We are Sarwa

Sarwa is an investment advisory platform that helps you put your money to work and reach your life goals. We launched a series of articles to help you on your financial journey, and for you to learn more about smart investing.

Learning how to become rich slowly rather than quickly is a time-tested way to avoid falling into the traps of get-rich-quick schemes that have manipulated people untold times. 

In 2022, the internet has become rife with so-called financial gurus that promote schemes designed to make people rich in an instant, and with very little effort on their part. 

However, the problem with these schemes is that they ultimately continue to fail over the long run – often to the benefit of the scheme’s owner, and the detriment of the “investors.” 

Only then do many realise the plain fact that building wealth is a slow and steady process, especially for those who didn’t inherit wealth and build it on their own account. 

In fact, all of the wealthy and successful people we celebrate today – from Warren Buffett to Elon Musk to Bill Gates – built their wealth over time. 

Consequently, if you are interested in building wealth, you should follow some of the strategies that these individuals have used – that is, the slow and steady approach to wealth building. 

As Warren Buffett himself once said, “It’s pretty easy to get well-to-do slowly. But it’s not easy to get rich quick.”

In this article, we consider how to become rich slowly by looking at these five key steps:

  1. Invest in your financial education
  2. Create and stick to a financial plan
  3. Avoid debt and start an emergency fund
  4. Invest consistently in a diversified portfolio
  5. Increase your income 

At the end of this article, you will be ready to begin your own journey to wealth. 

[Do you want to start your wealth building process right away? Schedule a free call with a Sarwa wealth advisor and we’ll get you started with an investment plan that fits your personal financial goals.]

1. Invest in your financial education

Warren Buffett once said that “the most important investment you can make is in yourself.” 

Applied to the topic of wealth generation, the most important investment you can make is in your financial education. 

Before exploring possible ways to become rich or how to save money and become rich, it’s essential that you make a long-term commitment to becoming more equipped and educated about the realities of money.

While this article covers many of the important financial topics you need to be familiar with, it is not enough. (We’ll admit it!) 

Above and beyond, you should check out other financial education articles on the Sarwa blog. Also, start reading more books and articles by successful people like Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Ray Dalio, among others – as well as any investment related blogs and authors you find interesting! 

It’s really just about starting a healthy habit of learning, and if you are already interested in a certain subject or author in the world of finance or investment, then that’s a great place to start. 

Some of the most important topics you should consider learning about include: budgeting, saving habits, money management, passive and active investing, and retirement planning.

Of course, this does not mean you have to become an expert in each of these fields. 

Digital financial advisors like Sarwa are always there to help you make the right financial decisions to achieve your goals; nevertheless, a basic financial education will be crucial in your journey to learn how to become rich slowly.    

2. Create and stick to a financial plan

Every successful venture begins with a good plan, and so it is with wealth building. There are so many money conversations happening all around and it is very easy to get lost in the process. 

After hearing someone swear that this crypto or stock is the next bitcoin or Amazon respectively, you might be tempted to just take all your savings and get in on the ride. Who doesn’t want to be the owner of the next bitcoin or Amazon? 

The problem here is that in a week’s time, it may be another crypto or stock that is being touted as the next big thing. 

This is why you cannot allow your financial life to be unmoored, following the latest new headlines or article from a Youtube “guru” or Instagram “influencer.”

Instead, you have to go back to the basics, bring out a drawing board (not necessarily a literal one), and create a financial plan that aligns with your financial situation and goals. 

“The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market,” cautioned Benjamin Graham, the mentor of Warren Buffett,  “but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioural discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go.”

A financial plan involves three broad components: 

  • Financial situation: Where you are currently. 
  • Financial goals: Where you want to be. These can be short-to-medium-term goals like buying a new car, making the down payment on a mortgage, or long-term goals like financial independence, retirement,  college education for your kids, and saving to start a business, etc. 
  • Financial strategies: How you want to get to where you want to be, compared to where you are now. 

Budgeting

Budgeting is a crucial part of financial planning. A budget is an estimate of your income and expenses for a defined period. By itemising your income and expenses, you can get a handle on your present financial situation. Once you have done that, it becomes easier to create financial strategies to achieve your financial goals.  

To start this process, consider using the 50/30/20 rule, a popular budgeting system popularised by Elizabeth Warren, a US senator. In this system, after identifying your income for the month, you divide it into three categories: needs, wants, and saving/investing.

Your needs are those expenses essential to life, including groceries, transportation, rent or mortgage payment, clothing, etc. Wants include entertainment, vacation/holidays, eating out at restaurants, etc. The remaining 20% goes to either saving or investing. 

[For more on the 50/30/20 budgeting system, read, “The 50/30/20 Rule: An Easy Budget System That Works”]

50 30 20 rule

Of course, the 50/30/20 rule is only a guideline and you can tweak the figures to reflect your current financial situation and/or your financial goals

For example, your goals may require you to save/invest more than 20% of your income while your financial situation, for the time being, may compel you to save only 10%.

