Most people believe that the first step in achieving financial freedom begins with saving, making a budget or paying off debts. In truth, the journey begins well before that; it starts with an idea. My personal experience began at an early age. I watched as my young mother struggled to provide for me and my little sister working long hours, while also attending school. I knew that I would have to work hard and study harder to avoid falling victim to the same financial burdens as so many others have. It wasn’t until I joined the Navy in 2015 that I got my first real taste of financial literacy. You see, for most of my life, my thoughts regarding money were similar to those of most middle class Americans: work hard, go to school, get a degree, get a high paying job then I’ll be successful.
The ball got rolling when a friend of mine casually mentioned one day that he had begun investing in mutual funds. Naturally, my curiosity peaked and I began researching stocks and reading about investors like Warren Buffet and Benjamin Graham. I then attended a financial literacy class meant to help service members plan for their future; setting up a retirement plan, learning how to budget for a car and house, you know that kind of thing. Learning about compounding interest and the effect that time can have on my portfolio inspired me to take action and get more serious about my financial literacy. I wasn’t fully immersed yet though, it took me meeting a new friend who had an amazing aptitude in stocks. When I approached him to learn, he offered me the book that started it all for him. Hungry for knowledge, I eagerly accepted. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki became my bible. As I read, I realized how backwards I had been viewing finance. My enlightenment to financial freedom had begun. Ravenous for information, I tore through another of Robert’s books; “Retire Young Retire Rich ” after a suggestion from my uncle. Religiously I watched YouTube video after video discovering channels like “BiggerPockets”, “Graham Stephan” and “The Dave Ramsey Show”. I joined real estate investor groups on Facebook and attended local meet-ups specifically a military focused group called, “Active Duty Passive Income” group of ADPI for short. Now was time for action! I could no longer sit still and watch as my opportunities for success slipped away right in front of me. Excuses were no longer relevant, my eyes were finally open and once the blinders of ignorance are removed they can never again be worn.
I got a recommendation from a long time friend to meet up with a local real estate agent to start my journey into real estate investing and becoming a landlord. After weeks of touring houses, duplexes and apartments, I finally found what I was looking for: a little fixer upper duplex in a growing community in my price range, a ripe fruit ready to be picked! It took some time to close as my inexperience made things more difficult than it needed to be. The anxiety of realizing what I was doing finally struck and it made me cautious where before I head strong and motivated. I endured and persevered and that is where you find me today. I just recently closed on the house, with contractors ready to begin renovations this week. It dawned on me how useful some of this information might be and that there are others out there wanting to start and learn but might be unsure how to get started. The goal of this is to share my experiences with all of you, the successes and failures, so we may all grow to become millionaires together. At the end of the day, a millionaire’s journey begins one dollar at a time.