Get Your Financial Foundation Established Why Don’t Ya!

What’s up gang! I want to introduce you to one of my real estate investing partners, Chief Petty Officer US Navy, Tim Kelly. Tim is in the process of writing his book titled Get Your Financial Foundation Established Why Don’t Ya, and is passionate about educating others on the subject of personal finance. Lately Tim has released his own YouTube channel to discuss the matter, but today, he’s giving us a sneak peek into his book…

<Enter Tim>

As most of us know, there are way too many problems our country is facing today, especially those who possess fierce political or religious view, but I won’t bore you—or myself— to death with that nonsense.

However, the one REAL issue we’re going to discuss here in this short book is the incredible lack of financial education, not only in our school system but throughout our society in general.
We’ll discuss how you can further understand it, and most of all, the simple steps and actions you can take to combat this serious deficit and control your finances!
We’ll touch on the negative impact the financial education deprivation has made and continues to make, on American families and what you can do to acquire the knowledge you deserve to create a life of abundance and prosperity for your family for generations to come.
Simple secret #1: It all starts with establishing your financial foundation!
For some, I believe most, this will be easy and you may end up kicking yourself for not consuming this information sooner. For others, this may not be so easy, perhaps difficult.
Regardless, here is my promise to you… the stuff in this book is simple.  I will make this stuff so simple to understand, you will wonder if it is all it will take to finally wrap your head around your personal finances. The “difficult” element about it will not be to grasp these simple concepts, but to decide to take action, execute the simple steps and do them!
First, a few disclaimers:
  1. If you want the government or a corporation to take care of you and your family financially and you will never change your mind about that… this book is not for you.  (If this describes you, it’s understandable! Most of us are actually programmed to do so by our school system, society, and media… one of my goals here is to help you realize they will NOT take care of you.)
  2. If you are committed to never taking responsibility for your own financial future thinking your spouse or your family will forever support you… this book is not for you. (Of course, I encourage you to read further if you’re even remotely on the fence about either of these disclaimers.)
Is anyone else baffled there is no basic financial curriculum established for America’s school aged kids to complete?
Not even the most basic knowledge and tools necessary to become financially educated and stable early in life are taught to our future world leaders.
Why can’t our school system, perhaps, teach our newest generation how to build a successful business if they wanted to, even fresh out of high school?
Why should “everyone” go to school, get a degree, get a good job, and work for someone else until they are 59 1/2 and then collect and rely on whatever we “hoped” would be there to fund our retirements?
Alternatively, if we didn’t follow suit… we were considered a failure or bound to be unsuccessful.  Does anyone still believe this?
Anyone ever tell you to not follow the masses if you want true success?

“Any formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession—their ignorance.”
– Hendrick Willem Van Loon
“If you want to be wrong then follow the masses.”
– Socrates

Our country is so far beyond this point of the old fashioned, way-too-out-of-date mindset, but many are stuck believing there is no other way to live your life.
There may be many different types of answers to these questions but here’s the bottom line: no one, during the 12 years of school before college, or even while going to a typical university—surprisingly, even if you’re studying finance—would be willing to sit you down and show you the basics of how to manage your personal finances.
A discussion as simple as, “money flows in, here is what you are supposed to do with it, step by step, in order to be a financial success.” Is it because no one in our education system actually knows? I believe this to be partially true.
I’m not saying we should be taught a lesson on how to build a massive amount of wealth but we all have the right to know the most basic pieces of finance:
  • the real definition of an asset
  • what is a liability
  • how compound interest works
  • why not to borrow money to buy the things you don’t actually need
  • the basics of credit
  • home buying (and why you probably shouldn’t)
  • car buying
  • the importance of paying close attention to your cash flow, be it positive or negative
  • or even to simply prevent bankruptcy or how to avoid a similar situation
These are very simple, uncomplicated terms to wrap one’s head around, yet, it is so rare the average american can delve into what any of it means and/or its importance. Or can they?
That is just a taste of the items we will cover in he book.
Unless your parents or guardians were successful business owners and/or had a financial education, or who even emphasized the importance of taking the time to learn or who took the time to sit you down and educate you, these teachings simply never happened.
Many parents did, many parents wish they would have, many never realized, or emphasized the importance… but most never had a financial education so they couldn’t.

