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 I do not know about you, but anything I get involved in I go all the way. For example, in high school I tried out for the track team and everyday at practice I was preparing to finish in first place.

When I took my first step on the road to wealth, my intention was to finish first. Wealth building is similar to track and field because it takes preparation and practice. One has to exercise their mind and psychological muscles if they are to finish first and win the Gold as a wealth builder.

This reminds me of the time I was delivering a speech to and audience, during the question and answer period a lady asked, "Are you rich?" I was not surprised by her question because it comes up often during question and answer sessions.

I responded by saying, "Yes I am rich." The audience said, "Wow!" The fact of the matter is I am rich, however my road to wealth was anything but smooth.

First of all, I grew up in abject poverty, one of nine children born to two very hard working parents employed by a tobacco factory. As written in my book, Living on Higher Ground .I stated we were so poor we spelled it roop, which is poor spelled backwards.

I thank God for that experience because it taught me how to overcome poverty by changing my thoughts and making good sound choices about money. Growing up in poverty is tough and I do not recommend anyone try it to see what it is like, trust me it was a memorable episode in my life.

Building wealth has everything to do with how you think and the choices you make. What do I mean by this?

Like all things in life when confronted with a truth we have to address it. In other words, how we address poverty is more important than the reality.

As a child I saw two hard working parents work at the same company for 28 and 27 years respectively. My parents did not complain despite the fact their employers were racist and prejudice towards them.

My parents did not give a damn about racism or prejudice because they had nine children to raise and they did it. Even though we did not have a lot of money we had something more important than money, we were taught how to make something out of nothing and in order to accomplish this you must think differently, make good choices and take decisive action.

Something out of nothing is called determination to succeed irregardless of the obstacles life throws at you. In other words, no one ever said life was going to be easy, you simply must have a plan to deal with the pitfalls.

Overcoming quicksand in life will be determined by the solution you come up with to resolve your financial shortfalls. Case in point, I was the first child in a family of nine children to earn a high school diploma. Neither my parents, nor their parents before them had an opportunity to finish school because they were trying to survive a life of poverty.

I decided to attend college after earning my high school diploma, however I only had $300.00 I received from family members during my graduation ceremony. The defining moment in my life came when I was hired to work at the recreation department in my hometown in rural North Carolina.

Reflecting on the summer of 1976, I made $600.00 to add to the $300.00 I received at graduation. My parents did not have any money to give me for college, so I decided to apply for educational grants and was able to secure funding all four years.

To sustain myself through college, a friend of the family hired me to become an apprentice in his electrical business, it was electrifying to say the least. I did what I had to do to earn money so I could eat, purchase books, and purchase a car to get to work.

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As you can see the obstacles I faced during college was called "lack." I overcame lack by believing in something greater than myself,. I believed I could overcome poverty through education and working and these choices made all of the difference in my life.

In 1977, the summer prior to my sophomore year I went back to my hometown and was hired to work in a factory, it lasted all of three weeks. A week later I received a call from United Parcel Service (UPS), however I did not have a car to get to work because it was 50 miles away.

One of my neighbors was a widow and owned a car but could not drive because of her medical condition. She allowed me to use her car until I could afford to buy my own. I worked at UPS for 3 1/2 years loading, unloading, and sorting parcels and was able to sustain myself through college.

That is not all, because of my good grades in college I was given an opportunity to attend a United States Air Force (USAF) basic training camp. Basic training lasted six weeks and after completing the program, I joined the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC) two year program, it paid $100.00 per month.

I graduated with academic honors and was a distinguished graduate of AFROTC. Upon graduation I was commissioned a second lieutenant in the USAF.

On my road to wealth I served over 20 years in the USAF, retiring in the rank of lieutenant colonel. Over the course of my military career I lead people and managed billion dollar programs for the United States of America.

Over a 20 year period of time, I invested in real estate, stock, and purchased various insurance policies. I retired from the USAF over five years ago and today I am financially independent and unemployable.

In 2002, I founded Laurel Wreath Communications Inc, a professional speaking, training, and consulting company. In 2004 I founded Laurel Wreath Publishing and founded the Paul Lawrence Vann Foundation a 501(c)(3) not for profit educational organization to teach financial literacy and authorship..

My passion for real estate investing resulted in me founding Pinnacle Real Estate Investments, LLC and the Wealth Building Academy. As you can see, my road to wealth was anything but smooth.

One could say I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, however today I am living a high quality of life with my wife and kids and would not have it any other way.

I owe my wealth to my parents who taught me strong determination and to make good choices for my life. i also thank all the people who supported me along the way and my wife who loves and supports me.

Even though your road to wealth will take different turns than mine, I do not want you to ever give up on believing that you deserve to be wealthy. If I was able to overcome abject poverty and become wealthy, you can do the same thing. Prosperity and wealth is yours as long as you make wise choices along the way.