After mentoring nearly a hundred entrepreneurs in 2015, and my going through my umpteenth own self-discovery phase, I’ve noticed one of the biggest mistakes made by almost everyone is a burning desire to do more. This is the not only the wrong approach to achieving success; as you gain momentum in different areas you continue to de-focus yourself and push yourself further away from achieving the potential that you are capable of in any singular focus.
Last night I met with a colleague of mine who said she didn’t have any money to invest in her retirement. As it turns out, within five minutes I found several instances where she was believing her own lies. The biggest one? Her car costs as much as her mortgage… that’s nuts!
Mortgage ($810 mortgage + $140 property tax)
$950 / month
Car ($465 payment + $250 insurance + $240 gas)
$955 / month
Alternately, would new modern cabinetry with a standard countertop at a tenth of the price have been sufficient?
What about that $30,000 pool install? Did it need to be installed in-ground? Did you also need to replace your patio and extend it with high-end interlocking stone?
Alternately would an above ground pool that was a tenth the price have been sufficient?
Do these “luxurious” upgrades really bring you increased sustainable happiness or are you a victim to consumerism, short-term lust for higher-end physical possessions and, of course, trying to keep up with the Joneses.
- Home expansion / renovation (~500-750 sq. feet)
- Luxury car & costs for 5 years (insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.)
- Camping trailer, insurance & lot for 5 years
What can $100,000 earn you?
Alternately, if you deposited the $10,000 saved each year over the duration of 10 years instead of spending on one of the luxuries above and then earn an average return of 7.8% each year for the next 30 years you would own investments valued at $694,763.08.
The first step is to consider what area interests you the most; it’s always easier to choose something that you have some degree of interest in because you will be more likely to best absorb the materials and take action.
If you’re a beginner and not sure what area interests you most I recommend you read one of the following blogs I’ve written that are geared for beginners on these topics:
- Get Over Your Fears and Take Action Today!
- Do You Feel Like You’re Coasting Through Life? Turn Off Autopilot!
- Quit gifting your financial freedom to the government
- Start working for yourself without quitting your job!
- Stop Justifying the Cost of a Bigger House, You Are Imprisoning Yourself!
- What’s the Real Cost of Wanting More?
- Change The Way You Think About Purchases, Quit Being A Slave To Your Possessions
- Want to Achieve Financial Freedom? Stop Spending So Damn Much!
- Are You a Slave to Consumerism?
- The Most Important Step to Retire Early
This is what a real estate cashflow analysis looks like. It informs you of your up-front costs, assesses cashflow positivity with current and potential future scenarios, budgets appropriately for vacancy/repair/contingency and accounts for overhead costs even if they may be unrealized (e.g. property management, accounting, bookkeeping, etc.). It is also vital to highlight any assumptions and verify them in writing, absolutely no exceptions.
By the end of 2011, I had completed nine years of real estate investment courses. Acquisition, cashflow, buy & hold, flipping, landlording, rent to own, taxation law… the list goes on and on.
Despite my educational knowledge, I still had not yet purchased a single investment property. Even though I had successfully run my own company for the previous fifteen years with positive cashflow in each and every year, I was still afraid to take the plunge.
I kept asking myself “How could I take so many calculated risks but be afraid to take this one?” I was stuck in a state of fear commonly coined as “analysis paralysis”. I would look for the perfect deal but before I would pull the trigger I’d make up excuses as to why each potential deal wouldn’t work. The truth is there’s no such thing as a perfect deal. The human mind can be our own worst enemy and I was battling against nobody other than myself. Trying to psyche myself into taking the next step, but for some reason I kept backing down, convincing myself as to why each opportunity wasn’t optimal.
In mid-2012 I booked vacation. I decided to stay home and relax. The previous two years’ vacation was spent repairing the house after extensive water damage which had nearly depleted all of my savings. It was early afternoon and I grabbed an ice cold Corona from the fridge and went to sit in the yard and do some reading. As I hunched down in my lounge chair I continued to read my latest real estate investment book. My attention was drifting in and out and I found myself reading and re-reading the materials. I felt frustration growing within me as I thought to myself “I know this s&%t. I’ve read it a hundred times in other books.” I stood up and blurted “That’s it! I’m going to buy a property or I’m going to stop reading about real estate investing.” That was the catalyst, the last nudge through the barrier of procrastination, the trigger required to break through my analysis paralysis.
Days become weeks, weeks become months, life begins to blur. We settle in and accept the status quo. “It is what it is” we tell ourselves because it’s all we know. We follow routines. There are slight deviations but for the most part the pattern is nearly identical. We are bored. We daydream about the future – our next vacation, our next evening out, even our next weekend. We fail to enjoy the present. Seize the day, carpe diem, YOLO – these are buzzwords that we say but rarely that we do.
Every few months we vow to change things. We pledge to live each moment like it’s our last. We go out and do something we’ve been wanting to. We call up friends and make plans. We escape the routine with a getaway. But then we let the normal sink back in and life continues to blur by us.
Earlier this week I had a meeting with one of the local startups that I am mentoring. Over the last year his company’s bank account has been reaping the rewards of their hard work and so he has been considering his best option to invest the returns from his compounding successes.
Knowing that I am an active real estate investor he wanted to learn about how real estate makes money. He had performed a number of cashflow analyses, but, was failing to find lucrative returns. I could sense his frustration mounting in each additional word that he was saying. “The best cashflow I’ve been able to find is approximately 8% on a real estate investment and that’s just… well average”. He frowned. I smiled and excitedly said “That’s fantastic, you should put in an offer, do your due diligence and buy this property if everything checks out.”
I sat there quietly pondering my response for what was likely several minutes as she looked on waiting. In my mind I was considering the path that I’ve taken towards financial freedom. I took time to contemplate the challenges, consider the obstacles and reflect upon the successes along the way.
Alas I broke the silence with my response, “Invest now“.
“That’s it?” she blurted out, “that’s the best advice you can give me?”