BiggerPockets Podcast 149 with Clark Howard Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast 149: Early Retirement, Real Estate Bubbles, and Dangerous Scams with Radio/TV Star Clark Howard!

Josh: This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show #149

Clark: This magical one way of creating wealth in whatever industry it is; there is no such thing.

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Josh: Hey everybody! This is Josh Dorkin, host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my cohost the man, the myth, the yeah, he’s not a legend.

Brandon: No.

Josh: It’s Brandon Turner.

Brandon: What’s up, Josh? How you doing?

Josh: I’m good. I’m good, man. Very excited. I’m coming to you from the new studio, the new world headquarters, of BiggerPockets. We actually moved. We moved. We got a new office.

Brandon: That’s right. I remember you talking about that last week. Congratulations, you moved! You haven’t been around for, like, weeks because you’ve been putting Ikea furniture together and other stuff like that.

Josh: That’s just not true. That’s just not true.

Brandon: Okay, there was one day you were putting Ikea furniture together.

Josh: Yes. Yes, yes. Things are good, man! We’re excited. The new office is great and things are good. You know, you, you’re off to jet-set yourself into, what is it? Ireland?

Brandon: I am going to Ireland, but by the time this show airs I will be back home, but I am going to Ireland tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about that.

Josh: Yeah. We’ll miss you.

Brandon: I’m going to go play with some leprechauns and I don’t know.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: Throw them on a rainbow or something. I don’t know.

Josh: Way to be stereotypical. Way to be stereotypical. That’s awesome.

Brandon: And drink some beer.

Josh: Yeah, drink some booze.

Brandon: I’ll drink some Guinness while I’m playing with the leprechaun. So.

Josh: There you go.

Brandon: Anyway, yeah. So things are good. Should be do today’s Quick Tip?

Josh: Quick Tip. What is today’s Quick Tip?

Brandon: Today’s Quick Tip is something that we just introduced a couple weeks ago and I wanted to share. For those people who are using the BiggerPockets analysis software, like the rental property calculator, or the house flipping calculator, the wholesaling calculator, you now have the ability to share a link, kind of a private link, that you can get. It’s on the bottom of the report page, you know, on page four of the report. You can share that link with anybody like a partner, spouse, lender, whatever. You just get this link, you copy it, you send it in an email, whatever and anybody can look at that link that you send it to. It’s just a nice way to be able to share your reports.

So if you’re doing a report, like I’ll do one sometimes and send it over to my wife and say, “hey, check this out,” and then she can go and look at that same report that I just generated and we can talk about that deal. So just kind of a quick, easy, simple way to get your analysis a little bit more—another set of eyes on it.

Josh: Fantastic. Awesome, awesome. Cool. Well, let’s bring in today’s sponsor. Today’s sponsor is…

Brandon: Alright, this episode is brought you by RealtyShares.com. RealtyShares is a real estate crowd funding platform that allows accredited investors to invest in pre-vetted real estate deals online so investors can browse and invest in both residential and commercial properties that yield returns of 8% to 16 % annually. As a RealtyShares member you can also passively invest in professionally managed real estate investments in a variety of asset types and geographies for as little as $5,000 all from the convenience of your living room. So, to learn more and to get started with a free account visit RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets. That’s RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets.

Josh: Alright. Big, big thanks to our sponsor. Guys, really quick, if you want to be a guest on the BiggerPockets podcast go and check out BiggerPockets.com/guest. There is absolutely zero guarantee that you’re going to be on the show if you fill out that form, however we’re always looking for guest ideas. So, you know, if you want to put yourself up in the running please fill out the form and if we think you’re interesting, or if we can fit you in some way we’re do that.

Brandon: Or if you’re a nationally syndicated radio host that has millions of people listen to them every week.

Josh: But we’ll get there. We’ll get there, and just because we don’t pick you doesn’t mean you’re not interesting. It’s not a validation of—

Brandon: We still like you.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway. So, speaking of nationally syndicated radio hosts, today’s show features Clark Howard a nationally syndicated talk show host. He’s a consumer expert. His goal is to try to help you keep more of the money that you make. He talks about rip-offs, spending less money, saving more money. He’s a great guy, awesome personality. He’s got a huge following nationally. He’s put out tons of books. He’s been on TV, he’s been all over the place.

Brandon: I used to seriously watch him all the time. It was, like, my daily ritual. I’d watch the Clark Howard show on it was called HLN News. It was like CNN sub 1. Anyway, I watched that all the time.

Josh: There you go.

Brandon: It’s pretty cool to have him on today, and he’s a real estate investor.

