Investments

MICHAEL SANTOS

Learn Investment Strategies and Begin Building Prosperity

Ten Steps That Lead to Prosperity

Everyone has an opportunity to build more prosperity. But not everyone seizes the opportunities.

If you’re interested in building more financial prosperity, consider learning from the steps below. I began sowing seeds for prosperity decades ago, while I was still locked inside of a federal prison. The decisions at the earliest stages of my journey put me on a pathway to success.

Consider the following steps that worked for my wife and me. We started with a 0-0-0 credit score, and my long background of being in prison. Yet these steps helped me overcome obstacles. Contemplate if a disciplined, deliberate strategy will advance your efforts to build success.

Intro to the Ten-Step Path to Prosperity

 

Success Mindset

Through the information below, I’ll show how thinking differently from the crowd set me on a pathway to prosperity. I encourage you to begin sowing seeds today so that you can build more prosperity in the months, years, and decades ahead.

I’ll show the investment strategy that worked for me. If it makes sense to you, incorporate the same strategy and tactics to build your financial freedom. Click on the accordion boxes below to follow the steps. Many experts observe that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish in five years. For that reason, I use five-year plans to guide my decisions.

 

Where do you want to be in five years?

What seeds can you sow today to build a higher level of success in five years?

I started setting five-year plans in the late 1980s. At the time, I was 23 and beginning a prison term that would keep me locked in federal prisons until 2013. During those 26 years as a prisoner, I advanced through a series of five, five-year plans. Lessons I learned during those five, five-year plans put me on a path to success.

I filmed a series of videos about those five-plans that you can watch on my YouTube channel at the following playlist:

  • Five-Year Plans, Part 1
  • Five-Year Plans, Part 2
  • Five-Year Plans, Part 3

Between the time that I finished my prison term, in 2013 and the time that I finished my first five years in liberty, in 2018, I did more than $9 million worth of real estate transactions.

Those transactions helped my wife and me build a net worth of more $1.5 million, and a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million. Currently, those assets generate a monthly income that exceeds $40,000. But it’s all part of a long-term investment strategy.

Since I served 26 years in prison, got out with a 0-0-0 credit score, and built a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million, I’m convinced that others can do the same.

I offer ten-tactical steps to show an investment strategy that I use to build prosperity.

Each tactical step is part of the success mindset!

 

 

 

BUILD A SOLID WORK ETHIC

The first step to developing a success mindset is to define success.

If you want to build prosperity, prepare yourself to invest the time, energy, and resources. The first investment should be in yourself, and you can do that with a solid work ethic.

Invest time to learn every day. Read about other people who have built success. Use those stories to improve your critical thinking skills. If you want to become more successful, you must invest the time.

 

It’s not enough to work hard.

Many people work hard but do not advance themselves financially. Consider a waiter, a laborer, a caregiver. All of those people work hard. Yet their hard work rarely translates into financial security.

But it isn’t only unskilled laborers that struggle to build prosperity. I interviewed a man who earned an undergraduate degree in business from Wharton, and a master’s in business from the University of Chicago. For 20 years, this person an annual income in excess of $200,000. Yet in his mid 40’s, he his net worth was less than $500,000.

 

Building prosperity begins with a solid work ethic.

A solid work ethic includes a commitment. Experience convinces me that we should make a commitment to investing in ourselves first. Invest to develop knowledge and skills. Then, we must leverage our knowledge and skills to engineer our pathways to prosperity.

You may find value in my ten-part video course on how to develop a solid work ethic, which you can find on my YouTube playlist.

  • Ten-Steps to an Insane Work Ethic

 

INSTEAD OF SAVING, INVEST

Contrary to popular belief, a penny saved does not translate into a penny earned.

Rather, saving money translates into losses. If you want to grow wealth, train your mind to become an investor.

 

Begin investing with a success mindset.

That means use all of your critical thinking skills to plant money into the most fertile gardens. Look for or create opportunities for your money to grow.

If you think in terms of how the environment will change in five years, and plant money where you anticipate the highest possibility for sustainable, reliable growth, you will advance your prospects for success.

