When Justin Ford sat down in 2005 and tallied his net worth, he was surprised to see that his real estate holdings alone were worth more than a million dollars.
It didn't seem possible that he had acquired that much wealth in so short a time. Four years earlier, on his 40th birthday, he had spent an hour adding up his assets and debts. The net result, he shuddered to remember, had been exactly zero.
Not that he should have been embarrassed by zero. That was a considerable improvement from that very dreary February day in 1999 when he had finally given up on a bad business and a spiraling orbit of debt and declared personal bankruptcy.
Six years. What a transformation!
After working his way through college as a bartender, Justin traveled around Europe and the United States for a few years before beginning a career as a salesman for a Manhattan-based firm that bartered advertising space for a variety of products. "It was basically a telemarketing operation," he said, "but it required a little bit of financial sophistication.
"I didn't have any training or experience when I started," he said, "but I pretended I did and bluffed my way through the first several months of phone calls. Eventually, I figured it out and began to like the challenge. Within six months, I was the company's leading broker."
Justin combined a ferocious ambition to succeed with "an Irish-man's ...