… I count my 7 years as starting in 1998:
By then I had resurrected a defunct family business as a sole proprietorship (I was $30k in debt and living off $50k a year) and started a new one that had real potential but was draining all the cash from the first business (and then some … combined the businesses were losing about $5k a month).
We owned our own home (well, the bank owned most of it) but had zero other investments.
I was what you would call “broke … with prospects”.
Then, the epiphany came and I finally discovered the most important lesson of my financial life:
My life wasn’t about my money … my money was there to support my life.
You have NO idea how important that was to discover … and, how scary it was when I finally worked out how to cost that life.
You see, I realized that for the life that I wanted … actually, needed … I had to be wealthy!
The problem was, I had no idea how to calculate ‘wealthy’.
Fortunately, soon after I happened to go to my first ever financial seminar, and the presenter told me two things (that I simply took on face value at the time) that changed my whole life’s financial outlook:
1. To live ‘wealthy’ (nice house, cars, schools, lots of travel … no work) you need at least $250,000 a year (1998 dollars) in passive income, and
2. You need to multily that number by 20 to determine the size of your nest egg.
There you have it … $5 million … my new (first!) goal!
First, the problems:
i) My businesses were small / niche businesses with limited growth potential; I calculated that I would need almost 100% penetration of the largest business prospects available in order to achieve my new goal
ii) I had just LOST my second largest client, so now I was losing $300k a year!
iii) Year 2000 was approaching and my software was no longer supported nor was it Y2K compliant.
I got over the last problem by rewriting my software, which gave me the opportunity to fully internet-enable it … this enabled me to totally change my business model, and we (accidentally) ended up with one of the world’s first complete eLogistics systems.
All of a sudden, the business that was losing money MADE money and we added new clients (thus getting over the second-last problem) and soon became profitable.
However, as soon as we became profitable, I bought a building for over $1.25 million, on the advice of my accountant; this was very scary because:
Business 1 + Business 2 + Building 1 = break-even again!
However, the businesses (now, both) started growing and soon became reasonably profitable … $10k – $20k a month by 2002 … I still only took $50k a year in salary.
Our Net Worth was now the equity we had built up in our home and office property, plus whatever residual value our businesses had; probably $1 mill. to $2 mill. In fact, an overseas listed company made us a $2 million offer for Business 2, but we rejected it (at that time) … so, our Net Worth could have been as high as $3 Million if we sold, or if somebody else would ever offer us the same.
When it comes to businesses, do you ever know your true Net Worth until you sell?
We made it all the way to $7 million over the period of 2003 to 2005 simply by:
1. Repeating the process: generating profits in the business, and
2. Retaining as much of the businesses’ profits as required to maintain the businesses and grow, and
3. Ploughing as much as possible into real-estate, and
4. Keeping a lid on personal spending and maintaining zero-personal (i.e. consumer) debt other than the house [AJC: which, as I mentioned before, we eventually paid off … now, I would NOT have paid off my home mortgage, had I had access to the information that you will receive in the Bonus Module: Your House. This Guided Learning Experience is here so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I made!].
But, we did pump as much as we could back into the business and bought a number of smaller, residential investment properties (one condo bought 2003 for $145k now worth about $300k, one quadruplex bought 2005 for $1 million now worth $1.75 million, and paid off our own home eventually sold for $800k, plus the office building recently sold for $2.5 million).
If you think about it, these are the EXACT SAME STEPS that every personal finance author writes about (debt free, save, reinvest) … I just multiplied the scale and was VERY CLEAR on my cashout $ and time. Of course, most personal finance authors haven’t made anywhere near $7 million in 7 years, so you will be learning a whole lot more than ‘conventional finance wisdom’ could ever possibly teach you!
So, I did make it to $7 million in the seven years between 1998 and 2005 – and, by then, my other assets probably had Net Equity of: Business # 1 ($2 million … $1.5 million in cash + whatever value the business could sell for); Home # 1 ($650k); Office ($1.25 million); Residential investments ($1 million).
Yes, I am the ‘real deal’ and my net worth has continued to grow; in 2010 (even after the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2008) it is still greater than $13 million, as I continue to invest in businesses, real-estate, and stocks.
But, the period from 1998 to 2005 sets the scene for our [now much more than] $7 million 7 year journey, made the good old fashioned way (grow an income stream or two, live frugally within reason, and invest, invest, invest) … and, provides many of the lessons that I had to learn the hard way, but you no longer need to …
… because I have covered them all – and, more – in this $7 Million 7 Year Wealth System!
That’s it for now …