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Arnold Schwarzenegger Gives His Easiest Way to Make a Million Dollars

Arnold Schwarzenegger Million Dollars

Doesn’t it sound unbelievable that someone holding as many as seven Mr. Olympia titles and five Mr. Universe titles didn’t make his first million dollars through acting?

Yes, it does sound unreal, but not when you consider someone as versatile as Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Austrian-American has set benchmarks when you look at him through the lens of wealth creation! It was much later, after he made his first million dollars that he ventured into bodybuilding, acting, modeling, sports, business, and now politics!

With his net worth close to $450 million, Schwarzenegger has soared in popularity across the globe. Who’d forget his trademark role in the movie Terminator or the 1982 Hollywood hit Conan the Barbarian?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has inspired wealth creators and young investors across the globe. When you look at him beyond what he’s popular for, you’d wonder how crucial early-life financial investments can be!

Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is an eccentric man with a lot of ambition. For someone who has been in sports for more than five decades, besides dominating diverse fields like entrepreneurship, acting, and bodybuilding, versatility and openness to opportunities remain the success formula.

Over the years, we have seen him juggle multiple careers, only to emerge successful in every front he touched. Although his acting career is the prime source of his massive wealth, it’s intriguing that he was into real estate investment early in his life.

At one point in his acting career, Schwarzenegger was privileged to be the highest-paid actor. Apart from the Terminator, he was a part of other blockbusters like the Predator, Total Recall, and True Lies.

Beyond acting, Schwarzenegger made a lot of wealth through his business ventures and participating in bodybuilding competitions. Arnold Schwarzenegger also served as the governor of California between 2003 and 2010.

No wonder he has made the most of an illustrious career that landed him at the pinnacle of success and fame.

How did Arnold Schwarzenegger make his first million dollars?

The Austrian-American was born in Thal, and his father worked as the Police chief. As a kid, he experienced a humble upbringing. Schwarzenegger started working out at a local gym in his teens. He was eight years old in 1965 when he bagged the Junior Mr. Europe Contest title. A couple of years later, he won the first Mr. Universe title.

Schwarzenegger initially had different plans, as he didn’t count on his acting career solely to consolidate his wealth. This is evident from his conversation with the author of Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss. Over the years, Schwarzenegger has observed people in acting classes as well as the gym. 

He realized their financial vulnerability simply because they didn’t make enough wealth. Due to this vulnerability, they were forced to accept any rate offered. Schwarzenegger was serious about not landing in a similar situation and decided to carve out his own financial fortune.

This financial consciousness early in his life made Schwarzenegger turn to real estate in the early 1970s. It was in 1968 that he went to the USA with a meager amount of $27,000, as per Town and Country. Thanks to his foresight and tactical investments in real estate, he made his first million before diversifying his career.

Schwarzenegger channeled the money he earned through bodybuilding to manage the downpayment on a property. It was an apartment building, and he was shrewd enough to invest in an upscale real estate economy in America. Well, the 1970s was a magic decade for the real estate sector, and he was overwhelmed by how property prices increased.

Schwarzenegger purchased buildings for $500,000, and the prices soared to $800,000 in just a year or so. What’s most interesting is that he used to make small down payments like $100,000. This fetched him a 300% return on his investments!

Realizing the tremendous investment potential in the real estate industry in the US, Schwarzenegger was prompt enough to develop buildings and trade them. In the process, he purchased several office and apartment buildings on Main Street down in Santa Monica. No wonder this winning move from Schwarzenegger earned him the first million and paved the way to a happening lifestyle.

Well, it’s worth noting that real estate investments were only a side hustle for Schwarzenegger. However, the impressive returns and growth fetched him the financial freedom he needed. In the process, Schwarzenegger became well-poised to focus on his career in acting. Now, we know how he set benchmarks in his acting career.

Tapping multiple income avenues like Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Now that you know how Arnold Schwarzenegger made his first million dollars, let’s check out how he consolidated this wealth and grew his net worth to $450 million.

1. Invest as per your priorities

Schwarzenegger has come down a long way over the years being an angel investor. Funding potential startups, he helps these firms grow at their initial stages. Being picky about where he channeled his funds, Schwarzenegger has been riding the growth potential as these companies bloomed.

