Graham Stephan Reveals How To Get Rich In Your 20s


Pekic / iStock.com

Pekic / iStock.com

Graham Stephan is a millionaire real estate investor and personal finance YouTuber with over 4.5 million subscribers. Known for his straight-talking money advice geared towards millennials, Stephan recently shared his tips for how young people can build wealth, even starting from nothing.

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Be Careful Who You Listen To

According to Stephan, much bad financial advice comes from people without success. “Be careful who you listen to,” he warned. “There’s a lot of people out there who have nothing going for themselves, who do nothing with their lives but who love to tell you what they think you should do,” Stephan recommends tuning out naysayers and focusing only on advice from people you aspire to emulate. He said, “Don’t take advice from someone who you wouldn’t want to trade places with.”

Build Your Credit

Per Stephan, establishing good credit should be an urgent priority. “Whether you like it or not, those three numbers dictate whether or not you’ll get an apartment, get a low-interest rate when you buy a house, leverage your money or sometimes even get a job,” he said. He advises getting a secured card, using it lightly each month, and paying on time for those starting with no credit. Monitoring credit scores via a free app is also wise. After 6-12 months of using starter cards, apply for better rewards cards, but always pay off balances monthly.

Get Job Experience

Stephan stressed the need to gain broad work experience in your 20s. “Every job you take will give you a different skill set to leverage into the next career,” he explained. He suggested identifying your dream job and then seeking entry-level roles in that field, even unpaid, for the skills. If it doesn’t work out, pivot quickly and keep learning. “Use your 20s strategically for the sake of knowledge,” he said.

Pick a Scalable Business

To earn big money, Stephan said a scalable business is almost essential. “If you want to build your wealth fast, you’re probably not going to get there with a traditional job,” he argued. While not for everyone, he believes starting a business, especially in sales, can create wealth rapidly in your 20s if done right. But Stephan claims success is achievable for any business if you leverage free online resources and persist through failures.

Earn Multiple Income Sources

Relying on one income source is risky, according to Stephan. He referenced an IRS study showing millionaires average around seven streams of income. Stephan claimed most millionaires earn money through traditional jobs, dividends, capital gains, real estate rentals, and side hustles. To him, having varied income sources provides stability and opportunities to generate more.

Avoid Lifestyle Inflation

Stephan cautions against “lifestyle inflation,” whereby people increase spending as income grows. He gave the example of someone making $40k, then $60k, then $90k, but saving no more because lifestyle spending grows proportionately. His solution is to pretend raises don’t exist and invest windfalls immediately before you get used to a higher spending level. According to Stephan: “This is not a time for you to reward yourself for making more money.”

Invest Immediately

Stephan emphasizes investing money early on to maximize returns. He noted that $1 invested at 20 years old could grow to $21 by age 65, whereas $1 invested at 30 only becomes $10.68. “It was like a race to invest as much money as I could as soon as I could because I didn’t want to waste the opportunity,” remarked Stephan about his own twenties. For young people, he advocates regularly investing in a Roth IRA. Stephan said maximizing retirement contributions in your twenties can make you a millionaire by later years.

In Stephan’s view, getting rich in your twenties is achievable through intentional strategies — monitoring credit, gaining broad work skills, earning varied income streams, avoiding lifestyle inflation, and investing aggressively at a young age. While challenging, he believes financial independence is possible for dedicated savers willing to make short-term sacrifices. Through his YouTube videos and real-world examples, Stephan aims to provide millennials with the knowledge to build wealth themselves.

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