Josh: He is and that’s the fun of all this. So we’re really excited to have him and let’s just bring him on and get into this thing. Alright, Clark, welcome to the show, man! It’s good to have you here.

Clark: Thank you very much. It’s great to be here!

Brandon: It’s weird talking to you. I watched you on TV for years, like the headline news and I loved that stuff so this is surreal.

Clark: Well, it’s scary for small children to see me on TV because I don’t have a face for TV.

Josh: Aw, c’mon.

Clark: But I’ve done it for years, and I’ve been doing TV either as a reporter, an anchor, or a host for 25 years now.

Josh: Wow.

Brandon: That’s a long time on TV.

Josh: That’s impressive.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s good, but you are a radio guy more than anything, correct?

Clark: Well, I’ve been doing both since I started in radio in 1987, started in TV in 1991 and started my newspaper column in 1990 so I’ve been doing all three for a very long period of time.

Brandon: In 1990 I was not quite in diapers, but pretty darn close.

Josh: You still might be Brandon.

Clark: Well I’m 60. I’m the old guy.

Josh: And Clark’s getting close to the point where he’ll need some diapers himself so you know.

Clark: That’s right! You know, it’s funny because you reach that point in life where you start looking for generic so that you know when that time comes that you need to wear them you’re ready.

Josh: Alright, man. Let’s talk about your story really quick. So radio, TV, newspaper, but you started in the travel agency business, right?

Clark: Yeah, well, it goes back one step further. I was a social worker right out of graduate school.

Josh: Okay.

Clark: A social worker for several years and then the airlines had, this won’t make any sense to you, but the government used to decide every flight that an airline could fly, every fare they could charge, and what time of day the flight could go.

Josh: Nice.

Clark: And when airlines were deregulated at the point they were deregulated nobody ever flew. I mean, only the very, very wealthiest of people in the United States, or very, very topic executives would get on an airplane. It was an extreme luxury. Well, I believe so much in free markets that I thought you deregulate the airlines it’s going to absolutely come alive as an industry; so I decided to become a travel agent, went to school to learn how to be a travel agent, worked for one for a while and then opened my own, my first one, when I was 25. Then another, and another and I kept building up new locations as the travel industry went from being basically asleep to totally alive. Now that we only have just a few small airlines, four airlines control 80% of travel in the country. Four giant airlines. Back then we had more than 100 airlines all competing for customers so it was a great business to be in cause there were huge commissions I was getting in my travel agencies.

Josh: Yeah.

Clark: Then people from one of the national chains came and bought me out and kicked me out the door on the day that we closed and I moved to the east coast to Florida and became a beach bum.

Josh: Nice.

Clark: Never had an intention to work again. Was just having a good time at the beach, and then for obscure family reasons I had to come back to my birth home of Atlanta, gave up the beach and I was doing nothing and then I got a call from a radio station asking me if I’d be a guest on a travel show they had. I did that one Sunday and that led to another, and another, and another.

One thing I’ve not mentioned, even when I was a social worker I was really entrepreneurial. I bought my first foreclosure when I was 22 years old. I learned to invest in stocks when I was in my early 20’s. So I had the entrepreneurial thing and then I opened my own business when I was 25.

So the radio station pretty quickly gave me a weekday show called Cover Your Assets.

Josh: Nice.

Clark: Which was a weekday show about money, and investing, and real estate. That really launched everything that I do now and have done ever since.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Clark: I retired at 31 and when I retired I never had an intention to work again and now I work multiple jobs so how do you explain that?

Brandon: That’s funny.

Josh: It’s that entrepreneurial bug, man. We can’t stop.

Clark: You can’t put that Genie back in the entrepreneurial bottle. I just love—I see opportunity and I just have to grab it.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Outstanding. Well, let’s talk about the real estate. So you bought your first foreclosure at 22. What was the mindset and then has that continued? I believe we did some reading that you’ve also done a bit of investing, hopefully that’s not all that you did in the world of investing, but tell us a little bit about that.

Clark: Well, I have 9 real estate properties.

Brandon: Okay.

Clark: And I have a pretty wide-spread investment portfolio in stocks, bonds, index funds, and so I am at base, at heart, someone who is an investor and an active participant, particularly in the real estate. I have multiple rental properties. So what I’ve always done is when the market has tanked, like, okay I’ll tell you a funny story. Well, it’s funny to me. Back in ’04 was when I started feeling that we were going to have a real estate bust and it happened because a guy called in my radio show and it was like an epiphany because I’d had all these people calling about investing in real estate during the bubble. This guy was calling me about buying a property in North Fort Buyers, Florida that was a condo that was only a figment of the developer’s imagination at that time and he was asking me if he should buy 10 of them in this one building and I’m like, “oh my goodness,” you know because we were in the no money down freak out craze where there was no documentation, you could buy anything just by having a heartbeat. At that moment I was like, “this is not going to end well,” but the clincher for me later that year is there was a survey and people were asked what the value of real estate was going to go up each year and people believed that for eternity it was going to go up 20% a year and that did it for me.

