My dream of becoming a millionaire began in high school when I was 16-years-old. I was a loner, a thinker, a dreamer. I always wanted to wallow in money and my heroes were men who actually did it.
After discovering that odd jobs at grocery stores and restaurants wasn’t going to cut it, I tried other things … mowing lawns for people, shining shoes for people, running errands for people, working my ass off at low paying jobs in a mill that manufactured food for cattle … and digging graves in all kinds of weather alongside my Dad ….. Somehow it occurred to me somewhere along the line that I was going to be working my entire damned life and would probably retire as some gray-headed old man with a shovel in his gnarled and weatherworn hands.
After awhile, I wasn’t a kid anymore ….. I became old enough to borrow money from banks and such.
I read a lot of books about how to grow personal wealth by using “Other People’s Money” or “OPM” for short.
One day I noticed an older somewhat dilapidated old house on one of the streets in the little village where I lived and I started asking around about who owned it. The house had stood deserted for a few years as I recall.
Control of this particular property was in the hands of a local Building, Loan and Savings Company where I had been stashing a few dollars here and there away in a savings account.
I formulated a plan and approached the manager of the Building and Loan …. a friend of our family who had known me since I was knee high to a land turtle.
My plan was to offer the contents of my modest savings account as a down payment on the old house, to buy it, to live in it for awhile, to make some improvements on it along the way and finally to sell it in a few years.
The Building and Loan bought the idea and I got an older “Fixer-Upper” house in a decent neighborhood — not upscale but decent — for a total of $5,000.
While living in the house, I got a job in a local kitchen cabinet manufacturing plant and soon had worked my way up to being credit manager there. My talents for administrative work had been cultivated in high school and in several short-term temporary office jobs over the years.
I took out a “Home Improvement” loan (again with the same Building and Loan Company) and had a new roof, a new brick chimney, some aluminium siding and a new front porch onto the old wreck.
That cost a total of $1,500 back in the early 1960s.
So I now had a total investment in the property of $6,500.
Since some time had passed, I decided it was time to “Trade Up” so I discovered that the local Real Estate Agency thought I could offer the old house for $17,500.
As it turned out, I ended up with a check for $13,500. Still a $7,000 profit.
You know the rest of the story. I don’t really have to tell it, do I?
People who do this sort of thing can find that they end up owning at least 21 different properties around town … and that some of them are for selling and some of them are for renting.
Some other people around town (No names) might sooner or later discover that smaller apartment buildings can bring far more profits than individual homes.
Apartments can be enhanced with improvements and held as investment for awhile (Good for the owner to live in one of his own units while waiting) before going onto the market too.
If anybody has any luck, some dogged determination and a little bit of gambling streak in them, they might also discover that an office building in a strip mall might not be such a bad investment either … especially if the tenants can be a dentist or a doctor or both or something of that nature.
Then somewhere along the line, a person might also get the idea of mapping out the direction that his community is growing and purchase a few pieces of land along the projected path of growth.
Such land might lie profitless for years (Unless you rent them out to farmers to grow soybeans and hay on) — chuckle.
But sooner or later, your little community might grow from a population of 8.000 to 30,000 or more and it might become very expansive very quickly because it makes a good “Bedroom” community for people who work in the big city not 20 miles down the road.
And let me tell you that I do not believe there is any bigger thrill than to find out that some big national retail chain wants to build a store on one or more of your plots of land that just happen to be located adjacent to a widening highway system that is collecting stores of all kinds by the ass load!
That piece of land that you bought for $800 per acre so many years ago might now be going for $7,000 or more. Imagine if you had of had the panache and the guts to accumulate 500 acres of “Useless” land when the town was still small and relatively unvisited.