Have you ever dreamt of being paid for the work that you did months ago, maybe even years ago? Have you ever imagined waking up and going to work not because you have to but because you actually want to? And have you ever thought that instead of floating through life, you could discover what you were put on this Earth to do?
All the answers to these questions come together in two simple, yet very powerful words: financial freedom.
My story is like most; a middle class upbringing, nice things but nothing over the top and weekends at the ballpark. It's not until I got into professional baseball that I discovered how truly important financial education really was.
All my teammates and I constantly got caught up in seeing the huge multi-million dollar contracts. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of athletes eventually earn that huge payday. The rest of us had to figure out how to make things work on a below minimum wage salary during the season.
As I continued to play hard, I also wanted to be realistic. I asked myself, “I believe I will make it, but what if I don’t?”
So I began my research on how to make money. Looking over list after list of books to read, I started to see a pattern of the same few books in every article. I had read a few but finally stumbled onto the book that changed my perspective forever. That book is titled Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
This book completely flipped my view upside down on how I looked at everything involving investing and money. Prior to reading it, I had been consumed with working extremely hard to make money by “trading my time for money.”
In the book, I learned the ways of how affluent people earn their wealth; not by trading their time for money, but rather exchanging their time to acquire assets.
An asset and a liability are the two easiest terms in finance: an asset puts money into your pocket. A liability takes money out of your pocket. It’s that simple.
Once I understood this concept, it became my obsession to acquire assets. But, how could I accumulate something that I didn't even know what it was or looked like? So I kept reading and learning.
I figured out that there are three types of income; active income-which is trading time for money, portfolio income- which is making money when you buy low and sell high and passive income- which pays you without having to be actively involved.
So I said to my mentor, “So you're telling me that there is an investment out there where I don't have to do anything and it still pays me?” He exclaimed, “Yes! And it's called real estate!”
My eyes were wide open and I was giddy to learn. I asked him to explain more to me. “Here is how it works, Nolan. I buy a single family home, I find a tenant to sign a lease, then they are legally obligated to pay me rent each and every month. And once you own enough properties to have your passive rental income exceed your monthly living expenses, you will have achieved financial freedom.”
I was ecstatic. It was like I struck gold. So now my down time began to revolve around buying property to increase my passive income. I became obsessed with surrounding myself with leaders and mentors who were currently doing this. And to my surprise, almost every person I came across was more than willing to lead and teach.
I realized that each leader and mentor was actually excited to teach me about real estate! They were so passionate about teaching others; not to talk about their own success, but because they realized how impactful passive investing was in their lives that they wanted to share what they were doing with others.
Now that I am in similar shoes, I have a very similar approach. I love referring the Rich Dad Poor Dad book not because I want to talk about my successes, but because the book opened my eyes to a whole new world of how to earn money…and I want others to also experience that feeling.
The biggest lesson that I have learned from these successful individuals was how important our time is. Our time on Earth is finite and limited, so how we spend our time is what gives us true meaning and purpose.
So to come full circle, I’ve realized that if I want to pursue my passions and ambitions in life, passive income through real estate investing allows me the freedom to spend my time how I want.
If I want to go to the beach, I can. If I want to spend a week with my parents, I can. If I want to work 14 hour days on my side businesses, I can, because I am not forced to trade my time for money through a 9-5 day job. My passive income pays for my lifestyle.
This is not an ‘everybody look at me’ story. This is something that is incredibly achievable for anyone. With just a little time invested, curiosity and humble approach, your life can change for the better forever. Understanding assets and liabilities and how passive income works is what allows for financial freedom.
When I am a parent, I’ll want to go to the gymnastics meets on the weekends and coach the little league baseball teams; and real estate will allow me the freedom to do that.
And best yet and most important, I’ll be able to teach my kids the value of things in life…not just the price.