Family beating the **** out of me for becoming a landlord. What the hell?

48 Replies

Hi everyone, I am seeing if anyone else here is struggling to get support from your family for your decision to invest in real estate by becoming a landlord. I would like to acquire many more and quit my job some day soon.

I'm 25 and work as a CPA during the day, no wife/kids. I read up on it for months before finally spending most of my savings (left a big chunk for an emergency fund) on 2 single family homes in town about 2 months ago. I finally got them both fixed up and got them both listed AND rented out this week!!

I was so excited and finally told my parents and my 2 older brothers. I never spoke to them about his because I know they would say "why would you waste all those years becoming a CPA and then throw it all away to do a thing that someone without a degree/designation could do". 

Well I told them last night at a delayed fathers day dinner. They all called me stupid, foolish, wreckless, slum-lord, etc. My mom said she was disappointed that I did this and she expected more out of me. WTF, right?

OP here. I will clarify that I used not a single penny of anyone else's money except my own on my properties and my education.

Congratulations!!!!! Best thing I ever did was to become a real estate investor.

Sounds like you are a smart guy with goals. Good job!

Tell Mom that you aren't wasting your degree.  You worked for a degree to get a job, to earn money, to buy more real estate.  

Don't worry about it. Look at all the success stories here. You're one of us!

Oh my.  That really hurts.  It sounds like you suspected this might be their reaction and it's super unfortunate that you were correct.

You are not throwing away your CPA.  I am also a CPA (as is @Brandon Hall , who may also have some insight into this) and we both have rentals as well.  Being a CPA gives you greater insight into the tax benefits and the financial issues surrounding real estate investment that other people have to really study hard to learn or pay a lot of money for advice.  It's a designation that is going to give you a leg up on other investors and help guide you towards success.

Do a search on "slum lord" here and you'll see lots of posts from other people that have gone through almost the same thing as what you're experiencing.

Here's what I would do (depending on how "safe" you feel expressing emotions in your family.  Some families don't really "do" emotions).

1.  Tell your family that they hurt you.

2.  Remind them that you haven't quit being a CPA.  You're just doing the landlord thing *too*

3.  Point out that this is something you did completely on your own and you were hoping they would be proud of you, not be disappointed in you.

4.  Ask for an apology

You may not get the apology and you may not get much of anything else out of the conversation.  And that's ok.  What you will get is an absolute crystal clear, concrete understanding of where your family sits in regard to your investment strategy.  You'll know whether or not you can or should share your trials and triumphs with them, or if Thanksgiving will just leave you asking for somebody to pass the gravy.

Families are tough.  It's a good thing you get to choose your friends...

My father is from Shanghai, China.  He was the youngest son in a family with 4 other kids.  When he was young, he worked on the docks.  He would save the money he earned on the docks and would buy books to supplement his learning.  My grandfather would yell at him for this.  "Why are you wasting money on these books?"  He just didn't understand.  He thought my dad would do better by working another job and making more money.

Because of his diligent study, my dad got into Beijing Fudan (elite school) and then moved to America to pursue a doctorate degree.  Today, he's a Professor who's recognized as being a front runner in his field.  His American salary overshadows the rest of his family combined by orders.

Remember that your family means well.  Remember that all the learning that you've done in regards to real estate is alien to them.  Things that may seem simple to you are things that they won't understand.  Things that are unknown are scary and emotional overreactions are a natural response to fear.

Best of luck!

You can't worry about what your family thinks or says. Your an adult and you are making an adult choice what to do with your money. Some people invest in gold and some people invest in stocks and bonds and some people choose real estate. Chart your course and follow your path. You know what you are doing. That's all that matters.....

successful people represent the thoughts that average people reject

PS

Success is the best revenge

Wow.  Well, to be honest, they're ignorant.  You don't need to tell them that obviously (nor should you), they're just saying all that out of ignorance.  There was a thread here on Biggerpockets recently about friends/family calling people slumlords, you should find it and read it. :)  Lots of us get called slumlords and the like by people who don't know a thing about being a landlord (or worse, who tried being a landlord and failed themselves).  Investing for your future is a great endeavor, and should not be insulted.

As far as going to college to become a CPA and then quitting, well, I'm in a similar boat.  I went to college to become a structural engineer.  Graduated, got my civil engineering license, and then my structural engineering license.  Once my husband and I have kids, though, I'm going to become a stay at home mom (and also manage our rentals).  I may still do some part time engineering from home, but our whole purpose of investing while young was so that we could for me to be a stay at home mom.  Becoming an engineer was just a means to an end, but it's also a great back-up plan in case something goes wrong (like if my husband becomes disabled and can't work, or we have a financial catastrophe and lose some or all of our rentals).

Wow. That sucks. It sounds like your family has a pretty limited belief system around what "success" means. (The problem with that is that it often limits how much success they can experience, too...)

But hey, you're the CPA! Which means you are no dummy around money and planning. What you are doing is very smart, and they will probably come to see that in time. (There's no guarantee of that, unfortunately. But as your net worth grows it will become clear to them that this isn't some hare-brained scheme.) For now, try to find some other local investors you can get to know and befriend. That will help you have someone (other than the BP folks) to share your adventures with as you continue your journey.

Set a goal

Buy the biggest most expensive house in your Mother's neighborhood.

she probably thinks you are pursuing some cockimamie, get rich quick scheme, which in all fairness, a lot of new and soon to be ex posters on BP are. It's likely you have a bad history of failed investment ideas your family judging you on, just show them you have changed.

@Joey Hansell - Welcome to REI investing. You have taken the first steps of a long and rewarding journey. Along the way you will encounter naysayers, some who think of REI as degrading to their culture and of course those that are grudgeful of your accomplishments.

