From poor migrant to house cleaner to owner of 52 properties

THE greatest failure is never to attempt at all. Those words still resonate among rags-to-riches migrants. There was a study done in the United States about people who have become millionaires on their own. It aimed to find out common characteristics among these successful millionaires in an attempt to find out what made them successful. The findings revealed that the common denominators were hard work and poverty. They all came from very poor families and they worked and continue to work hard for more than eight hours a day. As most of them concurred, “Working eight hours is for survival; beyond eight hours is for success.”

One such success story that fits this research model is that of Mila Ferrer, a Filipina who hails from Alcala, Pangasinan. She migrated to the United States some 40 years ago as a dirt-poor orphan with barely $20 in her pocket. She was fresh out of college upon landing on American soil. Her English was broken, but not her spirit. Living out of a mobile home, she pursued her American Dream with determination.

Her job hunt proved an uphill climb. After 17 job interviews, she was still jobless, and had to resort to cleaning houses to eke out a living.

Eventually, her luck began to turn, and she landed a job that helped her maximize her potential. She took on a clerical post in a financial company, and later transferred from one banking institution to another. Ferrer became a loan manager, thanks to her hard work. From a struggling employee, she holds the title of regional vice-president for an international investment company.

She recalled the early years of living in America: “I learned how to make my own money. I was cleaning houses, working in the bank, doing real estate, working as personal assistant to doctors, and being a mom,” she said.

Ferrer was one of four siblings, orphaned and struggling to survive. She vowed to herself that her own family would not know the suffering and hardship she had to endure.

Although she’s a tough mom (a single mom to five children), she vowed, “I will never have my kids go through the life that I went through as a kid.”

She quickly adds, “I don’t believe that you can be poor in America. If you want to work hard, there is work.”

On investing, her advice: “You have to find a mentor. If you invest your money, you’ll be able to make it.”

At 61, from a meager trailer home, she now owns 52 land properties (including the house that she used to clean) and lives on a three-acre lot with a 6,000-square-foot house.

She credits hard work and passion as the secrets to her incredible success story. As Michael John Bobak, digital artist and singer/songwriter said, “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” (It’s a fancier way of saying, “No pain, no gain.”)

Ferrer has not only succeeded in a tremendous way; her story reminds us how challenges can be overcome. Her passionate approach toward her goals has turned into a fruitful journey. She now finds herself in a position to help others succeed, as well.

“I love what I do. I help people. I can do this wherever I go,” she said. Mila currently resides in Plano, Illinois.

Sometimes the inspiration you need to achieve your dreams can be found in a few simple words of wisdom. From Mila Ferrer’s story, one thing is certain: to be successful, one must follow the law of cause and effect. For every action, there is an equal reaction. Financial success is the result of doing specific things repeatedly until you achieve your financial goal. This just shows that everything is possible and we shape our own future. It is not about where you are right now, but about what you are going to do to achieve your success.


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