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Play Louder: Your REI Financial Independence Roadmap With Joe DiSanto

REW Joe DiSanto | Play Louder


If you want to live your dreams after retirement, you have to track your personal finances. And you can start doing that right now with Play Louder. Play Louder offers everything from coaching to a financial independence roadmap made exclusively for you. Find out if you are investing in the right real estate properties and how much you need before you retire. Join Moneeka Sawyer as she talks to the Owner of Play Louder, Joe DiSanto. Discover Joe’s story of how he embraced his relationship with money. Learn why real estate investing is the best way to earn money without much risk and why it’s best to start thinking about retirement as early as you can. Start mapping your destination number so you can start investing and saving your way to it. Financial planning and budgeting are essential to how you want to live your best life. Treat your life like a business today!

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Play Louder: Your REI Financial Independence Roadmap With Joe DiSanto

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to bring to the show, Joe DiSanto. Joe spent his childhood riding BMX bikes, break dancing, and memorizing A-movies, but the carefree days of youth wouldn’t last long. By thirteen, he was working as a busboy helping his recently divorced mom and picking up some of his own tabs. A valuable lesson he learned was if you don’t deal with your money, your money will deal with you. I love that, Joe. Thank you. I love that even in his bio, he’s offering nuggets.

From that point on, he made it his mission to learn everything he could about making smart money moves, and it paid off. By age 30, Joe had wiped out $70,000 in student loans, bought his first house, and started a post-production company in Los Angeles. Over the next decade, the company grew to 30-plus employees with over $5 million in annual revenue while producing two critically acclaimed documentaries and an Emmy award-winning HBO series.

During this time, he and his wife also transacted on fifteen residential and commercial real estate properties, but nothing had a more life-changing impact than the birth of their son. After a successful nineteen-year run in LA, the couple decided to slow down and invest in their new family. They cashed out on their business and bought in a small-town life on the Florida Coast. Having semi-retired at age 43, Joe’s efforts are now focused on his education blog Play Louder, where he shares a lifetime of fiscal know-how to help individuals and business owners navigate their finances, increase their net worth, and plan for a better future. Joe, that is an awesome bio. Welcome to the show.

I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Normally, I start with could you give us a high-level story but that was everything. I love it. I’m sure there’s plenty more but I want to get into the meat of this conversation because I think it’s so valuable. Joe, I want to jump into budgeting and tracking finances. We talk about this high level on this show. We’ve done it a lot but it sounds like for you, you can give us some good meaty stuff on how to implement these ideas.

Let’s first talk about tracking finances. The reason I want to talk about this is because this is a subject most people hate. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to get started. It’s overwhelming like, “How am I going to track every single thing?” Could you talk to us about that, why is it important, and how to do it?

I started tracking my finances as a young person toward the end of college because my debt was racking up. I was trying to get a handle on things. I remember thinking to myself, “I might have read a book.” It was like, “You should write down everything you spend in the day because it’ll help you be aware and then be able to make changes.” I was doing that for a little bit in this little notebook. I had to add it up at the end of the day.

Write down everything you spend in the day because it'll help you be aware of your spending so you can make changes. Share on X

After a while, I was like, “There’s got to be a computerized way to do this.” There was, as it turns out. This was in the late ‘90s. Nowadays, you can say, “I wish there was a way I could,” and of course, there’s always a way you can with a computer or an app or whatever. Back then, the main option was Quicken which I still use. You had to go to Staples and buy it on a CD and all that. It’s much easier nowadays.

What I started to realize, almost subconsciously, is that your personal finances are like a business. Later on, I started a business. When you start a business, it’s a given that you’re going to track your finances for the business. If you don’t do bookkeeping for your business, you even think to yourself, “There’s a good chance I will fail if I don’t know what’s going on.” You can’t borrow money if you don’t have bookkeeping done for your business. In order to be an effective business person, you have to track your finances. You have to look at the data, look at the results, and then make decisions based on that information.

It’s no different with your personal finances but for some reason, there’s generally no thought amongst the general population that they should be paying attention to their personal finances, and running their life like a business. Your life is income either from your job or business, whatever. It’s an expense. You want to have a net profit at the end of the year. That is essentially your savings. If you don’t do that and know that you do have a net profit and you are accumulating savings, you’re at a great disadvantage.

The thing is some people make so much money that they far out-earn the need to do this, but that’s very rare. Also, the more money you make, the more money you tend to spend. You’d be surprised how many people make a mid to high six figures a year and spend it all and save nothing. It happens all the time, and that’s the saddest thing. Savings could have been so easy and you could have set yourself up so easily and you missed it, and then your prime earning years disappeared on you. You’re like, “Bummer.”

It’s worst than a bummer. That’s a major bummer because you end up with, “I made all this money. I developed a particular lifestyle and now what? Either I keep working until the end of time or now I’m playing catch up. I’m not making as much money.” Later, after you turn 50, you do not get raises.

They’re looking to get you out of there because you’re the highest-paid employee.

That’s right. If you need to continue to work, your job satisfaction goes down. You’re not getting as appreciated financially by your coworkers or your bosses. There’s a lot that happens. I know because we’re going through those now ourselves. We love working, but it’s a very different experience than it is when you’re in your prime earning years. You want to utilize this.

Sometimes you get tired too. The funny thing about getting older is you’re making more money so you’re more a target for a layoff and you also want to work less. You’re the worst possible employee for the business. Someone who wants to work less, take more vacation and get paid more. The employers are like, “I like you, but I got a young eager 25 or 30-year-old that I could pay half the price and will show up on Saturdays without an issue.” It’s supply and demand at play. Who knows? Maybe there are some amazing altruistic employers out there that don’t think that but I doubt it.

Anyway, back to your question. The funny thing was as I was doing this, it was making sense to me. The irony of doing my personal finances is once I started a business, I taught myself how to do good bookkeeping and financial management by using Quicken. I was astounded at how good I became at using this desk personal finance software. There’s a great benefit to doing it if you do think you want to do a business down the road. It’s a great do-it-yourself way to learn how to manage a business.

You look at your life like a business. It’s got to perform well. If it’s not performing well, it’s a business either that you don’t want to be in essentially. You got to take it seriously or in the case of your life, you can’t get out of it so you got to make adjustments. You want to take it seriously and put the work in. That’s the part that people, unfortunately, don’t like to do. I’ve come to look at it a little bit like an area of interest. Some people love to exercise. They would do it even if it wasn’t good for them, but it turns out it’s a good hobby to have because exercise is good for you. It helps you to live longer.

Look at your life like a business. It's got to perform well. Share on X

I happen to like managing money. It’s fun for me or maybe not fun. It’s meditative and relaxes me in a weird way. I don’t mind doing it, but I realize that for a lot of people, it’s like their kryptonite. It’s the last thing that they ever want to do. You do have to ask yourself, “Is that me? Is this going to be hard for me?” If it’s going to be hard, either commit to it like committing to exercise or a good diet or whatever and say, “I know this is good for me. I just have to do it,” or you seek help because it’s so important.

Doing it can help you to save so much money that you could probably outsave the amount of money you spend having someone else help you do it. Maybe that would be a financial coach or whatever or do something in the middle. It’s much like you get a trainer at the gym to keep you accountable. You can get a financial coach that you check in with once a month. They look at the numbers and they make sure you did your homework. They help you analyze it and you’re accountable to somebody to make sure you get this done.

Using software now has gotten easier and it all connects to your bank. It downloads everything automatically. Over time, it slowly memorizes where you spend money. It gets to a point where it’s quite automated. You can keep up with your finance tracking in an hour every couple of weeks personally. That’s about what I spend on it these days. Not only does it keep you more inclined to save but it shows you what your habits are. It gives you all the easy places to make small adjustments to save even more.

That’s one thing. The other thing though is the reason you’re doing the tracking is because you’re ultimately trying to do a good job toward your long-term goal. Your long-term goal is ultimately savings, then investing, and then eventually, getting to a retirement state that you can afford. Nowadays, kids call it financial independence, which sounds sexier than retirement, especially for a young person.

REW Joe DiSanto | Play Louder

Play Louder: You’re tracking your finances because you want to achieve your long-term goal. That goal is ultimately your savings, investing, and getting to a retirement state that you can afford.


It is helpful to keep you motivated to do the tracking if you have a goal in mind. It’s more important to first sit down and think about what your goal is, where you’re headed, how much money you want to save, how much you’re going to need, all these things and have a plan. As you’re tracking, you’re looking at the results and seeing if they live up to the plan that you set out for yourself.

Maybe that sounds terrible to some people. Maybe it sounds like something they want to get in and do for themselves because they know it’s a good idea. Whether it sounds good or it sounds bad, like you said in the beginning, if you don’t deal with your money, it’s going to deal with you. You could stick your head in the sand and cross your fingers, and hope that when you’re 65 and you get fired and you’re not hirable, and you want to stop working anyway, that you have enough money and you don’t end up in a trailer park, or you could take it seriously and have a plan, and see that you’re accomplishing your goals or the year.

I always say hope is not a plan.

Hope is not a plan. I’ll admit, I’m the hard-ass coach when it comes to this stuff. I’m like, “If you want to be a baby and pretend it’s going to work out for itself, good for you. I’m going to be over here prepared and living a nice retirement.”

I’m with you. Let’s talk about if people do want to do it. For me, it’s not a fun piece of my life. I do love talking about money. I’m Indian. We do that. That’s one of our things. It’s in our blood, but I don’t like budgeting. I don’t like all those things and yet, I’ve done it my entire life. It’s part of why I’ve had the success that I’ve had.

Not because I get to live this highfalutin lifestyle but because I’m paying attention to what I’m spending and how I’m spending it. I want to make sure that I’ve got more money to contribute each year to causes that I believe in. It’s not about what nice purse I can buy. It’s about who else can I help or how can I help my nephews, all three of them, with their different educations and those sorts of things.

That’s also some decisions about where you want to spend your money and why you want to make more money. I do still budget. I started at some point and I will admit, I don’t remember. Why don’t we talk about how you start creating a budget? What do you do? You talked about some software. Give us some tips on that.

I mentioned that I use Quicken. I’m not affiliated with Quicken or anything like that. I just like it. I think it’s the software that you can grow into. As you mentioned in the beginning, we owned a lot of real estates. I track all my real estate in there. I track all my brokerage accounts there. It’s all in one place. Even in my business, in which I’m a business consultant and fractional CFO, I organize my business all in this one place. It’s nice and convenient, but there are plenty of other options out there like Mint or Personal Capital. There’s a bunch.

The important thing is I don’t think you should do it in a spreadsheet or anything like that because it’s way too manual. With software, over time it gets easier. Spreadsheets don’t ever get easier because they can’t memorize anything for you. When it comes to budgeting, the truth is you could go out and set up a random budget for yourself, arbitrary or your best guess. That’s honestly not all that helpful. It’s nice to do a budget after you’ve done some tracking of your finances for a couple of months.

You see how much money you need to spend in order to live your life, then it’s a good time to be, “I see all the averages of what I spend over a few months.” You create a budget based on some data from your tracking. You look at it and go, “I spent $1,200 eating out last month. Maybe I could spend less there or I spent $2,000 on groceries,” or who knows? You can see some easy targets to maybe work on a little tightening of the belt. You have a budget on a column of what I spent in the last couple of months on a per-month basis, and this is what I’m going to try to do this month or the next month. I’m going to try to tighten the belt.

You only know if you achieved your belt-tightening goal if you track the finances and go, “I set out to only spend $800 eating out and I did it.” Not going out those three extra times made the difference. Back to the importance of the data, if you were a real-life business that had employees and people relying on you and all these things, you would pretty quickly see that having the data about what’s going on in your business is pretty much mission-critical.

Again, back to treating your life like a business. That’s the starting place for me, committing to that. Once you have your budget, I look at my budget every year. I put it in a spreadsheet. Every year, I look at what I did the year before. I pull a little report in Quicken. I put in some numbers and I go, “I pretty much stuck to what I thought or I spent more here.” I’ll copy and paste that and say, “I’m going to try to spend less on these things in the next twelve months.” I’ll maybe check on it through reporting in Quicken every 3 or 6 months or something like that.

You get so used to that thing that you know your spending habits. It’s like going to the gym. At first, you start with a trainer and they give you a plan. You don’t know what you’re doing, and then over time, it becomes second nature. You don’t even need a trainer anymore. It becomes part of your routine. You have to want to do it. Wanting to do it, for me, is like seeing a goal at the end of the road knowing where you’re heading, and understanding what doing all this work is going to get you to at some point in the future.

I agree with you on this. How does it help you emotionally? What does it do for you financially and emotionally? There’s a huge emotional impact on budgeting. There’s a huge emotional impact on not doing it. Let’s talk about that on both sides.

With the people I’ve coached and helped, I find that as you get older and it seems like when people get in their 40s and they haven’t been doing it, they start to panic a little bit. It’s like, “I think I should have been paying more attention to my finances because I’m getting tired. Now I have kids and college is coming up. I have no idea what’s going on if I’m going to be prepared for these big things.” I think it gives them a lot of stress and anxiety. It’s like a dark cloud hanging over your head.

For the people who embrace it that I’ve worked with, it tends to give them a greater sense of relaxation around money and knowing that they have control over it and they know what’s going on and all that. The flip side of knowing if you’re greatly underprepared is that sometimes people avoid this because they’re worried about what the results are going to tell them.

REW Joe DiSanto | Play Louder

Play Louder: Some people avoid tracking their finances because they’re worried about the results. The only way to solve that problem is to get your head around it and then take it on.


It’s going to show them that, “I don’t make enough money or I haven’t saved enough money or I am not prepared. I’m a little late in doing this.” That’s frightening. I feel for people in that situation, but the only way to be able to solve those problems is to get your head around them, and then take them on. Usually, what happens is people do realize after doing this that they need to make more money if they’re going to reach the goals that we set out.

I mentioned to you before we started that I have a course on all this called the Financial Independence Roadmap. In that course, I go through all these things I’m talking about. Mainly, we start by creating a destination. Where do you want to be eventually? Whether it be financial independence, retirement or whatever you want to call it. By what age and what do you want to be doing? We figure out how much money you’re going to need., and then we reverse-engineer it.

It’s like, “You’re going to need that much money, so you’re going to need to save this much for so many years. Whatever you save, you’re going to need to invest. It’s going to need to make this minimum return in order for the plan to come to fruition.” Usually, we look at that and people are like, “I need to save more, which means I need to make more money.” How do you do that? You either need to make more money in your job. Maybe you get into a side hustle thing. Maybe you convert from the work you do into doing it in a consulting capacity where you can charge more per hour and have more control over your time.

You need to essentially get entrepreneurial in your thinking about the revenue for the business of you. That’s the number one thing you should be spending your time on. Almost even more than the tracking, when you’re thinking about money. It’s how do I make more? The best defense as they say is a good offense. When it comes to financial planning, saving, and getting to your destination, the more you make, the easier it’s going to be.

I talk on my website about the three pillars of success. One is the personal finance pillar, which includes this tracking, budgeting, planning, and having a plan and a roadmap that I like to call it. One is the entrepreneurial pillar, which is being entrepreneurial. Either being entrepreneurial at work and focusing on getting more income at your job or improving your position at your work so you can make more. Maybe getting into a side hustle to make more money on the side. Maybe starting a business. Whatever that is, focus on the income piece of your life.

The third pillar, once you’re making more, then tracking your finances and saving more. You have to invest those savings in order for them to grow and multiply while you’re at work and/or sleeping. The vast majority of people are not going to save their way to financial independence. They have to save and invest and get a good return on their investments. That’s the third step. You got to get the first two in order first, get some savings going, and hopefully, you can put yourself a little bit into learning about investing and understanding the value of it.

For me, I enjoy that stuff. I would be researching it anyway. I guess I’m lucky in that sense, though I hate exercise, so I’m not lucky in that sense. Exercising for me is the worst. I hate it. I’m suffering from that syndrome, but I’m doing it anyway because I know it’s important. For me, the investing component has mostly been real estate up until now. In the past two years, I’ve been adjusting my portfolio to be a little less real estate-heavy and more market-heavy. For me, real estate produces superior returns for less risk overall.

Real estate investing produces superior returns for less risk overall. Share on X

The other thing about real estate is it’s a great hedge against inflation. One of the things that I’m noticing now is when David and I were young and perky, we are still perky, we started talking about planning for our future. We had a certain number in mind. The idea was we would have that much money. This is how a lot of young people think.

We have all this money and we can invest it and get 5% or 7%. In those days, you could even talk about 10% consistently. That’s how old I am. We would live off the interest and so we were never taking out the principal. If there were emergencies or anything like that, we could take out the principal. That was the way that we would sustain our life for the rest of our life. What we didn’t think about, we thought about it a little bit but didn’t calculate in, was inflation.

If we thought we needed $3 million back then, now it’s significantly a different number based on the lifestyle that we want to make. It’s not number centric. If we thought we needed $2 million, so we’d have $200,000 a year. That bought a particular lifestyle that now might take $500,000 a year or whatever. That’s an exaggeration. I don’t know what the numbers are, but you get the point. What was interesting is by design but by mistake, my dad taught me about real estate and so we jumped into real estate.

What happened was such an interesting thing. Because real estate is such a good hedge against inflation, our appreciation went faster than the inflationary numbers. Our values are growing. Rents are keeping up with inflation. Our increase in income is keeping up with inflation. I don’t need to ask anybody for a raise but myself. I ask myself for a raise each year and I get an inflationary raise, so I’m keeping up with inflation. My assets are growing faster than inflation. Now when we take a look at our inflation-adjusted numbers, even though they’re significantly higher, we are far ahead of them because of the real estate investments.

I know that sounds a little bit complicated. If you talk to Joe at some point, he can explain exactly how that works. Real estate is an incredible hedge as long as you buy it in the right locations. That’s important, and you do it the right way. Not all real estate is that way. With us getting hit in 2001 and 2008, we lost 20% once and 50% the second time. Even so, because of the locations and the decisions that we made, and because we were able to hold on, now our inflation-adjusted income is significantly different.

What’s interesting is if you look at that, my husband is a W-2. His money has increased significantly over the years, but it has not kept up with inflation. We can still only afford the same amount of mortgage in the house that we could afford twenty years ago because his income has not increased at the same rate of inflation. They get their cost of living increased by 3%. Inflation is closer to 8%. Our real estate has kept up with it but his income has not. There’s a lot to think about and it seems a little overwhelming.

I wanted to put those seeds in your mind as you’re thinking about this. Getting a coach to explain all of those pieces, they’ll get you started at the place where you can handle it because you don’t want to get overwhelmed in the very beginning. David and I didn’t. We just made some good choices based on advice from people that had made similar choices, and experience success in retirement. You want to have somebody that you can talk to about this stuff or tune in to this show and you’ll get it by osmosis. Those sorts of things are the things that you look at later. That’s why I advocate real estate investing. It’s that hedge that allows you to get to retirement. Do you agree with me on that?

I do. I think real estate does all the things that you said. As I mentioned, it does it for less risk for greater reward. I’ll stop there. I agree. I will say though about the coach thing, you can learn so much today from websites and podcasts and all that stuff. Your audience is here, so good for them. Where the coach helps you, you generally have to pay them, but they distill everything for you. You get it all in a condensed period of time and that’s worth a lot. Time is one of the most valuable things we have.

It’s something you can’t get back. You can always borrow more money. You can’t take back time.

You want to have more information about this stuff sooner because that information will affect your decision-making and the things you spend time on. You want to be looking at the right things, the most valuable things, spending time, and thinking about the right things. If you spend a little time with a coach earlier on, they’re going to hopefully, distill down for you the most important things to be thinking about and doing. You don’t have to listen to endless amounts of books and so on.

I’m a big advocate of mentorship. When you’re talking about budgeting and saving, compounding is the miracle of finance. The sooner you start and the sooner you can get that all distilled into a plan, the longer you have to benefit from simple compounding. It’s like the magic pill of finance.

People need to make time for this. Hopefully, in any couple, at least one of the people has an interest and/or understanding that paying attention to the finances is critical. In my family, that’s me. My wife focuses on other things like the health component. She’s always trying to get me to exercise. I take our budget over her and our spending and be like, “We spend a lot of money doing this. We should maybe think about that.” FYI, I’m not frugal at all. This is not about always being frugal. I like to spend money and travel and all that stuff, but I want to spend money on the things that are most important. Why waste money on things that aren’t that meaningful to you?

There are different ways to do things. My husband like to go out to eat and we love to travel. We used to go on dives. That was our adventure. We’d find a new dive for every date night. Now, we go to a nice sit-down white tablecloth type of restaurant. When we were broke and traveling, we would backpack and stay in youth hostels. We were in dorms with shared bathrooms, but we got to see the world.

Now, we get to stay in hotels or rooms for just the two of us. You can also choose those passions that you have. You can choose how you do it. You don’t have to eliminate all of these things. You can choose, “I’m going to still have this adventure. I’m going to still do these things that I love. I’m going to do it in this way now so that I have access to more later.”

For example, for me, I’m not into cars. I go to CarMax. I buy a three-year-old used car. We have a Pacifica minivan. I don’t care about cars, but I love traveling. In the summer, we were on a six-week trip from LA to Seattle to Michigan. It was amazing. No expense spared. That’s the place we like to spend our money. Traveling and cars are the same things. The money’s gone once you spend it.

It’s good if you can find or get into the hobby of investing in real estate. It’s a fun activity but those are assets that can produce income and wealth for you down the road. Traveling and cars are examples of things that can’t. You also want to have that balance too. Am I spending my money on things that are income-producing assets first? The stuff that’s more discretionary comes second. You know you’re prepared and have enough to spend there.

REW Joe DiSanto | Play Louder

Play Louder: Get into the hobby of investing in real estate. It’s a fun activity that can give you assets that produce income and wealth for you down the road.


You retired early. Let’s talk about how that was possible and how people can get started, so the planning for retirement.

I semi-retired or downshifted from my extreme 50, 60 and 70-hour work week down to maybe 20 hours a week. The reason I call it that is because we have a certain amount of money for our investments. A certain amount of passive income, but it’s not enough to live the lifestyle we want. I don’t want to live a meager lifestyle so I cannot work. I like working. I just want to work less intensely and in a different way. I ended up starting this consulting thing.

We make a portion of our money from my consulting and a portion from our investments. That’s part of why I call it semi-retired. The other reason is that I’m also not concerned particularly about saving more money. Not that I don’t want to. I’m happy to. I’m paying attention to my finances just like I recommend everybody does. If we don’t save money or increase our “savings” in a year, I’m not worried about it.

