How Much Do I Need To Retire Early?

A rule of thumb is defined as a broadly accurate guide or principle. They are easy to understand and simple to apply. Because of this, a rule of thumb makes you more efficient in decision making, which is key to building wealth.

Let's look at a few 'rule of thumb' examples:

  • 1% Rule: In real estate investing, monthly rent should be 1% or more of the home's purchase price. So, a $100,000 home should rent for atleast $1,000. $200,000 for atleast $2,000, and so on.
  • 10X Rule: In software development, a great developer is as effective as 10 or more average developers.
  • Knee High by 4th of July: In Minnesota farming, corn should be knee high by the 4th of July. If so, a farmer knows that the corn is healthy and on track for harvest before winter.

In financial independence circles there are 2 "rules of thumb" that rule them all. The 25X Rule & the Four Percent Rule.

The 25X Rule tells us how much we need to retire

The 25X rule, like others, is quite simple. It's simply this...once your investment portfolio is 25 times your annual expenses, you can say peace out to 9-to-5 and leave cubicle hell forever -- you're financially independent!

For example, if you plan to spend $50,000 per year in retirement, you should have a minimum of $1.25 million in investments. $50,000 is 4% of $1.25 million. 

With any rule of thumb, you need to determine if it is right for you. Because the 25X Rule doesn't take age into account, it may not be as applicable to younger retirees. If you plan to retire in your 30s, your money needs to last much longer than someone retiring in their 60s. Therefore, you may need to play it safe by saving more than 25X. For many, that means following the 33X Rulewhich requires investments equal to 33 times planned annual expenses in retirement.

What do we do? Because we are in our 30s, and because we want to avoid even the slightest possibility of going broke, we follow the 33X rule. 

Here's a quick guide for the amount needed to retire. Keep in mind that while your home should be counted as part of your net worth, it does not count toward the 25X or 33X.

Annual Expenses

Investments at 25X

Investments at 33X

$20,000
$500,000
$660,000
$30,000
$750,000
$990,000
$40,000
$1,000,000
$1,320,000
$50,000
$1,250,000
$1,650,000
$60,000
$1,500,000
$1,980,000
$70,000
$1,750,000
$2,310,000
$80,000
$2,000,000
$2,640,000
$90,000
$2,250,000
$2,970,000
$100,000
$2,500,000
$3,300,000

The 4 Percent Rule tells us how much we can spend each year. 

The 4 Percent Rule is used to determine how much a retiree can safely withdrawal from their investment portfolio each year without running out of money. 

The 4 Percent Rule states that a retiree can safely withdrawal 4% of their investment portfolio's value (at time of retirement) plus inflation every year going forward. Hence, why it is recommended to save at least 25X our planned annual expenses. 

If you want to be more conservative like us, we changed the 4 Percent Rule to the 3 Percent Rule, requiring an investment portfolio at 33X our planned annual expenses. 

There is much debate surrounding the 4 Percent Rule. Many financial professionals feel that 4% is too aggressive considering we're living longer, healthcare costs are increasing, etc. However, almost all agree that a 3% withdrawal rate is near bulletproof.

Here's a $1 million example illustrating how it works. 

The moment your investments reach $1 million, the 4 Percent Rule states that you can withdrawal $40,000 in year 1, $40,000 + inflation in year 2, year 2 withdrawal amount + inflation in year 3, and so on. At 2% inflation, a retirement on a $1 million investment portfolio would look like this. 

Year

4% Withdrawal Rate

3% Withdrawal Rate

Year 1
$40,000
$30,000
Year 2
$40,800
$30,600
Year 3
$41,616
$31,212
Year 4
$42,448
$31,836
Year 5
$43,297
$32,472
Year 6
$44,163
$33,122
Year 7
$45,046
$33,784
Year 8
$45,947
$34,460
Year 9
$46,866
$35,149
Year 10
$47,803
$35,852

A 4% withdrawal rate is designed to provide steady & consistent income stream to the retiree. It also does so in a way that maintains an account balance large enough to keep income flowing for as long as needed.

