Thirty-year-old David Bandler discovered house hacking less than a year ago (in the middle of the pandemic!), and just one week later, he put in an offer for his first property! His story is a true testament to the power of going for it and how important it is to have the right mindset and the right allies in place to embrace this path to FI.
In this week’s episode, he’ll talk about his process for vetting tenants, how he addressed unexpected house problems, and what living with roommates has been like. But not only that. Listen until the end to go deeper and learn how David reemerged from a difficult rock bottom in his life to overcome a struggle with addiction and truly soar to new healthy heights, choosing the path to FI.
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From New-To-The-Concept To Buying His First House Hack In ONE Week! With David Bandler
I’m here with Ariel, a.k.a. Zeona McIntyre, over in Hawaii. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. It’s a nice sunny day and loving life.
I haven’t seen him in a while. I need to go to the ocean. When you’re working, you don’t always go to the beach every day, but we’ll get back out there.
You found your prince charming or whatever. Prince Eric got you on land.
You are so into this.
I’m a huge fan of the Little Mermaid. It was my top three favorite Disney movies.
What’s going on in your investing world? Is there anything exciting about it?
Two of my deals fell through because one of the banks I have out in Fayetteville is a complete piece of crap. Long story short, I tried to set up autopay a lot of times and they wouldn’t let me, then I forgot to make a mortgage payment one month, which totally blew up my credit score. That affected my closings on some properties I had gone on under contract in Denver. I was super upset, but I got over it. Everything happens for a reason. We’ve got another property. It’s the duplex I’ve talked about that’s about to be rehabbed. I think that will be a good one. We’ll move a little slower than we originally anticipated, but that’s fine. How about you?
I’m doing pretty good. I have this quad that is supposed to close now. The hope is that it’s on the next day, but I got to appreciate Mike, our lender and Megastar Financial because he makes everything so smooth. I’ve been working with a lender that I also don’t like out in Florida for this quad and we’re closing a month late. It’s been delay after delay. I appreciate that he can get it done when people are struggling so much now. I’m not surprised you have a lending issue too.
It’s tough, but that’s how real estate investing goes. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. There is some struggle and those who can get through that struggle tend to prosper. I think that’s a decent segue into our guest in this episode, David Bandler, who definitely went through some tough times. It’s interesting. He doesn’t mention the toughest of his times until the end of the show. Please read all the way to the end past our final four. That’s when he gets deep and talks about some stuff. He’s got an amazing journey. He’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this house hacking thing. He jumped right in, got his place filled. He’s got a great story. Is there anything you want to add before we get into the show, Z?
I would say that it does feel like an underdog story and it’s inspiring. It seems like he’s got a whole new lease on life and it seems like he’s going to go great places now. At a certain point in his life, he didn’t think that he would have everything that he had. Real estate seems to be giving him a whole new opportunity and it’s nice to see.Restaurants are hard to really get wealthy in unless you have multiple locations. Click To Tweet
With that being said, let’s welcome David.
David Bandler, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
I’m doing well, Craig. Thanks for having me.
Thank you so much for joining. Let’s hop right into it. You’ve got a great story. How’d you hear about house hacking, financial dependence and all that stuff?
I’m happy to get into it. This will be a fun story to walk through because I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, this may be the fastest period between someone finding out about house hacking then closing on a house. I might have the record, but you’ll have to confirm that.
In my experience, you’ve got the record.
Maybe not the best returns out of any house hack you’ve done but the fastest. I may have done it pretty quickly, but overall, my story about finding out about house hacking and getting into it may not be that different from some of the other people who get into it. If I think back, growing up, using my parents as models and thinking about, “How do I view my career, retirement, etc.?” It was this idea of what my grandfather did and what my father did and what I was going to do.
It was, “I’m going to go to college. I’m going to get a degree. I’m going to get a job. I’m going to work there for between 30 and 40 years and I’m going to contribute to my 401(k). Maybe open up an IRA or take part in whatever employee stock purchase plan at the company I work at and save up. Hopefully, get to a point where I’ve accumulated enough money in this retirement account that I can retire when I’m 55, 60.”
