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Syndication Series #4: Senior Living As An Real Estate Investment With Eng Taing

REW 85 | Senior Living

 

What real estate investments have growth opportunities nowadays? Eng Taing, born in a refugee camp in Thailand, where his family escaped the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia, immigrated to America. Despite not having much, he found a way to thrive for success. Blessed with being good at math, Eng understood data patterns in the real estate market. Now, he is focusing most of his time and money on senior living investments. So how did he end up investing in senior living? Find out by tuning in and learning more about this asset!

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Syndication Series #4: Senior Living As An Real Estate Investment With Eng Taing

Real Estate Investing For Women

Welcome to the Syndication Series where you are going to learn all about what syndication is, and how you can utilize it to build cashflow and grow your wealth. It’s an exciting strategy and I’m looking forward to sharing all of our guests with you. Let’s get to the show.

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Eng Taing. He is the CEO and Founder of Touzi Capital, and a highly experienced real estate investor with $100 million of assets under management. Eng works hard to help people reach their full potential. He is an economist by training from the Wharton School of Business. He also has experience leading data science and analytics at Apple, Capital One and AT&T. He applies that experience when identifying and underwriting investment opportunities in markets. Eng has presented at companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon, where he teaches employees how to minimize their tax burden and keep and invest more of their earnings so they can achieve financial freedom.

Touzi Capital is a real estate investment company focused on investing in Kansas City that believes that your money should work for you. It has been investing in commercial real estate for many years, and trusts that this is one of the best ways to predictably build wealth through passive income. Touzi Capital focuses on high cashflow investments and providing passive income to investors by acquiring and optimizing multifamily, industrial and senior living assets. In doing this, they want to make real estate investing accessible for the everyday investor through technology and a data-driven platform along with their dedicated team that puts you first. Eng, welcome to the show.

What a mouthful. I don’t even know who wrote that.

Talk to us a little bit about your real estate journey. You went to Wharton Business School and then you moved into real estate. Tell me how that worked out for you.

I would love to take a little step back to my formative years to highlight why I got into real estate and why it’s important for me. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. My parents are Cambodians and we escape the Khmer Rouge. There were lots of interesting stories of hiding in jungles and hiding from laws, out of hiding and keeping some pretty terrible stuff. It’s more of my parents’ story. I did grow up in LA and I grew up very poor. I grew up not having much, but I got very lucky to have been growing up in America. I have been fortunate enough to be good at Math and have a family that put a roof over my head, to not see what I didn’t have, and to have enough hunger to drive me to my biggest why.

Hopefully, a lot of your audience has a big why to help them provide security and financial freedom in whatever form that means to their family. That’s been my biggest driver. When I started to get good at Math, I gravitated towards investment banking because that’s the thing people did in my age group. Everybody said, “Let’s go do investment banking. This makes a bunch of money, be a stock trader,” or whatever it is. I did all that. I’m pretty good at Math and at understanding data patterns.

Having a predictable monthly income will make you feel relaxed.

What I found about myself is I did not like the volatility, the up and down, the movement and checking the market. I went through the financial crisis. I helped cause the financial crisis. I’m sorry. When you book $4 billion losses in subprime assets, that’s probably not a great idea. Seeing that side of things and seeing the value of these houses go down, that’s how I first got into my first real estate investments at the young age of 23.

I’m lucky enough to have the capital to deploy at the time. I remember it very clearly. It was a $125,000 investment to a $30,000 purchase price of investment to get $1,000 a month in net monthly income. I liked that feeling of having a monthly predictable income. Obviously, I’m hiding a few things like what I had to do with painting the house, remodeling, getting tenants, and tenant issues. In general, when you come from so little and have just a little bit of security, it gets you a lot of confidence. My story isn’t a story of getting into real estate and just doing real estate. My story is of someone who has always tried to do a lot of things. I had a side passion for real estate and now it’s the main passion of my full-time job or my business.

It’s always been a side hustle. For me and probably some of your audience, you work your 9:00 to 5:00 and you buy real estate. For me, having that passive income help me make better decisions. I was able to go to the Peace Corps when everyone went to MBA. I met my wife in the Peace Corps. I was able to take bolder career decisions of asking for more, of not having a fear-based life of financial insecurity and saying, “I can’t go for this job or make this counteroffer.”

That helped because I was buying real estate every year, and having that little base of support grow and grow. I knew that I didn’t need to have much to survive. Having that, on top of everything else I was doing, gave me more freedom of choice and urgency. It’s a long story of how all these formative things helped me get into real estate, as well as why I’m doing more real estate and why I love preaching to the choir about real estate and subsidiary tax advantage. I’ve heard a lot of people who invest in real estate and not pay taxes. I love talking about that as well.

I went out to lunch with my mother-in-law and I told her, “I’m not sure what’s going on with me but I am getting teary-eyed with everything that’s happening around me.” It’s not everything, but things touched me so deeply. I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Just hearing your story about being a refugee and running to Thailand first, and then escaping to the United States, it’s a very similar story of my parents who had to flee from Pakistan during the separation because they were Hindu. Basically, they only had their clothes on their back and they ran across the border. They had these big houses in Pakistan and India. They had 15 or 18 people living in one dirt-floor shack.

I know the story. I never had to live it. They came to the United States and then had me. When I hear these stories, you realize how insanely lucky we are here in the United States. What I wish is that people understood that luck and it did not deter them from their drive. How old were you when you moved to LA?

Three years old.

REW 85 | Senior Living

Senior Living: The growth of this aging population will need more care, such as better communities and better facilities to take care of them.

 

You probably don’t remember too much of that struggle. As little people, we still get the subconscious impact of that. Your parents brought you here and they had this drive. They wanted to create safety for you and you got to see that, then that helped you to build that drive. Sometimes, those of us that come from immigrant families have this huge advantage of understanding what it could be like if we were not here and we didn’t have this opportunity. That touched me so much and I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing that story.

You’re welcome. That was my purpose. I love to share my story. My story is my parent’s story. My story is a lot of people’s stories, of not just immigrants who are refugees but of people who don’t have much. I fundamentally believe that it’s a lot of mindsets. It’s having that mindset to be grateful for what you have and what you can have for your health and for all the stuff. I know my son grew up very spoiled. I’m trying to figure it out. I don’t know how to not spoil him. I want him to have fun too. I want to buy him all the toys, but I have pictures of me in his age chasing chickens in the camp. It’s a different journey.

You are right that mindset is everything. You got a mindset from your parents, and you’ve inherited and developed your own mindset. That mindset will then hopefully, will impact your children and the world around you. Everything that we do is done through the filters of our own eyes that are affected by our own minds. If you come from a filter of gratitude, everything that you see will be of gratitude, and living that life helps our children to understand it and see it.

Even with all that they went through, my parents were so grateful to be here. They were so grateful for their children and for their opportunities. That’s a big reason why I’m so grateful for everything too. I totally understand what you’re saying. That mindset piece is huge. I’m sure no matter how spoiled your little one is, he will get that from you too. He might be chasing chickens but he might be doing it in the park.

That’s what rich people in San Francisco didn’t know. They just buy a chicken coop. It’s a sign of affluence that I got chickens and fresh grown eggs.

It’s come full circle. It’s not just an immigrant mindset. I thank you for emphasizing that. There are a lot of people that come from a place where they are not very privileged, or they had very little, or they were in bad circumstances. Through the change of their mindset, drive, and being able to have a vision of what might be possible, they are able to overcome that and create a life of freedom and choice. I released my TEDx Talk, which is called Who Is The Boss Of You? It’s all about economic freedom to give you a choice. We’re on the same wavelength on that. Let’s talk about real estate specifically. Talk to me about your favorite investment class or asset class.

I’ve gravitated towards senior living as a great asset class. For those who don’t know, senior living has many varieties to it. You have nursing homes, independent living, adults 55-plus assisted living. I was fairly in the middle of assisted living where folks, elders, and our residents are the greatest generation and they’ve contributed so much to this country. They are 85-plus. I love to invest in places where you have strong fundamentals or an asset class with strong fundamentals. That means there will be a lot more old people in the future. That’s just the demographic shift that is a known quantity in America, the silver tsunami. The growth of this aging population will need more care, better communities and better facilities to take care of them.

Having just a little bit of security gets you a lot of confidence when you come from so little.

Why I love this asset class, and I’ll compare this to multifamily because I do have both, is it’s both business as well as real estate. It has many great intangible changes. You are renting. You have to have depreciation. You have leverage and all these things that real estate gives you. You also have a business that essentially, for us, is an all-inclusive resort where our rents are typically five times the amount that you would pay for a comparable apartment building. You have a $500 revenue, but you have three times the costs. That comes from making sure that you have three meals a day and all this stuff. It’s just by creating community. I love thinking about creating community and how we can give our seniors the best community as these are the retirement years. These are the years that they would stay probably for their entire lives.

What I like to compare it to multifamily is that typically three years is the average length of stay. Once you get somebody in, they’re staying for a while. Because we do private pay, not Medicaid or Medicare, we know exactly that they can afford these things three-ish years. Overall, they are income resistant. In a pandemic, you can lose your job or income and be unemployed. Our tenants are recession resilient as I would like to call it.

They have an income. They have the money ready. They put that out from the funds. They’re using this for the last remaining years of making sure they’re in a great place. I’ve gotten deep into senior living. The reason why I got into senior living is because I love cashflow. I invest with cashflow and I’ve been investing in California until it didn’t make sense. I’m a nimble and flexible person. I don’t want to just be, “This is what I’m doing. I will only do that. I’m never going to do anything else.”

While you will learn expertise in that thing, if the market shifts, if California gets more expensive, which it has because it gets more regulated and may control, which it has, and if multi-family becomes more expensive, which it has, then I can’t get the same kind of cashflow that I’m used to, and I’m spoiled. I like to surround myself with double-digit cashflow. I’ll invest in this as well. I will chase after good asset classes that there’s a good moat around. When I started, I bought something to invest in, I didn’t have any guidance on how to buy real estate. They didn’t have sites back then. I figured out what to buy and do the math myself. I was pretty good at Math. I can figure it out.

If more people can do what you’re doing, that means the return is not as good. It’s more competitive. What you want to do is get to more uncompetitive areas where you can create a moat of competitive advantage. Senior living has a huge moat. No one is going to go figure it out like, “I want to invest in senior living nowadays.” Hopefully after this show, maybe some of your audience will. It’s definitely a great moat. There are lots of people in the space, but not as many as they should be. There are lots of communities that are thriving even during COVID.

When I think about what I want to continue to do from investing overall is I love cashflow. I say cashflow risk appreciation, even though all my assets have appreciated. This is what happens to assets, especially when the government prints a lot of money. I liked cashflow because I can get that money now and then compound it or invest it in many different things. When you invest for appreciation, you’re like planting a tree, then it becomes a big tree, but then that’s very risky to only have one tree. When you’re investing for cashflow, I like to think of you are planting the tree and you got a forest. You can invest all the cash from it in many different things. Having double-digit cashflow, meaning if you put $100,000, you get $1,000 a month, gives you the freedom to do a lot of different things.

REW 85 | Senior Living

Senior Living: Figure out complicated things. Others won’t do it. So, it’s time to try it out.

 

That’s what gives you a lot of buffers because if you’re just investing for appreciation, I don’t want to say negative, but others have investments that can do both. That’s the money that you got to put into it every month. If you lose your job, you might not have that cashflow from that property to cover that debt. Cashflow investing for me is always a big buffer of safety. I’m always thinking of how conservative, how safe it can be, and how much money this investment can make so that it pays for itself and for all my other debts.

For senior living, I love the way that you talked about that. I talked a little bit about California as an appreciation market. Usually, you’re going to have negative cashflow, which now everybody is like, “Don’t do that.” It’s a bad word. When you have an appreciation market, you’re usually not going to have any cashflow. Sometimes you’ll break even, or if you hold for a while, maybe. There are different ways of investing in it. It is good to consider what are your goals and to pick a strategy accordingly. I love that you’re so clear on exactly what you want.

Talk to me a little bit about senior living homes. I’ve looked a little bit into it. I’m very curious about it. I’ve got a lot of elderly family members that have been in homes. I hear a lot about insurance issues, not insurance like medical insurance but insurance as in insuring the home. It is its own big thing that none of the other asset classes have. Have you found that to be a particularly big challenge? What do you think about that?

I think of it as an added cost that is baked into the revenue. Your NOI and op expenses are baked into it. It has three times the cost. You had licenses that you have to get. Oftentimes, a medical license but when you open anything you get a license of that nature. We’re building single-story communities where you typically have 80 to 90 people in the community.

We have many different layers of liability protection both from having insurance, which can be costly but it’s baked into the cost, to also a management company, which we either own or a third party. We would have the liability of all the HR because it’s a people business. It’s having people and taking care of people. You want that to live off your investment. You have three entities when you are investing in senior living versus when you have multifamily. You might just invest in your own name. You may have insurance. You could do an LLC but being in California, it’s $18,000 a year.

It is a little bit more complicated but once you get to know that business, you know how to handle those things.

I love complicated things. I love to figure it out and then maybe someone else will do it because it’s complicated. They might want to do it and there will be more for me. That’s great.

Senior living is a queried asset class.

There are two other questions I wanted to ask you. First of all, I do want to talk about opportunity zones and how they fit into this. I know that we’re going to talk more about that in EXTRA. We will get there. The other question is, do you invest in homes and take other people’s money to invest in them? For instance, if I wanted to invest in senior living but didn’t want to have to learn all that stuff, can I do it through you?

That’s exactly what we do. Thanks for bringing that up because I will say all these complicated things. One of the things you could do is at least know that at Touzi Capital, I’m here to provide you with an option to invest with us and participate in the same cashflow that I’ve been talking about and the same stuff without having to sign a loan, without having to get the insurance or having any liability because you’re not even on any of the paperwork and the corp liability business. We take care of everything. All the headaches of hiring people and all that stuff, we’re taking care of. We’re doing this at scale so that when you’re doing anything ten times, you get better at it. It’s something that I appreciate myself. We love to have anyone potentially because you’re investing and growing with us.

Thank you for that. Ladies, as you know, we will be asking him how to get in touch with him. That’s one of those things you might want to talk to him about. If you have an interest in senior living homes instead of learning the whole game, you can have a piece of your investment portfolio with him and make income passively. That’s a possibility too. Talk to me a little bit about opportunity zones. We’re going to do the deep dive in EXTRA about this, but give us a little high level because I know that several of your properties are in opportunity zones. Is that true?

Yeah. We’re developing two properties. One is Jacksonville. We’re breaking ground. I will be flying over for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I love opportunity zones and what it represents, which is a new law that was passed during the Trump Tax Cuts. If you know the letter of the law or the tax code, you can reduce your taxable income, which means you can keep more of your earnings. If you work hard for your money, keep more of your money. Use all the things that the rich people and investor class use all day. This is a great opportunity because we have a lot of folks who have a lot of stocks. I come from Apple and they make a lot of money from stocks.

When you sell stocks, you have to pay capital gains. In fact, when you sell almost any asset, you have to pay capital gains. That capital gain is tax and for opportunity zones, it’s the first class of investment that you can essentially say, “I’m not going to pay that. Not now. I’ll pay that later.” Put that money into an opportunity zone. If you owed $100,000 of taxes on capital gains, don’t pay that. Pay that later. We defer taxes all the time. That’s a great strategy. That’s all real estate. That’s what people are most interested in. When you do 401(k), you want to defer taxes in the future. You defer taxes for six years, not too long, then you reduce it by 10%, and then you hold it for ten years. It’s quite a while for any real estate investment. All future capital gains get eliminated.

Compared to a non-opportunity investment, and I do have both, if given the same number of returns, let’s say, 12% each annual return, the opportunity zone will give you 50% more money at the end because you would have free money going in and free money going out. It’s like a Roth and 401(k). I can go into the details on that too but basically, don’t pay taxes if you can. There are ways to do that. Even if you’re a W-2 employee and working hard, there are many ways. If you’re investing in money, investing in opportunity zones, investing in places that the government is saying, “Invest in this place. You would get a great tax benefit.” These places sometimes are great places to build senior living communities.

You totally piqued my interest. I would like to do a deep dive on that in EXTRA, where you can talk a little bit more about how that actually works because you go to high-level as I asked. I want to know more about that and exactly how that works. Ladies, we’ll be talking about that in EXTRA. Definitely stay tuned for that. Before we go to our three rapid-fire questions, tell everybody how they can reach you.

REW 85 | Senior Living

Senior Living: Just get started. You will fail. You will learn. It’s all the same. It’s going to be a great journey.

 

They can reach me at our website TouziCapital.com and email me at Eng@TouziCapital.com. I am always happy to talk about taxes, real estate investing, and financial freedom. It’s all the things I’m passionate about. I have YouTube videos and TikTok. I got viral and it’s a million views. What we love about this space compared to everything else I’ve been doing is I’ve done a lot of talking to people and seeing people on their journeys. I’ve learned so much by talking to people. If you’re trying to do anything, networking and relationship building is key to success.

Definitely, get in touch with him. He’s very generously offering some of his time, which not very many people do. Be respectful and kind. If you’re interested in this topic, give him a call or send an email. Eng, are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?

Yes.

Give us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

I hate saying it depends, but what I always say is get started. Just do it. A lot of people always think. I think too much. I think all the time. Getting started is going to be the best way to learn. If you’re short of money, find somebody who has money. If you are short of time, find somebody who has time. Those two things, time and money, will allow you to get into real state. There are so many technologies nowadays. You can use Redfin, Zillow or all these great applications that I didn’t have when I started. That will help you to get into it. Just get started. You will fail. You will learn. It’s all the same, and it’s going to be a great journey.

Tell us one strategy for being successful in real estate.

The big strategy that I’ve come to is to value your time. If you value your time, then you can create processes or decisions that are going to keep you down in the weeds or quagmire of figuring out how to evict somebody or do this or that. While you have to do that in the beginning, if you’re trying to be successful, that means you will try and do this a lot. You’re not just going to try this once. If you get lucky, you’ll try this ten times. Think about what you would want to do 5 to 10 times over and figure out how to scale. That’s why for me, it’s always been about going up, scaling, and knowing that a multimillion-dollar loan is easier than a $100,000 loan. I just need the income for it. I just need to have the experience. Scaling and thinking about how to do things multiple times is always a great strategy to be successful.

You work hard for your money. Keep more money.

Scaling and systems conserve your time. What is one daily practice that contributes to your personal success?

I do fasting. I’m an intimate faster. That’s a little bit of me back in time and not eating breakfast. I used to eat a lot when I was working at a corporate job. I loved having lunches but what I found is there are some great health benefits of fasting for me, not for everybody. For me, it’s giving me a little focus during the day to have a black cup of coffee, and then get into my routine. That has helped me focus on the task at hand every day.

This has been fabulous so far. Thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show.

Thanks for having me.

Ladies, we got more. We’re going to be talking about opportunity zones and how they can save you in taxes, capital gains and all that cool stuff. I’m super excited about that. Stay tuned for EXTRA if you are subscribed. If you are not but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get the first seven days for free. You can download this one and whatever ones you want to read and check it out. For those of you that are leaving us now, thank you for joining Eng and me for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.

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About  Eng Taing

REW 85 | Senior LivingEng is an experienced private fund manager with $100M assets under management. He has 12 years of private market and real estate investing experience and has focused on cash flow investing to create significant passive income. Eng is an economist by training, from the Wharton School of Business. He also has experience leading data science and analytics at Apple, Capital One and AT&T. He applies that experience when identifying and underwriting investment opportunities and markets.

Eng is the classic immigrant story that can only happen in America. He was born in refugee camp in Thailand, where his family escaped the Khmer Rogue from Cambodia. Having grown up in Los Angeles, he pursued economics by day trading and playing Poker to pay for his tuition while attending the University of Pennsylvania. There he trained as an economist and afterwards went into Investment banking. Later he would leave the financial world to join the Peace Corps, volunteering in the Republic of Georgia–a year after the Russian invasion. There he met his wife–Jennie, who was also volunteering abroad. They now have one son, with another on the way.

Eng has presented at companies like Apple, Facebook, & Amazon where he teaches employees how to minimize their tax burden and keep and investing more of their earnings so that they can achieve financial freedom.

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[Customer Convo] Choosing Bliss, A New Giving Thanks Practice, And Real Estate With Chaitra Rai – Real Estate Women

REW 34 | Choosing Bliss

 

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.

Listen to the podcast here:

[Customer Convo] Choosing Bliss, A New Giving Thanks Practice, And Real Estate With Chaitra Rai – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

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.

[bctt tweet=”We each design our lives based on what makes us feel the best.” via=”no”]

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.

REW 34 | Choosing Bliss

Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment

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.

[bctt tweet=”A blissful life is when we get to do the things that make us feel most fulfilled.” via=”no”]

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.

REW 34 | Choosing Bliss

Choosing Bliss: 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.

 

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.

[bctt tweet=”We get so busy in our lives that we forget that our bodies were built to move.” via=”no”]

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?

REW 34 | Choosing Bliss

Choosing Bliss: 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 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.

[bctt tweet=”When you start to believe that you’re afraid, it’ll run away.” via=”no”]

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.

REW 34 | Choosing Bliss

Experts & Influencers: Women’s Empowerment Edition

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.

[bctt tweet=”Always remember, goals without action are just dreams.” via=”no”]

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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