Exit Strategy/What's your "number"?

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Originally posted by @Bryan Danger :

I spend a bit of time reading and contributing to different forums...  
Real Estate, FIRE/Early Retirement, Sailing, Overlanding - and every time I come here to BP I'm left wondering why the discussions/goals I see on all those other forums don't seem to show up here.

In most cases on other forums people are 100% focused on buying their freedom and how quickly they can get there.  
For some people it's RE, for some it's the market, for some its various side hustles (for most, it's a combination of all of the above), but in almost all cases the early questions and focus is always on the end goal - FREEDOM, and how soon they can reach it.

When the method is focused on the market, those investors can almost always tell you "the number" that is their goal or end point.  That number where the math works out and they feel comfortable that they can live off their nest egg or dividends for the remainder of their days without working again. 

But here I feel like the conversations all seem to center around growth and striving for massive portfolios and making millions... so I'm just curious what everyone's end goal is in this "game" - and IF you already have a portfolio that covers your living expenses and would allow you to live a good lifestyle without ever buying another property... what is driving you to keep expanding the portfolio and working what is now another "job"??

I'll kick things off - 
For us, we initially got involved in RE investing because we were fully in love with the idea of passive income and a monthly check rather than having to wait/work jobs we hated until some unknown date far into the future.

Fast forward a couple of years and we realized that lifestyle changes and downsizing/living more simply meant that even our small/modest portfolio could already cover our living expenses and allow us to live without jobs (if we played our cards correctly).  
I'm certain we could have stuck around, kept our incomes/paychecks (to be more easily financeable) and continue growing the portfolio to a more impressive stature; but the goal was always freedom, and we quit our jobs and walked aware as soon as we thought we could survive on the passive income.

Now almost 10years later, our properties have continued gaining in value while our tenants continue paying off our loans for us and we continue traveling and living abroad full-time living our best lives (quite literally) and if I look back, honestly... I only wonder why we didn't trust the process and leave even sooner.  

Whats your number/end goal???

 For me, RE has always been a passion as well as way to make money. There is no number or end goal. Currently it is a way to make $$ - mostly passively - and have some great assets to leave to our kids....

Originally posted by @Jeff S. :

@Bryan Danger it is nice you are responding to each response. I used to read those F.I.R.E. people. Mr Mustache and then there was the couple that collected social security and lived in their van traveling where the good weather took them. But the one thing I will never forget is the guy that had a couple million and quit a super high paying job to retire around 35 or so. Covid hit and he lost a huge amount in the market and freaked. The only thing that kept him afloat were his San Francisco rentals. He was a stock guy that worked in the financial industry and deeply regretted quitting his lucrative job.

Some people think when you retire you sell your RE and some people have that plan. My question is where do you put your money. You pay capital gains and lose the income from that money that the IR allowed you to use to earn income.

When I was 38 the only thing I had to my name was an IRS tax lien. We lost everything. When I was 45 I could have sold out and retired and traveled the world for maybe 10 years or so until inflation caught up with me. Then I would have been in a bad way. Having been broke I was not interested in not being very financially solid. 

There are no guarantees. Our leaders are like weak dads who keep pulling out the plastic to make everyone happy while destroying the families' futures. The more you give for free the more likely you will be voted in. 

Real estate is our sandbox. Some like to think it is a smooth ride forever just like young stock people believe you will always get 7%. The people I learned from did deals until they died in their 80's. They had incredible wealth and the ability to do what they wanted. Real estate gets in your blood. It is an addiction. It is a lifestyle. It is also very hard work and not for the weak minded. 

What is your definition of exit? When you die? When you sell and go to cash? Buy bonds? What does it mean?

Just responding in an attempt to keep the dialogue flowing... 

You're right on all levels. 
I guess I didn't actually phrase the initial question specifically enough.  I personally don't see the number or exit strategy as ever being "sell it all" and liquidate the portfolio - that in my mind would be a general lack of understanding about why you should invest in RE to begin with. 
The exit strategy i was intending to ask about is more about "when do you decide the portfolio is generally big enough, hand it off to a PM, walk away (generally) and simply enjoy the passive income?". 