That seemed okay to me because that was all I knew. I originally grew up in Upstate New York, in Ithaca and I moved out to Colorado for a job. How I first found out about house hacking was I was at the time was living in Boulder. I had been living in an apartment for a couple of years and was getting ready to look for a new apartment. I was making a little more money and wanted to live somewhere a little nicer, but I had this thought one day. I said, “At some point, I’m going to want to buy a house.”
Through the gym I went to, I met a friend with someone I know you know named Grace. I was like, “Grace does something related to real estate. I think she just bought a house. Let me meet up with her.” I said, “Let’s go.” I think we went and we did handstands in Wash Park. I said, “We’re going to go do this. I want to learn from you. What do I need to do to buy a house?” We went to the park. We’re hanging out. She said, “I bought a house about a few months ago. I rent out the other rooms, which cover all my expenses so I can live for free.
Ultimately, I’m going to move out and do this again. This is a way for me to get into real estate investing and live in a house.” My thought at that moment was there is a little bit of like, “Could I do that?” Ultimately, I thought like, “I can do that. I could do that.” After that, thinking about it a little bit more, we met at the park again very similarly the following weekend. We were fooling around and doing handstands and stuff like that. I said, “I want to do this.” This was on a Sunday.
Give us a timeline because I heard that it was super short.
Here’s the timeline. This was on a Sunday. Grace, via group chat, introduced me to Craig. Craig and I scheduled a call the following day on Monday. Craig then introduced me to his lender, who I met with on a Tuesday. By Thursday, I was approved. At some point during this process, Craig had set up an MLS search for me. There were about twenty houses. Craig said, “Look at what you like. When you find a few, we’ll set up a day and we’ll go check out a few houses.”
Out of the twenty houses, there was one that I liked. I said, “I’m free this Saturday. Let’s go look at the house.” We looked at one house. We walked around and checked it out. I said, “This seems good. How much do we need to offer to get it?” Craig said, “I think if we offer this much, we’ll get it.” I said, “Let’s do it.” Craig called me on Sunday. He said, “You’re under contract.”
It was a week, basically.
It was a week from like, “Holy shit, house hacking is a thing,” to under contract. David, what made you unsubscribe to this generational approach of 401(k), 65 years old and all that stuff?
Going back in my mind. The two ways that I thought I could generate wealth. One was owning a business. My mom owned a restaurant growing up, which is a hard business to get wealthy in unless you have multiple locations, but this idea is, “If you own a business, that’s a way that you can generate wealth.” I am not an entrepreneur. I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur. I’m not the CEO type. That wasn’t an avenue I wanted to go, but I had been interested in stocks and investing that way. Those were essentially the two options in my mind. I had never thought about or been interested in real estate investing. I was familiar with REITs, but that was about it.
Learning about house hacking and when you look at the numbers and you see the ROI of a house hack, that opened up my mind to it and hearing stories. Me talking to you, Craig and looking down the road, say, “You can start with house hacking, then you can get into investing in properties out of state.” Reading your book and Rich Dad Poor Dad. From there, it snowballed.
Instead of this idea of trying to build up this big lump sum of money in a 401(k) but owning assets that pay you, then ultimately, getting to a point where these assets pay you enough monthly cashflow that you can survive without having a 9:00 to 5:00. That was a concept that I didn’t understand. It was never taught like Rich Dad Poor Dad. Robert was never taught that or most Americans were never taught that until his rich dad taught him that. I was never taught that. That is the idea and it’s quite simple. It’s the a-ha moment people have when they read Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s that idea of owning assets that produce cashflow that allow you to not necessarily have to work a 9:00 to 5:00.
A lot of people, especially in the past, when you say you’re an entrepreneur, you are thinking you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. You’re creating a company that has a product. No one thinks of a real estate investor as a business owner, but you are 100% a business owner as a real estate investor. You are providing a person with a product. You’re providing them with a place to live. Maybe you’re providing them a vacation spot or whatever strategy you decide to pick.
BiggerPockets had a huge impact on that mind shift of like, “You’re a real estate investor? You are 100% an entrepreneur. You can generate passive income as you would in any other business.” I think David, you came to that realization, whether it was from my book or Rich Dad Poor Dad or whatever it is. The fact that I’m even in the same conversation as Rich Dad Poor Dad is humbling to me. That’s phenomenal. Why don’t we get into that? We talked about how quickly you got into that first deal. For context, this is the end of April 2020.
