Guest Interview: Life and Money Lessons I Learned from Jail

FIRECracker
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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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If you were sentenced to prison for 10 years for “Reckless Homicide By Delivery of a Controlled Substance”, what lesson would you learn from it?

1) Don’t do drugs. It’ll ruin your life.
2) Why did this happen to me? Life isn’t fair.
3) I can use my story to save someone else’s life.

For Billy B. from Wealth Well Done, it’s #3.

Back in 2002, Billy was a 21-year-old college dude who loved to party. One night he brought some drugs to a party, got high, and then went home to sleep it off. The next day, he called his friend whom he had partied with, only to hear a different voice he wasn’t expecting:

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” His roommate yelled, “You have to get out of there now!”

Dropping the phone, he ran out into the hall way, and straight into the arms of the police. That day he found his whole world turned upside as he was sentenced to 10 years for providing some of the drugs that had killed his friend in his sleep.

That was 15 years ago. Today, Billy has completely turned his life around. After getting out of jail in 2012 and starting over again from the bottom, Billy went back to school, worked his way up from a $9/hour job stacking boxes to amassing a quarter million dollars of net worth in just 5 short years.

I’m sharing Billy B’s story today to inspire you. If you’re in a ton of debt, in a bad situation you think you can get out of, or just too scared and don’t think you can ever accomplish your dreams, Billy is living proof that you CAN.

I met, Billy at FinCon this year. As soon as he introduced himself, I knew something was familiar. Even though I’d never met him before, as soon as the words “Jail” and “10 years” left his mouth, I immediately remembered where I had seen him.

I’d read his story on BudgetsAreSexy and it struck me as one of the most memorable stories I’d ever read. You can read it here.

As shocking as the story was, it wasn’t so much the story that really got me. It was Billy’s attitude. He is living proof that where you end up in life has more to do with your choices, rather than luck, other people, or some so-called predetermined destination. Because Billy COULD HAVE wallowed in misery, blamed the cops, blamed his luck, blamed society in general. But he didn’t. He made a horrible mistake as a dumb college kid, got taught an brutal lesson but he didn’t let that destroy him. Instead, he used it to better himself. And today, I’m beyond excited to share with you what he learned from such a harrowing experience.

So without further ado, here’s Billy!

 

You mention in your article that in jail you “hadn’t seen the internet in a decade” and “had no concept of what social media was.” What was that like? How have you adjusted to regular life?

It was overwhelming. Euphoric, but scary at times because I knew I could fail at any moment. Looking back on it, I probably took on more than I should have. I started college 6 days after I got out with 16-credit load. I knew school would be good for me because it would give me a good place to start, but I forgot about all the little stuff I’d have to relearn. Like how to drive a car, start an email address, buy clothes, get banking stuff set up. It was just so much all at once.

Luckily in prison, I saw my prison time as a training ground to get ready. So rather than studying how to do all these things that were unknown to me, I studied philosophical skills like:

  • How to be good under pressure.
  • How to be patient.
  • How to focus on small achievements that would lead to bigger achievements.
  • How to fake it until you make it.
  • How to build quality relationships with people who could help me.

So when the proverbial shit hit the fan and I got out, I relied on all these “human skills” that really did help me and set me up for long term success.

 

That’s interesting that you say things like “luckily in prison” and refer to getting OUT of jail as “when the proverbial shit hit the fan”. It reminds me of that scene in “Shawshank Redemption” where Brooks gets out of jail after a 49-year sentence. He’s so afraid of going back out into the real world because “everyone got themselves in a hurry”, that he briefly considers killing his boss at the grocery where he works as a grocery bagger so he could go back to jail.

So it seems like as terrifying as it was to serve a 10-year sentence, getting out and having to adjust to the real world again was just as terrifying.

Which brings me to my next point. You said that you learned in prison that “happiness is not dependent on needing a lot of money” since “money didn’t exist in prison” and you loved not having to worry, or think about it. What was it like getting used to the concept of money after you got out and what’s your relationship with it like now?

Money was a very foreign concept to me because it really didn’t exist in prison.

In prison, I was making 0.42 cents an hour as a GED tutor and that was considered a high-paying educated man’s job.

When I went to prison, I was just a college kid who never really had any significant job or income. So really when I got out at 31 years old, I had the money knowledge of a teenager. But, it was sort of a disguised blessing. I had the philosophical understanding of “how to be happy” “how to create purpose and meaning” “how to be content with little” understandings of a person far beyond my age because I had to learn those skills in prison to survive.

