BiggerPockets Money Podcast 176: How to Grow Retirement Accounts Before Having Kids | Finance Friday with Steve

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 176: How to Grow Retirement Accounts Before Having Kids | Finance Friday with Steve

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Most listeners of the show will know that a cash cushion is always great to have and should be mandatory for almost everyone. Having a cash reserve of 6-12 months can help you cover unexpected expenses or life events like a sudden medical bill or losing your job. That being said, sometimes you can have a cash cushion that’s too big for your lifestyle.

Today we talk to Steve, who has been paying off his mortgage quickly with the help of his wife. They both have respectable salaries, retirement accounts, and a large cash cushion. Steve wants to know whether or not he should move some of his cash out of his reserve and into retirement accounts or real estate.

Since Steve has such a large cash cushion to rely on, he could take out a fraction of it to use as a down payment on a rental property and still have tens of thousands left over! Scott and Mindy walk Steve through the different options he has, such as paying off his primary mortgage then buying real estate, pausing his mortgage prepayments and going all in on real estate, and other strategies.

Steve is in such a secure position that it makes it hard to criticize his current standing. That being said, he could be using leverage to springboard his investment property portfolio and be on the path to financial freedom sooner!

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Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast show number 176, Finance Friday episode, where we chat with Steve and talk about paying off your mortgage, maybe not paying off your mortgage, investing in real estate and being more intentional with your retirement investments.

Steve:
Talking with my wife, making sure we’re both on the same page. And yeah, I think talking to a real estate pro, it’s something that we’ve probably been hesitant on because I think once we start doing that, we automatically think like, “Oh, we’re locked in and this gets serious.” But it’s not. It ultimately teaches us more. And maybe we realize that, “Oh, this Central Pennsylvania housing market’s a great time to invest in a rental property.” And I think that’s probably an action item that I’ll take from this, is there’s no harm in reaching out to someone, getting listings coming our way. And we love doing that anyway. So it’ll actually be fun.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen, and with me as always is my compulsive reader cohost, Scott Trench.

Scott:
Oh, well, thank you for calling attention to my autodidactic nature. Look it up and shout out to Marquez Griffin for introducing me to that word.

Mindy:
Scott and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else. To introduce you to every money story, because we truly believe that financial independence is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

Scott:
That’s right. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, go on to make big time investments in assets like real estate, start your own business, or optimize an already pretty strong financial position, we’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way so that you can launch yourself towards those dreams.

Mindy:
Scott, I’m super excited to talk to Steve today. I really love these finance reviews. These are a lot of fun for me, and I know that there are a lot of fun for you because I see your face light up when you’re telling people what to do with their money. I’m sorry, making suggestions, because, as my attorney says, the contents of this podcast are informational in nature and are not legal or tax advice, and neither Scott, nor I, nor BiggerPockets is engaged in the provision of legal tax or any other advice.

Mindy:
You should seek your own advice from professional advisors, including lawyers and accountants regarding the legal tax and financial implications of any financial decision you contemplate. However, we are here to share with you, share with the guests, the ideas that we have had from an overview as we zoom out, as you love to say, to get an overview of their finances and see where we can make tweaks or where we can see tweaks that could be made to help optimize their financial future.

Scott:
Yeah, I really enjoyed the zooming out feature of these finance reviews. So having a lot of fun with them, and when we zoom out on Steve’s position, I think we find an interesting thing where he’s got a good income. He’s got a good savings rate. He’s been intentional about his money. And today, it wasn’t about his investment allocation or optimizing his spending, anything like that. It was really about, I think, the leverage point in his finances is about getting more intentional and having a coherent investment philosophy. At least that’s how I analyze the situation.

Scott:
I think he’s got to make a decision about whether he wants to be debt-free or whether he wants to invest in real estate. And he’s got to capitalize the rest of his position around that philosophy. I think that is the key thing holding him back. But again, in the context of financial problems, this is a good one to have. This is not like he’s doing anything wrong. This is not like he’s… He’s got a really strong position, and a really good set up, and I’m excited to walk you through to get into the today’s show and have you listened to why we settled on that as maybe a leverage point.

Mindy:
Steve, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. I’m super excited you could join us today.

Steve:
Thank you. I am super excited to be here. I appreciate you both.

Mindy:
Steve and his wife are 30, with no children now, but children in the plans in the next few years. He wants to take advantage of not having kids right now and increase his retirement accounts, and potentially diversify his investments into real estate. So Steve, let’s start with a broad overview. Let’s look at your income and expenses.

Steve:
Yeah, absolutely. We can start with our income. So we both work full-time. Combined income, we make about 140,000 a year from our W2 jobs. My wife is a full-time nurse, and then I’m a franchise business consultant for children’s soccer program. To do fairly well with that, and then we also have a few side hustles during the summer. I’d mow lawns for a few neighbors, rake leaves, and then in the winter, do some snow blowing. And then we also have a very random kettle corn side hustle. So if you’re familiar with the food kettle corn, we do two events a yearly, and we’ve done that for the past eight years and generate a little bit of spending money from that as well.

Mindy:
Okay. I’m going to stop you right here. You make $140,000 a year, and yet you are not too good to mow lawns, and snow blow, and make cuddle corn. I’m going to have to taste that kettle corn. I just want to make sure you’re giving out a quality product.

Steve:
I’ll send you some.

Mindy:
I just want to point that out to the people who are listening. Yes, he doesn’t have kids, I’m going to give you that, but he is still making pretty decent money and doing other things to generate even more. So I want to say yay for you.

Scott:
Absolutely. How much would you say those additional activities are bringing in on top of your a hundred-ish in income?

Mindy:
Yes. So mowing, I would say each summer’s maybe about 2,500, raking leaves is maybe another 1,000 in the fall. I started doing door dash at the start of the pandemic. So in March of this year, 2020, I picked that up mostly because I was bored on weeknights and going stir crazy. I think I’ve made like 1500 from doing that. Same thing with Amazon flex. I pick that up just for fun.

Mindy:
And then the kettle corn one is maybe most surprising. We started doing that seven years ago. One of my coworkers owns kind of the small business. He purchased it like 20 years ago when he was in college. And so we do two events, July 4th and a three-day event over Labor Day weekend. And with them, they’ve been very generous. So they split the profits with us. And I’d say, we make about 8,000 a year between those two events with our take home. So it’s about… Yeah, on July 4th, sometimes we make about $4,000 in one day. Now it’s brutal work and you’re behind this super hot pedal stirring for 12 hours a day. And it’s the hardest job I’ve ever done. But-

Mindy:
I couldn’t do 12 hours in the hot, hot heat for $4,000.

