In order to achieve maximum happiness in life, one needs to make smart choices. Fiscal responsibility and hard work are required in order to provide oneself with the life he or she desires. “Money can’t buy happiness” is a common mantra, and there are good reasons for that. Likewise, poverty isn’t conducive to a happy life. Wealth, however, can provide one with the means to live a life in relative safety and freedom. Here’s what you need to know about living the life of your dreams.

Education Is Essential

A good education is something that primarily has the purpose of enriching one’s life with knowledge and skills, but it’s also something that is becoming increasingly necessary. Having a college degree greatly increases the potential employment prospects of graduates, and that often goes for jobs that don’t even correspond to the degree in question. In general, a college degree makes a person much more employable, which is paramount in a more saturated job market. Pursuing an MBA at USC can provide additional value, as an education focused on business and finance can allow you to create a profitable business and otherwise manage your money more effectively.

Specialization Is Lucrative

Specialization is the process of gaining knowledge, skills, and work experience that all pertain to the same industry. This has a number of advantages when it comes to money. First and foremost, specializing in a certain trade will allow you to build a resume that will improve your odds of getting employed within that industry, and that increases job security tremendously. However, it’s perhaps more important that specialization is the most effective method of climbing the ladder, so to speak, within your field. By consistently working a certain kind of job and gaining additional experience and skill in the industry of your choice, you can also gain upward mobility. Specialization can grant you access to more prestigious, higher paying positions within an industry, and industry experts are a valuable commodity.

Specialization Isn’t Always the Answer

While specialization typically yields better results in the long run, there are many instances in which falling back on other skills may be beneficial, if not necessary. No industry is immune to the detrimental effects of over-saturation, for instance; at any given time, there may be too many workers in an industry for you to find employment within an acceptable time frame. Industries of all kinds are always looking for ways to reduce overhead, one of which is reduction of staff by means of automation. In general, building a specific set of skills is beneficial, but having other options is essential in case of the worst.

Saving Money Is a Universal Good

While making money is certainly the most important thing, saving money is a close second. In order to finance more expensive, long term goals like buying a house, one needs to have ample money in his or her savings account. This means that you need to create a savings account as early as possible and maintain it fastidiously. Opening a savings account is typically as easy as opening a checking account, and most banks offer the former and the latter simultaneously. Putting money into the account is more difficult, as it requires willpower and planning. Taking a predetermined portion out of each paycheck automatically and putting it into savings is recommended for maximum long term benefits. However, there will most likely be instances in which it is better to take money out, such as medical emergencies. While this is unfortunate, it’s also the system working as intended. By saving money, you can secure your future both in terms of the long term and the unexpected.

While money truly can’t buy happiness, it can buy safety from various problems and the freedom to pursue the life of your dreams. With this guide at your disposal, you’re prepared to fortify your finances in order to build the life of your dreams.