Category: Finance Tips
Air Date: 04.21.2021
Building Wealth Without Wall Street
Joey Mure and Russ Morgan dispel myths about the ‘Wall Street mindset’ and share some healthier strategies to build wealth without Wall Street.
A large section of the population has bought into the idea that the best and safest way to prepare for retirement is by setting up a 401k and leaving it to accrue over time. Joey Mure and Russ Morgan are on the show to dispel this and other myths that they argue make up the ‘Wall Street mindset’, and share some healthier strategies for setting yourself up for a wealthy and secure future. The basis for their philosophy comes from the idea of responsibility and self-belief; they argue that by outsourcing the control of your savings and financial plan, you shortchange yourself, the results of which will be dramatically evident down the road. Our guests talk about the simple nature of the formula for a better strategy but importantly do not shy away from the fact that it will take some dedication and hard work. They really drive home the idea of education and investment in the self and show how these steps are the best way to a brighter future for you and your family. We also get into the topic of debt, and Joey and Russ share some balanced opinions about this divisive area, which may lead you to reconsider what you have been told! So for all this and a whole lot more from two inspiring and progressive financial minds, be sure to listen in!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Our guests’ professional journeys and how they arrived at their current philosophy.
- Unpacking the ‘Wall Street mindset’ and how it contrasts with the approach espoused by Russ and Joey.
- Getting clear and honest about what we really want instead of listening to brokers.
- Joey and Russ’ opinion on the way 401ks have been falsely advertised as protective.
- Taking control of our savings and retirement planning instead of outsourcing it.
- The reality of the results of relying on a 401k for savings and retirement preparation.
- The three-step process of financial freedom and the formula to follow to secure your future.
- Weighing the role of debt in a good financial plan.
- The beginnings of a journey towards greater cashflow and security.
- Why an active approach to investing in oneself is vital to your finances in the long run.
- The ‘keys to success’ with Joey and Russ! Questions to ask, achievements, books, and more!
- A special offer from our guests and how to find and connect with them online.
“I wanted my money to be growing, but I wanted to have access to it the whole time and be able to then leverage it into things that I knew and understood to create financial freedom.” — Joey Mure [0:14:43]
“Most people don’t realize that retirement, as it relates to our country’s history is still fairly new.” — Russ Morgan [0:11:51]
“There’s four rules to Wall Street; give me your money, keep giving it to me on a consistent basis, let me keep it for as long as possible, then let me make it as hard as possible for you to get it back.” — Russ Morgan [0:12:39]
“If we get really clear on what we want, we would never do half of the things that we do with money. We just wouldn’t do it.” — Joey Mure [0:14:31]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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—Full Transcript Below—
“JM: We mentioned that there’s a three-step process that we take people through. The first being clarity. A lot of what we’ve been talking about already are those clarity points. Like, wait a minute. That’s not going to work for me. What will work for me is to get more cash into my control. Because if I’m constantly giving up cash to all these places that I can’t touch, or that’s going to require me to defer the life, is going against what I want, then I have to start thinking differently about it. That means I start thinking about my budget differently.”
[00:00:32] KR: Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, the show about how to passively invest like a pro. On each episode, I interview real estate experts who give their top investing advice, strategies, and tools and I break down the insights into practical steps to avoid the pitfalls and make better investments. I want to help you passively invest like a pro. This is Ritter on Real Estate, and I’m your host, Kent Ritter.
[00:00:55] KR: Hello, fellow investors. Welcome to Ritter on Real Estate, where we teach you how to passively invest like a pro. Today, my guests are Joey Mure and Russ Morgan from Wealth Without Wall Street. Wealth Without Wall Street is an online community that seeks to re-educate business owners and families, how money truly works. Wall Street is not just a street in New York that puts America’s money at risk, but it is also a commonly taught mindset. Joey and Russ today are going to talk to us about what is that mindset and how do we shift that to create, I think real wealth and real value in our own lives.
I’m really excited to have you guys here today. Thanks for joining the show.
[00:01:37] JM: Yeah. Thanks so much for having us. We’re excited to be here.
[00:01:39] RM: Yeah. Our pleasure, man.
[00:01:41] KR: Yeah, awesome. Wealth Without Wall Street. I think that’s a pretty — one, I love the name. I think it’s pretty powerful. Pretty powerful name, cuts right to the heart of a lot of what I speak to on this podcast about alternative investments and investments in real estate. Before we dig into that a little bit, I love to hear your guys’s story and how each of you came to this mindset.
[00:02:04] JM: Well, I’ll start off, Kent. I started in the mortgage business back in 2003. Throughout that time, I was just following the plan everybody else follows. I was doing all the corporate world-ladder climbing, so to speak. Really, I didn’t have a really clear path on what financial freedom look like. I just knew that you just need to make more money. You make more money, your income increases, that means financial freedom.
When I started to get to that point where my income was exceeding what I thought I would really make in a long time, I was like, “Wait a minute. This doesn’t feel any different. In fact, it feels worse.” I was getting farther and farther away from the people that I love the most. My wife, my kids, they were the ones sitting there on vacation, while dad had to just take one more phone call. The phone was on the hip. Even though I was there, I wasn’t present when I was there. I said, “Man, there’s got to be a different way.”
