His Very First Property: Donald Trump Is Born

“Get in, get it done, get it done right, and get out,” Trump once said. Indeed, this has been his motto from his earliest days assisting his father’s real estate business to his multi-million dollar deals in the high stakes world of Manhattan real estate. He has earned a reputation as a ruthless, cunning and suave businessman who can spot a business opportunity a mile away. He has turned the deal-making process into an art form and he has demonstrated that he can come back swinging after even the hardest of challenges to wind up again on top. Estimated to be worth over $2 billion, Trump has secured his name as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century.

Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in New York, NY, a city that would forever capture his heart. He and his four siblings were brought up in a very traditional family. Trump’s mother was what he described as “the perfect housewife”, busily taking care of all five children. Meanwhile, it was Trump’s father, Fred, who had the biggest impact on him. A real estate developer himself, Fred Trump was in the business of building rent-controlled housing in the suburbs of New York. It was through him that Trump eventually found his calling.

An assertive child even in elementary school, Trump thrived in leadership roles but had a bad reputation for causing mischief. Because of this, Fred Trump decided to send his son to the New York Military Academy, hoping to set him on a straighter path. Although he was hesitant to go at first, he eventually grew to like it and stayed through to his senior year. Recalling his days in military school, Trump says, “I learned a lot about discipline and about channeling my aggression into achievement.”

While he enjoyed his school days, he never cared much for schoolwork and achieved only average grades. Instead, it was his trips to construction sites with his father that really began to inspire him. After military school, Trump enrolled in Fordham University but says that after just two years, “I decided that as long as I had to be in college, I might as well test myself against the best.” He applied to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his degree in Economics in 1968.

After graduating from Wharton, Trump moved back home to work full-time for his father. But, he quickly became disillusioned with the rough and dingy conditions in which his father worked and the low profit margins and began dreaming of more. “I had loftier dreams and visions,” Trump recalls. “And there was no way to implement them building housing in the outer boroughs.”

In 1971, Trump’s life took a turning point when he decided to move to Manhattan. He began to familiarize himself with its hot properties and used his charm to join an exclusive member’s only club in order to make the contacts he needed. Two years later, due to a combination of rising interest rates, inflation and debt, the city’s real estate market began to suffer. Trump saw this as his golden opportunity and he began negotiating his first deal for one hundred acres of undeveloped riverfront property. He was 27 years old and had never built anything in Manhattan before, but that was not about to stop him.

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