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Take a look at your social media feeds and you’ll likely see at least one ad claiming to know the secret to quick riches. While these advertisements can be enticing, their aim is to draw in those who are gullible or desperate enough to take a chance. Unfortunately, the path to getting rich quickly isn’t a straight line for the majority of people who succeed at it — short of winning the lottery or inheriting millions.
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Sometimes, however, it’s hard to separate fantasy from reality when it comes to the lure of having a seven-figure bank account. To keep you from falling victim of a futile quest for wealth, GOBankingRates interviewed money experts to debunk several myths about getting rich quick.
“I believe that most individuals consider the stock market to be the best route to financial success,” Steve Wilson, finance expert and founder of Bankdash. “Although this is not completely false, it’s doubtful that stocks will make you rich immediately. The stock market pays out in the long run, which is something that most people are unaware of. It won’t make you instantly wealthy.”
Wilson also pointed out that the majority of people who are rich from the stock market are older.
“Their average age is above 70, indicating that their wealth is the result of years of investments and market growth that has compounded over time,” said Wilson. “Early investment is crucial for this reason. The advantages of compounding really can make a significant impact if you can make the most of your time by saving wisely and making responsible investments when you’re young.”
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“If you make enough money to cover your needs like housing and food, getting rich quickly won’t make you a happier person,” said Noah Schwab, a CFP with Stewardship Concepts Financial Services, LLC.
“I meet plenty of people who are rich but aren’t happier than a couple on a fixed income. Becoming rich will only amplify your original personality. If you were generous, you will become more generous with wealth. If you were unhappy before you gained wealth, you will be even more unhappy when you realize that money isn’t the answer to happiness.”
“Starting your own business can be a path to the freedom to work how you want and even to good financial security, but it is a long, hard path that’s full of a lot of risks,” said Carter Seuthe, CEO, Credit Summit Consolidation.
“You need to be prepared to work incredibly long hours, learn to do dozens of different tasks from construction to accounting to real estate transactions, and lose everything you worked for if it doesn’t work out.”
“Hard work is necessary, but not sufficient, for success,” said Seuthe. “A lot depends on luck; being born into the right family, going to the right school, being in the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities and having enough of a financial cushion to take risks when opportunities arise.”
Shaun Connell, finance and wealth management professional and founder of Credit Building Tips agrees.
“It is important to look at other factors in your life that might impact your finances and to make other life changes other than working hard to achieve wealth,” Connell said. “You need to spend your money intentionally, pay off debt, start a savings and make smart investments in order to begin seeing your money work for you. You could have three jobs that pay well, but if you are not being wise with where this money goes, your efforts are simply futile.”
“Ivy league educations are still disproportionately available to people who are already wealthy,” said Seuthe. “Legacy admissions are still accepted at a rate of 34%, compared to 6% for non-legacy applicants.”
Realistically, you don’t need a college degree to get rich quickly or otherwise. There are plenty of rich people who received their college degree from somewhere other than an Ivy League university. For that matter, there are plenty of millionaires and billionaires who didn’t even need a college degree to achieve financial success.
“This myth is probably the most damaging of all because it discourages people from even trying to become rich,” said Brian Meiggs founder of My Millennial Guide. “The truth is, you don’t have to be a genius or talented to become rich. Hard work, smart investing and sound financial planning are vital to building wealth.”
Some luck may be involved, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
“Unless it’s the crazy stories you hear about where people are in right place at the right time, most successful people get there because of sustained work practices, education, money to invest and a little bit of luck,” said Jenna Carson, financial partner at Money Lucid.
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