Putting money in my 401k, really just made me uneasy. I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t access it. All those things just made me really uneasy. Fast forward to 2009, Russ and I had been friends for a while, several years, and he finally sat me down. He’s like, “Hey, look. I’m going to start referring some of my clients to you. In order for that to happen, you got to read this book.” I’m like, “Okay, well, I’ll do it.” He said, “By the way, it’s 20 bucks.” I’m like, “Dude, that’s low-budget, man. You wanted to refer people to me, you should at least give me the book. What’s this about? $20?”
[00:03:42] RM: Here’s the thing, Kent. I knew how frugal this dude was. If he spent $20 – he was so cheap. I knew he was going to read it.
[00:03:52] KR: That’s right.
[00:03:54] JM: I’m glad he did. I’m glad he charged me, to this point. I did read it. It was exactly what I had been looking for, kind of like this mix of, I wanted my money to be growing, but I wanted to have access to it the whole time and be able to then leverage it into things that I knew and understood to create financial freedom.
Anyways, four years of implementing those things, I became one of Russ’ clients as a result. Four years later, I was so fired up at a conference one time with him, I was like, “Russ, I don’t know why I’m not out there teaching people this stuff. People need to know, these are secrets that shouldn’t be secrets. People should understand this stuff.” Anyways, I went home. My wife was pregnant with our fourth daughter. We actually have five daughters now, but at the time, she was pregnant with number four. I said, “Hey, Jess we make over $300,000 and she doesn’t work. I said, “Hey, I think I’m going to leave this job, this career and just start a business from scratch with Russ.”
I was holding back. Like, “Wait a minute. What is she going to do?” The immediate words out of her mouth were, “You absolutely should do that.” That’s when I knew. I was like, “I’m on to something. This is definitely where the Lord may be leading us.” Anyways, that was in 2014. Russ and I started Wealth Without Wall Street shortly thereafter. Now we’ve been teaching those – everybody else, the same process that that Russ walked me through.
[00:05:23] RM: Yeah. Basically says, I’m his hero. I mean, if you heard that –
[00:05:27] KR: Yeah. I mean, that’s what it came through for me.
[00:05:29] RM: Right. I mean, I saved his life. Has saved his family vacations, right? He no longer has to answer the phone. I can even get him to answer the phone during the week, much less when he’s on vacation anymore. He’s really taking this to a whole new level.
[00:05:39] KR: Yeah. He threw his phone away, right? Yeah.
[00:05:41] RM: He’s taking this whole –
[00:05:42] JM: Give me an inch –
[00:05:43] RM: Laptop lifestyle to a whole new level.
[00:05:48] KR: Sorry, what was the book?
[00:05:50] JM: Well, that was going to be my favorite book that people should read at the end. You’re getting our questions out of the way.
[00:05:56] KR: Oh, I’m just stealing your thought there.
[00:06:01] RM: Becoming Your Own Banker by R. Nelson Nash. It was a 100% life changer. Totally made me start thinking everything backwards, and we’ll get into the Wall Street mindset. I was thinking Wall Street mindset. It was like, turned 180 on me.
[00:06:19] JM: The whole part of that is I actually came out of Wall Street. I was an investment advisor. That’s what I did. I worked for a traditional financial planning firm. I got my certified financial planning designation. Had all the answers to all the financial problems, if you will. Then, I literally complete my financial planning designation in March of 2008. I’ve got everything solved.
Then months later, as everything completely unravels around me and it’s completely different than any analysis or scenario that I’d ever learned about in my four years prior of being an advisor, much less going through the studies of becoming a financial planner it’s like, “Oh, yeah. Okay. All this stuff I basically learned is bull crap.” The people I go to and ask questions of like, “What’s going on and why?” They’re like, “Yeah, I don’t know.” I’m like, “Well, what’s going to keep you from having again?” I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know.”
All of that stuff, I feel like I was in the inside of the beast. I was the insider. I should have the information and all these clients were looking to me for advice as to, “Okay, just tell me it’s going to be okay.” I realized that I didn’t feel confident telling them that. The people that I saw information from, they didn’t feel confident in the answers they were giving me. Now, wait six months, nine months later, and everybody goes and says, “Oh, this is what we should have done. If we would have done that.” Great economists are people who act after the fact, right? Well, I’m sitting there going, “There’s got to be a different way.” I thankfully had opportunity to sit down at a conference in Orlando — I think you said you’re in Florida right now. I was in Orlando, Florida at an event in January 2009. I heard the author of that book talk. Just that was the lightning for me to see the writing on the wall that what I’ve been teaching people of how to separate themselves from money, do the concept of put your head down, work 40 years, save 10% of your money and then live off 40% of what you used to make, and maybe you can make it 30 years kind of concept, that may not be the ideal scenario, because there’s so many variables in there that we all know that change on a daily basis.
While we’re recording this, at the end of an amazing bull run, I saw that bull run for 2004 to 2008. I saw how quick it get wiped away. For years, people were trying to figure out what had happened. I know that people really want to value peace of mind, want to be in control of money. That’s what I started learning. That’s where our path led us to figuring out what were people doing, who are investing outside of Wall Street. How could we not only teach our clients, but more importantly, implement it ourselves. Because I think, we all have to look at our advisors and what do they doing? Are they actually more successful than we are?
