Who doesn’t want to get rich quick then ride off into the sunset to live the life of their dreams? I do – that would be awesome! And based on the Google search results that drive people to this website, I’m not alone either. Here’s the good news/bad news reality: it is possible to get rich quick. But you shouldn’t spend much time or money trying.
How to Get Rich Quick? There are Two Ways
I know of two ways to get rich quick:
- Break the laws of probability
- Break the laws of the land
Like I said, you shouldn’t spend much time or money pursuing either of these options.
Breaking The Laws of Probability to Get Rich Quick
While it can be fun to try and break the laws of probability with the occasional lottery ticket or trip to Vegas, the math just isn’t in your favor. In fact, when compared to you winning the lottery, you’re more likely to
- get murdered in the grand canyon
- die from an asteroid strike
- or pass away from chronic constipation than you are of winning a jackpot
Here are 7 other crazy things that are more likely to happen than you winning the lottery (not all of them are death related).
Best to keep the gambling limited to entertainment purposes only and far away from your retirement plan. Same goes for breaking the laws of the land. If either of these options are part of your financial plan, then you need a new plan.
A couple of years ago I witnessed someone trying to get rich quick by robbing a bank.
Breaking the Laws of the Land to Get Rich Quick
A few years ago I happened to be standing outside of a fast food restaurant, talking with my wife on the phone, when I witnessed a bank robbery. Because of where I was standing I happened to be looking in the direction of the bank, about 30 to 40 yards away.
While we were chatting on the phone the dual glass doors of the bank suddenly swung open and a man came running out.
What first caught my attention were the white gloves this guy was wearing as he ran out of the building. Then I saw the velvety blue bag that he was carrying in one hand. Last I noticed that he was wearing a hoodie pulled up over his head (this wasn’t hoodie wearing weather) and, even from a distance I could tell that his mustache was fake.
It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening and I said to my wife “I’m witnessing a bank robbery!“
The Great Escape
My heart began to race as I realized that this guy was running directly at me. He was looking right at me. I was on my phone.
Oh $#!7, I thought. This guy thinks I’m on the phone with the police and he’s coming for me.
I had no idea if he had a gun (nor if he’d used it to rob the bank and was willing to use it on me)? I just kept staring at the guy, taking it all in and telling my wife what I was seeing:
- Big sunglasses
- Fake as hell mustache
- He’s running right at me!
- Work boots
- About 5’10 to 6 feet tall
- White gloves
- Blue velvet looking bag
- He’s getting closer!
Before I knew it, he was right on top of me, about 10 yards away.
Way too close for comfort, when suddenly he turned to his left, ran up an alleyway then darted off behind some shrubs.
Crime Doesn’t Pay
My heart was pounding. I’d just witnessed some clown get rich quick!
Or did I?
Based on the size of the bag he was carrying, the thief wouldn’t have nearly enough cash to disappear forever and live a life of luxury with Andy Dufresne down in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
Doesn’t matter though because the guy got busted about a week later. I know because I was called to do the police lineup.
While I couldn’t ID the guy (because that fake mustache, big sunglasses and hoodie was a surprisingly good disguise), I found out later that the police caught their guy. Case closed.
How To Retire Early Without Breaking Any Laws
So if you need to get rich quick and the odds of hitting a jackpot aren’t in your favor, and if robbery is out of the question, then what’s a guy to do?!
First, you need to accept that getting rich quick takes time. But it doesn’t need to take a lifetime either. And it won’t if you’ve got a plan.
I don’t know many people that have an actual plan, other than the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all strategy that society has defined for you. But society’s plan sucks and it costs too much in terms of time. You need to Get Rich Quick’ish, because slow’ish sucks.
My Plan to Retire Early
I don’t want to work till I’m 65 or 70, so this is my plan to reach financial independence and retire early. I’ve broken my strategy out into five main categories, with ten total steps.
The steps are simple to understand, but actually taking the steps can be hard. Check out my plan below and see if I’m doing anything that you can duplicate that will help you Get Rich Quick’ish too!
My Plan to Get Rich Quick’ish
This plan is unique to me and my situation. Hopefully some of it will be useful or interesting to you, but the details in each step would need to change from person to person, and from situation to situation.
So your plan will look a bit different. With that said, here’s my outline, with full details below:
- Avoid Lifestyle inflationDeflate lifestyle whenever necessary
- Bank all financial gainsSave half of all raises at work
- Save half of all bonuses at work
- Save one percent more than the year before
- Take advantage of free moneyInvest at least the minimum into 401(k) to get full employer match
- Increase 401(k) contribution until it’s fully maxed out
- Participate in ESPP program
- Increase participation in ESPP program until it’s maxed out at 15% of salary
- Put our money to workInvest all extra cash into a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA
- Avoid debt
If followed, these steps would help anyone build a solid financial foundation. Here’s a bit more detail on each step in my plan.
Avoid Lifestyle Creep
Lifestyle creep happens when you spend more money as your income grows. It’s also known as lifestyle inflation. Avoiding lifestyle inflation is one of the things that I can control, and so I do. By starting my plan to Get Rich Quick’ish with ‘avoid lifestyle inflation’ I’m guaranteeing that, regardless of where I’m at today, I won’t lose any more ground. There’s nowhere for me to go but up.
