Building Wealth: Achieving Personal and Financial Success in Real Estate and Business Without Money, Credit, or Luck

Building Wealth: Achieving Personal and Financial Success in Real Estate and Business Without Money, Credit, or Luck

by Russ Whitney

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Since its first release a decade ago, Building Wealth — called "an indispensable guidebook for everyone dreaming of something better" by Business Times — has shown thousands of people how to get rich in the

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Since its first release a decade ago, Building Wealth — called "an indispensable guidebook for everyone dreaming of something better" by Business Times — has shown thousands of people how to get rich in the real estate market, based on the proven techniques that took Russ Whitney from working in a slaughterhouse as a high school dropout to a millionaire investor and entrepreneur. Now Whitney brings his invaluable guide fully up to date, allowing readers to take advantage of a real estate market that's exploding with opportunity.

The updated and revised Building Wealth reflects the momentous changes that have occurred in recent years. In addition to his rock-solid tips on negotiating and exploiting the world of real estate, Whitney delivers entirely new advice on such topics as:

  • Moving from residential to commercial properties
  • Investing in raw land
  • Real estate development
  • Using the Internet and other technologies to maximize profits
  • Making the most of real estate revenue by investing it in the stock market
  • And much more.

A revered guide that inspires self-confidence as it demystifies the steps to financial gain, this newest edition of Building Wealth is required reading for everyone interested in making a fortune to enjoy now and leave as a legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Building wealth through real estate is a core tenet of the Rich Dad philosophy. And no one epitomizes real world real estate investing like Russ Whitney. His commonsense approach to investing provides you with a step-by-step formula on how you can build your own fortune. He teaches because he has done it and done it well." — Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, authors of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the Rich Dad series of books

"A commonsense, down-to-earth, no-nonsense guide to how anyone with real commitment can achieve financial independence." — Anthony Robbins, bestselling author of Awaken the Giant Within

"Packed with practical moneymaking insights." — Success magazine

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Chapter 1

Light Your Internal Fire

Destiny is not a mater of chance; it's a mater of choice.


When I was 20, I got the best job I thought I'd ever have: I was making $5 an hour killing hogs.

I worked in a slaughterhouse where, on a good day, 1,400 hogs were butchered. The process was very systematic. The 400-pound hogs were herded up a chum. At the top of the chute, they were stunned by an electric shock to the back of the neck, causing them to fall onto a conveyor belt. At that point, we could shackle their hind legs (that was my job) and they were flipped upside down so the man next to me could cut their jugular vein. Then they would bled to death.

It was messy, disgusting work, and I believed I would be doing it for the rest of my life.

Then I noticed a magazine ad for a "get rich" program. I was wary and didn't respond to that ad; in fact, I studied a number of ads before I answered any of them. But just reading the first one set my thoughts in motion, and it wasn't long before I realized I didn't want "a job" — and certainly not a job in a slaughterhouse.

I waned to be wealthy.

It was quite an ambition for a high school dropout with a bad attitude. And even though I knew what I wanted, I didn't know how to go about getting it. So I started answering some of those ads. I got replies about how to make mail-order millions, how to make $300,000 a year stuffing envelopes, the lazy way to riches, various franchises, and dozens of other responses that were probably a mix of legitimate opportunities and outright scams.

If you've ever responded to any of these ads, you've got a good idea of the kind of stuff that filled my mailbox. If you haven't, I'm going to save you a lot of disappointment, time, and money. I'm going to tell you how to find the real road to more money and security.

But first, it's important that you know how I did it. As I said, when I decided I waned to become wealthy, I was a 20-year-old high school dropout working at a dead-end job. I easily could have used my lousy childhood as an excuse for never achieving anything significant. Also, I had to consider the fact that I was married and my wife was expecting our first child. I had obligations and bills, and I needed a shady income. I didn't have much, but I couldn't afford to risk what I had.

So there I was, accumulating a drawerful of money-making ideas that wouldn't work for me, primarily because they required large up-front investments. Then I saw an ad for a book on building wealth that did not brag about overnight success. I discussed it at length with my wife, because the book (long since out of print) was $10 — a significant amount of money for us at the time. We debated, and since the publisher offered a money-back satisfaction guarantee, we finally agreed to give it a try. I mailed in my order, and when the book came, I started to read it.

I literally stayed up all night reading, taking notes, and making plans. I was young and naive, but I wasn't stupid. I immediately realized there was no magic to building wealth. It was definitely something I could do.

Three weeks later, I made $11,000.

