It also generated some offline dialog with friends and family members who wanted to know how autobiographical certains elements of my original post were. We'll leave that for another dialog!
I did receive a new response today, this one from Anonymous . Since "he" left me a simple enough clue to know his identity, I thought I'd take the liberty of posting his response as a new blog. I think Anonymous has something to say to people who are discouraged because they don't feel they make enough money ... or are upside down in a house ... or are burdened by consumer debt ... with a simple message of simplicity, savvy, and faith!
Nice post. I've got a few thoughts to add.
First, my story. I was an urban missionary, living hand-to-mouth in the early 1990's when I bought my first two family in a "soft-second" mortgage program. I had a negative networth from student loans and no prospects for improving my income. Fastforward 15 years.
I own a very nice 4 bedroom home in Connecticut (the wealthiest state in the union) free and clear. How did I do it? Simple but bold moves in an appreciating real estate market. I bought, I sold, I leveraged, I had 18 tenants and property in 3 states then I sold everything, paid an enourmous tax bill, and bought my home with cash in 2004.
From 2004 - 2007 I was a Realtor. You've heard of the "Realtor to the Stars"? I was the "Realtor to the Millionarie Next Door." During that time I was helping smart real estate investors unload their over-priced stuff to folks who didn't have a clue. I sold millions of dollars in real estate during those years. We all saw this coming. Today the smart money is waiting for the bargains. They'll be back. The issue here is "understanding the times" (there's a biblical concept).
Biblical prohibitions about debt are good -- but unless we're going to eliminate a financial instrument that knowledgeable people looking to put capital to work without complete exposure (generally the debt is secured with an asset) then we had better learn to live with debt, and use it wisely.
Sex is dangerous too and monks abstain. Should we become debt-monks?It really has more to do with self-control, courage, and an ability to read a situation dispassionately than anything else.
The millionaries I know don't drive fancy cars, live in big houses, or vacation in exotic places. They're usually modest, often religious, and always very savvy.