Steve:
Yeah. It’s an awesome earning. something you don’t want to give up.

Mindy:
Oh, oh, that’s pretty sweet.

Steve:
Yeah, there you go.

Scott:
So I’m hearing-

Mindy:
Scott, I just a pone. That’s pretty sweet. Come on.

Scott:
Nice job with you popping off. All right. I’m hearing about 12,000 to 15,000 in additional income on top of your salary and that type of stuff in you’re an ordinary year. Is that right?

Steve:
Yep. Exactly.

Scott:
How much would you say you’re bringing home after tax from all of this?

Steve:
After texts and my retirement contributions, we’re at about 8,400 a month from our W2’s.

Scott:
Okay, great. And then what are you spending on a monthly basis?

Steve:
I’d say pre-COVID, we were around like 7,000 a month. And since March or April, we’ve tried to trim back down and we’re closer to like 4,000 a month.

Scott:
Great. Okay. And I’m sure that’s been a lumpy process moving directionally towards that lower monthly spending.

Steve:
Definitely. Yeah.

Scott:
Wonderful. That’s how it always goes and that’s great. That’s awesome progress. That’s amazing. Okay. So great. So you’re saving up quite a chunk of money now, perhaps at a faster rate than before in your adult lives, is that right?

Steve:
Definitely. Our incomes graduating from college were not what they are now. I think I started much less. And over the years, we’ve accepted new jobs, gotten pay raises with it. And so, yeah, this is at the point now in our lives where we’re making the most, and it’s been nice to cut down some expenses where we’re saving a little bit more than we had been a year ago.

Scott:
Nice. And can you give us a snapshot of your net worth and where that’s parked?

Steve:
Yeah. So that, we started just tracking maybe in the last year. I switched from using mint.com to Personal Capital, and liked how they lay it out, but we just surpassed 300,000 in net worth last week actually. Which is exciting.

Scott:
[crosstalk 00:08:20].

Steve:
Yeah. Welcome.

Mindy:
It’s exciting.

Scott:
Congrats.

Steve:
Thank you.

Scott:
Where’s that net worth going to be parked basically? In home equity, retirement accounts, cash?

Steve:
Yeah. So we have, let’s see here, just over 100,000 in retirement accounts. Home equity, we have another, what is it? 125,000. And then currently, we have about 65,000 in cash, just sitting in the bank. It’s kind of a maybe a bloated emergency fund given everything that’s going on.

Scott:
Wonderful. Absolutely love it. What are kind of your goals? What are you trying to get to?

Steve:
That’s a good question. I don’t know. Future-wise, if we want to retire early. We have conversations around that. I feel like every, maybe millennial says, “Oh, I want to travel more.” And we’re in that same boat, but we also love what we do. My wife is passionate about nursing and I love my job and the ability to make a positive impact.

Steve:
So I think for us, it’s just… I grew up listening to like Dave Ramsey and loved the idea of having no payments. And so I think for us right now, we want to work really, really hard, do these kettle corn side hustles, save money so that where we get to the point when we’re 35 and we have a paid-for house and we don’t have car payments, we don’t have any major bills. I think I’ve always loved this idea of having our largest monthly bill being whatever home insurance, or something where it’s maybe $200 a month. So yeah, I think that’s what we’re chasing after.

Scott:
Love it. Any debts besides the mortgage?

Steve:
No, I graduated with about $32,000 in student loans, that was back in 2012, and was fortunate enough to, again, work really hard, pay those off. Lived at my parents’ house for six months. And my wife… Yeah, my wife graduated fortunately with no student loans. Her mom was involved in college admissions. So she was fortunate enough to go to a private college and was an RA to cover her housing expenses.

Steve:
So no college debt. Although cars are paid for, we drive junkers. And so no car payments. And yeah, the only debt we have right now is our mortgage. We have 124,000 left on that. And I think our house is probably worth around 250 right now. It obviously keeps going up right now with the hot market, but don’t know if that will die back down in a year or so.

Scott:
Nice. Well, I love this. It sounds like you’ve always been very responsible with money and done everything quite reasonably, but within the past year really begun to get very intentional about building wealth more proactively and tracking your numbers and being a little bit more scientific about it, especially on the savings side of the equation.

Steve:
Yeah, definitely. I think the one, maybe we have some regrets about retirement where my company has a 3% match, my wife’s in some of her previous roles had up to an 8%. So for awhile, she was contributing 15%, getting an 8% match. Then she just recently in March switched jobs. Unfortunately, isn’t eligible for her retirement contributions until a full year. So right now our financial retirement picture looks like I’m contributing 15% of my salary to mine. She’s doing none of hers.

Steve:
And there were some years where we were saving for a house. So we were paying off my student loans that I contributed nothing. And now looking at our accounts at a hundred thousand I kind of regret, man, I wish we would have contributed a little bit more. And I think also just paid more attention to what we were investing in. We knew the advice from Dave Ramsey and others of, “Yeah, put 15% aside.” But I feel like we never spent time researching, “Well, what, what funds?” And when we switched from Fidelity, the Vanguard, I took the easy way out and I was like, well, money’s going in, that’s all that matters. Years down the road, maybe I’ll look at adjusting where it’s actually going into. So there’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to our retirement savings.

Scott:
Nice. I want to zoom back to your goals real quick, because I think that that’s an important component of what we’re going to talk about here. Is your goal to achieve financial independence or is it to become debt-free? What’s the most important thing to you right now?

Steve:
I think probably the near picture, it’s become debt-free. So we don’t have like a written down goal, but in the back of our minds, we think we can pay off the house in two to three years. So that would remove all debt. And then from there, I think we just want to figure out the next phase of our life and what that would look like.

Scott:
Okay, great. I love that, and I love that clarity, that debt-free goals specifically, and then going out out of there. It’s something that Mindy and I have chosen a different path and a lot of people that we’ve talked to have chosen a different path, where they’re going to keep that mortgage so that they can arbitrage that interest rate spread. But I love that clarity on that goal, the state of desire. And I think that it’s… I can perfectly respect it, and we can work around that particular goal to optimize that. So that’s wonderful.

Steve:
We struggle with it because I know our interest rate on our mortgage is 3.75%, which I know is actually high right now, given the market, and we could probably get 2.5 or less. But I think for us, I’m just very… I don’t love debt. Even though I know I could be putting that money to better use, there’s just this mental part of it that I can’t get over the hurdle of, I would love to have a paid-for house and not upgrade our house until maybe 10 or 15 years down the road and do that with cash. So it’s something we debate internally, every now and then, but I think for now we’re going to stick with pursuing a debt-free.

