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Growing A Prosperity Mindset: Overcoming Money Blocks Towards A Prosperous Life With Lillian Bajor

REW Lillian Bajor | Prosperity Mindset


Are you earning but only to some extent and not as much as you should be? Are you stressed due to money concerns? In this episode, Moneeka Sawyer welcomes Lillian Bajor, Owner of Prosperity Coaching and Financial Literacy programs, to dive deep into our Prosperity Mindset, helping us find alignment in our prosperity consciousness to thrive and overcome money challenges. They discuss how the messaging we receive can limit us; therefore, we need to train our minds with affirmations, so we can develop prosperous thoughts and grow our mindset. Lillian then discusses the roles of parents in engaging children with financial literacy, building within them a strong financial foundation as they grow up. Immerse yourself in this conversation and learn more tips on how to change our relationship with money as well as the value of learning about real estate. Open your prosperity mindset today!

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Growing A Prosperity Mindset: Overcoming Money Blocks Towards A Prosperous Life With Lillian Bajor

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show our guest Lillian Bajor. She is a personal finance and life coach, minister, and Owner of Prosperity Coaching & Financial Literacy programs. Blending spirituality and money, she helps people overcome their money challenges, blocks, or misconceptions, and open up to prosperity consciousness so they can thrive.

Her comprehensive coaching systems and style stem from overcoming her own financial challenges, plus a strong foundation in business, a solid financial education, as well as in-depth studies and finance through psychology, metaphysics, resilience modalities, body intelligence, and the healing arts. Her company serves the important need for financial literacy. Its mission is to educate and empower women and men with financial confidence and a strong financial foundation. Lillian, thank you for coming to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here, Moneeka.

What’s so funny is I’ve had so many conversations with my audience. Frequently, the conversation of spirituality will come up. There seems to be a pull. People seem to feel like they’re against each other. My spirituality has to be in this box. My money has to be in this box. Money can’t contaminate spirituality, which is so fascinating because as Indians, we believe the opposite. Everything in our world is a part of our spirituality, including our wealth or our money or whatever. I find it fascinating how people here tend to rip those two pieces apart. I think both of them are such a big part of who we are. I love that you combined them also. That’s wonderful.

I’m going to be honest with you. It wasn’t intentional. It was the spirit. I was a minister at the time and I decided that I need to get the whole money conversation because I learned a lot about business but not about money. I was determined to master it because I kept having challenges and seeing challenges in my family. I was so grounded spiritually that when I started working with money, they got married because they too had a hard time with money. I was like, “This is too dry. It’s too boring.” It wasn’t when I was able to come into my spirituality and let that be my come from.

I also love that you talked about you had a lot of business expertise but not a lot of money expertise. I think that is going to be a key piece of this conversation because this is what I find out there. I coached CEOs, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs for 15 to 20 years. One of those things that came up consistently is business and money are not the same things.

Just because you have a brilliant business mind and you make a lot of money, does not mean that you understand money. That’s why many people lose and gain money so fast in their businesses because they love building a business but they don’t understand how money works. It’s fantastic that you understand that those are two separate things and that you got educated on both of those.

Yes. I grew up in a family business. I’ve been working in the family business since I was fourteen after school but it was pleasurable. It was normal and natural. It wasn’t even a chore or anything. It was something me and my sisters did. It was fun. We would hang out. We worked and as I got older, I started working. My father had restaurants. He came to California and he had a wholesale stationery business.

I grew up within the family business and my father was an open book and a very savvy businessman but money was his thing. I ran a whole department, the advertising specialty department of the company. It was a special division, but the money was something he kept his eye on all the time. He didn’t feel at the time that women needed to earn or to know about money. He was from that generation. He didn’t give me the knowledge because he always came from the mindset that women are taken care of. It was something that I later realized that I want this education. I have all this business knowledge, but when it came to money, I didn’t manage my money well. I could spend it but I didn’t manage my money well. I was not financially literate.

That’s a big deal, learning how money works and how to utilize it in the best way in your life. Most people don’t get educated on that, men or women, but less so women than men.

Things are changing now and I’m very grateful and happy about it. I’m sure lots of parents are educating their children and letting them be aware of the whole money conversation. In my generation in the ’50s, women didn’t even work. That was before me, so we’ve come a long way. I was lucky that we had a family business where I received all my business knowledge, but money was a different story back then.

I was born in the ’60s. It was still not something that women were taught at all. I was the oldest of three sisters and I was still very interested in it. I learned a lot from my dad. I would help him write checks and we would talk about bills, taxes, and all of those things that no child wants to learn. Somehow I was interested. It was a way for me to spend time with dad.

However, the other two girls had no knowledge at all. Now, as we’re grown-up women, both my sisters are very smart women, but I’m much more financially adept than the other two because they weren’t interested in the conversation. Some of it is the environment and some of it is an interest. For those ladies that have young children and you want them to be financially literate, it’s important for you to engage them in the conversation because as they grow up, they become more financially literate.

This is another thing that happens. People are like, “You don’t want kids to be thinking about money all the time. Money is not important. Let them be children.” All of those things are true except that money is not important. The reality of life is no money equals homelessness, illness, and all of those other things. Money is a reality in the way that we live. Educating our children, if you want to make it fun or cute or whatever, that’s great. You need to engage them in that conversation because you don’t want to just throw them out into the real world and then have them figure it out. You would like to have them have some foundation around that.

I want to bring up the mindset of people that would think you don’t want children to think about money. Why not? Why would money be that subject that you would put it in a place where it’s like, “Children shouldn’t be exposed to money? Money is not a burden.

It’s not a bad thing.

You teach them to brush their teeth. You teach hygiene, nutrition, exercise, and education. Money is just another part of life. To bring it out of that place where it’s taboo, “Don’t burden children.” That’s what I’m hearing when they say children shouldn’t need to know about money. It’s a part of life.

Children should know about money. Money is not a burden. It is just another part of life. Click To Tweet

I often will give my nephew, my youngest sister’s son, candy money for his birthday. His favorite thing in the whole world is candy. I give him candy money and then we take the candy money, whether it’s $10 or $20, and we go to the candy store. We tell him, “You got this much to spend so you need to figure out what you would like.”