“Financial illiteracy is not an issue unique to any one population. It affects everyone: men and women, young and old, across all racial and socioeconomic lines. No longer can we stand by and ignore this problem. The economic future of the United States depends on it.”
– President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy
“The number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy.”
– Alan Greenspan

You can evaluate yourself and your own financial IQ through a series of tests:
It’s almost like we were blessed with the knowledge to balance our busy lives and stay on top of our money enough to obtain financial freedom one day.
Financial freedom? What is that? What is your idea or definition of it? We will cover this much more in depth a bit later.
That may be part of the problem… everyone assumes a financial education is unimportant or it is just so simple that everyone should know all about it, like it’s common-freaking-sense, and if you do not, you are a failure.
Did you speak openly about money with your parents at the dinner table? If so, was it a positive or negative discussion? Do you think it’s important to have these conversations? Perhaps the lack of open conversations in regards to money management is another cause for our culture’s lack of financial education.
Why would anyone think it’s not important to crack the code of personal finance before you start earning your own money?
The earlier the better! Kids absorb knowledge and behavior so much more than we believe they do! Why not instill the best possible money habits at an early age?
To me, these facts and questions are mind-numbing.  No matter what people have said to you in the past about money…
“money isn’t everything,” or “money is the root of all evil,” or “only greedy people are rich.”
…have you ever heard that come from someone who has achieved financial freedom, or who has accumulated massive wealth?
Maybe… but the majority of those who went on to achieve financial freedom understand money isn’t bad, they laid down their financial foundation and they increased their financial intelligence enough to a accomplish a very achievable goal!
Bottom line, the amount of money that comes in and that you ultimately decide to keep, will surely dictate the quality of your lifestyle.
I assure you, no one will argue that.
If you can provide a better quality of life for your family, your parents, your grandkids or say… yourself, would you sacrifice learning a little bit about how to expand your means and resources and live a better life?
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What is he first thought that comes to mind when you hear the term “rich,” and the stereotype rich people have? For many, it’s not good, it’s derogatory, negative or gives them a generally uncomfortable feeling.
This is A LOT to do with what’s called your “financial blueprint,” as T Harv Eker would say. Your financial blueprint is how you were financially raised, what was ingrained in your mind about money, and how your family treated and reacted to money. Was there a lot of money? Was there barely any money to get by?  Did lack of money cause pain and struggle in your family? For lots of people, it did and continues to do so and it takes a minor commitment and some basic education to change that and establish your financial foundation!
Ultimately, who doesn’t want a better lifestyle?  Here’s a secret, the reason why you hear the rich are getting richer is because the “rich” have a financial education.  They have taken the time and energy to pursue a basic financial education and then they took action to commit to living a life of abundance, but first, they established a financial foundation!

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What does it mean to be financially free?

“Having the freedom to work because you enjoy or want to work, not for monetary purposes” – Tim Kelly


Ways to connect with Tim:


Related Articles:

Real Estate: Business or Investment?

After publishing the 12 Sites Every Financial Freedom Seeker Should Know About, Eric Bowlin reached out to me with a much deserved, “Wait, you forgot me!” type response. I appreciate him doing so as once I read the article he put together for me below, I felt as if I just left church where the message was pointed directly at me. Thank you Eric!

Below, Eric jumps into a topic I’m focused on with our Facebook Group (Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee). Without further ado, here’s what Eric, from “The 13th Site Every Financial Freedom Seeker Should Know About“, has to say:

IdealREI  // Eric Bowlin

Eric Bowlin

Eric Bowlin is a real estate investor and entrepreneur who loves traveling, blogging and being financially independent. He started in 2009 with the purchase of his first 3-family home and has snowballed it into a portfolio of over 470 rental units.

Eric is also the founder of IdealREI where you can learn about financial independence and how real estate can help get you there.


Real estate is an amazing vehicle for achieving financial independence – the point where your passive income exceeds your monthly living expenses. It is one of, if not the only asset that has an amazingly high dividend (rent income) but also has high appreciation potential.

In essence, it allows you to withdraw a huge cash flow without dipping into the principal balance.


<enter Eric…>

Most of the success stories you hear about are of people who are working full-time in the real estate field. This is an unfortunate thing because while the most vocal are those of us absorbed in real estate 100% of the time, the majority of successful investors start as (or still are) W2 employees who use real estate to supplement or grow their investment portfolio.

So, the real question we need to ask – how do you invest in real estate part-time without having to give up a job or your life.

There are a ton of ways to do this, but first I want to explain something really quick:

Real Estate Business vs Investment

The first point to remember is that you can have real estate investments and you can have a real estate business (or both).

The problems most people face is when they blur the lines between these two concepts. Let me just quickly break it down:

  • Buying real estate and receiving cash flow is the investment part.
  • Everything else is part of the business of real estate.

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Let’s just compare real estate to the stock market for a moment.

If you are investing a decent amount of money in anything other than an index fund, you will have to do the following:

  • Determine your risk tolerance.
  • Decide how to allocate the portfolio based on that risk tolerance.
  • Spend dozens of hours up front researching companies.
  • Invest your capital.
  • Spend a couple hours per week (per stock) researching the companies you own.
  • Rebalance once or twice per year

It doesn’t sound very passive, does it?

Wealthy investors hire asset managers to do all of this for them. Regular people like us alleviate some of this work by investing more passively in ETFs, Index Funds, or Mutual Funds.

3 ways to invest

Real estate is exactly the same:

  • Determine your risk tolerance.
  • Decide how to allocate your money across various real estate asset classes.
  • Spends dozens of hours researching properties, making offers, etc.
  • Purchase the deal.
  • Spend a few hours a week doing maintenance, taking calls, etc.
  • Rebalance every few years (refinance or sell).