June 6, 2020 was the close date.
We went under contract in early May 2020. This was not very long ago. COVID was at its peak. There were a lot of things to be scared about. Let’s talk about that house and what it looks like.
Before we get into that, I would say to a certain extent that I essentially had enough faith and trust in you via grace and reading your book. You came across as trustworthy and I thought in my gut like, “This is going to work. I’m going to make this work.” The house is in Arvada, about a mile from Olde Town. It’s a 6-3. In terms of numbers, the mortgage is about $2,000. Overall, PITI is a little bit over $2,500. The mortgage is about $2,000. The PMI is about $200. The tax is about $200 and the homeowner’s insurance is about $100.
Originally, the plan was six bedrooms. I’m going to rent out five and live in one to maximize cashflow, but what ended up happening is as I started filling the rooms and with work from home because I couldn’t work in an office anymore. What I realized was I could rent out four, turn one into an office, have one as a bedroom and still cashflow while I was living there. The gross cashflow is about $3,025. I’ve put everything into reserves for now. The real benefit for me is I’m not paying rent for an apartment anymore again while I gain equity in the house.
That’s essentially what the numbers look like and it’s worked out quite nicely. My bedroom is a larger bedroom in the basement with a very big walk-in closet when I move out. Probably I’ll be able to get another $850 for that room. If I rent that one out and again, there will be another bedroom as well, but conservatively, I will net about $1,000 after reserves.
Did you go over the purchase price for this?
I did not. It was $479,000.
It’s good for people to see expensive things are in our market and how you can still make it work because a lot of times, people are buying stuff between $450,000 and $550,000 and still house hacking it nicely. I wanted to ask you about how it is for you to find these roommates and how that dynamic has been, how long it might’ve taken and if there were any weird bumps in the road.
Again, this was one of those things where don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There are other people doing this well. Learn from them. There are going to be things that come up when you do this that are going to be stressful and that is unexpected. That’s inevitable, but the things that that people are already doing and doing well, copy them. That’s what I did and that’s what served me well. For me, I got everyone from Facebook. I know per Craig’s recommendation, if you read Craig’s book, it’s to cast as wide a net as possible like Roomster, Craigslist, etc.”You don't always have to try to reinvent the wheel. There are other people doing things really well. Learn from them. Click To Tweet
I tried some of those other things and I had some leads, but the nice thing about Facebook is one, you can see their profile. Two more people are using Facebook Marketplace. Especially if you live in Denver, there are various groups that people looking for housing are in. People are going to reach out to you. If you’re hustling, you can proactively reach out to them. Essentially, my process looked like creating a listing on Facebook and talking to people as they reached out to me. I’m reaching out to them. The first step is a phone call. If it seems like a fit, invite them over to check out the property. Show them around. Show them the rooms that are available. If there are no red flags and it still seems like a fit, then credit check and background check. I use Cozy. From there, the last two pay stubs and three references.
What helped me was being patient and strict about credit reports, things like that. It was helpful. The last thing that I’ll add was one of the roommates, I called a reference. It was someone who this person rented a room from before. That person said, “I would not rent this person. They did X, Y, Z.” I called that person and I said, “I’m not going to offer the room to you based on this reference.” They said, “I feel like that’s not completely true. Can I explain?” They talked to me. Craig, I then called you. I said, “What do you think?” You said to me, “There’s a risk in anyone that you’re going to rent to. You’re going to take a risk either way, but what’s your general sense?”
My sense was that my impression of this individual was not the same as what this previous landlord told me. I took the risk and it’s worked out quite well. Obviously, living with strangers, people I don’t know before, or sharing a living space in general, there are going to be challenges and things they do to irritate you, but I think focusing on your why, on the reason that you’re doing this and delaying gratification. That’s personally what has allowed me to get through those things that have challenged me or irritated me.
We do want to get into a little bit of the challenges you had, but before that, I wanted to ask you. You closed on June 6, 2020. When did you get that last room filled?
I can’t remember. My first mortgage payment was August 1 and I had all the rooms filled before them.