Mindy:
Okay. That is a perfectly fine goal, like Scott said. Not everybody chooses that, but that’s what you’ve chosen, so that’s what we’re going to talk about. One thing that I have, going back to the retirement accounts, you said your wife can’t contribute right now. Have you considered increasing your contributions from your salary? I’m assuming that you combined finances.

Steve:
We do, definitely.

Mindy:
So if you increase your contributions, that’s kind of the same as her being able to contribute. And then when she comes out next year and is able to contribute to her 401(k), then you can back down on yours. That is one way to do that for January and February.

Steve:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Oh, I should say we’re recording this in December. Because it’s only a couple of months now before she’s eligible to contribute. And it sounds like you’ve got enough cash on hand to live off of, so it won’t necessarily affect your financial position for those two months. So that could be something to think about.

Mindy:
Regarding the mortgage, I did reach out to my my favorite lender, John Leland, and I asked him about, “What’s a ballpark rate?” And of course he gave me all of these, “Well, if it’s this, and this, and this.” So the stipulations are under the jumbo loan, and in the Denver area, and I know you’re not, FICO over 740. So a well-qualified applicant who is refinancing a single family home, 80% loan to value.

Mindy:
He said the rate with no points is 2.875%. Which is almost a full percent lower than what you’re paying, but over the course of, if you’re going to pay this off in two or three years, I see that as maybe a wash because the refinance costs are going to be probably the same as what you’re going to save in interest payments by going down a percent. Scott, what do you think about that?

Scott:
Well, I just want to chime in here that I completely agree that there’s an opportunity to refinance the mortgage even if you’re going to pay it off in two years. Maybe especially so. Is that a 30-year mortgage?

Steve:
Yeah, it’s a 30-year, but it’s an adjustable rate. And so it adjusted up back in March. Went from, I think 3.5 to 3.75. And so again, at the start of COVID, we actually went through the process with our local credit union to, [inaudible 00:16:22], to, I think at the time it was going to be maybe 3%. And I was in the final stages of signing things, and then I really looked at the math and said, “Okay, well, our closing costs, we’re going to be around like 4,000 or something.” And when I plugged in all the calculators, it didn’t seem like it made sense if we were going to pay off our house.

Steve:
Now, certainly, I’d love to not be on an adjustable rate mortgage, I’d love to have it fixed. It’s one of the things we basically have to commit to say, should we pay off our house in two years, or should we just refinance and say, all right, we’ll pay it off in 15 years, but get a 30-year? I don’t know. I’d love your input on that.

Scott:
I have a stated goal of getting out of debt, right?

Steve:
Yeah.

Scott:
So if that’s a moving target, then the advice changes on that. But if the target is fixed and I want to get out of debt reasonably quickly, then I like the 15-year mortgage in your… Right now I’m doing the complete opposite. I’m locking in 30-year fixed long-term debt on my properties and cashing out some cash so that I have investment opportunities and those types of things while interest rates are low.

Scott:
I’m doing it conservatively, and I think responsibly in the context of my financial position, but I’m doing the opposite with this. But in your case, if you’re going to be paying off the mortgage, and you can, within two years or three years, given the numbers you stated earlier, I’d be looking at a 15-year mortgage in your case, because you’re already going to be paying it down and that’s going to come with a lower interest rate.

Scott:
And I like the adjustable rate mortgage, frankly, because odds are that that rate is not going to fluctuate above the fixed rate. And it depends. So you’re going to have to talk to your lender and get in the specifics about that.but you’re probably going to get a lower over… The lowest overall interest rate you can possibly get is probably going to be with that 15-year mortgage on an adjustable rate mortgage. And since you’re going to pay it off aggressively, that’ll save you some money on the interest rates.

Scott:
The second thing I’d considered here is, you said you’re sitting on 65K in cash and 125,000 in home equity. I estimate that you’re able to save up 30 to 40 grand a year, maybe more, after tax and some of those retirement account contributions. So between that and your cash position, you are perhaps less than 18 months away from being able to completely pay off your home. Maybe sooner if you have a good year on some of these side hustle incomes. Is that in the fairway of what you’re thinking around your financial position?

Steve:
It is. Yeah, I think, again, it started from March there’s… I was concerned and I was texting my wife back in March of like, “Hey, I might lose my job. We need to really stop spending money.” So we were able to do that, save a little bit more per month, and now we’re also starting to try to have a baby. So we’re like, “Well, let’s keep stockpiling money just for that, just in case anything goes wrong and we have medical bills.” But I think that the goal right now is to stockpile tons and tons of money. And then when we have our first child and everything’s healthy, we’re good to go, then take that huge chunk, pay off all or the majority of the house at that point.

Scott:
Look, I look at your financial position and I see, one, one income can support your household, most likely, and you’ve got a tremendous amount of side hustles. You clearly don’t get tired of working. You don’t mind boiling heat and those types of things. So for me, I see a competition that’s too conservative relative to your goals. What if you took 30,000, 45,000 of that cash, put it towards your house and then took a hillock. You don’t have to take any money out, but you open up hillock so that you still have access to that 40,000. You’re just taking it out of your checking account and putting it into your house.

Scott:
Even in a conservative wild west scenario, you’re probably not going to be unable to access your HELOC in the event that you actually need that cash. And all you’re doing is pulling it out of your house again, where you just put it into. But most likely, you’re going to save yourself some money on interest or speed up that process to pay down your house. So I think that given your stated goals, your emergency reserve maybe too large for your situation in the short run given that little context. What’s your reaction to that? And then I want to hear what Mindy says.

Steve:
Yeah. No, I definitely agree. I think now we feel safer about our jobs, for sure. My wife, I think, no concerns there being a nurse and probably the ability if she wanted to, to pick up over time and some other options there. And my job, I feel much more confident now than I did six months ago. So yeah, I think there’s… We are sitting on a very bloated emergency fund. I think part of it was we’ve always been interested in real estate, some of my coworkers zone 20, 30 units.

Steve:
And so we’ve had that money sitting there and I’ve thought, “Well, if the housing market crashes in six months or whenever it could, it kind of be nice to be sitting there with 60 or 70,000 to go out and instead of paying off the house buy a rental property. I think that’s where we just need to make up our mind of, what do we really want? Do we want to live debt free or do we want to chase after a rental?

Scott:
I completely agree. I think you just nailed for me what I think is your central focus point, is you’ve got a good income, you’ve got a good savings rate, you’ve got a conservatively capitalized financial position, you clearly understand the basics of investing in those types of things and are ready for that, you just need to make up your mind about whether you want to go all in on the debt-free side, or you want to begin using leverage to build wealth.

