There are some myths that never die no matter how many times they’re disproved and no matter how many people get burned chasing them down.
Get rich quick is one of those myths.
In our minds, we know get rich quick isn’t legitimate, and we’ve been told as much again and again by parents, teachers, friends and coworkers.
Then why does it seem that there’s some part of us that might believe that get rich quick is possible?
Because sometimes rich looks like get rich quick—to us
When we look around us it can sometimes seem as if wealth is all over the place.
This is especially true today when there are more millionaires than ever before. It can sometimes seem as if the rich are all around us, and since there are so many of them, there must be some quick, secret way to get rich, just waiting to be discovered.
After all, if there are so many rich people, then getting there can’t be all that hard, can it?
What we’re looking at when we see the rich has nothing to do with how—or more specifically, how long it took—for them to get to where they are. What we’re looking at is the end result, the palatial homes, the expensive cars, the extended vacations to exotic locations and the like.
We have no idea how long it took them to get to where they are, nor do we know anything about the struggles they endured to get there.
All we see are armies of wealthy consumers doing what it is the prosperous do, and our own imaginations fill in all the details in explaining how they got there.
- Attaining an education in a very technical field, like medicine, law and engineering, that most of us would rather avoid
- Working to build up a business that required many years of effort with little pay
- Living beneath their means and saving the difference
- Taking investment risks most of us would never consider
- Spending many years sacrificing family and social time, as well as “the good life” to pursue a dream career and the wealth it can produce
That’s the part of a rich person’s story we never see when all we see is the end result: the wealth that the efforts produced.
And none of it happens quickly.
Get rich quick for sale
This is the kind of wealth-building we wish to be true, and those who peddle get rich quick programs know this. They produce books, video programs, TV infomercials and print and internet advertisements that sell us on the good life that wealth provides. It’s all stuff that feeds the imagination and gets us in the frame of mind to write a check or provide a credit card to buy what they’re selling.
It’s a pure play on emotions, not logic. Our inner selves want to be rich, and think we can if only…
Why do we fall for it?
- We want a way to get rich that will be easy
- We want it to happen quickly
- We think we deserve it
- And maybe, sometimes—we’re desperate
If you think about the people you know who are rich, you will realize that there is a serious disconnect between how they’ve achieved their wealth and what get rich quick programs are trying to sell us.
Nothing in life is ever that easy, not if it’s legitimate. But the get rich quick programs sell us on the promise—an empty one—but it keeps us thinking, maybe, just maybe…
Not everyone who looks or claims to be rich really is
Credit can enable people to look rich, at least for a while, and there’s more credit out there than ever before.
Some people do live out of all proportion to their wealth and income and credit is often the reason why. They may live like the nearly rich for enough time that you’re convinced that they have some secret source of wealth.
Even if you know the truth—that they really aren’t rich and credit is the method—if you’re surrounded by enough people who live this way there’s always the temptation to throw caution to the wind and enjoy a slice of the good life for as long as it lasts. As seductive as that can be, it’s far more likely to lead to poverty than riches.
But its allure is that it can give the appearance of riches, and give it quickly.
The occasional get rich quick story that turns out to be true
Finally, as much as we may not like admitting this, there are situations out there where people do actually get rich quick. Here are just a few:
- Winning the lottery
- Inheriting a large amount of money
- Winning a substantial law suit or insurance claim
- Having an investment in a stock or a piece of real estate where the price goes into the stratosphere in just a couple of short years
There are any number of other reasons a person might experience a legitimate get rich quick event, but here’s the thing…everyone of them has everything to do with luck! None of them are events that you can plan or even buy into. But each of them can reinforce the idea that get rich quick is possible.
In the end, the whole idea of get rich quick is sustained by our emotions. We know that in order to get rich we’ll have to do a whole bunch of things we really don’t want to do—but that never stops us from thinking how great it would be to be rich.
If you ever entertain that idea, stop and put this thought in your mind: the only people who get rich from get rich quick schemes are the people who produce and sell get rich quick schemes. If you buy into their “program”, all you’re doing is helping them get there.
— freefrombroke (@freefrombroke) July 17, 2012