How to get rich quick
February 20, 2005 4:24 PM   Subscribe

How do I get rich quick?

Legal methods are best. Illegal methods are fine as long as there's a decent chance of getting away with it. For the purposes of this question, lets define "rich" as at least one million US dollars, and "quick" as within one year.
posted by Mwongozi to Work & Money (32 answers total)
How much money do you have to start? Money makes money, as they say. If you've got a nice chunk, there's always day-trading on the NYSE with your bundle of cash. Also, are you prepared to devote serious amounts of your day to watching your money?

There's always investing in real estate in Southern California.
posted by salsamander at 4:27 PM on February 20, 2005

A "general" answer that could theoretically apply to anyone would be best, but let's assume that I have, say, $200 a month to use specifically for Project Get Rich, and only an hour or so a day. Maybe a few more at weekends.

Oh, and I'm not in the USA, so country-specific solutions are discouraged, if not ruled out.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:30 PM on February 20, 2005

How much money are you willing to invest, in your money-making scheme?

Real estate in an unstable market can be a good way to increase one's net worth, but the cost of entry is high (the downpayment, and all attached legal fees). You will have to carefully select the neighborhoods in which you will make your fortune. Neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification are excellent candidates - but time is of the essence. Once you purchase - flip, and flip again.
posted by seawallrunner at 4:31 PM on February 20, 2005

Just live like a millionaire with a ton of credit cards for a year and then move somewhere else and change your name. Then re-immigrate to wherever it is you are with a fake I.D. of some sort (purchased with your high rollin cash withdrawals from CCs) and start anew!
posted by punkbitch at 4:38 PM on February 20, 2005

A much more important question than "how much money do you have" is "how ethical do you need to be".

Getting rich on $200 a month is a lot easier if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, legality aside.
posted by Jairus at 4:48 PM on February 20, 2005

One idea is not to focus on wealth as a giant pile of money, but as a stream of money. Aim for $50/day from your ideas, then $100/day, then $200/day, and so on. This is much more realistic, and easier to deal with, than thinking.. "Okay, where's my first million?"
posted by wackybrit at 4:49 PM on February 20, 2005

If one could make a million dollars in one year by putting in an hour a day and $200 a month (i.e., a 5-hour work week and $2400 total), we'd all be millionaires. I'm very, very skeptical that it could be done legally and ethically within the constraints you've outlined. That's not enough capital to produce anything or to generate enough return on the markets (4,000 per cent growth in one year?!). Intellectual output of some sort might do it, but only in extreme cases: for example, you might be able to write a novel in that time, but it's highly unlikely you'd get a million-dollar advance for it. Talent, in other words, would be a significant unknown variable.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:55 PM on February 20, 2005

If I could suggest a book, it'd be Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It doesn't necessarily give you distinct answers on how, but it puts you in the right mind-set to go out and apply your knowledge to becoming rich in whatever field you choose. Check it out.
posted by nitsuj at 5:00 PM on February 20, 2005

Just make sure you have more than $14 in capital.
posted by Gyan at 5:08 PM on February 20, 2005

1. Make friends with and impress entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
2. Put together a business plan. Raise money.
3. Raise $1M dollars.

Now, as founder, go to Las Vegas and put all the money on Black on a roulette table. Two outcomes.

4a. You win. Pocket the $1M you just made. Continuiing with the startup is optional.
4b. You lose. Get a new identity and go into hiding.

So, 50% chance by the end of the year you will be either a milionaire or on-the-run.
posted by vacapinta at 5:29 PM on February 20, 2005

The following method was used (successfully, I might add) a number of times by a guy I used to work with:

1. Scout for a property (commercial or residential, doesn't really matter) with excellent prospects for gaining in value.
2. Assemble of group of people who also want to make some money and split the cost evenly. Take out a loan if you must
3. Sell after an agreed period of time, dividing the resale value between the investors.
4. Repeat steps 1 through 3.

According to my former colleague, once you get practised in this you can stack investments at different periods of time.

Although being invited to take part, I refused because, despite being totally legal, selling a $1 million house for $2 million seems bizarre to me.
posted by Ritchie at 5:56 PM on February 20, 2005

You could go into horticulture. Very profitable.
posted by zardoz at 6:05 PM on February 20, 2005

Do you have any pile of startup capital? A friend of mine started an internet t-shirt site with $5k in investments... and he can't draw it all, the shirts sell really well even with crappy designs.

