Mark van Schuyler was like anyone else, a young man with an uncertain future in a slow economy. But through hard work, gumption, and loads and loads of money, Mark was able to make a lot more money than he already had.
That’s right, no fancy kickstarter or Indiegogo—just one man, on his own, with a huge idea: what if he could buy his way to more money?
“People honestly thought I was crazy, that I could never make money with just the millions of dollars I already had,” Mark says, “but I was determined to prove that I could succeed with nothing more than grit, elbow grease, and my trust fund.”
Mark claims his secret weapon was relying on his multitude of family connections for advice. “Besides starting with lots and lots of money, asking hedge fund manager Ken Griffin for help was key,” notes Mark for turning his measly 250 million dollars into a whopping 3 billion. “I felt pretty nervous calling him up on the phone, but I was able to win him over with just my friendly attitude and the decades-long working relationship he had with my dad. It just shows how helpful it is to show a little initiative.”
While investing his money, Mark also lived modestly, traveling first class instead by private jet, and only buying limited-run sports cars if he really liked them. “A million dollars isn’t a lot, but spending it here and there can add up over time. So, you really need to make some sacrifices,” Mark says.
For his own part, Mark is more proud of his positive attitude than anything else. “I promised myself, no matter how much money I ended up with, even if I only made a couple mil, I’d find a way to be happy. After all, you don’t need a 120-foot yacht to have fun. An 80-foot yacht works just as well.”
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games for Mark. There was a time when he had his money split between hedged equity, merger arbitrage, and distressed securities. “I felt like all I did was wake-up, watch my investments appreciate by as little as 8 percent every day, and then go to sleep. It was just nonstop worry with very little reward.” It got so bad that Mark’s parents all but forced him to spend a month off at their summer house on Cape Cod.
“That was my low point,” Mark admits, “I simply wasn’t making enough money to be a billionaire by 30.”
But instead of giving in, Mark vowed to work harder than ever before. “I pushed myself, I looked deep down and I saw the heart of the warrior and also 130 million in unliquidated capital wilting away in a variable annuity. And with that, I was able to come back from the abyss and hit that one billion barrier. That really boosted my spirits.”
Mark hopes his story can inspire others. “I knew nothing of business, I didn’t even know how to operate a lemonade stand,” the young billionaire says. “But what I did have was a drive to succeed and millions to invest.”
His inspirational message has already reverberated among Mark’s friends, starting with prep-school classmate Jackie Talbot. “When I graduated college, it felt like being dropped into an ocean with nothing more than my 75-million-dollar inheritance to hold onto,” Jackie says. “But seeing Mark succeed gives me hope, maybe I have a shot at a happy life, too. It’s just about rolling up the sleeves and getting to work. His money did it. I figured mine could, too.”
Jackie was exactly the sort of person Mark hoped his personal story could touch. “There’s so much money out there that can do anything it puts its mind to, it just needs someone to believe in it and give it a chance.”
Best of all, Mark says his story is just getting started. His next target is Hollywood, where he hopes to prove you can make it in the movie biz with nothing more than grit and an uncle who owns Paramount.