We have enough where if it grows at a normal clip over the next twenty years, we’ll do full retirement and be set. That’s why I call it semi-retirement, to be clear. That’s how I think about it. How you get started is by doing all the things we were talking about. You have to start paying attention, planning and then doing the work. There is no way around it. The only way around it is to completely out-earn any need to do any of this. If you can do that, congratulations. You’re in a very small percentage of people in America.

Even those people have other things that we don’t know to think about. That’s interesting. I like to say becoming job optional rather than retiring. My branding, there’s been an awful lot about live your bliss, retire early. What I’m helping people to understand is retire early for me doesn’t mean that suddenly you quit everything you’re doing.

A lot of people love what they’re doing. They love their jobs or they love whatever they’re doing. A lot of people don’t. They want to spend more time giving back or spending more time with the children or whatever it is. We’re all over the map. For me, it’s about becoming job optional. What I like about what you’re saying is that being semi-retired is job optional. You could trim back and live on your retirement income, but you choose not to. You would rather grow that and continue to live a lifestyle that you enjoy.

When we talk about job optional, there are also different reasons for that. Either it’s the fulfillment or it gives me a little bit better lifestyle, and I want to continue to sustain that. When we get to that point where all of our needs are handled, and many of our wants are. For me, when I look at my number, it does include eating out and travel. It does include medical care. I’ve needed a lot of personal medical care because I’ve had some horrible car accidents.

I want the medical care I desire. I’m with Kaiser, but I pay for an osteopath. I pay for an acupuncturist. I pay for a physical therapist that’s not at Kaiser. Someone that I prefer. I will pay out of pocket to get the healthcare that I need and want. That’s going to increase over time as I get older. That’s not going to go down. That’s one of those expenses that will not go down. What are those things that we need to take care of? What are those things that we want to take care of? What’s the icing on top that makes life fun to live? You want to include all of those in that final number when you become job optional. What does that entail?

The job optional, AKA financial independence, in that course that I mentioned, we create a budget for you in the future. Where do you want to live? What do you see yourself doing? Are you working at all? Does that bother you? Do you want to be no work? You got to think about healthcare and all that stuff. We take what would be an annual figure that you’re going to need. We say, “How much of an investment pot will you need in order to produce that income from cashflow, interest, dividends, real estate cashflow or whatever it may be?

You’re not just saving a pot that you’re going to chip away at. You’re creating a pot of money that’s going to produce an evergreen stream of income. As you mentioned, one of the steps in this is to adjust that number for inflation twenty years from now. That can be a pretty scary step because when you adjust something for 3% or 4% or 5% inflation over 25 years. You’re like, “What? How am I going to come up with that?”

Those are the important moments to realize that’s what you’re up against, and how important it is to have a plan and be ready to deal with it. That’s why I say to everyone. If you have kids, you got to get to them early. The earlier your kids even think about this, it would affect which profession they might go into. I know it’s hard to have them make decisions about good financial sense. “Do you want to do that career? It doesn’t pay that much.” If you get them in the habit of looking at these things and understanding how it works, it could influence their decision-making process when they get to college and what they study and these things.

My kid is only seven, so there’s only so much you can do. We talk about investing a lot. I’m always talking about that and I like that stuff. I’m teaching him a little bit about that. He likes the idea that he could have a few dollars and invest it and it could magically turn into more dollars without him having to come back out in the backyard and help me build the back deck or whatever. He’s intrigued by that.

By the compounding aspect. It’s money magic.

The sooner you get to thinking about all this, the safer you’re going to be. Unfortunately, what happens is people don’t start thinking about it until they have kids. They’re getting a little behind the eight ball. College is coming. They’re getting tired of their job. All of a sudden, they’re like, “I get it now. I think I know what the whole retirement planning thing is about. I know that I’ve blown it off. Twenty years have gone by since I was 25 and I don’t know.” Usually, I get a lot of emails from those folks. They usually hear me on the podcast and they’re like, “I need help.”

There are things that you can do. Don’t fret.

There are. One other thing I recommend people do to get them enthusiastic about this process is to get a subscription to International Living Magazine. I’m not affiliated with it. I ran into it one day because before my wife and I semi-retired, we were thinking, “We might want to retire early. Where would we retire? Maybe we should buy some real estate in a town we think we might retire to. Who knows? It could work out.”

We went looking for the best places to retire or something. This is probably fifteen years ago. Up comes a bunch of these articles from International Living Magazine. It’s been around since the late ‘70s. The point of the magazine is to help people learn about places to retire outside the United States that are significantly cheaper. The reality is retiring in the United States is quite hard because the cost of living here is so high. That’s obviously why people move to places like Florida where there’s no state tax and whatever.

There are all these great international places even in Europe and South America where you can live on $2,000 a month. A nice lifestyle. Healthcare is super cheap and affordable and all this stuff. The people who end up researching this are in their 60s. They haven’t saved enough. They can’t work or don’t want to work. Your health can deteriorate on you unexpectedly.

It can happen on a dime.

They don’t have enough money to live a reasonable lifestyle in the States. This magazine is all about providing info, but it’s also a defacto and awesome travel magazine because these editors go travel all over. They learn about how much it costs to live here or there. They talk to expats. We’ve used it mostly as a travel magazine and we’ve gone to many destinations that sounded super cool in this magazine. It also puts in perspective what’s going to happen when you’re 65.

You read these people’s stories and they’re like, “I only had $200,000 saved. That’s not going to last me that long. I moved to Ecuador and I live on $1,500 a month. I exercise more. I shop at the local fresh market. I have an expat community. I’m so much happier than I was in Wisconsin.” You’re like, “This is interesting.”

One, it’s a fun motivational thing to think about traveling and maybe seeing some different places. Two, it also helps take the pressure off a little bit like, “If I don’t save enough or I’m close to retirement and I haven’t prepared, there are options. I could go live in Europe in some places for far less than I could live here and have an interesting life.”

There are a lot of inspirational stories there. It made a big impact honestly on our life. I would say to people, “Get a subscription.” It’s $40 a year or something like that. You get one magazine a month and it’s all sorts of dreamy inspiration. It helps you be motivated and put the whole retirement planning thing in perspective. That’s always one of my first recommendations to a coaching student. Get that magazine and everybody loves it. They’re always like, “It’s so much fun to read that.”

I love that. I’m going to go get that. Thank you. We’re running out of time. I want to talk about what you’re offering my audience as far as how can they get in touch with you. I want to let you know, ladies, that we’ve got a special website that you can go to so that you can get 10% off of whatever he’s selling and that sort of thing. It’s going to be BlissfulInvestor.com/roadmap, which will take you to Joe’s website. Tell us what they’re going to find when they go there.

We’re going to send people over to that course that I mentioned. It’s called the Financial Independence Roadmap. It’s a step-by-step condensed process. The value of paying a little bit for a course like this is that you get all the condensed steps. You don’t have to read a whole bunch of articles and put it all together yourself. In there, I walk you through the steps to think about the retirement thing and what you might need, calculate the numbers, and reverse engineer what you need to do to get there.

REW Joe DiSanto | Play Louder

Play Louder: The Financial Independence Roadmap is a condensed step-by-step process where you can find how much you need to retire. They calculate all the numbers and reverse engineer what you need to do to get there.


It includes some spreadsheets that I made for myself to do all this for my own benefit. It explains and walks you through the process. It’s all video-based too. I walk you through all my spreadsheets, show you how to use them, and explain what you’re looking at. I have a handful of videos and getting you started using Quicken if you want to get into that. It’s completely critical to success with this stuff.

I walk you through how to get that and set it up and get going. In the course, particularly with Quicken, you can have a starter template file to make it nice and organized. I provide my little template file so that you can start from there. It’s nice and organized. It matches up with my budget and it makes perfect sense.