[Do you want to supercharge your savings beyond 20%? Read “12 Hacks for How to Save Money in Dubai Like A Resident” for saving tips in Dubai] 

It should go without saying (although, it sometimes doesn’t!) that saving a part of your monthly income is a main building block to wealth creation, and this is why good budgeting is so essential. 

As Benjamin Graham said, “If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” In a study of millionaires, published in his book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi, a personal finance advisor, observed that “on average, millionaires invest 20% of their household income each year. Their wealth isn’t measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they’ve saved and invested over time.”

Remember that saving is not the luxury of the rich, it’s how they got there. 

“Try to save something while your salary is small,” said Jack Benny, a legendary US comedian, “it’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more.”  Even if all you can save is $100 a month, do it. Build the habit now instead of waiting for a bigger paycheck, by which time it will be more difficult to develop the habit. To become like those millionaires, you must first learn how to save money and become rich. 

3. Avoid debt and start an emergency fund

While debt might be permissible (and advantageous) for businesses, it’s more often bad for individuals. 

Every interest you pay on debts is money you could have saved and invested. “Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self,” said Nathan Morris, a personal finance coach.  

The obvious solution to this is that you should avoid spending beyond your means (which is one reason many people take on debt). 

Yet, the reality is that most people take debt due to financial emergencies (unplanned expenses). So, how do you deal with financial emergencies without incurring debts? Start an emergency fund. 

An emergency fund is money you save to cater for financial emergencies. It works as a revolving fund – once you cater for the emergency, you return the money spent to the fund. 

Financial advisors have long advised that you have three to six months’ worth of your living expenses (which can be your monthly needs or your needs and wants) in such a fund.

how to start an emergency fund

With an emergency fund, you can deal with your emergencies from money you have saved rather than taking on debt and paying exorbitant interest. 

[For more on how to create and manage an emergency fund, read, “How To Start An Emergency Fund That Is Right For You: Smart Planning To Mitigate Financial Troubles”]

What if you are already in debt? 

Then you have to work hard to repay it. 

First, ensure that you pay the monthly minimum required payment for every consumer debt you have (excluding mortgage). Any amount of savings you have left should be towards building an emergency fund, so you don’t have to take on another debt while repaying existing ones. 

After building three months’ worth of money for your emergency fund, then you can start committing all your savings to clearing off your debt. Once you are done repaying them, you can decide to add more money to your emergency fund. With debts repaid and an emergency fund set up, you can now focus on some more ways to become rich.     

The best time-tested way is investing. 

4. Invest consistently in a diversified portfolio

“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts?” asked Robert Allen, author, Cracking the Millionaire Code. This question is a testament to the fact that saving alone cannot be a tool to wealth generation without investing. 

Savings accounts provide paltry interest rates and in times when the inflation rate is higher than the interest on savings accounts, you actually lose money by keeping it in a savings account. 

To build wealth, you need to seek investment assets that provide higher returns. Over the years, some of the top investment assets (that is, the top ways to become rich) have included: 

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • REITs
different ways to invest money in uae

Today, we also have some cryptocurrencies like bitcoin that many experts have lauded as the “digital gold.” 

In learning how to become rich slowly, you must invest your money in such investment assets in a way that maximises your returns and minimises your risk. 

How can you do that?

Let’s consider some tips: 

Invest consistently

One of the reasons we started off with financial planning and budgeting is that it helps you invest consistently. Investment should not be a one-off bragado where you put thousands of dollars in the market. 

No! 

It should be a consistent and deliberate act that builds up over time (remember that Ramit ended the above quote with “over time”).

A digital financial advisor like Sarwa helps you build this consistency through automatic investing. With this, you can allow Sarwa to automatically remove your investable cash from your account on a particular day every month. By automating the process, you are less inclined to go back on your investment commitment.

Focus on the long term

Long-term investing is the only strategy that can help you become rich from nothing. Buying and selling investment assets frequently is not only more expensive, it is less profitable.

The longer you stay in the market, the less the risk of losing your money and the more returns you will have. 

For example, a study of the S&P 500 between 1926 and 2019 has shown that the longer you stay in the market, the more likely you are to make money. If you stay for five years, the chance of losing money is 5%, whereas if you stay invested in the market for 10 years, it decreases significantly – to just 0.2%.  

how to become rich

According to Buffett, “the stock market is a device to transfer money from the impatient to the patient.” 

Therefore, to accomplish your financial goals, you must be patient, focusing on your plan rather than being blown left and right by every piece of financial news or fad. 

Embrace passive investing

One way to focus on the long term is to embrace passive investing. In contrast to active investing, where you regularly buy and sell securities in an (often unsuccessful) attempt to beat the market, passive investing involves tracking the performance of the market over the long term. 

