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I thought about chronicling my debt story into a book, and thought the background of how I got into debt would be interesting.
I found myself being college student who seemed to go back and forth between wanting to stay in school and feeling that it wasn’t the right place for me. Hearing all of the stories of Bill Gates and Bill Wozniak fascinated me about what they were able to do in business and in life. Hearing the stories built a strong desire in me to find something to invest in. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I began searching. I started to read self development books, and how some of the writers were able to pull them out of poverty and build great wealth. I continued to read business books and came up to the subject of real estate investing, becoming a stock market millionaire, and building businesses from nothing into multi-million dollar corporations.
A friend invited me to a weekend seminar in the summer of 2005 where you would get a feel for real estate investing, find out if investing in real estate was the right choice for you, and if it was even plausible to make money in it. It was my first time going to one of these events and all you could see were rows and rows of chairs. At the front of the room we heard the music pumping as the eight hour day began. A short blond woman with glasses walked up to the front and introduced herself. She began talking about how she had used other people’s resources get into her first real estate deal. I was mesmerized because she said that you didn’t need to have much to start your real estate empire. You just needed to make the right contacts, buy some houses, and resell them to investors.
It was the height of the real estate boom. She asked to the crowd “does anyone know what hard money is?“ I thought I had answer, so with great and utmost confidence, I threw my right hand into the air and stood up. One of the volunteers quickly grabbed a mic, and began rushing toward me. When he got there, I took it, and in front of 500 people I said with my with the greatest bravado and confidence I said “hard money is money that you need to work hard for.” The crowd laughed so hard that it reminded me of the stories of Santa Claus’ belly shaking. I was thinking in my head “that probably wasn’t the right answer, but at least the crowd was happy.” I was embarrassed, and I sheepishly gave the mic back to the volunteer and sat down. The speaker looked at me a little awkward at first, and she smiled. She said hard money is hard to work for but in this case that’s not what I meant. Hard money is really the money that you borrow from a hard money lender. A hard money lender is someone who lends their money for short period of time with a high interest rate to investors in real estate. The speaker’s voice started to fade out and at that point in time something in my mind clicked, I wanted to know more, and I thought I could build an empire.
Later that weekend I picked up a book and I found myself gorging on a book about real estate. I found myself being sucked in, and the information felt so fascinating that I just wanted to finish the book as soon as I could. I felt as if this was the right path for me. Greed had gotten to me. At another meeting that weekend they revealed the the tuition which was $30,000. I thought if I can buy and turn around I real estate property for thirty thousand dollars I would make up the cost of my tuition. All I could think about was building an empire.
Two months later, I found myself traveling to Arizona and learning about real estate acquisitions, business theory, and trying to get deals done. Then I found myself in a room, a conference room filled with hundreds of people trying to do the same thing. Little did I know that all of these people were broke, and there were not very many success stories from this pool of people. All I wanted to do was become wealthy by any means and have fun while doing it. I was beginning my life as a wannabe entrepreneur that chose not to go to college.
It took a while for the blinders to come off, but they finally did. January 2010 I found myself with $66,504.69 of debt. A bulk of this debt was a student loan $29,242.86 and the rest piled into three credit cards amounting $37,261.83 in three credit cards. I didn’t realize what I had done to get in so much debt.
I could have done a lot of things like complain about my situation. I realized that I created my own reality. I violated all of my values of being prosperous, saving money, and paying for things when I only had the money. I chose not to complain about the situation. I chose to buckle down and get to work. Many people put stock into worrying of what cannot be done. If you choose to focus on the actions that you can control you will be better off.