Joining Craig and Zeona on the show today is JohnEFinance from TikTok! He has a degree in finance but only got high on FI after listening to a couple of podcasts, BiggerPockets included. Just a year after graduating, he was able to save enough money to close his first property.
John explains how he pulled off his first house hack during the pandemic. He discusses financing strategies, the advantages of being a homeowner, and other tips for first-time home buyers. Tune in until the end because John also reveals how he became viral on TikTok.
Listen to the podcast here
The Legend Himself JohnEFinance Talks FI & RE
What’s going on, everyone? I’m here with my co-host, Zeona McIntyre. Z, how are you doing?
I’m doing pretty good. We have a fun guest, the guy who’s making you famous on TikTok.
JohnEFinance reached out to me on Instagram and was like, “I noticed you don’t have a TikTok. Do you want one?” I was like, “Yeah, I do.” We came up with a little partnership here. He’s the one that’s spearheading the FI team in TikTok, and he’s doing a great job. He provides great content. He’s got his own TikTok as well, @JohnEFinance. Follow him in both places. He does different things for each channel too. Even though it’s the same person, it is a little bit different twist. I recommend following both. His story is more than TikTok, that’s part of it. He talks about how he got his first house hack during the pandemic, what he did, his strategy, and all that. It’s a good episode. I’m excited to see where he ends up in the next few years.
Let’s bring JohnE on.
Welcome to the show, JohnEFinance.
Thank you so much. I’m super excited to be on the show. I love talking about finance and financial independence. I’m super pumped to be on the show and talk to you and Zeona. I’m ready to dive into it.
Why don’t we get started? How did you hear about financial independence? What was that moment for you?
I went to college and I was a Finance major in college. We were learning about corporate accounting, financial analysis, financial forecasting, and all these high-level classes. It was all around business finance, which was great. We never learned anything about personal finance. Near my junior year, I was like, “When do we start learning how to manage our own money?” I had no idea how to manage money, build wealth or anything like that. I started looking towards how to manage my own money. I started listening to podcasts. I stumbled upon the BiggerPockets Money podcast. That was the first podcast that introduced me to financial independence. I started diving more into it.
I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, things like that. I listened to ChooseFI. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with ChooseFI. That was the catalyst. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” Anyone in middle-class America can achieve financial independence. It lit a fire under me is basically what it is. I was consumed by it. I couldn’t stop thinking about financial independence, the FI movement, and everything like that. It was a pivotal moment for me listening to the ChooseFI podcast. I was going to throw it back to you, Craig. Did you have that same passion when you first found out about FI? I call it being high on FI. It was a super euphoric moment.
I did have that moment. Z, I want to hear your thoughts after this too. When I first discovered financial independence, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I was going around my office being like, “You got to invest in real estate. Your passive income will exceed your expenses. You don’t have to work anymore.” I told my parents. I was shouting at the top of the rooftops and no one gave a crap. No one cared. No one did it. That’s when I was like, “I’m going to do my own thing. I’m going to start finding that community of people that do want to scream on top of those mountain tops with me.” That’s how I found out about it. Z, how about you?
I had a similar experience even after I had retired. I got into FI and then retired for two years. I remember dating and people going like, “You’re not going to work anymore? It’s sad that you don’t have any ambition.” I’m like, “You don’t get it. This is not going to work.” It’s funny how different people can see it. I would say most people do not care and that’s okay. You’ve got to find your people.
A small thing about the ChooseFI guys. I don’t know if you’ve heard about CampFI, but this might be something that you like to do, John. CampFI is like a summer camp for FI nerds. The ChooseFI guys were there when I went to one. We were walking into the woods to do some team-building exercises and they were like, “We’re thinking about starting this podcast.” I thought, “Who are these goofy guys? It’s not going to be anything.” Now it’s huge. You never know.
You met them before they even started the podcast.
We were a bunch of nerds in the woods. I was on their show. Craig, have you been on their show too?Financial independence is like following a map on a road trip. It's nice to know where you need to go versus just going anywhere. Click To Tweet
Yeah, I was on the show a little while back. Everyone in the FI community is super chill. It’s a small community too. Once you start knowing some people, you get to know everybody pretty quickly.