I guess that's the meat of what I intended to ask or find fascinating because it seem like so many people get into RE for freedom from the 9-5 but then spend more hours and stress on the RE trying to grow it into a massive portfolio far beyond replacing the income and/or lifestyle they had previously.  I guess we accidentally did some of both... downsized significantly and moved into a van so we could quit our jobs and go on the trip of a lifetime, but then realized we never wanted to go back to work and had to figure out how to survive while we waited for the passive income to grow.

Don't get me wrong... We freaked out at the beginning of covid as well.  Had overextended ourselves (buying a boat and sailing to the Caribbean does that i guess) and our back up plan to sell a house back home somehow happened right as covid hit and out tenants stopped paying rent.  Yikes. 
Probably didn't help that while we also "retired" at 35, unlike the guy you're talking about we did so without the benefit of those millions to rely on. =)  
Several months of applying for forbearance, researching bankruptcy law, etc... but in the end we just had to get creative and let the process work... in the next 12months we sold 3 properties that were dragging our portfolio down a bit, did a 1031 from a SFR to a 4plex and feel better about our portfolio and cash flow than we ever have. Weird times for certain.

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

 Fair point on the adding the word passive into the intersection statement. I guess I took the liberty of assuming that was a given when talking freedom. 

Keep in mind when comparing a FIRE forum to the BP forms that the ENTIRE and only purpose of FIRE is financial independence and retiring early. Everyone there is investing and saving to quit their jobs. For that reason, you would expect that to a be a common topic. BiggerPockets has a wider range of users that are here for many different things. Many of the regular posters here have already quit their day job. Some are realtors or syndicators looking to build their business. Others are lenders, insurance agents, etc. Yes, there is also a group of investors who are building a real estate side business with plans to quit their W2. I think that is the group you are talking about. There have been some large discussion threads on here where people discuss their goals. It is usually a "freedom number" for passive income that allows them to step out of their full time job. Some have a specific age or number of years. Don't take the lack of response to your post as indication that people don't care. Some questions just never trend, so they don't catch peoples attention.

In my case, I hit my freedom number several years ago. I am "free" but chose to hold on to my W2. I enjoy my job, have flexibility, good vacation, good benefits, travel the country and work from home. Stability and health insurance are important to me at this stage with a child in school. Once my daughter is out of school, my wife and I will travel much more. I don't expect to keep my W2 past the age of 50 and I may even quit sooner. In my experience once you reach financial freedom, your job becomes more enjoyable because your attitude changes. I say and do what I believe, having no fear of "sucking it up and dealing with it". I found since adopting that attitude, I have done even better in my career with less time demand. The other thing to keep in mind is many people chose careers that they didn't like, have demanding bosses or work physical / service jobs. That is why they want to quit. Those of us who have careers we enjoy, don't feel that same urgency.  

The point is FREEDOM comes in many forms, as does happiness, goals and contentment. Some people grow a business for the sake of accomplishment. Look at most every giant company in the world and you see that the founder stayed on as CEO well past the point of "having enough to live on". Most of them could have sold out for millions in their 20's. The fact that they don't has nothing to do with greed or lack of goals. They are motivated by the thrill of business, like you get excited by sailing or your other passions. 

It is hard to generalize BiggerPockets or really any group of people. You will find a total mixed bag here. I am sure some are stuck or have no idea what their goal is. If you listen to the BP podcast, you will notice considerable time is spent on talking about goal setting and having a why. This is an important topic to people and I think anyone accomplished has thoroughly considered these things. 

On the flip side, I have always wondered why the FIRE crowd ended up in a job they hate so much and why they want so bad to retire. I have always thought, why not just get a job you love? I think sometimes people get so caught up on early retirement that they don't even know why they are retiring. Maybe that is the opposite problem of not having an exit strategy. Having an exit strategy, but not a life focus. We all need purpose, challenges and a sense of contribution. 

I appreciate the interesting discussion. I think your story is really cool and I congratulate you on following your passion. 

Thanks again Joe!
No desire to generalize anyone... to the contrary trying to learn from all different types as I don't think we fit well into any group or single particular mindset.  

