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Forget the National Lottery and Bitcoin! I reckon shares are a better way to get rich

The growing number of ISA millionaires in the UK underlines the power of investing in shares to create wealth and get rich. Meanwhile, playing the National Lottery is hopeless as a wealth-generator for many, and dabbling with Bitcoin comes with massive risks.

Playing the National Lottery is a harmless bit of fun, but it’s no good as part of a plan to get rich. Why? Because the probability of winning a life-changing sum of money is vanishingly small.

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Why the Lottery and Bitcoin may not help you get rich

According to the National Lottery website, the odds of getting six numbers right and winning the jackpot are one in 45,057,474. And the odds of getting five numbers plus the bonus ball are one in 7,509,579.

So maybe we should turn to Bitcoin and some of the other cryptocurrencies for our shot at making a million. I can’t deny that some people have done extremely well from moves in the price of Bitcoin over the past few years.

Indeed, the first price ever recorded for Bitcoin was in October 2009 when a chap called Martti Malmi sold some for 0.09 US cents each. Peanuts, in other words. And the highest price ever recorded for a Bitcoin happened in December 2017 when it sold for $20,089. That’s loads of money when compared to the original price.

Today, the Bitcoin price is around $9,300, which is still many thousands of percent higher than its starting price. And, for me, that’s one of the main problems. I see huge potential for the price to fall back down and limited opportunity for it to rise much from where it is now. Indeed, the spectacular rises of the past few years may never be repeated.

How you can build your wealth with shares

I reckon Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are risky vehicles driven by nothing much other than speculation. So I’d avoid them all and turn to shares and share-backed investments in a drive to create wealth. Indeed, over the long haul, studies have shown that shares on the stock market have outperformed all other major classes of asset. And I think that’s a good starting point for any plan to get rich.

You can sidestep some of the risks involved with investing by avoiding speculative stocks and diversifying across several different shares. You could even invest using managed funds and trackers for a wider approach to diversification.

But if you focus on identifying good-quality underlying businesses and buy the shares at opportune moments when good value is on offer, you could do well over the long haul. Key to generating wealth is to compound your investments. So I’d plough all my dividends and gains from selling shares back into more shares.

I reckon a carefully managed programme of investment in quality shares over a long period of time is a surer and better way to aim for wealth. So I’d forget speculating on Bitcoin and playing the National Lottery.

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Kevin Godbold has no position in any share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.