Forget the flashy cars and champagne wishes – building wealth is actually a down-to-earth, everyday thing.
It's about smart choices, consistent habits, and letting time be your ally. Think steady growth, not overnight miracles. And the good news? You might already be further along than you think.
Here are 15 signs you're quietly building a comfortable future, one sensible decision at a time.
See if your groceries could be making you money
Everything’s more expensive now. Coffee. Gas. Groceries.
And if these sharp price spikes have been hurting your bank account, you’re probably looking for any chance to save … or at least cut back.
Here’s a little trick to help: Download Acorns, and you could start saving and investing for the long run with every morning coffee, gas station fill-up, or grocery store run.
With Acorns and the Round-Ups® feature, your daily purchases get rounded up to the next dollar. The “spare change” difference gets invested in expert-built investment portfolios1 … 100% on autopilot. Just shop like normal, and you can start saving and investing.
BONUS: Set up Recurring Investments and Acorns will give you a $20 bonus after you make your first successful Recurring Investment (minimum $5).
Paid Non-Client Promotion
FinanceBuzz doesn’t invest its money with this provider, but they are our referral partner. We get paid by them only if you click to them from our website and take a qualifying action (for example, opening an account.)
You understand that money is a tool
Understanding that money is a tool that can be used to make more money sets apart those who know that you can build wealth quietly.
Once you see it as something that can be utilized and leveraged, you’ll start increasing your wealth without constantly thinking or worrying about it.
You have a plan to reach your financial goals
Having big financial goals is great. Knowing your ideal retirement number, setting up college funds, or putting down a 20% down payment on a house are all good places to start.
But these aren’t realistic without a plan. If you have a plan in place, you will have a better chance of staying on track, even if you don’t think about it every day.
You’ve stopped checking your bank account daily
One of the first signs that you’re building wealth without even noticing is that you’ve stopped checking your bank account daily.
At first, you’re probably paying attention to each transaction. As you become more confident that you have the money you need, you won’t feel as obsessive about checking it.
Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt
Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.
National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.
How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.
Your emergency fund is fully funded
One of the most significant ways to realize you’ve built wealth without even noticing is that your emergency fund is fully funded.
Whether it’s a car repair, a new roof, or a donation to a cause you feel strongly about, you feel confident withdrawing the money. That’s a sense of success that can’t be understated.
You’ve eliminated consumer debt
The average credit card APR is 17%. This often means consumers get stuck in a cycle of paying off interest without ever making a dent in the money they actually owe.
That’s why consumer debt is the enemy of building wealth. If you’ve put away the credit cards or figured out how to pay them off each month, you’re probably on track to building wealth.
You’re not falling for lifestyle creep
The easiest way to build wealth is to keep increasing the money coming in. If your income continues to rise year after year, that’s a step in the right direction.
But that turns into actual wealth building when you increase your income and keep your spending the same. That means not falling for lifestyle creep and the big purchases that become attractive when there’s more money in your account.
You hit your savings goal every month
After you’ve put away money for retirement and paid your fixed expenses, the rest is for discretionary spending and savings.
If you hit your savings goal month after month, then you’re building wealth and padding your accounts without even noticing.
You purposefully live below your means
If you try to keep your housing expenses below 30% of your pay, don’t take vacations just to keep up with the Joneses, and stick to a reasonable budget, you’re probably living within or below your means. This is one of the biggest keys to building wealth quietly and steadily.
You don’t worry about a quick, small purchase
When you get to the point where you can buy the $15 olive oil without stressing or spring for lunch out with colleagues without adapting your budget for the rest of the week, you know you’ve been successful at building at least some wealth.
It’s that first time you say, yes, I’d like the guacamole at your favorite taco place that you know you’ve reached a comfortable place financially, even if you hadn’t realized it yet.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
You’re maxing out your retirement accounts
Saving for retirement in an account like a 401(k) or IRA is one of the simplest ways to build wealth. Many people have access to a retirement account through their employer, and this money comes straight out of their paycheck.
If an employer matches it? Even better. You’re truly growing your wealth without even thinking about it.
You’ve stopped keeping significant cash on hand
Cash in your wallet or checking account is just sitting there. It’s not earning interest or working for you. If you’ve learned to start putting that cash in high-yield savings accounts or CDs, you’re building wealth quietly without ever missing the money.
You’re focused on big decisions, not little ones
You’ve heard of the latte effect — the $5 daily purchases that chisel away at your wealth. Those little purchases matter over time but aren’t game-changers to your wealth.
You’ve reached the stage of building wealth without even noticing when you start focusing on the big investment decisions or paying down significant debt rather than worrying over fast food choices.
You’re paying some attention to your investments
Investments are one of those things that should be mostly a set-it-and-forget-it situation. But pay too little attention, and you may not build wealth most effectively.
If you’re paying some attention to the market, where your money is invested, and whether you’re paying unnecessary fees, then you’re probably putting yourself on track for a comfortable lifestyle without putting in significant effort or thought.
You have money to spend on hobbies
When you’re first building your nest egg, every extra dollar may go toward your savings or investment goals.
But, as you grow your wealth, you have money to spend on the things you love, whether that’s a nice dinner out on the weekends, a new set of golf clubs, or a trip you’ve been dreaming of.
And you feel comfortable spending that money, not worried it will deplete your savings.
You feel a sense of calm
Perhaps the most critical piece of knowing that you’re on the right track is that you have a general sense of calm around money.
You feel good about what’s in the bank, and your decisions lower your financial stress, even if you have goals yet to hit.
Building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint, but that doesn't mean you can't set milestones and celebrate achievements along the way.
So, take a moment to acknowledge your progress, then use it as fuel to keep moving forward.
Research, learn, plan, and start investing in your financial future. Every step, however small, brings you closer to your goals.
More from FinanceBuzz: