Michael West was born in Oxford, Mississippi, to John and Brenda West on August 3, 1974. He was the middle child, sandwiched by two sisters: Jennifer, who is one year older, and Kelly, two years younger.
John and Brenda survived from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to care for their three children, two dogs, and a series of cats. The couple didn't seem to know how to give Michael what he needed, and he set out to discover that for himself.
From an early age, Michael was a go-getter. Even as a child, he always walked fast, shoulders hunched forward, in a hurry to get the next thing done.
By sixth grade, he was mowing lawns. By high school, he paid other kids to mow lawns and spent the profits of his business on buying better equipment. By the time he graduated, first in his class, he hadn't touched a mower in six months. Instead, he managed the lawn care business and his investment property.
The summer before he started college, his sister Kelly died of a heroin overdose, but Michael didn't allow his grief to slow him down.
Michael earned an MBA as well as licensing as a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and a Registered Investment Advisor. His professional achievements came at the cost of any personal relationships. He always said he'd allocate time for people when he had the time to spare for them.
Instead, he focused on his clients and soon became the person who made the rich richer. On a business trip to Colorado, where he examined a software company's operations, he met Karen Tweed. In Karen, he found a person he wanted to make time for.
The two dated long distance for a year until Michael persuaded her to move in with him in Oxford so he wouldn't have to spend so much time flying back and forth. They married two years later.