Similar to stocks, there are a number of ways that people us can reduce the workload and grow a portfolio. But, no matter what, you will have to be involved somewhat since it’s your money.

1. Outsource Management

Receiving calls, filling units, doing repairs, maintenance, inspections, etc are all related to the business side of real estate.

It’s also the most time-consuming (and frustrating) part of the business.

If you want to do real estate part-time but still maintain total control over the property, simply outsource the management and focus on the rest.

You can spend some time up-front finding and analyzing deals, making offers, etc. Then, once the property is purchased you can hand off everything to 3rd party management. Most property managers will help you oversee major renovation projects, and deal with everything on the property for you.

You can maintain total control over the deal because you can hire who you want and fire them at any time. It’s your deal, your property, your tenant, and your money.

2. Outsource Deal Finding

You’ve already outsourced property management (smart move), now it’s time to have other people bring you the deals.

While property management is probably the most difficult, in a hot market, finding deals can be the most time-consuming (though most fun!).

Here are 3 easy ways to outsource this.

This is kind of on a sliding scale. You retain the most control with the first option, but by the last option you are starting to give up more and more control, but spending a lot less time in real estate.

Find a wholesaler

Wholesaling is a term used for any time a person puts a deal under contract, then sells that contract to someone else for a fee.

Basically, a wholesaler uses direct mail marketing, a real estate lead generation website, social media marketing, or strong personal relationships to find motivated sellers. They lock the deals up under contract then turn around and sell it to someone like you.


Wholesalers, by and large, have a terrible reputation.

It’s really not their fault, but the vast majority of wholesalers are very new to real estate and are using it is a low-cost way to break into the market.

I have nothing against that, and I think wholesaling is a great way to make money, but you need to really know the wholesaler and see a history of success and accurate number before you jump in and buy from them.

Using a wholesaler is going to give you the most control but also require the most time/effort screening wholesalers, analyzing deals, etc.

Partner with an active investor

The next way is to partner directly with an active investor. It will be a little more passive than using wholesalers, but you can still be actively involved with the projects.

There are a lot of ways to structure a deal like this. In general, a very active investor will have a lot more deals than money. You, being the new investor, will likely have a lot more money than deals.

You will give up some control because an active and successful investor won’t want you telling him/her what to do every step of the way. But, you’ll be partnering with someone with a proven track record and be joining in on the upside potential.

You’ll also retain some control since it is a partnership after all.

Work with a syndicator

With this, you will give up the most control as you cannot be actively involved in management, but you can still be involved in deal selection, screening syndicators, etc.

A syndication is any deal where money is invested passively with a group of sponsors who are managing members.

The general partners accept the most risk, spend the time finding deals, securing financing, managing, etc. The limited partners can choose which particular deal they want to invest in which lets you create your own portfolio based on your own risk tolerance and objectives.

I put this last because it’s the closest to totally passive without giving up total control.

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3. Outsource Everything

The only way that I’m aware of is either investing in an exchange-traded REIT or investing with a crowdfunding platform.

As a little caveat, crowdfunding platforms are bringing you 506(c) syndication or Reg A+ REITs which means you are either investing through a REIT or through a syndication, but they’ve added another layer of diligence.


A REIT, also known as a real estate investment trust, is a pass-through entity where the vast majority of returns are passed through to the shareholder and almost none is retained within the entity itself.

They come in two general varieties – Exchange-traded and non-exchange traded REITs. As the name implies, an exchange-traded REIT is listed on the stock exchange and you can trade its shares freely.

A non-exchange traded REIT is a bit more complicated as its shares are not liquid. Additionally, some may be open-ended, meaning you don’t actually know if/when you’ll ever get your principal balance back because there is no strict end-date.

REITs are a good way to get some exposure to real estate in your portfolio without actually being involved in real estate but they carry some risk unless you only invest in exchange-traded REITs

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This is a really interesting topic because people have been “crowdfunding” privately for centuries. Over the last century or so they’ve been called syndications, but these were always structured privately due to regulations.

With the passing of the JOBs act which spawned the new 506(c) exemption and regulation A+, old-fashioned syndications became “crowdfunding” if/when done online.

To participate in a crowdfunded syndication, you need to be an accredited investor. This is how the SEC chose to limit risk to investors. Basically, anyone can openly advertise a private equity as long as the investors are all accredited (make over $200k/year or $300k if married or have over $1m net worth excluding your home).

The idea was little ol’ gramma wasn’t being suckered into giving up her last $20k by some online ad she saw.

This is good and bad. The great part is you can choose exactly which deals you want to participate in and how much to put in every deal. The drawback is you already need to be relatively well off and have a lot of cash or a high income.

For reg A+ styled funds or REITs, there are no accreditation requirements, but they are pretty heavily regulated in how they can operate (meaning lower return potential).