I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I wanted to tell everyone. I dragged my mom to the Playing with FIRE documentary, that movie about financial independence. It was so good. My mom was like, “That’s pretty interesting, saving money.” She was unfazed by it. It’s crazy to me how amazing this opportunity is and no one seems to care.
People are stuck in their ways and they don’t think that they can do it. It’s like, “These guys can do it because they live in San Diego. Maybe they’re making more money because they live in San Diego.”
It’s for the software developers who are single.
They can’t be like, “If they can do it, so can I.” They don’t have that thing that switches in their head for some reason. You found out about BiggerPockets and ChooseFI. You’re excited. What year is this?
I learned about it in 2017. I was a junior in college at the time. I’m like, “This is revolutionary. I’m telling everyone.” I ended up reading Scott Trench’s book, Set for Life. I was like, “This makes total sense to me. I’m going to start house hacking.” I was telling my roommates at the time, “I’m going to buy a house. I’m going to rent it out to you guys. It’s going to be amazing.” They’re like, “Whatever. How are you going to save for a house?” I was on my own. That’s why I leaned into the financial independence community.
I started reading all the blogs, Mr. Money Mustache. We all go through it. It was a fun time. I wish I could go back and re-learn about it too sometimes. At the time, I’m a senior in college. I end up graduating in December of 2018. Because I found out about financial independence, I had a path to move forward towards. I had goals. Before I found FI, I was feeling lost a little bit. Financial independence gave me that direction of like, “Start saving. Start progressing. Start building wealth.” It helped me create that path for myself.
You mentioned you have a Finance degree in Business. Do you think anything you learned helped you achieve financial independence? Were there any synergies there or way less than you think, someone who has no idea about finance and academia?
That’s a good point. I want to touch on this a little bit later too. In college, with my Finance degree, I did not take a single Personal Finance class. It was not required for me to take a Personal Finance class. There were some helpful aspects in getting the degree like learning about corporate finance and business expenses. Personal Finance was legit not even a thing. If they’re not teaching Personal Finance, they’re not going to teach anyone else Personal Finance.
I feel like a lot of people, when they graduate, don’t know what they want to do. It’s like, “I’ve got a degree.” Some people blindly go get their MBAs and whatnot. Some people blindly go to whatever it is. They do some internships with their mom and dad. You found financial independence and that gave you direction. What do you mean by that?
We see a lot of people, they go through the motions, they are going through life, they don’t have a true sense of direction of where they want to go. With financial independence, I was like, “I want to become financially independent so I can spend time and do all the luxuries that I want to do.” I could set goals and move towards those. It helped me build towards something. Having that purpose is helpful in life.
It’s like what they always say, “You’re taking a road trip from Ohio to California.” It’s nice to know that you need to go Southwest versus going any way. That’s what they do when they graduate college. If you want to go to California, California is the land of the riches. You’ve got to at least have that direction to go Southwest. It sounds like finding FI was that. At least you had this direction and then you’ll figure out which roads to take as you go. What was the first step that you took after graduating?
I went through the slog as Scott Trench coins. I got my first job out of college and I saved everything I could. For that first year in 2019 after I graduated, I was saving and living frugally. I had a paid-off car. I was saving as much as possible. I had this bigger goal in mind. After a year, I had saved up between $20,000 and $25,000. I was like, “Now it’s time to start house hacking.” I had these steps to move towards. It did help me think of the bigger picture moving towards financial independence.
With house hacking, you had that $25,000. Where were you living at the time? That’s a little bit low for some markets to start house hacking. What was your plan there?
While I was saving, I was living in Columbus, Ohio. When the whole pandemic started, I ended up switching jobs. I moved down to Cincinnati, which is where I live. $25,000 is enough to get into your first house hack in Midwest, Ohio, for sure.
That’s half a house. I love it.
Was that your number that you wanted to get to, $25,000? Was it a number you wanted to hit? Was it like, “One year of saving. I’m going to save as much as I can no matter what. After one year, I’m going to go.” What was your deadline?
I’m referencing Set for Life. He mentioned $25,000. That was the soft goal I wanted to get at. If I had a little more, if I had a little less, I was okay with that. I saved right around $25,000 in that first year. This is January of 2020 and I’ve got $25,000. I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s when the whole pandemic hit. I was house hunting during the entire pandemic. People were like, “Maybe you should wait. You’re not sure what’s going to happen.” No one knew what would happen in the world.
