How to Build Wealth in your 20s

Last Updated – Nov 30, 2023 @ 3:56 pm

Building wealth in your 20s is a combination of financial planning, personal discipline, and smart decision-making. 

But why do it?

Establishing your financial foundation early in life comes with numerous advantages: 

  • Compound Interest: Starting to save and invest early can significantly benefit from compound interest. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow.
  • Financial Security: Establishing wealth early provides financial security and peace of mind. It allows for a buffer in case of unexpected expenses or life changes.
  • Career Flexibility: With financial stability, you have the freedom to pursue different career paths, including entrepreneurial ventures or careers that align more closely with personal passions that might be less lucrative.
  • Early Retirement: Building wealth early can accelerate the timeline towards financial independence and potentially early retirement.
  • Education and Home Ownership: Wealth accumulation can help finance major life expenditures such as further education or purchasing a home.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Having a solid financial base allows for greater lifestyle choices, including travel, hobbies, and leisure activities.
  • Investment Opportunities: With capital available, you can take advantage of investment opportunities that may arise, which might not be possible without prior wealth accumulation.
  • Economic Downturns: Building wealth can provide resilience against economic downturns, recessions, or personal job loss, ensuring that you can maintain your standard of living.
  • Risk Tolerance: When you’re younger, your risk tolerance is generally higher because you have more time to recover from financial setbacks. You can afford to invest in riskier ventures that have the potential for higher returns. If these risks do not pay off, you have many years ahead to earn and save again.
  • Learning from Failures: Taking risks early on also provides valuable lessons that can improve future decision-making. Learning from failures and mistakes is an integral part of achieving financial success, and doing so at a younger age can lead to wiser strategies later in life.
  • Adaptability: Youth often comes with fewer responsibilities and more flexibility to adapt to the consequences of risks, such as a sudden job change, a move to a different city, or the pivot of a business plan.
  • Career Exploration: In your 20s, you are more likely to take career risks, such as joining a start-up, changing industries, or starting your own business. These can potentially offer higher growth and income opportunities compared to more traditional career paths.
  • Long-Term Vision: The willingness to take calculated risks in your 20s can be driven by a long-term vision for wealth accumulation. By taking risks now, you may be setting the stage for substantial wealth-building that would be harder to achieve later.
  • Economic Participation: Younger individuals are also more in tune with emerging economic trends and technological advancements, allowing them to take risks on new types of investments or industries (ie: disruptive industries such as AI, cryptocurrencies, metaverse, etc…)  that older generations may not be as comfortable with.
  • Legacy: Early wealth-building allows you to think about the legacy you want to leave, whether it’s financial support for family members or contributions to causes you care about.
  • Healthcare Costs: Being financially prepared can also mean being able to afford better healthcare options or emergencies without the stress of financial constraints.

Here are some of the best strategies to consider:

1. Build High-Income Skills 

Building high-income skills early on in your adult life involves a blend of self-education, practical experience, and sometimes formal education. 

Here are steps to develop such skills and examples of high-income skills that are in demand:

Step 1: Identify In-Demand Skills 

Research which skills are in high demand and have the potential to yield high income. Look at job market trends, online job postings, and industry forecasts.

Step 2: Formal Education

If the skill requires, pursue the necessary degrees or certifications. This is common for professions in law, medicine, or engineering.

Step 3: Take Online Courses and Workshops

Utilize platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning to acquire new skills.

Step 4: Start Networking

Connect with professionals in the field you’re interested in. They can provide insights into which skills are most valuable and how to develop them.

Step 5: Practical Application

Practice the skills you’re learning through freelance work, internships, or personal projects.

Step 6: Mentorship

Seek out mentors who can guide you in developing your skills and understanding the industry.

Step 7: Stay Updated

Industries evolve, and so should your skills. Keep learning and stay updated with the latest trends and technologies.

Step 8: Build Soft Skills

Develop soft skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving, which are valuable in any high-income field.

