Aleks Bahdanovich, Author at My First Class Life

Aleks Bahdanovich

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Raised By Wolves: Jordan Belfort’s Top Ethical Business Investment Strategies

While Jordan Belfort’s biography is a very controversial topic, this article will steer clear from that debate, and focus solely on his legitimate strategies, and world views. Jordan Belfort, a man of many talents and skills, is famous for his uncannily positive take on building success for himself (and others). Virtually all of Belfort’s strategies for success in business and finance are grounded in good mindsets, positive outlooks, clean appearance, and tenacity at its finest. The simplicity, yet overwhelming sensibility, of his advice on all fronts can easily make one wonder: “Why aren’t we all doing it, too?”

A lot of people like to hammer on about ‘setting goals’ and ‘making accomplishments’, but they almost always leave out one very important part of going forward – having a vision. Jordan Belfort believes that a vision is almost as important, if not more so, than all the goals in the world.

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If your goals are the milestones to success, your vision is the active change that those goals effectuate on the world within which you live. Goals are important to know where you’re going, but a vision will let you paint a picture of why you want to get there so badly. Feed your brain’s hunger for better things by always visualizing the effects of your eventual success.

If your goal is to make $100,000 this year, then a vision might be a new home for you and your family. If the goal is the new home itself, then the vision would be the impact that will have on the livelihood of you and your family. In essence, you need to think bigger to achieve the greatness you ache for.

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It’s easy to dream about how you want your life to look, or talk about what you’re going to do to get to that picture perfect finish. The problem here is the fact that you’re not doing actually anything, but blowing smoke. Nobody wants to hear about what you will be doing because they’re more interested in what you’re doing right now.

This is where the wolf comes in – Belfort’s business strategies center around getting things done. If you want to do something to impact your situation positively, then you should actively work on your goals and make your way toward the finish line. While it’s important to reach for the stars, you want to make sure that you have achievable goals that allow you to keep pulling yourself closer to outer space. Never stop doing, because every positive action you take is a step (no matter how small) in the direction you want to go.

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Results are what matter, people don’t usually care about the technique for creating them. In reality, as long as you can get the job done, the way you do it doesn’t mean much, within reason, but we’ll leave this debate for another time. For now, it’s important to stress that bandwagon mindsets only breed more of the same. This can make us feel inadequate, since – in essence – we’re just copying someone else. Originality is just subjective, what you do with it is the objective, and you shouldn’t be shy about utilizing everything you’ve got.

‘Original’ is a great way to describe Jordan Belfort and his methods. That being said, don’t be afraid to invent your means, and develop your own methods. Never stop the train, and always stay on top. As long as you’re producing a winning streak, everyone involved is content to just smile and applaud. That’s because when all is said and done, you still finished the job, regardless of the ‘how’ involved.

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People will look at you before they listen to you, and what they perceive, the critical first impression, will greatly determine their attitude towards you and your dealings. From the moment you walk into a room, the way you hold yourself, and the way you appear, will be a big teller in whether or not anyone wants anything to do with you. Knowing what you’re doing is only part of the equation to a successful business deal; looking like you know what you’re doing matters almost as much.

Fitting yourself out with a sharp look, and then wearing it like a wolf, will be one of the best investments you ever make. When Belfort steps into someone’s line of sight, they know that this guy means business, and in a big way. Don’t forget that a lot of people won’t even get to talk to you before they get to see you. Your image is a big deal, because that’s going to be your voice in almost any contact you have where you’re not actually there to meet the person head on, and they’re filing away opinions you can’t even defend yourself against. Looking like a hack, even if you are one, is never going to do anything good for you. Look like a pro, instead, even if you aren’t one.

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Failure is hard to overcome, but an easy way to rule that sucker down is to remember that failure is just a lesson you should be learning, not mourning. Don’t take failure as a quitting point, but instead as an insight into what you could be doing better. When Jordan Belfort stepped onto the business road selling meat door to door, he failed miserably. And yet, he went on to be a supernova in the worlds of business and finance. Why? Because he decided that failure was just another way to succeed.

If Plan A fails, use it to make Plan B a whole lot better. Learn from mistakes, teach yourself how to never break it that way, at that front, ever again. Regroup and revise your strategies in both success and failure, and you’ll find silver linings and gems of empowerment in places you never thought possible. Instead of throwing something away, it might be better to improve that something so that it functions more like you would expect. One of the greatest teachers for you, is you, and when you’re teaching yourself how to do something new, your failures will play a big hand in your growth.

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The Wolf of Wall Street didn’t become a Wolf by acting like a sheep… or cattle. For Jordan Belfort, being a Wolf meant chasing his targets, stalking for opportunities, and pouncing on anything that landed within reach. In a world of money and more money, a little greed never hurt anyone.

Don’t be afraid take what is yours, guard it with all you’re worth, and then take some of what doesn’t belong to you. ‘Stealing’ is a moot term in the dog-eat-dog cycle of the world, and capitalizing on everything that steps in your path should be business as usual. Remember that nothing good will just come to you; you’ve got to chase it down and take it for all it’s worth.

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You could follow every one of these bits of advice, and then every other tip, trick, and strategy you come across, yet still fail spectacularly if you lack the one golden trait: confidence. Persistence and tenacity mean more than anything, because you need to be confident enough in yourself and what you’re selling to go that extra step, and then pound the pavement until you’ve closed the deal. You must be able to sell yourself before you can sell anything else, and nobody will buy into what you’re offering if they can’t even believe in the person they’re buying from.

Jordan Belfort oozes confidence, which is one of the main reasons he has come as far as he has. Tackling a challenge in business will always have a better outcome if you spearhead your plan of attack with confident undertones. Don’t doubt as much as possible, and always have a sure edge in your swing when you’re aiming for the horizon.

King Abdullah Can’t Take $18 Billion Dollars With Him

With the recent death of their King, Saudi Arabia could very well have slipped in to turmoil. Women could have been driving at night and showing their ankles, journalists may have written think-pieces critical of the government without being flogged, and people would have started to morally decay and only pray four times per day. Luckily for the monarchy, the transition went a little bit smoother than that.

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King Abdullah is a man who will leave behind a legacy that is, at best, mixed. Although he was a reformer who is seen as being responsible for modernizing one of the most conservative nations in the world, Abdullah was a man who was shaped by the culture just as much as he shaped it.

He leaves behind 11 wives, “about 35″ children, and the entirety of the vast oil resources of Saudi Arabia, all three of which were his personal property under what passes for Saudi law.

A Complex Legacy

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The King was known for his personal philanthropy, giving over $11 billion to charity over the course of his lifetime. In addition to the UN World Food Program and Chinese earthquake relief, Abdullah is also thought to have given away an unknown amount of money to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other extremist groups.

Abdullah did give women the right to drive and vote with permission from their husbands, but also took part in a social system where women were property. He eased some restrictions on the press in Saudi Arabia, but preserved a system that flogged and executed journalists for criticizing his reign. His treatment of Saudi homosexuals was less mixed, surprising in a country where men kiss to greet each other.

