You’ve probably all heard of a get rich quick scheme, and you’ve probably also heard the adage that there’s no such thing as easy money. But what if you were one of the luckiest people alive? Maybe a gambler that started with little but made the bet of a lifetime? Or a savvy investor that somehow managed to start with a buck and make it a million? Or perhaps you have an eye for expensive antiques and bought something for barely anything and sold it for a fortune? Do these things even exist, have people really started with a dollar and then got rich off of it? That’s what we’ll find out today, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Fastest way people turned one dollar into a million?
As you know, one way to turn a small amount of money into a fortune is to win the lottery. Where should you play to get the best odds and the biggest prizes? According to most media, that is the USA; Spain actually also has huge prizes.
The biggest ever single win in the U.S. was when a Massachusetts woman won $758.7 million in 2017. But because she decided to take the lump sum in one go – not over 29 payments – and because the win is taxed, she came out with a measly $336 million. The nursing clerk obviously decided to retire soon after.
Winning the lottery, however, isn’t that easy. You are actually, statistically, more likely to die in a car crash or get struck by lighting than win the lottery. The odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery is one in 259 million, and one in 292 million for Powerball. Nonetheless, this is likely the best get-super-rich gambling bet out there.
Sticking with gambling, in 2017 a woman in the UK walked into a betting shop with one buck (or in this case pound) and walked out $800,000. She bet on what’s called an accumulator, meaning she chose twelve English football matches and bet which side would win in each game, stating home win or away win. She didn’t like football, she told the press, and just chose the names she liked. She got them all correct, and William Hill betting company said it was their biggest football payout ever. The funny thing is, the woman’s husband, apparently a football expert, had been betting on teams every week all his adult life. So, there you go, you might try using the force when you bet.
We now turn to probably the luckiest ever slot machine winner, who won big in Las Vegas not just once, but twice. The man, called Elmer Sherwin was 76 when he won $4.6 million on the slot machine MegaBucks. According to one betting site we found, you can play each spin with one, two or three dollars, but to get the Jackpot you must play with three dollars. What’s amazing, this old guy took a trip around the world after his win, then went back to Vegas 14 years later at the ripe old age of 90. He then won $21 million playing the same game. Probably too old to spend the cash, he donated it to charity. Odds experts seem to disagree over what the odds are of winning the MegaBucks Jackpot. Some say as low as one in 17 million, while another odds expert put it closer to 1 in 49 million.
You might also start with one cent, go to the casino, play roulette, and bet on black. If you win, return the next day and bet on black or red. Keep doing that. If you win every day for 27 days you’ll have $671,088. The next day is the deal breaker. Win that and you will get $1.3. You could just stay there and bet on one color each time. According to casino records, in 1943 red came up 32 times in a row. That is still a record now. The chances of that happening are over 10 billion to 1. On second thoughts, let’s wait a day and come back. You have a 47.4 percent chance of getting the color right each time.
Let’s move away from these insane odds and towards the Bitcoin phenomenon. Now you likely have heard of the person that bought two pizzas with 10,000 units of Bitcoin. This story was all over the media when Bitcoin was on the ascent, and it was reported that the Bitcoin that person paid for those pizzas with would then be worth about $100 million. Fortune also wrote in 2017 that if you would have bought just $5 of Bitcoin in 2010 – which would have given you 2000 Bitcoins – when the article was written you could have sold your coins for $4.4 million. So, if you had bought a dollars’ worth, that would have been around one million. Bet you wish you would have done that, eh. Well, if you want to get rich quick, perhaps you should be on the lookout for the next big thing in digital or alternative currencies.
You could of course just ask for one dollar from one million people, and that won’t cost you anything except maybe a little bit of your time. Would people seriously do that? Well, one young English man called Alex Tew did that in 2005 to generate income for his university education. He created the “The Million Dollar Homepage” which had one million pixels on it. You could buy the pixel for one buck and display an image on it. He ended up making a little over 1 million in gross income.
You might also just get lucky buying some old junk at a yard sale and selling it. CNN reported in 2013 that someone did just that at a yard sale in New York State. The person bought a Chinese bowl for 3 dollars and it sold later at auction in London for $2,225,000.
And if you want to hear a literal rags to riches story we have one. In 2017, a man called Loren Krytzer sold what he had once thought was a worthless rag for $1.5 million. The man had been surviving on disability checks up until then after losing a leg in a car accident. One day he was watching the Antiques Roadshow and realized that the dusty blanket he’d never bothered to use in the closet looked like the one on the TV; a Navajo blanket from around the 1800s. He told the press what he thought while watching that show, “I paused it and I went and got the blanket and I’m sitting there holding it. … I’m lining up the lines on the TV with the blanket, seeing if they match.” Indeed, they did, and he became a millionaire. So, a word to the wise, why not check out what old junk you have stored somewhere in the house. You might just have a million bucks lying around. Odds are someone does.
But even the toys you bought one day could be worth a small fortune if you kept them in perfect condition. It’s reported that the mother of a boy who once asked her for one of the Transformer figures while in Toys R Us in the U.S. ended up having the entire collection at one point. Sadly, the boy died of AIDS later in life but in 2007 the mother sold the Original Boxed Collection for $1,000,000. You could make thousands upon thousands if you have some of the old Star Wars figures still boxed, so next time you go to the toy store why not buy two of the toy you are buying. Who knows what it’ll be worth in 30, 40, 50 years’ time. This might not be the fastest way to make a million, but it will be for your kids.
So, can you think of any legal get rich quick schemes? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called How is Life Different for Billionaires!