It’s amazing because these private offerings can now be available to a huge group of people that never had access to these comparatively high-yielding investment vehicles. But, you do not decide how money is allocated.

Instead, you have to choose them like you would any other fund or REIT and hope the managers do a good job.

The More You Outsource The Less You Earn

It’s fairly obvious but it’s worth saying – The more passive the investment is, the less it will probably pay you.

It makes sense though, right? The less effort you put in and the less risk you take, the lower returns you can expect.

But, It makes sense to take a lower return if your time is more valuable spent doing your day-job. You can focus on earning money and investing it on the side while others take care of the details.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of knowledge or time, you may want to be more involved. You can earn a bit higher returns then leverage that extra money into even better future returns. By doing this you can retire sooner, but you need the spare time to do it.

Take a good look at yourself and your life and decide how much time you can spend in real estate. Do this before buying anything. Then choose how passive you want to be in your investments.

Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in some deal that’s stalled which needs a ton of your time/effort. Especially when you can barely find spare time to finish your day-job.


12 Sites Every Financial Freedom Seeker Should Know About

Thankful and blessed. No other way to describe the most fun I’ve had to date putting a post together. Very exciting to converse with folks that I admire, have learned from and continue to be inspired by as we stay in pursuit of our financial freedom through real estate investing.

A personal thank you to each of these superstars for taking time out of their schedules to work with me on this post and provide us with their answer to the ever motivating question:


What does it mean to be financially free?



I know you’ll find this list of people and the content they represent just as valuable a resource as I have in the recent years as you continue your journey to financial freedom. Without further ado, let’s move to the 12 Sites Every Financial Freedom Seeker Should Know About:

Cardone Acquisitions // Grant Cardone


Grant Cardone is a New York Times bestselling author, the #1 sales trainer in the world, and an internationally renowned speaker on leadership, real estate investing, entrepreneurship, social media, and finance. His 5 privately held companies have annual revenues exceeding $100 million. Forbes named Mr. Cardone #1 of the “25 Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2017”. Grant’s straight-shooting viewpoints on the economy, the middle class, and business have made him a valuable resource for media seeking commentary and insights on real topics that matter. He regularly appears on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, and MSNBC, and writes for Forbes, Success Magazine, Business Insider, and the Huffington Post. He urges his followers and clients to make success their duty, responsibility, and obligation. He currently resides in South Florida with his wife and two daughters. Cardone Acquisition‘s mission is to identify, acquire and manage income producing properties that provide opportunities for investors to preserve capital investments, collect consistent cash distributions while waiting for future capital appreciation of the assets.


I grew up middle class, dad died when I was 10, watched my mom suffer, watch my mom terrified every day because she didn’t know if we had enough money to make it through. I grew up in the middle class, was told to get a good job, make money save money, create a retirement account. I went the other way…One thing has allowed me in my lifetime to do what I’m doing today. Some of you watch my life, you see us travel, you see me bring my family around. You see all of a sudden in the last 3 to 4 to 5 years my life has like, reached another level. I didn’t have an IPO, no technology, it’s one thing. That one thing has operated and worked for people for hundreds of years…it’s real estate man. That thing is real estate.– Grant Cardone

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Coach Carson // Chad Carson

Chad Carson

When I graduated from college I decided to skip out on a normal job, a steady salary, and climbing career ladders. Instead, I began as a real estate entrepreneur who flipped houses and eventually started keeping some as rentals. It was the best decision I could have made. It certainly had its ups and downs, but overall I’ve had more freedom, flexibility and fun (!!!) that I could have imagined.

Today I use rental income to pay my bills, and my wife, two young kids, and I are wrapping up a 15 month trip living abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s been an amazing experience that enriched our lives and brought us closer as a family. In addition to investing, I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about financial independence and real estate at my blog at . It’s fun to help other people gain some of the freedom and autonomy that real estate has given me.


To be financially free is a combination of the external and internal. Externally you need assets that provide income and financial stability without you having to work. Internally you need the attitude, confidence, and skills to know that you have what it takes to adjust and survive no matter what life throws at you. Combined, those two give you the ultimate financial freedom.– Chad Carson


Goodegg Investments // Annie Dickerson

Annie Dickerson

I started investing in real estate over ten years ago and never planned for it to amount to much; it was just something my husband and I did on the side. However, over the years, as real estate has helped us build wealth for our family and given us the opportunity to make a positive impact on families and communities, we’ve fallen in love with real estate investing.

I founded Goodegg Investments to allow others to build wealth and attain financial freedom through investing in real estate. Goodegg Investments helps people invest for good. We connect our investors with investment opportunities that have a positive impact on communities and the environment, while also providing our investors higher returns than they’d receive from more traditional investments. Through the Goodegg journey, we help people attain financial freedom, while simultaneously making a difference in the world.


