As host of the Real Estate Investing for Women podcast, we rarely hear what Moneeka Sawyer has to say about her experiences in real estate. In this episode, she sits on the hot seat as her customer, Chaitra Rai, asks some of the most curious questions that let us take a peek into her life, most especially with her real estate journey. Moneeka talks about her book, Choose Bliss, laying down what her typical workday looks like and how she inserts meditation and gratitude into her everyday life. She then goes to real estate and tells us some of her ways of finding a good investment deal, giving a loan, and applying for your second investment property.
Chai, welcome to the show. How are you?
I am doing wonderful. It’s great to hear your beautiful voice again. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. I’m sorry, it’s taking long for us to finally get this together, but I am excited about this conversation. You’ve got good questions. Thanks for being patient with me.
It’s all worth it. It’s all for the greater good.
Some of the questions that you sent me, you had some stuff about my book, Choose Bliss and you also had some real estate questions. Shall we start with Choose Bliss? Does that sound good?
That sounds great. After reading your book, I have a lot of questions that I wanted to talk to you about. One of the biggest questions I had after reading your book, you seem somebody who has varied interests in addition to your business ventures. I was wondering if you could share with us how your typical workday looks like and how many hours you spend on different things like your business ventures, blog, writing and podcasts. Do you have time for hobbies after that?
The first thing that I want to say about that is we each design our lives based on what makes us feel the best. How I would define a blissful life is that we get to do the things that make us feel most fulfilled. There are a lot of people that are out there talking about having a balanced life. A balanced life is a farce because there is a lot of stuff in a balanced life that doesn’t make our hearts sing. I designed my life. The way that I designed my life is more about doing the things that make my heart sing, spending more time doing that and less time doing the things that don’t make my heart sing.
I do have a typical day, but it depends on what my main focus is. I’ll give you an example. I have a property that’s being turned over, which means we’re in transition. I had a tenant leave and I’m putting a new tenant in. When I talk on my show about, “I only spend 5 to 10 hours a month,” what that means is most months, I spend zero hours and then if I have a transition, I might spend closer to 20 to 40 hours on that transition. It takes a lot of time to do a transition and do it right.
I only might do a transition every two years. I don’t do that often. I don’t spend a lot of time on real estate. In the morning, I wake up and I have a morning routine. That morning routine includes my shower, meditation, a little bit of journaling, a walk with my dog and my husband, coffee at the coffee shop and a walk back home. I sit at my desk and I look at a library of things that make me feel good, whether it’s a YouTube video, clothes or it’s a sweet letter that someone sent me like good reviews on my books or on the podcast.
I have an arsenal of feel-good material that I start the day with. I might take three minutes for that unless I’m watching a longer video, but that’s what I do with the first thing that I sit down at my desk. After that is when I start dealing with email. That’s how my day starts. After that, there are other things that happen. I do my email and then it’s what’s the focus of the day. Now, the focus of the day is I’m calling references for employers and for past landlords. I’m doing credit checks. I have to go to the property every single day because there’s something going on. It’s either I’m meeting a contractor, I’m putting up a new sign, or I meeting a possible tenant.We each design our lives based on what makes us feel the best. Click To Tweet
I’m spending a lot of times specifically on the real estate piece. However, I do think that I’m going to have a renter. It’s taken me about a week and then I will go back to my regular schedule. Once a week, I record shows and then the rest of the week, I might have a couple of hours set aside for writing. I do a lot of reading and a lot of background stuff that has to go on with running a business. I’ve got to keep my website and products going. Sometimes I’m dealing with technology all the time. It’s our best friend. It can also be a time thing for a lot of things. There are all of those things. I usually start work at about 10:30 or 11:00. My husband is at home because of COVID, so he and I take about 1.5-hour lunch.
That’s called work-day balance. Having a balance includes that.
I have a good solid amount of time that I work in the afternoon. It’s starting about 1:30 until 6:00. I take a break in the middle of the afternoon to do a twenty-minute meditation. There’s also something interesting now that David is home, we’ll often go for a twenty-minute walk in the middle of the day. He goes back to work and I do the meditation. I get a 40-minute break in the middle of that afternoon.