Keep in mind that a side hustle is a great way to reduce your withdrawal rate in early retirement. Assuming a 4% withdrawal rate, every $1,000 earned in retirement is equivalent to an additional $25,000 in investments. At a 3% withdrawal rate, every $1,000 is equivalent to an additional $33,333.

Historical stock market performance gives us confidence in the 4% Rule

I know you're probably thinking, that's great, but how can I be sure? How can I have confidence that once I hit "my number" I'm safe to retire forever? There have been multiple studies done that have backtested and simulated all conceivable outcomes, and they have all landed on 4% as a safe withdrawal rate. The most famous of all studies is the Trinity Study.

I won't attempt to go into the technicals, but if you'd like to read more, there are additional articles below.

In the comments below please let me know what safe withdrawal rate you plan to use in retirement and why.

Additional Reading on the 4 Percent Rule

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Your First $1 Million In Stocks Should Be Automatic

Think about the things in your life that are either partially or fully automated...

  • Washer & Dryer - toss your dirty clothes into a couple of magic boxes and 2 hours later they're fresh and clean
  • Dishwasher - another magic box!!! Insert your dirty dishes along with some soap, hit a button and an hour later you have sparkling dishes
  • Food Delivery - a couple clicks of a mouse and 20 minutes later a fresh pizza magically appears at your door
  • Bill Pay - set it once and forget it; late payments are a thing of the past
  • House Cleaning Service - every Tuesday afternoon magically transform the house from disaster zone into a sparkling clean museum
  • Car Washes - drive your dirty ride through a magic tunnel and emerge from the other end with a "brand new" car
  • Sprinkler System - set the schedule once and you'll magically become the envy of the neighborhood
  • Subscribe & Save - razors on a schedule???? Yes, please
  • Breaking News Alerts - always in the loop when something major happens in the world
  • Smart Home Thermostat - set the schedule once and your home is always the perfect temperature. Oh yeah...your heating and cooling bill goes down too! No brainer.

and on and on!!!

Once you've enjoyed any one of these luxuries, you question how you ever got by without them.

How would you feel about going back to washing your clothes by hand, and air drying them? Or, writing and mailing a check for every single bill? Or, driving to the store only to find that the item you want is out of stock? Hell no! Never. Not in a million years.

Automation Makes Life Awesome

Ignore the plethora of negative news headlines. We should all feel lucky and blessed to be alive in such amazing time. Life has never been better for the majority of earth's inhabitants.

We as humans love automation. Automation frees up our time to spend on activities that are more important, more enjoyable, and more productive!

But there is one automation that trumps them all. Automated Investing, and paying yourself first.

Automating Your Investments Is The #1 Path To Financial Independence

If the automation examples above prove anything, it's that humans are lazy. We'll happily take the path of least resistance to the same outcome, so why not do the same with your investments?

Bike Path Shortcut

The path of least resistance

Automating your investments is the simplest way to millionaire status and financial independence. It's not a get rich quick scheme, but a process that happens over time with little risk of failure.

Did you know that with a 10% annual return, investing $10/day into the stock market will make you a millionaire in just over 33 years. $20/day = 27 years. $30/day = 24 years. 

What Is Automated Investing?

Automated investing is like bill pay in reverse. It's boring, but if your goal is to make money, it is effective. It takes an hour at most to setup. It's as simple as selecting your brokerage, selecting the low cost index or mutual funds to invest in, determining the amount to invest.

It is setting up your investments once, and then forgetting about them. Following the initial setup, a pre-defined amount of money is invested on your behalf. You don't have to lift a finger. It happens like clockwork on a pre-defined schedule. There is no analysis, contemplation, emotions or manual pull of a trigger to make the investments. It's all automatic.

Yes, you'll have less disposable income, but you won't know the difference. It's money that never made it to your primary checking account so you won't know what you're missing. You will adapt and learn to live within your means, while the invested money works for you behind the scenes, setting you up for a very bright future.

