OKAY, here’s me in a nutshell: Coming out of college, I was scared of the opposite sex, I hated where I lived, I had no viable skills, and the worst of it, I was flat broke. Maybe right now you
are better off than I was, maybe worse, but I was in a place where I wanted a change. To change everything. I wanted something better. It wasn’t peachy being a newly sprung college grad with a crappy day job, trying to get by in my suburban hometown living in my mom’s basement among abandoned exercise equipment and slowly leaking beanbag chairs. It didn’t take me long to figure out that wasn’t the way I wanted to live—that is, on someone else’s terms and schedule, with a limited social calendar, and, not to mention, under financial constraints. So, at the age of twenty-two, I happened upon an idea so crazy I thought it just might work: I would become a millionaire by the time I was thirty.
Of course, I wasn’t the first person to set this goal, but I’m not sure how many people actually accomplish it, and my guess is that those who have probably went about it differently than I did.
You see, I’m just a plain ol’ gravelly voiced dude with no special talents. I didn’t become an investment banker or a high-powered lawyer, and my family’s not loaded. When I decided to be a millionaire by thirty, I had just accepted a job in a new town, leaving behind a ridiculous comfort zone of familiar surroundings and friends. And, of course, my mom’s weekly Chore Wheel. I left that all behind to make $40,000 a year as a technical-support guy in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I definitely didn’t know what I was getting into, but I was excited about it.
I embarked on my new life with a freshly printed college diploma and $10,000 to my name. That’s a lot of money for a twenty-two-year-old. But because I made some solid financial decisions before and during college, I was leaving school ahead of my friends, financially speaking. I went to a university that offered me a full scholarship, and
I kept it all four years. (That doesn’t mean I’m smart; it just means my college had loose standards.) It wasn’t the school of my dreams, but I knew I could make it work. It took me a semester or two, but I eventually found a way to balance my studies and keg stands (both required someone shouting “Hurry! Before the girls/cops get here!”).
Another chunk of that ten grand came from money I had been saving since sixth grade. My mother, in an effort to make me interested in personal finance, had promised to double any amount of money I deposited into my savings account. Looking back on it now, it made no sense for her to teach me the value of money by giving me free money.
But I took her offer as lesson number one in personal finance: Refusing free money is stupid. My $20 weekly allowance for mowing the lawn quickly became a $40-a-week bank deposit. Same with the money I was earning from mowing my neighbors’ lawns. And their neighbors’ lawns. After a few months of crazy lawn-mowing binges, my mom reneged on her deal (teaching me another lesson about free money: It ain’t forever). She thought I was taking advantage of her offer, but I’d like to think I was just being opportunistic (something I’ll get into in more detail later in the book). Regardless of the lost matching contributions, I kept adding to my savings account throughout middle school and high school. My job dressing up as the Chuck E. Cheese’s rat earned me a regular paycheck, as did occasional lifeguarding and coaching duties at the local YMCA. And even in high school, I kept mowing all those lawns. Twenty dollars for an hour’s work is hard to pass up, especially to someone with a limited skill set like me.
Like most, I continued working in college. I still lifeguarded for a bit, waited tables, and bartended. I even earned a big payday by becoming an accidental entrepreneur. My roommate Jeff and I wanted to throw the biggest party possible in the field next to our house. We rented generators and Porta Pottis, hired bands, advertised on radio stations and in newspapers, and bought fifteen kegs for the party. It was a bit risky and definitely a lot of work, but we each invested a sizable portion of our savings to do it. At a minimum, we just wanted to recoup our expenses.
So we had to charge $5 a head. It paid off, though: We had generated so much buzz among all the students that more than six hundred people came! Jeff and I made over $2,000 in unforeseen profit. It was an amazing feeling seeing that much cash on our living room table. If it were sitting in a suitcase, I would have sworn we had done something illegal. Okay, full disclosure: Considering that I was twenty, I was doing something illegal. But it was a memorable and profitable night due to our foresight of securing party permits and observing noise ordinances. Memorable and profitable mainly because for once it didn’t require yelling “Hurry, before the cops get here!”
Anyway, that was then, and this is now. With $10,000 in savings and a dream, I did become a millionaire by the time I was thirty. The point of this book is to let you know
that you can too.
In the following chapters, I’ll break down exactly how I made a million bucks, and the strategies and steps I took along the way. None of them involves selling kidneys from
a Las Vegas bathtub, but, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, especially if it’s your sold-off kidney. But they do involve key financial decisions that I made: my journey from fledgling real-estate investor, to landlord, to seven-figure flipper, and the gory details about my life as (according to most of the people I’ve dated) one of the biggest cheapskates on the planet.
At the end of every chapter, I’ll show you how I’m doing with a running tally of exactly how much cash I’ve got to my name, as well as a final “Alan Corey 101.”
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