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Rejecting a Scarcity Mindset and Going All-In on Apartment Investing with Gino Barbaro

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
49 min read
Rejecting a Scarcity Mindset and Going All-In on Apartment Investing with Gino Barbaro

Gino Barbaro was a chef, working hard every day. He made good money and had no debt, but never seemed to be able to save more than 10%. He started dabbling in real estate investing, and after closing his fourth deal worth $11 million, he decided he wanted to leave the restaurant business for good.

He retired from his restaurant two years ago. While he could have lived off the passive income from it, he wanted to focus on his passion—real estate. After 25 years in the restaurant business, he had created just one restaurant, but in five years of real estate investing, he’s accumulated more than 1,000 units.

Gino shares how his net worth has increased AFTER retirement—and has no plans to slow down. If you’re thinking big or want to be inspired to think big, Gino’s story is a can’t-miss episode. Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Scott: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast show 60 where we interview Gino Barbaro from jakeandgino.com, Wheelbarrow Profits, and a million other things that Gino does these days.

Gino: I am more worth more than $10 an hour. I am worth an $11 million deal and that is when everything changed for me because I am like why am I wasting my time? That day, August of 2015 when we closed, I said to myself I am leaving the restaurant, I do not care what happens, I am better than working $10 an hour.

It is time for a new American dream, one that does not involve working in a cubicle for 40 years, barely scraping by. Whether you are looking to get your financial house in order, invest the money you already have or discover new paths for wealth creation, you are in the right place. This show is for anyone who has money or wants more. This is the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Scott: How is it going everybody? I am Scott Trench. I am here with my co-host, Ms. Mindy Jensen. How are you doing today, Mindy?

Mindy: Scott, I am having a fantastic day. I am really really really excited for today’s show because we interview Gino Barbaro. I am hoping I am not barburying his name but I really liked Gino’s story. I like how he did not just stay in his lane. He is like, ‘You know what? This is not the lane I want to be in anymore.’ He switched lanes, he got to financial independence and now he does everything that he wants to do and does not do anything he does not want to do and that is kind of the whole point of financial independence. Towards the end of the show, Gino mentions community.

His focus is real estate as you are about to hear and we like to remind people that we have a whole website devoted to helping you in your real estate investing journey. Biggerpockets.com has a blog with three or four articles every single day about different aspects of real estate investing as well as a forum where you can go in and ask questions and get answers for almost any question you could think of in regards to real estate investing and money.

Scott: We think that the most effective way to learn and increase your odds of success, if you are interested in real estate investing, is to learn from the deals that other people like you, near you, are doing. If you actually go on BiggerPockets and check out the deal diaries that we have got on there, you can go to forums and browse around for the deal diaries, you can see what other people like you near you are actually purchasing with their purchase price, the cash they have invested in the deal and the learning that they have had from that.

They can go and connect with them about that deal. If you have done a deal and you want to share that with the community, that is even better. You can go on your profile on biggerpockets.com if you sign up, it is all free and put a deal on your profile. You can talk about the purchase price, what you invested in, the outcome that you got and sharing your learning from that and that is going to help the next person also be successful in real estate. If you have not already, go check out those deals and learn from other people near you and if you are willing, we would love to have your story and your deal on our site as well. We think it is going to help the next person be successful, which is what we are all about.

Mindy: Absolutely. Should we get into Gino’s story now?

Scott: Let us do it.

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Scott: Alright. Big thanks to today’s sponsor. Gino, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. How is it going today.

Gino: Scott, I am doing great bro. How are you doing?

Scott: I am doing good. Thank you for joining us today. Should we go ahead and jump right to it. Where do you think your money story begins?

Gino: That is a great question. When I was born, I hit the home run. I mean I had two great parents. I mean born in the US, born with two great immigrant parents. That is where money journey started. I thought big money is working hard. That was my money blueprint, working hard for money. Fortunately, 30 to 40 years ago, when you worked hard you made a lot of money, you could really do really well. That was imprinted in my brain.

Ever since childhood I got into the restaurant business, worked hard, made great money. 2008 comes around, the seismic shift, they want to call it the great recession. I just call it wow, what happened? My money paradigm shifted again. I said, you know what? I cannot work for money anymore. I have to work for financial freedom. I wish I had got that lesson a little bit sooner in life. That is just the way the ball rolls and that is I think where it started. I think it is shifted in 2008 and here we are 10 years later and things radically changed for me.

Scott: Well, what happened in 2008? What was your kind of financial position going into the crisis or the recession? What did that look like for you?

Gino: Well, Scott, you get to be my age. I was 38 at the time. I had four kids at the time, I have six kids now. I was working harder and I was making less money and that is frustrating for someone who is been doing something for their whole life. I had one restaurant. My family said we have to stay small, do not take any risks. I said, okay, you know what? That works. But 2008 came, like I said, it is working more hours and making less money. I said I have to support my family, I have to do something to make more money. That was coming from my mindset of I have to work for me, me, me. When you are not financially free and you are looking to pay the bills, that is what happens, you think about yourself. Fortunately for me, I went to life coaching school, that changed everything. It was a radical shift in my mindset. Worrying about other people, creating value for others and doing stuff for others really shifted my mindset and I was just fortunate that I went to this coaching school and the rest is history.

Scott: Going back real quick to you working harder and making less and less money. Are you saying that you had very few assets and that things are getting tighter and tighter and tighter? Expenses were kind of creeping up and you were unable to… Your income was actually declining in that period, putting extreme pressure on the family, is that good business?

Gino: Yes, that is. I mean, back in 2008, I mean I live in New York at the time. I moved to Florida a year and a half ago. Everything is expensive in New York. My property tax, I will give you an example, were $27,000 for a house.

Mindy: Oh my God.

Gino: Property tax, $27,000. That is what my house pay. Yes, exactly, that is what I felt. I was pregnant with a fourth child and everyone is telling me, ‘Well, you have got to pay for college.’ They are going to get married. You have all those pressures coming on you and now I realize that is all nonsense, right? Even if you are staying even, your family is growing, your expenses are growing. I was becoming overwhelmed by all these external forces that I did not feel like I can control.

When you have that fear, that resistance, you feel like you cannot control stuff. You are looking for an escape. Even if the numbers stay the same, I was pretty comfortable as far as income comes. I had a pretty good job as far as money coming in but as I said, as the family grows and as New York goes, it was not enough. It felt like it was not enough and I felt like a lot of people in New York, I feel like I was trapped.

