The Surprising Lesson a Six-Figure Salary in My 20s Taught Me About Wealth

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If you do a Google search for the phrase, “how to make more money,” you will get a search result of over 1,660,000,000.

If you did another search for the term, “how to be fulfilled,” you’ll only get 64,600,000, which is a difference of 1,595,400,000.

Now, I’m not making a case that life should be determined by the search queries of the almighty Google, but I think I can safely suggest that it demonstrates the fact that people are pretty obsessed with the idea of making more money.

Even here on BiggerPockets, a lot of what we see focuses on the topic of making more money in order to gain “the freedom” and “the lifestyle” we want. Today, I want to challenge this by getting you to think about the whole concept of “money” and asking yourself if you are sacrificing true fulfillment to achieve a higher net worth.

My experience has shown me that though most of us believe that money will bring true freedom, satisfaction, and fulfillment, it never does.

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Growing Up, I Wanted to Be Wolf-of-Wall-Street Kind of Rich

When I was 23 years old and fresh out of college, I had gotten a teaching degree, but boy, was my heart set on being a businessman!

Back in my day and age, the term “lifestyle design” hadn’t been coined yet, but being naturally more of an entrepreneur, I unknowingly came up with my version of the concept.

I remember I sat down and created something I called a “lifestyle chart.” It was essentially a collage of all the things I wanted to achieve in the different areas of my life. I remember putting pictures on there of a silver Dodge Viper, three different mansions, a luxury motorcycle, and an engagement ring the size of a Ring Pop (I wasn’t married but had hopes to lavishly spoil my future wife).


Everything on there pointed to my desire to make a lot of money and have luxury material possessions. At that time in my life, like most people, my entire view of life was measured by how many zeros were in my bank account. Even though I dreamed of being rich, I was actually dead broke back then, and I simply lived for the next 100 dollars to get me to the weekend.

I remember being on a first date, and my debit card bounced! How embarrassed I was to have my date pay for our dinner. Yes, I was that type of “broke.” I remember feeling “less-than” a lot back in those days. I used to think a lot about what it was that made rich people rich: What made them so successful?

Related: Working With Purpose: How I’ve Found Focus By Developing My “Why”

I wanted to be as confident and cool as they were. I wanted to have the biggest house on the block, drive the fanciest car, and be the guy who walks in the room and people turn their heads to see. At that time in my life, I remember saying to myself, “If I could just get $5,000 in the bank, then everything would be different!”

I came up with this number because my parents were both teachers, and I remember my dad saying that he didn’t remember when his bank account ever had more the $5,000 in it. So in my mind, $5,000 was a lot of money!

So I set my sights on that goal. At first, I tried a number of different things. I flipped cars, stereo systems, bikes, you name it. I tried a couple of different network marketing businesses, which I completely failed at. I even started a DVD business that ended up a disaster.

Eventually though, all of my entrepreneurial efforts did lead me to achieve that goal of $5,000, and that turned out to be the money I used to buy my first real estate deal. Once I had reached my goal, it wasn’t long until I realized $5,000 doesn’t go as far as I thought it did. So, naturally my goal changed.

I went from wanting to have $5,000, to wanting $10,000, and then $15,000, then $20,000, to eventually having a long term goal of having a net worth of a million. It was never enough! The more money I made, the more money I felt I needed.

Well, real estate was very good to me, and I was able to reach a decent level of wealth within a few years. I had made it to that big “six figure income” that you read about on “Yahoo” articles and other places online. For me, that was BIG money. I was in my late 20s and had the big house, the nice car, and the big boat on top of it.

I wore all designer clothes, had a live-in girlfriend at the time, and man, I felt like finally I had really made it! But you know something?

It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be…

Money in and of Itself is Empty

At that time in my life, I was working seven days a week. My girlfriend had become pregnant with my first born and because I was working so much, I wasn’t really able to be there for my family. Work was constantly on my mind, and now there was something else weighing on me: money!

