5 Things Mom Taught Me That Made Me the Real Estate Investor I Am Today

by | BiggerPockets.com

I was twelve years old and decided my face needed some rearranging.

Most of us have been there. Playing outside with friends, doing something probably a little bit stupid, and getting hurt in the process. For me, it was this little red scooter that I would run and jump on, sliding across the driveway at mach-10 speeds. It was the most fun a kid could have.

Until I hit a rock.

I went flying off the scooter, leaving a nice trail of remnants of my face across the driveway. As I’m sure you know – there is only one word you scream out when that happens…

(no, not “that” word…)


Like I said, we’ve all been there. Our Moms take care of us when we’re injured, protect us when we’re weak, and encourage us when we need motivation.

They also help define who we are going to be.

Being that today is Mother’s day, I was thinking of my Mom and the lesson’s she taught me over the years that helped develop me into the kind of person I am today. So this post is a reflection on that – 5 lessons I learned from my Mom that helped define the kind of real estate investor I would become.

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Never Give Up, Even When Your Face is On the Driveway

After calming me down, cleaning me up, and making sure I knew what I did wrong, Mom sent me back outside to play. Mom understood that if I didn’t get back out there on the scooter again, I’d probably never get back on it for the rest of my life.

Isn’t that just like my investing?

I screwed up a lot over the years. At any of those points, I could have given up and said “I am just terrible at this.”

However, Mom taught me to be persistant and to keep moving forward. When you make a mistake – calm down, clean up, and learn from your mistakes, and get back out there.

Don’t Take Money for Granted

Around my 7th grade year, I had some spare change in my pocket.

Pennies, nickels, dimes.

Even as a seventh grader, I knew this money wasn’t going to get me much in life. Why does it matter? Why should I keep it?

So I threw it away in the garbage. Maybe $.27.

Boy was Mom mad.

I didn’t understand it at the time, but I didn’t appreciate the value of money. To this day, I find myself keeping every penny. It’s not that I’m cheap (far from it) but rather I understand that saving a penny here and a dollar there is more about the attitude than the money. Sure, it adds up over time (but not that much -all those pennies might make a few hundred bucks over a lifetime) but it’s the attitude of responsibility that mattered so much.

Reading Makes Everything Better

After the “garbage money” incident, my mom gave me a book.

It was called “How to Handle Your Money.”

You see, whenever I had a problem, my Mom gave me a book. I had books on how to deal with bullies, how to clean my room, how to get into college.

Mom taught me the value of reading and how books are one of the best sources of knowledge. To this day, I consider reading one of the most important methods for learning real estate.

Just as mom taught me to look to books to solve problems, that’s what I teach all new investors today. Definitely check out BiggerPockets Presents : The Best Real Estate Books Ever

Don’t Gamble Your Money

When I was in High School, I went to the local casino with some friends. I’ve talked about this before, but I had a “genius” plan to make my living playing Blackjack.

When I told my Mom about my casino adventure (and yes, my plan didn’t work and I lost my money), she obviously didn’t approve.

She had seen too many people lose all their money trying to “win big” but really put themselves in a cycle of poverty because of that mentality.

It’s not about going to the casino or buying a lottery ticket, and I know lots of people who do it just for fun – and that’s perfectly fine. However, what Mom was teaching me is that it’s about becoming a person who creates their own financial destiny and doesn’t rely on the casino or the government to provide it.

To Succeed, You Gotta Hustle

Mom was a garage saler.

Even to this day, she hosts several garage sales throughout the summer and makes good money doing it.

But it’s not easy.

Mom would wake up at 3am (or sometimes not sleep at all) the whole week before the sale, as she was out getting signs up, making price tags, organizing tables, and more.

During the “off season” she was out looking for deals every weekend at other garage sales, finding the best deals and the best value, so she could turn around and make a profit.

I don’t think I really need to expand on this one, eh? Pretty obvious how I learned the art of finding a good deal.


