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5 Schemes, 3 Reasons, & 3 Ideas: Getting Rich Quick


Trying to come up with a way to make a lot of money really quick? Well, there are some things you should do, and definitely some things you shouldn’t do.

As a general rule, Get Rich Quick schemes are a bad idea and should be avoided because 1) they can be illegal, 2) they often fail, and 3) getting rich quickly is the wrong mindset. When it comes to getting rich, practicing and developing sound, proven financial habits will both get you rich and keep you rich long term.

Learning about the most common Get Rich Quick schemes will help you know how to avoid them. Additionally, there may be a few ideas to help kickstart some of your financial goals you can try out instead.

Are Get Rich Quick Schemes Bad?

Getting Rich Quick schemes are plans to obtain high returns on low investments at fast rates. While the prospect of making a lot of money quickly may seem like a worthwhile venture, you should avoid them for at least these three reasons – they can be illegal, they often fail, and getting rich quickly is the wrong mindset for financial wellbeing.

1. Get Rich Quick Schemes Can Be Illegal

Get Rich Quick schemes like Ponzi or Pyramid schemes are illegal. And while not every Get Rich Quick scheme is a Ponzi scheme, many of them are still illegal. These schemes or scams often contact people out of the blue and entice them with overzealously opportunistic investments. They falsely advertise high-return low-risk opportunities and prey on innocent victims who are eager for the chance to get rich quick. They can pressure people into investing a lot of money up front, and may even state that they aren’t a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme.

Take this story for example.

“I was contacted over the phone by an online trader who specialised in binary options, cryptocurrency and forex trading. He said his company was on the cutting edge and used the latest technology and could offer guaranteed returns. I invested a few thousand and used their online platform, which seemed to work very well. I could see my trades were resulting in good profits. I invested more at their insistence and they promised I would earn even more.

When I wanted to withdraw my money I was told I would need to pay taxes on my profits before I could access it. I was never warned about this but they insisted I needed to pay taxes before I could get my money back. After I asked for my money, my trades started to fail and my accumulated profits were starting to decrease. They pressured me to invest more so that I could reverse the situation by increasing my ‘trades volume’. They said I would lose everything unless I invested more as an emergency.

I feel very embarrassed by this scam — they were very convincing and professional. They stated I would be ‘kicked off the market’ because my trades were failing and I was reduced to three per cent of my initial investment but by that point I knew it was all fake.

I feel very embarrassed by this scam – they were very convincing and professional.

Story from here

Financial fraud is illegal. Those who wrongfully deceive others into giving them money and misuse that money commit fraud. Get Rich Quick schemes are often set up to take people’s money without ever intending to make good on the promise of ‘guaranteed’ returns. Though it may be enticing if you are contacted with an ‘opportunity’ to make a lot of money quickly, it’s likely a scam, and runs the risk of being illegal as well. In situations where a stranger begins offering you unsolicited financial advice, it’s likely a scam.

2. Get Rich Quick Schemes Often Fail

Not only are Get Rich Quick schemes often illegal, they generally fail as well. They are essentially a house of cards, and it’s only a matter of time before it all tumbles down. One of the main reasons why they don’t work is because the main interest of the person running the scheme is to make money for themselves – not anyone else. Given that premise, people still buy into the idea that they are the ones who can get rich quick, all the while funneling money into the pockets of a fraudster.

While Ponzi and Pyramid schemes are set up to provide money to earlier investors (more on this below), they only last as long as their pool of potential investors is full. Once that pool dries up, the schemes collapse in on themselves. Additionally, high returns in little or no time at all are cause for suspicion. As soon as the questions start coming, the fraudster’s scheme begins to unravel.

Take what happened to the investors who funneled Charles Ponzi’s scheme in the 1920’s. He promised 50% profits in a little over a month, while banks promised 5% returns annually. His fame grew quickly, and so did the number of his investors. Instead of investing the money as he said he did, he paid earlier investors with later investors’s money, and lived lavishly in the meantime. This scheme was so spectacular that we now call this kind of Get Rich Quick scheme after him to this day.

