Clicky

Search:

Keys to Wealth Building

May 30, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

Most of us want to build our wealth and I have been very fortunate and quite successful in that regard. Friends as well as strangers have asked me many times about the secrets to my success. I wouldn’t call all my methods secrets but I guess if you don’t know them, then they are secrets to you.

So, here’s a few of those so-called secrets that have helped me a ton:

1. Read good books about finance, then think about what you’ve learned, and find someone who has been successfully building wealth to discuss your ideas with.

2. Record your thoughts in a journal as you read. This will help you retain knowledge.

3. Write down your goals along with the time frames for reaching them. As you probably know, writing goals with time frames drives your brain and body to follow through and do it.

I love this quote: “Always have two books—one to read from and one to write in.”

Let me explain a bit more about the first point—the part about finding people that are good at what you want to learn. All my life I’ve looked for mentors—those people that are good at what I wanted to learn and do.

The famous billionaire Warren Buffett said, “I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit forming.”

I was very fortunate to meet Larry Rosenberg, a very, very rich man, and he was kind enough to mentor me. He not only referred me to the best books to read to lead a person to huge wealth, he also spent lots of time with me over lunches. He gave me great advice, hints, and direction concerning where to look for the best properties and what to do to fix them up to greatly increase value and then sell them. Wow. His advice sure worked wonders for me.

If you want great wealth, or more wealth, start digging. Read the right books and research who you should get to know. Find the right super successful, wealthy people and asked them to mentor you! Yep, if you want it, go do it.

Investing, Writing, and Being Grateful

May 23, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

Like I said in my previous blog, money has not been the best reward that I’ve received over the years. The best reward has come from helping people and it’s fantastic when they take time to give thanks and tell me how very grateful they are for helping them. That makes me feel great.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from Jay P. DeCima, also known as “Fixer Jay”. I want to share some of his words with you. He begins with, “Hi Mark; I hope you are well.” I was well and his letter made me feel even better!

He went on to say, “You may or may not remember me. I’m a real estate guy. I participated at several of your real estate seminars and conventions during the mid-1980’s. I was a speaker at your week-long seminar at your Salt Lake City home. William Nickerson was my long-time friend and mentor.

“What triggered this letter was a re-listening to the tapes you and Bill Nickerson recorded with Dick Hamilton as the moderator. The tapes were recorded in 1987 sometime before CD’s replaced cassettes. Recordings were made at Bill Nickerson’s beachfront home in Aptos, Monterey Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. Mark, I’m not exactly sure about your age, but your web page shows you graduated from Ames High School in 1962. I graduated from Shasta Union High School, Redding, California in 1952 and I’m one month shy of 87 years old.

“After listening to the tapes, something you said stuck in my mind (what’s left). At 87 years old I’m lucky to remember even playing the tapes! You said, without any fanfare or hesitation, that you planned on living 101 more years until you reached the age of 144. I must say, that’s quite a plan! Nickerson guessed 100 years. If you wish, we could call that a mulligan or I’m totally agreeable with giving you a ‘do over’. But given the water that’s passed under the bridge, are you still sticking by the same estimate? Forgive me, Mark, I just had to ask.

“Your website shows you’ve written a new book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Congratulations. I have oodles of passion, I just can’t tell for how long! I’ll order a copy. Perhaps it will shed some light on this longevity issue.”

 (By the way, I sent him a copy before he could order it.)

“I too have taken up the pen in my twilight years. I write real estate how-to-books. I’ve written six books. Three are self-published. My titles can be viewed on Amazon under the author’s name Jay P. DeCima (aka) known as Fixer Jay.”

(Note to readers: I too started by self-publishing since it can be so hard to get a publisher. After you have self-published a book or two, however, that gets their attention and then they are more agreeable to publish your books for you.)

“Both investing and writing have worked well for me. I had 300 screaming tenants at my high-water mark. I stayed so long I even miss the tenants. Senile perhaps might offer a better explanation. Mark, I’d love to hear from you sometime. We can talk about real estate, book publishing or even aging. Your choice—I’m open.”

