“Flip Houses in Your Spare Time!”

“Learn to Make Money Like the Wizards of Wall Street!”

“Be Your Own Bank!”

“Run a multi-million dollar business in your spare time!”

“What Will You Do With All The Extra Money?”

Multi-level marketing, supposedly free seminars, pyramids, ponzis and more – oh my.  Lately, it seems my radio, television, and internet feeds are promising more and more straight up cash for less and less effort.

It makes me want to bite a rock.

Perfectly honest people who, like most Canadians, haven’t had much education in finance and think of the investment and real estate markets as a Big Black Box of Confusion, are considering these as honest-to-goodness options.

I’m going to let you in on a secret – a frankly disappointing one:

There is No Secret Sauce.

There’s no magic shortcut to great wealth.  (Unless you’re born with it but, trust me, that comes with a mess of other trouble.)

People richer than you don’t have a line on some clandestine formula.

Just as weight loss comes from slow, painful lifestyle changes – not the latest fad diets and sauna shorts – wealth accumulation comes from hard work, intelligent saving, investing, tax planning, and great decision-making. Truly.

To prove my point, let’s take a quick look at Forbes Magazine’s 2015 Richest People on the Planet:

#1 Bill Gates: The founder of Microsoft has held this title for 16 of the last 21 years. Hard work, intelligent investing, and incredible business acumen are his well-documented “secrets” of success.

#2 Carlos Slimjj Helu: Mexico’s telecom giant is a self-made man. Again, hard work, intelligent decision-making, relationship-building and business acumen keep him on top.

#3 Warren Buffet: America’s investment genius; Warren Buffet is well-known for investing the funds of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, into staple businesses such as Coca-Cola and Heinz. He’s also known for spending very little money and driving a used car.

#4 Amancio Ortego: Spain’s clothing emperor, the co-founder of Zara, was born the son of a railway worker and built  his empire through aggressive expansion and impressive management of his supply chain.

#5 Larry Ellison: Ellison founded Oracle, the database software giant, in 1977.  Again, hard work, keen business sense, and great decision-making.

Not one of these impressive billionaires made their money quickly, or lazily.  Each one has exhibited investments in hard work, a willingness to learn, and resilience in the face of difficulty.

So, how will you hit Forbes’ Richest People on the Planet list?

Don’t go to the “free” seminar. Don’t buy into the supposed secrets – I mean, seriously, if it was an actual secret, why would they tell us? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The upside of all this is that those guys (and some gals, if you head a little further down the list) aren’t doing anything that you can’t do.  They’re applying some elbow grease. They’re using their talents. They’re getting great advice.

You can do all those things. It’s not complicated – but it’s hard.

Julia Chung, CoFounder, Spring Financial Planning

Julia Chung
Latest posts by Julia Chung (see all)