Josh: Yeah.

Clark: So I did something totally out of my normal character. I stopped doing my normal, cause every pay period every month I put money into a variety of stock and bond investments, I stopped doing it late in ’04 and started banking all that money preparing for what I thought was going to be an eventual real estate bust and accumulate a number of properties. So it turned out I was right. It took longer than I thought, and I started buying too early. I bought my first foreclosure of the bust in early ’07 and then since then I bought another of others through the bust. The last one I bought that was a true distress sale was in 2011 and then values started their recovery and since then I’ve only bought one more. So I’ve been more cautious, but I ran it up to 9 properties.

Josh: Hey, I’ve got a really quick funny story which was I was an agent in LA, real estate agent, in ’01, ’02, ‘03ish and for me it was I was talking with some friends and one of our buddies is a cop and he had talked about another cop who had just bought a million-dollar house and we were all like, “this is crazy.” I’m sorry, I’m all for the police and everything else, but police shouldn’t be able to be affording million-dollar houses on their salaries.

Clark: Exactly.

Josh: So something was wrong, and yeah there were a lot of signals and everybody who says, “oh, we didn’t know it was going to happen,” they’re full of bologna.

Clark: Right, and there’s just part of human nature if you go back through history we’ve had manias going back to the middle ages and people get all psyched about something. Think about what we went through with bit coin a couple years ago, and now that’s started again the bit coin running up. So people want to believe. They want to believe the story and I’ve heard with gold, I’ve heard it with silver, real estate obviously, the dot com bust back in the late 1990’s. So it’s part of who we are is that we want to believe those miracle stories.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: So I know Brandon wants to get to you on the real estate. I just want to ask really quickly for people listening, how do we know that we’re in one of these and how do we not get caught up in the mania? How do we not get into the hysteria and follow the hoards?

Clark: I have a simple rule that is so anti-intellectual. What you do is you look, when you’re getting all excited about an investment or a new business or whatever, you look for that relative of yours, or friend of yours who’s the most negative person you can think of and let them try to shoot down your idea and if you still believe in it after the most negative person in your life tells you every reason why you’re an idiot and you still want to do it you may have passed the smell test and go forward because what can happen if you’re open to hearing that person is they may open your eyes to things. The adrenaline running in you the psychology won’t let you see. It’s kind of like the way I look at any mania it’s like when you meet a new woman and you’re all excited about it and everything about her is perfect and the chase is on and you can’t believe you’ve met the most gorgeous, brilliant, wonderful woman ever and then you catch her and then it’s like, “oh, I didn’t notice that. I didn’t know that,” I mean, we’ve all been there with that infatuation phase. So it’s painful when you breakup from that person, or it turns out you got involved with the wrong person. It’s even more painful in many ways financially when you do that with that infatuation about an investment, an opportunity, an idea.

So you’ve got to have that person there who throws cold water. My now wife who, we’ve been married 20 years, when we were dating everybody told her that I was scum, run from me, stay away from me, that I was a nightmare to even date and she ultimately made her own decision, probably the wrong one, and we ended up getting married, but she had all those skeptics telling her that I was just bad news. So you need those people out there that help you apply the brakes and slow down that freight train you’re on to do this particular, that particular, investment or venture or whatever.

Brandon: Yeah, and I think that’s good because people go to these, you know, real estate seminars, or they watch a late night TV guy, right? And it’s like, “you can get rich and you can have all this cool stuff I have if you just,” you know, and they get so excited and they get blinded to all the reality of what they’re really dealing with. I know you talk a lot about scams. Do you get people calling you about those kind of things? Like I got hooked by some late night charlatan or anything?

Clark: Oh, I call them the dare to be rich pitch.

Brandon: Okay, I like that.

Clark: So with the dare to be rich it’s all about they have a secret system, they’re dying to share it with you, you get to come to the free ballroom presentation and then the ballroom presentation is really all about, “look at me! I drive a Ferrari and in my spare time I drive the Tesla and I have my private jet and I have this and that and the other,” and then the person up front says, “and this can be you too! You can do this! All you need to do is spend $3,495 to take our introductory course,” I mean, been there, done that. It’s funny in TV, we’ll go hidden camera to these things and they all have the same flavor and feeling. They are all identical.