Mindy: What kind of property did you have that had $27,000 in property taxes?

Gino: It was a five acre property in Putnam County, New York. It is about an hour out of Manhattan. The property taxes in New York. It was a nice house. It is 4,500 square feet. I built it myself. Like I said, I was comfortable with paying the bills, I had a big family, but at the same time that is what is happening in New York. You will talk over with demographics and the tax law, people are moving. People are moving from those states. I had seen that coming and I just said I wanted to get to warmer weather so I saw that on the horizon. Mindy, when you are paying those taxes, you do not think it is crazy.

You do not think it is ludicrous, right? That is to be honest with you. But when you step outside of yourself and you say, ‘Well, what is everyone else doing? How does everything else look?’ You say to yourself, well, that is not fair. That is one of the many many factors that got me out of New York to say that does not look right to me. Let me look at what everyone else is doing and I assessed the situation and I said I think we need to move.

Mindy: I lived in Wisconsin and I paid $14,000 a year in property taxes and it is now my mortgage. That is like more than a $1000 a month in property taxes. Now, my mortgage…

Scott: Yes, $2000.

Mindy: Now, my mortgage.

Gino: Mine is more than $2000. You know what the sad thing is guys? I have six kids now and we homeschool our kids so I do not even use the public school system. I can say to myself, I can rationalize if you send your kids to school or whatever, the schools were not even that great and it just did not feel like a, a viable trade. It is frustrating and that was a frustrating thing for me.

Scott: I think I would have to own eight properties in Denver in order to start paying $27,000 in property tax.

Gino: You make that number real quick, right?

Mindy: Yes, my tax is like $1,100 a year. It used to be $1,100 a month. Yes, it is awesome. You said You went to life coaching school, does that mean that you are a life coach or you got coaching from someone?

Gino: No, I became certified as a life coach.

Mindy: Okay.

Gino: Not for the certification, but more for the personal development because listen, you read all the books, you read Zig Ziglar, you read Jim Rome, you read Tony Robbins, you read Napoleon Hill, you read George Place and you read Jay Abraham, you read all the big guys. But when you are reading something, I wanted more. I wanted a deeper dive. I want him to know every time I hit a goal, why was I was not satisfied? Why do not I have to go to the next goal? I want to know more about being why I was not fulfilled and why I was not happy? Because I think that is the most important thing in life, it is being fulfilled and happy. I did not know why. I said, let me take this life coaching thing, and I thought at first was hoo hoo, but man, take a deep dive. You really work on yourself and it is hard to work on yourself because most people do not want to take the time and maybe they do not want to find out about themselves.

It was really for me was a revelation about what I was going through and why I was not happy in what I was doing, why I was uncomfortable but not uncomfortable enough. For me, it was awesome. I loved it and you learn so many skills. You learn empowering questions, you learn what your why is, you learn how to set goals, you learn how to talk to people. You know how to build rapport. All these things that were not taught in school which we should be taught in school that I learned in life coaching school.

Mindy: What would you say is your top takeaway from life coaching school?

Gino: One of them is to be interesting to somebody, you have to be interested. Because everyone on the planet has an ego. We all have ego, right? We want to fulfill our ego. The thing to do that is I got to talk, talk, talk, talk, and someone is talking. I am thinking of something to say before they finish talking. Just listen to somebody, be present when you are talking to somebody and really care and that will come through in the conversation and they will be like, ‘Hey, you are a cool dude. I really did not say two words, but if you think I am cool, that is fine.’ Just there for people, I think that is something that we need more of.

Mindy: Wow, that is fantastic.

Scott: That is a great takeaway. What kind of started changing? What changes did you make after you went through this process of becoming a life coach and all that kind of stuff? What did that look like in terms of impacting where you lived, your income, your savings, all that kind of stuff?

Gino: It does not happen overnight, right? I figured out what my why was, my why was my family. I created a company called Gino’s Family. We started from the restaurant, I wanted to have sorted sourcing physical products. I started to doing gardening videos out of the garden, creating garden, growing vegetables with my kids, doing videos, bringing them into the kitchen, cooking with them. I was selling physical products. I wrote a cookbook, I was creating other business. That is what I thought was my why was, to work with my family. It was a great learning process.

Learn how to do YouTube videos, learn how to create sales pages, funnels. I lost money on the deal because it did not work because my brother did not want to go down that path with the restaurant. I am like, dude, we can create multiple streams of income by doing this and have a good time and not be confined to just that one income stream from the restaurant. I want to do a food truck, I want to do catering, I want to do weddings, I want the write a cookbook, physical product, YouTube videos, education products, it was just a multifaceted, right? He was not there so I said, ‘You know what? I am out of here. I need to do something else.’ I got into multifamily. I had always liked multifamily because the single family space for me did not work because I had a full time job already.

I needed to do something as far as being able to do part time, being able to buy 20 or 25 units in one space and still have the full time job, being that 10% entrepreneur where I do not leave my job all at once. Do it responsibly because I have mouths to feed and I just cannot say I am quitting, I am out of here, I had to create a plan for myself. Multifamily was the ideal vehicle for me. I started back in 2011 with my partner Jake looking. It took us 18 months to find a deal. It is not like it happens overnight. I was on your site, I was reading, I was doing real estate coaching, I was doing the life coaching all at once. All these pieces were moving together and 2013 we ended up buying our first deal together.

Mindy: You said that you started stepping away slowly. I want to look at that a little bit more because you are one of few people that we have had on this show who have actually completely quit your real job, your day to day I have to be there nine to five to put money on the table in order to feed my children job. You started off in 2013 buying your first multifamily, how did that feel? Did that take any time away from your real jobs so that you could focus on the property that you have a property manager right away?

Gino: I need to make something very clear to everybody, it is a lot of work.

Mindy: What is a lot of work? Getting out of your day job?

Mindy: Okay. If you want it to become successful, I worked at the restaurant, I was working $55 to $60 hours a week. I do not want to make it seem as if, hey, it was all sunshine and rainbows. I worked during the day. I would stop at two o’clock in the afternoon for lunch and this was my typical day. I would wake up at eight o’clock in the morning, homeschool the kids for about an hour, get to work around 10 o’clock, 10 o’clock to two o’clock I do my lunch. Two o’clock I sit down, do some work, emails, underwrite deals. Call brokers, talk to Jake, my partner, talk to my other partners out, two to three I would have people coming over and saying, why are you always working?

