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How to get rich... Slowly

Updated on December 10, 2014

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Ever wondered how to guarantee being rich one day? This is a method that really works:

This article is about simple low risk ways to ensure that you live and eventually retire in the style you deserve. You can work really hard and earn lots of money, but investment, saving and careful, intelligent spending of your money is just as important.

How much money do you need to retire?

Disclaimer: Information in this and other linked articles is unregulated and for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon in making specific investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision.

Get Rich... Slowly

The old joke "The easiest way to end up with a million is to start with 2 million" is of course very true, but it really is easy to become rich(er), it just takes a long time. O.K. It's easy assuming your income more than covers the essential out-goings.

People dream of becoming rich by winning the lottery, getting a fantastically well paid job, having an amazing business idea, marrying someone famous etc. but none of these are easy or likely. Also, getting the money is only a small part of the equation. Investing and spending are also very important considerations. Spending money may be fun, but it doesn't make you rich (it just makes other people think you are rich)

Earning a huge salary is a great idea if you can, but there is a limit to the number of hours in the day and to how much you can earn per hour. There is also a lot of competition for those illusive highly paid jobs. Investing in the latest get rich quick scheme may also not really make you rich, although investing gradually over a long term can be very beneficial. The one thing that really will make you richer is spending less.

Here are some investment ideas:

Some Investment Ideas to beat The Credit Crunch

National Savings Premium Bonds

Preference Shares - low risk, high retrurn

Risk reduction with spread betting

The Route to Guaranteed Wealth

It's easy, but boring...

The most damaging expenditure is the small habitual items which are easily ignored such as cups of coffee, bottles of water the occasional taxi, magazine subscriptions and Gym membership, but it is easy not to notice the accumulated cost of these things. Here is a way to really guarantee becoming richer... eventually.

Here's an example: Bob works in The City (i.e. in London) and takes the train/tube to work each day for 35 years. He buys a newspaper, a cup of coffee and a snack and falls asleep on the train. At work he has 4 more cups of coffee two bottles of water (despite both being available free from the water-cooler and coffee machine) Add a £6 lunch and another drink, snack and Evening newspaper on the way home. None of this seems unreasonable for a wealthy banker, and comes to a total of just £20 a day. That's just £100 a week or nearly £5000 ($10,000) a year. Adjusted for inflation giving up these "luxuries" would save £155,000 over 35 years, in today's money. If you were able to get an investment return of just 5% above inflation on the saved money this would equate to an extra £411,000 (almost a million US dollars) at retirement, just by giving up a few habitual treats. If you add on a couple of pints of beer and a £10 taxi ride each day and an investment return of 10% and you've got an extra £2.3 million ($5 million) at retirement. Just cutting one of those cups of expensive coffee a day could save £88,400

Another way to look at this is, if you save just £1 extra each day you could retire a year earlier. Save £10 per day and you could retire young.

Expenses that erode wealth

You cannot cut out all of the pleasures in life just to retire rich, but some expenses just erode your wealth without really benefiting you, such as the taxi to the expensive gym (why not walk to the gym and home again without going in, and save the cost of the taxi and the gym)

Business air travel is another one of my pet hates. I travelled on business a lot for many years and enjoyed travelling business class (I never paid for it myself though). The business lounge is better than having to pay to sit in a cafe or bar and the extra leg-room is nice. If however you calculate the additional cost per hour of the flight then calculate your net income per hour working, suddendly the flight may seem expensive.

e.g. For someone earning £50,000 a year working 45 hours, commuting for 10 hours with another 10 getting ready and recovering from work, each week the real net income per hour may be just £10 and rather less when you include travel costs etc. A business flight might cost you up to £100 per hour extra and a long-haul flight may equate to hundreds of extra hours spent in the office during your working life. Give up business flights and you can retire young!

New cars are another terrible waste of money. People often refer to a house as being the most expensive thing you will ever buy, but for many people it is really their cars when you take depreciation into consideration. I'm not a huge fan of property as an investment, especially at the moment and property ownership will erode a lot of people's wealth over the short term and especially "buy to let" (i.e. buying property to rent out) investment, but the worst investment of all for many people is their car. At least houses approximately track inflation over the long term. Cars do not. Buying a used or nearly new car avoids a lot of the initial depreciation.


