Arnold Schwarzenegger - the bodybuilder, actor, governor, and... property investor?

Written by Myles Hemingway

Myles is our self-confessed ‘word nerd’ and property geek. You’ll find him mythbusting everything from mortgages to maisonettes, as well as giving you our spin on the latest property news and industry trends.

Many of us know Arnold Schwarzenegger as starring in many films over the years, or from being a famous competitive bodybuilder. But did you know that the Austrian-American made his first million dollars in property? In this blog, we're covering where he begun, his ventures into different industries, and how he became a household name today.

Where Arnie Started

Arnie was born in a small Austrian town but travelled Europe winning multiple contests and international titles including Mr. Olympia. Following this, he moved to America for body-building exhibitions and called himself "The Austrian Oak". Schwarzenegger graduated in business and economics from the University of Wisconsin.

How did he make money in property?

Young Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sitting on his bodybuilding contest earnings in the 1970s, he decided to invest them in property and a company selling bodybuilding equipment.

He put a downpayment on a $10,000 property consisting of 6 apartments, living in one and renting out the other 5. After 3 years, he sold it and bought an 12-apartment building, then sold that and bought one with 36 apartments. Eventually, he owned hundreds of apartments, office buildings and retail space in West Los Angeles. Arnie called it a magic decade and said that buildings he bought for $500K increased to $800K within a year and if he put a downpayment of $100K, it meant a 300% increase on his investment.

Why did Schwarzenegger then go into acting?

Arnold Schwarzenegger Hollywood Walk of Fame

Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed acting but met people in the gym or acting classes who were struggling for money and had to take any work they were offered because that was their living. He didn't want to get into the same situation, so he first focused on building up his property empire before turning to acting. Arnie has starred in films like The Terminator, Commando, Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Jingle All the Way, and, more recently, The Expendables.

Where is Arnie now?

Arnold Schwarzenegger Today

Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger's net worth is $400 million, with $300 million of this being in real estate; he's now one of the richest bodybuilders in the world.

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