Work hard. The Bible says, “Lazy men are soon poor, but hard workers get rich.” This is common sense, but common sense is frequently uncommon. Apply your hard work and common sense to your personal finances. If you don’t save anything or purchase any assets with your hard earned money, your chances of a poverty stricken retirement go way up.
Next, live below your means and invest the difference. Take the money you save and start an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of living expenses. Then contribute to retirement accounts. Investigate before you invest. The World’s wealthiest person does not invest in things he does not understand.
Avoid debt. This is crucial. Heavy student loans and credit card debt destroy credit ratings, marriages, and sometimes job opportunities. Overextending yourself on a home mortgage is a bad idea too. Millions of people in the U.S. are in foreclosure now, because they bought homes they could not afford (and bought on bad terms). Do not buy things you cannot afford and try to get the best deal possible on all transactions.
Educate yourself about personal finance. You need to read some books on investing, real estate, etc. Be sure to read articles about common scams. I also recommend reading or listening to success stories and the autobiographies of financially successful people.
Take responsibility for your life and your actions. Many people have succeeded with money. You can too. Don’t do things like allowing a bad peer group to influence your behavior. Slackers will not like your positive and proactive attitude, but do not succumb to their destructive nonsense. Associate with positive and goal oriented people. This is crucial to your success. You must be responsible and control your behavior.