It was 2008, and my big bets to short the housing market paid off, but not enough to help my family overcome the string of losses in the California real estate market. You see, while I was telling my friends, family, and everyone on YouTube to sell stocks and real estate in 2007 and buy put options on mortgage giants like Country Wide, I was going for some last-minute profits before the whole market imploded.
I have been publicly credited with predicting much of what happened in 2008. However, what is not known by too many is that I suffered through incredible financial losses that year, due to self-inflicted wounds. As a young man, the best money I had ever seen was in real estate. As an 18-year-old, buying my first house, I saw a $3,500 investment (closing costs for zero down) turn into over $185,000 in pure profit in less than 24 months!
You see, not only was I buying real estate, but I was buying it at the heart of the real estate bubble in San Diego, California. Unfortunately for me, I had confused a once-in-a-lifetime bubble for brains. So in 2006, when I saw cracks in the real estate market and began to warn others, I rushed into the housing market bigger than ever, in hopes of getting in and getting out for one last big profit before it all collapsed.
I quickly closed on 5 fixer-uppers, rehabbed them, and listed them. The crown jewel of these final 5 was purchased for $550,000, rehabbed for $160,000, and listed for $1 million. It was literally a walk to the beach, with a slight ocean view. It even had a San Diego Padre for a neighbor. That property and the other 4 were listed in March of 2007. Within weeks, subprime began to collapse, and over the next 6 months, my big bet on real estate became my own personal valley of darkness.
It led to foreclosures, short sales, and even a trip to a bankruptcy attorney. My wife and I decided against filing for bankruptcy. We had purchased a duplex for cash, and I think selling that or seeing that go was just too much to bear. I’ll never forget my wife crying next to me in that office with the attorney. For a couple who was so prudent, we found ourselves in a situation where we were upside down and in a big financial hole.
To top things off, my main source of income was real estate, so as our world burned around us, we also saw a dramatic collapse in our cash flow. I went from the kid who had 22 houses by age 22 to someone who was in so much debt that it would take a miracle just to break even.
As someone who always believed I would be rich and always felt that it was my destiny, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel that anymore. I felt broken, even washed up, and did not ever see myself being able to crawl out of the mess I had made.
In fact, between 2008 and my first child being born in November of 2009, I had given up on trying to have financial prosperity at a young age.
My story was one of great success and epic failure, all before turning 30 years old. Having a child is what changed everything for me. I remember one day having to sleep in a Motel 6 that wasn’t kept up. The place was crawling with prostitutes, and was just horrendous. My wife and I didn’t even feel safe, as we were just looking for a place to sleep after taking a trip to Sea World with our young child.
I remember leaving that place, and it was like a small match that struck inside my gut – one that touched my inner soul. The same soul that was in me that believed financial success was more of a life manifesto.
It was then that my thinking began to change from how to never be poor to how I could go back out and make millions, so that my family and I never have to be treated like second-class citizens and so that myself and my wife, child, and future children would truly get to benefit from all this life has to offer us.
I wish I could tell you that I had some master financial plan to share with you, some secret blue print, but I don’t. My path, like yours, didn’t go straight up, but what I have discovered in life is that those who are successful have all tried to become successful. And what I mean by that is most people want to be rich, but rarely do you ever speak to anyone who is trying to become rich.
You truly have to make the decision to choose to be wealthy.
Depending on where you are in life, this statement will mean something different and unique to everyone. For my wife and I, it meant budgeting. It took a great deal of financial education, new risks, and extra income through our business, which quickly became a full-time publishing giant.
It also took the courage to say no to foolish spending our friends participated in, and it also took the boldness to make investing and wealth building a high priority in all aspects of our lives.
In business and in any job you take on, the most important lesson I can share with you is this: the moment you begin to NOT focus on the money, but instead focus on the value you can deliver to others, is the difference between making money for the short-term and having a very rich and fulfilling livelihood – one of abundance and overflowing riches.
To sum this all up, here is how I can help you get where you want to be financially:
1. You have to choose to be rich. Pure and simple, there is no other way.
2. In addition to taking action with your capital, whether that is saving money or cutting spending, you have to over-deliver in value and not become fixated on how much money you can make.
3. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. The 401(k), the mutual funds, the financed vehicle, and the 30-year plan. It’s a total waste of capital, and even a miscalculation of your time on this planet, which is why we are going to surround ourselves with wealthy minds and ideas that are not of the norm.
Our Weekly Wealth Digest, interviews, videos, and company profiles are all designed to help you grow your net-worth and capital.
I am very happy to say that I have achieved every financial objective I’ve ever had, but I never had a dollar figure in mind. It was always a lifestyle and comfort level that I envisioned.
And I’ve been having more fun since making that decision than I ever could have imagined. Taking down financial walls in your life, knocking them down one by one is absolutely thrilling, and I want more than anything for everyone reading this letter to experience this.
These thoughts and concepts are where I believe you will find the financial wealth you seek. Thank you for reading Future Money Trends. We aim to over-deliver for you as the only personal finance letter for the new economy.