[00:09:03] KR: Yeah, I love that. I mean, so many parallels to my journey, where I’ve come from and the same thing of this idea that you’re going to work hard. Now that I think about it, it sounds so insane to me. It is the normal way of thinking. It’s like, okay, work super hard for 40 years, save up some money and then hope that you die before it runs out. That’s the general way of doing things.
Now that I say that, I’m like, “What? There’s no way that that’s right, or the only way to do it.” Even similarly, my eyes are really opened up. In about 2015 was when I really started looking into, for me, the vehicle is real estate investing, but really getting involved and really looking into that and just understanding that these types of investments that I put together now, these syndications we can pull money together and go out and buy a bigger, better apartment building than you’ll be able to individually even exist.
As that curtain was lifted from me, I’m like, “Oh, my God. You can go out and do this? You can make these returns and this isn’t fake or made up?” It was just, yeah, crazy, eye-opening, totally monumental shift in my mindset and how I look at money and things as well. Yeah, I really understand the journey that you guys have been on and I really appreciate that. I think, similarly, my whys, to Joey, as you said around your family and your children, I mean, the exact same reason I started looking that I left my W2 and started looking for alternative ways to make income, was just wanting to be the husband and father that I wanted to be, not that I was able to be as I tried to squeeze time in in between, like you said, calls and trips and everything else. Yeah. Awesome, guys. I really love your story.
Let’s dig into – so many places I want to go. A lot of questions for you guys. Let’s start with what is the Wall Street mindset? Help us understand the traditional mindset and then contrast that with your approach.
[00:11:08] RM: I’ll jump in, Joey. You fill in the gaps. I’d say, that mindset is exactly what we’ve been starting to layout. That I just have to go to work. I have to work for 30 to 40 years. I have to save in the typical traditional financial vehicles, like IRAs and 401ks. Inside of those are the mutual funds and stocks. I have to pay off my debt over a certain period of time and I have to live well within my means in order to do all this. Then I get to enjoy all of these things then when I’m 65, or 70-years-old, or whatever the timeframe is.
To me, that’s a mindset, because that’s what’s been pushed down. That’s the way we’ve been programmed. Most people don’t realize that retirement, as it relates to our country’s history is still fairly new. As it relates to mankind is really, really new. I mean, retirement didn’t even come on the scenes until the late 1800s. That has now been the concept that everybody applies. There is this golden time that I get to. I put my 30 years in, 35 years in at the company and I get a pension. Okay, well, that’s no longer exists, right?
Pensions are like the Dodo bird. They’re gone. Now, I got to put my money in a 401k, 457, a 403b, or SEP IRA, whatever the thing is, and then I get to get it. That’s a mindset we call from Wall Street, because who in essence benefits the most out of that process, is those managing the money. The idea is, there’s four rules to Wall Street; give me your money, keep giving it to me on a consistent basis, let me keep it for as long as possible, then let me make it as hard as possible for you to get it back. If you think through the typical financial tools, that’s what we’re doing. We’re following that mindset. Just like Joey, I have four kids, and I don’t want to enjoy playing baseball with my kid when he’s 35 and I’m 70. That’s just not a thing.
[00:13:08] KR: You can hit it on the grandkid round.
[00:13:10] RM: Exactly. That’s just not as fun. I’m not going to enjoy riding roller coasters at Disney at 60, the same way I am today. Nor will my kids necessarily have the time. I think of those songs that talk about that, the Cats in the Cradle. You think about the Neil Young songs. All these things of one day, I’m going to enjoy this. One day, my kids won’t want to enjoy those things that they’re asking us to deal with today.
For us, that mindset has really penetrated us too far and we follow it. What we would say is there are solutions out of that, but it first takes the reckoning of asking ourselves, is that what I want? If that’s not what I want, what is it that I want? Am I willing to do what it takes to get there?
[00:13:53] JM: Well, and I could add to what Russ is saying here, about 72 things. I’ll try to keep them more brief. If you hear the word defer, what does that make you think? It’s to put off. I’m going to defer taxes. I’m going to defer life in terms of how I’m going to enjoy “retirement.” All those things are a Wall Street-ism, if you will. Just defer it. Well, I don’t want to defer it. If we’re honest with what we want, which is one of our very first steps in our process as clarity, if we get really clear on what we want, we would never do half of the things that we do with money. We just wouldn’t do it.
If we got really just point blank with what we want, the things we do with money are constantly in contrast. One of those would be like a 401k. I don’t want to put off life until I’m in my 65, or 70-year-old timeframe. What do I need to do? I need to start thinking differently about it. The other thing I would say is when Russ says retirement, the opposite of that is produce. Being a producer is what – When we talk about that within our community, people start to see that we’re different. We don’t want to be “taken out of service.” That’s what retirement means. It’s an industrial age term to begin with.
If you have value to bring to this world, why would you ever stop providing that? Now, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to be taken out of service. I’m going to continue to add value, but I can be smarter about what I do with my time if I do different things with my money. Anyways, those are a couple thoughts; deferring retirement. Another part, I’ll add to that on the deferring taxes, if anybody studies history on what tax rates have been in the past and they think that we’re in a high tax situation today, they’re missing the point.
