When I was young — very young — my family had money. Well, not my parents, but my grandparents. Both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs. They owned several businesses throughout their lifetimes. When I was around 8 years old, one of them lost the banks they owned to the federal government, and the other one had lost his business too.
My mom had to leave the small town we lived in and get a job. As a kid, you really don’t know any better, but when you get older, you realize what you have been though. Only after I had launched a few businesses and failed myself, did I realize what had taken place in the older generations of my family.
When I was 24, I made up my mind to become a millionaire by the time I was 40. In 2005, I made a lot of money selling mortgages and real estate. I was on my way to becoming a millionaire by age 30. Then, much like my grandpa’s banks, the feds raided my house and ultimately sent me to prison for 15 months. I was arrested in 2005, tried in 2007 and sent to prison from spring 2007 to summer 2008.
During those 15 months, my ex-wife cleaned me out. I was 28 when I got out of prison — two years away from my millionaire age of 30. But there I was, starting over with nothing. I had to move in with my parents. It was the most humbling experience of my life.
I decided I would not let this stop me. I knew I had to start all over, but I was close to millionaire status before prison, so I knew it was possible to do it again. I didn’t lose my hustle — I just lost my time and assets. I had to make up for the loss, and I didn’t waste any time. I had 15 months I needed to make up in about a six month period.
I got a job in the mortgage industry again in 2008. In 2009, I closed more than 180 loans. I was once again on my way to becoming a millionaire by age 40. Then, in 2010, my mortgage loan originator license was denied, and I lost my job doing loans. I was forced to start from the bottom — again.
This time I wasn’t going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe again. I had to create my own hustle and control my own destiny. It was as if life was slapping me in the face, trying to get my attention and point me in the direction it wanted me to go — not the direction I wanted to go.
Towards the end of 2010, I started on the path I still walk today. It’s been hell. I’ve had to sacrifice it all to get here. I’ve sold cars and been in multi-level marketing companies — selling a bunch of crap I hated. But it was all part of the journey.
Becoming a millionaire was not easy for me this time around. It took me five years to get to a seven-figure income by myself. That first million is hard. People who start out with money from their parents have a huge advantage over the rest of us. Making a million doing what you like is not always easy. It’s fun, but not always easy.
Let’s talk about what it means to be a millionaire. According to the dictionary, a millionaire is someone who has a net worth of a million dollars in assets. It’s not just cash; it could be cars, stocks, bonds, houses, websites or any number of things that count as assets and not liabilities.
I don’t have a million dollars in cash laying around. I’m not that wealthy yet. When you think of a millionaire with a million in cash laying around, that’s usually someone with a net worth of $5 million or more. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, it makes no sense to keep cash. Stale cash does not appreciate; you must buy appreciating assets with it — hence net worth.
In all reality, there are a lot of millionaires who you’d never guess were millionaires. I did loans for guys who worked for the U.S. Post Office for 30 years who had $2 million in their 401k. Your neighbor who owns his home outright and both his cars? He’s probably a millionaire. It’s not always mansions and lambos.
Don’t get me wrong — having a million in assets and not losing it is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. My assets are six figures in cash, multiple digital training products, a company with employees, CRM systems and software. Each of these assets produce money for me monthly, just like renting out a home. I sold my last two homes at the end of 2015, but I usually have a home or two as well.
The thing about becoming a millionaire is that you want to maintain that status. People often ask me — “when is it enough?” My answer is simple. It’s never enough. I’m doing what I can not to lose what I have. I have to find ways to grow.
I live in a penthouse where the elevator is my front door. I lease an Infiniti SUV, and I own a motorcycle. I lease the penthouse too, so it’s not included in my assets. In my situation, it makes better financial sense to lease. I buy income properties and live in rentals.
I don’t rent private jets or stay at the penthouse at the Ritz every time I travel. I could do those things, but they are not the best use of my money right now. Once I break the multi-millionaire mark — around $5 million — I’ll consider those things. Until then, I fly coach, stay at the Hilton and keep hustling all I can.
The best part about being a millionaire is being able to help others in ways I wasn’t helped. I’m able to provide stuff for my employees and partners that no one gave me. I’m able to give back in the ways I want, which mostly benefits my bottom line too. It’s a win-win.
The reality of being a millionaire is that you still have to go to work. Very few millionaires don’t work. The ones that don’t usually trust funders or inheritance types. Those of us who’ve worked for it, want to work for more of it. It’s the reason Warren Buffet goes to work every day.
Over the last six years, I’ve helped others become millionaires. That’s where it’s really at. When you can get your clients, friends and business partners to seven-figure incomes too, life is just better. I love it when everyone is winning. I’ve helped even more people get to six figures, and I have no doubt that if they follow the plan, they will see seven figures soon enough.
I became a millionaire at age 36. That was four years ahead of my original goal. My new goal is to have $5 million by the age of 40. I’m well on track to crush that goal. Maybe then, I’ll write again about what it’s like to have a multi-million dollar liquid bank account. Until then I’m going to do what most millionaires do. I’m going to work.