Stop Trying to “Get Rich Quick” and Upgrade Your Investing Strategy Instead

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It can be tempting to try “get rich quick” schemes in an attempt to jump-start your finances. But there’s a reason why these types of tactics rarely work, and investing is no different.

Whether you’re investing in risky penny stocks, throwing all your money behind an up-and-coming business, or trying to get in on the GameStop (NYSE: GME) fiasco, trying to get rich overnight through risky investing strategies is a recipe for disaster.

If you really want to build wealth by investing, there are better tactics. By updating your strategy, you can get rich without putting your money at risk.

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The best strategy for getting rich with the stock market

Even if you’re not wealthy now, it is possible to earn $1 million or more by investing in the stock market without betting it all on risky investments. The secret is investing for the long term.

Investing for the long term may not be the most exciting approach, but it is one of the most effective ways to make a lot of money. It involves investing in strong, healthy companies that have successful track records and bright futures.

While these organizations may not be experiencing explosive growth like some of their more volatile counterparts, they are much less risky, and are more likely to see positive returns over the long run.

Say for example you invest in an S&P 500 index fund that’s earning a 10% annual rate of return. If you were to invest around $550 per month, you’d have just over $1 million accumulated after 30 years. Although waiting a few decades to generate that much money may not be the most appealing thought, it is better than potentially losing your savings betting on risky investments.

Choosing the best long-term investments

There’s no single investment that’s guaranteed to make you rich, but as long as you’re focusing on the long term, you’re off to a good start.

If you’re eager to take a hands-on approach to investing, you may choose to invest in individual stocks. The key is to lean toward strong companies with solid fundamentals. Look at factors like the organization’s growth rate, its management team, whether it has a competitive advantage in its industry, and industry trends in general. If these factors are all favorable, that’s a good sign that the company will succeed over the long term.

If you’d prefer to avoid doing loads of research on individual stocks, you might consider investing in index funds instead. Index funds are groups of stocks that track a particular index, such as the S&P 500.

By definition, index funds experience average returns — meaning they can’t beat the market. However, they tend to outperform actively managed mutual funds, and they’re a great “set it and forget it” type of investment. When you invest in an index fund, you can simply invest your money and then leave it alone for decades. Given enough time, you’ll see substantial returns.

Trying to get rich quick by investing in the stock market generally doesn’t end well, so you’re better off focusing on healthy companies that can stand the test of time. By taking a long-term approach, you can get rich over time while minimizing your risk.

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Katie Brockman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.