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Staying Rich

What happens once you make your millions?

The real trick is holding onto to what you've earned. If you get rich, how do you stay rich?

Trust Funds

Trust funds protect your money from others. Let's say you have $5 billion (chump change compared to what you have planned, areweright?) and you get sued for causing a car accident. Without a trust fund, it's possible that someone can pursue your billions. Same thing goes for your husband or wife if they run off with an 18-year-old they met at the Playboy mansion. With a trust fund, your money is protected so that others can't get at it.

Wills and Estate Planning

Estate planning gives the wealthy a chance to pass on their wealth to someone else. The rich can set up special trust funds for their children, wills to ensure that the money goes where they want it to go, and powers of attorney so that someone can take over their affairs if they can't. Estate planning makes sure that everything stays just the way they want it to when they go to that great Golf Club In The Sky.

Investments

Investments are about a lot more than just making more money: they're a way to stay ahead of inflation. Someone who has $1 million today will eventually chip away at their million, and may find that the money doesn't last as long as they would have wanted. Investing the money allows them to make more, so even as inflation makes everything more expensive, they're ahead of the game. Investments also provide some shelter from taxes. For example, even if you have lots of money and won't have to worry about retirement, putting money aside into a retirement account can help you avoid those pesky taxes.

Lifestyle Changes

Just like trying to keep off the pounds, you'll need to make some lifestyle changes if you want to hold on to your wealth.

Spend the right amount.

This doesn't necessarily mean spending less—although it can. If you're living on a trust fund, not overspending is important. If you're still in the process of making money, you want to be spending enough so that taxes don't catch up with you. For example, you may want to invest in companies or start building your own company so that you have deductibles that you can claim.

Plan well.

Back in 1776, if you were rich and you wanted to leave your money to your kids, there were no problems like wealth transfer taxes and estate taxes to worry about. A lot of the money was in land, and there wasn't a lot of cash flow anyway if you weren't paying your field hands at your farm much (which you weren't).

Today, you'll read about rich people dying and their families having to sell off their assets (boats, cars, NFL pro teams) because there wasn't enough planning upstream. You might not have much sympathy for the Richie Riches if you're slogging through a minimum wage job now, but it's something to keep in mind after you make your billions.

Make more.

You got a pay raise? Made some cash selling your start-up online? Congratulations.

Just don't get too cozy.

If you want to stay wealthy, you're probably going to have to hustle. With stocks and real estate less stable than they were in the past and inflation still going full steam ahead, that money won't go as far as you hope. Even the rich head out there and work to make more bucks. Of course, for them, that might mean signing for another $20 million movie, but you get the idea.

Once you get rich, the journey's not over. You're still going to have to think about planning ahead and making the most of your cash. The good news: you can hire someone to help you, and you'll be able to afford a nice condo and soft leather couch to sit on while you contemplate your millions.

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