So, I called Jay today and had a wonderful, long conversation with him. What a terrific guy! Managing Tenants & Toilets is one of his book. What a great title! You can order it by calling toll-free 1-800-722-2550 or send a fax to 1-530-223-2834.

The Rewards of Development

March 14, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

In last week’s post, I shared parts of a bio of mine written years ago. Part of what that bio recounted was how I got into real estate. I started with small properties at first, but later on I gravitated into a much more profitable part of real estate known as development. Looking back, some projects I did really surprise me. I find myself thinking, “Wow, little ole me did all that!”

My work in the development side of real estate has been some of the most profitable of my entire career in investing. I’ll never forget getting a call from a guy in Pennsylvania telling me about a 77-unit apartment building that was for sale at a great low price. Shortly after that I heard, for the first time, about people converting apartment units into condos. After a lot of red tape with the local authorities of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I got the go-ahead to convert all 77 units into condos and, wow, what a quick 2.7-million-dollar profit I made. It was so easy because most of the renters bought their own unit.

I followed that up with a 44-unit condo development in Mississippi and walked with 1.3-million-dollars in profit from that. After those great successes, I developed a 13.3-acre commercial development right here in Salt Lake City and made 1.1-million-dollars in profit there.

I was on a real roll when my Kauai attorney called me and told me of a great plot of land on which I could develop a bunch of condos. I was skeptical at first, but after I drove by the golf course that was next door to it, I forged ahead and laid out plans to build 68 condo’s right near beautiful Princeville, Hawaii. Wow, was I super surprised when I sold all 68 condo lots before we even broke ground.

Timing is so very important with development. You sure don’t want to get into a big development when the real estate market is at the top and there are reasons to believe that the market is turning and heading down. You also don’t want to get into a market that is oversupplied in the type of real estate that you want to buy into. That’s when you need to be patient or need to look at another city or state where the market is already down but looks like it’s picking up.

I continue, to this day, looking for the right and best real estate, whether it’s dirt to be developed or apartments and commercial developments. In August 2003, I hired an office manager (Kimberly Wangsgard), because, wow, did I need help with all my properties. Ms. Wangsgard had, in her former job, played a critical role in development for S-DEVCORP, a company that had developments ranging from 1.5 million dollars to 30 million dollars.

She helped me so much that I eventually had her change her last name to HAROLDSEN. Yes, I married that very beautiful, brilliant, and kind woman and it’s been an absolutely wonderful and happy marriage. An excellent development indeed!

A Glimpse Into My Past

March 7, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

I was going through some old papers and came across a biography I wrote about my life. I thought, since a lot of people ask me about my background, I would share some of that with you here:

Mark O. Haroldsen was born in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1944. He attended high school for two plus years in the Middle East before moving back to the USA where he graduated in 1962 from Ames High School in Iowa. Mark attended Utah State University on a basketball and track scholarship. His time on the bench, however, helped him decide to drop the basketball dream and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business which he received in 1969. He followed this with some post-graduate work at De Paul University in Chicago.

His career began as a stockbroker with Goodbody & Co. in 1969. Later he worked for Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, then went on to work as a manager for Bosworth Sullivan in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1972 to 1974. After a short political career, he lost his bid for the Utah State Treasurer and started buying real estate. This change was inspired by a Denver client that was making millions in real estate.

After gaining tremendous success in real estate, Mark started a real estate seminar company which he ran from 1978 to 1986. The multi-million dollar company set the standard for real estate conventions, retreats, and information, presenting up to 50 seminars a week using a huge staff and brilliant speakers.

Not only is Mark an extremely successful real estate investor, he is also the author of many books including his first and most successful book, How To Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. The book sold over 2 million copies and landed him on several national talk shows.

After the enormous success of that book, he began publishing the Financial Freedom Report, a real estate magazine that ran for over 20 years. And yet, that was just the beginning. He then got into a much more profitable part of real estate, known as development. 

