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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Real Estate Investment Mantra: Vision, Risk, and Discipline

With a net worth of $450 million and a reputation for making smart investments, Arnold’s success in the real estate industry is truly something to be marveled at. Arnold leveraged his bodybuilding career and time as a movie star in the 80s and 90s to build an impressive portfolio of investments. From real estate to startups and stocks, Arnold’s investments have been a major contributor to his wealth and business ventures. But what exactly can we learn from Arnold’s real estate empire? By taking a closer look at his investments and decision-making processes, we can gain valuable insights into how to make smart investments and build a successful real estate portfolio of our own. Whether you’re an aspiring real estate mogul or simply interested in smart investing, Arnold’s story is sure to inspire and inform.

Humble Beginnings

Arnold’s upbringing wasn’t easy. He turned to bodybuilding as a way out and worked hard, breaking into the gym on weekends to never miss a workout. He became Mr. Universe at 20 and moved to the US. Arnold leveraged his fame, writing books and making fitness videos, and sold them through his mail order company. He invested in real estate, flipping apartments and starting a bricklaying business. By 25, he was a millionaire, a successful real estate investor, and entrepreneur. He went on to become a Hollywood icon of strength.

Action Hero, Big Screen Stardom

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting began small, with “Hercules in New York” in 1970, earning $1k a week. But “Stay Hungry” earned him a Golden Globe. Arnold returned to bodybuilding, documenting his journey to win Mr. Olympia in “Pumping Iron.” He retired and focused on acting, becoming one of the highest-paid actors with success in the Terminator franchise. Arnold made smart investments, growing his portfolio with real estate, startups, stocks, companies, nonprofits and a leased Boeing 747.

Governor Schwarzenegger

In 2003, Arnold stepped into a new role as California’s Governor. He won a recall election and was reelected in 2007. He declined his annual salary of $187,000 and self-financed his campaign with $43 million. Despite the sacrifice of giving up his movie career for this role, Arnold regarded his service as Governor of California as an honor.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – Savvy Real Estate Investor

Arnold’s love affair with real estate began early and still runs deep. The former bodybuilder, who made his first millions in the industry, remains enamored with its power to magnify wealth. Arnold’s real estate ventures paved the way for his wealth. With his first investment, a building with four apartments, he leveraged his down payment to make a profit. He sold the building for $360,000, just one year after purchasing it for $214,000.

This was just the beginning. With each sale, Arnold upgraded his investments, going from a 4-unit building to a 12-unit building, then a 36-unit building. His expertise in timing the real estate market paid off when he bought a Santa Monica building for $450,000 and sold it for a staggering $2.3 million.

Arnold was in the right place at the right time, capitalizing on the 30-year rise of California’s real estate market. By 25, he had already amassed a multi-million-dollar real estate fortune, a full decade before breaking into Hollywood.

Oak Productions, Inc, Arnold’s movie production company is a source of pride and a symbol of his business savvy. The Santa Monica building that serves as its headquarters is worth an estimated $10 million and is fully owned by the former governor. Arnold’s ventures don’t stop there, he’s also a part-owner of a mall in Columbus, Ohio. Developed with Georgetown Co. and The Limited, the 1.7 million square foot building is valued at $230 million, and we estimate Arnold’s stake to be around $115 million.

Arnold’s real estate portfolio also includes several residential properties, including a luxury mansion in Sun Valley, Idaho that he co-owned with Maria Shriver. The 18,000 square foot home boasts stunning mountain views and a stunning stone and wood interior design, estimated to be worth $22 million. After the couple’s divorce, Arnold won sole ownership of their Brentwood mansion, which was bought for $5.1 million in 2002. The seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom property with a tennis court has an estimated value of $12 million, similar to other homes in the area that sell for $6 to $15 million.

Arnold’s Investment Portfolio: A Diverse Mix of Ventures

In addition to real estate, Arnold’s diverse portfolio showcases his versatility and risk-taking spirit. He was an early investor in Google and launched Ladder, a supplement company with LeBron James. Arnold’s estimated $72 million in start-ups includes:

  • Oak Productions, a film company that funded two movies, including “The Last Action Hero” and “Aftermath.” With $137 million in box office sales, the company has a profit of around $42 million.
  • The Arnold Sports Festival, which draws 20,000 attendees annually and nets about $2 million per year. The festival rights could sell for around $10 million.
  • Lobos 1707 tequila, in which Arnold has a 10% stake, valued at approximately $10 million.
  • Dropshyp, a B2B company connecting East Asian and African suppliers, with Arnold’s $4.5 million investment estimated to be worth the same.
  • Scopely, a mobile game company valued at $700 million, with Arnold’s Series C investment estimated to be worth $3.5 million.

Arnold’s stock portfolio also reflects his broad interests and investments. While there is limited information from the past decade, it’s estimated that his blue-chip stocks, which were worth $22.7 million in 2009, have appreciated to a value of $61.7 million today.


Arnold Schwarzenegger’s investment journey is a masterclass in success. It teaches us that:

  • Having a clear vision and thinking big is crucial for reaching your goals.
  • Starting your investments before getting everything else in order can pay off big in the long run.
  • Doing your research and knowing what you’re getting into before making investment decisions is essential.

Arnold’s philosophy of dreaming big, being disciplined, and taking calculated risks is a testament to the power of these traits. His journey shows us that anything is possible if we have a clear vision, act with discipline, and embrace calculated risks.

About the Author Durham REI

The Durham Real Estate Investor club began in 2008. Whether you are just starting your journey, have been investing for a few years, or are a well seasoned real estate investor the Durham Real Estate Investor Club has many benefits to you.

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