The Ten Roads To Riches
The Ways The Wealthy Get There And How You Can Too!
By Ken Fisher
Have you ever wondered how you too could become rich like the mega wealthy guys and gals in your society who are worth millions (some billions of dollars)? If your answer is yes, then stop wondering and get Ken Fisherâ€™s book, The Ten Roads To Riches, with the rider, The Ways The Wealthy Get There And How You Can Too!
In this book, Ken Fisher, Americaâ€™s renowned investment guru and self-made billionaire, shows the ten ways all super-rich people acquired their wealth by. According to him, they only use one of the ten ways to become super rich, therefore to join them, you only need to identify just one of the ten ways, which is best suited to you, and then follow through to building your own wealth.
To drive his point home, Ken Fisher x-rays the lives of some top America multi millionaires, revealing how they made their wealth, and why some of them couldnâ€™t keep it. He reveals the pitfalls in following some of the ways, which you should be wary of if you decide to use them to become rich.
Although the book uses U.S. as its focus, the principles that it unveils is workable in all human societies. Therefore, wherever you may be on the face of the earth, I guarantee this book will open your eyes to the secrets of making wealth; inspire and guide you to also become super rich like your favorite celebrities.
Here is an excerpt of the book. Enjoy it! [By the way, Ken Fisher is also the author of the bestselling investment book, The Only Three Questions That Count.]
RICHâ€¦ AND FAMOUS
Seeking fame and fortune?
Donâ€™t mind abdicating privacy?
Try cruising the rich-and-famous road.
Rich and famous is a popular dream. But most rich folks arenâ€™t famous. They own trailer parks or small businesses. Theyâ€™re accountants or doctors, not living fantasy lifestyles. We think big limos, Superbowl rings, Oscars, owning sports teams, or making movies.
This road is the stuff of grade-school career aspirations â€“ baseball player, actress, Oprah, Tiger. This roadâ€™s riches can be planned for, though realistically itâ€™s closed to most by the time weâ€™re adults. It requires a young start. Kids dream of stardom. Such kid dreamers kid themselves. Be warned â€“ though this roadâ€™s riches are legitimate, itâ€™s hard work and odds of success here are super slim.
Or not. This road has two forks. One is talent â€“ Derek Jeter, Whitney Houston, and Cameron Diaz. The other is mogul â€“ Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch â€“ who own and run media empires. The media mogul road is more attainable â€“ you neednâ€™t throw a tight spiral or look like Cameron Diaz. You just need what any successful businessperson needs â€“ perseverance, smarts, and luck. It happens later in life, too. But that doesnâ€™t make the talent road less tempting.
Thereâ€™s an occasional crossover here â€“ talents who become moguls and vice versa, though itâ€™s rare. Oprah (worth $2.5 billion) is the richest talent-mogul crossover. She parlayed a newscaster career (talent) into a talk show she produces (talent and mogul). Enroute, she starred in movies (notably The Color Purple, as a talent) and as Broadway producer (also The Color Purple, now as a mogul). Such blending is rare.
Martha Stewart (worth $638 million) is a talent in her own mogul world. Talent/moguls tend toward bigger wealth than pure talents. And donâ€™t forget those diminutive twins â€“ Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Iâ€™m too big a fuddy-duddy to know which is which but their production firm and clothing lines make them crossovers â€“ worth $100 million each.
Another recent crossover, but this one initiating from mogul land, is pop-culture phenomena Mark Cuban (net worth $2.6 billion). In addition to his other fine crossover qualities, Cuban is tough â€“ cares not one whit what his critics say â€“ even has a beyond-great sense of humour about it. In this sense, heâ€™s a textbook founder-CEO (Chapter 1). The former bartender began building wealth as a dot-com cowboy, founding Broadcast.com, a web radio station, with a college pal in 1995. Just before 2000â€™s dot-com crash, he made a timely sale to Yahoo for $5.7billion in stock.
