Like many people, The Wolf of Wall Street is one of my favorite films. Not only does it have a star-studded cast, but I found the story of Jordan Belfort and his antics fascinating.
This made me wonder if Jordan Belfort’s bio was anything like the movie. I wanted to find out how Belfort’s life compared to his portrayal in the film and how he ended up going from a multi-millionaire at the top of Stratton Oakmont to serving jail time and being ordered to pay over $100m in restitution for his fraudulent activities.
In this Jordan Belfort bio, I’ll run through the early life, and business career of this former stockbroker turned motivational speaker and detail what I know about his personal life.
Jordan Belfort Bio Facts
|Full Name: Jordan Ross Belfort|
|Birth Date: July 9, 1962|
|Birth Place: The Bronx, New York, United States|
|Siblings: 1 (Robert Belfort)|
|Children: 2 (Carter, Chandler)|
|Partner / Spouse: Denise Lombardo (m. 1985; div. 1991), Nadine Caridi (m. 1991; div. 2005), Anne Belfort (m. 2008; div. 2020), Cristina Invernizzi (m. 2021)|
|Profession: Entrepreneur, author, former stockbroker, motivational speaker|
|Net Worth: $2 million|
|Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn|
|Companies Associated With: Stratton Oakmont|
|Last Updated: 2022|
Jordan Belfort Bio: Key Facts Summary
- His life and book inspired the critically acclaimed film The Wolf of Wall Street.
- Founded Stratton Oakmont in 1989, which grew to become the largest off-exchange trading company in the US
- His firm employed fraudulent tactics such as ‘pump and dump’ schemes and stock manipulation.
- He was sentenced to four years in jail and ordered to pay $110 million in restitution to his victims.
- He dropped out of dentistry school on his first day after being told it wasn’t the profession to make a lot of money in.
- Made $100 million in one year and, at one point, had an estimated net worth of $400m (adjusted for inflation)
- He has been married four times and has two children.
- Now makes his living as a motivational speaker and hosts his own podcast.
Jordan Belfort Birthplace and Early Life
Jordan Belfort was born in 1962 and grew up in The Bronx, New York. Both his parents, Max and Leah, were Jewish and worked as accountants.
I think you can see his entrepreneurial skills in action at a young age, as Jordan and his friend, Elliot, started a small business selling Italian ice to people at the beach. The pair made up to $20,000 with this business. He started his venture shortly after completing high school, and I think it is very evident that, even as a teenager, he had a strong desire to make money.
Belfort attended the American University in Washington DC and graduated with a degree in biology. Before embarking on his career as an entrepreneur and eventually a stockbroker, Belfort intended to become a dentist and enrolled in the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.
Belfort left the University on his first day. I think the reason – that the Dean mentioned that there wasn’t the same money to be made in dentistry as there once was – further highlighted that Belfort was predominately looking for a career that would make him rich.
Jordan Belfort Early Business Success
As most of us have probably watched the film Wolf of Wall Street (or are at least somewhat familiar with the story), calling Belfort’s career a ‘success’ is only true up to a point.
One thing I did find out about Belfort was that he operated a meat and seafood door-to-door sales business in New York before he made his way to Wall Street. He was pretty successful, and his business strategy framework allowed him to expand the enterprise rapidly (he was selling 5,000 lbs of meat and seafood each week). I’ll get into how this business failed later, but Belfort had to declare personal bankruptcy when he was 25.
Stratton Oakmont is the one company most people, including myself, associate with Jordan Belfort as he founded the company in 1989. The main business model of Stratton Oakmont was a ‘pump and dump’ scheme, and this ultimately led to this downfall.
In terms of success, I think if we separate the ethics and legality of how Belfort and Stratton Oakmont made their money and just look purely at growth, the company rose pretty rapidly. They became the largest off-exchange trading company in the US and handled the IPO for many reputable brands, including Steve Madden. The company was becoming a powerhouse despite its questionable mission and values.
Belfort and his associates made a ton of money in the early 1990s, and it is hard not to call this period of his life a success. I think his goal, even from a young age, was always to become wealthy and successful, and up until NASD expelled Stratton Oakmont in 1996, he achieved this objective. During his time with Stratton Oakmont, Belfort made millions, including $100 million in one year. He owned a yacht (that was once owned by Coco Chanel), a mansion in Long Island, New York, and several expensive cars.
I’m going to explore the ultimate failure of Stratton Oakmont later on (and I will also touch on some other business failures he had), but since being released from prison in 2000, Belfort has reinvented himself. He now works as a highly sought-after motivational speaker and has also published three books.