Benefits of Automated Investing

  1. You won't be tempted to time the market. Trying to time the market is a loser's game with 99.99% of people failing. If history shows us anything, it is that the market always goes up over time. Automation ensures that we're investing when the market is low, AND when the market is high. It's called Dollar Cost Averaging. Keep in mind that in 10-20 years, today's all-time high will be in the rearview mirror, never seen again.
  2. You won't let fear scare you out of the market. In 2008, out of fear of losing their nest egg, many people cashed out their investments at the bottom of a market crash. The goverment stepped in, bailed out Wall Street, and the market went gangbusters. Those that cashed out their investments lost out on massive gains. Automation stops us from making decisions based on emotion (fear).
  3. Lifestyle creep is held in check. As you make more money the temptation to upgrade your life with more and better stuff is real. Bigger homes, newer vehicles, nicer clothing, international vacations, fancy restaurants, etc. This is all ok, but only after you've first paid yourself first. Automating your investments ensures that your investments increase in proportion to your income. For example, if you get a 10% raise, the amount you invest will also increase by 10%.

The Automated Investing Blueprint Contains 5 Simple Steps 

  1. Get Your Employer's 401k Match - Contribute up to your employer's 401k (or 403b) match. It's free money with a guaranteed return. If your employer matches 4% of your salary, invest 4% of your salary. If they match 8%, bump your contribution to 8% of your salary. Talk to your HR department if you need help setting up your 401k. They are paid to help you so don't be shy.
  2. Pay Off Your Bad Debt - Any debt that isn't mortgage or business related needs to go. For example, credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, and student loans. Attack them. Crush them. Kill them. Do what it takes to eliminate your bad debt and then never touch it again. Your net worth will sky rocket as soon as you are debt free, enriching yourself instead of the fat cat bankers.
  3. Hit Your 401k Max - You've already hit the match (step 1 above). Now, max out the rest of your 401k (or 403b). In 2018, 401k contribution limits are $18,500.
  4. Max Out Your IRA - In 2018, IRA contribution limits are $5,500.
  5. Taxable Investments - Open a taxable brokerage account and invest any excess funds.

Whenever investing, whether 401k, IRA or a taxable account, make sure you're investing in low-cost index funds. Expensive investment funds will eat your returns alive, and they are completely unnecessary. We recommend Vanguard for their low-cost index funds. 

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How Successful Bloggers Make Money

For most Bloggers, a blog is a time consuming and unprofitable hobby. That's ok, as most people start a blog to enjoy the therapeutic effects of writing and creating.

The truth is that at some point the majority of bloggers, whether blogging for fun or business, grow tired and frustrated of blogging and give up, leaving the blog to rot away to the digital graveyard.

But, some of us (myself included) don't need another hobby. 😉 We want to run a successful business. A business that feels less like work and more like a hobby. A business that can make us a full-time income with part-time effort. 

The good news is that blogging can be a very lucrative business when treated like a business. In any successful business, the business owner knows how the business makes money (hopefully lots of it!).

In this post I'll cover the 5 primary ways successful bloggers make money. I'll provide an overview of each tactic, real-world examples, and the pros and cons or each.

Bloggers Are Making Big Money In 5 Ways

  1. Ad Income
  2. Affiliate Marketing
  3. Sponsored Posts
  4. Sell Their Services
  5. Create & Sell Their Own Product

Now, let's cover each tactic in a little more depth.

1) Ad Income

A quick way to monetize a site is to place advertisements on it. The eyeballs reading your articles are worth money. Businesses seeking to get their product or service in front of the right audience are willing to pay for it. 

For example, if a woman views a specific handbag at an online store, but does not buy, it is possible to follow her across the internet targeting her with an ad for the exact same bag, enticing her to come back and buy. She has already shown an interest in the bag, so to that online retailer, delivering an ad to this woman is valuable. 

Did you know that website owners make $2-$4 for every 1,000 ad impressions? Place 2-5 ads on each page and make $4-$20 per 1,000 ad impressions.

What Are The Pros & Cons of Ad Income?

  • Easy to Setup - Once approved you can have ads running on your site in a matter of minutes.
  • Free Money - Make anywhere from $2-$14 per 1,000 impressions. By placing multiple ads on each page you can easily multiply that number.
  • Distract the AudienceAds have the ability to distract the audience and even take them away from your site.
  • People Generally Hate Ads - Advertisements offer very little value to your audience, and are often hated. 
  • Ad Blockers - Ad blockers are growing in popularity, and have the potential to negatively impact your earnings if enough of your readers use them.
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    Requires a Ton of Traffic - In order to make significant money requires a lot of traffic to your site. 