I understand the FIRE crowd's desire to get out because I happened to fall into one of those jobs i hated (and also felt very trapped there... though looking back now I'm honestly not sure why.  Youth, lack of confidence, who knows).  What I dont understand is why almost nobody in that crowd sees Re as a possible path to get there and at least based on the forums i tried to join and be a part of the average retirement age is still in the 60s... thats NOT my idea of ER!

I think its great that you love your job/W2!  I have so much jealousy for that and no question in my mind that would have been a MUCH easier path than the unconventional trail we've been fighting to blaze along the way.  I wish we were all so lucky to have found jobs we love, but Im afraid you are probably in a very small minority. 

@Joe Splitrock

Such a great point...

"In my experience once you reach financial freedom, your job becomes more
enjoyable because your attitude changes. I say and do what I believe,
having no fear of "sucking it up and dealing with it"."

Originally posted by @Bryan Danger :
Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock:

 Fair point on the adding the word passive into the intersection statement. I guess I took the liberty of assuming that was a given when talking freedom. 

Keep in mind when comparing a FIRE forum to the BP forms that the ENTIRE and only purpose of FIRE is financial independence and retiring early. Everyone there is investing and saving to quit their jobs. For that reason, you would expect that to a be a common topic. BiggerPockets has a wider range of users that are here for many different things. Many of the regular posters here have already quit their day job. Some are realtors or syndicators looking to build their business. Others are lenders, insurance agents, etc. Yes, there is also a group of investors who are building a real estate side business with plans to quit their W2. I think that is the group you are talking about. There have been some large discussion threads on here where people discuss their goals. It is usually a "freedom number" for passive income that allows them to step out of their full time job. Some have a specific age or number of years. Don't take the lack of response to your post as indication that people don't care. Some questions just never trend, so they don't catch peoples attention.

In my case, I hit my freedom number several years ago. I am "free" but chose to hold on to my W2. I enjoy my job, have flexibility, good vacation, good benefits, travel the country and work from home. Stability and health insurance are important to me at this stage with a child in school. Once my daughter is out of school, my wife and I will travel much more. I don't expect to keep my W2 past the age of 50 and I may even quit sooner. In my experience once you reach financial freedom, your job becomes more enjoyable because your attitude changes. I say and do what I believe, having no fear of "sucking it up and dealing with it". I found since adopting that attitude, I have done even better in my career with less time demand. The other thing to keep in mind is many people chose careers that they didn't like, have demanding bosses or work physical / service jobs. That is why they want to quit. Those of us who have careers we enjoy, don't feel that same urgency.  

The point is FREEDOM comes in many forms, as does happiness, goals and contentment. Some people grow a business for the sake of accomplishment. Look at most every giant company in the world and you see that the founder stayed on as CEO well past the point of "having enough to live on". Most of them could have sold out for millions in their 20's. The fact that they don't has nothing to do with greed or lack of goals. They are motivated by the thrill of business, like you get excited by sailing or your other passions. 

It is hard to generalize BiggerPockets or really any group of people. You will find a total mixed bag here. I am sure some are stuck or have no idea what their goal is. If you listen to the BP podcast, you will notice considerable time is spent on talking about goal setting and having a why. This is an important topic to people and I think anyone accomplished has thoroughly considered these things. 

On the flip side, I have always wondered why the FIRE crowd ended up in a job they hate so much and why they want so bad to retire. I have always thought, why not just get a job you love? I think sometimes people get so caught up on early retirement that they don't even know why they are retiring. Maybe that is the opposite problem of not having an exit strategy. Having an exit strategy, but not a life focus. We all need purpose, challenges and a sense of contribution. 

I appreciate the interesting discussion. I think your story is really cool and I congratulate you on following your passion. 

Thanks again Joe!
No desire to generalize anyone... to the contrary trying to learn from all different types as I don't think we fit well into any group or single particular mindset.  

I understand the FIRE crowd's desire to get out because I happened to fall into one of those jobs i hated (and also felt very trapped there... though looking back now I'm honestly not sure why.  Youth, lack of confidence, who knows).  What I dont understand is why almost nobody in that crowd sees Re as a possible path to get there and at least based on the forums i tried to join and be a part of the average retirement age is still in the 60s... thats NOT my idea of ER!