It's easy to retire rich, or alternatively retire very young, but you have to give up a few of those little pleasure to reap the returns many times over later on. Spend less than you earn and avoid debt. As for how to invest all this extra cash to improve the returns still further that will be the subject of future lenses, but there are also some suggestions:

Some Investment Ideas to beat The Credit Crunch

National Savings Premium Bonds

Preference Shares - low risk, high retrurn

Risk reduction with spread trading

How Much Money Do You Need To Retire?

How much money do you need to stop working?

If you are happy to work until you are 65 then live off an average salary (currently the median income in the UK) of £20,000 a year, then you won't need very much.

The best annuity rates are about 7% (at time of writing) and the old age pension is a little under £100 per week, so to achieve "average" pay in retirement would need just £200,000 in a personal-pension (or an ISA - Individual Savings Account) and to achieve "minimum wage" (a little over £10,000 per annum working full time) you would need just £70,000. Unfortunately most people actually have rather less than that when they retire. Obviously most of us hope to retire on a lot more than minimum wage.

Theoretically you need less money when you give up work than you do while working: you no longer need to pay for transport to and from work, nor for work clothes, expensive coffee, lunches and after-work drinks etc (see above) and your tax bill may also drop (higher personal tax allowance and possibly a marginal lower tax rate) but you also have more free time and more time to spend your money.

But I want to retire early!

If you want to give up work and live off your money, e.g. trading shares, Spread-trading or just actively investing there are some things to consider, to prevent financial disaster:

What are your minimum outgoings? This is the amount that must be covered before taking any risk with your assets: The costs that must be covered such as bills, food etc. In the 1990s many "Day Traders" went bankrupt because they needed to trade just to cover the bills and during a losing streak they ate into their capital and once you have lost it it is difficult to get it back. If you have bills of £1,000 a month that have to be paid this should come from some reliable source. Index linked government bonds are the only guaranteed way of getting inflation-proof return forever, but pay just 1.5% (plus inflation) so you would need £800,000 invested in index-linked gilts just to cover the bills, before even starting trading shares or Spread-trading

Alternatively, taking a little more risk with a balanced portfolio you could have less than £250,000 invested to cover these essential costs. If you are willing to take on some part-time work or can cover some of this amount from blogging or with your Squidoo or other internet earning then this safety margin can be reduced. You then need to decide how much money you want to earn on top of this minimum risk reducing part of your portfolio and adjust the risk of the remaining part of your portfolio accordingly. Remember that if you lose your money you cannot get it back.

For details about how to earn money on the internet and create a suitably engineered portfolio to meet your requirements please see the related articles:

How to Make Money On Line

Financial Engineering

Please Leave Some Feedback

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Some good thoughts here.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 3 years ago from London, England

      @MikeBarron: Thanks for coming back and commenting again. I do agree with you, but I think my points are very valid too.

    • profile image

      MikeBarron 3 years ago

      @Andy-Po: "That was of course a joke" I guess I took this out of context even though I did read the entire article. Sorry about that ...

      "What if that doesn't happen, or if you don't win the lottery, marry a rich person, find oil in the back yard etc." This is exactly the point I'm trying to make; you don't need to win the lottery or marry a rich person, or even wait 40 years to become wealthy. You have SO many opportunities in your lifetime to create a ton of wealth. It just takes some thought, creativity and the will to make it happen. You just need to be altruistic and listen to peopleâs problems; you can create value a million ways.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 3 years ago from London, England

      @MikeBarron: Thanks very much for the comments, although I gather that you didn't read very much of the article?

      Concerning your comment: 'Just the fact that you agree with this statement;"The easiest way to end up with a million is to start with 2 million", tells me you know nothing about creating wealth' - That was of course a joke (and I retired at the age of 41, so I suspect I do know a little bit about wealth creation)

      I agree with you that if you want to become truly rich you should have a brilliant idea that no one has thought of, but that was rather the point of the article. What if that doesn't happen, or if you don't win the lottery, marry a rich person, find oil in the back yard etc.?

      And as for "How many 401k or mutual fund millionaires do you know?" - Lots! It is easy to create several $million (gradually), if you are sensible about how you spend it and invest it.

    • profile image

      MikeBarron 3 years ago

      You're get rich advice is a bit ridiculous. It doesn't take your whole life to build wealth, it takes drive and the knowledge of value creation.

