The following is a guest post from our friend John at Frugal Rules. If you are interested in guest posting at Club Thrifty, please see our guest posting guidelines.

Welcome Club Thrifty readers! While Holly and Greg enjoy their resort vacation, they’re allowing me to share my musings on growing money with you. Let’s face it, not many of us want to put in 40-50 hour weeks forever; we want to be able to enjoy life as we get older. Whether that means you travel in retirement, volunteer or pick up new hobbies, many of us view retirement as a time to be able to enjoy the things we did not have the time for when we were younger.

Mind you, I am not espousing a retirement where you sit on your a$$ watching life go by and not being a productive member of society, but one that you get to enjoy the fruits of being able to choose what you want to do because you have become financially independent. That begs the question – how do I get to that place where financial independence is a tangible reality? Whatever your answer is, it is incredibly shortsighted to think you’re going to get there by burying your head and putting your cash under your mattress. The key to growing wealth is investing it and taking on some risk.

Pad Your Future

There is a common saying that goes, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” This is ever true when it comes to growing wealth that lasts a lifetime and hopefully beyond. View this plan as you would using a map for a vacation. You won’t get to your destination without your map, and a plan is the same for saving for the future. As a part of my plan, I am investing in the stock market with hopes to build solid wealth as the years go on. Investing in the stock market is not fool-proof, nor is it free from risk, but being in the stock market (in some form or fashion) is vital to building wealth. If you’re not certain where to start investing, then the best choice might be some low-fee index funds or some solid dividend paying stocks. Either, in general, is a great way to get started at building wealth for the future. Unfortunately, your mattress offers very little in terms of wealth creation.

Spring Your Savings Into Action

The key to any plan to growing wealth almost certainly has to be time. Time is the greenhouse to your money’s growth. If you wait and wait, then you’re going to see the results and find your later years to be potentially more difficult because you HAVE to work as opposed to having the choice of whether or not you WANT to work. Don’t allow lack of massive funds to hold you back either. When it comes to saving for retirement, don’t make excuses. If you can only afford $50-100 per month to begin with, great, start with that and you’ll be amazed at how it works for you in the long run. That little bit invested now can reap good returns in the long run, plus it develops a discipline of saving and investing that will last a lifetime. Saving for retirement can be a daunting proposition, don’t let time passing you by make it even more difficult. The moral of the story is to start now!

Don’t Box Yourself In

Nearly as important as time in regards to your investment plan is being fully diversified. I know that your co-worker might have given you a “hot stock tip” and you decided to throw everything at it. However, I am sad to say that wealth creation generally does not happen in this way. The stock market is known for being temperamental (just look at the past few years). You can, to a certain extent, weather those storms by being fully diversified among asset types and classifications. If investing in the stock market is not your thing, then there are many other things, like real estate for example, that you can invest in that will further diversify your overall portfolio. Like it or not, your mattress is unable to offer you the growth you need; being appropriately diversified is a much sounder approach.

What are your thoughts? Have you been able to find that magic mattress yet, or do you have a plan for your wealth creation?

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting, and frugal living. John is a father, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry who’s passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality. Follow him on Twitter.