How to Become Rich the Right Way

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You can become rich in many ways, though most often takes time and work. I share the secret to becoming rich the right way, which won't happen quickly.

Our society is filled with people who want to get rich quickly. The desire to become rich isn’t a bad one, heck, this is a personal finance site! While I’d love to wake up to it raining bags of $20 bills or win the lottery, it won’t happen and I don’t play the lottery. All joking aside, it’s not the desire to become rich that’s wrong, it’s the way you go about it that makes the difference.

You might have heard there is a secret to becoming rich. There really isn’t. The secret is there is no secret to becoming rich. Rather than a secret, there is a paradigm shift needed if you want to become rich. That paradigm shift requires a long-term view of many things and determining what’s of value to you. This is how you build wealth, which really should be the ultimate goal.

You can become rich, though the goal should be to grow wealth. A wealth that allows you to be financially free to do the things you want that’s not burdened by debt or poor choices. If this is the kind of wealth you want, there are many ways to accomplish it – if you put in the time and effort.

Live on Less Than You Make


Our society preaches a gospel of consumerism. Take it from someone who works in the advertising field, it is everywhere and companies play on that aspect in every way they can. This same gospel preaches that unless you give into this consumerism and buy the latest and greatest ‘whatever’ whenever it comes out, you truly will not be happy.

The question I’m concerned about is, how can you not only become rich, but build wealth if you give into this mindset of “needing” to spend aimlessly? I am not saying that you need to live off rice and beans while avoiding all consumer goods, but the other extreme will generally get you nowhere in terms of building wealth.

There is obviously a balance to have between the two, but ultimately I view it as frugal living and an overall avoidance of debt. This should be done in concert with your overall long-term goals.

Let me state this – frugality will not make you rich. You can only cut back so much. There needs to be a point where you find ways to multiply your money as well.

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The combined force of savings and making/growing your money will help catapult your wealth building efforts.

Your Mindset is Key


I’ve touched on this briefly, but you can’t become rich by pursuing some sort of scheme. We’ve all seen the ads on late night TV proclaiming that you can become richer than a Lannister by flipping real estate or taking some “special” class.

While that would be nice, it simply doesn’t work that way. If it did, everyone would do it and we’d all be rich.

The secret those telemarketers don’t want you to know is that their secret to becoming rich is by making money off of you! They sell you a pipe dream, only to profit off your hard earned money. That is why your mindset is so vital.

This mindset is one that looks at the big picture, not looking for fly by night kind of ways to become rich. Just as retirement planning requires a long-term view and commitment so does building wealth. It’s all in the mindset.

Becoming Rich Requires Diversity


Many of us have our own hobby horse when it comes to building wealth, whether it be investing in stocks or investing in real estate. There is nothing wrong with either, as long as you do it wisely, and keep a long-term view of your investments.

While I love investing in the stock market through one of our online brokerage accounts, I would also like to invest in real estate. I don’t have the time to invest in real estate currently, though I plan to do so in the future.

The reason is simple – you need diversity to build wealth. Not only does diversity help you weather a downturn in one sector, but it also creates multiple streams of income. Both are vital to growing wealth and becoming rich.

Don’t stop at investing in the stock market or real estate. Look for other options to create additional streams of income. One possible option is through peer-to-peer lending. As a P2P investor you get to not only help those in need – you also get to make money.

The two leading P2P sites, LendingClub and Prosper tout the ability to earn between 5-9% back on your investment. Again, this is meant to help create diversity of investment options and income streams. Regardless of which options you pursue, make sure to do your homework prior to investing.

You can become rich in many ways, though most often takes time and work. I share the secret to becoming rich the right way, which won't happen quickly.

You Become Rich Through Hard Work


My list of how to become rich is not exhaustive. In fact, the point is to get you to think of the different ways you can build wealth. It’s not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor should it. Ultimately, the pursuit to build wealth takes time, effort and commitment.

I apologize (well not really) if I burst your bubble of becoming rich quick, but if that is your mindset you need to adjust your mindset.

We live in a society that thinks you can get something for nothing. That’s simply not possible. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you desire to become rich, and have not been born into wealth, that desire will only be achieved through hard work and a commitment to the future.

