Christopher Gardner, the American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, has a net worth of $70 million. His inspiring journey from homelessness to becoming a multi-millionaire is well-known, thanks to the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith.
Gardner’s success story resonates with millions, and his entrepreneurial ventures, including founding Gardner Rich & Co. and Christopher Gardner Holdings, have contributed to his impressive net worth.
Alongside his financial accomplishments, Gardner’s philanthropic endeavors and charitable donations showcase his commitment to giving back. Through his resilience and determination, Gardner has become a symbol of hope and inspiration for those facing adversity.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$70 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$100 Thousand|
|Annual Income:||$5 Million|
|Source of Wealth:||Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Stockbroker, Motivational speaker, Writer|
Table of Contents
Early Life Challenges and Determination
Born on February 9th, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Christopher Paul Gardner faced numerous challenges during his early years. Raised with his three sisters under an abusive stepfather, Gardner experienced a tumultuous childhood.
The instability of his parents’ marriage led to periods of being in and out of foster care. However, Gardner’s maternal uncles played a positive role in his upbringing, inspiring him to strive for success.
Gardner often credits his parents’ troubled marriage for teaching him valuable lessons about avoiding detrimental habits like alcohol and illiteracy. These early experiences shaped his determination to overcome obstacles and create a better life for himself.
A Change in Path
After graduating from high school, Gardner followed in his uncle’s footsteps and joined the Navy. He served as a hospital corpsman and gained valuable skills while working as an assistant conducting clinical research at the University of California after leaving the Navy.
Gardner’s thirst for knowledge and proficiency grew to the extent that he became capable of running his own laboratory and performing surgical procedures.
In 1977, Gardner married Sherry Dyson. However, he realized that achieving his dreams of becoming a medical professional would require a significant investment of time and effort in college education. With no guarantee of stable work after graduation, Gardner made a bold decision to leave his medical career behind and venture into sales, still within the medical equipment field.
During this period, he had an affair with a woman named Jackie Medina, who became pregnant with his first child. This prompted Gardner to start a family with Medina, leading him to leave Dyson.
Pursuing a Career in Stocks
The financial responsibilities of raising a child led Gardner to explore new opportunities. One day, he encountered a man driving a Ferrari who identified himself as a stockbroker. Intrigued, Gardner decided to pursue a career in the stock market. With the Ferrari driver’s help, he connected with several major stock brokerage firm managers, even willing to accept parking fines to make the meetings happen.
Gardner’s journey took an unexpected turn when he was accepted into a brokerage firm, only to discover that the person who hired him had been fired. Meanwhile, his personal life was fraught with challenges, including a domestic altercation with Jackie and subsequent arrest due to unpaid parking fines. While Gardner spent ten days behind bars, Jackie took his son and moved to the East coast.
A Persevering Spirit
After his release from jail, Gardner found himself with virtually nothing. However, he didn’t let his circumstances define him. Determined to succeed, he secured a position at another stock brokerage firm, despite it not providing a salary. This left him unable to afford a place to live, and he found himself homeless, moving from one place to another with his son.
Undeterred by adversity, Gardner set a daily goal of making 200 calls as a stockbroker, all while balancing the responsibilities of parenthood and homelessness. He relied on soup kitchens for meals and sometimes resorted to sleeping in public bathrooms.
Eventually, Gardner’s hard work and determination paid off, and he earned enough money to rent a home. During this time, Jackie returned with their son, and while Gardner accepted custody, it meant he could no longer stay at the flophouse due to its no-children policy.
From Homelessness to Success
Gardner’s persistence and commitment to his career as a stockbroker led him to achieve remarkable success. In 1987, he founded Gardner Rich & Co., starting the brokerage firm out of his own apartment in Chicago with a mere $10,000.
Over time, Gardner grew the business into a multi-million dollar company. In 2006, he sold his minority stake in the firm for a six-figure sum and established Christopher Gardner Holdings, where he assumed the role of CEO. The company was headquartered in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco and engaged in various investment ventures, including those in South Africa under Nelson Mandela’s leadership.
Giving Back and Charitable Ventures
Given his personal experiences with homelessness and financial struggles, Gardner has made a significant impact through his philanthropy. He has made substantial donations to the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco, which once provided shelter for him and his son during their time of need.
Gardner also invested $50 million in a San Francisco initiative for low-income housing, demonstrating his commitment to helping those facing similar challenges. Additionally, he supports numerous charitable organizations through his sponsorship and contributions.
“The Pursuit of Happyness” and Continued Inspiration
In 2006, Gardner published his book, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” sharing his inspiring journey with the world. The book struck a chord with readers who found solace and motivation in Gardner’s resilience and triumph over adversity. The following year, the book was adapted into a motion picture starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith, portraying Gardner and his son.
Christopher Gardner served as an associate producer on the film, which went on to achieve tremendous commercial success, grossing over $300 million worldwide. The movie received critical acclaim, and Will Smith’s portrayal earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.