Josh: Nice.

Clark: I don’t know if you remember, during the depths of the great recession there were all these motivational road shows that were going on around the country and you’d have these big name motivational speakers who’d either come in, or they’d be on the big screen in an arena, and it was all a smoke-screen for all the dare to be rich crowd that would set up and they’d have their time in the agenda and they’d be in the breakout rooms and it was all about getting people to write those checks and sign up for the systems.

Brandon: Yep.

Clark: Okay, so here’s the thing I always tell people: if you are presented with a dare to be rich thing and the person says it’s their secret system and the wealth you can create it unlimited why would they ever, ever share it with you? They’re not going to.

Josh: Yep. Yeah, I love the new thing where they get you to, “hey, go home and call your credit card company and let’s show that you are a master negotiator,” so you call your credit card company to increase your credit card limits so that of course you have enough money on your credit card to pay for their expensive course. It’s crazy. So let’s go back to the smell test. I mean, you’re this consumer advocate. You’re somebody who, you know, we at BiggerPockets were founded based upon me as a real estate investor having my smell test say these guys stink, right? So we created this place where it’s communal learning. Let’s bring everybody together and have successful people who are actually on the ground doing things helping one another out instead of forcing people to rely on these folks to learn and anyway.

So what’s the smell test? How does somebody know that they’re in for a pitch, that they’re in with somebody that they just need to get the hell out of there?

Clark: Okay, so the way I look at this is with any that really stink it’s that there’s this magical one way of creating wealth in whatever industry it is. There is no such thing. You know, you probably have made your wealth in real estate completely differently than I have. Everybody there are certain principals you learn, basics you look for, but just as there are so many different houses, different neighborhoods, there are many different strategies to making money in any field.

You know, you can talk to the wall street crowd and you can talk to one brilliant person after another, after another and they all can convince you why their investment strategy is the one you should be doing, but it works for them.

Brandon: Yep.

Clark: It’s not necessarily going to work for you. You have to have a disciplined system that you live by, but it’s your disciplined system and what will work beautifully for you—let’s take an example. I’ll get a call from somebody who wants to do real estate, let’s say, and they are somebody who is a former home contractor. Well, for them they’re probably best off buying the worst, nastiest, beat up, smelliest home ever because they have the skills, they have the right subs, they know how to go in and at the lowest possible cost rehab and either turn that into a rental property or sell it, but somebody who’s a white collar man or woman who can’t do anything for him or herself, me – I can’t do anything for myself, requires a totally different kind of philosophy. So that’s why any seminar or dare to be rich thing where it’s all about you doing their exact checkmark system has no cred at all.

Brandon: Yep. I could not agree more. I tell people that all the time cause a lot of the guys are saying, you know, this thing called real estate wholesaling where you just find good deals, or you should be a flipper like the TV shows flipping houses, or you should buy a rental property, or you should get into commercial or whatever, right? And everyone says this is how you should do it and it’s ridiculous. I mean, everybody has their own skills, their own time, their own talents, their own location, right? Like, what works in Atlanta won’t necessarily work in Seattle, right? Or Denver and yeah, I love that advice. I think people should rewind that and listen to it a couple times cause it is so true. So let me expand on that.

Clark: Can I say something before you go forward?

Brandon: Please.

Clark: Okay, so I have a friend I’m throwing under the bus right now, I’m not going to say man or woman anything, but a real estate professional who got excited, knows the market in one part of the country, got excited about buying real estate in Idaho. Had read something, heard something, that Idaho was the place to go make money and lost her shirt buying those properties in Idaho because she didn’t understand the local market and, you know, they say all politics is local, all real estate is local too. You’ve got to do your homework, you’ve got to know that neighborhood and I’m sorry I digressed.

Brandon: No, I love that. I love that. So how does somebody do that? How does somebody know what is going to work in their area or what they should consider investing in?

Clark: It’s dull and it’s time consuming. You don’t make snap judgements. You really get to know a street. You get to know a neighborhood. You know, I’ll talk to people who feel like they know a neighborhood and they want to buy their first investment property, their first rental property, and they’ll look specifically for what they can buy on the cheap. So I have some things I say, well, playing that nasty relative I was telling you about earlier, what I’ll say is, “so, what do the yards look like in the neighborhood? Are people taking care of them? How many boarded up houses are there? Are values in that neighborhood headed straight down? Are they headed sideways? Or does it look like it’s a neighborhood that’s starting to turn that’s headed up?” you know, you’ve got to think outside one dimension and you’ve got to know more than hey, that house is cheap. You’ve got to have a sense of what the culture of that area is. What the schools are like. What’s going to happen overtime.