We’re buying taxes on sale right now. This is the clearance rack. Why would I defer to pay full price at retail? That’s really what we’re in. I mean, you don’t have stimulus bills that are 4 trillion dollars in the last year, or so whatever we’re looking at. Nobody has to pay for that. By the way, the government doesn’t produce anything. I don’t know if you know that. They’re not back in the back-knitting sweaters that they’re selling, okay, to create profit. They’re taking your money and giving it back to you and they’re going to charge you interest on that for the rest of your generations.
Deferring taxes is not to your benefit. Stop believing that lie. 401k, SEPs, whatever the wrapper that people are trying to sell you that you don’t need to pay tax today, you need pay it later. You’re losing every single time. Anyway, those are a couple of Wall Street mindsets that we’re trying to constantly fly in the face of.
[00:16:55] KR: Yeah. That’s awesome. I think that that’s a good outline of where a lot of people stand and what we’re taught. This idea, so I want to get your guys’ opinion on this. There’s definitely this idea, or at least, I guess, it’s a marketing or a sales tactic that this idea of a 401k is set up really to protect the individual. It’s set up to force retirement planning. Deferring taxes is often one of those benefits that’s touted. Just interested in your guys’s perception of that statement.
[00:17:36] JM: I think you hit the nail on the head. It is a marketing tactic. It is the new thing that gets people to invest in the market. Most people don’t realize when 401ks really came on the scene. There was a guy that was doing consulting for Johnson & Johnson in the early 80s that was reading the tax code, that Revenue Act of 1978, I believe it was. That actually saw the language that allowed for something like this. He was able to institute it at Johnson & Johnson and created this “retirement plan.”
Well, of course, just like every corporation, they look at Johnson & Johnson, they say, “Well, they’re doing something to be able to incentivize their high execs. We need to do the same exact thing. Otherwise, we’re going to lose it.” Before you know it, this thing perpetuates to all these major companies, and then they start offering it to the mainline worker. Well, up to that point in time, the average guy on the street wasn’t invested in Wall Street. That just was not a thing.
They, through 401ks made it available to the main line worker who now could invest in the things that they were looking at as like, “Oh, this elite idea.” What do you think drove the stock market from 1982 through 1999? It was this investment.
[00:18:43] KR: A lot of dollars flowing in.
[00:18:44] RM: Exactly. The market grew, because the demand was greater than the supply. Ever since then, we’ve seen that happen. Also, yeah, it is a great marketing tactic. It has been an amazing tool for management companies and mutual fund companies to manage money. That’s how they make money. Again, I’m okay with that. We just need to understand, that’s how they make money, why they tell us it’s good for us. As Joey said, Joe is in the mortgage industry. Every time you sat down, if you’ve ever had a mortgage, or any type of loan, you sat down and now one of those 9,975 pages, there was a page on there that talked about APR.
Now, let me ask you, Kent. If one of those pages that was to tell in detail what the APR for the loan that you’re taking out, instead of giving you a number, it gave you three letters, TBD. To be determined. What would you do next?
[00:19:39] KR: Yeah, I’d probably asked for some clarification.
[00:19:43] RM: Their response to you was, “Well, we don’t know exactly how much we’re going to need, but we will need the money. When we get to the point in the future when we need the money, then we can back into how much we need to charge you in order to get that amount of money.” Would you finish the documents?
[00:19:58] KR: No. No. That’s a great analogy.
[00:20:03] RM: That’s where people are. I’ve never asked that question. I had somebody say, “Yes, I will finish signing those documents.” Yet, we have over 55% of the American population and the workforce right now investing in signing those documents to their 401ks. They have been sold this lot that they’re going to be in a lower retirement bracket when they retire than where they’re working. Which, again, if you retired in the late – if you started doing this in the early 80s when tax rates were 50%, much let’s go back into the 70s when they were 70%, if you’re the highest earner, then guess, you do see them at a lower bracket.
As Joey said, we’re moving back toward that 50%, 60%, 70% bracket. It’s coming. For us, why in the world would I not take advantage of the discount they’re offering, especially right now. I mean, we know that tax rates are probably getting ready to shine pretty soon, but we’re looking at some of the lowest tax rates in our country’s history. Why would we defer that to a point that we don’t know what the future holds? Then you take in the other part of this, is that if when we’re talking to people, Kent, they’re telling us, “I want to be financially free. I want to be able to pick my kids up from school every day. I want to be able to enjoy baseball games. I want to be able to travel with my family.”
What would it take to do that? Well, I’d have to have my monthly expenses covered. Because that’s really financial freedom, passive income greater than monthly expenses. Okay. Well, how is your 401k helping you do that? Well, it’s not. Because if I’m 40 and I want to be able to accomplish what I just said, to be able to do all those things in the next five years, well, my 401k can’t help me there. It doesn’t matter what the return is. Doesn’t matter what the match is. None of that matters. Didn’t matter what taxes are, any of that. I can’t touch the money for 20 years, so how is it helping me? Is it getting me closer, or further away from my goal?
What really happens is that people start evaluating and wonder what they want. They see, as Joey said, the financial tool that they’re using is actually in direct conflict with their goals. They’re literally pushing off the future to 20 years of something they say they want today, or in five years.