Young House Love is an example that effectively places ads on throughout their site.

Young House Love Ads

Young House Love is a successful home renovation blog for people that want to create a beautiful home. They have 5 total ads on their pages, with 3 "above the fold" (can see on a desktop computer without scrolling) and 2 "below the fold" (require scrolling). 

2) Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is earning a commission for promoting another person's (or company's) product. As a blog owner, you send your visitors to another site, and when the referred visitor takes a specific action (buy, apply, start a free trial, etc.), you earn an agreed upon commission. The commission is typically a % of a sale or a flat rate fee. 

Let's look at 5 real world affiliate programs. 

Amazon Logo

Amazon, the 1,000 pound ecommerce gorilla, has a famous affiliate program paying affiliates up to 10% for referred sales.

Personal Capital Logo

Personal Capital, our favorite tool for tracking our net worth, pays affiliates $50 to $100 per qualified sign up.

Thrive Themes Logo

Thrive Themes, the WordPress theme provider we use, pays 35% commission on the initial purchase + 25% commission on any recurring revenue.

SiteGround Logo

SiteGround, the company we use to host our site for less than $5 per month, pays affiliates $50-$100+ per sale.

Airbnb Logo

Airbnb, our favorite for accomodations, does not have an affiliate program. However, they have a similar offering in a referral program, paying $25 for a new traveler.

Quick Math Exercise: If through your blog you get 1 reader per day to purchase/apply/sign up for a product earning a $150 commission, you've earned yourself $4,562.50/month, which is $54,750/year. Not bad!

What Are The Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing?

  • Use For Testing Purposes - Affiliate marketing is a great way to test the type of products your audience is willing to buy, which can provide insight when developing your own product.
  • No Investment Required - You don’t need to invest the time and money into creating your own product
  • thumbs-o-up
    No Customer Service Customer service falls onto your affiliate partner -- not you.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Great Earning Potential Many affiliate programs pay hefty commissions, and some pay on a recurring basis. 
  • Very Little Product ControlSince you don’t own the product, you have very little input into said product, or even whether the affiliate program continues to exist.
  • Affiliate Partners Have Potential To Become Competitors - Your readers become their customers, and there is always a chance that your affiliate partner becomes a future competitor.

3) Sponsored Posts

An advertisement in the form of a blog post that promotes a specific company, brand or product. Whereas a banner ad is an obvious advertisement, a sponsored post is a "native ad." It feels much more like editorial content, and can be hard to distinguish as an ad. 

The Roasted Root has sponsors for their recipe blog posts.

Roasted Root Sponsored Post

The Roasted Root is a recipe blog run by a young woman named Julia, focused on healthy and tasty recipes. The Sangria Recipe above is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey, a company selling extracts. Why would Nielsen-Massey want to sponsor a Sangria Recipe?

It's simple. One of the main ingredients Julia calls for in the recipe is an Nielsen-Massey extract. Per the post....

"I used Nielsen-Massey’s Orange Blossom Water to bring even more citrusy flavor to this sangria. I love how authentic Nielsen-Massey’s extracts taste – they’re my main squeeze when it comes to extracts!"

In a world where people are bombarded with traditional advertising, sponsored posts is a very effective way to stand out from the crowd.

What Are The Pros & Cons of Sponsored Posts?

  • Native Advertisements - Unlike banner ads that distract, sponsored posts match the look and feel of your site, creating a much more seamless experience.
  • The Money Can Be Good - You should charge at a minimum $100 for every 100,000 page views your site has.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Combines Nicely With Your Social ChannelsIf you have a loyal Facebook, Twitter or Instagram following you can potentially increase your rates.
  • Can Require A Lot of Work Many times there is a lot of leg work to identify the opportunity, negotiate the rate, back and forth on the content, etc.
  • Potential To Lose The Trust Of Your Audience - Do not write a sponsored post unless you 100% believe in what you’re promoting.
  • Requires Signifiant Traffic - Unless you have a super loyal following, you won’t make significant money without significant traffic. 

