Are You Investing or Just Going to the Track?

horse racingWhen I was first dating my wife, her grandfather was going through a battle with cancer. Nick lived with my in-laws as he underwent chemotherapy treatments. During that time I had the opportunity to spend some time with him.

Nick enjoyed gambling. He especially loved the ponies. I can remember walking down the hall to his bedroom. The small TV in his room would be running live broadcasts of the local horse races. When I poked my head in to say hello, he’d update me on how much he’d won or lost during the day. And he rarely lost.

After a series of these similar encounters I started asking questions. This guy kept a running tally of all the horses, the betting lines, his predictions and the results of each bet. He’d been keeping these records for some time, and was ahead on his bets to the tune of nearly 6 figures.

It didn’t take me too long to find out that Nick had a trick. He never put a bet on any race. That was it. His interest on gambling on horse racing was simply recreational.

There are a lot of people in the Real Estate world with a similar story. They are interested in Real Estate. They’ll attend every seminar, educational talk and networking event. These are the guys that can explain every aspect of the business, and give a detailed description of 100 ways to structure a deal. They’ll often regale you with stories of the deal that got away.

What they can’t tell you is when they made their last dollar in the business or did their last deal. If you attend a local REIA, you can probably name a dozen people who fit this description.

Learning about Real Estate investing and surrounding yourself with like-minded people is important. For anyone who is just getting started in the business, it is a vital part of a successful career. It can also be a lot of fun. If recreation is the goal, then any time spent is time well spent.

My goal, and the goal of most investors, is to use Real Estate as a vehicle for lifestyle design. In short, we want to make money. It’s a great industry where people can make an incredible income with only a few transactions per year. This leads to freedom of time and money. But the only way to achieve that success is to get in the game.

Nick was a great guy. He survived his first fight with cancer, but passed away following a second diagnosis. He survives today through the memories of his family as a loving father and grandfather. I’ll never forget his friendly manner or his lessons on the track.

My wife’s grandfather was not a professional gambler. His hobby was studying and betting on the ponies. My hobbies include training Jiu Jitsu, watching college wrestling and reading science fiction novels. But I am a professional Real Estate investor.

Real Estate is a great business. For those of us willing to get in the game, the rewards are significant. But if you’re looking for a hobby, I suggest the race track.

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