      Just the fact that you agree with this statement; "The easiest way to end up with a million is to start with 2 million", tells me you know nothing about creating wealth.

      Recommending books by Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey along side "The Four Hour Work Week"? Following the advice of Suze or Dave WILL NOT make you rich!

      If you truly want to be rich, identify a problem that people have and devise a solution. It's as simple as that! There's no need to work for 40 years at some meaningless job, and put a measly amount into your 401k, and hope like hell that you can retire with a million dollars. How many 401k or mutual fund millionaires do you know?

      If you want to know how simple it really is to become wealthy (before you get old!), check out: Becoming Rich is as Easy as 123

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      i want to become millionaire, i can do that, slowly of course

    • lang-passion profile image

      lang-passion 4 years ago

      I like the way you explain how to become reach especially when you said to start with 2 millions to end up one 1 million. Good point.

    • profile image

      treasuretops 4 years ago

      Take care of the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves-How true and thank you for the reminder. I am fed up with little money and will give it a go.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Back again thanks for this lens really helps me.

    • tolleart lm profile image

      tolleart lm 4 years ago

      Great advice, I've been banking the money I'd normally spend on vending machines, coffee, etc and it adds up quickly!

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 4 years ago

      I like this - especially the advice about expenses that erode wealth. As for investing, I like real estate better than stocks. We just got our 2nd rental property last year. It was a real fixer-upper, but the price was right and I think it's going to cash flow well for us.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Get rich quick almost always doesn't work. Saving a little from as early an age as possible, and getting compound interest is slow but sure. Pity I didn't discover that before I retired! Good lens.

    • profile image

      chickie99 4 years ago

      a refreshing view point of the "anti-get rich" in a hurry.

      faster certainly isn't better

    • profile image

      vinx98 4 years ago

      if we all took your advice and people cut back on luxuries, the world would be in a massive financial depression, its good to spend. spend. spend. spend.

    • hopkism profile image

      hopkism 4 years ago

      Really it's as easy as direct stock purchase plans with compounding dividends held there for decades. Cut unnecessary expenses and invest in assets that make you money. You want your assets to be working while you are working. Diverse wealth is the key!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Me I want to be a millionair. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Me I want to be a millionair. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to let you know I'm still at a snails pace and getting rich very, very slowly but grateful to be able to be working to support myself but the hours are crazy!

    • profile image

      mstcourtjester 5 years ago

      My kinda lens, great job! :)

    • CashBlog LM profile image

      CashBlog LM 5 years ago

      Great read, thanks! Nice to see someone who knows what they're talking about.

    • profile image

      inspirationz 5 years ago

      "semi-retired consultant physicist (i.e. unemployed boffin) " - lol! :D another interesting read :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      To repeat myself, "Yes, I am one of those people dreaming of getting rich by winning the lottery! ;)" ribbit ribbit ... I so would love to have a little extra in the stocking this Christmas. Dear Santa ...

    • Alana-r profile image

      Alana-r 5 years ago

      Very wise words, its amazing how much money we spend foolishly. Great lens!

    • profile image

      Shop-a-holic 5 years ago

      Thanks! Interesting. You do know your stuff!

    • profile image

      kredyt 5 years ago

      Definitely well put lens about getting rich slowly. Getting your financial situation under control requires time and a plan. Thanks a lot. kredyt gotówkowy

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

      At the looks of things, buying Gold, Silver, and US I-bonds are the way to defeat inflation. Can't depend on money under the mattress with Mr. Deflation stealing it all the time.

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      Good advice.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Good advice. I am working at the snail pace for getting rich.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      Good advice, but hard to follow. I'm trying.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Smart money advice!

    • profile image

      Gala98 5 years ago

      nice to see some decent & sensible info - there are way too many people looking for shortcuts - slow & steady, babysteps is my motto. It can be frustrating but I will get there, eventually :)

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 5 years ago from USA

      We are kindred spirits, my friend. Love this lens -- wrote one with the exact same title for eHow before they decided to dump their non-affiliated writers' program -- and we may have crossed paths in our world travels. Best to you and yes, let's get rich! Slowly!

    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 5 years ago

      Wow thank you Andy. I think you might be my new guru. Please Check out my website you may be able to point me in the right direction.

