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From Financial Disaster to Real Estate Master

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
79 min read
From Financial Disaster to Real Estate Master

You probably know Brandon Turner from the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing podcast. On that show, he sounds like he’s got his life all together. But before he discovered the RIGHT way to do real estate, he made mistakes—LOTS of mistakes.

Today, Brandon shares everything he did wrong—from financing rehabs with a credit card to accumulating six figures in debt on properties he couldn’t sell.

But the most important thing Brandon did was learn from his mistakes. He read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and put the lessons learned from that book into action, paid off his debt, and started living the life he truly wanted.

This episode is for people who have made mistakes and who are in debt or struggling to find a path to financial freedom. Brandon shows you that it’s OK to make mistakes, you CAN recover, and the life you want is within your reach.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Scott: Welcome to BiggerPockets Money Podcast Show number 100 with Brandon Turner from biggerpockets.com.

Brandon: I don’t put money in a 401(k). I don’t put money in IRA. I don’t put money in a self-directed IRA. I don’t put money into a solo 401(k). I don’t put money into life insurance. I don’t put money into anything. I believe 100% in putting all my eggs in one basket. This is not popular advice-

Mindy: No.

Brandon: And here’s … Right? But I believe me personally, in putting all my eggs in one basket, and what I mean by that is one asset class.

Scott: It’s time for a new American dream, one that doesn’t involve working in a cubicle for 40 years, barely scraping by. Whether you’re looking to get your financial house in order, invest the money you already have, or discover new paths for wealth creation, you’re in the right place. This show is for anyone who has money or wants more. This is the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. How’s it going everybody? I’m Scott Trench. I’m here with Mindy Jensen, my cohost. How you doing today Mindy?

Mindy: Scott, I am having a fantastic day. And I’m so excited for this episode. First of all, hooray, 100 episodes. Congratulations Scott. That’s a big deal.

Scott: That’s right. Congratulations Mindy.

Mindy: When I was at Podcast Movement earlier, I think they said that most shows never get past 10. So, 100 is 10X, look we’re 10X-ing. But it’s just a really nice accomplishment. And I’m very excited that we have gotten to show 100. So, congratulations. And then, I am doubly excited because we have Brandon Turner on. And he’s telling… Of course there’s real estate involved in this story but this is the story that you haven’t heard of Brandon’s past. This is how he started off with money, how he royally screwed up his money and how he figured it out and is now rolling in the dough. Is that an accurate portrayal of his story?

Scott: Yeah. I mean this is just a hilarious, fun, crazy story with incredible highs where he’s living on a beach in Hawaii now, and incredible lows with six figure credit card debt. This guy has been through it all in and just had an extraordinary experience. So, he started at minimum wage, racked up… Again, six figures in credit card debt, who weighs way out of that problem? So, I mean, this is a wild ride. It’s really informative. It’s very fun. He brings a lot of energy to the table and I think you’re going to love it.

Mindy: I also think you’re going to love it. Because you’re right. He does bring a lot of energy to this story and there’s… Coming from the BiggerPocket’s space, he is the cohost of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast. He is the host of the webinars. He’s all over. He’s written like I don’t know 97 bucks or something on real estate. And you look at him and you think, “Oh, he’s got his act together.” You should listen to this show. Because he does not have his act together, at least not in the beginning.
First of all, it’s nice to hear that he’s not perfect. Because in the BiggerPocket space, he definitely has this aura of perfection. He can do no wrong or maybe that’s just me thinking that he’s so amazing. But I mean, he invested in real estate and he makes lots and lots of money. But he really, really, really started off not doing anything right. So, it’s nice to hear that you can turn it around. It’s nice to hear that he didn’t start from a place of advantage. He did not have much advantage over anything. And I guess the moral of this whole story is you should play monopoly every single day for a year.

Scott: I agree. I think that is exactly the outcome there. That will lead to great wealth.

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Okay. Huge thanks to the sponsor of today’s show. Brandon Turner, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast by yourself. This time you don’t have any hangers on Josh Dorkin like on episode 42. This is the all Brandon show. So, I’m so excited to have you talking about your money story. We’re not going to even get into your real estate. If you do want to hear about Brandon’s real estate adventures, you can go listen to his podcast, a little show called The BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Podcast. But we’re not here to talk about that today. We want to talk about you and all the financial disaster stories that you have about yourself and what a mess you were.

Brandon: All right. That was the nicest intro I’ve ever had ever. I’ve never heard you so enthusiastic to talk to me. This is great. I like podcast Mindy. This is awesome.

Mindy: I love talking to Brandon Turner.

Brandon: Usually it’s this way. It’s like, “Oh, he’s here.” And then an eye roll and then I go and talk to Scott. So, Mindy, this is great. From now on we’re going to-

Mindy: [inaudible 00:07:27] not to. I drove to the airport to pick you up.

Brandon: That’s true. And you’re like clown car. It was awesome.

Mindy: Yeah. For those of you who don’t know, Brandon Turner is 47 feet tall-

Brandon: 48.

Mindy: And I picked him up-

Brandon: 48.

Mindy: In my Acura NSX, which is a little teeny tiny sports car. That Brandon-

Brandon: I was really bigger than the car. I have my arms-

Mindy: Well, [inaudible 00:07:47] that car.

Brandon: Yeah. We had arms on each side of the car. My head was sticking out the sunroof. Yeah. It was awesome. Anyway, hi guys.

Mindy: Anyway, so, Brandon, I want to know about your money story. Everybody has heard your real estate story, how you started investing in one property and then you met… Now, what do you have like 150,000 doors or something?

Brandon: I don’t know. Like 230, I don’t know. Something like that. Whatever. I don’t want to brag, just 233 as of [inaudible 00:08:11].

Mindy: It probably is but we’re not here to talk about that.

Brandon: Yeah. I don’t know. Whatever.

Mindy: We don’t care about that part. We want to know about your finances. I know that you grew up playing monopoly. I’ve listened to so many of your shows and little bits get involved in every single thing. And I know you played monopoly like every day one summer.

Brandon: I did a lot of monopoly growing up. So, I was raised in a very, very rich family. So, my dad gave me a small loan when I got started of $7 million. And because of… I’m just kidding. That didn’t happen. Mindy, you’re muted. I don’t hear you. Mindy’s muted. It’s actually a great…

Mindy: I was going to say, “And thank you Brandon. That was Brandon Turner from the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast from episode 100. Thanks. Bye.” Now-

Brandon: All right.

Mindy: Tell me the real story.

Brandon: All right. So, I was raised in a Midwest house with Midwest parents, who ate steak and potatoes and corn on the cob every night. For those of you in the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about. And my dad’s a meat cutter. My mom did in home daycare. So, we are very blue collar, lower middle class family. And I got obsessed with monopoly when I was in high school. My friend Boon Greenley… What’s up Boon? And I would play every day. For like a solid year, we played almost every day, at least the summer. I mean, every single day of the summer. To the point where we could play an entire game in under 30 minutes, entire thing wrapped around. It was wild. We were good.

Scott: What was your parents’ relationship with money?

Brandon: So, I love my parents. My parents did not really invest other than 401k stuff. They believed that you can’t take it with you, so enjoy the money when you have it. In other words… And I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean that in a, what can you take with, what will last? And it’s memories. So, vacations, trips. So, we did a lot of… I mean, just a couple of times a year, we’d go on a big epic trip.
And it wasn’t a rich trip, it was everyone piled in the minivan and go look at South Dakota and go see the Mount Rushmore, things like that. And it was an incredible way to be raised. In fact, I still abide by that today. I’d rather have memories than money. And so, they have abide by that. Not that they weren’t irresponsible. I mean they save their money and try to do a good job but they weren’t trying to build an empire.

Scott: Got it. So, how did that translate in maybe middle and high school years with your relationship with money, aside from spending money on buying a monopoly set it sounds like. What was your relationship with money in those years?

Brandon: Yeah. I like to say my mom was a garage sale mom. So, a lot of you guys know what I’m talking about when you had garage sale moms. It means every Saturday, all the four kids get piled in the minivan and we would drive from house, to house, to house, to house going garage selling. So, everything we bought growing up always was used. Everything was handed down from other people or given to us for free or bought it to [inaudible 00:10:54].
So, what I learned was that, one, you can be happy in any situation. I mean, again, we weren’t like dirt poor, scraping food from the bottom of a dumpster. But everything was garage sale stuff. But I also learned in that about negotiation and discussion in that, no price is actually the price. That was a big lesson my parents taught me. It was like everything can be talked down, everything we negotiated. And so, we definitely negotiated.

Scott: Awesome. Did you work at all in high school or how’d you-

Brandon: Yeah. I started with a small loan from my… I’m just kidding. I’m just going to keep bringing that back. No. I did work. I worked as a carry out boy at Nelson’s Market, which no longer exists. Nelson’s Market, I carried out groceries for people and I bagged them and I was a pretty good bagger. I did not win the statewide bagging competition, however that honor went to Pete Johnson. So, shout out to Pete Johnson for winning the statewide bagging competition. It’s a little jealous as of right now. So, I might enter that again soon. We’ll see. But yeah. I worked and I saved money.

Scott: So, when you earned that money, did you go further grad sailing or did you suck it away? Did you invest it?

Brandon: I think I sucked it away. I put it in my piggy bank. When you get into high school, you making a few hundred bucks a month from a part time job making 5.25 an hour. I think that all went to gas and movie tickets and whatever else. I tried to save a little bit. My mom once gave me… Actually, here’s a good story. My mom, when I was in high school, I had some change, pennies and dimes in my hand. And at the end of the day, you’ll pull your pocket. And I took it and threw it in the garbage. I was like, “These are your pennies. What do I care about pennies?” And I think there’s maybe nickel and diamond there.
My mom found that and freaked out on me. I mean, she freaked out at me and I remember her crying and scolding me and having a long parent discussion. You know the parent discussions, right? And then the way that my mom to generally would communicate truth to me, which when I think about it now, how much this impacted me and she would buy me a book. And so, she bought me a book on how to handle your money. And I don’t know if I actually ever read the book. But I remember that making an impact on me.
And to this day, if I see a penny or two, I feel like I need to pick it up and make sure I put it somewhere because I can’t throw away money. So, there’s that. My dad was also the, “You leave the room, you shut the light off.” Basically, my dad’s entire life was walking around the house grumbling about the lights being on, “Kids, leaving the lights on in this room again, you know what this is costing me?” Even today with LED lights I’m like dad. It’s literally three cents a year for this LED light to leave it on. It’s not worth me getting up. And he, “Shut that. That’s three cents that I had to work for.”
But it makes sense because my dad had a crappy hard job that he had to stand up all day long, cutting meat for people. And so, every dollar was a valuable dollar. Every penny was a valuable penny and my mom was the same way. And so, that’s how the money story started. We also did not talk about money at all. I [inaudible 00:13:45] my parents made, we didn’t talk about at the dinner table. Money is not a taboo subject but now being in a spiritual, religious faith based household, as a kid, money is the root of all evil, even though that’s a mistranslation of the verse. But they say money is the root of all evil, so let’s not talk about it. So, that’s where I was raised in.

