How I Went From Rich, to Broke, to Truly Wealthy

Life is often a wild ride for those of us who work for what we have. My struggle is no different. I wasn’t always a wealthy real estate investing mentor. There was a point in my recent history when I dead broke. This is the story of how I overcame those obstacles to live the life of my dreams.

While I was still in the military, I was closing a lot of real estate transactions. I bought myself a brand-spankin’ new Cadillac Escalade – an $80,000 car. I had every toy and gadget you could think of. I wore a Rolex watch.



I lived the rich lifestyle, doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But inside I was empty. I wasn’t fulfilled. When you’re rich, you think it’s gonna last forever. When you’re rich, you have a carefree mentality – spend for the sake of spending. Ego gets in the way. Drop $100,000 in renovations to a home? No problem! A friend of mine had 10 cars.

 “Why did you get all of these?” I asked him. “Why not?” was his reply.

I was young, dumb and rich and thought it would never end. When you start making that kind of money, you start throwing it around and taking it for granted. “Oh it’s always going to keep coming in.” I thought. More and more monthly bills, keep accruing, more things that aren’t assets, more and more things coming in I wasn’t accounting for. It all kept piling up. And then a bomb stuck my heart and soul.

In 2010 I went through a divorce. I literally lost everything through this divorce. I went from sleeping in a king bed with silk sheets, watching a plasma TV right over the bed, walking on hardwood floors, making dinner on granite counter-tops, having an in ground trampoline for my kids, 100% gated house. In less than a month, I had to sleep on the floor at my dad’s house, with a blanket and an old pillow I used as a kid.

I wasn’t holding myself accountable for my actions and spending habits. I thought I was invincible. Who needs a budget when you’re a millionaire? We always hear stories about people who are about to die. “I wish I would have spent more time with my loved ones and my friends.” Not about money. I didn’t realize this until I lost it all. I was only broke in my pocket. I was rich in my heart. So because of this, when I was rich, I did a few smart things. I’ve always thought credit cards were the devil I paid off my car, so at least they couldn’t take that away!

When you’re broke, you have to think of creative ways to save money, make income and have fun. I lived on mostly protein shakes and sandwiches. When you’re broke, you have to learn to enjoy people and the connections you make with them rather than material things. People show you their true colors when they know they can’t get anything from you, like when you’re broke. When you’re just about down and out, you really learn who your true friends are. Maybe more importantly for me, you learn the difference between who is RICH and who is TRULY WEALTHY. If you don’t know the difference, keep reading my blogs! Material things made by the American free market are great, but they won’t be comforting you on your deathbed.

I spent over $100,000 for a divorce that never happened. I’m so thankful it didn’t happen. For over a year I fought with my wife and split up my company. We were able to recreate our marriage through the grace of God miracle. Through this we were able to transform our entire lives. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done for ourselves – and more importantly, our family. The journey together has been amazing. We are a passionate power couple now that cannot be stopped.


Now that I’m wealthy again, I make more money than I ever have, but I have fewer expenses than I ever did. We sold our gigantic house and moved into one of our old rental properties with almost no mortgage. I started looking at everything as an investment and/ or an asset. I started saving as much income as I could.


This is MY “WHY”! What’s yours?

Here are the 5 things that really helped dig me out of the pit of being broke:

     1.         Every dime you save is another dime you can use for marketing. If you have effective marketing, you know it’s going to give you a positive ROI.

     2.         I started valuing my family more. I got a big wall calendar and wrote out dedicated times that we would spend every weekend together.

     3.         Really look at my finances every week. Knowing what came in and what came out. I started paying my salary employees task-oriented items. They got paid on tasks they were completing, not to sit around. I use a great service called oDesk to achieve that. Check it out:

     4.         I started doing what I am passionate about, which is mentoring and really helping others. I found out that when you’re helping people and you’re really a support and contribution to people, it’s impossible to make anyone feel negative around you. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

     5.         If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: STAY LIQUID! It’s always best to be liquid and have assets with long-term wealth attached to them.

“The greatest investment you could ever make is inside another human being.”

— Warren Buffet

 I hope you got something out of this blog post. I went from rich, to broke, to truly wealthy. Leave a comment below! Were you like this at one point in your life? Are you still like that? What have you done/ are you doing to change your situation and improve your life? What is YOUR “WHY”?

Stay blessed, friends. Here’s to your success with real estate.


Franklin Cruz