Now that's not a tremendous amount of money, but it was more than I made in a year at the slaughterhouse — and I did it on a very part-time basis. I thought, d I could make that much money that quickly after reading one tittle book, imagine what I could do if I read a few more! I began building a library of these types of books, focusing on the fundamental principles, and selectively following the advice that sounded realistic and sensible.

By the time I turned 23, I was able to quit my job, because I had become financially independent. By the time I was 27, I had been written up in several publications as one of the youngest self-made millionaires in the United States!

The methods I used were not complicated. I've refined them slightly over the years, and they we still working for me today. They can be used by virtually anyone, anywhere, on a full- or part-time basis, and they don't necessarily require a let of capital or credit. They do, however, require Sat you redirect your thinking and develop a game plan.

I've taken the fundamental principles — the ones that work — and figured out how anyone, regardless of their experience or education level, can use them to become wealthy, too. Basically I have cut out the pie-in-the-sky stuff, the empty premiss, and put together a program that I know works — and I know it works because I've done it, and I've already taught countless others how to do it.

I can't tell you how wealthy you will eventually become, but I can tell you this: If you will follow the steps outlined in this book, you will see a very rapid improvement in your financial circumstances, and you will be on your way to building your own personal fortune.

Think like a High School Dropout

At the age of 20, it seemed as if my life had been just one hardship after another. My mother left my father and me when I was 3, and then he died when I was 14. Not only was I emotionally devastated, but I had to get a job to support myself and wound up quitting school in the eleventh grade. I was very naive, and I was desperate for something or someone to believe in. Everywhere I turned, I hit a wall.

But I kept on looking. I found my wife, and knew almost from Se minute we were introduced that this was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with. We both came from working-class backgrounds where the accepted life pattern was to work at a job, save up enough to make a down payment on a house, work until you were 65, retire wis a gold watch and a meager pennon, and die a few yews later. After we were married, we realized we waned more for ourselves and our children. I began my search for financial security, and Ingrid prodded the much-needed moral support. It wasn't easy, but we knew that America was full of rags-to-riches stories, and if it could happen for someone else, it could happen for us.

All we had to do was figure out a way.

In my own case, I went out and aphid one idea — and made $11,000 in throe weeks. I had faith in a system. Had I been a little mom sophisticated, a little mom educated, I might have questioned it, and I might not have tried it. But I was thinking like the high school dropout I was, and it worked.

As I travel around the country giving lectures, I frequently ask audiences for a show of hands of those who have gone to college. The usual response is about 90 percent. This means the vast majority of the people I speak to about wealth building have a college education — and they're coming to hear a high school dropout tell them how to make more money. And the real irony is that their education may well be the mason why they don't have mom money than they do.

Let's be very clear on this: A college education does have value, but formal schooling will not teach you how to make money. You probably know some very wall educated people who are living a life of financial failure, or at least economic mediocrity. You may be one of them. If you are, take heart: You can overcome your education.

The Paralysis of Analysis

I once had a business partner who held an MBA dong with degrees in engineering and accounting. Every time I came up with a new idea, he would sit at his large, polished oak desk, making notes on a legal pad and coming at the idea from every angle possible to try and figure out why it wouldn't work. While he was doing that, I would be at the bank trying to get it financed.

Of course, there is merit to evaluating an idea carefully for the risk-and-reward ratio. But if you constantly focus on what could go wrong, you'll bury yourself under so much fear that you'll never accomplish anything. And the problem with most colleges is that they teach what I call the paralysis of analysis. They teach students how to figure out all the reasons why something won't work, instead of teaching them to go to work.

While I'm sure them are exceptions, it has generally been my experience that the more educated an individual is, the less likely it is that he or she will demonstrate the characteristics that lead to true financial independence. Business schools teach people how to get along in the corporate environment and do the nuts-and-bolts work of managing in a company. Engineering schools teach people how to be engineers. Journalism schools turn out reporters. Medical schools produce doctors.

Schools, whether at the primary, secondary, or post-secondary level, teach students how to perform at a job. That's okay if all you want out of life is a job, if you'll be content to go to work every day, struggling to put a little money aside so you can take a vacation every year, and hoping to have enough left over to support yourself in retirement. But if you want more, you must study the methods of wealthy people and learn how the rags-to-riches stories truly happened.

I talk to thousands and thousands of college graduates every year who tell me they bought into the "go to college, get a good job, and life will be rosy" idea, but today they're stuck in jobs they don't like and are worried about losing. They're straggling to pay bills, and they're searching for a way to get mom out of life. These people and countless others have changed theft fives by using just a few of the strategies you will learn in the following pages.