Scott: Yeah. It’s a very unusual dad thing to talk about, making sure you turn off the lights [crosstalk 00:14:10].

Brandon: It’s very unusual. I’m pretty sure when I go to your house Scott, “Turn off the lights.”

Scott: For sure. I know exactly what I’m going to turn out to be like. So, okay. So, this is awesome. So, how did that carry through to college and post high school?

Brandon: Let me tell you. So, because of all these lessons, I was naturally really good with money. So, of course the first time I get on my own, I go off to college and I go to a Macy’s. And I’m buying a shirt and the shirt is $22. And I can save 10% if I open up a Macy’s credit card. Hell yes. I will open up that Macy’s credit card and save $2.20. I’m a college kid. And it’s amazing. They gave me a $500 credit limit on my Macy’s card. I mean, these people clearly know what they’re doing.
So, of course I buy $500 with a Macy’s clothes because I needed clothes for school and that started a very fun relationship with credit cards. That lasted a good five or six or seven years because credit’s there. It’s free money. I mean, why not use it? That’s what I always say.

Scott: Wow. Was the clothing pretty cool? Did you look pretty fly?

Brandon: No. I looked pretty fly for a awkward tall college kid.

Scott: [crosstalk 00:15:23] pictures?

Mindy: In the show notes at biggerpockets.com/moneyshow100, I am going to show you just how a-

Scott: I was cool.

Mindy: Fly Brandon looked. Was this pre or post black mullet.

Brandon: This was during black mullet. This was-

Mindy: Yeah. I’m sorry.

Brandon: I was fly.

Mindy: No. You were not.

Brandon: I was pretty fly.

Mindy: So, but this is interesting because you are Brandon Turner. You are so good with money. You’re this real estate master but were you paying off your credit cards at the end of every month or were you paying the minimum balance?

Brandon: No. Yeah. Minimum balance. Who pays out their credit cards? I mean, if you have $100 to spend on a credit card to pay it off or you can go to dinner like 23 year old, 22 year old, 21 year old Brandon, 19, 18, 17, was go to dinner or go to a movie or whatever. That’s how you do it and so.

Mindy: [inaudible 00:16:15] Okay. So, you’re in college, you’re charging up a storm like a crazy person and you get to the end of college. What does your debt look like?

Brandon: So, my parents… This was a rule for my family, we were required to go to college first of all. We all had to go to college. That was a requirement. But they would only pay for the first year. So, the first year was paid for, everything else was on me. So, I actually ended up going to five different colleges because this is actually me being thrifty or antisocial, one of the two. So, I went to five different colleges including a year in high school. And then I jumped from another community college, another community college, did some distance ed through somebody. And ended up graduating when I had enough combined credits that I brought it to a school and I did my final year there. And I was like, “I think I have enough.” And then they mailed me a diploma later on. So, that was my college. But I didn’t have-

Scott: [crosstalk 00:17:01] strategy. Was that a calculated approach to this or?

Brandon: I think in the back of my head there was always a, “I don’t want to graduate with a ton of student loan debt.” But I still ended up with 25 or 30 grand. So, I had a bunch of student loan debt. But I think it was also I just didn’t want to go to college. So, I mean this is literally how I chose my major, after three years of a bunch of random classes I’d taken at different colleges, I called them the final college but when I ended up graduating from it’s called Northwestern college, not university, it’s like a smaller school in Minnesota.
I was talking to the advisor beforehand. And I was like, “Well, here’s all my classes I’ve taken.” They’re like, “Well, if you went with a history degree, you’d get out of a semester earlier.” “I’ll take it.” So, I literally chose my major based entirely and solely upon how quickly I could get out of college. So, during that last year, then I sold plasma. Anybody ever sold plasma? You ever do that?

Mindy: No. I’ve heard it’s really painful.

Brandon: [crosstalk 00:17:54] no. It’s so good. It’s so good. So-

Mindy: [crosstalk 00:17:55] audience participation. Anyone in the audience, the two of you sell plasma?

Brandon: That’s how it is. So, no. This is the greatest thing. So, let me tell you how great life was. So, in college, a year and a half, my wife and I both lived in Minnesota. She lives with my sister. That was a nightmare. I lived with one of my best friends. That was okay. And we were basically broke college kids. So, this place would sell plasma. And here’s how they do it. They take a needle that’s the size of a pen, and they shove it in your… Yeah. It’s large. And they put it right in the inside of your elbow. And then, they suck out like a half a gallon of blood.
And then they run it through the machine, pull out the plasma and put the blood back into you. And they do this for about an hour. It takes about an hour, hour and a half of you sitting there. And this is before we had the cell phones to scroll through. So, you would bring a book or buy a little DVD player and you’d watch it. And you would get… I mean, for an hour and a half of work, $20 for doing this. That was 20 bucks. And then the second time, if you had… You can do two times a week. The second time you get $30. So, you could do a max of $50 a week. And for those math geniuses out there, that’s $200 a month. So, when my wife and I both did it, $400 dollars-

Mindy: $400 dollars a month.

Brandon: $400 a month for selling our plasma during college. And it was the greatest thing. And so, we’d go there-

Mindy: No. It’s not.

Brandon: No. It was great until Heather started passing out every time she’d go and then she couldn’t donate because her blood… It was a really great way to make money. That’s called… And to this day, you can’t see it right now but I can definitely see it. You can see on this video. I have scars on my… Yeah. So, people now, when I show them this, they ask me how I got clean. And they wonder how I got out of that lifestyle of drug abuse. So, that’s how I-

Mindy: I cannot wait to see you again so I can see your track marks. I thought you were going to say, “And to this day, I donate plasma for $200 bucks a week.”

Brandon: No. Whenever I go home-

Mindy: A month.

Brandon: To Minnesota, I drive by the place and I see it. I’m like, “Good memories there.” No. I mean, honestly, it sounds silly, right? And it’s funny story but in college, I did what I had to do to pay the bills. And so, I was willing to… That was fun money. So, all of my job, I had an overnight job. I got to actually sleep at work was great. I worked at a home for developmentally disabled adults.
So, I would stay up from, I got there eight o’clock, I’d stay up till 10:00, 10:30, sleep from 10:30 to 5:00. And then, from 5:00 to 7:00, I’d get them ready for the day and then off to wherever they go for the day. So, all that money went to paying rent and the car payment or I think I got the car payment gas, I don’t know. Whatever. And plasma money was fun money. There you go. So, lesson learned. If you want money, sell your body.

Scott: That’s a bloody insane story that you just gave.

Mindy: Stop. That’s awful.

Scott: Oh my God. Anyways.

Mindy: I want to talk one more second. This is painful, right? This plasma thing, that’s painful.

Brandon: I mean sticking the needle the size of my left foot into my arm isn’t always fun but you get used to it. Well, here’s the worst part, was that, over time you do it twice a week. It builds up… And I had to do the same spot every time. So, you build up scar tissue right over that spot, hence the wound, the permanent scar that had there. And you have to re puncture that every time, the same spot. So, every time it gets a little harder just to get in there, so.

Scott: Moving on-

Mindy: Sorry I asked.

Scott: Were there other sources of income that you had in college?

Brandon: I don’t know. I mean, just the overnight job that I had. And so, I did that up until I graduated. I graduated at some point… Again, I didn’t go to the graduation. They did send me a diploma some point in the mail, six months later when I called and asked them. And I moved to Washington state at that point.

Scott: Awesome. So, you graduate. And what’s your financial position? What’s your balance sheet look like when you graduate college?

Brandon: 30 grand in debt. Zero net worth. I own a car.

Scott: How much of that is credit card debt and how much of that is-

Brandon: It’s probably five grand credit card debt. Probably 25 in student loans. So, not as bad as some. I mean, I know some that have hundreds of thousands in student loan debt. But be 25, it’s sucked. To me it was 2 or $300 a month in payments. So, you get by, you survive, you get through it. That’s what I did.

Mindy: You said my wife. Did you get married while you were in college?

Brandon: No. We were not married yet. We were just good boyfriend, girlfriend cute couple. That was fun.

Mindy: Okay. So, when did you-

Scott: [crosstalk 00:22:23] in the Macy’s clothes?

Brandon: Yes. We both wore Macy’s clothes because that’s where we had the credit card. Oh, don’t worry. I got the PacSun card, I got the the JCPenney’s card. We got all the cards because it just makes… I mean, when you can save $2 on some clothing, I would do anything for that. I would sell my blood for $2. So, anyway, we got married about a year later, I moved up to Washington state and I rented an apartment. I remember that. So, this is my first venture into house stacking.
I rented an apartment, a four bedroom apartment. I moved out there with four buddies. We all moved to Washington and we rented a four bedroom apartment. And I rented out the other three rooms to my friends and we all split the cost four ways. And then, one of my buddies left, the other buddy left, the other buddy left. And as they left, I would bring in just random roommates. I just advertise at the college on Craigslist for roommates.
And then, I realized after a while that if I rented out my bedroom I could live for free. So, I pulled a Craig Cuelop and I lived in the living room while I rented out my bedroom so I could live for free. And so, I literally slept on the couch and rented out all four rooms in this apartment and I lived for free. Now, I’m thinking back, I should have charged more and I could’ve made money for doing that. But at least I got to live for free.

Scott: So, when you were doing this, when you moved out, was this immediate, the first place you moved to was this four bedroom apartment. And this is the first place you lived in Washington state?

Brandon: That was the first place I lived in Washington state. Yeah.

Scott: And what were you doing for work at that time?

Brandon: Cold Stone Creamery. Singing for tips. You ever been to Cold Stone? World’s best ice cream?

Scott: I have not.

Mindy: No.

Scott: Oh my gosh. You have never been to a Cold Stone.

Mindy: Do they really sing?

Brandon: What’s your problem? Yes. I don’t know if they still do. They did back then. I think they might still. Cold Stone Creamery is this amazing ice cream place where I got paid minimum wage. But I’d get like 8 or $10 an hour extra for tips because whenever somebody would tip, you would ding a bell and then everybody in the line serving ice cream, 5, 10 people would all sing a song. You’d start. Be like, “(singing). Thank you.” Everyone would clap and cheer and you’d… Anyway. Also, coincidentally that year, whenever you worked, you get a free ice cream. And their ice cream sizes are, like it, love it, got to have it.
And like it is 12 pounds and I love it is 30 pounds and got to have it that is back a pickup truck to your house and unload it. And so, I would get a got to have it size every single time I worked, which was like six days a week. So, not only did I gain some debt that year, a little bit more of the JCPenney, Macy’s stuff. I also gained 40 pounds in one year. So, that’s how that works.

