What would you do if you were 19 again?

41 Replies

I would make sure I didn't max out any credit cards as a dumb college kid, and all that money that went into clubs and nonsense would go to into buying my first property at age 19 instead of age 23... That would accelerate everything... 

Hinesight is 20/20. Everything is worth more than 10x's what it is now. I would have bought every empty lot in my neighborhood and bought every multi family I could, One at a time slow and steady. Built on the lots and collected income from everything. Looking forward is the only way to live so no better time to start than now. 

Thank you, everyone who's contributing to this post! I hope you've figured it out by now! The question was meant to help me get some ideas. As a 19 year old looking to get into Real Estate Investing, I want to know: What is the best thing to do? What are would the seasoned investors do if they had my age? 

I'm constantly learning for you guys and I could not thank all of you enough! REI has always been a dream of mine, even as a clueless, adolescent, looking back, I can see how all my actions led me to This. One. Career.

I want to make this my dream, and I've run into some issues (https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/12/topics/255...) This post should explain everything that I'm having a problem with.

Again, I appreciate all the help. Thank you so much

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

I would have bought micro soft , apple , and berkshire hathaway 

 I bought and sold apple unfortunately ... But it did think about brk and should have gone long on that stock and trimmed my mullet....that would be my do over, long on Berkshire, shorter in the back...

Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen :

 Maybe skip college and get my RE license earlier.  

College. I'm currently a sophomore and I'm just going to please family and friends. I know for a fact that I'm going to end up investing in real estate for a living. Should I continue college? Maybe take some business/finance classes?

Smart question @Miguel Luna

You are very wise to tap the BP community.

Two things:

1) Know-how precedes the wealth. So learning should be a high priority.

2) Awkwardness precedes breakthrough. So be kind to yourself.

Best to you!

@Miguel Luna Just being willing to learn and knowing the potential of real estate investing puts you at such a great starting point at 19. 

If I was 19 again, I would have learned all I can, since I had limited capital from a part time job while working through college. It seems that you're already doing this, well done!

I would seek out a local real estate investor and ask to work for them. I'm sure they can pay you at least what your part time job is paying you now. Since you are interested in learning, you should learn the business fast, and make great connections/relationships. 

You can seek "no/low money down" deals such as owner financed deals, using other people's money, etc.

Have a seasoned investor/mentor look over your deals. Learn the way they think. Find out how you can help them. Build relationships.

I would focus a lot on learning and making connections. The latter is what will make the most impact. 

@Miguel Luna , if I were 19 again I would do about what I did before but with more confidence and vigor.  I would have bought sooner and educated myself sooner.  I wish I could have found BP back then.  As to staying in college my thought is yes, but it is your ultimate decision.  Even if you plan to invest in real estate why go to college?  Are you already wealthy?  If not will you get your money working at McDonalds?  You need a good paying job and education is the way to go.  Without my day job I wouldn't own many rentals.  Breaking horses and stacking hay doesn't make much money.  The oilfield made me good money but no time to invest and every few years we had bad layoffs.  Banks only like to lend to folks with steady jobs.  A business degree will help you immensely with real estate investing.  You need to know how to run a business, how to do books, to calculate rates of return, to hire, to market, etc.  Again just my 2 cents, but my education opened many doors I could not have otherwise.  There are other doors but they can be hard to reach.

I wouldn't change anything. Party, friends, buddies, I was smart though, when I was in college, most of my party friends are stable professionals, so they pay the party bill and I run errands in my spare time. After college and got my engineer's license, worked hard and shot for big dreams, got 2 more licenses, worked even harder, got exposed to almost all parts of operations and management. When I finished college, I had my fair share of party and drinking, I enjoyed that part of my life and I could afford if I don't drink or party again.

I would not change much other than putting my short and long term goals on paper.

Some people benefit greatly from getting a College degree, while others don't.

Take some time and write down your 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals.  

Start attending a REIA group to start learning more about RE investing. This will give you a better idea where to start investing. For many people the quick and decent ROI of a fix and flip is what they do as they enjoy the challenge of finding property that needs remodeled. Others like the slow and steady of a long term rentals. Some do both. With Rentals, if you start out with buying 1-2 a year then crank it up to 5-10 a year, you will have a nice portfolio of properties that will provide you with plenty of income to keep investing in RE while building a good retirement nest egg. I wish I had bought some rentals after the RE prices came down in 2008 but the banks did not like my fluctuating income while I was self employed. Some people need the stability of a w-2 job that requires a College degree so that job will give them a salary high enough so they can invest in RE on the side.

Please keep us updated on what you decided to do in 2016.     

Originally posted by @Miguel Luna :

What would you do if you were 19 again? 

How would you invest?

Where would you start?

I bought my first house at barely 21, I'm now 34 and pushed my way into the 7 figure income.   My biggest regret was at 19 I was working 60 hours a week, going to college and I started my own business (on ebay when it was in it's infancy) which was basically another full time job.      I was too eager to grow up and succeed.     I listen to stories from other people about their college days and I can't help but wonder if i made a mistake.    Could the life i have now waited a few years and come anyways?  

