Wealth Creation Academy is a resource run by me, Praveen Kumar, to teach how to create multiple streams of passive income through strategies that I have found to successful.
I am blessed to reside in New Zealand; one of the most beautiful countries in the world. However, my story began halfway around the globe, in a nondescript town in India.
I was born to a family of veterans- who for three generations served as soldiers in the armed forces- completely oblivious to the world of financial planning or wealth building. Life in India, in the sixties, was tough with little or no prospects. And to make matters worse, I had been abandoned by my father at the young age of 14 years. On my young shoulders, fell the responsibility of my mother who was just a high school graduate with no job prospects, an unmarried sister and a younger brother. I was ill-prepared and confused.
We found support and solace, in that tumultuous phase, in my grandfather’s presence. He was a man of limited means but of great heart and wisdom. He inspired us by saying “Eat only half a slice of bread but never give up on your education or dreams.” I joined the Navy at the tender age of fifteen. The academy was a place where a roof over the head and free rations were guaranteed.
My dreams were limited to survival in those days. I was a depressed and troubled soul…scrutinizing why life was so cruel to me. I contemplated suicide on several occasions, but had too many responsibilities to give up on life. Intense physical routine at the National Defense Academy also helped me from getting into mischief. When you run ten miles every morning, go for horse riding and do drills under the hot, scorching Indian sun, there is very little energy left to tie yourself to a ceiling fan.
To address pain within, I turned to philosophy. I read every philosophical text I could lay my hands on: Plato, Socrates, Spinoza, Voltaire, Kant, Schopenhauer, Spencer, Lao Tzu, Nietzsche, Freud, Carl Jung to name just a few. I was devouring books morning, evening, night and even on the shit-pot so as not waste time to get to the bottom of that deep sorrow that engulfed me. Although I got some insight into my problems, bouts of depression continued to haunt me.
To understand the cause of my suffering, I turned towards religion. My intense spiritual quest lasted for well over a decade. During this period, I neglected the material side of life in order to enlighten myself. In any case, I had no money because I was sending every rupee I earned back home to support my family. One day my spirit would soar heavenward, but the next day I would be depressed again. Slowly through daily meditation and yoga, my mind became steady and the fluctuations reduced.
One fine day it dawned on me that ‘life is’ and the spiritual and material world are closely interwoven. The spiritual side cannot exist without material well-being. I decided to give up on my celibacy vows. I was honest enough to recognize that suppressed sexual thoughts were acting counterproductive towards my spiritual growth. However, getting married is easier said than done.
Girls Don’t Marry Penniless Philosophers
Finding a suitable wife posed a huge problem for me. I was fairly good looking and had a good personality thanks to the countless hours of drills at the Academy. Girls would find me alluring as I could play the guitar and sing, in addition to being a good dancer. But when it came to committing, I could always sense a hesitation. In those days, I was very proud of my new found spirituality and boastful of my non-materialistic approach to life.
I was the quintessential ‘philosopher fool’ who knew much of the inner self but nothing about what motivates young girls of marriageable age. When all attempts at organic love fail—family relations come in handy, in India, in the form of an arranged marriage. They found me a beautiful girl who was equally non-materialistic and clueless about money matters. We were a match made in heaven. My bank balance was zero, but this did not trouble either my wife or me.
Job Security – Is it worth your time?
Our motto in the Navy was ‘Either you can be an officer and a gentleman or be rich.’ I proudly chose to be an officer and a gentleman. Fortunately, I kept away from liquor which was another requirement to prove my competence as a non-caring, happy-go-lucky officer who was ready to die for his country at the drop of a hat.
Both I and my wife lived in our blissful non-materialistic state, till a reality check arrived in the form of our two beautiful children. At this point, even impractical philosophers like me are forced to become practical. When you look into those innocent eyes and feel the touch of those little hands holding your fingers, your heart melts. I love my children deeply and did not wish them to suffer the same fate that I did.
My financial security was my job in the Navy, and I tried to excel so that I could get promotions and plum postings. Hard work pays off and all bosses are not bad. I was lucky to get an overseas posting to Mauritius which opened my eyes to the world of finance for the first time in my life. I met with people who were making huge sums of money through currency transactions, and by being the middlemen in trade with South Africa (trading with India was banned due to Apartheid).
Lest I was left behind, I purchased 20 volumes of Business Management books and read them several times to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. Although I had a grasp of economics, personnel and financial management, I was still clueless as to how I may use this knowledge in real life to make money.
Real Estate – Street Smart Investor
I got into real estate investing perchance. When I returned back to India from my overseas sojourn, to my horror, I found that my sister’s marriage was in trouble. She asked me to help her out and invest in a boutique shop in Delhi from where she could run her garments business. With my wife’s consent, we put our entire savings from the 3 years overseas tenure and purchased a small retail shop. My legs were shaking when I closed the deal. Family and friends told me I was a fool and that I had paid too much for the property. Funnily, my critics had never purchased an investment property.
In the next five years, the price of the property we purchased went up by five times. Such ridiculous price increases happen only in India. We were luckily caught in a vertex of an upward property cycle. From being ridiculed to becoming an investment genius—my friends and family were now seeking investment advice from me. I was equally clueless. The only thing I had done was to act, despite my fear, motivated by my desire to help my sister. This little deal was an eye opener. I understood the power of real estate investing and whenever I found little money, I started buying real estate.
In those days there were no books or seminars on real estate investing in India. I was a street smart investor aided by a competent broker who gave me one advice that I have not forgotten till date. He said “You should only buy cows that give milk. There is no point in buying a calf that you have to nurture for years before it gives milk.” This one advice has kept me out of trouble in turbulent financial times.