Scott: Wow-

Mindy: Nice job.

Scott: Okay. So, even we even with the house hacking and then your job and the tips and-

Brandon: I’d still spend money on stupid stuff.

Scott: Okay. So, when was the next inflection point maybe where you started to change your trajectory with your finances?

Brandon: [inaudible 00:25:06]. So, let me fast forward the next couple of years. So, wife and I got married about a year later or so, I don’t know. Somewhere in there we got married. And at the time I had bought a house. So, after the four bedroom apartment thing, after I graduated college and after all those things happened, I finally settled down in Grays Harbor, Washington. It’s like the armpit of Washington state, a beautiful, just very low prices and no jobs and rough people.
And I was talking to a friend who her sister, who was there, is a real estate agent. And I was saying, “I’m looking for a house to rent.” She said, “Well, why don’t you just buy a house? It’s cheaper than renting.” And I was like, “There’s no way that’s true.” She’s like, “No. It is.” And so, I looked at the numbers and I called up a lender and they’re like… I mean, this is essentially how the conversation went was like, “So, what’s your credit like?” “I don’t really have any credit other than some massive credit card debt. I mean, for a 21 year old or 22 year old [inaudible 00:25:51] their credit card debt.”
And they go, “Okay. What’s your income like?” “I make minimum wage.” “Okay. And what else you got going in life?” “Really nothing whatsoever.” “How much savings you have?” “Nothing.” “Okay. Great. You’re approved for $300,000 loan.” This was 2007. The glory days of real estate. They just gave… They’re like, “We’ll just do a no doc loan and say that you’re a doctor.” “Perfect. Let’s do that.” And so, we did that and we bought a house. And now, luckily this bring back the garage sale mom. What I learned from my mom was that buy bargain stuff. You can buy used, you can buy junky stuff. You can fix it up even.
And so, I just asked my agent, “What’s the cheapest house in town?” And it was a $89,000 little rambler house. And I was like, “All right. Let’s get that one.” And so, we put in an offer. We bought the house. And then I went to Home Depot and bought a book called 1-2-3 Home Depot. And I went to do home improvement from Home Depot. And I learned how to do stuff. And I fixed it up a little bit. And we sold it a year later. We got married, wife moved in, roommates all moved out.
So, I was house hacking there as well. Roommates moved out, wife moved in, we sold the house, then we made $25,000. And it was enough to really like pay off the car that my wife had bought and pay for our wedding. We got married and then pay off the wedding that we’d put on credit card. And now we were adults at that point and everything was smooth sailing since then. Thank you guys.

Mindy: You’re horrible with money. Why are you on the show?

Brandon: I was so bad. Let me tell you when it changed. We’ll it bring up to the modern a little bit more. So, we started flipping houses because I just thought that’d be a fun business. So, I was watching the Flipping TV shows with flip houses. That was in ’07 and ’08. We all remember how great the real estate market wasn’t ’07 and ’08. And so, I would buy properties and it’s just the market has dropped more and more and more. And I couldn’t sell them.
So, I ended up with a few houses that I couldn’t sell, turned them into rental properties. And of course, I mean as any genius would do, I put all the repairs on credit cards for those early houses. Because I mean, come on, all the books had to do that because you’re just going to sell the house and pay it off anyway. Who cares? So, now at that point, I probably had 80,000 in credit card debt, I’m thinking after that. And I own some rental properties, which is great. And they weren’t good rental properties. So, I’m glad… I shouldn’t be saying this to you guys because you guys think that I’m good at giving advice here but this is how I started.

Mindy: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:28:21] When does he start being good with money? Because he’s a horrible.

Brandon: So, that brings me up to last week.

Scott: Wait. Wait. Wait. Let’s just go back a little bit here. So, you buy your first house, you buy 1-2-3 Home [crosstalk 00:28:37].

Brandon: I still have that book to this day. The same copy.

Scott: Yeah. You fix it up yourself. You sell it for $25,000, pay off the car and get a wedding and now you’re back to broke, right?

Brandon: Yes.

Scott: Are you making minimum wage still?

Brandon: At that point, I had moved up to a new job. I worked at a… Well, I’ll say actually, no. I had no job for a little while. I was trying to flip houses when that all crashed around me and I couldn’t do it. I had to get a loan on those houses, couldn’t get a loan without a job. So, I went back and got a job at a bank. Now, I was making $13 an hour. The most money I’d ever met in my entire life and I was rolling in it.

Scott: How old were you at this probably?

Brandon: 23, I think at that point. 23, 24. Probably 23.

Scott: So, you’re 23, you’re broke but you’re not in debt because of the house situation.

Brandon: Oh, yeah. No. I had the credit card debt from all the flips. So, [inaudible 00:29:21] the credit card debt.

Scott: Okay. Fair enough. [inaudible 00:29:22] that. Before you got to the first flip, after you sold the house, how did you get into the next property?

Brandon: Hard money.

Scott: Hard money.

Brandon: Hard money lenders for all those. So, for those who don’t know hard money, there are companies who will actually lend flippers money to buy a house. So, they would lend me the money to buy the house. I put the repairs on credit card and then I would do the work myself. Now in a perfect world, that’s fine. I’d pat the credit cards when the house sells, everybody wins. And I get some good miles out of the credit cards.
But when the house doesn’t sell and you have to go and refinance, it means go to a bank and get a normal loan on it. I couldn’t get enough of a normal loan to pay off all that credit card usually. And so, I did this like three or four times. I had to refinance all these properties. And then, I just ended up with, yeah, almost a hundred thousand dollars that they got one point in credit card debt, which is great.

Scott: So, some of our users are not totally familiar with this concept or some of our listeners. So, a hard money loan, you’re going to a private individual or a private bank and you’re borrowing at like 12, 15% interest rate, right?

Brandon: Yes. I think it was 12% interest that I’m paying the hard money lender and 12 and… No, it was 10 and 10, 10% interest. So, it sounds bad and 10% fee on whatever it is that I borrowed. So, if I borrowed a hundred grand, it was a $10,000 fee plus 10% interest per year paid monthly. So it’s really like 20% if you kept it for a year. So, [crosstalk 00:30:47] deal.

Mindy: I can do those loans for you anytime you want Brandon.

Brandon: Hi. I bet you can.

Scott: And then you’re financing the repairs with the credit card [crosstalk 00:30:56] credit.

Brandon: Yeah. I’m sure high 20s. Because this was all mostly Home Depot cards. So, I think I have… Still to this day, I never canceled any of them. I think I have five home Depot cards that I would just max out. Because Home Depot is cool because they’ll give you six months of no interest, no payments. But if you didn’t pay it off in six months it would retroactively go add on 29% interest from the beginning. And I never paid any of them off when the six months because I never sold any of those properties. So, I ended up just with just tons of credit card debt.

Scott: So, you’re borrowing at rates of between 20 and 30% annually to finance flips, which are then going down in value even after you’re improving them because of the market conditions?

Brandon: Yes, and knowing what I was doing and doing all the work myself and having no time for a job. I mean, I had to finally get that job and stop flipping because there was a rough time. What was the rough time?

Scott: What was rock bottom from this exploit here?

Brandon: So, we’d sold one of our houses… We turn one of our houses in rentals. I flipped one. I bought this house, I flipped it. I couldn’t sell so I moved into it. Finally, they want to sell it and broke even on it. Just one of my other flips and I’m like, “This is bad.” I don’t know. Where am I going to live? I got to go find a rental. And at that time somebody was like, “Well, hey…” this guy now, he’s my real estate mentor. He said, “My church has a parsonage.” So, a parsonage is a house next door to a church where the pastor or the priest lives.
“We have a parsonage that is currently vacant.” Because they didn’t have a pastor at the time. They were looking for a new one. And it’s a complete rehab. It needs to be fixed up. “Do you want to live for free there in exchange you do the work to fix it up and they’ll buy materials.” I said, “That sounds like a great solution.” So, I moved in there and I did all the work. And at that point, I don’t remember how I got connected with it. I think I actually might’ve watched a YouTube video from Dave Ramsey. I mean, this is low point, right? I’m still buying rentals at this point. I think I have at this point half a dozen… I even had a dozen rentals at this point.

Scott: And you’re not using them because you want to buy rentals. You’re doing them because you can’t sell them on profit.

Brandon: Yeah. I couldn’t sell them. Yeah. A couple of-

Scott: And you could refinance them.

Brandon: Yeah. A couple of them were actually like rentals that I actually wanted. Because at this point I realized… So, here’s what I remember when I bought a duplex early on. And I lived in half of it and I rented the other half out. And I remember my tenants walking over and handing me $650 in rent. And I remember holding that money. Now, I don’t take any cash anymore. That’s silly. But I held this money and I’m like “This $650, my mortgage is 620.”
And I remember I had that duplex living for free. I remember this thing is hitting me like, “Oh my gosh. I’m living for free and if I move out of here,” which I did. “Now anything above that is just pure profit. And if I just own a hundred of these… ” Or I think it’s damn. “If I own 30 of these, I could retire. I could just quit my job.” And that’s when I really jumped in to buy rentals. Because I set a goal, I’m going to buy 30 units and started doing so.

Scott: You discovered that concept in that moment or was there a book or other?

Brandon: There were many books, many books. But I remember that one. That’s when it became a real. I mean, when I got into real estate, the very first time, very first house, I read a hundred books. I went to the local library and I got every single book they had over the course of a summer. And that’s all I did all summer long was read a hundred books on real estate. Every book in the entire library system with all the other libraries in the area, they would ship their books in because I would just reserve them. And I read a hundred books on real estate one summer because I was obsessed.

Scott: And so, was that before or after you had that concept happen?

Brandon: That would have been before that concept happened. So, I knew in my head how that worked. But it wasn’t until I held that money that I was like, “Oh, this is…” In most of the books I read were on flipping. Because at the time, I feel like flipping was all the rage. There were like 400 shows on flipping. All it was was slipping, flipping, flipping, flipping. So, that’s what made me think I’m going to just buy rentals. And that’s when I got into the rental world.

Mindy: I want to know how you convinced your new wife to continue to allow you to buy these properties that you can’t sell. You’ve got $100,000 in credit card debt. I love real estate. I have always loved real estate. I will always love real estate. I would not have let you, Brandon Turner, be my husband and continue to buy all this with $100,000 in credit card debt and houses you can’t sell that are worth less than you bought them for after you put more money into them. So, not to be judgy but how did you convince her?

