I offer advice on subjects ranging from paying off credit card debt, planning for retirement, and taking control of your finances. And of course, investing successfully is the key to financial security, and you can do it on your own, with a little help.
But I'm not here with that kind of article today. Because let's face it, aren't we all tired of thinking about investing? And don't we all know that the stock market could crash tomorrow? Let's review other ways you could become rich -- without investing.
There are, in fact, many ways to go about it:
- You could inherit a huge windfall from a loved one. Who needs a mutual fund when Great Aunt Winifred is loaded? But, not all of us have wealthy loved ones. And then there's the issue of having to wait until they ... um ... die.
- You could marry a wealthy person. Money magazine tackled this topic recently, advising that you first locate the eligible billionaires in your neighborhood, then "study their businesses, hangouts, pets, favorite philanthropies, artists, music, and vacation spots." If this seems like a stretch, we'll move on.
- Raise talented and generous children. But this plan requires luck, successful parenting, and that waiting thing again.
- Earn a big reward. For capturing America's most wanted criminals, you can earn $10,000, $50,000, or even $100,000.
- Find a pile of money -- that might be safer than pursuing dangerous people. Think of movies where someone tosses a duffel bag or briefcase stuffed with money into a trash can while fleeing. Sure, those are just movies, but it must really happen, at least now and then. It doesn't hurt to peer into trash cans as you pass them.
- Discover a priceless item at a garage sale. That ugly vase might be a rare crystal goblet that once belonged to royalty.
- Start a company. Sure, most new companies struggle desperately for a long time, and many go out of business in short order. But maybe you'll end up like Bill Gates, Pierre Omidyar, or H. Ross Perot and become a billionaire shareholder in a company that rivals Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), or Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS).
- Get a job that pays you hundreds of thousands or millions per year. You might need some special education for this job (like a medical degree) or connections, so get cracking!
- Win a lottery jackpot. People do! Sure, the odds are slim. But you could win, right? Of course, the odds are greater that you'll just become more un-rich -- by buying lottery tickets.
Then again ...
I suppose that, on close examination, not all of these ideas are terribly appealing. So here's one last idea: Remember my dismissal of the stock market because it could crash? Well, yes, the stock market could crash tomorrow ... and it has crashed many times in the past. But here's the thing: It keeps recovering and gaining new ground over the long run.
On average, over many decades, it has returned about 10% per year. (Some years offer losses and others outsized gains -- it's a lumpy endeavor.) A simple index fund will easily and inexpensively give you that performance, and it's enough to grow your $100,000 into more than $1 million in 25 years.
You can aim to top that, though, with carefully selected mutual funds or individual stocks. The stocks needn't be obscure, esoteric ones, either. Wrigley
So if you want to get wealthy in a relatively agony-free way, consider investing in the stock market -- rationally, regularly, and patiently.
Longtime contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Microsoft and eBay. For more about Selena, view her bio and her profile. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, eBay is a Stock Advisor recommendation, and Wrigley is an Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.