    • RestlessKnights profile image

      RestlessKnights 5 years ago

      Thank you Andy. I knew that the small things add up over time, but it's good to be reminded of it once in a while.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      My husband and I have always lived below our means and saved the rest. Hoping to retire in comfort someday! :) Brilliant advice you have here!

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 5 years ago

      Some very wise analysis and advice. Life needs to be planned this way. Great Lens.

    • BestMensSkinCar1 profile image

      BestMensSkinCar1 5 years ago

      making money is hard but thank you for all the tips!

    • beaworkathomemom profile image

      beaworkathomemom 5 years ago

      The road to riches is slow and bumpy with lots of potholes. This road will take patience and dedication. I really enjoyed your tips and really great lens.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      skibbz1 5 years ago

      The road to the riches is dependent on a great leader and good team work in any organization

    • profile image

      TMThompson 6 years ago

      Awesome post makes sense gold is the future.

    • profile image

      treasuretops 6 years ago

      I am unemployed and exploring other ways to get work. I love writing as well and working on my first ebook. I have quite a few lenses, no income yet. Your lens has been really helpful, Thank You.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very interesting and informative read.

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 6 years ago

      Fantastic Lens, very true of all the tips in here.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 6 years ago

      Great advice. Working hard and saving is what we are trying to do - hopefully, it will pay off.

    • profile image

      redleafloans 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing these information..:)

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      @cc6a80cc6a22: True. I wrote this about two years ago, so the suggestion to buy gold was a good one. I first bought gold at about $500, perhaps six years ago and it is now nearly $1,800. Buying gold at today's price would be an insurance policy against all out banking collapse. It could go higher (and probably will) but the price is volatile and could come crashing back down again at some stage - i.e. it's now quite risky a investment and of course doesn't pay a dividend.

    • cc6a80cc6a22 profile image

      cc6a80cc6a22 6 years ago

      Buying gold wouldn't be a real good idea now since it's way too overpriced by the speculation. I would say investing in gold producer companies or gold exploration companies. That applies also for Uranium, Copper and Silicon since all these elements would have a higher demand than today (Nuclear plants being built and more needs in eletric products). I love the idea of saving and beating against the wealth erosion though, fundemental thing that most people forget.

    • profile image

      HeavenRelaunchReview 6 years ago

      This is probably the Best Cash ISA info. it was helpful.. thanks

    • profile image

      saregs 6 years ago

      Nice informative hard and earn lots of money,saving and careful, intelligent spending of your money is are very important to get rich.Thanks for sharing. Project Management Services

    • garrekds profile image

      garrekds 6 years ago

      Really awesome lens. A different take on the "getting rich" theme.

    • TopMovieSoundtr profile image

      TopMovieSoundtr 6 years ago

      You may also enjoy the book "Your Money or Your Life".

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 7 years ago from London, England

      @ElizabethJeanAl: Splendid. In 5 years time the current financial mess should be just a nasty memory and people like you who have worked hard and saved should be rewarded with a comfortable well-deserved retirement.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      We have worked hard and saved for years. It's finally going to pay off. Retirement is 5 years away. As long at the current political climate doesn't mess it up, we'll be ready.

    • JackieBlock profile image

      Jackie Block 7 years ago from SE Michigan

      Great advice and Great lens. It is amazing how much we can spend on meaningless junk and not even realize it. Thank you.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      The sure way to do it, of course, if you don't start until you are old, you better find something else

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      The sure way to do it, of course, if you don't start until you are old, you better find something else

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 7 years ago

      This is a great lens. Thanks for making it. Very informative. I gave you a thumbs up

      cause I like your lens.

    • docspencer profile image

      docspencer 7 years ago

      How about viewing lens #2315 and letting me know if I am just wasting time writing about my 48 years of stock investing experience. Note the reference to your site for basic financial information. Thanks. Gary Spencer

    • Brookelorren LM profile image

      Brookelorren LM 8 years ago

      We're currently barely treading water, but I think that we're doing okay, considering we make poverty-level wages. We've been using some of your ideas to survive. My husband is headed off to law school, and I'm building my freelance business, so I suppose our shovel (as Dave Ramsey would call it) will get bigger in the next few years.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      Like most things in life, being able to delay gratification can be key. Great lens!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      My husband and I try to live within or below our means. Its not always easy with two college age boy, but we're doing it. We might even get to retire one day.