Brandon: Yeah.

Clark: I find that most novice real estate investors only focus on the fact that an individual property is a deal without looking at the wider sense of what’s happening in the area so that’s where I really hit the stop button on people is do that work first before you focus on an individual house, what used to be called farming a neighborhood. I don’t know if anybody uses that expression anymore.

Brandon: We still do sometimes.

Josh: Yeah, yeah.

Clark: Where you become an expert in that area where you know, like, there’s an investor I know who can tell you in neighborhoods that he’s interested in buying he can go down the street with you and tell you, “okay, that house has 2 bedrooms, it has a really crappy bathroom, the kitchen was redone 6 years ago,” he knows every single house piece by piece so he can identify when there’s real value and he now has over 40 properties and he is absolutely making a full living doing that. He used to be an accountant.

Brandon: I love that. I love that. So I started, Josh makes fun of me all the time here and calls it Podunk Washington, I’m out in the middle of nowhere, right? It’s like a smaller town like there’s not a lot of investors here. I mean, it’s not any of the flashy towns, but I know my area intrinsically. I know every street, I know what’s worth what where, how, when why so I became the master of that farm, right? And that’s how I was able to build my rental property business up was because I know what things are. Now other people come into my area to buy property from Seattle or whatever, you know, where you buy a house for $100,000 in my area. They come in and you know those houses cause I’m going to buy them later when they go into foreclosure because they can’t handle them because they don’t know the area at all so excellent advice.

Clark: Well, they’re used to paying $100,000 for the parking space at a condominium in Seattle.

Josh: Well, and, you know, you talked about cheap and that’s one of the things that we harp on. That’s one of the things that people give me crap about because I pick on Detroit, I pick on the rust belt, you know, and I pick on it not because Detroit and the rust belt are horrible places, some parts are, but I pick on it because they’ve got the dollar houses or houses that are free that they want to give to you that you shouldn’t be taking because those houses are worth less than the zero that they’re willing to give you. So, you know, there’s that distinction between cheap and something that has undiscovered value in it. Just because something’s cheap doesn’t mean that the value’s there yet and you hit the nail right there by saying you’ve got to know where that neighborhood’s going. I mean, if things are turning in the right direction okay, maybe it’s worth consideration, but if all signs are pointing to the wrong way, negative, downhill, jobs fleeing, you name it, bad politics, it doesn’t matter how cheap the house is it’s not a place you want to buy.

Clark: But you know there is a signal that I like and that is when you have a down and out neighborhood that single men, young single men, are going in and they are buying those homes to live in and they’re rehabbing them, that’s a neighborhood that I think that upside potential in any urban area. When you see that 20 something who doesn’t have much money, and it’s always single guys cause they’re not as worried about the crime as couples are or obviously women would be, they are the pioneers and they are the early alert that a fringe neighborhood may end up not being fringe anymore. So that’s one of the things that I have looked for and has worked for me twice and I lost a lot of money once when I guessed wrong on one of those neighborhoods and I ended up with a property I lost a lot of money on cause the neighborhood did not flip, did not turn, but that’s something that has been one of my things is looking for the young guys owner-occupying.

Josh: Right on.

Brandon: I heard that, that’s cool.

Josh: So something like that it sounds like you did a bit of speculation, right? You were doing a little bit of that. Are you in your portfolio—it looks like you’ve been buying these distress properties, it sounds like it, is your intent appreciation or is your intent cash flow from the rentals or is it a combination of the two?

Clark: Well, I have an unusual situation. My wife is 15 years younger than I am which is one of those reasons all of those people were saying run from him, get away from him, but—

Josh: Oh. Nice job by the way.

Clark: I buy them to hold as rental properties and generate income because it’s almost like when I’m dead and gone it’s a perfect pension plan for my wife to have all the money from those rental properties that are all now paid off. A lot of them during the bust I had to pay cash for, you know, there was not financing available, and so they generate fantastic cash flow every month and that’s going to be enough income to support her when I’m dead. So it’s a personal reason why I built that portfolio, but they’re ones to buy and keep.

Brandon: Yep. I like that, and I like the fact that you have a purpose behind what you’re doing. You’re not just, “I want to get rich, I want to make more money,” you know, this is why I want to buy the rentals, they accomplish this purpose and this is the property I’m going to buy because they accomplish that purpose not just because I want to buy whatever I can. I like that.

Clark: And it’s diversification for me. I’m not a one-note kind of guy. I do the real estate, I do stocks, I do bonds, I do a variety of investing so that you never know what part’s up what part’s down and so you lower your risk if you invest across multiple types of things and that’s why I do real estate and I do the various more traditional investing.

Josh: Hey, Clark, in terms of diversification what would you recommend for folks? I know a lot of our listeners, and a lot of the folks on BiggerPockets, are almost all in on real estate. You know, they don’t want to be part of the market, they don’t want to worry about all that. They typically are far savvier than the average joe when it comes to real estate so they put all their eggs in that basket. Do you think that’s a good idea? What would you recommend?

Clark: No. No, I don’t.

Josh: Okay, so how should they be considering their—?

Clark: I’m a big believer you never do all eggs in one basket. So for people who don’t have an interest in, or knowledge about, investing the easiest lift of all is to do it on the retirement side. You know, a lot of people love real estate because of all the tax advantages that come with it. The beauty of being able to do a ROTH IRA is the money that you put in will never be taxed. You put the money in, it grows tax-free, when you hit retirement age you spend it tax-free and it gives you an easy way to diversify and if you go into something as simple as what’s known as a target retirement fund where you pick the year closest to when you’re going to retire you don’t have to do any thinking about how much should be in domestic stocks, how much should be in international, how much should be in small company, large company, how much should be in bonds? They do that all for you on automatic pilot and as you age it gets more conservative. The ROTH you can put $5,500 a year in and it gives you the ability to have something more going on for yourself than just a singular kind of investment like real estate because we saw with the ups and downs how dangerous it can be to be in just stocks, or how dangerous it can be to be in just real estate. So that’s why the diversification is so simple, and the simplest answer of all is you go online to Vanguard.com, which is a co-op, it’s like a credit union for investing, you open a ROTH account and you do the whole thing in less than 10 minutes.

Brandon: That’s cool. It’s on my agenda to do. Like, this month I was going to go open a ROTH and I’ll do it through Vanguard cause you just suggested that.

Clark: Vanguard is hands down the best investment house, not just in the United States, but in the world and doing business with them costs one twentieth of what it is if you go to one of those big full-commission brokerage houses. No one should ever go to one of those unless you just hate yourself.

Josh: Yeah, Vanguard’s really cheap. I’ve gotten my stocks through Vanguard so awesome. Awesome.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Well, we know that you’re kind of short on time so we definitely want to respect your time capacity here. Can we ask you four more questions? Our Famous Four? Can we?

Clark: Of course!

Josh: Can we knock it out? Awesome, man. So, Brandon?

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It’s Time For The Fire Round

Brandon: Alright, the Famous Four, these questions we ask every single guest and so we’re going to throw them at you real quick and we’re going to alter them a little bit may, but maybe not actually. I’ll throw them at you and if we need to alter them we can. First of all, what is your favorite, if you have one, a favorite real estate related book?

Clark: I don’t have one. My favorite real estate author is Ilyce Glink.

Brandon: Okay, yep, I know her.

Clark: If you’re familiar with Ilyce.

Brandon: Yeah, I was on her radio show a few months back.

Clark: She’s done a bunch of different books that all deal with different parts of real estate investing. I think she’s brilliant.

Brandon: Yep, agreed.

Josh: Right on.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Alright, how about business books? Favorite business book. Is there anything that you’re reading now? Not, like, personal finance, but actually just generally building a business or entrepreneurship anything like that.

Clark: My favorite book is an oldie from Canada called The Wealthy Barber.

Brandon: The Wealthy Barber.

Clark: Ever heard of it?

Brandon: No, never heard of it.

Josh: I think I’ve heard of it. I don’t know much about it.

Clark: The Wealthy Barber is about how this guy cut people’s hair all through the years and heard them talk about all the big plans and everything they were doing and the wealthy barber wasn’t making near the money the people that was in his chair. Kept saving money all through his life and ended up wealthy, a multi-millionaire in retirement, and all the people he cut the hair for he was retired and they had to keep working and had a new barber.

Josh: Nice.

Clark: It’s a very clever, very clear book about why we need to rethink our relationship with money. Particularly here in America where we love to spend every last penny we make.

Brandon: Yep, that’s true.

Josh: Right on. What about hobbies? What do you do for fun, you know, besides ventures and more ventures and more ventures?

Clark: Travel. I love to travel. I mean, I love to travel. In fact, my wife and I were changing planes in London a couple of weeks ago and there was a special I saw in the computer while we were waiting for our plane change and I booked us to go back in just a couple of weeks with our kids.

Brandon: Wow, that’s awesome.

Clark: I just absolutely love seeing everywhere on earth. I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica and every state except North Dakota.

Brandon: You’re missing out!

Clark: There weren’t any deals! So my deal on travel is you buy the deal and then figure out why you want to go there.

Brandon: Interesting. I like that.

Josh: Fair enough.

Clark: You live in Washington State.

Brandon: I do, yeah and Josh is in Denver.

Clark: So right now you need to know that there’s a huge fare war going on from Washington State to Hawaii.

Brandon: Interesting.

Clark: And it’s because of new service that’s just started up to Hawaii and a lot of the fares from the west coast—in fact, you go the whole I-5 corridor from the Canadian border to the Mexican border you can buy tickets right now to Hawaii in the $300’s round trip.

Brandon: I’m going. Right now. I’m actually going to Ireland tomorrow which is going to be exciting.

Clark: You are?!

Brandon: I’ve never been there, but I’m leaving tomorrow morning, yeah. 7 AM.

Clark: Did you get a deal?

Brandon: It was, like, $700 so it was cheaper than normal, but it wasn’t—

Josh: That’s not bad from Washington.

Brandon: Yeah, from Washington.

Clark: That’s not cheap. I’ve got to work with you on this.

Brandon: I just went on Travelocity and like booked something.

Josh: Let’s make this about me. Denver, what kind of deals can I get?

Clark: Denver? Denver has lately had just about the cheapest fares in the United States so you’ve got no problem at all in Denver.

Josh: It is cheap to fly anywhere, yeah.

Clark: Denver is very inexpensive. You know, Southwest you go to the C Concourse, the DIA, and there’s just Southwest planes everywhere. Frontier’s been dialing back their number of flights in Denver, but they have so many cheap fares that they’re really influencing things, and United is running such a crummy airline these days they’re getting people in the seats by heavily discounting so that’s been why in Denver you’ve got the cheapest stuff going in the country.

Josh: Yeah, it’s been great. Although, I refuse to fly Frontier because I don’t want to pay to breathe the air or to use the toilet so.

Clark: Well, my oldest brother is flying Frontier this day he’s flying and he’s 69 years old and I’m like, “Gary, why aren’t you nicer to yourself?”

Josh: Yeah, it’s not worth it.

Clark: And he said, “it’s only $29!” and I’m like, “okay”.

Brandon: That’s funny.

Josh: I won’t fly Frontier unless I’m absolutely forced to. I refuse. Alright, really, really quickly, travel; what is your favorite place to travel? What’s been your favorite destination on earth?

Clark: My favorite place on earth is Chile.

Josh: Okay.

Clark: Fly to Santiago, visit Chile. Great people, affordable, and just magnificent sights from skiing to the ocean.

Josh: Bariloche, right?

Clark: You’ve got to pick, each of you, you’ve got the ocean in Washington State, you’ve got the skiing in Colorado. You go to Chile you’ve got both.

Brandon: Nice. I like that. I’m going to add that to my list. I’m a huge traveler too. I’ve been to every state but Alaska so I’ve got to hit up that one next year. Cruise maybe, I don’t know.

Clark: See, there’s no excuse for you living in Washington state.

Brandon: I know, it’s like—

Clark: Not having been to Alaska it’s like next door.

Brandon: It’s like next door.

Josh: Well, this is the guy that goes in his Prius and Prius camps. He and his wife lay asleep in the back of the Prius it’s the funniest thing. It’s really clever.

Brandon: That is true. It’s amazing.

Clark: Alright, so when you feel comfortable enough with the money you’ve got to get a Tesla.

Brandon: I would love one.

Clark: I went from a Prius to a Tesla and I’ve got, I mean, I cannot tell you. I’ve never spent money like that on a car in my life. The Tesla is the most exciting thing you will ever drive. Camping in the back of the Tesla will be much classier than camping in the back of a Prius I promise.

Brandon: I will do that. My buddy Serge Shukhat, who’s been on the show, bought a Prius and then Ben Leybovich just bought a Prius last week.

Josh: I’ve got a Prius.

Brandon: So now I have to buy, I mean a Tesla. I’m sorry, a Tesla.

Josh: Oh, they just bought Teslas.

Brandon: Yeah, Serge bought a Tesla and then Ben just bought a Tesla so now I have to buy a Tesla. You have a Tesla apparently, so.

Clark: Yeah, and the self-driving thing is freaky cause you engage the autopilot and you just sit there and you stare out the window and the car drives itself about 95% flawlessly. You have to pay a little bit of attention cause it’s a beta right now. It’s not quite ready for prime time.

Brandon: Wow, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Now I’m going to go waste all my money on a Tesla. Just kidding. Alright, my final question of the day: overall what do you believe sets apart successful investors, whether it’s stock, business, whatever, just successful financial people, from those who give up, fail, or never get started on that journey?

Clark: Habits. You have to build good habits. You have to have your personal life together and you can’t have lifestyle debt. So you create good habits. The kind of stuff we talked about and about how you do things sequentially as you’re building investments of whatever kind, and you can’t go into trying to make money owing everybody on earth money. So you get the good fundamentals in place and you have the confidence you can truly be wealthy.

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: I love that. I’m reading the book The Power of Habits right now and it’s kind of all about that process so yeah, very cool.

Josh: Alright, Clark, before we let you go you have The Clark Howard podcast, you’ve got the syndicated show around the country, where else can people find out more about you? Where can they find you? Got anything you want to share?

Clark: Well, ClarkHoward.com and we have a fantastic mobile presence. 70% of our ClarkHoward.com traffic is on people’s smart phones and so there’s information as you’re going about, as you’re trying to make decisions to shop, invest, whatever, just pop the phone out and go to ClarkHoward.com and it’s my goal to save you money, make you money and keep you from getting ripped off.

Brandon: I was on there today on my phone so yeah. So it’s true.

Josh: Fantastic, man. Well, Clark, we really do appreciate you coming on. I know my mission with BiggerPockets, with starting that, is all about trying to help people be successful. It’s all about trying to help people prevent themselves from getting in trouble and getting ripped off so having you on the show means a lot. It’s just an honor. We appreciate it and thanks for the time.

Clark: Well, thank you. It’s been really fun.

Brandon: Cool, well I will see you around.

Clark: Okay, see you on the slopes!

Brandon: Alright, sounds good.

Josh: Alright, guys, that was Clark Howard for you. Hopefully you learned a thing or two. Always good to have somebody on the show who’s been around the block a few times and the beauty is, I mean, he even admitted, listen, I screwed up. I made some mistakes and I lost a ton of money so this is one of the guys out there who’s trying to help us all out and he too is making mistakes. So nobody’s flawless, nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, particularly as it pertains to investing, so if you’re just getting started in particular do not be afraid of that. It stops so many people from getting started, the fear of making mistakes, so I just want to harp on it. I mean, Brandon, you just made a mistake last week didn’t you?

Brandon: I did?

Josh: Yeah, I don’t know.

Brandon: Remind me.

Josh: I don’t know. I was betting on the fact.

Brandon: Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure I made a mistake last week, I make a mistake every week, but I don’t know what it was.

Josh: Yeah, we all make mistakes.

Brandon: You know, I try not to remember those.

Josh: Yeah, there you go, but yeah so it was great to have Clark. Definitely check out his podcast and check out his website. He’s got lots of great stuff there.

Brandon: Yeah, he does.

Josh: Yeah. So, you’re going to Ireland. Tell us, what’s the plan? What have you got going on?

Brandon: I’m going to Ireland to, you know, see it. I don’t know.

Josh: That sounds exciting. You know, now I really understand why your wife Heather is with you.

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: I mean, you’re just—

Brandon: I’m an articulate guy and deep?

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: No, I heard that, you know the movie The Princess Bride?

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Okay, it’s one of my favorite movies. Anyway, there’s a scene where they go to the Cliffs of Insanity and apparently that is in Ireland so I am going to go over and peer over the Cliffs of Insanity which are actually called the Cliffs of Mohair or something like that.

Josh: Are you going to bust out a sword and start?

Brandon: I am going to and my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die! Maybe, maybe not.

Josh: That was terrible.

Brandon: That was terrible. I don’t have a Spanish accent, c’mon.

Josh: You guys are just sight-seeing. You guys are just kind of cruising around, huh?

Brandon: Yeah, you know, we’re not going to invest in any real estate in Ireland anytime soon.

Josh: Wow, why not?

Brandon: Cause I don’t know anything about it and I only invest in my local areas.

Josh: C’mon. Go find a vacation rental.

Brandon: Actually we are staying at Air B&B stuff so.

Josh: Are you really?

Brandon: We are.

Josh: So what if you show up and that place is not available? The guy’s like, “ha-ha!”

Brandon: I will call up Air B&B and make them yell at the person and make them find me a place to stay.

Josh: There you go. That is the beauty of Air B&B isn’t it?

Brandon: It is. That’s why I trust them more than just a guy on Craigslist.

Josh: Exactly. Well, awesome man. Have a great trip! We’re excited for you. You guys thanks for listening to the BiggerPockets podcast we definitely appreciate it. Please do check out the other 148 shows at BiggerPockets.com/podcasts. You can check out the show notes on today’s show at BiggerPockets.com/show149. Thanks for listening.

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