[00:22:09] JM: The other part about that, Kent, when you’re saying it’s a marketing tactic to talk about protecting people to help them force retirement savings. The other side of that coin is the premise is that you’re really not disciplined and you’re not smart enough to do this on your own. Which be honest with you, that is a slap in the face. Why can’t we? I mean, you’re sitting here looking at deals every day. You can look at the numbers and you can make a determination, does this deal make sense? You can say yes or no.
If you just take very preliminary training on this and educate yourself in these things, it’s not brain science. By the way, I guarantee you, your returns are outpacing the S&P every single time. Why do we need somebody else? Why don’t we need somebody else to manage that for us? We don’t. Yeah, we talk about money managers, money babysitters. We don’t need a money babysitter. We know what to do with our money. We just have to take and be a producer. That producer mindset says, “I’m going to take responsibility for my money, because nobody else will care about it as much as I do.” We got to quit believing that lie, that somebody else is.
[00:23:23] KR: Well, you guys made a ton of really good points. I think the idea that one, you want to start living before you retire. I love just that simple idea of there’s a mismatch there. It’s like, if you want to do something when you’re 40, the money’s gone. You can’t. Until you’re what, 59 and a half and you start taking out, right? I mean, you’re really this idea that you’re supposed to just deferral that, as you initially said. I mean, I think, that’s just a powerful concept. When you’re thinking about this, just trying to simplify things. It’s like, “Look, if I have things I want to do before then, what am I going to do?”
I guess, the devil’s advocate is like, okay, you spend all your money, living it up in your 40s, 50s. You get to your 60s, okay, then what happens? Then you don’t have that pile of money that you’re supposed to draw down from. Now you’re stuck and now you have to keep working, or whatever. I guess from a devil’s advocate stand point.
[00:24:23] JM: The reality to that question is, we are now at the point the first time ever in history, where people are retiring solely off of their 401ks that they’ve put in. The 401k started in the early ’80s. Think about the person who’s 20-years-old, who started working in the early 80s. Now they’ve worked there 40 years. Here they are, they’re finally taking money out of these 401ks. The average balance is $275,000.
[00:24:51] KR: That’s interesting.
[00:24:53] JM: Yeah. We’ve interviewed Wade Pfau, which is the most renowned expert on what they would call the 4% rule, that what percentage, what’s the safe withdrawal rate out of an investment that you can take over a period of time without it going to zero? He initially came up with all of his analysis at 4%. When we had interviewed him, because of where interest rates are, he’s actually said, it’s closer to 2 and a half percent. You take that, if I had a million dollars in an account, that means I could take out $25,000 a year. That’s pre-tax, if it’s out of a 401k. $25,000 a year and guaranteed that I have a 99.99% chance of it not going to zero over a 30-year period of time.
Well, that’s not that much money. For most people thinking of, “Okay. Well, if I’m living off a $100,000, that means I have to have at least 4 million, but I got to pay the taxes on that, so I better bump that up to 5 million.” Then they go, “Well, I’m never going to retire anyway.” Because there’s no way. I can’t do that.
[00:25:55] KR: For me, just the two things I’m really taking away that of I’m already – you guys are already preaching to the choir here. The things that have still really, really hit me is one, you’re deferring your life. I mean, essentially, it’s what you’re doing. You’re deferring your life to be able to save this money. You can’t do the things you might want to do.
Two, it doesn’t really work in the first place, because I love the concept that you’re saying of we’re seeing – I didn’t actually think about that. You’re seeing now, just now the people that are starting to retire on their 401k and the average balance is $270,000. I mean, just shows you, it doesn’t work. That’s obviously not enough to retire on. Setting aside what you want to – trips and things you want to take, or just daily living. If you start thinking about things, like assisted living, or nursing home care, which is anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 a month, then starts to get eaten up very quickly. Now, I think really, really good ways to think about this and just see through, see behind the curtain, be able to be able to see the truth of how this works. Help us understand what the right way to do it is.
[00:27:04] JM: Well, we mentioned that there’s a three-step process that we take people through. The first being clarity. A lot of what we’ve been talking about already are those clarity points. “Wait a minute, that’s not going to work for me. What will work for me is to get more cash into my control. Because if I’m constantly giving up cash to all these places that I can’t touch, or that’s going to require me to defer the life, that’s going against what I want, then I have to start thinking differently about it.
That means I start thinking about my budget differently. I’ll just hit on a couple of high points. Obviously, we don’t have time to go into all the details. That takes you into control step, which is the number two step. in our budget, we started thinking, “Well, if I’m going to pay down debt, I want to pay it down correctly, or optimize my debt.” Because some people get so focused in that they start paying every extra dollar that they have to pay down all their debts, because somebody told them that debt is stupid, and that you should never have any debt. They start paying down everything, including their home mortgage and things like this.
They potentially, in fact, we can prove it with our priority payoff guide. They’re doing something that is actually going against their financial freedom formula. They’re putting dumb dollars after this debt. It’s at such a low interest rate, that they could be earning double digit returns and cash flows if they invested them in a passive income ideas, instead of paying down the mortgage. We give them steps through our budget course, our debt course. Then we start thinking about taxes differently. That gives us, I would say, I don’t know Russ, maybe you can agree or disagree with me on this. When people first come into our Wealth Without Wall Street community, they may not feel they have a ton of money left over at the end of every month.