I would have read a whole lot of RE and business books. There's this good book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad that I never hear about on any of the BP podcasts (insert sarcasm). Look for any local RE meetups and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Show your passion to become a RE Investor and offer your help to a seasoned RE vet so you can gain some experience because that's the best way to learn. Lastly, Save Your Money instead of blowing it all off on materialistic things. You can treat yourself once in a while, but not all the time. Good luck! 

Originally posted by @Robert Blanchard :

I would not change much other than putting my short and long term goals on paper.

Some people benefit greatly from getting a College degree, while others don't.

Take some time and write down your 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals.  

Start attending a REIA group to start learning more about RE investing. This will give you a better idea where to start investing. For many people the quick and decent ROI of a fix and flip is what they do as they enjoy the challenge of finding property that needs remodeled. Others like the slow and steady of a long term rentals. Some do both. With Rentals, if you start out with buying 1-2 a year then crank it up to 5-10 a year, you will have a nice portfolio of properties that will provide you with plenty of income to keep investing in RE while building a good retirement nest egg. I wish I had bought some rentals after the RE prices came down in 2008 but the banks did not like my fluctuating income while I was self employed. Some people need the stability of a w-2 job that requires a College degree so that job will give them a salary high enough so they can invest in RE on the side.

Please keep us updated on what you decided to do in 2016.     

 My first two years of college felt wasted because I had no idea what I was doing in life. I had no direction and my passion for computers and tech was quickly dying. My parents pushed college onto me thinking it was the right thing, and I don't blame them. They came from a a time and place where college is praised and viewed as a key to success. In their eyes, if you don't go through college, you might as well be illiterate. Very traditional Asian parents. And the more they pushed me to continue college, the more I resented it. I told them, "I want to take a break and figure out what I want to do before going through with this," to which they responded, "if you don't go to college, get out of the house. Live on your own." So it was either go to college or be kicked out. As an 18 year old, that frightened the hell out of me. So there I went. I'm 1.5 years into college now, $10,000 in debt, and I'm just now figuring out what I want to do with my life. 

Unlike the small interest I had with computer engineering, my passion for investing has always been there. Ever since I was a kid, I've always messed around with money and I've always wanted to learn how to make more. I bought 24 packs of soda for $6 and sold them for $1 each at my school. I made crafts and sold those. I even took advantage of free things I was able to get from work/other events. Everything had a value to it. My parents never took my interest in money seriously though. To them, it was either get in the medical field or engineering. Even with Engineering, they were unsupportive. Throughout the semester, they kept nagging me to switch to be a nurse or at least something in pharmacy. 

I switched my major from Computer Engineering to Finance, and for the first time, I'm excited to go to school. I'm excited to learn. I want to enroll for that next semester. But like I said, anything less than being a doctor, my parents will not support. So to invest in Real Estate, I'd have to come up with my own funds, no cosigning, nothing. I can tell them about my passion and that's about it. If you want to know more about my education or what I've done in life, I'm an open book, ask me anything.

REIA groups, I've actually gotten hold of one in my community. They meet on the last Tuesday of every month so I've hoping to find a mentor or maybe be able to shadow someone and learn a little more through hands-on experience. I'll definitely keep you up to date! Again, open book. Ask questions, ask about my plan, anything. Maybe you'll spot some holes or maybe you have a few things to add that could improve the plan overall. I would appreciate it being new to everything. I'm determined to learn and I'm going to see this through to the end.

Originally posted by @Leigh C :
Originally posted by @Miguel Luna:

What would you do if you were 19 again? 

How would you invest?

Where would you start?

I bought my first house at barely 21, I'm now 34 and pushed my way into the 7 figure income.   My biggest regret was at 19 I was working 60 hours a week, going to college and I started my own business (on ebay when it was in it's infancy) which was basically another full time job.      I was too eager to grow up and succeed.     I listen to stories from other people about their college days and I can't help but wonder if i made a mistake.    Could the life i have now waited a few years and come anyways?  

 I would love to have a 7 figure income. My plan is to own at least 3 properties by the end of 2016. As for that once in a lifetime college experience, I'm not into it, so the sooner I start my career the better. I would like to learn from you if that's possible! I would love to know how you got your income the way it is and how you started! I aim for a 6 figure income by 25-26. I'm not hoping to get there, I'm GOING to get there, no matter what, I'm not aiming to fall short. I have the drive, and I've been doing all I can to get started. The only thing holding me back is this (https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/12/topics/255...

Biggest bummer of my life at the moment. Everything is put on hold because of it and I'm trying to find a way to hurry it up so I can get on with investing. 

I've had several events in my life I thought i wanted help.    I thought i needed it.