Not only was his firmâ€™s sale well timed, but he didnâ€™t wait for Yahoo to tank in the tech crash. He swapped a huge chunk of change with Ross Perot for the Dallas Mavericks, and heâ€™s been annoying NBA officials ever since. By mid-2006, Mark had already been fined in excess of $1.6million by NBA officials for his courtside antics and quick temper. And for claiming the league was as poorly run as a Dairy Queen, Mark paid penance by donning a paper hat and serving soft serve for a day from a franchise in Coppell, Texas.
In 2000, he confounded 2929 Entertainment â€“ a media holding company â€“ and heâ€™s chairman of HDNet, a high-definition cable station. In 2007, he joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars â€“ a reality show pairing D-list celebrities with professional ballroom dancers for a weekly dance battle. This qualifies him as talent as much as other celebrities whoâ€™ve appeared on the show. (Though heâ€™s a bit of a cheater. At one point, he made a living as a disco-dance instructor.)
My editor feared I sounded too mean-spirited in describing Cuban-particularly my last few sentences that donâ€™t make him sound like a great talent â€“ and that you wouldnâ€™t like that. And itâ€™s true â€“ I really havenâ€™t said anything really laudatory about him. Well, Iâ€™m pretty sure itâ€™s the other way around and that I havenâ€™t said anything sufficiently nasty about Cuban to make him really like it. For him to love it, Iâ€™d have to rag on him pretty heavily. And I like him. Ok, Mark, this is just for you: Youâ€™re a dirty rotten blah, blah, blah. Feel better? For the rest of you readers, my point is that if youâ€™ve made a bundle as a mogul and you know how, you can go from the rich to the famous as a celebrity, just like Mark Cuban did.
THE TALENT SHOW
So how do you become a rock star, NFL pro, or Cameron Diaz? This roadâ€™s journey starts young. If youâ€™re past age 15 and starting football, you wonâ€™t ever go pro. Sorry. For acting maybe you can start a bit later â€“ age 18 â€“ though many start much younger. Any road requires industry and perseverance.
Think of a 50-year-old, financially successful CEO â€“ heâ€™s likely been at it since he left college, maybe 30 years! But a 35-year-old pro athlete has been at it almost as long. Tiger Woods famously started golf at age two. His dad probably enjoyed that more than two-year-old Tiger did. But for winning the Masters at age 22 â€“ starting at age two seems right. As Michael Jordan said, â€œBeing a pro is practicing when you donâ€™t want to.â€
Getting rich as a talent requires youth or a youthful decision. A 35-year-old newbie aspirant wonâ€™t make it in Hollywood, the NFL, golf, or pretty much anything â€“ no matter what. That doesnâ€™t mean older folks arenâ€™t talents. Katherine Hepburn still starred at 87. But she also starred young. Can miracles happen? Yes, but almost never. Glenn Close didnâ€™t land her first movie role until she was 35.
Wynonna Judd, offspring of country superstar Naomi, didnâ€™t have a hit until she was 38. The key? Recall the â€œalmost neverâ€ part. Most celebs start very young. If you arenâ€™t and havenâ€™t, the cost of this book will have been worth it, because now is the time to stop wasting time considering this road and seek another.
If youâ€™re young and determined with grit â€“ now what? Practice. All day, every day. Successful stars start young but are also freakishly single-minded. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake worked far harder as children than probably anyone you ever met. Pro athletes generally led monastic childhoods, rising pre-dawn, practicing before, during, and after school. So start waking at 5am now for wind sprints.
Want to be a rock star? Join a church choir, play guitar at the old folksâ€™ home on weekends, play country fairs. Never decline a gig, no matter how mortifying. Have you seen American Idol? Pretty much all of them have been singing for crowds since age nine.
If you want to act, do it. Take classes at your local community college. Big cities have lots of choices. Classes are really just another excuse for practice. To self-teach, pick up Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen and An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavski â€“ the book on method action. But find a local theater or summer stock and just do it.