Let’s say that it was six weeks or something. I get the question a lot, “I’m not filling my rooms. What am I doing wrong?” David, one thing you did right and I’ve never met a house hacker who went and put forth the effort and didn’t get the rooms filled very quickly. It’s not just posting an ad and letting people come to you. It’s posting the ad in multiple places and going into these groups, reaching out to people and rather than fishing, you go hunting type of thing. You find the people and that’s the way it is getting filled quickly.
I’ll say the one thing that helped me and was to my advantage is I work in sales. Doing the development of my own sale, so to speak. Doing cold outbound outreach and reaching out to people saying like, “This is what I have. Are you interested?” There’s going to be a lot of rejection or people that don’t respond to you, etc. The more at-bats, the more reps, etc. that you get, the more activity that you put in. Ultimately, you get out what you put in. I agree with you.
Z, is there anything you have to add there?
No, I think it’s great that you’re a go-getter. The sales background will definitely help you there, but it seems like you’re extra thorough. Maybe you could have skipped some of those steps, like the pay stubs and whatnot, but with COVID, that was a good step. It’s one of those things where if you go too quick, it’s going to cost you time later because then you might have to refill that room. It’s great how thorough you were being, but that leads us to the challenges. You alluded to some challenges that came up and it sounds like nothing would happen in David’s perfect world. Tell us.
An important mind shift and this is something that my dad said to me. He said, “This is a business. This is something to generate money and wealth. This is not your forever home. Things are breaking and going wrong.” For example, my dad and I are both into riding motorcycles. We went on a trip together, rode through the Rockies, Utah, Wyoming. When we got back, I walked into the house. It’s like 90 degrees in the house. I’m like, “What the heck is going on?” I go over to the AC. The AC is not working. I can’t figure out what’s going on. I immediately was like, “Why didn’t anyone call me? What’s going on?” My dad came over to me. He was like, “Relax. We’ll get it fixed. We’ll get it taken care of.”
Long story short, I can’t even remember exactly. I think it was the compressor in the AC that had failed. Thankfully the AC was brand new. It was something that had been replaced. I bought a flip and it was still under warranty, so that was fixed. It’s one of those things when something breaks or something goes wrong, taking a moment, pausing, taking a breath, “This is something that can be fixed.” It’s one of those things where if you look back in a year or five years, it is going to be a funny story. It’s like, “Remember when that happened.”
Another one that makes me laugh now but at the moment, I was like, “Oh my God.” I woke up one morning and grabbed my iPhone. I had a text message from one of my roommates and I opened it. He’d recorded a video. In the video, he’s in the laundry room and there’s water leaking through the ceiling down into the laundry room. He’s like, “Danielle’s in the shower now. I’m going to put a bucket under this. I hope it doesn’t overflow overnight but I wanted to record this and send it to you,” which I appreciate him doing at the time but I woke up in the morning and I’m like, “What the heck?” Going to the laundry room, there’s water all over the floor, a full bucket.
This is a great idea. Craig, this is something that you helped me do with the inspection objection was the one-year warranty for anything $1,000 or greater because when that happened, I was like, “I don’t know how expensive this is going to be, but it seems pretty expensive.” I called the previous owner and said, “This is what happened. I don’t know how much this is going to cost, but I know we had this agreement in the contract. What he said back to me was, “There’s the legal thing to do and there’s the right thing to do. I’ll send someone over there to fix it now.” I was like, “Wow,” because I was so nervous to call him.
I was like, “They’re going to be lawyers involved.” I didn’t know what was going to happen. Thankfully, this guy was nice and did the right thing and sent someone over to fix it. Beyond that, it’s been very general things. Those are the two immediate things that come to mind that were not planned for and were not fun to deal with at the moment.
I want to say one thing real quick. Every single real estate investor has that story about their first house. For example, I’ll share mine, which I don’t think I’ve shared is I was back home. I was at a Red Sox-Yankees game with my dad. I got a call from one of my Airbnb guests in my duplex that says the whole place is flooding. It smells like crap and there’s a bunch of flies in there and all this stuff. I’m freaking out. I’m like, “I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the Yankee Stadium.” I’m a Red Sox fan. This is God’s smiting me. I was stressed out. I got a plumber over there. It cost me a couple of grand to fix and it wasn’t under warranty or anything at that point.
