Before he became a controversial former president, Donald Trump was widely recognized for the wealth he gained in the real estate industry. But the story behind his billions is more intricate than it may appear. The Trump family’s journey into real estate success began with Trump’s father, Fred Trump.
Fred Trump entered the construction business during a significant era in American history — the time of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which aimed to boost residential construction through accessible loans and government support. Fred Trump capitalized on these opportunities, accumulating substantial wealth.
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One of his major achievements was securing a $26 million loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1949 to fund the construction of the Shore Haven and Beach Haven residential complexes in Brooklyn, New York.
What sets the Trump family’s story apart is their approach to transferring wealth strategically. Fred Trump employed clever methods to ensure the financial well-being of his children, including a young Donald. He acquired land through his corporation, set up trusts with his children as beneficiaries and endowed the land to these trusts. This created a consistent income stream for his offspring while effectively navigating around hefty gift taxes.
Fred acquired Steeplechase Park in Coney Island on July 1, 1965, for $2.3 million with the plan to develop luxury apartments.
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Donald Trump joined the family business in 1968, marking a key moment in the wealth transfer process. In 1972, father and son formed a partnership to secure an $8 million loan for the construction of Prospect Tower.
Despite Fred Trump’s significant involvement in the project, it was Donald who reaped the majority of the profits, including consultancy fees, management fees and tenant revenue.
As Donald Trump began his journey through the real estate world, his wealth continued to grow, reaching $9 million by the time he turned 30. But it wasn’t just about wealth transfer — it was also about shaping a public image for Donald Trump to establish his career.
By 1976, some estimates claimed his net worth was $200 million. Trump became president of The Trump Organization, with a substantial salary and a steady flow of loans from his father.
In 1979, Trump received $3 million in loans from his father’s companies, structured to allow him to keep the funds indefinitely. The loans multiplied when Donald Trump ventured into his first Manhattan project, transforming the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt between 1979 and 1980.
Trump’s trajectory in the real estate industry remained steadfast throughout the 1980s. It was marked by high-profile acquisitions like the Plaza Hotel and Eastern Airlines’ Trump Shuttle.
Fred Trump employed various techniques for transferring wealth to his offspring, including purchasing stakes in his son’s real estate ventures and selling them back at a loss. In 1992, he established a maintenance company through which millions were funneled for property repairs and enhancements.
As Fred Trump’s health declined in the early 1990s, he intensified efforts to pass his remaining wealth to his children, skillfully circumventing estate taxes. By 1999, each of his children was reaping $2.2 million annually from these intricate wealth-transfer schemes.
Upon Fred Trump’s death in 1999, his real estate holdings passed into the hands of his children, solidifying his enduring legacy. In 2004, they sold the portfolio to a New York City real estate investor for $700 million.
Here are some tips for others who want to invest in real estate:
Start small: If you’re new to real estate investing, begin with a manageable property that you can personally oversee.
Location matters: Choose properties in areas with growth potential. Look for good schools, job opportunities and transportation access.
Rental properties: Consider investing in rental properties for a consistent income stream.
Refinancing opportunities: Keep an eye on interest rates and consider refinancing your properties when rates are lower to reduce monthly payments.
Leverage wisely: Use leverage to optimize your returns on investment.
Alternative Investment Avenues
Startup investments: Explore opportunities in startups developing innovative real estate technologies and business models.
REITs: Real estate investment trusts (REITs) offer a convenient way to invest in income-producing real estate without the need for individual property management.
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This article Donald Trump Made Billions In Real Estate, But His Dad Was The One Who Built A Billion-Dollar Empire From Scratch — Learn Their Strategies And Start Investing With Just $100 originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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