Brandon: Yeah. The short answer is, my wife has unwavering faith in me. So, that’s the one thing. Here’s how I… In the same way I communicate to a lot of people and how to convince your spouse to do anything money related. Because money is a hard thing with spouses. I believe that media is probably one of the best ways to convince somebody. Because if you tell somebody something like your spouse like, “Hey. We’re going to go buy rental properties or we need to save more money,” they’re going to be like, “Whatever. I’m not going to do that. You’re just telling me what to do, [inaudible 00:35:37] to do.” So, I asked her to read Rich Dad Poor Dad. And that was one of the first books I read had made a big impact on me. And so, I had to read that.
So, at least we’re in the same mindset. It changed her mind the same way it’s changed millions of people’s mindsets over the years is reading Rich Dad Poor Dad I think helped a lot. And both of us trusted the process. We knew that the process worked by acquiring assets that produced positive cashflow. And then over time those properties would go up in value and the mortgage be paid down. We knew that if we just trusted that long enough to hang on, we would get through it. And now, every month, every day I’d be like, “Oh, this is not working.”
But I trusted the process that someday it would work. And I really believe that. And it worked. I mean, it did over time. And it takes a lot longer than people think. It’s been 14 years now. And now those properties produce really nice cash flow. And they’re worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than I paid for them. But it’s taken me 13 or 14 years now. And some of them still are worth what I paid for them. Some of them have not gone up at all because I bought in crap areas. But some of them have.

Scott: So, with this, when you had this inflection point, when you hold that money in your hand, what about your behavior or strategy changed in the months following that inflection point if anything?

Brandon: I think it just became a matter of we’re going to buy more of these. I mean, that’s the biggest thing. I just said, “I’m going to buy rental properties.” This is my math in my head, if I had 30 units that each profited $100 per month per unit. So, that could be a fourplex, making $400 and eight plus $800 didn’t matter. If I could just make a profit after all the bills have been paid of $100, I just needed 30 of them to be able to quit my job and retire.
Because $3,000 a month was enough to at least live in a cheap area and pay my bill. I call it a level one financial freedom. It’s like, I can pay my bills and survive on my cashflow. A little too financial freedom is like, I can buy a private jet and move to Hawaii. And level three is like, I can buy the New York jets and that’s a good level to get to as well [inaudible 00:37:41].

Mindy: That’s a big jump.

Scott: Jets though, they’re not very good.

Brandon: They’re not very big. Not very good. It’s a big goal. I don’t want that. Let me say, that’s level three, like Gary Vaynerchuk because that’s his goal, right? To buy the jets and his goal, that’s like he wants that level three financial freedom. I feel I’m at level two right now where like I can buy not a private jet but I can at least buy like a nice house in Hawaii and do whatever I want. But level three is like I could own like a kingdom. And that sounds fun. I will get there.
Anyway, I got another story though, if you want me to throw in the next inflection point. Because you asked me where was rock bottom? That wasn’t the money. Rock bottom was when I was living in that parsonage. And I watched the YouTube video on Dave Ramsey. And I mean we were struggling, we were putting food on credit. I mean, we were living for free and we were putting food on credit cards. And going to restaurants and putting it on credit card because we couldn’t pay it. And we’d get a hit with a medical thing or our dog would get sick or a cat I think at the time. And it’s like $800 for the cat. And that goes on credit card. And we just could not get ahead. And I couldn’t figure out why. And I couldn’t bear why.
So, finally I watched this video from Dave Ramsey and I was like, “Oh, that guy looks interesting.” So, I read total money makeover from Dave Ramsey. And my head exploded just everywhere. And I was like, “I did have a budget.” I don’t even know what I’m spending. And so, I downloaded my bank statement and all my spending and I categorized everything. And then, I looked at all my income. Because at the time I wasn’t making that much. Anyway, I looked at everything and I was spending $1,000 a month more than I was making. And I was always making three grand a month. I think I was spending four and making three.
So, I was 25% over what… And I was like, “No wonder. No wonder I’m barely hanging on here.” And I was living for free. So, it just goes to show you that house hacking, even if you’re living for free, doesn’t solve everything. Because if there is still a heart issue there, there’s still an envy, agree I need to have this because I want it. I’m going to go out to dinner because I want it because I deserve it. And here’s the shocking thing. That day we made a plan, we made a budget, we went hardcore, we went and we got envelopes. My wife, [inaudible 00:39:57]. We went and bought this big envelope packet and had slots for 30 envelopes. And we set a budget and we canceled all… I don’t [inaudible 00:40:08] cancel but we got rid of every credit card we had.
We put them in a safe and said, “We’re never going to use another piece of plastic until we’re out of this mess.” When I get my paycheck, I’d go take it all in cash. And we would divide up the money into these little envelopes based on what we had that month and everything got paid cash. And it’s drastic, right? I mean even Dave Ramsey had suggested this, but it’s super drastic. But drastic times call for drastic measures, right? And here’s the remarkable thing, is that as soon as I did that, I didn’t notice a change at all in my lifestyle. Nothing.
Actually, all of a sudden I was making an extra thousand dollars a month instead of losing an extra thousand. So, all of a sudden I was spending like two grand instead of four. But where did that two grand go? I have no idea. To this day, it doesn’t make any sense. Logically, that makes no sense. But just spending cash subconsciously made me spend less money and seeing what I was spending… So, somehow I just spent thousands of dollars a month less than I was before. And we had traction again. And we could start saving and we can start paying off debt. And that’s when everything changed.

Scott: Awesome. So, you start saving and what is the first thing you do with the surplus? What was the action plan? Did you follow up baby steps?

Brandon: I mean, for the most part, we followed the baby steps in that we went and got, I think emergency fund. First we’d save up 1000 bucks for an emergency fund. Took and started paying off the lowest credit card debt. Now, I didn’t have a hundred grand in credit card debt just by saving $1,000 a month. That would have taken me forever. What I did, was I got better at business. I got better at the flipping houses thing, not significantly better but enough that we started flipping a few houses a year, making 15, 20, $25,000 on these flips. And over the course of about three years, we paid off all of that credit card debt, mostly using flips and a few bars in there. A few what we call bars, it’s like you flip a property but instead of selling it, you just hold onto it and you go to a bank and get a new loan. So, you just pay off the old loan. Anyway, that’s how I paid it all off.

Scott: So, during this process, you hit rock bottom, you start saving, you’re still working at the bank at this time?

Brandon: Yes. The bank was during this time. Yeah.

Scott: And do you work in the bank the whole time while you start flipping two or three houses a year?

Brandon: It was around… I only worked at the bank for I think 18 months or something like that. So, I quit at some point. Here’s why I quit. Because in that process of the flipping and the paying of the credit card debt, so, we were still in quite a bit of credit card debt. If I had to guess, 50 grand still in credit card debt. When you do what any 24 year old… I think I was 24 at the time. When any 24 year old with 50 grand in credit card debt does is, I went out and bought a 24 unit apartment building. And I did the whole thing for no money down, like basically no money out of pocket. I bought this 24 unit.
But what that did… And I could go into detail if you want to know how I did it but I use a variety of creative strategies but I bought this and all of a sudden I had an extra three grand a month coming in or $2,400 a month because it was about a hundred dollars per unit in income. And combine that with the other rentals now that we’re producing a little bit of cashflow, I now had $3,000 a month in actual revenue coming in. And I was still only spending about two grand. So, I said, “All right. I did it. Level one financial freedom.” And I was able to quit my job in there. So, yeah.

Mindy: Okay. I don’t want to derail this but I do want to derail this. Your story sucks. You’re horrible with money. I have $100,000 in credit card debt and I don’t know how I’m going to pay it off, so why did I just go buy another house that isn’t worth anything?

Brandon: There you go.

Mindy: So, knowing the end, it’s a really incredible story but what made 23 year old Brandon think that he could possibly buy a 24 unit apartment complex? Not 24 year old Mindy right now. Doesn’t feel like I could go out and buy a 24 unit apartment complex by myself with no money down just because. Why did you-

Brandon: Fortune favors the bold, Mindy.

Mindy: I guess. But I mean, I know you personally, I don’t want to say you’re cocky because that implies… I mean, you’re not cocky. Cocky is a jerk.

Brandon: I’m confidence.

Mindy: You’re very confident. But you just had these little ones and twos. How could you go from that to 24. 24 units is a big, it’s not a small multifamily, that’s a medium at the very smallest. I mean, that’s still-

Brandon: Yeah. It’s work.

Mindy: That’s a big jump. Where did you find it? How did you discover it? I do want to go into that a little bit.

Brandon: All right. So, the short answer was, I read a book called The ABCs of Real Estate Investing by a guy named Ken McElroy. So, Ken, I had the privilege of meeting him for the first time. I got to introduce him on stage and it was such like a cool moment at a conference last year. And I read this book, it’s all about apartment complex. And I was like, “Shoot, that’s what I want to do. I want to go apartment… I’m going to go larger multifamily. I’m going to get into that.”
So, I read that entire book and then there’s a sequel called The Advanced Guide to Real Estate Investing. It’s all about apartments. I read that, same day. Two books, one day, was obsessed with this. I went to church the next morning. I tell this old couple there, “I just read this a really amazing… ” They had been following me, not mentoring but they had been talking to me every week about how I’ve been doing and what I’m doing in real estate and stuff. Because they were interested in it just in the topics.
So, I told them, “I want to buy an apartment complex. That’s what I’m going to do.” And they looked at me kind of funny. And I had no idea that they were real estate investors at all. I just never asked them. And they said, “Well, that’s funny because we actually have an apartment that we want to sell.” And so, they ended up selling that entire 24 unit to me using what we call seller financing.
So, seller financing is where, it’s if you were to sell your car to your brother and your brother didn’t have money, he like, you give him the keys and he’s like, “Okay. It’s your car now but you’ve got to pay me $100 a month until the total amount’s paid off. That the car it’s five grand for the car. So, pay me 100 bucks for the next 15 months and then it’s yours.”
Same thing with the building. So, I started paying them a mortgage payment every single month but I took over. And it was not passive. This is not passive income. This was me working at the property, doing all maintenance, all management, all repairs, everything. I was there every single day fixing this property up and working it. And that became essentially my full time job. I mean, that’s all I did was worked in this department for about a year or year and a half. That’s it.

Mindy: So, what was your… No. I mean, it’s just gathering up all these things. Like I have a thousand questions for you. What was your mortgage payment to them and what were you bringing in?