3. Getting Rich Quick is the Wrong Mindset

Getting rich quick schemes are called schemes because at their very nature, the concept is inherently flawed. You may be familiar with the term, ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch.’ This is the idea that you can’t get something for nothing. That is the premise behind Get Rich Schemes. Getting something (rich, wealthy, millions of dollars) for nothing (a comparatively minute investment, or by doing nothing at all).

We reap what we sow. You don’t put a seed in the ground and get a handful of crops in the next few days. Trying to force this sort of growth is unnatural, and may even kill the seed before it ever takes root. Instead, the seed needs careful attention and nourishment. It requires water, good soil, and eventually good sunlight to grow. It starts small, but then sprouts, begins to grow, and its roots take hold. As time goes by it continues to grow, until the time comes where you can enjoy the delicious fruits of your labors.

One important point to make is that the fruit is delicious because of the time, care, and attention that has been devoted to it. The bitter work and sweat it took to plant and nourish the seed is contrasted by delicious fruit. You can’t have the sweet without the bitter. And so it is when it comes to building wealth and getting rich. You must take the time to plan your finances, develop a strategy, and begin working at your wealth in order to help it to grow. It takes time and devoted attention. Trying to force it doesn’t make it come any faster than you can try to make a seed grow faster. Think about the companies and products you love. Which of them do you know were built off of getting rich quick? In actuality, it was the people with ideas that motivated them through the working-out-of-the-garage years on things they loved that brought them to where they are today.

Additionally, even if you were to successfully manage to get rich quickly, it wouldn’t do much for you by way of discipline and good habits. You may be able to accumulate a lot of money over a short period of time, but if your lifestyle isn’t based off of good financial principles, you may spend it all and end up broke anyway. It’s best to trust the process and work deliberately, knowing that the harder you work the sooner you will reach the peak of your financial mountain.

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Proverbs 13:11

5 Get Rich Schemes to Avoid

1. Ponzi Schemes

One of the most popular Get Rich Quick Schemes are Ponzi schemes. Ponzi schemes are run by an individual or group of individuals who promise investors high returns with very low risk. As scammers receive funds from new investors, they pay out ‘returns’ to early investors, creating the illusion that their ‘investments’ are generating the high returns initially promised. Promotion of this ‘success’ encourages new investors, and keeps the flow of new investment funds coming. All the while, the scammer keeps money for him or herself.

Ponzi schemes are illegal, and are not encouraged as a way to get rich quickly. Ponzi schemes result in substantial prison sentences, and are likely to include steep fines as well – even in the best scenarios. Investments in this scheme will fail as soon as the flow of new investors collapses, or when investors begin cashing out suddenly.

If you are being promised high returns with little risk based on unregistered investments or secretive investment strategies, you may be learning about a Ponzi scheme. Difficulty with paperwork or payments may be further signs to be suspicious of a Ponzi scheme.

2. Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes are different than Ponzi schemes in that these schemes are run by recruiting more investors or members into the scheme. Instead of being promised extraordinary returns, members are offered the chance to make money by recruiting additional members. People who join the pyramid scheme end up being the ones who pay the person who recruited them.

Pyramid schemes are illegal, and are not a good way to get rich quickly. Investors may enjoy the prospect of high returns by leveraging their ability to recruit others, but their investments will ultimately fail as soon as the pool of recruits dwindles.

Be suspicious of a Pyramid scheme if the business has large start-up costs, no interest in consumer demand or market research, and an emphasis on recruitment rather than strategy or sales.

3. Lottery Tickets

The Lottery is a game where participants pay money for tickets to select a group of numbers that a machine randomizes and where prizes are awarded to participants with numbers that match. The odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 13,000,000 or so. Even if you’re generally a lucky person, the odds aren’t in your favor.

Spending money on Lottery tickets to get rich quick is a statistically poor investment that is likely to fail. If you were to spend $3 on a lottery ticket each week, you’d have lost $7,020 over the course of 45 years. If you were to invest the same amount in low-cost index funds with a 7% rate of return, you’d have $47,697 after 45 years of investing.