Examples of High-Income Skills:

  • Technology and IT Skills: Software & web development, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), and data science are highly lucrative.
  • Digital Marketing: Skills like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, content marketing, and social media strategy can command high incomes.
  • Sales: High-ticket sales, business-to-business (B2B) sales, and strategic selling techniques are crucial for many industries.
  • Financial Acumen: Skills like investment analysis, accounting, and tax planning are always in demand.
  • Legal Expertise: Specializations in corporate law, intellectual property, or international law can lead to high-paying careers.
  • Medical and Health Care Expertise: Specialized medical skills, health care administration, and biomedical research are highly rewarded.
  • Creative Design and Branding: Graphic design, UI/UX design, and brand strategy can be high-income skills, especially as businesses invest in their online presence.
  • Project Management: Being able to manage and deliver projects efficiently is a valuable skill across various industries.
  • Consulting: Specialized consultants in management, finance, or IT can earn high incomes based on their expertise and the value they bring to businesses.
  • Entrepreneurship: Starting your own business or developing a successful startup requires a range of high-income skills, including strategic planning and execution.

Remember, the value of a skill is determined not only by market demand but also by your proficiency and ability to market that skill effectively. 

Combining high-income skills with entrepreneurial thinking can significantly increase your earning potential.


2. Start Investing

Starting to invest in your 20s in the Philippines can set a strong financial trajectory for the future. 

Here’s how you can begin:

Step 1: Educate Yourself

Learn the basics of investments, understand different asset classes, and get to know the Philippine investment landscape.

Step 2: Set Financial Goals

Determine what you are investing for, be it retirement, buying a home, or building an emergency fund.

Step 3: Create a Budget

Allocate a portion of your income towards investments (to make it a habit to invest regularly), ensuring you also have savings and an emergency fund.

Step 4: Choose the Right Investment Platform

Explore various platforms and choose one that aligns with your goals and comfort level.

Step 5: Start Small

Begin with an amount you are comfortable with and can afford to potentially lose, especially when investing in the stock market or other variable-return investments.

Step 6: Diversify

Don’t put all your money in one investment. Spread it out to manage risk.

Step 7: Monitor and Review

Regularly check on your investments to see if they align with your goals, and make adjustments as needed.

Best Investments for Beginners in the Philippines:

  • Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs): Government securities that offer fixed interest rates and are considered low risk​​.
  • Blue-chip Stocks: Shares of large, reputable, and financially stable companies that are generally considered safe investments over the long term​​.
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Allows you to invest in the real estate market with less capital and is a good way to earn through dividends​​.
  • Pag-IBIG MP2: A voluntary savings scheme that offers tax-free dividends, higher than average savings rates, and is government-backed​​​​.
  • SSS PESO Fund (WISP): A voluntary provident fund offered by the Social Security System that provides better earnings than regular savings​​.
  • High-yield Savings Accounts: Suitable for risk-averse individuals, offering a safe investment with fixed interest over a specified period (try digital banks, as they offer high interest accounts)​​.
  • Mutual Funds: Professionally managed investment funds that pool money from many investors to purchase securities​​ (start with GInvest via GCash).
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): Funds that track an index, commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund but trades like a stock on an exchange​​.
  • Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA): The Philippine version of the 401(k), aimed at helping individuals save for retirement​​.
  • Online Business: Starting an online business can also be an investment, leveraging the digital economy’s growth​​.

These investment options cater to different risk appetites, from conservative to more aggressive, and can be started with varying capital, often even with small amounts. 

It’s essential to conduct due diligence and possibly consult with a financial advisor to tailor your investment choices to your personal financial situation and goals.


3. Build Multiple Income Streams

Managing multiple income streams is indeed strategic way to diversify your earnings and create financial security. 

Although, it requires excellent organizational skills and time management to ensure that your efforts are profitable and sustainable.

Here’s how you can start:

Step 1: Assess Your Skills and Interests

Evaluate what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and how these can be monetized.

Step 2: Start with Your Primary Job

Look for opportunities within your current employment to increase your income, such as promotions, commissions, or overtime.