Brandon: Sure. So, originally, I mean, I’m going to have to guess on some of these numbers. I don’t remember. It’s been a while. But they were super nice because they… So, it wasn’t that they were just nice. Yes. They were super nice. But let’s go in their shoes. They’re 72 years old, they have this apartment they don’t want to manage. They don’t want to deal with this apartment building but if they sell it, they owe a ton in taxes to sell it. Plus when you sell a property it’s a lot of mess. [inaudible 00:46:49] go buy something new or how are they going to make income?
They’re trying to retire. They want to travel around the country. They have a big RV. So, their problem was, “We can’t travel because we have this big property and if we just sell it, we have no money coming in now.” So, what they did is they sold it to me knowing that they could trust me. And this is just an important lesson about everything I’d done up to that point didn’t make a ton of money but what I was doing, I was building my own confidence. And that I knew what I was doing. I was building an education. I understood how real estate worked.
I was building work ethic. No matter what I would not let a property go bad. I would not let them… These people saw this over years of time, they saw that I was building really integrity. Integrity is just doing what you say you’re going to do. And I proved myself as somebody who would just do and do what they say they’re going to do no matter what. And so, they built that trust with me. So, they sold it to me and I took over and own that property for, I think we owned it for another… We just sold out like two years ago or two and a half years ago. I know it was a great property while we owned it. Took a lot of work but, yeah. It’s great.

Scott: And so, when you got that property, what was the trajectory following that? Was that real boost.

Brandon: Yeah. So, somewhere in there, I mean, we kept acquiring little deals here and there. I went back to about a duplex. We flipped out maybe one or two houses a year. I made a little bit of money that way. And once the thing got stabilized, I was bringing in consistently then from all the rental properties and everything and then maybe the flow is probably 30… I’d say from the rentals, 30, $40,000 a year and then maybe an extra 20 from the flips. But that was still paying off credit card debt. And just trying to wipe that out. So, we just slowly started not doing anything. And I remember when I was 27 is where I officially said, “All right. I’m done.” And I’d say I retired and it’s a bad phrase because you never really retire when you own rental properties and you’re actively involved in them.
But I mean by that, it’s like, I said, “I’m done for a while. I’m not going to buy anymore. I’m not going to go get another job anywhere. I’m just going to relax and just sit on the couch for awhile.” So, I did that for awhile. Because at that point, again, we’re living on like we’re living on a budget now. We actually got that under control and was making, again, more money than we were that was going out. And we were paying off credit card debt with these flips and we were just about out at that point. So, that’s when I said, “I’m stable. I’m good. I feel good about my future.” And that’s when I became friends with this guy named Josh Dorkin. Josh Dorkin was the founder of biggerpockets.com
And we became friends and he wrote a thing on his Facebook page that said, “I’m looking for somebody to help me manage blog posts.” And I said, “I could manage blog posts. Can I do it from Washington state?” And he’s like, “Okay.” So, that’s how that started. I was senior editor of the BiggerPockets blog. Very first employee ever. I don’t know if I’m going to say this but I was making $40,000 a year. And my whole retirement lasted a total of three months I think. And I started making money from BiggerPockets.

Mindy: So, I think that’s interesting. Your whole retirement even at age 27 where you could literally do nothing, your whole retirement lasted three months because you don’t-

Brandon: Nobody who can retire will retire. I’m a firm believer in that. I know you can.

Mindy: Yes. No. Absolutely. I 100% agree with you. So, you start on at this little known website-

Brandon: Little known website. I mean, there was still like a 100,000 members and where are we today? 1.4, 1.5, something like that. So, 1.6 really? Wow. So, crazy. I started on like on… Yeah. We had just crossed the hundred thousand mark. I think, I was actually member. I didn’t say this earlier. I found BiggerPockets when I was 21 I think. Before I bought any rentals before anything. And I found it because I typed into Google or Dogpile, I think it was Dogpile at the time, what to do when tenants don’t pay rent. So, that’s when I found BiggerPockets. I think a member number, like 8,000 or something like that from early on, something like that. Maybe 10 that was early.
Anyway, so, yeah. I started helping out Josh. And I remember just thinking, I mean, this is so funny. I was just thinking like, “He’s going to pay me $40,000 a year.” And I’m already financially free. I already have enough money to live. I am so rich right now. I remember just thinking… Actually, this is a true story. So, I hope Josh doesn’t listen to this. So, maybe [inaudible 00:51:03] at this point. I remember in negotiation, I think he first offered me like 35 maybe. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, $35,000.” But I’m like, “I got to negotiate.” And so, I wrote back. So, I wrote an email to my wife and said, “Josh has offered 35.” And then I say, “I’m going to push back and ask for 42.” And I sent it. And then I realized I didn’t send it to my wife. I sent it to Josh Dorkin.
I literally told him in an email how excited I was about this. He never brought it up. And I’ve not brought it up to him to this day. I don’t know if he just is being gracious to me and not making me feel like a complete moron. I have never said this out loud to anybody other than my wife. And now I’m saying it to everybody listening. That was the worst negotiation of my entire life. So, anyway-

Scott: He got a terrible deal.

Brandon: Yeah. Terrible… No. Okay. So, this brings up… So, I’m thinking 40 and here the Josh’s pitch to me was, “Well, I made about that on the first conference. So, I got about $40,000 that I can put towards a salary. So, if you don’t make back more than this this year, you’re out of a job 12 months from now.” That was the pitch. I’m like, “All right.” That’s when we started the podcast. I’m like, “Let’s start a podcast and see if we can make money that way,” which never happens. But that was the whole idea and so [crosstalk 00:52:26].
Let me say something before you jump in. Sorry Scott, I’m ruining your question here. But I want to actually give you props here because of something you defined is… This isn’t your separate life book. It’s like once you achieve that level one financial freedom, where ever you can now take risks that other people can’t do. And I never thought this at the time but you said this later in your book and it perfectly illustrated why, “Most people out there could not have just gone and taken a risky job at a startup being the first employee making 40k a year unless they had already… Because I was already financially free.
I’m not saying nobody else could have done it but I was able to make that risk. “Yeah. Great. I’ll do it.” And I was excited about it because that was just extra money for me so I can take that risk. So, once you have that financial freedom, you can take bigger risks to go and do bigger things and impact the world in bigger ways that if you’re consumed about money that you wouldn’t do.

Scott: 100%. That’s the whole point of what everything that I like to do here with financial freedom is, your retirement is going to last three months. Sorry, guys. We use that as the carrot. We try to margaritas in the beast is a big thing. Brandon has some margaritas on the beach but he works just as hard as ever. If you achieve financial freedom or some semblance of it early in life and get that control or before retirement age, you have the chance to go on and make a huge downstream impact on the world like Brandon here.

Brandon: Like me. I can, yeah. It’s true though. And it never was, even early on, the drive for financial freedom was never about getting rich. I never wanted to swim in that tank of gold coins with screws [inaudible 00:54:05]. Financial freedom for me was always about two things.

Scott: You want to buy the New York jets.

Brandon: I want to buy the… There’s always about two things. Number one, I wanted to make sure that when I was a dad… Because I love kids, I knew when I was going to be a father someday I wanted to be there for every soccer game, every dance recital, every scrape knee on the playground, whatever. I mean, I love my dad but he worked 50, 60, 70 hours a week all growing up. And he had to because that’s what people do. And I’m not faulting him for it.
I love my dad and he worked incredibly hard but I said that there has to be another way. And so, my drive was that someday I would be a parent who could be present when I needed to be in the life of my kid. Not that I don’t want to work, I knew I would never stop working really but I wanted to be there. That’s what drove me there.

Scott: How many hours a week did you work at this period when you were driving towards getting to this at this inflection point, [crosstalk 00:54:59] in the bank and flipping houses?

Brandon: My wife and I talk about this actually a lot is, there were so many nights where we would be working at 2:00 AM at a rental property, painting the walls, finishing the calc lines because we had a tenant moving in at 7:00 AM the next morning. And I know people are listening to this right now, especially those real estate people out there. But any business people are like, “You should hire that out and done something different.” But here’s the thing. I believe the reason that I am where I am today is because I was willing to paint walls at 2:00 in the morning then wake up four hours later and sign a lease with a tenant. Because you do what has to get done.
That’s that integrity piece that like if you say you’re going to do something, you do it and you just don’t deviate from that. So yeah, easily putting it in like a hundred hour work week. Especially when we were both working jobs. My wife works Starbucks through this whole thing up until we were 28 maybe was able to quit Starbucks, we would just work our jobs and we’d been flip houses. And then we’d go take care of our rental properties. And you just, life was about hustle.

Scott: How many hours of self-education as you put in this early years as well?

Brandon: I mean, like constant when it came to reading and networking. So, it’s like BiggerPockets stuff. I was on there all the time on the forms. You can go back and read my early form stuff. It’s humiliating but I’m thinking about buying in 24 unit apartment building and people were like, “You’re a moron.” And I’m like, “Okay. But I’m still going to do it.” When I look at my story, yeah. I did so many things stupid and I spent money in frivolous ways and I did stuff that I would not necessarily recommend.
And I flipped houses on credit cards and I bought houses on credit cards and I bought… I don’t regret a bit of it. I don’t regret a bit of it because every single thing got me to where I am now. What I tell my kid to go do it. No. But I don’t regret doing those things. They got me to where I am. Maybe lucky, maybe just supernatural blessing. I don’t know. For whatever reason it worked. But I am who I am because of that. So, I don’t know. That counts for something.

Mindy: I’m really glad to hear you say this because people who are just discovering BiggerPockets now are seeing Brandon Turner, the Uber success story. Brandon Turner knows everything there is to know about real estate. Brandon Turner can do no wrong.

Brandon: [inaudible 00:57:13].

Mindy: And this is a great episode. I’m going to bookmark this on my dashboard so I can go back and when people are like, “Oh Brandon is the best ever.” I’d be like, “Hey. Hey. Hey. You should listen to his early stories. Because he didn’t know [inaudible 00:57:28].”

Brandon: You can title this, from moron to millionaire, right there. There you go. I’ll claim that. I’ll claim that.

Mindy: I like my original title from financial disaster to real estate master because you were a financial disaster. I didn’t realize what a-

Scott: Disaster.

Mindy: Well, I’m trying to come up with a word that isn’t a bad word but you’re terrible with money.

Brandon: I was not good with money. But you know what’s funny? In all those years, I missed one credit card payment. My entire life was ever late and it was because I was on my honeymoon. Literally, I just forgot to pay it. When I was in Mexico for my honeymoon. The only time I’ve ever been late on a payment ever except for… No. I did have a private lender one time who I could not month, after month, after month, could not figure out how to send them the proper amount at the right day.
Mindy, at one point if you remember that. But other than that and the credit card thing. Yeah. There was a period where Mindy was my private lender and every month there was some issue with somehow with getting you the right amount in the right day. But other than that, yeah…

Mindy: We caught up.

Brandon: We caught up. We figured it out. Literally, I had to send Mindy like a 30 minute video of on a whiteboard, “Okay. So, this money went here and two payments here and I actually sent a third.” It was all trying to automate it. It was like, “Okay. My bank sent three payments here for some reason. And so, we didn’t pay for two months because of that.” But anyway, it was a disaster. I was not very organized.

Mindy: And I think two loans. I think two loans were the same amount-

Brandon: Yeah. Exactly.

Mindy: [crosstalk 00:58:53] times or whatever. It all worked out.