I know that is counter to what we hear preached to us every day, however, hard work will always take you farther down the path to building wealth than get rich quick schemes ever will.


What tips do you have for someone who has a desire to become rich and build wealth? What’s one area you’d like to invest in, but have not done so yet?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    I like your tip about diversifying your investments. I think it’s important to be exposed to different markets such as real estate, the stock market, commodities, etc. It’s also important that you keep growing your income-producing assets so that you can keep building your wealth year-over-year.

    • John says:

      You’re exactly right DC, having the variety of investments can go a long way in helping you achieve what you want.

  • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says:

    That’s the thing about the get-rich-quick infomercials. If they’ve found a way to make boatloads of money, why are they selling the information to everyone? Wouldn’t you focus on doing that thing that makes you boatloads of money instead of working trying to get people to buy your information? Plus, the less people know your secret, the easier it is for you to cash in since you don’t have to worry about competition.

    • John says:

      Ha ha, I know. People just need to stop and think why it “seems” so easy. Really, the secret is they got suckered.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    Very well said. Typically, getting rich takes a lot of time and hard work. You really have to have a mindset that is focused on the goal of building wealth. Without it, you are bound to go off-course.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Holly. It, so often, does come down to that mindset. You have to gear yourself up for the long haul, otherwise it becomes that much more difficult.

  • Mark Ross says:

    I think I can summarize all of that in one equation..
    Right Mindset + Hard Work + Living below your means + Having multiple sources of income = A better and “WEALTHY” life
    Isn’t that right? πŸ™‚

  • AverageJoe says:

    I agree with all of your points, and can only add this: you are the product of the thoughts and people with whom you surround yourself. If you constantly spend time in the mall, you’ll spend money. If you hang out with wealthy, frugal people, you’ll probably develop frugal, wealth building habits.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Joe. Sadly, there is not many people becoming rich or building wealth if they’re always at the mall. Shocker, I know! πŸ˜‰

  • Matt Becker says:

    Wait, you can’t teach me how to get rich quick? What a sham! Haha, of course I think this is spot on. Even when you think of the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who “all of a sudden” have billions of dollars, there was a TON of work that got them to that point of almost instantaneous wealth. And the people who do actually become rich without effort almost always lose it just as quickly.

    I think another important point to add here is the need to define what “rich” means for yourself. No tactic will help you get rich if you don’t even know what rich is.

    • John says:

      Lol, sorry to bust your bubble Matt! πŸ˜‰

      Great point on determining what it means to you. What it means for you may not be the same thing for me and thus make it less likely I’ll reach it.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    LOL, we had rice and beans for dinner last night. :-). Love Joe’s thoughts here too. We have absolutely changed our mentality, and a big part of that was because we moved from a “spending” suburb to a town full of super frugal wealthy people who don’t give a rip what anyone thinks about their Walmart clothes or lack of “stuff”. It is awesome – such freedom!

  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    Great points John! We all need to hear this but this is a message that is extremely lost on today’s youth. All they see in the media are “have-it-now” options and stories of young people creating an app and becoming a millionaire by 25. Sure this can happen but it’s not the norm. The long-term, hard work approach is a much more viable option.

    • John says:

      Thanks Brian! I agree that it is lost on today’s youth, but I have also seen it be rife in the older generations. Unfortunately no generation is innocent of this mentality.

  • JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit says:

    You mean that first post wasn’t realistic? Now I need to change my whole strategy.

    Diversity is a big one in my opinion and I’m really wanting to purchase some rental properties. Of course I’ll be taking it pretty slow but with the right properties they can be a big boon for passive cash flow. In regards to mindset, I think that is the biggest factor in building wealth. Your savings rate is going to be the determining factor on your wealth creation, much more than the actual investments or returns, especially during the first 10 years or so. It definitely is a marathon not a sprint and you won’t stick with it if you don’t have the right mindset. Although I will say I’m trying to sprint to the finish. Just not through the get rich quick type plans.

    • John says:

      Ha ha – sorry to ruin it for you JC. πŸ˜‰

      I cold not agree more on your thoughts. Mindset is huge, which is why so few ever reach what they want and instead wonder what they’re doing wrong.

