My name is Austin and I, along with my wife, was able to retire in my early 30’s. It took us less than 8.5 years from the start of our entrepreneurship journey, and, most noteworthy, just 7 years from the start of our real estate investing journey. We were fortunate to be introduced to the idea of building passive income and cash flow early in our lives. If we were able to achieve this dream, we know it is attainable for anyone – which is why we started this blog. We want to share our journey with others who may be seeking financial freedom and the “good life” for themselves.
It is a truly wonderful thing; to be in control of exactly how you spend your time. You can call it retirement, but financial freedom is probably a more accurate descriptor. Retirement often conjures up images of a sloth like existence, collecting sea shells, just waiting for the reaper. Being productive is a big part of life satisfaction and happiness. That happiness is maximized by spending your time on the things that bring you the most joy. Not by spending the majority of your waking hours working in a cubicle.
Instead, we can spend our time reading, volunteering, working on passion projects, being physically active, and learning languages. We can spend our time traveling, hiking, hanging with family and friends, or any other number of hobbies and interests. Spending time and being productive in this way is how we have found gratification – our “good life.” This blog – and trying to help others achieve this freedom for themselves – is one of our passion projects and ways we’ve decided to spend our time.
We achieved our early retirement goal by investing in rental properties that produce passive income. It took just 7 years from the purchase of our first rental property to realize our financial freedom. There was nothing special about us… no trust funds, no family money, no lottery winnings, no special leg up… In fact, not only did we not have any special advantage, we both came from very humble beginnings.
My first three years of college (at a nearby state school) were spent studying Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. That was enough time to show me the work would not fulfill me. I had always been interested in business, so I switched majors and graduated with a bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and General Management. My wife Ashley graduated with a degree in Political Science… and student loans.
In early 2008, while in my final semester of college at Kansas State University, I negotiated the purchase of a 120-year-old flower shop (That’s a whole story in and of itself…) and took over in early 2009.
WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
Later that year, I was introduced to a book that changed everything for me; Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. In short, this book changed how I looked at money, investing, and retirement. I am a natural skeptic though, so I had to prove the concepts for myself, especially since they were new and different to me. After reading the book, I created a spreadsheet that was about 50 columns by 135 lines long (the engineering nerd in me coming out!). I ran long-term financial projections for every scenario and every combination of scenarios I could think of. Everything scenario involving our mortgage, business, traditional investing, and the new financial views I learned about in Rich Dad Poor Dad. The clear winner in all scenarios was putting as much into real estate investing as I could. And it wasn’t even close.
AFTER (the) MATH
With mathematical proofs on our side, we went all in. We focused on investing as much as possible in real estate, as quickly as possible, and as often as possible. With that new aim, I purchased many books on real estate investing to learn as much as I could. I poured through them one after another. We even refinanced our house from a 15 year mortgage to a 30-yr to lower the payment to have more cash available to invest! In the summer of 2010, we bought our first rental property. Slowly, but surely, we acquired more and more rental properties whenever we could. We calculated our ideal budget for the life we wanted live if we were free from work and focused our efforts to match that number with our passive rental income.
With several milestones, from the sale of the flower shop, to the acquisition of two large property portfolios in 2016, we are on target for full financial freedom by the summer of 2017, just 7 years after our first investment property.
WHY WE’RE DOING THIS BLOG
I poured through so many real estate investing books and resources in my educational journey and often found them disappointing. Most contained only a nugget or two of valuable information, only discoverable by wading through A LOT of nonsense. I had to identify what was worthwhile information, and what was nonsense from each resource. Furthermore, I had to stitch the valuable parts together in order to create a system that would work for an average investor like myself. Hopefully I can provide more concise information and guidance than I found so that you won’t have to do all of the same digging and wading through nonsense I did. I hope to make achieving the good life by real estate investing more attainable for you.
I truly believe that anyone can reach the same goal of retirement and financial freedom in ten years or less if they take the time to educate themselves and invest wisely. It is my sincere hope this blog will be a valuable resource to anyone on the journey.