Portfolio versus College Degree

8 Replies

Hi everyone. I’ve been scrollIng BP posts for a few months now and I absolutely love how helpful everyone is. That’s why I would like to bring my dilemma to you and see what your opinions are. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. I will get back home to Minnesota sometime next year. My plan is to get a college degree, start an apprenticeship as an electrician, and start building a rental portfolio. My conflict is that I dont know which order I should do those in. I want to start my financial freedom as soon as I get back by obtaining a positive cash flowing property and a full time electrical job, then after a few years go get my degree once I’m financially stable. On the other hand, I don’t know if I’ll be motivated enough to go college in a few years, so I might as well get it out of the way when i get back right? Thoughts?

It all depends what are your true goals and if you are able to have the income without a degree to achieve buying your rentals. The answer is most likely no depending on your field and experience. A degree is always good to rely on as long as you don't take on a huge amount of debt to receive the diploma. you can work on both at the same time. Network as you go to get the degree and purchase your first property by house hacking. Always think with the end in mind and what you truly want to achieve and take it a step at a time.

Best of Luck.

@Cole Barthel

Get your college degree.

Properties, even if cash flowing, will not pay your bills. Properties might eek out a few extra dollars each month, but you would need to have a substantial portfolio before you're getting enough cash-flow to even consider living off of rental income. Cash-flow positive just means that the property isn't eating a hole in your wallet each month. But, most of that money should be going back into rainy day savings or looking for other properties.

Let's say, each SFH would get your $300 positive cash flow minimal as a goal. You would need 10 of those to earn $3,000 per month, which doesn't include setting aside money for tax income purposes.

You don't need a college degree to become an electrician. Start the apprenticeship, grind it out, go to college at night (night classes are mostly geared toward working adults), use your military benefits if you can, search for rental property in the meanwhile.

Sometimes it can take a year or more to find a deal. By then, you'll be 1/4 of the way through college.

@Cole Barthel , thank you for your service sir. Why not to do everything? Deploy your VA mortgage / house hack while you go to school, and work part time? To be in a good spot as an electrician you need to get your master license. If i remember correctly It will take 5 years. Education will significantly shorten that time. Without a master for 1-3 years you will likely make 25-50k a year, not a ton of money .... Goo luck.

Totally agree with @Dan Bryskin. You can buy up to a 4-unit place with your VA loan. It's not an excuse to do a bad deal and with no money down, it may not cash flow, but you'll learn a ton and have your housing paid for by your residents while you're going to school.

@Cole Barthel - I agree with Dan. Do both. College is great for a fall back and at the same time you'll meet some amazing people and have a great time. House hack while in college and find some roommates who will help pay your mortgage, that's your first property! Use the money to save up for your next down payment on the next home. It is at the end of the day a very personal decision but I would recommend it since it'll help raise your income and help fund your dream of becoming full time in real estate sooner. Thank you for your service and best of luck!

@Cole Barthel I'd recommend you buy as soon as you have a stable income. Owning rental property as a house hack still requires access to money. Your VA loan is a great benefit and you can use it to accelerate your portfolio but it does not fail proof. Not only do you need income stability to succeed you also need it to qualify for a VA loan. The VA looks more closely at your income and expenses than other loan types. I don't think any of this means you need to wait until graduation. I do think you can purchase while in school, but not day one. Personally, I don't think school is critical but that is a whole other debate. Thanks for your service. Please reach out when get back into town.

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