Funny, while I was writing this I came up with a whole lot more than five, but I don’t want this to be another 3,000 word blog post so I’ll stop here! However, there are countless areas of my current real estate investing life that I can see my Mom’s hands in.

What about you? What has your mom taught you that has helped you develop into the kind of person or investor that you are today. And what are you teaching your kids so they can learn and grow as well? Definitely let me know in the comments below.

And finally, I just want to take a minute (I’m the Editor, I can do this!) to wish my Mom a Happy Mother’s Day. Everything I am today I owe to you. The dedication you spent each and every day for 18 years on molding me into (hopefully!) a valuable member or society I will never be able to repay, but I thank you for it.

Happy Mother’s Day. I love you Mom!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. My Mom & Dad gave me Vision to see beyond where I was living at and current circumstances. My parents always taught me and showed me that the world was bigger then where I was at. My parents also never let me quit when I signed up for something. They would make me go even after I broke my arm playing football. I wanted to quit but My mom made me still go to practice and participate with the team. I literally attended more practices then guys who were able to practice. My mom taught me how to read due to she was a school teacher she made sure education started at home. I know this is suppose to be about moms but I had 2 great parents… Unfortunately my mom past in 1997 when I was 14.But my father was awesome in the transition. I plan to get my father superbowl tickets for the 2014 Superbowl in NJ where I grew up…

  2. Chris Turner on

    Great article Brandon! What you said was so true!
    P.S. I still remember the day you lost your face to the cement driveway like it was yesterday. Good times. 🙂

  3. Brandon –

    It’s a pretty amazing moment when we really understand what we have learned from our moms (and dads) isn’t it? Realizing what they have taught us sets some pretty high standards for us when we become parents. Great job of honoring your mom.


  4. Brandon I really enjoyed hearing about your mom. She sounds like an incredible person. I am so grateful to my wife that has been the driving force in the man that my son is becoming. Mothers (and fathers) everywhere that take the time and give the effort it takes to raise children are the lifeblood of our future and our kids future. Bless you mothers everywhere..

  5. Glenn Schworm

    Brandon, great article and awesome tribute to your Mom. Mom’s teach us so much. it is a shame sometimes that we have to be much older to understand what the lessons were, but that is how the cycle of life goes. Great post brother.

    • Brandon Turner

      Thanks Glenn – it’s true. It’s funny – back then, I thought all those things were pointless. What’s wrong with throwing away money!? Looking back, however, there was a lot of work going on that I never understood!

  6. karen rittenhouse

    And she obviously gave you unconditional love (in spite of the fact that you threw money into the trash!!!).

    Congratulations to you and to your mom. She is obviously awesome as so are you. Good job, mom. Thanks for Brandon, he’s given so much to so many.

    And, Happy Mother’s Day.

  7. Brandon,

    The summer I was 14, I earned enough money that I could no longer be claimed as a “dependent” for tax purposes. Mom charged me room and board ($25/week) – of course, she set all this aside for later use when it came time to go to university. The amount of room & board was token, but the lesson was not lost on me.

    The autumn I left home, my parents purchased a dishwasher and a snowblower {two of my chores around the house} supposedly using the money saved on their monthly grocery bill … but that’s another story.

  8. Mike McKinzie on

    This is my fourth Mother’s Day without my mom. She passed away a couple of weeks before Mother’s Day in 2010. But two of the many things she taught me were “the love of learning” and “the importance of good record keeping.” Dad made the investments, but is was mom who kept all the records straight. Mom had her Master’s Degree in Nursing and carried a 4.0 GPA after age 40 through Grad School. Pretty good for someone who got engaged and MARRIED while still in Junior High School. And for someone who had two children and had to bury one who died from Leukemia, all before she reached the age of 20, she showed me how to really HANG IN THERE when things go wrong. She said sometime life gives you a bad hand, but you still have to play it to the best of your ability.

    Great article!

  9. Mehran Kamari on

    Great article Brandon. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman! I bet she’s very proud to have a son who appreciates the things she did to raise you right (Most kids never “truly” do). Thanks for sharing

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