Investment gurus tend to have a mystical air about them.
Common citizens often admire the dedication, hard work and je ne sais quoi that they’ve put in to be where they are today, and tend to very highly value the advice provided by such prominent personalities.
While the common rags to riches story is one we all seek to draw inspiration from, there are also some stories of these investment gurus that go the other way around: from grace to grass (and sometimes, back to grace again)
One such story is that of Jordan Belfort.
You’ve no doubt heard of the famous Martin Scorsese movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, right?
Well, did you know that the movie was (surprisingly realistically= based on Jordan Belfort’s life?
Let’s explore who Jordan Belfort really is, his history, why his name is infamously attached to scandals, his net worth, and what his life is like at the moment now that the dust has settled.
Born on July 9, 1962, Jordan Belfort (Jordan Ross Belfort) was a child to two accountants, namely Max and Leah, who were both Jews.
He was born in Queens, New York. Belfort acquired a degree in Biology from American University.
However, both his interest and his skills were related to the world of sales, profits, and money; something we can gather after exploring his journey as a young man.
In the 1980s, when Belford was still in his early twenties, he started employing his sales tactics. He even took on an operating door-to-door meat and seafood business in Long Island.
He tried to take his career in a different direction altogether when he enrolled himself at The University of Maryland School of Dentistry. However, unsurprisingly, that stint was very short-lived.
On the very first day, he heard the dean talk about how the future of dentistry is pretty much over.
That’s when Belford knew he had to back out, because we all know that a field that did not have a bright financial future, would not suit someone like Belfort.
It was after dropping out of dentistry that Belfort pursued the position of a door-to-door salesman.
We hear that this particular venture was pretty successful, and he even managed to make it grow to a point where he had quite a few employees working for him.
This team operating under him is known to have moved over two tons of products every single week. However, that business soon brought dark days for Belfort, since it failed when he was 25 years of age.
Following this failure, Belfort filed for bankruptcy. It was after this period that we saw Belfort becoming interested in stockbroking.
It was in 1987 when Belfort started working as a trainee stockbroker at brokerage firm that was known as L.F. Rothschild.
As discussed previously, Belfort was looking to learn more about the field, which is why this job was his ticket to devolving deeper into the stock market arena.
This happiness, though, did not last too long for him, because he was released from his responsibilities after the Black Monday stock market crash took place.
In 1985, Belfort got married to Denise Lombardo. However, the marriage ended in 1991 when Belfort was found cheating on his wife with a model.
This model, Nadine Caridi, later became his second wife.
However, this marriage ended, too, reportedly due to Belfort’s drug abuse. Belfort and Caridi have two kids from their marriage, Chandler Belfort and Carter Belfort.
After the failure of the brokerage firm, Belfort followed his dream of starting his own investment operation, and this was called Stratton Oakmont.
This happened in 1989, merely two years after the L.F. Rothschild incident. We definitely have to give credit to Belfort for not giving up, no matter how dire the situation got, which is of course something that we learn from his life story.
With the help of his partner, Danny Porush, Belfort devised a "pump and dump" scheme to make money. The scheme was that Belfort’s brokers would push stocks onto their clients who didn’t have a clue of what was going on.
This helped in inflating the prices of the stocks, which the company then sold off their holdings on, thereby making a much bigger profit.
Once Belfort got a taste of money, he did what many of us have seen a few celebrities doing previously as well, which is spending mindlessly because they don’t know what to do with all that fresh cash.
He bought mansions, expensive cars, and toys that the wealthy can afford. He had even developed a drug addiction, and was known to have been fond of Quaaludes.
It turned out that his drug problem had reached such a stage that he was involved in several accidents. One of these accidents was crashing his helicopter into his yard, coupled with sinking his yacht.
It was public knowledge that Belfort encouraged erratic behavior among his employees as well. Substance abuse, sexual activities, and horseplay were pretty much a part of the regular scene at the New York and Long Island offices of Stratton Oakmont.
Of the many insane incidents we have heard about, there was one that stated that an assistant at the firm was paid a whopping $5,000 just to let some of the traders of the company shave her head.
The motto that was passed around among the employees said, “Don't hang up until the customer buys or dies.”
In 1992, the shady operations at Stratton Oakmont hit the iceberg. Belfort was forced to get out of the stock market business, and his company reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This settlement included a fine for the company along with Belfort being banned from working in the securities industry.
The company was ordered to be liquidated and pay off all its fines in 1997. Belfort was found pleading guilty to securities fraud and money laundering, and was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003, while being personally fined $110 million.
He served just 22 months in jail, though, which is when he developed an interest in writing.
His memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, was published in 2008, and made into a movie directed Martin Scorsese in 2013, where Leonardo DiCaprio played Belfort.
Belfort now lives in Los Angeles, California, with Anne Koppe. The two started dating in 2005, and got engaged in 2015.
Jordan Belford’s current net worth is -$97 million. Of the $110 million he owed in restitution, we hear that he has paid off $13 million of it so far.
Back in the day when Belfort was swimming in money, his net worth was known to be $200 million.
The income that Belfort has coming his way at the moment is generated from the books he writes (some of which have movies based on them), and also from his gigs as a motivational speaker.
He reportedly makes around $80,000 with every gig. Isn’t that a crazy amount?!
Well, when you’re someone who has a lot of life stories to share, perhaps that’s what your motivational words are worth for.
There are numerous wise words from Jordan Belfort than can serve as inspiration. Here are some of the quotes that I believe we can look up to as life lessons:
Despite all the ups and downs that Jordan Belfort has seen in his life till date, he has somehow managed to pull himself together and rise from the ashes.
Today, he’s arguably earning as much as he did in his peak, now working as a motivation speaker with his personal brand cachet.
Say what you will about Belfort’s scruples, he undoubtedly proves one thing: whoever dares, wins.
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