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Real Estate Kingpin: While a four-plex investment will take decades to bring you wealth and give you back problems in the process, if you are a true real estate entrepreneur, you could amass a small fortune in less than 15 years. In today's market, that means taking advantage of distressed properties, having great negotiating skills, and having a skill set that brings added value to your investment. Typically, you are going to need to rely on limited partners to help you fund the right project, but if you are successful, a huge windfall awaits. There is quite a bit of competition for distressed properties in cities that promise a fast turnaround. Even so, there are some real gems out there that you should be able to turnaround and unload for a handsome profit in ten years or so. Think in terms of putting together a real estate portfolio of thirty to fifty houses or buying and managing a 50 unit apartment building. If you can make the right purchase, add the right value (whether fixing it up, finishing the houses, or marketing the properties well), and avoid getting caught in a downdraft, you can easily make your money in under 10 years.
The downside: hard to get good properties at the right price, massive external factors such as interest rates, delinquencies, stagnant property prices and local market softness that can potentially kill your chances of ever being wealthy no matter how good your skill set is. And of course, if you get into the rental business, get ready to deal with tenants.
Professional Partner: Smart enough to be a doctor, lawyer, or accountant? Well if you are and you are good at what you do, you can usually make partner after seven to ten years with a good firm or practice. But if you want to get wealthy and you are a lawyer or accountant, you also need to be good at bringing in clients. And if you are a doctor, your patient referrals or marketing needs to bring in patients to fill your schedule to the point where you end up hiring younger physicians. How you do will depend on how the partnership does. The recent downturn has affected lawyers disproportionately and incomes have fallen with it. The real plus to many of these jobs is that many of them require minimal travel and once you have made it, you can spin of the cash for years and still have time for the golf course.
The downside: special skills, attendance at top notch schools, years of study and practice, ultra demanding clients, little time to take vacations, late nights, high pressure environment with tight deadlines, and the expectation that you will be a partner for the rest of your career.