Growing up, we never had a lot of money. In fact, I remember a time when my father had to sell his beloved camera just to have money for dinner that night. To me, being financially free means more than just having enough money to buy the things that you want, or even generating enough passive income so you don’t have to work. To me, financial freedom is a state of mind. Being financially free means you no longer have to worry about money and that you can be free to live your life to the fullest, on your own terms. – Annie Dickerson


JoeFairless // Joe Fairless

Joe2I spent my post-college years successfully climbing the corporate ladder at a NYC advertising company, going from a junior project manager to becoming a Vice President before my 30th birthday. That sounds great on paper, but I was working pay check to pay check and – more importantly – I was unfulfilled. So, I decided to leave the industry in December 2012 and pursue a career as an apartment syndicator. Fortunately, while ascending the corporate ladder, I created a real estate foundation so I wasn’t starting from scratch. Education wise, I went to seminars (including a Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar, where I was told that one of the only ways to create a massive real estate business is through apartments), read books and received mentorship from active investors. Experience wise, I purchased four single family homes in Texas, which produced a small income that wasn’t enough to live off of, but it sure helped considering I no longer had a W2 income.

After six months of an intense, fun, challenging and emotional rollercoaster ride, I closed on a 168-unit apartment community for which I raised over $1,000,000. Fast forward to today and my company controls over $300,000,000 in apartment communities. Between then and now, I launched my website,, which is the home of the world’s longest running daily real estate investing podcast with over 1300 podcast episodes, three books, two Best Ever conferences, over 350 blog posts, an apartment syndication consulting program, a passive investor FAQ page and much more, all with the purpose of helping people like YOU achieve success in real estate.


Being financially free is about freeing up your most valuable resource – your time – so you can spend it however you wish. My life’s purpose is to help people achieve financial freedom and financial success. I believe when I help you achieve financial freedom, you can use your time to pursue your passions and purpose. Whether it’s spending more time with your kids, starting a non-profit, pursing a career that’s more fulfilling or any number of things. 

I believe that the majority of people are inherently good. And if they had more free time, they would do more good things. Therefore, helping others become financially free will result in more good in the world. So ultimately, to me, financial freedom means more positive energy being produced in the world.

– Joe Fairless


Financial Mentor // Todd Tresidder

A serial entrepreneur since childhood, Todd went on to build his own wealth as a hedge fund investment manager before “retiring” at 35. He grew his net worth from less than zero at 23 to the point of financial independence just 12 years later.

Todd has maintained his wealth by remaining an active investor and utilizing statistical and mathematical risk management systems for investing. Through his website, he teaches advanced investing and advanced retirement planning principles. In short, we exist to satisfy the unmet need for accurate, actionable, unbiased financial education that can help real people like you achieve financial freedom in this lifetime.

quotation-marks-fade2In a literal sense, it means your combined cash flow from your portfolio of holdings in all three asset classes (business, real estate, paper assets) exceeds your spending required to support your lifestyle. Stated more simply, your cash flow from investments exceeds expenses. On a personal level, it means the many hours most people spend working for money and managing their affairs gets repurposed with a focus on fulfillment, rather than survival. It means you can do what you want, with whom you want, when you want. You face fewer limitations and live with greater freedom. You’re free to choose your path in life without regard to how much it costs or how much it earns. – Todd Tresidder


Park Street Partners // Jefferson Lilly

J. Lilly Headshot Face CroppedI worked most of my 20s behind a spreadsheet being a financial analyst, and I worked most of my 30s as an enterprise software salesman for a few startups in Silicon Valley. I purchased my first mobile home park as a side investment. After a year of overlap between my day job and my real estate, I could see my real estate was doing better than that last startup..(!) I made a career switch into real estate and haven’t looked back in 11 years. My journey has been to specialize in a niche I enjoy and to invest my own capital, and then to scale up by raising outside capital based on my track record investing my own capital. This would be my advice for others seeking financial independence.

While raising funds at Park Street Partners for his next aquisition, Jefferson also hosts the Mobile Home Investors Podcast.


I can spend more time with my family and that time is more flexible than when I was working a day job.  – Jefferson Lilly



REtipster // Seth Williams

Seth Williams ProfileI am a land investor and residential income property owner, with nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. I’m also the Founder of – a massive library of content that offers real world guidance for real estate investors. The site is filled with in-depth video tutorials, comprehensive reviews on the industry’s most well-known software and online tools, interviews with other active real estate investors and a lot of other niche specific education for aspiring land investors, landlords and wholesalers and more.


A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.   – Henry David Thoreau



Morris Invest // Clayton Morris

DSC_1708_previewClayton Morris is the former weekend anchor of Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel. He left his 20-year career in broadcast news in 2017 after he met his “Freedom Number” as a real estate investor. He now spends his time helping other people do the same, teaching people to become real estate investors and invest in turnkey properties.