I’ll stop sharing my bio there as I would like to go more into how that development thing worked out in next week’s blog, including how I made millions of dollars in profit through real estate development.

Duplicating Success

August 30, 2020 by  
Filed under blog

 

As I mentioned last week, I love a good success story and have often tried to get to know these big successful people. In a few cases, they even offered to be my mentor. I really believe that the mentoring was one of the most important contributors to my financial success.

I’m also a huge believer in seeing what other super successful people do and then going out and doing the same thing. I did it with my first book after seeing what Joe Karbo, author of The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, did to sell his books. I got to know him and then did the same things he did, selling 2 million copies of my first book.

And a long time ago, I read of a guy that converted his apartment units into condos, selling them to existing tenants or new buyers. I took that idea and converted 70 plus apartment units I had in Pennsylvania to condos, quickly selling out to most of the renters who were already in them and, wow, did I make a quick profit of over $7 million! Did that surprise me and please me? Oh yeah… big time!

I also looked to other people when I started fixing up houses. Realizing that the decorating part wasn’t really my thing, I picked other people’s brains to get the ideas I needed. Picking people’s brains is pretty easy since people like to talk about themselves and what they do for a living. I would simply take designers, architects and other professionals to lunch and get ideas for the cost of a meal. I would also look at other nicely fixed up houses. I have gone so far as to exactly copy the look of a neighboring house I was fixing up because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. That little bit of copying got that house sold super-fast!

It’s amazing when I travel to new and different countries too. I see a lot of ways people in other countries are being successful and not just when it comes to making money. For instance, in Europe, people eat much smaller portions, have tiny refrigerators because they buy food fresh so often, and they take time to relax when they eat. We could learn a lot from the way they eat over there that would be healthier for us all.

All of these things are something that anyone can copy and, yes, that means you! Keep your eyes and mind open and you might just see things you can duplicate to make a better life for yourself and maybe even make a fortune.

Great Opportunities in Uncertain Times

June 7, 2020 by  
Filed under blog

Okay, we are still in a pandemic and, I must say, with all this spare time to think and visualize the future, it may be an ideal time to look for those motivated real estate sellers. A purchase now could greatly improve your financial situation while, at the same time, you could be helping the seller who might be struggling to bring in money since they may not be receiving a regular paycheck.

In most American markets, real estate values and prices have been pretty tight and it has made it tough to find real bargains that will produce a cash flow. However, things have started to change and it may well be the ideal time to make a lot of low priced offers in order to find super motivated sellers. As some of you that know me well probably remember, when I was on my way up to the millionaire status and had tons of energy and drive, it was common for me to make many, many offers each week – like dozens.

I would just go through the listings and send the listing brokers offers that were 20% lower than the asking price and sit back and wait for their responses. I called it my “shotgun method”. I did this before I even drove past the property. I didn’t want to spend my time checking out and walking through the property until I had an acceptance or counter proposal. Of course, I made all offers with a “subject to my approval” clause. And, of course, most of my offers came back with an absolute rejection, but some would come back with a counter offer and a few even with a total acceptance of my low, low offer. Then, and only then, would I take my time to go check out the property and accept or reject their offer or even make a counter offer to their counter offer.

So now, with this terrible virus thing, we’re seeing more motivated sellers that really need the money and are much more willing to accept a lower price than just a few months ago. This could very well be a great financial opportunity for you and, for many sellers, it could be a great financial relief. Think about it and then add some ACTION!

So, hey, maybe this pandemic may have a few good things for us. Tracking down opportunities is certainly a much better thing to do with you extra time verses attending a protest with the potential of doing great harm to yourself and others. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame most of the demonstrators and, personally, I feel for people of color and I totally believe all humans are equal and should be treated the same. But I think you might agree that looking for investments is a better use of your time.