Scott:
There’s no wrong answer there, but I think that your in-between state is not and it’s not hurting you, you’re clearly getting rich one way or the other, I think you just find a much more optimal path if you just kind of go all in one way or the other on that journey. Because it doesn’t make any sense to sit on $70,000 in cash and aggressively prepare your house at the same time. To me, that doesn’t make sense. I’d rather go one way or the other, I think. What do you think Mindy?

Mindy:
Well, I want to know if you have started looking at rental properties or real estate in general? I hopped online and I’m looking… I just typed in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania for sale, and I’m seeing nice looking houses for 250, 350 for nice-looking houses. Not so nice-looking houses for 164. And I don’t know what the rental market is, but do you know what the rental market is? Do you know how much demand there is? Do you know what a house is going forward? Do you know what a good deal is?

Steve:
Yeah, my wife and I love looking at houses. So we’re on Trulia every day. Partially, we have no plans to move out of ours, but looking at like the equity we built in our house is intriguing to us. We purchased for 205, about five years ago, and estimate it’s now worth at least 250, maybe it’s the size 290. So we’re looking all the time. The rental market, I think like a two bedroom, one bath, would go for like 1200 in this Mechanicsburg area. When we rented five years ago, we got a great deal and we paid 950 a month. So yeah.

Mindy:
This is super cute house, a two-bedroom, one bath for 147. I think jus-

Steve:
Oh, man, you’ll send it to me.

Mindy:
They just dropped the price. So yeah, I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for real estate. And then what’s the down payment? What’s 20% of that is like $30,000. So I can see Scott’s point putting, what do you have? 65,000 in cash. I can see his point putting 20,000 in, keeping the other 45 for the real estate purchase and see what happens. I would absolutely apply for a hillock. That is something you can get with your local bank. You can get with local credit union, if that’s what you guys do. Start off with your local bank, but also look at other banks too, because your preferred bank might not have the best rates. And why pay more?

Mindy:
I love the idea of buying one house and testing it out. It is very exciting to think about being a landlord and sometimes not so exciting to actually be a landlord. I love it, Scott loves it, but not everybody has our same opinion. So if you decide that it’s not for you, you can find a property manager to help run your property. Make sure you run the numbers in the calculators with property management included. 10% is a good ballpark just to start off and see if it works, but 10% property management for-

Steve:
Okay.

Mindy:
And then if you manage your properties yourself, you just get that extra 10%. But if you don’t, then it’s already baked into the numbers when you ran them.

Scott:
And I like what Mindy’s saying here a lot, and I want to give you a couple of extra frameworks to think about the situation. First of all, this is not a, go get a hillock and use that to buy a rental property. We we’ve seen that cause problems for other folks, because you’re taking out short-term debt to finance a long-term purchase. That’s not really appropriate, but in terms of your position, your situation, I think a hillock is a better use than continuing to build out that huge buffer of emergency fund given the stated goals of getting rid of your debt.

Scott:
But I also think that we still haven’t quite gotten past the, Steve’s not a hundred percent sure on what he wants in terms of goals there. I I’m sensing more of like an 80% on that debt-free move rather than maybe a hundred percent. Is that right?

Steve:
Yeah. I think that’s accurate. I listened to the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, and every time I listened to that, then I’m like, “Well, maybe we’ll go after real estate and push the house away.” So I think, ultimately my wife and I just need to sit down and say, “We need to know which way we’re going and decide.” It’s likely only going to be, like you said, maybe 18 months if we aggressively pay off the house.

Steve:
So I think we can probably make the argument of the housing market isn’t going to skyrocket. I don’t think in 18 months. Hopefully, there’s still good deals out there, and yeah, knock on wood, who knows. But I think our dream scenario is pay off the house quickly, save up more cash, or like you said, hillock, and then hopefully there’s a good rental property out there that we can scrape together 20% down to put on.

Scott:
Yeah. Well, I don’t think you have trouble scraping together 20% down on a fairly regular basis when we’re getting there. I would just say I’m interested to hear, I don’t think there’s an answer, but I don’t think it’s wrong, I just am curious to hear your thoughts on… I’m gathering that you feel very comfortable putting down 20% on a rental property, but you really want to have your primary paid off. What’s the thought process there?

Steve:
Yeah, I think it’s, again, I mentioned like listening to Dave Ramsey growing up. And so I think I just have his baby steps instilled in me. He was always the one saying, yeah, “Don’t buy rental real estate until your primary mortgage is paid off.” So I think I’m just battling that and whether or not we want to do it. But the great thing is our mortgage is only 970 a month, which is amazing. So it’s not like it’s a significant part of… It’s 25% of our monthly expenses right now. So it’s not a huge burden.

Scott:
No. Look, I think you’re doing all the right things. I think your key thing that’s holding you back is in a relative sense. The thing that’s preventing you from accelerating faster towards your goals is that lack of the cohesive investment philosophy and debt philosophy there. Because I think there’s something for me that’s incongruous about paying off the home equity and then taking out a debt to buy a rental property.

Scott:
Actually, maybe there isn’t. And maybe that’s what we can walk through here. Maybe it was something like, “I’m going to pay off the home debt and I’m going to be very efficient about it. And we can get there on a race to the finish line. Then I’m going to put 20% down on a rental property. Then I’m going to do the exact same thing again and pay that down. Then I’m going to go buy another one with 20% down. And so on and so forth. And that’s a faster, but still very conservative way to build wealth.

Scott:
There’s also the approach that a lot of folks take where they’re going to buy 10 properties like, “Hey, I’m going to zoom out. I’m going to stop paying down my home mortgage. I’m going to buy five or 10 properties over the next two to five years. And then I’m going to snowball and pay them down one by one, starting with the lowest mortgage or whatever. So that I get to the same spot. And maybe that shaves a couple of years off of my wealth goal, because I’m able to get started sooner and use the cash flow to pay those down.” What’s your reaction to those that… I think there’s a spectrum here of ways to get to that end state of being debt-free. Anything that I said there appeal to you or provoke thought?

Steve:
Yeah, I think, again, to me, it’s always just been a matter of when we own real estate. I don’t think we want to own anything more than like 10 units. I think what we maybe thought of in the past is like, if we got to the point where our mortgage was paid off and we had three or four cashflow in properties and where would get to the point where maybe I quit my full-time job and just sort of do those things, stay at home with kids, whatever. I don’t think we want this massive real estate portfolio where we’re managing it ourselves or even for using a property manager. I think there’s so much stress with that we don’t want to bring on this burden of putting out fires and all of that. We want to have kind of a simple life.