I am like, this is not work right now. This is my fun time. Leave me alone. Three o’clock, go back, and then work until eight to nine o’clock at night. Go home and do a couple hours of work and repeat the same thing. To me, I was energized. There was a lot of fun. I understood that that is what my focus was, that is what my why was. To create another business, to become financially free. Through the real estate, I realized that. A typical day for me, that is what it was. That first property in 2013, we bought it, great property. Lot of learning experiences. Jake was down in Knoxville, doing day to day property management. He ran the property day to day because he wanted to get out of his job. Complimentary, with two partners, we both wanted similar goals. He hated his corporate vaccine job. He was selling vaccines and I just dislike my job. It was a great marriage made in heaven basically. We bought our second property three months after our first and then third property a year after the first one and it was off to the races for us after that.

Scott: Well, let us talk through that first deal. How did you finance that deal? Did you have a stockpile of cash that you put together beforehand? You had a strong savings right there? I know you cannot finance it with like a conventional mortgage for 25 units.

Gino: What we ended up doing was Jake had sold his… He had moved down there. He had actually stopped looking because he bought a house with his wife. I am like, ‘Dude, you are killing me. We did not even start yet, right? He was buying a house. We put it on pause for a few months. Then we come back to this first deal. It was 25 units, it was $600,000. I ended up getting my brother as a partner. We got a 10% owner financing on a deal because it was a rough property. It was 25 units all scattered out and the owners were really motivated so 10% owner financing and 10% down payment.

We needed to come up with $60,000 plus closing costs which was $83,000. We split it three ways. My brother, myself and Jake. It was $27,000 each, that is how we did on the first deal. I would have blown up my IRA, I would have done anything to get into that first deal because I knew it was important. You know Jake, Scott as he says, you have zero deals or you have many deals. You do not have just one deal. I knew if I got that one taste, if I have got Jake over the finish line in that first deal he would be hooked because he never had experience with real estate.

He was only a W2 guy and you remember him collecting the checks and collecting the cash, which I do not recommend anybody doing, we had weekly rent at the time. He put all the cash on his desk drawer and he is like this is it, I found the right thing because the mindset of going and collecting a paycheck every two weeks is different than actually someone handing you money. When that happens, as you mostly listen to them, that is addictive. When you can actually control your destiny and people are paying you, that is a great feeling. I think he got hooked on our first deal.

Scott: For that $27,000 that you came up with, that was just savings from the years prior.

Gino: Yes.

Scott: Okay.

Gino: Yes, it was.

Scott: Alright. One of the things that is really cool about your story is that you decided to go really big into building financial freedom. It was not like, it does not sound like you were thinking about, hey, how do I decrease my lifestyle expenses to a certain level and then build just enough passive income to walk away to fund that lifestyle. It was how do I build a very large portfolio? Why did you approach your wealth journey with that mindset rather than maybe kind of that like minimum viable success rate?

Gino: It is funny, Scott, that you say that because I think I was billing it the minimum in the beginning. Just like everybody else, that is what we are taught. We are taught to be minimal, we are talked to cut expenses, but then I sat down and I said when I moved down to Florida I said I am trying to minimize. Why do I have to do that? I mean, I was taught that way. That was my financial blueprint. That was as T. Harv Eker says, your thermostat. My thermostat was set $250,000 a year, that is what it was. When you want to make 130, thermostat is going to go back up to the next year, 150. If I make 180, the next year is going to go back down to 150.

We all have a financial thermostat. Donald Trump is in the billions. Somebody might be in the millions, somebody who might be in the hundreds of thousands, we all have that blueprint and I fell back on it. That is where my blueprint, was. We can all shatter our blueprint and that is what I ended up doing moving down here. I shattered it because I want to really explode my income. I was always taught, and it is ironic, I had one restaurant for 25 years but I have a thousand units in five years, that makes absolutely no sense, right? Does it or it does not?

I mean I have been doing something for so long, I was an expert at it, but I just was stuck in that paradigm, in that box, and never looking outside the box. I think multifamily, I fell into it. The great thing about it is it is you have partnerships, you can deal with partnerships, partnerships can help you expand but I just wanted to get out and become financially free. Because you read the stories, financial freedom is something different to everybody. For me, it is working hard, working passionately, working with whoever you want to, whenever you want to and wherever you want to. I mean, you see Brandon Turner, he is in Hawaii. He is all over places in Oregon, wherever he wants to. That is financial freedom.

To me, it was not a number. It was just doing what I wanted to do when I want it to do it and where I wanted to. I am not working any less now. I am probably working just as much, even more and have more responsibilities, but I am more driven, more passionate. I am doing stuff that I like and it is so much easier to wake up on a Monday morning and say this is what I want to do. That is probably one of the reasons why I figured out go as big as possible. It is not really about the money. Money is not to cause, money is the result. As you learn, once you become financially free, something in your brain called the articulator, articulating whatever the heck that is, you will see a red car, you buy a red car, all of a sudden you see more red cars. It is just like on financial freedom, whenever you appear, you are out there. You will the opportunities will flow to you because you are not worried about paying the bills. You can focus on other opportunities and all the opportunities will come to you in your life, that is what financial freedom is.

Scott: Well, let us dive into that. You are saying you did start out with that minimalist bicep. When did that shift? Was that with the first deal, was that with the second deal?

Gino: It was with the fourth deal. The fourth or fifth deal. It was a 281 unit deal. It was $11 million. We had 20% owner financing.

Scott: This is how many years after the first?

Gino: This is 2015, this is August of 2015, two and a half years after. Now, I had a partner with Jake and me. Great partner, great mentor. You need to get partners, you need to have mentors, help you out. I am in my shed at the restaurant. I am putting away those container tins. Those tins to go, I am putting away all the stuff.

It is $10 an hour work, right? I am on the phone with Jake and I am negotiating an $11 million real estate deal, 281 units. I stopped myself and that was my shift and left. I said, ‘I am more worth more than $10 an hour. I am worth $11 million deal and that is when everything changed for me because I am like why am I wasting my time? That day, August of 2015, when we closed I said to myself I am leaving the restaurant, I do not care what happens, I am better than working $10 an hour. That was my shift for me.