He might spend two hours at the candy store trying to figure out, “I could get this. That’s cool or I could get these three items, they’ll fill my basket more,” or whatever. He’s learning about creating priorities for what’s important to him. He’s learning Math. He adds up every single scent in his head. He’s amazing at Mathematics because of this. He reads all the descriptions on the back so he knows what he’s getting. It’s helping his reading.

He’s learning about money inadvertently. This game has turned into this thing that helped him in school, in Math, reading, and prioritizing when he is trying to do his homework, “What do I prioritize? What’s more important?” If I want to do this game or play the piano, which one is more important? It’s interesting the way that he took a money conversation and turned it into a life-learning lesson. I’m amazingly impressed with that, and the way that it’s changed his outlook on life because his very playful. There’s nothing heavy or burdensome about it, but he’s learning about all of it at the same time.

I think it’s brilliant. It’s learning buying decisions at the age of eight without even knowing that you’re learning something that’s so valuable and important for his life.

Let’s start here by defining prosperity the way that you see it.

This came to me. The prosperity consciousness is being in harmony with the flow of life and being in harmony with our true self. When we’re spiritually aligned, we’re aligned with prosperity. That is the way the universe is. I know you know this. We live in a spiritual universe. We’re not taught that, but we do live in a spiritual universe. Everything is in harmony and balance.

The prosperity consciousness is being in harmony with the flow of life and being in harmony with our true self. When we’re spiritually aligned, we’re aligned with prosperity. Click To Tweet

It’s a perfect ecosystem. We messed with it. We messed it up. We’re experiencing the results of that like oil spills, rainforests, the ozone layer, and all the climate issues we’re having. Before all that, I’m sure when you were young and certainly when I was, things were very much in a lot more harmony and they still are. As humans and spiritual connecting spiritually, it’s being in this consciousness of knowing that you’re taken care of.

It does come from within and I’m speaking of intuition, inspiration, meeting the right people, and being in the right place at the right time, and is lined up with that. That is that prosperity consciousness where your life is in balance and there is fulfillment because there’s alignment to our true nature. We’re being guided from there, and the world is not set up like that because we go to school and everybody was in a cookie-cutter. You’re going to go through life and this is the way it is. Connecting to our natural gifts and talents wasn’t a part of it, but when we move into that consciousness of being inwardly aligned, we’re taken care of and we’re aligned with prosperity.

Talk to me about the prosperity mindset. That’s what prosperity looks like but talk to me about the mindset.

There’s more than one layer. A prosperity mindset is training the mind to think prosperous thoughts. A lot of the languaging and a lot of the messages are limiting us. You can’t do that or you don’t do this. It’s all this language and all this direction of how to live our lives and what to do. A lot of times, we’re being limited but our minds can be trained through affirmations. That’s one step to growing a prosperity mindset.

Another big piece is growth and constantly educating and growing. In our experiences, if we have succeeded in life but we’ve done something good and we’ve had a great day, to give you that and to anchor in what was great about that, and to align with that. How I moved through that day. How I created that. How I participated in that. How did I make it happen? Even though there may have been some bumps and roadblocks in the way that I moved through them, I got to where I needed to be.

That’s part of the prosperity mindset. Another big piece is when there’s a failure and some are bigger than others. I’ve had my fair share when it came to money and that’s why I’m doing the work I do. I was in a lawsuit and I had a bankruptcy. I had all kinds of things. To use those experiences, which can be so difficult to work through and to grow through, but to look at the gain. What is it that I didn’t understand? What did I need to learn? How can I use it for my upliftment? What are the treasures here? I’m big on that.

When I was in school, they called it a golden rung in the ladder and we’re climbing the ladder. It’s like getting a Harvard education. You go to school and you learn all this knowledge, but when you’re out there in the streets, you’re doing it, you’re taking these risks, and it doesn’t work out, then instead of doing a launch and it did not succeed, and then, “I’m never going to do that again.” I did a launch. I didn’t succeed. What did I learn? What can I do differently? Start going into that. That is a prosperity mindset because it’s expanding and it’s looking for upliftment and gain rather than judging or contracting.

What do you think it is that stands in people’s way of experiencing prosperity? I know this idea of contraction is a big piece of that. What causes that?

It’s fear of the unknown. For a lot of people, it stops them and staying in their comfort zone. My life was one where I was kicked out of my comfort zone because of my finance. A lot of it was financial challenges, and that was the impetus of what is pushing me to constantly do the work I’m doing around financial literacy because I’m learning and growing. I am understanding that I need to master this.

For whatever reason, I need to get it. I have business skills. I have a lot and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had a lot of challenges for a reason. My father had a lot of challenges but it’s that fear and thinking that our mind is finite. It’s like a computer. Many of us know this. Whatever you put into a computer is what you’re going to get out. If you need it to put a certain key or a certain letter in there, if you need it to code it a certain way, you are not going to get in there if you don’t have the password.

Think about that. We need to program our minds. The information we’re getting from our minds is what we’ve learned, what we’ve seen, and the messages we’ve received. It’s been from childhood. We don’t even remember half of them. Some of them are inherited beliefs. I’m not going to say it’s junk, but it’s a lot of material that probably doesn’t serve many of us.

This fear comes in. We don’t even know where it’s from, but it contracts us and stops us from experiencing prosperity. The example I would like to share is my father. He was an incredibly savvy businessman. He came to this country in 1956. He did not speak the language. He spoke Hungarian. My mother and my two older sisters were babies.

He had the courage and the bravery to be like, “I’m going to America.” It was because there was communism and all kinds of things in his country. He was a man that wanted to make a lot of money and he felt very limited. They came to America and he became a multimillionaire. In 1980, at that point, he was incredibly wealthy. He invested in real estate and I don’t know the reason behind that. I don’t recall what that was but I worked with him at the time. There was a brand new building that was built in Englewood on Ivy Street.

