Discover why so many successful investors support their investment careers with house hacking—and learn from a frugality expert who has “hacked” his way toward financial freedom!
One of the most frequently asked questions in the BiggerPockets forums is "How can I start investing in real estate with no money and bad credit?" The answer? You can't (Well, to be more accurate, you probably shouldn't). You need to fix your "No money and bad credit" situation and invest from a position of financial strength. Co-hosted by BiggerPockets' Scott Trench and Mindy Jensen, this podcast provides the education you didn't get in school. You'll get tips for getting your financial house in order and actionable advice from guests who have been in your shoes - and found their way out.
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This show provides the education you didn't get in school including tips for getting your financial house in order and actionable advice from guests who have been in your shoes - and found their way out.
Dawn Brenengen’s money story begins a bit differently than most. Dawn’s parents shared their finances with her. She knew what things cost, she knew her parents worked hard to pay off their mortgage, and she saw her mother writing checks to pay bills every month.She went to college and graduated with relatively little debt—around $21,000 in student loans and credit cards combined. After graduation, she stayed at her low-paying college job until her father suggested she get a real estate license. Dawn completed the work for the license and got a job making almost the same money, working for a builder and selling their new homes. But she was the assistant to the agents who were making the BIG BUCKS, and she knew that’s what she really wanted to be doing.At the time, real estate agents were eligible to take the test to open up their own brokerage simultaneously with the licensing test, so she did that. While working as an assistant, she laid the groundwork to strike out on her own, eventually ramping up her income to multiple six-figures—with virtually limitless potential.Here Dawn share her story of how hard work and determination paid off tenfold—and all in just four short years!
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Like so many of our guests, Sarah P. did not grow up understanding how money works. She wasn’t bad with money, she just wasn’t very good with it. She learned about financial independence through Mr. Money Mustache and completely revamped her finances, incorporating frugality and minimalism with investing to completely fund her lifestyle. Her goal was security, and financial freedom made a lot of sense.Real estate was intriguing, and Google kept directing her to BiggerPockets. She started buying real estate, eventually accumulating 14 units in three states over the course of four years.Sarah cemented her success by having a large cash cushion to shield her from the surprises that real estate throws at you—a trait most successful real estate investors have.Making smart, money-conscious decisions allowed her to retire at the age of 30 from traditional work, so she can now spend time doing what she loves without regard to how much it pays. Sarah and her husband are truly living their best lives because passive real estate investments fund everything they do.
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J Scott is a successful real estate investor (to say the least). But he’s also a student of the markets—and his studies have shown him that we are teetering near the top of this current real estate cycle.In this week’s episode, J shares three reasons why he believes we’re at or near the peak based on past market cycles, and he details seven things investors should be doing to prepare for a softening market. His number one piece of advice? Educate yourself!J brings his A-game in this episode, just like he does with every other podcast he's featured on. And make sure to stick around until the very end of the show for a special BiggerPockets announcement you'll definitely want to hear!
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Liz has always been a frugal gal and self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. Discovering The Wealthy Barber as a teen cemented her course down the financial independence path, even if there wasn’t a formal name for it at that time.
And it’s a good thing for her family that she was so frugal - a botched surgery for her husband turned a routine procedure into a nightmare that involved a coma, a month in the hospital and years of recovery. Without her financial savvy, her family could have been financially ruined!
Now, 7 years later, she has paid off her house and replenished her emergency fund using a Tiered Emergency fund that allows her maximum liquidity while also maximizing her earnings on those funds. Her unique plan combines online savings with CD ladders, savings bonds and money market funds.
Liz explains just how important it is to her family to have the peace of mind a paid-off mortgage can provide, and how planning for unforeseen events is truly the best course of action.
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J Grayson grew up poor. But with food on the table every night, he didn’t realize it.
Then his sister tragically passed away from brain cancer, financially ruining the family.
J fell into a pattern: skipping school, drinking, and doing drugs. A few years of this and he realized he needed to make a change. J joined the military when he turned 18 and went to boot camp before his high school graduation ceremony.
The military is where his poor money habits really took shape. Living on base means housing and food is covered, so he spent his income on anything he wanted—at one point having FIVE CARS despite only being able to drive one at a time.
He stayed in the military for five years and knew enough to go to college when he got out. What the military didn’t cover, the Yellow Ribbon Program did, so he left college debt-free (at least in terms of student loans). However, J did manage to rack up $30,000 in random debt by the end of college.
J eventually settled into a government job. By year two, he had discovered the concept of financial freedom.
This week’s episode focuses on hacking—house hacking, GI bill hacking, per diem hacking—taking these benefits and using them in ways that are advantageous.
If you’re a member of the military, a government employee, or even just an employee who travels regularly, this episode is for you! And if you know someone who fits that bill, share this episode with them.
