Trade The Journey

Trade The Journey

The Millionare Next Door

Top of the morning.

This post is dedicated to my cousin, who passed from the CoronaVirus. I knew of no one personally before my cousin who had contracted the virus, let alone died from it.

Not too long after being admitted to the hospital, he was moved to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the ICU on more than one occasion, and I can tell you that a feeling of loneliness and helplessness overcomes you.

If you aren’t religious, you might become religious after being placed in this unit. I prayed more than a few times, and I can only attribute my recovery to a higher power.

Yesterday, we laid my cousin to rest. About forty people attended the funeral in an outside setting. Most people stood, spread apart by six feet of space with the family seated in the front.

It was a closed casket funeral due to the Coronavirus. There was no music or speakers allowed, so the preacher spoke loudly and read the lyrics of the selected songs. As I listened to the preacher eulogize my cousin’s life, I noticed he left out the details of his accomplishments.

Instead, he generalized his accomplishments with words like discipline, optimistic, and determination. Over the years, I took to heart the conversations my cousin, and I would have about business. My mother would tell me the story of how he built a small real-estate empire step by step.

He started with a small house in an undesirable section of town. The process was as follows: Purchase the house using leverage, live in it while fixing it up, and sell a remodeled house for a higher value. Of course, I simplified the process, but I’m sure you can get the gist of this story.

Once you master the process, you can begin scaling up, and he did. He elevated from houses to large apartment units. Soon he was traveling out of state to manage his properties.

If you saw him in the city or at the store, you wouldn’t associate him with power and wealth. You’d most likely think he was a small contractor or a worker at best. He didn’t drive flashy cars or clothes; he maintained a simple appearance that didn’t require much upkeep.

His focus was on making the next deal.

One thing I always appreciated about him was his eagerness to share information. He left it up to you to take action.

I’d call him for advice, and he’d spend close to an hour schooling me to the precise details of making a successful deal. He also seemed to be vested in seeing me follow his blueprint in acquiring wealth.

I can remember my impatience and disbelief in hearing his message of sacrifice, long hours of study, and a single-minded purpose in achieving his status. I finished the secret and rich dad poor dad, and I believed that success was all but guaranteed by envisioning it.

One thing I think he sensed about me was that I was willing to do the work. Beneath my apprehension, I internalized his message, and as the years progressed, I saw how true all of what he said had become.

Dedicating yourself to something means you are forfeiting other enjoyable experiences with others. Some think they can do it all, but it’s tough to do so. Unless the people around you understand you and support you, there’ll move on to other things.


It’s a part of life.

Did I mention he also worked a regular job? By day he worked on his house and properties, and by night he would work as a traffic cop. He served twenty years as a traffic police supervisor and retired in his mid-fifties.

The last time I spoke with him was at a Superbowl party a year and a half ago. We spoke of what he had acquired: a million-dollar house overlooking the San Pedro pier and what it took for me to get there. He said, “In about twenty years this is what you want to have, and “x” amount of dollars coming in monthly to live the way you want to. I’ll be around to see what you do.”

As I reminiscence on some of our conversations, I think of the “Million Next door.” If you haven’t read the book, I highly suggest that you do; it’ll change the way you think about wealth. The book provides examples of regular people acquiring wealth by using simple principles and modes of business to do so.



All of this culminated on the day we laid him to rest.

I watched the workers enclose his crypt with cement after the end of the service. Mixed feelings could be seen in the group of people that gathered to say goodbye. Most of us understood that these are extreme times, and unfortunately, he succumbed to the virus due to an existing health ailment, asthma.

Once the service was over, I sat there looking at where his body laid in denial. Where were his accomplishments or achievements? They didn’t transition into the afterlife with him? They were left on earth for the benefit of his family and long-time girlfriend, which is how it goes.

So apart of me had to wonder, was it worth it?

He could have spent his entire life in pursuance of the next enjoyable experience instead of pushing himself to new heights of financial freedom. He would have left this earth with the same thing, nothing but his soul and experiences from life.

For most of his life, he was financially free while working. I can only imagine the feeling of a life lived without the burden of financial pressures influencing every area of your life.

I’m thankful for the conversations and timeless advice he shared with me. I plan to follow his blueprint.

This past week, I’ll give myself a grade of “C+” for continued improvement.

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