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(VIDEO) This is what happens when you solve a problem and it literally pays your mortgage off

  • 6 min read

Mention the name Marshall Cletis (MC) Byles and most people don’t have a clue.

Heck, I’ll admit neither did I until today.

He’s no longer with us but his legacy sure lives on. In fact, the soul of his story is growing in my wife’s vegetable garden and many others too. MC’s freedom-accelerating choices and actions are very much worth the read. His journey demonstrates there IS another way that isn’t told or sold to us.

It’s not dream or vision boards, feel it, put it out there and the universe will respond. You won’t find a link to a $47 online ‘financial freedom masterclass’ at the end. Nor will you read work hard and trade your time for most of your adult life so you can sock away ten percent. Only then to invest in the ‘market’, watch the roller coaster ride of ups and downs of your money and you’ll be home free at 65. Don’t worry not going there either. And no, this isn’t about monthly or annual lump sum mortgage pre-payments. All in the hopes of mortgage-free bliss in less than 30 years. Well, on the mortgage-free part, it sort of is, and you’ll soon learn why.

MC’s way demonstrates a plan to a better, faster and far more rewarding way to get the most out of life. It can help break the chains of debt and save you what you can’t get back once it’s gone. Your time and help you grow a money tree too.

I hope this little piece of history inspires you. It did for me.

MC grew up in tough times, working in the North Carolina cotton fields starting at age 4. Yes, age 4. Fixing and flying small planes became his trade as he matured which landed him in the National Guard. During his time there, he discovered competitive wrestling. That led to a stint in a wrestling tour after leaving the National Guard. His payment as a wrestler? $1.00 for every minute he lasted grappling in the ring after 10 minutes. He seldom lost. You could say MC was also a generalist or “Jack of all Trades” sort of guy. He once developed a kind of garden tiller, but never patented it. He later settled in the mountian state of West Virginia and paydirt soon arrived. He set up shop as a mechanic at the base of one of the many mountains that grace the landscape in a town called Logan. Along it’s steep inclines were plenty of customers in the waiting. Loaded coal mining and logging trucks that suffered a recurring problem. They kept blowing radiators. When they puttered down the mountain spewing steam and coolant, you guessed it, MC was there. Eager and ready to repair.

MC’s success earned him the nickname “Radiator Charlie” and the fire was lit.

But that’s only part of his success story.

Charlie said he always felt ‘he had a mind to do things others couldn’t do.’ And he was right. There were no ivy-league diplomas hanging on his wall or titles after his name. In fact, he had no formal education at all.

Coming from the great depression era, Charlie wanted to build a better tomato. One to better feed families, many of whom suffered during that difficult time too. Yes you read that right. A better tomato.

He started by planting one tomato seedling variety called the German Johnson. The lone seedling was in the centre of a circle of 10 other growing seedlings. They were made up of a combination of 3 of the best and biggest seed varieties available. Beefsteak and the other two of Italian and English variety. Each year, a sampling of pollen from each of the 10 plants was extracted using a baby’s ear syringe. Charlie would then squirt the pollen into the flower of the German Johnson and watch it grow and test. This continued for 6 more years with a different variety in the middle each time. Trial after trial, season after season and then finally, he completed what he set out to do. Build a better tomato.

Knowing he could do things others could not, he didn’t stop there. Charlie began marketing his seedling tomatoes for a premium price. Now it’s the 1940s and he’s charging $1.00 for a tomato plant seedling. Factor inflation in and that’s about $18 by today’s standards. I am no gardner, but that’s quite a premium considering the cost today.


Charlie’s tomato seedlings were better. They were disease-resistant and beared fruit until frost. Fruits that averaged 1.5 lbs and up to 4 in some cases. They were meatier, less acidic with fewer seeds and damn good tasting. And each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie’s seedling tomatoes.

Word gets around and Charlie sells enough seedlings to pay off his $6000 mortgage in 6 years.

Giving birth to the heirloom tomato plant know today known as the Mortgage Lifter.

Marshall Cletis Byles aka Radiator Charlie went on to live to the golden age of 97. He outlived most of his friends and family. He was quoted as saying “The Lord left me here all these years for some purpose. I don’t know what it is.”

Some would say it was to create a great tasting tomato. I would argue it was something much more powerful. To show us the way its done. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. You won’t find his story in school text books. What Charlie did was skew the time for money equation in his favour. That led him to find true financial freedom faster. He unshackled himself of debt by helping helping many families have more. Which led to the creation of legacy value system that lives today in the gardens of many.

How fitting this story (and his seeds) found me during the times we are living in now. Opportunity is everywhere. Stop chasing money. Start chasing people’s problems. Build a better something and grow your own money tree like Charlie did.

And when you’re done, please be sure to invite me to the mortgage burning party. I’ll gladly bring the champagne.

Thanks for reading.



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