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Why I’m Glad I Chose Now To Quit My Full Time Job to Pursue Real Estate Investing

by Aaron Kinney on May 7, 2014 · 12 comments

  
How to Quit my Job

I, like many of you, had set the goal to make enough recurring monthly income to support my family and give myself the freedom to leave my job.

That’s always been my number one goal for my real estate business, even before I started working full time.  (I began investing while I was in college.)  I would have loved to have had the opportunity to focus on the business full time upon completing school, but with only a couple of investments under my belt and limited cash and knowledge, it would have been a huge uphill battle.

Here’s why I’m glad I decided to wait three years:

Money

Just like many of you who have made wise real estate investments and lived below your means, I have a lot more money than I did when I first started out, both in terms of savings and monthly income from my investments.

Even our personal expenses have gone down as my wife and I have just recently cut our housing expenses in half by moving from the suburbs to a more rural area.

Our monthly income is still pretty low, but with having such low personal expenses, we’re able to cover all of our expenses right now without dipping into savings.  We also have the savings to bail us out of trouble when the time comes.

Related: How to “Hack” Your Housing and Get Paid to Live for Free

Business Model

My business of buying mobile home with land properties has been refined many times since I got started.  My first investment was a mobile home only and I quickly decided that this business wasn’t for me.  I then bought a couple of mobile home and land properties before I was distracted with mobile home parks for several months.  I went back to investing in mobile homes with land and have focused on these since.

This struggle with focus was difficult for me and I know this is a common problem for investors and entrepreneurs.  However, by working full-time, I didn’t have to worry about where the money was going to come from to pay bills while I was still trying to figure out the investment best suited for my goals and personality.

It’s amazing how much our business has changed in terms of strategy, such as how we acquire, market, and sell properties as well as the various members of our team.  I’m glad that these growing pains occurred at a less risky time period.

Emotional -> Logical Decision

By waiting a few extra years and allowing my business to continue to grow unencumbered, I could make a logical decision to leave my job instead of an emotional one.

When I first started investing at 21, the belief that I could make it immediately as a full-time investor would have been purely based on my own brashness and overconfidence in my abilities.  My wife and I would have had some crazy stressful times and maybe we would have made it, but I’m glad we waited.

I actually planned my exit a year in advance, just simply talking it over with my wife frequently and continuing to crunch numbers to figure out where we needed to be financially.  This really helped relieve the anxiety we shared about this critical decision.

By the time I told my boss I was leaving until my last day, my wife and I were both calm and at peace with the decision.

Related: How to Start Investing In Real Estate at a Young Age (or a “Young at Heart” Age)

Summary

For those who are considering leaving their jobs, I hope this helped a little.

It’s a tough decision, but my advice is to make sure that you are realistic with your abilities and that you make a logical decision to leave your job instead of an emotional one.

What do you think? When will you quit your job? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Phillips May 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

Hi Aaron! What a lovely post! This is the dream of many of us on the board, and I like how you did it in measured steps. I would love to hear more on how you crunched the numbers, and how you built up to finally letting go! That would be an awesome experience to learn from! Great job!

Reply

Aaron Kinney May 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Hey Lisa, I really appreciate the kind words and as a fellow investor in the affordable housing niche, I’m enjoying the content you are providing. I think it’s really shining a light on this area of investing and proving that it’s not as scary as some of the horror stories might lead you to believe if proper systems are put in place.

I’d be happy to go into more detail about what actions I took to get to this point. Actually, that’s a great idea to write a follow up post. Thanks Lisa.

Reply

Lisa Phillips May 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

I 100% agree with you. Checked out your blog, and I believe I have JUST as much to learn from you in this space. Its so wide open, and so lucrative, I really appreciate when there is someone else to learn from in this space. Thanks, and I will be getting that ebook :-)

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Paul Salmela May 7, 2014 at 8:50 am

I have been struggling with this lately. I’ve been in corporate america for 20 years. 5 years ago I started buying rental properties and I have enough income coming in to pay all our expenses but I’m having a hard time quitting my job (The extra income is nice to pad our savings). I’ve been saying for over a year that I’m going to quit soon but I keep procrastinating. Soon I’ll quit just like you did!

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Aaron Kinney May 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hey Paul, that’s awesome! Congrats on getting to that point with your real estate business. You’ve probably done this already, but my advice is that you begin to talk with your close family and friends about this decision. Try to get all of your fears out in the open. Then set a time line to quitting your job whether it be 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc…

For me, talking to my wife about this decision a year in advance was a huge help as it slowly brought her onboard each day. By the time I informed my boss of the decision to leave, my wife and I had very little anxiety and were simply ready to start this new chapter.

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Dawn Anastasi May 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Here’s one tip I’d like to throw out there — take all your income from real estate activities and use that in your checking account to pay bills. Then take all your W2 income and put that into a savings account. If you have a nice savings account for emergencies, etc. and you can actively work off just your real estate income, then you know you’re ready.

Make sure you plan for the things you might not actively be thinking of – taxes, health insurance, dental insurance, any company benefits like cell phone, meals, etc.

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page May 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Nice approach Dawn! I’ll copy and paste that advice.

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Gary Ennis May 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hey Aaron, great post. I recently made the leap after spending 22 years in corporate marketing. It was a very measured process, with the decision coming together over a number of months of discussions with my wife (who is fully on board and actually is looking to quit her job to focus on REI full time, as soon as it makes sense). The fact that I was very burned out on corporate life made the decision to jump a bit easier as well. :)

We own a couple of rental properties, and have a few rehabs under our belt, plus we’ve got many years of experience in marketing / lead generation / websites, so we feel pretty well positioned to tackle the challenges ahead of us. But of course, every individual’s situation is different. It’s always great to hear stories about others who have taken the leap into REI full time!

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Jordan May 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Im taking the steps and I am out in 6 months, You have to have a plan. Great Article

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Chuck H May 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Oooh. Great idea @dawn anastasi. Ive often wondered i would “stress test” my strategy once i got to my income level goals. Ive wondered how im going to pull the rip cord as well. Im still enjoying my corporate life with expense accounts and national travel. Ill just keep blasting away until i get outsourced like everything else.

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Sara Cunningham May 9, 2014 at 8:39 am

My decision to quit work and just focus on Real Estate was not what I expected. Unfortunately I became ill and was off work for 4 months. It was while I was on disability and having to survive on the lower income that we realised that I didn’t need to go back to work. We now have 15 ;properties and I can spend more time making better investing decisions. I don;’t know if I would have done this if the circumstances I was in hadn’t happened but I’m so glad I am where I am now. My husband still works full time but will be able to retire at 55.

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Kamar August 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I agree, you must be ready. I’ve been in the game for about 10 yrs now and I found flipping to be a good way to prepare and insulate your savings when you are ready to leave your job.

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