Morris co-founded Morris Invest with his wife Natali, also a former broadcast news anchor. They use their broadcasting, speaking, and writing skills to produce a podcast, YouTube channel, and blog to spread their message of financial empowerment.

quotation-marks-fade2As a news anchor, I spent my career at the mercy of TV studios. I worked a great job for a great salary but I was always employed on a 2 or 3-year contract. And then what? Every time contract negotiations time rolled around I was a nervous wreck. Then one day while I’m waiting on word from my agent about my next contract, my wife and I had an epiphany. My wife said: “What if we owned enough in real estate to match your salary now so that the next time contract negotiation rolls around, we don’t need it?” I leapt up from my chair and started furiously trying to figure out how to calculate that on my white board. That is how the “Freedom Number” was born. That is how we figured out how to stop being a slave to our paycheck jobs and TV contracts. It was amazing to leave the TV studio for the last time on Labor Day 2017 knowing that I would never have to worry about being at the whim of an employer again. That is true freedom!

– Clayton Morris

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Financial Nirvana Mama // Tracy Ma

Tracy is a ‘retired’ Environmental Engineer who has Batman abilities because she’s multi-passionate and loves acting as multiple characters 🙂 She’s either acting as a mom, as a consultant, as a real estate investor, or as a blogger at Her favorite addiction is fitness. Endorphins are her drug of choice.

She started Financial Nirvana Mama in her desire to make a difference, help you stop settling in life, take action to do what you love to do, and inspire you to kick ass and make your life amazing.

Her ‘aha moment’ came during a quarter life crisis, when she conquered her student loan debt after slaving away at three jobs, working 70+ hour work weeks and realizing there’s a smarter way to make money. Diving into real estate investing and surviving 11 years, she’s built a multimillion dollar legacy that gave her the lady balls to quit engineering and fulfill her dream as a multi-passionate entrepreneur.


Being ‘financially free’ means building enough money so that you have the financial confidence to not settle in life and live a life of no regrets. You have the courage and financial means to change directions in life, if you choose to do so. You make important life decisions based solely on your vision, like deciding to take a sabbatical from work, going on extended adventures, embarking on a completely new direction whenever you want or starting a new business. In the book, ‘The top Top Five Regrets of the Dying’ by Bronnie Ware, the number one regret of elderly patients in their last few weeks of their lives was ‘I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself…not the life expected of me’. Which side do you want to be on?    

– Tracy Ma


RodKhleif // Rod Khleif

Rod_KhleifRod Khleif is a passionate real estate investor, consultant, high-performance coach and the host of the number one ranked real estate podcast on iTunes with 3,000,000 downloads to date. He has personally owned and managed over 2000 apartments and homes.  As one of the country’s top real estate, business, and peak performance luminaries, Rod has built over 22 businesses in his 40 year business career several which have been worth tens of millions of dollars. A compelling rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story, Khleif soared from humble beginnings as a young, impoverished Dutch immigrant to incredible success. Rod’s experience involves both remarkable triumphs, and spectacular failures, which he affectionately calls “seminars”. Rod brings incredible authenticity and insight to his approach to business, success and life. A true American Dream story.


To have complete freedom. To be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whoever you want.

Financial freedom must also be coupled with fulfillment and balance in your life, or it really is not freedom. Fulfillment by contributing beyond yourself and being a force for good in your family, community and the world. And then balance by maintaining your health and your important relationships. When that is in complete alignment and you are operating from a foundation of gratitude…That is a life. – Rod Khleif


BiggerPockets // Mindy Jensen

Mindy JensenMy name is Mindy Jensen. I’ve always been frugal, having grown up as a grandchild of The Great Depression. I discovered the concept of financial independence when my husband, frustrated by a horrid day at work, banged into his computer “how do I quit my job early?”

Through a combination of live-in flipping, stock investing and frugality, my husband and I saved and invested and grew our retirement account to the point where he quit formal work a year ago.

Real estate has always been my favorite investment, and 3 years ago, a position opened at that pulled all my skills together. Every day, I help people learn the proper way to invest in real estate so they make money. I routinely receive notes of thanks for the hope the site has given them in their quest for financial freedom.

quotation-marks-fade2To me, Financial Freedom doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your job. It means you now have the freedom to pursue your passions, even if those passions pay you little to nothing. I am financially free, and I work because I choose to, because my company is truly changing lives every day and it’s powerful to be a part of that.

– Mindy Jensen


HelmsREI // Jay Helms

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 1.54.43 PM copyYes, this is a shameless plug 🙂 You see my family and I documenting our real estate investing experiences here on the HelmsREI blog, and I want to take this opportunity to let you know about the Facebook group I’ve started called “Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee“.

The purpose of our Facebook Group is to help address the gap that exists between having a successful / fulfilling W2 job AND building financial wealth for yourself and your family.

I’ve spent the last 20 yrs climbing the IT corporate ladder with growing compensation and responsibilities, but the reasons I’m starting the Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee Facebook group is because:

#1 – it wasn’t until my wife and I started investing in buy & hold real estate did we start to see our annual income and net worth exponentially grow.

#2 – migrating the task of financial wealth building off to secondary, more passive, income sources has allowed me to be happier with career, more focused on my job and overall serve my customers better.