I mentioned starting on EBay....I pushed my mom to invest in my inventory hard...she denied me the opportunity to really buy into the Ebay model back then.   She didn't understand it.   (flipping inventory or houses...same in my head really).  I could of doubled my 60k or so a year income if she would of helped me.     I stayed selling online for years, never really making much more than a very good income since I really wasn't buying the inventory correctly.   Eventually the ebay business model for me didn't make sense so i switched to another path (real estate).    Had she helped me I would of dropped from the 120k range to maybe 60-70k, something i would of kept doing "forever?"     Years later, similar stories continued to repeat the previous but in larger scales.      I thought i needed help to push myself to the next level.      I've had 3-4 strong chances to make REALLY strong money.     If anyone had helped me on these I never would be where i am today.  

I had the advantage of the real estate crash to really get where i am.    If you start stacking up properties now it may not be in your best interest, even more so if you tap all possible resources and keep doubling down.    If the house of cards should start to fall, you have nothing to catch you.        

You have a lot to learn and you are WAY too eager to go full speed.     I made these mistakes....I dropped out my senior year in college because the last year didn't make sense based on the choices I made in my own business.     Just because my income is high doesn't mean i made the right choices.       Your life isn't on hold, just your ambition needs to learn to relax a bit.      I've doubled down on myself way too many times and I got lucky each and every time.    It's obviously not 100% luck, but some of my wagers could of zeroed me out with nothing for me to fall back on.     I was too driven on success to appreciate the risk of what i was doing.


I realize this is all falling on deaf ears...I had someone tell this to me when i was your age and I thought they were talking crazy too.

Originally posted by @Leigh C :

I've had several events in my life I thought i wanted help.    I thought i needed it.

I mentioned starting on EBay....I pushed my mom to invest in my inventory hard...she denied me the opportunity to really buy into the Ebay model back then.   She didn't understand it.   (flipping inventory or houses...same in my head really).  I could of doubled my 60k or so a year income if she would of helped me.     I stayed selling online for years, never really making much more than a very good income since I really wasn't buying the inventory correctly.   Eventually the ebay business model for me didn't make sense so i switched to another path (real estate).    Had she helped me I would of dropped from the 120k range to maybe 60-70k, something i would of kept doing "forever?"     Years later, similar stories continued to repeat the previous but in larger scales.      I thought i needed help to push myself to the next level.      I've had 3-4 strong chances to make REALLY strong money.     If anyone had helped me on these I never would be where i am today.  

I had the advantage of the real estate crash to really get where i am.    If you start stacking up properties now it may not be in your best interest, even more so if you tap all possible resources and keep doubling down.    If the house of cards should start to fall, you have nothing to catch you.        

You have a lot to learn and you are WAY too eager to go full speed.     I made these mistakes....I dropped out my senior year in college because the last year didn't make sense based on the choices I made in my own business.     Just because my income is high doesn't mean i made the right choices.       Your life isn't on hold, just your ambition needs to learn to relax a bit.      I've doubled down on myself way too many times and I got lucky each and every time.    It's obviously not 100% luck, but some of my wagers could of zeroed me out with nothing for me to fall back on.     I was too driven on success to appreciate the risk of what i was doing.


I realize this is all falling on deaf ears...I had someone tell this to me when i was your age and I thought they were talking crazy too.

 I am listening to everything you are saying, no deaf ears here. Yes, I agree I am eager, overconfident, too ready to start. That's why I'm trying to hold back, I'm trying to learn and gain knowledge (currently on the lookout for someone to shadow). I am gonna go through college now that I know what direction I'm going to go, and I'm considering grad school. Before I make any leaps of faith, I'm learning, I'm playing it safe. I haven't told any family or friends about my future plans, in fear I might jinx myself. 

Slow and steady wins the race, I've heard. But once I gain the knowledge, once I get the hang of everything, there is nothing stopping me. 

If I were 19 again, I would continue my higher education (college) as fast as possible. Work as much as I could part time, weekends and side jobs. Save save save every penny that came my way and every windfall (tax refund, birthday money). Make a plan for purchasing my first rental property instead of a car. Learn as much as I could about RE investing from peers and school. Research properties in my area, talk to a mortgage broker about purchasing a property and check my credit report monthly and increase my credit as much as possible.

Originally posted by @Crystal H. :

If I were 19 again, I would continue my higher education (college) as fast as possible. Work as much as I could part time, weekends and side jobs. Save save save every penny that came my way and every windfall (tax refund, birthday money). Make a plan for purchasing my first rental property instead of a car. Learn as much as I could about RE investing from peers and school. Research properties in my area, talk to a mortgage broker about purchasing a property and check my credit report monthly and increase my credit as much as possible.

 That's exactly what I'm doing right now! Raising credit, school, save save save! I bought a car though... so that's $300/month gone

Pay off that car @Miguel Luna . It will count against you as debt when you are ready to buy. It's good if it's helping with your credit score but try to at least pay extra. And as you know it takes 30 days (or more) to show up on your credit report. Plan ahead.

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