They look at their cash flow and they’re like, “Man, I just don’t have that much.” When they start uncovering things like, “Wait a minute, why do I have this money go in this 401k, or why do I have this money going to pay down extra on my mortgage, or extra on this debt this really optimized,” then they start seeing man, I would say on average, anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 a month, people will find hiding under their nose if they just start thinking in light of financial freedom today and not deferring life. What would you say?
[00:29:30] RM: No. That’s totally true. I mean, having a framework of how to think through that. I mean, I think a lot of times, this stuff is very opinionated and subjective and then you listen to the talking heads and they tell you debt is good, or debt is bad. Be honest, I don’t believe it is, either one. I think, it’s how it applies to you and your personal situation, is what should dictate that. Yeah, having a framework to think through all of those areas, get your money into a place. To be honest, the Wall Street mindset, like I said, is to divide you from your money.
What I learned when I read that book, Becoming Your Own Banker, is that the wealthy and the corporations in the banking world does the opposite of what they tell us to do. They literally, are keeping their money in their control and creating cash flows. I was looking at this and I learned about this concept called ‘becoming your own banker’ from that book. He was teaching you about how to warehouse cash and get cash at work to create cash flow. When we fix the leaky holes in the ship, if you will, then we can start filling up our buckets, then that leads us to step three, which is literally picking the course.
A lot of times, we’re working with people like yourself, who are putting together syndications and deals in real estate, who can find opportunities that are cash, then can go to work at. It can come back to us in a cash flow, because the model is financial freedom is passive income greater than monthly expenses. While we’re working in the world, we don’t know how big our number needs to be. If I’m saving up money in my 401k or whatever, is a million enough? Is 4 million enough? Is 6 million enough, right? I don’t know. There’s too many variables that go into whether or not it’s going to be enough.
I immediately know where I stand if I’m following financial freedom as passive income greater than monthly expenses. Because I can literally take that number, divide it into my expenses and it tells me as a percentage how close am I to my goal. If I have $1,000 a month of passive income, I have $10,000 a month in expenses, I know I’m 10% of the way there. Now for some people, they can get there overnight. They literally can change the way they’ve been investing by assets that can make up that other $9,000 a month difference. For some people, it may take them 10 years, but they have a goal. As we all know, it’s so much easier to run after a goal than an obscure number; a number that seems to constantly be moving as it relates to how much money do I need in my account?
[00:31:52] KR: Yeah. I mean, a couple things that you guys said. Again, I love the brought up debt and how you use debt. As a real estate investor, one of my favorite parts of real estate is that you’re able to leverage it, and use debt in a smart way. You’re able to leverage, use debt to leverage your money and increase your return. Again, we use smart debt. We’re not doing things like credit cards and stuff like that. Just the idea of using debt. I mean, you said it’s not good or bad. I agree. I think it’s a tool. It’s a tool that you can use and you need to use it in the right way.
Another thing that you said was just this idea of what I would call, thinking in terms of yield, or net yield, or your spread. When you talked about paying down your mortgage, or your car payment, and just focusing on that. Having this mindset of all debt is bad and you have to pay this down, you’re not focusing on the right things. What you should be focusing on is, where else could you put that money to work? Then what’s the spread you can create off of that? I feel I’ve had a few conversations, personal conversations with others about this recently, trying to help folks see that mindset and see how they can put that money to work. Because I think that’s so powerful. That’s when you’re using debt in the right way. That’s when you’re getting leverage. That’s when you’re producing outsized returns. I love that idea.
This idea of being able to put your money to work for you, I love that. I think that’s how you create the sustainability. Because there is this idea, if you’re if you’re not having this pile of money out there for the long-term – you’ve got to be putting your money to work consistently, so that you always have streams of cash flow coming in. How does one start to do that? What are you advising folks? How do they start to put these streams of cash flow together?
[00:33:41] RM: Well, I would say that the number one investment that anyone should make, and they’re already doing that, if they’re listening to this podcast, is to invest in themself. The best investment, the highest return in investment is always, has been, and will be, in our self. For those of us have been taught that someone else is smarter and can do better with it, then that’s not true. The only reason they’re able to do better with it is because they have become experienced and knowledgeable in a specific area. There’s nothing that we shouldn’t do – This has the most importance to us and what we want to the result from it, we should take a little time. Not that we have to become an expert, but we need to be knowledgeable.
The first thing we would tell people is to understand who they are. We actually have an investor DNA course inside of our community. By someone going through that, it starts to tell them and help them understand who they are as an individual, and how do they look at money and what are some of those things that exist out there. There’s so many different types of places we can get money to work. We need to create income streams. For some people, they don’t have the ability to maybe invest hundreds of thousands of dollars. They maybe have time, though. That person maybe needs to leave their 9 to 5 and create a 5 to 9, to become a producer, to create income. Get knowledgeable in what they’re doing, because we know in real estate, for instance, it’s knowledge of the deal, it’s the opportunities of the deals, then it’s the money. Well, if you don’t have the money, go get the other two. Figure that part out.
Then, the next part of that is once we have knowledge of who we are, then we can start evaluating, do we need to be partnering with people? Maybe if you’re an analytical, you’re someone who can look at deal flows. I’m sure you guys have done several deals and you can say, “Here’s our experience and here’s what the deal we’re looking at right now.” Someone who has analytics can look at that and say, “Oh, this makes sense. I can partner with somebody who has the expertise and knowledge in this.”