A point of clarification here: I am not advocating Mat we shut down our colleges and universities. Certainly when I'm sick I want a doctor who is highly trained in his specialty. I want an attorney who knows and understands the law. And I fully intend to send my own children to college. However, I have taught my children to think like high school dropouts, because I know that's the only way they will achieve their own financial security.

Remember, high school dropouts lack formal education, but they do not necessarily lack common sense. I am a high school dropout, but I'm also a national lecturer, I can convene articulately on a variety of supers other than business and investing, I've walton a number of books, and I am routinely called on by business and civic leaders when they need advice. Oh, yes, and I'm a multimillionaire.

There's a Bigger Reason for Wealth than the Money

I don't worship at the altar of the almighty dollar, and I'm not suggesting that you should, either. But having money makes your life easier, and having lob of money makes your life a lot easier.

As I look back, I can clearly see how I built the desire and belief that I should and could become wealthy. I can almost hear you groan, because most how-to books do the desire bit to death. You must have a burning desk, they say, a wrenching feeling in your gut that drives you to acquire wealth. It sounds as if you could eat a bowl of spicy chili and be on your way to your first million in a few hours.

Of course, we all want money and the niceties and freedoms having money provides. But just fantasizing about a bigger house, a sleeker car, and a membership at the country club won't get you those things. There's got to be a reason for the wealth that's bigger — much bigger — than the money itself.

Let me share how, for me, the desire for wealth grew from a tiny spark of an idea to a powerhouse of enemy, determination, and the guts to get it done.

I've already mentioned that my mother left my father and me when I was three years old. Because he believed I needed a mother, my father remarried. Unfortunately, the woman he chose mined out to be the stereotypical wicked stepmother. She was sweet and loving until they were married, then her attitude toward my father became one of grading accommodation. To me, she was negative and abusive. She told me repeatedly that I was no good, that I would never amount to anything, and that I would probably wind up spending most of my life in jail. She also physically abused me. I remember clearly how she held my hands over the time of a gas stove to discipline me.

This type of treatment is not only difficult for a child to deal with, it's overwhelming. When you hear over and over that you are a bad person, you come to believe it. I tried to take my problems to my father, but my stepmother convinced him that I was either exaggerating or lying. And he worked long, exhausting hours as an elevator mechanic. I was miserable, but I didn't feel I could burden him when he would come home tired and dirty from his dead-end job. So I bottled up my frustration, anger, and confusion, and focused on surviving.

My father was 39 when he died of heart disease. I lived with an aunt for about a year, then ran away from her home md moved in with my 18-year-old half-sister. She couldn't afford to support me, so I quit school and went to work. I lied about my age to get a job as a short-order cook from five o'clock in the morning to three in the afternoon. I'd clan up from the restaurant and dash across the street to put in a few hours as a minimum-wage telemarketer. Then, using a fake driver's license, I drove a taxi until one or two in the morning. I needed all three jobs, because none by itself would pay enough to cover my shoe of our living expense.

I lived this way, going from job to job, until I got the job in the slaughterhouse. I was working there when I met and married my wife, and she became my partner in our wealth-building strategies. Today one of our companies, the Whitney Leadership Group, employs nearly 100 people. Our corporate mission is to help people change their lives in a positive, productive way. In the process, I have made even mom money, and I have helped others do the same. But I was never really motivated by the dollars.

Sure, I wanted to be wealthy. I waned to be a millionaire. But it wasn't for the Rolex watch, although today I have one. It wasn't for the nice homes or expensive cars, although I have those, too. It took me years to understand what was driving me — and it wasn't positive thinking. For me, it was simply this: If I could become a millionaire, it would make all the pain from the past go away. I would be somebody. I could show all those people, like my stepmother, who said I would never amount to anything, that they were wrong. Most importantly, I could give my family all the security and safety that I had never had and I so baby waned them to have.

To build the desire necessary to achieve wealth, you must unleash the energy of your own pain. Maybe your pain comes from someone telling you that you wouldn't ever succeed. Maybe your pain comes from imagining your children in a mediocre, financially deprived life. Whatever its source, you must find that pain, crystallize it, and understand what will make it go away.

Fortunately, somewhere along the way, my pain and animosity faded. I never gloated about my success to my stepmother. By the time I began achieving my financial goals, it wasn't necessary. And gradually the need to escape the pain of my unhappy childhood was replaced with the need to repeat the pleasure my achievements generated. The challenges and rewards of building wealth became my motivators.

