Ms. K.S. recently e-mailed me: Should I buy a home/condo or rent an apartment? I’m moving to a large metro area where the cost of housing is very high. My annual income is about $70k. Will buying help my chances of becoming wealthy someday? I’m not sure if I can afford to buy [a home]. . . I’m leaning towards renting. . . and investing some in some stocks. How does this all play out in terms of becoming a millionaire?
Ms. K.S. looks at housing in terms of just two choices, renting or buying. But what about Option 3? That’s what Brian calls it. He owns and rents. I briefly (too briefly) profiled Brian in an earlier blog “A Detailing Millionaire“. But the details of his case deserve more attention, especially for people like Ms. K.S.
Brian sent me two handwritten letters on his special type of business stationery, i.e. 3-ring, looseleaf school paper with the company name and address rubber stamped at the top. The first of two letters from Brian.
Please forgive my spelling. I have learning disabilities but…God bless America. If I can do it, anyone can do it…become a millionaire….Just follow the rules. I had and have dyslexia. I mess up letters and numbers all the time. Growing up I figured I was just a big dummy. [In school] I was always put in the dummy row. I took the GED test in high school and failed twice.
My [high end car] detail business does about $60 to $70K net a year. Not bad, but not a killing either. Trust me, I work my butt off for it. [Earlier in my adult life] my friends all thought…that Brian has his stuff together. But the car insurance and house payments was getting old…. [I] began thinking…who was I trying to impress…? House payment over $2,200 a month…. a Mercedes, a $40K Harley…and a Turbo Porsche.
I figured… it was all about ego, my ego. It’s all about letting go of the ego….Who was I trying to impress?An old friend of mine that always seemed to have his head on straight told me, “If you are tired of it, sell the toys.” [I] sold it all and [made] a downpayment on a 4-plex. It’s my life…my freedom and future I was playing with. Paying big bills…I was never going to be independently wealthy… and it was hard initially to give up that lifestyle. But in no time I went from paying $2,200 per month in house payments to living in my own place for free. My first three tenants paid their rent and mine.
Buy the toys [expensive artifacts] well after you become wealthy. Not before. If you buy before you become wealthy, you will never reach your goal of becoming financially independent. I used to want to be rich just to show off…to spend on exotic cars, motorcycles, boats, and my custom homes, and so on. But the more I understand money, the more I realize that people with money don’t care so much about having the big-ticket items as being financially independent.
I used to hate the first of the month [before I owned apartments]…. My friends don’t like the first of the month with all those payments due….But I have to tell you now that I can’t wait for the first of each month. My apartments don’t know I can’t spell, and they don’t know what color my skin is. Anyone can do it. Just follow the rules.