Every part of this is really knowing who you are, which is investing in yourself, and being able to be willing to bet on yourself, like Joey did. He bet on himself to leave a very high-paying job, but he knew that what he had, the world needed. He could create value that ultimately, dollars would follow.
[00:35:57] KR: Yeah. No, I think that’s awesome. You’re investing in yourself. You got to educate yourself. It sounds like a very active process. You guys mentioned, you have to take ownership of your financial future. If I’m playing devil’s advocate again, the response is like, “Oh, well. I’m already working. That sounds like a lot of work.” I think, the autopilot is put the money in your 401k. That’s autopilot.
The thing that you’ve enlightened me on is that, I think I intuitively knew this, which is why I invest in real estate, it doesn’t work, right? I mean, the numbers are coming back and the average balance in your 401k is 270. It’s not enough to live on. That doesn’t work. Autopilot doesn’t work. It sounds like, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to be active in this and you got to take it into your own hands to a certain extent.
[00:36:51] RM: Well, I mean, if you think about it, what in your life have you ever just sat back and done nothing with and it turned out great? I mean, there’s not a whole lot. I mean, I can’t think of anything, quite honestly. I’ll put it to you this way. We had a client, in his words, these are his words. He started on this process and he had been doing all the other things that we’ve been mentioning already.
He said, “As soon as I had access to capital. I started taking all these cash flows and putting them back into my control, instead of letting them go somewhere else, is that all sudden, my education became paramount. Because my dollars were waiting on me to tell them what to go do.” You think about that, that is that producer mindset taking over, instead of that autopilot like, “I’m not engaged. I’m not informed. I’m just hoping.” We’ve already said, that strategy doesn’t work. Hope is a great thing, just not a good financial strategy.
It’s got to be a participatory sport. We don’t shy away from that. We don’t want to ever mislead somebody to think that this is just easy. The formula is easy. Passive income greater than monthly expenses, those numbers are easy to track and to say, “How close am I?” The work to get there is not. It’s active. You have to align yourself with the right people. You have to put money into your control and you got to tell it what to do. It’s definitely worth the alternative.
When we have guys like Kevin Sue, we just interviewed the other day and Sid Christiansen and some of these guys. I’m just thinking about them. Within a year, they’re getting to the point, “Well, I’ve got $10,000 a month cash flow in this land flipping business.” Or this other person is in our short-term rental mastermind. They’ve learned how to go and create rental arbitrage through short-term rentals. They got their first $500 a month of passive income in their first unit. Those are the type of things that we see those results every day, so we know it’s possible. People just have to take those first steps and then they see that it’s possible. Financial freedom’s way worth the investment of my time.
[00:39:08] KR: Yeah. No, I love that. I love the challenge of what have you ever put on autopilot in your life that’s been successful, right? I mean, it’s totally true. If you’re going to spend time on something, what’s more important than yours and your family’s financial future? I mean, that dictates everything else.
Awesome, guys. Well, I appreciate you guys sharing so much knowledge today. New ways of looking at things, which I think is so important for us. I mean, we’re just inundated with – like we talked about the marketing, or the sales info, the stuff we see in commercials, the stuff we even hear from our own corporation, or the places where we work. I mean, that’s the biggest driver of it. I appreciate you guys bring in a different perspective.
Before I let you go, I want to get into our keys to success. I’ve got a couple of questions for you guys. First one is, what is the one question that every investor should ask their deal sponsor?
[00:39:59] JM: I would say, and this just comes from my background as a financial planner. I mean, I watched it happen over and over again, those financial brokers were usually brokered than the people they were advising. One thing I knew, is that the advisor always tracked their money. If you’re going to invest with somebody, you need to find out what they’re investing in and have them tell you when they make adjustments. Because if they’re not invested in the deal they’re telling you to put money in, it’s probably either not a good thing, or at least they don’t know it’s a good thing. I would say, first, find out if you’re taking advice from somebody where they put in their money, determine whether or not you should be taking advice from them because of that.
[00:40:38] KR: Yeah. I think that’s so true. It’s something that’s very relevant in the real estate space as well and the type of deals that I’m putting together. I mean, we invest a minimum of 10% of the equity in every deal, myself and my partners. It’s for that same reason, because I was a passive investor first. I was investing in syndications before I started running my own. That was just a general rule for me is I would not invest in something if the sponsor wasn’t putting their own money in, because it’s like, well, what better deal do you know about than your own deal to be putting money into? It never made any sense to me. Yeah, I think a 100%. What are you most proud of in your career? You guys can both answer.
[00:41:20] JM: I think, something that’s relevant for us today is about a year and a half ago, Russ and I really started applying what we were learning on the passive income side of things. We had gained a lot of access to cash. We’d started on those first couple steps of the process. We really hadn’t started building a lot of passive income. We started that and we said, “You know what? We want to keep this thing authentic. We want people to hear our good, bad and ugly reports every single month, so they can know, are we legit? Are we just talking? Or are we actually doing?”
We started a passive income report episode every single month, where we just come back, we talk about our land flipping business, we talk about our short-term rental business, our ATM investing, e-commerce. I’m forgetting all the other things. Every single month, you can hear straight from us what we’re doing, how it’s going and we have some really cool wins and some really punch in the nuts types of things. It’s really good. It pushes us and it helps make our message that much more relevant.