One last thought. When I told my wife about this week’s subject she said, “What you say is all true, but it does take one thing more and that’s COURAGE.” Wow, she’s so right and having written a book titled The Courage to be RICH, I certainly should have thought of that. So, add courage to making all these offers so you can be more aggressive and really take advantage of these opportunities.

Be One of the Smart Ones

November 10, 2019 by  
Filed under blog

 

So, in last week’s post I told you a bit about the lady in Paris that suddenly found out one of the paintings in her house, one that she thought was just an average painting (the one you see above), was extremely valuable and it went on to sell for $26 million dollars!  Wow, what a shock that must have been for her! But have you read that many people who all of a sudden win the lottery or suddenly come into a huge fortune blow the money in short order or are scammed out of it? The problem is that most of the time, people who haven’t earned the money over time are clueless and just don’t know how to handle it. Most of these people start spending it like crazy and or they are taken to the cleaners by scam artist.

Compare that overnight super-rich person to a person who has worked for years and saved every extra dollar they could. The smart ones don’t go out and buy a brand-new car that will immediately drop in value. The smart ones buy a used car and put whatever extra money they have into savings. Then they slowly build up enough money to buy an asset that goes up in value and, if they’re really smart, when they sell that asset at a profit, they reinvest that profit in another appreciating asset. Over the years, those small savings and investments can grow into a fortune.  And if you have made your money that way, then you most likely won’t be like those who suddenly came into big money and spent it all or got scammed out of it.

It will be very interesting to try to follow the Paris lady and see if she goes crazy with her money, following the typical lottery winners. Please, Paris lady, be cautious and wise with that $26 million. Don’t put your money with someone else who makes promises of huge returns.

Years ago, I met a guy who told me that he could give me a 10% return, per month, on my money, guaranteed! Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” I had a friend who had invested about $300,000 dollars with this guy who said it was going to get a great return and guaranteed it. I was pretty darn sure it would not be even close to that. And yes, my friend lost his entire investment, and the bad guy in now serving time in prison. Not that him being in prison gives my friend any of his money back.

So, I sure hope you see the huge benefit of saving all the dollars you can and investing them wisely. Do the research carefully. It’s my advice and experience that you should invest your savings in income producing real estate. It almost always goes up in value and even if the appreciation is very slow, if you have purchased wisely, you will have tenants paying off the mortgage. That’s what the smart ones do!

 

Compound Gratitude

October 20, 2019 by  
Filed under blog

Receiving thanks and appreciation from people you have helped can be such a huge reward and is such a great feeling!  Last week I wrote about super successful Scott Keller who was donating 10 million dollars to a University. Scott has thanked me over the years for sharing some of what I’ve learned about financial formulas, motivation and inspiration.

When I was writing my blog about the great feeling of helping others, it brought quickly to my mind and heart the many, many times I’ve received some huge “thank you’s” and credit from Craig D. Horton of Medford, Oregon. It started many years ago, shortly after I wrote my first book and has continued over the years. So, I sent an email to Craig after thinking about him and his generous and great appreciation for the help I gave him as he pursued his fortune. Here are some of the words he wrote back to me.

“Thanks Mark for this continuous journey of excellence as well as persistence. Your mentorship to myself and my wife Jane means a lot personally to our family.” He went on to say, “In my early investing days, I was partners with someone who subscribed to ‘The Financial Freedom Report’, which was an investor magazine for real estate people that Mark O. Haroldsen published … I read each monthly issue and devoured the content, especially the Subscriber Success Story. I subsequently read the following Mark O. Haroldsen books: How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You; Goals, Guts, and Greatness; The Best Real Estate Deal I Ever Did. All are excellent books that every real estate investor should read.”

Wow, those words of thanks to me were worth more than money!  After reading that, I realized that I needed to send him my latest book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living too!

He went on to say, “The major influence on my life of the written work and seminar experiences from Mark O. Haroldsen has been the concept of compound persistence. That principle simply says if you think long term with good goals, good support, and a good plan you will succeed as long as you always stay persistent. This has been my experience from the teachings of Mark and his team in over 40 plus years of investing. I have seen this principle also work with other investors as well.”

