As my youngest son was heading off to Los Angeles to follow his dream in filmmaking and I was attending the Equity University Networking Conference and the BiggerPockets Meet Up in Orlando, it dawned on me that we were both doing the same thing… following our Passions. Although his passion is writing and directing, he knows he has to head to where it’s all happening if he expects to make something happen in his life. He knows it will take more than just being passionate about film; he has to find his own voice. I see my son as being very fortunate because he knew at very early age exactly what he wanted to do in life.
For me, it wasn’t so easy, and I didn’t discover my voice or passion until much later in my life. Because I had a modest upbringing, I’ve always had a strong desire to be wealthy and successful. But, like many people, I was in survival mode. It seemed that my passion was to get educated and find a way to make money. It was around the time I hit 42 that I first retired and became financially free. That’s when my passion started to shift from figuring it out myself to showing others.
Finding the Freedom to Pursue Your Passions
I’ve discovered that my greater passion in life is to show others how to have freedom of their time, which to me is probably the greatest gift out there. After all, we cannot buy time, but we can use our money to work for us so we have more time to follow our passions. I believe that to have complete freedom of time, one must first attain financial freedom. This means that you would have more cash flowing assets than expenses and liabilities (I recently wrote an article on this subject, “Are You Choosing to be Poor?”). The few folks I know that have achieved this (probably less than 5%), seem to have certain things in common. So here’s just a few:
- They have the courage to dream and to follow their dreams.
- They’re willing to take risks in order to be successful.
- They choose to plan and to set goals.
- They’re active and tend to take control of situations.
- They pay themselves first in order to save money for investing.
- They love to serve others.
That last characteristic is key. As American author and businessman Zig Ziglar said “If you want to get what you want in life, help others get what they want.” In other words, the more people you serve, the more successful you will be.
But, it’s one thing to dream, and it’s another to take action.
So while I was listening to David Bach in Orlando, author of the “Automatic Millionaire” and “Smart Couples Finish Rich,” in a very humbling way he said that he wasn’t really there just to speak that weekend, but he was really there to learn about self-directed IRAs. This is a very smart guy, who was a vice president of Morgan Stanley. He was very quick to say that he knew very little about self-directed IRA accounts and that 99% of all retirement account firms did not even offer nontraditional retirement account investments, like real estate, tax liens, and notes (just to name a few). And, he was also there just to point out how lucky the 500+ or so in attendance were for being there and taking advantage of the well underutilized technique for wealth building and retirement planning. And that in fact, this was going to be the topic of his next book. Wow!
He was attending this event, which really is the hub of discussion surrounding self-directed IRA investing, in the same way my son was traveling to Los Angeles—to learn and to go to the center of the action. I was also at the conference for this reason, but it dawned on me that I was no longer coming just to learn, and self-directed IRAs had a greater hand in my success than I’ve realized.
Utilizing a Self-Directed IRA to Become Financially Free
David Bach wants to serve as many people as he can with his book. And so, too, my passion is to serve people by spreading the word about the benefits of using these accounts (Health Savings Accounts, College Funds, and Self-Directed IRAs). The money you can save by utilizing these tax-free or tax-deferred vehicles can be a large step towards financial freedom and, therefore, freedom of time.
IRA benefits include not only tax-free profits and tax deductions, but also asset protection and estate planning. Since it’s self-directed, you get to choose the investment that is right for you, based on your own personal situation. This enables you to invest in what interests you (as long as you follow IRS guidelines) rather than be limited to what interests your company.
I think that if someone really wants to be successful or change the game, it helps to take control of your IRA accounts yourself. David Bach’s statistic struck a chord with me, because I do think that if more people were aware of the benefits of accounts like Self-Directed IRAs they would make use of them for themselves and/or for their families, as many of these accounts can be passed down as well. I, too, wish that I had learned of the benefits sooner.
It was very reinforcing to travel to Orlando to become more educated with self-directed investing, as well as to meet more like-minded individuals, whether at the first BiggerPockets Orlando Meet Up at Two Jays deli, or the 500+ investors at the Omni Resort for Equity Trust. I’m not sure what has been more powerful in my life: showing folks how to save taxes with self-directed IRA accounts and invest in order to effectively build wealth, pay for their children’s college, and securely retire; the personal, tax saving benefits for myself and my family; or the overall business success I’ve attained by having this unlimited source of capital through self-directed IRA accounts and note buyers who use their investment accounts to buy notes from my company. It’s great to see how everyone we deal with on a regular basis can win in this type of business model.
My only hope now is that my sons and grandsons can take these tools and utilize them to enrich their own lives, the same way that you can too, by being able to follow your passion and achieve your goals.
If you’re not pursuing your passion—maybe it would help to network with people you haven’t met yet, people who are involved in that field or have a similar passion. I can honestly say that I am not the sole reason for my success, and I have been truly blessed along the way. What money saving strategies are you using in order to follow your passion?
Photo Credit: Thor Muller
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.