That’s super productive for the brain as well to break it up in chunks like that.
I get some good focus time, but I also get some nice breaks so I can rejuvenate. One of the things you asked me before the show is to talk a little bit about dance.
That’s the exciting part, your love for dance.
It’s such a big piece of my life and there’s an unfortunate truth. In the book, I talked about a one-car accident, but I’m recovering from another one. Most people don’t know, which is fortunate. I’m doing fine, but it was a highway pile-up about several years ago. My right arm has not been working very well since then. In the first two years after the accident, my legs were not badly damaged, but I was in a lot of pain. For whatever reason, my legs, arm and back got jammed in the accident. I’ve been in physical therapy, acupuncture and all of that stuff. I had surgery on my shoulder. There’s been a lot that’s going on. What that has meant is that I can’t dance every day.
If you read the book, you know that from my perspective, and we’ve heard this from many experts, exercise is a big factor in keeping happy. Our bodies need to move. I was a dancer. I didn’t even have to think about exercise and that was even better. Now, I’m not able to dance and I’m not moving. I have been able to move. I’m starting to be able to move my arm so I can start to dance again. Even before I would try to move and my arm would get torqued because it’s sympathetic movements in your whole body when you’re dancing.
That was painful, but in order to make sure that I am getting the exercise that my body is used to getting, I do four twenty-minute walks a day. I do one in the morning with my husband, one in the afternoon and one after dinner. That’s three and then somewhere in between. For instance, in the morning, we might do twenty minutes before coffee and twenty minutes after. It ends up being a full hour or we’re out with a dog and having some coffee. It’s 3 or 4 twenty-minute walks a day.
You found an alternative to getting your dance practice. You’re doing more walks now.
That’s one thing that I want to emphasize to people is we get so busy in our lives that we forget that our bodies were built to move. If we don’t move, the body cramps up, so we physically don’t feel well. If we physically don’t feel well, it impacts us emotionally. The other thing is that exercise releases all these endorphins in your body that are natural mood enhancers. This makes you feel better in general. Exercise is such a big piece of creating a blissful life. It’s the piece that people tend to overlook the most because it feels like a time sink, but it’s such an important part of staying blissful. Does that make sense?
I totally agree with you. It’s this principle of contraction versus expansion. I feel like when you go out and have your walks, you’re expanding your mind and your consciousness. As opposed to staying inside the house and your body is not getting any movement, and you’re contracting in some sense. You get the blood flowing too when you’re out and about.
Get some air and your creativity flows a little bit more because you’re not so focused on one thing. You open and expand, and more can come in. It’s having peripheral vision rather than tunnel vision. You can take in so much more.
When you’re out in nature too, you get all these creative ideas and thoughts, which would not have come if you had been stuck in the house.
Did you have any other questions about the book?
In your book, you have mentioned your gratitude habit and I thought that was fascinating. You mentioned that as you wake up first thing in the morning, you write out three things that you’re grateful for. I’m wondering if you could expand a little bit about that. Do you do a gratitude habit in the morning? Is it something you practice throughout the day? Do you write more than three things that you’re grateful for? Anything you could tell us about that would be helpful.
I’ve created a whole new practice that nobody knows about yet. I’ll let the secret out for you. I even don’t get up. My alarm goes off and I push the snooze. It’s during that snooze period that I do the gratitudes in my mind. The way that I do it is I feel into the emotion. Any gratitude practice is good, but there is a right way to do a gratitude practice. That is to get into the emotions of feeling gratitude. I find this in my own life. I was in a car accident years ago and woke up every single morning in pain. When you do a gratitude practice and when you’re feeling pain or you’re feeling bad, it feels uncomfortable to be feeling that level of gratitude and joy. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience.
You’re lying to yourself in some sense until you believe it.
