Back in my teenage days, the only real way to get some quality information was to shlep over to the library.
Yes, we did have internet back then (I’m not THAT old), but it was still nascent, slow, and frankly, there wasn’t much quality content online back in the day.
So if you wanted to learn about personal finance, you walked right past the computer desks and over to the “Business” bookshelf, picked up whatever books were available, and signed them out for a couple of weeks.
Compared to today, this wasn’t the most efficient or user-friendly process. It did, however, have one big advantage over today’s content-rich world:
Less BS Curation
Inherently, there was a filtering process whereby publishers would select the books they wanted to publish. Libraries subsequently selected the books they wanted to buy.
Along the way, most of the dross would fall by the wayside.
You still had to take things with the proverbial grain of salt, but most of the time, you got some quality insights.
Fast forward to today. Anyone with an internet connection can broadcast their thoughts all over the world.
And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does come at a price. That price is the astounding amount of misinformation out there.
Making Some (Quick) Dough
In today’s world, anyone searching for money-making advice online is presented with a seemingly endless menu of options.
Forex, crypto, day trading, P2P lending, options, commodity futures, dropshipping, flipping, trading real estate contracts.
On and on it goes, all but guaranteed ways to make bank, and quickly.
And make bank they do – for the people who sell you yet another course or e-book.
For those on the other side of the trade, the risk-reward proposition looks quite different.
At best, they end up a few hundred dollars out of pocket. At worst, they pour their life savings into ill-advised schemes and never see their money again.
All while the most obvious – and guaranteed – way to get rich is right there, staring you in the face.
It’s called getting a job.
One advantage of being an immigrant is that by definition, you end up with a broader-than-usual set of social connections, cutting across multiple affluence levels.
Over the past twenty-odd years, some of the folks in my social circle have gotten impressively rich.
Not Jeff Bezos rich. Not even Richard Branson rich.
But certainly in the top 1% of the population, and perhaps even above than once adjusted for their age.
Given their momentum and the fact that we are all in our late 30s / early 40s, I can easily see them crossing the $10m+ mark sooner rather than later, and going well beyond that.
And the fact is that every single one of them did it the boring way.
Get a job. Save as much money as possible. Invest in the stock market and real estate.
Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.
One of my good friends landed a $100k+/year tech job out right out of uni. Nonetheless, he continued to live with his mom until he turned 30, clearing the $1m net worth mark in the process.
By that point in time, his nest egg was basically growing itself with zero supervision.
You don’t have to have a six-figure job either.
In this post, I’ve shown the path to building a £1m nest egg – all on a £30k income and roughly a 25% savings rate.
Alternatively, even a $200/week part-time job can make you a millionaire – and you don’t even have to put any of your day job earnings away.
However, the most important observation about all the rich people I know is this:
Not a single one of them got there by following a get-rich-quick scheme.
And all those not-so-rich people I know? There’s a variety of factors at play – but missing out on the “sure thing” that made all of their friends a millionaire isn’t one of them.
The bottom line is that I have yet to come across a real person who made millions by doing things like trading forex or dropshipping.
Do they exist? I’m sure they do – even once you filter out all the scammers out there.
But the chances of becoming one of those people are absolutely minuscule.
And so it pains me to no end when I see people young and old, most at the very start of their wealth-building journey and therefore quite inexperienced, fall for these “guaranteed ways” to get up on the wealth ladder.
And fall they do, judging by the number of promoters out there. Demand dictates supply.
Fast forward a month/year/decade and these very same people won’t be any better off financially.
Even if they manage to avoid a big financial loss in monetary terms, they will have lost the most valuable thing there is – time.
Dissing the 9 – 5
It’s unglamorous to the point of being pedestrian.
It sure isn’t as much fun as posing next to yachts and fancy cars on Instagram.
And yet, it can make you rich.
If you have $1k and want to double your money, the way to go about it isn’t to start trading commodity futures.
It’s to save another $1k. Mission accomplished, zero risk taken.
If you want to get above-market returns, buying the latest “hot stock” or getting into options isn’t the answer.
Instead, it’s to sign up for your workplace pension. It will double your money on the spot and generate you a 12%+ return over long periods of time.
You can also go for a Save As You Earn scheme, which basically gives you a free 25%+ boost on your investment – with full downside protection.
And in the right circumstances, a Share Incentive Plan can be yet another fantastic way to grow your wealth.
All by the virtue of having that boring old job.
Yes, many people are in a situation where their job won’t get them to the place they want to be.
Unfortunately, trading forex won’t get you there either.
Like it or not, aside from real entrepreneurship, the job market is the best way to monetize your unique set of skills and talents.
Painting Your Own Canvas
At the end of the day, the beauty of life is that we all get to choose our own path.
But as much as I hate to break it to you, you won’t get rich quickly.
It didn’t happen to me (dang!). It didn’t happen to anyone I know. I am pretty sure it didn’t happen to anyone my friends and acquaintances know.
And it’s pretty safe to say it just won’t happen to you.
So please don’t waste your valuable time trying to do it.
Because in a decade, you’ll still be where you started – while those who have chosen the “boring” path forward will be far, far ahead.