Was I upset? Absolutely. Here I am three years later and I forgot it happened until David mentioned that story. When you zoomed out over life, these little things are not even going to matter. You’re not going to miss a couple of grand that it’s going to take to fix it. What you will like, though, is that your house is probably worth over $500,000 now and that’s the big stuff. I wanted to share that story. Z, I know you had something to say.
I was curious about that warranty that you guys worked out and how you broke that down because normally, people do a home warranty through a company, but you worked it out between the seller and you?
Craig, maybe you can speak to the specifics, but from what I recall, it was within the inspection objection that we’re, “These are the things we’d like to have fixed and also a one-year warranty for any repair over $1,000.”
I literally wrote it in the contract like, “The seller is to provide a one-year warranty for anything over $1,000.” Maybe that would have held up in court or maybe that wouldn’t have. I think it would have, but now that you said, “There’s a legal thing to do in the right thing to do,” maybe that’s what they’re talking about. Maybe if they took us to court, we would’ve lost that. It’s up to the judge. Usually, that’s pretty clear, though. “If there’s a leak coming from your shower, usually you have to replace the shower pan or there’s something and that’s about a $2,000 to $3,000 fix.” That’s all I did. I just wrote in the thing.
What did it come up to be? Did you ever get that total or did he keep it from you?
No, he didn’t tell me. I think he sent a plumber over who fixed it then settled up with the plumber afterward. I’m not sure.
A quick recap here. You bought this house, the 6-bed and 3-bath. You’re renting out four of the rooms because you’re occupying two for yourself, one to sleep and one for an office. You’re making over $3,000. Your mortgage payment is about $2,600. After reserves and repairs, maintenance, vacancy, all that, you’re estimating your total cashflow to be about net-zero. However, you have two rooms you’re living in for free. You’re saving about $1,500 a month or so from where you were before.
When you leave, you’re only able to rent out one or two of those rooms for likely over a thousand dollars. Anything that he rents those rooms out for is now cashflow. That is money in his pocket that hopefully, he’ll be smart and reinvest. That way, he can turn that $1,000 to $2,000 to $4,000, but that’s the idea with this house hack. You’ve got 4, 5 people living in the same house. Any drama?
Surprisingly, not much. Dishes are the thing that probably causes the most angst. I don’t know if I did it well, but one of the things we did was once everyone moved in, we created a group chat and said, “Let’s meet as a house and set general expectations.” I don’t want to make rules for what people do and don’t do. I want to make sure we all have expectations, what’s expected, how we would like to be treated, etc.
One of the things we did was create a weekly chore list that rotates so everything in general stays pretty clean. That’s gone well, but honestly, nothing egregious, getting broken, stolen, no screaming, fighting or anything like that. In general, I’ve been pretty lucky. That goes back to screening well. Screening is important and it’s going to cost you more if you rush upfront. I agree with that.
Looking forward, do you think that you’re saving for that next one? Are you going to be out there in six months or do you think that you would be trying a different strategy going forward?There are a variety of groups that people who are looking for housing are in. People are going to reach out to you. If you're really hustling, you can proactively reach out to them. Click To Tweet
No, 100%. I think long-term rent by the room is what I’m doing now, obviously. I don’t think that’s scalable long-term, but for now, the plan is when a year’s up, do another. One of the things that I’ve thought about is I try not to think about the next one too much upfront because I couldn’t take action on it. At this point, it’s saving. One of these thoughts that I have is, again, that doubt in the back of my mind. It’s like, “What if I can’t find the right house? What if something breaks? What if I can’t fill the rooms?”
For me, a good indicator is when you have those moments of fear and doubt is leaning into that because if you stay in that place of fear and stay where you’re come from, it’s like, “I’m going to do one house hack. This is where I’m comfortable and this where I’m good now.” You probably won’t get to financial independence. It might put you in a better financial situation. One of the things I’ve been trying to do more is when I have those moments of fear, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Where do I want to be and what steps do I need to take to get there, then leaning into that?