You see, a lot of people think they want to make a lot of money so that once they have it, they never have to worry about it again. But for me, once I had money, that’s when the real worrying started. I had to manage it and make sure people weren’t taking advantage of me. I had to “make sure” I didn’t lose it, and this worry was always on my mind.

A lot of the time, even today, I find myself thinking WAY too much about growing and protecting the money I have. But you know what’s funny? When I was broke, I never really thought about money because, well, I didn’t have any. It’s interesting to me how sometimes people with little financial support can be so wealthy in other ways. Honestly, I have seen some of the poorest people actually be far happier and stress-free than I have been myself.

So getting back to the story, at this time in my life, my business was flourishing, and if someone on the outside were to look in, they’d probably say I was successful and doing really well for myself. But the truth was, I was broken, and my family life was falling apart.

To make a long story short, my girlfriend ended up leaving me, and on that day she left, I remember sitting in that big house, with that big boat and fancy car, alone with my two-year-old, feeling 100% helpless and miserable. I had the money, but at what cost?

This was not the “success” that I had dreamed of.


The Turning Point

This became the turning point in my life and my faith journey, and over the last several years, my perspective has really changed. The truth is, money doesn’t bring you freedom. Money doesn’t bring you success. Money doesn’t bring you meaning or make you happy.

All that money does is amplify the stuff going on within you.

Another story that I think demonstrates this point well is the tale of Roy Raymond. Roy founded the store Victoria’s Secret in San Francisco in the latter part of the 1970s. Over the next few years, he expanded the company to six stores, a 42-page catalogue and an annual gross income of $6 million.

Due to some marketing efforts that were causing the company to lose money (he was targeting men as his customer base instead of women), Roy ended up selling the company in 1982 for $1 million. As you know, the company ended up turning around and becoming one of the largest retail stores in the U.S.

In my opinion, for Roy to sell his business for $1 million is a great accomplishment. Financially, I’d say he was at the top of his game. But for Roy, it was different. Tragically, after a number of failed attempts at different business ventures post his sale of Victoria’s Secret, Roy ended up broke and depressed, ultimately leading to his suicide in 1993.

Now, I don’t know if the money had everything do with Roy’s decision about taking his life, but I would ask the question, “If Roy never had made a million dollars and lost it, would his life ended up different?”

I have seen many stories of money being a blessing, but as in the examples I have shared, money can also be a curse for some people. My goal behind this post is to bring us all back to our “why.”

Why are you pursuing a business in real estate?

What is the real reason you are doing what you are doing?

If your ultimate goal is simply to have a lot of zeros in your bank account, I have to tell you that once it’s achieved, you will feel empty, and there will be no end to your toil. You don’t come into this world with money, and you definitely don’t take it with you when you leave.

Related: Developing Your “Why”: How to Work for MORE Than Just Money

Money, business, this life, it’s all temporary!

I want you to humor me for a moment, and I want you to imagine that you are many years in the future. You are old and on your deathbed. What will you be thinking about right before it’s your turn to pass?

Will it be how much money you made? Will that really matter then?

What will really matter is the relationships that you had and the impact you made on those around you.


Now, before we finish up this week, I want to be clear that I don’t think that money is in and of itself a bad thing. The fact is, money can be a huge blessing and a power to bring a lot of positive change to the world.

Now that I have my “why,” all the money that I make should be directly tied to it.

However, if you live and breath for the growth of the zeros in your bank account, I want to pose a challenge to you: What is it that actually brings you freedom, fulfillment, and joy? What is your purpose in life?

Whatever your personal answer is to these questions, it is that thing, that should be the ultimate goal of your life.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]

What are the aspects in your life that drive you to be a successful investor?

Let’s talk in the comments section below!

About Author

Brett Snodgrass

Brett Snodgrass is a licensed real estate broker and wholesaler who hails from the Indianapolis metro. His mission in life is to glorify God by serving as many people as he can through his real estate business. He has a pretty active community growing on Facebook and is also the founder of Come check it out now and connect!


