The general drift of our mission at LiveCheap.com is to help you live cheap by saving a buck here or a thousand bucks there. It's not the most glamorous stuff, but it works. But let's say you're the impatient type who wants to get wealthy fast and can't be bothered spending the next thirty or forty years saving and investing in stocks and real estate. We're talking about getting on the fast track towards seven figure wealth in 10 to 15 years, or even faster. If you're a basketball player or a stunningly beautiful actress, it shouldn't be too difficult and the only real advice you need is to not piss it all away. But, for the rest of us - the physically ungifted - it takes a bit more of an effort to get to the magic millions and get there fast.
Wall Street: While the rest of the country bemoans the seven-figure bonuses that are being handed out to the very same bankers we bailed out a year ago, the recipients of those bonuses feel they deserve to be rewarded for toiling in Manhattan's financial sweat shops for a decade or two. Investment bankers, traders, and brokers all make big bucks when the market does well. And even in bad times, many of the smarter ones manage to do very well by designing and implementing complex trading strategies. Why do they make so much money? They're smart, work extremely long hours, and have the skills to rake in huge sums for their firms. Not to mention that the Psychiatry bills after ten years cost a pretty penny and alimony gets downright expensive when coupled with child support. Head to Manhattan in your early twenties and if you are talented and work your butt off, you can be making high six or seven figures in 10 to 15 years.
The downside: crazy hours that will give you ulcers, a super-expensive cost of living, ultra-demanding employers, high pressure, ridiculous deadlines, and precious little time for your family. Most will burn out after a decade in the city, but for those who persevere, the rewards can be enormous. If you can get comprable employment away from the Big Apple, you may earn just as much and get to enjoy a slightly healthier life-style.
Small Business Owner: The popular image of a startup is a Google or an Amazon on the drawing board in somebody's basement ten years ago. But in reality, most startups are very small businesses that never make a name for themselves. Drive down any main street in America and you will see retail businesses and franchises that were started up by some very ordinary individuals. But these little mom and pop stores can generate enormous wealth for their owners at a very rapid clip. A $2 million business is a very small business, but with 20% pre-tax margins, an owner can pull down $400,000 a year. And given that many personal expenses, like a company car, are absorbed by the business, the owner can dramatically lower his or her cost of living and put away some serious cash. Grow the business to $10 million with reasonable margins and the owner can retire comfortably after selling it. The business doesn't have to be sexy either: machine parts, dry cleaners, medical services, transportation services, etc.
The downside: working seven days a week for many years, the very real hazard of losing invested capital, difficult collections, bankruptcy risk, managing people, natural setbacks of every possible kind at every juncture, the hassles of securing additional capital, business failure, and the need to make payroll twice a month. In today's economy with private companies sporting ultra-low valuations, opportunities abound to buy out distressed companies, but plan on working like you have three full time jobs and make sure you and your family acquire a taste for heartburn. The biggest problem is that you'll likely end up running it for 30 years because you and the business will become inseparable.
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