Making Money Shouldn't Hurt

I am absolutely fascinated by wealthy people. I want to know how they got that way and what keeps them going. I found a study that tracked the fortunes and misfortunes of 12,000 wealthy people from across the United States. This study pointed out one significant common characteristic among people who are were builders: They love what they do!

Have you ever wondered why wealthy people keep on working? Why did Sam Walton continue to be actively involved on the running of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., until his death — long after he had made mom money than he would ever spend? Don't you think that Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, made enough money while still in his 40s so that he could retire with a lifestyle most of us only dream about? Why does Bill Cosby keep doing television shows and Madonna keep recording music after they've become two of the richest entertainers in the world?

The answer is simple: They love what they do. Work is not a chore for them. They're eager to get up in the morning, to tackle new project, to roach new goals. And because they love what they do, they are wiling to do what it takes to succeed.

In my lectures, I frequently ask how many people do not like what they do to earn money. Some people find theft jobs tolerable, but the vast majority do not like what they do to make a living. Most people have a job for which they're paid just enough not to quit, and they work just hard enough not to get fired. Only a very few really love the work they do. That being true, we have unwittingly associated the process of making money with something that's painful or, at best, not pleasurable.

Think about this. If for years you have associated making money with pain, your brain has built a wall between yourself and the pleasure were and prosperity brings. When you think about money, deep down you may be focusing on ideas like "not fun," "hard," "boring," "no future," "wasting time" — all things that are painful. And when you think about big money, your idea is "big pain." It's entirely possible that this thought process has caused you unknowingly to sabotage your dreams in the past.

But it doesn't have to be that way in the future. Making money can be fun. Becoming wealthy does not have to be all trials and tribulations. Once you find the right vehicle — one that will make money and be enjoyable at the same time — you'll see how this process works, and how it will keep on working for the mst of your life.

A friend of mine makes this point quite clearly. He's successful and he likes what he does, but he doesn't love it, and here's how I know that: He usually comes in to his office around nine or ten in the morning. He clams he's not a "morning person," so he chooses to come in late, and then stay late if necessary. But this guy loves to fish. Fishing is a passion with him. If I were to call him at any time and suggest we go fishing the following morning, he'd be up at 4:30 A.M., and have coffee brewed and the boat ready to go by 5:00. Interesting behavior from someone who clams he's not a "morning person."

Business and making money can be extremely pleasurable, as pleasurable as fishing is for my friend. I love what I do. Simply put, it's fun for me. When the stories of wealthy people are told, over and over the common thread of loving what they do clearly shows through. It doesn't matter if they are Bill Gates of Microsoft, a computer whiz Md who became one of America's richest men; or Wally "Famous" Amos, a black man from a Harlem ghetto who made a fortune selling chocolate chip cookies; or Mary Kay Ashe, who built her own empire and helped others become wealthy with Mary Kay Cosmetics; or any of the many others who have achieved their financial goals. They all loved what they were doing.

When making money becomes your hobby, getting up early is no longer a chore. Staying late doesn't matter, because you're enjoying yourself. In fact, you'll be having so much fun that you'll toss out the time clock. You won't need it. And when you find the right vehicle that lets making money become your hobby, you'll find yourself generating significantly more dollars in much less time than you're spending on your job fight now. What's more, as you'll see in the pages of this book, locating that ideal wealth-building vehicle isn't difficult.

What Motivation Can't Do

I have attended countless motivational lectures over the years, including the one that concludes with the drama and excitement of a fire walk. At one such event, I was preparing to leave when I struck up a conversation with a young fellow who was all pumped up. He was pacing back and forth, breathing hard, his eyes flashing, on an incredible adrenaline high created by the session we had attended. I commented that it was great to see someone so excited, and then I asked what he was going to do.

"I don't know," he replied, "but, by God, when I find it, I'm going to really get going."

Obviously he was truly motivated. His problem was that he didn't have a clue as to what path he would follow to reach the goal he hadn't yet defined. He was excited, but just being excited and bursting with positive enemy isn't enough to make you wealthy. That excitement, that adrenaline high, is only temporary, and without a plan, all the enthusiasm in the world is worthless. You need to know how you will acquire your money.

This book will provide you with a workable, step-by-step plan to build wealth that includes a variety of proven techniques. Some will appeal to you, others won't, but you will have plenty of choices. My point is this: Motivation alone isn't enough. Method alone isn't enough. But the combination of true motivation and proven method is a guaranteed winner.

Copyright © 1994 by Whitney Leadership Group, Inc.

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