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10THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED

Like boring, predictable paths? The sure and steady way could be yours.

The least sensational, but most reliable, road to riches is saving linked to good investment returns. This is very American—the Calvinist catechism, rooted in Judeo-Christian values of virtue. Frugality and industriousness do pay. This road is wide enough for anyone with a paycheck. It has spawned thousands of how-to books over the decades, ranging from Suze Orman to The Millionaire Next Door.

The first step is saving. Fact: Some folks just can’t—regardless of income. Some make half a million a year and blow it all. Some are naturally frugal. Some folks can improve. Others never will. But saving is a must here.

Step two is getting OK, but not phenomenal, investment returns. The magical power of compound interest assures even the lowliest part-time garbage collector can do this if he or she saves a few thousand a year. Forbes list? No. But anyone can be a multimillionaire.

Note: A million isn’t much anymore! A million invested well kicks off about $40,000 a year in cash flow (see why later)—not enough to feel rich. But it isn’t a stretch to hit maybe $10 million-plus with an OK job and discipline. This road isn’t sexy. Frugal isn’t known for sexy! But the good news: This road doesn’t require degrees—or even high school (but education helps with better- paying jobs). This is the ...

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