      Thanks for sharing


    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Most people assume building wealth is fast, it'n not. It takes time and effort.

      Great lens

      Thanks for sharing


    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Yes, I am one of those people dreaming of getting rich by winning the lottery! ;)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Never spending more than you earn is good advice and a hard lesson for many to learn. Great lens.

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 8 years ago

      Sound advice. Check out my "The Prosperity Bible" lens.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 8 years ago

      Great lens! 5*

    • profile image

      allymay 8 years ago

      I'm sure this would get a lot of attention. Cool concept!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Good stuff on getting rich slowly. Yep! I'm on that track.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      100% true 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Too many of the young people today think its going to happen over night. It takes time and effort but it will be worth it in the end.

      Great lens,


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens!

      5* and lensroll to Living Within Your Means and Lowing Your Debt in 2009


    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 9 years ago from PA

      100% bang on! I love it! Good stuff.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 9 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to heehaw]

      I shall think of some more tips and add them to the lens.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 9 years ago

      can i have more tips?

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 9 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      Great lens with good practical advice. Winning the lottery is always Plan A, but plan B needs a lot of work!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Very true stuff. Great lens.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 9 years ago

      I've heard about examples like yours (of the wealthy banker, working in the City) from Susie Orman a few years ago and was totally shocked about how quickly these little expenses add up. But there are always a lot of people who prefer instant gratification more than anything else...

      Great lens, thank you!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great tips, it's amazing how much my ex-wife spent - often more than we earned, so we kept digging into our reserves. I would still love to know how to earn enough on my own to survive without having to work 40 hours a week for someone else. That's my goal. But realistically, right now I'm looking at retiring at 70 unless I win the lottery... Sad thought...

      5***** for a good lens.

    • Angelina Gherna profile image

      Angelina 9 years ago from California

      great lens, I saw you on twitter and wanted to see what it was all about 5 *'s

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      get rich slowly, sounds better then winning the lottery! will return to check more of your links. may the wind be at your back...

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 9 years ago from Minnesota

      Great advice! It's true that cutting out a few luxuries can be relatively painless but can make a huge difference. Five stars for this lens, for sure.

    • profile image

      Robyn_Abbatiello 9 years ago

      Great lens! 5*

    • profile image

      dannystaple 9 years ago

      Interesting. Do you read The Motley Fool? What is great is that you are realistic about getting rich slowly, too many places invite you to "Get rich quickly" which is generally at best unrealistic. Definitely going to have to lensroll it on my credit crunch lenses.

    • profile image

      dannystaple 9 years ago

      Interesting. Do you read The Motley Fool? What is great is that you are realistic about getting rich slowly, too many places invite you to "Get rich quickly" which is generally at best unrealistic. Definitely going to have to lensroll it on my credit crunch lenses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lense. It has definitely given me pause for thought in terms of achieving wealth and what is necessary, what is not. Thanks!

    • profile image

      sbucciarel 9 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at

    • profile image

      youhavegottobekidding 9 years ago

      I totally agree we can't stop all those everyday extra expenses but we could cut some of it to save some money.

      5 stars for your Very Good Lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      A very catchy title and intro of your lens,, great job..

      5 stars and fav.. ;-)

      Do you believe that when your relationships work, everything in your life work? =D

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Very useful lens. If only it were that easy!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      You make some very, very good points. I'm a believer!

    • profile image

      richgerman 9 years ago

      i would be the first one to drop a comment here.. first question who doesnt want to be a millionaire? i think everyone wishes that... good start of your lens i read this and wanna ask if you can add some photos here..

      5 stars for you!

      just wanna know if you believe in the law of attraction? or your applying this to your life?

    • profile image

      MichelleJohnson09 9 years ago

      Thank you for your comments on my lense. You have a lot of great advice here that a lot of people just don't realize. If all of us would take a few minutes to evaluate where we are spending our money I think everyone would be able to come up with some ways to save a lot more of it. My fiance and I did just that not to long ago. The changes made have had little to no impact on our every day life but it's had a huge impact on the amount of money in our savings account. So everyone reading this lens, pay attention! His advice is sound and reasonable. :)

    • profile image

      lifelongfitness 9 years ago

      I like the walkthrough with the scenario. It's true that most of us never notice how much we spend. I tend to spend more on coffee than I'd like. Nice lens 5*