Brandon: We learned some lessons.

Mindy: This is really helpful to hear this because Brandon Turner on The Real Estate Podcast right now on episode 370 or whatever you’re up to, you’re perfect. You’re… I mean not…

Brandon: Oh, really? Clearly.

Mindy: Clearly perfect as a big stretch but you’re doing a lot of things that people want to be. You are somebody that they aspire to. And when your first interaction with Brandon is this, “I have 5,000 units.” You’re like, “Oh wow. He must be really amazing.” And it’s nice to hear that you also made mistakes and you were able to fix them and you have come out ahead and you’ve learned. And one of the big things that I see on the BiggerPockets forums all the time is people are like, “Oh, I don’t know how to get started.” Just get started. I mean, don’t just buy whatever house but you started because it was cheaper to buy than to rent. That’s the case in a lot of places. That’s the case right now in my place. No. That’s not the case. I don’t know where I’m going with that. Never mind.

Brandon: To interrupt, I really believe it’s more important that you make a decision then you make the right decision. And what I mean by that is, people perseverate… I don’t know the word I’m bad at words. They [inaudible 01:00:12] about decisions like, “Oh, should I flip a house? Should I rent or should I started this business? Should I do this thing?” And they do that for years and never actually take action.
So, what I like to teach real estate people and I would teach any business owner in any way, any entrepreneur, any side hustle, you are never going to get rich off your first deal. The point of the early stuff is not to get rich. The point is to hang on and get some education without losing. That’s really the point. So, in real estate, the point of the first deal is not to make millions of dollars off that first deal.
So, I don’t care… People are like, “Well, Brandon says to buy a property that makes $200 in cashflow. And this one was only going to make $87. So, I’m not going to do it.” And I’m like, “Yeah. But who cares? It’s a $120 difference or whatever. Just get the deal done.” And again, I don’t want to tell people to think I’m saying buy a bad deal, don’t do that but don’t feel like you have to measure your level one with my level nine. Because what I do today is exactly what you do. It’s more important that you make a decision and just start taking action. Then you’re trying to get the perfect action to the perfect next step.

Mindy: Yes. Because you are going to learn a lot on the BiggerPockets forums but you are going to learn so much-

Brandon: Way more.

Mindy: More actually doing it, dealing with the tenants and dealing with the sub-stores like, “Oh, I really want to rent to you even though you have 76 evictions.” Don’t do it. But you know what? Go ahead and do it and see what happens. Oh, number 78. Now you know, “Oh, I’m not going to fall for that sub-store anymore. I’m not going to take cash. I’m not going to take a personal check. I’m not going to… ” All these different things. You just have to sometimes experience it. And when you’re doing a flip, yes, absolutely don’t buy a bad deal. But when you’re doing a flip, if you make a dollar profit on your first flip, that home run slip.

Brandon: Agreed.

Mindy: Of course. Because I’m right.

Brandon: You’re right.

Scott: All right. Hope you’re enjoying the show. We’ll be right back after a word from today’s show sponsor.

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Scott: I have a couple of just general observations about your story here. One, your time going over this was relative… This is maybe mean but I’ll just say it anyways, was not very valuable, right? You’re making minimum wage at Cold Stone Creamery and then at Wells Fargo, right? Or whatever it was, bank. I think it was Fargo.

Brandon: U.S. Bank.

Scott: U.S. Bank. Okay, great. Right. So, you leveraged your time to work on these properties then get a huge spread over time and capitalize on that in those early days, right?

Brandon: Yeah.

Scott: And I suspect you have a very different value on your time today where you have an in a very different approach to how you leverage that at this point in time, right?

Brandon: What drives me nuts sometimes is people look at certain tasks like that’s below me or I’m not going to do that. And we maybe mask it inside this idea of like, “Well, my best dollar per hour is actually doing whatever.” And maybe that’s true. But in the beginning, I had to do what I had to do. I had to do any work at all whatsoever. But there is a certain degree of if I’m watching TV that is $0 million per hour.
So, I watch very little TV. And if it’s nine o’clock at night, we will watch Netflix and Game of Thrones or whatever. But I don’t sit around watching Dance with the Stars every night and waiting… I’m always trying to figure out how can I get some more value out of this time. And if that means spending time with my family, great. But anyway, so there you go.

Scott: I wanted to observe that because if you were in a job that was paying $100,000 a year, you might’ve had a different approach to some of that early real estate investing, I’m sure. Right?

Brandon: Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. I think at the time when I’m earning almost no money. Yeah. Real estate was a great approach. And you and I have talked about this a lot. If you’re making a hundred, 150, $200,000 a year. In fact, I generally tell people not to go into real estate specifically. And here’s what I mean by that is in anything you start, it’s like a curve, right?
It’s like, what’s the exponential growth curve called? Maybe it’s called an exponential growth curve. Anyway, you’re at the bottom and you’re not making any money, your dollar prower is crap. It’s a struggle and you start learning more and more and more and more. And then it starts to go up and goes higher and higher and higher until your value in that business is really high.
So, then people who have spent 20 years and now they’re way high in that curve in their consulting business, in their meat cutting business, I don’t care, all of a sudden are going, “I’m going to go start real estate and make it rich there.” And I’m generally like, “I mean, that’s fine. But if you’re on that part of the curve, you’re way better off finding a way to maximize those skills that you’re starting up high than trying to start back at zero with a real estate career. Unless you just absolutely love the idea.” No. I’m not saying don’t invest in real estate. Just give your money, buy something simple, buy something small you’re doing. Like buy one deal a year but don’t go say, “I’m going to go flip houses now,” as a job when you have no skill or ability to flip houses. [crosstalk 01:08:41] love that.

Scott: I think there’s an easier way to financial freedom in a similar period of time than what you went through for someone who’s earning a high income. And the second observation I would have is, well, a question I guess, what was your balance sheet? What was your net worth? Was you pay it out in a ballpark of it in terms of the equity you had when you “retired”?

Brandon: Yeah. I mean, if I had to guess a couple hundred grand probably. I crossed a million dollar net worth when I was 30. And I remember sitting at a Starbucks. And I thought on a loan application I was doing all like, “What are all my properties worth? What do I owe?” And I’m going through this and I got to the [inaudible 01:09:17] it was like 1.03 million. And I was like, “Oh weird. I’m a millionaire.” Then I went back to drinking my peppermint hot chocolate. And it was a cool moment. But I expected somebody to ring a bell and it didn’t happen. And that was a weird moment.

Scott: Very few people would be comfortable with the concept of retiring with a balance sheet of just a few hundred grand. It sounds like 2 or $300,000 in equities [crosstalk 01:09:41].

Brandon: That’s because most people follow the crap… And I know you guys are making fun of me for this but then what’s it called? The 4% rule or whatever, what do you call it?

Scott: Yeah. I’d garbage.

Brandon: Yeah. Exactly.

Scott: Or four percent.

Brandon: Four percent, right? They’re like, “Well, if I had $1 million or an in 4% return, I wouldn’t be able to live on whenever that is a year.” And I’m like, “I don’t believe in a 4% return and if I’m getting less than a 15% return, there’s something wrong.” And the only way to do that though is being very active and being really good at what you do with real estate or with anything. I mean, I’m sure you could get a 15% return owning a Tupperware door to door salesman business. Fine. But that’s what I would rather choose than passive investments in the stock market at 4%. And again, I know everybody listened to that thinks I’m an idiot right now but that’s fine.

Mindy: Well, got the 4% rule wrong. You’re not getting a 4% return, you’re taking out 4%.

Brandon: Okay. Fine. Whatever.

Mindy: Of your total.

Brandon: Investment.

Mindy: Yeah. So, you have $1 million in the bank, then you’re taking out 4% which is-

Brandon: 40,000.

Mindy: 40,000. But I mean if that doesn’t work for you, then don’t hang your hat on it.

Brandon: Yeah. People think they need millions of dollars to retire. You don’t. At least, sure, it’d be nice to have but I’d also take just cashflow and rental properties and that would work for me as well. I don’t care how much equity I could have negative equity but if I have cashflow in rental properties, then I’m doing fine. I can retire on zero net worth.

Mindy: Well, but you retired with a couple hundred thousand dollars and enough cash coming in to cover all of your expenses.

Brandon: It’s the cashflow that matters. Not net worth in my mind. My mind, level one financial freedom is a cash flow game. Not a net worth game. Later on, net worth matters and it matters a lot and actually a lot more about that today. But yeah. Who cares if I own a property, let’s say I want $1 million of property today and it was worth $1 million, I have zero net worth. But it’s producing a hundred grand a year and 100% passive income. Do I care that I have no net worth? Not at all. All I care about is the fact that I’m making cash flow. Now that’s an absurd example. Nobody’s making that but there you go.

Scott: Love it. So, I think that just extremely telling between the… Those are two things that I picked up on were how you leveraged your time and what I picked up as a spread between the value of your time and the activities you were doing right? You could not pay people more than you were earning less than you were earning to do the work that you need to on those properties, most likely, right?

Brandon: Probably yes.

Scott: You retired with a balance sheet that would be crazy for most of the listeners on this show yet made perfect sense for you. And the third thing is asset allocation. Right? So, where was almost all of your net worth was in real estate, I presume, right?

Brandon: Yes.

Scott: Did that change after you joined BiggerPockets. You’d retired and joined BiggerPockets. Did you begin investing in other asset classes over the years or do you still almost entirely put your money into real estate?

Brandon: I have one other investment and I believe you tell me. I think we have a 401(k) offered at BiggerPockets maybe. You guys-

Scott: You automatically contribute to your 401(k)-

Brandon: You might put money into it.

Scott: If you receive a salary from BiggerPockets you have somebody in there.

Brandon: So, I have an investment somewhere. I have zero idea how much is in there? I have never put a dime in there.

Mindy: You don’t invest in your 401(k)?

Brandon: Why would I?

Mindy: I cancel this whole recording.

Brandon: So, here. I’m going to give some really unpopular advice. Let me tell you what I don’t do. I don’t put money in a 401(k). I don’t put money in an IRA. I don’t put money in a self-directed [inaudible 01:13:08]. I don’t put money into a solo 401k. I don’t put money into life insurance. I don’t put money into anything. I believe 100% in putting all my eggs in one basket. This is not popular advice. But I believe me personally, in putting all my eggs in one basket and what I mean by that is one asset class.
Because I cannot be good at what I’m doing with real estate if I’m also trying to be good at figuring out what the hell a solo 401(k) does for me and what a… I just sent over an email this morning to my assistant, said, “Will you set me up a solo 401(k)?” And he’s going to do that. But my mind is a very small glass of water. It is not very big and it can only fit so much in it.

Scott: It’s half full.

