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I talk with another Successful Investor July 17, 2008

Posted by shaferfinancial in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday, we went to visit one of our Florida neighbors whom also has a summer place up here in New England.  Frankly, I knew vaguely what this person does for a living, but have only heard bits and pieces over the last few years.  While we were canoeing and swimming with my son we had a chance to talk more extensively.  I thought the readers would like to read his story:

 He had started working on the Jersey shore during summers at 14.  Eventually, he went to work for IBM in Jersey.  After many years of working for Big Blue, he decided that working for someone else wasn’t getting him where he wanted to be.  So he moved to Florida.  Taking his savings he started to buy property and fix it up.  His formula was buy three houses a year and sell one.  Eventually, he owned 20 properties.  He hired a full-time maintenance guy and worked hard at keeping his houses in good condition and rented to good people.  He had a rule that he would never raise the rent of someone while they lived in his property.  This worked well as he had loyal renters who, for the most part, didn’t try to destroy the properties.  He tended to buy properties in the less expensive parts of town so he could set the rent in the affordable range.  Slowly at first, but accelerating in the 1990’s, rents increased, dramatically increasing his income.  He had become very successful as a real estate investor through simple hard work and treating folks fairly!

For some personal reasons he started to sell out in the last decade.  He now is down to 6 properties.  However, he hasn’t had the same success with his capital, trusting financial planners and stock brokers.  One lost some of his capital, while another one had his money for 4 years and left him at the same place he started at.  We laughed about the thought that the only people making money from his capital were the financial planners!  He told me sheepishly (and this was totally unsolicited) that the best retirement vehicle he had [outside of his real estate] was a life insurance policy!

He also invested in some raw land in North Florida on the coast, with the thought of building a house and living there part-time.  However, he met his wife and she had a job tied to St. Pete so that never happened.  He picked it up for a pittance in the 1970’s.  In 2003 he sold most of if for a profit of around $400,000.  He kept a couple of lots.  At the time he checked with a broker and found that the lots were worth $400,000.  Because of tax considerations he did not put the land on the market.


So he still has considerable capital in real estate which he will sell out in the near future as real estate in Florida rebounds.  Then, he will be retired comfortably!  Well, very comfortably!  He is an example of exactly what we teach at the Shafer Wealth Academy.  I consider him a mentor as well as a friend.  His story makes me even more determined to bring folks into the Shafer Wealth Academy, helping them to the life and retirement they deserve.  Note, that he didn’t do it without any mistakes.  Making mistakes is part of the game.  Note that he didn’t get greedy.  Getting greedy hurts you in the long run.

I asked him if he thought his success could be duplicated today?  He felt that taxes and insurance were too expensive currently, so he wouldn’t buy in St. Pete.  However, he felt other areas that didn’t have the same tax and insurance issues it could be done.  He felt if you paid attention to the basics, treated folks fairly, anyone could do it.


During this conversation I realized that it didn’t take incredible luck nor superior analytical ability to become a successful real estate investor.   It takes what I call “want to and know how.”  Add in a little “treat people fairly” and you got the recipe for success!  An average person with a little capital and the willingness to learn and go out there and do it can build a fruitful and meaningful life. 



1. BawldGuy Talking - July 19, 2008

Just more proof that this ain’t rocket science. Great story.

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