How Do You Get Rich? Slowly, and Then Suddenly


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I have been writing about personal finance for three years, and one of the most common questions I get asked by readers is, "how do I get rich?"


My response (to the disappointment of many readers) is always the same; "slowly." Today I want to amend my answer to "slowly, and then suddenly."


Continue reading to learn:

  • How you can slowly get rich working a normal job.

  • The exact process I am taking to speed up the wealth-building process.

  • The cumulative impact of years of smart financial decisions and a bit of luck.

Can you get rich working a normal job?

Yes, you can get rich working a normal job. It just won't happen quickly, which is perfectly fine, especially if you like your job. You don't need to start a business to build wealth if you set up a simple saving system and stick to it for the long run.


First, we need to start with a common definition of what it means to be "rich."

It doesn't matter how much money you have saved, what matters is how much money you have saved relative to your lifestyle.

$1 million could be enough to sustain someone who spends $40,000 a year for a lifetime, but it wouldn't last long for someone who spends $400,000 per year.


For our purposes, I'll define getting rich as having a lot of money relative to the cost of your desired lifestyle.


There are two types of assets you can use to build wealth.

  1. Human capital: Your ability to earn income from working.

  2. Financial capital: Stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investments.

Unless you're receiving an inheritance, there is only one way to acquire financial capital and build wealth: Rent out your human capital and use the surplus cash flow to buy financial capital.


The "rent" you receive from your financial capital is your paycheck, and the surplus cash flow is what is left over at the end of the month after all of your expenses are paid for. How much money you have to invest each month boils down to a simple equation.

Monthly income - expenses = investible money.

As I've written in the past, if you want to get rich while working a 9-5 job, you need to get your spending in order before worrying about investing. Doing so will help you in two ways:

  1. Keeping your spending under control drastically reduces how much money you would need to save to get "rich" using the definition we just agreed upon.

  2. It will allow you to immediately start saving more money each month which helps you reach your (now smaller) savings goal faster.

If you're serious about cutting your expenses, here are two articles that can help:

  1. How to track your expenses

  2. How to reduce the amount you spend on the “big 3 living expenses.

Want to speed up the process? Consider a scalable side hustle

Once you've optimized your living expenses, the next step to increasing your investible money is to increase your take-home pay. There are many ways you can do this, but I'll share with you the process I've used to increase my take-home pay, which is to find a side hustle that provides scalable income.


You have scalable income if there is no guarantee you'll make any money while at the same time there is no hard cap on your earning potential. My side hustle of writing is a great example of a side hustle with scalable income.

  • When I started writing three years ago, I published 3 articles per week and made about $10 per month.

  • Today, I publish 3 articles a week, and in some months, I make as much money from writing as I do from my 9-5 job.

Since my 9-5 covers all of my living expenses (and then some), I can invest 100% of the profits from writing into low-cost index funds. So, as my writing side hustle grows, I have more money to invest. Since I am keeping my living expenses in check, I have begun amassing quite a bit of financial capital relative to my cost of living.


If you are going to start a side hustle, particularly one where you aren't guaranteed to make any money, I highly recommend finding work you love or feel very passionate about. If your side hustle feels like another job, you're more likely to quit before it begins to make any money.


Getting rich slowly, and then suddenly

Good things happen to those who save and wait. The moment I cleared my student loan debt and became financially stable, I began using the surplus cash flow from renting out my human capital to acquire financial capital in the form of index funds and real estate.


Over the past year, the value of my real estate and stock portfolios has unexpectedly surged upwards in value. Since I had been saving a high percentage of my income and even used leverage (borrowed money) to acquire the real estate assets, this unexpected surge in asset prices has pushed me to the brink of becoming a millionaire at 32.


So, how do you get rich working a "normal job?"

  • Slowly by investing surplus cash every month.

  • Faster by starting a side hustle and investing 100% of the profits.

  • All of a sudden when after years of consistent saving, your investments have a really great year.


This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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