The 5 Fastest Ways To Become Rich, According to Experts

The Dreamers path is the fastest way to get rich

About 28% of the individuals in my study were Dreamers. They had an average net worth of $7.4 million — far more than any other group in my study — and they were able to accumulate that wealth over a period of roughly 12 years.

This is the fastest, most rewarding path to wealth — and it's also the one that guarantees the most money. Consider this year's Forbes 400 list, for example: Seven out of the 10 richest billionaires in the world, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg, are all Dreamers who got rich by starting their own company.

The Dreamers path, however, also happens to be the hardest, riskiest and most stressful one. "At worst, it's a daily walk through hell," one Dreamer told me. "It's riddled with hurdles, letdowns, mistakes, disappointments, rejections and financial struggles."

3 Wealth-Building Examples: How to Get Rich

One of the most interesting things to me in my res

One of the most interesting things to me in my research is the type of words people use when they approach building wealth.

For example, far more people search Google for variants of “how to get rich” compared to “how to build wealth” or “how to become wealthy”. You would think that they’d be similar, but people usually phrase it the first way.

I think that’s because of the mindset that many people have. “Getting rich” has short-term intimations, while “building wealth” sounds like something your grandfather did back in the day over blood, sweat, and tears.

Realistically, building durable wealth takes time. You can accelerate that process in multiple ways and build wealth quite fast, but it’s always critical to have a long-term outlook. People that make fast money and get rich swiftly often lose it just as fast as they make it.

For example, if you start an internet business and generate piles of cash flow, throw it at some sports cars and various gadgets, you could find yourself suddenly screwed if something in the marketplace changes, like your Google traffic, or advertising rates, or whatever the case may be.

No matter what you’re earning, the key is to put your earned money into reliable investments, like index funds, dividend-paying stocks, cash-producing real estate, and more.

And if you’re not earning a ton of money, you can still build serious wealth over time, and get rich eventually. This section will outline various fast and slow, modest and aggressive, ways you can build wealth.

Roth IRA example:

The current limit for a Roth IRA is $6,000 per year for people under 50. You get to put in after-tax money, and from that point on it’s never taxed again. If you make over $122,000 as a single-filer or $193,000 as a married couple, then you’ll be restricted from using this investment vehicle.

What rate of returns should you count on for an account like this?

John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and inventor of the index fund, predicts based on current high market valuations that stocks will return about 5% per year over the next decade. McKinsey & Company forecasts 4-6% stock returns pear year over the next 20 years.

It’s impossible to say for sure how fast your equity investments will grow, but 130 years of historical price-to-earnings data from Dr. Robert Shiller agree with their estimates; high market valuations like today have resulted in poor forward-returns over the next 10-20 years at every point in history.

So let’s say you put away the maximum $6,000 each year, and continue to put away that amount (adjusted for inflation) each year for the next few decades. The following table shows your growth of wealth based on different rates of return over different periods of time:

401(k) and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) example:

401(k) and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) example:

With these types of retirement accounts, you can invest up to $19,000 per year and potentially also get an employer match, with no restrictions based on income. The 401(k) is commonly used by private employers while the TSP is the main investment vehicle for federal civilian and military personnel.

The money you put in is pre-tax, and is taxed when you withdraw from it. (Although nowadays, they also have Roth 401(k)s and Roth TSPs).

The following table shows the growth of wealth in your 401(k) or TSP at different rates of return, assuming you put in the maximum amount with no matching contributions.

If the employer throws in another 5% of your salar

If the employer throws in another 5% of your salary, then even better. That’s what you get with the TSP, while 401(k) contribution matching will vary by employer.

Entrepreneurship example:

Suppose you took $100k, invested it to start your own business, and then managed to grow the equity of that business by 15% per year.

This chart shows the inflation-adjusted value of that business equity over time, and shows how multi-millionaires get rich:

In reality, you’d also be receiving a salary

In reality, you’d also be receiving a salary from that business at some point, which you could be investing. And you might have business partners or early investors that affect your ownership percentage of it.

But generally speaking, to achieve very high rates of return over long periods of time, entrepreneurship in some capacity is the most reliable route, even if it is somewhat high risk.


2. Tax Yourself

The concept of saving money is not a new one. Howe

The concept of saving money is not a new one. However, it is extremely easy to “dip into your savings” when you want something badly enough. The key to accomplishing your goal of amassing wealth is to actually try and save money.

A different way of looking at your savings is to view them as taxes. Once you pay your taxes, you never get the whole amount back. Treat your savings the same way. Set money aside in a savings account or transfer it to a totally separate account where you cannot touch it. Treat your savings like money that you will never get back, until the day that you get it all back at once.

How Much Do I Need to Invest to Become a Millionaire?

The amount you'll need to invest to become a millionaire depends on where you are in your life. You can afford to sock away less money when you're younger because you have more time to accumulate your wealth and you can tolerate more risk. If you put off saving until you're older, you'll have to put away more money every month.

Examples of self-made millionaires

According to the same Wealth-X study discussed earlier in this article, as of 2018, a little over 265,000 individuals are considered ultra-wealthy, meaning they have a net worth of $30 million or more. Moreover, more than two-thirds are self-made. Here are three famous examples:

  • Barbara Corcoran: The real estate mogul turned Shark Tank investor started her eponymous brokerage business with a $1,000 loan. Under her supervision, shegrew the business into a multi-million-dollar empire that she sold for $66 million in 2001.
  • Janice Bryant Howroyd. The founder and CEO of ActOne Group started her staffing agency with $1,500 ($900 of which she borrowed from her mother), a fax machine, and a phone. She is now one of the richest self-made Black women millionaires in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $285 million.
  • Warren Buffet. Perhaps one of the most famous and richest people in the world – and technically a billionaire and not a millionaire — Warren Buffett still merits a mention in this list because he is well known for being self-made. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO made his first millions by running a hedge fund and is known for his principled and sensible approach to investing.