I loved that and I think every single house hacker goes through that same emotional state of like, “The first one is scary and you do it.” You’re like, “It worked.” You’ve got like ten months of living your life like you did before your house hack, but you want to be moving faster. That second house hack comes and it’s so far away, you’re like, “What if I got lucky?” You have all these what-ifs.”
The second one is, I swear to God, it’s just as scary as the first one. Maybe a touch less scary, but once you start seeing it working multiple times for multiple people and you’re like, “The worst that happens is it’s vacant for a month. I’ve got this other property that can be a thousand dollars. I confront it a little bit.” You start getting more confidence if you start having more money but be ready for that emotional rollercoaster because it does not go away magically after the first one.
What about your FI outlook now? We talked about your retirement idea at the beginning. What are you thinking that that’s going to look like for you now? Do you have a better idea?
Is it in terms of where I want to be?
What’s your FI goal? Are you trying to get a certain amount of cashflow or are you trying to get a certain amount of houses?
The immediate goal for me or a goal that I have set for myself is a net cashflow of $5,000 a month. That puts me in a position where I can comfortably. If I’m not feeling so great about my job, I could quit. If I wanted to take a break and ultimately, I don’t want to work in a 9:00 to 5:00 job. I want to have the flexibility of if I want to go see my family, if I want to go spend time with my grandparents while they’re still alive and things like that. I want to have the flexibility to go and do that because now it’s like, “I want to go book a three-day ski trip. Do I have any important meetings? Can I get the time off from work?” I don’t want to have to deal with that.
If I get to a point where I’m netting $5,000 a month, it would comfortably put me in a position to do that. From there, I don’t know if it’ll be something where I’ll ever be satisfied because that’s unfortunately not in my nature. My mindset is like, “I want to go faster. I want to make more money. I want to be stronger.” Things like that, which I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, but knowing my mind, I don’t think I’m going to want another and investing out of state or maybe eventually getting into multifamily. The immediate or near-term goal for me would be $5,000 a month.
That’s like five years in five houses. Craig, stack them up.
One at a time and you grow exponentially. You’ll do one this year. You’ll do one next year. You’re like, “I’ll do two this year,” then you’re doing 4 or 8. You’ll hit that $5,000 before you know it, especially if you’re hustling and doing what you’re doing.
I like that idea. Brandon says, “I’m going to do a single-family, then a duplex, then a 4, then an 8.” To your point, the first house hack is scary, but the more you spend time with like-minded people, the more stuff you read. You start to feel more comfortable and who knows, down the road, one of the properties that I’ve bought has appreciated a ton. I can sell that then roll that into something bigger.
This has been great. We’re going to move into the last part of the show unless you’ve got any more spurts of wisdom for anybody here.
No, let’s do it.
This is the final four.
David, what are you reading now?
The book that I started is Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright. I’m getting into it now, but I think it’s timely considering we’re getting into tax season.
It sounds like a real drive putting you to sleep. How is it going?
It’s good. One of my friends from back East that moved out here is also interested in buying a house and he bought a handful of books. He was like, “This one since I’m not renting, it’s not pertinent to me yet.” He gave it to me. So far, so good.
If your friend needs an agent, I think Craig’s got plenty of people.
David, the second question. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was essentially the advice was everything is your fault. It was something that was taught to me when I got sober. In principle, everything is not your fault, but it’s a shift in mindset to get away from having a victim mindset or this victim mentality. Personally, when I was still drinking and doing drugs, I blamed everyone for everything that was going wrong in my life. Getting sober, the idea was, “What was my part in this or why is this my fault?”
If you can get to a place where every situation you’re in, when something goes wrong, thinking, “What was my part in this? What could I have done differently to have this lead to a different outcome?” It is absolutely transformative to your peace of mind, your ability to succeed and grow. I see this translate into so many areas of my life, whether it’s my relationships with my roommates, my job, etc. I think I’ve heard other people like Gary Vee or other people say, “Everything’s my fault.” Again, everything is not your fault, but it’s that shift in mindset getting to a place where, “What was my part in this and what could I have done differently?”