Scott:
Well, I love it. But again, the way to get there, let’s say the goal is 10 paid off units, makiNg this up, right? But if the goal is 10 paid off units, one way to get there is to pay off your mortgage, save up for three or four years, buy a property in cash, then save up for two years, buy another property in cash, then save up for another year and a half, buy another property and cash that a year. And then whatever. And then at the end of that, you’ve got your 10 units. Maybe it takes 12 years, right?

Scott:
Another way to go about doing that is to stop paying off your mortgage now, buy a property this year, buy a property next year, and two properties the year after that, three properties, and then stop leveraging and begin paying off the properties one by one. And maybe that poses a lot more risk relatively. It’s certainly more risky than buying them all in cash, but maybe that maybe that process ends up taking seven years according to your modeling. And you’re like, am I willing to take on that risk in order to be at that end state after seven years?

Scott:
Again, same deal. I got completely paid off properties. I’m uncertainly taking on more risk here and doing that. Or is there a blender, a balance that you might approach there where like an in between state on those two extremes might be paying off your mortgage and then putting 20% down on a property? Doing that three or four times over the next couple of years with a big cash cushion, and then beginning to pay down those mortgages one by one after you’ve built up the portfolio to a certain extent. So what I’m trying to do is just present some options here so you don’t have to go all in on one extreme or the other. Maybe there’s a middle ground that makes a lot of sense for you, is what I’m trying to point out.

Steve:
Gotcha. Yeah. I think we’re probably leaning towards, like you said, chasing after paying off our mortgage, having 20% to put down of a down payment and then, again, making sure we like it, right? And not biting off more than we can chew. And if that first one goes well, then I think we could build this nice lifestyle where we’ve got multiple units down the road. And again, where it’s low risk, because I think, you look at our past and what we’ve done, we’ve been pretty careful with most things, we don’t spend a ton on things. So I think it’s worked well for us being relatively conservative with finances. So I’m like, Well, if it’s not broken and we can certainly get to retirement where we can live very comfortably, then I think we’ll probably go that route.

Scott:
Yeah. You you’re in great shape right now. You’re debt debt-free. You’ve got a big cash cushion. You’re very close to having your home paid off. You just turned 30. Life is good here. I think the challenge is the way you’re going about things is you’re not going to have much in the way of accessible passive income in the near future. I think you’re conscious of that. The advantages you’re going to have very low fixed expenses once your home is paid off. So you’re not going to have a huge target to shoot for. You’re not going to need a massive net worth in the millions of dollars to sustain a level of freedom here, because your expenses are going to be quite low and you’re going to have no a very low risk profile.

Scott:
So I think you’re winning hands down in this game of finance. I don’t think you can go wrong with too many of these moves, but I think that, if I’m hearing what you’re saying, you want to pay off the home equity and then begin the rental property business. I think the move is to… I don’t think that emergency reserve is helping you. I think that’s the biggest capital move right now, is I just think you’re arbitraging a 0% interest rate and your savings account for three and three quarters interest rate in your home. And that your position is so conservative that if you open up a hillock, you’re going to be just fine to meet your emergency reserve needs and we’ll get there a little faster. So it’s kind of a minor tactical. I think adjustment is the only real maneuver I see here in the short run. What are you seeing Mindy?

Mindy:
I like what you’re saying, Scott, I want Steve and his wife to discuss what they’re comfortable with in that cash cushion. You did mention that this is a little maybe bloated, but given the times that we’re in, you were okay with that. Talk to your wife and see what is the minimum amount you are okay with in that account before making any of these crazy moves.

Mindy:
I love your pronouns, by the way, you’re like, we did this, we think this, we think that. It sounds like you and your wife talk about money, which is huge in a relationship where you are combining finances. I think it’s huge in a relationship where you don’t combine finances, but I think it’s great that you guys are on the same page. And so I want to commend you on that too.

Mindy:
Your story sounds a lot like Rich Carey from episode 156, Scott, where we talked to him. He has long-distance rentals in Alabama. They’re not long distance anymore, but they were long distance for him when he bought them. He has 20 paid off homes in some city in Alabama. I’m drawing a blank. And he did it while he was serving in the military overseas. So it was like super long distance, not just like he lives in California and it is investing there.

Mindy:
So I’m going to recommend that you go back and listen to that episode. I would present a different idea. Maybe you continue to save for your rentals while also making extra payments on your primary mortgage. You said your mortgage is 970. How much are you paying on it every month?

Steve:
Right now we’re only paying 970. Previously, we were aggressively, for several months, doubling our mortgage. When we purchased the house, it was a combination of just low-rate mortgage and a $30,000 equity line of credit, which was odd. And that was a higher interest rate. So we hated that and said, let’s pay this off aggressively. So that was nice. When we bought the house, our total mortgage was 1300, but then once we paid off that line of credit, then it dropped it to 970.

Mindy:
Okay. And I would also like to see you getting listings from a real estate agent. Do you have a real estate agent that you’re working with right now?

Steve:
Currently, no. Nope.

Mindy:
Oh, wow. Scott, where can he find a really great investor-friendly real estate agent?

Scott:
If you go to biggerpockets.com/agents, we’ve got a whole list of investor-friendly real estate agents there. And you can search for your local city and find somebody there, I’m sure. It’s actually really great. I use it all the time or I refer people there all the time, at least.

Steve:
Perfect.

Scott:
Mindy’s in there.

Mindy:
So I want you to find a real estate agent. I want you to tell them what your goals are. I want you to start getting emails from them based on what you’re looking for and start analyzing those deals. Do you have a BiggerPockets account?

Steve:
I do. Yep.

Mindy:
Okay. Are you a pro member?

Steve:
Not yet. No.

Mindy:
Okay. Send me a message… We’re already connected on the site because I’m connected with everybody. Send me a message and I will make you a pro member so you can get access to our calculators and you can start running numbers on these properties. You’re going to need to know things like, what is this property going to rent for? And how much is the insurance? It’s not just, “Oh, my mortgage payment is 300 and my rent is 500, so I’m making $200 a month.” No, you’re not. You’re probably breaking even, or maybe even losing money on that particular scenario. So this will help you get familiar with the numbers. In the beginning, it takes forever to run through a calculation, but towards the end, right as you’re getting ready to buy, you like bam, bam, bam, bam, I know all my numbers, and you just plug it.

