Can a seventy-nine cent notebook and a burning desire make you $28 million rich?

Listen to this week episode and learn:

  • How a dark green spiral notebook made my father rich.
  • How he was able to accumulated over $28 million from 1961 to 2009 with his Air Force and military retirement income.
  • What he invested his income from the Air Force and his military retirement in.
  • The steps my father took to become rich and how you can use those exact steps to achieve your goals, too.

Read a Summary of Episode 4 Below

My father accumulated over $28 million from 1961 to 2009 by making a 10 Year Plan. He eventually got drafted to go to Vietnam and invested his income from the Air Force and his military retirement.

Maybe you’re heard of Napoleon Hill’s classic book Think and Grow Rich. That book summarizes lessons learned from Andrew Carnegie about how to become successful and get what you want.

Some of the obvious lessons from the book include the need to have a “burning desire,” to be persistent, to have a support network of others who can help, and to have a definiteness of purpose. (By the way, these are just a different way of referring to the first 4 Keys that I discuss.)

How my father got rich.

He made a commitment to learn about investing, and he stuck with it.

My father recorded his investments and progress in a dark green spiral notebook—a seventy-nine cent “Stuart Hall Theme Book” that he purchased sometime in 1961. This little green notebook was where he tracked all of his investments and showed the steps he took to reach financial success.

On the front cover of his notebook, my father had written the following in large, two-inch tall, block letters using a red ink marker:


On the inside cover, the following was written in the same red marker:

“1 OCT ’61 TO 1 OCT ’71”

Underneath that, my father had printed in blue pen the following:

“The difference between a rich man and a poor man is often the difference between a wise man and a fool.”

On the first page of the notebook, he wrote the following:

Purpose of the ten-year plan. The essence of the plan is a goal of accumulating $100,000.00 in the period of time from Oct. 1, 1961, to Oct. 1, 1971. This is not the only goal in my life, nor is it the prime goal. It is a stimulating and challenging goal, and the after affects [sic] of it will spill over in all my other activities.

Methods of Accomplishment. I will handle all tasks in a professional manner. I will often go above and beyond the call of duty to insure that the task is accomplished satisfactorily. I will speculate and invest in the stock market. I will research all stocks and bonds, etc. prior to speculating or investing in them. I will seek professional advice through books and personal contacts with economists, etc. concerning methods of speculating and investing. I will speculate and invest regularly and will continually search for the most profitable speculations and investments. I will not retain any investment for sentimental reasons or out of respect for my friends, if it fails to yield better than any other investment which I can obtain.


How he tracked his progress.

He used a notebook to track his progress toward his new goal. He started with October 1961 and gave each month a separate page. His first investment was $500 on a trailer house, with the purpose to save on rent and accrue equity. He began investing in stocks and recorded all of his purchases in detail. It was all very logical, precise and emotionally detached. I’ll talk more about my father and my personal story in episode 5 of my podcast.

The steps that contributed to my
father’s wealth can help you
reach your goals, too.

My father was clearly committed to learning the ins and outs of investing in spite of the difficult and detailed nature of this field.

He immersed himself in books, he applied his knowledge and he meticulously tracked his results while continuing to study and learn more— he found joy in the challenge and discipline of the pursuit of his goal.

The second time I saw him in the nursing home, he wanted a notebook and a pen, and before long he was back in the habit of scribbling notes and ideas (as if he were back in his routine of jotting down ideas while watching CNBC).

He was obsessed by his investing. I’m not. I don’t want to be. But I can learn, as I did learn, from his obsessions, that my own path should at least involve other people.

Unlike my father, I know the importance of the 3rd Key—communication and relationships. And I know how important it is for my own kids to provide the last 4 Keys:

Key #5 – Helping my kids develop positive self-esteem based on self-worth rather than external things such as money and objects.

Key #6 – Teaching personal responsibility

Key #7 – Providing a roadmap for the future

Key #8 – Using wealth management services like family offices.

Next week, I’ll discuss how the first 4 Keys differ from Keys 5 through 8. This is REALLY interesting because it summarizes why most families can’t maintain their success for more than one or two generations.

Your turn.

Once you’ve read or listened to this episode, I want to know – what’s your 10-year plan? Leave a comment below.

If you have specific questions, share them below.
If you’d like to be a guest and share your experience, just contact me here.

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