I was like, “I saved up for a year. I’m not waiting any longer. I’m going to do this.” I felt comfortable. I run the numbers millions of times. The housing market was still pretty competitive as well. Not as competitive as it is now. I ended up finding a house and closing on a duplex in Cincinnati, Ohio in July of 2020. That was the next major milestone, for sure.
Let’s dig into that duplex. If you’re okay, share the numbers, rents, monthly payments, if you did any rehab, and all that. Run us through that story.
It was a $252,000 duplex. I’m sure it’s cheaper than what you can find in Colorado but not quite $40,000. The purchase price was $252,000. I ended up putting 5% down using a conventional loan. I went through the Freddie Mac Home Possible loan. A lot of people that I’ve talked to aren’t familiar with the Home Possible loan but it’s a huge advantage. I was making less than the average income in the area. That’s how I qualified for this Home Possible loan.
Can you explain that Home Possible loan? What is it? How do you qualify? Why did you do that?
I was probably making $50,000 at the time. From what I know, the Home Possible loan is if you’re making less than the average income in that area. The average income in Cincinnati was $60,000 and I was only making $50,000. I was able to qualify for this Home Possible loan, which allows you to put a much smaller down payment on your home as long as it’s owner-occupied and you have a stable income. I was planning on living on the property. I was able to get a 5% conventional loan on this duplex.
I didn’t get a 5% conventional loan on a duplex. Is that only for first-time homebuyers?
I believe so. That was my strategy. I was like, “I could use this loan.” I learned that saving your FHA loan is a better way to do it. I’m looking forward to using that FHA loan on my next property.
You did 100% the way that I would recommend you do it. You want to save that FHA loan until you want to get true multifamily. For the readers who haven’t done your first house hack yet and still looking to do your first, ask your lender if they have this Home Possible 5% down for duplex or triplex. Once you get a property, you can’t use that anymore. If your lender doesn’t do it, call 7 to 10 other lenders until you can find one that does. I guarantee you, you’ll be able to find one if you make enough phone calls. Z, do you have anything to add to that?
I did but I’m not sure what it was. That FHA loan, you probably also want to save that for a time when the market changes and we’re more in a buyer’s market. A lot of FHA loans are being pushed aside. They’re not as competitive because they require more hoops to jump. Sometimes sellers don’t even want to bother. It’s something to keep in mind.
Do you know what hoops you have to jump through with the FHA loan?
You have to have a special appraisal. Have you gone through that?
I have. It’s a huge pain. I wanted you to explain it to everybody.$25,000 is all you need to start house hacking. That's the number you want to hit. Once you hit it, things will get easier. Click To Tweet
They do the appraisal with a fine-tooth comb. They will give you an appraised price but it’s only based on fixing certain conditions. It depends on the house that you have. If you’ve got a 100-year-old house, it might be the most ridiculous thing that isn’t possible to do or that somebody wouldn’t want to bother with.
JohnE, back to your deal. You’ve got this duplex for $252,000. You financed it using a Home Possible 5% down loan. Did you have to do any work on the property?
It was $12,500 down. Plus closing costs, it ended up being right around $16,000 all in. I’d saved up $25,000 and all in was $16,000. I felt comfortable. I had an extra $9,000 to whether do any improvements or if the roof collapse or whatever. I felt I could sleep at night having those reserves. That’s another thing that I took away from Scott Trench saying, “If you’re going to buy a home, it’s better to put a lower down payment and have some reserves rather than to put all your liquidity into the home and not have any reserves in case something were to go wrong.” That was a huge point for me. It helps me sleep at night too.
Going back to the numbers, I put 5% down. I didn’t do huge improvements. I redid the floors. That was maybe $1,000. I did some gutter cleaning. Random stuff, nothing huge. It wasn’t a BRRRR strategy or anything like that. Overall, the house is nice. I got lucky finding the deal I did. The total mortgage payment, the PITI is under $1,600 per month. The utilities might cost maybe $200 per month. I rent the bottom for $1,150. That’s a 1 bed, 1 bath. I’m living up top, which is a 2 bed, 1 bath. I’m living in that by myself. Overall, I’m living for about $550-ish because I’m getting rent from the bottom unit.