 

Remember that investing differs from speculating, and that all that glitters is not gold.

Many people go after get-rich-quick schemes and they lose big time. Think methodically, deliberately. And understand that as we advance through the trajectory of life, we should adjust our investment strategy.

Investments that work well for us at one stage of our life may not be appropriate at other stages of our life.

 

When looking at investments, don’t limit yourself to traditional investments.

If alternative investments make sense to you, and you’ve done your analysis, then take action. Too many people get sucked into pitches by financial services firms that earn a profit from the ostensible unbiased guidance they offer.

Use your intelligence, your critical thinking skills, and your common sense to assess the prospect of an investment growing in value.

Learn tactics and techniques from other successful investors. Then make a decision based on your own due diligence.

 

DON’T WASTE MONEY ON TRINKETS

 

Minimize expenditures on purchases that depreciate in value.

Never use credit to finance consumer debt for items like televisions, clothes, microwaves, and other items that you don’t need. Bad purchases are a killer for any investment strategy.

In the free book I offer about my initial adjustment to society after 26 years in prison, I reveal more about the strategies and tactics I used to begin building prosperity.

If you haven’t read the book, you can access an immediate free download by clicking the following link:

Using debt wisely was a critical tactic.

To service that debt, I had to embrace frugality. Until I built a portfolio of performing assets that were worth more than $1 million, I did not waste money.

I drove a used car that I purchased for $4,000. I did not splurge on clothes, jewelry. I did not purchase a television.

Fortunately, I had a supportive wife who was in alignment with my goal of building prosperity. Financial security was a priority for us, and we made a 100% commitment.

If you’re serious about building prosperity, then minimize expenditures on anything that does not lead you closer to your principled path to prosperity.

 

 

BE SELF-RELIANT AND SELF-DIRECTED

You may have a job. But if you want to build prosperity, then you’d better learn to invest.

 

Regardless of what type of job you have, you always invest more time in yourself. By investing time to learn knew tactics, skills, and to build a stronger mindset, you can create or seize opportunities.

 

People who build prosperity recognize that a paycheck alone rarely leads to prosperity.

I frequently use my wife as an example. She is a master’s educated registered nurse. Her professional credentials result in an annual income from her hospital of about $100,000.

Many people mistakenly believe that with a $100,000 income, it’s easy to begin building a pathway to prosperity. With the costs of living in an affluent community, however, we know that we need to do more than rely upon a paycheck.

When we limit ourselves to relying upon a paycheck, we fail to prepare for the time when the paycheck may stop. That would be inconsistent with the success mindset. We need to be self-directed, and self-reliant.

 

What can you do today to begin building more prosperity tomorrow?

Think of the guidance from the Roman Philosopher, Publius Flavius: In times of peace, prepare for war. Or if you prefer Biblical guidance, think of the prophecy seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine.

To build prosperity, we must prepare, prepare, prepare. Use all of your critical thinking skills to develop a strategy for self-reliance.

 

 

USE LEVERAGE TO ACQUIRE ASSETS

 

Use debt wisely, strategically, and responsibly to build prosperity.

 

I learned the power of debt while reading in prison. And when authorities released me from prison, I immediately began using all of my critical thinking skills to go into debt—but only to acquire assets that I believed would appreciate in value, and only debt that I knew I could service.

 

Here’s an example of how the first debt strategy worked in my favor.

I did not have any credit when I got out of prison. So I used all of my skills to develop an “unconventional” financing source. In other words, I asked a real estate developer to lend me the money so that I could make a real estate acquisition.

You may wonder how I persuaded a real estate developer to provide approximately $400,000 in financing.

 

All of those tactics are part of the success mindset.

  1. We define success as what we’re striving to accomplish.
  2. We create a plan that will take us from where we are to where we want to go.
  3. We put priorities in place.
  4. We execute the plan.

In my case, I laid out a solid plan on why the developer should work with me. After I made the case, he agreed to provide the financing. So I acquired the asset with “unconventional” financing, even though I didn’t have credit and even though I was still in the halfway house.

