If you live your life well, you'll stand a good chance of finding yourself rich. You'll have a rich family life, and a life rich with devoted friends -- in no small part because of your devotion to them. You'll have pursued your passions in life and will therefore find yourself continually with much to look forward to -- the next bridge tournament, your next tennis lesson, the new season in your garden. And oh, yes, you can find yourself financially rich, too!

There are a bunch of different paths to ending up rich in dollars. One is simply starting early. Check out how a simple $3,000 annual investment can grow over time, at 10% per year:

10 years


20 years


30 years


40 years

$1.5 million

50 years

$3.8 million

See? If you start early, it's hard to not accumulate a lot of money, especially if you can invest more money each year. An annual $6,000 investment can turn into $1.1 million in 30 years. Think, too, of your children -- get teenagers started saving and investing now, and it's mind-boggling how much they can make by retirement.

Buy blockbusters
Here's another path to prosperity, albeit a less dependable one: Buying into blockbuster stocks. I'm talking here about Rule Breakers, companies that introduce new products or services or new ways of delivering existing products or services, and that end up delivering the best possible returns. These are companies like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), that can turn thousands into millions for early-ish investors.

For those with the guts to buy, you'll find the companies we call Rule Breakers by looking for firms with the following characteristics:

  1. The top dog and first mover in an important, emerging industry.
  2. A sustainable advantage.
  3. A strong past price appreciation.
  4. Good management and smart backing.
  5. Strong consumer appeal. (Think of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).)
  6. A tendency for the media to say it's overvalued. (Think of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).)

One of the great things about Rule Breakers that pan out is that the outperformance of just one of them can more than make up for a lot of blunders with other stocks. (As my colleague Paul Elliott has noted, one stock can truly change everything.)

If you're interested in adding some potential blockbusters to your own portfolio, consider trying out our Motley Fool Rule Breakers service free for 30 days. In that time, you'll be able to access all past issues and every recommendation. Headed by Fool co-founder David Gardner, Rule Breakers pays special attention to cutting-edge fields such as biotech, alternative energy, and nanotechnology. Check it out to learn more.

Of course, you don't want to only chase Rule Breakers, because some of them will fail you and others will disappoint. They should make up only a modest portion of your portfolio. With the rest of your money, you can pursue prosperity through dividend-paying companies. With healthy, growing companies that raise their dividends regularly, over sizable spans of time it can be hard not to make good money. Check out these examples:


Recent Dividend Yield

5-Year Dividend Growth

15-Year Average Annual Return ...

... Which Would Turn $5,000 Into











Marathon Oil





McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)





Data: Motley Fool CAPS.

Love your job
There are more ways, though. One last one I'll mention is this: Love your job. If you love what you do, it will show. You'll likely do well at it and get better at it over time. Your colleagues and customers will notice. Your chances of advancement will improve, and so will your money-making potential. So if you don't like the position you're in now, look into changing it. Figure out what will make you excited to go to work each morning.

There you have it: lots of ways that you can make some big bucks, by starting early, finding some blockbuster stocks, counting on steady dividend-paying growth, and loving your job. Do you have any other suggestions for other readers? If so, leave a comment!

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Starbucks, Paychex, and McDonald's. Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Best Buy, Dell, and Paychex are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Paychex is an Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.