We say this a lot, just because you’re not cashflowing while living there, you’re paying $500 a month, it does not mean you’re losing. The dude downstairs is paying $1,150 for a one-bedroom downstairs apartment. You’re paying $500 for a 2-bedroom, 1-bath upstairs apartment. When you move out, that will rent probably for $1,300 or $1,400. You’re saving $900 a month in rent savings from doing that. That is a win even though some people don’t think it is. Z, is there anything that you’d want to add to that?
There are also other things to being a homeowner. You have the possibility of it going up even though Cincinnati is more of a thought market, but then you’ve got the property pay down. You’ve got tax benefits on the interest. There are lots of little ways that you’re winning and it’s great that you’ve got started.
It has been a huge win for me. Maybe I’m not cashflowing, maybe I’m not living for free like the house hackers all want to do. I feel comfortable that I can rent my unit out for $1,300, $1,350. That’s cashflowing probably $800 as soon as I move out. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most, for sure.
The magic happens after you start getting number 2 and number 3.
It’s always the second one.
I want to ask, what was going through your head when you were going through the property? It sounds like you wanted multifamily. Why did you value having your own space so much versus having a roommate come in and maybe they pay that and you can cashflow?
That’s a huge point. I am living in a two-bedroom. That was my goal. I was like, “I’m going to live in the two-bed. I’ll rent one room out and then I’ll rent the downstairs out. I’ll be living for free.” I did reach out to a few friends, I was like, “If you guys need a place to live, you can live cheaply with me. It’ll be all good.” None of them bit on that.
Honestly, I ended up comfortably living by myself. I also work from home in my 9:00 to 5:00 job. The second bedroom is my office area. You guys know I do TikTok so it has been a nice studio for making content. I justify paying an extra $500 per month by making content and creating value for people. I am getting paid somewhat for making TikTok. That’s how I justify not having that roommate in the two-bedroom.
$500 a month for office space is extremely cheap. In your taxes, you can write that off. You’re crushing it on TikTok. We’re going to have to get into that because I know you’ve got probably near close to 1 million followers on TikTok. Have you hit 1 million yet?
It’s close. No.
If you guys don’t know, JohnE is doing the FI Team’s TikTok too. He’s got some good content on there. Let’s finish up on this house hack and then we’ll get to the TikTok stuff. Overall, your mortgage is about $1,600. You’ve got $200 in utilities that you’re paying. $1,150. You’re paying about $650 or so a month towards the mortgage while living there.
When you move out, you’re going to rent that for $1,300. You’re going to be getting $2,400 of expenses, which is phenomenal. You’ll have a second property doing the same thing. I love that. What did you think about buying something that was relatively turnkey versus a BRRRR? What would you want to do next? Do you think you’re going to want to fix something up?
I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts and people house hacking. A lot of them do say, “For your first house hack, it’s almost better to find something that’s livable. If you take on too much, sometimes it can be overwhelming.” In my eyes, it’s better to find something more turnkey and maybe rent out the rooms like you did Craig or find other ways to make more income rather than trying to do a flip or do a bunch of renovations. That gets overwhelming for a first-time homebuyer. That was my idea behind it.
Moving forward, I plan on buying another property in 2021. Hopefully, if this housing market doesn’t get too crazy, it’s been absurd. I am planning to buy my second property in 2021 maybe in the summer. I’ve been here for almost a year. I’m looking for a fourplex. My goal is to find a fourplex. Hopefully, I get the duplex, the fourplex, and keep scaling up like that.
How much have you saved? Have you re-saved up that $16,000 that you initially doled out?
It gets easier and easier. Like Scott says, “The first $25,000 is the hardest.” Once you can reduce your living expenses, saving the next $25,000 is super easy. With a quad, it’s going to be more expensive. It’s probably around $400,000 to $500,000 in your market. Are you prepared for that?
Yeah. That’s where I was hoping an FHA loan would come in handy if I could use that to get a low payment on that. Like Zeona said, if it’s a seller’s market, they might not even look at the FHA loan. It depends. I’ll play around with offers. I can get a fourplex for around $400,000 and hopefully put 3.5% down. I can get into that, for sure.
I’m curious about the fourplex. Are you doing that doubles thing that people talk about, 2 to 4 to 8?
I heard Brandon Turner talk about that. Maybe start with a single-family and go with a duplex and go quad. That’s what I am honestly trying to do if I can find another fourplex. There’s plenty of them out there. I’m waiting for them to go up for sale. We’ll see if that ever happens. I would love to get a fourplex under my belt and triple the number of doors I already have. That would be super cool.
