10 Money Rules To Make You Wealthy


If you’re wanting to create a wealthy life, free of financial anxiety and with an abundance of choice and rich life experiences, there’s a high probability that desire is for freedom.

To be free of limitations, restrictions and financial worry, so you can do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, and how you want! 

But there’s a sneaky trick to freedom, one I’ve already revealed in another article called The Freedom Paradox.

Here’s the nub of the paradox…

Frameworks can create freedom. 

Frameworks can create enslavement.

Choose your framework wisely.

That’s what this video is about…

How to create a powerful set of Money Rules to form your Freedom framework. Watch it now.

Sadly, most people live their whole lives unconsciously operating within frameworks imposed on them by their family, their religion, their society, their gender, their imposed identity… without even realising all these frameworks are just made up constructs.

When we realise they are all made up, we get our first taste of real freedom…

…the freedom to choose the frameworks that serve, not enslave us.

…the freedom to change the things that are keeping us trapped and to lose the shackles of disempowered behaviours and beliefs.

Freedom is not the absence of rules and boundaries.

Freedom is choosing the rules and boundaries that serve us and help us operate effectively, efficiently and be more successful and safe in life. 

Research shows that successful people have a lot more absolute do’s and don’ts consciously defined in their lives.

Whereas people who tend not to succeed in different areas of their life, have a lot of maybe’s, I’ll try’s, and they tend to sit on the fence a lot – afraid of committing, falsely believing choice, commitment and discipline are freedom limiters.

textured quote on money rules

Money Rules are one of the freedom frameworks you must have in place, to have a healthy, wealthy relationship with money.

Every financially free person, everybody who’s great with money, everybody who has money working hard for them, serving them and supporting them to live a great life, has a set of money rules. 

Here are my 10 Money Rules that were foundational in getting me to freedom, and keeping me free.

Thanks to these rules, I was able to go from deep in debt, to financially free in eight years, and I’ve remained financially free for over 14 years and counting. 

That’s through market ups and downs, and through one of the biggest economic upheavals in over a century, the Covid Crisis.

Creating your financial freedom and getting into right-relationship with money isn’t some flash in the pan novelty. 

This is about you creating sustainable wealth that supports you for your whole life – through all that may come your way. 

Money rules also help you make consistent empowered money choices and automate financial decisions.

Rules free you up from having to make financial decisions over and over which can become deeply depleting and often emotionally charged.

In any given moment, with emotions swirling, most people will end up making bad decisions when it comes to their wealth.

coloured background money rules quote

The Wealth Chef’s 10 Money Rules

Money Rule #1 – Pay Your Freedom Tax First 

20% of every drop of income that comes into my life gets directed into assets. 

Being ruthlessly disciplined with this rule, created my freedom. That’s why it’s Rule #1. Without this rule, your wealthy life river banks will crumble.

The 20% of all income is used to buy or create investments. Assets that can then grow in value for me and earn me income.

In Wealth Pie, another important framework around your money management system, I recommend your minimum contribution to your freedom is 10% of your gross income, but if you want to accelerate your freedom like I did, I chose to make my rule 20%. 

Money Rule #2 – Save First, Spend Later

10% of every drop of income that comes into my life, gets saved to spend later. 

Saving and investing are two completely different things. Read the article The Difference Between Saving and Investing  to understand the difference.

I set money aside now to pay for the bigger expenses, over and above my day to day living needs, I know are going to come along the way.

Money Rule #3 – Once an Asset, Always an Asset. 

My asset drawer has a one-way valve. Once I put money in, that base capital never comes out.

Once I have invested money into stocks and shares, investment properties, low input businesses, or whatever the particular asset class is, I am not allowed to rob my freedom pot. 

If an expense or opportunity comes along, and I don’t have enough set aside in savings, I have to find another solution to pay for it. This triggers creativity and resilience, instead of the “easy” but freedom destroying option of dipping into assets.