Step 3: Invest in Financial Assets

Consider investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate that can generate potential returns or rental income.

Step 4: Create Passive Income

Identify investments or businesses that require an initial effort but can eventually produce income with minimal ongoing work.

Step 5: Side Hustles

Engage in side jobs or freelance work that aligns with your skills, such as writing, graphic design, or tutoring.

Step 6: Leverage the Gig Economy

Use platforms like Grab, Airbnb, or Upwork to find gig work that can supplement your income.

Step 7: Start a Business

If you have a business idea, plan and execute it carefully. Small-scale businesses can grow into significant income sources.

Step 8: Maximize Savings and Investments

Reinvest any savings from budgeting efforts into income-producing assets.

Step 9: Educate Yourself Continuously

Keep learning about personal finance and new avenues for income generation.

Step 10: Network

Build relationships with people who can provide ideas, partnerships, or opportunities for additional income.

Examples of Multiple Income Streams:

  • Salary from Full-Time Job: Your main employment.
  • Part-Time Job: Working part-time in a different field or industry.
  • Freelancing: Offering services based on your skills, such as writing, programming, or consulting.
  • Dividend Income: Earning from stocks or mutual funds that pay dividends.
  • Rental Income: Renting out property or a room in your house.
  • Capital Gains: Profits from the sale of investments like stocks or real estate.
  • Royalties: Earning from creating content, such as books, music, or software.
  • E-Commerce: Selling products online through platforms like Shopify, Etsy, Shopee, Lazada or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Online Courses or Webinars: Sharing expertise by creating and selling educational content.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Earning commissions by promoting other people’s products.
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending: Earning interest by lending money through platforms like Blend PH or SeedIn.
  • Dropshipping: Running an e-commerce store without handling the physical products yourself.
  • App Development: Creating and selling or monetizing an app.
  • Content Creation: Monetizing a blog or YouTube channel through ads, sponsorships, or merchandise.

4. Make the Right Lifestyle Choices

20s is definitely a crucial stage of life, as it’s a formative time for establishing habits that can last a lifetime. 

Here’s how to approach making these choices, along with some of the best habits to develop:

Self-Reflection

Regularly assess your values, goals, and the kind of life you want to lead. Align your choices with these elements.

Educate Yourself

Gain knowledge on various aspects of life, from financial literacy to health and well-being, to make informed decisions.

Experiment Wisely

Your 20s are a time for exploration. Try new things but be mindful of their long-term impact on your life.

Seek Mentorship

Find mentors who embody the lifestyle you aspire to. Their guidance can be invaluable.

Prioritize Health

Good health is the foundation of a productive life. Make choices that promote physical and mental well-being.

Financial Discipline

Learn to manage your finances by creating a budget, saving regularly, avoiding unnecessary debt, and investing wisely.

Live Within Your Means

Avoid the trap of lifestyle inflation where increased earnings lead to increased spending. Instead, save and invest any surplus income.

Mindful Consumption

Be conscious of your consumption habits. This includes being thoughtful about the environmental impact of your choices and avoiding the pitfalls of consumerism.

Work-Life Balance

Strive for a balance that allows you to be productive at work while also enjoying personal time for relaxation and hobbies.

Build Strong Relationships

Cultivate meaningful relationships with family, friends, and professional contacts. Social support is crucial for personal and career growth.

Plan for the Future

Make choices with an eye toward the future, whether it’s career planning or personal development.

Responsibility

Take responsibility for your actions and their outcomes. This empowers you to make changes when necessary.

Avoid Negative Influences

Steer clear of habits and influences that can derail your goals, such as substance abuse or toxic relationships.

Travel and Exploration 

If possible, travel and explore different cultures. This can broaden your perspective and inspire new ideas.