4) Sell Their Services

Services, helping companies or people do their work, are everywhere. Housekeeping, car maintenance, computer repair, life coaching, resume building, roofing, dry cleaning, pet sitting, staffing, Uber, etc. The list goes on and on. 

Great Resumes Fast Is A Perfect Example Of A Blog Selling Their Services

Great Resumes Fast

Great Resumes Fast offers services such as Resume Writing ranging from $495-$2,295. LinkedIn Profile Writing for $495. Recruiter Distribution for $275. They are experts in their field, and solving real problems (helping people land a job) with their service offerings. 

What Are The Pros & Cons of Selling Your Services?

  • You Have 100% Ownership - Unlike affiliate marketing where you lack control of the product, you control 100% of your offered services, and can make changes at any time.
  • High Profit Potential - Services require very little overhead, and are typically instantly profitable. Also, they have potential to create recurring income.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Your Blog Will Do Much Of The Selling - Since you’ve established yourself as a leader in your niche, and you have loyal readers, your blog will make selling your services easier.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Significant Traffic Not Required You can start selling services from day 1, regardless of how much traffic your site has.

     
  • It's Not Passive You now have a paying customer with high expectations, which will require much of your time & energy.
  • thumbs-o-down
    Customer Service Is Yours You're on the hook for all customer service needs, and with services, customer service needs are very, very high.


5) Create & Sell Their Own Product

Creating & selling your own product is one of the, if not the very best tactic in monetizing a blog. This is especially true if you offer a digital product vs physical product. Digital products require no inventory, come with no shipping expense, they don't break, etc. Digital products are the ultimate product to sell. 

Regardless of whether you sell digital or physical product, it is very difficult to sell another company's product. It's nearly impossible to compete with Amazon's low prices, Prime 2-day shipping, liberal return policy, and the trust that consumers have in Amazon and other large online retailers. 

Wellness Mama, a blog for mothers about natural living, self publishes and sells books (all digital!) for $15-$20 each.  

Wellness Mama Book
Wellness Mama Book
Wellness Mama Book

Young House Love, the renovation blog mentioned earlier in this post, sells branded lighting for up to $400.

Young House Love Lighting
Young House Love Lighting
Young House Love Lighting

Nerd Fitness, a fitness blog targeted to self defined "nerds," offers a community membership for $149.

Nerd Fitness Academy

What Are The Pros & Cons of Creating & Selling Your Own Product?

  • You Have Full Ownership - You control 100% of your own product. You’ll have access to analytics, customer feedback, a/b testing, etc., and can make changes, offer cross sells & upsells, or anything else you'd like to do. 
  • High Profit Potential - Products, if digital, require very little overhead, and are typically instantly profitable. Also, they have potential to create recurring income.
  • thumbs-o-up
    The Blog Does Much Of The Selling  - Since you’ve established yourself as a leader in your niche, and you have loyal readers, your blog will make selling your product easier.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Mostly Passive Once Built  - Your income is mostly passive once the product is created.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Start Your Own Affiliate Program  - You’ve built a product. Now, incentivize others to promote your product to their audience.
  • Large UndertakingBuilding a high quality product that sells for top dollar requires a lot of time. You’ll also need to support your customers, and update the course, as needed.
  • You Own Customer Service - Pre-sales questions, product issues, returns, exchanges, fraudulent orders, poor reviews, etc. are all your responsibility.

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How Successful Real Estate Investors Make Money

Did you know that 90% of the world's millionaire invested in real estate to create their wealth?

It's why headlines like the following are even possible:

Self-made millionaire went from janitor to real estate mogul.

Real estate is the fastest and easiest way for an "Average Joe" to become a millionaire. Yet, to succeed, Joe must understand the ways to make money with investment property.

In this article we'll walk you through the 5 primary ways to make money as a real estate investor.

The concepts below are simple to understand and put into place. By the end of this article you'll have a clear understanding of how how to make real money with property.

#1 Instant Equity

Buying a home for less than market value provides the buyer with 'instant equity'. The buyer "makes money" the very second they take ownership of the home.

Sarah and I had lived in our new home for 6 months when we learned about a foreclosure in my sister's neighborhood.

We loved the idea of living close to family, but hated the idea of moving again. It's such an energy suck.