Currently, Schwarzenegger’s portfolio has four companies. Dropshyp has been the most recent investment for the actor. The startup connects businesses of small, medium, and large scales to suppliers in the Middle East, West Africa, and East Asia.

Following the suit of the successful investor, how do you plan to allocate your funds? It all depends on how you prioritize your goals. 

Here’s a practical way to start investing and diversifying your portfolio across different asset classes. Try to distribute your savings in the following accounts:

  • Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan to enjoy tax benefits as well as the power of compounding
  • Open certificates of deposits (CDs) by locking up funds to manage your short to long-term goals
  • Open a high-yielding savings account to counter the impact of inflation
  • Invest in US Treasuries Securities and different bonds or bond funds for long-term fund growth
  • For short-term growth of your funds, consider investing in a money market account (MMA)
  • Invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to get dividends
  • Consider investing in dividend-yielding stocks to grow your financial portfolio
  • Apart from these investments, one can also consider coupling up as an angel investor. 

Back in 1999, Schwarzenegger happened to be an early investor in Google. Some of his other investments include Advanced Microgrid Solutions and Scopely. While the former works on advanced systems for energy storage to reduce energy bills, the latter develops interactive mobile games. According to reports, he has already exited Advanced Microgrid Solutions and Google.

Most of Schwarzenegger’s investments worked in his favor, leading him to success on the financial front. The secret to this success in stocks, businesses, startups, and real estate is proper research and knowledge acquisition on these fronts.

Schwarzenegger also invested in Oak Productions, a production studio. This company produced two movies: The Aftermath (2017) and Last Action Hero (1993). They made a staggering profit of $42 million, with the combined expenses of the two films around $95 million. Such was the foresight and strategy of the angel investor.

Moreover, Schwarzenegger invested in Lobos 1707 tequila, an alcohol company. Currently, there’s no foolproof strategy to verify how much all these investments fetched him. As per reliable sources, the aggregate gains of Schwarzenegger from all these investments are close to $200 million.

While his achievements look staggering, success in the business front comes by starting small. Consider making limited yet calculated investments to capitalize on the potential avenues.

2. Focus on your primary source of income

Schwarzenegger entered acting, his secret behind the massive wealth portfolio early in his life. He gives us a practical example of how professional expertise can lead to financial success. Regardless of the industry you are in, try to create your own identity by excelling in your profession. Remember, Schwarzenegger got the opportunity to be cast in Hercules in New York just after earning his first Mr. Olympia title!

Hercules was a feature film, and Schwarzenegger followed this up with a documentary on bodybuilding called Pumping Iron. Schwarzenegger’s fame started pouring in, and so did his income through his acting career.

Apart from starring in blockbusters like the Terminator, Schwarzenegger gained fame for his documentary Conan the Barbarian. The 1984 hit, Terminator, fetched him a massive $75,000, where he played the leading role. The worldwide circulation of this movie earned him even more, and his total income from this hit is estimated to be around $80,000.

Schwarzenegger returned with James Cameron, the director, and his friend to the Terminator after some time. Besides, he worked on several other blockbusters like The Running Man and The Predator. Besides, Schwarzenegger started in the Expendables franchise, which released three movies to date. Some of his most famous action movies include Total Recall, Commando, and True Lies.

Besides, Schwarzenegger has been a part of some comedy dramas, which defines his versatility. To mention a few, his works in this genre include Junior, Kindergarten Cop, Jingle All the Way, and Twins. Particularly, his role in Twins, the Ivan Reitman movie, earned him 40% of the movie’s overall earnings ($215 million). This implies that the film fetched him around $30 to $40 million.

To date, Schwarzenegger has been a memorable name in the entertainment industry. His estimated earnings from the film industry are close to $300 million. On average, he made $30 million per movie.

Have a look at Schwarzenegger’s earnings from his role in different movies.