So when I first got out, my goal was just to make $10 an hour because I could at least survive on that. Then, when I could make $10 an hour, and learned to live life on those terms, I could reset my goals, and shoot for the next goal.

I am totally 100% honest when I say my journey to wealth really happened on accident. I was just so busy learning about life and money, and setting goals, and then making the next goal, and achieving that goal, and setting my next goal higher, that before I knew it my goals and achievements were getting bigger and bigger. I accidentally got wealthy along the way. Once I hit $125,000 net worth, I really noticed and thought “holy crap, I did this on accident, and I am really good at it.” I wanted to share what I have learned with others and that’s where the idea for Wealth Well Done was inspired.

My relationship with Money today is fantastic. I see money as a tool that can help buy every dream I had when I was in prison. When I was in prison, I never dreamed of a brand new $100K sports car. Or a 8,000 square foot beach house. I dreamed of the simple things:

  • Being able to see friends whenever I wanted.
  • Being able to go on walks and hikes whenever I wanted.
  • Being able to think, write, and execute ideas however I wanted.

Fortunately for me, it doesn’t take a lot of money to do these things. But the more money I have, the less I have to think or worry about money, which allows me to think more about the above things that make me happy. So for me, money really is a gateway into freeing up my mind to create a better mindset, which is really my happiest and most blissful place to be.

 

Wait, so JAIL made you less stressed about money because you realized you don’t need a lot of money to be happy? Have you always been a frugal person?

Yup. In fact, before I went to jail, I always thought getting into debt was a life sentence. The negative side effects from getting high were short lived but the side effects from getting into debt lasts for decades. So I stayed away from debt because I believed it was worse than drugs. Now I know that was because I was super cocky and thought you couldn’t die from the drugs we were taking.

 

Did you hear that peeps? Billy thought debt was scarier than drugs! This is why we keep saying you need to “murder that debt monster” before it destroys you.

Okay, so on to my next question. In Jail, you mentioned you were surrounded by murderers, people who’d committed robberies, people who’d done things way worse than you. Who’s the most interesting person you met in jail and what did they teach you?

Great question. I think the inner-city gang culture made the biggest impact on me.
But not active gangsters. The gangsters who had gotten older, and had spiritual awakenings, and were no longer the killers and brutal enforcers they once were.

They taught me how every decision you make in life when you’re living on the streets can be life or death for them.

Seriously, if you make the wrong decision, you could be killed for it.

So they taught me how important strategy is, and how important being very wise with every decision is.
I grew up in the white, educated upper/middle class suburbs so though I was taught a lot of academic knowledge in my education before prison, I was really kind of “soft” in my decision making skills, because I just had the attitude that since I’m smart, and come from a good family, my family or society will just bail me out if I make a bad decision.

But being immersed in a culture where your every decision mattered, really sharpened my decision-making skills, because every decision you make is either going to lead you to success, failure, or death. That period of my life, with those people, really made me hyper-aware of every decision I make.

I didn’t want to fail in prison, or when I got out of prison, so it really made me study and master my decision making process to a point I’d never done before.

In fact, I wrote a manuscript about my experience living between these two cultures I may publish one day.

 

Wow, that’s incredible! This is the point that stuck with me the most from your story. Your decisions/choices is what determines where you end up in life. Because without parents or the government to bail you out, you had to save yourself or you died on the streets. No one’s coming to save you.

This lesson actually matches exactly what I learned from my experience growing up in China. When you live in a country with no social safety net and you can’t rely on the government to save you, you develop this “do or die” mentality.

That’s why it’s so foreign to me when people ask “what’s the worse that could happen? Like you’d starve on the street? You’ll be fine.” The truth is, if you’re from a marginalized background or living in country with no safety net, you WON’T be fine unless you save yourself. You CAN literally die on the street. There are no thoughts of “my situation is bad but I can’t do anything to change it. I need someone to come help me. ” When you have no one coming to save you, you HAVE to claw your way out, because if you don’t, you die. It’s the Survival Mindset.

***

It seems like that’s the Survival Mindset that drove Billy to finish his degree, get a job, and hustle until he got his way to a quarter of a million and where he is today. And if that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.