The warehouse is where his business was and where I worked. There was another piece of building on the lot. He rented it to Milne Truck Lines. It was quite a large block. He owned that. He owned a property in Palm Springs on Camino Real. It was a gorgeous home. He also owned a property up on Sunset Plaza. It was on Rising Glen. It was a gorgeous home. In 1980, he was growing very fast. He factored his business, a portion of the money, probably more than he should have. I know about the factoring because I remember going to the office. I was young. I was in my early twenties, but he was very much of an open book when it came to business. I was familiar with that.

What is factoring for my ladies that don’t know?

Factoring is you sell your invoice and you get paid upfront a certain percentage because there is a guarantee that the money will be paid. You’re getting the money in advance. It’s a way to grow your business and he didn’t know about that. I think that was something that was new. Whereas if you grow your business and it’s your own money and your own cash, you don’t want to be factoring money. I don’t know what to compare it to actually.

It’s preemptively spending. It’s a little bit like a credit card.

However, it was for business growth. It was the expansion that was happening. The business was booming and then there was the recession. The factor pulled everything. He lost everything. It was a difficult part of life because I was there and I remember it. Everything went crashing down. The part that I remember about my father who has passed away since then is he became a millionaire again, but he did learn in a business where before he was a wholesaler of stationery.

He carried all kinds of office supplies that you see in Office Depot and that you see in these office supplies. He had whiteout, he had copy paper, he had the big pens, crypto pens, pentel, and tons of office supplies. That’s what he did but his business was wholesale. He was selling at a very small margin but in very large quantities. That was his business.

What he did after he went bankrupt was decided that everybody would always need a pen. No matter what, people would always need writing instruments. He became a millionaire again and he did writing instruments. That’s all he did. He expanded into advertising specialty products, which is the division I got to run and grew into.

The thing that I want to highlight is real estate. What I was super surprised at is that he lost all of this money in real estate and he contracted. He went into fear. He didn’t educate himself. The thing with my dad is that when it came to real estate, he didn’t do the same thing. He didn’t use the same prosperity mindset because he had an incredible prosperity mindset, but instead of expanding and educating himself about real estate, he contracted. He moved because he lost the house that he was in that he owned at the time.

REW Lillian Bajor | Prosperity Mindset

Prosperity Mindset: He lost all of this money in real estate, and he contracted. He went into fear. He didn’t educate himself.

We moved into a couple of houses down. He lived on the same street for two decades on Rising Glen but he was renting. I remember that the owner wanted to sell the house and he offered it to my father. My father would not buy it. He was afraid. He totally contracted. He went into a scarcity mindset, and he wound up regretting that because he was accustomed to living on top of a hill and the quality of the air up there. It’s the whole lifestyle. He wound up living in Beverly Hills in a beautiful apartment. It’s huge like a condo that he wouldn’t buy. He paid rent for the rest of his life. He was wealthy and he had the money but he didn’t educate himself about real estate.

I have a question about that. I know this is an interesting thing to say on a real estate show, but real estate is not for everybody. There are some people who it is not the right fit for them, and they still build wealth. We know the numbers. Ninety percent of wealthy people in the world own real estate and many of them have become multimillionaires through their real estate investments. Real estate is a huge part of the portfolio of the very wealthy. However, there is the 10% that’s not true. It sounds like your dad was one of those people.

Real estate is a huge part of the portfolio of the very wealthy. Click To Tweet

I’ve never met anybody that’s like that. Real estate is not for everybody. I get that. It is the one thing that we in America have access to that the government completely supports. It’s a no-brainer way to build wealth because of the way the laws work here in the United States, but not everybody wants to get into it. I can see from your dad, he had this huge real estate empire. He lost that empire because he made some noble but questionable decisions in another business that was supporting real estate.

He then decided he didn’t want to do real estate. When we talked about that, he didn’t get educated, and he didn’t get back into real estate. Did he suffer for those decisions? What do you feel was the opportunity cost may be or the consequence of him not going getting into real estate on his second round when he rebuilt?

It was a very substantial loss. He could do the things he did because he was young and he had this enormous amount of energy, enthusiasm, desire, and ambition. At that age, it was different. He had grandchildren by then. My daughter was born in 1980. He’s an older man. There’s a lot more that plays into it and I think it may have chipped at his sense of empowerment over, “I can do anything.” I can’t. That’s not my arena. I don’t have the knowledge.

For some reason, I don’t know what the block was to get the knowledge. In business, it was almost like an intuitive automatic response. This didn’t work. I’m going to do this and made it happen. It was so quick but in real estate and personally, my takeaway was he didn’t have the knowledge, to begin with, to take that kind of risk.

Why go factor and try to grow the business this fast? You are doing great. I think it was spinning out because sometimes the growth is so quick, and not watching the economy and not knowing in. It’s not having enough education on a broader scale. There’s me, my life, and my business. What’s going on with the planet? What’s going on globally? What’s going on in the world? Am I watching the trends? It’s like having a more expansive point of view rather than just, “This is my world. This is what I’m doing.”

For the ladies, I hope you enjoyed that. The reason that I wanted to dive deep into that is because we do see very successful people that have these fear responses to perceived failure. He lost everything in real estate and decided, “I’m not touching that again. I don’t know enough and I don’t want to learn enough. I’m done.” I think that this can happen.

We’ve had so many people on my show who lost everything in 2008 or had huge failures because of bankruptcies, medical bills, and all sorts of stuff, or a child that needed help or had a birth defect. There are many people that have built up these amazing real estate businesses, and then they completely collapsed underneath them. The people that come on my show are usually the people that pick themselves back up and made it work again.

I never get a story on this show of someone that said, “Nope, I’m done,” and experienced a lot of success in a different way. However, there’s a perception in the family, or at least in his daughter that there was a loss there that happened because he wasn’t resilient around that business. I don’t know that I got a full understanding of what happened. There’s no way to know in such a short conversation. What I do want to know and what I do want my ladies to hear is that this happens to the very best of us, and it does not need to be the end.

When you watched your dad and it was the end for him, it has inspired you now to pursue education around that and to help teach others around that so that they don’t make the same mistakes. Even though this mistake didn’t cost your dad his lifestyle or his happiness or necessarily his self-confidence, it cost him something that you are sensitive to, and that you don’t want other people to experience.

