How I Learned to Ignore Mainstream Financial Advice and Start Building Real Wealth

The backstory of why I founded Building Arks

Dollars planted in the soil and a small shovel.
Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

Around a decade ago, I was a well-paid, busy working professional trying to grow my wealth like so many others. I had recently entered corporate America from a stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. I really wanted to achieve financial independence so I wouldn’t have to work for someone else for the rest of my life.

I wanted to be able to save money to invest so that I could build wealth and become financially secure.

The thing is I was running on a treadmill made of bills and debt, barely keeping my head above water. That meant I wasn’t able to save money to invest, let alone build wealth and become financially secure.

To make things worse, I felt terrible because even though I was working hard and well paid, I was not making progress. I felt even worse about the situation because I had followed all of the traditional advice to study hard, get a good job, and buy a house — the middle class “dream” so they say. I felt like a failure.

After a few years of running on this treadmill, I couldn’t take it anymore. My situation and my life had to change, which made me even less financially secure.

Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened…

That’s when I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, the famous book by Robert Kiyosaki about becoming financially educated and breaking out of the middle class!

It was now crystal clear to me how to become financially secure because I saw I could start to build wealth in a meaningful way.

I also learned that a 401k is not the only way to invest — you need to invest in real estate, stocks, and other assets that produce cash flow and increase in value instead.

As a result, I studied hard and read dozens of books, learned how investing works, and started applying it in my own life. I learned about assets versus liabilities, good debt versus bad debt, the relationship between knowledge and risk, investing with a margin of safety, and much more.

After I did that, I started building real wealth.

Stacks of coins with plants growing out of the top, and someone watering a pot of coins and plant.
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Suddenly, I was becoming financially secure.

That’s when I realized that the secret to growing my wealth was to change my understanding of how wealth is made by ignoring the mainstream financial advice that just wasn’t working for me.

My plan was to start investing in real estate. So after lots of research, I started buying single-family houses to rent out. But I didn’t stop there. I continued to study and then moved on to invest in commercial real estate for even better cash flow. After that, I moved on to the stock market and options trading to find more ways to generate passive income.

But there was still a problem…

I didn’t know much about options trading yet and made some rookie mistakes that caused me to lose much of my original investment.

I ended up getting so frustrated that I decided to go back to the drawing board, study more, and change up what I was doing. After further education, I pivoted from trading options to selling options for cash flow and deep value investing in the style of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett.

I now own a portfolio of seven rental houses and one commercial building that brings in passive income every month. I also have considerable capital invested in the market in both index and active accounts, and I can now generate passive income at very high rates of return by selling options, or insurance, in the stock market. I’ve been able to significantly increase my net worth in the past six years while also diversifying my income sources to be less dependent on my day job.

I was not only able to become financially secure by 40, but I’ve also been able to stop worrying about money because I can now build wealth on my own outside of my day job. And in the end, all of this means I’m now able to spend more time with my kids, travel with my family, and enjoy life to the fullest.

After years of learning and practicing how to build wealth, I decided to start a new project. I thought if I could create something that would make it possible for busy professionals to get ahead financially, I’d be really happy.

I chose to call it “Building Arks” based on the Warren Buffett quote about being financially secure:

“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building an ark does.”

This quote embodies what financial independence means to me, that you can build your own wealth outside of your day job, which will protect you and your family from the various curve balls that life will throw at you. We all know bad times will come, but what really counts is being financially prepared.

Cartoon of an ark in the ocean in the rain.
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

My goal is to let other working professionals use Building Arks to transform their financial lives through education and action.

How are you doing on your wealth building journey? Let me know how I can help.

Click here to join me and build your ark today!

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I have no affiliation with any sites listed, nor do I make money from any partners or recommendations in my articles (except Medium). I am not a lawyer, accountant, or certified financial planner. All material is presented in good faith for informational purposes only based on my knowledge and experience. It is not intended to replace professional advice. You should always consult an expert before making any legal, tax, or financial decisions.



Building Arks with Jason Clendenen

Self-taught investor helping busy professionals learn how to ignore mainstream advice and build real wealth.