Well, this post is turning into a monstrous 2000 word post already and I haven’t even scratched the surface, I’m going to split this into 2 parts. Stay turned next Monday to find out:

  • How Billy managed to save $40K in 2 years on a $9/hour salary stacking boxes
  • How he managed to build his quarter million net worth in just 5 short years, and
  • What advice he has for people who are stuck in bad situations they don’t think they can get out of.

Click here for Part 2 of Billy’s interview!

33 thoughts on “Guest Interview: Life and Money Lessons I Learned from Jail”

  1. Great guest interview! Thanks for featuring Billy guys! This story inspires me. Unfortunately many people would not react like this in his situation. I wonder how we can inspire more people to have such a transformation experience.

    1. Hey Thanks Handy Millennial. I don’t know what separates my choices and success, from others. One reason may be that I had a great education growing up, so I was aware that I could live a better life if I worked my butt off for it. I am sure my education gave me an advantage over those who have been told, and believe, that they’re not good enough, or they’ll never amount to anything, and life is hopeless. Education gives you the skills to overcome anything. But it’s hope that gives you the strength to run through a brick wall if you have to. I was lucky to have both education, and hope in my arsenal of skills.

      I also have to give my faith, spiritual beliefs, and my relationship with God alot of credit for my turn around. I feel like I had incredible guidance in my life because I chose to believe that there is a reason and purpose for my life, and I became determined to fulfill that purpose. I know you can’t make everyone have faith, and believe in God, but it was a huge source of strength and guidance in my life when I didn’t have anything else. I found my answers and direction in life when I combined faith with an unrelenting work ethic. I’m sure those two sources of inspiration can, and have, changed alot of lives.

      1. Hi Billy! Thanks for your great response. I really like this quote “Education gives you the skills to overcome anything. But it’s hope that gives you the strength to run through a brick wall if you have to. I was lucky to have both education, and hope in my arsenal of skills. ” You’ve certainly given me a new perspective on how faith can help you carry through.

      2. Thanks for sharing your story! I also appreciate your response and acknowledgement that it’s difficult for those without hope to rise above their situation. I saw this a lot growing up in Chicago and see it now when I volunteer in K-12 schools in the city where I live now.

        1. Hey Mas. Honestly, I struggle with how to respond and feel about people who CHOOSE to not have hope. Because it is a choice every person has to make. Nobody makes that choice of hopelessness for them. Ultimately, I believe choosing NOT to have hope is the easy way out, because it’s much easier to blame, complain, and find excuses. It’s HARD work to choose to have hope, and fight against what’s holding you back. It’s scary to change your life, and then make the sacrifices to do it, when you’re the only one doing it.

          I give everyone the benefit of the doubt when I meet them, that not everyone has had the education and experiences growing up. But I get frustrated very fast when I show hopeless people that they can have a better life if they work at it, and yet they CHOOSE to respond to me with excuses, blame, and complaints on why they can’t have hope and create a better life for themselves.

          At that point, it isn’t their lack of education that is causing their life to suck and be hopeless. It’s their choices, because the answer how to change is often standing right in front of them. Unfortunately, change and success often comes wearing “overalls and looks like work.” And though everyone wants to be successful, not everyone wants to “wear the dirty overalls” and put in the work to become successful.

          So those are my thoughts on the issue. I am not sure if they’re right or not, but it’s how I coped during my time in prison. If people are open minded, and willing to try new things and hope, I’ll be a friend to them immediately. But if they want to blame, complain, and find excuses, I’ll be gone faster than a butterfly in a hurricane, because it’s not healthy for me to be around that type of attitude. Thanks for the comment.