I used “debt” or leverage to buy a house for about $400,000. I serviced the debt by making monthly payments, as we agreed. Later, I acquired conventional financing from a mortgage company.

 

With that financing, I paid off the developer.

I continued making monthly payments to the mortgage company. My debt went down in value. Simultaneously, the value of the asset increased.

If you review the link to my financial reports, you’ll see that the value of the asset now approaches $700,000. And the debt has dropped to less than $300,000. By using leverage, I’ve built equity of more than $300,000.

That is a good example of how using leverage can make you rich!

See more examples of the power of leverage by reviewing my monthly videos on financial performance.

 

 

 

WHEN INVESTING, BE CONSCIOUS OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

As I’ve written about elsewhere, I left prison with a very clear goal.

Within five years, I wanted to control a portfolio of appreciating assets that would be worth more than $1 million.

There were many different types of asset classes. But I had to consider my strengths and weaknesses.

 

In my heart, I was an entrepreneur.

During the 26 years that I lived as a prisoner, I had to focus on creating. I had to anticipate the successful outcome I wanted, then invest daily to develop skills and resources. My strength lied in my work ethic.

Yet when I returned to society, I understood that I had a weakness. Because I’d been in prison for multiple decades, I didn’t know how to use technology. Nor did I know enough about launching a business.

Obviously, I had other weaknesses. I didn’t have much in the way of financial capital, and I didn’t have traditional credit. Without financial resources, I had to choose the best type of investment for me. If I wanted to build $1 million in assets within five years, I had to weight the best possible options.

 

What is the best possible option for you? What type of investment can you use to build prosperity?

I could not rely upon the stock market as a reliable vehicle. For one thing, with the limited amount of financial assets at my disposal, I could not acquire a sufficiently large position in a stable stock. Further, I didn’t want to be tied to the stock market.

Those assessments of my strengths and weaknesses convinced me that the best vehicle for me would be to invest in real estate. I could use leverage to acquire real estate, and I felt strongly that I could create methods to service the debt. As I succeeded in each transaction, I felt certain that I could open new opportunities to grow.

 

While you’re building your path to prosperity, consider strengths and weaknesses. And invest in your strengths.

ANTICIPATE MARKET CHANGES

If you’re set on building prosperity, understand that markets fluctuate. What’s good today may not be so good tomorrow.

Think back to 2006, when the real estate market was rising. With rising values, lenders made it easy to tap into equity of their homes. Easy credit led to rising debt levels for many years.

Then the market imploded. In 2008, the stock market imploded. People last massive amounts of wealth during the great recession.

 

In 2012 I began investing in California real estate.

Timing was a significant factor. Although no one knew it, the recession was coming to an end in 2012. The timing was perfect to invest in real estate.

Over the next five years, I presided over more than $9 million worth of real estate transactions. Those transactions helped me to build prosperity.

Yet by the end of 2017, I had to reassess the markets. The financial landscape had changed from the time that I got out of prison.

Over the previous ten years, the stock market roared to new highs from the lows of the recession. And real estate values rose as well. Those changes had been good for my investments.

Yet the inflated values made it impossible for me to make sense for further acquisitions of California real estate.

 

Markets had changed.

And I anticipated that better investment opportunities existed outside of California. Then I broadened my horizon and began looking for investment opportunities outside of the United States.

Where are the best opportunities for you to grow your investments?

 

 

REVERSE ENGINEER PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITY

 

This tactic relates to step number 1 in the pathway to building a success mindset. We’ve got to define success.

 

How do you define prosperity?

Different people define prosperity differently. One person may define prosperity as having $100,000 in the bank. Another person may define prosperity as having a $200,000 fixed income.

Another person defines prosperity as having no debt. What is your definition of prosperity?

When we define prosperity with clarity, we can take additional steps, like assessing where we are right now. And we can put timelines that we follow to achieve our prosperity.

If we reverse engineer our pathway to prosperity, we can make more deliberate decisions. I learned this lesson the hard way, when I was still in prison.

