So you want to be rich — who doesn’t? But becoming wealthy is not, of course, an easy thing to do. It’s not something that happens overnight, and it’s not usually something that happens after one big break or one brilliant idea.

Instead, your future wealth is the result of the sum of your choices. As you come across financial forks in the road, you’ll have to choose what sort of financial future you want to craft. Certain moments will matter most.

Choosing to invest

Few decisions matter as much to your financial future as the decision that you make to invest. If you choose not to invest, inflation will rob you of the value of your savings over time. If you choose to invest, compound interest will become your most important wealth-building tool. Slow and steady saving and reasonable investing will grow your wealth massively over time.

Of course, it also matters how you choose to invest. If you want to learn the ropes of day trading, master the difference between put vs call, and learn momentum trading strategies, then you could make a great deal of money in a relatively short time. You do need to be aware of the risk, however; in the stock market and other investment markets, risk and reward are closely related. Keep your retirement nest egg safe, but do consider how you might make more money more quickly as an investor.

Choosing to buy your home

Unless you’re a house flipper, buying a home isn’t much of a short-term investment strategy; in fact, some experts argue that you shouldn’t consider your home an investment at all. But you should certainly consider your home to be an asset, and a very valuable one at that. It will increase your net worth, and buying instead of renting will allow you to stop making those wasteful rent payments.

Of course, this is a decision, not a mandate — and you should do the math before you make it, because, at times, renting makes more sense than buying.

Choosing the right vehicle

You might not think of assets that depreciate (as virtually all vehicles do) as investments or even assets. But if you’re smart about your biggest purchases, you’ll save yourself a great deal of money that you can use to increase your wealth over time.

Not all cars are the same, explain the experts at one award winning VW dealership. The right car will age well and continue to serve your needs for a long time. The right car will save you money on insurance and on maintenance and repair costs. And the right car will hold its value better, allowing you to trade it in or resell it for more cash later on. All of these savings and all of this utility can really add up. And this is to say nothing of auto debt, which you should be careful about as you plot your path forward. When you buy things that are worth tens of thousands of dollars, then you really need to be thinking about your long-term financial future — and that’s why your vehicle-buying decisions are among the most important financial choices you’ll make.

Choosing your professional future

You’ll notice that there’s one thing that we’ve left out of your wealth-building equation so far: your income. That’s because, by and large, your income is a much smaller piece of the wealth-building puzzle than you might think. While it’s important to earn a living, hard work won’t get you far unless you save, invest, and buy assets in the ways we outlined above.

But if you’re going to use your income to build wealth, then you still do need an income. So here’s our advice on increasing that income: Invest in yourself. Don’t be afraid to go back to school or to start a business. Go out of your way to learn new skills at work. The more you expand your knowledge set and build your resume, then the more you’ll earn. And the more that you earn, the more money you’ll have on hand to put into the strategies we laid out above.