You don’t have to go and customize all your categories and various things. If you’ve never done that, that probably sounds completely meaningless. If you get excited about this and you try to start using Quicken. You’re going to be like, “That is extremely helpful.” Usually, people sometimes buy the course for that because they want to use Quicken more, or they’re using it a little bit and need some help. They’re like, “I wanted the template file because I could see it would save a lot of time.” I think it’s pretty great. You can buy it and tell me what you think.

It sounds great to me too, which is why I’m so excited. I want to encourage people to go and get that. Go to BlissfulInvestor.com/roadmap. He’s got three courses that you’ll see on his website. If you want any of them, you can get 10% off on any of them. Use the code BLISS. We make it all uppercase. That sounds great. First of all, thank you for that. Thanks for the discount code. Thanks for talking about it. This has been an amazing conversation.

You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here.

Are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?

Let’s do it.

Can you tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate?

Start looking. It depends on where people are. I think your first real estate investment very likely is you should be buying your own house. I consider your own house an investment. All of them have paid off handsomely for me. I do think if you’re going to treat your house like an investment, you got to look at it slightly differently. My tip to everyone who hasn’t bought a house is to start looking. Work with a realtor. You don’t have to buy anything right away. You can look for a year. Your realtor might end up getting a little disappointed with you if it goes on that long, but go get your feet wet. See what it’s like. Get your head in the game of that.

When investing in real estate, just start looking. Work with a realtor, get your feet wet, and see what it's like. You don't have to buy anything right away. Share on X

Even if you’re not ready now, it’ll help get you motivated and get you thinking, “I have to prepare. I have to be ready. I know what I’m up against and I’m going to execute it.” If you’re waiting and sitting on the sideline and saying to yourself, “I want to do that but I don’t know if I’m ready, so I’m going to wait until I’m ready to go look at it,” that’s a mistake. You got to sink yourself in and get your head in the real estate game as quickly as you can.

I love that. What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?

Do the math. It’s not the only component of being successful in real estate or in business or in your personal life, but I do think you have to do the math on these things. Real estate is exciting. I know you always hear, “Half the billionaires in the world did it because of real estate.” That’s probably all true but they’re all smart. They all do the math. Not every real estate invests going to pay off. You can do the math on real estate and you can map it out for 30 years and see how it’s going to go under certain conditions.

Speaking of this, I have a course in real estate where I provide you with my spreadsheet of doing the math. It does exactly that. It shows you how your real estate would perform over 30 years. You can change the metrics on inflation. You can change the metrics on rental increase percentage and all these things. It auto-calculates and says, “If that was the reality, this would happen. If that was the reality, this would happen.” That’s another course I have and I walk you through all that but do the math.

You can get 10% off of that one too.

Do the math, know what you’re getting into, and execute the stuff that mathematically works.

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

It depends on the day. Some things that have contributed to my success are I personally am a little bit OCD. I’ve put that to work for myself. Once I start on something, it’s hard for me to stop. I get invested. I do a lot of research. I get pumped about learning and getting stuff done. I can’t, in some ways, take credit for that because my mind and body take over luckily and it works for me.

Something that I work on though more deliberately is being positive. I find that being positive is so critical in life to one being happy, but the more positive and happy you are, the more things you’re going to try. The more people you’re going to talk to. The more everything that you’re going to soak in from life. Positivity improves your success. It does give you a greater chance of being successful for all those things I mentioned.

I do this gratitude journal because I took this little course in Insight Timer about cultivating happiness. That’s been good. Every night, I write three things that I was grateful for the day and try to keep myself in a positive mind frame as much as I can. I can’t say that I’m in a positive mind frame every day. I’m human but I’m trying. It takes effort.

It does take effort. It doesn’t just happen for sure. I loved this conversation, Joe. Thank you so much.

It was nice to talk with you. I appreciate it.

Thank you. Ladies, thank you for joining Joe and me for this portion of the show. We appreciate you and look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams, so get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.


Important Links


About Joe DiSanto

REW Joe DiSanto | Play LouderJoe DiSanto is a fractional CFO and consultant to small businesses and high-income individuals. He also founded the blog Play Louder (https://www.playlouder.com/ref/15/), which serves as an invaluable resource to help individuals and business owners increase their net worth and plan better for their future.


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Real Estate Investing As A Way Of Taking Control Of Your Wealth With Victoria Lowell – Real Estate Women

REW 61 | Control Wealth


When a couple is looking for a house, it is not the man who has the final word. It’s the woman. Women know what to look for in houses, which would mean that they have the potential to invest in real estate. Maybe they just need to be introduced to it or to learn about it. After all, women are naturally good at handling money. Join your host, Moneeka Sawyer, and her guest, Victoria Lowell. Victoria is a financial coach and the founder of Empowered Worth, an educational platform for women to control their own financial future. In this conversation, they talk about empowering women in real estate, taking us through retirement planning, maxing out the ESPP, real estate debt, cheap money, and more. It is time to remind women of the power they hold when taking control of their wealth. Follow along as Victoria shows you through real estate investing. 

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Real Estate Investing As A Way Of Taking Control Of Your Wealth With Victoria Lowell – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing for Women 

I am excited to welcome to the show Vicky Lowell. Vicky is a financial advocate and coach, international bestselling author and the Founder of Empowered Worth, a financial education platform that empowers women to become active participants in their financial future and wellbeing. She is also the author of the international bestseller Empower Your Worth: A Woman’s Guide to Increase Self Worth and Net Worth. Her expertise in this field has led to her hosting a college planning seminar at the University of Miami in 2021 with several speaking opportunities planned both locally and nationally. Welcome to the show, Vicky. How are you? 

I’m excited to be here to talk about women, finances and real estate investing because that is part of it. We have to diversify. That is a great way to do it. I am super excited to be here. 

Women are naturally, by default, better predisposed to be successful in real estate. Share on X

As soon as you applied to be on the show, I was, “Yes. This is the woman I got to talk to.” I’m glad you are here. Vicky, could you give us a highlevel version of your story? Tell us how you got to where you are. 

I’m going to do like Sophia used to say, just the facts. I was the quintessential stay-at-home mom, living in Greenwich, Connecticut, has been in finance, two kids, nice car, great house. 2008 came, the market crashed. I found myself turning to my husband, my college sweetheart, we are still married, saying, “What is mortgage?” He’s like, “Our mortgage payment? I have no idea what the mortgage payment is. I have no idea what the car payment is. I have no idea what it would cost to run this household if you were to lose your job or drop dead tomorrow. I got to college but my college degree has been hung up on the wall. I have forgotten about it. It was my aha moment. I said, “I’m going to figure this out. I’m going to get back into the workforce. I don’t like being a stay-at-home mom that much.” I was doing what was expected of me as a Cuban. I changed the narrative. That is what I did. 

I went back to school for a little while. My husband came with an opportunity to work for him. He is a financial advisor. I started off as the marketing girl because that was my background. I ended up loving the women I was working with. became a financial advisor. In 2019, I decided to start Empowered Worth. I decided that I was tired of women being in need. That was the empowerment for women. They weren’t connecting with their finances and I needed to be part of the solution. I couldn’t do that as a financial advisor. I didn’t want to have my desire to help tied to needing to get those assets under management and have people feel icky about it. It felt like a conflict of interest to me. I started an educational platform. It’s ondemand courses and coaching that women can get so that they can feel empowered and they can empower their worth. That’s why I wrote my book. 2018 was an epiphany. I set my first child off to college and I gave birth to Empowered Worth. 

It’s interesting that you came from a financial planning background. We are talking about all the standard financial planning products. You moved out of that. We are talking about real estate as a part of diversification. Talk to me about your relationship with real estate. 