After touring the home we decided we'd buy it, but only if we could get ourselves a smoking deal. Otherwise, as much as we love my sister and her family, it wasn't worth moving AGAIN!!!

The home's list price was at market value -- $375,000. But, it had a lot of cosmetic issues that made the home ugly. Thus, undesireable to most buyers looking for an updated property.

It needed about $5,000 of work -- interior paint, carpet cleaning, new shutters, some landscaping, refinishing of wood trim, etc.

We submitted a low-ball offer for $258,000 to see what would happen. We also directed the bank to keep our offer as a backup for as long as the home was available for sale.

The bank immediately countered back at $350,000. We weren't interested in purchasing the home at that price so we ignored the email and moved on.

A month later, out of the blue, we received an email from the bank accepting our original offer of $258,000. We immediately finalized the purchase agreement, and 6 weeks later moved into our brand new home.

In the example above, we purchased a $375,000 home for $258,000. That's $112,000 in instant equity after spending $5,000 on cosmetic improvements.

Think about this...it took us 3 hours to make $112,000. 1 hour to tour the home. 1 hour to write up the offer. 1 hour at the closing table. That's an hourly rate of $37,000+. 😉

Instant equity is 1 of 2 strict criteria we have when buying single-family rental properties. If we can't get instant equity, we will not buy the property.

Rule of Thumb: We will not purchase an investment property without a minimum of 10% instant equity. This gives us an immediate "risk cushion" if something were to go wrong in the future. 

#2: Cash Flow

Cash flow is the other criteria we have when purchasing a property. If the property doesn't have a clear path to profit, we will not buy it.

In the real estate world they say cash (flow) is king. It is. Without cash flow your investment can't stand on its own. You'll need to subsidize it each month with your wallet. It is not a scalable business. Plus, do you like to lose money every month? We sure don't!

We calculate cash flow as follows:

Gross Rents 
- Operating Expenses 
- Debt (Mortgage) Service 
- Vacancies 
- Capital Expenses
-----------------------------
CASH FLOW!!!

Gross Rents
Total annual rent possible. Not actual rent received.

Operating Expenses
Recurring expenses, including property taxes, insurance, utilities, landscaping, accounting, advertising, etc.

Debt (Mortgage) Service
The mortgage payment. The principal and interest paid to the bank.

Vacancies & Unpaids
Vacancies happen when homes are empty (vacant). Unpaids are rents that go uncollected due to non-paying tenants. We prefer a conservative approach so we calculate this as 8% of gross rents.

Capital Expenditures (CapEx)
Large one-time expenses, such as a new roof, appliances, air conditioner, boiler, plumbing, electrical, etc. We calculate this as 8% of gross rents.

Here's an example from a single-family rental property. 

Gross Rents

  • $30,000 ($2,500/month)

Total Gross Rents: $30,000

Operating Expenses

  • Taxes: $3,540/year
  • Insurance: $1,930/year
  • Landscaping: $250 (mowing and snow removal are thetenant's responsibility; weed removal and landscaping touchups are our responsibility)

The following expenses are the tenant's responsibility:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Garbage Service
  • Water & Sewage

*We self manage our properties so there are no property management fees. 

Total Operating Expenses: $5,720/year

Debt Service (the mortgage!)

  • Principal & Interest: $859 
  • Private Mortgage Insurance: $0 (not required because we have 20% equity in property)

Total Debt Service: $10,308/year

Vacancies & Unpaids

  • Vacancy Expense: $1,920 (8% of $24,000 Gross Rents)

Total Vacancy & Unpaids: $1,920/year

Capital Expenditures (CapEx)

  • Capital Expenditures: $1,920 (8% of $24,000 Gross Rents)

Total Capital Expenditures: $1,920/year

So, here's our cash flow calculation for this property...

$30,000 Gross Rents
- $5,720 Operating Expenses 
- $10,308 Debt Service 
- $1,920 Vacancies 
- $1,920 CapEx 
----------------------------------
$10,132 in annual cash flow. That's $844 in cash flow per month.
 

Rule of Thumb: We aim to cash flow at least $300/month for a single family home. Some investors target $100/month or less. Pick a number that makes you comfortable.

