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8 Things To Buy When You Get Your First Paycheck To Build Long-Term Wealth

AndreyPopov /
AndreyPopov /

Getting your first job — and the first paycheck that goes with it — is exciting. After all, you’re finally making money and the possibilities are seemingly endless.

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But before you go and spend that money on things you want, like a new phone or fancier car, take a moment to think about which purchases will help you build wealth and which ones won’t. You might be surprised at how much a small decision now can change your life for the better.

If you want to build long-term financial security and wealth, here are some things you should consider buying once you have your first job.


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Disability Insurance

You might not think it’s necessary when you’re young, but having a solid disability income protection plan in place now can help you immensely in the future.

“Disability insurance protects your single most valuable asset — your ability to work. One out of three people will experience a disability over the course of their career. If you are sick or hurt and cannot work, it can be a lifesaver to have money coming in from a disability insurance policy,” said Kevin Ross, CLU, ChFC and financial advisor at Cardea Capital Advisors. “It can mean the difference between being able to continue paying your mortgage and car payments versus foreclosure and repossession.”

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Brokerage Account

A brokerage account, or a securities account, is a type of investment account that lets you purchase and sell certain types of investments — like mutual funds, stocks, bonds and ETFs. It can be a good way to start building wealth, especially if you’re averse to risk.

“Once key insurances are in place, the next thing to secure is a brokerage account,” said Ross. “Young people should be saving at least 10% of their income. This money should be directed into a brokerage account invested in equities.”

High-Quality Professional Attire

Never underestimate the importance of having quality clothes for your job. It might not build you wealth directly, but it can have an indirect influence on your career — and potential earnings.

“Think about investing in quality gear or attire tailored to your job,” said Rhett Stubbendeck, CEO and founder of Leverage Planning. “When I started out in finance, splurging on a well-fitted suit and a sturdy briefcase paid off big time. It wasn’t just about looking sharp but it boosted my confidence and helped me perform better, setting the stage for career growth.”

Index Funds

“Adopting a wealth-building mindset from the time you get your first paycheck is a great way to set yourself up for success,” said Ann Martin, director of operations at CreditDonkey.

One option is to buy index funds.

“Purchasing Index funds is a simple way to break into stock market investing and build your initial portfolio,” Martin continued. “The low price point of these funds makes them accessible to people of many income levels, so even someone making minimum wage could potentially fit this investment into their early financial plans.”

Investment Property

“Personal purchases like cars or luxury items don’t contribute much to your long-term wealth,” said Joe Camberato, CEO of National Business Capital. “Building wealth isn’t just about buying things. It’s about investing in assets that generate more money over time. That could mean assets that produce cash flow, pay dividends or appreciate in value.”

While you probably won’t be able to buy property with your first paycheck, you can start aggressively saving until you have enough cash for a hefty down payment. You can use a high-yield savings account, a certificate of deposit or a low-risk investment vehicle to do this.

Once you have the money you need, Camberato suggested buying investment property rather than a residential home.

“I would recommend buying an investment property before your first home,” he said. “This can bring in additional income, whereas buying a home that you live in might not always offer the best return on investment.”

Workshops and Courses

Another worthwhile investment to make early is anything that furthers your own education and professional development — so long as it doesn’t require you to go into debt to do it.

“Consider increasing your knowledge with educational materials or courses,” said Stubbendeck. “I remember diving into books and workshops early on, which expanded my skills and network. For me, it wasn’t just a short-term fix but it laid the groundwork for staying ahead in a constantly evolving industry.”

Quality Tools

“Buy some basic tools, such as a hammer, multi-bit screwdriver with tips in different types and sizes, utility knife and needle-nose pliers. Many stores also sell sets with a variety of basic tools,” said Annie Hanson, a financial coach at Mindfully Money.

“Having some basic tools will allow you to fix and maintain things without having to pay someone to do it for you,” she continued. “If you’re not sure how to fix something, Google it! You can save a lot of money (which can then be used to build wealth) with some basic tools and some YouTube videos.”

Professional Organizations or Affiliations

Depending on your career path, joining a professional organization could be a smart way to build connections and improve your prospects. This, in turn, can lead to higher future earnings and long-term wealth. You might have to pay membership or organization fees, which is where your first paycheck comes in.

“Don’t sleep on joining a professional organization. Being part of these groups opens doors to insights, events and resources that can turbo-charge your career,” said Stubbendeck. “My first year in a finance association opened up mentorship opportunities and connected me with peers who’ve been invaluable.”

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This article originally appeared on 8 Things To Buy When You Get Your First Paycheck To Build Long-Term Wealth