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If you know a wealthy person (other than you), how did they do it?
Old 07-26-2007, 06:04 PM   #1
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If you know a wealthy person (other than you), how did they do it?

Just interested in some stories of what other people you know did to accumulate wealth. Did they start a business? Did they LBYM all the way? Did they make some incredible investments in the stock market/real estate? Etc.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:24 PM   #2
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I once knew a guy from Illinois who was in a small fender bender, not his fault. He told the other driver, I'm going to go across the street and buy a lottery ticket, if I win, I won't bill you for the damage. The guy never got a bill!
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
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Rental Properties

I know several people who bought condos and rental units in Southern California - 35 years ago. They did very well.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
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I know a few. For them it was various combinations of starting a business, real estate and investing. None of them had a regular corporate job...
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:54 PM   #5
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Some of the wealthy people I know inherited their wealth. One is from a banking family that got into construction. A number were from old lumber and iron ore money--none of them worked ever. Lots of philanthropy though.

I knew someone who was on the Forbes 500 list, but has since dropped off. Actually, I barely know him, but I know his lawyer well and I know one of his children pretty well. He is/was an entrepreneur. Now in his 80s he still works six days a week. The energy and willingness to take risks are not like anyone else I have every met. The son I know is also entrepreneurial and was successful in business in his own right.

They all live below their means, but their means allow them to live mighty rich.

I know a lawyer who left law to be a real estate developer. Another very driven person. He says working/winning is his hobby. He is rich and likely he will work until the day he dies.

Other than those who inherited wealth, the rich people I know have no interest in retiring.

No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

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Old 07-26-2007, 06:55 PM   #6
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Two ex-GFs inherited lots of money (one's dad was a CEO of an SP500 company, I think she got in the $10s of millions).
One Cow-orker won $20 million in the Texas Lottery.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:17 PM   #7
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I know a multi-millionaire who had almost nothing, and this is his story:

He bought an apple for 30 cents, shined it up and sold it for 60 cents. With the profits, he bought two apples, made them look nice, and sold them for $1.20. Then his uncle died and left him 3 million dollars.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:18 PM   #8
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Here's how my friend got to where he is today !

He started in the depression. He had just enough to buy a dozen apples and he sold them on a street corner in Manhatten. From the profits of the first dozen apples he bought two dozen apples and sold those. That went on for quite awhile...

and then he inherited a vast fortune.

So that's his story about how he got rich.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:26 PM   #9
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J. Paul Getty:

"The secret to success is to get up early, work hard, and find oil."
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:32 PM   #10
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Well, how about those apples...the wealthiest folks in my extended family had higher degrees (one a brain surgeon at Mayo Clinic), one inherited a bit but was a tight son of gun in addition and farmed....One owned a bunch of retail stores (Ben Franklin stores).....
- Hurry! to the cliffs of insanity!
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:43 PM   #11
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The wealthy folks I know got that way either from their MD degrees or from starting their own businesses. I do not know anyone personally who LBYM to achieve excess wealth.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:48 PM   #12
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I don't know too many wealthy people but here are a few:

#1 Guy whose dad gave him a little money to start a business and he ended started a shoe store of all things. It did well -- before the net -- and he sold it for a profit. Hen then got into gym franchising -- Gold's Gym. Made some good money with that but hit the pay dirt when he became a seed investor at Purchase Pro, a dot.bomb that was started by a local guy who moved away. The company was headquartered in Vegas of all places (if that isn't foreshadowing I don't know what is). The company floundered but he sold his stock after it was up over 200% back in the days.

The founder was caught up in some lawsuit. A bank gave him a credit line according to the value of his stock. He spent a lot money and the bank forced him to liquidate the stock at a tiny fraction of the gain as the price plummeted.

#2 Guy got rights to a Toyota dealership years before the cars/trucks really took off in popularity. He sold it but made a ton of money even before the sale.

#3 Guy bought up all of the beat up real estate around the University of Kentucky. Turned it all into student housing. He now has a substantial presence in the area and it almost like a monopoly. He takes some hits from students trashing the places but he works in volume and a few repairs doesn't hurt his bottom line much. Pays cash for everything.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:07 PM   #13
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I know a guy with a disadvantaged background who led a wild youth. In his early twenties (as a father) he realized this was insane and he could do something about it. Started as a tradesman, spent evenings learning about FIRE, got into business, built equity of $1m, went to b-school, invested wisely and greatly increased NW. I know it sounds backwards, but....
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:31 PM   #14
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In all seriousness, both my parents (deceased) were fairly successful during their lives. Mainly hard work, investments, and living below their means. Most of my wealth is inherited from them, and I am (since retirement at age 41) doing my best to copy my parents, except in the "hard work" department.
I've got nothing against an honest day's work, provided that someone else does it.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:36 PM   #15
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When I was 13 (child labor laws?) I worked with a neighbor who used to tell me pay cash for everything. He owned his own house painting company and taught me a lot about business. Turns out he and his wife lived with his parents for a few years while he saved up to pay cash for his house. It worked and last time I say him he had moved into a very nice house in CA. So I guess his secret was LBYM and own your own business.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:45 PM   #16
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I know a few - good friends. All but 1 did it either by inheritance or establishing their own business. The 2 who established their own business came from lowly backgrounds like myself, but had high income jobs and good businees sense. One became a dentist and after a few years borrowed a lot of money from a bank to buy out a practice from a retiring dentist. Built it into the biggestdental practice in Leeds, England.