Scott: Okay. Let us say besides the $10 an hour stuff, what was your typical day like in the months before and then what did you shift to in the month after that revelation?

Gino: Okay. Tuesday morning, I would go into the restaurant and clean shrimps. We did about 500 pounds of chicken cutlets a week on average. That is a lot of chicken, right? 500 pounds, 150 to 200 pounds of shrimps a week. It was a lot of work. It was grinding work. It was satisfying in the fact that you get some things done…

Scott: Deals are like work.

Gino: It does, right? You get something done, at the end of the day you get paid, at the end of the week you get paid. But you would rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, it is financial stupidity because it is just a job, right? But I did not know that that is the way I was trained. October 2015, I said to my brother, ‘I am going to be weaning off the job. I am going to take off Monday through Thursdays, I am going to work Friday, Saturday, Sunday at the restaurants. Monday through Thursday, I started Jake and Gino and I started the education. We started writing a book. I started working in the portfolio a lot more, doing more day to day with helping Jake out. I weaned myself off.

From October of 2015, March of 2016 I said to my brother, ‘I am out. I am done.’ I have got enough. Jake and Gino was not making money but I had enough money coming in from the properties to actually help me out. My brother bought me out of the restaurant and I had to leave New York. I had to make that cut because they would see me at home on the phone and they say, ‘Well, you are not really working. Can you come in today and work?’ I am just like it bothers me. I got to get away, I need to have that separation. It was a long process for me to do that, you know?

Scott: If I can summarize my own worst here to make sure I wrap my head around all of what you are saying, you are in this restaurant business and you are doing the work of a cook or whatever it is and the restaurant that you can hire out. It is unskilled for the most part. He show somebody how to do it once and they can do it within a week. They can figure out how to do it. You make a decision right there this is not the work that is my highest and best value. I am going to hire this to somebody else, I am going to get out of it immediately. Then within a week or two, you are out of doing that several days a week and then by end of the month or two, you are out entirely from that line of work in general.

Gino: Yes.

Scott: This and what I think is interesting here, if I am thinking about how this applies to your ordinary person listening, this I think is probably true of a lot of self-employed people and a lot of entrepreneurs out there, right? But what if you are a full time employee? Do you ever get different, talked to people that are full time employees looking to kind of repeat your thing, how do you think through that same type of… Does this still applies there? But how do you think through that scenario and how you can get out of doing that kind of work? Working for work’s sake, working hard and getting nowhere.

Gino: It is really hard. It is really difficult, you know why, because we are trained to do that, right? It is like the golden handcuffs is the 40 hours a week, it is safety and security and it always comes back to your why. Like why are you here? We all have a sole purpose and it is our sole purpose to have a Monday through Friday construct which is really a human construct. That does not make any sense to me. If you really sit back and think about, that does not make any sense.

People have to have a higher awareness, have a higher consciousness of what they want to do and I have got a lot of people who are really high level earners, really high level learners, but they work 60 to 70 hours a week. They have no control, they can be on the chopping block. When you work with somebody, unless you are life coaching somebody, you ask them all these questions. You let them fill out a whole questionnaire work on themselves and they have to have a sole purpose. They have to have a reason why, I had my reason why. Once you have your reason why, I think there will be clues and tell signs of how do you do it. Does that makes any sense?

Scott: Absolutely. I think the why is a huge part of it, but I think the second part of it I wonder. It was the other income you had created from this first three deals. Do you think you would have been able to go after that why in the same way if you did not feel that you had at least a little bit of income and cash available for other purposes outside of your day job there?

Gino: That is a great question because I am not sure I tried to do a Gino’s Family. I worked a year and a half to two years on that venture, I failed. Do you see what happens? There is a little pothole in the road, I did not stop, I kept going. If it was not real estate, maybe it would have been stock trading, maybe would have been digital marketing . Some other form, maybe even writing books. But I know who would have been something. I would have found something because at the time, as you can see, most people in their late thirties, the forties are the bloomers because midlife crisis, I did not want a Porsche. I wanted to figure out what to do, you know? That was my midlife crisis. That is what happens, you get to be certain age when you say to yourself there is more life than just punching the clock.

I think if you have a higher awareness and you will have really good mentors and really goes role models and you are listening to those messages every day., I have been listening to those messages for years. Listening to Tony Robbins, listening to Zig Ziglar and finally they permeated and now that I listened to them, I am like 10 years ago, wow I did not hear that the same way that I do now. As you grow as a person, as you grow with more purpose,, you can start figuring this stuff out.

Scott: Yes, I love it. I just think that that is so necessary, all that,. I think it just aided a little bit along the extra boost comes as you have a savings rate and some passive income that you are slowly starting to build, that is the ability to make that jump becomes easier and easier and easier and easier. It says maybe it is like this thing where like the why on its own can be powerful enough for some people but the why compounded with a bit of financial stability makes it all incrementally easier year after year, month after month, to actually go all in like you did after that why.

Gino: But sometimes people can use as an excuse too. I mean like I do not have enough cash flow, I do not have income. I did when I moved down to Florida, I did my budget. I tell everyone get on whatever tool you use. I use every dollar, I use Dave Ramsey, I think you a very little limited financial intelligence. I think everyone should read Dave Ramsey. I do not think that is the end all,

I think that is the beginning. You need an emergency fund, you need to figure out what your burn rate is every month, I know exactly what I need to make every month. I know what my income is every month, I want to push my income. Budget is used, not just to cut expenses or actually re-allocate your funds. If you are going out to dinner five times a week, maybe you should go out to dinner four times a week and spend some money on Amazon. At least you can take control of what you are spending because you are going to need that real estate, you are going to need to have an operating expense and a CAP X expense, but you also need to be able to pump your income up because you are going to have different sources of income. You have your earned income, you have your passive income, and you have your portfolio income. Those three, when you are doing your budget, I need to make more passive income, only I need to write more books.

