The best ways to get rich quick(ish)

So you want to be a millionaire? You could take the advice of Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Old Ben knew a thing or two about the benefits of hard work, but what if you want to get rich without getting up early in the morning? There’s where the get-rich-quick schemes come in.

There are two main ways to get rich quick: convince someone else to give you a lot of money, or do something spectacular to earn it.

The time-honored way to get someone to give you money is to have a rich uncle who dies and leaves you everything in his will. A very chancy plan, in my opinion. If your uncles are solid members of the middle class, forget about it. If you are lucky enough to have a rich uncle, you still might not get his money. The will could be tied up in probate for years. Your cousins might have a better claim, or the suspicious circumstances surrounding your uncle’s untimely demise might work against you. If he’s an ornery individual, your uncle might even outlive you. Nothing quick about this method of getting rich.

Another way to receive a lot of money without working for it is to win the lottery. Call it Powerball or the high school football raffle; there are countless opportunities to test the hopefulness of human nature. Someone’s got to buy the winning ticket—it just might be you this time. Of course it never is, but there’s always the next time, right? I have been buying raffle tickets in this town for almost twenty years, and I have yet to win even so much as a trip up the tram. Forty-seventh time is the charm, right?

If you prefer not to pin your hopes on the lottery, you could plan on doing something spectacular to entice someone to give you money. If you have a unique skill such as slam-dunking while crocheting baby booties or singing opera underwater, you may have a pretty good chance of cashing in. For the rest of us with more ordinary talents, one way to make a lot of money is to create something wonderful that someone else will pay for. Really, all you have to do is think up something wonderful. What you need is an original idea, usually signaled by a brightly illuminated light bulb hovering over your head. When you see one of those, you know you’re in luck. Head straight for your local patent office, and wait for the manufacturers to come knocking on your door, checkbooks in hand.

If you’d rather create something spectacular, you could try writing. Take J.K. Rowling as your inspiration. As I work on my novel, I envision the completed book on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and mentally spend the seven-figure book contract I’ll land for the next installment in the series. Those imaginary millions go a long way to cheering me up when I have to get up in the morning to get to my day job.

Or, if you live in Alaska, you can search for gold. Here in Juneau, we know there really is gold in them thar hills—it’s just a question of finding it and getting it out. With the price of gold over $1600 per ounce, it kinda seems worth it to do some panning, or crush a little rock. My family collects quartz to pulverize in the driveway in our optimistic quest for gold. We haven’t found any yet, but we’re well on our way to renewing our gravel driveway, if nothing else.

If you do live in Alaska, the best way to get money for nothing is to continue living in Alaska. Collect your Permanent Fund Dividend every fall, and enjoy the benefits of free money.

And if all else fails, you always can work for a living. It’s not quick and you might not even get rich, but in the end you might rack up a million dollars over a lifetime of getting up early in the morning. Old Ben might have the right idea after all.

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