversifying your portfolio to minimize risk and maximize returns. But even those who learn this lesson early on don’t always follow it right away.

“Growing up in an upper middle-class environment, I’ve learned the importance of financial discipline firsthand, which has shaped my career path,” said Mallory. “Reflecting on my financial journey, one key step I wish I had taken earlier was diving into diversified investments. This could have accelerated my wealth growth and provided more security over time.”

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Investing Consistently

As any high-earning individual can tell you, investing is a strategic way to build wealth. But it takes time to get there, and many people start late.

For Clemens, he said that one thing he regrets not doing sooner was investing consistently from a young age.

“The power of compounding is truly remarkable, and beginning early can significantly enhance your financial position over time,” he said.

One way to start consistently investing, even if it’s only a small amount, is to set up automatic contributions to your investment accounts. This, combined with having a diversified portfolio, can help your wealth grow.

Focusing On the Basics

When it comes to obtaining financial security, it’s important to focus on the basics. While you can skip things like the emergency fund and cross your fingers that nothing bad will happen, the sooner you get a solid foundation going, the better off you’ll be.

This was the case for Mallory, as well. “Building up emergency savings and consistently contributing to retirement accounts from a young age would have further strengthened my financial stability today,” he said.

Clemens also said he wishes he’d built an emergency fund sooner.

“Establishing a robust emergency fund is something I now advocate strongly,” he said. “Life is unpredictable, and having a financial cushion to fall back on can prevent derailment from your financial goals during unforeseen circumstances.”

Another of those basics that Clemens regrets not prioritizing sooner is budgeting and tracking his expenses. “Knowing exactly where your money is going allows for more effective financial planning,” he said. It also helps you identify areas where you can cut unnecessary expenses and put that money toward other, more important things.

Investing In Personal Financial Education

Not everyone has the benefit of growing up in a household where financial literacy is a priority. Even those who do might not fully understand how important it is until later in their career.

“While I always had a keen interest in finance, I wish I had dedicated more time to structured financial education earlier in my career,” said Clemens.

The sooner you understand complex topics like financial planning, tax implications and different investment vehicles, the sooner you can start using that knowledge to build and manage your wealth. How you choose to learn is up to you, but for Clemens, continuous learning now comes primarily by way of seminars, courses and books.

Building More Income Streams

Many upper middle class individuals have more than one income stream. For some, having multiple sources of income is necessary to maintain their lifestyle. For others, it’s another way to build wealth and long-term financial security.

Clemens might be the co-founder of a business today, but he still wishes he’d prioritized building more income streams earlier on.

“Relying solely on one source of income can be risky,” he said. “I wish I had explored additional income streams earlier, such as side businesses, freelance work or passive income through investments.”

Optimizing Those Tax Strategies

Understanding and optimizing different tax strategies is vital if you want to improve your financial health and achieve financial freedom. Whether that’s knowing how to use tax credits and deductions, investing in the right tax-advantaged accounts for your needs and goals, or maximizing your deductions, all of it can put you in a better long-term position.

“Looking back, I also see the missed opportunity in not optimizing tax strategies sooner,” said Mallory. “Better tax planning could have increased my savings and investment returns.”

Engaging In Networking Opportunities

Another area where Clemens wishes he’d focused on sooner was networking with others as he got started in his career. “I underestimated the value of networking and seeking mentorship early in my career,” he said.

Having a network of like-minded, knowledgeable people can help you progress in your personal and professional lives. After all, your network can potentially open doors to opportunities you never could have imagined. Finding reliable mentors who can guide you along the way is just as important, since they can give you valuable insights and push you toward financial success.

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m Upper Middle Class: 7 Financial Steps I Wish I’d Taken Sooner

Read original article here.

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