 

As I describe in my book Earning Freedom:

I began investing heavily in Internet stocks during my second decade of imprisonment. Early investments in American Online, Yahoo!, and other high-flying Internet stocks allowed me to build more than $1 million in equity by 1999.

I had more than a decade remaining to serve before my release from prison. Yet rather than making a wise decision of diversifying my equity, I held on to my positions in the highly volatile Internet stocks. When the market imploded, I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That experience taught me an invaluable lesson. I should have defined success, then executed a methodical plan that would increase my prospects for success.

 

What level of prosperity would you define as success?

Where level of resources do you have now?

What timeframe are you using to define success?

 

Your responses to those questions will help you assess the need for risk tolerance, for investments, for regular contributions.

Use the tactic of reverse engineering to increase your likelihood of building prosperity.

 

 

 

 

TAKE CALCULATED RISKS

Don’t be frightened by risk.

Instead, look for opportunities to build prosperity with risk. But be diligent in your calculations.

When I began investing in California real estate, I calculated the risk. The real estate market had imploded during the recession.

Properties that had once been selling for more than $600,000 were selling for less than $400,000. If I could find ways to acquire assets at such levels, and the markets recuperated, I could make hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars.

Of course, the assets could continue to sink in value. But if I could hold on to the assets, I the risk would be worth the potential for reward.

That was a calculated risk that paid off well for me.

 

Similarly, I had to reassess the levels of risk as the markets changed.

The risk-reward levels did not make as much sense—at least to me—in 2018. For that reason, I went to find other markets.

In other markets, I could see similar opportunities where the risk-reward levels made a lot of sense. Those assessments led me to raise additional levels of capital to invest overseas, in oceanfront communities of Belize and Costa Rica.

 

Regardless of what investment decisions we make, we’re always taking some level of risk.

Those risks will relate to our potential for reward. If we deploy our money into a savings account, we’re still taking a risk—we’re risking lost opportunities.

By putting money into a savings account, we may not be making the best use of our resources. On the flip side, if we pursue highly speculative investments, we may put ourselves on the pathway for massive returns.

 

But the risk could mean that we’re vulnerable to losing everything.

For example, I know several people who maxed out their credit cards to invest in the most speculative crypto currencies when Bitcoin was trading at more than 17,000 dollars a coin.

The crypto currencies are now trading at about 33 cents on the dollar from that time, and those people have exposed themselves to bankruptcy. They were anticipating that Bitcoin would rise to more than $100,000 a coin, and they took massive risks, using credit cards to finance the investment.

Now they’re heavily in debt, with no clear pathway to prosperity.

 

Take calculated risks.

Look forward opportunities that adhere to the wisdom of the tortoise and the hare. Take the slow and steady route to riches, with calculated risks.

BUILD A PORTFOLIO OF APPRECIATING ASSETS

When we take a methodical approach to build more assets, we advance our prospects for success.

Although I choose to invest in alternative asset classes like real estate, businesses, and even litigation financing, I recognize that others choose traditional investments. Create a plan that works best for you, taking your tolerance for risk into account.

Friends of mine are serial entrepreneurs. They build businesses, invest in desks, telephones, and employees. Then they use their business acumen to create service businesses that generate millions of dollars in revenues and profits.

That’s certainly an asset! And they use those assets to replicate the process.

 

The key factor is that we must leverage our strengths.

If you have time, energy, and acumen to build businesses, then turn your business into an appreciating asset. If you have high amounts of liquidity, then find opportunities to invest in financial instruments or asset classes that suit your needs.

If you an opportunity to acquire assets that appreciate in value, and those assets grow moderately over time, you will grow your wealth with certainty.

Those are ten tactics that I have used to build a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million. With appreciating markets, those assets have brought me a net worth that now approaches $2 million.

I’ll use these same ten tactics to adjust as the world changes. The same strategy of defining success, creating plans, and setting priorities will guide my investment decisions as I strive to build prosperity over the next several years.