  1. Gregory Hiban

    I think that you are barking up the wrong tree here. Most people come on BP because they enjoy real estate so much they spend their free time learning more about it and helping others. Why else would so many people who have done dozens or hundreds of deals and made millions take their time to have in-depth discussions with novice investors. This is one of the ways they feel fulfilled. Many even log in while they should be working because they’d rather be thinking about real estate all day.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thanks for the comments Greg. You might be right in your comments, but I feel you also hit the head on the nail in what I was talking about. The whole article was about developing your “Why”, and if your “Why” is just money, it will end up empty. Many investors do come on BP to help others and have great in-depth conversations to help others. One of the purposes in life might be to “Give Back” and to help and teach others. They can definitely find fulfillment in that, and that could be part of their “Why.” So what you basically said in your comments, to me meant, “Investors would rather come on BP, have great conversations, build relationships, give back, and they find fulfillment in that.” They might find more fulfillment in that, than just making a pile money and having that as their ONLY GOAL. So I think I agree with your comments. Thanks again for reading. Brett

      • Shannon M.

        This was an outstanding article! Thank you for the reminder! I believe in living a simple life and am constantly keeping myself in check with wanting bigger and better. I consider myself a pretty grounded individual but we do live in a society that focuses SO much of our time and energy on material things. This is such a great reminder of keeping that “why” in the forefront. Even those with good intentions can get caught up and carried away.

    • Katie Rogers

      There are plenty of people here whose priority is money. Some of them sneer at people like me who promote the Golden Rule. They use terms like “your ‘beloved’ Golden Rule.” If you give people a good-quality place to live at reasonable rent with reasonable rules (in other words if you treat tenants the way you would want to be treated if you were a tenant), the money follows.

    • Michael Woodward

      Greg, If you haven’t run into your “why” in life yet, then this article might not make any sense to you. My bet is that eventually you’ll be confronted with the question of “why am I doing….(whatever)” and you’ll change your focus on life. When you say that Brett is “barking up the wrong tree”, I think that means that you just haven’t seen this tree yet. Biggerpockets is a great network of real people that sometimes want to express their outlook on life. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue your billion dollar dream if you want to, it just gives some life-perspective.

    • As many others have pointed out, this is a great article.
      If someone were skimming this post, it might come across as you dissuading people from focusing on wealth building, but obviously, you’re trying to get people to expand the scope of their desires past (only) money. I find it refreshing to see posts like this scattered among the more calculated posts on wealth building. It’s perfect for building perspective.

      The article especially hits home for me, as I have found myself in a very similar situation. I’m trying to build a career that goes beyond a 40-hour 8-5 kind of work week, and I’ve just acquired my first investment property, and I’ve started graduate school to aid my career work. It’s a lot of work and if I take any time off, I feel guilty, but working so hard for so long now has caused me to lose a lot of interpersonal opportunities and my girlfriend ended up leaving me because I wasn’t able to give her the attention she needed.
      It can be depressing as hell, but thankfully, I’ve been really looking at why I do what I do, and thankfully, I don’t do what I do because I’m chasing a bigger paycheck. I still view money as a metric for my success, but it isn’t why I’m trying to be successful.

      Thank you for the insightful article, Brett!

  2. Grant Berthold

    Great article! It’s so important to keep it all in perspective. I LOVE working on my properties and hunting for deals, but sometimes I just need to just put that aside and spend time with my family and friends. A person’s legacy is so much more than their net worth.

  3. Mike J.

    Thanks for sharing your story Brett. And great point about the story on the founder of Victoria’s Secret.
    There are so many different ways to look at that. Some can view it as he made $1,000,000. While others can view it as, he could have potentially made hundreds of millions if not more. The bummer of the story is that he ended his life and none of it really mattered.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thanks Mike,

      Yes I agree it’s all relative. For example, I don’t necessarily consider myself wealthy, and If I cruised around in a multi-million dollar housing addition, I would think “These people are rich.” I live in a pretty modest $150K home in Indiana. But if someone from a third world county came and saw my house compared to what they live in, they would think “Wow, he is rich.” So it’s all relative to your view. Thanks again for the comments. Brett

