Gertrude Stein once remarked, “I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich.” While it’s unlikely that Ms. Stein would have found anything in the following list to overcome her inhibition, she might have found it enlightening. Whether you stretch it out, earn it through long service, or take a shadier route, our list of (mostly) tongue-firmly-in-cheek get-rich schemes will leave you just a bit wiser.
1. Move to Vietnam
The upside: Since feeling wealthy is a relative concept, why not relocate your bank account to a place where it will go the furthest? OZY’s pick: Vietnam. Less established (and less overrun with retirees) than Thailand, Vietnam lets you cash in that 401(k) and enjoy one of the lowest costs of living in the world, where you can get by comfortably and in style with an apartment near the beach, meals out, travel, Internet/cable TV and AC for about $800 per month.
The downside: Mastering the monosyllabic tonal Vietnamese language, in which a word may have up to six different meanings depending on how it’s spoken.
2. Join the Army
The upside: Not ready to retire but eager to see the world? The American military recruiters aren’t blowing cannon smoke at you when they claim that signing up with the armed forces is a wise investment in your future. If you enlist at age 18 and serve the required 20 years, you can retire at 38 with a generous pension and start a new career, such as being a highly paid military contractor, with complete financial peace of mind.
The downside: Unplanned excursions to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. Gold-Dig Your Way Out
The upside: OK, gold-digging is as old as gold, but modern technology offers a host of new ways to hook that big fish. From sugar daddy sites like Seeking Arrangement to adultery accelerators like Ashley Madison, the gold-digging rush is on. Wealthy individuals around the world, particularly men, are under the impression that it’s never been easier to get consequence-free sex and attention from pretty young things. What they fail to recognize is that it’s also never been easier for a lecherous fool and his money to be parted so quickly.
The downside: Suffering the fool.
4. Run for Congress
The upside: Most members of the U.S. Congress were wealthy to begin with, but there are few faster paths to riches than the one that runs through the U.S. Capitol Building. Spend a couple of two-year terms in the House of Representatives, and then punch your ticket to K Street, where you can make millions of dollars a year as a Beltway insider and consultant. Sure, you have to raise money to get elected, but it doesn’t have to be your money, and there are 435 job openings every two years. So, pick out a low-hanging incumbent who is already headed to K Street to cash in, and get your foot in that revolving door.
The downside: The time that your constituents will expect you to spend working on their behalf and not your own.
5. Become a Fashionista
The upside: Believe it or not, 146 names on the 2013 Forbes list of billionaires come from the fashion/retail industry. These include heavyweights like the recently sentenced tax evaders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, as well as Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel jeans, and newcomers like Kevin Plank, who turned his own sweat problem into a $1.2 billion Under Armour undershirts fortune. So, let your sense of style or source of shame unlock the door to a fashion fortune.
The downside: Hanging out with runway models in exotic locales? Not really. Hanging out with others who want to hang out with fashion models in exotic locales? Dire.
6. Tell Others How to Get Rich
Last but not least, the best way to get rich is to convince others that you can make them rich. From the 20 million or so copies of The Secret sold worldwide, to Glenn Beck trumpeting gold and other investments to the tune of $35 million in annual earnings, there is no surer path to riches. Don’t believe us? Then send us $1 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address below, and we will send you everything you need to know to make your dreams of enormous wealth a reality.
Why you should care
Actually, please don’t – that way there will be more for the rest of us.