To succeed, you must sell yourself or you miss gigs. If you make it, youâ€™ll have an agent selling you. (Entertainment and athletics are highly unionized. You must play by union rules.) But how can you get to needing an agent? Back stage magazine lists casting calls in every major city for TV, films, voiceover, radio, you name it.
They even have listings for non-pros like you! You can search and post your resume (skinny though it is) online at Backstage.com. You need a headshot (8 x 10 black-and-white photograph â€“ have a pro do it, or a very skilled friend) and a phone number. The listings tell you just what you need for the audition â€“ a prepared monologue, an accent, eight bars of a Broadway tune. With Back stage, a stack of headshots, and some postage, youâ€™re ready. Getting the job â€“ thatâ€™s up to you. Itâ€™s selling.
Eventually youâ€™ll need an agent. Theyâ€™ll find you higher-profile work but also take a cut of profits. Agents are also listed in Back Stager magazine. Note: Never pay to audition or have an agent look at you. Real agents wonâ€™t ask for money until you get paid. If they want money up front, itâ€™s a scam. Always. Run.
One day, like Brad Pitt, you can be picky. But at first, if someone offers you seven bucks an hour to wear a chicken suit and dance, start dancing. For more on getting started, Back Stage is a great source overall. (Read the section on â€œAvoiding Scamsâ€ first.) Also, pick up Breaking Into Acting for Dummies by Larry Garrison and Wallace Wang, which covers actingâ€™s business side, from resume building to finding every kind of job and dealing with unions.
Eventually, you must join a union. You canâ€™t get certain jobs unless you do, but then youâ€™re bound by draconian union rules. Remember the 2008 Hollywood writerâ€™s strike? Many writers probably didnâ€™t want an unpaid four-month vacation, but if the union strikes, themâ€™s the breaks.
The same rules apply for would-be rock stars: Sell yourself and take whatever work you can. Walk into every bar and offer to play â€“ for free! (Once you get a following you can demand money.) Create a press kit â€“ a picture, some reviews (have your mom write them â€“ if youâ€™re too old to have your mom write them, the youâ€™re too old), newspaper clippings, and a CD. Hit as many venues and booking agents as you can. Itâ€™s a numbers game! The more people you contact, the better your odds.
Once upon a time it was all about the studio album. Not anymore! With a decent computer, pretty much anyone can make a CD, and anyone can buy most any single song through iTunes. These days, to make it big you either have to be a songwriter [see Chapter 8] or tour.
Even big names like Madonna, U2, and rapper Jay-Z (more on him later) have abandoned traditional record labels and signed huge contracts – $120 million for Madge and $150 million for Jay-Z- with Live Nation. Live Nation, a spin-off from radio conglomerate Clear Channel, owns and operates hundreds of music venues internationally.
But before you can negotiate a $150million deal, you must log hours on the road. So how do you find a â€œbookingâ€ agent? Same as actors! Again, donâ€™t pay up front. Secondâ€¦ sell! Booking agents are listed in yellow pages or with your local union. Send them a press kit and invite them to gigs. Required reading: All You Need to Know About The Music Business by Donald S. Passman walks you through finding an agent and negotiating a contract. And for a clear-eyed look at the industry, read So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star by Jacob Slichter. You may not want to anymore after reading it.
The Sporting Life
Athleteâ€™s paths are better defined. High-school sports star. Recruited for college. College stand-out. Recruited for pro team. If you donâ€™t make it as a high-school sports star, take another road. Itâ€™s very rare to go pro direct from high school. Some have, like Kobe Bryant, but donâ€™t try it. If you suffer a career-ending injury, youâ€™ll at least have a college degree. Tennis champs generally donâ€™t go the college route. Nor do Olympic gymnasts â€“ at least not until after the Olympics â€“ but gymnastsâ€™ careers are over by age 19 and they generally arenâ€™t â€œrich and famous.â€ But Tiger went to college! Sure, he dropped out (like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates), but first Stanford wanted him.