I applied for a premature retirement from the Navy in the mid-nineties. By that time, my real estate income had sufficiently replaced the stipend I received from the Navy… I thought to myself, “If I could do this well as a part time investor then I will be able to accelerate my growth by removing those shackles of the Navy where making money was looked down upon.”
Reality Check – Market Gone Bust!
I was in for a rude surprise soon after I left the Navy. Real estate market, after a bull run since I started investing, went into a nosedive when the Indian Government, in all its wisdom, decided to carry out a nuclear test. Economic sanctions were imposed by most countries and businesses around the country started going bust. My properties became vacant, and cash flow dried up.
Having been a master of good times, I was clueless on what could be done. In panic, I sold a large number of my properties at a loss.
To generate cash, I founded a security agency that was partially successful, but I found it to be very stressful to run. I quit that business as I was not happy doing it. The failure was due to the fact that I did not have the mindset for business, although I did not realize it at the time. I went back to sea stationed as a Captain in Merchant Navy. The good old sense of job security takes over when there is panic; my dreams of being an entrepreneur lay in shambles. Stressful financial conditions forced me to start looking for answers.
I was struggling with my real estate business when a friend of mine recommended ‘Real Estate Riches’ by Dolf De Roos—this book was an eye opener! It was the first book I read on investing. I became an avid reader and read everything I could lay my hands on. Entrepreneurial spirit, once again, rose within me. It was like the good old days when I was devouring those books on philosophy.
Transition to Sophisticated Investor
During this period, we migrated to New Zealand. I was excited because Dolf De Roos belonged to that country and had written that it was “a haven for property investing with no capital gain tax, stamp duty or estate taxes.” My true education in business and investing kick-started soon after my arrival in New Zealand.
I had very little capital to start with; value of money shrinks dramatically when you convert rupees 50 to a dollar. Only a migrant can understand how tough it is to start all over in a new country, especially when you are on the wrong side of fifty.
Being a submarine captain is perhaps one of the most difficult jobs in the world—it made me resilient but I had no real world skills for a job, apart from some experience in real estate investing. I decided to become a commercial real estate consultant as that would give me the opportunity to learn in an area where I wanted to start my business. It was a steep learning curve. Fortunately, my job made me interact with multi-millionaires who were buying hotels, commercial buildings, shopping malls, warehouses, etc.
I would discuss investment and business strategies with them for hours and learn the basis of their decisions. To my surprise, I found that these millionaires were always willing to talk about their stories on how they built their wealth. To expand my knowledge, I started attending paid seminars not only in property investing, but business building and internet marketing. I spent thousands of dollars which paid me rich dividends when I started my own investment company.
I multiplied and grew my investments…then came the big financial crash of 2008. Businesses were collapsing and there were mortgagee sales all around the country. I was better prepared this time because of my experience in market crash in India at the turn of the century. A large number of my clients went bankrupt because of cash flow problems. On the other hand few smart ones multiplied their wealth ten times over. I realized that great wealth is created in down turns.
I also realized the difference in being rich and wealthy for the first time. Wealthy people don’t work for money. Instead, they make their money work for them in diverse ways. Many rich people, on the other hand, make huge sums but their money and lifestyle can vanish because they do not understand the fundamental principles of wealth creation and protection. You can read numerous stories on sports, music and movie stars who go bankrupt despite earning millions of dollars.
It has been a long journey from having a ‘job safety’ mentality to being self-employed, and eventually transiting to owning my own business. I took a decision a couple of years back to change my active income to passive income. I decided to work on projects that need my effort once but pay me repeated income for the rest of my life. It was the best decision I ever made. We diversified our income sources to include digital publishing and affiliate marketing alongside our real estate business.
I have published several books on wealth creation. You can visit my authors website for details. My wife has passion for healthy lifestyle and owns a website Healthy Wise Choice. Today both me and my wife are retired and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and continue to grow our passive income. We may not be rich by some standards as money is just a relative figure. We consider ourselves wealthy with multiple streams of passive income that support our lifestyle, whether we work or not.
It is time for us to give back to life. Our kids are settled and independent. During this phase I wish to devote my life sharing what I have learnt. Yes I do make money through few excellent affiliate programs that I recommend which will help you get started. A large part of the money that I earn goes into supporting education of of underprivileged children.
Poverty and poor mindset are the greatest evils on the planet that force people do mean and evil things in spite of their best intentions. The good news is that with knowledge and little effort, anyone can become wealthy. I am a living example and proof that it can be done. My net worth today would have been at least fifty times more, had I possessed the knowledge that I have now. I don’t want visitors to this website make the same mistakes I did in my younger days that set me decades back.
It is inspiring to read biographies of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and other remarkable billionaire wealth creators. There is no harm in trying to achieve those lofty heights. However, most ordinary folks find taking those first few steps towards wealth creation overwhelming when starting out. Hopefully, simple principles that I detail on this website based on my experience will help them get started on the journey.
There are people who question me, “why should I learn about investing when I don’t have any money to invest?” I tell them, “You don’t have that money because you have not invested any time and effort in getting financially educated.” Money is never the issue. It is a faulty mindset that holds people back.
My blog will teach you how to generate cash for investing, how to use leverage the right way to compound your wealth, create multiple streams of income for financial stability and also wealth protection strategies on how to keep wealth within your family for generations. If you have a sincere desire to improve your financial well being and that of your loved ones, then this website will hopefully show you the path. It will save you from making mistakes and accelerate your path to a more fulfilling life.