From GameStop to bitcoin to SPACs, some investors are ignoring financial axioms and throwing money at what would normally be questionable speculations and making millions. This may make you feel like you are missing out, but get-rich-quick schemes are nothing new.

In the late 1990s, a memorable TV ad touted a new online trading company. The spot showed two parents discussing their young son’s use of the family computer to buy and sell stocks when a helicopter lands in the backyard to pick up the boy. The message: Anyone can make a fortune trading, even if they know nothing about stocks. At the time, it seemed everyone was buying the latest stocks and seeing their profits swell. But we all know how that era ended.

Speculators making a fortune is nothing new. Speculators losing a fortune is even more common—those folks just don’t post about it on Reddit. GameStop, bitcoin and the hot new SPACs are rolls of the dice that trade on investor whimsy rather than an investment’s long-term earning power. If people following you buy and bid up the price, you win. If they don’t, you lose.

If you put your money in sound investments with real value and profit potential, you better protect your wealth and all but guarantee long-term profits. Get-rich-quick sales pitches are always tempting, and proven long-term strategies are usually boring. But one works, and the other is a coin flip. Savvy investors focus on their long-term financial goals and the proven strategies that will get them there.

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