What BiggerPockets is known for among other things, is the never-ending pursuit of excellence. My professional upbringing came from brutal OldSchool mentors who cared not a whit about what I thought of their advice, or my feelings. Though they surely agreed with the pursuit of excellence concept, they didn’t label it as such. To them it was all about results. If you consistently produce superior quality results in measurably higher numbers, excellence was a given. Thinking any other way simply wasn’t on their menu.
The Do-It-Yourself Crowd
Gotta hobby? Does it act as a sort of therapy for ya? DIY with hobbies is the idea, right? I mean, who hires an expert to put together their model airplane? But what about when it comes to things crucially important to you, like your retirement? Heck, even seemingly minor medical issues. Gonna go it alone with those?
The answer of course is that a surprising percentage of us seem to prefer the Do-It-Yourself approach, even when the importance of a high quality successful outcome is critical. We see it all the time, don’t we? The ‘handy guy’ who dives into buyin’ a local fixer only to learn he’s a hobbyist, not ready to compete with truly experienced professionals. <em>Benjamins Wavin’ Bye-Bye</em> is the name of his new band. 🙂
When DIYs run into real expertise and knowledge, it’s like they’ve discovered The New World. I only say this due to many recent conversations with clients who’re recovering DIYs. They say the same things and have very similar epiphanies. One of ’em though, recently said something that really resonated wtih me. All the following quotes are accurately but loosely paraphrased.
He said, “What I’ve learned in my time workin’ with you and your team, is that when doin’ things myself, I was duplicating professional results — but results generated by average pros. I’d never run into top flight, bona fide experts before. It’s THE difference in the results I’m now seeing.”
But as I so often tell clients, ‘Don’t let me get away with just makin’ a claim without makin’ me back it up, and in rich detail’.
The other day a newish client made this observation about having taught himself to clone average results by mimicking average pros.
“My tax preparer of a few years wasn’t up to the level of the CPA you referred me to. In fact, the first ‘minor’ move your guy has us making on our existing investment property will literally save us roughly $5,000 in taxes. His forward planning on what we’re doin’ with you has already opened our eyes to things we simply didn’t even know to ask about, much less research.”
He said much the same thing about the lender I use, who has shown him what it’s like to deal with a pro’s pro. When this client bought a multi-family income property in which to live (SoCal), both his lender and agent left him seriously wondering why he couldn’t get the loan he originally coveted. Given the facts, I do too.
His new investments?
He’s just gettin’ started, but in around 8-12 years he and his lovely lady will have turned a bit less than $300,000 into over $6,000 monthly income and over $1 million in new net worth. Those numbers assume no appreciation in value or net operating income during that time. He’ll be in his late 40’s or 50 when this happens.
He’ll have also set up an annual tax free income in a separate investment (non-real estate in nature) that will yield him another $5-9,000 monthly at retirement — all of it tax free forever. Again, it’s something this client learned about from a pro — one who produces superior, not average results. Will I be creating that income for them? No way — a slam dunk expert in that field will get the job done. I do investment real estate. Duh.
The bottom line takeaway for DIYs?
What’s more important to you? Is it getting the same average results mediocre ‘pros’ generate? Or do superior results matter more than you being able to say you did it ‘all by myself’?
Is the creation of your ultimate retirement lifestyle a mere hobby to you? Can you equal the results of real pros who produce consistently superior outcomes in — tax strategies — real estate investment strategies — lending — developing stand alone alternative baskets of retirement income?
The experts with whom I’ve surrounded myself are all elite in their own right. I lean on them virtually daily, as I’m not an expert in anything but real estate investing for retirement. Average results are the bane of the DIY retirement — if they’re lucky. Many obviously aren’t.
One of the most compelling reflections I’ve heard from many former DIYers has been that they simply had no idea of what was actually possible, what was already on their own menu, but invisible to them. They’d set the bar at ‘average’ without knowing it.
When average becomes the bar, you’re in trouble.
Is the creation of your retirement a hobby?