Skip links

Main navigation

Why Real Estate?

What Popular Investment Will Make You a Millionaire Fastest? (Rentals vs. Stocks vs. Gold)

Approximate Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Learn > Why Real Estate? > What Popular Investment Will Make You a Millionaire Fastest?

Published: October 10th, 2015
Can you really become a millionaire by investing just $100,000 in real estate, stocks, or gold? Let’s find out! In this article we’ll compare the ROI (Return On Investment) on three different investment vehicles: gold, stocks, and real estate over a 15 year period.

Investments Compared: Real Estate versus Stocks versus Gold

Year One: $100,000 Investment

Sandra, Joe, and Pat have $100,000 each that they want to invest. Here’s what their initial investments look like:

  • 1. Sandra buys $100,000 worth of gold – using no leverage.
  • 2. Joe purchases $100,000 in stocks, but he buys them on margin so his stock value is $200,000.
  • 3. Pat uses $100,000 as a 20% down payment on $500,000 worth of income property.

15 Years Later: ROI

Let’s look down the road 15 years to compare investment strategies, with the assumption that each investment increases 5% per year in value. (Please note that markets go up and down, so this example is only being presented for the sake of comparison.)

  • 1. In 15 years at a 5% return, Sandra’s gold would be worth $207,000. She has slept well at night knowing she owns “real money” and is thrilled that she’s doubled her money.
  • 2. In 15 years, at a 5% return, Joe’s stocks would be worth $415,000. He has to pay back the margin so he nets $315,000 and he’s thrilled that he’s tripled his money.
  • 3. In 15 years at a 5% return, Pat’s properties are now worth $1 Million. The initial 30 year fixed loan of $400,000 is now payed down to $200,000 so the profit is $700,000! Not bad for an initial $100,000 investment.

Why Is the ROI from Real Estate So Much Higher?

It’s simple – the use of leverage can help real estate investors acquire much more than they could on our own. This is one of the greatest benefits of real estate investing, because the use of OPM (Other People’s Money) can increase our returns infinitely.

In this example, Pat had purchased rental property so the monthly income helped pay off the debt, offering even more leverage. In fact, the rents more than covered the expenses – so much so that Pat was able to receive a 10% annual return, which would net an additional $150,000 over the 15 year period. Add that net rental income to the $700,000 profit, and Pat’s total return is $850,000 in profit!

What if Pat put all his rental income toward paying off the loan instead?

He’d have all properties paid off in 15 years thanks to the accelerated payoff. In other words, Pat would be a millionaire! Plus, those properties would be netting an annual rental income of approximately $100,000 per year! Remember, that’s the same amount of money Pat started with.

ROI Summary

Okay, let’s summarize all the numbers. An initial $100,000 investment at 5% interest over 15 years became:

  • 1. $207,000 for gold
  • 2. $415,000 in stocks
  • 3. $1 Million plus $100,000 annual rental income for life.

Enough said?

Actually, no. There’s more: Taxes.

Both Sandra and Joe will need to pay capital gains taxes if they decide to cash out. Today, long-term capital gains tax is normally 15%, however Congress is considering eliminating the capital gains tax. There is discussion of including it as ordinary income, which could be as much as 50%.


If Pat wanted to cash out, the capital gains tax would also apply, unless he decided to use the funds to buy another property through a 1031 exchange. Additionally, Pat would have enjoyed many deductions from owning real estate that would not be available with stock or gold investments.

Real estate isn’t always easy because it does require hands on management. However, that manager doesn’t have to be you. There are very good companies who specialize in property management. Real estate also requires that you buy right.

There are many agents who specialize in finding high-yielding rental property. Be careful about working with agents who don’t own rental property because they may not understand it.
If you are new to real estate investing, consider working with someone who is highly experienced AND successful in what you are trying to achieve.


Kathy Fettke

Kathy Fettke

Kathy Fettke is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Real Wealth Network. She is passionate about researching and then sharing the most important information about real estate, market cycles and the economy. Author of the #1 best-seller, Retire Rich with Rentals, Kathy is a frequent guest expert on such media as CNN, CNBC, Fox News, NPR and CBS MarketWatch.

Full Bio