I heard this question on the latest BP podcast (#435) today and thought what better place to ask it than on the forums:
If you were me, a 20 year old in college, what are five (or more/less) things you would do right now? It can range from real estate to general life experiences to anything!
I’m excited to see what everyone has to say, thanks!
1. Live up the college life as much as you can, while keeping your grades up (you are only young once)
2. Pick a major that will help you get a high paying job upon graduation
3. Learn as much as you can about real estate investing- how to analyze properties- requirements to qualify for a mortgage-study geographical locations and their markets to determine where the best deals are
4. Get a part time job and a small credit card to work on your credit score
5. Create your real estate plan, guide, wish list- whatever you want to call it. A plan that you can follow to meet your goals in real estate.
I have two kids your age in university. I have given them both advice 1 and 2, they have no interest in real estate but if they were I would be giving them 3,4,and 5 also
@Damaso Bautista Thanks for taking the time to reply, Damaso. Your list has a lot of good tips, thank you!
Hey @Cole Britting
I actually wrote a blog post for BP that kind of answers your question. I'll put the link at the end of this message.
BTW, congrats to you for your ambition! I work with a bunch of young aspiring real estate investors just like you (in a free online group), and I am willing to help you out with some advice or even chat on the phone if you wish. Once you've read the article, let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions. I am a high school teacher in Colorado and I am always looking to help young people get started in real estate investing or help in any way I can. Let me know if you want to chat sometime. https://www.biggerpockets.com/...
Hey @Dan Sheeks
I actually read you article when it came out, right as I got started on BP! It was very helpful to get me oriented and put in the right mindset to start my investing journey.
I've taken all the steps you outlined, except the W2 job. I've talked to some lenders and they said they typically lend to students coming right out of college (like myself) as long as they have a letter from their employer. I also have a side business I run as a sole proprietor which the lender said will help my DTI.
Thank you for writing that article it has been a huge help!
@Cole Britting - Here's what I'm telling my kids about to go to college.
1. College is for the experience and networking. It doesn't teach you about how to succeed in business. I enjoyed my time in college, but there is no ROI for college.
2. Following the conventional wisdom taught in college will get you a job filing a W-2, paying high taxes, flipping burgers and never getting ahead.
3. Make your money work for you. Don't trade time for money.
4. Read, A LOT! Lean from those who are successful. "Rich Dad" is a great place to start. It turns traditional thought on it's head.
5. People do more to avoid pain than to be successful. Take risks to be great, don't avoid the pain.
6. "Chose your hard." Succeeding in life is hard, but worth it. Failing in life is hard, but sucks when you fail. Playing defense is hard, but gets you stuck in neutral. "Choose your hard"
Thank you for the write-up! Numbers 5 and 6 are really powerful to me. It definitely seems that people do more to avoid pain than to be successful, and there is a lot in life that is hard so why not do the hard that will lead to success?
If you told me in 2019 to read, I probably would've laughed in your face. Since the beginning of 2020, I've read 20+ books including Rich Dad Poor Dad. That book completely changed my mindset, along with the 4 Hour Workweek.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post, I appreciate it!
@Cole Britting enjoy your time but be mindful of your future. Obviously you’re in college to get into a career that will make you primary income. Not a bad time to also try to get a license for some side hustle. Real estate, notary, etc. you can start investing some of that side hustle money into the market to buy some real estate later on.
Seems weird to think about this considering i'm 25 (am I old yet? lol), but looking back there are things that I would have done a little different, and things that I am very happy I did.
1. First off, LIVE IT UP. I was always told this by everyone that "college will be the best years of your life." While there is still much to come in life, college is a great time. Instant access to so many friends and activities and the first sense of real freedom in life. Now this doesn't mean be a degenerate who has a 1.0GPA and gets drunk every night of the week, but finding a balance. You will meet some of your best friends here.
2. Choose a degree that will give you access to a prosperous career. I had many Liberal Arts College friends who have majored in things from Historical Communications to Women Studies. They are now struggling to find any career, let alone one that will pay off the large debt.
