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Jordan Belfort, the protagonist in Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street, started dental school before dropping out to become a crook Wall Street trader. His mother had wanted him to become a doctor but he overslept his medical school entrance exams and went to dental school instead.
In 1984, on his first day at Baltimore College of Dental Surgery the Dean told the class that their training would be rewarded with “a life of reasonable comfort.” The dean went on to say that “The golden age of dentistry is over. If you’re here simply because you’re looking to make money, you’re in the wrong place.” To be fair these are hardly the most motivational words for a class of aspiring dentists to hear on their first day. Belfort for one was a man of loftier ambitions and it was enough to send him searching elsewhere.
Belfort instead decided to work on Wall Street on a career which would see him swindle millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors. It was certainly a colourful career but one which landed him in prison for fraud and money laundering and being ordered to repay $110 million to a victim compensation fund.
His story is remarkable and after writing about the excesses the made it, his role has now been portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in a Hollywood blockbuster. Click here to read more about the vast excesses that went on in his trading firm, involved prostitutes, drugs, midget tossing and even exotic animals in the boardroom.
How different things would have turned our had Jordan became a dentists and swapped penny stocks and yachts for dental implants, veneers and dental braces. What would you have done if you didn’t pursue a career in dentistry?
Belfort is still making lots of money, although he claims it is all going to pay off the investors he scammed. He estimates he will make $20 and $30 million from the books and movie. Also, he is being paid up to $50,000 per day to training and motivational speeches to corporate sales people.