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Steven Donovan graduated from high school and went to college—because that’s what you do. He graduated from college but got cold feet when it came time to get a “real job.” So, he bounced around random jobs with no plan and no focus. Despite his degree in finance and about $60,000 in student loan and credit card debt, he returned to the golf course that he’d been working at throughout high school and college. He also regularly played poker at a local casino, all while deferring and avoiding making any payments on his debt.Eventually he got his first "big boy job" at a bank; however, he still wasn't making much headway on his debt. In fact, he just kept adding to it. He ended up buying a Mercedes, quitting his job, and moving to Florida to be near his long-distance girlfriend.But Florida didn’t work out, so he moved back home. He went back to the golf course until he found another job at a bank, moved into the city, and sold the Mercedes—at a loss, of course. Once he got married, he began to tackle his debt. Slowly at first, bringing lunch one day a week, then two, and eliminating takeout coffee. He started "frugaling" his way out of debt, adopting a rock bottom budget in order to finally rid himself of the burden.Steven paid off his debt in five years, in fact, while house hacking a Chicago triplex and renting his wife’s house in Florida. They’re now debt-free, and they achieved it in a completely repeatable way, which is what makes this episode so great!
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Paula Pant has seen it all and learned a thing or two... thousand. Today, we sit down and chat with her about, well, everything. Paula shares her habits, her take on journaling, and her morning routine. We delve into her fascinating backstory with money and her foresight to start investing in herself right out of college—when she was only making $21,000/year!Paula hasn't stopped since, and her choices have allowed her to lead a pretty spectacular life. For one thing, she discovered freelancing, and learned that it's possible to generate income outside a W-2 position. Freelancing led to entrepreneurship in the form of a marketing agency, which led to a six-figure income. But true happiness came when she stepped back from the agency to focus full time on her passion, her website, which she dubbed AffordAnything.com.No topic is off limits in this candid chat with Paula. We even talk about her now-famous podcast episode where her guest, personal finance guru Suze Orman, had a lot of (not so great) things to say about the FIRE movement.
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Jacqueline Burch got married and did what all newlyweds do, spent time with her husband. They continued down the road of "things you’re supposed to do"—had dinners out with friends, purchased a home, and had a baby!After her first son was born, she returned to work and he went to daycare. She knew she needed to invest for her future, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. Aimlessly investing didn’t yield the results she wanted (shocker!) and upon realizing she was pregnant again, Jacqueline decided to get her finances in order. She and her husband cut all extraneous spending, paid off their outstanding debt, and even found a way to reduce childcare from $77/day for one child to $65/day for two.Jacqueline became an expert is optimizing her family’s finances —and a master at turning “we can’t afford that” into creative ways to accomplish anything. Her ingenuity includes teaching ski lessons as a way to afford skiing for her family of six, rehabbing a short sale house to live in, and continuing to live in a 932-square-foot house even after her fourth child was born.Jacqueline absolutely embodies the mantra "when you have the desire, you find a way, and when you don’t, you find an excuse.” This woman makes no excuses and always finds a way.If you are looking for a repeatable path to financial freedom, this is a can’t-miss episode.
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Zach Gautier oversees academic and college counseling at a Denver-area high school. He reached out to us, and proposed a show to share creative ways to fund college tuition—and blew us away with the depth of his knowledge!This episode is for anyone who has children who have not yet graduated from college. And if you know someone else who can benefit from this information, please share it with them, too!This show includes tips that apply to kids of every age, from elementary school to middle school to high school students. We cover multiple ways to reduce higher education costs, such as transfer credits, AP courses, and CLEP tests, along with early college programs and dual credit options. We also discuss work-based scholarships and military options, as well as preparation for high school that starts in grade school. Zach shares his advice on taking the ACTs or SATs and also ways to decide which one to take (and whether to retake if you get a low score).This episode can help shave tens of thousands of dollars off your child’s college expenses!
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One of the most common misconceptions of financial independence is that you can’t do it with kids. But Jordan Klint doesn’t listen to what other people say. He became financially independent with kids—and not just one or two of them. He did so with five children. Oh, and did I mention he’s only 33 years old?Jordan and his wife started flipping houses soon after they began dating and haven’t stopped. They’re now teaching their five children the value of investing, as well as how to be landlords and make repairs. They do this all while home-schooling them and continuing to find and purchase new properties.Jordan also shares how he was prepared to quit his job outright but his employer begged him to stay for special projects, allowing him to continue to work as an engineer. It's something he loves but is now doing on his own terms.Jordan’s story is 100 percent repeatable! In this episode, he lays it out in such a way that you can both be inspired and apply his strategies to your own life.
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Anna Li moved to America from Uzbekistan when she was 22. On today’s episode, she shares the opportunities she’s been presented with—and taken advantage of—from an opportunity to learn at the first non-government university in Uzbekistan that partnered with an American College (essentially allowing her to earn the equivalent of an American degree) to picking up and moving to a new country to start a new life.