I think its great that you love your job/W2!  I have so much jealousy for that and no question in my mind that would have been a MUCH easier path than the unconventional trail we've been fighting to blaze along the way.  I wish we were all so lucky to have found jobs we love, but Im afraid you are probably in a very small minority. 

This is a great topic. Just not one that allows for an easy answer. I don't want to spend a day and a half writing out my exit strategy, but yes, I want out of ancient Yinzerburgh crapshacks and their typical denizens.

Originally posted by @Bryan Danger :

Wow... does the lack of responses here literally translate into the fact that most people go into the real estate game with no exit strategy??  Or this simply a taboo topic because we're all supposed to be talking about growing/bigger/faster?


You pretty well summed it up in the post I just copied. I have been actually thinking about this very topic. For some people growing bigger actually gives them something to do. Not everyone likes gardening or rocking on the porch. LOL 

If a person has quite a number of children it’s not like they can live abroad like someone that has no children or an empty nest.

Updated 3 months ago

The thing as well is momentum. For many investors it took so long to have some that it’s hard to stop investing as soon as they get some momentum going.

4 kids if I was single or just a married guy I’d be gone.  Lots of folks got roots down, Real estate can get you off the wheel but lifestyle and location is still fairly comparable.

While I'm personally financially free at 33, I'm still working my W2. I originally wanted to quit when I had replaced my salary, but a couple years ago my wife and I decided that the number we're aiming for in passive monthly income is 10K/mo because at that rate, we'd have covered both our incomes. (Right now, only one of our incomes is covered). 

Recently my wife decided that even when we hit 10K per month she doesn't want to quit her job, her goal is professional development at the large org she works at. 

I still plan on quitting at the 10K mark to focus on renovating my rentals, investing in one (or many) airbnb properties or starting a business. While none of this, may equate to 'retirement' in the official definition, the fact that I'll be working for myself/my time will be my own will be so freeing and it's something I'm really looking forward to. 

I live in Canada so healthcare/health insurance isn't a concern as others have brought up.

I don't have an "exit goal number" per se. I have my own consulting business that offers a lot of personal freedom and I have been doing it long enough that I can pick and choose my clients and projects. I invest in real estate to build wealth and I love deal-making. To me, retirement doesn't look that much different than my current life except maybe I travel more than I do now.

In the last 6 months, I have met real estate investors from all over the country and several of them are 60+ and still out making deals, buying notes, flipping, adding to their portfolio, exchanging real estate, etc. They don't need to do this to live. They want to do this because it is interesting and fun. I couldn't agree with them more. 

@Bryan Danger

Insightful thought, I like that even in RE, there can be enough to live on if planned well.

For me, my end goal is to replace my current

Income with rental income times 1.6 so it will last 40 years of average inflation. I hope to realize this soon and have the ability to have freedom with my time.

I never had a number or exit plan. I'm a type B personality and always just play it by ear in life. No set goals. Never budget. No expectations. Lol. I bought my first SFH to rent out 6 years ago for fun. This turned into a fun hobby ever since. I've been putting all my profits back into RE since my W2 covers all my expenses. I got creative with financing these things and started buying two a year. After 6 years, I now have 12 SFRs. I still don't have a number or exit strategy. I keep telling myself I'll stop. Then somehow another great deal comes up. Lol. I promised my wife I would stop at 3 or 4. But I was having too much fun doing this. I make 6k/month now off my rentals and self manage. It's very easy to do and hardly takes up any time. I hire out all the work so I don't miss family time. When I'm retired in 15 years the RE income should be about 12k or more per month. I'm not going to get rich off that, but it'll help supplement my 401k retirement income. And I tell my wife, most hobbies cost money. Mine makes $. :)

@Bryan Danger exactly! I am 65yr, have built a rental portfolio of more than 50 houses. I have small mortgages on only 13 and own the others outright. But I quit buying more properties several years ago because I, too, began to wonder when is it “enough”? The more properties, the more hassles. So I have been selling 2 small

Houses and replacing them with one better house on 1031 exchanges. My rate of return is not as high as many others with more leverage. But I like having fewer houses to fix and fewer tenants to deal with. I would love to see more discussions on Exit Strategies!