 

I encourage you to join me on this path.

Begin sowing seeds today that will lead to your financial prosperity in the months, years, and decades to come!

 

 

 

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Ten Steps That Lead to Prosperity

Everyone has an opportunity to build more prosperity. But not everyone seizes the opportunities.

If you’re interested in building more financial prosperity, consider learning from the steps below. I began sowing seeds for prosperity decades ago, while I was still locked inside of a federal prison. The decisions at the earliest stages of my journey put me on a pathway to success.

Consider the following steps that worked for my wife and me. We started with a 0-0-0 credit score, and my long background of being in prison. Yet these steps helped me overcome obstacles. Contemplate if a disciplined, deliberate strategy will advance your efforts to build success.

Intro to the Ten-Step Path to Prosperity

 

Success Mindset

Through the information below, I’ll show how thinking differently from the crowd set me on a pathway to prosperity. I encourage you to begin sowing seeds today so that you can build more prosperity in the months, years, and decades ahead.

I’ll show the investment strategy that worked for me. If it makes sense to you, incorporate the same strategy and tactics to build your financial freedom. Click on the accordion boxes below to follow the steps. Many experts observe that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish in five years. For that reason, I use five-year plans to guide my decisions.

 

Where do you want to be in five years?

What seeds can you sow today to build a higher level of success in five years?

I started setting five-year plans in the late 1980s. At the time, I was 23 and beginning a prison term that would keep me locked in federal prisons until 2013. During those 26 years as a prisoner, I advanced through a series of five, five-year plans. Lessons I learned during those five, five-year plans put me on a path to success.

I filmed a series of videos about those five-plans that you can watch on my YouTube channel at the following playlist:

  • Five-Year Plans, Part 1
  • Five-Year Plans, Part 2
  • Five-Year Plans, Part 3

Between the time that I finished my prison term, in 2013 and the time that I finished my first five years in liberty, in 2018, I did more than $9 million worth of real estate transactions.

Those transactions helped my wife and me build a net worth of more $1.5 million, and a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million. Currently, those assets generate a monthly income that exceeds $40,000. But it’s all part of a long-term investment strategy.

Since I served 26 years in prison, got out with a 0-0-0 credit score, and built a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million, I’m convinced that others can do the same.

I offer ten-tactical steps to show an investment strategy that I use to build prosperity.

Each tactical step is part of the success mindset!

 

 

 

BUILD A SOLID WORK ETHIC

The first step to developing a success mindset is to define success.

If you want to build prosperity, prepare yourself to invest the time, energy, and resources. The first investment should be in yourself, and you can do that with a solid work ethic.

Invest time to learn every day. Read about other people who have built success. Use those stories to improve your critical thinking skills. If you want to become more successful, you must invest the time.

 

It’s not enough to work hard.

Many people work hard but do not advance themselves financially. Consider a waiter, a laborer, a caregiver. All of those people work hard. Yet their hard work rarely translates into financial security.

But it isn’t only unskilled laborers that struggle to build prosperity. I interviewed a man who earned an undergraduate degree in business from Wharton, and a master’s in business from the University of Chicago. For 20 years, this person an annual income in excess of $200,000. Yet in his mid 40’s, he his net worth was less than $500,000.

 

Building prosperity begins with a solid work ethic.

A solid work ethic includes a commitment. Experience convinces me that we should make a commitment to investing in ourselves first. Invest to develop knowledge and skills. Then, we must leverage our knowledge and skills to engineer our pathways to prosperity.

You may find value in my ten-part video course on how to develop a solid work ethic, which you can find on my YouTube playlist.

  • Ten-Steps to an Insane Work Ethic

 

INSTEAD OF SAVING, INVEST

Contrary to popular belief, a penny saved does not translate into a penny earned.

Rather, saving money translates into losses. If you want to grow wealth, train your mind to become an investor.

 

Begin investing with a success mindset.

That means use all of your critical thinking skills to plant money into the most fertile gardens. Look for or create opportunities for your money to grow.

