Getting Started

Armed with a college degree and a new job, Jeff wilson seeks some smart moves to build lasting wealth

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Jeff Wilson II wants to be a millionaire in 10 years. “I’ll be surprised if it takes that long,” says the optimistic 22 — year — old. Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bowie State University in December 2006. A month later he landed a job at the major international accounting firm KPMG as an associate auditor earning $50,000 a year. He credits professional groups such as the National Association of Black Accountants and his mentor, Willie Hughey, former vice president at Bowie, for helping him. Wilson says Hughey encouraged him to keep pace with the business world by reading the Wall Street Journal, which led to his interest in the stock market.

In 2004, Wilson purchased his first stock, Lucent Technologies, for $400. Although the investment fizzled when the company fell on hard times, Wilson wasn’t discouraged. He continued reading books and magazines to learn as much as he could about stocks and investment strategies. To date, he has $10,000 invested in individual stocks, including Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI). In addition, he has $1,300 in an IRA and nearly $4,000 in savings accounts.

Unlike many of his peers, Wilson managed to graduate from college without tremendous debt, although he does owe $12,000 in student loans. Today, he has only $300 in credit card balances after whittling down roughly $3,000 in credit card debt in 2005. “I started crunching it down, using stock earnings to make big payments,” he says. Wilson worked part time throughout college and full time during summers off from school. After living on campus for two years, he moved back home to help keep expenses down.

Now fresh out of school, Wilson pretty much has a clean slate. His first order of business is to pass the CPA exam and eliminate his school loans. In the next year or so, he wants to buy his dream house. “I figure it’s going to cost me at least $300,000 to $400,000 to get what I have in mind in Maryland,” he says.

He once had his dream car, a 1996 Cadillac De Ville with chrome wheels, but repairing it proved expensive; that’s how he ran up his credit card. “I decided it was too big a liability and sold it. I didn’t even have it a year.” Today, he drives a 1990 Toyota Corolla. “It’s one thing to be rich, to drive a Lexus, but creating wealth is another. That’s why I’m looking to get my first house — that’s creating wealth,” says Wilson.

To build wealth, he knows he has a lot of hard work ahead of him, but that’s OK by Wilson. “I want to do what’s not expected, to be a really good auditor, to do the extra work,” he says. After all, he’s looking to make partner or eventually to be chief financial officer of a firm one day. He’s pumped, looking forward to life in a big company with boundless opportunities. “I had to give school [most]

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