Scott:
There’s a concept in the calculators as well, called compound annual growth rate, which is the total return you’re getting from investing in real estate. So suppose I buy a property for a hundred thousand dollars and I get a $5,000 in cashflow, and it appreciates at 3%. I’ve now got an 8% return, right? I made eight, grand five in cashflow three IN appreciation.

Scott:
Suppose I instead put down $20,000 on that a hundred thousand dollar property. Now I’m getting, let’s call it a 2,500 in cash flow instead of 5,000 in cashflow, because I have a mortgage and those types of things. But I still get that same appreciation at 3%. Well, 3% on $20,000 instead of being a 3% return is a 15% return, right? Because it’s a… plus, I get that 10% cashflow on that. So what I think will be really powerful for you is to use those calculators and run that analysis. And use that, because, well, I think there’s so many wonderful things about the Dave Ramsey and debt-free approach and a lot of freedom that comes with it.

Scott:
That freedom also comes at that at the cost of those lower returns. And frankly, and I’m going to get a shot by somebody by for saying this as the CEO of BiggerPockets, but in many cases, people with paid off real estate properties are generating a worse return than the historic average of the stock market, over time, while doing more work. It’s great diversification and some of those cases, but for me, I would not invest in real estate debt free, unless I felt that the cash flow and appreciation potential was greater than about 10% a year. Which is what I assume I can get over the… I’m going to get a lumpy return, it’s going to be more volatile than the stock market, but over 30 years, I think I’ll get rich at a rate of about 10% a year in the stock market and perhaps less than that in real estate.

Scott:
So I would do those hard assumptions on the real estate side of things as you think through your approach and just understand that difference, what’s that return going to be and how’s that going to compound for me over the next couple of years, and use that. Because I’m hearing an 80% on your debt-free approach. And I’m wondering if that analysis will change a couple of things for you on that.

Scott:
And then from there, I would write out a philosophy. I would just say, “I’m going to be debt-free or I’m not based on that.” And if I’m not, I’m going to capitalize my position one way, which is probably going to involve more of that cash and a little bit more comfort with debt. But I think your emergency reserve is really appropriate. For example, if you’re thinking about buying property or those other things in the short-term between now and paying off your home. Or, I’m going to go that debt-free route and I’m going to capitalize… That’s where we get a 15-year mortgage with an arm, because that’s going to have a lowest interest rate.

Scott:
I’m locking myself into fixed high payments, but I know I’m going to pay way more than that anyways. So what’s the difference? Why not just take that. If you’re going the route of using more debt and leverage in your real estate, that’s when you might want that 30-year fixed rate mortgage on your property to pay as little as possible so that you can then have more cash and flexibility at lower risk in your real estate portfolio.

Scott:
And I think Mindy’s suggestion is really good. Go talk to an agent and look at the deals, and say, “Does a deal that I’ve seen here and the analysis I’m doing make that decision for me? Is it so much more compelling one way or the other, or is it really close? And frankly, I’m just going to feel a lot more comfortable.” You’re going to get rich pretty quick. Or within 10 years, you’re going to be a millionaire one way or the other, I think, if you just keep up your savings rate and your mentality here. it’s just a matter of degree and maybe a little bit on the speed side, which way you go.

Scott:
I think that… I don’t know what the answer is going to be after you conduct that analysis, frankly, I don’t think there’s a wrong one, but that would be how I would approach the situation from that. And I would definitely take Mindy’s advice and look at real estate, see how that would do for you. And just capitalize the rest of your position in a cohesive manner. I think with your real estate, I would say rather… than I think there are two conflicting approaches, which are going to slow you down needlessly in the short run. That’s my biggest takeaway.

Steve:
No, that’s good. I think ultimately, it’s seeking clarity. Mindy, I think he brought up a great point of talking with my wife, making sure we’re both on the same page. And yeah, I think talking to a real estate pro, it’s something that we’ve probably been hesitant on because I think once we start doing that we automatically think like, oh, we’re locked in and this gets serious. It’s not. It ultimately teaches us more and maybe we realize that, oh, this Central Pennsylvania housing market’s a great time to invest in a rental property. And I think that’s probably an action item that I’ll take from this, is there’s no harm in reaching out to someone, getting listings coming our way. And we love doing that anyway. So it’ll actually be fun to.

Scott:
You’re either a client for them now, or you’re a client for them in like two years.

Steve:
That’s right.

Scott:
So you’re not really wasting anyone’s time with this, it sounds like.

Mindy:
And I’m real estate agent. It’s really easy for me to set up an email drip for you. I don’t think that’s… Is that the right phrase, Scott? I almost called him my husband’s name.

Scott:
Oh, woopsies.

Mindy:
So you want to contact a real estate agent and have them set you up with listings. Figure out what it is you want, you want a three bedroom with… I suggest at least two toilets in the house, or a one and a half bath or a two bath, because it’s easier to rent when there’s two toilets. It’s easier to sell down the road. When you only have one toilet, it’s just not as convenient. That’s a modern convenience that we have.

Scott:
Yeah. I went from one toilet to three toilets and it is, life-changing

Mindy:
Three toilets? I’m about to add a fourth to my house because I’ve just faced like that. But yeah, at least two toilets. And you had said two bedrooms, maybe you look at three bedrooms, three bedrooms can encourage people with families to rent from you. So if you’re looking for families, you want to be in a good school district. There’s a lot of things to think about, but just… It takes like five minutes to set this up.

Mindy:
Don’t sign anything with them until you’re comfortable working with them. The buyer’s agency agreement is something that a lot of real estate agents will have you sign. Actually, you have to have that signed by most state regulations, but there’s nothing to dictate when it has to be signed. And what it says is, you owe me a commission when you buy a house, not when I help you buy a house. When you buy a house, you owe it to me. Even if I’ve done nothing and you decided to go with somebody else, if you didn’t break your agreement with me, technically, legally, I can come after you for that commission.

Mindy:
I think it’s a horrible way to do business. I would never do that. If you don’t want to work with me, I don’t want to keep you locked in, but I am a unicorn real estate agent. And I’m not licensed in Pennsylvania. So you definitely just want to reach out to them and say, “Hey, I’d like to get some emails to start learning the market.” They’ll send you emails. And then if you have a question, reach out to them, “Hey, what do you think this house could rent for?” If they don’t know, they’re not the agent for you. They should be able to say, “Oh, that’ll be between 750 to 850 depending on what it’s like inside.”

Scott:
I want to zoom back out for a second here and just kind of reflect on a couple of things. One, you guys have done a great job with your careers. You have stable careers in a high income. It sounds like you are always doing fine and not doing anything you’re irresponsible whatsoever, but got, again, intentional about your finances sounds like around March and really bumped your savings rate dramatically to two to three or $4,000 a month, incremental to what you were doing previously.