Most people do not have this rule in place and so over and over and over, they rob themselves and destroy their freedom. 

Money Rule #4 – No Consumer Debt, Ever! 

Once I managed to climb out of the devastating debt hole I had managed to get myself into, this rule became an absolute non-negotiable for me.

No consumer debt, no matter what. 

No matter what comes along, no matter what I need to pay for, consumer debt is never an option. 

It’s really important to understand the difference between consumer debt and expansion debt.  This rule applies to consumer debt NOT expansion debt. 

Money Rule #5 – Pay a Credit Card Balance Off In Full Every Month 

Once you’ve got a handle on consumer debt, you can use credit cards in a way that serves you, not the banks.

Be very specific about what you choose to put on credit cards and why you are doing so, and set up an automated payment to clear the FULL outstanding credit card balance EVERY MONTH!

Money Rule #6 – Pay in Cash or Go Without

This ties to Rule #2 – Save and Rule #4 – No Consumer Debt.

Every purchase I make must be made with money I have saved, except for asset purchases where I choose to use expansion debt. This also excludes neutral debt purchases like a mortgage of a private home.

For everything else, whether it’s furniture, a holiday, a replacement vehicle, I pay for it in cash. 

While you are building up your savings, there may be certain things, maybe your first second-hand car, where you might need a loan. But be really conscious about how much debt you take and ensure you keep it as small as you can and know on the whole-life cost of your choices. 

For everything else cash is Queen, and The Queen Rules!

If I can’t pay cash, I don’t have it. 

Money Rule #7 – Have a Safety Net to Catch Me

This rule is about having a cash safety net in place. 

As millions of people around the world are realising, “things” that can seriously impact our ability to earn and generate cash flow happen.

Whilst we don’t want to live in fear, we also must take responsibility for our own safety by providing a net to catch us if our financial road dissolves beneath us.

Safety for me is having six months of my survival living needs set aside in a completely separate bank account in cash.

This is available for me, if something really catastrophic happened and my other income sources were interrupted. 

Whilst I was building my wealth, the safety net was there to cover my survival expenses if something happened to my actively earned income. I now have assets paying for my lifestyle and I have a well diversified portfolio of assets bringing in multiple sources of income, and I still have my cash safety net in place, set if something catastrophic were to happen to my assets or their earnings. 

Even in this wild time, with the stock market all over and many of my tenants needing rental reprieve, having a well diversified portfolio is serving me, and I have not needed to go near my safety net for cash flow.


I know emotionally that I have the support of the safety net that can catch me if I really really need it – and that is liberating.

coloured background emotional safety quote

I choose six months, you might choose somewhere between three and nine months. 

If you’re not clear on what you need in your cash safety net, read this article on Why You Need an Emergency Fund.

Money Rule #8 – Reinvest all Investment Returns… until you are free. 

Remember Rule #3 – once an asset, always an asset… the second component of that rule is that when growing your wealth, all of your investment returns get reinvested. 

Dividends from stocks and shares get reinvested.

Yield, the net rental income from investment property gets reinvested.

Net profit from low input businesses gets reinvested.

You don’t have to re-invest into the same asset class or category. You can use asset generated income to buy other types of assets.

Sticking to this rule when you are creating your freedom will significantly accelerate your journey. 

This is the principle that enables compounding to work for you. Money gets invested, those assets earn for you, you in turn re-invest those earning, those earnings then earn for you… and you have this extraordinary curve that kicks up, and creates your freedom. 

When you stick to this rule, 90% of your freedom number  will be created for you by your assets, not by you, but only if you reinvest your investment returns, and let that money keep growing.

Once you’re financially free, and once you get into feeding off and drawing down from your assets a slightly different rule applies but when you’re growing your wealth, reinvest all your investment returns. 

Money Rule #9 – Never Lend Money to Family and Friends. 

This has been a really important rule for me to put boundaries in place around.