I'm more in favor of using my "WHY" as my North star for driving incremental decisions as opposed to a distant finite number where I consider myself to have "made it". In reality, I dont think many people would be happiest to work their tail off, hit their number, and then abruptly quit all "work". My WHY is to create flexibility, low stress, ultimately to maximize by ability to be a good father, husband, and friend. 

This led to some tough decisions of selling personally owned rentals, paying some taxes, declining deals that would have made money but caused stress, and moved cash to more passive strategies luke syndications and dividend paying stocks. It also means a goal of having lower to no debt, even primary residence, which many would justifiably scoff at. 

I've found this to provide what I seek, and allowed me to take a role at a startup company for a mission I'm passionate about. I work very hard, but I dont worry about my income as much, job loss, or the company going under. Its also allowed my wife to choose to work part time at the expense of rising her corporate ladder and much higher income. If you handed me $10 million today, I'm not sure our life would look terribly different other than increasing our generosity (Id like to think).  


For us, a slower path to "FIRE" is much more comfortable, allows us to live well now, and hopefully also live well later whenever our energy declines.

@Bryan Danger

I’ve spoken with many highly successful entrepreneurs and RE investors and the common theme is this- they never want to retire. The number of hours they work may be less, the work they do may look different, but by doing what they love to do for a living, they’ve already won. The exit strategy is to die doing what they love.

@Bryan Danger

Actually had to look up FIRE.  We really do our own thing and don't really follow the rest of the world's drive.

When you start a post like this, you should put your cards on the table first, versus asking other people to.  Define Financial Freedom and your "positions" as a starting point.  You could have a Woman with net $10,000 with Financial Freedom and a man with net $10,000,000 who doesn't have financial freedom.  Each person has their own values, positioning, risk management and assumptions.

I'm glad everyone doesn't have financial freedom or is even proactively looking for it.  You drove a Van.  The person that made the Lug nuts probably doesn't even know about financial freedom.  Which I'm glad, because we probably would have a shortage of lug nuts.

Lets look at your position.  Change the figures, add/subtract concepts, etc as you see fit.

1.  Liquid cash/cds/money market/etc.  $100,000  How many years of liquid cash do you have on hand.

2.  Net worth.  Investments.  $1,000,000

3.  Monthly incoming cash flow.  $2,000

4.  Monthly outgoing cash flow.  $2,000

5.  Planned costs.  New boat motor, new roof, new HVAC, etc.  How much do you have set off to the side?  $50,000

6.  Financial Asset Risk Analysis.  60/40;  40/60; etcetera.

7.  Health insurance

8.  Long-term care

9.  Long-term health insurance.  Federal- Are you paying your minimum Medicare/Medcaid?  

10.  Lifestyle.  Kids.  Family. Neighbors. Community.  Interests.

11.  Investment "financial" management.  All in Portland with same bank, great.  Same thing is bad, diversification.  Spread out across the country great, diversification.  Same thing bad, can't cross collateralize, your an unknown investor.

Credit Score.  I have never discussed my credit score with my 3 different bankers.  I don't know what mine is.  Why is this so critical for your RE investments.  No answer needed, just we have two different investment approaches.

Can't tell your W2 income generation history.  Your investments, looks like it was great timing to be in Portland.  Was this true for other people?  My point is, was this timing or business skillset?  Like getting an inheritance without knowing how it was originally earned.

A.  Forbearance, is not a Financial Freedom solution.  Look at 1 thru 11 above.  You should have the liquid cash.  Also you should have been able to sell one property into the market.  Re-analyze your 60/40 40/60 asset positioning.  Re-analyze your Analysis of Financial Freedom.

B.  Liquid cash investments versus Short term needs.  Long term investments versus long term needs.  Re-analyze your positioning and needs.

Your original question.

FIRE, Overland, etc versus BP.  FIRE is looking for financial freedom 100%.  BP is looking for another way.  They both will probably end up at the financial freedom question.  Just not the same starting point of discussion.  And if you look at most of the people above and their background, Financial freedom is not what "drives" them.  Its a by product.  Also its hard to get your "Momentum" going again, both mentally and your "Team".  Whereas these other groups are already "Gone".  Most BP people are not "Gone" they are either getting started or growing.

We're living the dream also below.  Just that's not our end game or number.