I have a mother who frankly helped establish my family’s net worth by doing real estate investing. She didn’t realize that is what she was doing. She would drive around. She would get the pickup line. She would be 30 minutes early. She would drive around the neighborhood, look at houses and would buy them. She would fix them and flip them. She made herself a nice portfolio of real estate. That is something that I saw growing up. As I became a financial advisor, a financial planner and did all those educational parts, I realized diversification is key. When we talk about real estate diversification, a lot of times people think, “I’ll invest in a REIT or I will do something like that. That is on the market.” Those are great ways of doing it but for women, we are tactile. We would like to see what we are investing in. That is why real estate investing is crucial. I love to do it. I know what is selling in my area. I know what works. I know what I can get out of it. Why not have that be part of your investment strategy? It does make sense. The land is right there. You own it. No one can take that away from you. That is something that resonates with the female investor. 

How do you invest? What is your strategy? 

My strategy is diversification. I like to buy and hold things for a long time. When it comes to real estate, I have purchased something a little bit further up from where I am in Miami. It’s great price, markets shooting up here. I know it’s going to rent well. I’m very intrigued with the Airbnb, VRBO market. I have had the opportunity to speak to some people on the board of VRBO. They are seeing huge growth. This is a great little niche to get into. That is what I did. I said, “Let me get into that.” I have never done that. I shy away usually from property management. I saw my mom have four stories. This is the time that it makes sense. People are going to look at traveling in a very different way postCOVID. 

A lot of people are doing VRBO and Airbnb has been a rough year. People are, “All that income is gone.” That is interesting that you are looking at that. There is probably an entrylevel opportunity again. Is that what you are thinking? 

Yes. I have been able to take advantage of some of the people who were in it, who couldn’t ride the wave of the travel stoppage in the United States. In certain areas, I have seen people talking about it in ski communities. I have seen people talking about it in Orlando where you have Disney World. Not everybody wants to stay at a hotel especially if hotels aren’t giving you those extra little amenities. You can stay in a home. You know who has been in there. It’s usually sanitized well. You feel safer and you get a little bit more for your dollar. That is where I’m seeing. It’s a great way to start, buying an area for me that I know is going to go up. Being able to VRBO or Airbnb allows me to defray that cost and be able to hold it so I can be there as it grows. 

How would it look to scale that? I have done Airbnb, too. I had one room in my house. I was in more of a corporate environment. We were walking distance to Google, walking distance to Box, driving distance to Facebook. We were right there. People would come for more corporate stuff. I have never had to scale that. Could you talk to me a little bit about what that might look like? I know that you are starting but do you have a plan? 

It depends on location with any real estate. I happen to have a friend who went from being a teacher to being a fulltime Airbnb, VRBO person. She now runs a property management company. She will literally grab other people’s and manage it while they put it on Airbnb. It’s very scalable. It all depends on where you are doing it and if the demand is there. For those houses, it makes sense to get 2 or 3 houses to start off with especially now, interest rates are at an alltime low. Get an arm that will allow you to have a lowinterest rate. You are doing that. The biggest issue I have with scaling it is who is going to manage the property for you. 

That’s where before you do anything. That is what I did. I researched property management companies because I was not going to manage this. I don’t have enough time. I have got a husband, children and a business. I found a great property management company. That is key and making sure to talk to people who are doing it, talk to other Airbnbers or VRBOs, whatever it may be. Talk to them and see who they are using and get that referral. That word-of-mouth referral is crucial. 

REW 61 | Control Wealth

Control Wealth: Women are usually the ones who flip and sell houses because they know what other women are looking for. Very rarely does a couple come in and the man says, “It’s this house.” She is going to say that.


We are on a complete tangent from what we expect that we were going to talk about but this is fascinating to me. The other thing is these management companies. What do they normally charge to manage a VRBO or an Airbnb? 

I have seen everything from 8% to 10% of what you are charging daily. It all depends on the level of what services you are going to provide for your Airbnb or VRBO guest. If you are doing a very full Millennial. They’re going to have a basket. They are going to have pretzels and stuff. You’re going to be doing that. You could be filling the refrigerator for them. All of that will add on. That is going to cost you if you are providing that type of service. You should probably get that back with what you are charging. That all depends. I have also learned everything from what a good property management company because they are going to be the ones that are going to list it on Airbnb for you. They want to see in your rental. They are going to want to see, are there stainless steel appliances? What does that kitchen look like? What does the furniture look like? Are you a standard? Are you a premiere? Are you platinum? All that type of stuff goes into it but it’s a lot of fun. I don’t have fun picking stocks the way I have had doing this. 

Thank you so much for going on that tangent with me. That was fun. Your whole thing is about empowering women financially. Talk to me a little bit about how that works and what that means to you. 

What it means to me is changing that horrible narrative that women have had for years, that we have to get married and have our husbands manage our finances or that we can’t grasp highlevel finances. Women are great at the day to day. Women are great at budgeting, statistically. Every bank on Wall Street has a report on this. You can Google it. Merrill, UBS, anyone you want to look at. Google women, they have done a report. Look at those statistics. They are the same. It’s shocking. 80% of those women are great at budgeting. They can tell you what the kids spend on orthodontia. They can tell you what’s being spent on groceries. They can tell you all that stuff but ask them a highlevel personal finance question. Ask them, “What is your retirement plan? Where are your IRAs? What is your 401(k)? What are they invested in?” They can’t answer that. That is the narrative that I want to work to change. When you ask women, “Why aren’t you engaging?” “I don’t feel confident.” 

That’s where Empowered Worth was born, to give women confidence. I want you to know that we are there for you. We are your coaches. We are the women who have your back in the financial world. You can feel comfortable coming to the financial table, talking to a financial advisor or getting your feet wet in what whatever type of financial investing, be it real estate, markets, equities, bonds, whatever it is. I want to give women that confidence because that’s where it all starts from. That’s selfworth and confidence leads to an increase in your network. It all ties in. 

You are of the opinion that women gravitate more to real estate than to the markets. Could you talk to me a little bit about that? 

Time and time again, when I was a financial advisor, I would call in and I’d say, “Why aren’t you coming to the meetings? Why aren’t you doing this?” She’s like, “I am involved. I have been doing some stuff.” What are you doing? “I have been buying houses and flipping them.” A lot of women were into the whole flipping market thing that we saw in 2008. They may have shied away a little bit but they are usually the ones because they know what other women are looking for. Consumer spending decision, the women decide what house to buy. Rarely does a couple come in and the man says, “It’s this house. She is going to say that. 

As a woman, when you are the one prepping, staging that house, doing the remodeling of the house, you are literally your market. It’s very easy. You also know the neighborhoods because those are your neighborhoods or it was your past neighborhood. You are buying something where you grew up, where your parents sell it. You understand that in a much more tactile way than the obscure investors buying something. That is where that power is and why they gravitate to it because they are selling to themselves. 

I have been saying on this show all the time that we are naturally by default better predisposed to be successful in real estate. I have also heard this statistic that the multimillion, multitrilliondollar real estate industry, still in investors, there is only about 40% of the investors that are women. What that tells me is, we are more likely to gravitate to real estate. We are still only 40% of the market. We are a tiny little percent of what the people that invest in the markets. Would you say that is true? 

I would think so. It goes back to confidence. What is holding them back? It might be access to funds. It’s whether or not you feel comfortable pitching to your husband. Let’s say you are the stay-at-home mom like I was. I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable back in 2008 telling my husband, “Can I have $60,000 for a down payment? I saw a great property and I’m going to flip it.” I don’t think I would have done that. A lot of women may not even know a lot about lending structures and how to get those sources of income. They are a little bit hesitant. 

