You work hard to provide for yourself and your family. You would like to be financially secure and build wealth. But there’s more to building wealth that just showing up to work every day and doing your best.

Making the most of your financial situation is about investing in the right assets and then using those assets properly. Having a better grasp on how wealth and value can be built over time will help you enormously as you try to make your way in the world. Here’s are a few ways to build wealth and protect yourself financially.

Buy and improve real estate property

For many of us, it makes more long-term financial sense to buy a property than to rent it. This bit of conventional wisdom should, of course, be double-checked against your own location and personal financial situation. In some big cities and for some people of certain means, it may make more sense to keep renting and avoid locking up too much money in one asset. But if you are like many Americans, you’ll find that buying a home gives you more for your money than disappearing rent payments would.

And when you buy a real estate property, you can invest in it further by maintaining and improving it. According to experts in exterior house painting in Massachusetts, simple maintenance and repair work can go a long way toward ensuring that your property maintains (and if you’re lucky, increases) its value.

Invest in the stock market

Saving money is good, but creating your nest egg isn’t the same thing as growing it. When you keep your money in cash or in low-interest bank accounts, you’re robbing yourself — inflation will reduce the value of those hard-earned dollars. To fight back, you should put your money in places where interest rates are higher.

That means a sensible, balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds. And you can learn more about the stock market by reading trading strategy guides. Such guides can teach you more advanced things, like the difference between stock options vs RSU. If you’re regularly learning new things, checking financial news sources, and keeping an eye on your portfolio, then you could begin to make bolder bets and find bigger successes. You should only risk what you can afford to lose, but investing smartly can mean big profits for savvy individuals.

Save and invest steadily

Most of us try to spend less than we earn and save the difference. And we just covered the importance of investing money in the last section. But making the most of your financial future means more than just sporadically saving chunks of money and investing when the markets are hot. A better long-term strategy for building wealth involves saving constantly and investing in all kinds of markets. By resisting the urge to “time the market,” we avoid making mistakes that can cost us big bucks. A simple buy-and-hold strategy using steady deposits over years and years will virtually always work out for investors.

Of course, you can try more advanced strategies if you familiarize yourself with them and do the proper research. Experts can make incredible profits on the stock market — you may even find yourself becoming a day trader and dabbling in high-risk, high-reward penny stocks. For the rest of us, though, steady investing in a diverse portfolio (a financial advisor can help you set one up) is the answer. Try to always be saving and investing at least a little, in good times and bad.

Over time, you should be able to build wealth that outpaces inflation and dwarfs your earnings from work alone. Building wealth is about more than working hard and saving — it’s about knowing what to do with that hard-earned cash.