How to get rich with personal finance expert Tom Hartmann

It's what we all want to know - how to get rich. Property or shares? Start-ups or give up? Or is it all too late?

Personal finance expert Tom Hartmann joined The AM Show on Tuesday to discuss how it's done.

"You have over the next decades to come, you're going to have an incredible amount of money," he says.

"You have to make decisions about what to do with it. But you can use it to grow, because money is for growing."

Investing in tech start-ups can be extremely lucrative if you hit the jackpot - but it also carries a large chance of losing all your money.

"It's really about how much risk you might want to take on," Mr Hartmann says.

"Something like that - they call it looking for unicorns because they're so rare. So it has to be something that you really believe in and money that you're not really looking to grow towards to future."

The sharemarket offers high returns over long periods of time. Mr Hartmann says shares are a "growth machine" that can even beat property investing.

"If you look at the sharemarket over time, over the past 100 years, the amount of growth that's been there, that's the biggest wealth machine," he told host Duncan Garner.

What about leaving the money in the bank? The AM Show host Amanda Gillies says that after her experiences with the GFC she leaves her money in her account.

"It really depends on how soon you need that money," Mr Hartmann says.

"If you're playing a long game with it then over time you could be rolling backwards, because you have to take into account taxes and inflation.

"If she's going to use it in the next three years that's a good idea - that makes sure the money will be there."

But if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. The financial world is full of scammers and over-optimistic people who will separate you from your cash.

"Lots of times we don't know," Mr Hartmann says.

"Anybody who says they can tell the future, run in the opposite direction because they're probably trying to scam you."

And the AM Show host Mark Richardson had a hard-learned warning for prospective investors.

"Not unicorns, goats. I invested in some goats that were going to find a cure for AIDS," he says. "Didn't work. I lost about $10,000."

Richardson said the goats died.