Average Joe in a Hot Real Estate Market

If you live in an expensive city breaking into the real estate market seem to be a dream rather than a reality. But as a regular guy with an average income in Canada’s most expensive real estate market, I was still able to do it. Here are the 5 reasons why!

I learned to save aggressively

With an aggressive savings habit, I was able to invest in a market where an average 1 bedroom condo could go for half a million dollars. To be able to save for a 20% downpayment on my first real estate purchase I had to learn what my income was in relationship to my expenses. I then had to save 75% of my income for 7 straight years. Let me tell you those seven years sucked donkey balls but it was all worth it in the end!

I got myself a great mentor

I convinced someone with an extensive real estate portfolio in my area to become my mentor. For the next year and a half, I then followed everything that my mentor did and said to learn what it takes to invest and grow a real estate portfolio. Not only did I learn to build my confidence as an investor but I also developed a robust network of real estate contacts that I still continue to rely on today.

I became more optimistic

During my first 20 – 25 years of life, I had a negative personality. The issue with a negative personality is that it can be a barrier to entry in real estate. Real estate is based on creating relationships with people. To succeed I had to develop strong relationships with the builders, contractors, strata councils and the property management company. With a negative personality, these relationships are impossible to build. I had to become more optimistic to gain the trust of the real estate community. There are countless times of bad tenants, huge repair bills and last minute issues with financing and being negative did not help resolve those situations. Learning to be optimistic and building a strong network of relationships instead helped me overcome these obstacles

I learned to do proper market research

Becoming a confident real estate investor is more than just aggressive savings, great mentorship and optimism. Understanding what rents are in the current area, how much an average condo sells for in the market and what type of demographics will rent in your area is what allowed me to break into the real estate game. When I first started I would use data from a combination of Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, MLS and Craigslist to understand where I can get the best deals.

I invested in myself

I used to be a terrible communicator, negotiator and repairman. However, to succeed in real estate I needed all three skills. I had to seriously invest in myself to grow my real estate portfolio. To do this I had to take classes in public speaking, negotiation and home repairs. I then had to immediately take what I have learned and apply it to my real estate business. In the business of real estate, you have to invest in yourself to become successful.

TOP 10 WAYS TO GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE SOME CASH!

Here are the top (somewhat terrible) 10 ways to make dollar bills right now

  1. Sell your junk online – Figure out what you don’t really need (your SO?) and just sell it on Craigslist
  2. Teach English online – Become a virtual teacher on VIPKid and teach some random Chinese kid English ($20/hour x 5 = cha-ching)
  3. Donate your sperm – I said enough
  4. Cut your neighbours grass – You really hit two bird with this one. First, you make cash and second you improve the looks of the neighbourhood’s drug den
  5. Use Ebates – Earn cashback and go on a shopping spree? Count me in!
  6. Rent out your parent’s bedroom – Go onto Airbnb and rent it out while your parents are out of town. Trust me they will be surprised when they come back
  7. Car-sharing – Unless your in a hick town known as Vancouver you can join Uber or Lyft and drive around to make some extra bucks. Just don’t get accused of sexual assault while you are at it
  8. Start a business – And then close it because you do not know the first thing about running a business
  9. Become a freelancer – Go onto Fiverr and pick up some work that will actually pay you. Love to draw then Fiverr is there for you. Love to do makeup then Fiverr has your back. Love to become a fairy princess…. sorry Fiverr cannot help your there
  10. Take photos and sell them on the internet for a fee – Take a picture of your toilet and put it on Shutterstock. You would be surprised to see that there are people willing to pay cash to use that specific image of your toilet

Quote of the Day

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Frederick Buechner,

How to Budget Properly

Learning how to budget is an effective way to eliminate debt. Here are five way you can become an effective budgeter


1 . Start Early

Starting early allows you to experiment and make mistakes. Learning from my mistakes during my 20s allowed me to discover my financial spending limits. By understanding my financial limits at an early age I was able to set up a budget that was both realistic and easy to follow

2 . Use the Available Resources

The first of many steps in effective budgeting is going online and looking for resources. One useful tool that I used to build my budget is PersonalFinanceCanada on Reddit. For Canadians, this is the ultimate resource for budget planning. Not only is it a resource for amazing advice but also provides budget planners, net worth calculators and other great financial goodies

3. Answer the Hard Questions

Before you even start thinking about a budget you will need to answer the hard questions. Are you going to be aggressive or passive? Will you track your spending daily, monthly or even yearly? Is this a long term commitment or new year’s resolution that will only last a week? By answering the hard questions you will be ready to build your budget

4. Create Accountability

Accountability is the key to successful budgeting. When creating your first budget you should find someone you trust to build accountability. After finding that special someone set up a 15-minute window once a week to report on your budgeting success and failures. Not only is this an incentive for you to follow through on your budget but also reduce the burdens of the budgeting process.