Scott:
Fantastic. That’s usually where we spend a lot of time. We don’t need as many time on that with you right now. What’s going on now is you’re entering, regardless of which path you choose, the debt-free or that, that using a little bit more leverage in certain areas. You’re about to enter what I think of as like the grind stage of finance. There’s not a ton left to optimize. I think once you’ve got this done, depending on which route you…

Scott:
Suppose you go the completely debt-free route, right? There’s a couple of capital allocation things to do, maybe a refund, your mortgage maybe considering the cash cushion depending on outcome with your wife. There’s no pressure on that. It’ll just take it two years, two and a half years instead of a year and a half to pay off the mortgage, I’m making that up, if you don’t use part of the cash position to pay down your mortgage. But you’re going to enter a grind really either way, which is going to take you a number of years, and it’s going to result in continuing improvements to your financial position. It will feel really boring and really automatic, I guess.

Scott:
That is what becoming wealthy feels like. So don’t be scared off by that. That’s just the deal, right? That’s what will happen for a few years. Make that part of your life… Figure out something that’s really enjoyable so it doesn’t feel like a grinder monotonous. Because that’s like the meat of the journey there. But within five years, one way or another, you’re going to come out with a net worth much closer on the other side of the halfway part to a million dollars, probably pretty close to it, $2 million in net worth, I’d imagine I’m at your rate here.

Scott:
That’s one. I guess option A is like that, with the debt free approach. And you’re going to encounter the same thing if you go with a little bit more debt, it’s going to still be that grind concept. So just be aware that that’s coming, because you’re pretty optimized the most [inaudible 00:46:45] you’re getting all the basics, right? And it’s just going to be that accumulation phase. And I love it with Mindy, if you want to make it a little more interesting, you have the real estate side of things to go down. If you want to make it a little bit more boring, you go to the index fund route or whatever, but I think we’re clear that your interest lies more towards real estate one way or another with it.

Scott:
But I just want to point that out, because that’s something that a lot of people forget. It’s just you’re now entering the really boring automatic stage where you’re doing the big things right, so there’s not really that too much left, anyways, just wanted to chime in with that.

Steve:
No, that’s good. I think for us, boring is great. We’re okay with that. Boring means low stress and maybe less to go wrong. So I’m fine with that. Yeah.

Scott:
So just set aside a good amount of money for vacations, the fun family trips. It sounds like kids are out the way that stuff, but you’re going to get rich either way with that. So don’t worry about the last 5% optimization that’ll make it miserable at this point because the big things are right in, my opinion.

Mindy:
Yep. I agree. Scott, I want to recap some of the things that I want Steve to do. Some of the things I want Steve to do. I want you to go and listen to episode 156 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast with Rich Carey big. And he’s also on episode 268 of the BiggerPockets real estate investing podcast. I forgot about that. I interviewed him on both shows. I was filling in for Josh at the time.

Mindy:
That was a lot of fun to listen to him talk about his real estate investing. And he gets pretty deep into the numbers on the Real Estate Investing Podcast and more about the financial independence aspect of it on the money podcast. But he invested long distance. He’s got paid-off rentals. There’s people that are listening that are like, “That’s terrible advice. Don’t ever pay off anything.” They aren’t you. And it doesn’t matter what they want to do. It only matters what you and your wife want to do. So don’t listen to them.

Mindy:
I want you to connect with the real estate agent at biggerpockets.com/agents and start getting listings, start learning your market and be ready to make an informed decision when the property that you’re looking for pops up on the market, because when it’s priced-right, and it’s what you want, and it’s what other people want, it’s going to go quickly. So you want to be able to make a rapid offer from a position of financial strength. Wow. I sounded like you, Scott.

Mindy:
I want you to send me a message, send me a private message on BiggerPockets and I will upgrade you to pro so you can start analyzing these deals on the calculators. And that might be another thing to start learning the market, is every listing that your agent sends you, run it through the calculators. That’s going to take a long time at first, like I said, but once get, you can start seeing, “Oh wow. At $150,000, this property doesn’t make total sense, but at 142, it makes great sense. Great.” Then make an offer at 142, if you’re comfortable with that.

Mindy:
If they don’t accept it, they don’t accept it. Don’t do eraser math to make the property fit into your numbers. Do your numbers, make the offer based on your numbers. And you’re going to lose some deals and that’s okay. You’ll win some too. And then speak to your wife about what you both feel is the lowest cash cushion comfort level that you have. Right now, you’ve got 65. And that feels great to have $65,000 in cash, which I’m assuming is not stuffed into your mattress. And if it is, please Put it in a bank account.

Mindy:
Put it In one of those high-yield bank accounts that are paying what? 0.6%, 0.8%, which is better than zero, but not that much more. And talk to her about what is she comfortable with? What are you comfortable with? IF your perfect rental property comes on the market tomorrow, how much in reserve funds do you want for that property as well? I like $10,000. It’s a nice round number. Scott had 10,000 on his first property. It just helps you pay for the roof, the furnace, the air conditioner, the appliances, when two of them go out at the same time.

Scott:
Yeah. And I would just chime in with that as the item five here, is that get clear on your money philosophy here. Right now, your position is indicating a philosophy of, “I kind of I want to be debt-free, but I’m also thinking I want to be opportunistic in the real estate space. And I want to leave that option open.” That’s fine, but just capitalize it with that.

Scott:
That’s a great philosophy to set a lot. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, hey, I’m going to start paying down that, just capitalize your situation so that that backs up that philosophy. And write it down. Maybe, for example, if that’s the philosophy… I jumped around a million times here. Maybe if that’s a philosophy I’m going to refinance in a 30-year fixed mortgage at a lower rate, and then prepay it with all the extra cash, but leave my reserve this high so I can buy rentals. Right?

Scott:
There’s a right answer there somewhere that that gets you your balance, but I just think that the fact that you seem like you’re waffling a little bit on that is it’s just costing you a little bit. It’s costing you a few thousand a year. Nothing that’s going to crush your position, but a room for optimization. I think you’ll feel better about it once you have that written down and agreed to with your wife.

Steve:
Yeah, that’s perfect. I love that advice.

Scott:
Alrighty. Well, I think this has been a great dive into your finances. Thank you for sharing them with us. I think a lot of people are going through similar things or have a similar background and similar circumstances and are going to get are going to benefit from this, because these are the hard, real challenges of financial position. I love how simple your finances are. I love how all the fundamentals are in place and that allowed us to get a little bit more technical with some of this stuff. So you’re just crushing it. You and your wife are in such a good position. And now, I just have one last, very important question for you, which is, do you have a joke for us?

