Jordan Belfort is a former stockbroker and motivational speaker with a net worth of -$100 million. The Brooklyn native’s crazy life story was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ in 2013. Once worth $90 million at his peak, Belfort experienced a massive fall from grace.
Belfort was an entrepreneur at an early age. He began selling ice cream during high school and college at local beaches and made a cool $20,000.
After graduating from American University with a degree in biology he ended up in the industry of door-to-door meat sales. Although Belfort had initial success, the company inevitably filed for bankruptcy when he turned 25. Afterwards a family friend helped him get a job as a trainee stockbroker at L.F. Rothschild and the man we all know was born.
Unfortunately, his time at L.F. Rothschild didn’t last long. Belfort’s first day as a licensed broker was known as ‘Black Monday’ which triggered the 1987 stock market crash. L.F. Rothschild went bust and Belfort was soon out of a job again.
He used his Series 7 license to secure a job with The Investors Center, a small investment firm that specialised in promoting penny stocks. Jordan spent hours cold calling and pitching crappy penny stocks to mom-and-pop type investors. Here he perfected the art of selling over the phone. Receiving a 50% commission on all sales, it wasn’t long until Jordan was making big money. Not happy making a few thousand per month, Jordan quit his job to start up his own brokerage.
Jordan Belfort co-founded Stratton Oakmont with Danny Porush (portrayed by Jonah Hill in the movie). Stratton Oakmont was a brokerage firm that promoted worthless penny stocks to uneducated investors.
For those less financially savvy, penny stocks are shares that trade under $5 per share and are highly risky investments. 90% of penny stocks are worthless and only exist so shareholders can sell their shares at inflated prices. Those new to stock trading get suckered in with the lure of making huge returns.
Belfort and employees used aggressive sales tactics to increase share prices and later dumped the same stocks for substantial profits. Clients were left holding the bag and suffered massive losses. The scheme was so successful that Belfort had a net worth of $200 million at his peak before the broker collapsed. Due to pressure from the SEC, Oakmont closed down in 1996.
While the brokerage operated it was thriving and employed approximately 1300 people. During this time Jordan was living the high life, spending millions on fast cars, drugs, mansions and even a yacht. He bought the yacht from Coco Chanel but later sank it off the coast of Italy.
Jordan Belfort’s Net Worth Explained
You may be wondering how someone can end up with a negative net worth of $100 million! This is due to the fact he was convicted by the SEC for securities fraud and money laundering in 1999. As well as receiving a 4-year jail sentence (22 months served), Belfort was ordered to pay back $110.4 million to the victims. With approximately $13 million paid back to date, Belfort still has a long way to go in terms of his reparations.
Over the last few years Belfort has made little effort to repay investors. He continues to live the high-life, renting a beautiful property by the sea in California and another five bedroom mansion on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The 58 year old only pays back $4,000 to $5,000 per month, at this rate it will take 1,600 years to clear the debt.
What is Jordan Belfort up to Today?
Since release from prison in 2006, Belfort has published three books: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2007), ‘Catching the Wolf of Wall Street’ (2009), and a self-help book ‘The Way of the Wolf’ (2017). Receiving an advance of $500,000 for the first book just a few days after his release, it seemed like he had a knack for making money.
The initial book went on to see the popular film adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite the film making $392 million at the box office, Belfort sold the rights for a mere $1 million. Out of the $1 million, only $21,000 went towards restitution payments leaving his victims a little bewildered.
Belfort has continuously stated the intent to pay back former investors and has been earning a substantial income through motivational speaking. Touring the world teaching entrepreneurs the ‘Straight Line Persuasion’ system, showing how to improve your sales by implementing various persuasions tactics. The ‘Straight Line Persuasion’ course, retails online for $500. Belfort boasts he’ll earn more money in recent years than he ever did at the height of his stockbroking career.
With Belfort earning between $30,000-$80,000 per talk, it’s easy to see how he could amass another fortune so quickly. He’s also stated he fully intends on using 100% of his U.S. tour to fund his restitution package.
Not surprisingly, Mr Belfort is a ladies man and has been divorced twice. His first marriage to Denise Lombardo lasted six years and ended in 1991. Jordan met second wife Nadine Caridi at a company party. The pair married in 1991 and had two children together before splitting in 2008. Jordan dated Anne Koppe for 12 years and is now dating Cristina Invernizzi,