  • Keren says:

    Hmmmm, you mean I have to WORK to build my wealth?? Haha, of course I do! Schemes are just that. If you’re looking for longevity, you need to put the time and effort into it.

    • John says:

      I know, sorry to break it to you Keren. πŸ˜‰ Time and effort are huge. Put it with the right mindset and you’ve conquered a big part of the battle.

  • Alexa says:

    It takes hard work and dedication. But I also think that being rich just to be rich isn’t a goal that’s worth working for. I think if people are to set concrete goals then they will be more motivated to work toward them and make the necessary sacrifices. It’s all about tradeoffs.

    • John says:

      That’s a great point Alexa. Becoming rich is somewhat of a nebulous ideal. I think concrete goals are key, otherwise how will you measure success?

  • Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies says:

    Hard work, dedication, and not losing sight of your goals. It’s pretty easy to get side tracked by life, but if you lose focus it’s going to slow you down a lot!

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor says:

    Solid lessons here, thanks. Based on the lines at the lottery counter, that seems to be many people’s idea for the best way to get rich! I think a key is avoiding debt, except for a mortgage. And that mortgage payment should be for as little house as will work for the buyer, not the most house one can afford (according to the lender or realtor–two people who benefit the more you borrow!)

    • John says:

      I agree Kurt, so many think it’s easy when it really is not.

      So, you’re telling me that my mortgage payment shouldn’t be like 60% of my pay? πŸ˜‰

  • Rita P @ Digital Spikes says:

    Yeah John i had read you instant rich article and not surprised with its hits and traffic. Everyone wants an instant money making scheme. But yeah I full agree with that hard work is the best way to go

    • John says:

      You’re exactly right Rita. So many want it to happen quickly, which is nearly impossible. Unfortunately for many it takes a lot of hard work – amongst other things.

  • Sean @ One Smart Dollar says:

    Your mindset is the most important part I believe. If you think about what it will take for you to feel rich then you will start making your purchasing decisions based off of this. When I make a purchase I am always thinking about wether it fits into my overall plan.

    • John says:

      I am the same way Sean. I’ve just trained myself to do that and it really does help with the mindset. Sadly, too many do not think about purchases that way and end up falling behind as a result.

  • Nick @ says:

    Great tips John! My number one tip is to make it a goal early on and be intentional about it. If you want to become “rich”, you can, like you said with hard work.

    • John says:

      Thanks Nick! I agree, starting early and being intentional is huge. Establishing that early on can help you in many ways as life goes on.

  • Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    The general idea people have about being “rich” is itself flawed. When you look into the lives of real-life millionaires, they almost always live nothing like the “rich” people we see on television. They control expenses, but spend freely on things they truly value. They work hard and are always looking for ways to expand their income. True wealth is usually built up over a lifetime of good decision-making.

  • GamingYourFinances says:

    Diversity of our investments is still a gap for us.

    We’re not invested in real estate at the moment, but see it as an opportunity to diversify with an asset that should rise with inflation (over the long term) and produce some nice monthly cash flow.

    • John says:

      We want to get into real estate as well at some point. It’s not a viable option for us right now, for numerous reason. That said, it can be a great way to diversify your investing.

  • #Broke Millennial says:

    The diversity point is probably my favorite and the piece of advice I need to adhere to most. While living withing (or rather below) your means is important, having an extra money sitting around in savings accruing very little interest seems pointless. Diversifying is key!

    • John says:

      That is a key part Erin! Many think just being in a few stocks means being diversified – that is missing the point though. Building wealth, generally speaking, requires being invested in numerous types of investments.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    I love those get rich infomercials (not!). In our haste to get rich, we sometimes forget that they want to go rich too – and often it’s through us buying their program. πŸ™‚ I believe mindset and knowing what you TRULY want is so important. I see things every day that I want but knowing what I truly want makes it so much easier to walk away without feeling deprived. And we humans are not programmed to take deprivation well.

    • John says:

      Great points Shannon! I agree that your mindset and knowing what you want are so vital. I believe it helps you formulate a plan you can start to work around and with.