Read this article for why I believe You Should Never Lend Money to Friends and Family

I over slipped up on this rule, burnt my fingers on it, and damaged relationships as a result.

If family and friends and others truly, truly need financial help, then give them support, but be careful about getting into disempowered entanglement relationships where borrowing and lending money does not help and instead enables dysfunctional victim / rescuer patterns. 

Let’s start breaking this disempowered cycle of, “Hey mate, can you lend me, “£10 pounds here or R100 there or $20 for this or that?” 

When we say yes to this poor money behaviour, we’re disempowering people with their own money stuff. 

Rather ask “What’s going on?” Why aren’t you able to manage your money? 

Tell them you’re buying them a copy of The Wealth Chef book  instead and help them get their money stuff in order. 

That is going to be far more effective than giving people money, because if they need to borrow money and ask family and friends for it, something is going very wrong in their money world.

That is going to be far more effective than giving people money, because if they need to borrow money and ask family and friends for it, something is going very wrong in their money world. 

Money Rule #10 – Pause Before I Pay

I have a deep well of enthusiasm that serves me really well in many aspects of my life, but in some areas it needs tempering so other parts of my brain can catch up and have a say.

Hence Rule #10! 

Whenever I want to spend money over a certain financial threshold I have a rule that requires me to wait a minimum of 24 hours, preferably 5 days, before I can spend.

When I sudeelnly NEED to have something I didn’t even know existed a few moments before seeing it, I have to pause and put the thing on my wish waitlist. I actually have a list on my phone for this.

Impulse based spending is emotional behavioural. Having a wish waitlist allows my emotions and my limbic brain to calm down and gives my frontal cortex a chance to catch up and have a say and ask some empowered questions.

OK, what’s going on here? 

Why do I want this thing or experience? 

What am I believing it will give me? 

Is spending this money going to serve me and take me closer to my freedom or further away? 

My current wish waitlist spend threshold is currently US$ 1,000 but you can choose whatever limit feels appropriate for you.

What the threshold means is that if I want to spend anything over the threshold amount, I am not allowed to do so at that moment. I have to put it on my wish waitlist, and wait preferably five days. 

I can check in each day and see if the longing for the thing is still a warm yes? 

If after five days I still want it, AND I’ve been able to answer the questions honestly and know that this spend choice is not going to impact my well being negatively…

  • And I know with certainty that this is truly going to bring me joy…
  • And I’m going to love it and get massive value from it… 
  • And there isn’t another way I can have that same experience this spend will give me…

THEN I give myself permission to spend that money. 

These 10 Money Rules are the powerful framework that helped me get financially free. 

And, here’s a bonus rule. 

Money Rule # 11 – Define Your Drawdown Lines and Stay Within Them

Now that I’m financially free, I’m in what’s called the drawdown stage where my lifestyle expenses are paid for by my assets.

I determine my annual spend plan and ensure the total annual price tag of that spend plan does not exceed 4% of the value of my wealth generating Net Worth.  Read this article to determine your wealth generating Net Worth.

Having defined my spend needs for the year ahead and my maximum drawdown amount I design how I’m going to draw-off my assets to pay for it. I get clear on what I am going to take from investment property income, dividends and yields? But as a whole, I set my lifestyle cost, based on a 4% drawdown maximum limit. 

I look at my net worth and calculate what 4% of my net worth is.

I know that my net worth will grow on average over 12% per year, so using a 4% drawdown cap gives me a big safety margin that ensures my net worth expands faster than the rate at which I consume it and can handle years when the growth rate is slower.

My personal financial goal is not to keep expanding my net worth so I can consume more – but to expand it so I am able to contribute more. 

That is why setting a 4% drawdown is a great Money Rule for me.

When choosing your drawdown percentage, do not go higher than 8%, as anything higher than that is getting pretty wild!