An $18 Billion Inheritance

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One of the largest questions following the passing of King Abdullah is what will happen to his massive personal fortune. Not only did the dictator have enough liquid assets to make Scrooge McDuck blush, he also has over 20 homes, countless cars and jets, massive real estate holdings, and other investments that need to be doled out and dealt with.

The Question of Succession

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Saudi Arabia doesn’t handle royal succession like any other monarchy in the world. Rather than one of the King’s sons being elevated to the throne, it’s another of Abdullah’s brothers which will get the job. The royal patriarchy starts and ends with Abdullah’s father, Ibn Saud, who founded the nation in 1902 after conquering the city of Riyadh.

Ever since, the Kings of Saudi Arabia have been drawn exclusively from the sons of the original King Saud. Abdullah, who was the 9th son, passed control of the Kingdom to the 10th son, King Salman, after his death. As King Salman’s reign begins, the entire world is left wondering what happens when Ibn Saud runs out of sons.

Dubai: The Sheikh Rat Race Making it the World’s Richest Playground for Architects

Living in Dubai is a good guarantee that you will never be bored. The United Arab Emirates are overflowing with expensive cars, beautiful architecture and golden Nokia’s. Calling Dubai a luxurious place is a severe understatement. We’ve all heard a few stories, but what does this constantly growing state truly have to offer to those that have no clue what Dubai is about.

Let’s take a closer look at the beautiful, multicultural city and talk about some of the amazing things you can do.

Burj Khalifa

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It would be crazy to talk about Dubai attractions and leave out the Burj Khalifa. Not only does this 2,722-foot skyscraper hold the title of being the tallest building in the world, it also holds over a dozen other records. These includes – having the world’s highest restaurant, as well as the world’s highest observation deck.

Achieving so much with a single building sounds like an impossibly expensive task. Well, it is. The Burj Khalifa took roughly $1.5 billion to build, and spending a few nights in this giant will guarantee you several nights of insane luxury, comfort and entertainment that will not be soon forgotten.

Although the beautiful architectural feat has over 160 floors, the high-speed elevator makes sure that you’ll reach your destination within seconds. You might want to hold onto something during your first trip, though.

Golf Courses

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If there’s one sport Dubai resident love, it’s golf. Several local golf courses have been designed by golf big shots like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Colin Montgomery. Their influence will ensure that every hole you play will be worth your while. To make your stay even better, it’s quite likely that you’ll bump into a few celebrities that often visit the courses to boot.

Every year, Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club holds a huge competition with $2.5 million in prize money. It’s called the Dubai Desert Classic, and if you’re a golf lover and present at the right time of the year, you’ll be in for an exciting experience.

The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club has amazing golf courses as well. Located in the center of Dubai, the golf club gets thousands of visitors a year trying to beat previous records or simply golfing for fun. Visiting any of these golf courses will be sure to give even veteran golfers an enjoyable time filled with many exciting challenges.

Burj Al Arab

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With the Burj Al Arab being called the world’s only 7 star hotel, this luxury lodge seems to have no intention of curbing our expectations. While it is the third tallest hotel in the world, this widely celebrated landmark has only 28 floors. No space is wasted, though – every single one of the 202 suites is big and luxurious enough to house royalty.

Speaking of royalty – the Burj’s Royal Suite won’t be something you’d likely want to sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, the suite is absolutely divine (understatement), but with a $20,000/night price tag you’ll be hard-pressed to find a good night’s rest. While spending the night here is too expensive for us common folk, you could take a peek inside by reserving a few spots at one of Burj Al Arab’s equally luxurious restaurants, which will set you back a lot less.

At a height of 1056 feet, the Burj Al Arab is a marvelous vista to admire, and offers an even better view at its upper floors. Its architect, Tom Wright from WKK Architects, has given the hotel an interesting form. It heavily resembles a ship sail, which blends perfectly with the underlying land, resulting in a stunning image. Definitely a place to visit – if you can afford it.

Palm Jumeira

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Another one of Dubai’s jewels is the Palm Jumeira – a beautiful man-made island that is shaped exactly like a palm tree. You’ll find this self-proclaimed world wonder on the coast of Jumeirah. It used to be only a pile of sand, and to be honest, it looked pretty amazing back then as well. Now it’s filled with resorts, hotels and overflowing with flora and fauna, making it something you must see for yourself, you can be sure that it’ll be something you never forget.

This artificial island has transformed itself from nothing into its current state within the span of a mere 8 years. By the time Palm Jumeira was finished, it had already been the world’s largest man-made island for over a year.

Traversing from the mainlands to Palm Juneira has been made easy through their speedy monorail that will make the 3.4-mile trip a breeze. There are two other Palm Islands in Dubai that are definitely worth looking into, but if you could pick only one, I’d recommend going with the original Palm Island.

Ski Dubai

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Putting on your ski while you’re surrounded by hot sand sounds silly. But this indoor ski resort makes it possible. Ski resorts aren’t that special, you might think, but this is Dubai we’re talking about. Located within the Mall of the Emirates, you’ll be able to race down 5 different slopes from a 60-meter high mountain.

You might want to watch where you’re going, though. Humans aren’t the only ones that love Ski Dubai. Multiple penguins live in this chilly artificial resort. If you book a few tickets before it’s sold out, you will be able to actually play with them as well.

If ridiculously cute animals aren’t exactly your thing, you might want to take a look at the Snow Park right next to the slopes. It has several exciting attractions. If you’re into sleds, slides and gigantic snowballs, this park will certainly be right up your alley.

The World

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Being in Dubai immediately gives you the ability to take a trip around the world. This is true in both a literal and figurative sense. The World, another artificial island, but made in a shape that might be even more interesting than the aforementioned palm tree.

This man-made archipelago mimics the map of the world, with 5.6 miles in length and 3.7 miles in width, it’s safe to say that The World is pretty big. Tourists can take a boat around this amazing engineering feat and gaze upon its beauty.
With over 300 constructed islands, you might wonder who has set such a crazy task in motion. Well, that’s Dubai’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself. It took several years, but despite several delays The World has become a great example of what people are capable of. Apparently all we need is an exorbitant amount of money…

Dubai Mall

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Shoppers with incredibly high standards will absolutely love the Dubai Mall. With more than 1,200 shops to go through, you’re sure to never run out of places to look for a bargain.

Although the shops are only part of what the largest shopping center in the world has to offer. Millions of people visit the Dubai Mall every year to haggle for valuables at the Dubai Gold Souk, witness its indoor waterfall and to see its humongous aquarium in the flesh. The Dubai Mall is also right next to the Dubai fountains, which is a beautiful sight to see if you’re at the right place at the right time.

The Dubai Mall is a great place to visit with your family, and it’s often visited by celebrities from all over the world. Although, if you’ve visited several other malls that are almost on the same level, then the Dubai Mall won’t blow your mind. If you haven’t, you’ll be amazed.