We are not financially free yet, so it’s not fair for me to answer the question, ‘What does it mean to be financially free?’ What I can tell you is the closer we move toward financial freedom and further understanding our true passion in life, the more my mind-set is driven by those passions and not by the worries and stress that accompany financial burdens.

– Jay Helms

What is a Financial Nirvana Mama?

noun [variant spelling momma]; a consultant, entrepreneur, real estate investor & unquenchable life long learner dedicated to supporting you in your financial journey.

…And her name is Tracy Ma. Other than being an accomplished engineer, wife and a mother of 2, Tracy hosts the blog at I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her a few weeks ago and with an extremely busy couple of weeks I’ve fallen behind on my blog writing. Now that my interview post is live on her page I’m taking a cheat week on posting and reposting her interview. Enjoy!


The below originally posted on 

Interview with Side Hustler Jay Helms on his Journey to Financial Nirvana

I am so excited to introduce you to Jay Helms, from Gulf Breeze, FL, a husband, a father, corporate america minion, and a side hustling real estate investor juggernaut. A cool fact about him – he met his awesome wife at a reality TV show, ‘The Catch’ in Costa Rica.

When he’s not with the kids and his awesome wife – he writes on BiggerPockets and his own blog –

His most recent accomplishment includes buying a 42 unit apartment complex for $700K and with $200k renovation budget.

I wanted to interview Jay, a busy father, who juggles a career, life, kids and real estate investments to inspire you to stop settling in life, to empower you to design a life that is purposeful and meaningful to you.

His interview will:

  • Inspire you to develop a strong ‘WHY’ with real estate investing
  • Provide you his top 5 tips for juggling life, kids, real estate investments and a career
  • Arm you with his top notch real estate investing rules that make or break a deal;
  • Make you think twice BEFORE throwing your hard earned money to a  shoddy property deal even if it looks like a great deal.

Without further adieu, here’s his interview.

  1) How did you get started investing in real estate?

We really started with the purchase of what we call The Little Yellow House. 1 bed / 1 bath 600 sqft home. Bank foreclosure in a part of downtown that was starting to see revitalization. Purchased for $22k, spent $9k in rehab, rented it the month it was ready for $600/month. It stayed occupied since we bought and we never thought we’d sell it but we did. Just last month for $50k. That property cash flowed $300/month and provided us a 77.5% return (when including the sale). [  ] But, growing up, my grandparents, maw-maw & paw-paw, owned what they called a tenant building. It was 10-15 units and they lived in the house next door. Maw-maw kept the books, paw-paw was the handyman. So growing up, I saw them work this business. It didn’t hit me that I could follow in their footsteps until 2014 (30+ yrs later). Growing up around that environment gave me a sense of confidence that I could be a successful real estate investor – and unfortunately I didn’t recognize this until 2014 but at the time we purchased the Little Yellow house, we started tracking our net worth and reading a lot of books about building wealth. After a year and a couple more acquisitions we quickly saw how real estate was going to be able to exponentially grow our net worth…we were hooked.

2) What was your ‘aha’ moment that drove you to invest in real estate?

My ‘aha’ moment was what I call the Trifecta of moments that pushed us to invest. In 2014 (a) I stumbled upon the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert K (b) we had our first child (c) the company I worked for the last 10 yrs was acquired by a larger company and let’s just say the acquisition wasn’t as smooth as everyone hoped. I needed to find a way out and through REI I decided to setup a legacy building platform

3) What drove you down the path of scaling your real estate investment business?

My kids and my wife. Designing a lifestyle where I have more free time to spend with them.

YEP!!  Real estate investing is a great vehicle for designing your life aligned to you!  But I highly recommend scaling according to your LIFESTYLE, a great model I coined for buying real estate.

4) Why invest in real estate versus other investment vehicles?

I have found out Buy & hold just makes sense to me, think of path of least resistance. After our first 2 transactions, seeing the cash flow, see the net worth growth, I was hooked. In the past I have invested in stocks, they just didn’t work for me – Buy high, sell low and it’s not that I was just listening to Cramerica and acting on his actions, I’d spend a few hours each week learning about companies before I invested and I still lost money.

5) What are your top 5 tips for juggling life as I understand your wife is your business partner, your full time job and two kids under 4??!!

  • Be ok with chaos! j/k My wife is my business partner, but she also runs her own home-decor side business, so having an understanding, hard working partner, someone who can support you but also be that voice of reason is the #1 tip I can provide anyone.
  • Carve out anything and everything that doesn’t support your life goals. This includes time consumers (TV, social events, etc) and non-supportive or negative people.
  • Get up early and coffee is your friend. 🙂
  • Be ok with things taking longer than they should. I tend to stress out when items or processes take longer than they should. Being married, having kids, not as fluid as before and that’s OK. You’re still taking a step toward your goals, just not as big and you’re bringing your beautiful family with you. And this is something I still struggle with and one of the reasons I love my wife as she helps remind me.
  • Be ok with course corrections.