Brandon is a little bit of a psycho. It depends. Brandon would have 1,000 doors. He’s one of those people that’s like, “One-hundred? Now I need 1,000.” It’s never going to be satiable for him. He’s insatiable. I’m curious coming from the FI standpoint if maybe you have an idea of what your final goal is or if you’ll grow infinitely.
I don’t have maybe a specific number. Once I get probably $4,000 or $5,000 in cashflow, that’s financial independence right there. That would be the first huge milestone. That’s going to take maybe a few properties to get to. If I could expedite that process by getting a fourplex, that’s the route I would like to go. If I can’t find a fourplex, I would settle on a duplex. It’s going to be a multifamily property, for sure.
I want to say one more thing, backtracking. To give Craig a little bit of credit. Craig, I was reading your book while I was searching for properties. I was reading The House Hacking Strategy. I had gotten outbid on a few properties. I was like, “I’m going to use this large earnest money down to hopefully convince the seller to sell it to me.” I wasn’t buying all cash or anything like that. I ended up putting $10,000 in earnest money in my offer and that was the offer that I got accepted. I was super excited about it. I was like, “Craig is a genius.” Things could have gone wrong. I was glad that I was able to get this property. This property has been such a great deal for me. I wanted to give you a shout-out on that.
Thanks. That’s a nice strategy to do. Because you put the earnest money down, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it back. You still have your inspection and appraisal. It’s telling your seller, “I want to buy this property.” If you’re following this podcast, you want to buy a property. You’re not going to back out because the cabinets are brown instead of white or whatever. That is something that is an easy thing to do. It’s no risk to the buyer. I appreciate the shout-out. I’m glad but it worked for you. Let’s get into the whole TikTok thing. When did you start dabbling in TikTok? How did you start taking off? It almost feels like it was an accident. I’m sure you had some intention behind it.
I graduated in December of 2018. I was high on FI for that entire year in 2019. I’m reading everything and I was like, “I need to spread this message. I need to get it out to the masses.” I was telling my friends and family but they didn’t care. They’re giving me blank stares. I was like, “I need to fill this void that my friends aren’t talking about.” I tried starting a blog that did not fizzle out. I tried multiple YouTube channels I’ve tried in the past and those fizzled out. I was like, “What can is something easy that I can stick to?” At the time, TikTok was gaining popularity. This was December 2019. People were still dancing and lip-syncing back then on TikTok.
I was like, “I’m going to make one video and see how it does. If I enjoy it, I’ll keep making them.” I made my first video. It was awkward as hell. It did fine. I kept consistently posting. I posted probably 3 per week to then 4 and 5 per week. I started in December of 2019 and I kept posting. After about three months, I had my first viral video and I was like, “I’m on to something.” I’ve been doing it for over a year and I am close to 1 million followers. I can’t believe how much it’s taken off. It was an accident, honestly. It’s a full-blown business. It’s a huge thing now.People are on TikTok to be entertained. They don't really care about education. Click To Tweet
You’re taking over the FI Team TikTok. We posted the same video. It was the difference between being frugal and being cheap. It’s the same video and the same title. I don’t know if it’s because your face is prettier than mine, which is probably true. I got 2,500 views and you got 500,000 views.
That one blew up. That was crazy.
People out here are trying to build TikToks. What are 2 or 3 tips that you maybe can give them?
The first thing that took me a while to learn was that people are on TikTok to be entertained. They don’t care about education as much. When I first started posting TikToks on financial education, no one cared. No one was excited to learn about a 401(k) or what a Roth IRA was. Those were my first videos. I made a video about how much Jeff Bezos makes or something like that and it got 1 million views. I was like, “People want to be entertained. They’re on the app for a reason. It’s not to learn but to be entertained.” That’s how I started structuring my TikTok, to be educational but be entertaining as well. That’s one of the biggest reasons for my success, too.
What do you do to entertain?
To entertain or to keep the engagement is that whole style of talking back and forth. Everyone does it now. Having a conversation and keeping them engaged is one of the best ways to do it. You’re talking back and forth. Maybe you have a good cop and a bad cop and you’re talking back and forth. It’s more of a skit rather than an educational and boring video.