Champagne Brunches

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Dubai is a state in which the use of alcohol is only allowed when you’re at home or in your hotel. But with the vast amount of hotels sprinkled throughout the land, this hardly is a problem for many people. In fact, it’ll be hard to find a hotel in Dubai that doesn’t have a single place serving alcohol. Should you stumble on a hotel that doesn’t have a single restaurant, bar or club, then you’re in the wrong place.

On Friday, several eateries will add champagne brunches to their menus. For first-timers, it’s hard to imagine what to expect from this. If you were thinking in the direction of being served crazy amounts of delicious buffets accompanied with an insane amount of alcohol, then you’re thinking in the right direction. Although it’s hard to imagine there being a real need for it, there are several hotels that offer all-you-can-eat champagne brunches. Champagne brunches are heaven on Earth for those with more developed palates.

Conclusion

It’s hard to believe that Dubai used to be a big heap of sand and that it has molded itself into one of the most desired tourist destinations in the entire world, and all within just two decades.

To wrap it up, Dubai is filled with insane feats, and the residents are consistently besting each other with one feat before being defeated by another. This extravagant sense of rivalry between millionaires and billionaires has made Dubai into the crazy and exciting place it is now.

Apple Watch: Will Apple’s Latest Pricey Gadget Make Swiss Watch Makers Their Latest Victim?

If you keep up with the latest in tech – or fashion – you definitely did not miss the Apple Watch event, which recently took place at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. While, the Apple Watch line up was first unveiled back in September, many crucial details were purposely omitted – including the highly speculated upon price tag.

Before getting into the cost of the devices, let’s take a closer look at the Apple Watch line up. The well-crafted collection of smart watches includes – Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and the absolutely breathtaking Apple Watch Edition; each of which can be paired with a number of high quality bands or straps.

Apple is not usually the one to offer their customers so many choices, especially with new devices, but the Watch is definitely an exception to this unspoken rule. The Apple Watch is the most personal, and customizable device from Apple, yet.

To quote Apple, “everyone’s style is different, as is everyone’s wrist”. The design team at Apple tackled this problem by offering each watch in both, 38mm and 42mm case sizes. Even though there are two different sizes, presumably men’s and ladies, Apple does not market the watches with such a bias – everyone is free to choose what fits best. In fact, Apple employees across the country have been trained to help potential customers decide on what watch and band combination will best suit their needs.

Even though the three models look unique on the outside, the guts are identical across the line up. That being said, the watches are so well crafted, that each one deserves their moment under the spotlight.

First on stage is the Apple Watch Sport. This beautiful piece of engineering is the “cheapest” Apple Watch in the lineup. The starting price of which is $349 for the 38mm model, and $399 for the 42mm. While this starting price might seem steep compared to other wearables on the market, Apple justifies the hefty price tag by talking about the high quality materials used in production.

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If you watched the Keynote, you definitely remember the “how it’s made” type of video, narrated by the company’s design guru – Jony Ive. The short film covered the materials used in building of the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Sport is crafted out of an aluminum alloy the company has created themselves. The aluminum used in production is just as light as the regular alloy, but it is about 60 percent stronger. Jony Ive then goes on, and on about how beautiful, and magical the device is. While he is obviously a bit biased, it’s quite hard to disagree – the watches truly are beautiful. Besides the watch cases, the bands have also been carefully considered and designed. In the case of the Sport model, the watch comes with a vibrant elastomer band available in 5 colors – very iPhone 5c like.

Next in the new product line up is the Apple Watch.

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This model is built in a stainless steel casing and is available in 20 different combinations – quite impressive for Apple. Since the bands are interchangeable, you can use the Sport’s elastomer bands with your Apple Watch, on top of the many beautiful metal and leather options that Apple Offers specifically for the steel model (more on these later). Just like the Sport model, this watch is crafted out of re-engineered metals. Apple took a popular alloy that is known for being durable and resistant to corrosion, and made it even stronger. The steel undergoes a specialized cold-forging process and becomes up to 80% harder. This helps the watch become less prone to dents and scratches.

While Apple paints a pretty picture with their description of the Apple Watch, it’s hard not to wonder about the price. In the case of Apple Watch, the price range is very broad; there are models ranging from $549 to $1099. That’s right, some of the watches in this lineup will cost you more than your iPhone 6. The factor that influences the price of the watch is the type of band you want to go with. The cheapest Apple Watch – 38mm Stainless Steel Case with a colorful Sport Band will cost you $549, and the most expensive model – 42mm Space Black Case with a Space Black Stainless Steel Link Bracelet – will have you forking over $1099.

Outside of the two combinations mentioned above, Apple offers a number of other bands as well, and allow customers the option of purchasing individual bands separately. That being said, it might not be as affordable as you think. For example, the Modern Buckle will cost you an additional $250, and if you decide that you want the Steel Link Bracelet, prepare your wallet for a serious hit as this band sells for $449 – 100 bucks more than the whole Sport model, complete with the elastomer band. The price would suggest that these bands are made from rare unicorn leather, or that the steel bands must’ve been crafted from metals used in the Titanic.

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If the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch sport still seem a bit too cheap for you, then the Apple Watch Edition is likely to be right up your alley. Apple really went all out with this model and crafted the case out of solid 18 karat gold. Since gold is generally a soft metal that is susceptible to nicks and scratches, Apple engineered a brand new alloy that is nearly twice as hard.

The beautiful gold Apple Watch comes in 8 different models, starting with a modest $10,000 price tag. Both, yellow and rose gold models are available, in the 38mm and 42mm case sizes. The lower tier of Apple Watch Edition is either the Yellow or Rose Gold 38mm model with the Sport band. The Sport band that comes with the Apple Watch Edition is not the same band that comes with the Sport watch. All of the metal components are swapped for gold parts – matching the finish of the casing. If you’re interested in a more fancy band to go with your Apple Watch Edition, then you can pick from either the Classic or Modern leather buckles. Opting for a more formal band will raise the price tag and set you back up to $15,000.

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If the $15,000 price point seems ridiculous to you, then you’re clearly not Apple’s target demographic for this new product; and chances are – they aren’t worried. No one is going to be saving up for the Apple Watch Edition. People will simply buy it. Maybe not you or I, but there is always a market for luxury accessories, and if anyone can sell a product, it’s Apple.

As mentioned above, all of the Apple Watch line up comes with identical specs, and the same exact software. The only differentiating factors are your case and band choices. Apple is really trying to push this device as more than just a notification center for your iPhone – marketing heavily in the fashion and fitness industries alike. That being said, much of the Apple Watch lineup will run you more than the total cost of your latest iPhone, in a way making your phone an accessory to the watch.

If reading about the upcoming Apple Watch has you excited, then you might be a bit disappointed to find out that the devices do not begin to ship until the 24th of April. A little bit of good news, though, if you’re already set on a certain model, the preorders will begin on April 10th.

Mark this date in your calendar, as this is also the date the Apple Watches begin to make their appearance in Apple Stores nationwide. Customers will be able to take a closer look at the watches, and even try them on. If you’re interested in picking up a watch for yourself when the time comes, keep in mind that the Apple Watch requires an iPhone 5 or later to function.