@Bryan Danger . We bought a house In Portland and created an ADU in the basement. I'm getting out at the VA loan and moving again. Been thinking about some other Investments but financial advisor said to keep our assets more liquid. We're 5-7 years from retirement. Would like to be able to travel at retirement so thinking about converting our second floor to an Airbnb when the time comes

Originally posted by @Bryan Danger :

I spend a bit of time reading and contributing to different forums...  
Real Estate, FIRE/Early Retirement, Sailing, Overlanding - and every time I come here to BP I'm left wondering why the discussions/goals I see on all those other forums don't seem to show up here.

In most cases on other forums people are 100% focused on buying their freedom and how quickly they can get there.  
For some people it's RE, for some it's the market, for some its various side hustles (for most, it's a combination of all of the above), but in almost all cases the early questions and focus is always on the end goal - FREEDOM, and how soon they can reach it.

When the method is focused on the market, those investors can almost always tell you "the number" that is their goal or end point.  That number where the math works out and they feel comfortable that they can live off their nest egg or dividends for the remainder of their days without working again. 

But here I feel like the conversations all seem to center around growth and striving for massive portfolios and making millions... so I'm just curious what everyone's end goal is in this "game" - and IF you already have a portfolio that covers your living expenses and would allow you to live a good lifestyle without ever buying another property... what is driving you to keep expanding the portfolio and working what is now another "job"??

I'll kick things off - 
For us, we initially got involved in RE investing because we were fully in love with the idea of passive income and a monthly check rather than having to wait/work jobs we hated until some unknown date far into the future.

Fast forward a couple of years and we realized that lifestyle changes and downsizing/living more simply meant that even our small/modest portfolio could already cover our living expenses and allow us to live without jobs (if we played our cards correctly).  
I'm certain we could have stuck around, kept our incomes/paychecks (to be more easily financeable) and continue growing the portfolio to a more impressive stature; but the goal was always freedom, and we quit our jobs and walked aware as soon as we thought we could survive on the passive income.

Now almost 10years later, our properties have continued gaining in value while our tenants continue paying off our loans for us and we continue traveling and living abroad full-time living our best lives (quite literally) and if I look back, honestly... I only wonder why we didn't trust the process and leave even sooner.  

Whats your number/end goal???

 I may have missed it
did you start a thread asking for peoples number and then not post yours?

For me there is no number 

I will never Stop.  I enjoy this so much I have to force myself to not look for new deals 

could have stopped at 47 and not ‘worked’ another day.  It would be like saying. Well I’ve watched 50 movies I don’t have to watch another one 

Originally posted by @Phillip Saint :

 While none of this, may equate to 'retirement' in the official definition, the fact that I'll be working for myself/my time will be my own will be so freeing and it's something I'm really looking forward to. 


Sounds plenty close enough to an official definition to me!

Originally posted by @Michael Temple :

I don't have an "exit goal number" per se. I have my own consulting business that offers a lot of personal freedom and I have been doing it long enough that I can pick and choose my clients and projects. I invest in real estate to build wealth and I love deal-making. To me, retirement doesn't look that much different than my current life except maybe I travel more than I do now.

In the last 6 months, I have met real estate investors from all over the country and several of them are 60+ and still out making deals, buying notes, flipping, adding to their portfolio, exchanging real estate, etc. They don't need to do this to live. They want to do this because it is interesting and fun. I couldn't agree with them more. 

Sounds like you've already built a lot of freedom and flexibility into your business, which is great.  Good for you! 

It's those guys that I guess drive my curiosity. 
I don't disagree with REI being interesting and fun. I'm also still making deals and changing the portfolio from afar as timing is right... I just realized at some point that there were many (other) passions and interests and that enough was enough; at least in terms of full time work to expand/make more money.

Maybe several of those guy are already living their best life and simply took time away to go meet with you and discuss the portfolio/make a deal/offer... but I also wonder how many simply got trapped in the cycle.  For most in the 9-5 its a buy/work/buy cycle that keeps them in it, but in REI the end goal or "success" often seems to be a bit more of a gray zone - thus my question.

Originally posted by @Eugene Mitchell :

@Bryan Danger

Insightful thought, I like that even in RE, there can be enough to live on if planned well.

