Title: "The Ten Roads to Riches: The Ways The Wealth Got There (And How You Can Too!)"
Author: Ken Fisher with Lara Hoffmans
Publisher: Wiley, 2009; 228 pages; $16.95
Ask a stockbroker how to get rich, and the stockbroker will usually give you stock picks. Ask a real estate broker, and that broker will dig out a statistic proving that real estate is the only way to riches. Entrepreneurs "know" they’ll never get rich working for someone else.
In "The Ten Roads to Riches: The Ways the Wealthy Got There (And How You Can Too!)," Forbes columnist and money manager Ken Fisher makes a strong case that each of these paths can lead to riches, but none of them owns the exclusive. In the book’s 10 modular (read: standalone) chapters, Fisher backs up his arguments that each of these roads leads to wealth:
- 1. Starting a business, which Fisher deems "the richest road"
- 2. Becoming the CEO of an existing company
- 3. Hitching your wagon to that of a successful visionary
- 4. Celebrity fame
- 5. Marrying a wealthy spouse (don’t shoot the messenger, people)
- 6. Legalized stealing (this is Fisher’s term for being a plaintiff’s attorney)
- 7. Using other people’s money (according to Fisher, 86 members of the 2007 Forbes 400 got there by managing or brokering others’ money)
- 8. Inventing a product or an income stream
- 9. Investing in real estate
- 10. Saving and investing
Then, for each "road to riches," Fisher goes on to provide some basic how-tos, reading resources, case-study examples and caveats before closing the chapter out with a bullet-point summary of steps to guide readers down the particular road to which the chapter was devoted. …CONTINUED
This book has something for everyone. "Mavericky" entrepreneurs can glean inspiration from discount moguls like Sam Walton or luxury goods purveyors like Vera Wang.
Committed careerists with an allergy to the risks of business ownership can get counterintuitive advice on how to build massive wealth by working it at work alongside a visionary CEO, like Warren Buffet’s $2 billion right-hand man, Charlie Munger, or eBay founder Jerry Yang’s "ride-along" Jerry Skoll, who Fisher quotes as being worth around $3.6 billion.
Interested in investing? Fisher’s got tips on how to become a Trump-style "Land Baron" or how to save and invest in traded assets to take the road more often traveled to financial security.
Fisher’s real estate investment advice is headlined by the billions in profits realized by Kirk Kekorian and "The Donald" himself, but, characteristically for the book, is rendered much more applicable to real-world investors via the real-world examples of Fisher’s own wife’s and future daughter-in-law’s investments.
First cautioning readers that the potential for massive profits in real estate comes along with the potential for massive ruin, Fisher goes on to give a concise tutorial in profitable real estate investing using the leverage of mortgage money — the power of which tutorial belies its brevity.
Fisher focuses intensely on property location, detailed and accurate advanced investment analyses (i.e., pro-formas), maximizing monetization (i.e., cash flow) and avoiding flipping as the key ingredients to real estate success.
With each nugget of advice, Fisher provides a case study of either an accessible role model, like "Mina, The Mini Land Baron," or an aspirational exemplar, like Timothy Blexseth, the $1.2 billion real estate investor whose road to riches was paved with flipping failures. On both ends of the spectrum, the reader can relate.
Ultimately, this relatability and accessibility are the super strengths of "The Ten Roads to Riches." Fisher’s arguments for each of these 10 paths to wealth is bookended by his more macro arguments for wealth in each of our lives and against poverty, as he leads a cheer for us each to take control and create the former in our individual crusades against the latter.
His goal with "The Ten Roads to Riches" is to equip us with a wide array of armor to use in our personal crusades. In that vein, readers will find Fisher’s mission accomplished.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Ask her a real estate question online or visit her Web site, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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