[00:42:33] KR: That’s accountability at a very high level.
[00:42:36] RM: Yeah. That totally, that report does hold us accountable. I would say, the proud part for me is the fact that, I don’t know if you’ve ever played the game Cashflow before, the Robert Kiyosaki game. There’s two stacks of cards. There’s the small deals and there’s the big deals. When we start playing the game, we play it forever. We’re trying our best to get enough cash to get to the big deal. We are always having to deal in the small deal column. We’re stuck in the rat race.
I feel for so long, we were working out of that small deal column. I feel over the last couple years, we’ve started dipping into that big deal column and starting to see some of those opportunities take action, where we’re turning those greenhouses, if you will, from monopoly into red hotels. We’re seeing the cash flows that come from that and the speed at which we’re getting to our financial freedom numbers has been something I’ve been very proud to see as make that transition.
[00:43:32] KR: Yeah. We like to call those red ones, apartments on this show. I didn’t hear multifamily in your guys’ passive portfolio. I’m just saying, I know a guy.
[00:43:45] RM: Joey, as he said, we do have a little bit of syndications in there. We do own some apartments over in South Carolina as well. Yeah.
[00:43:57] KR: Just had to get a plug.
[00:44:00] JM: No worries. I love it.
[00:44:01] KR: What books should everyone read?
[00:44:03] JM: I think hands down, I mentioned it upfront, but Nelson Nash’s book, Becoming Your Own Banker. It’s the bedrock that we’ve built all of this off. Wealth Without Wall Street wouldn’t exist without it.
[00:44:14] RM: There’s so many great books. I mean, I could talk about Robert Kiyosaki’s books. One of my favorite is a book called The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster and because that’s who I am as an entrepreneur and Darren Hardy, one of the owners of Success Magazine wrote this book. To me, detailed the highs and lows that I go with and helps me as an entrepreneur balance my mindset and how I can perform at a higher level.
[00:44:42] KR: Very good. Great suggestions, guys. Appreciate it. Last, but not least, for each of you, what is your number one key to success?
[00:44:51] JM: You know what, I’m going to say, there’s not been any move that I’ve ever made in my life that didn’t start with just trusting the Lord. Man, he has just led me on this path. I can’t take credit for much, because at the end of the day, If I hadn’t met Russ, I hadn’t read the book, I hadn’t woken up to this whole new way of thinking. Man, be honest, I actually talked to my wife about this recently. She was like, “Honestly, I didn’t know how our marriage was going to end up the way things were going.”
I was oblivious to that. I knew I was working a lot. I knew I was tired a lot and wasn’t present. Didn’t realize that that was such a big hindrance with my wife. Man, I took a huge leap of faith, 2014, to start this business. I keep seeing how the Lord just leads and guides me and my family. I would say, none of this stuff we actually talked about in this episode matters if you don’t have that relationship with Christ and you’re not working towards following him.
[00:45:59] RM: Man. You stole the words right out of my mouth as normal. He and I really just two heads, barely separated. I would say, that was absolutely number one. If I had to give a close second, it is being in partnership with somebody that helps complete the areas that you struggle in. I think, so many people are out there trying to operate in a silo and do things on their own or at least they feel like that.
When you can find somebody who’s on the same mission as you are, who can help look for your blind spots and help you in the areas that maybe you’re weaker in than they are, that’s a huge blessing. Our partnership has just quadrupled our business every single year, it seems like. I attest it to those two things.
[00:46:46] KR: That’s awesome. Great advice, guys. Thanks for sharing and thanks for coming on today and just helping us change our perspective, helping us get a different point of view. I think it’s really powerful. Looks like you guys have built a very good system there. Thanks for sharing it with our listeners. If people want to learn more about what you guys are doing, how can they reach out to you?
[00:47:06] KR: Well, we want to offer one of the things, the tools that we use in the process is a scorecard, a financial scorecard. It helps people figure out where are they right now, in light of financial freedom. It’s based off of Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow game. We don’t make up anything new. Just use things that helped us. If you go to wealthwithoutwallstreet.com/scorecard, you can get access to be able to download your own copy on that. It’ll also give you a free access to our community, where you can join other like-minded people. It’s its own app, so you can have access to DM us, even within there. You don’t have to get totally derailed with Facebook, cat memes and other things like that. We’d love to have you.
[00:47:53] KR: It’s a dangerous game to get on there. 40 minutes later, you don’t know where you are.
Awesome, guys. That’s a fantastic resource. Well, that’s all listed down in the show notes. Listeners go check it out. You can click the link right there and get access. Russ, Joey, thank you guys so much today for coming on. It’s been a blast.
[00:48:12] JM: Yeah, thank you for having us. It’s been fun on our end as well.
[00:48:15] RM: Yeah. Thank you so much, man.
[00:48:16] KR: Have a good rest of the day.
[00:48:18] JM: All right.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:48:18] KR: Thanks for listening to another great episode of Ritter on Real Estate. Hit the subscribe button and make sure you don’t miss out on the content that will make you a better investor. Also, visit kentritter.com for articles, videos, and tools curated just for passive investors. Until next time, this is Kent Ritter with Ritter on Real Estate. Now, go out and invest like a pro.