Former stock broker Dwayne Jackson has revealed whether the eye-watering pay cheques he earned made it worth working on Wall Street.
But how fragile were the lavish lifestyles led by Jordan Belfort and his employees - which were most notably portrayed in the 2013 hit The Wolf of Wall Street? What happens when you have more cash than you know what to do with?
After leaving high school, Dwayne ended up joining the Army Reserves, completing eight months of training before coming home, taking to playing basketball in the park as he wondered what to do with his life.
While playing a game with a friend he knew from high school, Dwayne spotted their new BMW three series - the result of a career as a stockbroker.
Immediately hooked, Dwayne trawled the newspapers, applied for roles and Stratton Oakmont 'just happened to be the company to call [him] back'.
Despite only being 20 years old and very new to Wall Street, after a year of climbing the ladder to the role of a stock broker - initially starting as a cold caller on $100-$400-a-day (£80-£320) - Dwayne was quickly catapulted into a world of fast-paced money-making.
He tells LADbible: "We got paid gross commission once a month on the 15th. So if I did, let's say $50,000 (£40,000) gross and commissions, half goes to the firm, I keep half and then all my expenses come out of that - whether it be taxes, any cold calls that I've hired - I paid them [around] $200 (£160) a week.
"My biggest month I think I did $60,000 (£48,600) or $70,000 (£56,700) gross. So my check was somewhere in-between $25,000 (£20,500) and $30,000 (£24,300)."
Typically, Dwayne would earn 'an average of $7,000 (£5,600)' a month - still a staggering amount compared to most 20 year olds.
However, Dwayne explains employees were encouraged to 'spend the money' as quickly as they made it.
"I remember there was a guy who had a Ferrari, but he was sleeping on his mother's couch," he says. "The key to keeping salespeople working is to keep them broke."
"They weren't teaching us how to be money managers or how to get rich, they just taught us how to how to sell stock over the phone. And in order to keep that machine going we had to be broke and create bills."
Stuck in a toxic cycle, Dwayne soon realised an influx of money comes with an immense cost to one's mental wellbeing.
He explains: "There was so much pressure, so much stress. I was making money, and my whole world had changed. I had a girlfriend [who] broke up with me. I didn't feel safe anywhere. Not even at work.
"I had a friend in college, I went down to stay with him. Oddly enough, his roommate pulled me aside. He says, 'Hey, man, how long have you known him?' I said, '15 years'. He was like, 'Well, before you came down here, he told me he got this friend [...] and we're gonna use him to eat and pay for everything'.
"He says, 'I don't know you [...] but I don't want you to to be used by them'.
"I just melted down. I couldn't take it anymore. [...] The more I made, the more miserable I got. [...] I just felt alone."
Dwayne subsequently decided to leave Stratton Oakmont having learned that 'money doesn't make you happy'.
The now-actor and comedian resolved: "I saw a lot of guys making a lot of money and they were miserable. They did drugs, everything, prostitutes every day, all the time.
"When you don't come from money, you think money is the answer for everything. [But when] you make a little bit of money, you start to realise, 'Oh, wow, this is not what it's all cracked up to be'."
"The lack of concern for the customers the lack of concern for me [...] I learned a valuable lesson that you have to do what drives you. You can't do things just for money. Because if there's no passion involved, you'll end up hating your life."
Featured Image Credit: The Great Adventures of Dwayne Jackson/ YouTube / PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy
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