He wouldn’t use the same strategy if he were starting from scratch today.

“I’m still very pro low-cost index funds for almost everyone,” he told Business Insider, adding: “I do think it’s very clear now that the 7-to-8% forever inflation-adjusted compounding returns is very, very bullish.”

Lower economic growth means index funds likely won’t enjoy the strong returns they once did, and investors potentially have to save and contribute more to hit their financial goals.

As an investor, you always want to think about the best way to put your money to work. In today’s environment, Sabatier believes that means investing in a pre-existing business — or building one yourself.

“I’m very, very pro-entrepreneurship as an accelerated path to financial independence, beyond index funds and even real estate, which is traditionally held up as the fastest path,” he said. “I think business ownership is really where it’s going to be for the next 10 to 20 years.”

Buying an existing business through sites like BizBuySell

It’s a good time to buy an existing business, explained Sabatier, noting that business school grads are increasingly passing up traditional finance and consulting jobs to buy small companies instead.

One of the reasons the timing is good is because the baby boomer generation, which holds half of the nation’s household wealth, is aging and selling their businesses. “There’s a massive amount of wealth that’s shifting from our parents down to us — and a sizable portion of that is in the form of business assets,” Sabatier said.

He recommends using BizBuySell, the “Zillow of businesses,” to learn about companies for sale in your local community, from gas stations and FedEx freight routes to vending machine businesses and car repair shops.

grant sabatier

Sabatier built his wealth by investing in index funds, but has since diversified his portfolio by buying real estate, websites, and collectibles.

Courtesy of Grant Sabatier

He recommends thinking about which businesses are more likely to be recession-proof. For example, “You always need heat and electricity, you always need plumbing, you always need HVAC,” he said. “People always need their lawns mowed, their yard taken care of, their leaves blown, their Christmas lights hung.”

He also says that now is a good time to buy blogs and content websites.

“Tons of different types of online businesses are selling at extreme discounts, like 50% or more from just a year ago, because everyone’s worried about what’s going to happen with AI,” said Sabatier. “So it’s an incredible time to be buying niche websites and optimizing them.”

While the threat of artificial intelligence is “certainly worrisome,” he noted, he thinks that, in the content space, “it’s somewhat overblown.”

He particularly likes buying websites because they’re asset-light and relatively affordable.

“You don’t have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in these things. You can buy sites for $10,000 to $20,000,” said Sabatier, who uses websites like Empire Flippers, QuietLight, and The Website Flip to find online businesses and sites to buy.

And just because the sticker price is $10,000 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to front that money: “I bought a number recently, and all of them are seller-financed. That allows you to basically take a loan from the seller and get them for no cash down.”

Having built his own website, Millennial Money, and acquired a handful of others, Sabatier recommends buying an existing site and growing it instead of launching your own and starting from scratch, “which just takes more time and more effort.”

Starting your own business

Another option, if you have the time, resources, and drive, is to build your own business.

Business Insider has spoken to dozens of founders and entrepreneurs who, before building successful companies, started with a side hustle — and, in some cases, simply a side project or hobby that cost money long before they brought any in. Many made the leap from working for someone else to working for themselves only once their side income fully replaced their day job incomes.

Carving out time and energy to put toward a side project that might not initially generate any sales while at the same time working a full-time job isn’t for the faint of heart.

Jatz Naran, who built his Amazon business between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. after his day job would wrap up, learned to “forget work-life balance,” he said. “You have to sacrifice one thing for another.”

NeuroGum cofounder Kent Yoshimura, who worked at a music studio and as a muralist while building a caffeinated gum and mint company, admitted to pulling “an all-nighter once a week” in the startup’s early days.

“The best way to build something that’s more durable and is an actual business is by taking time to experiment,” said Sabatier. “I think a lot of people are like, ‘I want to make money as quickly as possible online.’ You have to be realistic. Ask, ‘What can I do in the next six to 12 months to learn about all the different ways that I can build a business, all the different ways that I can make money online.'”


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