So You Want To Be Rich Eh?

So you want to be rich? Glad you're here. Financial Samurai is focused on getting rich and staying rich.

If you want to get rich, you must practice predicting the future.

If you want to stay rich, you must continuously invest in real assets that hold its value.

Finally, if you want to live freely, you must build a large passive income portfolio to pay for your desired living expenses.

So You Want To Be Rich

In “How Do You Become Rich?“, Finance Fox pens a 1,200 word post on what it takes to reach the promised land.  I immediately checked out the post because I'm always fascinated about how others define rich and how others plan to get rich.

 Eddie's definition of rich is “having a fortune over $1 million bucks.”  $1 million bucks is a good amount of money, but at what age? At 35, that's pretty darn rich. At 70, not so much. Getting rich is relative.

Eddie then goes on to ask what is the secret of successful rich people?  My answer is almost always, PERSEVERANCE. The ability to solider on and not give up even in the worst moments.  

Every single wealthy person I know has had some tremendous disappointments in their lives, but they don't stop trying.

The more critics there are, the greater the wealthy person's fire is to succeed.

Get Rich By Beating Fear Of Failure

I'm absolutely afraid of financial failure, which is why I have a tendency to build up enough income buffers so that in the case a business idea fails, I won't be left completely distraught.  

I also find money to be very manipulative.  As a result, if I can do things NOT for the money, I feel I will produce a better product, which may ironically bring more money in the future.

Just the other week, I got my butt whipped 0-6, 1-6 in tennis because I entered a level higher than where I usually play.  It was slightly embarrassing losing in front of so many people, but I came away invigorated.  

I put to rest I cannot play that level of singles, and refocused my efforts on doubles instead.  My opponent is ranked #1 in his age category and I was proud to at least try.

My mantra is, “I'll never know unless I try.”  I don't mind whiffing badly.  At least I'll learn from the experience so I can continuously make the product better.  The educational aspect of failure itself is something of great value.

See: Perpetual Failure Is The Reason Why I Save So Much

Use Leverage To Get Rich

Rich people leverage everything – time, technology, and money.”  To that point, I agree completely.  Leverage is a beautiful thing on the way up, but a disaster on the way down.  Hence, back to the word, perserverance.  

If people can hang on to their leveraged assets for a long enough period of time, chances are, they will make money back and then some. Think about how many people had to give up their homes during the 2008-2009 financial crisis or perhaps during the 2020/2021 global pandemic.

US housing in the 1980's is a fantastic case study where those who sold during that downturn severely kicked themselves in the nuts when the housing market rocked higher for the next 20 years.  

Their leverage would have enriched them greatly had they held on.  It's the same thing for forced sellers of housing and stocks in the 20 years.  

Today, we are going to look back at the period between 2008-2011 as a wonderful time to buy. Things have already begun to heat up in 2012.

Getting Rich Is A Mindset

How do I plan to get rich? By trying and trying again. As for leverage? Absolutely. It's all about building your own platform / website. I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be able to retire at age 34 in 2012 and just run Financial Samurai full-time.

But now I'm having more fun than ever while also making more online than I ever did at my day job working 50-60 hours a week!

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

Archimedes, the mathematician.

Even if you can't get rich, here's how to feel rich. If you can feel rich without having to grind for decades to become a multi-millionaire, you're good to go! It's like a short cut for the true purpose of being rich: to be happy and not worry about money.

Invest In Private Growth Companies

One way to get really rich is to invest in private growth companies. Companies are staying private for longer, as a result, more gains are accruing to private company investors. Finding the next Google or Apple before going public can be a life-changing investment. 

Check out the Innovation Fund, which invests in the following five sectors:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Modern Data Infrastructure
  • Development Operations (DevOps)
  • Financial Technology (FinTech)
  • Real Estate & Property Technology (PropTech)

Roughly 35% of the Innovation Fund is invested in artificial intelligence, which I'm extremely bullish about. In 20 years, I don't want my kids wondering why I didn't invest in AI or work in AI!

The investment minimum is also only $10. Most venture capital funds have a $250,000+ minimum. You can see what the Innovation Fund is holding before deciding to invest and how much. Traditional venture capital funds require capital commitment first and then hope the general partners will find great investments.

