As the book draws to a close and approaches publication, I would like to share a final thought with you. The main reason I wrote this book was to share insights into how increased financial intelligence can be used to solve many of life’s common problems. Without financial training, we all too often use the standard formulas to get through life, such as to work hard, save, borrow and pay excessive taxes. Today we need better information.
I use the following story as a final example of a financial problem that confronts many young families today. How do you afford a good education for your children and provide for your own retirement? It is an example of using financial intelligence instead of hard work to achieve the same goal.
A friend of mine was griping one day about how hard it was to save money for his four children’s college education. He was putting $300 away in a mutual fund each month and had so far accumulated about $12,000. He estimated he needed $400,000 to get four children through college. He had 12 years to save for it, since his oldest child was then 6 years of age.
The year was 1991, and the real estate market in Phoenix was terrible. People were giving houses away. I suggested to my classmate that he buy a house with some of the money in his mutual fund. The idea intrigued him and we began to discuss the possibility. His primary concern was that he did not have the credit with the bank to buy another house, since he was so over-extended. I assured him that there were other ways to finance a property other than through the bank.
We looked for a house for two weeks, a house that would fit all the criteria we were looking for. There were a lot to choose from, so the shopping was kind of fun. Finally, we found a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in a prime neighborhood. The owner had been downsized and needed to sell that day because he and his family were moving to California where another job waited.
He wanted $102,000, but we offered only $79,000. He took it immediately. The home had on it what is called a non-qualifying loan, which means even a bum without a job could buy it without a banker’s approval. The owner owed $72,000 so all my friend had to come up with was $7,000, the difference in price between what was owed and what it sold for. As soon as the owner moved, my friend put the house up for rent. After all expenses were paid, including the mortgage, he put about $125 in his pocket each month.
His plan was to keep the house for 12 years and let the mortgage get paid down faster, by applying the extra $125 to the principle each month. We figured that in 12 years, a large portion of the mortgage would be paid off and he could possibly be clearing $800 a month by the time his first child went to college. He could also sell the house if it had appreciated in value.
In 1994, the real estate market suddenly changed in Phoenix and he was offered $156,000 for the same house by the tenant who lived in it and loved it. Again, he asked me what I thought, and I naturally said sell, on a 1031 tax-deferred exchange.
Suddenly, he had nearly $80,000 to operate with. I called another friend in Austin, Texas who then moved this tax deferred money into a mini-storage facility. Within three months, he began receiving checks for a little less than a $1,000 a month in income which he then poured back into the college mutual fund that was now building much faster. In 1996, the mini-warehouse sold and he received a check for nearly $330,000 as proceeds from the sale which was again rolled into a new project that would now throw off over $3,000 a month in income, again, going into the college mutual fund.
He is now very confident that his goal of $400,000 will be met easily, and it only took $7,000 to start and a little financial intelligence. His children will be able to afford the education that they want and he will then use the underlying asset, wrapped in his C Corporation, to pay for his retirement. As a result of this successful investment strategy he will be able to retire early.
Thank you for reading this book. I hope it has provided some insights into utilizing the power of money to work for you. Today, we need greater financial intelligence to simply survive. The idea that it takes money to make money is the thinking of financially unsophisticated people. It does not mean that they’re not intelligent. They have simply not learned the science of making money.
Money is only an idea. If you want more money simply change your thinking. Every self-made person started small with an idea, then turned it into something big. The same applies with investing. It takes only a few dollars to start and grow it into something big. I meet so many people who spend their lives chasing the big deal, or trying to mass a lot of money to get into a big deal, but to me that is foolish. Too often I have seen unsophisticated investors put their large nest egg into one deal and lose most of it rapidly. They may have been good workers but they were not good investors.
Education and wisdom about money are important. Start early. Buy a book. Go to a seminar. Practice. Start small. I turned $5,000 cash into a $1 million dollar asset producing $5,000 a month cash flow in less than six years. But I started learning as a kid. I encourage you to learn because it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s kind of easy once you get the hang of it.
I think I have made my message clear. It’s what is in your head that determines what is in your hands. Money is only an idea. There is a great book called Think and Grow Rich. The title is not Work Hard and Grow Rich. Learn to have money work hard for you and your life will be easier and happier. Today, don’t play it safe, play it smart.
Many of you were given two great gifts: your mind and your time. It is up to you to do what you please with both. With each dollar bill that enters your hand, you and only you have the power to determine your destiny. Spend it foolishly, you choose to be poor. Spend it on liabilities, you join the middle class. Invest it in your mind and learn how to acquire assets and you will be choosing wealth as your goal and your future. The choice is yours and only yours. Every day with every dollar, you decide to be rich, poor or middle class.
Choose to share this knowledge with your children, and you choose to prepare them for the world that awaits. No one else will. You and your children’s future will be determined by choices you make today, not tomorrow.
We wish you great wealth and much happiness with this fabulous gift called life.