Your odds of getting stinking rich - and the best way to do it

Sarah Coles
USA, Florida, Miami, two young women in bikini on yacht, jet boaters in background
USA, Florida, Miami, two young women in bikini on yacht, jet boaters in background

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you a mansion, a yacht, endless holidays across the world, and all the indulgent luxury you could possibly handle - which might be enough to make some people less miserable. The only question is how you're going to strike it rich.

A new study has calculated the odds on a number of routes to mega-wealth, so it's worth taking a look, and focusing your efforts on the routes to riches that are most likely to come your way.

The study, by Lottoland, found that by far your best odds of becoming incredibly rich are if you have a great business idea, and set up a successful business. Apparently on in 200 people who do this go on to be rich.

Of course, this requires you to put the effort in - which is also a major flaw in the route offering your third best chance of becoming rich - writing a best-selling novel (which has odds of 1 in 220). In fourth place is the equally tough route to wealth of becoming a professional athlete - which has odds of 1 in 22,000. Likewise number seven, becoming the CEO of a major company, sounds a lot like hard work (and has odds of 1 in 100,000).

There are also some routes to riches that require some innate talent rather than necessarily much work. They include the fifth placed option: poker career success (with odds of 1 in 38,333) - and ninth placed movie stardom (with odds of 1 in 1.5 million).

There are then the routes that anyone could fall into - without either hard work or talent. These produce the second most likely route to riches - marrying a millionaire - with odds of 1 in 215. Number six is also an easy option - discovering an heirloom is worth a fortune on the Antique's Roadshow - with odds of 1 in 60,000. At number eight is being born into billions at odds of 1 in 586,206 and finally at number 10 - winning the lottery at one in 14 million.

Ten ways to get rich - in order of likelihood
Start a successful company from scratch
Marry a millionaire
Write a best-selling novel
Become a professional athlete
Become a poker tournament winner
Find a valuable heirloom
Become the CEO of a major company
Be born a billionaire
Become a film star
Win the lottery

However, before you hold out for any of these things, it's worth being aware of what you are up against. You're more likely to be arrested for drink driving than to marry a millionaire; you're more likely to lose a limb in a chainsaw accident than become a professional athlete; you're more likely to be wrongly declared dead than get rich through poker; you're more likely to date a supermodel than become CEO of a successful company and you're more likely to die in a plane crash than be a movie star.

Of course, all this overlooks the simplest and most likely way in which you can build up major wealth - careful saving and investing over the long term. It's not as exciting as overnight success, and you'll have to forgo the opulent luxury and the mega yachts while you save, but it's a much more certain approach to building wealth.

But what do you think? Would you prefer a guarantee of long-term wealth through careful financial planning, or the outside chance of an overnight win? Let us know in the comments.

Warren Buffett lunch costs $3.5m for anonymous bidder
Warren Buffett lunch costs $3.5m for anonymous bidder