Recommendation To Build Wealth

The best way to become financially independent is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Empower. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize.

Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see everything in one place.

The best tool is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer which runs your investment portfolio through its software to see what you are paying. I found out I was paying $1,700 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying! 

They also recently launched the best Retirement Planning Calculator around. It uses your real data to run thousands of algorithms to see what your probability is for retirement success. Once you register, simply click the Advisor Tolls and Investing tab on the top right and then click Retirement Planner.

There's no better free tool online to help you track your net worth, minimize investment expenses, and manage your wealth. Why gamble with your future?

Retirement Planner Personal Capital
Personal Capital's award-winning retirement planning calculator. Are you on track?

Get Rich Through Real Estate

Real estate is a core asset class that has proven to build long-term wealth for Americans. Real estate is a tangible asset that provides utility and a steady stream of income if you own rental properties.

Given interest rates have come way down, the value of rental income has gone way up. The reason why is because it now takes a lot more capital to generate the same amount of risk-adjusted income. Yet, real estate prices have not reflected this reality yet, hence the opportunity. 

I think it's a good idea to get rich through real estate. Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms:

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends.

Both platforms are free to sign up and explore. 

I've personally invested $954,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 projects. My goal is to take advantage of lower valuations in the heartland of America. My real estate investments account for roughly 50% of my current passive income of ~$300,000. Real estate has been a key factor in getting me rich over the years.

About the Author:

Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account online in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing. He spent 13 years after college working at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse Group. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered.

In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments. They now generate roughly $300,000 a year in passive income largely thanks to real estate crowdfunding. He spends time playing tennis and taking care of his two young children.

Check out the top financial products to help you build wealth.

34 thoughts on “So You Want To Be Rich Eh?”

  1. You know, if I would have acted in the right manner when I first gained perspective of investing at age 16, if i ignored the voice of my family and the people around me telling me how much risk there was (as if they really knew firsthand, they didn’t invest) if i would have listened to the voice inside to sacrifice, I would have made millions by now. I have spotted big investment opportunities and almost invested. But I didn’t. I am 25 now. I almost invested in an oil company that would have yielded a huge return at 16. I almost invested in apple when it was at $6 per share but I didn’t and now its huge. I have had so many opportunities to build wealth through real estate, but listened to the wrong voice. I have focussed so much on the gambling idea of investing that my family instilled which isnt even accurate. Every time we go to the store, we spend money, every time we go to fill up our gas tank, or purchase a car or purchase something society says we “need” lol we are losing money. Some has to be spent, most could be sacrificed. I also owned my own business, in which i was bringing in $500 An hour for a while, however. I sold it and I did not invest. WHAT AN IDIOT!!! I got myself into some debt.

    I am now determined, after being an idiot not learning from mistakes for so long…to get myself out of debt and invest. A few good lessons in all of this, don’t listen to broke peoples wisdom. Do what 99% are not willing to do in order to achieve that which 99% does not have. I have learned that owning a business gives more access to cash.. unlimited access. I had always been told to get a job. I learned what creating my own was like. NOTHING BEATS IT!

    I am inspired to get wealthy now. lol

  2. I just read a blog from a 2 year out college undergrad in a lot of student loan debt who just paid $18,000 cash for a new car. She raided her retirement savings account.

    I donno… maybe we’re all going to be just fine.

  3. Awesome point about perseverance. You are right, rich and successful people never give up. They would die trying. As for leverage, you have to find that balance. When things start going the other way, you have to be nimble enough to unwind those positions. Love your tennis story. Way to give it a shot. That reminds me of my own tennis story. I took a beginners class in college. There was a ringer, just smoking everyone he faced. Not even sure why he was there. Inflating his ego as he dismantled us newbies? Anyway, I was fired up to give it my best shot. I didn’t win any games, but I made him work for all his points. He could see I was working my ass off and made him sweat some too. Rather than report our score as 6-0 to the coach. He massaged it to 6-3 as a show of respect. One of the few times I persevered against great odds. I really should do this more often. Doesn’t hurt right? Thanks for reminding me!

    1. Good story on tennis! For the winner, why not right? Shows good will and sportsmanship.

      Folks need to set some strict stop losses. If they are followed, you’ll always know the max you can lose!