Maybe I need to get on more coaching calls, whatever it is, you need to do a budget. That is the very first thing you need to do. The second thing you need to do is you need to allocate and create a financial freedom account. You need to save. Now, saving for the sake of saving is not a good thing. Saving for the sake of buying assets is what you need to do. We are taught middle class, me included, that you are saving for a specific event. Whether it is retirement, whether it is college, whether it is for something. No, I saved the buy assets because when I buy an asset, whether it is whole life worth of an asset, like a property, the property is paying me back every month. I can allocate that I am paying my daughter’s college from the cash flow for one of my properties.

If I had put that in the savings account, earning 2%, I am losing inflation and I am losing on taxes, but more importantly when I am done paying the college, the savings account is the pleader, there is nothing there left. That is the big problem, this bigness number with the middle class that what I was learning. The other thing is the taxes and the inflation on that money. It is really important that you start reading these books and taking face value. Dave Ramsey has got a lot of great information. You should have an emergency fund, you should have your insurance taken care of, you should have a lot of those steps done but do not stop there, continue to expand. Live in abundance mindset.

Scott: When you made that decision that day at August 2015 at the restaurant, to begin cutting back and then I am ultimately transitioned completely out of that, did you have all this in place or you got some of it in place and get it all together really quickly and then move on to the real estate stuff?

Gino: The most important thing that I had in place was my wife who was really understanding and trusting. I think anybody who starts this journey really have a frank conversation. She saw the pain, she saw that I worked on Christmas Eve for 15 hours, she saw that I worked on Easter. I wanted to go to church on Easter, I am working. She saw the struggle that I had and the internal struggle and I just did not want to do it anymore. She was on board, she had faith in me which is great. It gave me a lot of confidence. I need on the same angle, that is why I am working so hard because I do not want to let her down. It works, it is a two way street when you are married.

You have to work for each other. She gave me that latitude, she gave me the confidence in me to take this leap and if she did not, I do not know if I would have been able to. Whether it is moving down to Florida, whether it is leaving the restaurant, whether it is all these steps that I have taken. I am sorry, what was the rest of that question? I am focused on my wife, that is what happens when I focus on my wife.

Scott: You the support up from your wife up in place when you made that transition. You just talked about a budget, an emergency fund. The savings that you had deployed in assets to produce income, right? What I am asking is how much that did you have in place at the moment you left, right? It sounds like at least you had the support of your wife.

Gino: Yes, I did. I know I had the budget working and actually went to Dave Ramsey for financial coaching so I had learned that after. But, I mean intuitively when you are an immigrant and you are sun of an immigrant, you know how to save. You know how to delay that instant gratification. Instant gratification is like one of the biggest death knells of our society and I am trying to teach my kids that because if you cannot put off something and have to go into debt, how are you going to invest that money? How are you going to save that money? I am just teach my kids if you cannot buy a $300 TV with cash, you do not buy the TV. It is a luxury. A car is an absolute luxury. This is my partner who was a hedge fund trader who makes tons of money and he is actually telling me a car is a luxury.

A guy with that kind of financial intelligence knows that when you have extra money, you buy the car. You focus on I did not have that much debt. I was very fortunate. I had no car debt and no credit card debt, I had no student debt. I was okay in that respect but trying to get ahead in life, it seems like putting that 10% away every year was  difficult. It was difficult at the time for me.

Scott: Got you. What were some of the big achievements that you kind of saw in that first year after you left the restaurant?

Gino: I mean the podcast and I started writing the book and all of a sudden when you have quote “free time”, you can start doing things that you like. You can start talking to people.

And from that podcast, I started making relationships in the space. I started learning who the vendors were, I started going out to meetings. I started networking with people, things that I could not do at the restaurant, right? It was frustrating. I was able to write articles. I was able to send out articles to people. I was able to create the credibility book and actually talk to people about investing in trying to get investors on board. I could not do a lot of this work when I was working at the restaurant.

Scott: What were some of the big financial milestones that were a result of that? Was it more deals, income from these business that you created and worked on from there. What did that look like for you from your personal finance journey?

Gino: Well, I mean after I left the restaurant, it was just focusing on that passive income from the properties and collecting more properties. After I left the restaurant, we had closed on a property and it was at 650 units. We had a lot of units between the three of us so I needed a big number. Remember? Six Kids in New York, I was living in a scarcity mindset. I need to kill you as much money as possible and that is what happens. When you live in the mindset. Enough is never enough because the problem is you start putting money in the bank and that what are you saving for your saving for a rainy day? What the hell was a mean or rainy day? You know what I am saying? You want to deploy that money, you want to enjoy that money. That is why you are making money. I think you are making it to enjoy it and to redeploy and reallocate it. I was afraid of the time.

When I left in 2016 we added about 650 units, I was on the cost just barely there. Guys, when you are at 80% where you should be, take the leap. That is what I say, take the leap. There is a book called The 10% Entrepreneur. Saw the way through it. It is about people who have these skill sets who it is okay to work on your W2 job while you are figuring out your financial freedom and your passive income. You do not have to do it in a year or two years. It could take you three years or four years or five years and there is no rush in this. That is what I figured it out.

Scott: Love it.

Mindy: You said you left in 2016, did you leave your job in 2016? Were you still there for three years?

Gino: No, I left the restaurant in March of 2016. I left it full time.

Mindy: Okay.

Gino: Gave it to my brother. I said, you know what, if you want to give me a couple $1000 a month because you cannot pay me out, that is great. Another form of passive income because he cannot pay me out so I am making money on that. I said I am done but what I ended up doing was transitioning into Jake and Gino full time with the education side of the business and helping Jake out with the day to day management of the properties that were located in Tennessee.

Scott: Revelation in August 2015, transition fully out by March of 2016.

Mindy: Okay.

Gino: Couple of months later.

Mindy: I was looking for the timeline for some reason it is still think they were in 2013. Okay, perfect. By the time you left completely, how many units did you own? Was that the 650 number?

Gino: Yes, 650.

Mindy: 650 spread out over several spaces. Are you in one area? Are you investing in one area or are you investing long distance?

Gino: We are… Jake lives in Knoxville, so I am investing in the Knoxville market right now. We have 900 units there and we just closed on a property in Louisville, Tennessee. We did our first indication, 132 units. We are over a thousand units right now but it can accelerate really quickly. I mean once you start, once you put it down and you start seeing the money come through and you start seeing these deals and you become competent at what you do. You need to do one, two, three, four deals. After that, it is like, wow. You still get scared. You still get that feeling in your stomach but you can say to yourself, ‘I can figure it out.’ That is what we ended up learning.

