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Billion Dollar Businessman: What We Should All Learn from Jay-Z About Wealth

Not too long ago, the news broke that legendary rapper and businessman Jay-Z reached a net worth of $1 billion. This feat makes him the first hip-hop artist to do so.

But let’s be clear that Jay-Z is, in fact, an anomaly. While there are 7.5 billion people in the world, Forbes’ 2019 annual billionaire list only accounted for just over 2,150 people.

So although becoming a billionaire may be out of reach for most of us, building first-generation wealth isn’t.

Take a moment to learn how you can leverage Jay’s approach to be the change in your family tree.

Defining Net Worth

The nearly 50-year-old businessman reached a net worth of $1 billion dollars, as estimated by Forbes, in June 2019. This $1 billion is a conservative estimate done by the popular wealth magazine.

So what is net worth?

Well, Jay-Z isn’t exactly sitting around with $1 billion in the bank. Instead, his net worth is derived by totaling his assets—which does include cash—and subtracting his liabilities.

And, at the end of the day, he has a lot more assets than liabilities. #goals

5 Things We Should Learn from Hov About Building Wealth

  1. Diversify your assets & income

A break down of Jay-Z’s assets immediately shows that he didn’t just get his money from rapping and selling albums.

Instead, he built his wealth from an eclectic mix of assets. According to Forbes, Jay-Z’s billionaire status came from the following combined assets:

  • Armand de Brignac Champagne – $310 million
  • Cash and Investing – $220 million
  • D’Usse Cognac- $100 million
  • Tidal – $100 million
  • Roc Nation- $75 million
  • Music Catalog – $75 million
  • Art Collection $70 million
  • Real Estate- $50 million

This approach to diversification is on par with the idea that most wealthy people have at least seven income sources derived from their assets. It’s the age-old concept of not having all of your eggs in one basket.

The billionaire’s assets can be lumped into six categories that you can model.

  1. Investments
  2. Businesses
  3. Intellectual property
  4. Real Estate
  5. Fine Art

At a minimum, starting a business and investing are things that you can leverage at any stage to start building wealth today.

These assets not only allowed the rapper to build wealth but create passive income for him to live from.

“And we merrily merrily eatin’ off these streams” – Jay-Z

2. Ownership is everything

Whether it’s Jay-Z owning his own label, music catalog, art, or real estate, the name of the game is ownership.

Ownership is the reason he stopped promoting other champagne brands and bought his own brand instead.

When you own the asset, you own the wealth.

History proves that ownership is the key to wealth. Sadly, slavery was a brutal representation of this concept at work.

It was further perpetuated by US laws preventing African Americans access to purchasing land and homes.

The result? African Americans have only a small fraction of the wealth in America.

If you want to begin building wealth, take a lesson from the game of

Monopoly: buy the whole block.

Buying the whole block may not be as out of reach as you’d imagine. Full-time real estate investor Kendra Barnes of the Key Resource shares how owning real estate can be as simple as house hacking.

It’s an easy concept that you can leverage to start owning and, ultimately, building wealth.

Your block can literally be real estate or it can businesses. The point is to own something that will appreciate in value and help you build wealth.

“Nah, we did that, black-owned things. Hundred percent, black-owned champagne” – Jay-Z

3. Leverage (but I don’t mean debt)

There’s a concept in wealth building where you can leverage debt to increase assets.

Though you may utilize this in your wealth building, it’s not the leverage that I’m referring to.

Instead, you need to leverage what you already have to start building wealth.

It’s no secret that Jay was a notorious drug dealer in New York. And, it’s probably safe to say that it made him lots of money, even before becoming known for his lyrics. Either way, he leveraged what he had at that time to begin building wealth.

What do you have now that you can use to build wealth?

If it’s a traditional 9-to-5, use the money that you earn to start investing or even to start a business. There are a plethora of ways that you can leverage your job to start building wealth.

If it’s a skill, turn it into a product. If it’s an art, turn it into intellectual property.

The point here is that everyone—from Jay-Z to Oprah to Warren Buffet—all started with what they had to get what they have.

“Kid that used to pitch bricks can’t be pigeonholed…Oh, we gon’ reach a billi’ first”- Jay-Z

4. It matters who you marry

The fact that Jay-Z found himself making up a part of the “billion dollars on an elevator” was no coincidence.

Becky may have been the side chick, but the man isn’t stupid. Who you marry, let alone associate with, matters when it comes to building wealth.

Though they’ve since split ways, the Amazon powerhouse couple Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are evidence that with the right partner, you can build an empire. The same is true with Bill and Melinda Gates.

Though being married doesn’t necessarily equate to wealth, it does help when it’s the right person.

You can do more when you have a boss at your side working toward the same goal than alone.

“If anybody gettin’ handsome checks, it should be us…What’s better than one billionaire? Two”– Jay-Z

5. Be intentional

Becoming a billionaire doesn’t just happen by accident. Building wealth is an intentional effort that takes discipline, strategy, and patience.

In his case, Jay-Z became intentional about building wealth through assets over “livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.”

Through his lyrics, he’s schooling us all on the game of investing in things like real estate and fine artwork, owning the brand and not just promoting it, and ultimately setting up a legacy for future generations.

So, if you want to take a note from Jay’s beats, make financial freedom and the pursuit of knowledge your aspiration. Because, as Hov would say, “Financial freedom my only hope.”

Let’s connect! @GirlTalkwithFo

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Written by Faneisha Alexander

Faneisha “Fo” Alexander is a Millennial personal finance educator and writer. She is the founder of GirlTalkwithFo.com, an online platform dedicated to teaching women how to take control of the finances and, ultimately, their lives. Visit GirlTalkwithFo.com for more.

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