  4. Hey – you won one game! Don’t give up completely on playing singles at that level. Do it occasionally…. it’s from playing with those who are better than you that you are going to learn the most!

  5. There are two reason why you want that million dollars at age 70, and not at 35. 1) You may not be financially matured due to young age, so you can blow it away faster than a wise guy at 70. 2) With your Social Security income, you can live off of the 6% return on the million dollars at age 70 as you don’t need much to live at that age. Just my 2 cents. :)

        1. Once upon a time, I would have bought a nice sports car. Given the go-go year’s are over and I’ve had moose for so long, I’m content with what I have and saving my money!

    1. I think someone who is able to attain that million dollars at age 35 (not through inheritance or lottery, but hard work, saving and wise investing) will be financially mature.

        1. Money can do crazy things to people if it comes along suddenly
          (ie hitting the lottery). But if it’s accrued gradually, then people
          will adjust accordingly.

        2. I work at a large Corp. and there are plenty of those parked in the garages around here. I don’t think I’ll ever buy one, although, I have driven a Carerra 4S, and let me tell you, that machine is pure…..well….it’s just darn pure. Going 100 MPH in 3rd gear in Oregon wine country is an experience I’ll never forget…Maybe I should re-think my whole “not buying a porsche” stance…hmmm…

  6. Rich is a very independent word, and everyone has a meaning of rich. It doesn’t always have to pertain directly to money, but somehow its not far away from the topic of money either.

  7. I don’t think a certain number makes someone rich but I agree with perseverance and setting goals. It’s so important to learn how to set and stay within a budget and to pay down debt. Every dollar counts! I also think the less desires we have for material things the richer we become.

  8. Full discloser: I AM PLUGGING MY BLOG RIGHT NOW….
    Check out the pic from Ira Glass I just put up yesterday. Exactly what you’re talking about Sam…. the secret of successful people = perseverance. As you say…. “The ability to solider on and not give up even in the worst moments.”
    good stuff.

  9. Sam you are hitting on a subject that reminds me of a presentation I saw by Vinod Khosla (he started Sun Microsystems and now runs a venture capital firm). Vinod attributed his success to taking risks and failing. Everytime he failed he learned from the experience and like you said “I don’t mind whiffing badly. At least I’ll learn from the experience so I can continuously make the product better. The educational aspect of failure itself is something of great value”. Vinod is quite a good presenter and has a fresh perspective on the relationship between failure and success, the presentation can be found at the link below (this is not SPAM) or by going to and selecting the video “2012: Failing to succeed (Harker research symposium)”…

  10. I agree with you on perseverance. If you keep trying, you’ll get there eventually. Housing should be easy to hold on to because when you purchased, you should be ready to pay the mortgage and other cost. I guess if you lose your income, it will be a big problem.
    I’ll head over to Finance Fox now.

  11. Risk is individual and we all interpret it differently. Buying income property was conservative because of my approach. I think approach to problem solving changes many kinds of investments. Putting $10K on the craps table is risky, but putting it in a well priced home in a good location is a winner. BTW, my mantra is the most determined person always wins!

  12. I feel that a lot of people do freak out and sell. You really do have to stay the course.or I feel you will miss a lot of the big rallies. Buy low sell high, not the other way around.

  13. Hi Sam!
    Thanks for the love.
    I like your adopted mantra, its very similar to those of the rich, and the fact that they leverage a lot more than the average person. I think this is what separates them vs. the majority who prefer comfort.

    You also raise a very good point. A million bucks is great at 35, but even at 60 I’d be happy with it (as long as retirement was 2-3 yrs away). The obvious is that the earlier you get to the “mill” the more options you have to do with it.

    Whats the biggest thing you put leverage on?
    Did you ever experience the downside of leverage?



    1. My biggest leverage is in rental properties and my own house. Great on the way up, depressing on the way down.

      What I remind myself is perseverance all the time. Housing is one of the easiest things to hold onto because there isn’t a price quote flashing in front of your eyes every day. You simply live life and enjoy for the most part, and keep up the maintenance work. Rental property is generally a “set it and forget it” asset if you can screen like the CIA and get the right tenant!

      Other than properties, I’m not levered, except for the online trading account which CAN be levered 4:1!

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