Mindy: Your first property costs how much money?

Gino: $600,000.

Mindy: $600,000 in 2013 and at the end of 2015, you were buying $11M properties.

Gino: Yes.

Mindy: That escalated quickly.

Gino: It did because I had… My partner was great. He had a strong balance sheet. In multifamily, you basically need somebody running day to day. You need somebody raising capital if you are going to syndicate, you need somebody to find the deals and you need somebody with a strong balance sheet. Those are the four top things you need in multifamily. It is not rocket science. My partner had a strong balance sheet so we can qualify for the loan which was really huge. He was generous, he lent the business money `for the down payment so we were able to get into a really big deal in our third deal and timing is everything in real estate. I got lucky with the timing, but Scott as you know, it is not really luck. It is taking advantage of what is going on and hard work equates luck. If I was not working hard and I was not working towards my passion, I never would have would have gotten lucky doing that.

Scott: Okay. You cannot get lucky if you do not take a shot.

Gino: That is right, that is right.

Mindy: How did you find your partner? How do you know Jake?

Gino: Jake and both Mike from the restaurant. Jake was a pharmaceutical rep. He was doing caterings out at my restaurants. He would come in to the restaurant with a sheet. We have a weekly and monthly sheet and we would be doing caterings for doctor’s offices. He is the only pharmaceutical rep that I have ever seen that was super organized. He  would say to me, ‘January 15th, I needed delivery down to the Bronx at this doctor.’ I am like this guy really knows what he is doing. He left in 2011 because he hated the taxes, he hated New York. He moved to Tennessee and he said, ‘You know what, if I am down there I will look a real estate with you.’ I said, when you find a deal, let us get together and let us partner up. That is how we ended up partnering and my partner Mike was a customer.

I have my chef’s coat on, I have my pizza sauce on it. He comes in one day and he is trading commodities and he starts talking about China. I just reciprocated. I started talking about oil and he looked at me half cockeyed, like how does this guy know this stuff. It is because I was prepared, because that was the moment that I needed to be prepared to speak to somebody who had extra capital. I just brought it, I brought the pain. We are talking about inflation and all that. I said, ‘Listen, we are doing some investing down in Tennessee.’ He had some single family homes up in Connecticut, which they do not cash flow. I mean it was just so he knew the real estate from that paradigm. I said we are doing multifamily value adds and he sort of did not know. Educating him on it and three months later we ended up buying a property together.

Scott: That is awesome. What is next for you?

Gino: Bring my kids to tennis this afternoon. Get up tomorrow morning. I am actually starting a coaching program with my wife. She is actually doing marriage coaching. It is a little bit of a battle because in the first she goes coaches really do not do anything, do they? Joke around me. Now, she sees the depths of it. This is all about relationships, it is all about listening, empowering questions, people know the answer their own questions. It is your ability to pull it out, give them that safe space to talk. I like to do some coaching with her, the group coaching with her, that that is something that I think is going to be really a lot of fun. Just to continue Jake and Gino and to continue to buy properties, we started a syndication company where we did our first syndication and we learned first one we have ever done. It is almost like buying a new property, it is a different business and just continue to do that, you know?

Scott: Yes. Basically, you are saying you are in a financially secure position right now. You have got a large portfolio, good business, everything is solid there but you are going to continue doing the work you like to do which is this new project and then continue to buy more and more real estate and talk about real estate because you enjoy that. Is that accurate?

Gino: Yes. I like to include my kids. If they want to do it or they do not. My daughter is a sophomore in college. She is with a youth ministry and philosophy. That is great, I want at least have her understanding because Catholics people, religion sometimes battle with money. They think money is evil, right? No, the love of money is evil. I tell her, ‘Gabs,’ my daughter, I said, ‘Who builds hospitals? Who builds churches? Who builds Universities? I am sorry, it is not poor people. It is people with money. If we need to do something, famous priest told me, ‘No margin, no mission.’ Let us figure out how we are going to make the money and let us allocate the money responsibly. We have also started in our arm of our company called Run Cares because we want to do something charitable. At our live events, somebody came up and said, ‘Hey, you want to start a charity?’ Great, let us start that. That is another focus that we have got going on.

Scott: That is awesome. Is there anything else that we should be asking or talk about before we move on to the famous for here?

Gino: Always be reading and always yourself and always surround yourself with people that you like, people that you admire, people that you want to aspire to and always be around mastermind groups because you want to be around like minded people. Man does not attract what he wants, he attracts what he is. If you are not a good person, guess what you are going to attract. I did not attract financial freedom five years ago because in the restaurant around people that I should not have been around. They were not the smartest dude in the room not a good thing. As soon as I started surrounding myself with the Jake’s of the world, with the Mike’s of the world, with the Dylan’s of the world, I elevated myself.

I think that is really important. I think people need to step out. I think people need to invest in their education. I spent a lot of money educating myself. You have to have skin in the game in life whether it is looking at a deal, whether it is investing with other people, you need to really invest in yourself and it is not a cost. It is an investment. You will always have that knowledge. You can always bring that knowledge forward and do not stop learning because once you stop learning, once you become an expert, you are done bro, that is it. You are self-educating prior to meeting, I forgot his name, the business partner you met in the restaurant.

Gino: Yes, yes.

Scott: What did that look like for you? Are you consuming audio books? Reading?

Gino: I do not want to date myself but we are talking like video cassettes, we are talking CDs in the car. I mean I did Dave Lindahl’s coaching, I did a lot of Rich Dad coaching. I was on your side, I was reading one book a week. But I think you have got to read the real estate books and the mechanics is not really that difficult. I think it is a psychological. Mechanics are 20%, psychological working on yourself, not self-sabotaging yourself. Thinking positively, all those messages. That is 80% of the gig. Most people do not do that, do not look at that.

Scott: Yes, I want to just comment because I think that that is the key to getting everything else going, right? Because effectively, you are who you surround yourself with, right? If you are reading Zig Ziglar, for example, you are surrounded by hip.

Gino: That is right.

Scott: You are surrounded by that content, that is your friend, that is the voices in your head, right? Everything, when I was working my first job, I started listening to lots of content. Like that for me was listening to a lot. I also read but I listened to far more books that I physically read. That is just how I like to consume information.