Oddly enough some of these negative vibes will emanate from your family, friends and haters.

You have pointed your REI compass in the true north direction and frankly should ignore those that are negative about your goals and accomplishments.

One day soon when you have accumulated lots of properties as a result of your determination, focus and long term view of wealth accumulation, they will begin to change their mindset.....hopefully.

We here at the BP community wish you well and look forward to helping you stay the course and exchange ideas to build up your confidence to be the most successful member of your family as a REI.

Now, I know you are not only incensed, but, motivated to prove them wrong and that you  are not the slum lord they envision.

Good luck and continue to keep us in the loop regarding your success.

Its hard to fly like an eagle when surrounded by turkeys. And I mean this in the most loving way.

@Joey Hansell One of my favorite quotes: "The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success." 

Another one of my favorite quotes is from one of my business mentors: "It's riskier to stay in your corporate job forever than it is to take a leap and realize your full potential." He's almost 30, owns his own accounting firm, and grossed just under $1MM last year. His father still thinks he should have become a doctor...

It's unfortunate that this is coming from the people who are supposed to be the most supportive, but in 5-10 years when you are crushing it, they will be coming to you for advice. Three years ago, my parents started investing and their co-workers literally thought they were nuts. Now, those same co-workers are asking my parents to help evaluate deals, find contractors, hire property managers. My parents are humble and help them which is a lot better than what I'd do in that situation.

To parlay @Linda Weygant 's comment, I am a CPA and bought a 3-unit earlier this year, 400 miles away from where I currently live. I don't care what people say because I've got my eye on the end game, which is financial freedom. You being a CPA, Joey, probably have a financial mind and realize the immense impact real estate investing can have on your life and your future heirs' lives. A lot of people (including your family) probably can't relate to you. To them, real estate investing is scary and extremely risky, only meant for the rich. 

Stay involved on BiggerPockets. Joining this site and answering CPA and financial related questions is the single best decision I've ever made. I've connected with so many highly successful people all across the U.S. and it's really given my the confidence to say real estate investing is my life-long calling. Stick with it. Don't let anyone get you down. 

I wouldn't worry about it. Chances are your family members are not into real estate investing so they do not understand it from and investment or a life long planning aspect of wealth or retirement building.

Give it time after a while if they see your success with it some of your family members may even want to get involved with real estate investing.

Your background as a CPA can only be viewed as a positive thing because real estate investing is a business in which we are all concerned about asset protection and tax strategies to use . Things such as preparing budgets, income statements, financial planning and reporting all become a part of a real estate investor's concerns over time. 

At this stage I doubt that they even understand what  a CPA does and what roll a CPA plays in the running, management, and the reporting requirements of businesses.

You represent the new generation better able to plan out and take professional approaches to meeting life's challenges because of your educational achievements.

People who don't understand other ways of making money will frequently doubt what your embarking on. Same thing happened to me; negative support from family, friends, associates, etc. Let them doubt you, you'll prove them wrong over time through you actions and cash flow. Let em chuckle and call you a "slumlord", you'll laugh all the way to the bank one day. Set your goals, don't ever give up and be confident in the decision you've made. Good luck
Originally posted by @Linda Weygant :

Oh my.  That really hurts.  It sounds like you suspected this might be their reaction and it's super unfortunate that you were correct.

You are not throwing away your CPA.  I am also a CPA (as is @Brandon Hall , who may also have some insight into this) and we both have rentals as well.  Being a CPA gives you greater insight into the tax benefits and the financial issues surrounding real estate investment that other people have to really study hard to learn or pay a lot of money for advice.  It's a designation that is going to give you a leg up on other investors and help guide you towards success.

...

I'm glad to see there are other accountants here. This was helpful. 

Originally posted by @Steve B. :
she probably thinks you are pursuing some cockimamie, get rich quick scheme, which in all fairness, a lot of new and soon to be ex posters on BP are. It's likely you have a bad history of failed investment ideas your family judging you on, just show them you have changed.

 Nah, I've been very boring in this regard. I've just been working very safe/secure internships and then a couple different accounting jobs for large firms. They think success = working 9 to 5 in an office. What they don't understand is that my idea of success = owning cash flowing properties that allow me to not have to work.

Originally posted by @Brandon Hall :

@Joey Hansell One of my favorite quotes: "The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success." 

... 

 Good to see another one of 'us' on here. Thank you for the post, lots of good points.

Sometimes the ones closest to you hold you back more than you realize. You just gotta do you friend. When you're looking back on your life in 50 years, don't let your biggest regret be that you listened to others and never realized your full potential happiness.

Big 10 university --> Big 4 Accounting --> CPA ---> Future Police Officer.

Originally posted by @Joey Hansell :

I was so excited and finally told my parents and my 2 older brothers. I never spoke to them about his because I know they would say "why would you waste all those years becoming a CPA and then throw it all away to do a thing that someone without a degree/designation could do". 

They all called me stupid, foolish, wreckless, slum-lord, etc. My mom said she was disappointed that I did this and she expected more out of me. WTF, right?

Even very smart well educated friends just don't get it. I have a software developer friend who works for Google - very smart but can't understand why REI (real estate investing) is a safe and a good investment. He is happy with his so called balance portfolio of stocks/bonds/ect...but no REI.

Tell your mom that lots of MDs (doctors) are doing REI....and none of them are worried about "wasted years studying to be a doctor" by doing REI. Your degree has nothing to do with REI.

Everyone holds on to horror stories about being a landlord or hears the "millions" someone made in real estate in a matter of few years (sometimes BP podcast is guilty of this).

But the reality is that REI is a long-term investment strategy for most (buy/hold) that creates wealth and cash flow for years to come but no instant millionaires - not by a longshot.

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