When it comes to building wealth, everyone and their mother is an expert. Just mention that you’re looking to generate more wealth for yourself, and your friends will be quick to inundate you with get-rich schemes and multilevel marketing plans. The unglamorous reality of it all, however, is that the process of building wealth involves a lot more foresight and hard work than a quirky and attractive sounding bogus scheme.

Here are the three things you absolutely have to keep in mind when working your way towards riches.

Make the Money
This may sound obvious, but it’s the primary and most important stage in the process. You need to make enough money that you can save a significant percentage of it. Here, we’re going to be talking about earned income, or money that comes from what you do for a living. This means you need to first look for a job that will allow you to earn. It’s best to find employment doing something that you actually enjoy, since that should improve your performance, and thus net you more income. The importance of finding work you enjoy, or that you’re good at, is often overlooked. Don’t make this mistake. Give some thought to your own strengths and passions, and then try to enter a field that plays to those. Additionally, figure out which careers tend to pay well, as well as what the entry requirements for those careers are.

Save the Money
Even if you make enough money to have a decent lifestyle, you might not be saving enough of it to become wealthy down the road. This happens when you live beyond your means. You can improve your saving habits by developing a budget to stick to. The best way to do this is to keep a track on your monthly expenditures. Become aware of where you tend to spend your money, and classify this into two categories: wants versus needs. It’s only too easy for money to slowly trickle away on non-necessities. Save money by figuring out where you can save a few dollars. Fix bad habits. Do you tend to lunch out every other day,or spend way too much on clothes? Learn to cook instead, or start buying clothes from stylish thrift stores.

Invest the Money
Risk equals reward when it comes to investment. You’re not doing yourself any favors by primarily investing in safe companies. A good portfolio is one that represents risk and manages it well. Even if you are particularly risk averse, you are going to require equity exposure in order to safeguard yourself against the costs of inflation. If you’re a young investor, however, risky behavior is more likely to pay off. Allocate as much of your portfolio to equity as you can. And diversification is your friend. Look into mutual funds in order to balance risky assets with more traditional ones.