          1. Thanks for the response. I respectfully disagree though. It’s not just a matter of choosing not to have hope. I also don’t think it’s being afraid to work. Most of the folx I know back home work extremely hard, but unfortunately, the work they do won’t get them anywhere financially. What’s more, if you’re used to a system designed for you to fail, it is difficult to have hope that you will ever “beat” that system and succeed. I had a student that I’ve tried to mentor call me today and ask, “What the hell am I supposed to do if I have to pay $10,000 in tax on my tuition waiver? I’ve worked so hard to get here and now I won’t be able to finish my PhD.” For some context, the current tax bill proposes to cut the regulation that allows for tuition waivers to not be considered as income. If income, students may have to pay 20% of on money, they literally never see, making graduate school damn near impossible. I didn’t really have an answer for that student, but I totally get the feeling that every time you move forward something “by design” pushes you two steps backs. So that’s what I related to and tried to offer hope regarding. I’ve been fortunate than when I’ve hit those tough times, I’ve had mentors who have helped me to navigate. My mentors have used their privilege to help me to navigate around my disadvantages and the systemic challenges that I have faced. Unfortunately, not everyone has mentors like that. I think about a friend who inherited her mother’s home. She went to school, earned her degree, and began working as a social worker, something she loved. Thanks to gentrification, the property taxes on her home more than tripled. She could no longer afford to stay, though, she tried. She considered going back to school, changing fields, etc. She saved more, but she was on salary. Picking up a side hustle was not in the cards either. She lived and breathed her job, often bringing children home to stay with her when needed. Always thinking about them, literally on call 24-7 for whatever emergencies might come her way. Anywho, we spoke mostly when she was deciding between buying a car so that she could move further away and stay at the job she loved, though losing the house that she grew up in and reducing the time she spent on work and picking up a side job. Long story short her house went into foreclosure, she lost it.

            1. Hey Mas. I totally respect your opinion too. I don’t know if I am 100% right. There is no 100% absolute truths in life. On earth, everything is a shade of grey, and we just have to make the best out of what we do understand.

              I think the roots to my attitude can really be seen in the section where FIREcracker and I really bond over the “scarcity mindset” which we both learned in two very different environments. She learned it from what she experienced in China. I learned it from what I experienced in prison.

              I choose to have the attitude that we are not “owed” anything in life; like a job, house, or even a meal. If we want these things, then it’s up to us to create them to our liking or they won’t happen. In fact, MY truth is that there’s many things in life that are not “fair.” It sucks big time, but until you can find creative ways to get around those things that are unfair, there will always be unfair situations to find.

              For example, I know it’s not fair that alot of people can’t afford a PhD education. But personally, I choose not to put a lot of value in formal education. I’ve decided I don’t really care about getting a PhD education, as a PhD isn’t going to solve my problems such as putting food on my table or paying my mortgage.

              My attitude is, I can go to any library in the country and read thousands of books, and go online and watch millions of utube videos, and get all of the same information that you can find in a University for free. Then, I can go to hundreds of networking events held across any city, and build relationships with all types successful mentors who are willing to give me advice and help me for free.

              If you want it bad enough, I believe you can actually create your own education that is 10X better than any university in the country for under $1000.

              Then, take that knowledge you gathered, and go and start your own business with it.

              I know this is an extreme example, but there will always be unfair road blocks in everyone’s life. I believe the only way to overcome those unfair road blocks, is to create an extreme attitude to fight against them and go on a mission to solve your problems on your own, because nobody else is going to do it for you.

              I don’t know if I am correct or incorrect on any of this. This is just the mindset and attitude I had to develop to get through my own challenges.

              I believe people have two logical options whenever they encounter a significant road block: 1) They can figure out a creative way to solve the problem and get around that road block. Or 2) They can give up that dream, and find a new dream that is better suited for the life they do have.

              I really apologize if my words came across as uncaring in any way, because I am a very caring human being. My life and attitude were molded in an extremely difficult and intense place that lasted for 10 years straight. My attitude is just a result of how I decided to never give up, and cope with that horrible situation I was stuck in. Thanks for commenting.

              1. “1) They can figure out a creative way to solve the problem and get around that road block. Or 2) They can give up that dream, and find a new dream that is better suited for the life they do have.”

                This is the key. Life isn’t fair, but you always have a choice. You can choose to try to bitch, complain, and yell until someone else fixes it (which may or may not happen), or change your expectations and find a creative way to solve the problem. Sometimes the solution is unconventional, sometimes it comes with MASSIVE sacrifices and is also insanely hard, but there’s always a way. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard or can’t work hard, it means the sacrifice is not desirable and you can’t bring yourself to make that choice.

              2. No apologies needed, at least as far as I’m concerned. I appreciate the responses and I always respect the voice of others, whether I agree or not. Thanks again for sharing your story and your comments.

                1. Hey Mas – Your comments impacted me good, because I woke up thinking about them this morning. This is the thought I had right away when I woke up:

                  “It’s easier to fit your dreams into your life, than it is to try to fit life around your dreams.”

                  What I mean by that is: Rather than getting frustrated when our dreams aren’t working in our reality, sometimes it’s easier to accept the reality we are living in, and then find dreams that can work inside that reality.