If you think in terms of how the environment will change in five years, and plant money where you anticipate the highest possibility for sustainable, reliable growth, you will advance your prospects for success.

 

Remember that investing differs from speculating, and that all that glitters is not gold.

Many people go after get-rich-quick schemes and they lose big time. Think methodically, deliberately. And understand that as we advance through the trajectory of life, we should adjust our investment strategy.

Investments that work well for us at one stage of our life may not be appropriate at other stages of our life.

 

When looking at investments, don’t limit yourself to traditional investments.

If alternative investments make sense to you, and you’ve done your analysis, then take action. Too many people get sucked into pitches by financial services firms that earn a profit from the ostensible unbiased guidance they offer.

Use your intelligence, your critical thinking skills, and your common sense to assess the prospect of an investment growing in value.

Learn tactics and techniques from other successful investors. Then make a decision based on your own due diligence.

 

DON’T WASTE MONEY ON TRINKETS

 

Minimize expenditures on purchases that depreciate in value.

Never use credit to finance consumer debt for items like televisions, clothes, microwaves, and other items that you don’t need. Bad purchases are a killer for any investment strategy.

In the free book I offer about my initial adjustment to society after 26 years in prison, I reveal more about the strategies and tactics I used to begin building prosperity.

If you haven’t read the book, you can access an immediate free download by clicking the following link:

Using debt wisely was a critical tactic.

To service that debt, I had to embrace frugality. Until I built a portfolio of performing assets that were worth more than $1 million, I did not waste money.

I drove a used car that I purchased for $4,000. I did not splurge on clothes, jewelry. I did not purchase a television.

Fortunately, I had a supportive wife who was in alignment with my goal of building prosperity. Financial security was a priority for us, and we made a 100% commitment.

If you’re serious about building prosperity, then minimize expenditures on anything that does not lead you closer to your principled path to prosperity.

 

 

BE SELF-RELIANT AND SELF-DIRECTED

You may have a job. But if you want to build prosperity, then you’d better learn to invest.

 

Regardless of what type of job you have, you always invest more time in yourself. By investing time to learn knew tactics, skills, and to build a stronger mindset, you can create or seize opportunities.

 

People who build prosperity recognize that a paycheck alone rarely leads to prosperity.

I frequently use my wife as an example. She is a master’s educated registered nurse. Her professional credentials result in an annual income from her hospital of about $100,000.

Many people mistakenly believe that with a $100,000 income, it’s easy to begin building a pathway to prosperity. With the costs of living in an affluent community, however, we know that we need to do more than rely upon a paycheck.

When we limit ourselves to relying upon a paycheck, we fail to prepare for the time when the paycheck may stop. That would be inconsistent with the success mindset. We need to be self-directed, and self-reliant.

 

What can you do today to begin building more prosperity tomorrow?

Think of the guidance from the Roman Philosopher, Publius Flavius: In times of peace, prepare for war. Or if you prefer Biblical guidance, think of the prophecy seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine.

To build prosperity, we must prepare, prepare, prepare. Use all of your critical thinking skills to develop a strategy for self-reliance.

 

 

USE LEVERAGE TO ACQUIRE ASSETS

 

Use debt wisely, strategically, and responsibly to build prosperity.

 

I learned the power of debt while reading in prison. And when authorities released me from prison, I immediately began using all of my critical thinking skills to go into debt—but only to acquire assets that I believed would appreciate in value, and only debt that I knew I could service.

 

Here’s an example of how the first debt strategy worked in my favor.

I did not have any credit when I got out of prison. So I used all of my skills to develop an “unconventional” financing source. In other words, I asked a real estate developer to lend me the money so that I could make a real estate acquisition.

You may wonder how I persuaded a real estate developer to provide approximately $400,000 in financing.

 

All of those tactics are part of the success mindset.

  1. We define success as what we’re striving to accomplish.
  2. We create a plan that will take us from where we are to where we want to go.
  3. We put priorities in place.
  4. We execute the plan.

