There seems to be a large disconnect between the wealthy people in the United States and the people who are living paycheck to paycheck and often swimming in debt. Somewhere along the line, people who are wealthy learned things that set them apart from the general population.
Often we hear stories of the rich or wealthy and assume they got there based on luck or fortunate circumstance. What I wanted to do with this series is give people a chance to learn from those who have overcome personal, social and economic barriers. What does a wealth mindset look like? What did they learn along their path that not everyone has realized? How did they beat the system and reach a point of financial security and even financial freedom?
Join me while I dive into these people’s stories and let’s all learn from their hard-learned lessons and come out of it with a potentially new outlook and some knowledge gems that we can all implement into our lives.
I asked David (real name not used), a successful businessman and investor a few questions about his past financial life and what he’s doing currently, along with some advice and recommendations. Please give it a read and let us know if you have any questions for David.
What is your current annual income?
Average about 250K taxable income.
How much debt do you currently have and what kind of debt is it?
700K. 100% of our debt is home mortgage debt on multiple homes.
What is your net worth?
Net Worth of 1.7 million.
What is your largest investment at the moment and what do you define as an investment?
Largest investment would be multiple rental homes. In my opinion an investment is when you have the potential to earn an income on your money.
Some people think of their personal home as an investment and on some levels it can be over time; but my definition would be a vehicle (stocks, bonds, gold, real estate, collector cars, etc...) with the potential to earn an income from them.
In your opinion, what are some of the major accomplishments (1-5) you've achieved in the financial world?
1- Bought my first brand new home at the age of 22.
2- Bought my first rental property at the age of 27.
3- Bought my first brand new vehicle at the age of 36...the reason I call this an accomplishment is that I had never had a car loan up until this point in my life. The accomplishment was that I put off the temptation of buying a new car in my 20's. Since I owned my own construction company at the time, it was also a tax deductible expense. I see too many young people put themselves in too much debt buying new vehicles, when used are perfectly great. The average millionaire in America buys a car that's 2 years old.
4- Bought, remodeled and sold 15 homes that I flipped. 14 were fantastic success stories, but honestly the first one was a nightmare and I lost a-lot of money. I took the tough lessons I learned from the first fiasco and had a string of successful and fun transactions.
5- Buying my wife her dream home at the time with a large down payment.
Was your family lower class, middle or upper class and how did that shape your views around money while growing up?
Initially, my family was lower class. My parents had 3 children very young and had no education past high school. I used to have to wear hand me downs from my older sister...really. They both went back to school while raising a family and each had pretty good careers. My dad was an electrician for 41 years and my mother was a court reporter. So I guess once my parents got rolling in their careers we grew up upper middle class as they used to call it. Watching my parents improve their situations in life was very inspiring for all of us kids.
As an adult, were there any money or wealth beliefs that you had that weren’t serving you? And what did you do to overcome or change those beliefs?
Example: money is the root of all evil etc…
I had the belief that money was "hard" to obtain. I believed you physically had to work your ass off to get ahead.
I'm not sure if I would have ever overcome those beliefs if I hadn't met my wife. She introduced me to new books and new ideas including the Law of Attraction and the Law of Abundance and I became more confident in not just working hard, but working smart.
What’s the most important book you’ve read that has shaped your mind financially? If you can’t choose one, top 3.
Great question...these aren't in order, they're all equally as great.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
The Richest Man in Babylon
The Millionaire Next Door
Who are some people you look to for advice or look up to in the financial world?
Robert Kiyosaki, Dave Ramsey, Anthony Robbins, Warren Buffett, and my personal tax lawyer who's also a big real estate investor.
Was there a time you spent a large amount of money and it scared you? What was the result? Did it work out or did you go broke?
Yes. The largest amount I had ever spent as an investment was the very first property I flipped. I was scared and nervous about it. My realtor and friend were so confident that it was a good investment, that I went with it.
As I mentioned earlier, initially it seemed to be an absolute disaster. We lost about 100K on that home that I worked months on to remodel. Of course this was when the housing bubble burst. I took my lumps, learned my lessons and turned out 14 real estate success stories in a row afterwards.
What is your purpose behind wanting large amounts of wealth and income?
A sense of peace. We do love to travel and have nice things, but that's not what drives me to accumulate wealth. To me the accumulation of wealth is the accumulation of a peace of mind.
In your opinion, what’s the easiest or smallest thing someone can do to obtain more wealth?
START. Too many people put it off until tomorrow. 95% of American's are dead, dead broke or still working at the age of 65...that's real and that's scary. Just start setting aside a minimum of 10% of your income...more if possible.
Do you have advice for younger generations when it comes to wealth and finances? What do you wish someone would have told you at 20? At 30? At 40+?
Show an interest. Ask those around you including your parents (if they've had financial success) about what they've learned.
Take action. Most say the 8th wonder of the world is compounding interest. Start investing in something as simple as an S&P Index Fund...the sooner the better. Learn to leverage like taught in the book, The Riches Man in Babylon. Make your GOLD earn SILVER and your SILVER earn COPPER according to the story. A better example would be to have your day job and possible your "side hustle" fund the down payment on a rental property and have the income from the rental property fund you S&P Index Fund and leverage time, along with the magic of compounding.
What is Wealth to you? Your definition.
Wealth to me is...How much you've accumulated subtracting how much it takes you to live monthly and/or yearly if you were no longer working. If you've got a million dollars in the bank, but your lifestyle requires a million and 1 dollars per year...you really don't have that much wealth unless you decrease your lifestyle, right?
Have questions on how David achieved any of this? Let us know in the comments.
Would you like to be featured on Success Leaves Clues? I am looking for people to tell their wealth, influence or any other uniquely successful thing about you. Please shoot me a message on the social medias or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be willing to contribute your story!