Take responsibility for your actions. David, you’d dropped a little bit of a bomb on us there that seems interesting. I would be open to exploring that. If you don’t want to and that’s a sensitive subject, we will respect that. I want to understand where you were because it seems like you’re in a totally different spectrum to maybe where you were when you were drinking and doing drugs. How did you get there? How did you get out? How did you go through that?
I’m super open about this and the reason is you never know who you’re going to talk to, who is struggling with addiction or alcoholism or as a family member, who you’ll be able to help. When I first got sober, I was still struggling. I had a lot of shame and was embarrassed about it, but the thing that I realized pretty quickly is people, particularly when you get sober and get better, it’s something that people admire and you never know who you’ll be able to help. I’m trying to condense this down. I drank and did drugs from a young age. I knew it was a problem pretty early on. By the time the consequences got bad, I was unable to stop on my own. I finally got to a place where I had experienced a lot of pain.
I’m sure you wouldn’t think this reading up to the show to this point or Craig, from our relationship, but I’ve lost jobs. I’ve failed out of college multiple times. I have been in some dark places and I finally had a moment of clarity where I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. It was almost like I had run out of moves to make. I’d gotten back into treatment again. Ultimately, I was sent to this extended care sober living facility in New Hampshire, where I was introduced to the Twelve Steps. I went through that process. I started going back to school because I failed college. Previously, I had to go to a community college in New Hampshire. I transferred to a university, I got there and it’s funny. I get to college and I’m 25, 26, surrounded by 18 and 19-year-olds.When you get sober and get better, it's something that people admire, and you never know who you'll be able to help trying to condense this down. Click To Tweet
I was like, “I want to get my degree and I ultimately want to get a job.” I met with someone at the university and said, “I don’t know what I want to do, but I need a job.” Working with her, we ultimately determined sales was a decent path and started interviewing at places. I thought I was going to end up in Austin, Texas, but I ended up in Boulder, Colorado. I do think going through that painful period in my life of failing out of college, losing jobs, disappointing my family, seeing all my friends go off to college and get these jobs and do well was painful and challenging to deal with. Going through that and having friends at the time that did not make it through, people that passed away, completely changed my perspective. That’s one of these things.
For example, Craig, when I think about having that feeling of fear and knowing to lean into that, I don’t think I would have that perspective if I didn’t go through that challenging period. I know it’s super cliché for people to say like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It’s so true. People who go through challenging things in life and can make it out on the other side go through extreme pain.
The colors they see are brighter. They experience emotions and joys in life that other people won’t ever know. I looked back and thought it was this huge disadvantage. I remember being in rehab and seeing all my friends getting these cool jobs and doing things with their life. I was sitting in rehab. I didn’t like myself and was at a low point. Looking at where I’m at now, I wouldn’t be here where I am now without going through all that.
I love that you were able to open up here. This was not the route we intended to go, but I do like it. Honestly, it’s going to be interesting because you started at a very low point. Probably the lowest of low, where you were addicted to drugs and you’re doing alcohol. You’re getting out of rehab. That’s at least good that you’ve identified the problem and you’re fixing the problem, but to go from that at age 23, 24 or 25, I assume. To potentially retire ten years later will be an extraordinary story as your story progresses. We’re only partway through it now, but I think that’ll be pretty incredible. It’s amazing what you’re doing.
I appreciate that. It’s exciting where things are headed. The life I have now, if you had told me when I was sitting in rehab like, “You’re going to have this job. You’re going to have this house, this car, these friends and live here,” I would not have believed it. That’s what gets me excited for the future. Life is hard, things go wrong, but I know for me now, the life I live is beyond what I could have imagined when I was at those low points.
I’m thankful that you got past that and thank you again for sharing.
It sounds like you have a new lease on life.
David, let’s get into question number three and this is a great segue for this one. We want to talk about your why. What is your why?
As I alluded to, for me, and I think this is in general. For a lot of people that get into financial independence, it is freedom. I want to be able to spend time with my family on my terms. I don’t want to be locked into, “You have this many vacation days and you can only use it at this time.” Particularly for me and you talked to anyone that works in sales, there’s always more work to do. The job never stops.
You’re constantly getting emails and phone calls. Even when I go on vacation, it’s so hard not to look at my email and it sucks. I like the company I work for, what I do interest me. It’s not my passion, though. Ultimately, it’s not something that I want to do forever. For me, it’s about the freedom to do what I want on my terms because we’re here for a finite period of time. I want to limit how much of that time is spent on the phone sitting in front of a computer screen.