Mark Cuban Net Worth: America’s Coolest Billionaire Gives Life and Investing Advice

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban had an early start in the business world. By the time he was 12, Cuban was already fully submerged in the business mindset – earning all of the extra cash he could by selling sets of garbage bags door to door.

Although, he’s obviously more than well to do right now ($3 Billion Dollar Net Worth), Cuban’s upbringing was much more modest. His grandfather emigrated from Russia and provided for his family by selling goods out of the back of a truck; and his father spent most of his life working hard at a car upholstery shop. Mark Cuban inherited these hard working traits, and applied them to everything he did in order to carve out a better life for himself.

Mark Cuban’s go-getter attitude could be seen inside of the classroom, as well. While in high school, Cuban was taking a number of classes at the University of Pittsburgh, where he then enrolled full time, skipping his senior year of high school. After finishing his first year at the University of Pittsburgh, Cuban transferred to Indiana University to study Business Administration.

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Mark Cuban graduated in 1981, and moved to Dallas a year later to start on his business ventures. After eventually landing a job selling software, Cuban realized that he could do much better working for himself. This thought led him to starting his own consulting business – MicrosSolutions. A few years later, in 1990, Cuban sold the successful firm to CompuServe for $6 million. Fun fact – Cuban started the firm without having taken a single computer class.

Most people would consider $6,000,000 a life-changing amount of money, but Mark Cuban’s hunger for wealth was far from satisfied.

Money is a scoreboard where you can rank how you’re doing against other people.

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By entering the business world at the time the Internet was just taking off, he was able to add a few more zeros to his net worth.

In 1995, alongside Indiana alum and business partner Todd Wagner, Cuban started AudioNet.

The idea behind AudioNet was to provide people the ability to listen to basketball games online. And although the company was critiqued quite heavily in its early days, AudioNet proved itself to be a huge success. A few years later, the firm was renamed to Broadcast.com and went public. The smash hit attracted a lot of attention from all angles, and the duo eventually sold out to Yahoo! for nearly $6,000,000,000. Now that’s a lot of zeros!

A year later (in 2000), the sport loving billionaire decided to introduce himself to the NBA community by purchasing the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. Although buying a basketball team may seem like a dream to most (if not all) sport enthusiasts, the Mavericks were not the most ideal choice. The team had not been doing too hot, and they haven’t made it to the play-offs in over a decade. Cuban’s zealous leadership changed all of that. By bringing his passion and innovation to the team, he helped the franchise qualify for playoffs a year later, and set a record for the number of wins (57) in the year following. Eventually the team made it to the finals (in 2006), and finally won the NBA title in 2011 – against the Miami Heat.

Mavericks’ success is just another example of Mark Cuban’s go-getter attitude in action. His passion and drive translates into an ability to turn the tables and always come out on top. The quote below does a great job of summarizing Cuban’s attitude and outlook.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success.”

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Now that we know how Cuban got started in his ventures, let’s take a look at what this self-made business tycoon has to say about investing, and life in general.

Before getting into his financial advice, let’s look at the mindset, and mentality that is required to even stand a chance in the very competitive world of business.

It’s no secret, that you need to work hard to succeed, but Cuban emphasizes this point even more – Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.”

Dramatic, I know, but there is no disagreeing that Cuban has done well for himself – his advice certainly comes from a place of knowledge and experience.

Cuban stresses that work ethic is the one thing that will separate you from the competition. There will always be someone who is willing to work harder than you, and this is the biggest reason why you need to give your best effort to stay afloat. Business is a very cutthroat game and if you don’t have the backbone to push through and maintain your edge, you will be very quick to exit the scene and be replaced by someone else.

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Similarly to the work ethic point that Cuban makes, he’s also a strong believer in keeping full control over any situation – “Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.”

Cuban argues that your reaction to circumstance is vital to your success, and I can’t disagree. Not getting your dream job, or losing a loved one may make your glass seem pretty empty, but if you’re the one pouring the water, you get to decide how full the glass actually is. Although difficult to master, this skill will help you push through the valleys of your life – both business and personal.

That’s some good advice from the business icon, and although it might not be easy to implement at first, it’s a good idea to give it your best shot.

Now, that we have a fairly good understanding of Mark Cuban’s outlook on life, let’s see what this shark has to say regarding the world of finance. First, on budgeting –

I look at my annual budgets for everything and anything, and I look to see where I can save the most money on those items. Saving 30 to 50 percent buying in bulk–replenishable items from toothpaste to soup, or whatever I use a lot of–is the best guaranteed return on investment you can get anywhere.

Picturing Mark Cuban buying toothpaste in bulk might form a comical image in your mind, but it’s evidence enough that you’re never too rich to save. Pinching pennies on daily spending will help ensure that you have money to use for investing. You might think that saving a couple of dollars on toiletries and the like isn’t vital, but if a billionaire investor does it, then maybe you should too.

So, what does Cuban actually have to say regarding the vast ocean of investing? Well, his advice can be summarized in a few lines, and the gist of it is this –

“Put [your money] in the bank. The idiots that tell you to put your money in the market […] tell you that because they are trying to sell you something. The stock market is probably the worst investment vehicle out there.”

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Some might find this advice ironic, as stocks are big part of why Cuban is a billionaire today, but he is no fool, and you need to think like an insider in order to understand this seemingly ridiculous advice.

Cuban defends this comment by explaining that no one should put their money into something where they don’t have an ‘information advantage’. In other words, don’t buy stock if you’re just guessing and praying that the shares will go up.

So, if Wall Street is no longer a good place to make money where should investors turn to get the best return? According to Cuban, the answer is simple – startups.

With technology being where it is today, starting a company can cost next to nothing. And since starting a company is no longer a barrier to enter the competitive business world, there are more and more startups popping up all over the place. Cuban is a strong believer that if you pick enough startup companies which you believe in and invest in them – you can maximize the return on your hard earned cash.

However, before you even start to think about investing, you need to focus on staying debt free. “If you take a loan, you are no longer the boss.”

Try to remember this piece of wisdom next time you swipe your credit card.

Kim Jong-Un Net Worth: The Luxurious Lifestyle of the Most Notorious Dictator on Earth

Infamous for his extravagant taste and lavish lifestyle, Kim Jong-un has reportedly spent over $700 million in just one year while the rest of the Hermit Kingdom struggled to make ends meet. Former US basketball star, Dennis Rodman, described the life of Kim Jong-un as a “seven-star” party with a constant slur of cocktails, jet skis and luxury yachts at the dictator’s own private island.

While many of us know the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, as a quiet man who is hell-bent on destroying the world and repressing his people, the dictator gives us a precious few glimpses into his life of glamour.

