Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
The popular game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” features a quiz competition in which contestants attempt to win a top prize of $1,000,000 by answering a series of multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty. The show has been on the air for 20 years with more than 365 episodes, yet only 12 people have answered the final question correctly and taken home the top prize of a $1,000,000! These 12 winners came from a contestant pool of millions that were hoping for an audition and making it to the televised show. The numbers are super slim, like any lottery, and on top of that you need to be super smart. This is not a format that works in my favour to becoming a millionaire, odds are too big and I am not a book-smart kind of guy.
I have a much easier way to becoming a millionaire! A format that everyone can win, a format that has a much better success ratio than 12 winners over 20 years. Yes, it includes real estate and the top prize of $1,000,000 or more can be yours with your personal residence or investment properties.
The key to any investing, in anything, is to start early in life. Compounding interest, savings, mortgage pay-down, and appreciation all need time to mature into decent nest-egg numbers. In addition, I would encourage you to aim much higher than one million. Today, a million dollars does not go very far when the average price of a single-family home in the Fraser Valley for the month of October 2019 was $999,943. Hey, in the end, we want to be able to create a stress-free financial life. Therefore, only you personally know the number you need to set as your goal and once you have the number there is no time like the present to get started!
There are 3 easy and straightforward principles one needs to apply; mortgage pay-down, positive cash flow, and appreciation. Apply these 3 principles to your personal home, your first investment property, fifth, tenth, or twentieth property and creating a stress-free financial life is doable.
As simple as these principles are, even the sophisticated investors at times miss the mark. Let us look at mortgage pay-down. It is by far the easiest of the principles to apply; yet, it is the principle that is often miss-managed the most. Trust me on this; pay-down is a guaranteed principle to becoming a millionaire and beyond. It is at the sole discretion of the property owner, the market has no influence on the pay-down effect, unlike cash flow or appreciation.
This principle requires the homeowner not to refinance their home for any reason, especially for the purpose of pulling out equity to pay other debt. It also requires the homeowner to shorten the amortization period of the mortgage and/or make balloon payments. You will be amazed at how quickly the mortgage will be paid off! Try it for yourself here.
Investors, even sophisticated investors, struggle with the principle of mortgage pay-down. Many investors believe the more doors they own, the better their financial future will be. Therefore, they refinance their properties as often as possible with the purpose of pulling out equity in order to buy another property. In the end, they own multiple properties that have little to no mortgage pay-down and are often generating poor cash flow for the nest egg. Having multiple properties also require many hours managing tenants and expensive property maintenance.
By the investor concentrating on mortgage pay-down, cash flow increases and appreciation are not the expected saviour to finding ones way to a stress-free financial life. Appreciation should never be counted on as the millionaire principle, but rather the icing on the cake when it happens. I find many investors get to their stress-free financial life quicker by concentrating on less debt or by owning fewer doors with mortgage pay-down as the winning formula.
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