5. Understand That Your Human

Finally, understand that above all you are human. Humans are inclined to fail and make mistakes. This is an important lesson as there will be days when you forget to track your spending or you somehow splash 3000 dollars on those special Nikes. Do not sweat the small things and understand that becoming an effective budgeter is a marathon and not a race

5 Slick Ways To Deal With Debt in your 20’s

Your 20s is usually full of misadventures, late nights out and romantic fall-outs. Add student loans, bad credit and your $1500 shoe collection to that list and you get the picture. Here are five easy ways to deal with debt in your 20s!

  1. Know Your Financial Limit!

Learning your financial limits during your 20s is the best way to set the financial boundaries for the rest of your life. Lean on your experiences to understand what the minimum amount is needed to make yourself happy. If drinking that one $4 beer was enough to get you happy and drunk on a night out then that $4 beer should be the gold standard of how much you are willing to spend on alcohol on any night out. Feeling financially hurt but still not happy after spending $700 on that Coldplay ticket? Then maybe your financial limit should be $50 on the next set of tickets. Learning from these experiences make you the person you are tomorrow. Yes as you grow older your income and standards of living might increase but it should not justify spending that much money on Coldplay tickets!

2. Be Aggressive!

Becoming Chuck Norris in your 20s is a great way to learn how to fight debt. Be aggressive, be tough and above all learn that debt does not have your number instead you have debt’s number. Go all out and throw that credit into the fire pit. Do whatever it takes to show debt whose boss!

3. Build a Budget and Stick to IT!

One important lesson to control debt in your 20s is to build a budget and stick to it Having a budget in your 20s allows you to track how much you spend on any given day, month or year. By tracking your spending habits you gain knowledge. Use that knowledge and you are able to make better financial choices. Making better financial choices saves that 20 dollars you would have otherwise spent on organic moo moo juice. Build a Budget and Stick to it!

4. Learn to Live Frugally

Be the next Warren Buffet of your age group. Learning to be frugal is another great way to fighting debt in your 20s. Instead of eating out every day learn to cook your meals in batches over the weekend. Instead of spending 20 grand on that new beemer buy a $1500 clunker and drive it until it falls apart. Learning this lesson in your 20s is a slick way to be debt free the rest of the life.

5. Save, Save and Save Even more!

Learning to save until your financially butt-hurt is a great way to get ahead of debt in your 20s. Every year counts and the earlier you start saving the further you are ahead financially in your 30s, 40s and 50s. Take that 300 dollars you would have spent on those pair of nice sneakers and instead throw that cash into an Dividend Paying Stock, Robo Investor or even a High-Interest Savings Account (Equibank offers 2.3% interest right now) Being able to save 30 – 40% of your income in your 20s is a crucial building block to creating passive income and financial independence. Building a financial nest egg in your twenties makes you better prepared to deal with any future debt that rears its ugly head. So Save, Save and Save some more!

Being Financially Savvy During Holiday Sales

paper bags near wall

Boxing Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer some of the biggest sales of the year. However, these big sales events can have an unintended consequence on your wallets. Here are five ways to be more financially savvy during holiday sales events so you can keep more money in your own pockets.

#1: Always Compare Prices Online

By comparing prices online you more likely to understand if that 50% off sticker price is actually a discount. You also may find there are better prices elsewhere. Some recommended price comparison sites include Google Shopping (https://www.google.com/shopping) and PricePirates (www.pricepirates.com).

#2: Build a List and Stick to it!

Having a list makes it less likely for you to get distracted during a holiday event. A list also allows you to strategize and go for the product you need as opposed to the products you want. There is also a less likelihood that you will have buyer’s remorse the next day.

#3: Use cash or debit card

Always purchase using cash or pre-paid debit cards. Even better allocate just enough cash to cover the purchase including tax. This will achieve two objectives. First, it will prevent overspending and second you will buy something you will need as opposed to something you want. 

#4: Know the Return Policy

Always check the return policy. Some retailers during the major holiday events reduce the number of days you have to return the product. Other retailers require the original receipt to return the product. Furthermore, there are some products that are not even returnable. The best thing you can do is always check the retailer’s return policy before making the purchase.