  4. Nathan Eckles

    I agree. The more you make, the more you think you need. You get comfortable with your current lifestyle, and it makes it harder to give it up. Over the past few years, I’ve left my lifestyle level, even as I’ve increased pay at my day job, in order to just fund more real estate deals. The plan has always been to have enough passive income to pay the bills, so that I can free up the time to work real estate full time, and spend more time with my family. It’s encouraging, the more I read about members able to quit their day jobs. Don’t get me wrong, my day job is fairly enjoyable. It’s the time suck it has on my personal life that I have a hard time with, along with the “all my eggs in one basket” feel of a career in a location with few job options, if my company left town or let me go. So, I guess my “why” is the freedom of my time, and freedom to make choices, not a particular dollar amount.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      AWESOME NATHAN!!! Thanks for the comments, And I wish you very much success in achieving your “Why”. I know that I personally worked another job while I was in really estate for a year and half, and it’s a big risk to go full time. I had to get to a point where I knew that my real estate income would match my job income and more before I went full time. I know it’s a big decision. I wish you well. Thank you for the support in reading the blog and commenting.


  5. Good morning Brett, So to me it seem you’re a born again christian and thinking money is the rule to all evil.
    I wish I had money, I had a chance to become a millionaire back in the 80’s. I brought the material from Mike and Irene the first married couples who talking about real estate on TV. My wife and I brought the cassettes and when home try to study it. I didn’t not finish the first cassette because my wife wanted to go out and try to buy a duplex with no money in our bank acct and no credit to stand on.
    I wasn’t comfortable by all means, to put my name on something I don’t know nothing about, so the material sat on the shelf. I was in my 20’s and now I’m 55 Yrs old, with kids and grand kids, and my girlfriend kids wish one day to be married. Plus she has a son with down syndrome who need special education, That I don’t have the money for. there’s a lot of people that came across my path in my life time that I wish I could help. if I had the money. my wife I mention, well she died of lupus in 2010 at the age of 47. Right now I’m so much in debt with a large family, I don’t make enough to see things through. and yes I would love to be rich, if I could get another chance. and yes I was a born again christian.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Hi Del Amar,

      My friend, I’m so sorry that you’ve been through so much. I really don’t know what to say exactly in response to your comment, but I do want to communicate that I hear you, and I can see that you have been through a lot and for that I’m truly sorry.

      I am believing that your situation will turn around.

  6. Tommy DeSalvo

    This article really sums up a discussion my friend and I constantly have, and have yet to resolve. He wants to make a ton of money, make businesses, and then keep increasing his wealth because, as he puts it, “What’s the point of limiting yourself and not making more and more money, just because you can. Why ever be satisfied, if you could do more?” My counter argument is that making money, starting businesses, constantly growing my wealth, is not my end goal. I have specific goals to reach, and then I want to pursue my other hobbies and dreams. Real estate is the vehicle in which I’ll achieve my freedom. To me, financial freedom is actually freedom of time and purpose.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Tommy, thanks so much for the comment!

      I couldn’t agree with you more. If all you do is make more and more money, at the end of your life you’ll just end up with a pile of money and nothing else.

      Totally spot on regarding your definition of financial freedom too.

  7. Zach Barnes

    Eh, not so much. You didnt have a purpose and clear goals, and seems like you had difficulty scaling your business and thus the resultant high anxiety. If this money in and of itself thing is true I urge you to give all your cash and possessions to someone else and then you will be able to live a fuller life. Just because you felt empty doesnt mean other people will. That was a reflection of you at the time, not what your bank account did to you. If youre empty, money just makes you even less tolerable and wont add anything to you on that level, however, if youre content and happy its not going to make you any less so. Theres a difference between the person and the bank account. Seeing my accounts certainly helps me feel more secure and confirms Im on the right track, ymmv.

    Lots of people want to make tons of money but dont want to work for it…and that just too bad, unless you can create something that really has zero marginal cost or time after the initial work (software, music, etc…) you have to work pretty hard to keep things coming in. For most people who will achieve wealth it will still be tied into a career that is for the most part linear in their ability to make money, more time=more money, but time is finite and saving/investing does the heavy lifting.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Hey Zach,

      I’m definitely not trying to offend you, or anyone in my stance on this post.

