Get rich slow

September 7, 2023

99% of people reading this article will have two reactions: they’ll ignore it or think I’m a moron. So, why write? I don’t know; it’s an itch I can’t scratch.

If you are on Twitter, you must have noticed the backlash against influencers of late. It started with the expose of some finfluencers faking P&L screenshots. Soon, this descended into a mudslinging contest between the less unsavory characters accusing the more unsavory characters. It’s incredible to see the less unsavory claim the moral high ground. Everything is relative in life, I guess.

In the last five-odd years, financial influencers, or “finfluencers” have built humongous followings on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Their popularity has exploded after the pandemic, given the massive influx of new people into the stock market. These people create content on everything from what stock to buy, how to make 1% a day, why Warren Buffett is an old guy who has no clue what he’s talking about, and why Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Fed, sucks at his job. There isn’t a subject these influencers don’t know about. Very wise people.

There was a time when new traders and investors would make the mistake of relying on stock tips from business news channels and random WhatsApp and Telegram groups, but times have changed. Today, most new investors in the markets get their investing advice from these influencers.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, we need influencers. Not the loudmouths who promise to make you rich in 12 days but people who teach about trading, investing, personal finance, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Markets don’t expand in isolation—it takes a village. But the issue is the incentives.

The irony is that there are genuine folks who publish some amazing videos on trading and investing, but they only get 8 views. On the flip side, the loudmouths who have no clue about finance but say stupid stuff like “how to make X lakhs in 7 days” get lakhs of views. Nobody likes to make money slowly, so nobody watches or reads sensible videos and articles. Everybody wants to get rich, and there are thousands of shady characters catering to that greed that have become popular. These people make more money in a month than most people in a few years 😞

Let me tell you a secret: trading is hard.

I know you’re shocked.

As Nithin keeps saying:

“Trading actively is the toughest way to make easy money in life.”

Don’t be disheartened. There are ways to get rich quick, but you’re not going to like them:

  1. Born rich, but this is not in your control.
  2. Marry rich, this may be in your control.
  3. Become an influencer.
  4. Run ponzi schemes.

Being a finfluencer is really easy—saying random things with confidence is 80% of the game. Greed will take care of the rest.

  1. Start a YouTube channel; you don’t even need to know the basics of markets. 
  2. Start giving random gyan. You can copy this from books, videos, and tweets. The key is to say it with a cool voice. You need to look wise and come off as a philosopher. 
  3. This is optional. Take some trades and buy some stocks. If you make money, share it everywhere. If not, ignore it. You can even fake screenshots. 
  4. Start trading seminars and coaching classes.  
  5. Be controversial on social media. Controversy attracts new followers.  
  6. Whenever your tips work, promote the hell out of them. If they don’t work, you had family issues, and you weren’t in the right mindset to make people rich.
  7. Become rich. 

I’m kidding, but this is how fraudsters operate. So the next time you see this pattern, you will hopefully be a little more skeptical of outlandish claims.

Greed is one of the most destructive emotions. It destroys common sense, rationality, and critical thinking. It creates tunnel vision, where you focus on impossible financial outcomes while ignoring all evidence to the contrary. This greed-induced myopia is a big reason why people fall for financial scams.

If you don’t want to become rich this way, then the only alternative is to get rich slowly. Even before that, ask yourself this: If someone knows how to become rich in 12 days flat, why would they sell that information? Wouldn’t such people keep the information to themselves and become rich instead?

What disturbs me the most is that a lot of people who take trading and investing advice from these influencers are young. On the one hand, I believe there’s no better teacher than experience. If these people lose money by listening to influencers, they’ll learn more than reading 100 books. Learning the hard way when they are young and have less money is better than learning the costly way later in life. On the other hand, I also realize that if their first trading and investing experience is bad, they can lose trust in the markets and never invest again. That’s bad for the markets.

But the bigger problem is that these young people are missing the point if they think they can make a lot of money quickly. They won’t have a lot of money, and that’s why they fall for these make 1% a day sales pitches. Of course, they could borrow money to invest for the long term in weekly options, and there’s some indirect evidence of that.

If you are young, what do you think is your biggest asset?

If you think it’s your parents assets, small savings, bike, car etc.—then you are wrong. When you are young, your biggest asset is you. In other words, it’s your future earnings potential. As obvious as it seems, human capital is not well understood. In fact, I didn’t know it until my late 20s. I had written about it earlier this year, here’s an excerpt:

But let me ask you this, what’s your biggest asset?

It’s not your house, land, or your investment portfolio, it’s your human capital. In other words, human capital is the present value of your future earnings potential. We think that we are working to build financial assets to retire comfortably. But we’re converting our human capital into financial capital.

