Pumping Cash: The
Schwarzenegger Way to Riches
by Steve Theunissen
By age 24, Arnold Schwarzenegger
was a millionaire. If you think the Austrian Oaks bodybuilding
story is inspiring, wait till you hear about his incarnation as
a businessman. Leaving his humble Austrian birthplace at age 18,
with nothing but strong will and iron determination, he was able,
in just six years, to carve out a financial stake in his adopted
country that set him up for life long before his first big
movie role came along. How did he do it? Lets find out.
By 1971, after two years of saving
money from his $300 a week job with the Weider Corporation and his
$12,000 salary for Hercules in New York, Arnold had managed to save
$28,000. At that time he borrowed an additional $10,000 from his
employer Joe Weider and bought a six-unit apartment as his first
real estate venture. This was Arnies first foray into the
world of real estate investment, but by no means his last.
Joe Weider was the one who encouraged
Arnolds interest in real estate. Joe recalls, He was
gonna move to a new place in Santa Monica and I said Why pay
rent and end up with a lot of bills owning nothing? Put your money
into property. That first investment worked out well and Arnold
was soon buying up apartments, condominiums and even office blocks.
They started to pay off. One building which he purchased in Santa
Monica for $450,000 later sold for a cool $2.3 million. He reputedly
made $7 million from selling a Nevada office building which he had
picked up for peanuts.
Arnold understandably became hooked
on real estate investment. He would look for opportunities all over
America. He now owns vast chunks of the country that he came to
in 1968, penniless and unable to speak the language.
Before real estate, though, Arnold
began pumping up his bank account with his own mail order business.
In 1969, he bought a $3.75 business license and went to work
selling booklets full of body-building advice. The booklets were
published under Arnies Hercules in New York name of Arnold
Strong and were actually written by Muscle Builder magazine editor
George Mozee. Joe Weider offered Arnold a full page in each issue
of Muscle Builder to promote his booklets and the profits
steadily rolled in.
In 1975, Arnold formed a business
partnership with Columbus, Ohio based bodybuilding promoter Jim
Lorimer. Between 1975 and 1981, Lorimer and Schwarzenegger co-staged
the Mr Olympia several times, in the process raising the prize money
from $1,000 to $100,000. By this time, of course, Arnold himself,
could command $10,000 per appearance for body-building seminars.
The boy from Graz with the big dreams had single handedly built
an impressive bank balance to go with his Herculean body.
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