Over the years, I’ve had several mentors who’ve helped me at different points of my life. I refer to these individuals as mentors; however, most might consider them “coaches.” These mentors were not helping me for free. I paid them to learn. In some cases, I paid them a significant amount of money. Looking back, I cannot remember a time within the last 20 years where I haven’t had a coach of some sort.
I have one right now.
The idea behind hiring a coach is that you get a return on your investment. You pay your coach X and you get back XY. Sometimes this return on investment is hard to quantify. It might be an idea you picked up, or a system you can use to your advantage, or maybe you learn from simply observing how they live.
The mentor I’m writing about in this post is a multi-millionaire. He didn’t have an easy life and actually filed bankruptcy on two different occasions throughout his journey. He never quit and continued learning from his mistakes ultimately accumulating a significant net worth and a very large annual income.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this mentor came on my first trip to his home. I had imagined a very large expensive home with the finest furnishings. I imagined he would have several fancy cars in his driveway. I also imagined he would have a full time house keeper cleaning and cooking for him. Kind of like what you might see in a Cribs video. Remember that MTV show?
I was shocked when I pulled into his driveway.
His home wasn’t large by any means. An easy estimate of value put the home at $220,000. There were no fancy cars in the garage or driveway. In fact, he drove an older Ford SUV. And as you might guess, he didn’t have a house keeper. You would never know he was a multi-millionaire from seeing how he lived.
He never explained why he chose to live so conservatively considering his income and wealth. However, I think the lessons he learned from his bankruptcies led him to a very conservative lifestyle. I do know that he didn’t have a mortgage on his home and was completely debt-free. He arranged his life so he would never have to visit the steps of bankruptcy court again.
At some point in our time together, he shared a story about a recent divorce.
Apparently his wife became frustrated with all of the hours he worked each week. He had several different businesses and business commitments. These commitments required 70 plus hour work weeks. He loved his work and wouldn’t cut back his work load despite her unhappiness.
His wife ended up filing for divorce and when he received the divorce papers, his immediate thought was…
“Who is going pay for this?”
This is BIG the lesson.
He was well aware of how expensive his divorce would be and he immediately started to think about having someone else pay for this expensive process. Within a week he had put together a very big promotion for one of his businesses. His plan was to use this promotion to generate the money needed for the divorce. His mindset was (and still is today):
“Someone is going to pay for this and it sure as hell isn’t going to be me!”
His response and comments were extremely valuable to me. Up until this day, I didn’t think like this. (I certainly do now.)
The average person would pay for cost of the divorce out of their own savings and income. They might even borrow money to cover the expenses and division of assets. This divorce would derail their income and savings for years.
As I drove home from this meeting, I began to think about this divorce story. If he wouldn’t pay for a divorce, why should I pay for my mortgage payment, car payment, insurance, etc. Why not copy his approach and structure our finances so other people pay our expenses?
My mentor saw a large expense headed his way. He figured out a way to have someone else (his customers) pay for this large expense (divorce).
We can copy this approach with anything we want in life. To do so, we have to change how we think. We’ve got to think like my mentor thinks.
Instead of thinking…
“How am I going to pay for this?”
We have to think…
“Who can I get to pay for this?”
If you want to buy something, figure out a way to have someone else pay for it. Now, to be 100% clear, you’ve got to add value in order to get others to pay for the things you want. My mentor created a special promotion giving his customers significant value. In exchange for this value, he received money to pay for his divorce.
My new book, “The Real Estate Scholarship” actually uses this strategy with the cost of college. Instead of paying for your child’s college education, you arrange things so that your tenants pay for college.
In reality, when you achieve financial freedom, all of your expenses are paid by other people. The families living in my portfolio of homes pay for all of my personal expenses. They also buy new income producing assets for my family each month, too.
As an example, I bought a
new used car this year and used my mentor’s lesson to pay for it. I bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler:
(Note: this isn’t my Wrangler. I was too lazy to go take a picture of it. I found this picture on the web)
Yes, I know they’re horrible on gas. It’s like driving a tank. I don’t care. I had a Jeep before and sold it. It was my favorite vehicle. They’re just too much fun. This purchase wasn’t about money. It was about improving qualify of life. Back to the $$$ lesson…
I wanted a Jeep, but I didn’t want to pay for it. So I bought this “hidden” home:
(Yes, I know the landscaping is completely overgrown. There really is a 3 bedroom home hidden in there!)
The family living in this home sends me a rent check each month. The amount of this check covers the monthly payment on my Jeep. I’ve used the BIG lesson I learned from my mentor’s divorce and arranged to have someone else buy the Wrangler I wanted.
Before we wrap this up, you should actually find several important money lessons in this post. I’m hoping you see them and copy them for yourself.