Wow, article #5, we made it this far. So many to go, but I never said it would be quick. Or easy. Or fun <ahem>. Or flawless grammar. But the end result will be so great, that it’s worth it for me to keep going. It’ll be worth it for you too. By now you have made the decision that you want to expand your wealth now so that you can retire safely and comfortably on the date you choose. You Decided that real estate is the way to do that.
So many before you have failed to make that simple decision. They stayed in their comfortable obliviousness. And it was so easy. They just bought stuff and bought more stuff. They found out when they were 50 years old that they hadn’t given a single coherent thought to their financial post-job future. And then they turned 50 and they realized that they had been doing the same job for the same manager for the same company, enriching their bosses, but never getting out of the machine.
Sure, that very machine gave them so much: they drive a fancy car and have a big house. They have nice clothing and can eat at whatever restaurant they choose. They are financially free. Or so they think. Because that freedom is directly linked to that job. And that is exactly what your company wants from you.
Most people enslaved themselves to their job and when they finally get to Step 1 and Decide to plan for the future, the future has already arrived. And the tiny value of all that stuff minus the suffocating debt gave them no room to retire.
But you are different. I salute you.
Step 2: Commit
It seems very similar to Decide, I know. But it is not. Let me tell you Edward’s story. I took care of Edward in the ER. He was a friendly 35 year-old obese man with diabetes. He stopped seeing his primary doctor when he decided the doctor wasn’t helping him. So, I became the de-facto primary doctor for this gentleman. He was just starting to have complications of his high blood pressure and high blood sugars. He had cut his toe when walking outside and the darn thing got infected and never seemed to heal.
Any of you doctors in the crowd know that he was starting to get neuropathy (a condition were the nerves that give sensation are starting to deaden). He couldn’t feel pain well any more and couldn’t protect the toe from further damage. He never would have been in to see the ER doc unless he had a real problem, like this.
We talked about testing and antibiotics but I explained that the real problem wasn’t the infection, but it was the neuropathy, and that would only continue to get worse unless he made some changes. His demeanor immediately changed; he knew what was coming. And then and there, I knew why he quit seeing his doctor: his doctor had been telling him to change his diet, start exercising, lose weight, change his lifestyle. This 35 year-old was still young. He didn’t believe that his lifestyle could possibly be doing that to him. He believed that he had just been clumsy and cut himself and antibiotics would cure the problem. You see, he had been given the correct diagnosis: his lifestyle caused his diabetes, his diabetes was killing him, and only a new lifestyle would fix the problem. He hadn’t decided that the problem was his lifestyle. Without that single decision, Edward would never be able to make the change that would save his life.
He got up and left the ER without a word.
He couldn’t make the decision that he had a problem. He couldn’t make that first step. How about you? You are the 35 year-old obese man with diabetes and a toe laceration (sorry). You have a problem. Maybe you don’t think you do right now, but every single day that goes by, your problem gets worse. It is insidious, it doesn’t cause pain (right now). It is a result of your decisions, but where Edward chose donuts, you choose luxuries. Like Edward, you are slowly becoming numb to the effects of these decisions.
What is the difference between Decide and Commit?
Well, Edward showed up in the ER about a week later. It would be the last time I ever saw him. He wanted his foot looked at again. I fully expected it to be horribly infected. I was surprised. Turns out it was exactly the same as I saw it last week; infected but no worse. It just wouldn’t heal. I could tell he was starting to get scared about it.
He said, “Look doc, this isn’t a normal cut, I know it’s from the diabetes.” I wondered if he knew what was causing the diabetes. He admitted it was his diet. He loved to drink soda pop. I wanted to tell him there was probably more to it but I bit my tongue. He had finally come to the realization that he was causing this illness and that the wound was just a manifestation of a larger problem. He had Decided that he had a problem and needed to make a change.
I cleaned the wound, bandaged it, prescribed him antibiotics. I strongly advised Edward to see a primary doctor, to whom I referred him. He stated he would do so. He left the department, satisfied with his prescription. I left the room, satisfied that I had made a difference.
