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We live in a world that differs from the ideal one we could imagine. While it’s simple enough to picture a utopia, most people would agree that this isn’t the world we live in. The same goes for our individual lives. It’s easy enough to imagine a set of goals (getting fit, learning a new language, getting your financial life in order), but it’s much harder to put those plans into motion, much less attain them. Today is the day to start turning those dreams into reality.  The best way to do this is to concentrate on two ideas: Build wealth and reduce debt.

Build Wealth

Building wealth isn’t easy, but there are a bunch of ways to do it. For one, you could simply save money. This is a great wealth building tool. Start with an emergency fund, one which is big enough to cover your expenses for six months or more, just in case you were to lose your job or get injured or sick. Making a habit of saving is an important financial discipline. It’s how you’ll build a better future for yourself.

You should also consider your options for building wealth in some basic ways. Start with the place you live. Renting is expensive, and you almost always end up paying more every month than you’d pay if you owned the house. You can get a mortgage loan to start building equity in your home, and in some cases can provide the liquidity for furniture and amenities or to make necessary improvements.

Eliminating Debt

On the flip side of the coin, there are a number of ways to eliminate debt, which can make your wealth building strategies much more lucrative. Start by focusing on your most expensive debt, typically stemming from spending you’ve done through credit cards and other credit accounts.  Look around for companies that can help you consolidate this debt into more affordable monthly payments, which can be organized in such a way that your debt can be gone in as little as 24 months.

Once your most expensive debt is eliminated, you should focus on your less expensive debt. This may also come from credit card spending, but may be the result of other sources of debt. Whatever it is, don’t worry about it. Just focus on paying it off. As you make a habit of killing off debt, your financial life will get stronger and stronger.  Do this and you won’t have nearly as much to worry about as when you started.

By focusing on both of these strategies simultaneously, you’ll be building your wealth far faster than if you haphazardly considered only one or the other. But that’s just the strategy that most people adopt. The unconsidered financial life is one built for failure.  So make sure that you understand the plan that will bring you success.  And most important, show that you are committed to carrying it out.