Passive investing is cheaper (less fees, less taxes), more transparent, less risky, and in many cases, more profitable than active investing.

The two common passive investing assets are ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and index funds. The major difference between the two is that the former are traded during trading hours (like stocks), which makes them more liquid than the latter.

This is why Sarwa prefers to construct investment portfolios with passive ETFs rather than index funds or through active investing. Nevertheless, we provide a platform – Sarwa Trade – for those who feel confident about active investing and may want to combine it with their passive investing strategy. 

[For more on passive investing and how it compares with active investing, read, “Active and Passive Investment: Which Strategy is Best For You?”] 

Reduce risk with diversification

In learning how to become rich slowly and exploring the ways to become rich, you must learn to focus on both return and risk. One way people easily lose money to various investment schemes is that they are enamoured by the expected returns without asking questions about the risk.

One of the advantages of passive investing is its lower risk. However, whether passive or active, one way to further minimise risk is through diversification. 

Simply put, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The more your investment is spread out in non-positively correlated assets, the less the risk. 

You can diversify by asset class (invest in stocks as well as bonds, REITs, bitcoin), market (invest in the US market as well as emerging markets and non-US developed markets), market cap (invest in large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap companies), and industry (invest in the finance industry as well as the healthcare and consumer discretionary industries, among others). 

types of diversification

Another advantage of passive funds is that each fund already has some level of diversification (for example, VTI, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF contains 4,136 US companies that are diversified by market cap and industries). When you combine many ETFs in a portfolio, what you get is even broader diversification, which means lower risk. 

Again, this is why Sarwa prefers to build investment portfolios with ETFs as building blocks. 

Sarwa has also provided the option for investors to include bitcoin in their portfolio (fixed at 5% of total portfolio value for now), providing another layer of diversification at the asset class level. 

Keep your financial goals in mind

Your investment portfolio should match your investment goals (as well as your time horizon and risk tolerance level). A generic investment portfolio created for everyone else might be inappropriate to deal with your unique situation

Consequently, ensure you keep your goals in mind when constructing an investment portfolio. “If you have what you want in mind, everything that you invest in should be working to push you further toward your goal,” said Tiffany Welka, a financial advisor at VFG Associates. 

At Sarwa, one of our key interests is ensuring that we understand your financial goals before providing you with a portfolio that is best designed to meet those goals.

To summarise, to build wealth slowly, ensure you are investing consistently (monthly, preferably) in a diversified investment portfolio well designed to meet your investment goals.

[To learn more about how to invest money in the UAE, read, “How to Invest Money In The UAE: Everything You Need To Know”] 

5. Increase your income level

Now we have come to the last step in learning how to become rich slowly: increasing your income. 

While investing for the long term is crucial to building wealth, the more you also invest the better. And one way to increase your investment is to increase your income.

One way to do this is to always invest in yourself professionally– through offline and online courses, certifications, networking, etc – so as to command greater value in your line of work. With greater value comes more money and opportunities to increase your investment. 

Furthermore, you can also increase your income through any of the well-established passive income ideas. Many have believed that learning about passive income is learning how to become rich without working. However, that’s not accurate, especially for well-established passive income strategies like affiliate marketing, dropshipping, and the sale of digital products. These require an initial outlay of capital and work. 

Passive income by itself is not “how to become rich without working” but how to earn income from work already done (which may even require a small amount of work regularly). 

There are even more passive income strategies (The College Investor has a list of 35) you can consider beyond the three identified above. However, ensure you don’t fall to any get-rich-quick scams. Educate yourself and always consider risk in addition to return. 

Finally, remember that the purpose of generating more income is to increase your investment savings and build more wealth for the achievement of your financial goals.

Now that you have learned about how to become rich slowly, it is time to start building your own investment portfolio. 

Schedule a call with a Sarwa wealth advisor and we’ll help you construct a portfolio well designed to help you achieve your financial goals. 

Takeaways

  • Building wealth is a slow and steady process. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes. 
  • To become rich, you must invest in your financial education and have a concrete financial plan. 
  • Avoid debt and deal with your financial emergencies with an emergency fund. 
  • Invest consistently for the long-term in a diversified portfolio that maximises your return and minimises your risk. 
  • Get more value from investing by increasing your income so you can invest more money. 
Want to know more, talk to our advisory team they will be happy to help. Ready to invest in your future?
Important Disclosure:

The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. It should not be considered as a personalized investment advice as this might not be suitable for everyone. Each investor should do their due diligence before making any decision that may impact his/her financial situation and should have an investment strategy that reflects his risk profile and goals. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money invested. Examples provided are for illustrative purposes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Data shared from third parties is obtained from what are considered reliable sources however cannot be guaranteed.

-->