      I’m simply speaking from my own personal experience.

      For me, money should be a means to an end, not the end-all-be-all in itself, and when I first started out, it was for me.

      The goal in this post was to help new and aspiring investors, keep their sights on things that truly matter and not live for making a bunch of money alone.

      I don’t have an issue with people having a lot of money, obviously, but what I have seen is the love of money destroy a lot lives, including my own, and I wanted to warn against that.

      Hope this helps clear some things up!

      Thanks for the comment!

  8. David Rundle

    Finding your why is extremely important. It’s important to know that the money will set you free. Set you free from the rat race, your day job, your bills, etc. You have to look inside to know what to do next. Will you stop investing when you can be the person who is in the position to help a family member with medical bills? Will you stop investing when you can donate money to help the poor/hungry? Will you stop investing when you can donate large sums of money to make a difference at your college and help future generations?

    Money is what sets you free, it’s up to you on what you do once you’re free. Personally, I’ll never stop investing. I’ll never stop giving.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thanks for the comments David, I think that you put it well, when you mentioned all the things that money can do. I truly believe also, and that is a part of my “Why” is to give generously. I like how you mentioned that the “Money” that you make can help in many different ways (Feeding the Poor, a family member)… and I also love doing those kind of things. I bet your “Why” definitely has something to do with Giving… I agree with you in your comments that Money can Set you Free, but it also can be a “trap” if you let it… like I did at one point and let it control me… It sounds like you have your head on straight and are generous, and the $ that you make can really amplify that!! Thanks again David.

  9. Monty Powers

    Brett, great article and one that should make all of us stop and consider the purpose we have in our lives. Our Maker had one purpose for us and we have one as well though they may not be the same. As we age, our focus will typically shift based on many factors and you have touched on several here. Having a pile of money big enough to take a nose dive in is great but it doesn’t buy ultimate happiness, just the trapping of it. And now that I think of it, why is it called the “trappings”? Most likely because once you get used to having and living in that fashion, you become obsessed in protecting that way of life. I am not an ultra rich person nor do the people who love me care about that. However, they do care about seeing me happy and with a smile on my face. Not always easy to do when the real estate market is upside down and all of my buyers decide to rent rather than close on the home that we painstakingly chose and made an offer on. As was mentioned, on your death bed, you will most assuredly not be worried about how much money is in your bank account.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thank for the comments Monty!! Well Said… If you know my wife who is pretty “Simple”, she would say the same thing about me… She would rather have me “Present with her enjoying our time with nothing, than have a house full of empty stuff” Again, their is nothing wrong with Stuff… unless you sacrifice what you care about most to get it. Thanks again. Brett

  10. Jeff Goedeker

    Great article Brett. I try to refocus myself often but it is easy to loose focus on what is really important. For me, it’s spending time with my kids when they are this age and creating memories with my family. One of the main reasons I got into real estate was to try to create a balance in life from my day job and for something my wife and I can enjoy doing together. Hopefully we can do another deal in the near future. You’ve been great. Thanks for sharing such a personal article. Definitely needed it today.

  11. Chris Cervantez

    Thank you for sharing. I think that I’m going through a similar situation currently. I think that slowing down and really identifying the why and being able to tie that back to your daily actions is huge. It’s just so easy to get caught up in the busy work and aspirations that you lose sight why we are doing it in the first place.

  12. Pedro Santana

    Great post! It’s interesting to see how some choose to look at it very differently than you or I do, and how for others it’s hard to find a balance. Finding your “why” should really be the beginning of a series of self reflecting questions. As you discovered, financial independence is much more than being able to buy whatever you want! Thanks for sharing.