Pro athletes require an agent. IMG is perhaps the best-known sports agency and manages many huge names. For others, check the Sports Agent Directory (www.prosportsgroup.com). Again, donâ€™t pay up front! They get paid when you do â€“ always. Your agent helps negotiate better contracts and lands sponsorships and Wheaties boxes. Thatâ€™s where the big bucks are (like lunch boxes and action figures for writers â€“ see Chapter 8). So, to become a pro athlete: 1. Practice. 2. Finish high school. 3. Get recruited to college. 4. Find an agent. 5. Become the face of Nike. Easy as that. Now go do more wind sprints.
POTHOLES AHEAD NO ONE SEES!
The talent road is youthful, but unreliable. Persistence has no high correlation with financial success. Nor does talent alone. No matter how talented an actor you are, odds are seriously against you ever being employed in acting. The numbers are scary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in any year there are only about 157,000 acting jobs. Not 157,000 actors â€“ 157,000 jobs (some as dancing chickens). No way to know how many wannabes are waiting tables instead. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG â€“ the TV and movie actors union) has about 100,000 members, but even SAG admits only about 50 earn, say, in excess of $1million per picture. Only a tiny elite make much more. The rest, according to BLS, make a median salary of $11.28 per hour â€“ when theyâ€™re working!
Recall those Dell Computer Commercials with the floppy-haired kid yelling, â€œDude, youâ€™re getting a Dell!â€? He did countless Dell commercials for three years or so â€“ likely earned quite a bit. Despite that success, heâ€™s recently been a bartender at a popular Manhattan Mexican restaurant, Tortilla Flats. And heâ€™s an acting success!
Letâ€™s assume 100 unemployed actors for every acting job (probably a low estimate). That means about a million and a half claim to be â€œactorsâ€ when their tax returns donâ€™t so indicate. (Most donâ€™t earn enough to pay income taxes.) So if there are 1.5 million of you and 50 big earners, you have about 0.003 percent odds of hitting it big. You may scrape out a living, but that median hourly rate means youâ€™re likelier making $25,000 a year than anything close to Cameroon Diaz status.
Musicians face similar daunting odds. There are no numbers for out-of-work musicians, but very few become the Rolling Stones. Or athletes! Odds are best for baseball players. If you play high school varsity, the NCAA says you have about a 0.45 percent shot at making the major leagues. Terrible! And you still must be a superstar to make superstar salary.
Minimum salary for pro baseball players is about $300,000. Not bad, but you donâ€™t get super rich on that because you donâ€™t last long enough. If you canâ€™t hit a fastball, try hockery â€“ the odds are 0.32 percent youâ€™ll play professionally-but the top pay isnâ€™t so high. Pay is high for top football stars but the odds are worse (0.08 percent chance youâ€™ll go pro). Basketball? Only 0.03 percent.
Women have it worse. Varsity female high school basketball players have a 0.02 percent chance of going pro. They have fewer teams. Itâ€™s an unfair world. Still, overgoing pro. They have fewer teams. Itâ€™s an unfair world. Still, overall those odds beat the odds of being Cameron Diaz.
You may say, â€œBut Cameron Diaz makes $20million a movie!â€ With that, you donâ€™t need a life-long career. One $20 million movie â€“ pay your manager, accountant, trainer, chef, Kabbalah coach, and yoga instructor, take the $7million left over and retire. Fine, but to make the $20million, you still actually need to be Cameron Diaz â€“ and that requires having started young or possibly a Faustian deal with the devil. Which raises another trait for all the roads to riches!
Folks making $20million a picture arenâ€™t interested in making one picture and retiring. They donâ€™t quit â€“ theyâ€™re tenacious and driven. You must be too. Iâ€™m not trying to dissuade you â€“ merely warn you. While on the talent road, you may want to cultivate other functional skills so transitioning to a more reliable road is less painful.