The voices in my head, my friends, for that period as ridiculous as that sounds, were kind of guiding me towards saying, ‘Hey, like what I am doing is normal.’ This approach to begin building a better life and achieving financial freedom is normal and what everyone else is doing is not normal because I am surrounded by people like that. Then eventually, I found a mastermind group, right? I am sorry I am taking over this part of the conversation.

Gino: No, go ahead.

Scott: I found a mastermind group and then I surrounded myself with more and more people that were like minded and that I kind of could learn from. I do not think I am ever the smartest person in the room, but surrounded by people where I am truly learning lots of things around and I think it is exact same story. I think it all starts with that self-education piece.

If you are looking to really break out into that big success space at some point and, it is that relentless pursuit of self-education and then the right people, right?

Gino: Scott, the funny thing is we go to college for four years, right? After four years, we get a degree. Should you not spend at least 18 months to two years to learn real estate, to learn multifamily before you do a deal? I mean that is not asking a lot is it? You spend $150,000 in college, and I just think if you can go out there 18 to 24 months, consume as much as you can, maybe you can get a real estate license and maybe buy a duplex, live in one to try to cut your costs and do that and say, okay this is what I want to do but do not expect to have it done instantaneously because there is a lot of hard work. There is a lot of work that goes into it so I think people should be clear on that.

Scott: Yes, absolutely. I mean every bit of information you consume increases your probability of success and reduces your risk of failure. To the point where at some point you are going to be capable of taking action with a reasonable probability of success. I think a trick is understand what that tradeoff is. Is that a 100 hours a content? Is it a 1000 of content? Is it 10,000 hours of content? Somewhere between probably $100,000 to $110,000 to give you guys a very nice easy range to go with. It is probably capable of making that first action depending on your financial position but I think that is absolutely right. Why not take that entire education for less than a couple hundred bucks cost of 20 books and so all that is.

Mindy: The cost of 20 books. You could borrow them at the library for free, provided you return them on time.

Scott: That was always my problem.

Mindy: That is always my problem. I just want to write a check to them every year at the beginning of the year. Here is $100 because I am going to use that up. Okay, Gino, this was fantastic. I learned so much and I have like a thousand notes. Here is a hundred things I have to do, thanks to Gino. Thanks for the homework project.

Gino: You are welcome. It is time now for our famous four questions. These are the same five questions that we ask all of our guests, four questions and a command really. What is your favorite finance book? You rattled off about a thousand names earlier, what is your favorite?

Gino: I will give you two.

Mindy: You can have two.

Gino: The first one everyone needs to read is The Richest Man in Babylon. Real easy book. The second one is the guru of all guru is Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. Read that book now and read the book five years from now and I will guarantee you be like, wow, there is so much knowledge and so much information in this book and everyone rips him off. It took him 25 years to write it or whatever but awesome book.

Scott: I love both those books.

Mindy: Yes, the Babylon book is my favorite. I have not yet read Think and Grow Rich. I am going to add that to my list of homework from Gino.

Gino: Podio. Good.

Scott: Alright, what was your biggest money mistake?

Gino: The thing is when you invest in real estate, know the market, know the sponsor. The two biggest words in real estate, you guys probably know this, due diligence. I bought a mobile home park about 12 years ago. The sponsor was not a good sponsor. Should have done more homework, should have flied down to the property, should have taken a look at the property and life coaching told me it is my responsibility. It is not his fault, it is my fault. Once I got over that, I never forgave the guy but I can forget about it. A chuck up is a loss, it motivated me to actually become more educated and take control of my financial destiny. I am glad I lost that money, really am. Guys, still the guys, he is still a dirt bag. It is what it is but I was the one who made the mistake, it was my fault in not doing my homework.

Mindy: When you say sponsor, what do you mean by sponsor? I mean I know what you mean but I want to make clear for everybody that is listening.

Gino: Sure. What happened is he was raising money for the deal. I was a sort of a passive investor, so I was sort of quiet. He was just sponsoring the deal, he is the one who found the deal. He was running and running the deal. He was raising capital, and now the way I looked back at it he probably did it illegally because he was creating a syndication, but we did not have any syndication docs. That is what you learn.

You end up learning that nothing was done properly. Operating agreements were incorrect so when the deal went south, he lost all his money. He had no money in the deal. It was our money, our investor’s money so we lost all the money. Just be careful who you sponsor with, who you partner with. Make sure that they are ethical, make sure they are honest, make sure they are moral and make sure they work really hard and make sure they do what they say they are going to do.

Mindy: that is good advice for just life in general. Okay, what is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Gino: Always focus on becoming financially free. Be Hungry for that because once you become financially free and your bills are paid, you can focus on anything you want to do. You do not have to go to work one day, you can go to the beach if you want, but I guarantee you once your bills are paid, you are going to want to figure out what else to do. I mean, once you figure out how to start a business, you can start a business in any space. It is the same thing, it is replicatable. That is where we are creating all the other multiple streams of income because we were able to because we figured it out. I think anyone young on this thing, become a producer. Do not become a consumer. We are all focused on consuming and consuming and buying products. People who make money are the ones who were producing those products. If you can think from a very young age to become a producer, it is huge.

Scott: It is kind of have you ever played the game cash flow from rich dad education? The game is basically like you have this little track on the inside, which is the rat race, right? It is like get a jet ski, have a kid, it is like very difficult to get out of the rat race, right? To become financially free. But once you get out of the rat race, you are like on the fast track. You had this outside thing like meet the mayor, buy a $5 million apartment complex, start three more businesses and it is like the journey really like explodes and begins after financial freedom. It is like a lot, it is truly parallel to real life, right? It is what you are experiencing right now.

Gino: It is frustrating.

Scott: You are in the rat race for tons of years, right? Then you break out and all of a sudden every opportunity imaginable is available to you and you are able to seize them one by one.

Gino: I need to recommend that other book. Another book that really helped me out or is helping out a lot of my students, book is called Stick With It. That is the problem, right? Because nowadays, like I keep talking about financial freedom to me was a dream. You are looking at this dream here. You know how hard it is to become financially free? You need to reverse engineer that. The book shows you how to do that by sending goals and it has an acronym of science. We actually do step ladders, you daily tasks every day to achieve those goals and then from achieving those goals, you might buy your first. To me, the dream was that first 25 units. But what did I need to do? I reverse engineer without even knowing about it.

