I grew up watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and I have always found him to be a super impressive guy. Bodybuilding, movies, and politics — he always seems to have the discipline and the confidence to accomplish his goals. But what some of you may not be aware of is that he actually had an illustrious real estate career before he became a movie star, and that this side hustle made him a millionaire before he ever starred in Conan.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview that he did with Tim Ferriss:
I did not rely on my movie career to make a living. That was my intention because I saw over the years the people that worked out in the gym and that I met in the acting classes, they were all very vulnerable because they didn’t have any money and they had to take anything that was offered to them because that was their living. I didn’t want to get into that situation. I felt like if I am smart with real estate and take my little money that I make in bodybuilding and in seminars and selling my courses through the mail orders, I could save up enough money to put down money for an apartment building.
I realized in the 70’s that the inflation rate was very high and therefore an investment like that is unbeatable. Buildings that I would buy for $500K within the year were $800K and I put only maybe $100K down, so you made 300% on your money. You couldn’t beat that. I quickly developed and traded up my buildings and bought more apartment buildings and office buildings on Main Street down in Santa Monica and so on. The investments were very good and it was just one of those magic decades.
Today you couldn’t do it in that same field. There’s another field in real estate where you can do it, but in this particular field I don’t think you will see those kind of jumps ever again. I benefited from that and I became a millionaire from my real estate investments. That was before my career took off in show business and acting, which was after Conan the Barbarian. In 1982 that movie came out. We shot it in 1981 and in ’82 it came out. From that point on my career took off because people saw that the movie was successful at the box office and then I signed a contract to do Conan number 2 and then that led to a contract for Terminator 1 and then Commando.