In my case, I laid out a solid plan on why the developer should work with me. After I made the case, he agreed to provide the financing. So I acquired the asset with “unconventional” financing, even though I didn’t have credit and even though I was still in the halfway house.

I used “debt” or leverage to buy a house for about $400,000. I serviced the debt by making monthly payments, as we agreed. Later, I acquired conventional financing from a mortgage company.

 

With that financing, I paid off the developer.

I continued making monthly payments to the mortgage company. My debt went down in value. Simultaneously, the value of the asset increased.

If you review the link to my financial reports, you’ll see that the value of the asset now approaches $700,000. And the debt has dropped to less than $300,000. By using leverage, I’ve built equity of more than $300,000.

That is a good example of how using leverage can make you rich!

See more examples of the power of leverage by reviewing my monthly videos on financial performance.

 

 

 

WHEN INVESTING, BE CONSCIOUS OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

As I’ve written about elsewhere, I left prison with a very clear goal.

Within five years, I wanted to control a portfolio of appreciating assets that would be worth more than $1 million.

There were many different types of asset classes. But I had to consider my strengths and weaknesses.

 

In my heart, I was an entrepreneur.

During the 26 years that I lived as a prisoner, I had to focus on creating. I had to anticipate the successful outcome I wanted, then invest daily to develop skills and resources. My strength lied in my work ethic.

Yet when I returned to society, I understood that I had a weakness. Because I’d been in prison for multiple decades, I didn’t know how to use technology. Nor did I know enough about launching a business.

Obviously, I had other weaknesses. I didn’t have much in the way of financial capital, and I didn’t have traditional credit. Without financial resources, I had to choose the best type of investment for me. If I wanted to build $1 million in assets within five years, I had to weight the best possible options.

 

What is the best possible option for you? What type of investment can you use to build prosperity?

I could not rely upon the stock market as a reliable vehicle. For one thing, with the limited amount of financial assets at my disposal, I could not acquire a sufficiently large position in a stable stock. Further, I didn’t want to be tied to the stock market.

Those assessments of my strengths and weaknesses convinced me that the best vehicle for me would be to invest in real estate. I could use leverage to acquire real estate, and I felt strongly that I could create methods to service the debt. As I succeeded in each transaction, I felt certain that I could open new opportunities to grow.

 

While you’re building your path to prosperity, consider strengths and weaknesses. And invest in your strengths.

ANTICIPATE MARKET CHANGES

If you’re set on building prosperity, understand that markets fluctuate. What’s good today may not be so good tomorrow.

Think back to 2006, when the real estate market was rising. With rising values, lenders made it easy to tap into equity of their homes. Easy credit led to rising debt levels for many years.

Then the market imploded. In 2008, the stock market imploded. People last massive amounts of wealth during the great recession.

 

In 2012 I began investing in California real estate.

Timing was a significant factor. Although no one knew it, the recession was coming to an end in 2012. The timing was perfect to invest in real estate.

Over the next five years, I presided over more than $9 million worth of real estate transactions. Those transactions helped me to build prosperity.

Yet by the end of 2017, I had to reassess the markets. The financial landscape had changed from the time that I got out of prison.

Over the previous ten years, the stock market roared to new highs from the lows of the recession. And real estate values rose as well. Those changes had been good for my investments.

Yet the inflated values made it impossible for me to make sense for further acquisitions of California real estate.

 

Markets had changed.

And I anticipated that better investment opportunities existed outside of California. Then I broadened my horizon and began looking for investment opportunities outside of the United States.

Where are the best opportunities for you to grow your investments?

 

 

REVERSE ENGINEER PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITY

 

This tactic relates to step number 1 in the pathway to building a success mindset. We’ve got to define success.

 

How do you define prosperity?

Different people define prosperity differently. One person may define prosperity as having $100,000 in the bank. Another person may define prosperity as having a $200,000 fixed income.

Another person defines prosperity as having no debt. What is your definition of prosperity?

When we define prosperity with clarity, we can take additional steps, like assessing where we are right now. And we can put timelines that we follow to achieve our prosperity.