                  For example, I am a felon and will be for the rest of my life. Rather than be frustrated by all the dreams I can no longer live because of my felony. I chose to make new dreams that aren’t affected by being a felon. That mindset has helped me adjust to the reality I am living greatly.

                  I still have to work out these thoughts a little more, but just wanted to let you know your comments stuck with me last night. Thanks.

          2. Though everyone wants to be successful, not everyone wants to “wear the dirty overalls” and put in the work to become successful.

            Completely agree with this statement. Sometimes they do need a bit of coaching/mentoring in order to strategically put the hard work towards something that will yield results. Sometimes people work hard, but they don’t understand it’s not towards something that will advance them toward their goals.

            I saw people working insanely hard back at my old office, but it was completely futile. All the money they earned would go straight back out to a massive mortgage, commuting, eating out, and they were always trying to keep their head above water but it wasn’t working. They had moved into such an expensive city to increase their pay, but it really didn’t help them get ahead because the costs also scaled up with the pay, so it wasn’t worth it. They would’ve actually been getting ahead faster in their old, lower paying job and lower cost city, but they didn’t realize this and kept thinking working harder for more pay is getting them ahead.

            1. You killed it with this example right here. I’m currently struggling watching a very good friend do this right now. She works SOOO HARRRD! Harder than I do!!! But then all that overtime money she makes goes to consumables like cigarettes, drinks, eating out, entertainment events, and she has nothing to show it at the end of ever pay day. It’s hard for me to watch her do this, because I know she could be so much happier if she could escape this cycle, but I can’t make her choices for her. We all have to get to a point where we’re “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” When we reach that moment, that’s when the greatest changes happen. I guess we just have to support our best friends, until they’re ready for that change. I have to remember to have more empathy because a lot of people supported me for years when I was acting like an idiot, before I was ready to make positive changes in my own life.

              1. “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Yup. You plucked the words right out of my brain. They have to make the decisions themselves. We can’t shove them towards it.

    2. I think Billy said it best below that he had hope. Some people may feel like their efforts won’t amount to anything, so why bother, so it seems like in order to make it through a tough situation like this, having faith that it will get better helps propel you forward.

  2. Sounds like some good lessons learned Billy. One point stood out to me that I think need emphasis — the similarities between debt and drugs. That’s no joke.

    People use credit cards to buy their way to happiness in a shopping mall, and that rush of endorphins every time something new is purchased can become very addictive.

    I see it all the time — people addicted to spending with debt.

    1. Hey Mr Tako: Thanks for pointing that out. Now that I look back on my life, I can totally see the connection between getting high on drugs, and spending with debt. In both situations, you’re paying for substances that cause euphoric, and at times, dangerous and destructive sensations inside of you.

      I do find it fascinating how I was afraid of debt as a young millennial because I was logical enough to see that the damaging effects of financial decisions could last for years, but I was totally unafraid of drugs, because at worst I thought I’d have a hangover and sleep it off within 24 hours. My logic was simple: Long term consequences like debt: SCARY!!! Short term consequences like drugs: manageable. Ultimately, as you can see what happened in my life, I was totally wrong about drugs, and my logic was 100% flawed as a young person, because drugs did produce terrible consequences that will last a lifetime for me.

      In the end, the choice to use drugs and debt are very similar in these ways: It’s a blast going up and getting high with them, and a nightmare when you realize that those same choices will also pull you straight down into your own hell.

    2. As someone who was once a purse-junkie, I totally agree with you on that point. Debt can be as addicting as drugs because of the immediate dopamine rush to the brain. That’s why it’s so dangerous, but people don’t think of it that way.

  3. Best Lesson I ever had was having my Mobile Home Auctioned off for taxes… And Ford Credit Repossessing my truck at the same time. I was making $1000 a month, and was forced to create a budget, and stick to it. Gave up drinking and socializing, and had all my debt paid off in a year. It was a fearful time.

    I never had a home to go back to, that is another story, but it made me independent, and badass. Unfortunately it also created a shit attitude that I carried with me thru most of my life… Until now. and that is also another story.

    Billy, I believe anyone can be forgiven… I am glad you have forgiven yourself, repented and prospered. Many cannot do this, and I think this is your biggest accomplishment.

    1. Wow, sounds like you’ve been through some crazy trials in your life, spaceman. Thanks for sharing your story! It’s definitely difficult to forgive yourself and it’s so inspiring that Billy has been able to accomplish this.

