Imagine the most spectacular house you can dream of: a mansion with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, an enormous gourmet kitchen, a resort style pool in the backyard, and everything else you can possibly want in a home. You come across the listing of this home on the internet and begin scrolling through the amazing pictures with awe and delight. Then, your friend leans over your shoulder and says, “it’s nice, but I wouldn’t want to clean all those bathrooms.”
I am sure you’ve heard the saying somewhere at some time in your life or maybe you have said it yourself. “I wouldn’t want to clean all those bathrooms.” Let that soak in.
Aesop’s Fables were written about 500 years before Christ. One of them was the story of a fox who saw some plump grapes hanging from a tall vine. By the looks of these grapes, they were delicious. However, they were way up on the vine and the fox could not reach them no matter how hard he tried. He jumped and missed, climbed and fell, but could not reach the tasty looking grapes. After hours of failed attempts, the fox walked away muttering, “they were most likely sour anyway.”
The comment about cleaning the bathrooms and the grapes being sour are examples of our human desire to reduce cognitive dissonance. It means that we don’t like it when we want something we believe we can’t have, so it’s easier for our brain to make us think that obtaining that thing we desire would be negative anyway, thus making it easier for us to live without it and reducing our desire to gain it. How pathetic. Our brain doesn’t want us to try so hard so it helps us to “settle” for what it knows we CAN obtain. Our brain decides “you don’t want that anyway. It would just be a pain in the butt.”
When I began picking up rental properties in the 90’s, my in-laws warned my husband and me about the dangers of investing in real estate and about the downside of being a landlord. “I don’t want people calling me in the middle of the night to come and fix a toilet,” they said. Zing. Did you hear it that time? You would be surprised at what fear this tiny statement is for an entire populous of people, mostly those who grew up in a working-class family. It has probably kept thousands away from investing and just as many away from creating the kind of lifestyle they secretly dreamed of. Even one rental property can bring in a few hundred dollars a month in revenue and create loads of tax write-offs that can lower your taxable income and save you money.
Did you know just pulling in an extra few hundred dollars a month could have saved most people’s homes from foreclosure during the crash? That tiny chunk of change may have made a difference for nearly 8 million families who lost their homes during that peak 5-year period of massive foreclosures. A few hundred dollars a month meant the difference between keeping and losing their home. An income rental property could have created those few hundred dollars.
Well, what if you had a property whose value went down during the crash, you ask? If you were cash flowing a property, you honestly wouldn’t care what the value of that property was or is. You would be holding it with a fixed rate loan (because ARMs are for people who like to take risks) so your expenses would always be pretty consistent. That was part of the first lesson in holding properties. If you’re holding a property for cash flow, you should be playing it safe with a fixed rate loan to keep your expenses consistent.
Additionally, even when values of homes drop, rental rates historically somehow manage to remain pretty consistent in the majority of markets. There are a few exceptions, but you use your due diligence when you buy to make certain you are in a good rental area with stable job sources. That means your income should remain consistent, as well.
If your income and expenses remain consistent, who cares what the value of the property is? That only matters if you’re selling and when you pay taxes. So what if the value drops while you are holding and renting? A low value should mean lower taxes which lowers your expenses. That’s a good thing with holds.
So the fear of cleaning toilets has potentially prevented people from saving their homes in my book. It most certainly has kept some people broke or at least in a poor mentality, which is becoming rampant in our country. Capitalism is not evil. Money is not evil. These are tools. Like any tool, things can be used for good or for ill. I prefer to use money for good. Money can be used to build wells, schools, churches, hospitals. Sure, you can be poor and volunteer your time at any of these facilities. However, if you donate money to build a home for a family or a well for a community, you will impact far more lives for good.
The real cost of listening to these fears and settling is the world will be denied another hero in the person you were truly meant to be.
Your brain is constantly working against you. That little voice that belittles you or puts more doubts on your already-long-list-of-doubts is not your friend. You have to start listening to your heart and your desires. It’s not “greedy” to want more for your family. It’s not evil to want to be successful in life. If you want a big house like the one you imagined at the beginning of this, then, by all means, DREAM ON! Cut out some pictures, create a dream board, begin moving in the direction of those goals. You may never get there, but you’ll be a heck of a lot farther down the road to success than you would be if you let the fear of cleaning bathrooms stop you.
P.S. When you DO get that house of your dreams, you won’t be cleaning those toilets yourself anyway. If you are cleaning them, it will be because you are happy to do it!
P. P.S. If you want to become financially free you need the right education. That’s why I wrote my book: An Introduction to Money. It’s a short read (55-pages) and it will transform your perspective on finances so you can take better control your destiny. CLICK (OR TAP) HERE to claim a free copy of my book now.
Michelle R Russell
for the Prosperity Process
A "Best of" Article - Republished April 2018
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