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says:

    You bring up some great points. It’s not easy to get rich, but everyone can do it. It just requires a bit of planning and patience. Unless you inherit the money, it’s really tough to “get rich quick”. My wife and I know that this won’t be happening, so we’ve set up a plan that will help us get rich, but it’ll just take a bit longer. I don’t mind that at all because we’ll have more appreciation for it when we get there.

    • John says:

      I agree Jake, it does take patience and planning. Great point on appreciating it more – I could not agree more.

  • krantcents says:

    Start by saving and investing. Invest in assets that appreciate such as real estate. You still have some time to take advantage of this perfect storm we have with low interest rates and real estate.

    • John says:

      Great point KC! I think there still is time as well to get into real estate, though I think that window is starting to close.

  • anna says:

    I wonder how many people who go to your site through a “get rich” search see the words hard work and live below your means and (unfortunately) high tail it out of here. Great points on all of the above, especially about the informercials. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

  • E.M. says:

    Great post as usual! What kills me even more are people buying the latest and greatest technology and they don’t even know how to use it. I have one aunt and uncle that are the most well off of the family, and are constantly trying to keep up with the Jonses. They got an iPad, kindle, underwater camera, all these fancy things, but they don’t know how to utilize them correctly. What an even bigger waste! What’s the point but to feel better that you own the product?

    • John says:

      Thanks E.M.! That doesn’t seem to make sense either, it would seem that would make it an even bigger waste of money.

  • Budget and the Beach says:

    For me I probably need to work on diversity or multiple streams of income. I started that this year and it’s slowly starting to pay off, but I’d like to learn more about investing too. I want to go into the fetal position currently when it comes to talk of investing. πŸ™‚ Unless you win the lottery or make the next big blockbuster movie, it does require a good mindset, work ethic, living below your means…all those things. Oh and patience!

    • John says:

      That’s great Tonya! Starting is half the battle. You’re not alone on the investing front, but finding what helps “you” understand it is very important. πŸ™‚

  • Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey says:

    Thanks for the mention!

  • Chris @ Stumble Forward says:

    I wouldn’t mind investing in stocks at some point just to try it out. I like the idea of taking ownership of a company and earning a return on the products I use everyday.

  • thepotatohead says:

    Living on less then you make and saving the rest, as well as working hard and you are bound to to become financially successful. No matter how much money you make, if you are just blowing it all *cough most star athletes cough* you will be broke in very short order.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder says:

    I guess knowing what rich means to the individual is the first step but none the less all these tips are important. A clear plan and set goals are what we use as well as spending less than we earn and budgeting. I agree with diversifying as well so that way you spread the wealth around and it’s not dumped into one big bowl.

    • John says:

      I agree Mr. CBB – having a solid plan and knowing what “you” want is a vital first step to starting down the path of building wealth.

  • Untemplater says:

    I totally agree with all of these esp. about hard work and diversifying. Spending within your means is also so important. It sounds easy but so many people can’t stay disciplined and it costs them dearly.

    • John says:

      I agree Sydney. It is easy – it’s simple math really, but so many people miss out on that and to their detriment.

  • Derek @ says:

    I like your viewpoint on spending less than you make and diversifying.

    If you spend more than you make you will always go broke at some point. Not sure why most folks can’t understand this?!?

    • John says:

      I agree Derek. It is simple math really. If you can spend less than you make AND increase your earning then you’re doing even better

  • pauline says:

    live on as little as you can, invest the rest. If you can’t invest, find a way to earn more. There is no getting rich, or rather building wealth while spending 90% of an average paycheck every month.

  • Tortoise Banker says:

    I like Dave Ramsey’s quote… something along the lines of “if you can live like no one else, you’ll be able to live like no one else.”

    My wife and I are focusing on increasing our savings rate from 17% of gross (current) to 25% of gross.

  • Mr Ikonz says:

    Your last point is particularly important, it is all about the amount of hard work that you put in.
    I often conteplate going out and starting my own business, as then I would be rewarded for working harder. You often don’t get rewarded for working harder when in a 9 – 5 job.

    Growing rich is a marathon, not a sprint. And nobody ever said a marathon doesn’t take hard work.

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