How to stay rich

What it means to be “rich” is different for everyone. For some, it might mean not having to think about money.

For others, it might mean having enough money to leave an inheritance for their grandchildren. Whatever “rich” means to you, once you’ve reached that level of wealth, you still need to work to maintain it.

Here are some ways to stay rich (and increase your wealth), because nobody wants to work all those years to get rich and then lose it:

1. Live below your means

Don’t be tempted to spend extravagantly once you’ve reached your financial goals. It’s often said that people get rich by earning money and they stay rich by spending less than they earn. Aim to spend below your income and avoid lifestyle inflation wherever possible.

2. Diversify your income streams

Lastly, those who stay rich tend to diversify their income streams. In addition to investing in stocks and bonds and keeping a robust emergency savings fund, rich people usually have multiple streams of income. Consider adding real estate investing or other forms of passive income ideas to your portfolio.

About the Author

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who specializes in topics such as investing, banking and credit cards. He left his day job in 2019 to pursue his passion for helping people get out of debt and build wealth. You can find his work at outlets such as Business Insider, Forbes Advisor and SoFi.

3. If you do have debt, don’t bury your head in the sand

Before looking for a quick fix to pay off debt, it’s important to take stock of the situation. 

Otherwise, you may make the mistake of creating new debts to pay off old ones.

Müller said that you should write down all the debts that you have. Then think of an amount that you would be able to pay each month and calculate, based on this figure, how many months it would take you to pay the debt off.

Müller recommended using half of your money to pay debts and saving the other half. 

Many would advise paying debt off before starting to save, but Müller disagrees.

“It’s about thinking like a wealthy person,” he said.

“Your wealth, however much it is, grows through saving,” he added.

5. Start a Business

This is much easier said than done, but the last four steps lay the groundwork to be able to start your own business. If you have a knack for business or want to be your own boss, this can be a great step to making some money. However, as many entrepreneurs will tell you, creating your own business requires massive upfront costs and low revenue in the beginning.

Being an entrepreneur is not a quick way to get rich — it is a massive change in lifestyle. It has its unique trials and rewards, and in many cases is totally worth it. However, this is not a choice to be taken lightly. It requires commitment, grit, and some luck to be successful. While it may take some time, it can certainly help you get wealthy.

Bottom Line

Becoming affluent is attainable, but it does require time and work. It’s not something you will achieve by being apathetic or not stretching yourself professionally and personally.

It’s highly unlikely that you will get rich overnight, but it is possible to become wealthy over the course of a decade or two. If you pair your efforts with wise decision-making and ingenuity, you’ll find success.

What’s your favorite way to grow wealth? How often do you monitor your net worth?

*Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.

*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

2. Spend Intentionally and Minimize Costs

If you want to become rich, it’s important to minimize your costs and be more intentional with your spending. This is the second step because it should be one of the first things you do. Spending intentionally and minimizing your costs will require you to keep a budget.

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In doing so, you can keep track of exactly how much you spend and where you spend it. Acuña recommends a checklist of how you will spend. “Develop a prioritized checklist for how you’re going to spend your paychecks when you receive them. This includes allocating money to debt reduction, savings, fun, emergencies, etc.”

Your goal should be to minimize costs as much as possible so you can put that money toward building wealth. Jeff Burrow, president and lead advisor at Sierra Ocean, said you should “ravenously find ways to limit your lifestyle costs and save 25% of your income.”

Make Your Money Work Better for You

5. Avoid fake status symbols

When you think of a millionaire, you’re sure to picture them driving an expensive car and flaunting a watch that looks more valuable than your house. 

These status symbols have nothing to do with the millionaire mentality.

The path to financial freedom is about consciously consuming, not spending big.

“Do you really need to spend two or three months’ salary to go on vacation somewhere far away, when you could rest so much better somewhere close to home?” Müller said.

Gauge your risk tolerance

What is your approach to investment risk? Asset allocation can be the most significant factor in the variability of long-term performance—sometimes even more so than security selection or market timing. Your risk tolerance—and your cash needs in the short-, medium- and long-terms—will drive an appropriate mix of assets for your investment portfolio.

Financial Freedom Calculator

If you want to calculate your own journey to finan

If you want to calculate your own journey to financial freedom, here’s a free Excel spreadsheet tool to do just that: Financial Freedom Calculator Download

With that tool, you can adjust the following variables:

  • Current portfolio value
  • Yearly savings amount
  • Expected long-term rate of return
  • Expected long-term inflation rate
  • Withdraw rate for determining passive investment income
  • Effective tax rate on your investment withdraws

That way, you can see how different scenarios play out with a real degree of accuracy, and develop a game plan from there.

I’ve looked around at different calculators, and realized we needed one that is inflation-adjusted, takes into account taxes, is super-simple to use, and gives you enough flexibility to chart out your own path.

3. Invest as Much as Possible in a Diversified Portfolio

While there are limits to how much you can put into a 401(k) or IRA, those limits are high enough that many people are not able to reach them. And if you do, you can always invest more in a taxable brokerage account. Thus, if you want to become rich, you should invest as much as you can — there is no upper limit to that amount.

There are many different investment strategies, but most experts recommend putting most of your money in the stock market. Some recommend a smaller portion of real estate or even speculative investments. Burrow recommends a portfolio of 65% stocks, 25% real estate, 10% speculative asset of choice.

You will want to invest that money in a tax-advantaged account such as a 401(k) or IRA first. That will help you minimize your tax bill and thus increase your returns over time. If you manage to max out all tax-advantaged accounts, you can move to a brokerage account.

More Advice: 8 Insider Tips to Get Rich in Real Estate

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