A lot of that is not living in fear. You want people to be free from that fear monster so that they can live in all the different kinds of prosperity that we have like financial prosperity, health prosperity, feeling and alignment, and joy. The prosperity of joy, which I call bliss. All of those things are important to people like you and me. Maybe that was a piece of the loss, but it doesn’t sound like it was much bigger than we can pin down in a show.

I wanted people to hear this conversation because they don’t hear it here. I wanted people to understand that I do get it. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes things fall apart. At that moment, you choose or in that timeframe. It may not be a moment. It may be a moment or a phase of your life, and you choose what are you going to do with that. It’s what you were talking about. Are you going to learn? Are you going to expand? Are you going to grow? Are you going to contract? Is fear going to start controlling your life in a certain way that doesn’t serve you?

I think there are a lot of factors and I do love this conversation because it’s who you are and who I am. We’re the next generation. He’s also of a different generation. He has done a lot. There’s a lot here. We could probably enjoy going much deeper and getting a lot more insight, but it did change his personality. What I love is that it changed me too. When I look at financial literacy, it’s hardcore all-money topics. I go wide on all money topics. I call that financial literacy.

I realize and I think this is part of why I naturally go there. It’s because I also have a background in healing. You want to go wide. You want to understand money because if you’re going to be making money, you’re going to wind up wanting to buy real estate or a condo or something. You’re going to then need to know about other conversations around money, mutual funds, or having investments. It’s this deep and wide knowledge of money. When things happen because they will and they do, you can take it in strides.

REW Lillian Bajor | Prosperity Mindset

Prosperity Mindset: If you’re going to be making money, you’re going to wind up wanting to buy real estate or a condo or something. You’re going to then need to know about other conversations around money.

Also, be resilient. Bliss is about emotional resilience. Emotional resilience happens in partnership with resilience in all areas of your life. Your emotional resilience leads to resilience elsewhere, but that resilience elsewhere has to be a priority. In other words, you can’t just say everything is fine because it’s fine inside of you. That’s the single most important thing. However, if you want your life to work, you need to be resilient in the entire spectrum of what you’re paying attention to or what’s important to you.

The whole idea of being resilient is what bliss is all about. It is being able to come back to this place of balance. Balance isn’t my favorite word. I call it equilibrium. You come back to this place of emotional joy where then you can look out into your world and be resilient in everything else that you’re doing. Even if things are crashing down around you, you can now be resilient and bring them back to a place that serves the joy in your life.

I’m going to bring this up because what I’m hearing you say that I love, but it’s also that inner alignment to prosperity. Here’s what’s evolved for me. It’s the inner alignment with prosperity, regardless of what’s happening on the external. Keep going deeper into that and letting that be well that is nurtured and cultivated. I do the work every day because things are changing constantly. I’m working with people. I’m living in a world. I’m out there. I’m participating fully. I’m realigning always on a deal.

REW Lillian Bajor | Prosperity Mindset

Prosperity Mindset: Keep going deeper into that inner alignment with prosperity and nurture and cultivate that.

Sometimes a couple or more times a day, I’m realigning myself even during this conversation because I’m talking about a lot of loss that I experienced, lived through, and was a part of. There was incredible wealth after that. I was there for the cycle. Thank God that I got to see the wave of it. It came right back. He made it last but he did contract as a personality.

He contracted as a personality. It didn’t feel to me like his confidence because he exuded that, but it did do something. I don’t have the word for that right now. It will probably come up for me. I love that you went onto a deep dive and maybe it will trigger something in the audience and they will all have their own a-ha from it.

I hope so. I know that I was simplifying it a little bit and I didn’t mean to be disrespectful in any way, but I was trying to get there, “What was that thing?” Sometimes we can’t pinpoint it. It’s just that something changed.

For him, what I’ll tell you is he contracted. I didn’t want to say this, but I’m going to say it. He lived like he was immortal. He could do anything. Nothing could hurt him. That’s the way he lived his life. That’s the way he took these huge risks and kept bouncing back. I think that loss chinked his armor and that he’s not immortal.

It made him mortal.

It made him feel mortal. It’s like, “Holy cow. Something can really ouch.” He didn’t show it so I can’t share. He was the kind of guy that didn’t show it.

This conversation has been amazing. I know there was some stuff we didn’t cover and we’re also out of time so we can’t do the three rapid-fire questions, but I love the conversation. I know you. I know our spirits are connected so I wanted to do a deep dive into that and I hope that was okay. Thank you so much for being vulnerable with me and talking through that. I super appreciate that.

It was a pleasure. I enjoyed it too. I’m used to going deep and I like it.

You’ve been amazing. I’m sure my ladies are going to want to know how to get in touch with you. Talk to us a little bit about that. How can my ladies get more?

I would love to connect with whoever would like to find out more about my work and what I do. My website is LillianBajor.com. You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me on your show.

Ladies, Lillian has offered for EXTRA to do a meditation with us that’s about inviting prosperity into your life. She’s going to guide us through that in EXTRA. Stay tuned. If you are subscribed to EXTRA, we got more. If you’re not, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenEXTRA.com and you can sign up there. For those of you that are leaving Lillian and me now, thank you so much for joining in this conversation. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember that goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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Fundamentals Of Investing To Achieve Financial Independence With Chris Larsen – Real Estate For Women

REW 67 Chris Larsen | Financial Independence


We have our own choices every day, especially in your funds. How do you handle your expenses, and what do you do to achieve financial independence? Join Moneeka Sawyer and the founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income, Chris Larsen, as they delve into controlling your cash flow, creating a structure that would enable you to grow as an individual and professional. Chris is passionate about helping investors attain success in their field. He enlightens people and shares a couple of his mistakes to take the fast track towards financial independence, which took him almost 20 years. In this episode, he talks about investing, infinite banking, loans, mortgage payments, tax strategies and more. Learn how to grow your portfolio, practice financial literacy and make the best choices in your professional life.

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Fundamentals Of Investing To Achieve Financial Independence With Chris Larsen – Real Estate For Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Chris Larsen. Our guest is the Founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income. Chris has been investing and managing real estate for many years. While still a college student, he bought his first rental property at the age of 21. I love people that get into this industry young. Ladies, if you’re young, get in. From there, Chris expanded into development, private lending, buying distressed debt, as well as commercial offices and ultimately syndicating multifamily properties. He began syndicating deals in 2016 and has been actively involved in over $225 million of real estate acquisitions. Chris is passionate about helping investors become financially independent.

Chris, welcome to the show.

Moneeka, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

I’ve been looking forward to this show. You’ve been patient with me with all the rescheduling. Thank you. I’m glad we’re finally here. Chris, give us a high level of your story. I know it’s very exciting.

First off, I love that you bring up, “Get started early,” now is early, whenever you can do it. I was 21. I was in college and to rewind a little bit, my passion at the time was racing bicycles. I went to Virginia Tech for Biomechanical Engineering. I did well in school and was told, “You should be an engineer like your grandfather.” All I want to do is race bicycles. Cycling is like a real engineer sport because it’s all about numbers and power to weight ratios. That was the end of my story in a lot of ways because I didn’t want to do that.

Along the way, at that same time, when I was at this turning point, trying to decide what to do as I was looking towards a professional career, my best friend, roommate, training partner passed away. He had a massive brain hemorrhage between my freshman and sophomore years in college. I poured another year into this sport. Then realized even after I was winning more and more races, I wasn’t happy. Even though my team went professional, I stepped away from the sport and went back to school. As a junior in college, I thought, “What am I going to do with my life?” I don’t want to be an engineer. I was going to go race and then figure out what I wanted to do.

While I was racing and even when I was young, the first thing I remember is I hop on my bike and I have this tremendous sense of freedom. Probably if you’re reading, you think the same thing. I wanted the freedom to live life on my own terms, not only to respect the life I was given but also the life of the friend that I lost. I turned towards investing. I was introduced to it by the same gentleman, Clint Provenza who introduced me to cycling. My father passed away when I was five and he was a real mentor to me.

I started looking into investing. I was day trading and one of those nights/mornings at 3:00 AM when I was lying there in bed, thinking about what I should do with my trades, I thought, “Do I want to be doing this twenty years from now?” The answer was no. I looked at other investments. I read over 250 books on money investing and settled on real estate because you could control it. I bought my first property at 21. I built and managed a portfolio of single-family rentals for fifteen years but ultimately transitioned into commercial real estate. That’s what we focus on now. I try to enlighten people and share my mistakes so they can take the fast track to get towards financial independence, which took me almost twenty years.

I have a very similar story that I wanted to be a dancer. That was my thing. I came to investing for a similar reason. I wanted a life of choice. I think that freedom of choice is our true wealth. That’s what I wanted and real estate allowed that. It takes me fifteen years before I could say that my husband and I could retire but I couldn’t do it with the lifestyle that I wanted in California. We would have had to move. We continue to grow our portfolio but it was at the same thing. After about fifteen years, I was like, “We are doing everything now that we’re doing because of choice and we want to do that.” There’s nothing more liberating than that.

I teach a Financial Literacy course for high school students. They’re coming out of underprivileged homes. Most of them are living below the poverty line. We had a conversation that at some point, income is important but it’s the freedom to choose. I cited in a study that shows the janitors that have freedom in their day-to-day choices are happier than the CEOs that are making 10,000 times than they are. They’re not happy because they don’t have freedom.

Don't be afraid to ask questions and understand the numbers, the strategy, and why an operator is going into the market. Share on X

My TED Talk is about this. There’s a lot of research where money does buy happiness to a certain threshold.

What’s that number?

The original number that came up within 2010 was 75, but a study that was done in January 2021 said 100,000. It’s gone up because of inflation, obviously. Basically up until then, the number of dollars that you bring into your household does relate directly to the level of happiness or satisfaction in the household. After that, we’re looking at we have freedom, excess income is taken care of and we can focus on joy or bliss. I’m glad we’re on the same wavelength around that. Talk to me about this concept of infinite banking. Tell me what you mean by that.

Next-Level Income was born of this desire to curate information around financial literacy and education. As I built it out, we have three main areas. We talk about how to make, keep and grow your money. Those are the three steps. I have coaching clients and that’s what we work through, “How can you maximize how much money you’re making? How can you keep more money?” That’s typically around entity structure, tax strategy but also this concept called Infinite Banking. If you think about what your biggest expenses are in life, most people know that taxes are one. If you are reading this, making a lot of money, you’re at those higher income levels like 20% or 30% in California, even 40% or 50% is not uncommon.

That’s a big expense but the next biggest expense that a lot of people don’t think about is financing. Think about how much money you spend on interest for your house or on cars and if you have a business, business loans, infrastructure, equipment. If I said to you, “What if you could take that financing dollars that you spent on interest, put them back in your own pocket and you could become the bank?” That’s what Nelson Nash talks about in this concept of becoming your own banker, which infinite banking was born of.

On average, when you pay a mortgage, it’s fully amortized, you pay a lot of interest in the front end, it goes down to so and so, and when you look at the very end, you were to finance out for 30 years, what amount of money relative to your principal do you end up paying? Isn’t that something crazy like three times as much?

It’s 2 to 3 times. Interest rates now are lower. It’s more like two times but historically, it’s about three times. Let’s not pretend you’re in California because you’re probably paying $3 million. Your average home in America is $300,000, so you’re probably paying somewhere between $600,000 to $1 million for that home. That doesn’t take into account when you refinance. A lot of people refinance. They reset the clock and you pay more interest. A lot of people never get out from under that.

Ladies, I want to give you a little clarity on that. What happens on a fully amortized loan is not what we call simple interest. A fully amortized loan means it’s heavy on the interest on the front end. Let’s say like 2/3 of your mortgage payment goes into interest, 1/3 might go into your principal and then it moves over your 30 years. At the end, you’re paying significantly more in principal. I don’t think it doesn’t exactly flip but you’re paying a lot more in principal and significantly less than interest. Every time you refinance, you start that clock on the heavy interest side.