Growing weed might work, but only if you know a bunch of stoners/weed dealers already. There's also the considerable risk of arrest, at least in the US.

But yeah, if I knew how to get rich off $200/month I would be!
posted by delmoi at 6:48 PM on February 20, 2005

What do you mean by "rich"? If you just want to double, triple , or quadruple your money ($200 a month), it's easy to find stories of people who have done just that by printing T-shirts or stickers and marketing that design to the most likely buyer. No problem to quadruple a $200 investment if you can think of the right slogan (Google "Yankees Suck" for an insprirational tale).
posted by Miko at 7:22 PM on February 20, 2005

I'm not being a smartass. (Almost) everyone would do what you want to do-- and they would if they could just find a formula.You're asking for the formula, when the formula is different every time.

That being said-- Satisfy consumer demand. Most people who have made a million-- from the corner dry cleaner to J.K. Rowling-- have given people what they wanted.

What do people who have money to spend want to spend it on? Figure it out, and write a book for us afterwards.
posted by trharlan at 7:45 PM on February 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I don't know how to make a million dollars. If you want to be rich, you could always eliminate all of your debt, save up as much money as you can in a year, then move to a place where the rate of exchange for US dollars is huge.

Work the comparison base, not the wealth.
posted by ontic at 8:33 PM on February 20, 2005

1. Insider trading and/or market manipulation. Both of these are really quite feasible to get away with if you cover your bases carefully and assume from the start that your trades will be investigated (although, depending on what country you're in, regulation may not be as strict as it is with the SEC). The downfall of most such schemes is overconfidence and naivete — presumably we don't read about the less naive because they don't get caught. Something like the Bre-X scam (Google it) could (and did) produce astonishing returns. Just be sure to research the relevant extradition treaties comprehensively.

2. Smuggling. Drugs are high-margin, but I prefer gold (or other precious metals/minerals); if you choose your countries correctly, you will be committing a crime only in the country you are entering with the gold, not the country in which you acquire it. When your operation gets big enough you can hire couriers to handle the delivery itself, while you remain in the source country, exposing yourself to zero criminal liability. However, you will need a larger amount of capital than you're discussing to make this worthwhile — selling $1000 of gold for even a 100% profit (assuming you can find two countries in which the value of gold is sufficiently disparate) won't even cover the cost of transportation, lodging, etc. But even smuggling gold for a third party for a cut of the profits could still quite lucrative depending on the amount.

3. Start a cult. This is far and away the best idea L. Rob Hubbard ever had, and if you keep your nose clean, pay your taxes, and make sure you don't lie about where the money's going, it's even legal.

Also, I like vacapinta's idea.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:43 PM on February 20, 2005

1. Make friends with and impress entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
2. Put together a business plan. Raise money.
3. Raise $1M dollars.

Now, as founder, go to Las Vegas and put all the money on Black on a roulette table. Two outcomes.

4a. You win. Pocket the $1M you just made. Continuiing with the startup is optional.
4b. You lose. Get a new identity and go into hiding.

So, 50% chance by the end of the year you will be either a milionaire or on-the-run.

Not exactly.

The 0 and 00 slots on American roulette wheels knock the black/red odds down to 47.37 percent.

Please carry on with your movie treatment, already in progress.

posted by sacre_bleu at 8:45 PM on February 20, 2005

Invent the next Bumfights or Girls Gone Wild.

You'll be a tool, but a wealthy tool. So long as you don't screw up and get sued.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:37 PM on February 20, 2005

Could you start a charity called the Mwongozi Charity that donates all of its funds to people named Mwongozi who live at your address? I mean if you're upfront (in the fine print, anyway) about where the charity money goes then maybe it's legal? I dunno, just throwing that out there.
posted by Jim Jones at 9:40 PM on February 20, 2005

I see from watching The Apprentice that the contestants often make hundereds of dollars hustling trinkets or various snacks on the streets. So perhaps if you do this everyday you could make some money, although hiring camera crews to follow you around and make you look semi-legitimate might eat into your profits.

More seriously, real estate seems to be the most popular way for people to make money relatively quickly (as in not as quick as winning the lottery). Do those no money down real estate programs seen on infomercials (such as the Carlton Sheets program) really work?
posted by gyc at 10:09 PM on February 20, 2005

Get ordained (available online, I think), start your own church...I think the rest should be easy. I don't think you have to get as big as L. Ron Hubbard to make money.