For me, my end goal is to replace my current

Income with rental income times 1.6 so it will last 40 years of average inflation. I hope to realize this soon and have the ability to have freedom with my time.

It seems the perfect way actually! In the stock market, people work decades in order to retire (some early some not) and then look to keep drawing against their earnings and live in fear that they will live too long and didn't actually save enough to pay for it. In REI, it seems the opposite... assuming the portfolio has been made well and the passive income at current is enough to live off of, then over the years the equity/profit/passive income should simply increase and allow our quality of life to improve at the same time.

Good luck with your goals!!

Originally posted by @John Morgan :

I never had a number or exit plan. I'm a type B personality and always just play it by ear in life. No set goals. Never budget. No expectations. Lol. I bought my first SFH to rent out 6 years ago for fun. This turned into a fun hobby ever since. I've been putting all my profits back into RE since my W2 covers all my expenses. I got creative with financing these things and started buying two a year. After 6 years, I now have 12 SFRs. I still don't have a number or exit strategy. I keep telling myself I'll stop. Then somehow another great deal comes up. Lol. I promised my wife I would stop at 3 or 4. But I was having too much fun doing this. I make 6k/month now off my rentals and self manage. It's very easy to do and hardly takes up any time. I hire out all the work so I don't miss family time. When I'm retired in 15 years the RE income should be about 12k or more per month. I'm not going to get rich off that, but it'll help supplement my 401k retirement income. And I tell my wife, most hobbies cost money. Mine makes $. :)

 Hard to argue with the logic!  I would argue that 12k a month (without a need to work for that money) is indeed rich, especially if it buys you the time to spend with the family and do those thing you love.
Good work finding a "hobby" you love!

Originally posted by @Sherry Byrne :

@Bryan Danger exactly! I am 65yr, have built a rental portfolio of more than 50 houses. I have small mortgages on only 13 and own the others outright. But I quit buying more properties several years ago because I, too, began to wonder when is it “enough”? The more properties, the more hassles. So I have been selling 2 small

Houses and replacing them with one better house on 1031 exchanges. My rate of return is not as high as many others with more leverage. But I like having fewer houses to fix and fewer tenants to deal with. I would love to see more discussions on Exit Strategies!

Nice!  All about ease and lifestyle.
We just sold several of our properties because the market seemed well timed and we had several old homes that didn't make good rentals (came into all this a bit "accidentally" and never really realized how high in maintenance the old/huge turn of the century homes were and how much I worried about the additional work and costs that would certainly be coming at some point as structures and foundations began to fail.

Also meant doing our first 1031 which was hugely insightful (mostly about how we'll never sell/liquidate everything... because its simply not worth it)! =)

Originally posted by @Jason Powell :

I'm more in favor of using my "WHY" as my North star for driving incremental decisions as opposed to a distant finite number where I consider myself to have "made it". In reality, I dont think many people would be happiest to work their tail off, hit their number, and then abruptly quit all "work". My WHY is to create flexibility, low stress, ultimately to maximize by ability to be a good father, husband, and friend. 

This led to some tough decisions of selling personally owned rentals, paying some taxes, declining deals that would have made money but caused stress, and moved cash to more passive strategies luke syndications and dividend paying stocks. It also means a goal of having lower to no debt, even primary residence, which many would justifiably scoff at. 

I've found this to provide what I seek, and allowed me to take a role at a startup company for a mission I'm passionate about. I work very hard, but I dont worry about my income as much, job loss, or the company going under. Its also allowed my wife to choose to work part time at the expense of rising her corporate ladder and much higher income. If you handed me $10 million today, I'm not sure our life would look terribly different other than increasing our generosity (Id like to think).  


For us, a slower path to "FIRE" is much more comfortable, allows us to live well now, and hopefully also live well later whenever our energy declines.

I love this mentality/ethos!!
In one FIRE community i joined and tried to involve myself in they actually jettisoned/ousted people for decided to start a business or do something for money even if it was simply following a passion and they had no need for the funds.  Blew my mind... isn't the whole goal trying to find the FREEDOM to do and spend time doing whatever lights us up??

I think you've nailed it, and good on you for seeing the indicators of stress/lack of flexibility, etc and doing something about it!!