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The 5 Stages of Personal Wealth — How to Master Your Money For Business Success Embarking on the journey to personal wealth involves distinct phases, each with its unique goals. From covering basic expenses to securing one's future, giving back, and planning for heirs, these are the five stages of personal wealth.

By Brian Will Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • By understanding these stages and adhering to fundamental financial principles, you'll find you can navigate the complex landscape of money management for a prosperous future in both personal and business contexts.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Embarking on the path to personal wealth is a journey filled with distinct phases, each with its own set of goals and challenges, from the initial struggle to cover basic expenses to the later stages of securing your own future, giving back to society, and planning for your heirs. Which stage are you currently in?

1. Pay the bills phase

This is where the journey begins. Your primary focus in this stage is to make enough money to meet your basic needs. It doesn't matter if you're working a job or starting a business; your objective is to ensure that you can feed your family, cover your rent or mortgage and keep the lights on. At this point in our journey, other luxuries are a goal for the future and not a current reality.

Related: 3 Keys to Building and Increasing Personal Wealth Today

2. Accumulation phase

Once you've successfully navigated the "pay the bills" phase, you enter the accumulation phase. At this stage, your income starts to grow, and you might be tempted to accumulate material possessions and indulge in some luxuries. This phase can be a thrilling ride, but it's important not to go overboard and put yourself back into 'stage 1.' In this phase, you need to secure a safety net of cash to bail you out if something goes temporarily wrong with your income stream.

3. Savings phase

As your wealth grows, it's wise to enter the savings phase. This is the phase where you're building a long-term financial safety net. You're also working on building up your resources of passive income to allow you to earn more but work less in the future when you're ready not to have to work for a living every day. Your financial focus here is having enough passive income to maintain your current lifestyle if your primary income source disappears for good.

Related: How to Manage Your Money With Confidence

4. Charity phase

Once you've secured your own financial future and your passive income is set in place, it's time to think about giving back to the world. The charity phase is all about using your excess income to make a positive impact, supporting causes you care about, and contributing to society. Finding and supporting your passion with resources is a true first step to happiness.

5. Inheritance phase

This last stage involves considering what you'll leave behind for your loved ones. Whether it's a comfortable nest egg, valuable assets or a legacy, planning for your heirs is crucial to financial success. How much is enough and how much is too much are decisions you will need to start thinking about. We want our children or heirs to be comfortable and safe, but maybe not give them so much that they get spoiled and don't contribute to society themselves. These are tough decisions.

Related: The Truth About Money Management

Three money rules for business success

Now that you understand the five stages of your personal wealth, let's get into the rules for wealth in business. These three rules are essential to handling finances for your business:

  1. Cash Is King: Having cash reserves is essential in both personal and business finances. It's the ultimate safety net. Whether you're running a business or managing personal finances, having cash on hand can save you from unexpected financial shocks. The amount of cash reserves depends on your overall risk and debt. What does your lifestyle cost, and how long can you sustain it if you lose your ability to produce?
  2. The Golden Rule: "He who holds the gold, rules." Don't part with your money until you're absolutely sure of the outcome. In business, this rule applies when dealing with contractors, partners, or vendors. It's all about preserving leverage. As long as you hold the money, you can control the outcome. Once you give it up, you are at the mercy of whoever has it.
  3. Pay Yourself: Don't forget to pay yourself when running a business. It's essential for maintaining mental and financial well-being. The stress and desperation can lead to poor business decisions if you can't cover your personal expenses. Don't let that happen to you. Too many people make bad decisions about their future trying to manage their current lifestyle or problems.

In both personal and business contexts, money is a complex yet vital part of our lives. By understanding the five stages of personal wealth, you can make well-informed financial decisions. Embracing the money rules for business success, such as keeping cash reserves, preserving leverage, and paying yourself, will lead to a more secure and prosperous future. Protect yourself, build your financial safety net, and never become a financial statistic. Your financial well-being and the success of your business are closely intertwined. Remember these principles, and you'll be better equipped to master money in all aspects of your life.

Brian Will

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Brian Will Media

Brian Will is a Serial Entrepreneur and a Wall Street Journal best-selling author. Currently, Brian owns a growing chain of restaurants, a Real Estate company and runs a Business Mastermind and Entrepreneur Coaching Program. He also serves on City Council in his hometown.

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