What I’ve found to work is having little cliffhangers. In some of my videos, I’ll say, “I’ll be having this discussion.” The next scene is like, “Three weeks later,” or like, “Meanwhile.” People are like, “What’s going to happen three weeks later?” Add little cliffhangers, keep entertaining, keep the audience engaged. There are tons of stuff I’ve learned on TikTok. There are tons of people I’ve met on TikTok who gave me great tips. One of the best decisions of my life was to start posting on TikTok. It’s been life-changing, for sure.
It’s insane. That’s out of curiosity. You’re at about 1 million followers. People maybe want to do TikTok as their way to financial independence or maybe even in route to do. You got a lot of seeds planted between real estate, TikTok, and all that stuff. What is your passive income look like a month from your million or so followers? What’s your estimate?
TikTok will pay you directly for views but it’s not nearly as much as YouTube. I want to point this out. With my main channel and the FI Team, I’m combined with 1 million followers. With those two followers, that is a combined 1 million. On my main channel, I have about 994,000. Passive income. I get about 10 million views per month on TikTok and that pays about $500 per month. That’s where not having a roommate is justified. I’m getting $500 bucks a month from TikTok. I don’t need a roommate. That’s more for viewership.
I also get a bunch of sponsorship deals or brand deals. A lot of the money I make is off of affiliate programs or affiliate marketing. I’ll say, “If you guys want this investing guide, use the code JOHN for 20% off.” I’ll get a cut of that whatever they tend to buy or it’s like, “Sign up for Webull or Wealthfront.” I’ll get a free stock, things like that. You think $5 isn’t much but when 1,000 people sign up for your free stock, that’s $5,000 right there. It can be lucrative, for sure. It was never about the money for me. I’m looking to keep building the audience, keep connecting with people, and help as many people as I can.
I find that the most successful thing is money is not the main motivator. You’re providing good content for people. It’s entertaining and educational. People like it. You turn around and you’re like, “I got 1 million followers.” That’s something that I can monetize. Everyone who reads this podcast I’m sure knows of BiggerPockets. That’s how they started too.
Josh is a pretty good friend of mine. He’s like, “I started because I got pissed off that there was nowhere to go to learn about real estate that wasn’t Carlton Sheets scamming you.” Even Robert Kiyosaki scammed me with his classes. They didn’t even monetize for seven years. Now they’re like, “We got something. Let’s try to monetize this.” Some of the best things have been that way. If you are thinking about starting some entrepreneurial venture, do it with value first and then worry about the money later. With value, comes money. Z, anything you want to add there?
I’m giggling in the background. I feel like Craig planted this guest to make me join TikTok. I’ve been on the fence the whole time saying, “I will never do that.” Maybe I need to hire a cute face like yours, John, and have them do it for me. The girl version.
Honestly, TikTok has such a massive organic reach. The people that go the most viral are not the people with the highest production value or anything like that. It’s people in their homes and they catch something funny or do something stupid. Anyone can go viral. It’s such an awesome platform. I love it. You should get on, Zeona.
Probably not but I appreciate it.
Zeona is like the Boomer that was Facebook years ago when no Boomers wanted to be on Facebook. She’ll get there.
For me, there are so many places where you can put your time and energy. That’s a FI thing where you figure out that something is enough. I’ve already well past that $5,000 a month cashflow and I still have a real estate business because I like helping people get into house hacks and learn how to do real estate. For me, that’s enough. It sounds like you’re having fun and that’s what’s important.
Z mic dropped us. We’re like, “She’s right, as usual.”
She’s making more passive income than I am. She’s right.
Z, you make a good point. When is enough, enough? I do enjoy building wealth. I enjoy having more and more passive income. It’s not because I like passive income. It’s what I like to do. It’s fun for me. At some point, John, when you hit your $5,000, your FI number, you get to the point where you can quit your W-2 and go all out in whatever endeavor you want. You can make a lot more or you can do what you love. You can stop too. If you decide tomorrow that you don’t want to do this anymore, you can stop and your life goes on. You can live a peaceful life. My favorite part about financial dependence is you can commit but you don’t have to commit.
It’s the options. You can do whatever you want to do. You can quit. You can go even harder. It gives you that optionality. I crave that. Brandon Turner is on TikTok. He’s having someone post for him. He said that he wants to consume less and create more. That’s a huge proponent too. You don’t want to get on TikTok and scroll for two hours. You want to get on TikTok so you can create value and add value to people.