Defining the cost of your lifestyle and then determining how you are going to fund it by your assets, is a massive mental shift from the “what I earn, defined what I spend” mentality most of us are indoctrinated in.

textured paper quote on real freedom

When we consciously choose how we are going to live and consume and understand the wholelife consequences and price of our choices – then we can say we are free.

In the comments below I would love to know:

  • Which of these 11 Money Rules, scare the bejeezus out of you, and you wonder whether you could stick it? 

textured paper quote about finding freedom


Find that scary doorway and get curious. 

What about a specific money rule scares you?

What story are you creating about the rule and yourself?

Then get curious about which rules excites you. 

What about that money rule excites you?

What story are you creating about the rule and yourself?


I really encourage you to put your own Money Rules in place.
Share your 10 money rules in the comments below too.

And you’re allowed to copy my rules too! 

You’re allowed to “cheat” in the game of freedom by using the strategies that have already worked for those that are already where you want to be.

This is how the most successful people accelerate their journey, they use the paths created by others.

Take my 10 Money Rules, implement them in your life and experience the freedom created by frameworks.

Remember, your wealth is created by your moment by moment choices. 

Big love


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  • Lisa says:

    I have recently started using cash only and boy is it an eye opener!

  • Alex Cook says:

    Hi Ann

    I came to your sight through an EO event that you’re speaking at next week.

    It seems as if we are on a very similar journey to change the future for many people.

    I’d love to have a chat to see if there are any synergies


  • Kerry says:

    The scariest rule is Rule #1 – 20% of your income to investing? Is that 20% of your pre- or post-tax income? I am heading on to Module 3 of PIMMS tonight and this vid has me pumped!

    • Ann Wilson says:

      I’m thrilled the video has you pumped. At a minimum 10% of your pre-tax income should go to your freedom pot, but if you want to accelerate your journey – 20% will get you there faster.

  • Hermien says:


    Can one move your tax free savings to a tax free investment between financial organisations?

  • DK Waiza says:

    I am happy to realize that I have been applying some of the rules and appreciate your further guidance and explanation. I will strictly maintain them.

  • Ms Wilson thank you so much for those priceless rules. As a 16 year old, I’m already making plans as to how to create my freedom. In the US, students can attend college for free while in high school and I’ve already made good use of that! I don’t want the student load debt burden that is weighing down so heavily on many people all over the world.

    Another plan I have is to make sure my first property is a multi unit rental property unlike what many first time home buyers.

    Your article give much meaning to the financial plans I have. I read your book The Wealth Chef at a very young age thanks to my mom! Keep sharing your message to help people become financially free! Thank you! Terrence

  • Janet says:

    Dear Ann,

    Janet here i contribute to pension in the public service of SA.What irks me is not knowing what both the pension and a tax free account can offer. What do they have and mostly how to go about accessing them and ultimately how to benefit us the contributors.

    • Ann Wilson says:

      Hey Janet, unfortunately you don’t have much say as to where your government pension is invested but you absolutely do with your Tax Free Investment account and you can choose your index trackers and design the portfolio that works for you.

  • Anne says:

    I’m going to immediately create the wish wait list to stop emotional purchases – thank you!

    • Ann Wilson says:

      YEAH Anne, and have fun with it, treat is as a game not a restriction and enjoy feeling the power it brings you.

  • Devon says:

    I love seeing that I have been taking this step by step and I have adopted several of these absolute money rules already! I have been following the wealth chef plan for 2 years and I am so pleased to see the inner mindset shifts that have happened, the habits that have taken root and the changes I am seeing. I REALLY like seeing rule number 11! Super exciting!!

    • Ann Wilson says:

      <3 You are doing such a brilliant money leadership job Devon, and the rewards will keep growing exponentially

  • The worst rule that gives me the heebies is the wish-wait list. The impulse control force is weak with me.
    The greatest rule is to know that rules will save you. The bright lines will save me.

    • Ann Wilson says:

      Thanks for shearing your heebies rule Celeste. Just knowing and admitting it will help you experiment with the rule and make it fun.


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