People don’t understand this concept well, and most financial planners don’t even include this as part of the financial planning process. All the conversations revolve around stocks, mutual funds, and asset allocation. They don’t understand that the source of financial wealth is human capital, not the other way around.

In summary, the most valuable asset that requires the utmost amount of care and consideration is not your investment portfolio, but your human capital.

The younger you are, the higher your human capital. If you’re reading this, you’d be well aware of the magic of compounding on your investments. But imagine the power of compounding your skills. The rate of return from improving your skills and knowledge will be far greater than the rate of return on your investments.

The rate of return on your human capital determines your savings rate. It is far more important than the rate of return on your investments.

When you are young, trying to get rich from weekly options because someone said so on YouTube is stupid. I’m not saying don’t trade, do it, but with money you can afford to lose. There’s no better way to learn about the markets than by playing around. Just don’t assume trading will help you get rich quickly—it won’t. Odds are, you’ll blow a lot of money and have an awkward conversation with your parents where they look at you with regret. If you spend time investing in yourself, the potential returns are far higher than hitting the lottery with an OTM option. It’s a very unintuitive way of thinking, which is why most people don’t get it.

You also need to have the sense to distinguish sense from nonsense. Basic financial literacy in the 21st century is a life skill. If you can’t distinguish between what’s useful and what’s BS, you’ll end up doing dumb things by listening to random people. At the bare minimum, you need to know enough to distinguish sense from nonsense when people give advice like this:

  1. Your friend recommends a new, revolutionary crypto token whose price can only go up. He says the price falling is illegal. 
  2. A colleague has discovered a new financial product that offers double the Nifty returns with half the risk. 
  3. Your dad says emu farms are a golden investment. 
  4. That lady who points fingers northeast and southwest on Instagram Reels wants you to buy an awesome insurance product that will double your money. 
  5. That dude on YouTube says you can conservatively make 1% a day trading.

Having said that, asking people to forget about getting rich quickly is like convincing a person who wants to buy a Ferrari to buy a Maruti 800. If you do, you’ll get punched in the throat.

This is why I started this article by saying people will ignore it 😢

But if you belong to the 1% of people who might see the light, here’s some advice. If someone tells you that you can become rich quickly, he’s either lying or trying to make you a fool. You can, however, get rich slowly if you are willing to be patient. Even before you start investing, the first thing you need to realize is that unless your full-time job involves managing money, investing is a giant distraction. The best thing to do is start a SIP in a couple of equity index and debt funds and do something useful with your life. I know you’ll ask me what fund, how much, etc. Lucky for you, I’ve written about it numerous times: 

  1. Personal finance module on Varsity
  2. A personal finance checklist, part 1 and part 2
  3. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on how regular people should invest 
  4. Starting troubles
  5. A small hack to get over the fear of starting investing


  1. Only two people can get rich quickly: a liar and a scammer. 
  2. Loudness is not equal to smartness. Pick your role models in the markets carefully. 
  3. Know what your edge is. Not everybody can be a good trader or stock picker, and that’s okay. Not everybody can be good at everything in life. Accepting that sooner will help you save a lot of money and grief. 
  4. Having the right expectations is key. Understanding base rates will help in all aspects of your life. 
  5. Knowing the basics of finance and money is a mandatory life skill in the 21st century. You don’t need a Ph.D. in finance, but knowing the basics will help you a lot. 
  6. If your full-time job is not in the markets, then they’re a giant distraction.  
  7. Learning by watching videos is okay, but once in a while, be adventurous and try reading a book. Do you know a book? That thing that most people use as a paperweight.

Nithin and Abid had a wonderful conversation with Sandeep Parekh, India’s foremost security lawyer, on the topic of regulating influencers. It has a ton of insights, not just on regulations but on trading and investing as well, I can’t recommend watching it enough: 



Have questions? Ask them here on TradingQnA.

Financial analyst and researcher at Zerodha

Post a comment

  1. Kalyani says:

    I’m sharing this article with my daughter – thank you!

  2. Mario says:

    Thanks, you write very well.

  3. Abhijeet says:

    Great article bhuvan. Loved the simplicity with which you have written.

  4. Abhijit Pawar says:

    Well written I totally agree with your opinion.
    Greedy people don’t like this slow process to become a rich and that’s why scammers targeting them

  5. Sujatha says:

    Very well said the facts.

  6. Arushi vora says:

    After investing for about 4 years learning new things everyday , and yeah not lost money till date but not become rich either and I think that’s only way ! At times I get disheartened that I may not be able to make millions but now I know that 90 percent people lose money ! People lured me into f &O but I’ve decided to remain less rich and avoided becoming bankrupt! That’s my small little achievement 😀

  7. Sirisha says:

    This article really helps. Thank you for your effort.