That’s why you can’t go on it anymore. Before I get to the creating, I ended up watching the 1st and 2nd one. I get sucked down this rabbit hole. It’s dangerous.
It is never-ending.
Before we head over to the last part of the show, any last words of wisdom for the audience?
If you’re hesitant about starting anything, I would start doing something whether it’s posting on Instagram, posting on TikTok or getting into a house hack. The hardest part is starting, everyone hears that. The biggest hurdle is starting something. When you commit to something for a year, you’re going to see results. I committed myself to do TikTok videos for a year. I was like, “I’m going to do this for a year. If nothing works out, I’ll try something else.” It’s amazing what consistently showing up and putting in the work can do. Start somewhere.
Z, is there anything when you were first starting out that you had to overcome some barriers and do something consistently that maybe didn’t show results right away but now you see the results?
Yes. I was hustling. What John is expressing about FI, I probably had that high on FI for a while but my path was through Airbnb. I was scrappy about that. I was doing all the cleans myself, maximizing my calendar, anything that I could do to make that extra $50. It’s about getting started. That’s why I love things like Airbnb because it’s like real estate training wheels. You can turn it on, turn it off, try it out. Sometimes you have to make small steps forward and then it becomes a big step.
Planting a lot of seeds and figuring out which way to go afterward. We’re in San Diego and my girlfriend and I rented a car on Turo. Funny enough, the dude knew me, knew BiggerPockets, and all that. He’s like, “I’m renting my car on Turo. I’ve got a rental property. I’m a software engineer. I’m a DJ.” He did seven different things. I’m like, “Focus on one.” He plants a lot of seeds. Whenever one starts to gain traction, it’s the one that I’m going to focus on my time on. Right now, he’s got time for all those things, which is great. I thought that was an interesting way to look at it too.
See what starts gaining traction and lean into that. It gives you a lot of choices in life.The biggest hurdle is just starting something, but you're going to see results when you commit. Click To Tweet
Like you did with TikTok and now real estate investing. What is your job?
I do have a 9:00 to 5:00 job. I’m an accountant at a hospital. It’s pretty fun.
That sounds like it’s probably going to be the first thing to go. We won’t tell your boss or anything.
Hopefully, they don’t listen to this podcast. You’re probably right. Let’s head into the final part of the show, The Final Four. Z, kick us off.
John, for the first question, what are you reading?
I started this and it’s been phenomenal. It’s Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. It’s been on my bookshelf for a while. It’s been awesome. It’s all about taking responsibility for your life. If you want to change your life, you can do it. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming other people. It’s been a huge mindset shift for me at least.
John, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
This was a quote from Jim Rohn, “The pain of discipline hurts less than the pain of regret.” What that means to me is it might suck getting up at 6:00 AM and going to the gym. The pain of discipline is getting up early, going to the gym, and getting a workout. The pain of regret is not going at all and then feeling like crap in the summer. You don’t have a good body and things like that.
That’s hit home for me whether it’s the pain of discipline with house hacking. I’d rather go through some tough times or hurdles in house hacking than to not have done it and regretted not being financially independent. That was a quote that has resonated with me. I don’t know if that resonates with everyone. I told my friends the same quote and they’re like, “That’s alright.” The pain of discipline hurts less than the pain of regret. Get up and go do it. It’s going to be worth it.
I needed to hear that. I was like, “He’s speaking directly to my soul.”
I love that quote. It resonates with anyone trying to achieve any great things. You got to have those short-term sacrifices for a long-term game. House hacking is a big part of that, for sure.
What is your why?
I want to become financially independent so I can spend time with my family and go on vacations. I’d love to work remotely and travel. My parents are starting to get older. I want to spend as much time as I can with them. BiggerPockets touches on this too. The more people that I can help become financially independent, the more that they’ll start having free time to give back to the community, start making positive changes to the world.
In my eyes, if I can help as many people become financially independent, they’re going to start having more time and they can start helping other people. It’s almost like that chain reaction of a huge cycle of people helping people. That’s what the world needs. That’s my why of FI. Get everyone to financial independence and the world will be a better place. I truly believe that.