If we reverse engineer our pathway to prosperity, we can make more deliberate decisions. I learned this lesson the hard way, when I was still in prison.

 

As I describe in my book Earning Freedom:

I began investing heavily in Internet stocks during my second decade of imprisonment. Early investments in American Online, Yahoo!, and other high-flying Internet stocks allowed me to build more than $1 million in equity by 1999.

I had more than a decade remaining to serve before my release from prison. Yet rather than making a wise decision of diversifying my equity, I held on to my positions in the highly volatile Internet stocks. When the market imploded, I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That experience taught me an invaluable lesson. I should have defined success, then executed a methodical plan that would increase my prospects for success.

 

What level of prosperity would you define as success?

Where level of resources do you have now?

What timeframe are you using to define success?

 

Your responses to those questions will help you assess the need for risk tolerance, for investments, for regular contributions.

Use the tactic of reverse engineering to increase your likelihood of building prosperity.

 

 

 

 

TAKE CALCULATED RISKS

Don’t be frightened by risk.

Instead, look for opportunities to build prosperity with risk. But be diligent in your calculations.

When I began investing in California real estate, I calculated the risk. The real estate market had imploded during the recession.

Properties that had once been selling for more than $600,000 were selling for less than $400,000. If I could find ways to acquire assets at such levels, and the markets recuperated, I could make hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars.

Of course, the assets could continue to sink in value. But if I could hold on to the assets, I the risk would be worth the potential for reward.

That was a calculated risk that paid off well for me.

 

Similarly, I had to reassess the levels of risk as the markets changed.

The risk-reward levels did not make as much sense—at least to me—in 2018. For that reason, I went to find other markets.

In other markets, I could see similar opportunities where the risk-reward levels made a lot of sense. Those assessments led me to raise additional levels of capital to invest overseas, in oceanfront communities of Belize and Costa Rica.

 

Regardless of what investment decisions we make, we’re always taking some level of risk.

Those risks will relate to our potential for reward. If we deploy our money into a savings account, we’re still taking a risk—we’re risking lost opportunities.

By putting money into a savings account, we may not be making the best use of our resources. On the flip side, if we pursue highly speculative investments, we may put ourselves on the pathway for massive returns.

 

But the risk could mean that we’re vulnerable to losing everything.

For example, I know several people who maxed out their credit cards to invest in the most speculative crypto currencies when Bitcoin was trading at more than 17,000 dollars a coin.

The crypto currencies are now trading at about 33 cents on the dollar from that time, and those people have exposed themselves to bankruptcy. They were anticipating that Bitcoin would rise to more than $100,000 a coin, and they took massive risks, using credit cards to finance the investment.

Now they’re heavily in debt, with no clear pathway to prosperity.

 

Take calculated risks.

Look forward opportunities that adhere to the wisdom of the tortoise and the hare. Take the slow and steady route to riches, with calculated risks.

BUILD A PORTFOLIO OF APPRECIATING ASSETS

When we take a methodical approach to build more assets, we advance our prospects for success.

Although I have chosen real estate as my asset of choice, I recognize that others may choose other types of assets to invest in. Close friends of mine are serial entrepreneurs.

They build business, investing in desks, telephones, and employees. Then they use their business acumen to create service businesses that generate millions of dollars in revenues and profits.

That’s certainly an asset! And they use those assets to replicate the process.

 

The key factor is that we must leverage our strengths.

If you have time, energy, and acumen to build businesses, then turn your business into an appreciating asset. If you have high amounts of liquidity, then financial instruments or equity may be the right asset for you.

If you an opportunity to acquire assets that appreciate in value, and those assets grow moderately over time, you will grow your wealth with certainty.

Those are ten tactics that I have used to build a portfolio of assets worth more than $5 million. With appreciating markets, those assets have brought me a net worth that now approaches $2 million.

I’ll use these same ten tactics to grow my assets from $5 million to $10 million over the next ten years.

 

I encourage you to join me on this path.

Begin sowing seeds today that will lead to your financial prosperity in the months, years, and decades to come!

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