  13. German Echeverri

    I was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. I was a teenager when the mafia boom exploited, in the mid 80’s; and money became a religion for my generation; I can’t count how many people I know have died in the violence that cocaine trade bring to my country. Pablo Escobar’s son and I attended the same Catholic School, and his father paid for all the security, he bought several new cars for the directives, and build a very luxurious house for them; everybody in Medellin wanted to be like him; even me.
    After many years trying to understand the meaning of money, I see that life has leaded me in a path to teach me that the real treasures of life cost no money; it is only a tool to discover them, no matter how much money you make. At the end money today is just some printed papers, some numbers in a screen; and We exchange almost anything for them or vice versa.
    Thanks Brett for sharing Your toughts with us; I Would like to translate and share your article with my friends.

  14. Prag Patel

    All I think of when I read this article, is one of my favorite quotes by none other than Kanye West. “Having money’s not everything, not having it is”. You can call me chasing zeros anytime, it sure beats the alternative.

  15. Adam Smith

    Great article. There is always a struggle between work and home (family life). It has been our experience that money does not equal happiness because when you get the big house, someone has a bigger house. When you get the nice car, someone has a nicer car. It is a never ending battle to “keep up with the Jones”.

    To be fully transparent, we used to be spenders, thinking if we “could only make $20k more per year.” Well that happened many times over in our earlier years and it still didn’t bring happiness. Granted we got the big house and the nice car which was fun, but we would not classify it as happiness.

    Fast forward and to be transparent again, we have followed Dave Ramsey principles and have paid off everything but two mortgages. And yes we are Christians. The “why” is so important and for us the why is building a retirement and giving. We could buy a larger house and drive nicer cars (I drive a $3k Durango) but that is not important or our priority.

    We are believers that more money makes you more of what you are. It did us, we used to be spenders and when we made more we spent more. Now we are savers and givers so we save and give more.

    Just my two cents….Great article to start a good discussion!

  16. Thoriso Mashego

    I think we are comparing apples and oranges. The topic of the article points to one thing that I believe determine happiness.


    Being a millionaire in your 20’s is not going to make you happy, because being in your 20’s drives the whole identity crisis bus. I was more happy when I left my 20’s behind.

    I achieved my millionaire goal in my mid-thirties and I am more happier because I am wiser and older.

    I think our society idolises the wrong parts of our growth phase…our 20’s more than the decades when you truly have a chance at happiness, your 30’s to 50’s.

    I truly believe the happiest people on earth are typically in this group regardless of wealth status. It stems from just knowing who you truly are. Its tied to physiology and psychology.

    But what if you are trapped in a career you hate just to pay the bills? Wouldn’t money save you? Make you happier.

    When did you pick that career? Most likely in your 20’s.

    So I think the love of money is great…just forget your teens and 20’s and be happy with who you are and go make more money.

    Its that simple.

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thanks for the comments Thoriso. I do agree I am wiser now in my 30’s… I don’t necessarily agree with you about the “Love” of money is great, as I think it can turn into a trap just you allow it and it causes you to sacrifice more important things…. The article was more about “Your Why” so the question I would ask you is what is your “why”. So you are a happy millionaire… That is great, but what is your “Why” and purpose? What do you do or would like to do with your wealth… The article was written for people to think about these questions… There is no wrong answer and it’s unique to each individual. Thanks for the comments

  17. don alberts

    Brett, Thank you speaking about a subject that directly involves all of us. To be of maximum service to my Higher Power and others is my Mission. Having money will allow me to help many. But you have reminded me don’t forget about those most important to me in the process. Gob Bless. Don

  18. Steve Hoghe

    This reminds me of a parable I recently heard. A rich man goes on vacation to a third world country and sees a fisherman in a small boat bring home the daily catch to his family, cook it for dinner, and relax with them in the yard. The rich man asks the fisherman why he doesn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman responds that he likes spending time with his family. The rich man replies that if it were him, he would catch more fish and save up to buy a bigger boat. The fisherman asks why. The rich man replies so he could catch even more fish and save up to buy a fleet of boats. Again, the fisherman asks why. The rich man says so he can grow his business and make it very profitable. Once more the fisherman asks why. The rich man replies, so that he can then sell it, retire, and spend time with his family.