3. I would have learned more about everything. Be naturally curious. While there is a lot to learn in school, there is always more to learn. Read read read. I haven't started reading again until recently. There is SO MUCH great information out there at our fingertips and I wish I would have started reading earlier. Especially about personal finance and investing/real estate. This is NEVER taught in school. Be able to budget. Know how to save more than you spend. Know the difference between an asset and lability. You have to get a grip on money if you want to grow any amount of wealth in your life. Debt will hold people down their whole life because they don't want to learn how to manage their money.
4. INVEST. This can be in real estate or stocks. Now I do not recommend trying to be the next Warren Buffet and picking your own stocks. That's wasting time and majority of the time, money. Pick a low cost index fund and start putting money in it. Time is sooooo important for investing. Even though during college you can't add much, you can add some (you should have some form of on campus job for play money and a summer job). Also, get that employer 401k match if that's possible (this would be a couple years from 20). The rest of the money you have can be put towards real estate. But real estate shouldn't start without have your general finances under control (point 4)
5. Travel! Maybe not for everyone, but the traveling around the world I have done has been so amazing! Buy experiences, not objects. That new shiny thing you bought won't be that cool in a month, but I constantly think about great trips with great people. And some may say traveling is super expensive, but I disagree (depends on what we say is expensive). But traveling abroad and staying in Hostels is cheap (~15$ a night) and you will meet great people. And flights abroad can be found for round trips of $250 if you know what you're doing. Again maybe not for everyone, but this is my thought.
@John Wong Thanks for the advice!
I really appreciate the thoughtful response.
Living it up has been a struggle in college due to COVID. A lot of my friends have gotten apartments at school even though we are online, but I decided to stay home to save on rent (I go to school in NYC so I'm saving a lot). Still not sure if I made the best decision or not, but I had a great 1.5 years before COVID and will still hopefully have Fall 2021 semester to have fun.
Luckily, I had no idea what I wanted to after college (and still don't), so I decided to major what I was best at in high school which was math and economics.
Learning on my own is something that I never did before last year. I was always just coasting along and learning what I was taught in school. Thankfully I changed that, but still have a LONG way to go.
I'm still learning to invest, but have a brokerage account and have some money in low fee index funds. I may open a Roth IRA soon, since I have a small side business that makes me a decent chunk of money I can invest. House hack is next on the list.
I can't wait to travel more. I'm supposed to be in Milan for a semester abroad right now, but unfortunately that got cancelled due to COVID. I'm hoping to spend a month or two abroad after I graduate or during this summer.
Do you invest in Philadelphia? I've been looking into the area as a potential landing spot for me after school.
Thanks again for the reply!
@Cole Britting Sounds like you got your head on straight and are really setting yourself up for a successful and fulfilling life! I really do feel bad for you and everyone else in college right now during this time. I do think it's smart for you to save a big chunk of change by staying home at this time. It may suck now, but you'll most likely look back and agree with your choice. I am also optimistic for you guys in the fall!
And yes! Glad to hear you enjoy traveling. Do it now before you have other things in life that don't let you (A job where its hard to take time of or maybe a family and kids if you want that some day).
As for investing here, I have not started yet. I would like to start by the end of the year. I am still very new to all of this and not ready to jump in yet. I just started really getting into in the end of last year. But Philly is a great area with a lot of potential! I've enjoyed it here after graduating.
1. I would go meet with as many investors in my area as possible and try to build those relationships early on. I have found that there are so many people out there who love to see the hustle and will help you out so much.
2. Pay more attention in my MIS class so I knew how to use excel better, Lol
3. I would have taken more action and tried to get in the game earlier. I have found that you learn 10x by actually doing opposed to learing about it.
4. I would try fail more often. The more you fail the more you learn.
5. Try to find other young individuals who were interested in RE. It's nice to surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you and who are in your shoes.
Feel free to shoot me a message, I would love to connect with you!
@Nick Scullin It's been a rough few semesters, but I am lucky my life hasn't been seriously turned upside down (like losing a job, or family member, etc).
I hope your REI journey goes great, and best of luck in Philly! Let me know when you buy your first property.
I definitely need to get out and network with investors more. I'm not exactly sure where I want to end up investing, so I'm trying to just connect generally here on the forums!
I'll always have a love-hate relationship with Excel. It is so useful, but there is so much stuff to learn lol.
