NEW YORK (AP) Real estate mogul Jackson T. Johnson is a billionaire and one of the richest people in America.
But he has no children, no grandkids and lives in a mansion in Queens.
Johnson, who is 84 and retired, told News24 his family is trying to stay focused on the future.
“I don’t want my family to be in a position where they’re in debt and they’re going to be homeless.
I want my children to be able to keep me safe and my grandchildren to be successful,” Johnson said.
“We want to be financially independent.”
Johnson is one of thousands of realtors across the country who have faced scrutiny in recent months over whether they are doing a good job selling homes for affordable rents.
Some brokers are saying they don’t have enough agents and are struggling to fill out paperwork to sell houses.
Others are complaining about how the federal government and other government agencies are using them to funnel money from homeowners who are struggling.
A recent study by realtor firm Fidelity Investments found that of the roughly 1,000 brokers who were surveyed, just two reported more than 1,300 real estate agents.
The study found that only three out of the 5,000 surveyed said they had at least one agent who is on the brink of bankruptcy.
Johnson said he’s never experienced that.
“We’re here to help people,” Johnson told News 24.
“If we don’t help people we can’t help anyone.”
Johnson told News the problem is getting worse as the nation’s population ages.
“People are getting older, people are getting more health problems, people can’t get a mortgage and they have nowhere to live,” he said.
Johnson said he knows he can’t do everything on his own.
He’s tried several times to sell homes for a cheaper price but the agents have told him they don�t want to sell them.
He said he hopes his story will help others, too.
“If people can help me and if they can help people then maybe we can change the situation,” he told News