    It’s an old cliche that the more you have the more you want. As someone just starting out in real estate investing, I appreciate your real world perspective on this matter, and hopefully it is something that I can always keep in mind as I move forward. Thanks.

  19. Brett Snodgrass

    Thank you to everyone for your comments on this Blog Post. Our intention was to get people to think about this concept. Let’s be transparent… As a real estate investor, entrepreneur, business owner, or a guy just trying to provide, we all sometimes struggle with balance and we lose sight of “why” we do what we do… As you can see, I am a Christian Man and get a lot of my guidance from the Bible. The Bible is full of stories and verses about this subject of “Love” of Money, Money or greed controlling you to sacrifice what’s important, and verses saying you can’t Serve both God & Money… I ultimately woke up one day and asked “Why do I do the things that I hate, and not do the things that are good” (Also in the Bible) I had been trapped with the feeling of a “Big Shot” because I thought I had the Money… and I let the Love of Money Control me and I ended up losing a lot of what was important to me…

    Some of you agree and some of you don’t, and I like that because it brings good discussions… God created us different and if we were all the same, life would be so boring!

    I didn’t mean to offend or bash anyone with Money, Because ultimately Money can be a blessing as well. It can bring more generosity, and giving, and security, and nice things, and comfort, and those are all good..

    So my question to everyone as real estate investors is: Will money be your Blessing or your Curse? Will you use the wealth that you build for good and to pursue your “Why”… Or will you let your “Why” slip and lose sight of it while you are achieving your wealth, and sacrifice all that is truly important to you? This is the real question…

    Thanks again and God Bless,

  20. Blake Elder

    Thanks for sharing Brett! It was interesting to read through all of the comments here and everyone’s different take on it. I am tracking with you and believe that any business or pursuit will be limited by the motive, or the “big why”. I love Simon Sinek’s book “start with why” it has really helped me as I am in my 20’s and building a career in real estate. It is easy to get distracted by the expectations of fulfillment from getting paid well, only to discover that if that fulfillment is tied to $ rather than the reason you set out to make it in the first place the fulfillment never comes. Thanks for being transparent with this and enduring a strange swath of comments from people missing the point!

  21. TJ P.

    I enjoy my hobbies more than my “day job”. If I was able to subsist off of my hobbies then I would. Until that time, building additional income streams will allow me to focus more effort on my hobbies in the future.

  22. Great post, Brett. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to grow our businesses or better provide for our families, when, much of the time, we are sacrificing things in our lives that are irreplaceable. Missing moments we can never get back. I love where you’re coming from and as a Christian businessman with a wife and 4 kids, finding that balance of living in the now and building for the future can be pretty tricky. All the best to you, and keep it up.

  23. Brendan Morin

    Great post, Brett. Sometimes as I think about how to grow my enterprise, I do find myself dreaming of the extra 0’s at the end of each paycheck. But for me it’s less about the objects and more about the independence it will bring. As someone who currently has an absolutely soul-crushing day job, I can’t wait until those 0’s add up to enough security that I can leave my job behind forever.

    But then again, sometimes I wonder what will I do with all my free time when I get to early retirement? Pursue those 0’s out of habit? Hopefully I have enough sense to stop with enough good years in front of me and good people around me. Only time will tell.

  24. Tom MacDonald

    Brett, this is a powerful article, thanks for writing. I am working towards getting into real estate investing with the hope of achieving a level of financial security/independence. Your article reminds me that the wealth we dream of having, if ever actually realized, is best used as a tool to help others and to do fulfilling works with our lives.

