Ilene Davis put herself through college and eventually received a degree in Math in 1971. For several years after graduation, she worked as a mathematician then she got married and worked in her husband’s business. She became a stockbroker in 1982 and ended up opening her own office in 1986 when the broker she worked for had significant ethical issues. Fast forward to today, her current net worth is sitting at a cool $4 million.
We recently caught up with Ilene Davis and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started making money?
I received a degree in Math in 1971. I actually put myself through college and started saving even then. By graduation, I had enough to buy myself a car. Once graduated, I worked to save enough in a couple of years to take a two month trip to Europe before I seriously got down to working for the future. For several years after graduation, I worked as a mathematician. Then got married and worked in my husband’s business. During that time I also earned a degree in Accounting, went to another company for several years until an opportunity came along (1982) to become a stockbroker. Having been investing for years, that was my true passion (and still is).
How did you get started in business? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
I became a stockbroker (which is really a personal business even if you work for a Wirehouse because you are strictly on commission) in 1982 and opened my own office in 1986 when the broker I worked for had major ethical issues. As for imagining if I would become this successful financially: my first goal was to get to $1 million. Then to $2 million. Once I reached $2 million in investments, I continued to invest. Much of the wealth comes from those initial millions “doing their thing.”
What is your primary source of income?
I don’t really count my investment income because it remains invested, so my primary source of income is commissioning from being a financial professional.
Would you be willing to tell us your current net worth? How did you accumulate your net worth?
It hit $4 million before the recent market drop, but I expect it will be up and down for a while. I accumulated it by doing what I tell clients. Invest a portion of your income and leave it working.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your net worth?
I maximize my solo-K each year and otherwise do some trading but mostly leave the management to the mutual fund companies that I invest in and leave my own stocks to ride, sometimes buying on dips and then writing options to generate extra income.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
The only thing of any challenge was last year when the Obama administration “Fiduciary Rule” was implemented and I asked clients if they were willing to stick with me if I stuck to a commission because the math I did said THAT was in their best interests, not fee-based. Fortunately, Trump won, and I’ve had a wonderful year.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
PLAYING the market instead of investing long-term. I sold my Microsoft stocks too soon (I call that my $2 million loss), same with AOL. I still see stocks I owned years ago that have gone up significantly, but I really can’t complain. My other mistake was trusting a friend with a loan. Now I’m working to at least write it off as a loss.
What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?
The key, as Warren Buffet said, is time IN the market, not time OF the market. And to have a plan, don’t worry about what others THINK you should do. I tell clients the most expensive thing they can buy is “friendship”. Be happy with who you are, find contentment, even happiness, in living within your budget and building wealth. Believe you are worthy of being wealthy so you don’t sabotage yourself.
What new business would you love to start?
Already working with a new partner (with similar ethical perspective) on wealthliteracyinstitute.com and choosingwealth.com. My goal is to teach financial literacy and provide a tool that virtually anyone can use to create a path to wealth.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I would have gotten my CPA and done more networking.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
I have DOZENS: Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) / Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach) / The richest man in babylon (George Clason) / The Millionaire Next Door (Dr. Thomas Stanley) / The Millionaire Mind / Stop acting rich and start living like a real millionaire / The E Myth Revisited / Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth / my own book “Wealthy by Choice: Choosing your way to a wealthier future” / 10 Distinctions between Millionaires and the middle class / Think like a Billionaire (Donald Trump) / The Purple Cow / any of Tom Peters Books / Any of the Spencer Johnson or Ken Blanchard (particularly “the One minute Manager”) and DOZENS more.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
You can do anything you set your mind to if you are willing to work for it (my dad, and mom)