Living paycheck to paycheck, saving aggressively, and investing in index funds won't make you rich easy. It will take decades. Fortunately, there is a "shortcut".
Time to stop ceding control of your financial destiny to the market; why trade 40 years of your life for wealth at an old age?. You have 24 hours a day and 80 years of life, assuming everything goes according to plan. Do you think a yearly pay increase of 5%, or a higher paying job, or more hours worked will bring you closer to wealth? The math doesn't add up. The slow-lane strategy( Intrinsic value, job+ market investments(compound interest and 8% return on investments)) is a defective wealth-making strategy. The slow lane approach is a wealth preserving strategy. You need to find a way to skip 30 years of the slow -lane when compound interest finally starts to pay high dividends.
The fast-lane to wealth:
In order to create wealth, you need to find a way to overcome the limitation of time. Stop focusing on the event of wealth and start focusing on the process of getting there. what you need are two things: leverage and control, which you can never have working at a job. When you work at a job, you're trading 5 days of work( indentured time) for 2 days of freedom which is equivalent to -60% ROI. In order to escape the decades long soul-sucking trade, you need to work for a few years 7 to 0 days of freedom where you have control and leverage, build a money tree that will enable you to detach your time from the business and enjoy the coveted 0 to 7 days of freedom. Fundamentally, the fast lane equation = Asset value+ profit. Once you've built the asset, a big liquidation event can make you free for life.
Build an appreciating asset using the law of effection which states that you earn millions when you impact millions in an environment you control. First off, change your road map. Flip the switch in your mind from consumer to producer, and start actively looking for hidden opportunities in every complaint or pain-point from you or others. You don't need some extraordinary idea or a breakthrough. There are a lot of things that can be made better. Execution is what's valuable, not ideas. There are a lot of poorly executed ideas. You need to train yourself to find those opportunities. Follow the five commandments: control, entry( if the barrier of entry is low, then you have to be exceptional to compete), the command of need, and scale. Now, for your business to explode, you need to have leveraged one of the following: the internet( software, content), distribution chains( intended iterations: instead of buying of franchise sell a franchise; instead of joining an MLM, create an MLM). Never chase the money. Instead, create a business that attracts the money. People don't care about your dreams, they care about what need/problem of theirs you are solving with your business. Put your ideas out there. Execute and see how the world reacts. Let the world decides what you should do next. Listen to your customers; they pay your bills, they're the boss. You can't please everyone but you can create a brand with a unique selling point as opposed to a business. Your brand is what people pay for, not the business. Along your journey, Keep the right people around you; verify before you trust. Hire good attorneys and accountants and keep in mind that partnerships are like marriages, so choose the right partner. A fastlaner's education starts at graduation. A fast-laner doesn't educate himself to increase his intrinsic value to get a higher paying job. He educates himself instead to upgrade his system. If you succeed, you will be able to live off income from your money system which gets fed through your business system. Think of yourself as a car that has a potential speed of 320 mph. That's the potential speed. You will never reach any speed if you don't hit the accelerator.