Jordan Belfort Videos
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Jordan Belfort Business Failures
Even though Jordan Belfort became extraordinarily wealthy and Stratton Oakmont grew into a major brokerage house, albeit by committing fraud and employing unethical tactics, he didn’t always experience business success.
His meat and seafood business did grow rapidly; however, he admitted that he expanded too quickly, and the small margins led to the business failing and Belfort filing for personal bankruptcy. Belfort also experienced failure at L.F. Rothschild, where he joined as a trainee stockbroker in the 1980s. While I’m not sure exactly how Belfort performed at L.F. Rothschild, Black Monday in 1987 hit the firm hard. Belfort was one of many employees laid off due to the firm’s financial losses.
I think the biggest failure of Jordan Belfort’s career was undoubtedly the period when he also enjoyed his biggest financial success. Stratton Oakmont ceased operations in 1996 after being expelled from The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). The NASD had long investigated the firm for its business practices, including money laundering and securities fraud.
In 1999, Belfort was sentenced to four years for his business tactics that cost investors $200 million. As part of a plea deal, he served 22 months and agreed to repay $110 million in restitution to those who had been victims of fraud.
In my opinion, this is definitely the biggest failure of his career; however, it is difficult to have a lot of sympathy for Jordan Belfort as he gained his wealth through fraud and unethical business practices.
Jordan Belfort Family
Belfort was born in The Bronx but grew up in Bayside, Queens. He has an older brother, Robert, who I believe is a reasonably successful lawyer; however, unlike Jordan, he keeps himself firmly out of the limelight.
Even though I am quite familiar with the story of Jordan Belfort, I was surprised to know that he has been married four times. His first marriage was to Denise Lombardo, whom he divorced in 1991. His second wife, Nadine Caridi, was a model who now has a Ph.D. in Somatic and Depth psychology. The couple had two children; however, Belfort’s drug addiction and affairs with other women took their toll on their relationship, not to mention the criminal aspect of Stratton Oakmont. The couple divorced in 2005.
Belfort married Anne Koppe in 2008, and the couple was married for 12 years until their divorce in 2020.
Finally, Belfort married for the fourth time in 2021 to Cristina Invernizzi, a model.
Jordan Belfort and Career Earnings
Putting an exact figure on Jordan Belfort’s current net worth isn’t easy as he has restitution to pay due to his fraudulent activities towards investors. A certain percentage of his income was to be set aside for restitution, and Belfort has said that he puts the profits from his public speaking and media royalties towards this fund too.
Belfort has also said that he has given 100% of the royalties he received from The Wolf of Wall Street movie.
From the information I have gathered, Belfort’s net worth is around $2 million. This is a far cry from the early to mid-1990s when Belfort made millions of dollars per year.
Jordan Belfort Real Estate Holdings
Jordan Belfort currently lives in California, Manhattan Beach. Previously, he lived in Australia. I don’t have much information on his current real estate holdings.
Contrary to popular belief, I found out that Belfort’s home in The Wolf of Wall Street film wasn’t the actual mansion he owned. However, during his days at Stratton Oakmont, Belfort owned a mansion on Long Island, which was located close to the sprawling property featured in the movie.
Jordan Belfort Quotes
I have compiled together a few quotes that I think encapsulates how Jordan Belfort approached his life as a stockbroker.
“Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny, they’re not creatures of circumstance, they create circumstance, if the circumstances around them suck they change them.”
“If you want to be rich, never give up. People tend to give up. If you have persistence, you will come out ahead of most people. More importantly, you will learn. When you do something, you might fail. But that’s not because you’re a failure. It’s because you have not learnt enough. Do it differently each time. One day, you will do it right. Failure is your friend.”
“Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Was Jordan Belfort a billionaire?
Answer: No. Jordan Belfort wasn’t a billionaire, although he was exceptionally wealthy. It is estimated that his net worth, when adjusted for inflation, was $400 million at its peak.
Question: Is The Wolf of Wall Street an accurate film?
Answer: Like any Hollywood biopic, there is a certain amount of artistic license. However, Belfort has said that many scenes from the film happened in real life.
Question: Is Jordan Belfort still a stock broker?
Answer: No. Jordan Belfort can no longer work as a stockbroker due to his stock market manipulation and prosecution for money laundering and securities fraud. He now works as a motivational speaker, podcaster, and author.
Question: How much money did Jordan Belfort steal?
Answer: Authorities say that Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont defrauded investors out of $200 million. He was ordered to pay restitution totaling $110 million as part of a plea deal.
Question: What does Jordan Belfort do now?
Answer: Since being released from prison, Jordan Belfort has embarked on a new career as a motivational speaker. He has also authored several books and hosts a podcast called The Wolf’s Den.
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