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Most often seen wearing a black suit coat and a grim expression smeared across his face, Kim’s exploits out of the office make him seem much more exhilarating than the photos would suggest. From partying with fading celebrities like Dennis Rodman on his private island, to spending over $30 million a year on alcohol, the life of Mr. Kim Jong-un is much more lavish than many would believe. In fact – Kim Jong-un is worth a not-so-modest $5 billion. It’s next to impossible to compare his impressive net worth to the measly $1,500/year your average North Korean makes. What does compare to this amount, though, is the cost of the bag Kim’s wife wears to their private racetrack.

Before diving in too deep into the way Kim Jong-un spends his money, let’s first take a look at the way the rest of the country gets by.

Similar to many other countries, North Korea has a class structure, with the higher class having access to a wide range of resources ranging from basic amenities such as running water, to luxury goods and cars. The so-called middle class in North Korea has very little compared to middle class citizens from other, more developed nations. The biggest factor that separates North Korea from everyone else is the sheer size of their impoverished and poor population.

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A large portion of the population has absolutely no access to basic amenities, and many would argue North Korea to be among the worst residential places on earth. That being said, many people are still ignorant to its current situation, mainly due to the intense efforts made by Kim Jong-un and his cronies to stifle the transportation of information between the borders of this disparaged country.

In October of 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that North Korea was one of 34 nations that required outside aid to feed its citizens. Just to paint a more vivid picture – the population of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, is roughly 2.8 million. A city of that size would be the fourth largest city in the United States. This number is also the estimated amount of North Korean citizens in need of foreign aid to simply survive. To make this situation even worse, about a third of the malnourished population are children.

With many not having electricity or access to medication, an obvious question arises – why does Kim Jong-un (worth $5 billion) not step in and help out his ailing countrymen?

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The most powerful thing that resides in North Korea’s 46,000 square miles is fear. Kim has the whole population of North Korea convinced that he is some kind of demigod; capable of parting the seas and bringing back the dead.

The impoverished population that struggles to secure their next meal is fed constant images of their short and plump leader riding around in his bulletproof train and patrolling the deck of his 95-foot yacht.

In addition to the mind games that he plays with his people, Kim Jong-un has to prove that he is a capable leader and is able to carry on the traditions that his revered father and grandfather established. At just 30-years-old, Kim is a mere child compared to his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who ruled for 46 years and was beloved by the people. His father was at the helm for 17 years and both had been through hardship and struggles, something that the pampered Kim Jong-un knows nothing about.

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Having never survived a power struggle or dealt with the west, he knows that he has to earn the same respect and honor that his predecessors received. Many foreign leaders view him as an immature child who is not ready to take the reigns of North Korea. Underprepared and green, Kim Jong-un has taken many measures to show his people that he is not a spoiled brat and is more than ready to take on the world.

That being said, what does an immature dictator who is trying to prove his valor spend his billions on?

The former NBA star, Dennis Rodman, has been one of the rare few to spend some time with Kim Jong-un and live to tell the tale to the outside world. Rodman said that anything you could want, Kim Jong-un had the best of. Whether it is his compound, his horse or his watch, the little Korean tyrant has draped himself and his family in everything that is luxurious. In fact, Kim Jong-un likes his extravagance so much that the United Nations tried to create sanctions against the selling of luxury goods to North Korea, a measure that has failed miserably.

Since the death of his father, the new regime under Kim Jong-un has spent an average of $645 million per year on the importing of luxury goods. The most prominent among the imported items are high-end watches and liquor, which he uses to bribe government officials and keep their loyalty.

The amount of liquor that he has imported into North Korea is quite mental. Kim Jong-un has spent $33.1 million on imported liquor in just one year (should be enough to get a few North Koreans really drunk).

To keep up the family image, Kim Jong-un spends millions on the imports of saunas, racing horses and other electronic goods. His wife, Ri Sol-ju, has isolated herself from the North Korean public after she was often spotted wearing a variety of Dior handbags that were each worth more than the yearly salary of your average citizen.

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Reading the above might give you an impression that Kim blows most of his money on alcohol and gold, but that’s far from the truth. Although, the leader spends a significant amount on booze, the amount he spends on his own property is much more impressive.

Among his arsenal of goods you can spot a $7 million private yacht and a private island with a water slide compound. His Princess 95MY yacht is manufactured by the LVMH group – which is known for it’s boastful elegance and luxury and owns brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. The leader famously took a 10-day trip in his new yacht around the coast of North Korea, a trip that was heavily documented by every news outlet in the country. Although the whereabouts of his private island are unknown, Dennis Rodman did visit the island paradise and said that happy North Koreans who were sipping margaritas out of bendy straws surrounded him daily. In addition to his fascination with beaches and tropical living, Kim Jong-un has a need for speed.

Some of his favorite goods to collect are things that go really fast. Whether it is a water scooter or some race car, this North Korean leader spends millions of his fortune each year on vehicles. Furthermore, the young ruler is planning on building a private ski resort so he can show off his skills on the slopes. In addition to these technologically impressive vehicles, Kim Jong-un loves his movies. Quite ironic considering that the importation of films is illegal in North Korea and many people have never seen a single movie. Some of dear leader’s favorites (out of the 20,000 films he owns) are Godzilla and Rambo, not surprising.

While Kim Jong-un may have spent 20% of the nation’s budget on keeping his racehorses in tip-top shape and his family members steamy in the sauna, he gives back to his people. Well, his employees at least. In addition to winning the favor of his workers with watches and expensive liquors, he gave away 160 Mercedes-Benz sedans in 2010 to his high-ranking officials.

Judging from his lavish lifestyle, and extravagant spending, one can assume that Kim Jong-un has no problem sleeping at night. All while his people starve and search for their next meal, he is out searching for a purebred show dog and wondering when his caviar dinner will be served.

Jay-Z and Beyonce Net Worth: The Ultimate Power Couple

While it’s no surprise that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are quite financially stable, you might be taken aback (just slightly) to learn that their combined net worth is just north of $1 billion. Both love birds are pulling their weight, though – Jay-Z’s portion of the cash pile is roughly $560 million (making him one of the richest rappers in the world) and Beyoncé’s is in the neighborhood of $450 million.

Their combined net worth places them in the modest category of the top 10 richest celebrity couples. In fact, if you ignore famous women dating not-so-famous billionaire men, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are the #1 richest celebrity couple in the world, even ahead of super couples like Tom Brady/Gisele Bundchen and David/Victoria Beckham.

This power couple adds a significant amount of cash to their net worth every year. To this day, Jay and Bey are easily one of the highest earning couples in the world. 2013 numbers report, that combined, the couple cashed out on approximately $95 million for the year.

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This modest sum comes from a number of cash streams, including record sales, touring, merchandise endorsements and many other ventures… pretty much anything they can sink their teeth in. Music is obviously the biggest source of income for the Carters; when Jay-Z performs he grosses an estimated $1.5 million for every night in concert, and Beyoncé nets even more – about $2 million per night.

Although, Jay-Z makes more than a killing off of his rap career, the tycoon makes money in other ways too, one power move at a time. Whether it be buying a sports team or even starting a sports agency, Jay-Z definitely knows what to do in the world of business.

Now that it’s established that the A-Team couple is in a financial surplus (lightly put), let’s take a look how the Carters actually spend their hard earned cash.

