vajrahorizon wrote: What are the approaches of Buddhists to accumulating wealth as a layperson? Are there limits?
Yes, don't violate the precepts (so don't kill people, steal, indulge in negative sexual behaviour, take intoxicants (or deal in them), or speak harshly or tell lies).
So most people would say that being a hired killer or a porn star are out of bounds (although I knew a Gay porn star who was serious in his mind and heart about his Buddhism).
A lot of other people would say that working in a slaughter house or entering the military is also out of bounds. Sometimes in the Asian American community there are businesspeople who have to work with some rather unsavoury people (think, stories of the Mafia and other organized crime). The real world and real circumstances intrude upon our lives. Nonetheless people can usually follow the basic precepts in their work.
So some of the highest paying work is in the financial industry or related to it. That can also be financially precarious until a certain level and even then one can be "let go".
The most certain way to accumulate wealth is to invest carefully over at least a 20 year period. Please read Dr. Jeremy Siegel's "Stocks in the Long Run" (or maybe it's Stocks for the Long Run). If you invest in the stock market over a minimum 20 year period and are disciplined and invest regularly, then this offsets downturns and takes advantages of random and relatively unpredictable increases in stock prices. As with everything the devil is in the details. Nikolas Nassim Taleb, one of Benoit Mandlebrot's protege's, has made millions of dollars in taking advantage of black swan (highly unexpected and difficult to predict) events. He is also a financial mathematician with a deep understanding of randomness and some unique views of probability and statistics which is why he isn't gambling (because with anyone else this really would just be gambling). So if and only if you gain very deep insight into the movements of the stock market should you depart from Siegel's strategies (or you might risk some of your investment and invest with Taleb).
The other thing is to create a service or technology or invention that a specific niche needs and will pay you for. Most people who don't otherwise inherit their money become financially comfortable this way.