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Ways To Make Extra Money

Day trading

For every financial rock star who makes Day Trading look easy and glamorous, you’ll find eight or nine smart, capable guys who just can’t make it work.

Every guy thinks that surely he’s one of the rock stars, but statistically, once you factor in everyone who loses big, day traders actually earn a lower return than the average investing household. So in the end, it’s essentially a stressful, complicated and high-pressure way to make less money than if you just handed your cash to people who know what they’re doing and then went to take a nap.

Investing in Property

If you’ve ever seen infomercials for some sort of vague but astonishing moneymaking opportunity -- usually one whose details you’ll learn after forking over a few hundred bucks for a seminar -- there’s a good chance it involved flipping real estate. And hey, the guy giving the seminar just got everyone in the room to empty their wallets, so his get-rich-quick scheme worked for one person, anyway.

Flipping is a lot less common as housing prices continue to drop, but even when prices do hit rock bottom, any property you buy is still money that’s gone until you get someone else to pay you for the damn thing.

Currency Trading

The foreign exchange market is risky enough to begin with, given that it's a zero-sum game in which you're only going to benefit if someone else loses money, and you're working against people who do this for a living and have more capital than you. In the end, probably only about 15% of forex traders are profitable.

On top of that, forex fraud is more popular than ever; there's no magic software that will guarantee you forex trading profits, and forex trading is not low-risk (Currency Trading). However, there are plenty of people who will promise you these and other ridiculous things just so they can walk away with your money.

Online surveys

A common subject of Google sidebar ads and exclamation-filled spam e-mails; filling out online surveys is touted as a simple task that is for some reason worth $10, $20, maybe even $50 an hour -- whatever nonsense price they quote is never even close to the truth. How much do you really expect to get for an anonymous busywork job that requires absolutely no talent or ability?

If you said anything higher than 40 cents an hour, you're out of your mind. And that's assuming you find one of the legitimate opportunities; the others are likely to charge you some fee for the privilege and then never pay you anyway.

Yield Investment

A high-yield investment program (HYIP) is essentially just a Ponzi scheme, a principle with which everyone and his grandma is familiar with by now -- investors are promised an absurdly high return, and initially they get it (or rather, they get the money of the new investors who were promised the same thing). The scheme is completely unsustainable after a few levels, which is why the people who implement them rely on early investors to spread news of their success.

HYIPs are thoroughly illegal, and the simple rule of thumb is that any promised high return that seems too good to be true almost certainly is.

Online game economies

Online video games are on track to become a $10 billion industry in 2009. If playing video games all day is your thing, it might seem like an attractive prospect to try to sell in-game stuff for real-world money (a World of Warcraft character famously sold for nearly $10,000 back in 2007).

The problem with trying to be competitive in online "gold farming" is that you'll be competing with 400,000 guys, typically Korean or Chinese, making $100 a month and working 12-hour days, so it's inadvisable unless you want to turn the game into a soul-numbing, 30-cents-an-hour ordeal.


OK, so some blogs actually do make money from advertising. The problem is that the vast majority of these profitable blogs are professional in nature, so when Engadget or the Huffington Post makes money, it's because these sites are actually breaking news or getting industry superstars to write columns. Unless you can snag a former Secretary of State to contribute to your musings about Batman, it's unlikely that you'll similarly distinguish yourself.

Instead, like most personal blogs, you can maybe expect to make enough to cover the cost of hosting -- and only after you put in two years of building your audience.

Paid medical testing

Paid medical testing is neither a scam nor a low-reward opportunity; it's possible to make actual money if you devote yourself to being a full-time pincushion for science. No, this idea comes with its own unique set of drawbacks like vomiting, chills, seizure, death -- stuff like that.

Six subjects in London, for example, suffered organ damage and life-threatening complications while testing an arthritis treatment in 2006. The real question isn't whether or not you can make money this way; it's how much bodily harm you're willing to risk in the process.


There are two problems with gambling in order to make money: The first is the concept of "gambler's ruin," which states that anybody with a finite bankroll (i.e., you) will eventually lose everything when playing against an opponent with an infinite bankroll (i.e., The House). The second problem is that the typical male compulsive gambler loses over $50,000 a year and is 20 times more likely than the average non-gambler to commit suicide. Taken together, these points should indicate that gambling as a moneymaking measure is roughly equivalent to throwing your money directly in the garbage.

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