Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most famous bodybuilders. He is also well known for his acting roles. By 2019, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth was approximately $400 million. Many people may assume he became wealthy from acting and bodybuilding. However, his wealth accumulation started from a source that rarely gets in the public domain. Most of all, he recognizes that wealth isn’t the source of happiness, as he said,
“Money doesn’t make you happy. I now have $50 million, but I was just as happy when I had $48 million.”
His journey to wealth started with his successful bodybuilding career.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Net Worth: His Career
Much of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth comes from his successful career. His career started with bodybuilding and stretched out to even greater success as an actor. He put in as much effort as possible in his career to make as much money as possible. That’s how he set up a firm financial foundation.
Arnolds’ Early Start to Bodybuilding
Arnold played different sports as a boy. Once he picked up his first barbell in 1960, he realized he was most passionate about bodybuilding. He won the Junior Mr. Europe contest at 18 years of age. He went on to win many other trophies throughout his career.
Arnold’s Bodybuilding Success
Arnold was hugely successful in bodybuilding, which set the foundation for his financial success. In his career, he won 7 Mr. Olympia competitions and 5 Mr. Universe competitions.
The most notable wins of Arnold’s successful career include:
Junior Mr. Europe (Germany, 1965)
Mr. Europe (Germany, 1966)
Best Built Man of Europe (Germany, 1966)
International Powerlifting Championship (Germany, 1966)
NABBA Mr. Universe Amateur (London, 1967)
German Powerlifting Championship (Germany, 1968)
NABBA Mr. Universe Professional (London, 1968)
IFBB Mr. International (Mexico, 1968)
NABBA Mr. Universe Professional (London, 1969)
IFBB Mr. Universe Amateur (New York, 1969)
AAU Mr. World Columbus (Ohio, 1970)
NABBA Mr. Universe Professional (London, 1970)
Mr. Olympia (New York, 1970)
Mr. Olympia (Paris, 1971)
Mr. Olympia (Essen, Germany, 1972)
Mr. Olympia (New York, 1973 and 1974)
Mr. Olympia (Pretoria, South Africa, 1975)
Mr. Olympia (1980)
As you can see, he wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder, but a consistent top performer.
Arnold’s Remarkable Career Progression
Arnold wasn’t comfortable with merely winning bodybuilding competitions. He set his eyes on greater victories by venturing into the movie business. People told him he wouldn’t succeed due to his size and Austrian accent. But they were wrong, as is evident in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth.
Hercules was Arnold’s first film in 1970. In 1974, he went on to play the role of Rico in the TV show, Happy Anniversary and Goodbye. His popularity grew when he starred as the character Joe Santo, in Star Hungry. That role gave him the Golden Globe Award for Best New Star of the Year.
The Big Break
Schwarzenegger’s big break came when he appeared in Conan the Barbarian in 1982. His fame skyrocketed when he starred in James Cameron’s sci-fi movie Terminator, in 1984. But his grand ambition didn’t end with acting. He even took on the challenge of becoming a governor for California. He succeeded and became the Governor of California from 2003-2011.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Net Worth: How He Made and Invested His Money
Arnold made lots of money, saved as much money as possible, and invested it smartly. Anyone who manages money in this manner is sure to grow his/ her net worth meaning, you don’t need a university degree to get wealth. People who end up poor, even when making lots of money, typically don’t consider their debt to income ratio. In simple terms, they spend more than they earn.
Apart from the money he made from bodybuilding, he made a whole lot more from acting and movies production. Best of all, the money he saved and invested from bodybuilding helped him venture into acting.
Earning from Acting
Although The Terminator was Schwarzenegger’s most famous role, he only earned $75,000 from it. The film went on to make $100 million globally. Fortunately, in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnold earned $30 million. He went on to make more money from other high-grossing films like:
True Lies (1994) – lifetime gross of $146,282,411
Terminator Salvation (2009) – lifetime gross of $125,322,469
His most profitable film was the 1988 Twins. The film earned well over $215 million globally. Arnold, DeVito and Ivan Reitman (the director) took no salary from the studio but instead opted for a combined 40% stake in the film.
Earning from Movie Production
In his characteristic ambitious nature, Arnold didn’t just stop at acting. He went on to produce and direct his own films. Arnold was the executive producer in the film Last Action Hero, in 1993. He got production credits in:
Years of Living Dangerously
“In Here You Call Me Governor,” a 2017 episode of The Apprentice
He also got two director credits in:
“The Switch,” a 1990 episode of Tales from the Crypt
Christmas in Connecticut, a 1992 TV movie
Besides that, he earned quite a bit of money from product endorsements, from such brands as:
Nissin’s Cup of Noodles
How Arnold Invested His Money
Arnold’s smart investment is the foundation that helped him achieve his acting and political ambitions. This, in turn, propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth. With $27,000, he moved to the US in 1968, at the young age of 21. That’s money he saved from the bodybuilding competitions that he won. Using the money, he made investments in real estate.
His first real estate investment flopped, but he didn’t give up. To get enough money for another investment, he borrowed $10,000 from his gym trainer. Adding that money to what he had left, he bought an apartment building at $214,000. A year later, he sold it at $316,000.
He kept on buying and selling bigger apartments. Eventually, he became a real estate millionaire at 25 years of age.
In the book, Tools of Titans, he told Tim Ferris,
“Buildings that I would buy for $500,000 within the year were $800,000, and I put only maybe $100,000 down, so you made 300 percent on your money.”
Over the years, Arnold invested in and owned multiple businesses, including:
rental properties (residential and commercial)
a construction company
a mail-order business
a restaurant chain
commercial jumbo jets for leasing
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Net Worth: How His Personality Made Him Rich
Arnolds’ personality/ character contributed significantly to his financial success. Personality is a critical aspect of proper investments. You need to temper your greed in times of abundance and curb your fear when making investments. People often make rash decisions driven by fear or greed, which they end up regretting. But Arnold understood the need to combat fear and take the necessary risks in investments.
Arnold as an Expert Salesperson
Arnold was more of a businessman first, and an actor second. This helped him advance in his career. Unlike other actors, he analyzed results of test screenings to use the highlights for promotional tours. Instead of depending on the marketing department, he chose to learn directly from the viewers. He even used the words from test viewers in media interviews.
Not Listening to Nay-Sayers
Arnold wasn’t easily discouraged by nay-sayers. That’s how he grew his massive liquid net worth.
In his book, “Total Recall,” Arnold mentioned the experience he had when buying his first rental property. One of his friends wondered how he could shoulder the burden of managing rental property. The friend talked of all the things that could go wrong with such an investment. However, that didn’t change Arnold’s mind. In his own words, Arnold wasn’t afraid of taking risks,
“I like to always wander in like a puppy. I walk into a problem and then figure out what the problem really is. Don’t tell me ahead of time.”
Ultimately, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth was a result of his smart investment decisions at the start of his career. He maintained the same intelligent investment strategies during his career.
Arnold certainly exemplifies the characteristics of a businessman who happened to be a talented actor. He utilized his natural bodybuilding and acting skills to build his wealth.
Most importantly, he was willing to take risks that eventually paid off big time. No wonder he’s one of the richest celebrities globally.