6) Did you have any former beliefs that you carried that helped or deter you away from real estate investing and what are they?

Yes, I had some former beliefs that I had to change. A couple of years prior to investing we started adopting some of Dave Ramsey’s principles. We had everything paid off except for our primary residence, no credit card debt, no car loan, no student loan, only the house. We bought our first rental with cash but the next several were leveraged with debt and since then our net worth and monthly cash flow have dramatically increased. The most important thing that we acquired from Dave’s principles (and we still do it today) is we created and agreed to a budget. By doing so, we have less arguments over money, don’t feel guilty when we spend money and allows us to save for our next down payment. The question really came down to do we want to be debt free or do we want to live financially free?

7) What are your real estate investing rules when you look at properties – anything that would break your interest in that property when you visit it?

Yes, the ol’ napkin test. I can primarily look at a property in our markets and know within 5-10 minutes if I want to pursue it further. The napkin test includes our tripod criteria (a) will the property cash flow at minimum $100/door (b) will it produce 15% Cash on Cash Return (c) can I grab that asset at 20% less current market value – passes all 3, no brainer, we go after it (hard assets to find in hot markets, like the one we’re in right now)

8) Do you have any scary stories to share and  how were you were able to overcome during your real estate investing journey?

YES! – a tax deed auction, person occupying the property was squatting in in for last 10+ yrs (owner was in prison). Turns out the occupant was not only stealing his mother’s disability checks to pay rent, but he was cooking meth on the property (class C neighborhood on a street full of kids). Leaned on my attorney to come up with the most cost effective way to remove him from the property, ended up demo-ing the property to the ground and placing a mobile on home it. Spent more than I budgeted, but still had a decent return, and cleaned up the neighborhood.

9) If you could waive a magic wand and go back in time, what would you have done differently before you starting investing in real estate?

Work on developing my patience to acquiring assets and learn more about the cyclical market of the real estate industry. I had our false start in 2006 and if I would have done both of these things prior to investing we could have taken advantage of the valley in 2008-2009.

10) If you had a daughter or son whose 20 years old, what top financial advice would you give him or her to help them grow amazing in world of change?

Wow, this is a great question….It is easier to expand your financial well being by utilizing other people’s money besides just your on, BUT when using other people’s money, always always, ALWAYS be moral, always always, ALWAYS be ethical and always always, ALWAYS look out for your partners and investors first.

11) What are your favorite or most insightful books that you recommend to help people on their financial path or real estate investing path or mindset that are not the typical mainstream books like rich dad or poor dad?

Sovereignty: The Ryan Michler Interview

Go out there and get to work. Just go do it, stop asking people what you should do…You’re not dead. If it doesn’t work, adjust, change courses and do something else.

This post I’m doing something completely different…an interview…with someone I’ve been following and looking up to for some time now, Ryan Michler. AND, we barely scrape the surface on the topic of real estate investing, so completely different. Fair warning, I eventually loosened up but I was a bit anxious during the first few minutes of the interview. Bring in Ryan Michler….

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Ryan is an Iraqi war veteran, trained financial planner and Founder of The Order of Man. Since 2015 he has gained a massive social media following (learning how he did this is of my personal interest; reference 2018 Goals).

  • Over at, men can engage with a brotherhood of like minded men who are interested at improving all facets of their life; manly skills to become a better father, better husband, improved leadership and improved financial status to name a few (actually that is my personal short list). Ryan hosts a weekly podcasts where he and his guests talk about their personal experiences in just about everything that it means to be a Man.

On February 1st Ryan is releasing his first Order of Man book, Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men. Available via hard/soft cover, kindle and audio, you can download an intro chapter by visiting

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Ryan and I connected via Facebook where he graciously agreed to give me 15 minutes to talk about his book #Sovereignty, but just as I thought we were done, he spends another 20 minutes allowing me to dive into a few business and personal questions. Had me so stocked I even used the word Solid during the interview. Ryan IS a solid guy and overall just gets it. Someone I will to continue to learn from. So, stick around after the 15 minute Closing Comments remark for the full discussion. Ryan has upcoming deadlines that I want to help him meet so I did not edit the audio, the full raw version is below.

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supreme power or authority; authority of a state to govern itself or another state

Items we cover:

  • What do you hope every man obtains from reading your book #Sovereignty?
  • What was the most rewarding aspect of the writing process for you?
  • Writing 60,000 words in 60 days
  • What is your favorite chapter and why?
  • Will there be an audio version?
  • Who are your mentors and men you look up to?

REI Strategies. Lessons Learned. How-Tos. No Spam…Learn More. 

  • Financial advisor by trade, are you still active in that business and do you advise your clients to invest in real estate?
  • Best Fatherly advice you give your sons on their journey to become Sovereign Men?
  • Birds and the bees?
  • Confidence: historical baggage that holds you down (example of $1.3 million in 2017 transactions but lack of confidence in a discussion regarding a $50k property).
  • “My objective as a father, is to render myself obsolete. That’s my job.”

Action Items:


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