The other became an airline pilot, after a few years borrowed money to set up a flying school in the London area and built into a very sussessful business before selling it at a very large profit 10 years later.

My ex boss at Megacorp did it the slow and steady way. A high earner but never a CEO or anything - an engineer like myself. RE'd a year ago at 55 with a net worth in the millions. Big advocate of 401(k)'s, index funds etc.
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Enough private pension and SS income to cover all needs
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:58 PM   #17
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The only one I know worked as an engineer and LBHM. He lived off dividends, pension and social security and had a very long life. He never sold any stock and I think he continued to save during his retirement.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Arif View Post
So I guess his secret was LBYM and own your own business.
George Stott is a local realtor who retired from the submarine force in the 1970s and started selling homes with his spouse. Mary Lou turned out to be one of the state's top producers for most of the '80s & '90s. Today their kids & spouses run the property-management and realtor sections of the business while George & Mary Lou travel the country attending conventions, training realtors, and working with companies converting rental-home equity through 1035 exchanges into TIC funds. George has no plans to ever stop working, and he says that the "lifestyle cost" of retirement grows higher each year.

"Buzz" Bibby is a submariner who retired as a captain and worked on Kwajalein Atoll for a few more years. Kwaj is a great place for LBYM hermit types who enjoy island lifestyles, huge salaries for running missile-testing operations, and saving ridiculously large sums of money. Buzz lived off his military pension and used his savings to start picking stocks in the late 1980s while he was sailing his boat around the world for a few years during/after Kwaj. He now enjoys volunteering with non-profits and investing in local businesses.

Several local retired flag officers are still working. Their military pensions alone run into six figures, plus the director's checks and their non-profit fees. Bob Kihune retired as a vice admiral and is a trustee of Kamehameha Schools (formerly known as Bishop Estate), one of the world's largest & most wealthy trusts. His last military tour was aboard the USS MISSOURI in command of a battlegroup so he was the lead guy in getting the ship to Pearl Harbor a few years later as a memorial. He'll never run for mayor or governor but of course his trustee job is all politics.

A shipmate is a serial entrepreneur. He retired as a Navy lieutenant at age 37 (20 years of service) in 1998 ($30K/year military pension) and got a job at GE's Louisville appliance plant. He was always messing around with computers and Internet connections so he went from GE to a friend's contractor job troubleshooting computer networks. They cleaned up the network at NationsBank, who hired him away to keep running their CD-pricing system. (He says it was just like running the radio room on a cruiser with many of the same systems, missions, deadlines, & personalities. He even stood midwatches.) After a few bank acquisitions he ended up building Bank of America's bank wire/EFT network. When the dot-com musical chairs stopped in 2000 he started a real estate company in NC. He's just bought 160 acres in northern SC, where he swears that as soon as he & spouse build their dream home he's really going to retire. He's in his mid-40s and he also swears that he's going to read "Work Less, Live More" right away.

OTOH my spouse and I met a retired flag officer at a USNA '50 reunion. He's still working in his late 70s, despite a military pension of at least $95K/year, and his spouse took mine aside to ask us how we've managed to ER. My spouse started telling her about saving to buy stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. She said "Oh, we never had any of that." My spouse asked "What, mutual funds & ETFs?" She said "No, savings."

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Old 07-26-2007, 09:35 PM   #19
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Only one I know is my father's sister who as a navy wife with a nursing degree worked her way up to nurse practitioner and her husband retired as a navy commander and went on to work for a contractor.
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:38 PM   #20
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I know a few, but the best one is the joe-schmoe factory worker that got a tip that one of those new-fangled 4-lane super highways was going to be built just north of town. So he took his life savings and bought 1 square mile of farm land dirt cheap (no pun intended). And he just held onto it for a couple of years.

A few years later he sold a strip right through the middle of it...for the new 4-lane super highway. That paid him back all of the money he originally invested, plus some extra.

Around that time, he brought his son (who was a very good friend of mine until his passing away a couple of years ago) into the business venture.

They then purchased a small petroleum distributorship, which he built into quite a large operation. He also purchased and/or built several dozen gas stations, and a couple of truck stops.

Then over the following years they sold off more tracts of the original land he had purchased, to various people to build their stores, malls, hotels, restaurants, and various governmental facilities on.

After the father's passing away, his son (my friend) carried on the business. About a year before my friend died, he sold off the last parcel of property to some folks to build a franchise restaurant on. It is fronted by a state highway and about 1000 feet from the interstate exchange, and was a very small piece of undeveloped land. He sold it for $500k.

Father and son both firmly believed in giving back to the community and to their church, so many people benefited from their success. And though both father and son were multi-millionaires, they never flaunted it. They stayed normal w*rking-class, down-to-earth guys.

And even though the father was CEO of their multi-million dollar 'empire', he also stayed at his factory job until he was 62, and got his pension.

They were good folks....good friends!!!
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