23 years old , not sure where to start . Please help !!!

83 Replies

Hey everyone! I want to begin my investing career but not sure where to start , I make about 20k/year , I currently am renting in nyc for $700 a month , I have 15k cash saved up . And another 5k in my Roth IRA . I️ was wondering if you were me , what would be the best way to put myself in a better position for the future . My ultimate goal is to build up enough cash flow to where I no longer have to work for other people, do you think I️ should try to buy a rental , or should I️ try to get my foot in the door somewhere here in nyc so I️ can eliminate my rent . Any input , any advise is welcome! Also , moving out of NYC is not an option . I live with my parents and they do not drive, so staying in nyc is the best option for me.

Welcome @Faysal Alam ! My two cents? With a $20k income in NYC, you'll probably be struggling to eat, let alone buy property. NYC is super fun for sure, especially if you are a single 23 year old. If you want to invest, would you be willing or interested in moving to a different area? It's likely you could make more money and buy more property almost anywhere else. You're a prime candidate for house hacking, but probably not in NYC.

@corby Goade sorry if I didn’t really make myself too clear , moving out of nyc is not an option , my parents don’t speak English and don’t drive , living outside of nyc is pretty much impossible for my family , also 20k I make on the books , I make another 20k a year on tips .

If you were willing to move I would suggest a house hack in a more affordable area. Minus that I would say keep saving and look into switching to a more profitable career. 20k a year is not much of an income I. Ohio let along the Big Apple. The fact that you have 15k saved on that salary is a good sign. Start looking for an area that you would like to invest and figure out home much you need to save for the 20-30% down you will need depending on whether you buy single family, multifamily or commercial. I would look for cheaper nice areas that are with in a two hour drive that may give you an area you could some day afford to invest in.

@caleb my girlfriend is willing to co sign she has another 30k income . So all together 40k from me (20k w2 , 20k tips) and my gf has a 30k income . That’s 70k . But only 50k on the books .

I wish that I had started asking questions at your age!  At 56 here is the advice I would start with.  First read books starting with Richest Man In Babylon and The Wealthy Barber.  Next, you mentioned that you live with your parents, do they have any income ,credit, what is their living situation?  A girlfriend is risky to invest with because it will put more stress on the relationship and as a first time investor there are more risks due to lack of experience.  The first investment property should be one you live in so loans and down payments are easier and study house hacking on here you might find an different way to invest.  Maybe find a 4plex that your parents can live in 1 unit, you in another unit, and have 2 units for rentals?  Or live together in 1 and rent 3?  

What do your parents do? Can they manage rentals?  Also you can research crowd funding to see if there is a safe way for you to invest the funds you have now and have them earn a higher rate of return while you build knowledge , find your first deal that works, and develop a plan on where you want to go.  Good Luck!

@Jerry Jenkins thanks a lot for your insight , I currently live with my parents in a one bedroom.my father is on disability , and has a income of about 5k a year . My mother is a house wife . They both do not speak English .

I’m in a tipped industry as well.

First I’d start by claiming all of your tips. It’s worth it .

Second, and I’m sorry to say it. 20k won’t get you anything in NYC.

So if I were u, which I kinda am, same age, in the restaurant industry. I would invest out of state but within a few hours. I invest in rentals in PA. I’d say save up another 5-10k first then get pre approved for a mortgage for about 80k. You can buy some decent multi family’s in my investment area for that price. I’m an agent as well so if you need any help I can be of assistance. You’d need a property manager though if your out of state. So be prepared. I can help you their also. Weather it be a referral or through my company.

Best of luck

Honestly, I can't imagine you having any options to invest in NYC. Why don't you start a small side hustle business? I think if you work hard enough (and smart enough) you could make some good money that way instead of RE. Then once you have decent funds, you can invest in out of state rentals. 

@nicolas I get what your saying , but I figure eliminating of reducing my rent is the same as cash flowing at this point . I’d love to meet with you sometime and talk about the areas your investing in . Send me a message , let’s figure out a time to meet

Well You could have a good savings built up and a great credit score but the bank isn’t going to give you a mortgage when they see you are young and only are getting 20k a year legally . keep saving till you have double your current savings and then buy a duplex in need of work in another area where property is cheaper .more than likely a c or d class neighborhood then Fix it up yourself in your time off work and hire a pm with the profits . That’s what I’d do .id also find a new job that pays more or go back to school 

@Faysal Alam I started out house hacking with leveraging FHA loan. If you have 15k, you could buy up to 300k apartment. I am not very certain what you could get with 300k in NYC though. With 95% LTV and power of FHA, if you save up around 50k, you could potentially get up to 700k (there is a upper limit for FHA loan though).

Once you get an apartment or property, do everything that you can to increase cash flow (airbnb, normal rental) etc. 

I had 3 jobs working from 6am to 11PM when I was 23, trying to save up for down payment. 

@Faysal Alam

Hello Faysal

Wow I am so proud of you starting on this Journey at such a young age. Just want to say ANYTHING is possible. I really encourage you to READ, READ, READ.   "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is a great start. From there a great way to find good books to read is to listen to the podcast on Bigger Pockets. You can listen to all the ones they have broadcast in the last few years. I would suggest listen to a few a day.  I started with the podcast that was broadcast a year ago and I listen to a few a day. GREAT info and the speakers always share which books that have been most helpful to them. You will learn a lot there. Best of Luck 


I'm new at all of this, but if I were you, I would wait until my income increases. Just because you wait, it doesn't mean you can't plan. I'd focus on getting your income up, and keep your debt to income ratio as low as possible while still building your credit history. Buying a property isn't just coming up with enough for a down payment. There will be other costs associated with investing, like attorney fees (if you're setting up an llc or if you decided to create your own lease) and maintenance on the building. Depending on your plan, you will also need money for renovations. It's unlikely your first investment will not need any work.

You're young, I wish I had been thinking like you are at that age. I have very much respect for you.

I've heard a few podcasts here or elsewhere on how entrepreneurs with barely any money in their pockets made their first deal with no money down or built up their portfolios with barely much to start.

Read the blog posts on Bigger Pockets, and listen to as many podcasts as you can. I listen to podcasts during my commute and in the home. At this stage, I understand your eagerness to start, but educate yourself first.

Good luck!

@Faysal Alam Hi and welcome to BP. This is great that you are starting so young. I wish I would have done what you are doing. Good on you. So since you don't have a ton of income and have your parents to care of.  Continue to educate yourself as well as put any money aside you can. Try and gather more income with maybe something your good at that you can do on the side. Never stop learning or pushing forward. You will get there and good luck to you.