Though she was a financial analyst in Uzbekistan, the language barrier prevented her from getting a job in her field in her new country. Newly married, she took a job at a shoe store while her husband delivered pizzas.
Finally, she was able to secure a position in finance with Vanguard. It took five years to work her way up from analyst to team lead. She switched firms and is now a director for an international pharmaceutical company.
After every opportunity, she thought, “I’ve made it.” But instead of sitting there comfortably, she continued to pursue more—a better job, a promotion, a transfer.
When her husband’s last company closed, instead of finding a new job, they took this as an opportunity to begin investing in real estate. Her job offered a transfer to Switzerland—a three-year stint that came with a hefty raise and almost all expenses paid by the company, allowing them to ramp up their savings to pay for more houses. Plus, her husband flips long distance with her dad, another source of revenue.
Anna also shares a few unique tips for paying for child care and college—and you’re going to want to stick around for those! This episode is packed with information, and Anna’s journey will inspire you.
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Reshawn and Rob got married nine years ago, joining their lives, families and bank accounts. Premarital counseling revealed two different views on money—and they knew if they wanted to stay married, they needed to get themselves on the same page.
Reshawn and Rob implemented a modified version of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps program to get themselves out of debt so they could start investing. Their team approach to their finances, focusing not on who’s debt it is but instead focusing on paying it off together strengthened their marriage and their desire to attain financial independence.
They stepped away from the corporate world to pursue passion projects, Rob in real estate and Reshawn in travel planning.
Are you looking to get your spouse on board with your financial independence plans? Listen to this episode together.
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Gino Barbaro was a chef, working hard every day. He made good money and had no debt, but never seemed to be able to save more than 10%. He started dabbling in real estate investing, and after closing his fourth deal worth $11 million, he decided he wanted to leave the restaurant business for good. He retired from his restaurant two years ago. While he could have lived off the passive income from it, he wanted to focus on his passion—real estate. After 25 years in the restaurant business, he had created just one restaurant, but in five years of real estate investing, he’s accumulated more than 1,000 units. Gino shares how his net worth has increased AFTER retirement—and has no plans to slow down. If you’re thinking big or want to be inspired to think big, Gino’s story is a can’t-miss episode. Click here to listen on iTunes.
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Scott Reickens was raised in a Navy family. He lived on base or shopped in the commissary which gave him a rather skewed sense of what things really cost.
Fast forward to adulthood, and he knew heshould be investing, but he wasn’t sure what to do. With no outstanding consumer debt, he was ahead of his peers, but his savings rate was miniscule. Both he and his wife were contributing to their 401(k) plans - a great move. But they missed out on some pretty massive growth by investing in the Money Market Account instead of the stock market.
Then one day…
Scott queued up the latest Tim Ferriss podcast episode and heard the story of how a guy and his family lived on $25-$28k/year - some Colorado guy named Mr. Money Mustache - and his life was transformed.
Financial Freedom became his new passion, and though it took some time to get his wife on board, they’ve now completely reset their lives.
If you’re looking for ways to talk to your spouse about Financial Freedom, THIS is an absolute MUST-LISTEN episode.
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Grant grew up knowing his parents didn’t have much money. He recognized their constant stress about finances throughout his childhood, and one of his first memories was his dad telling him, “Money is freedom.”
Graduating from college in the middle of the Great Recession didn’t do much for his financial outlook. After bouncing around four different jobs, he landed back at home, unemployed and sleeping in the same bed he did when he was seven.
Then, one day he woke up and wanted to go to Chipotle but had less than $3 in his bank account. He was 24 years old. As trivial as it may seem, this was the wakeup call he needed to turn the corner and figure out his finances—once and for all.
Enter Google Mobile Ads. Grant realized the demand for digital advertising professionals was rising; he made a goal to make $1 million in that arena as soon as possible.
Google taught him everything he needed to know—for free—and Grant landed the first job he applied for.
He hit the million dollar mark in five years, six months, and three days. Grant now spends his time helping others figure out their finances so that they can live their best life, doing things they love every single day, through his blog Millennial Money and new book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need.
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Tim and Amy were frugal—or so they thought. They spent less than they earned, so they figured they were doing it right. Then one day, they happened upon the concept of financial independence.
Turnsout, they had a LOT of room in their budget to cut back. Once they did, it took them less than one year to hit their financial independence number. They're now able to retire (if they so choose)!
What catapulted them down the path to financial freedom? Namely, it was downsizing their 6,000-square-foot home.
Once their daughter graduates from high school, they’ll rid themselves of their current 1,800-square-foot home and house/pet sit around the world full time. They plan to stretch their retirement dollars even further by travel hacking their way between cities.
Tim and Amy have combined their passion for travel (and pet sitting) into a full blown retirement plan. In this episode, the couple shares tips for getting started as a house or pet sitter, so you can stay for free when you travel, just like they do.
We also explore different options for post-retirement life. Tune in to hear what Tim and Amy cut out of their spending to make early retirement a reality.
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