Their Humble Abode

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Before we get into the “little luxuries” Jay and Beyoncé get to enjoy, let’s first take a look at what this billionaire couple calls home. Not so long ago, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and baby Blue Ivy moved into their new Bridgehampton, NY home. Before the Carters purchased this dream lodging, the home was one of the most expensive houses in the Hamptons – rocking a $43.5 million price tag.

The 31,000 square foot house has 12 bedrooms, walnut library, a 2800 square foot master suite, and many other amenities only the filthy rich get to enjoy. Carters’ home comes equipped with a bowling alley, and amenities even the White House has to go without. These include: virtual golf, a rock climbing wall, a media room, disco, children’s performing area, and it even has an indoor skateboarding ramp. While it may be hard to believe that the man with 12 platinum records straps on a helmet to enjoy some quality time skateboarding in his basement, one can definitely appreciate the mental image.

Gifts

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When not buying luxurious property or real estate, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a habit of spending some big bucks on one another. You might be wondering – what do you get someone that has everything? (I’d bet the couple sometimes struggles with this too)

Well, Beyoncé and Jay have been pretty consistent at pleasing one another with their choices; let’s take a look.

Although not the most expensive, but definitely the most fun present the couple got for themselves was their 2013, $6,000 Babeland run. That’s right, the couple spent over six thousand dollars on X-rated gifts, some even gold plated. Awesome.

Birthdays are always a good time for the Carters, and that’s when the couple really goes all out. For his 41st birthday, Beyoncé got Jay-Z a two million dollar, white Bugatti Veyron. This beautiful beast has a top speed of 255 miles per hour, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. Jay-Z (and his lack of creativity) got Beyoncé a car too – a vintage Rolls Royce for her 25th birthday. This vintage classic set the music-mogul back about a million dollars.

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Beautiful cars aren’t the only gifts the musicians purchase for one another. Luxury watches, private jets and even islands are all part of the couples’ birthday budget.

When talking about Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s spending habits, it’s hard to imagine something they don’t own. Ranging from the most expensive Tom Ford suits to downtown New York City apartments, to 30-million dollar private jets, the power-couple seems to have it all; they also don’t seem to worry too much about the price tag. If there is something they want, it’s a safe bet that they already own it.

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Their precious Blue Ivy doesn’t live in poverty either, and no gift is too expensive for the baby princess. Just to better frame that statement, keep in mind that the toddler got a diamond encrusted Barbie doll for her first birthday.

The golden couple spent about $80,000 to have 160 diamond gems set in the children’s classic. The fancy doll wasn’t the only present the lucky baby received on her birthday – the mega-rich musicians also spent a small fortune on the lavish birthday party itself.

The New York birthday bash was decorated with about $90,000 worth of white and pink roses, complete with a $2500 cake. To quote a source close to the couple:

Nothings been too big or expensive for their little princess. They wanted her first birthday to set the tone for the rest of her life”

It’s unlikely that Blue Ivy will remember any of this, or even appreciate the diamond encrusted Barbie more than any other toy. That being said, the power couple works very hard for their money, and they reserve the right to spoil their baby girl in anyway they wish. Not that spending $200,000 on a birthday party leaves any significant impact on the Carter family bank account…

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Since seemingly everything that Jay-Z or Beyoncé touch turns to gold, the couple is not likely to run out of money any time soon. The couple owns houses all over the world, and you can find the Carters living worry free in their luxury apartment in NYC, a mansion in Westchester County, or a waterfront villa in Miami.

While most of us are envious of their lifestyle, it’s probably best not to think about it too much. After all, to quote the man himself, “Jealousy is a weak emotion.”

Rolex: What Exactly Makes Having One So Special?

While, not too many of us own one, it’s almost certain that most of us are familiar with this luxury watchmaker and their quality timepieces. Much like the watch itself, the history of Rolex is quite intricate.

In the year 1905, at the age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf founded a company specializing in the distribution of timepieces. At the time, wristwatches were not regarded as precise or very reliable, however Hans Wilsdorf sought to change that. The visionary strongly believed that wristwatches could transition from the mediocre clocks that they were – to become reliable timepieces that also made a fashion statement.

Hans worked hard on what he believed in. His life’s work concentrated on the quality of the movement, and his relentless quest for precision led to the company’s quick success. In 1910, the Rolex was the first ever wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision – more on that in a bit. Ten years later, Rolex moved to Geneva, and was registered under Montres Rolex S.A.

After the move to Geneva, the watch quickly made progress in its structural design. The Rolex brought with itself many firsts that are now considered standard in every modern day watch. First came the world’s first waterproof watch (1926), and shortly after (1931) came the first ever, perpetual movement watch. This was the first implementation of a self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor in history of timekeeping. This ingenious system raised the bar for the wristwatch, and the mechanism is to this day implemented at the heart of every automatic watch.

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While these watches are as undoubtedly beautiful, as they are functional, it’s not unreasonable to ask ‘what makes them so special?’

Well, let’s take a closer look at one of the world’s most luxurious watches. For starters, think of a Rolex wristwatch as an investment. This piece of Swiss engineering will last you a whole lifetime, and it might even become a family heirloom. Also, since the watches are highly regarded, they will retain (and even often gain) value as the years go on.

To begin answering our question, one must consider the intricate design of a Rolex watch. First, these watches contain many unique features, and each wristwatch takes about a year to make (sometimes even longer). Interestingly enough, nearly every single part of the watch is created in-house at one of the four – state of the art – Rolex manufacturing locations scattered over the beautiful Switzerland. The in-house quality control is more than rigorous; the watches do not leave the factory unless they are absolutely perfect. So far so good, the company has been able to keep up their impeccable image for over a century.

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While the watches look stunning on the outside, the internals are even more impressive. The carefully crafted Rolex movement is made up of hundreds of meticulously manufactured components. The level of perfection that Rolex aims to achieve ensures that every single watch withstands the test of time, and guarantees long-term performance.

Each Rolex watch also undergoes an extreme ‘exacting process’, which entails careful assembly, minute adjustments as well as the positioning of the oscillator to ensure the watch’s absolute accuracy. After this process each Rolex becomes a certified Swiss Chronometer – a title that not every watchmaker can claim to hold.

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In order to achieve a chronometer certification, the movement must not only be made from the absolute highest quality components, but also needs to be in the special care of the finest watchmakers and timers during assembly. Fun fact: the fine regulation and chronometer characteristics of a watch can be destroyed in seconds by a rough or inexperienced hand.

That’s not all; each watch is then individually tested for over two weeks in 5 positions, and at three different temperatures. Measurements are made on a daily basis with the help of specialty cameras. After the stats are gathered, seven pieces of criteria are calculated – the watch must then meet the (rather high) minimum of all, in order to receive the certification. Just to give you some perspective on the luxury status of this certification, consider that only 3% of high quality Swiss watches receive this honor each year.