Now here’s the good news:
The sooner you give up trying to get rich quickly, you can start getting rich slowly.
And the best time to do it is now.
About Banker On Fire
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Banker On FIRE is an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.
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10 thoughts on “A Guaranteed Way To Get Rich”
Ha – yeah – there’s a lot of bashing the 9-5. Most of it unfairly for sure. I likewise cringe at the number of people investing money in schemes/courses/stock-picking etc etc – it’s always the same story, sell the dream, take their cash. Thanks very much. Works for the guy at the top – not so well for the rest..
People will pay a lot just to have a dream though and in some ways I fully understand it. A chance at riches. The harder the ‘boring’ way seems, the more likely to want a quicker route out. There are a lot of people for who the 9-5’s they are able to get, it’s just not going to offer them that dream, however hard they work. Saving $100/week is the equiv of an additional 10 hrs/week on UK min wage, roughly. That’s a big chunk of time week in/week out to find. Especially on top of already working to meet living costs.
In an uncertain world where governments like to take money from anywhere they can get it, you can understand how it drives the “better to enjoy it now & worry it about it later” mentality it creates. I think it can be easy to forget how tough it can be.
It’s probably worth saying that most of the jobs that actually pay well enough to make saving easier are usually way beyond a 9-5 commitment too. Actual hours worked, including never really being “off” with the constant email/phone connection these days. It’s another big ask – as you know!
So yeah, whilst I hate to see it – I do understand the lure of the get-rich quick scheme and think it’ll be here to stay for a while yet, sadly.
Our own escape was through a lot of hard work as you know – that’s the real issue either way here. Being prepared to work more now for a greater return later. And be patient!
Yeah, I get the appeal as well. Problem is that these “solutions” don’t actually work and just leave folks in an even deeper financial hole.
Either way you cut it, it boils down to working more. Either in a well-paid job which goes way beyond the 9-5 and cuts into evenings / weekends or taking on an extra gig that will occupy the free time you have.
Not the sexiest way to go, but certainly the most effective.
Long term savers are losers. Devaluation of fiat currencies guarantees it. LEVERAGE is how the rich make money. Figure out what you want to put your energy into, and use leverage to make it work for you. Start with the basic foundational skills, and make mistakes early and often, but start with what your budget allows. Start with zero if necessary.
This was a really interesting read! It’s not often you come across a post that is arguing in favor of the 9-5. In that way, it was sort of refreshing!
That being said, I feel like this ideology falls right in line with the Dave Ramsey method. Let me explain my thought here. There’s two ways to get rich after you reach your equilibrium or “point of means”. Either you increase your income or you decrease your expenses. Period. Those are the only ways to build wealth.
In order to invest money within the confines of a single job the majority of your focus would need to be on the “decreasing your expenses” aspect of the equation. Agreeing with your conclusion, this is the easiest way to get rich, but it doesn’t address the other half of the equation so there could be quite a lot of opportunity cost for someone only focusing on the one side. I think that’s why people resonate with the “Get Rich Quick” idea, because it’s focus is on the “increasing income” side of a very important equation. Problem being, they frequently don’t quite understand what they’re getting into and what the correct principles of entrepreneurship are, so they end up scammed.
The healthiest path to wealth is tackling both sides of the equation. Decrease your expenses to be able to increase wealth (definitely can be done within the 9-5), but also look for ways to increase your income at your 9-5, but also elsewhere via entrepreneurship and then you have both sides working to propel you to wealth.
Overall awesome post! Thanks for sharing!
Very true, and you certainly should not stop at the 9-5 if you want to get there faster or achieve an aggressive net worth goal. There’s a surprising amount of time in a week to earn extra money on the side.
That being said, a 9-5 is always a FAR better starting point than getting into a forex scheme you don’t really understand…
This is exactly how not to get rich. Job. Paycheck. Employee mindset. Making others rich. The way to get rich is ironically all the points you listed before you said get a job. Ive tripled my portfolio since the pandemic and it was through day trading and options. I havent seen a paycheck in over a year and im doing great!
That’s great – congrats on your success!
But before dissing “employee mindset”, consider that 95%+ of people who actually get rich and retire early got there with the 9-5. Funny how that works…
Long time follower here (and really enjoy and appreciate you imparting your wisdom?).
What are your thoughts on your pension pot exceeding the lifetime allowance? Still relatively young at the moment, but expect to breach the lifetime allowance during my time in the workforce and was keen to understand whether it still makes sense to contribute above this amount assuming a 40/50 percent tax payer?
It certainly doesn’t make sense to keep contributing if you are confident you will exceed the LTA. The tax implications are just too punitive.
One way to mitigate the impact is to hold lower-return assets (i.e. bonds) in your pension pot and put equities in your ISAs.
The other consideration is whether you think you may get tapered out at some point (happened to me, no chance I’ll breach the LTA now given a £4k cap on contributions).
If you think you’ll end up in the same boat, it may make sense to max out pension room now.
Finally, there’s always the option of working abroad for a few years once you’ve maxed out the tax allowances here.
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