I completely agree. Freedom is my number one value, probably.
The last semi-real question. I know you’re a big foodie. What weird food combinations do you enjoy? I can tell you what mine is, at least.
Let’s hear it.
This was more in middle school. Honestly, if I still put it in front of me, I will still probably like it. We used to dip half raw chocolate chip cookies into a ranch in blue cheese dressing like homemade big chocolate chip cookies. It sounds gross, but for some reason, it tastes good. That is probably the weird food combination that I enjoy.
Have you ever tried it?
I have not. I would be willing to give it a try because I’m willing to do pretty much anything. Craig, you stumped me on this one. I know we’re going to get off the show and I’m going to think about this like 30 minutes later.
I feel like when COVID is over, Craig, you need to have a little party where we can have a sample of this great little food combo you got.
I think I might do that. David’s going to come and like, “I’ve been eating this since you’ve shown me.” No pressure if you can’t think of anything. That’s totally fine.
I like pickles and cream cheese. I thought that weird, but it’s so good. Dill pickles with cream cheese on a Triscuit. That’s also one of those things that when you’re in middle school, you come up with these weird things then later in life, you’re like, “No, that’s gross,” but I liked it.
I don’t know if this is a weird combination, but this is one of the more exotic things I’ve eaten that was delicious. When I was in New Orleans, I went to a restaurant with my cousin. As an appetizer, we had fried veal brains. They were veal brains that were breaded in like a black garlic bread crumb and deep-fried. It came with this like a fresh cream-based dipping sauce. I highly recommend it. If you ever see veal brains on a menu, it’s very delicate. It’s phenomenal. I’ll eat chocolate chip cookie dough with blue cheese if you eat the veal brains.
Deal? I have to think that one over.
I would love to know if you felt smarter after that.
I did not. I did feel happier, though. Would you rather be smarter or would you rather be happy?
That’s some deep shit.It's about freedom to do what you want on your terms because we're here for a finite period of time. Click To Tweet
That’s a question for another episode, I would say. David, where can people find out more about you?
You can follow me on Instagram. My Instagram handle is @BeeeLander. I don’t have a social media presence. You can check me out on LinkedIn at David Bandler. Those would probably be the best ways to reach out to me.
Check out and ask David all the questions he wants. I’m sure he’s going to have an inflow of questions about his house hack and about his veal brains. With that being said, thanks so much for coming to the show. We loved having you here. You’ve got quite a compelling story and we’re excited to see where you end up in a couple of years.
I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.
I know we’ll be in touch.
Yes, we will.
That was David Bandler. Z, what’d you think of that?
David’s a sweetie. It’s so nice to hear how people can overcome challenges and still be successful. He’s still relatively young and it seems like he’s got a whole great future ahead of him. I’m excited for him.
I love how he opened up and talked about the lowest point of his life when he was addicted to drugs, alcohol and how far he has come. If you were to look at him, you would never guess that he was on any of that. He’s a good-looking dude, strong, very put together and articulate. It’s amazing. It goes to show you that you can’t judge where people have come from. His story and the strides he’s made are incredible. It’s going to be fun to see it continue to build.
I was telling him that he looked like a Ken doll when he first stepped on the show. I would never have expected that. It was a surprise.
It’s a great episode. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you guys like the show and like this episode, please give us a like, a comment or a review. All of this stuff is great. Share this with your friends. We’re trying to spread the word about financial independence, house hacking, real estate investing and all of the good stuff. Give us feedback because we’re always trying to make the show better. That is pretty much it. Z, do you have anything to add?
No. I think that’s it. Have a good day, everyone.
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About David Bandler
I am an IT professional with a passion for helping security teams uncover problems they didn’t realize they had. In an industry known for over-promising and under-delivering, I seek to build partnerships with organizations that are built on trust, integrity, and transparency. My favorite part of my job today is connecting with IT teams and demonstrating that there is a better way to approach endpoint security.
When I am not in the office, I love riding my motorcycle, cooking new foods, and drinking a great cup of coffee.