Building wealth is a topic that can spark heated debate, promote quirky get-rich-quick schemes, or drive people to pursue transactions that they might otherwise never consider. But is “three simple steps to building wealth” a misleading concept? The simple answer is no.

Basically, to accumulate wealth over time, you need to do just three things: (1) Make money, (2) save money, and (3) invest money, you’ve probably seen charts showing that a small amount of money regularly saved and allowed to compound over time eventually can grow into a substantial sum. But those charts never answer this basic question: How do you get money to save in the first place?

There are two basic ways of making money: through earned income or passive income. Earned income comes from what you do for a living, while passive income is derived from investments. You may not have any passive income until you’ve earned enough money to begin investing.

If you are either about to start a career or contemplating a career change, these questions may help you decide on what you want to do—and where your earned income is going to come from: