What were you before you started in investing?

76 Replies

I am really curious as to what kind of background most people were before they started working.  For example, Were you in a high paying job? or did you owned a business? or were you just a college student like me who barely made money? 

I own a business and am a realtor.

@Amir M.

I was (am) a law enforcement officer. Solid middle income earner. I'm not wealthy and my job is not high paying. I had no inheritance, no wealthy parents, just a strong work ethic and a desire to buy real estate.

I didn’t ask for help from my family.

I went to college (tuition fee was still low many years ago) and worked part-time at the same time.

After college, I had a high-tech full-time job, and two part-time side jobs, worked 60 to 70 hours every week for 12 years to 14 years, didn’t have much social life due to busy working hours, then saved enough capital for down payments to start the real estate game.

I started everything scratch by myself.
Left my W-2 job, manage my portfolio only now.

It may be better for you to go to college, then try to get a high pay job to save enough capital to start the real estate game.

Low pay job may take longer time to save enough down payment.

Real estate need money to grow money.

Musician earning less than minimum wage. Went to grad school to get masters in curriculum and instruction. Now teach middle school choir and guitar earning laughable money for someone with my education level and 7 years experience. That all being said - house hacked first house in a duplex, sold that 4 years later and turned it into 4 houses (2out of state I’m in Colorado) plus my primary. I’ve got an amazing wife and 2 kids under 3 years! It takes effort and time... be patient, diligent, and work hard. “It’s a get rich slow scheme” (to quote Brandon and Josh)

Poor Immigrant family that moved to NYC in the mid-60s.

When through the worst time of times.

Eventually finished College and wound up working for large Investment / Financial firms.

While working as an employee in the Computer field, I decided to become an Entrepreneur. I self taught myself Financial Math, Economics and read a lot of books about Investing, both Real Estate and Stocks.

After 1 year from Graduation, I bought my first investment Property in Brooklyn.

7 years and a few more Investment Properties, I was financially free.

20 years after I bought my first Investment Property, I have almost $20 Million Assets Under Management (AUM) for several Partners and myself, all in Brooklyn.

So pretty much the Rags to Riches story with a NYC flair.

Like Old Blue Eyes said, "If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere..... it's up to you, New York, New York!"

Graduated with a BA in Mechanical Engineering Technology and AS in Environmental control Technology HVAC work 2 jobs but began to visualize who I wanted to be in the next coming future so I went in to Real Estate business.
At the foundational base of my business/ career engaging in Residential sales and some Commercial

@Jordan Moorhead That is so cool! I wonder if you could technically manage both things at the same time but I suppose that's a lot to ask for. But Whatever it is, you did started out with a decent income in your savings! GOod luck! 

@Anthony Gayden Big respect to you my man! I am also working hard and have a desire to purchase 1 real estate in few months. So how would you say your wealth now, that youre in the real estate business?

Account Closed Thank you for sharing that with us! That is so inspiring. I am in a similar boat as you. I am also a poor immigrant who came to NYC 7 years ago.
Currently in college studying Applied Mathematics.  I really hope that I do land a job with a good pay that will one day finance my real estate investing dream. 

Did you always had an eye out for investing when you were working in a financial firm? or is that something that you sought out when were working in the field? 

@David Olakanmi That is so cool! Thank you for sharing! Are you earning more than your earned in your previous works? 

@Amir M.

Hi Amir,

I realized the most important skill for anyone is not something like Computers, people skills, etc.

It's actually the skill to learn.

Once you master learning, you can master ANYTHING, it really doesn't matter. Math, Science, Investing, etc. You can master it all as long as you Master the skill of Learning.

When I worked in the Financial firms, that includes some of the top 10 Investment Banks, I wasn't a "Banker." I was an System Analyst. So learning the business side was a necessity.

One of the things I was doing was developing a system which would report Stock Recommendations to the Public (at the time it was called "First Call") based on the spreadsheets created by the Stock Analysts.

I had to learn a lot of the calculations they were using, particularly things like Enterprise Value to EBITDA, Projected Free Cash Flows, Projected Revenues and Expenses, etc. They also went into a lot of the Economic events such as unemployment, Consumer Price Index, etc. to help with their projections.

I tried applying it to Stocks at first and it worked well. But the problem with Stocks was that it could be manipulated hugely by the big players and I got burnt a few times.

I then said, well, let's apply the same logic to Real Estate.

Ever since then, I keep increasing my skillset in investing, particularly Real Estate Investing, and have done really well at it.

If I didn't apply advanced formulas and economics, I'm sure I would not have been buying in highly appreciating places like NYC.

Now I'm starting new businesses based on the successes of 2 decades.

Every business requires new knowledge, but because I have developed the best skill of Learning, all I have to do is think of a business and I will learn it.

Anyway, that's pretty much the current story. It's unfinished because there is still a lot to learn and a lot more successes ahead!

I was a Soldier when I bought my 2 sets of duplexes as rentals(already owned my own residence).  I got medically retired last year because of Iraq and now plan to put more time and effort into growing my real estate portfolio.

I was a sheep following the herd.

@Anthony Gayden Big respect to you my man! I am also working hard and have a desire to purchase 1 real estate in few months. So how would you say your wealth now, that youre in the real estate business?

Honestly my wealth is not where I want it to be. It has grown exponentially since I started investing in real estate and I am far ahead of where I would have been if I had only continued to invest in my 401K, but I personally am not satisfied with that. My goal right now is to reach the point of being an accredited investor.

Work at a college... still do.... You may find a flexible day job that lets you own a few rentals (they don't need to be watched all day). 

Then there are benefits and the steady income that are nice... I enjoy the day job but can envision eventually just doing rentals. 

I am actually looking at where I can do the most good (for me and society) and after about 13 years as a landlord, I think I may now be better as a landlord, turning around properties, selecting tenants, etc than teaching business topics (which a new instructor could take on).. 

Actually, I am finding (no offense professionals) that good landlords and real estate investors are more rare than say a doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and other professionals in my area. 

That is, very few people have the capital/credit, skills, and moxie to provide housing to others. It requires you to be the ultimate generalist--able to do a bit of everything well.

And I think I may be near a tipping point--able to provide and manage more housing. This may be more vital to my community and possibly more fulfilling for me.

Best of luck!

High school teacher on verge of retirement while I am still young and active.

This post has been removed.

This post has been removed.

@Jody Schnurrenberger HAI! Nice to meet you once again LOL! From how much we've known so far, I can see you be successful so far. You are so motivated when it comes to real estate and you learn so much everyday! Big respect to you!  

@Mike Dymski Now that is the type of answer I was looking for. Simple yet gave me a good laugh. 

@Michael Boyer Thank you for sharing! After looking at all the comments here, it seems that prior to investing, people did have some form of steady income (I know it's obvious). And It has made me felt that, I as a college student, is thinking way too ahead of myself (it could be a good or a bad thing). Maybe I should focus on finishing my studies first, get a decent and then start talking about investing. It seems like a fair procedure. What do you think? 

@Jay Hill Ayy! That must mean you are doing so well with this real investing! Congrats! 

Account Closed I really hope I come to your shoe one day, and say it with such eloquence as you have done. 

@Amir M. , I didn't even notice it was you who posed the question.  Great thread idea!  ;-)

Whether you start trying to invest now (or soon) or whether you wait until you've had a job for a while depends on a lot of things.  Do you have money saved right now?  Do you have any credit/good credit?  Do you have time to devote to things like property management or a flip?  Are you handy?  Are you able to network with anyone who is willing to partner with you?  Do you even want a partner on your first couple of deals?  How do you feel about having roommates/house hacking?  What is your risk tolerance?

There isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer to these questions.  But for me, my risk tolerance wouldn't allow me to invest without some income besides the rental (I do buy and hold) in case I couldn't rent it for some reason.  Other folks are fine with it.  When I was in college, I would have been much more open to the idea of having roommates than I am now.  lol  But perhaps that's how you should break into real estate.  If you're handy or have friends who are (and are very reliable), maybe consider doing a house hacking flip.

Consider the barriers you perceive to your entry into the market and what work arounds there might be.  Are you comfortable with them?  Otherwise, there's really no right answer as to whether you should invest now or not.  Though there are better/worse answers.  But that's why you think through your plan research and learn before you take the first plunge.  You've been doing that, so you're on the right track.  :-) 

I am and was a product manager for a fortune 100 company. I hope to change that someday! :) 

@Jody Schnurrenberger You bring up those good points. *writes down in a note* 

I am in no debate over myself if I'd want to do real estate investing. I have enough savings, and I do want to devote a lot of my time on it. I think for my situation, real estate doesn't have to be my number one priority is what I am trying to get at. It's about having the right balance. Whilst I am still relatively young, I think that thinking about it right now is indeed a very good decision. I feel no pressure about anything concerning real estate and it's all been about learning as much as I can. And I know that some of the people in BP have started when they were during college which is nothing but respect from me. 

Some might say, you learn when you make deals. I think that is also true. But it's about the journey and not rushing things through very quickly. Currently, I don't have that luxury of time nor stacks of money to be willing to go for deals when I am absolutely not sure about anything. 

I've been creating networks and calling some brokers so far and I think as a personal reflection; that's a darn step so far. 

It's very interesting to read you guys tell me how you started and what kind of background that brought you to investment. And reading these comments hasn't really been about who I must/have to be but rather an inspiration of who I could be. Each and every comment here has really made me happy and given me assurance that it takes just more than real estate investment to be successful in real estate. lol!  

High school grad, blue collar, middle income range. Worked for a wage and a pension. Saved, invested, retired on pension at 55.

I earn far more retired than my working wage paid and more than enough to be comfortable and happy.

It makes absolutely no difference how much you earn the key is to put 10 -20% of your gross pay every pay check into savings. You adjust your life style to that goal. Most people waste far more than that on frivolous unnecessary luxuries.

@Amir M.

I am a Designer at an electrical engineering company. Always had an interest in real estate, im just glad I decided to jump into it at my age.

@Amir M.

This is a great question.

I was a contractor for 23 years. 13 of those years I worked for someone else (5 of which were as an apprentice) but the remaining I spent as the owner/manager of my own contracting business. It's obvious that running a small business has its learning advantages - managing employees, marketing, securing contracts, managing the books, and basically doing every part of the business myself. I was even my own receptionist! Eventually during that time as a business owner, I started investing part-time and working as a Realtor. When I got injured I had to make a career change - especially since my business revolved entirely around me (a mistake I've since learned from).

It's funny, I realized recently that when I started our note business (that I'm the CEO & President of today) that I was a contractor for a longer amount of time than I was as an investor! Now that's no longer the case, but it's interesting to think about how far I've come in a relatively short amount of time. I never would have believed that I'd be a fund manager while on top of a roof of a new construction building 20+ years ago.

Even today, I see my former experience come into play in a multitude of scenarios. From managing my rental portfolio (and property managers) offering suggestions for renovation decisions to even departmental tasks at my note company. For example, when I was a contractor I worked for multiple banks, working on renovations. This gives me a TON of perspective dealing with delinquent 1st mortgages and REO properties today in my business since I understand Real Estate and development from the ground up. I was reading blue prints, working on the construction site as a contractor and then as a Realtor and investor buying the property. I'm not sure there are many Note Fund managers or bankers who can say the same. This perspective is invaluable and in my opinion sets my company and I apart from the pack today.

I was a recent college grad beginning my career in public accounting. Everyone told me I needed to get my CPA license if I wanted to make the big bucks, but honestly my prospective career path didn't excite me. I started learning about REI in October of 2015 and it really excited me, and still does a couple years later. I only have one property, but at least I have gotten started. I'm actually under contract for #2, but I know it's going to fall through (see, "Depressing Home Inspection" forum post), so I'm out there working on the next one. I'm also out of public accounting and I'm a senior accountant for a property management company who is affiliated with a real estate brokerage, high end construction company, and a plumbing & heating company. I've really immersed myself in real estate and can't wait to build my portfolio.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here