  25. Tyler Chartrand

    Thanks for the post! I was always so set on achievement myself. I enslaved myself through my 20s in work and then getting an MBA. I thought i had the job i always wanted but just made me miserable. I finally landed a job in my hometown with a near 6 figure salary and thought i had it made. Wrong again, I was time poor and had no life. every morning i woke up and dreaded the thought of work. Not only was the company failing the environment was completely nasty and top down. People did not treat each other well and it was unheard of to ever challenge someone of a superior title. The turning point came last year when someone who was in my dept was bleeding cash to the tune of 500K per month (purchasing meat for the restaurants). As a supply chain financial analyst I made report after report after powerpoint, etc and nothing happened. her manager was too unwilling to admit his own mistake and things just kept at the status quo. It seemed like everyone was so afraid of the E team no one would take any sort of actions. I can’t describe the feeling but there was literally something about entering the building that just sucked the life out of you. Needless to say I left my position and took a risk. It isnt easy giving up that salary at first but I realized how empty I was and how wasteful my spending habits had become. It took me about a month straight to deprogram those years of stress and anxiety. My jaw was so tense i had migraines and my dentist told me my TMJ joint was way out of whack. I realize now that life is not about impressing others and working your way up because no one wins the corporate game it is very cutthroat and not a good way of life. Wholesaling is allowing me to build up my cash flow and am planning on investing in a duplex or triplex soon. I finally feel like i have enough time for my family and most importantly myself.

  26. Whitney Tutt

    Brett, this is a great article. I am constantly trying to tell my best-friend this on a regular basis. He feels if he had the money I had, life would be perfect. It’s so funny that people really do not understand that money does not buy happiness. It provides security, but money does not alone by happiness. A prime example would be the thousands of well off people who have committed suicide.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my money and success and look forward to what the future beholds. But I can relate to so many statements you made and topics you touched on. You hit it right on the nail.

  27. I guess I must be missing something but you made $100K/year and the Wolf of Wall Street made that much before breakfast every day. So it seems like you came up way short to have an epiphany about how meaningless it is.

  28. Norman Wright

    I’m President & founder of a new commercial RE company, something I never planned to do in my old age. It came to me in a dream one night; now I have 8 investors, a board of directors, and registered as a corporation in Delaware & California. I do it because it’s there to do, and hopefully will help new investors make money. We’ll soon know if this is to be a viable & profitable effort. No pie-in-the-sky, we’re taking it a step and a day at a time.

  29. gannayya bommali

    I liked your story brother Brett. I can relate to it very closely. I completely agree with your opinions on the money. Money amplifies what you are – that is true. Finding the WHY would help effectively use that money. The difficulties you faced are the part of the life’s journey. I ma guessing God made you to go through that in order to understand life or to find your WHY.

    I use spirituality to find my why and to understand my journey.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and may you be blessed.



  30. Anthony Gayden

    I truly believe that you can have it all. A great career, a wonderful family, wealth, or whatever it is that you think will give you the life you truly desire. The problem is that you have to make time and take care of each aspect of your life. Your relationship will fall apart if you don’t spend time together. Your physical condition will deteriorate if you don’t take care of yourself.

    I made it my goal to have it all, not just a great career, but I wanted to be physically, mentally, and emotionally a success in all aspects of my life.

  31. Greg E.

    I also reached a six figure income at 24 when i started my business. I experienced a similair anti-climactic feeling. I never went for the fancy cars or houses though fortunately i maintained my humble lifestyle. I thought much like you did until reading one of Nassim Talebs books and he said “the most valuable thing you can buy with money is your own freedom”. That really clicked with me and set me down the path to financial freedom which brought me here.

    With that said I greatly enjoy my business and the intellectual challenge investing brings me. I don’t believe in living a life you hate for any reason.

  32. Dolly Caswell

    Brett, as most of the other readers have said, your post was amazing…and God-honoring…and soooo good to have it said on this public forum. I’d like to mention BAM, (Business As Mission) a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) that shows us IF we claim to be Christians, then we are Christians 24/7, and even in our business we do all we can to show that to others. Which doesn’t mean beating them over the head with our Bible, it means caring and doing what is right, and loving sacrificially, and only then will they “get it.” Because God’s love is undeniably irresistible! If we, as Christian investors, landlords, and property owners remember that all we own really belongs to HIM, (the silver and the gold and the cattle on 1,000 hills….and the SFH and the 4 plexes and the commercial buildings, and the raw land, and the mobile home parks, and, and, and….) then we realize we are the “trusted managers” of HIS resources. And what blessings we can be part of for others, as well as receive for ourselves and our families! Thank you for writing this!

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