Will 2016 be the year you start building real wealth? It can be if you set your mind to it. Every year, the personal finance site GOBankingRates asks the world’s most famous financial experts for their tips for the coming year. Here are some of the best–which you can do no matter how much or how little money you have at the moment. Follow this advice and you’ll end 2016 with more money in the bank (or investments) than you have now.
These are the seven best tips from the full list on how to save money:
1. Never lose money.
This is one bit of wisdom that Warren Buffett likes to repeat. He puts it this way: “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.” What does this actually mean? Especially coming from the Oracle of Omaha, who has taken some fairly public losses on some very big investments himself–while remaining one of the most successful investors ever known?
Interpretations differ but I think it means to carefully consider the down side of any investment and to avoid investing in anything that doesn’t inspire high confidence in the value of the investment and that you don’t have a thorough understanding of. (This is why Buffett has often said he doesn’t invest in tech, and when he broke that rule by investing in IBM, he broke his rule about never losing money as well.)
2. Build a carefully balanced portfolio.
Angered by the losses ordinary people incurred due to banker misbehavior in the financial crisis, Tony Robbins went on a mission to learn what he could about financefrom the best minds in the business. His advice is to create a mix of investments that adheres to the following four principles: Never lose money (see above); find investments which offers potential rewards that are greater than potential risks; create a tax-efficient portfolio so you get to keep your money instead of having to give it to the government; and diversify your investments. Do that, he says, and “you’re protected no matter what.”
3. Save. Any amount.
Bestselling author and analyst Whitney Johnson advises people to invest–no matter what. Even saving a few dollars a week can amount to a surprisingly large amount of money if you do it over many years. And to be safe in case of an unexpected financial setback, she says, you should have “at least six months of what you spend monthly in the bank. Period.”
4. Plan for how you’ll reach your financial goals.
Setting a financial goal is the easy part, says former Buffalo Bills wide receiver and personal finance author Chris Hogan. It’s like the difference between wishing you could go to the beach and loading up the car with towels and putting gas in the tank. “The necessity of a plan sounds simple, but it is the one thing that many people overlook when it comes to their money,” he says. “And a dream without a plan is simply a wish.”
5. Negotiate everything.
Everything from your cable plan to your medical expenses can be negotiated, advises plainspoken financial expert Nicole Lapin, author of Rich Bitch. All it takes is a small investment of time and a little bit of guts.
“The worst thing they can say is no. And they usually won’t,” she says. So, she advises, call all your providers right now and ask for better pricing. “It’s the best way to start a financially fabulous New Year.”
6. Stop spending your future wealth.
Yup, that Apple Watch is awfully tempting. But the more you give in to short-term splurges, the less wealth you’ll save in the long term, says financial coach and serial entrepreneur Josh Felber. For purchases large and small, consider whether you’d rather have that item right now or whether you can make do with something less expensive, older, or used, or something you already have.
“To create real wealth, you must quit spending your future wealth on goods and services that you want today, but deprive you of wealth long term,” he says.
7. Learn about finances.
Don’t let someone else make the decisions about your money just because you feel like you can’t understand finance, advises Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki.
“Don’t wait for the government, a financial adviser, or your boss to take care of you,” he says. Instead, he says, become financially educated so that you can make informed decisions for yourself. “Take responsibility for your life and your future,” he says. “Don’t give that right away.”