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Outside of the rigorous manufacturing and quality control process, the watch has a number of other notable features. Take the Oyster case for example – this Rolex original combines form and function into one attractive package. Regardless of construction material – steel, gold, or platinum – the case guarantees the movement protection from the elements.

In fact, the Oyster case was the world’s first waterproof case for a wristwatch. Additionally, about a year after the introduction of the Oyster case (1927), Mercedes Gleitz became the first person to swim across the English Channel wearing a watch. Care to guess what timepiece he was wearing?

While, Gleitz crossing the Channel was a notable time for Rolex, there have been even more interesting events surrounding the world-renowned classic since. For starters, the first ever expedition to fly over Everest was equipped with Rolex Oysters. A Rolex classic was also on the wrist of Sir Malcolm Campbell, as he set a land speed record of over 300 miles per hour back in the 1930s.

Since the Rolex surfaced, there have been many famous events in which the watch was somehow involved – some of them were mentioned above. That being said, the most intriguing connection between the high quality timepiece and the outside world is the curious murder case that a Rolex helped solve.

The tale of Albert Walker is a dark and twisted one, but the man is now paying his dues thanks to the wristwatch that brought him to justice. To summarize, a scam artist by the name of Albert Walker Johnson had murdered his partner – Robert Platt – and dumped the body into the English Channel. After getting rid of the body, Walker decided to steal Platt’s identity and go into hiding.

Meanwhile, nature took its course beneath the rough waters, quietly turning the cold corpse into fish food – all while the Oyster casing stood its course on Platt’s wrist. After about two weeks, the lifeless body got caught in a fisherman’s net, and the only identifiable object on the deformed body was the timepiece. Since every Rolex watch comes with a unique serial number, the police was able to determine the owner’s identity, which led them directly to Walker. It’s kind of poetic, really – the sea gave up its dead, and the Rolex gave up Walker – who is now serving some serious time for his transgressions.

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While the murder-mystery is tough to beat, it’s also worth noting that a Rolex watch was used during the great escape. That same exact watch was recently put up for auction at over $50,000. Even though not every Rolex timepiece has a story of similar caliber, each individual timepiece if a work of art on it’s own.

With the Rolex line up being so desired, comes the inevitable consequence of fakes surfacing all over the place. They say imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, and if that’s true, then Rolex is quite widely complemented. In this day and age you can find imitation Rolexes ranging from $20 fakes, to super well-engineered movements using actual Rolex parts. In either case, if you decide to pick up one of these replicas for yourself, the only person you’re fooling is yourself.

The Wolf of Wall Street Gone Clean: Can Jordan Belfort Really Teach You How To Get Rich Without Fraud?

There is a lot of well-deserved controversy surrounding the notorious stock swindler, Jordan Belfort. Let’s be honest – you either love him or you hate him, but it’s simply impossible not to have an opinion on this sneaky, unorthodox ex-stockbroker.

Belfort has been out of prison for almost nine years now, and has been making an effort to show the world how much he has changed.

“No matter what happened to you in your past, you are not your past, you are the resources and the capabilities you glean from it. And that is the basis for all change.”

Yup, the same man who squandered 200 fraudulent million on cocaine and prostitutes is now traveling the globe, preaching his tale of redemption and the importance of business ethics.

Some Background:

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Jordan Belfort was born with a salesman heart that to this day pumps equal parts blood and business. Because of his predispositions and quick wit it didn’t take him very long to transition from his middle-class upbringing to his new, record-breaking Wall Street millionaire lifestyle.

Although, his methods were far from ethical, Jordan Belfort’s story is nothing if not impressive.

At the same time Belfort was committing fraud on Wall Street, he also kept busy by marketing penny stocks via a firm he founded with his friends – Stratton Oakmont. Talk about multitasking… more on that later.

Soon after acquiring his riches, Belfort started to spiral out of control and began to use several types of recreational drugs. During interviews he talks a lot about his experience with Quaaludes – a sedative hypnotic. At one point, Belfort claimed that he was almost constantly under the influence of at least “several ‘ludes at the same time”. Just to put that into perspective – a single pill is potent enough to knock out a Navy Seal.

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Although, Belfort has built up a tolerance to these powerful sedatives, his experiences were not always positive. There are a few occasions where his decision-making was affected by these drugs to the extent where he damaged millions of dollars worth of property. For starters, he managed to sink his 166 foot yacht, and crash his helicopter in his own backyard – all thanks to the ‘ludes. While most people would learn from these events, Belford did not. Seemingly nothing would slow down his lavish lifestyle.

Belfort was married twice, and both times to women he claimed to love. Clearly he loved to have fun more than both of his wives, though. Especially considering the fact that he was involved in many affairs, and often times with prostitutes. These affairs, along with other personal problems, including claims of domestic violence, tore apart both marriages.

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Just like his marriages, Belfort’s Wall Street career ended with him getting caught. In 1999, Belfort plead guilty to securities fraud and money laundering. He was then sentenced to serve four years in prison, and pay $110 million in restitution.

While in prison, Belfort befriended his cube mate – Tommy Chong, who, after listening to Belfort’s crazy stories convinced him to write a memoir. Upon completing 22 months, Belfort testified against several of his former partners and subordinates to arrange for his early release in April of 2006. A year after he was released, The Wolf of Wall Street was written.

The memoir was published in 2008, and has since grew in popularity – so much so, that the story was adapted to film in 2013, with Leonardo DiCaprio leading as the main man himself.

Belfort’s book was only the first step in the right direction and since its release he has become strongly involved within the community. Belfort started giving speeches to motivate and inspire anyone who’d listen. He is very good at what he does, and his words, along with his story, have helped many others find that spark of ambition within.

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The success of his first book fueled his creative side, and he soon wrote another bestseller, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. This book contained even more crazy tales, and unbelievable stories. The contents of both of his memoirs seemed so abnormal that many claimed the stories to be made up. Belfort, however, has stated several times that everything in his books is fact. Either way, pick up one of his books and judge for yourself.

Having two best-selling books and an award winning feature film is sure to net a pretty penny. Officials kept a close eye to make sure that Belfort didn’t slip off into his old ways and take off with the cash, as the money was supposed to go towards paying off his restitution debt.

Speaking of his debt, Belfort still has a long ways to go. While, he paid off a small fraction of this debt, a large chunk still remains. The government claims that Belfort is avoiding paying off the debt, considering he has (allegedly) made north of $100 million last year alone – which was more than enough to settle his transgressions. As far as actual numbers go, it’s estimated that he has only paid off about $11 million.

It’s hard to judge whether or not Belfort is trying to stretch out his owing, or avoid paying altogether. That being said, there would be little point in giving charity seminars, if he were still tempted by his old habits – guess time will tell.

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In case you still haven’t noticed, Belfort is quite the unusual character. If you’ve ever attended one of his seminars, watched his interviews or even read one of his books, you already know this. Without debate, it can be said that Belfort is both very charismatic and extremely intelligent. On top of that, he definitely has grit – most people would be tempted to give up on themselves after going through the same hurricane of events that he had. Belfort, instead decided to work on redeeming himself by offering his expertise and provide others with the tools to improve their lives.

