The Ten Roads to Riches
Many people dream of riches. Few people get there. This is because the self-made billionaire and author of The Ten Roads to Riches Ken Fisher believes “getting rich carries an element of self-interest some will find distasteful.”
Ken goes on to clarify that riches can be derived from a broader, positive, societal impact. Examples include building businesses that employ other people, making their lives better or introducing a new product or service that improves the life around us.
My friends at Wiley thought I might enjoy this book – so they sent me a couple of copies to giveaway on my site this summer. Before the giveaway here’s an overview of what you might like about The Ten Roads to Riches including my takeaways from Ken Fisher’s latest book.
Who is Ken Fisher?
According to Forbes, Fisher founded his money management firm, Fisher Investments, in 1979 with approximately $250. He is one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth approaching $4 billion. As of 2016, Fisher’s firm manages about $80 billion in assets. Here is a link to the Canadian arm of Fisher Investments’ operations (no affiliation).
About Ten Roads
Each of the ten roads is broken down into ten book chapters. Here is an overview of each.
Chapter 1 – The Richest Road
This chapter highlights some of Ken’s principles to be a successful founder or builder. This is path #1. Consider thinking long and hard about this road – meaning, what you want to change and why. In this path Ken tells us you can’t be afraid of failure or false starts. Dream often – dream big. That said you will need to remind yourself you’ll need to start small first. All entrepreneurs change the world in two basic ways: by creating something entirely new (and fulfilling a new need, product or service) or by making an existing product or service better, more efficient.
Chapter 2 – Pardon Me, That’s My Throne
Want the corner office? Warning: Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Path #2 of 10 on the road to riches is becoming the CEO of a (successful) business if you don’t want to found your own firm. While short-term and failed CEOs can be well-compensated ideally it’s the long-term path you want. You can find this path by doing at least the following:
- Aim small – you’ll have better odds at getting the next CEO job at a bigger firm if you start at small companies first.
- Get recruited – practice your interviewing skills frequently and continually work with recruiters and headhunters seeking to fill top jobs.
- Lead by just showing up, often – talk to your employees and make them feel like you’re putting them first. Taking time to be comfy with your lowest-level employees builds trust and keeps you connected with your organization’s culture.
Chapter 3 – Along For The Ride: Ride-Alongs
Fisher tells us being a boss is tough work, so maybe the next best path for you (path #3) is riding the coattails of a boss. From this chapter: “some ride along forever because they know they don’t have the stuff to be a CEO.” No shame in that – not everyone is meant to lead.
Regardless if you’re a builder or riding-along with the builder you’re encouraged to have a ‘will do’ attitude; this is vastly different than any ‘can do’ attitude that may exist on your resume.
Chapter 4 – Rich…And Famous
This fourth path will never occur for me but never say never. One sub-path is talent (think LeBron James) and the other sub-path is mogul (think Mark Cuban). Fisher tells us this other road to being rich…and famous typically starts young. Otherwise, it will likely never happen.
Chapter 5 – Marry Well. Really Well.
While it does seems ridiculous I suppose some folks seeks this out – purposely – supported through deep histories in literature and mythology. Marry Well – mission accomplished here but it wasn’t for financial reasons. To each their own. In this chapter for path #5 Ken highlights the best and worst places to hunt for the richest Americans. Any guesses on what are the #1 states statistically?
Chapter 6 – Steal It – Like A Pirate, But Legally
“Being a normal lawyer is a good way to earn a nice income, but is not necessarily a road to riches.” Ken argues you’ll need to be a lawyer and focus on huge civil cases in doing so – focus on plaintiff’s law because it is a “perfectly legal twist on thievery and thuggery.” Not for me.
Chapter 7 – OPM – Not Opium: Where Most Of The Richest Are
Get “Other People’s Money” = OPM is path #7 to consider. We see this path manifest itself in many ways: becoming a fee-based expert, becoming a commission-based expert (and therefore becoming VERY good at selling stuff); or own private equity (if you have the deep pockets to do so). While doing any one of these things is valid path Fisher reminds us however that fraudsters and scammers are everywhere when it comes to vying for other people’s money too. Here are some obvious tip-offs to be mindful of:
- These scumbags (my words not Ken’s) take custody of their clients’ assets.
- These scammers advertise too-good-to-be-true returns.
- These fraudsters use complex, murky, and unnecessary jargon-laden communications.
Chapter 8 – Investing Income
“Figure how to monetize your creation.” Well, I’ve tried a bit of that on this blog but this site is far from any get rich scheme Ken – this site makes less than minimum wage!
Alas, in this chapter Fisher cites being a songwriter, a writer; having a viable product that can provide some annuity-like income is yet another path to achieve extreme wealth. Interesting to learn from this chapter that since U.S. Congress passed the Former President’s Act (FPA) in 1958, past-presidents now earn close to $391,000 per year, inflation-adjusted, tax-free income as thanks for their civic duty. Beyond that pension-like income past presidents also have sizable lifetime office allowances and government staff available to them that amounts to a total compensation worth about $3 million.
Chapter 9 – Trumping The Land Barons
While Fisher believes flipping houses is a “loser’s road” he does argue that owning real estate can make you rich if you use leverage wisely. At the end of the day path #9 is all about the guts (and prospective glory) that comes with location, location, location – owning the right land, in the right spot, at the right point in time. It’s not for the faint of heart however.
Chapter 10 – The Road More Traveled
Ken writes: “Do what you love – but it’s better if what you love pays really well.” Fair, but saving money (from a good income) is only part of the equation. Even if you have a good job, you’ll need to invest it wisely to earn a good rate of return. Gone are the days (from Ken’s book) where you could expect close to 10% return on a portfolio of stocks – at least I don’t expect that.
Saving and investing your money (in the stock market) is the road commonly travelled to building wealth but it won’t make you rich. You can however “get to a few million and a pleasant retirement” by following these steps in the book:
- Get a good-paying job for many years – as you make more, save more.
- Figure out how much you want to earn (or better still really need).
- Calculate what you’ll need to save every month towards that goal.
- Save money by earning more, being frugal or a combination of both.
- Make your money work for you by owning primarily stocks and stay disciplined with them.
Overall, the book was interesting but it’s far from a how-to-book on becoming wealthy let alone rich. If you want to get rich you’ll probably need to forget all the other paths and just focus on path #1, become a builder, and have lots of luck and timing on your side to do it. Otherwise, I think the slow and steady path of #10 will make you nicely comfortable and wealthy – but it won’t make you rich. I suppose depending upon your values, maybe roads #2 to #9 are strong considerations but they are not for me. Are they for you?
If you want to win one of two (2) copies of Ken Fisher’s The Ten Roads to Riches enter my giveaway below. I will be happy to send the winners a hardcopy of this book in the coming weeks. Good Luck!