Even if you are not born into wealth, you can still become wealthy.

Regardless of your financial situation or education, building wealth boils down to three things: saving, resourcefulness and maximising income, says William D. Danko, co-author of the bestseller The Millionaire Next Door.

His latest book, Richer Than a Millionaire, suggests that true prosperity is the convergence of good health, happiness and wealth.

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In a recent Q&A with the American newspaper, The Washington Post, Danko was asked for his best advice for building wealth “regardless of financial situation and education”.

“First, commit to saving 20 per cent of your income,” Danko says.

“Currently, most save about 5 per cent. It is hard to get ahead and be an investor without saving first.

“Second, be a good steward of your resources.

“This includes having stable personal relationships and good personal habits. These behaviours will lead to a longer life, and more compounding opportunities.

Commit to saving 20 per cent of your income ... have stable personal relationships and good personal habits ... consider having more than one stream of income
Author William D. Danko’s three tips to building wealth

“Third, consider having more than one stream of income. A second job can be beneficial.”

Committing to saving your income is part of setting financial goals.

In fact, it is the key to building any wealth at all.

Specifically, 20 per cent should be put toward an emergency fund, retirement and paying down debt.

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Danko calls it a “stretch goal” – you may not be able to save that much now, but it is what you should aim for.

“If you earn and spend everything, you cannot build a significant financial net worth,” he said in the Q&A.

“You must practise self-imposed financial scarcity.

“So, if you make US$100,000, create a lifestyle that only requires 80 per cent of this, and save/invest the rest.”

If you make US$100,000, create a lifestyle that only requires 80 per cent of this, and save/invest the rest
William D. Danko

The longer you live, the longer those savings and investments will be able to earn compound interest. That is why it is important to start investing early.

Research backs up Danko’s point that having a healthy personal life will lead to a longer life.

Studies show that fostering friendship is key to ageing well and boosting happiness.

Changes to your personal habits, such as tweaking your diet and getting the right kind of exercise, are also recommended.

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Finally, the more income you are generating, the more money you will be able to save, so long as you do not fall victim to “lifestyle creep”.

This will also help you generate passive income, which one financial expert called “the holy grail of ways to make money”.

One writer has said he had seven separate streams of income, from blogging to real estate, which he said he would never stop earning money.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider .