Being a doctor can be exhausting, especially when you have to work 12 hours and your family relies on you financially doesn’t help in helping to reclaim your life. This episode is dedicated to everyone who wants to reclaim their life and remain financially stable. Today, Ronnie Shalev, a board-certified ER physician turned real estate investor, shares her career shift and how you can build and protect your wealth through apartment investing. Ronnie’s mission to help people with their financial wellness led her to provide some more insights on why investing in apartments is more relevant than other asset classes. Choosing the right market is part of risk mitigation, which Moneeka and Ronnie dive deep into. So if you want to free yourself from the job holding you down, tune in to this episode now! Learn how you can live a life on your terms!
I am so excited to welcome to the show, Dr. Ronnie Shalev. She is a board-certified emergency physician turned real estate investor. She was a practicing ER doc for sixteen years, but her job sucked the life out of her, leaving her drained, burnt out, and unable to enjoy her family and kids. She wanted to reclaim her life but didn’t know where to start.
She was making great money. Her family was relying on her financially, so she was trapped by the golden handcuffs. That’s when she started exploring the world of real estate investing and found a way to make recurring income without having to be physically at the hospital or with her patients. After some time, the income she earned from her real estate investments gave her the freedom to quit her grueling emergency medicine job and transition to a medical device company. Ronnie’s mission is to share her knowledge with other women who are feeling trapped and want to free themselves from their jobs and live life on their terms. Welcome to the show, Ronnie. It’s so nice to have you here.
Thank you so much for having me.
I know we were talking a little bit about this in the green room, but it’s interesting to me how many doctors have come onto the show talking about either how they are evaluating syndications, or they are actual syndicators. What’s fascinating to me is my mom is also an MD. I know what kind of income you guys make. Especially as an ER doc, that’s some crazy difficult stuff, and they pay you well for that.
It’s fascinating to me to see how syndications and being a syndicator can replace that kind of income. It’s such an inspiration. This is something to think about. We wonder, “Can I replace my income?” Think about the six-figure incomes that are being replaced with real estate. It’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming to share your story on the show.
I’m so excited to share my story. I know that a lot of people can relate to wanting to design their own life.
I’m one of those people, too. That’s what bliss means to me. It is a choice. It is not being a slave to the expectations of the world around us, whether it’s our job, our families, or whatever it is. We want to be able to live life on our own terms. It’s awesome. I read your bio, but why syndication? Why did you take this particular route?
I was not ever planning on being a syndicator. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be an ER doctor. I wanted to help people. I wanted to help people with their health and their life in their times of need. I remember a shift where I was alone. I was the only doctor in the entire ER. There was no scribe, no mid-level, no physician assistant, nothing. It was around 10:00 PM, and I was treating two stroke patients at the same time. I also had an asthmatic who was having severe trouble breathing. I had someone having a heart attack. The waiting room was full. There wasn’t an empty chair. You could see the pain and frustration on everyone’s faces, the patients and the families.
On top of it, there were several ambulances lined up waiting to get checked in. I looked at the clock to see, “When is my relief coming?” It was eight more hours. The stress was unbearable. I couldn’t breathe. I was responsible for all of these people. The administrators had cut all of the physician hours and assistance hours, leaving only one doctor responsible for everyone who walked into the ER or was already there. I’m faced with this situation. What did I do? I put my head down, and I did it. I took care of everyone at the expense of my own health. I didn’t eat, drink, or pee during that shift.
For eight hours?
Twelve. I came home, and I was so exhausted. I collapsed on the bed. I went to sleep in my scrubs, which is unheard of because you feel disgusting after the hospital. I slept the rest of the day. My husband and my family didn’t understand why I was so tired. They didn’t understand that I’d taken care of over 50 patients that night with extreme stress and liability. It’s hard to fathom. How could they?
I started to think about what else I was supposed to do. I was like, “What else is there? I’m a high-paid hourly worker, and I’m tied to my job. I have to keep it.” I was told by my administrators with no medical education how to practice medicine and how quickly to see the patients. They made sure to tell me that I was dispensable and could be fired if they didn’t like my numbers. I started to think, “Why did I love this job in the first place? Something has to change.” That’s when I started looking at other options and what else was there. I was like, “How can I free myself from this job?” That’s where I found real estate.
It was about that time that a friend told me that he was passively investing in real estate. I didn’t understand what that meant. He was like, “I own a piece of 100 7-Elevens, and I receive a check every quarter. I get passive income.” I’m like, “Passive income? What is that? That’s weird.” For years, I had been working per hour. My time was not passive at all. My money was never passive. I thought to myself, “This sounds weird. This sounds fishy. Is it a pyramid scheme? Is he lying to me? It sounds like it’s too good to be true. Maybe you could lose your money. I don’t know.” I was very paranoid.
I started thinking and remembering what was going on in the hospital and with those administrators. I was so frustrated about trading my health and my well-being for money. I decided, “Why not? Let’s give it a shot. It’s not like real estate goes to zero. It’s almost impossible for that. There are hard assets. There’s land.”
My husband and I decided to dip our toe in and do a small investment first. It worked. We started getting checks every quarter. I said, “This is interesting. Does it work again? Let’s do it again.” We did it again. We started seeing results. That’s where we started investing. We’ve been part of over 26 deals. We’re always looking for new ones. We did a reassessment and said, “I could leave medicine. I can go to something that’s way less stressful with this passive income that we’ve generated.” It took many years.
It took eight years. That’s the thing. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme or something like that. This is a long-term strategy where you know what the outcome is. It’s predictable. After I was able to do that, I still see all of my physician friends and colleagues as miserable. I’m telling them, “This is what I did.” They’re like, “How did you do it? Did you win the lottery?” I’m like, “I didn’t win the lottery. This is the actual strategy that I did.”Apartment investing is a long-term strategy where you know what the outcome is. Click To Tweet
They still have fear. They were like, “I don’t have time to learn it. I don’t have time to study it.” I said, “That’s perfect. I’ll do it for you. I’ll do that. You can leverage my expertise. You can leverage my time. You can leverage other people’s money through the banks.” I went and studied how to do it actively myself. My husband and I took a mentorship program and learned how to do it. We started our own company, where we are syndicating apartments specifically and bringing along other professionals.
Do you ever miss the helping people aspect of medicine?
I help people all the time. What I didn’t know when I was looking at being a physician as a career at that time, I thought, “This is how you help people.” Now I have a better perspective that you don’t have to help people with their health. You can help them with their financial wellness. I’m still helping, which is huge. On top of it, I’m also able to still use my medical knowledge. I work at a medical device company. It’s not because I have to work there. It’s because I want to work there. We’re helping thousands of patients every single day. I get to use my medical knowledge. I get to use my investing knowledge. I get to help so many people on a grander scale. I’m still feeling that drive to help people. That’s that feeling.You don't have to help people with your health. You can help them with their financial wellness. Click To Tweet
It’s so interesting because I don’t have to work either. I’m like you in your situation. I’m, by nature, a coach. My mom was a psychiatrist. She and I are so similar. My heart is to help. I found a very similar thing when I was coaching. I was trading time for money. I gave up on so many other things that were important to me. It’s certainly not comparable to you, but there’s that feeling inside me of wanting to help.
As I’m trying to redesign my life, retire, and have more time for my husband, my family, my nephew, and my parents as they’re aging, I’ve got the financial wherewithal to not have to do anything. My way of helping is by doing this show because this way, my ladies are elevated by my guests and whatever little knowledge I can offer. It’s an opportunity for me to give back so that I have that peace inside of me fulfilled. The biggest things in people’s lives that we need an abundance of are our health, our wealth, and love. It is our relationships. It is the three biggest things, and you’re handling two of them. That’s unbelievable. That’s awesome.
I love that you’re helping so many women and bringing on powerful people to motivate. How does someone know that they can do it without hearing that other people have done it, too?
That’s right. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with my ladies. Talk to me a little bit about why you chose apartments.
We passively invested in a lot of different asset classes. We’ve done self-storage, retail centers, mixed-use buildings, industrial warehouses, and assisted living. There’s a lot that I’ve done, but I like apartments the best because they make sense to me. I feel like housing is a basic need. Everyone needs a place to live. If they’re shopping online on Amazon, they’re at home. They’re not going into the office. They’re working remotely. They’re doing it from their homes.
With the interest rates going up and the supply shortage, people can’t afford a house. They can’t afford a down payment. There’s a whole population of renters that have to be renters. There’s also a whole population of people that want to be renters. There are the Millennials that don’t want to be tied down. They don’t want to be having these roof leaks, plumbing, and all kinds of deferred maintenance on their home. They don’t want that. There are seniors. These are people that are trying to buckle down and live on fixed incomes. They don’t want surprise expenses with their homes.
That’s a good point.
They’re downsizing. They move out, so they become renters. There are all these people going to rent, and there are not enough places. That’s why rents are going up crazy all over the place. I’m going into apartments, but I’m not just going into any apartment. We focus on recession-resistant assets. We’re looking at Class B and Class C properties. The reason I’m looking at that is that what happens when you’re in a recession? It is what people might say we’re in. You’re living in a Class A building, which is a high-rise. There’s a bellman or a doorman. It has all of it.
Maybe you have a pay cut, or you get furloughed, or you’re let go. Why do they move? They move into Class B. It is the same thing. The people living in Class B move to Class C. I’m right in that demographic that whether we’re in an economic downturn or not, people are looking to live there. I’m taking those communities, and I’m making them better. I’m doing value add. We’re putting in dog parks and solar panels. We’re including internet in our packages. We’re doing a lot of nice things for the residents, making it a community where it’s a nice place to live. What we’re doing is we’re adding value. We’re making the residents a great place to live, and then the investors make money. It’s a win-win.
Tell me about how you pick your markets. I know you’re doing Class B and C, but how do you pick the markets you want to go into?
I’m focusing on the Sunbelt states because I want people to be moving to where my apartments are. I’m looking for landlord-friendly states. I want to be able to evict if I need to. I don’t want a tenant that has lived there for two years and doesn’t pay rent. I’m looking for landlord-friendly states. I’m looking for growing markets. These are sub-markets where people are moving into. Why are they moving? There are jobs. I’m looking for where there’s job growth.
I don’t look for only one employer or one type of employer. The last thing you want is to have this robust factory, and then the factory closes, and everybody loses their job and moves out of your apartment. I’m looking for markets where there are multiple diverse employers in energy, entertainment, device, biotech, or whatever it is. There’s a lot of variety. If one goes out of business, they’re not all going to go out of business.
You can’t completely reduce risk, but you can start thinking and pre-planning if you have a safety plan. I’m looking for recession-resistant assets. I’m looking for places where you can evict tenants that aren’t paying. The goal is to bring income. We want to make sure that people are moving there. We want to make sure that there are different types of employers. There’s a lot of thought into the market selection.
In EXTRA, we’re going to be talking about how to mitigate risk. My belief, and correct me if I’m wrong, is part of the mitigation of risk is how you choose a market. Is that true?
We’ll do a deeper dive on that, so we get a little bit more conversation around that in EXTRA. I’m super excited about that. You talked about passive investors versus active investors. Give me your perspective on it because, as a doctor, it’s going to look very different than it does for the rest of us. Go ahead and define for me what you were looking for as far as a passive investor versus an active investor.
Personally, I love passive investing. It is the ultimate way to explode your wealth. The biggest reason because of that is because of leverage. You are leveraging other people’s expertise. I’m not going as a passive investor to go and fly into every city, drive around, see what the best areas are, and then do research on which companies are moving there, who’s moving their headquarters, and what’s happening in the city design planning. Someone’s doing that for you. You’re not spending your time doing it.
You’re also leveraging other people’s relationships. You’re not having to forge relationships with brokers and tour properties and show them that you’re serious. You’re also not having to sign on for any loans. When you’re a passive investor, you’re not having to find the financing, the debt, and all that stuff and meet all these bankers and mortgage brokers. You don’t have to do all of that. You also don’t have to be finding the deals and analyzing them. You’re leveraging other people’s expertise. You’re leveraging other people’s time.
You have a life. You’re a busy professional. You have a family. You want extra income, but you don’t want to be tied to a new hobby where you’re like, “I wasn’t planning on being a landlord,” where tenants are calling you about termites and how there’s a leak or a fire. Passive investors don’t have to deal with any of that.
Active investors, on the other hand, are the people that want to do work. They’re the ones that are finding the properties. They’re the ones that are doing the market analysis. They’re like, “Is this a good market? Is this a good property? Does this make financial sense? What is the business plan? Is this a buy-and-hold? Are we holding it for a long period of time and waiting for it to go up, or are we renovating it? Are we raising rents? What are we doing?” You’re the one that creates the plan. You’re in charge of it. You’re also in charge of executing that plan. It is making sure that the contractors are coming, that the property managers are renting out the units, and that there’s marketing to the property.
You’re doing a lot of that stuff, and then at the end, you’re the one that does the exit plan. You either refinance it or sell it. Active people are doing active work. It depends on what you want as a person. How do you want to design your life? That’s what I love about real estate. Anything you do in real estate, you’re going to do well. Is it active? Is it passive? Is it commercial? Is it residential? There are so many things that you can do, and you’re going to do them well. As long as you have the right team and the right education about it, anyone can do it.
It’s available to anybody. That’s what I love about real estate. That’s not true in other parts of the world, but here in the United States, we are so lucky. The government even helps you do it and rewards you for doing it. They want people to own their houses. They want people to feel committed to their communities. They want that, so they encourage us to do that.
It’s interesting because when we look at passive versus active, there’s a whole spectrum of passive versus active. The ultimate passive is investing, for instance, in REITs or syndications. I’d love for you to address that. It is all the way to fully actively being the syndicator doing all of those other things. Personally, I have an active model, but I only 5 five to 10 hours a month. It’s active, but I consider it passive. For me, that’s what I consider passive, but you’re right. It’s not fully passive.
I’m my own acquisition person. I have the exit strategy. I’m calling the tenants for rent raises. I’m doing all of those things. It doesn’t take me a lot of time, so it seems much more passive than a 40-hour-a-week job or a 60-hour-a-week job, which is what I had before. It’s still very passive. It’s more active than what you’re talking about. Could you tell me a little bit about your perspective on REITs versus syndication?
A REIT is very similar to a stock. You are buying shares of a company that is owning and managing properties. You’re not owning the real estate itself. A positive with a REIT is that your money’s not locked into a property. You can buy it. The stock, you can sell it. It’s like the stock market. You’re liquid. You can go in, and you can go out.
What I don’t like about REITs is that you don’t own the real estate. You’re investing in a company. If the company is spread thin or something happens in the company, those shares do go down. It’s not a for sure thing, not that anything is for sure. Real estate is getting the depreciation from the real estate. If you are owning part of a company, you’re not getting the depreciation. In syndication, you are an actual owner of the property. You get a depreciation. You get the tax benefits without having the headaches of home ownership.
Thank you for that. That was awesome. I love what you’re sharing. I’m so inspired by your story and what you’ve been able to do. Could you tell us how people can get in touch with you?
I have an email account. If someone wants to email me, it’s [email protected]. You can email me. I’m happy to hop on a call and talk to you about what you want, how you want your life to look, how active you want to be, or how passive you want to be. Picture a day when you go to work because you want to go to work, not because you have to go to work. Picture a day when your spouse tells you, “You seem healthier. I love the freedom that we have now in our life.” Picture a day you can travel if you want to travel, relax if you want to relax, or serve others if you want to serve others. That’s what real estate investing can do for you. That’s what it did for me. That’s why I’m so passionate about real estate and helping other people. Email me. I’ll be happy to connect.
I love that. Tell us a little bit about your free gift.
I offer a free masterclass about passive real estate investing, what it is, what are the different asset classes you can invest in, and the difference between active and passive. It is a lot more in-depth than we’re talking about here. We’ll talk about what syndication is and what returns we are looking for. You can find it at Invest.ShalwinProperties.com.
That is perfect. Thank you for that. That will be a great way for people to get started and get to know passive investing a little bit more. Thank you. We are going to be doing EXTRA, which is going to be about how to mitigate risk. We’re going to be doing a little more of a deep dive also on finding markets. We’re going to do that after our three rapid-fire questions. Are you ready for three rapid-fire questions?
Give us one strategy for getting started investing in real estate.
The best way to start is to find out the different ways that you can start and figure out how you want to start. Do you want to be doing it all? Do you want to start passive and then be active later? Do you want to start active and maybe be passive later? Do you want to do both? The first step is to sit down and think about what you want to do and then do it. That’s my big thing. Taking action is so important.
I agree with you on that. What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?
It’s important to listen to podcasts. This is an easy thing. Try to educate yourself by hearing people talk about stories about how they did it. Once you hear how they did it so many times, you start thinking, “I can do it, too. It doesn’t sound so hard.” Listening to other people’s successes and how they did it is important in being successful yourself because success leaves clues.Listening to other people's successes and how they did it is very important in being successful yourself because success leaves clues. Click To Tweet
It’s a personal self-brainwashing, isn’t it? It is building that confidence. It all starts in mind.
I believe that strongly.
Tell us one daily practice you do that contributes to your personal success.
We’re going to do mindset. I work on my mindset every single day. Stress is wired into me, whether I’m in the ER or doing real estate. My mind is always thinking. In calming my mind down, one of the big things that I do is meditate. I also practice something called reframing, where if you’re thinking one thing, you release, pause, and start thinking like, “Is this thought serving me? Is this helping me to think this way? How am I going to get where I want to be?” It’s certainly not going to be thinking this way. You got to start thinking the other way. Trying to manipulate how I’m thinking and trying to always reframe is a big thing that has always helped me.
Reframing is such an interesting thing because people are like, “You’re making it up if you’re reframing.” The thing is that you made it up in the first place. Any situation that’s happening could be happening to ten different people, and they would have ten different reactions. The situation is not the problem. It’s a story that we make up about it that creates our response. If you’re going to make up the story anyways, you might as well make up a story that’s more serving to your business, your joy, and your life.
There’s something in our minds that we have something called automatic negative thoughts. That is back in the caveman days when we were trying to protect ourselves. We’re like, “Someone’s coming,” and it could be a tiger or whatever it is. That is a preservation thing. Our mind does that. We have to stop. We don’t have to listen to every single thing our mind tells us. That’s something that is important for people to understand. You need to recognize when you’re starting to spin in a spiral of negative thoughts that might not be true.
True is an interesting word. There are some basic truths like don’t kill people. That’s probably a basic truth. In general, in our lives, truth is very subjective. What you’re perceiving is not necessarily true. I love that. Thank you so much for all that you’ve offered in this portion of the show. This has been wonderful, Ronnie.
Thank you so much for having me. I love talking to you.
We get to talk more in EXTRA. Stay tuned. We’re going to be talking about mitigating risk in syndications and picking markets. I’m super excited about that conversation. If you are subscribed to EXTRA, stay tuned. If you’re not but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenEXTRA.com. For those of you that are leaving Ronnie and me, thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show. You know how much I love having you here. I look forward to seeing you next episode. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams, so get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you next episode.
When I was an ER doctor, my high pressure job sucked the life out of me. I was left weary, burned out, and unable to enjoy my family, my kids, and my day-to-day life. Since I made great money, I felt hopelessly stuck in these “golden handcuffs”, and saw no end in sight.
Now I help others create PASSIVE INCOME so that they have the FREEDOM to do what they want with their time and not be held captive by their jobs.
SHALWIN PROPERTIES partners with investors who want access to real estate deals so they can get the benefits of real estate without the headaches of being a landlord.
Whether you want to diversify your assets, earn passive income, hedge against inflation, or maximize the tax benefits that come with real estate investing, Shalwin Properties helps you every step of the way.
To listen to the EXTRA portion of this show go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com
Learn how to create a consistent income stream by only working 5 hours a month the Blissful Investor Way.
Grab my FREE guide at http://www.BlissfulInvestor.com
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.