  • The Predator: $3.5 million
  • Commando: $2 million
  • Total Recall: $11 million
  • Terminator 2 and Kindergarten Cop: $12 million

As Terminator 3 continued to become a hit, Schwarzenegger’s paycheck was hiked. So, when he performed in the Rise of the Machines, the third Terminator movie, he went on to earn $35 million for each film.

3. Invest in real estate

Over the years, real estate has continued to be a lucrative investment avenue. Being strategic about your investment in this sector can earn you a fortune. Unlike stocks, property prices are not volatile. Moreover, with the growth of infrastructure, property prices keep appreciating. Even if you are not comfortable investing massive chunks of your portfolio in real estate, why not start with REITs? 

Besides, rental income serves as a recurring source of revenue for investors. Although Schwarzenegger made his first real estate investment back in the 1970s, his investment portfolio continues to earn him generous returns even today. Oak Productions, Inc. is his movie production firm, housed at a Santa Monica building. It currently has around a dozen tenants. Estimated around $10 million, this property is currently one of the most valued possessions of the actor.

Other sources of income

While the above are Schwarzenegger’s primary sources of income, he didn’t completely rely on them. Here’s how he carved out other income sources.

1. Bodybuilding

Schwarzenegger came across a bodybuilding magazine in his early teens. This sparked his interest in bodybuilding. His interest gave way to obsession, and he lifted the first barbell as a 13-year-old kid. No wonder why he won his first bodybuilding competition just at the age of 18. A decade later, he became the youngest person to win Mr. Olympia.

Schwarzenegger never looked behind and went on to win as many as seven Mr. Olympia titles. Besides, he emerged as the winner in five Mr. Universe competitions.

Back then, bodybuilding competitions didn’t bring winners large prize pools. However, Schwarzenegger acknowledged that it wasn’t money for which he participated in bodybuilding. After Schwarzenegger won Mr. Olympia, he received $750. In those days, this meant a lot of money.

2. Sports ventures

Well, Schwarzenegger has got a sports festival to his name, ‘Arnold Sports Festival’. This is a four-day sports festival that fitness and sports enthusiasts in Ohio attend every year. Schwarzenegger has been hosting this event since 1989.

Later, countries in South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and even the UK organized this event. According to estimations, the festival draws an annual amount of $2 million, given that 20,000 people attend the event. The rights of the event have the potential to earn up to $10 million.

3. Personal brand

You might not be aware, but Schwarzenegger co-founded Ladder, the Food Products company, along with Lebron James. All these years, he has demonstrated how good he is when it comes to investments.

As per reports, Schwarzenegger’s objective is to supply quality supplements and nutrition to gym enthusiasts and sportspersons. Well, this company was sold in 2020, but Schwarzenegger made another $50 million while it remained under his control!

4. Endorsements

Arnold Schwarzenegger also earned decent cash through his endorsements. He starred in some commercials for Machine Zone, the prominent game developer coming up with Mobile Strike and other popular games. In this commercial, Schwarzenegger plays the role of a military commander.

Besides, Schwarzenegger appeared in the 2022 commercial for BMW Super Bowl. He also makes a decent earning through his product endorsements. Over the years, he has collaborated with companies such as DirecTV, Nissin’s Cup of Noodles 7Up, and Bud Light for endorsement programs.

His tentative income from all his endorsements comes to around $20 million. 

How can you channel income from multiple sources?

As you embrace a progressive career, focus on growing your income exponentially.  Apart from streaming in maximum income from your primary source, it’s imperative to have multiple income sources, including passive income sources. Suppose you get a few side hustles and manage to supplement your primary income source. Once this grows consistent, simply channel a part into mutual funds.

Besides, we have already mentioned several investment avenues, including real estate, stocks, bonds, and a wide range of savings accounts. Capitalize on the power of compound interest to maximize your savings for the future.

The secret to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wealth accumulation lies not only in profile diversification but starting investments early in his career. Be it real estate or working as an angel investor, Schwarzenegger didn’t fail to seize any opportunity. Foresight, along with his click of luck, fetched him financial success in every avenue he explored.

Even today, real estate continues to be one of the most-sought avenues for investors around the globe!

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Managing Editor
Deanna Ritchie is a managing editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 2000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 60,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite.

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