Twenty years ago, my realtor gave me a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad (often called the “little purple bible” in the real estate world) before I closed on my first property. Like many people, that book launched me down the path of real estate investing.
While I understood the power of putting my money to work in a hard asset like real estate… I struggled to reach the level of financial freedom I longed for.
I was flipping (live-in flipping, to be exact). I was using low-interest rate loans to acquire primary properties, then using the 121 exclusion every two years to keep my capital gains tax-free. I did quite well building up buckets of equity that way, but I just couldn’t see how people were retiring off of real estate if they were always flipping.
I decided to re-read the “purple bible” again… maybe I missed something. The second time I read the book, I picked up on the concept to invest for equity and cash flow (yeah… I can feel the snickers now).
So, I quickly changed my investing thesis to include buy and hold rentals, thinking that would solve all my financial freedom woes. Even after scaling to over 30 rentals that provided both equity and cash flow, I still felt trapped.
Even though I had property management in place, I was still heavily involved in my business: approving tenants, drafting, and approving budgets, making all key decisions, handling all the bookkeeping, banking, and legal, and constantly monitoring performance. Additionally, I was in charge of scaling the business: maintaining my deal flow, underwriting deals, making offers, and managing due diligence. And I still needed to add 40 more units to achieve my financial goals.
Yearning to find the “missing piece” to financial freedom, I read The Cashflow Quadrant, where author Robert Kiyosaki illustrates how ultimate wealth (in terms of money and time) is created when an investor learns how to move their active cash flow from the active income quadrants of E and S (employee and self-employed) to the passive income quadrants of B and I (business and investor).
Then it struck me like a ton of bricks…
In scaling my portfolio (even with property management in place), I was still in the S quadrant. I was still on the wrong side of the freedom equation. I hadn’t scaled myself to the B and I business quadrant. I had no real leverage; I couldn’t step away. I had money coming in, my net worth was growing, but I didn’t have my time back.
All I had was another set of “golden handcuffs.”
That’s when I discovered the ultimate leveraged investment (as Kiyosaki puts it, the “I” quadrant) where I could grow my cash flow, build my net worth, and leverage other people’s time, expertise, and money to massively scale my portfolio.
And it changed everything.
How to Create Massive Leverage
There are five key levers you can apply to any business that will help you move from the right side of the cash flow quadrant to the left side, the passive side (the B and I quadrants).
And it’s no secret that my favorite way of capturing all these five levers in one swoop to build your financial and time freedom is by passively investing in real estate (and you don’t even have to be a business guru, or a slog away in a start-up).
One of the biggest hurdles that keeps most investors from scaling a rental portfolio is their lack of familiarity and knowledge about the investment strategy. Then there is how to scale the portfolio efficiently and effectively. When you buy one single-family home, it’s one thing, but to buy 30 units in one transaction… well, let’s just say scale can “cut” both positively and negatively.
In a real estate syndication, you get to leverage the general partners’ expertise and knowledge of the market, deal strategy, construction, and systems for asset management. Plus, you get to leverage their TEAM.
Let’s say you decide to leap from single-family homes to purchase your own multifamily to achieve an element of scale. When making the leap, you also have to switch up your entire investment team. The realtor who helped you find your 3/2 ranch is not the same broker who will help you find a 75+-unit deal. The same goes for property management, insurance agents, construction, lending, etc.
In a real estate syndication deal, you get to leverage the general partners’ network of realtors, property managers, lenders, insurance agents, construction crews, other partners… and other investors!
Track record, credit, and lending are three huge obstacles to solve when transitioning from single-family to multifamily. In my case, I had 30 single-family units, but I wanted to jump to owning a 40-unit building. I didn’t have that track record for that type of asset, and lenders were shutting me down.
In a real estate syndication deal, you don’t have to solve this three-pronged lending issue since you get to leverage the general partners’ investment track record, credit, and ultimately, ability to secure lending. And the bonus… you have now outsourced that debt obligation to an entity as well!
Unless you have millions in your bank account, it’s hard to make that leap from securing a down payment and reserves on a few single-family properties to securing a down payment and reserves on an institutional-grade asset.
In a real estate syndication deal, it’s different! You get to leverage not only the General Partners’ money but other investors’ money to help secure the down payment and various reserves to acquire a much larger, scalable deal. Everyone wins!
Time is your most precious non-renewable resource. Once you spend it… it’s gone… you can never get it back.
Time is the reason so many investors never get started in real estate investing. Time is also the reason why so many investors get stuck and never scale their real estate portfolios to the point where it can create true wealth and time freedom for themselves and their families. This was my biggest scaling sticking point.
Time is the biggest leverage point of passive real estate investing. You can leverage all the time the general partners have put into studying the investment strategy, building their networks, track record and investor database, and their expertise to find and manage the deal. All of it! This is the ultimate “I” quadrant move. Where you, the investor, get to invest in an operating business… and get your time back!
It’s no secret that my favorite way of scaling from the active income quadrants of E and S to the passive quadrants of B and I is by investing in passive real estate.
Simple. It’s because you can pull all five investing levers at one time in one investment, build multiple passive cash flow streams, diversely grow your wealth, and get your time back to live life to the fullest.