  8. Rakesh M Kelaginamani says:

    Good reading

  9. Saurav says:

    I can feel it 🙃🙃. 1st year of my trading was all about getting rich quickly🙂🙂, then after 4+ years in trading it all about steady return with low risk. The more u try to make quicker the more risker its get 🙂🙂

  10. Roshni says:

    Thanks for this one Bhuvan. It’s insightful. I hope this helps all the people who think loud claims can help them build fortunes.

  11. Putta says:

    Should be a mandatory article to read before getting into the market

  12. Akshit says:

    Bhuvan, this is a nice article.

    But due to the influx of so many fin-influencers from “Akshat” to “Shravan” & more are getting popular day by day w/ Millions of followers it’s tough to find the right influencers to follow to increase the investing knowledge.

    Can you please recommend a list of top “1-3 YT/Insta Influencers” for each category “Stocks – Investing, MFs – Investing, Trading, etc.” so this article becomes a bit more tactical & we’re able to move in the right direction.


    Dear ZERODHA founder your opportunities for new investor better position thank….

  14. Anand Prakash says:

    Thank you for writing the truth about all gyanis.

  15. Ruppeesh says:

    Nice post. Very important to all those who wants to enter into sharemarket.
    No one gives free money. Information is wealth. learning and earnings depends on individuals knowledge , capital and timining.
    Good and better services won’t come free of cost in the market.
    The article warns & guides all the beginners that how money will be generated. Mr. Warren Buffett & Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala didn’t created wealth in a day.
    This needs to be understand first.

  16. Chanakya says:

    Nice article ..

  17. Divyam Gupta says:

    Hi there
    First time I have had a look at your article and loved it .
    Can you tell about those people on social media who give genuine knowledge and as you mentioned those who get 8 views

  18. Rizwan says:

    Can i copy this article?
    I will give due credit to u, along with link to this article.

  19. Aslam shaikh says:

    Mera zerodha Account open nahi horaha hai
    OTP leneke baad

  20. Manish says:

    Awesome Gyan… I started watching videos on YouTube and always had question in mind if they are earning really good in trading then why they sell trainings and seminars… Why not enjoying time with family and friends then I realised that the trading money is not easy and selling screenshots and Gyan is very easy…

  21. Baindur Pratik says:

    Thoughtfully written, and to the point. People spending time on you tube, thanks to pandemic. This will change, and people will go back to real classroom, the books. Atleast they don’t shout asking for likes and shares…

  22. Rahul says:

    Awesome article !
    Every youngster must read this before to jump in the market and get trapped by fin influencers.

  23. THRISHULA N T says:

    Think for long term not short term

  24. Ramann says:

    Why noy zerodha starting MTF for investors,all leading broker provide this facility where as the market leader is silence

  25. BIBHU PRASAD says:

    if you people are thinking people are suffering from losses… then zerodha should give up brokerage fees for young traders 😁 rather than this type of gyan…..

  26. Sandesh says:

    Haha. This was the best ever friendly article I have ever read on internet. Amazingly tailored!!

  27. Sundar says:

    I make money

  28. Arun raju says:

    Its very hard to make people understand the reality and being in business and caring for people in this generation it’s an amazing job.hats off .

    You are building a trust as like TATA.

  29. Nilesh Jadhav says:

    Please Keep posting such articles needful in this kind of days people are taking loan for trading and losing in options, due to un real expectations set by social media

  30. Sanjay says:

    Very useful. Worth reading till end.

  31. Ajay kohle says:

    1000 word in this article this article read they success in investing.

  32. Siva says:

    If you are young, what do you think is your biggest asset?

    For this question, I believe Time along with Human Capital is the biggest asset. Time and relatively good health in youth is something that is taken for granted and not missed until later.

    • Ruppeesh says:

      Nice post. Very important to all those who wants to enter into sharemarket.
      No one gives free money. Information is wealth. learning and earnings depends on individuals knowledge , capital and timining.
      Good and better services won’t come free of cost in the market.
      The article warns & guides all the beginners that how money will be generated. Mr. Warren Buffett & Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala didn’t created wealth in a day.
      This needs to be understand first.

  33. Naveen says:

    Loved this post. A very important thought process. Thank you for writing this 🙂

    • Max says:

      I am 33 years old. Almost ruined my life saving till now in trading account handling.
      I have 2 young babies.
      But now when I look to myself i saved nothing.

      I am risk taker . I want to invest for 10 years but in stock sip. Will you tell . I will invest strictly like Rd and li premium

  34. Well written says:

    Well written.

  35. Swayam says:

    Amazing article for a beginner to read ,
    And the way it is presented is also very simple to understand. Great job

  36. Vinayagamoorthy says:

    Good one Bhuvan. Just loved it. Treasure is generally hidden. We need to put in some effort to find it. And this applies to influencers like you. 🙂