By Stephanie O’Connell
Mark Cuban, the billionaire investor, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and mainstay of the hit show, “Shark Tank,” is known for his business savvy, work ethic and penchant for turning fledgling startups into multimillion-dollar ventures.
Before becoming a self-made billionaire, however, Cuban studied at the University of Indiana while running side gigs like teaching dance lessons and hosting disco dance parties. After graduating, Cuban held various other jobs, including bartending, before he transitioned into sales and landed a job at a Dallas PC software company. Following his natural ambition and drive, Cuban worked hard to drum up business and earn big commissions. So when he saw a new opportunity make a huge deal, her pursued it, even after the CEO told him not to. “I thought when I showed up with a $15,000 check, he’d be cool with it,” Cuban told Forbes. Instead, the CEO fired Cuban on the spot for insubordination.
This unpleasant encounter was the spark that lit Mark Cuban’s desire to start his own company. Right away, Cuban scraped together a loan and founded his first major business endeavor, MicroSolutions, at just 25 years old. Cuban sold that business in 1990 for $6 million. His next venture, Broadcast.com, made him a billionaire after selling to Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.7 billion in stocks, reports CNN Money. With Mark Cuban’s net worth now estimated at $3 billion by Forbes, he has remained an icon of entrepreneurship and financial success ever since.
This business mogul also has quite a bit to say about fiscal responsibility and money management. Cuban is known for being outspoken and often shares his thoughts on personal finance. With a strong track record of self-driven financial success, it’s certainly advice worth considering. Here is money advice from Mark Cuban that you can put into action today.
LIVE CHEAPLY SO YOU CAN USE RESOURCES TO PURSUE OPPORTUNITIES
Before his billionaire days, Cuban spent his early adulthood living on the cheap, crashing on the couch (or floor) with five roommates in Dallas and splitting the $750 rent six ways. In his book, “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” Cuban wrote:
“It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.”
Cuban is a reminder that living within, and even below your means when possible, is less about sacrifice and more about opportunity. Find ways to cut expenses, both luxuries and the necessities, to reduce your total cost of living and free up your resources, time, energy and money, for the pursuit of greater goals.
PRIORITIZE PAYING OFF DEBT FOR A GUARANTEED RETURN
In a 2014 interview with Business Insider, Cuban revealed what he wished he’d known about saving money in his 20s:
“That credit cards are the worst investment that you can make. That the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market. I thought I would be a stock market genius. Until I wasn’t. I should have paid off my cards every 30 days.”
Cuban not only emphasizes the importance of paying off of debt and using credit responsibly, he also warns against overzealous investing. Getting loan and credit card balances down to zero is a straightforward strategy for increased wealth that, as Cuban notes, requires no investment risk for a great return.
USE THE JOB YOU HAVE NOW TO GET THE JOB YOU WANT IN THE FUTURE
Cuban’s journey, from his first job selling garbage bags, to teaching disco, to getting fired, to founding a business and becoming a billionaire _ is a reminder of the power of the “hustle” and the importance of constant growth. On his blog, Cuban quoted an interview in which he said:
“I worked jobs I didn’t like. I worked jobs I loved, but had no chance of being a career. I worked jobs that barely paid the rent. … I knew I would end up owning my own business someday, so I figured my challenge was to learn as much as anyone about all businesses. I believed that every job I took was really me getting paid to learn about a new industry.”
Every job is an opportunity to develop a new skill set and learn about a new industry, both of which can be leveraged for future career success while getting paid in the present. Reap the benefits of diverse work experience by staying open to any and all job opportunities _ engaging in your career, income and personal growth throughout.
STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW WHEN INVESTING
Cuban is notoriously skeptical of traditional financial advice and investment vehicles. “I create offbeat advice; I don’t follow it,” Cuban said in an interview with Forbes. “I rarely take third-party advice on my investments.”
Instead, he encourages saving and puts money into ventures he knows well, benefiting from the “information advantage.” While seeking advice from financial professionals can be helpful, be sure to build an understanding of the accounts and investment vehicles holding your assets to ensure they serve your best interests. Handing complete financial control over to anyone and agreeing to a strategy with blind trust can result in big fees at best, and huge losses at worst.
CULTIVATE WEALTH FOR YOURSELF, AND OTHERS
It’s unsurprising that as a man of means, Cuban is an advocate for cultivating wealth. But his position is not just about what wealth affords him personally, but the power it gives him to help others. In a 2011 blog post titled “The Most Patriotic Thing You Can Do,” Cuban wrote:
“Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense.
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Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make, the more of a financial impact you can have.”
Building wealth enables meaningful giving as much as meaningful living. When you have wealth, you’re better positioned to make an impact. Foster prosperity through the pursuit of increased income endeavors, investment growth strategies and financial education. In cultivating your own monetary success, don’t forget to give back to others.
USE MONEY AS A TOOL TO MEET YOUR GOALS
When asked if money can buy happiness Cuban replied, “Absolutely not,” reports Entrepreneur magazine. He continued:
“To me, success isn’t defined by your wallet. It’s defined by waking up with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. But, sure, money can make your life a whole lot easier.”
These days Cuban can basically buy whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but his happiness began long before by setting goals and accomplishing dreams, like being the first in his immediate family to graduate college. Why else would a man worth billions continue working?
Don’t count on an arbitrary financial threshold to hold the key to happiness. Money should be what helps you reach the goal, not the goal itself. Instead, work toward goals and dreams with concrete actions you can implement immediately. Acknowledge and celebrate your progress toward future prosperity, and find happiness in each small step toward success.
Stephanie O’Connell writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.