#3: Principal Paydown

When making a mortgage payment to the bank, part of the payment applies toward the principal and part toward interest.

The bank -- because they exist to make money -- structures mortgages in their favor. Surprise, surprise!

At the beginning of a mortgage, the majority of the monthly payment applies to interest. As the loan ages, the majority of the monthly payment applies to the principal.

The banks like this structure because it ensures that they make most of their profit (the interest) at the beginning of a loan. Whether a homeowner stays in their home for 5 years or 30 years makes little difference to the bank. They've already turned a profit on the loan.

Regardless, with each mortgage payment, the amount owed to the bank (the principal) decreases. This results in increased equity every single month.

Let's continue looking at our rental property. We went with a $200,000 30-year mortgage at a 5% interest rate.

Over 30 years, a homeowner will pay a total of $386,511. $200,000 in principal payments, and $186,511 in interest payments.

Let's focus on the principal paydown by year. Remember, for a cash flowing property, the tenant is paying the mortgage for you. 

This is how much principal paydown takes place by year.... 

....and here's the running total by year.

#4: Appreciation

Historically, property has increased in value (appreciated) somewhere between 3-5% per year.

Appreciation can be volatile in the short term, but over long periods of time it is safe to assume at least 3%. 3% is the number we use in our analysis.

To demonstrate the power of appreciation, let's use the same $200,000 property appreciating at 3% per year.

In the 1st year the $200,000 home increases in value by $6,000. By year 30 it increases by $14,000. 

Over a 30-year period, your home value increases from $200,000 to over $485,000. WOW!

#5: Tax Benefits via Depreciation

Uncle Sam & the IRS love real estate investors. This love results in tax laws allowing real estate investors to pay very little tax on their profits -- preferential treatment at its finest.

It's a lot to cover so we won't do it here. If you're interested in doing a deeper dive not only into tax benefits, but also real estate investing as a whole.I recommend you sign up for our free real estate course

Time For The Money Math!!!

Let's put everything we've learned together to demonstrate the power of real estate. We'll continue using our example investment property, looking at a 10-year window.

10 Years Of Profit From 1 Single Family Home

$30,000 Instant Equity
+ $101,310 Ten Years of Cash Flow
+ $37,311 Ten Years of Principle Paydown
+ $68,783 Appreciation
-----------------------------------------------
$237,404 (or $23,740 per year)!!!

Crazy, isn't it? It's not so difficult to believe that a savvy janitor can become a millionaire using real estate. And do so in a relatively short amount of time.

Things To Remember:


  • The market is hot at the moment, making deals difficult to find. That's ok -- there are still deals out there if you search hard enough.
  • Learn everything you can NOW so that when the next buyers market is here, you're ready to hit the ground running.

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How We Book Airbnbs For Huge Discounts. A Step-By-Step Guide.

Did you know that Airbnb has more listings than the 5 largest hotel chains combined?

They span the globe with 400+ million listings in 190+ countries.

Our family is head-over heals in love with Airbnb. So much so that we use them for most of our accommodations while traveling. 

One of the biggest reasons we're smitten with Airbnb is the fact that it's possible to stay at high-quality Airbnbs amazingly cheap. Much cheaper than far inferior hotel rooms.

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How We Book Hotels For 1/2 Price At Hotels.com

Hotels.com is awesome -- if you know how to optimize the site.

We've optimized our Hotels.com stays so well that we consistently save 30, 40, 50% or more.

In this guide we'll walk you through exactly how we book every single one of our Hotels at Hotels.com for a discount.

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15 Days in Mallorca + What It Cost Our Family of 5

Who knew Mallorca, Spain was so gorgeous and never told us!?!  Well it’s not a secret anymore, because we are here to tell you…..GO!  

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A Month In Portugal + What It Cost Our Family of 5

“So where do you want to go?” I asked Brandon. “How about Portugal?” he replies. “Ok! Where exactly is Portugal?” I asked out loud.

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A Month In Thailand + What It Cost Our Family of 5

Is Thailand on your bucket list? For many years we dreamed about the other side of the world. Exotic beaches, boats in Caribbean blue water, and of course the legendary street food put Thailand high on our wish list of “must see” places.

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