In the past, ladies, I talked about I like interest-only loans. That’s because I don’t stay in homes very long. I refinance them to take money out so I can buy something else. I’m always high on the interest side. This is a way for me to control my cashflow and doing what I would normally be doing. When he’s going to talk about infinite banking, understand that you’re paying 2 to 3 times your principal. He’s talking about how you can put that to work for you rather than you paying that off.

That’s a great way. I co-hosted a radio show in college. One of the financial advisors advocated for a fifteen-year mortgage. I said, “No, you want 30-year. You want to have the money in your pocket and the ability to pay off your mortgage because, one, ask yourself, ‘What is your return on equity?’ It’s zero. The money’s sitting there. It’s not doing anything for you.” You can go out and use that money. You can finance, buy another property and leverage that. You can use the bank’s money to do that. If you have your home paid off, you have to pull that money out with the permission of the bank.

REW 67 Chris Larsen | Financial Independence

Financial Independence: Money buys happiness to a certain threshold. But then after that, we need to have freedom so we can focus on joy and bliss.


What’s interesting is whole life is very similar to owning a home. The term life insurance is very similar to renting. You build up equity in that policy but here’s the thing that’s great. When you have a properly structured life insurance policy and you build up that equity, you don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to take that money out. You own that policy. The collateral is your policy on your life. The insurance company has to lend you the money before it lends out to anyone else. They have to lend that money out to earn a rate of return because the other neat thing with life insurance, and this is unlike your home but similar, your home goes up in value. Life insurance does too because they pay dividends.

The insurance company invests that money. If they invest it well, what happens is they earn a return on that and give it back to the policyholders. This is important with this concept. You have to have the right insurance company that you’re working with and a properly structured policy. You can go buy the wrong mortgage for your home. There are multiple types of mortgages for your investment property. You have to make sure you buy the right policy with the right structures. Sometimes, there are multiple structures within that so it can be quite complex.

I was on the phone with one of my ladies and she was saying, “I’ve got something with State Farm.” I don’t know how State Farm is structured.

I do. I work for State Farm.

One of the other ladies that was on the same call with me said that she ended up trying the infinite banking structure. I don’t know how it all worked for her but over time, she wasn’t going to end up paying taxes on the money and was horrified. What I’m trying to say here is there are lots of different kinds of insurance companies and whole life structures depending on your goal. This is like with anything else, whether it’s investing, getting married or having a job. You have to know what your outcome is that you’re looking for. “Is it what is going to be paid to my family when I die? Can I use this money? Is it, I would rather not pay taxes or is it growth? What is it?” Once you make a decision, you have to find the policy that is structured to reach that goal in the best way possible.

You have to work. The unfortunate thing is there’s a limited number of companies that can do this. You want to optimize the company for your certain circumstance. If you are a 50-year-old woman, the company you might work with might be different than a 30-year-old man or 80-year-old woman. It depends on what your certain circumstance is. The other thing is if you work with an insurance agent that’s going to structure this policy, they’re paid less commission to structure the policies this way. When you maximize the cash value, you’re optimizing the insurance level. When you optimize that, it means you a lot of times lower it. You’re lowering the cost of insurance.

A big portion of that in the initial years is the commission. It’s paid to the agent. I’ve been in sales my whole life. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying somebody for the service you provide. That’s part of the thing. If you’re reading, you may have heard things like, “Life insurance is a bad investment.” I don’t call it an investment. I’ve used it for over several years now. This exact type of policy structure is like a super-charged savings account. It’s a tool that you can use along your investment journey. If you’re a small business owner and you say, “I own a small business,” what’s cool is you can also structure it for retirement. You can use it like a Roth IRA, but what’s nice is unlike a Roth or 529 plan for your kids, you have a lot more flexibility. You can use this money for whatever you want along the way.

The other thing that I love about these is that depending on how it’s structured. You were talking about different ages. If you’re 20 versus 80, you can put together a policy where you’re doing a monthly installation. You could also put together a policy where you have one installation. Your business did good and maybe you put $200,000 in, then you let that ride for a while. There are different ways to structure it. You don’t feel like in the old world where, “This was going to be a payment every single month and I don’t want another payment every single month.” Especially if you run your own business, you don’t know what next year is going to look like. These newer policies are interesting because there’s so much flexibility and new opportunity in structuring to create other ways of using them.

We have a whole page to it at NextLevelIncome.com. We have a banking page. You can check out some of the resources, videos, white papers there that talk more about this as well.

Income is important, but the freedom to choose is even more so. Share on X

Do you feel complete on that topic? Did you want to move to the next one?

I’m good. I edited my book, added a chapter and didn’t mention it but that’s the other thing we have on the website. If you want to learn more about it, you can also get a copy of my book for free. If you go to NextLevelIncome.com, you can click on the Book link. I’ll send your audience a copy if they put their address in.

Thank you so much. Talk to me about your perspective on multifamily. This is a hot topic with my ladies.

I’m trying to figure it out. When you say that, I’m like, “How can I figure something else on my podcast that I can say, ‘My ladies.’” I don’t know if I’m ever going to figure that out or not, and that’s probably a good thing. I don’t think that’s not going to be my tagline. I call multifamily real estate the Holy Grail of investing. If you look at my book, it says, “How to Make, Keep, and Grow Your Money Using the Holy Grail of Real Estate to Achieve Financial Independence.” I’ll send you a copy for free if you go to the website.

I’m high on multifamily. I was the person that managed my own portfolio for fifteen years. I was a person that got a phone call on my honeymoon in Costa Rica and paid $40-some in collect call fees to deal with the problem tenant. I was the guy that stayed in too long and didn’t get a great return on my properties. I was fortunate enough to run into somebody that introduced me to this space. Several years ago, I started to investigate multifamily real estate. I’m a demographics guy. I spent eighteen years in the medical device industry. That’s how I made money to invest. I got into a medical device and moved to Asheville, North Carolina because we have great demographic trends.