Not So Rich or Famous
This is also far from the richest road â€“ even for those making it huge. No Forbes 400 member is a talent-only richie. Oprah is more of a mogul. The top-earning pure talent is Tiger Woods â€“ taking home a reported $100 million in 2006. Tiger should be Forbes 400 material someday.
But take Madonna â€“ something is materially wrong with the Material Girl. She made $72 million in 2006 and big bucks for decades, yet her net worth is only $325 million. Given her huge earning tenure, sheâ€™s lagging. Sheâ€™s been huge for over 25 years â€“ if she saved a mere $10million a year, invested wisely, sheâ€™d have at least $1billion by now. How much can rhinestone-encrusted bustiers cost?
Few actors accumulate astronomical wealth. Bradd Pitt reportedly made $35million in 2006, beating his buddy George Clooney by $10 million. Bradâ€™s ex, everybodyâ€™s favourite Friend Jennifer Aniston, took home $14 million in 2006. These folks are about as big as you get. But if Madonna canâ€™t reach the highest wealth echelons, they wonâ€™t either.
A Short, Unsteady, No-Privacy Road
Then, too, talent life is fickle-an easy road to fall from. Youâ€™re only as good as your last movie, hit song, or home run â€“ but also the lifestyle tends toward self-destruction. I neednâ€™t dwell here as itâ€™s obvious from the news. Peer pressure, drugs, divorce; these all fuel self-destruction and donâ€™t aid wealth-building. And â€“ no privacy. The stars simply canâ€™t go out in public or they get mobbed, putting them in physical danger. Donâ€™t believe it? A friend of mine tried going with Whoopi Goldberg to the local 7-Eleven at 3:00am. They had to flee from the paparazzi for safety. And Whoopiâ€™s no tabloid fixture.
If you donâ€™t do yourself in, your allies may. Boxer Mike Tyson accused his manager, Don King, of mismanaging his assets, and ultimately won a $4million settlement. While Mr. King probably wasnâ€™t the wisest custodian of Tysonâ€™s assets, Tyson famously lived an excessive lifestyle, throwing money away with both gloves.
Child stars are ultra vulnerable since they need scrupulous parents and ethical management. Gary Coleman (from the 1980s sitcom Different Strokes) earned at least $8million as a kiddie star, much of which his parents paid themselves in management fees. He later sued and won. But his settlement couldnâ€™t protect him from bankruptcy. Corey Feldman (in a string of 1980s hits including Stand by Me) fell prey similarly â€“ his folks left him with only about $40,000. Rip-off management isnâ€™t all. Once-upon-a-time massive talents often donâ€™t remain on top for long. Where is Macaulay Caulkin now? On this road, you start early, must star early, and then stay persistent.
Hollywood demands youth and beauty. Pro sports require healthy joints. Even the music industry doesnâ€™t favour the old. Springsteen, U2, the stones, and Madonna are still making hits and touring. Van Halen, led by a somewhat rickety Eddie, took in nearly $100 million touring in 2007. All still huge, but thatâ€™s about it. Older acts are notable, though few, compared with the endless roster of young bucks on the radio.
Barry Bonds is a baseball superstar elder-statesman, yet his career is likely all but done. Few pro athletes are on top in their 40s. Actors have it easier than actresses. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are still considered sexy. But not older actresses! Even though Dame Judi Dench is probably more age-appropriate for Mr. Connery, sheâ€™s unlikely, to be cast as his romantic interest. Maybe Michelle Pfeiffer, but even sheâ€™s probably deemed too old for a romantic lead. Starlets, like athletes, are usually done by their mid-40s. Their earlier earnings are their life savings.
With ridiculously low odds on the far-from-the-richest of the roads, and lots of ways to do yourself in (or have your supposed allies do you in), are you sure you want to continue down this road? If you do, thereâ€™s probably no one but you that will ever stop you.
This is a great book by all standard, and I very much gladly recommend it to you if you desire to find out how to become super rich.
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