Thanks for reading the Rent to Retirement blog!
Today I’ll be writing about my transition from the mundane path of the corporate rat race to the exciting and abundant career of real estate.
When I was growing up, my dad was a corporate guy.
He was always working for law firms and companies in big cities, and always looking to trade up to the next secure position on the corporate ladder. With this career, he moved us around a lot, so I grew up in a few different areas as a kid. Some of these areas included the midwest and various east coast locations.
I was born in Connecticut; I attended elementary school in Minnesota, middle school spent in New York, and high school back in my hometown of Connecticut. Needless to say, I had a bit of an identity crisis growing up. Mostly, having to do with which NFL team I rooted for!
After graduating from high school in Connecticut, I wanted to return to the midwest to attend college. My hometown was abundant with nice people, good food, and affordable living. I ended up landing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied economics and political science. College is a time to find out what you really want to do with the rest of your life, right? Well, I thought the best way to do so was to talk to as many people as I could in as many industries as possible. I thought this would enable me to find what the best thing was for me. I talked to friends and family in advertising, banking, marketing, and accounting. Nothing seemed to pique my interest until one particular conversation during my senior year of college.
My cousin in-law, Ryan, set me up on a phone call with his buddy, Brandon. Brandon was a real estate agent and investor in San Diego and owned a small portfolio of 5-10 properties. The conversation started off slow. I had no idea what I was talking about but by the end we had completed an absolutely exhilarating conversation about the power of real estate and its wealth building effects. I kept on with my economics curriculum but this conversation with Brandon just never left my head.
I kept moving along with economics and looked for jobs in the field
I eventually found one at a bank in Jackson Hole, WY. I knew I had to earn some money before I could get into real estate investing so any job was a good place to start. Just as long as I was making and saving money. However, the crazy thing about working at this bank is the people with which I worked. They knew little to nothing about the power of investing and more particularly, investing in real estate. These were the people issuing loans, credit cards, and selling other financial products to customers and making the bank tons of money in interest! Yet, for some reason, they were falling prey to the exact same financial practices that they were selling to others. My coworkers were paying insane amounts of money in rent each month, putting vacations on credit cards, had bad health habits, and poor lifestyle choices. These were not the caliber of people I knew I wanted to spend my time around. The culture was also all about the “3-5 year plan” which mapped out the yellow brick road to a successful career, or so everyone thought. No matter how many hours I worked or how hard I tried, that plan just made me feel as if there was no way to get ahead. You just had to stick it out and wait for the boss to “call your number”.
What did continue to make me feel like I could get ahead was the conversation I had with Brandon.
During this time at the bank, I would analyze 5-7 rental properties a week with a spreadsheet I found online. It is similar to the property analysis tool on renttoretirment.com. You can find this tool at https://renttoretirement.com/tools/
I was hungry for anything real estate related. Analyzing deals was the only way to feed my craving, seeing as I did not have a lot of money at the time to invest.
One day I was reading the newspaper at work. I was beginning to be bored to tears with the job. I opened up to the classifieds section and found it peppered with real estate careers that all seemed absolutely fascinating. This led me to an interview at a short term rental and property management company. My enthusiasm for real estate deeply resonated with the other people in the interview room. I ended up getting hired on the spot and was offered a significantly better salary than the banking job.
One year later and I’m still working in the real estate industry.
Those property analysis sessions paid off for me. I now own my home, which I live in for nearly free because I rent out my spare bedroom. This rent income covers a lot of the cost to own the place. My friend and coworker represented me in the purchase as I did not yet have my real estate license. Shortly after, I earned my real estate license and furnished my entire new home with furniture gifted to me by connections I made in my new job. I also bought my first property tax lien that was paid back with hefty interest. Throughout this time, I learned the ins and outs of property management and investor relations. Best of all, I now have the privilege of working with Rent to Retirement to help other people pursue their real estate education and take control of their financial futures through real estate investing. None of this would have been possible without making the leap from a desk job at a boring bank to the exciting career path of real estate. A path which will certainly lead to a future of financial freedom.