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What’s not to love about the idea of getting rich quick?

After all, the promise of making millions of dollars by working from home in pajamas for just 10 hours a week without having to talk to or see anyone is really quite appealing.

But is it possible?

We’ve all heard of at least one get-rich-quick scheme.

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Some are extremely ridiculous, like when a guy named Don Lapre promised that people could get rich by selling “The Greatest Vitamin in the World.” These vitamins, he claimed, could cure everything from heart disease to cancer. How could you make millions? Simply by buying one of his websites for just $35, selling the vitamins on the site, and waiting for the cash to roll in.

Other scams are a bit less ridiculous but highly unlikely:

  • Winning the lottery
  • Becoming friends with rich people
  • Playing online poker
  • Finding buried treasure

We have to face the facts. These things are probably not going to happen. The chances of winning the Mega Millions lottery jackpot is one in 135,145,920, and I’ve never even heard of anyone finding buried treasure. And, if you did become friends with rich people, you’d also have to calculate the likelihood that they would even give you a sizeable portion of their money, and my guess is that they wouldn’t.

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It’s easy — and sad — to see that get-rich-quick scams do not typically work. Some are possible, but just completely improbable. That’s why rather than wasting time, money and other valuable resources on being lured into these schemes, consider making these wise financial decisions that could lead to wealth the old-fashioned way: hard work.

Smart investments

It’s easy to put off investing because for many of us, it’s unknown territory with too many risks involved. But the sooner you get started with investing and saving — no matter how much money you have — the better off you’ll be. In order to be smart about your investments, you need to identify your investing goals. Are they more short-term goals, like going on vacation or purchasing a car? Or are they more long-term goals, like saving for retirement or a young child’s college fund? Once you determine what your goals are, determine the level of risk you’re comfortable with. Oftentimes, greater risk can offer a greater reward. Be sure to consult your financial planner before making any large investments.

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Financial planning

Even if you don’t hire an accountant to do your taxes or a financial planner to monitor your savings, it’s important to have some sort of financial plan. That could mean simply creating a monthly budget that you revisit on an annual or bi-annual basis. It also means understanding your investment and savings goals, paying your bills on time, and tracking your spending.

Prepare for the worst

It’s one thing to have money — it’s another thing to keep it. Even the wealthiest people have to have back-up plans in case something happens to their money. Have a back-up emergency fund so that in the unfortunate event that something bad happens (e.g., you lose your home, you lose your spouse, you lose your mind), you have back-up funds to turn to.

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