The reason why people play the lottery is because of the potential upside and the relatively low investment. It may be hard to save up for a vacation or to pay off mounting debt, but it’s easy to pay $3 to have the chance to pay it all off. This mindset is a trap, however, in that you would still be failing to put first things first by not saving responsibly. You wouldn’t be more likely to be responsible with money if you suddenly had more of it. You would be more likely to use more money irresponsibly.

4. Investing in Online businesses

The internet makes it very easy to connect with people, and as a result, potential investors. Online businesses can obtain contact information and reach out to strangers rather easily, asking them for investments and guaranteeing them abnormally high returns. This can take many forms – online deposits, online trading, advanced fees, foreign exchange markets, etc.

Investing in online businesses that pressure you for money immediately based on undisclosed information (tips, insider knowledge) and promise you high returns quickly are not good ways to get rich quickly. These opportunities are often backed by sellers who are not licensed or are promoting unregistered investments.

If an opportunity has presented itself to you out of the blue and sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

5. Pre-IPO Investments

With the rise of social media and the success of technology companies, pre-IPO shares of companies are being lauded as a way to invest your money as a means of getting rich quickly. This scheme is difficult to detect in that there are indeed actual pre-IPO offerings available for some companies.

Investing in pre-IPO investments are a bad way to get rich quickly if unregistered securities are involved and if the company may never actually go public. These offerings are often fraudulent if unsolicited.

When investing in a company, it’s important to research the investment and the product.

3 Safe Ways to Get Rich Quick

As we’ve mentioned in this article, Get Rich Quick schemes are inherently flawed by nature, and won’t be your best bet when it comes to obtaining and maintaining wealth long term. You’ll be better off investing your money in low-cost index funds that can provide an average return of 7% annually and working to increase your savings rate over time. However, if you’re looking to find a few better ways to be slightly riskier with your money, consider the following.

1. Invest 1% On An Asymmetric Investment

An asymmetric investment is one where your initial investment has a much higher upside than downside. A regular example in today’s market would be crypto currency. Say you had a portfolio of $100,000. You could invest 1% ($1,000) on an asymmetric bet. Doing so keeps your risk low, since the overall portion of your portfolio is low (1%). Someone who invested $1,000 in Bitcoin in 2011 would have $2,785,737 today.

It’s important to note that this is a small portion of your portfolio. Do your research and maintain a reasonable level of risk when deciding how much to invest.

2. Create a Template or Product

Want to monetize your skills? You can create a course or template that helps teach what you already know. This is a low investment monetarily, and would include a few setup costs and the time ti takes to put together. Search what’s in demand, and create something that you can market effectively. If you create a solid deliverable and find ways to scale it to a broad audience, you can tap into a vast pool of people. Making an online course that teaches your mastery of photography or painting, for example, means that once you build it, it’s done. All you need to do is to market your idea to potential customers in order to continue making money from it.

3. Freelance

Another way to make money quickly from your skills or talents is to freelance them. Doing so enhances your current skillset through practice, and is a natural way to scale your abilities quickly. The more you freelance, the more you learn and the better you get. The more valuable your skillset, the more doors will open. You will be able to negotiate for higher salaries, and can even begin raising your billable rate. The more demand your skills are, the higher you can raise your rate. You can maximize this strategy by teaching others your skills, and scaling them to a personal business or agency where you’re in control of your finances and your time.


All in all, the only way up your financial mountain is, well, up. You can’t take a slide to the top, you have to work your way there. If opportunities come knocking your way for high returns with little or no effort from your part, you may be getting scammed. Avoid Ponzi, Pyramid, and other common Get Rich Quick schemes. Work to develop sound financial habits that will help you develop wealth naturally, and teach you how to keep it the rest of your life.

Climb on, FinBase.

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John is a personal finance writer, editor, and a fellow FinBase climber. Tech worker by day, design owl by night, he is the co-founder and creator behind The Financial Basecamp.
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