I can second that. You may not be able to cure cancer but if you can help the person to financial independence, you can cure cancer. You’re indirectly helping the world. The fourth question is the one that you’ve been waiting for. If your five-year-old self suddenly found themselves inhabiting your current body, what would be the first thing your five-year-old self does?
For some reason, I love to pick up and throw things. My mom has a bunch of videos of me picking up random things and tossing them. If I was a five-year-old in my current body, I would pick up random stuff and start throwing it across the room. I ended up starting to play baseball because they’re like, “This guy got an arm.” That’s what I’d be doing right now.
I’m hoping you could throw it ten times faster now than you could when you’re five years old.
More accuracy and more power, for sure.
How can people find out more about you if they want to follow your story and whatnot?
I’m most active on TikTok. You can find me, @JohnEFinance. I post every single day on TikTok. I’m also on Instagram, @JohnEFinance. I’m posting there daily. I’ve got a Twitter, @JohnEFinance. You can also find me on YouTube. I’m super excited to share this journey with you guys. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate what you guys are doing. The FI Team is all about financial independence and that’s what I’m so passionate about. I’m thankful to be on this show and posting some TikToks for you. It’s been fun.
We love having you on the show. It’s been an awesome episode with a lot of value. Hopefully, we’ll get you on the show here again, maybe after your 2nd or 3rd house hack and you’ve got your $5,000 of income. Congratulations on 1 million too. You’ll be there.
I’m going to have a big party for that.
Thanks so much for being here.
It was awesome meeting you, Zeona. I love listening to your story as well. Airbnb is something I’ve seriously considered dabbling in. I love hearing different stories. It’s been a pleasure meeting you. Craig, it’s been awesome talking to you. I appreciate coming on. I’m super excited to see how the FI Team builds in the future. I’m lucky to be a part of it.The pain of discipline hurts less than the pain of regret. Click To Tweet
We love that you’re on board. Are you still getting your license?
Yeah, I’ve signed up. I’ve been going through the courses. Hopefully, I’m getting that right before my next house hack so I can represent myself essentially.
That’s awesome. Thanks again for coming on.
See you, guys.
That was JohnEFinance. Z, what did you think?
I like him. He reminds me of Justin Timberlake, a young one. I was watching him going, “I can see why he’s got so many viewers. He’s a little cutie.”
You should have told him that on the show. I’m sure he would be flattered. Maybe he might even break out into a song. What’s a Justin Timberlake song? SexyBack or something?
That’s cute. Maybe I’ll let him know in one of the great posts that he does for you on the FI Team.
You should. You’re going to be on TikTok before we know it. It was a good episode. He did it the traditional way. He saw through that first year, save up that $25,000, get your first house hack, life gets easier. He started a little side hustle with this TikTok thing that started to blow up. Now he’s investing more time into that, which is going to make him more money and even some passive income. He’s doing some of the right things. I’m super excited to see where he ends up in a few years after he’s got his $5,000 of passive income.
I like how he focuses on the importance of multiple streams of income. if you have a few, you can try one out for a while. if you don’t love it, you can go in different directions. It gives you more options. That’s key to getting there faster. That was a great thing.
It was good stuff. If you like this episode and you like this show, please give us a review, five-star rating, like, comment, wherever you can, anywhere you can so we know that we’re doing a good job and so we can improve the show as much as we can. Z, anything else to say before we head off to our week?
No. You’re going to be in Hawaii for the next episode. We’ll be in the same place for once.
Maybe we can do one together if we can figure that out. That might be fun.
I don’t know if we can technologically figure that out but we could try. Thanks, everyone, for being here. We’ll see you next episode.
- @JohnEFinance – TikTok
- @JohnEFinance – Instagram
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Set for Life
- Money Mustache
- The House Hacking Strategy
- Extreme Ownership
- @JohnEFinance – Twitter
- YouTube – JohnEFinance
- BiggerPockets Money podcast
Hey! My name is John and I have a passion for personal finance. I believe everyone is entitled to honest financial education. Most schools don’t teach financial literacy so I took it upon myself to start helping others. I started my journey towards financial independence and you can too! No gimmicks, no sales pitches, and no get rich quick schemes. I am here to help you build healthy financial habits.
Graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a major in Finance. Continuous self-educator and content creator. John is passionate about providing personal finance tips to over 1 Million followers.
You can find me @johnefinance on Tiktok, Youtube, & Instagram!