Self-worth and confidence lead to an increase in your network. Share on X

Once you get past that and you buy your first home, it’s a learning curve. Once you get there, you will do it and do it again. It’s like a drug. The women I know who are doing this are literally addicted. They are buying by the owner, which is incredible. A lot of them are buying by the owner or they are getting their realty licenses because they want to take that middleman out and keep that commission. It’s amazing. You can do that. That is the great thing about real estate. You can be a stay-at-home mom, have a job and it can be your side hustle or it becomes your main hustle. You can do that. 

Talk to me about retirement planning for women. 

Retirement planning for women is something that is an uncomfortable conversation and we need to have it. Women are incredibly underfunded for retirement, for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, being the pay gap that we suffer in this country. Women are making less. We step out of the workforce. That is the very wellknown mommy penalty. We don’t necessarily accrue the funds that we need to have by the time that we reach retirement. It’s scary, unless you have a partner who’s thinking, “What happens when my counterpart retires? Do I have enough money saved in my 401(k) or IRA to cover both of us?” You may be incredibly underfunded. In addition to that, Social Security is not going to get you there. Everybody understands that now. We need to embrace that. It’s not going to be enough even to add on to that 401(k) and IRA. We need to have that conversation. 

Last, the divorce rateFor those over the age of 50 are double what they are for everyone else. What happens when you get divorced at 50? You lose 50% of those retirement assets. Walk out the door because it’s the divorce. You’re going to get 50%. You don’t have the years of working to replenish that type of retirement savings. I’m always telling women, you are probably going to come into the workforce. That is the nature of the game. We have children. We caretake for spouses, children, our parents. You may not have that work trajectory in the workforce, increase and maximize your retirement savings when you are working. Give the max. If your company matches, give as much as you can. It is better to spend the money from your paycheck on retirement accounts than to go out and buy that purse that you are not going to have in ten years. You can’t eat the purse when you are in your 50s. Let’s be honest here. 

Talk to me about filling that gap on the mommy penalty. What do you do to make sure you are maxing out the matching of the 401(k)? I like to talk about making sure you are maxing out your ESPP, which is the Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Those are some of the things that we do. What are the things that you talk about? 

Those are great. Those are definitely ones that people need to think about. If you are in a situation where you are a stay-at-home mom, sit down with your spouse. If it’s feasible for you and your budget, talk about a spousal IRA. As an individual, if your husband is doing a 401(k), your partner is doing a 401(k), I get that there are benefits. There is matching. There is corporate stuff but you can still get a spousal IRA. We definitely have that conversation. It’s something you should think about. I’m all about the side hustle. Even though you are not working doesn’t mean you can’t be working. Think about it, there are 1,000 things. 

With COVID, a lot of women have turned to their side hustles to add money. I know a lot of friends who are making jewelry and doing well. Does it surprisingly sell the same as the daytoday work that they had before? No, but it’s putting food on the table. Think about that side hustle and stash that money away for your retirement. Do not take a vacation with it. Do not spend that money on a gift for your husband. That money is there to provide for you. In that side hustle, I include real estate investing. Save a little bit. My mom got her first amount of money that she used to buy her property by all the money she skipped off the groceries. She is probably going to kill me that I said it. I had a dear friend once who told me my husband never looked at the grocery bill. I’m knocking out $50 a week off the grocery bill. She bought a great property with it. That is a great way of doing it. Think about ways that you can skip and get some stuff there. Put it in a retirement account. 

This is how things went for me. My husband is a software programmer. He has his normal job. We have made a decision that he would pay for this day and I would pay for the next day. I was planning for the future. He was paying for our lifestyle. We still have the 401(k)s. Everybody knows that the 401(k), those programs are still not going to retire you. We were very aware and we embraced early on that Social Security was probably not ever going to be around by the time we retired. I wanted to do the whole real estate thing. I grew up in that. I trusted it but my husband, not so much. The way that we did that whole conversation was we owned a piece of property. He knew that you should buy a piece of property. We worked those numbers. Why pay rent? Why make somebody else rich? We did that and then as an appreciated, I negotiated with him that any money that we get in real estate, I want to keep it in real estate and have it continue to work in real estate. 

As equity grew, I took out an equity line. He is very conservative. He was like, “Real estate money needs to make money in real estate.” We took out up to 80%. I take that equity and I invested in more real estate. That is how we built our portfolio. What’s interesting about that is it required little for me. You have to live in our house, which we were doing. We had to let it appreciate. I had to pay attention enough to know when I could pull money out and buy something else. It was a slow process. It was my side hustle. I will say that is what is going to retire us in the end. It happened in fifteen years for us that we live in an appreciation market in California. Everybody doesn’t have that same experience. Sometimes you have to be a little bit more aggressive in there. For us, it was the side hustle that required no hustle. There was nothing. I did this natural thing. The whole argument about real estate money, staying in real estate, won him over and has provided the retirement venue for us. 

That’s true. I go back to this. Women need education into what the lending options are. Let me get the equity line. Let me do that. You can write off your taxes. There is so much stuff that you can do. There are sources of money out there. You need to figure out how to structure that debt. People hear debt and they start sweating bullets. I’m, “No. There is bad debt. That is your credit card on Chanel bag you can’t eat. There is good debt and that is real estate debt.” I’m not worried about real estate debt because you own the land. You have this. If it makes sense, if you are doing it right, structure correctly, you are going to see a growth in your net worth. 

REW 61 | Control Wealth

Control Wealth: There’s good and bad debt. The bad debt is your credit card on that Chanel bag you can’t buy. The good debt is the real estate debt.


The other thing about real estate debt versus consumer debt, which is credit card debt, cars. Real estate debt is leverage. If you think about it, you put 20% down and get 100% access to any money that the property makes. If you put 20% down and the house goes up, it appreciates by $20,000, you get a $100,000 home. You put $20,000 down. The house appreciates by $20,000, you made 100% on your money. Who took most of the risk? It was the bank. You got very little risk for huge potential. The bank is asking for little interest rate. When it was at 17%, relatively speaking, that was a small interest rate in comparison to consumer debt. It’s cheaper money. You get to write it off. There is a bunch of benefits that the government gives you. People are like, “I don’t want to be in debt.” 

If you have to pay cash for a house, you don’t want to be in debt, you are using cash. You are not utilizing leverage. If you make $20,000 on that house, you’ve made 20%, not 100%. You’re not using all of the benefits of what real estate can do for you. This is what you are talking about with the higherlevel conversation. Most of us understand debt, no debt, cash and loan. What we don’t understand is that there are ways to leverage so that debt is good debt. I will be the very first to say we do not pay for anything on credit cards. It is simply a budgeting tool for us. We paid every single month. I never pay for a car with a loan. I don’t lease cars. There is this whole argument of the opportunity cost of where I could invest it. I don’t do consumer debt. I just don’t do it. That is one of our rules. I am completely leveraged on all of my real estate because it’s cheap money. It makes me a ton of money. Buying a car does not make me money. 

I love that you said this. I say this all the time. When I was a financial advisor, people come in and be like, “I’m going to pay that house off.” I get that. There is a lot of books that say you pay the house off. We are going to take the money that is growing in this account that we have that you are invested in. We are going to pay off this debt that costs you this much. Why? You are losing all that growth by getting rid of this debt that does not cost you what your returns are costing you. You need to understand the numbers behind it and sit down. That is what I live to do, to explain it to people because they get scared. They hear all this noise and it becomes like that Peanuts show then they tune it out. There are a lot of ways to invest especially in real estate like you are saying and have it be a moneymaker for you. 

I would love to have that conversation about cheap money on this show. We haven’t done this. My husband and I have talked about it all the time. He keeps saying you need to have this conversation on your show. Let’s talk about this. What do we mean by cheap money? What do you explain it? I will jump in because I know you know how to do this. 