Steve:
Oh, man. I don’t have an original one, unfortunately. I had to consult Google for this. But since it’s snowing here-

Scott:
Oh, I never do that.

Steve:
Yeah. It’s currently snowing here. I have to Google snow jokes. So this is my favorite one. How does a penguin build a LEGO house?

Scott:
I don’t know.

Mindy:
I don’t know.

Steve:
Igloos it together.

Scott:
Oh, I love it.

Mindy:
I looked up for soccer because you’re a soccer franchise guy.

Steve:
Oh, yeah. Let’s hear it.

Mindy:
What is it called when a dinosaur gets us soccer goal?

Steve:
I don’t know.

Mindy:
A dino-score

Scott:
Nice.

Steve:
That’s awesome.

Mindy:
Combining mine.

Steve:
I’ll be sure to use that one.

Mindy:
Combining my own dinosaur love with your work.

Steve:
I love it.

Mindy:
Okay. Steve, thank you so much for your time today. This was really, really fun. I hope that your snow storm goes away soon. You guys are getting what? Two feet? 10 feet?

Steve:
I think so, but I’m excited. I hope it stays forever. I love snow.

Mindy:
I love snow too, but that much snow can be-

Scott:
How much snow did you say?

Mindy:
I think we’re 14 to 20 inches, is what they’re calling for now.

Scott:
Oh, geez.

Steve:
That’s a lot for us in central PA. It’s pretty rare.

Scott:
Yeah. That’s amazing.

Mindy:
Scott, You’re the second person at BP today that I talked to who doesn’t know that there’s this huge snow storm coming to the [crosstalk 00:53:48] Northeast.

Scott:
That’s all there’s [crosstalk 00:53:48]. Come on. [crosstalk 00:53:50].

Mindy:
Oh, you don’t Eat Coast, Scott? Wow.

Scott:
I like the East Coast. I grew up in the East Coast, go birds. And you don’t know if you’re a Pittsburgh or Eagles fan, but I like the East Coast, I don’t follow the news that much in sunny day here in Denver.

Mindy:
It is very sunny in Denver today. We had snow the last two days. So sorry that we’re studying it to you.

Steve:
[inaudible 00:54:14].

Mindy:
Okay, Steve, thank you so much for your time today. And we will talk to you soon.

Steve:
Awesome. Thank you both so much. I appreciate it.

Mindy:
Okay. That was Steve. Scott, what did you think of Steve’s story?

Scott:
I really enjoyed it. I think, yet again, we have another different leverage point. You go into this and you expect, Oh, it’s going to be, they really need to just generate more income, the job’s holding them back, or they need to find a way to earn a little extra, or you need to cut back on expenses, or they’re doing something really silly with debt and they got to prepay the debt and those types of things.

Scott:
No, that’s not the problems we’ve run into. What we’ve run into our real problems that are more nuanced and take 20 minutes to really discover as the central point of that. And everyone seems completely different. And I really think we’re latching onto something here with Steve where the problem isn’t necessarily an optimization, or income, or spending problem, or bad choices with investing, or debts or those types of things. I think it’s just a little bit of intention about investment philosophy. And that’s yet another new one for us. So I’m interested to see how far we can go and how many people we interview before we start running into the same problems over and over again, because so far we’ve had a wide variety of problems, or challenges, or opportunities.

Mindy:
Well, that’s interesting that you say that’s got, because I had written out a little outro for this and said, recording these shows has really proven that a one-size-fits-all approach to finances doesn’t work. Whereas the original Monday episode, Money Show, is more of a, spend less than you earn, save all the extra, invest intelligently. And this is showing that sometimes you have to make little tweaks that aren’t necessarily in those particular buckets.

Mindy:
Steve has a large cash cushion, maybe too large. Who are we to say he has too much money? That’s a ridiculous thing to say, but in the context of his financial situation, he is sitting on perhaps a two large cash cushion. Of course, that’s a great problem to have. Wow, he’s got too much money. What a hard time?

Scott:
Well, and that’s the deal, right? That’s the debate. And that never ends. That is a perfectly appropriate cash cushion. If he was saying, I want to buy real estate within the next year, that’s the right amount of cash for him to have. But if he’s saying I want to pay off my mortgage in the next, to us, that seemed like a large cash cushion that was suboptimal because he’s arbitraging his three and three quarters percent interest rate on his mortgage for the 0.6 to 0.8%, if he’s lucky, in a savings account. Right?

Scott:
And so that’s the fun part about this, and why this is so challenging, and why I think it’s worth it to spend the several hundred hours necessary to learn and digest these things around finances so you’re not following a rote formula, you’re developing a philosophy that works for you, personal finances personally, I’m stealing that from a wise person that we all know, and then building a philosophy and approach to money that focuses on progress, not perfection, and moving towards your goals and to what the situation you want to achieve.

Mindy:
Oh, I like that. Focus on progress not perfection. Because you’re never going to be perfect. That’s really good, Scott.

Scott:
By the way, since we haven’t done the famous four in a couple of these, I will say that I recently read a book called The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. I read it on my honeymoon and then he makes fun of me for that. Too bad, she was reading another book. So I get to read a finance book. And I thought it was outstanding. So we got to get him on the show one day, Mindy. And if you haven’t, go check out that book, The Psychology of Money. Really loved that short, easy read. And I think I probably stole inadvertently that quote around progress not perfection from Morgan Housel. And I love that phrase.

Mindy:
You re-quoted him.

Scott:
Re-quoted him. Right. That’s right. That’s what we… With a proper citation

Mindy:
With a proper citation. Yes. Okay. Do you like what you’ve been hearing on these Finance Friday Reviews, Scott and I are having a really good time making them. And they’re really causing us to rethink our financial advice in these different situations. And like I said in the beginning of the show, we’re here to tell every money story. So we want to tell yours too. If you would like us to review your finances, please fill out the form at biggerpockets.com/finance review.Scott, should we get out of here?

Scott:
Let’s do it.

Mindy:
From episode 176 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, he is Scott Trench, and I am Mindy Jensen saying, see you later, alligator.

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • How much of a cash cushion you should have available
  • Eliminating big loans like mortgages and student debt
  • Buying rental properties before you pay off your primary home
  • Leveraging debt in order to grow your wealth quicker 
  • Getting a real estate agent to start browsing the market for rentals
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Book Mentioned in the Show