How to Get Rich Quick (and Why You Shouldn’t Try to Do It)
How can you get rich quick?
There are any number of ways to get rich quick, but the easiest are to inherit a lot of money, win the lottery, become a viral YouTube sensation, or invent something that makes millions of dollars. People say you have to be lucky, but so what? It’s better than working some job day in and day out for 45 years, right?
Ok, those scenarios aren’t too realistic, but many people really believe that’s the only way to build wealth in America today. Have you ever heard these statements?
- “Rich people are all trust fund babies.”
- “The American Dream is dead.”
- “You can’t get rich without taking money from someone else.”
Those statements are all false.
That victim language, while comforting to many, isn’t reflective of reality. The vast majority of millionaires inherited little to no money. Most of them never had a single major event that gave them a massive jump in their net worth all at once.
Did you know that the top five careers for millionaires do not include doctors and lawyers? In fact, one of the most common occupations for millionaires is:
So, how is it that the grossly underpaid teachers of America retire wealthier than most physicians? The answer is they understand the fundamentals of finance. That is, don’t try to get rich quick! Instead, focus on growing wealth slowly and steadily over time.
Get rich quick: the lottery paradox
Did you know that many lottery winners end up bankrupt, divorced, depressed, or all three? The problem with sudden success is that you haven’t built up the discipline and character needed to be able to manage it well. That character is built through hard work and discipline over many years.
This is the problem plaguing many music/movie stars and sports celebrities. They start off with very little money and suddenly have fame and fortune thrust upon them. They haven’t built the muscles of saving, investing wisely, and avoiding financial perils, so they aren’t used to managing money well.
If you’ve never seen the ESPN film Broke (30 for 30 series), go check it out. It’s about sports stars that made tons of money and lost it all making bad financial decisions. It’s eye-opening.
People often say things like, “If I won the lottery, I’d never have to worry about money again.” That saying is exactly why lottery winners go bankrupt at a staggering rate!
Why would you never have to worry about money again? If you spend money like crazy and never pause to consider how to make it last, then of course it won’t last.
If you can be trusted with little, you can be trusted with much. What makes us think that if we are unwise with a $20,000/year household income, that suddenly gaining $10 million will make us wise?
So, what should I do if I come into a bunch of money?
The first thing to do is…NOTHING!
Seriously, stop, take a breath, and go SLOW! Remember, the best way to get rich quick is actually to get rich slowly.
If a family member tragically dies and leaves you with an inheritance, then put it in a savings account or a money market account and do NOTHING with it for 3 months. Don’t make an impulsive decision now in the name of “not missing out on all that interest.”
Make a smart decision after carefully considering all the options so that you don’t create a mess that costs you money down the line.
Once you’ve had time to consider your options, talk to some trusted advisors to learn about your options. Always follow two rules when it comes to investing:
1. Never invest in things you don’t understand.
2. Never invest in things you can’t afford.
Get advice from people you trust and respect, who have a track record of financial success and who can teach you how to invest well. Don’t just invest in something because your friend or brother-in-law says to do it. It’s YOUR money, so YOU need to understand your investments. “Get rich quick” schemes are just that: schemes.
“In the multitude of counselors, there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14). Don’t follow the advice of a salesman. Find people who have the heart of a teacher and learn from them. A financial advisor, or an accountant, or a stock broker should be able to teach you about your investment options and then YOU make the choice for yourself.
So, there’s no hope for me to “get rich quick?”
No, not really.
There it is. No one’s coming to give you a giant pile of money. Neither your family nor the government are just waiting to give you a huge amount of money to manage.
There is great dignity in working hard, saving well, investing wisely, and growing money slowly over time. It takes the average millionaire household 15-20 years to reach that first million dollars. The second million may only take five years, and the third million comes even faster. Overall, it’s definitely a slow process, but it’s worth it.
You’re not looking for a microwave recipe. You want a crock pot. It’s slow, it’s steady, but it will cook up something fantastic if you just give it some time.
If you need a plan for how to make this work for you, check out some of my other posts on financial planning.
- Budgeting Part 1 – You WILL Fail Without a Budget
- Budgeting Part 2 – Five Easy Steps to Make a Budget that Helps You Win with Your Money
- You Can Be a Millionaire, and You Should!
- Budgeting Part 3 – How to Budget on an Irregular Income
- Financial Goals: Begin with the End in Mind
- You Can’t Afford to Not Be Good with Your Money
- What to Do if You Want to Retire with Enough Money
- The Beginner’s Guide to Student Loan Management
- View from the Trenches: Lessons Learned from Years of Financial Coaching
- Four Steps for Calculating Your Net Worth
- Generosity is the Cornerstone of Any Good Financial Plan
- 7 Little Changes That Will Make a Big Difference with Your Income
- Who Is on Your “Personal Board of Directors?”
- You’re Doing Your Insurance Wrong. Here’s What You Need!
Leave a comment below and tell us what you see as your greatest obstacle to becoming wealthy. What’s your plan to overcome it?
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