Despite its recent crash, Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE) has had an incredible year. Over the past 12 months, its price has soared by nearly 13,000%. If you had invested $1,000 in the cryptocurrency one year ago and held on, you'd have close to $130,000 today.

However, as an investment, Dogecoin is incredibly risky. Its dramatic returns largely have been propelled by a flood of retail investors pumping up its price, but its fundamentals don't appear strong enough to maintain these values.

Unless Dogecoin makes some changes to give it a better competitive advantage, there's a good chance it won't be around for the long term. That said, there are plenty of other investments that are much safer and can help you make a lot of money.

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1. Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (NYSEMKT:VOO) tracks the S&P 500, so its portfolio includes roughly 500 of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies. The S&P 500 is often considered a barometer of the stock market's overall performance, and an S&P 500 ETF will essentially move in sync with that barometer.

This makes S&P 500 ETFs lower risk than some other types of investments. While individual stocks or the entire market may experience volatility, the S&P 500 has proven time and again that it can come back from market crashes and head higher.

Since the S&P 500's inception, its value has risen at an average rate of return of around 10% per year. While investors in the future won't experience those returns steadily, if the market keeps following its historic trends, you can expect the S&P to continue to deliver growth that averages out over time to around 10% per year.

While this ETF may be a relatively safe option, it can still help you become wealthy. Assuming that 10% annualized rate of return, here's what it would take for that holding alone to make you a millionaire:

  • Invest $550 per month for 30 years
  • Invest $200 per month for 40 years
  • Invest $1,500 per month for 20 years

2. Vanguard Information Technology ETF

The Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEMKT:VGT) is a niche fund that only includes stocks from the technology industry. Its portfolio includes 357 stocks. Among its largest holdings are Apple, Microsoft, and NVIDIA.

Niche and sector ETFs can be higher risk than broad-market funds because they're not as diversified. For that reason, it's especially important to make sure you have a well-diversified portfolio if you choose to invest in this ETF.

On the plus side, tech stocks in general tend to experience faster growth than companies in other industries. Since this fund was established in 2004, it has earned an average rate of return of around 13% per year. Again, this doesn't mean you should anticipate earning a return at about that level year after year. But it does offer a suggestion about what sort of long-term annualized gains you could expect if you hold this ETF for decades.

Based on that anticipated 13% average annualized return, here's what it would take for an investor to reach $1 million:

  • Invest $300 per month for 30 years
  • Invest $85 per month for 40 years
  • Invest $1,050 per month for 20 years

3. Vanguard Russell 2000 Growth ETF

The Vanguard Russell 2000 Growth ETF (NASDAQ:VTWG) tracks the Russell 2000 Growth Index, which includes 1,209 smaller companies' stocks.

Small-cap stocks tend to be riskier than larger corporations. Their share prices are often more volatile, and their fundamental businesses can be less secure. But the bright side is that small caps' valuations also tend to grow faster.

This particular ETF was established in 2010, and since then it has delivered an average return of around 15% per year. Assuming 15% average annualized returns, here's what it would take for an investor to accumulate at least $1 million with this ETF:

  • Invest $200 per month for 30 years
  • Invest $50 per month for 40 years
  • Invest $850 per month for 20 years

A get-rich-slow scheme

There are never any guarantees when you invest in the stock market, but you can take steps to reduce your risk and maximize your earnings. Dogecoin is an incredibly risky investment, and there's a good chance you'll lose money in it. By choosing a safer option -- and adopting a long-range view -- you can give yourself a far better shot at becoming a millionaire.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.