He and his wife Jane own a property management company, Medford Better Housing Association. Craig also told me how many rental houses he owns as well as a nice size apartment building. And then he closes the email with, “Your ‘Financial Freedom Report’, Compound Persistence Principle Guy … Craig D. Horton.”

I’ll close this blog by saying this: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND DOUBLE THANKS, TO YOU CRAIG D. HORTON FOR LIFTING MY SPIRITS, MY BRAIN, AND MY LIFE!

Always Living Large

June 28, 2019 by  
Filed under blog

So, I’ve been having a bit of a stressful but exciting week as I work on a big real estate deal. Yes, sometimes, even though I’ve been doing this for decades, making deals can be a little taxing but as Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President once said to the graduating students at Utah Valley University about experiencing a fulfilling and purposeful life,  “One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘large life’”. What great advice. That is something all of us need to pay attention to. We need to go out and do it and do it our entire lives.  I wrote about this some 4 years ago, but I think it’s worth a rerun. So, here’s basically what I wrote in May of 2015:

So many times, we hesitate to “live large”. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail. “Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney had gone on to say in that Utah Valley University speech. “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you?  Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few?  It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but some of those have led to some huge successes. And the reason for those successes was that I learned so much from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which lead me to some very, very large successes.  What happened was I decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral.  Big mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed, I certainly wouldn’t know how to run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn?  Well first I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure and second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as being on improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars’ worth of loans that were backed up by real estate and was very successful.  Later I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks but in that case, those were risks I was willing to take.  And much, if not most of that success, came from lessons learned from my failures and my trying to “live large”.

Romney’s words are not just for graduating students. They are wise words for us at any age!

Daring to Dream Big

April 12, 2019 by  
Filed under blog

Years ago, I dreamed of being wealthy. I studied the lives of the rich, especially the ones who started from scratch. I mean, I really studied them and analyzed everything they did and how they did it. I discovered that millionaires are not a hundred times, or even ten times, smarter than you and me. And they aren’t working ten times longer or harder. How could they? There are only 168 hours in a week — no one gets any more than that. The difference was an honest to goodness and simple wealth formula that, if followed, works.

Before I discovered this wealthy formula, I lived in Denver, Colorado in a cramped and tumbled down house at 2545 S. High Street, near the University of Denver. I felt desperate and forced into a corner. I had to borrow a $150 from my father and another $150 from my father in law just to buy groceries and help pay the rent. If that wasn’t enough, I was several thousand dollars in debt, but I still kept studying the lives of the rich and dreaming of being a millionaire.

Then it happened. I met Larry Rosenberg, a man who became my mentor and showed me the simple formula that had made millions for him. He convinced me that I could do the same thing.

I began to apply the formula I had been shown. The results were amazing! I couldn’t believe how simple it was. In fact, it seemed too simple. (Please note, I said simple, not easy!) It did take work but oh, how that work was so very worth it!

For the next 3 ½ years, I worked very hard to refine and improve the formula that I’d been shown so it would be easier to get quicker results. As I did this, my assets and income multiplied very rapidly to the point that I didn’t have to work at my regular job. I quit!

The simple formula that I had been shown was to leverage income producing real estate —-as in small houses and apartment buildings. The key to building my fortune was to find run down properties that I loved to call “dirt bag properties”. These were properties that I could fix up and improve the value by 10 or 20 percent and then I could turn that 10% or 20% increase in value to 100% return on my investment, because of that great thing called “leverage”.

And as I’m sure you know a 100% return on your money can and will increase your net worth quite quickly! In my experience leverage income producing properties is the most reliable, fastest, and safest method of making big time money. Most people have a little bit of that “leveraged real estate” in the home they bought. But if you have to go a step further and but some dirt-bag or rental properties and fix them up and make those huge 100% percent returns. If you buy right, it will work wonders for you.

 

Next Page »