When you start to believe that you’re afraid, it will run away. That’s been my experience. There are a lot of times that I’m like, “I don’t want to get too happy because it’s not feeling real and comfortable.” The first thing to realize is that our most natural way of being is to be in bliss. Let me explain to my readers why I’m saying this. When we were born, we were born as these little bundles of bliss. We’re filled with joy, excitement, awe and wonder. We’re newly alive and we want to learn. There’s no fear and we’re going to try everything. That’s who we’re born as and somehow through life, we learn about fear, shame and we’re bad. We learn all of these things and it chips away at that bliss that is deep at our core.A blissful life is when we get to do the things that make us feel most fulfilled. Click To Tweet
That bliss is that light that’s talked about inside our core. It shines bright as always.
Gratitude is the quickest access we have to that little light of bliss deep down inside of us that wants to shine through our entire bodies.
It’s a gateway that do that special vision in us.
It’s okay that as you move into gratitude, sometimes you’ll get flushed with this feeling of joy and it’s uncomfortable because we’re not used to it. The more that you do it, the more natural it becomes and the more willing you are to go there. What’s even more delightful is that you start to stay there longer. Your body gets in the habit of being able to sustain that level of emotion on that vibration. Everything that happens inside of our bodies, whether it’s endorphins from exercise or being on a diet, whatever it is that we’re doing, our body needs to adjust to accommodate the level of bliss that we’re capable of.
The more that we practice, the more our capacity expands and the more comfortable we are with that. That also means that when we fall or things go bad, we’re more quickly able to move back into that place of bliss rather than staying in those distracted emotional states like depression, sadness, anger. Even ecstasy can be a huge distraction because it doesn’t support what you want in your life. It’s a good feeling, which is great. I’m not saying I don’t feel that. I’m saying that we want to live in this place that it’s expansive and supportive of our sustainable joy.
It’s like you’re attuning your body to the frequency that is emitted by that inner vibration. Your body needs to get acclimatized to that.
I do it first thing in the morning and that gets me started. I have an alarm on my phone. When it goes off on my screen, on my phone, it says, “I am so grateful for.” During the day, 2 or 3 times, I might be reminded to do a little bit of gratitude. The other thing that happens is I get in these moments when I’m working and I want to throw my computer across the room. At that moment is when I take some deep breaths and I say a couple of gratitudes because that calms me down. It clears my mind as a fog that happens in us when we get frustrated so that I can then think more expansively. If that doesn’t work, that’s when I go for my walk.
Gratitude can also help put you back in a rational place, so you can be more creative and more productive. That’s all the stuff that was covered in the book and what I’ve been doing for many years. Now, there’s a new piece and this is a piece that I do in the evening. I started to do a new I love you practice. At night, I write a little love letter to myself and what the love letter says is, “Dear Moneeka, I feel so lucky to be you and to be able to live my life through you,” and then I put gratitudes about myself and my life.
I might say something like, “I am grateful for your spirit and your willingness to share your point of view with the world. I know sometimes that’s hard for you and I appreciate that you do that,” or “I so appreciate your commitment to getting the word out there that bliss is a priority. I know that people sometimes look at you like you’re a crazy person, but thank you so much for being tenacious and committed.” I’ll say things like that. At the end of it, I’ll say, “Thank you for being you. I love you so much,” and then I sign it, Moneeka. You have no idea how good that feels.
After you write a love letter like that to yourself, and you go to sleep, you wake up in the morning wide open. It’s almost like an emptiness. There’s a space where it’s completely open that you can fill it with the good stuff. Most people, when they wake up in the morning, the first thing they think of is, “It’s another day, I want to sleep a little longer, or I’m late.” There are all these other things. Those are all negative things. Instead, if you do a gratitude practice, you’re filling yourself up with good things. The other thing that’s important to make sure that you’re not distracted from the gratitude piece is to be careful about what you’re waking up to.
You want to wake up to a sound that’s pleasant to you and that does not feed your subconscious mind negative information. For instance, do not wake up to an uncontrolled music or news station. Don’t listen to the news. The second that you wake up, don’t wake up to that because most of that is negative stuff. You don’t want to put that negative energy in you when you first wake up. The other thing you don’t want to do is have advertising because advertising is designed to make you feel like you are not enough of a person, because of that, you need this product to be a better person. You don’t ever want that to be fed into your mind when you’re first waking up.
You don’t want sad songs. If you can control it, you don’t want things that are going to make you feel bad, hurt, or have bad memories. This sounds controlling, but you do want those first moments that you wake up, that you open to the world, that’s going to set up your entire day. You’ll make it a lot easier for yourself if you wake up to something beautiful, some beautiful tinkling, soft nature sounds, and birds chirping or crickets chirping is something I know one of my clients likes to listen to. My husband wakes up to Mexican music. He speaks Spanish, I don’t speak Spanish, but I love the way mariachi sound. It’s wonderful to hear that in the morning. Controlling what you wake up to is also going to help to support that gratitude practice.
It’s like you’re controlling your mentality on some level so that you can put your best foot forward as you start your day. Another thing I loved about what you share with us is your love letter the previous night because they say what you sleep with at night is what goes forward. It’s important to have positive things, not only when you get up, but when you sleep as well. That’s why I love your new practice that is incorporated into your routine. Thank you for sharing it.
One of the things that I love talking about more than anything else is how people can live a blissful life, and I feel that we can keep talking, but I think we should move on to the real estate piece.
You’re taking your first loan, venture into your first real estate investment and you go to the bank and because of the period we’re in, there are certain downturns in some areas, banks are asking for a higher down payment. Once you do buy your first property and you go ahead with the process, how do you know that this is a good deal? How do you find a good investment deal when you’re doing this for the first time?
There are a lot of different pieces to that. First is finding the right property, the right loan and what happens next after that? It’s a three-step question I heard. We’re going to talk about the economy later. There’s no such thing as a perfect property, but there is a perfect property for you personally. I teach this in my coursework. The short version of this is that you want to look at your resources and your tolerances before you pick a property. My bank is offering a loan at 3.25% interest with a down payment of 30%, is this good?
Every bank is going to be offering different things. Most of the banks are requiring a down payment between 25% and 35%. Yours is right there in the middle. A rate of 3.25% is fantastic. It’s fluctuating about an eighth of a point. You might be able to go down to eighth, but you also might end up at 3.75%. I got quoted at 3.875%. For our readers, understand that we’re talking during COVID. I want to give you an overview of what I look at when I’m looking for a loan.
What is the market bearing right now? The market is asking for between 25% to 35% down. A rate of 3.25 % is right in the middle of what I’m seeing. You’re going to find out more about that by calling a broker and getting an idea because a broker has access to many different products. He will have access to a product that’s only 5% down, but he’ll tell you the rate is higher and you’re going to have to put five points down, which is 5% down in fees. Brokers are going to be able to tell you the range of what rates are looking at and what down payments are looking like. That’s the first thing.
The other thing is going to be, can you put that 30% down? If you can’t put it in your area, how much do you have to put down? What is that 30% of? If you have $30,000, 30% means that you can only buy $100,000 price. That’s going to also determine if this is the right time for you to buy or not and what to buy. The next thing that I always look for is the perfect property for you is the property that is in a neighborhood where you’re going to find tenants that you like doing business with and it’s a property that you enjoy maintaining.
Let me give you an example of what that looks like. I have a property that is vacant. When I bought that property, it is walking distance to Starbucks and the Sprouts and to a bunch of cute walking area. The property is only a three-bedroom, one bath. It’s fairly small. The tenants that I was looking for at that time, and I predetermined this, was a small or a new family, husband, wife and 1 or 2 kids with no pets. You’ve got your customer avatar. My tenant is my customer.We get so busy in our lives that we forget that our bodies were built to move. Click To Tweet
They’re starting their life. They’re involved with their work, helping the kids with homework and family time. They don’t have time for all the maintenance of a house and all the gardening. They’re looking for something that’s a little bit lower maintenance. A condo might be a good idea. They’re making about this much money. These are the tenants that I want to work with. The other thing is where does that tenant want to live?
If they’ve got young children, they’re going to want a safer neighborhood. Ideally, for me, I wanted a safer neighborhood and here is why. Every evening, I’m going over to the property after my workday to do something, not every evening, but frequently. If I’m going over there in the evening when it’s dark, I need to feel safe as a woman. Men are going to have different considerations. They want to feel safe too, but it’s going to feel different to them what’s appropriate and what’s not. I need to feel safe in the neighborhood, in the home and with my tenants. That’s another thing that I consider.
When you’re looking at the perfect first investment property, you want to take all of that into consideration and you want to look for the property that is perfect for you. Does that mean you might have to wait to get the right property? It does, but you don’t want to wait for the perfect property. The first property that I bought was a smaller property, a three-bedroom and two baths. Now, much of what I own is executive homes.
The ideal property was an A-class neighborhood and executive home. That was perfect for me, but I couldn’t do that at first. In the beginning, I had to do something that was a perfect fit for the first investment. That means I needed to feel safe, I needed to be able to deal with the kinds of tenants that I wanted to do business with and how much money I have to put down. You might have to wait to get in because you may not have the money to buy into that neighborhood. Make sure that the second you can buy into a neighborhood that fits your parameters, that you do that because sooner is always better than later.
Those are great points about the safety aspect. I wouldn’t have thought of that.
Most people don’t, but for women, it’s a big deal especially if you are managing. My husband is not managing my properties. He helps me out every once in a while when I’m desperate, but that happens rarely. The other thing you asked about is the loan piece. You get your first loan, your first property, and now you’re like, “How do I get the next one?” It depends on what area of the country you’re in. Fannie and Freddie, which are the government-backed loans, in most areas, they will allow you to go up to ten conforming loans without rates going up. That’s pretty easy. Conforming is different in different parts of the country. In some place it’s 149, in California it’s 510. In California, our parameter is five loans. After five loans, we can still get the next five loans, but the rate will be about one percentage point higher. The rates on the first loans are all at 3.25%. The next one would be at 4.25% or 4.75%. It’s going to go up a point to a point and a half after the fifth loan. That’s when you go to loan number six. That’s in California.
If you’re talking to a mortgage broker, they’d be able to give you their parameters. When you’re talking to a mortgage broker, find one who is well-versed in investment properties. You want to find out, do they have investors? How many investment loans do they do per year? Is that their main business or they’ve got 1 or 2 clients that they do or they might do 1 or 2 a year. They’re not going to know enough. You want somebody who can answer all these questions like, “How many loans can I do? What are the different investment property products? How is my primary residence loan going to be affected by those other products and vice versa? How many points can and how much more down payment?”
You want them to know all of that stuff. Some of those loans will have restrictions based on the CC&Rs, which is all the HOA rules for condominiums, townhouses and PUDs. If you have a mortgage broker who understands investing, they’ll know the right questions to ask, and they’ll also know how to guide you as far as what kinds of properties to look for. My loan officer asked me for all of the information that then he’ll say to me, “Moneeka, what’s going on out there? What would you expect those to be?”
Let’s say my HOA dues are $650, that’s going to take down the price of my house that I can buy by about $100,000. That’s calculated into the debt-to-income ratio. I have to pay that additional amount. If it’s only $200, it’s going to be a different thing. He knows to ask me that so that we don’t have an ugly surprise when we send it to the underwriter and they’re like, “There are these HOA dues that we did not calculate into the debt-to-income ratio. You don’t qualify for as much.” That’s one example.
When you talk about your loan officer, do you normally take loans from the bank or private investment companies are an option as well?
You can do either one. I’ve done everything through the bank right now because it’s super easy. It’s streamlined, but I have a lot of different options as far as private money and other investment options too. I just haven’t taken advantage of them. That was all of that. Did you have any other questions on that stuff? I know I covered quite a lot there.
You answered all of those three. We covered finding the perfect property, getting that loan and the third one was applying for your second investment property. You told us about the conforming loans. That was very useful. The loan officer would be able to give us that information too.
If you’ve got a loan officer that is used to dealing with investors, then they’ll be able to give you all that information.
Thank you. That was super helpful, especially in the location, how important it is when you’re selecting your first property. Real estate investing is known as hassle-free, once you have the perfect property and things are going well. How do the ups and downs of the economy change that? Would it change in case the economy has some major changes?
The economy is a big question that people want to hear a lot about. I’ve done several shows on this. Here’s the thing that I always say about predicting the economy and predicting real estate’s movement. Someone out there is going to be right on their predictions, but we don’t know who that person is going to be. I talk about my experience of many years in real estate of what that looks like. I’ll talk to you a little bit about what my experience has been and what I have gleaned from that. It was either ‘87 or ‘89, my dad was paying for my college education through real estate and then the tax laws changed. Prop 13 came in California and they removed some of the tax benefits of being an investor.
The real estate property values plummeted. There were a lot of us that were in school at the time whose parents were paying through real estate. There was a lot of stress about money during that time. Things recovered and then the market started to march up. It was going up. It was doing phenomenally well because people adjusted and property values all recovered. In 2001, it was when we had our next crash. When I graduated from college and got married, my husband and I bought our first home with 5% down. Our property was going up. We took an equity line on that first property and we bought our second property, the beautiful home that we bought. We bought that in January of 2001. Right after that, the whole market crashed again.
We went along. We stayed in that property. I took another equity line. I bought a few more properties. In 2008, I bought my dream home. It was a million-dollar condominium on the top floor. In 2009, the market completely crashed again. My timing was not good. I wish my timing was better. I do think that it is wise if you can time the market. I’ve never been able to do it with any level of success, even so, we started our real estate investing journey with about $10,000. By twenty years later, I would have been able to retire, in spite of the fact that the market crashed twice during my journey in real estate.
The California market is volatile. We count completely on the appreciation. You’ll see that the properties are volatile. What we see mostly is properties in the very low-end and high-end tend to crash most often. In 2001, if it was below $200,000 and above $700,000, you would see a lot of volatility. If it was between that $200,000 and $700,000, it stayed fairly stable. It might have lost 5% or 10%. In 2008, it was a completely different thing because the crash was caused by a real estate-specific problem, which was the loan industry.
We saw all houses dropped fast. That particular phenomenon will hopefully never happen again. That was something that was real estate-specific. There was a problem with the banking system and we fixed that in many ways. That kind of crash is not likely to happen. Are we at the top of our economy? We’re pretty close. Real estate is going gangbusters here in California or Northern California in the Bay area. However, I don’t know how it’s doing in the rest of the country. I don’t think it’s going gangbusters the same way. One of the things that I’ve been giving advice to people and I have been given advice also is to look at markets like what you talked about where in Central Texas, for instance, the pricing stays stable even in 2008. When you are looking at that, what’s also going to be true is have the market values appreciated significantly since 2008?
They have, especially in areas like San Antonio and Houston. They’ve appreciated. There’s a lot of demand.When you start to believe that you're afraid, it'll run away. Click To Tweet
If you can find a magic area like that, where it’s fairly stable, but then you’ve also seen a lot of appreciation, you’re going to have a good chance of not being heavily affected by the economy. Most areas that are not going to be affected by the economy as much are going to be places that are more cashflow places. What will happen is you’ll get a property that is going to cashflow right out of the gate, which you can never find in California. If the economy takes a turn, that cashflow will stay stagnant or will continue because people still need to rent homes. People are not flooding into those areas so the property is not going to necessarily go up high, but it’s also not going to go down very low. It’s going to stay fairly stable.
When you’re looking at an economy, you want to look more for those safer markets where you’re going to get some cashflow and that cashflow then offsets any loss that you could make or you could endure. Those markets are also likely to recover after if they take a 10% drop. If you’re investing in a place like California or an appreciation-focused market, you’re going to see a lot more volatility. What’s important then is to have the wherewithal. What I mean by that is liquidity. You want to have some cash, the emotional wherewithal and the mental mindset to hold on for the long-term. You want to make sure that if things go wrong, you have time to recover so that you can become right again. You need about a ten-year cycle to recover from a hard hit.
What you’re saying is location matters very much, especially if we’re seeing some uncertainties in the economy. Keep in mind that if you’re in an area that has substantial cashflow, that’s probably a better area to invest in.
I still want to buy property in California. This is the market that I love. I need to have a ten-year timeframe on that. I need to make sure that I don’t need to make money on that property right away. I want to make sure that I’m covering my mortgage and my expenses. If the market turns and I lose a significant amount on the property, if I’m upside down, then I can continue to pay that mortgage either through rents or by selling something that I have liquid. For instance, stocks or there might be other things that we have that are liquid, that we can then put into our real estate to sustain ourselves. I’ve been known to do that. When things go bad, I make sure that I can cover myself.
That’s great planning.
I tell people don’t put all of your money into real estate. It’s very solid. It’s the most secure investment on the planet, but there are times when it cycles also. It’s good to make sure that you’ve got some cash and some different things so that if you need liquidity, you’ve got that. The other thing I always say is always have an equity line taken out on your primary residence. You can’t get them on rental properties. That can also serve as an emergency fund if you need to pay mortgages or stuff on your rental properties. Don’t use it for things like vacations, buying a car and consumer debt. Use it to make sure that you’re sustaining your investment business so that you don’t end up losing properties if things turn and you need a little bit of help during that time.
I can’t believe how much information has value that I’ve been able to get out of your show and your readers too. You explained everything so beautifully and easy to understand. We could have asked for a better mentor than you.
Did you have any other questions before we close?
This is coming back to your book, your new habit, the beautiful letters to yourself. I wanted to know if you were planning to come up with a book on affirmation.
I’m not. Many people asked me that. There are many out there that are good. I’m a co-author of a book called Experts & Influencers: Women’s Empowerment Edition. It came out and we are doing their little quote cards. Each of us ladies that were in the book wrote six quotes and you can get a card deck with all of these quotes. If anybody is interested in a card deck, please email me and I can send that to you. It’s $20 per card deck, but you get 52 cards in any case. However many that you get, you get all of these quotes by powerful women that help you to empower yourself and live your best life.
That sounds like an amazing deal. I wouldn’t want to miss that.
You can go to BlissfulInvestor.com. You’ll see my email address there. Let me know if you want some cards. This is a good conversation. Thank you so much for asking your questions. This can benefit my entire readers and all the ladies out there. Thank you for being willing to do that.
Thank you for being a great mentor to all of us ladies who tune in to your show regularly. I’ve got so much value from it. I’m coming from your knowledge in real estate investing to feeling like I’m learning so much and I’m ready to move ahead. Thank you for everything that you do.
It’s my pleasure. It’s comments like that that lets me know people are reading, and I love that. Thank you. It makes it all worthwhile.
I look forward to catching up with you soon. Thank you for this opportunity to ask you questions. I love your book and I’ve been recommending it to all in Sundry.
Ladies who are reading, I love doing this show and having the conversations that I get to have with these amazing experts. The reality is that I am doing this to be in service of you. If you have any questions, email me and maybe you can be on real estate investing for women as one of the guests. We can have another conversation like I had with Chai. It can help all the other readers too. There’s never a dumb question. All the questions that you’ve had, all the other people have had before you. Feel free, and other people have after you. Many readers have the same questions. Please let me know if you have any questions, and we can record a call and help all the ladies out there.
When I read your book, every chapter touched something in me and the chapter that you mentioned about giving also touched a deep chord in me. You found a school in India that you donate and you help run. It’s been a dream of mine to do something like that to provide education and school. You found a school that makes your heart happy and you’re donating. How did you find your calling to serve this particular organization or this particular school? How did you know that this was the right fit?
There’s no real right answer. I want to mention how my husband found his, because he didn’t have a heart calling. One of the things he does is he goes online when he’s looking at an organization that feels like it resonates with something that he wants to donate towards. One of the things that he looks up is how much of the funds go to administration and charitable services. He’s always looking for organizations where most of the money goes to services rather than to the administration. That’s a tip-off the top of my head that he has always done.