I was starting to get a little tired and the hospital has free tea in the waiting room. Yes, I am a weirdo. Yes, I drink tea. Please don’t run away. I made the terrible decision to go out to the waiting room, which as a doctor you should never, ever, ever, ever do. All those pairs of eyes turned toward the guy in scrubs, hoping to hear heir name. And here I was, with a room full of waiting people, looking for some caffeine rather than seeing patients. I silently made an apology to them all and I quickly turned my own head, fixed my eyes to the lower left part of the hallway, and quickened my pace as if I was in a hurry to save a life. I quickly ducked into the refreshment room wondering how many pairs of eyes followed me. As I was pouring my tea I saw Edward, with probably the same look on his face as I had, purchasing a 20 oz full-sugar soda at the vending machine.
Edward had made a Decision. But he hadn’t Committed. He Decided that he had a problem, but he was unable to make the changes necessary to put him on the path to health.
You have made your Decision. Your path will be just as difficult as Edward’s. There are so many things you will need to do to get your financial health back. What you need is Commitment. You need Resolve, the single most important thing you need to make it through the Steps. There will be so very many things that will endeavor to stop you. You will have fear that you will lose your money. You will feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to do it all. You will try to convince yourself it is too late in your life to start. You will be too tired out from your job. You will worry about what other people will say about your decision to do real estate when you spent so much time with your other ‘real’ education. Your family will tell you that you shouldn’t try it. Real estate is too expensive in your area. There are better investments out there. My employer is taking care of me already.
Here is your next assignment: Take 30 minutes. Write down on a real piece of paper every thing that that is giving you pause in your Commitment. Leave a space under every one. Get yourself to at least 5. I know you have plenty more. Believe me, the more you do the better you off you will be later. Once you have made your list. Take the next 30 minutes and write down why each of these are wrong or how you plan to overcome them. For instance, I said:
I am afraid I will lose my investment.
– I make so darn much money from my job in a year that even if I lose every penny I won’t go broke. Even if the house burns down, there is insurance. If a nuclear bomb goes off and destroys the place, I’ll have bigger problems anyway.
That’s what I said. I don’t want to make light of my amount of income or bombs but I’m just being truthful. Honestly, if you cannot think of thing that is stopping you from Committing, then you probably don’t need me; you’re probably already real estate investing already. If you cannot think of anything to refute each one, then your Commitment is not there. I don’t recommend reading on without doing this exercise; you will just be wasting your time. Drop me an email if you find yourself stuck. I’ll see what I can do to help. I sincerely want you to succeed; I’m giving you the foundation for success. Don’t skip it.
Once you have that done. Keep that piece of paper. Someday you’ll write an article and post the image 🙂
Your Certain Goal
Now is the time to make your Certain Goal. Recall that mine is: When I turn 50 years old I won’t have to work a job any more. Keep it simple. Keep it overarching. It will be your compass for all the decisions you will make going forward. All your decisions. Every single one. Tell as many people as you can. I am a believer in making your goals public. I know it is controversial, but I know that it makes you accountable. It’s easy to fail in private, but to fail in public, that is unthinkable to me. Tell your closest family member first. Your next most difficult job will be to convince them it is the right goal. They can help you, too.
Now you are Committed to your goal. The rest is easy.
If you are still having trouble Committing, why don’t you head on over to this link and read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki*. It is another Mindset book. It won’t give you any hints on how to do real estate but will help you get in the mindset to do it. It is the first real estate book I read so I must give it credit. It is not my favorite real estate book (that’s for later) but it was my first. Be warned: I suggested my brother read it. He hated it. But he hasn’t invested in real estate yet. Hmmm. I’m calling you out, Joe. Get started.
More people than I can count credit this book as the reason they are in real estate. It is a good read, but only if you are having trouble Committing. Otherwise, just proceed to my next article.
*the book link will take you to Amazon. If you purchase the book, Amazon will give me a small commission. I’d appreciate if you got the book through this link; it keeps me writing.