Lessons from The Force

Lessons from The Force

When most people learn that I formerly was a police officer, they raise their eyebrows and will usually say something like, “Really?  Why would you quit?”

To most, the idea of being a police officer has an exotic feel to it.  It’s because they have envisioned the Hollywood cliché of law enforcement – heroic exploits of men and women in a daily struggle against crime and corruption.  While there are some of those moments on the street, that’s not what happens behind the scenes within the department.  Most of the stuff that happens is boring, day-to-day decisions just like you have at your job. 

Who do I want to work with? 
Am I correctly filling out this new paperwork?
What educational path should I pursue for my career?
Where should I go to lunch?

Most of that’s not interesting to share.

However, why I got into law enforcement, what I learned about it and personal finance, and why I eventually left are things I believe are worth sharing.

Read More

10 Things I'd Love to Tell Myself At Twenty-One

10 Things I'd Love to Tell Myself At Twenty-One

My girlfriend asked me, “What advice would you give my niece about investing in real estate?”

It was a loaded question that lead to several of follow-up queries.

What does she want to invest in?  Where does she want to invest?  How much money does she have?  What are her long-term goals?

My girlfriend rolled her eyes (she does this a lot) and quickly re-framed the question, “What advice would you give a twenty-one-year-old version of yourself?”

That gave me pause. 

“Good question,” I said, the wheels turning. 

Read More

Are We a Nation of Perpetual Children?

Are We a Nation of Perpetual Children?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a word that I believe we avoid to describe our actions - immature.

The word makes many of us feel bad when we see it or hear it applied to our behavior.  We fought so hard against it when we were young.  We told our parents we were mature and ready to go out and make our own way.  There's no way that word could still be applied to us as adults, right? 

If you were like me as a teenager, then you saw your parents as essentially fools.  They had no idea what was going on in the real world while they were hiding inside their own home. 

As the years passed, though, my parents grew smarter.

Read More

What Does Your Broker Invest In?

What Does Your Broker Invest In?

I’m going to rant against some of those in the financial services industry.

You see, I’m a commercial real estate broker who loves the product he represents.  My clients can see and hear my enthusiasm when we talk about their needs, whether it be buying, selling, developing or leasing. 

A lot of my excitement stems from the fact that I own real estate.  I own various types of commercial property.  From small retail strip centers, a couple office buildings, a ground leased property and even a couple residential rentals.  I love real estate.

It’s one of the reasons I started Building-Income.  I wanted to share my excitement for the product.  I’m always looking to buy another piece of property.  It’s how I’m going to secure my retirement and leave a legacy for my family.

It’s one of the best investment vehicles out there and I wish everyone could feel the excitement I do.

However, there are some in my industry who don’t feel the same way.  They take their commissions and run.  They buy anything but real estate.  If they invest in anything, it’s the stock market or some other get rich quick scheme.

Now, I’m not against the stock market or investing in a business.  I’ve invested in both.  It’s just that I believe a real estate broker should practice what they preach and put their money where their mouth is.

Read More

How Many Books Did You Read This Year?

How Many Books Did You Read This Year?

Earlier this year, I wrote the post You Are What You Read in which I discussed the well-documented argument that successful people read

I also talked about my reading plan:  For every book I read for pleasure, I will read one book for education.

Since today is New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d share my reading list for the past year and what I learned about myself.  Before I do that, though, here’s some additional information I found concerning the value of reading.

Read More

You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read

There’s a famous computer coding concept known as GIGO – Garbage In / Garbage Out.  If you put sloppy coding (information) into a computer, you will get equally or greater sloppy results.

The human brain is essentially a computer.  It’s an easy concept to understand from there, right?

If we put bad stuff into our brains, then we’re going to get poor results out.  Duh.

For the most part, as adults, we can control what goes into our brains.

We can turn off the television or, at the very least, turn the channel away from the latest excuse for reality TV and switch over to a worthwhile documentary.

We can power off the video game or choose to play a non-violent one.

We can choose which informational blog posts to read (thank you for reading this one, btw), instead of jumping over to TMZ.

Above all, we can choose to read a book.

Read More

We Lead Interesting Lives

We Lead Interesting Lives

Recently, we were having dinner with my friend, Keith.  He had returned the day before from China where he had spent the previous three weeks training a group how to use a new piece of industrial equipment.  Keith works for an aluminum casting system manufacturer and he travels the world teaching people how to use the equipment. 

Whenever he returns from his journeys, he often has tales of something exotic he’s experienced, tasted or observed.  I’m often enthralled by his stories.  

Keith, however, doesn’t realize he’s leading an interesting life.  Quite frankly, he finds it rather normal.  He’s traveled the globe several times now.  He’s been to Russia, China, Korea, Dubai, India, etc.  He’s been throughout the U.S.  Keith can share tales of local customs that leave will you shaking your head in wonderment.

Read More

For the Boomers - Did Travis McGee Have It Right All Along?

For the Boomers - Did Travis McGee Have It Right All Along?

My dad turned me on to Travis McGee when I was in the army.  This was probably natural since he discovered McGee while he was in the navy during the Viet Nam war.   

Author John D. MacDonald’s most famous character, Travis McGee, resided in Ft. Lauderdale on a houseboat aptly named the Busted Flush which he won in a poker game.  McGee called himself a “salvage consultant” wherein he recovered stolen or swindled items for a victim, keeping half of the recovered item’s value for himself.  In the purest sense, he was an entrepreneur, working for himself and taking only the clients he wanted.

Read More