What we are saying by cheap money is I look at the opportunity cost. What is borrowing that money going to cost me? The example I was giving. Let’s say you have a great stock portfolio and it is growing at 10%. I’m going to use easy numbers here. You have the opportunity to put 20% down and get a mortgage on a property of X, map 2%. It makes sense for you to do that because the cost of borrowing that money is less than you paying the house off full and holding out the full amount of the house. You are taking that growth of money that you would have had. That’s what people should understand. You are losing the growth opportunity by putting it and paying it off. 

What you are doing is you are paying 8% to pay off 2%. What you want to do is it the other way around. You want to pay 2%, get the 8%. This is the thing that I want you to know. Let’s get clear on this. Let’s say you pay taxes on that. It’s not longterm or shortterm. Let’s take it to you earning 6% or 5%. Your mortgage is at 2% or 3%? Do you want to take the 5% that you’re earning and pay that money so that you can pay off 2%? That’s like saying, “I’m going to take $100 that my dad gave me to pay off $20.” Why would I do that? If my dad gives me $100, I’m going to pay something off. It’s going to be a lateral. Once I spend that $100 on that, $50 is gone. Why did you do that? You wouldn’t do that. 

If you truly understood it, you would never do that. The same is true for people who say, “I’m going to borrow the money and I’m going to take the money out of my 401(k).” Why? You are going to pay penalty and taxes. Do you have to do all this to pay for this whole? No, you have enough of the down payment. Do that. Get the mortgage. Leave the retirement account alone and pay the mortgage off. There are some great mortgage options out there. I haven’t looked at them when new numbers come out. This is something that I have heard a lot are talking about, the fifteenyear arm. A lot of people aren’t holding their homes for fifteen years. Look at your age, if you are in your twenties, you are not going to be living in the house for fifteen years. Most people don’t live in the house. Why would you get back an interestonly fifteenyear arm and let your money work for you? I wish more people would have that conversation. I wish the mortgage lenders would explain it better. I wish that there was more financial planning and it was taught how money works for you. 

Think about your side hustle. Even though you're not working doesn't mean you can't be working.   Share on X

That is one of the questions that I get most frequently especially here in California. People are investing. “I got a $1.5 million rental property. I’ve got $1 million loan. How am I ever going to pay that off?” You are never going to pay that off. It’s not cheap money. That is not something you should be paying off. What you want to figure out is how are you going to cashflow that? Paying off, when you are talking about mortgages unless when you are doing end-of-life planning, you want to have no mortgage. You want to be able to live at your least expensive. It makes sense. It shouldn’t even be part of the conversation because it’s a writeoff. It’s something that is helping you to grow appreciation. It’s getting you cashflow. It’s cheap money. 

I do agree with that. Once you are hitting that retirement age, once you are 65, 66, 67, that is the time to talk about paying off your primary home. We don’t have those secondary. Make sure you have everything in the LLC and title the way it should be for asset protection. If you are doing all of that then definitely don’t pay off those mortgages on those rental properties. There is no reason to. 

Thank you for having that conversation with me. I can’t have that on my own. It needs to be a little bit of back and forth. 

It’s my pleasure. I hope everybody understood what Moneeka said. You are going to be ecstatic once you do because you are going to make money. 

We are going to get into our three rapidfire questions. Before we do that, I want to let you know ladies, we are going to be talking in EXTRA about how COVID affected women financially and what are the repercussions and consequences are going to be for several years after that. We are going to have a conversation about that. It is a gift and another tough conversation that a lot of us are looking at. I love that Vicky is willing to have the tough conversations to help us grow, empower us, build what we need to build. We are going to have that conversation in EXTRA. Before we move on towards the end of the show, Vicky, could you tell everybody how they can get in touch with you? 

The best way to get in touch with me is to visit my website, www.EmpoweredWorth.com. Everything is there for you. You have a great blog that comes up once a month. Join our free membership. It gives you great basic personal financial education on demand. You can do it at your leisure and some great other little things that we add in there monthly for you. 

You have got a free membership. You said that you were going to offer my ladies a fifteenminute session with you. 

Yes. I have it on there. I call it the Fifteen Free Intro Coaching Session. If you have any questions, you get to pick my brain for fifteen minutes. You would be surprised how much we can get done in that time. I would love to hear from you, ladies. If you have any questions, if you want me to explain the money to you, I will do that. I will run you through it. I will put it on the whiteboard. We can do the math. 

That is at EmpoweredWorth.com. Are you ready for our three rapidfire questions? 

Yes, I am. Let’s go. 

Vicky, tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate. 

REW 61 | Control Wealth

Empower Your Worth: A Woman’s Guide To Increasing Self-Worth & Net Worth

Know your area, location. I personally believe in invest in the areas that you know either because you grew up there or you live there. 

What is one strategy for being successful in real estate investing? 

I say this to everybody. I say this when it comes to finances. Don’t be emotional. Be financial. Don’t take it personally. I know people put their blood, sweat and tears into these houses and making them perfect. If someone walks in or a realtor walks in and goes, “You made a mistake.” Don’t listen to them. Trust your gut. 

Vicky, what would you say is one daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success? 

I love yoga. I have taken up yoga in 2020. It was something that got me through a lot. It has helped me. The best thing about yoga is the silence, meditation and being able to center me because there is a lot of noise in our lives. We need to connect with ourselves in a very spiritual, meaningful way. It’s not financial. It’s yoga. 

A lot of people say that. They say yoga, meditation. That is fairly common. It’s good to realize that, ladies. In order to be successful in real estate or in our businesses or as moms or as anything, we need to take care of ourselves. We need some downtime where we are all about us. That is important. This has been amazing, Vicky. Thank you so much for what you have offered in this portion of the show. 

Thank you for having me and for giving me this opportunity to connect with your readers to talk about how important real estate investing is. It’s where a lot of us get our start when we start investing before we even jump into the stock market. It ian important part of every portfolio. 

Thank you for that. Ladies, we got more. We are going to be talking about the financial consequences to women from COVID and what are those longterm repercussions going to be? We are going to be talking about that in EXTRA. If you are subscribed, stay tuned. If you are not but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get seven days for free. Check it out and stick with it if you love it. The other thing is you can connect with me and find out everything that I’m doing at BlissfulInvestor.com. There is a free report there. There is the showThat is my website. Ladies, if you love this show, help out all the ladies in your life and tell them about it. 

This is the most meaningful thing that I do and the reason I do it is because of the emails and reviews that I get. I’m talking out into the ether. I don’t know who is reading. When I get responses back about, “Moneeka, you started my investing life. I’m so excited. Moneeka, you changed my life because I finally bought a property after thinking about it for a few years.” When I get these letters back, it fills me up. We are making a change in the way women see the world. If you want to support other women that you love, tell them all about the show and have them read the blog post. Hopefully, you will be a letter to me soon too. Go to BlissfulInvestor.com and tell all of your lady friends about the show. If you are leaving now, thank you so much for joining us. You know how much I appreciate you. Always remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there. Take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I will see you soon. 


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About Victoria Lowell

REW 61 | Control WealthBorn and raised in Florida, Vicky has always been passionate about entrepreneurial pursuits. In 2012, she started her career in finance at UBS Financial Services. By 2017, she transitioned into a financial advisor.

Vicky has always been an active member of the community and worked for various entities nationwide. From open and honest conversations within these communities, she discovered the need for women to learn financial planning.

This passion then drove her to enhance her career and advance her education in the immediate and long-term financial implications of divorce as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®(CDFA®). She recently was also certified as a College Financial Counselor.®

In late 2018, she left UBS Financial Services to follow her passion and founded EMPOWERED WORTH. Recently, she became an international bestselling author. Her book Empower your Worth, both English and Spanish versions, reaching the Bestseller’s List in various categories and countries. In 2020, Empower Your Worth became a finalist in the Canadian Book Club Awards.


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