Brandon: No. It is a half cup that is fully full. And if everything I put in there, something has to come out. So, I would not be where I am in real estate today if I tried to be good at anything else. I’m pretty convinced of that. Because to be good at anything else, I would acquire a mental bandwidth that I don’t have. And I know that’s unpopular advice and I’m not saying everyone needs to follow that but I’m all about diversification within one asset class, not multiple asset classes.

Mindy: Okay. I’m glad you used the diversification word because… And I do know that you don’t just invest in single family homes or [crosstalk 01:14:37] you’re everywhere. But why don’t you invest in something like an index fund in the personal finance space. The index fund is the darling of the community and you just set it and forget it and you put your money in, you put it into VTSAX and you’ll never look at it again. And then you’re a bitrillionaire. Why don’t you follow… You’ve heard that? Index funds, you’ve heard that?

Brandon: So, I’ve heard that if I were to put in a $1,000 a month into my index fund and hold it for 45 years, I will be the richest guy in the graveyard. And I’m really excited about that, about being the richest guy in the graveyard because all those other corpses are going to look at me and be like, “Man. That guy’s got it.”

Mindy: You should be so glad you’re not here right now. I would punch. No you don’t put $1,000 in. Scott, what were we just talking about? We were talking about who we wanted the BiggerPockets Money Podcast to be for and what we wanted to do. And we want to encourage people to put large sums of money to invest large sums of money from a position of financial strength so that they can grow their finances. They’re growing their finances and saving for retirement and all of that. So, you don’t put anything in index funds. It’s not $1,000. It’s like $25,000 a year. That’ll grow a little faster than your thousand dollars a year. Not that you’re $1,000 a year is piddly. But it is.

Brandon: Because I don’t know if I put it into an index fund, I have no idea. And this is my personal, I just have no idea what that’s going to do. And I know on average it’s probably going to do 7 to 8% over time. But I also know that I will not buy a real estate deal that doesn’t give me 12% cash on cash return. I just won’t do it. So in my mind, I would rather say, “If you want to do some extrapolation of numbers, 25 grand a year at 7% interest or 25 grand a year at 12% interest, put that out 30 years and show me the difference.” It’s hundreds of millions of dollars. And so-

Mindy: Yeah. But can you invest in real estate for $25,000 a year?

Brandon: I mean, I put a half a million in last year. Now I put a half a million this year.

Mindy: No. You put a half a million in. Can you buy anything for 25,000? I’m saying, people who don’t have a half a million just sitting around to put into real estate, what are you going to get for 25,000 versus putting that into index funds? You put that in now and I mean there’s probably going to be a market correction. I’m not predicting anything but-

Brandon: I’ll predict it. It’s coming.

Mindy: It’s coming. Well, thanks Brandon. What day is that? What time is it going to crash?

Brandon: Oh no. I’m just saying it’s coming at some point [inaudible 01:17:10].

Mindy: So, what kind of real estate… And I’m just playing devil’s advocate-

Brandon: Yeah. [crosstalk 01:17:16] powerful discussion. So, yeah.

Mindy: Because what real estate can you buy for $25,000 a year?

Brandon: Yeah. I mean you could buy plenty of real estate. I mean, first, anything in between Eastern Washington and Western New York state and everything in between there, you can put $25,000 down for a down payment on a hundred thousand dollars property. Pretty much anything in the Midwest you can find for a hundred grand. Not in Denver, not in Austin, Texas but it pretty much everywhere else. So, it’s doable.

Scott: 100% I agree. To mini-split, we were talking about the goal here, if you want to move toward financial freedom, you need to accumulate a material, a meaningful amount of capital every year in more and more rapid succession. Right? So, if you’re saving $5,000 a year, that’s a good start. But you really got to be accumulating 25, 50, a hundred thousand dollars a year over time and accelerating towards that goal. Right? And there’s a number of different ways to do that.
If you’re on the lower end of the income spectrum, real estate’s probably a really good way to go ahead and start learning, read some books, leverage that, buy some of these properties, figure out how to explore that time. Or if you’re at the higher end, buying bigger real estate can also make sense. But if you’re at the higher end of spectrum making $200,000 a year, maybe then it makes sense to work your 70 hours a week that you’re probably working to make $200,000 a year and plow it into an index fund burning 7 or 8% a year and you’re going to be financially free within five to 10 years just on that.

Brandon: Or you put your money into a real estate investment fund like Brandon Turner’s and get a 15% IRR. Something like that but also-

Scott: I don’t know. I don’t know where we’re going on that one [inaudible 01:18:50].

Brandon: I don’t know. What are you talking about? What are you talking about plug? Anyway, keep going.

Scott: Yeah. I think that’s the point here is you have to accumulate that capital in some manner or you have to create it the way you did, right? In order to get started here. And once you’ve got it, it’s all about that long term allocation. There’s no wrong answer to that except for Brandon says [inaudible 01:19:16] in real estate.

Brandon: Well, I don’t even care about real estate. I really don’t. And I’m not saying that you should not put money in real estate or you should put money in real estate. It doesn’t matter. Here’s why I put money in real estate though, is because one, it fires me up. I love it and I’m willing to become the best at it. You should put all your money into whatever fires you up and you can be the best at.
You know what actually the best investment in the world is, is not real estate. It’s not stocks. It’s not index funds. It’s people. What I mean by that is, in fact this year I have five people, now we’re four people that I’m paying to run my real estate business. Because every one of those people, I might pay him a hundred grand, should make me $1 million in revenue.
People I think is one of the best investments you can make. So, at some level, some of you guys have businesses out there, your best investment is not sticking 25 grand in an index fund. It’s hiring a person for $25,000 to manage your inbox so you can go out there and earn another a hundred thousand dollars doing what you do best.

Scott: I love it. I think I would agree completely with you conceptually here, right? How do you get to the point where you’ve accumulated enough to get to that point where Brandon felt at 27 where am retired, I can do whatever. And then, this world of opportunity that you can see on the BiggerPockets Business Podcasts or in BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast. Those become accessible to you in an incredible way and you can play that whole next game. It’s like, if you played cashflow from Rich Dad Poor Dad-

Brandon: Yeah. I was just thinking about that.

Scott: There’s like two tracks, right? It’s like the first track is he’s like spin your wheel, you go around and you have an income, you have expenses, you have a baby, you have a do dad, whatever and you’re stuck. It’s a rat race. Once you get out of the rat race, it’s like, “Oh buy-

Brandon: It’s old school stuff.

Scott: 24 unit apartment complex. Meet the mayor. Meet Ken McElroy and introduce him at a conference, fly,” whatever it is. And that’s the game, right? What we’re talking about here, this money story is how to get out of that game so you can play the next game. The big game.

Brandon: 100%. And this is why it’s so dependent upon what you do and where you’re at. Because if you’re a teacher already in $30,000 a year, it’s a very different strategy to get financial freedom than what Scott Trench is doing or Mindy is doing or I’m doing. If you’re earning 150,000 a year at a job that you absolutely love, then you should not leave that job and go flip houses. If you’re a teacher, you should consider flipping houses. Because they will bring in massive amounts of money that you can then dump into other things. And you can’t find with…
If you’re a car salesman though and you like being a car salesman. I spent all my time learning how to be a better car salesman and I’d take my income from a 100 a year to 800 a year because you’re already on that curve. So, just knowing where you’re at right now and knowing what the best path is for you. And that’s why podcasts like this are so fun. Because you have to hear all different perspectives of what’s optional. But yeah. We can’t just give someone advice like don’t do real estate or do real estate. I don’t know. But this one what works for me.

Scott: Love it.

Mindy: That’s a good place to end.

Scott: Yeah. This has been an amazing discussion here-

Brandon: That was my mic drop right there.

Scott: Anything else you want to add before we get to the famous four?

Brandon: I think that’s it. Buy real estate. It’s fun.

Mindy: Buy real estate. It’s fun. Okay. Perfect. It’s time for the famous four questions, Brandon. These are the same four questions we ask of all of our guests. Are you ready?

Brandon: I’m ready. I hope they’re different than my famous four questions.

Mindy: They’re so different. What is your favorite finance book?

Brandon: Can I give three?

Mindy: Of course. This is your show Brandon. Anything you want.

Brandon: All right. So, the first one’s called the book on rental property [inaudible 01:22:42]… That’s my book. No. I’m going to go with the first book that changed my life. Rich Dad Poor dad, followed by the second book that changed my life, which was Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, followed by the third book. That I might call, this changed my life but I really liked a lot, was The Richest Man in Babylon. I’m sure all of those had been said before but they’re all good books.

Mindy: Richest Man in Babylon, it’s my favorite.

Brandon: Oh, fourth book. I’m going to give it one more. Because it’s really good and it is personal finance in a way. It’s a very financial freedom book. It’s called Lifeonaire. Have you guys read that one yet? I know Scott-

Scott: Oh, I love that book. Yeah.

Brandon: Love that book. It’s like a millionaire but instead of the word million, replace it with life. So Lifeonaire. It’s a tremendous book about what true financial freedom is and how to obtain it. So, it’s very cool.

Scott: Awesome. Awesome list. You should read all of those books. Okay. So, what was your biggest money mistake?

Brandon: So, I-

Mindy: [crosstalk 01:23:35] at the hour of the show.

Scott: There we go. What’s the one piece of advice [inaudible 01:23:40]-

Brandon: I got to go on. So, I flipped the house one time. I found this awesome house. I was watching all these flipping shows early on in my career. Really wanted to flip this property. I was excited about it and so I bought it. It was a duplex. I turn it into a single family house, did all the work myself alongside my wife. We’d literally ripped out the staircase and put a whole new staircase right up the middle of the house, like this grand staircase. I mean, I built it with my bare hands, replaced all the windows, paint, carpet like cherry hardwood floors, granite countertops. I mean it was unbelievable house. And we sold that. We listed at 170,000, dropped it to 160, dropped it to 150, dropped it to 140, finally sold it for 120. After over a year of owning it.
I broke even on that property after everything’s said and done. When I ran the numbers… And this is not a plug but this is true story. When I ran the numbers afterwards on the newly built BiggerPockets rental property calculator that I’d built at that time, I realized that had I kept it as a duplex, I would have been making $1,100 a month in cashflow and it would have taken me two weeks to get it rent ready for a duplex. But instead I wanted to flip that house because that’s what people do. And that was cool at the time. And I was greedy and wanted money. But that was a big money mistake. Don’t do that.

Scott: Wow. That’s a great one. What separates successful people from those to give up fail or… Oh wait, that’s not the right…

Brandon: [inaudible 01:25:04] I had a hundred answers to that one. It’s integrity but keep going. What’s your real question, Scott?

Scott: I think Mindy’s got this one.

Brandon: Okay. Mindy.

Mindy: What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Brandon: Starting out in life? Breathe. Next. Starting out with their finances? So, starting out of college?