In essence, Jordan Belfort is giving his students a weapon that can be used for evil, or for good. The knowledge he shares in his seminars contains a lot of powerful information, and much of his advice will surely help you improve the quality of your life and financial situation. At the very least, Belfort will make sure you leave the auditorium feeling motivated enough to give it your best shot.

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Belfort’s advice can be effectively summed up with just one of his quotes –

Whether you say, ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t,’ you’re right either way.

Belfort is a strong believer of self confidence, and he will argue that success with grow from the hunger you have for achieving your goals. Additionally, he claims that –

The easiest way to make money is [to] create something of such value that everybody wants and go out and give and create value, the money comes automatically

Can’t really argue with this point; take a look, for example at any uber successful person. Are they where they are because they are taking value, or because they are giving value?

This is where Belfort himself fits in; right now the man is in the middle of transitioning from being a value taker, to becoming a value taker.

While it’s hard to be sure if he is really paying off his restitution amount, Belfort still definitely offers value to those that listen. Through his seminars and workshops, Jordan Belfort is starting to convince the masses that he isn’t the same person that he was before. We’ll know soon enough whether or not Belfort is being genuine in his operations, but in the meantime we can hope that he continues following his newfound ambition.

Closet Billionaire: Vladimir Putin’s Secret Net Worth

According to Forbes, the richest man on the planet is currently Bill Gates – with an impressive net worth of about $80 billion. However, his place at the top of the list would be compromised if we put Russia’s Vladimir Putin under the magnifying glass.

Before we take a closer look at Vladimir Putin’s financial situation, let’s first look at Russia’s leader himself.

In 2013 Forbes ranked Vladimir Putin first on the world’s “most powerful” people list; and there are not too many that would disagree with Forbes’ judgement on this one. After all, between being Prime Minister and President a few times over, Putin effectively ran the country for 15 years. So, what exactly puts the Russian president ahead of US’ own Barack Obama (who placed second)?

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Well, let’s take a look at a few recent highlights as per Forbes editor Caroline Howard.

For starters, Putin annexed Crimea – not a small feat for anyone to accomplish. Next, there is the proxy war in Ukraine, that Putin started as well. Not to mention the $70 billion gas pipeline deal with China, and the successful hosting of the winter Olympics that is also accredited to Russia’s leader. It’s been a great couple of years that have helped Putin rank where he does, but lets dig even further – to his roots and upbringing.

Even before he finished school, Vladimir Putin wanted to work in intelligence. He has done a lot of research and even went to a public office of the KGB to find out how he can realize his goal. There, he was told that he would either have to serve in the army or obtain a college degree prior to joining the KGB. Putin took this to heart and began studying, eventually being admitted to the legal department at Leningrad State University.

Only about 1 in 40 high school graduates were admitted into this program, which goes to show Putin’s work ethic and competitive edge. After graduation, Putin finally achieved his goal and joined the KGB in 1975. After 16 years of service, Putin resigned (after multiple unsuccessful attempts).

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Since his youth, Putin was able to set and achieve impressive goals. This, amongst many other factors set him apart from his competition. When Vladimir Putin wants something, he becomes unstoppable – arguably a great feature in a nation’s leader.

Now that we know a little bit more about the Russian president, let’s take a closer look at his bank account. Running a country is an undoubtedly difficult and demanding task, so you’d think that the President of the world’s largest (by land mass) country makes a substantial amount of money.

Well, you’d be surprised.

Officially, the Russian president makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.6 million rubles each year – or about $56,000. It’s actually impressive that the most powerful President in the world makes less than $5000 a month. In fact, this amount is so low, that it raises a series of questions regarding the lifestyle of the Russian president.

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Although, Vladimir Putin claims that his family’s net worth is just shy of $500,000, it’s obvious that this figure is a ridiculous understatement. According to foreign investor (and former Putin supporter) Bill Browder – Putin is worth more than Bill Gates ($80 billion), Warren Buffett ($58 billion) and GOP political campaign financier Sheldon Adelson ($38 billion) combined.

Browder claims that Putin is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $200 billion in stolen wealth.

To quote Browder directly; After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn’t been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies.”

Quite a claim to make against a man like Putin, but Browder isn’t alone in his suspicions. Many Russian insiders believe that Putin has used his power to build large (and hidden) ownership stakes in several multi-billion dollar commodity firms. True or not, there is nothing anyone can do about the fact that Putin will remain in power. Browder sheds some light on the situation, The power is very simple in Russia – whoever has the power to arrest people is the person in power. And so what Putin does is he has a bunch of guys around him who have the power to arrest people. And so it doesn’t matter how rich you are, if you can be arrested, put in jail and have your money taken away, the guy who can do that to you is the most powerful person in Russia.

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Crazy isn’t it? If any of the above is true (and it very well might be) it’s more than safe to assume that Putin will be fine even if the Russian economy continues to collapse under economic sanctions, and the falling price of oil. Interestingly enough, if Browder’s estimate is correct, Putin would place among the 10 richest human beings that have ever lived (adjusting for inflation).

Former deputy prime minister turned Putin critic – Boris Nemtsov, comments, “One of the most serious reasons that forces Putin to hold on to power is the atmosphere of wealth and luxury to which he has become accustomed and which he does not want to give up.”

Just like his alleged billions, his private life is mostly speculated.

What is known about Putin’s private life, however, is the fact that there is no shortage of luxury when it comes to “play time”. Besides quality watches worth tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, the President is privy to a number of other perks like palaces and villas, yachts, and at least one flying toilet worth $75,000.

According to a number of Putin’s harshest critics, the President has overseen a remarkable expansion of the awarding of Presidential perks. Apparently, Putin has immediate access to 20 palaces and villas, a whole fleet of aircraft (58 planes to be precise), a small collection of yachts – worth a modest $70 million, a huge collection of fine watches and several top class Mercedes.

putin-car

An eye opening report by the critics – titled The Life of a Galley Slave, challenges the legitimacy of the nation’s leader. “In a country where more than 20 million people can hardly make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a blatant and cynical challenge to society by a limitless ruler,” the authors write.

Putin has given his best efforts to maintain the facade of being an average Russian citizen. His efforts can be seen in the regular photo shoots the President stages with factory workers, as well as his televised appearance on a drab beige sofa in one of the two modest flats he officially owns.

These public displays of his “average life” aren’t fooling anyone, though. The Life of a Galley Slave opens the curtain to the extravagant reality that is Vladimir Putin’s life. Amongst many other extravagances, the report outlines one of Putin’s luxury yachts – the Olympia. This boat is also dubbed as “the real diamond in the Kremlin flotilla” and it’s fitted in rich mahogany, includes a marble bathroom, jacuzzi and runs a ridiculous $50 million in yearly maintenance.

putin-yacht

Although the Russian President gets to lead a luxurious life, all of the perks outlined above are state property. Through legitimate trappings, Putin – as the country’s elected President is able to legally use all of them while he remains in a position of power.

Quite brilliant, really.