It is all about the community you are in, it is all about doing those daily tasks. It is all about keeping it easy. I really recommend that book, I think it is an awesome book for everyone starting out. Do not be overwhelmed, enjoy the process. I did not enjoy climbing that mountain as much as I should have, that is another regret that I had to think a lot. It was we are looking to buy the shiny object. When you buy it, no big deal. I am just being completely honest with you. You will feel good for a little while, but that is not what you really should be shooting for. You should be shooting for that financial freedom.

Scott: Well, last thing here. Out of curiosity, do you have a formalized goal setting and tracking of some sort of formalized plan where you set goals, track them, record progress, that kind of stuff?

Gino: We have weekly meetings. All of our different companies have those weekly meetings. We have 30, 60, 90, 180 day goals. We have a vivid vision. We have mission statements. For myself personally, I stopped putting passive income numbers. I do not need to do that anymore because that is not my motivation. I would rather write down my weekly tasks at the end of the week. I love crossing off of my thing and I like to write on my weekly wins because you have to celebrate your wins. Got a deal under contract, you talked to a broker, I did a podcast on BiggerPockets. Whatever those weekly wins are, you need to actually enjoy them because they will raise your level of energy, you will stay engaged and you will want to continue to do really good. Go out there. I am not saying, hey, I am great, I am the best, but at the same time acknowledge that you are putting in the work and you are getting some kind of success from that work.

Scott: I had a weekly win, I got to interview Gino Barbaro.

Gino:  Likewise, bro.

Scott: Alright, what is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Gino: Why was Jesus Irish?

Scott: I know why.

Mindy: Why?

Gino: He had 12 drinking buddies, he lived at home his whole life and his mother thought he was God.

Scott: Oh, man. Half of the people listening are going to love that one and the other half are not.

Gino: On some case. If I got 50/50, I am doing okay. You know what I am saying?

Mindy: I will say that you got a laugh out of me and most of these jokes are stupid. I am sorry, stupid is not the right word. Unenjoyable to me.

Gino: Yes.

Mindy: Also, they are not entertaining. Okay, here comes to command. Tell me where people can find out more about you please?

Gino: Very simple. JakeandGino.com and we will podcast all of our profits. You can find me there, got Stuff on there, love to talk to you. [email protected] is my email. You are going to shoot me an email? I would love to talk real estate.

Mindy: Awesome. We will put all of these links in the show notes and we will link to all of these books that you recommend as well. There is going to be a lot of links in this episode.

Gino: That is right. A lot of reading, a lot of reading, right?

Mindy: A lot of reading, but that was your tip too. Always be reading , always be learning, always continuing to educate and have skin in the game in your life and there is not a magic formula, but there is a magic formula. Continue to learn, continue to educate yourself. Technically, there is a magic formula, do not be lazy.

Scott: I think that work hard for assets, work hard for knowledge, do not work hard for money, right?

Mindy: Oh, Scott wrapping it all up.

Scott: That is what I am trying to take away, right?

Gino: That is a big take away.

Scott: Do not peel shrimp and work hard. I think that was productive all day. Dude, read a book.

Gino: Yes, but I felt great. But at the end of the day, it is like dude I got to play with 10 pounds of shrimp tomorrow and it is the same thing again tomorrow and it is not a really an uplifting an adventure, you know what I am saying?

Mindy: That is not fun.

Gino: Yes.

Mindy: Although I want you to the cook for me when I come down to Florida, I will be in Florida in a couple of months.

Gino: Saint Augustine, that is where I live. Hit me up.

Mindy: I love Saint Augustine. You guys have a great brewery, you have an amazing distillery and then a bunch of other touristy stuff.

Gino: It is awesome. It is wonderful down here. I really want to appreciate and thank you guys for inviting me on here. I had a great time. You guys do great work. Fantastic, keep educating people because that is where I think your passion is. Keep doing it because it is a lot of fun, right?

Mindy: It is a lot of fun.

Scott: It is a lot of fun.

Mindy: It is great to get those emails, ‘Hey, I discovered because of you.’ I am so happy I could share with you. That is fantastic. Gino, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it and we will talk to you soon.

Gino: Thanks guys, take care.

Scott: Alright, that was Gino Barbaro from JakeandGino.com and Wheelbarrow Profits. Mindy, what did you think?

Mindy: I love talking to Gino. I love hearing his story. I am at this point in my life where I want to start getting bigger and his whole show was so inspirational. Here is a thousand books you should read. Okay, now I have got homework for the next month and a half from Gino but I am super excited to do it.

Scott: Yes, yes. I mean I think it is always refreshing and interesting to hear from a big thinker, someone who is really going after everything and someone who is achieved financial freedom and is using that freedom to go after their maximum potential.

Mindy: Scott, that was awesome. Shall we get out of here today.

Scott: Let us do it.

Mindy: Okay. From the BiggerPockets Money Show, this is Scott Trench and Mindy Jensen about to butchersome Italian fergino. ‘Ci vediamo dopo alligatore,’ which means, ‘See you later, alligator,’ if you do not speak Italian or if I totally botched that up.

Scott: That was awesome.

Mindy: Ciao. Ciao. Ciao. I know that much.

Scott: Ciao.

Mindy: Ciao.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Gino’s journey with money
  • What his money blueprint is
  • Property he has in New York that has $27,000 in property taxes
  • The reason they moved from New York
  • What he learned from life coaching school
  • Changes he made after he went on to become a life coach
  • His “why”
  • How he felt after he quit his job and bought his first property
  • Tips for financing a first deal
  • How he started his financial freedom journey with a minimalist mindset
  • The advantages of having a partner or mentor
  • What financial freedom is for him
  • Advice for budgeting
  • Tips for allocating and creating a financial freedom account
  • The importance of having an emergency fund
  • How reading books helped him
  • How he’s taught his children about delayed gratification
  • His formal plan when it comes to setting goals
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “You need to save—not saving for the sake of saving. It is not a good thing. Saving for the sake of buying assets is what you need to do.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Don’t stop there. Continue to expand. Live with an abundance mindset.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s not really luck. It’s taking advantage of what’s going on. And hard work equates to luck.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Man does not attract what he wants. He attracts what he is.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Work hard for assets, work hard for knowledge. Don’t work hard for money.” (Tweet This!)

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