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 a London-based M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.
Find out more about me and this blog here.
If you are new to investing, here is a good place to start.
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