    2. Hey @Spaceman. Thanks so much for commenting, as it was SUPER MEANINGFUL to me. Sometimes I think that “forgiving yourself” is just common knowledge for those who haven’t gone to prison, and everyone knows how to do it, so I am nervous to talk about it sometimes. But you just helped me see that the freedom, and ability, to forgive yourself, and be willing to move on with a smile on your face even in a crappy situation, is one of the most powerful, and wealth-building things you can do in life.

      Being a wealth-blogger, I often try to incorporate money knowledge into my writing. But your comment shows me that the act of forgiving yourself, is a human truths that is FAR more important to building authentic wealth than only mastering money. Because what good is money, if you have a terrible attitude and are unhappy with your life??? Your comment means alot to me, and it will inspire me to write more about this subject long after this post. I won’t forgive you, Spaceman. I am glad you seem to have found your peace like I have.

      1. You are welcome, and I encourage you to write more, its therapeutic, and has meaning to others. I assume the last line of your comment was a typo… ?

        3 years ago I had to forgive myself, I had to let go of the angry person that I was, and I had to forgive others around me to be able to let go. My life is drastically different now, yet nothing around me has changed.

        I was at a service for a close friend this last weekend, the room as filled to capacity with people, he was 72 and involved in many different activity’s, rowing, aviation, cycling. He was loved by everyone. Nobody cared about how much money he had when he died, or even a mention of his personal possessions. If I can have half as many people in the room when I go, then my life will have been a success.

        So to put it simply…. how do we fill the room…

        cheers

  4. Great interview! Had the chance to talk to Billy one night at FinCon. Great guy with lots of interesting and unique insights. It was fun talking about life philosophy with him.

    1. Agree. Talking to interesting, inspiring people is one of the best things about FinCon. I’m so glad I went and got to meet Billy, you, and all the other awesome bloggers!

    2. Tawcan!!!! is the type of guy you randomly meet in a hotel elevator, and start chatting about life with, and then he says, “Hey, I have access to a private lounge in the hotel, want to go check it out?” We had free snacks and drinks in the late hours of the night, or early hours in the morning. I look forward to the next time we meet. We will continue our conversation at that time, and continue to try to dig and find the deepest answers to life we’re both searching for. Next time we meet, we probably won’t know everything. But we will know more than we know today, and will share what we have learned, as that’s what great friends do. Peace out, brother.

  5. Wow, that is an amazing story. Made me a bit more grateful to be in my present situation. First time I ever heard a stint in jail spun positively (unless it’s the Tough On Crime crowd talking about OTHER (and often darker) people’s jail stints).

    I’ve got to read this story more in depth; I really want to know what he’s been doing to have built such a huge net worth so quickly, especially within a felony charge showing up on his background checks.

    Makes you really thankful for what you’ve got. So Happy Thanksgiving!

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. Hey ARB. Thanks so much for commenting. If this interview made you feel more thankful and grateful for the life you do have, then it was WELL worth my time to do it, as gratefulness is where all feelings of wealth come from.

      Honestly, my felony record didn’t get in my way at all. My first job I got didn’t care. And then after that, I started my own business, so it didn’t stop me there either. Then when I bought my first investment property, which you will read about in the interview part #2, my felony didn’t stop me from making money off real estate either. (I will say it is kind of a funny feeling doing criminal background checks on my renters. I’m the one who should fail at these. Haha!)

      I like to tell people: Talent, perseverance, and a determined work ethic are a force than help you overcome any set back. Sure you might run into some no’s, but remember this is America. The land of opportunity no matter who you are, or where you came from. If someone says no, my attitude is to just your idea to the next person down the street, and make the first person who rejected you look like an idiot by turning your life into an incredible success. If you’re talented, and a hard worker, and can keep your self-esteem up even in the face of adversity and rejection, America will ALWAYS have opportunities knocking at your door no matter what challenges you’ve faced in the past. That was my attitude and outlook, and that’s what worked for me.

  6. Hi all,

    I totally agree. The most important factor is the sheer determination which relates the refusal to admit defeat at all time based on my prespective. FIRE will allow one to have more confidence in the things he/she want to do. There is no restriction on the things that he/she desire to do and strive to accomplish the target.

    Ben

  7. you write really well: succinct, good grammar, your examples keep the reader engaged, and you are able to make the article relevant to readers from all backgrounds. I would never have guessed that this is your first article.

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