How expensive would it be to have a religous service on cable access? I see those all the time. I'm sure the money tithe will roll in. You might have to expand to direct mail but I don't know who you would buy those names from. I'm sure they're for sale, somewhere, though.
posted by Jim Jones at 10:43 PM on February 20, 2005

I wouldn't take advice from a guy named Jim Jones on this topic, Mwongozi.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:40 AM on February 21, 2005

I suggest marrying someone who has a lot of money. It's worked for a whole bunch of people, and is perfectly legal.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 AM on February 21, 2005

Don't be lazy, for starters. An hour a day is a hobby. If that's all the time you've got, raise sea monkeys.

To get rich, work really hard and spend nothing. Hey, come back! I didn't mean to frighten you.

If you want to get rich, you have to focus and work hard. Do not go out. Do not buy new clothes. Do not drink or smoke. This alone would get you more than that $200 a month you mentioned. But you want to get rich quickly, so you need more money.

If you can't make overtime at your current job, take a second job and put all of the second income (and lots of the current income) into the get-rich scheme. Work seven days a week, work two full-time jobs. If you are married, make sure the spouse is doing the same. Do this until you have lots of money in the bank. Buy property. Sell property. Continue to work. Buy more property. Sell more property. Continue to work. Continue to work. Sell these properties as their values double and put all profit into buying more property.

Never stop working your regular jobs until you would make more money putting that time into property deals. Never buy slick clothes or fast cars or big houses (except as investments, of course). Always work to make more money for yourself, not to give your money to some other guy trying to get rich. Never look rich unless looking rich will earn you money. Always count your pennies. Give nothing away.

When the day comes that you can look in the mirror and say "I'm rich. I don't need to work another day in my life," do exactly that.
posted by pracowity at 5:19 AM on February 21, 2005

pracowity, it's get rick quick. Not: get rich eventually, maybe.
posted by Jim Jones at 6:22 AM on February 21, 2005

Yes, but I'm giving him a realistic answer. It will be relatively quick (a few years) if he works that hard and scrimps that much.

If the question is how to get rich without doing anything, the answer is that you can't, not unless you win the lottery (or equivalent, like coming up with a superprofitable invention or being born into a rich family). I could tell him to start the next Microsoft or something, but it's not a realistic answer. Working hard at what you know how to do and actively investing your earnings is something most people could do for considerable gain.
posted by pracowity at 7:18 AM on February 21, 2005

Like that guy in Citizen Kane who said "It's easy to make a lot of money, if all you want to do is make a lot of money." Or, what pracowity said.

BTW what's that about smuggling gold? Where's it cheaper than here? Or vice versa?
posted by Rash at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2005

Marry an ugly, single millionaire.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:29 AM on February 21, 2005

This book is tailor-made for you. Even better, actually, as the protagonist has only 90 days to make a million dollars. Details on property flipping, internet marketing and other wealth creation schemes. Half "business novel," half "practical" advice.
posted by zanni at 12:50 PM on February 21, 2005

Re: Doing anything illegal

While it may seem tempting to spend $3000 startup for drug making and sell them for $12000 just a 3-4 months later, there are signficant somewhat obvious drawbacks.

- What are you going to do when the guy buying from you thinks you're ripping him off, or gets a bad feeling and pulls a gun on you? Are you going to carry a gun? What if they simply steal your product? Do you literally have the balls to look a gangster in the eyes and tell him Tony Montana style to go fuck off? There are several types of people who buy large quantities of drugs, and while it benefits everyone to do things honest -- unless you have real experience dealing with these types it is hard if not impossible to know the good from the bad. It's called street smarts and it's not easy to get.

- What about money laundering? Another not-so-easy thing to do. Again do you know anyone who can launder $1mil in cash?

I mean anyone could probably go down to a developing country, buy $10,000 worth of drugs and flip a profit easily. That is if everything went according to plan. You can just easily disappear, along with your money, and never see US soil again.

Sorry if this seems all too obvious but it takes a very insular society to stay afloat in an illegal business. This is why most wealthy underground types travel in "gangs" or "mafias".

I don't think anyone has pointed out the risks associated with flipping property. It is very profitable, yes, but also very risky.
posted by geoff. at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2005

As usual, drugs are the answer.

Ecstacy in particular.
posted by mosch at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2005

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