Thankfully I think my family is already living a pretty good life and there’s not much temptation to inflate our lifestyle. We live in a decent house, in a good neighborhood, within a very good school district. We drive new cars. Everyone gets to wear new clothes. Christmas morning looks like the North Pole exploded in our living room. We go on a handful of weekend getaways each year and try to do one family vacation as well.
Our life is pretty dang good right now. If all we do is maintain this current standard of living, then ten years from now we’ll still be living a pretty good life!
Bank All Gains
For years (for more than a decade actually) our family was living paycheck to paycheck. There simply wasn’t enough money in my paycheck to cover rent, transportation, food, medical, clothing and other unexpected expenses AND to save money on top of all that.
During these times the only way for us to get ahead financially was to save any unexpected bonuses, commissions and pay raises that came our way. Theses unexpected gains were rare, but when they came along we were able to get a bit of breathing room, and saving these gains for long enough allowed us to slowly start making financial progress.
Today we’re able to thrive on a single income and those paycheck-to-paycheck days are in our rear view mirror. Because we’ve avoided lifestyle inflation and have saved all of our financial increases, we’re able to save like never before.
Under this ‘bank all gains’ category, I’ve got three steps:
- Half of all raises at work go into savings
- Half of all bonuses I get at work also go into savings
- Each year, increase our overall savings rate by 1%
We’ve been banking the gains in these three ways for a few years now and our stash, and our savings rate, have skyrocketed.
Take Advantage of Free Money
My employers offers two ways for me to get free money: a 401k program and an ESPP plan.
Almost everyone has heard of a 401(k) plans and knows they are valuable for two main reasons:
- You’re contributing pre-tax dollars into your account, and
- Many 401(k) programs offer an employer match … a.k.a. free money for you!
Luckily my company does offer an employer match (with immediate vesting!), which means I’m getting several thousand dollars per year, for free, simply by participating in the program.
A big part of my Get Rich Quick’ish plan to take advantage of free money, and to help that money grow by investing it. And speaking of free money, I’m lucky enough to have access to an ESPP, an employee stock purchase program.
An ESPP allows you to buy company stock at a discounted rate. That discount is applied to the stock price at the beginning or ending of a six month period, whichever is lower. There is potential here to get a steep discount on stock, which can them be sold immediately for a gain. Free money!
The ‘take advantage of free money’ part of the plan has four more steps:
- Invest the minimum amount required to get the full employer match (i.e. grab that free money!)
- Increase participation in the 401k until I’ve maxed it out at $19,000 per year.
- Participate in my employer’s ESPP program.
- Increase participation in the ESPP until it’s maxed out at 15% of my salary.
Put Your Money To Work
It’s not enough to just save money, you need to put your money to work by investing it. Otherwise you’re losing buying power each year due to inflation.
Understanding this, we are investing our cash into our 401(k), into a Roth IRA, and into a traditional IRA as well.
We personally don’t invest in real estate, or fine art, or in anything else other than stocks (that’s not true, I have a little bit of crypto currency). If you invest in things other than the stock market, that’s fine. What’s important is that you are investing in something. You need to put your money to work and let it grow for you.
Again, the formula to reach financial independence is simple, but the execution is not. It takes discipline and the development of good habits. But by following our plan to Get Rich Quick’ish, and assuming the market continues to deliver historical average returns of about 7% on our invested dollars, then I’ll be set to retire early in 2026.
I’ll be 49 years old at that time, and while the thought of being a 9 to 5 cube jockey for another 6 years is somewhat depressing, it beats the HELL out doing this until I’m 65!
Avoid Debt Like The Plague
Up to this point, everything has been an attack strategy. But it’s defense that wins championships, right?
That’s why the last step in my plan is defensive: avoid debt.
When you have zero debt, you get to keep every dollar you make. Imagine that for just one second: what if you got to keep your entire paycheck?
How quickly would your financial situation change if you got to keep the money you make rather than give it way to others by paying bills? I’m guessing your financial situation would change for the better very quick’ish!
This last step in the plan is simple. Avoid debt!
When you’re doing all of these things, and you get to keep all of your money because you have no debt, then suddenly you’ve got a 10 point strategy to Get Rich Quick’ish, reach financial independence and retire early. It looks like this:
My 10 Point Plan to Get Rich Quick’ish and Retire Early
- Avoid lifestyle inflation
- Save half of all raises at work
- Save half of all bonuses at work
- Each year save an additional 1% more than the year before
- Invest at least the minimum required to get a full 401(k) employer match
- Increase 401(k) contribution until it’s maxed out at $19,000 per year
- Participate in my employer’s ESPP
- Increase ESPP participation until it’s maxed out at 15% of my salary
- Invest our cash in a 401(k), Roth IRA, or Traditional IRA
- Eliminate, then avoid debt
I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
I’ve estimated that I’ll be working till I’m 49. That’s a lot older than many of the people you’ll hear and read about in the early retirement world, but considering that I didn’t get started until my late 30s, it’s not bad at all.
Besides, I stay motivated by reminding myself that this is just the minimum amount of saving and investing that I need to do. I can always speed up my FIRE clock by getting more aggressive, taking on another side hustle, being more frugal, etc, but for now this is our plan and I’m happy with it.
Is this plan perfect? Not by a long shot. But it’s worked for us for several years. If and when our situation changes, then we’ll simply change our plan to make the most of our opportunities and challenges. Do you have a plan? What does it look like?