Scott: Yeah. Starting [crosstalk 01:25:28] a financial journey towards financial-

Brandon: Yeah. Financial journey toward financial independence. Always do what you’re say you’re going to do. David Osborn gave this advice at the BP Con 2019 where he said, “Integrity is not just doing what you say you’re going to do to for other people. It’s do you do what you say you’re going to do to yourself for yourself? How many times do we say I’m going to the gym and then not go. Or I’m going to save $100 and then not save $100. You are aligned to yourself and you are the most important person in your life. So, if you can’t hold a promise to yourself and hold that integrity, you’re never going to be able to make it anything in this life. So, build trust with yourself. Be [integrityful 01:26:09].” I made that word up but I like it. Integrityful.

Mindy: That’s a terrible word.

Brandon: It’s a great word.

Mindy: It’s a great piece of advice.

Brandon: It’s a great piece of advice and a great word. [inaudible 01:26:18] are using it now? Integrityful. You heard it here first folks.

Mindy: Be integrityful.

Brandon: Be integrityful. Make that a tweet.

Scott: We know that you’re not very funny. So, do-

Brandon: I am not.

Scott: Have you prepared a joke? What is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Brandon: If somebody said this joke before, stop me. Because this is one of the funniest joke of all time on Reddit. So, somebody may have said this. Have you heard this one? There’s two guys hunting in the woods and one of the guys falls over and he’s not breathing. And so, the hunter who’s still standing calls 911 and they said, “911, what’s your emergency?” And he says, “My friend, he just dropped over. I think he’s dead.” And the woman on the 911 said, “Well, calm down sir. The first thing we need to do is to make sure he’s actually dead.” And so, all of a sudden she hears a gunshot and he says, “Now what?” Yeah. That was one of the funniest joke of all time. I think-

Scott: That’s a great way to come up with a joke. I’m going to recite the funniest one of all time.

Mindy: We’ve never heard that one on the show before.

Brandon: I’m so glad.

Mindy: That is funny.

Brandon: That is a funny joke. The other one I use at parties or on stage is the classic, I just flew in from New York. Boy, my arm is tired. Get it? I flew in from… Flew.

Mindy: Oh, I got it.

Scott: Very nice.

Brandon: You asked me for a dad joke earlier, Mindy. So, that’s my dad joke.

Mindy: Yeah. That’s a bad joke. Not a dad joke.

Scott: The last question or command is… [inaudible 01:27:51] do you have any published works or places online where people can follow-

Mindy: He doesn’t.

Scott: What you’re doing or-

Brandon: I’m kind of a recluse.

Scott: Or you in general?

Mindy: Scott, he is not a public shot like you and I are.

Brandon: I’m trying to be. I keep putting submissions into Katie but she doesn’t want my underwater basket weaving books so I’m going to just keep trying and-

Mindy: Well, be integrityful Brandon.

Brandon: I’m going to… That’s my new book. It’s going to be called Be Integrityful. Yes. I’m going to do it.

Mindy: You know what? I know Katie and I will get that pushed through for you Brandon.

Brandon: Be integrityful. All right. You heard it here first folks, you can follow me on Instagram. I’m like a 13 year old girl when it comes to Instagram. I’m in a current race to get to 100,000 followers with investorgirlbritt. So, don’t follow her, follow me. And-

Mindy: How would they follow you Brandon on Instagram? You didn’t give your Instagram handle.

Brandon: Oh jeez, Mindy, you saved my life.

Mindy: I know.

Brandon: Beardy Brandon. Beard with a Y, Brandon. And you can find my books wherever books are sold except for airports. We’re working on that.

Mindy: What are those books called?

Brandon: There’s too many to name. I just keep writing them. But the book in rental [crosstalk 01:28:56]-

Mindy: Rental investing-

Brandon: The book in Rental Property Investing.

Mindy: Oh wow.

Brandon: That book. That’s the book.

Mindy: I just call it the blue book.

Brandon: The blue book and the yellow book. The black book and the journals. And a couple of others.

Mindy: Yes. The entire collection of Brandon’s published books can be found at biggerpockets.com/store, the show notes-

Brandon: Or search… Sorry, search Amazon for Brandon Turner or audible and you will find not only my books but there is a Brandon Turner who is a narrator of erotica. So, win-win.

Scott: There you go.

Mindy: You can find Brandon’s book at biggerpockets.com/store Brandon. You can-

Brandon: Or audible where you can listen to-

Mindy: Not Brandon.

Brandon: Not Brandon Turner.

Mindy: Talk about things you may not necessarily want to listen with your children.

Brandon: Yeah. Don’t listen with your kids in the car.

Mindy: Yeah. Of course.

Brandon: Anyway. All right.

Mindy: Okay. Yes. And all of these links can be found at our show notes, which are at biggerpockets.com/moneyshow100, 100. Brandon, I really appreciate you taking time out of your also busy life of surfing and-

Brandon: Having a baby.

Mindy: Going to Hawaii.

Scott: Having a baby?

Brandon: That’s right.

Scott: Oh, I didn’t know.

Mindy: Oh, I’m really glad you took time out of your life of having a baby. All the-

Brandon: You don’t understand how hard it is, Mindy.

Mindy: Oh, I don’t know. Please tell me.

Brandon: Well, let me give myself a pat on the back real quick right here just real quick. And I can talk about how great I’ve been lately. So, my wife is due in a month but she is… The baby’s coming early, like very early and they’re trying to keep it in. So, they’ve kind of put her on basically bed rest, not quite bed rest. But basically bed rest. They don’t want to do anything physically active that might pop out a baby.
So, what that means is I have been in charge for the past week of cooking and cleaning. And let me tell you, it’s amazing. I literally make breakfast, do the dishes and it’s noon and I’m like, “Now it’s time to make lunch.” And I do lunch and then I do the dishes and it’s dinner time. And I don’t understand how my wife did that before because all you have time for is cooking and cleaning and taking the dogs out. And that’s it. So, I have a new found respect for all stay at home moms-

Mindy: Well, thank you.

Brandon: [inaudible 01:31:14] job. It’s amazing. I don’t know how you guys do it. So, now I just go to dinner like three nights a week or five nights a week, which is great with finances. I just put it on credit card. We’re all good.

Mindy: Okay. Great. That full circle. Put on credit cards at the beginning, put it on credit cards at the end.

Brandon: We’re paying off with the next slip. We’re pay it off on the next slip. There’s always money in the banana stand. All right, well.

Mindy: There is always money in the banana stand. Brandon, this is a lot of fun, thank you. I have not heard much of this story.

Brandon: I tried to keep it under ups. So, we’re going to not publish this episode. So, thanks.

Mindy: Oh, totally. Yeah, we’re totally not going to publish this episode at biggerpockets.com/moneyshow100. Okay. So, well, thank you. I’m going to let you go in case she’s-

Brandon: She might be.

Mindy: Birthing a baby now. Can’t wait to see pictures.

Brandon: Thanks. I can’t wait too.

Scott: Thank you Brandon.

Mindy: Okay. Thank you. Bye.

Scott: All right, that was Brandon Turner from biggerpockets.com. Mindy, what do you think?

Mindy: I love his story. I mean, I hate his story. He is a total disaster when it comes to money in his 20s. What did we have… Oh, no, it was real estate. I was going to say, did he have a website called Money in Your Twenties and it’s Real Estate in Your Twenties. There’s a lot of rhyming in this show today. Which I don’t mean to do. But he was a disaster with money in his 20s. And it’s nice to hear that he has changed his life. He has turned his financial situation around and is now level two retired or level two financially independent.

Scott: Yeah. It’s amazing that he was so, so bad and then came so far from that. Right? And it makes you wonder, because he read [inaudible 01:32:51] pointed at all these books. He took a lot of action. It makes you wonder, can anyone do this? What is the worst possible position that you can think of someone finding themselves in financially from this? And it’s making minimum wage. And $100,000 in credit card debt, right? That’s the worst position I’ve ever heard of.

Mindy: He’s definitely really low on the totem pole when we come to hooray success stories on this show. But he took action to change his financial life. He didn’t just sit back and say, “Found myself in six figure credit card debt. I guess I suck with money. I’ll just declare bankruptcy and never do anything else again.” He continued buying rental properties, which I don’t necessarily agree with but clearly was the right thing to do. And it’s a great story of how if taking action and moving forward in a positive way will yield success, will help you grow wealth, will grow massive wealth.

Scott: 100%. And I keep coming back to that I don’t think we’ve had a guest in the entirety of this show who… Some people have had more debt but it’s like, “Oh, I had $200,000 in educational debt because I was getting an advanced degree to make 80, $90,000 a year or something like that.” Right? Nobody’s had close to six figure or six figure debt and had 15, $13 an hour wages.

Mindy: He was making five dollars an hour at Cold Stone Creamery 5.25 or something. I mean, it’s just astonishing how bad he was with money and how far he’s come. And I really, really I’m excited that he shared it with us today.

Scott: Yeah. It was a wonderful story. I hope that you guys enjoyed it as much as we did and I hope everyone learned something from it that they can take away, a little nugget that maybe will help them [inaudible 01:34:38] financial positions.

Mindy: I hope so too. And I am surprised that he doesn’t invest anything in the stock market. And I was arguing with him about that but clearly he has discovered the secret for him to build his wealth. And that secret for him is real estate. And he wholeheartedly believes it. And he’s really good at it. So, why should he diversify? Well, he should diversify because you diversify, so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. But this is Brandon Turner holding his basket of real estate eggs. I think they’re not going to break.

Scott: Yeah. I agree. I can’t argue with his logic for him.

Mindy: Correct. Like you pointed out, he has the education. He’s self-educated over a long period of time. And he’s optimized every resource that he has.

Scott: Awesome. Well, should we get out of here, Mindy?

Mindy: We should. I don’t have any clever exits lines today. So, I will just say from episode 100 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, he is Scott Trench, and I am Mindy Jensen, and we are leaving.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Brandon’s journey with money
  • How he learned to negotiate from his mother
  • The reason his mom bought him a book on how to handle money
  • His financial position after college
  • How he got a No-Doc loan
  • Flipping and turning them into rental properties
  • What a hard money loan is
  • His rock bottom experience
  • Reading 100 books on real estate
  • The reason he bought rentals
  • How he spoke to his wife about real estate
  • Saving money and the cash envelope system
  • What seller financing is
  • How he bought a 24-unit apartment
  • The importance of building integrity
  • How he met Josh Dorkin
  • His balance sheet when he retired
  • Brandon’s advice on investing
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Tweetable Topic:

  • “Every dollar was a valuable dollar. Every penny was a valuable penny.” (Tweet This!)
  • “When you own rental properties, you never really retire.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Nobody who can retire will retire.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Take bigger risks to go and do bigger things and impact the world in bigger ways.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The drive to financial freedom was never about getting rich.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s better to make a decision than the right decision.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Brandon

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.