Best Habits to Build in your 20s: 

  • Regular Exercise: Builds physical fitness and mental resilience.
  • Healthy Eating: Fuels the body and mind, and can prevent long-term health issues.
  • Reading and Learning: Keeps you informed and intellectually stimulated.
  • Saving and Investing: Secures your financial future and teaches you to manage money.
  • Networking: Opens doors to opportunities and enriches your personal and professional life.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Enhances mental clarity and emotional stability.
  • Time Management: Ensures you make the most of your day and respect your own and others’ time.
  • Goal Setting: Provides direction and a sense of purpose.
  • Gratitude: Fosters a positive mindset and improves overall happiness.
  • Routine Health Check-ups: Early detection of health issues can lead to better outcomes.
  • Continuous Skill Development: Keeps you competitive and relevant in the job market.
  • Eco-conscious Living: Reduces your environmental footprint and can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Giving Back: Volunteering and community service increase your sense of fulfillment and connection to others.

By consciously making the right choices and building these habits, you can establish a strong foundation for the rest of your life. 

Your 20s are a time to lay the groundwork for a fulfilling and responsible lifestyle that can pay dividends in the decades to come.


5. Build Good Credit

In the Philippines, building good credit standing in your 20s is essential for several reasons:

  • Easier Loan Access: A good credit score can make it easier to get approved for personal loans, auto loans, and housing loans, which many people begin to consider in their 20s.
  • Better Interest Rates: With a good credit score, lenders are more likely to offer you lower interest rates, which means lower borrowing costs over time.
  • Employment Opportunities: Employers in the financial sector or those offering positions with financial responsibility may check credit histories as part of the hiring process.
  • Utility and Service Contracts: Telecommunication companies and utility providers may require less or no deposit for customers with good credit scores.
  • Financial Leverage: If you decide to start a business, good personal credit can help you secure business loans and favorable credit terms from suppliers.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Access to credit can be a lifeline in emergencies, allowing you to cover unexpected expenses without depleting savings.
  • Building a Reputation: In the Philippines, where community and reputation can be important, a good credit standing can reflect positively on you as an individual.
  • Credit Card Benefits: Good credit can qualify you for credit cards with better rewards, benefits, and perks.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a good credit score can reduce stress when you need to rely on borrowing.

Building good credit in the Philippines can be achieved through the following steps:

Step 1: Apply for a Starter Credit Card

Get a credit card that is suited for first-time applicants, possibly a secured credit card if necessary.

Step 2: Pay Bills on Time

Establish a consistent habit of paying bills before their due date. Payment history is the most significant factor in credit scores.

Step 3: Keep Balances Low

Try to maintain a low credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’re using compared to your credit limit.

Step 4: Manage Debt Wisely 

Avoid taking on more debt than you can handle, and pay off any debt as quickly as possible.

Step 5: Limit New Credit Applications

Only apply for new credit when necessary, as too many inquiries can have a negative impact on your score.

Step 6: Monitor Your Credit Report

Regularly check your credit report for errors and dispute any inaccuracies.

Step 7: Establish a Credit History

Keep your oldest credit accounts open to lengthen your credit history, which can positively affect your score.

Step 8: Diversify Your Credit

Over time, having a mix of different types of credit (such as installment loans or gadget loans) can improve your credit score.

Step 9: Responsible Borrowing

Only borrow what you can afford to pay back, and avoid accumulating debt that can’t be managed.

Step 10: Financial Education

Continue to educate yourself on credit and finances to make informed decisions that positively impact your credit score.

About jasonacidre

Jason Acidre is the publisher & head of digital content strategy at Grit PH.

He is a serial tech entrepreneur, organic digital consultant, and a financial literacy advocate in the Philippines. In 2011, he started his first venture, a digital marketing agency that specializes in technical SEO, content marketing, and digital PR. The business started with an initial capital of P1,500 - that eventually grew and generated $1.5 million in revenue in 2016.

Over the past decade, his team has worked with several Fortune/Inc. 500 brands as well as some of the most highly-valued startups in the world. Helping drive millions of traffic, sales, and revenue to their websites.

Along with the team at Grit PH, his current goal is to help 1,000,000 Filipinos identify and achieve their own "true success".

Education: University of Santo Tomas (Undergraduate, Civil Engineering)
Focus: Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Investing & Personal Finance

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