When I started to investigate multifamily being an engineer, a day-to-day guy, analytical, I found that multifamily was supported by these terrific demographics by what we now call the Millennials. They’d rented, and guess who’s supporting multifamily now? It’s their parents, the Baby Boomers. They’re selling their homes. They’re renting. Gen Z is renting as well. We’ve turned into this nation that we like to own. That’s the American Dream but we also like flexibility. I jumped into multifamily. It was because of the demographics, analytics, my MBAs and portfolio management. What I found is something that Ray Dalio calls the Holy Grail of investing, which allows you to increase the Sharpe ratio. Don’t let your eyes glaze over. I’ll simplify the Sharpe ratio. It increases the returns of your portfolio and decreases the risk. It’s like a boat that goes faster and has less bumps when you’re on it. I thought, “What is better than that?” Ray Dalio calls that the Holy Grail of investing. I call multifamily the Holy Grail of real estate because it allows you to increase the returns in your portfolio and decrease the risk.

I know that in EXTRA, we’re going to talk a lot more about multifamily and a high level of why he loves multifamily much. We’re going to go deeper into the pros and cons of multifamily and then he’s going to do some number breakdowns for us. These are things that I get asked about a lot. It’s not my strong suit. My husband and I have not been involved yet in multifamily. The commercial evaluation of the numbers is not his strong suit. He hasn’t had to do it yet. This will be fun. Why don’t you give us a high level on why you like multifamily? What’s exciting about it?

There are a few things. If you’re reading and are like, “I love real estate but I don’t want to be the person that has to go in and fix toilets, find new tenants, screen people and do showings,” I get that because I’ve done it. The big thing is if you invest in multifamily with an experienced operator, somebody that is pretty good in details, it’s 100% passive. You can invest, be a direct owner, get the income and appreciation. The depreciation has great tax benefits, especially if you’re a high-income earner but you don’t have to deal with it all yourself. That’s fantastic. It’s scalable. You could buy a 100-unit multifamily building for $10 million or a $1 billion multifamily portfolio. Whether you’re investing in your first deal or for twenty years and you’re looking to place $1 million or $10 million of capital, you can use the same strategy.

It’s very scalable but there’s something that I like even more. It is control. You might’ve read me talk about laying in bed at 3:00 AM, feeling like things were out of control with my money. I like real estate because you can control it. We’re acquiring a property in Greenville, South Carolina. We live in Asheville, which is about one hour away. We were down in South Carolina for my son’s Lacrosse games and took them to the property. We drove around. It was built in 1997. It’s a little beat up in the stairs. Some need to be replaced and new paint. We can control all of those things. If you own a business, you get this. Apartments are valued like a business. They’re valued by net operating income.

If you live in your home or have a rental home, it’s 1,000 square feet and sells for $300 a square foot. It’s worth $300,000. The bank figures that out because they say, “The home on your left is worth $295 a square foot. Yours is about $300 a square foot.” You don’t control that. The market goes up and down. If we go and buy an apartment building for $10 million and have $1 million of net operating income, that’s probably not a great metric. Call it a $20 million apartment building with $1 million in net operating income. We increase the net operating income to 50% from $1 million with a $20 million valuation to $1.5 million with that new valuation. You’re probably thinking to yourself with your calculators, $30 million. We control that when we’re able to move the rents by the renovations, operations, more efficient and bringing in better management. It’s passive and scalable but most importantly, it’s controllable.

We’ll break down more of this in EXTRA so we can take it a little bit slower. Did you feel like you already covered what are the important metrics? What exactly should we be looking at?

REW 67 Chris Larsen | Financial Independence

Financial Independence: There are multiple types of mortgages on your investment property. You have to make sure you buy the right policy with the right structures.


We can unpack this a lot more in the EXTRA section. If you’re thinking, “This sounds interesting,” which I look out for as an investor. I started as an investor in these deals. I was what’s called a limited partner before I syndicated these deals and became a general partner. If you’re a limited partner and you say, “I’m interested in this,” you need to look at three different things. Number one, the Geography. Are you investing in an area of the country that people want to move to? I wrote a whole blog post about this. I talked about how you can identify these. It’s very easy to see with reports from companies like United Van Lines. You can go on our blog at the beginning of 2021 and read the post I put on there.

You want to be in large cities where people are moving that are growing faster than the national average. Where are these cities? A lot of these are from the Southeast. Remember I said, “I moved to North Carolina for the demographics,” the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Phoenix, Colorado, Boise, Idaho seems to be a big one here. Why are people moving here? They’re moving out of California to places like Colorado, Texas, Idaho. They’re moving to the Southeast from places like California, LA, New England, New York. Places that are cold don’t have a great quality of life. Taxes are going up. I have a coaching client that is like, “We’re looking at South Carolina to move. Taxes are going up. We don’t want to live here anymore.”

Number two, the operator. Are you working with an operator? This is somebody that’s going and finding the property that’s going to buy the property, bring you in alongside them, they’re going to operate it and increase that net operating income. Have they done it before? Have they done it in the Geography that you’re invested in and what is their experience there? You want to ask them some tough questions like what’s their strategy. You look then at the metrics in the deal. That’s complex. We looked at over two dozen different metrics on the deals that we’re in. There’s a lot of different variables that come into play.

If you’ve ever invested in a business, business owner or professional, you can read a financial statement. If you call me and say, “I’m interested in this deal.” As an owner of these properties, you’re entitled to all the same information you would be entitled to if you go into a single-family home. You can go through those, call the operator and say, “Walk me through this. What am I seeing here and there?” Don’t be afraid to ask those questions and understand the numbers, the strategy and why an operator is going into the market.

Talk to me a little bit about ROI. Different operators do this differently. Tell us about how you structure your deals for your investors?

What we do is called syndication. It is very simple. It is an operator going out and bringing in investors alongside them to invest. What’s important is how that syndication is structured. We do what’s called, typically, our preferred return. If you look at deals, 6% to 8%, what does that mean? That means investors get the first 6% to 8% of the returns coming from that property. Investors are preferred in front of anybody else. They’re going to be subordinate to the lender. The other thing that’s nice about these properties is it’s called nonrecourse debt.