I went to India when I was sixteen. I was a foreign exchange student. I was out and about and I was meeting people. One of the things that struck me was how the women in India were being treated as opposed to what I was used to in the United States. I would hear these horror stories about Sufi, about these arranged marriages of these girls that were very young and how girls didn’t get any education. There was all this stuff that horrified me. At a young age, I decided that I was not going to be like that. I was going to be the captain of my own life. Nobody was going to determine who I married, how and when. I was going to get an education. I determined those things for myself, but I also realized I had the freedom to do that in the US and that in India, women didn’t always have those options.Always remember, goals without action are just dreams. Click To Tweet
I became committed early on to the education of women in India. One of the things that I was convinced of was that the more educated a woman is, the more likely she is to be able to make choices that are more supportive of her than if her life is completely run by her father and by people that were “more educated than her.” The other thing that I realized is that women can fight for their rights, but if we are constantly fighting against men who do not believe the same things, we can never win. It’s important that the education of men also supports the equality of women. Women need to know what is possible for them. Men need to understand and believe that women are equal to them.
I started donating to schools in India at the age of sixteen. I would do $5 a month. I started to donate to different schools in India that supported the education of women and the upbringing of women as equals. In the United States, we used to go to a temple. When I moved to California in 1976 or ‘77, my parents plugged into a Hindu temple that was up in Oakland. That particular Swami, we became close to. It was in 1987, he started this school in India. When we started talking about what the philosophy of the school was, I knew I had to get behind it.
That’s why I started donating quite a lot of money to help to support the school and those sorts of things. Because of that, I was able to impact also some of the direction of the school, the way that the approach was for the education of both girls and boys for the uplifting of women in India. I’m close to the Swami. I’ve gone to India and I did a little movie in the school. I’m involved. The thing that I loved most about it was that I knew the people that were running the organization and I knew what the accounts were.
They didn’t have a huge amount of administration. Most of the money was going towards the school or in the United States. It depends on where you donate. You can donate to the school or you can donate to the temple here in the United States for the upkeep of the building and the temple here. You can designate those funds. I see and I watch every single year more buildings go up. They get more computers, they’ve got more students, and there’s a new farm. It’s becoming a little bit more sustainable. They had to build a bunch of wells because their water levels went way down because their wells weren’t producing.
This is a thing that happens in many of the villages in India. We know that that’s another problem. I’ve been watching the whole thing and where the money goes, and that’s why I feel so committed to it because I know that it’s going to essential services. That’s how I made that choice. It happened as a process throughout my whole life. For David, he will find something that he wants to donate to and he’ll find an organization where most of the money goes to the essential services.
It sounded like it almost happened in a natural way for you. It unfolded naturally.
It did. It’s in my book. It’s one of my pillars of Bliss. It has defined so much of who I am because when you’re looking at the world for a way that you can help and that you can make it better when you’re making an impact, there’s something that happens inside of you. You’re not as a mercy of the world. You’re able to create impact and affect change. It feels empowering. It feels good on so many levels and it’s also helping the world. It’s that thing that we’re giving back. When you feel grateful for everything that you have, if you’re truly grateful, you want others to experience having some of the benefits that you have. Having the opportunity to do that makes you feel even more grateful. It also fills you up with this feeling of empowerment and feeling like you’re doing good things in the world. It’s always been integrated.
You’re making a difference.
In the book, one of the things that I talk about is making an impact is not about giving money to a school in India or Africa, or helping with a water system somewhere. It’s also holding a door for somebody. It’s giving somebody a smile if they seem to be having a bad day. It’s being kind. All of that is creating an impact in the world. It creates a ripple effect of kindness and bliss everywhere you go. That in itself is making an impact. It doesn’t have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be something monetary. It can be who you are being in the world when you’re out there with people.
It’s being aware of our behavior when we’re out there with people.
Practicing kindness and giving back in that way.
Thank you. I have a lot to write in my journal from our conversation.
Thank you for asking that question. That’s not anything I’ve talked about on this show. I’m sure the ladies will get a lot out of that. Ladies, thank you for taking this extra step towards your future, bliss, and financial freedom. Always remember, you do have control over your success. I’ll see you soon.
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.