Action is the next step for me for sure. I have been learning for a few months and have been reaching out to agents, lenders, etc, but I need take the leap soon.
Failing more often is something I need to get used to. I used to be so afraid of failure it would stop me from taking action, but I've gotten better at seeing it as a learning lesson and not being so afraid. Definitely something I will be working on.
I wish more of my friends were interested in REI (I've tried to get them to listen to some podcasts and read books, but they just aren't into it). The forums have been great for helping me connect with other young people.
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it!
@Cole Britting I'm couple years older, not too much.
1. Figure out if college is really right for, if it is keep on trucking through the college life. If you dread going to classes and have trouble staying awake in class, cut your losses and take up a trade.
2. Read, listen to audiobooks, podcast and interviews of successful people, to gain insight.
3. Get good at your trade(regardless of degree or none) people like people that know their craft.
4. Get good at networking. College did teach me something about networking. What you know matters, but who know matters more so.
5. Think about from five years from now of where you want to be at. Maybe a wife, kids, minivan and a dog or the bachelor lifestyle, with crazy nights with your friends, nice cars.
I wish you well my friend, have fun in school!
Hey @Jonathan Frith
Your last point is something I haven't thought about too much. I definitely have in terms of investment and my financial position, but I tend to forget about my personal life (friends, family, dating, etc). I need to map that out and find a way to have it align with my financial goals. Thank you for opening my eyes to that!
Best of luck on your real estate journey, thank you for the reply!
1) Stop posting here
2) Go outside and get some exercise
3) Then learn and make your plan.
I was in your situation not to long ago. I was in college and was paying rent. I was working and studying hard but I enjoyed it. Then my apartment managers raised the rent and it was enough that it hurt the budget so I went in with three of my friends and we bought a triplex. We were going to put twelve guys in the place and make about 3600 before expenses. I made my first mistake in choosing my business partners. The business partnership only lasted a matter of months but it was one of the best decisions I made. I learned how nice passive income was. I have had ownership in two other rentals since then and have flipped 7 homes. I sold one last year and acquired another. I am looking at buying in MO this year and would like to start my stack from here and forward without selling out of any of them. Make sure your numbers are accurate and good. Make sure you can trust the people you work with. Make the decision and move forward. Best of luck.
Sounds like you've been killing it! Thanks for the advice and best of luck.
I was in your shoes a few years ago and had a very similar mentality. I am new to the real estate industry but I do have experience in starting my own businesses. I would agree that living it up in college is fun, but don’t loose sight of your goals. Making small sacrifices while you are in school will be worth it in the long run. The advice I have is pretty generic, but really helped me when I was in your shoes. Attend as many meet ups and networking events as you can (when times are normal again) and be a sponge. Actually write down your goals and then work backwards to create an action plan. Also SAVE MONEY, and remember that every dollar saved is getting your closer to your goal. I am new to Bigger Pockets and real estate investing as well. Feel free to message me shoot me a message, I'd love to connect.
I am 21 years old right now. I remember going on Quora and BigggerPockets looking at posts from people who are 30-50 years old saying what they did differently. It really boils down to two things, building connections and consume important knowledge that will propel you forward.
Right now, I am doing just that. As a result, I completed my first flip with no money down with a listing sold in 24 hours. I feel as though what our generation should do is to take in some research and academics while implementing what we study. We spend too much time on books, courses, and analyzing, but we get scared to simply jump in altogether and take risks.
One thing that I regret not doing earlier is documenting everything. Our generation is so tech savvy, but due to social media, we think too much of our self-image. We should simply put ourselves out there and put valuable content.
Would love to connect though! Maybe we can be accountability partners? :)
I would NOT take anyone’s blueprint as gospel and forge your own path. Find what you stand for and stick to that. Those will guide your personal and business principles.
Honestly I’m not a big fan of these questions because they usually lead to disappointment later on in life when you don’t think you’ve achieved what someone else thought you should have.
Be you, and be awesome.
1. Learn as much as I can about real estate investing.
2. Clearly define my short and long term goals
3. Find an investor in my market and work for them in my off hours to learn how they think and act
4. Analyze deals regularly
5. Buy my first house hack/investment property
I love that advice, thank you!