#5. Go Open Box

The best bang for your buck is open boxes. It is a well-known fact that many open boxes are products that are only opened once and then returned. Retailers will then discount the price even further or sell the product back to a third party open box retailer. So instead of buying something new in Black Friday or Boxing Day go save some money and shop at an open box retailer. A good open box retailer to check out include Open Box Buy Online https://www.openboxbuyonline.com/ or Amazon Warehouse Deals (https://www.amazon.com/Warehouse-Deals).

How to Just Say No!

Whether it is a request from my tenants, work colleagues, or even my barber being able to say No has always been tough. However in my journey to financial independence being able to say No is a barrier that I must overcome. Here are 5 strategies that I am employing to become more effective at saying “No”

  1. Be Confident and firm when saying “NO”. If you are emotional then it is easier for the other person to take advantage of the situation and convince you that saying yes is the better option
  2. Run through each possible argument when saying “NO. That way you are ready to counter argue and explain why you said no in the first place
  3. Remember it is about what you want, not what the other person wants. I have had issues about saying No to tenant requests even though it would an inconvenience to me. In certain situations, it is better for your physical and emotional well being to say No
  4. Say No and walk away. Do not give them the chance to change your mind. If you just walk away after saying No it will make it harder for the other person to better argue you their case.
  5. If the other person gets aggressive and starts to threaten you keep your cool and be level-headed. They want you to react so do not give them that pleasure.

If you liked my list please hit the like button and comment!

Christmas: The Best Time To Start Building Your Passive Income!

Merry Christmas everyone! While most people think of Christmas as the time to open presents, settle family feuds and drink barrels of red wine (and it surely is). It is also a great time to BUILD a PASSIVE INCOME. Here are Ten Christmas themed passive incomes that you can start building right now!

  1. Find and resell other people’s unwanted Christmas presents on Craigslist and eBay
  2. Write a Christmas themed book and sell it on Amazon
  3. Get into the Christmas spirit and help small business and individuals out by joining a Peer Lending Group
  4. Create a Holiday Themed – Youtube Channel
  5. Start a niche blog on WordPress that explores Christmas topics such as how to bake perfect Christmas cookies
  6. Learn to craft Christmas themed mittens, ornaments or toys and open up an online Etsy shop
  7. Start a new drop shipping e-commerce business where you sell other supplier’s Christmas goods
  8. Create a teaching course on Udemy and teach others about the spirit of Christmas
  9. Build an app on a Christmas related subject
  10. Open up a High-Interest Savings Account that takes advantage of Christmas bonuses!

Goldman Sachs Rules the World

With another economic recession in the horizon here is a rant I wrote seven years ago that would still apply today

Just read a new story concerning the comments made by a British financial trader to the BBC. The comments made by Alessio Rastani are seen as outrageous and immoral. But here in the economic world most of us would just shrug and say its the truth. The fact is that for financial traders and anyone connected to the financial industry “making money and not getting caught” is the golden rule. If it takes another recession to make an even larger profit than why not. Immorality is not even in the financial industry’s vocabulary. If it was then to a financial trader like Rastani it would mean not making enough money to support their lifestyle. This is true for Goldman Sachs. They want another recession and another money making opportunity. They do not necessarily see the slumped world economy in the view of an average person. To them, the recession is another bailout. Hopefully, many of you agree with my insight. However, if you do not agree then tell me why.

Best Ways to Eliminate Debt

There is a rule on debt “All Debt Is Bad Debt”. Any debt I accrue will usually be aggressively pursued and eliminated in the shortest time period. For example last month I had a 9000 dollar debt to pay off. In 3 short weeks, I eliminated that specific debt and saved hundreds of dollars in interest. How did I do it? Here are four steps I used to quickly and aggressively eliminate debt (Warning: This approach might not work for everyone)

Step 1: Ice your credit cards and put them in the freezer. Use cash or a debit card instead for any essential purchases

Step 2: Immediately transfer your debt from higher interest credit card to a lower interest LOC or Debit Card

Step 3: If you currently directing money into your savings account. “Stop it”. Instead, re-direct the money to paying off your debt first

Step 4: Eliminate any unnecessary spending and go cold turkey. When I go to make a purchase I usually have two lists on my mind. Is it a need or a want. If it is a need then I will go ahead and purchase the item. If it is a want then I will not purchase the item.