So you are looking to get rich quick? Well I suppose there are worse things to wish for and you are in luck today because I am going to let you know how you can get rich without any of the pesky work involved. I can think of several ways to get rich quick:
- Win the lottery (problem is you gotta play to win and that could COST you a fortune)
- Family inheritance (do you have a rich old uncle who loves you? Nope, neither do I)
- Rob a bank (seriously I don’t condone any illegal or immoral behavior)
- Head to the roulette wheel and put it all on 17 (I also don’t condone gambling)
- Create the next Microsoft, Facebook or Google (less likely than winning the lottery and also a LOT of work involved)
Ok, so maybe it isn’t as easy as we would like to get rich quick. However if you are willing to have just a bit of patience it IS possible to get rich more quickly than most people, including all the spammers promising you “$153 per hour guaranteed”.
What is Rich?
According to the Spectrem Report the number of millionaires in the U.S. grew to 7.8 million in 2009 (net worth not including their primary residence). That may seem like a lot of millionaires, but it is only 2.5% of the estimated 307 million people in the U.S. in 2009 (U.S. Census Bureau). Based on that I would say if you make it to $1 million in net worth you are rich compared to the vast majority of Americans.
Guaranteed Path to Riches (the not-so-quick method)
I call it the not-so-quick method, but when you consider that 97.5% of Americans will never be millionaires it really is pretty darn quick comparatively speaking. So do you want the secret to getting rich? Can you handle it?
The Secret to Get Rich Quick Enough = Spend less than you earn and invest the rest.
That’s it. Seems simple and really it is. Now obviously the more you make the faster you will get to $1 million, but nearly anyone can use this strategy to become rich. I can’t give you details based on your own situation (I don’t know your details), but we can make assumptions based on averages.
Assumption #1 – You have a median household income of $49,777 (2009 Census Bureau)
Assumption #2 – You contribute the full $17,000 allowed for 2012 into your 401(k)
Assumption #3 – You invest in an index fund returning 9% annually (the 20 year average for the Dow is 9.4%)
Using those 3 assumptions it would take you just over 15 years to become a millionaire. I know that isn’t what you might consider get rich quick, but I think it is get rich quick enough. Those just out of college could theoretically be millionaires by the time they are 37 or 38 years old.
I’m sure many of you have issues with my 3 assumptions. Let’s address some possible questions and concerns:
What if I don’t have access to a 401(k) plan? You can contribute up to $5000 to an IRA. So can your spouse for a total of $10,000 per year. If you have a side business (which you should) you can create a SEP IRA or a Self Employed 401(k) and you would be eligible to contribute up to $50,000 per year (2012 law) to either.
What if I can’t afford to contribute the maximum $17,000 to my 401(k)? There could be a variety of reasons that you can’t max out your 401(k) and I can’t address all of them, but the usual suspect is a lack of discretionary income. In cases where this is due to excessive debt or over spending the answer is simple; pay down your debt and cut your expenses. There are many ways to cut expenses and free up cash. Look to your budget and see where your money is going and I’m sure you will be able to find at least a few extra hundred dollars a month. Another option is to get a second job or create a side business of your own.
What if my income is below the median household income? See above. Try getting a second job or even better look into creating a side business to generate extra income.
What if I can’t get a 9% return on my investment? No one can guarantee investment returns, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average has returned 9.4% per year on average over the past 20 years. This is no guarantee of future returns, but it is fairly accurate in the long term. In fact, the return over the past 100 years is also 9.4%. On the other hand the return over the past 5 years has been a paltry 2.3%. Remember this isn’t get rich quick as much as it is get rich quick enough.
Getting rich quick is a nice dream and for almost everyone out there that is all it is…a dream. You can get rich quick enough though by following a conservative and consistent savings and investment strategy. Remember that only 2.5% of the U.S. population are millionaires so anyone who has reached that level of wealth has gotten rich quick enough (i.e. before they’ve died). So what are you guys and gals doing to get rich quick enough?