I work with a lot of doctors after spending eighteen years in the medical device profession. They don’t want more risk, debt and a bank to come after them for something. They have patients that are out for them if something bad happens. That’s a nice thing about these properties as well. After the lender, the investors get that preferred return and then there’s an equity split. A large part goes to investors and then the partners that organize these deals get the minority position in there but that’s the incentive. You want to work with the group, in my opinion. How we do it is we give the investors the first big portion of the returns, about a half of the returns upfront and the other half comes from that split on the backside. We, as partners, get a piece of that split.

We’re incentivized to maximize the profit of that property on the backend. You asked a question there and I’ll address this. There’s typically a couple of different ways to look at this. You can look at a total return. You’re going to get a 10% return comprised of half cash and half appreciation on a property. There’s also an equity multiple. Another way to look at it is you’re going to double your money over a certain period of time. There’s also the IRR, the Internal Rate of Return. We can dive deeper into the EXTRA portion of the show or you can go ahead and check out my book, which goes deeper into this as well. You can always read on a site like Investopedia, which dives deeper too. It depends on what type of investor you are. Maybe cash or the total return is important to you and it all depends on what type of investor you are.

Do you pay investors immediately? When they first invest money, are they guaranteed a certain return each year while the project is happening or how do you structure that for your people?

One little red flag, we never say guaranteed because these are investments that have a risk associated with them. If you ever heard me say, “Guaranteed,” you should either slap me on the face or stick a paper towel or something in my mouth. We have a couple of different types of investments. We have investments that we pay investors a fixed return based upon the performance of the property. Our group typically pays out monthly. We like it. There are groups that payout quarterly. It’s not necessarily better or worse but personally, I like to get money in my account every month.

People who have freedom in their day-to-day choices are mostly happier than the CEOs making enormous amounts of money. Share on X

You get some stuff on the backend, depending on how the project goes.

Typically, in multifamily syndication, you’re going to get regular cashflow, monthly, quarterly or annually. Think about it as a rental property. You’re getting rent. If you’re renting it out for $1,000 a month and your expenses are $900, you might get $100 a month. When you sell it, if you bought a property for $100,000 and you sell it for $150,000, you get that $50,000 profit on the backend. It’s very similar to that.

Do you guys do the whole refinance structure piece too or you go for the sale?

When we model out the returns on our property, which is called a Proforma, we don’t assume we’re going to refinance the property. If you’ve ever owned a rental property or have a property of your own, what’s nice is if you have HELOC, Home Equity Line Of Credit, and you pull money out of your home or an investment property, you don’t pay taxes on that when you pull that money out. You might pay taxes when you sell it but you don’t typically pay taxes when you pull it out. It’s nice. It’s very similar to what we do. A lot of times, we look to do that if the property is performing. We don’t tell investors that’s part of the plan because we want to be a little bit more conservative than that. That is a very optimal way to pull investor capital out in a tax-efficient manner.

We dove pretty deep into all of that stuff and I know we’re going to get even deeper. Ladies, definitely stay tuned for EXTRA. We’ll be talking more about the fundamentals of multifamily investing, the numbers around that and why or why not to do it. Before we move towards the end of this show, Chris, could you tell everybody how they can reach you?

If you want to dive deeper and learn a little bit more, check us out at NextLevelIncome.com. We have a podcast, which hopefully we’ll be sharing Moneeka on in the future. We have a blog and you can also get our book for free, which dives deeper into all the different aspects that we talked about. Go to the website, click on the Book link, put your address in and I’ll even send you a copy for free.

Thank you for that. That was so generous. Chris, we have three Rapid-fire questions. Tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

The best tip I can think of is to find somebody that has gone down the path you want to go down, and either ask them for advice or hire them to help be a mentor.

What would you say is a strategy to be successful in real estate investing?

Success in general is habits. Whether you want to be successful in real estate, in life, losing weight or whatever it may be, you need to focus on your daily habits. If you want to be successful in real estate as far as syndications or passive investments, that may be reviewing a deal every day and every week. If you are going out and buying your own properties, that may be contacting brokers, making phone calls and getting options out there that are coming in towards you on a regular basis.

What would you say is one daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?

REW 67 Chris Larsen | Financial Independence

Financial Independence: When you maximize the cash value, you’re optimizing the insurance level. And when you optimize that, it means you’re lowering the cost of insurance.


I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. I bought my older son The Five-Minute Journal for Children and I use The Five-Minute Journal to meditate every morning. The Five-Minute Journal is basically a gratitude practice. I know you’re big on this. Happiness comes before success. You have to get in that right and abundance mindset, which is you share. You know that success or money will come to you and there’s always a deal out there. You don’t have to worry or fight over these things. Share, help other people, and other people will help you get in the right mindset. That’s what I try to do every day.

This has been an amazing show. Thank you so much for all you’ve already contributed, Chris. This has been great.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Ladies, stay tuned for EXTRA. We’re going to be talking more about the fundamentals of multifamily. If you are not subscribed but would like to be, please go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get the first seven days for free, so check it out. Download as much as you can and you can stay if it’s for you. For those of you that are leaving Chris and I, thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show. We appreciate you. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams, so get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.


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About Chris Larsen

REW 67 Chris Larsen | Financial IndependenceChristopher Larsen is the founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income. After 18 years in the medical device industry, he dedicates his time to helping others become financially independent through education and investment opportunities. Chris has been investing in and managing real estate for over 20 years.

While completing his degree in Biomechanical Engineering and M.B.A. in Finance at Virginia Tech, he bought his first single-family rental at age 21. Chris expanded into development, private-lending, buying distressed debt as well as commercial office, and ultimately syndicating multifamily properties.

He began syndicating deals in 2016 and has been actively involved in over $350M of real estate acquisitions. In addition to real estate, Chris has invested in equities, oil & gas, and small business lending, as well as being active in Venture South, one of the nation’s Top 10 Angel Investing groups.

Chris lives with his wife and two boys in Asheville, NC where he loves spending time with them in the outdoors and enjoying the food and culture that the region has to offer.


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