During the day, the next generation of wealth is busy building startups or running projects for major corporations. If you are an individual coming into wealth for the first time from a low- to a middle-income background, a unique set of challenges presents itself as you attempt to both manage and enjoy your hard earned wealth.

One of these challenges may be student loan debt. Besides navigating yourself out of debt, it can be tough to navigate relationship dynamics and commitments when you are new to wealth. You may feel an understandable pull to give back to your family and community, but have a hard time balancing these commitments with those of your own self-care and personal investment.

As your financial position improves, it is common to experience guilt and overwhelming feelings as you notice your improved position relative to your family and friends. These feelings can have an impact on how you relate to your family and community and how you understand your role and function in those relationships.

Couple these feelings with others' new perception of you as a “wealthy" person, and it can be easy to fall prey to a perceived responsibility for others that exhausts your emotional and financial resources.

Here are a few ways to take care of your own financial health as you navigate this exciting but challenging new position of wealth.


When we're young, it is easy to feel as if retirement is a lifetime away. We may spend very little time, if any, thinking about practical ways to prepare for our golden years. "I'll take care of that in a decade or two," one might think. But if anything teaches us that the time to start saving is now, it is the importance of compound interest on your retirement contributions.

For an example of how compound interest can make a considerable difference, imagine this example of a 22-year-old who starts contributing 10% of his $60K annual salary to his 401(k), with 2% added by his employer. By the time of his retirement, he could end up with over a million dollars as his nest egg. In comparison, imagine a 45-year-old who contributes $1,000 per month, but over just a 20-year period. She will reach retirement with around 50% less than the 22-year-old, even though she contributed more monthly and more in total over the life of her contributions.

Compound interest is a perfect reason to start saving now, even if all you can afford at the moment is a modest monthly commitment of less than 10% of your monthly salary.


Scrap the “entitlement gene" mentality that is all too common among millennials. This is a mentality that resists advice, especially when it comes to budgeting. Rather than focusing on near-term pleasures, build a concrete and coherent 5-year plan to hunker down on short-term success.

In addition to the 5-year plan, in the immediate term, there are certain “rules of thumb” that may help to align you with smarter budgeting. For example, it is suggested not to let your monthly rent exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. Relatedly, try not to let your vehicle expenses exceed 10% of your income. And while it can be hard to determine how much to spend on your wants unless you have concrete figures, consider working with a 30%-and-under after-tax allowance for discretionary expenses.


There are a number of different ways to invest your wealth for long-term benefit. You might finally make a go of that startup idea or invest in further education. Purchasing your first home is another great way to invest your new wealth and ensure that this wealth supports you in the longer term.

It is understandable and admirable to want to give back to your family and community, but you will be of more service over time if you take care of your own financial health first by investing in yourself.

These three suggestions (saving for retirement, budgeting and investing) can help you to feel more grounded in your financial future, and also help to offset the stresses that come with new wealth.

Kindly share in the comments below: What was your biggest takeaway from the article above about building wealth from the ground up? How will you implement these strategies to build your wealth? 


S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-oriented;

Laura Agadoni, “What Percent of Your Take-Home Pay Should Be Discretionary Income?”.

Matthew J. Belvedere, “3 Money Musts for 'Clueless' Millennials"., July 20th, 2015.

Morgan Stanley, "Home Buying Begins at the Ground Floor",

Morgan Stanley, “The Millennials Guide to a Sweet Retirement"., June 6th, 2016.


The author(s) are not employees of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC ("Morgan Stanley"). The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley. The information and data in the article or publication has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation by Morgan Stanley with respect to the purchase or sale of any security, investment, strategy or product that may be mentioned.

Tax laws are complex and subject to change. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult their personal tax and legal advisors before making any tax or legal related decisions. The FA may only transact business in states where he/she is registered or excluded or exempted from registration [FINRA Broker Check]. Transacting business, follow-up and individualized responses involving either effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made to persons in states where the FA is not registered or excluded or exempt from registration

Author Bio

Sarah is a Financial Coach & Mentor for the introverted online female entrepreneur. Sarah wants to live in a world where women stop living in the “if only” world and start living a vibrant life filled with adventure and financial abundance. Sarah helps women overcome their money blocks, release their fear of money, and the under-earning syndrome that paralysis financial prosperity. And as a result, she shows you, the Fortunista, follow your passion by answering the call the make a difference in the world and become financially fearless. Read more about Sarah Man at

Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, from the University of California, Berkeley, and then studied law at the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, where she was awarded a J.D. degree in 1985.  Her career as an attorney includes experience in matters as diverse as patent law, intellectual property rights, family law, real estate, banking, and insurance. She is a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠. 

Sarah was recognized as a 2013 Top Wealth Managers in Westchester by Westchester Magazine.  In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager by Connecticut Magazine.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter