ITF 79 Marcus | Self Improvement


Self-improvement isn’t often something you hear when people talk about financial independence. Make no mistake, reaching your goal means being a better version of you. In this episode, Craig Curelop and Zeona McIntyre talk financial freedom with entrepreneur and author Marcus Garrett. Marcus shares his story of climbing from debt and his path to financial freedom. Learn and start walking your own path towards financial freedom today.

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Fueling Financial Independence Through Self-Improvement With Marcus Garrett

In this episode, we have Marcus Garrett from The Marcus Garrett Podcast and I feel like he has inspired me. I was like, “Craig, how do we make our voices silky smooth?”

He’s got an amazing voice. Before we bring him on though, I want to say that Z, you told me that I should read The Gap and The Gain and I did. I read it and now I feel like I am on the same page as everybody else in the world. It was great. That was fun. I want you to know that I’m holding myself accountable for the things that you tell me to do.

I’m ready to hear your 25-year vision. Work on that and come back to us, Craig.

Let’s bring on Marcus Garrett.

Everyone, I have big news. Invest2FI has partnered with RentRedi because that is the software system that both I and Zeona use to do property management for our rental properties. It makes things super easy. We can send applications and get background checks and credit checks. When tenants come in, they can pay rent automatically through there. They can submit maintenance requests and do everything you need to do for property management, all in one place. That’s why RentRedi is the thing that we’ve done.

I’ve been using them for years. That’s why we reached out to them for a relationship on the show. I’m super excited to have them on board. If you go to and use the code, INVEST2FI, you’ll get 50% off on your first six months. I can’t wait to see you there. Hit us up on Instagram or wherever and let us know what you think of RentRedi. It’s amazing software. I use it all the time. You can access it from your phone. It’s amazing stuff. Thanks so much and let’s get back to the episode.

The Marcus Garrett, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you doing?

I’m doing well. Thank you for having me.

Tell us, where did you first learn about financial independence?

I’m going to go with FinCon 2016 San Diego Conference. I might have loosely known about financial independence before that, but that was a game-changer where I found my tribe or my money nerds. It is a self-proclaimed title. It opened my eyes to a wealth of knowledge and literal wealth outside of the traditional 9:00 to 5:00. I have not been able to pack back that inception ever since I’ve been captured there.

FinCon is a powerful conference. It is one of my favorites as well. What got you to go to FinCon if you weren’t an influencer, you weren’t a producer and you didn’t have any content?

By that time, we did have a podcast. I’ve moved on to a separate brand since this time. He had gone to the podcast movement, I believe. That was his first podcast conference. They were like, “You got to go to FinCon.” I’m not sure if we had transitioned to personal finance yet at that time but I was like, “I’m not going to San Diego. What the hell is FinCon? I’m not spending the money. It’s not in the budget.”

I had gotten out of debt recently. It’s what I had ultimately been talking about. I was like, “I’m not doing it and I ended up doing it. I was walking through the hallway and I saw the founder of the conference. I stopped him. I was like, “You have something amazing here.” It was because I’m an auditor and I’ve been to conferences and I know how boring they are. They’re falling asleep in the back. I was running around like a kid in a candy store. I knew I had found something special.

I wanted to talk about this idea of being cheap versus frugal because that happens to all of us. We’ve all said, “I don’t want to spend the money on this thing,” because we’re trying to be frugal and trying to get to our goals,” but something like FinCon is an investment. You can go as someone who is not a creator who is part of the community pass. They have a cheaper pass to go, learn, network and everything. I wanted to put that out there for people if they’re feeling excited and they want to meet their tribe because it is a tribe out there.

They’re in Texas in 2022 and I won’t be able to make it. I’m going to get married. By the time they’re in my state, I’ll miss it. I have another financial obligation.

I would say getting married is more important than FinCon. I’m throwing it out there, maybe, but FinCon was probably the second most important thing that would happen in your life. It’s awesome that you got to go. It sounds like you met the founder of FinCon and a couple of other influential people. What did you get out of FinCon that then you went and applied towards your journey on financial independence?

I’ve been six other times and I’m going to work backwards for that purpose. The first time I got there, we had a Trello board. I still use Trello to this day. I must have had 150 tasks in there so I got a wealth of information. Zeona was right. It’s an investment in myself. It’s probably a few thousand to get out there. It is last minute. It’s San Diego and everything is expensive but it’s beyond worth it.

ITF 80 Marcus | Self Improvement
Self-Improvement: We want to get into real estate to bring in more multiple income streams.


I’ve gone every year since except for the year it was canceled for the pandemic. I went in 2021, which was in Austin. The takeaway is my mind shifted. That’s why I used the Inception reference, which I realized is a 10 to 15-year-old movie. I’m becoming that guy where I can only make references to old movies. That being said, it’s popular enough that people can still see the movie.

Even to this day, a seed was planted that I could not get rid of. It put a fork in my row that I continue to follow. I started learning about true financial independence, retire early and the movement behind it. All the individuals. I started interviewing these people and the network that came out of that. I’m still friends and interacting with these people. These people are still lifting me up.

You find out this investment strategy. You find out about financial independence and retire early. You find that there’s a whole bunch of other people that are doing this too. What is your strategy toward financial independence? Is it real estate? Are you a stocks guy? What is your method?

It’s not real estate. It has shifted for me and that’s what happens with growth. One with the pandemic and one with age. I started out by first learning the movement. The reason I phrase it that way is we all know about savings. I had been investing since at least age 27, technically 22 if you count investments through my employer. I know the basics of it but that was eye-opening that there was more beyond 1 plus 1 and 2 plus 2, put it in high yield savings account that makes 0.009%. I didn’t even know that it was an option that I could exercise.

The way that it’s evolved over the years, I’ve launched my own brand and business. I’m past a year into my own business. I know because I owe a fee and I am about to file taxes. I am starting to look into real estate. It might seem basic to some individuals that this has been their lived experience, but I didn’t have anyone to go to.

My parents don’t invest in real estate. My parents are not entrepreneurs. They still retired early and have done well for themselves and provided for me and my sister, but these weren’t conversations we had. I didn’t have mentors and natural conversations to talk with people about financial independence and what to do beyond investing and the savings account. That was it. It was to go to work and get a pension because we worked in the public sector and then do that for 40 years. I’m like, “What the hell are you all talking about?” It was a network and an opportunity and I exercised it. That’s important too.

For the people that are reading, what are some concrete steps? I know your story a little bit because I’ve been on your show. You did a big debt pay down experience. There is this experience of getting to zero, but then once you’re at zero and you can start saving, what were some concrete things that people could maybe try?

The book I have which is a bestseller is going to be free. Hopefully, they can still get access to it. I paid off $30,000 in debt but more importantly, I got $30,000 in debt and $26,000 of which was in one weekend. I graduated from school. I bought a car and spent a lot of money. I was $30,000 in debt. I paid that off at age 30.

What I was talking about, I didn’t know what it was at the time, which was funny. At 27, I was at work. I had a bunch of investments accounts that had rolled over from 3 or 4 jobs that I had taken. I remember I got an email from TIAA-CREF. I’m not paid by them but I’ll go ahead and name-drop. They’re like, “We’ll be on-site and we’ll give free financial advice. We will consolidate all your 403s for you,” because I’m in the public sector.

I thought the line would be around the corner. I was so excited reading this email because I’m a nerd. I was, “I’m going to get there as soon as it opens.” I remember I walked up and woke the guys up. I didn’t know what they were setting up for at the time, but they did transfer all the accounts. It was an index fund to answer the question. I still use index funds to this day which are low-cost investment vehicles. Because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, it is like, “I’ll just sit back and let that grow.”

It did. It grew well. It was about $30,000 before I transferred it again but it seems so slow. Because I wasn’t practicing Fat FIRE at that time so I still have to wait 20 or 30 years. It’s like, “Is there a way to do this faster?” That’s why I like this idea of real estate and cashflow FIRE. It’s being open to new ideas, evolving and actualizing them. I plan to move into real estate upon this marriage. I’ve already talked to the missus about it. I want to get into real estate to bring in multiple income streams.

DEBT: define the problem, establish a plan, build a budget, and trust the process. Click To Tweet

That’s a funny evolution that you had where you go from this person who doesn’t know much about money and is in a bad financial position with $30,000 of debt because of a car, which is a depreciating asset. Many times, if you don’t know what to do with your money, you shouldn’t buy a car with a loan. You then went ahead and invested in the stock market because that seems like what everyone does. An index fund is low-risk. You’re there for 10 or 15 years, but you’re looking around at your folks and you’re like, “All these people are already retired. How can I do it quicker?” You’ve gone into this journey of real estate. You’re not quite there yet, it sounds like. Is that to come?

Yes. Zeona might be able to help me out. I’m reading BiggerPockets. I try to read a book on my typically personal finance and I do a review. I read twenty books which is the evolution of thought. I did a review of each and that’s available on my website at I give it away for free. I look at it as three pathways and it can multiply from here.

The first pathway was to get out of debt and get that high-interest debt behind me, which for me was credit cards predominantly. The second pathway is the long game. I have a pension. I have three because I’ve been working in the public sector. The golden cuff of the public sector is that for the trade-off of a pension, you work here for pretty much all your life, 40, 50, 60 years and then at 67, you get this pension that allegedly you can spend, but you got 3 to 8 years left in your life.

I was like, “Pathway number two is the index fund.” I started investing in that separately and independently. I had taken my own money and I’m using that to invest in the index fund. Pathway number three is, “I want to move this finish line up.” I’ve got $67,000 perhaps through the index fund, maybe it’s in my 50s. I want to get there quicker because as I’ve gotten older, the irony is that time became more important to me and I want it back.

Also, my mindset has shifted in what I want to prioritize in my life and my career. I don’t want to trade my time for money. Money is not less important to me, but it’s not the driver that it used to be like I would quit jobs and move all over the country chasing after it. I have other priorities and one of those is getting my time back and buying back my time, ironically.

I’m curious if you own your home or what your thoughts are around where you live.

I haven’t owned a home and we’ll be getting into the home market. That’s what we’ll have to navigate as far as real estate goes. What does that look like as far as my personal ownership and the real estate things that I want to get into? I want to do a buy and hold as I’m understanding it, buying probably single-family homes and get an understanding of it, get comfortable with it and move on from there.

There’s this good book out there called The House Hacking Strategy. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but maybe you could buy your house with a low percent down and rent out the basement or something.

Are you plugging your book?

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

It sounds like a great read by the way. It should have been my response.

ITF 80 Marcus | Self Improvement
The House Hacking Strategy: How to Use Your Home to Achieve Financial Freedom

Have you heard of that though? Have you thought or talked about that with your wife?

I’ve heard of house hacking. I’ve never owned a home. I’ve always rented. I won’t call it a privilege but in some ways, it is maybe privileged with an asterisk because I grew up in Texas. You can get a mansion out here for $300,000, if not $500,000. I didn’t realize the importance and the advantage that I had with such a low cost of living. Until I moved to Denver, rent was never an issue. It’s not an issue now.

On the other side of it, it sounds like complaining about work, but my perception of it has changed. There’s another story out there where I increased my income by 400% because I’m always negotiating my salary and also chasing money. I had been successful in my pursuit, so I didn’t have to worry over time about the difference between the cost of living and these other avenues, which is a fortunate monetary experience.

As my mentor told me, eventually I got to a point where it’s transactional. I’m trading money because I thought that would buy happiness. When I got there and got to the mountaintop, I realized it didn’t and it wouldn’t. I talked to Zeona about this. I need to take some personal ownership like, “You got what you wanted. You got a bunch of money. It just wasn’t the pot of gold of happiness that you thought it would be.” I’m taking a step back and I’m like, “How does that change? What do I need to do? Whether it is through real estate.”

Before that, I was doing multiple income streams because what’s more important to me is that I have a comfortable margin. I don’t have to think about money. I go back and forth between think and worrying and that we could do whatever we want. I don’t have to think about it, but I want to get to a point where I don’t have to worry about money.

If I want to take a vacation, I still need permission to take PTO. I still need my boss’s permission to work from home. I still need permission to base it to be functionally an independent adult, which is a career that suffers by many Millennials. That’s why we have the Great Resignation. I want to get to a point where that is not a concern through whatever these revenue streams look like. It’s looking like it’s going to be the multiple income streams plus real estate.

Marcus, what is it that you do?

I’m an auditor.

That takes up most of your time. How much of your income are you saving from that job?

It varies but right now, not a lot for the wedding. I’ve been up to 50% and then I was putting aside 18%. I have to put aside 9%. They pull that out automatically.

Given that trajectory, when are you looking to potentially quit your job?

If you see someone who looks like you who's achieving it or doing it with less, there's no excuse for you not to emulate that in your life. Click To Tweet

As soon as possible.

Do you have a target though?

I don’t have a target threshold because I wouldn’t say I’m a traditional FIRE. I’m not looking to retire early. I’m looking to replace the income in a way that would make me happier with what I’m doing with the 40 to 50 to 60 hours of my life.

If you’re working 40 hours a week at a job you hate and you’re working 60 hours a week at something you love, the 60 hours a week is still better all day. You got all this money and you realize that money is not what makes you happy. People always say this, but what is time? You’re not going to sit in your room all day because that’s time. What do you do with the time that makes you happy and why do you want that back?

I’m going to push on that a little bit. I would sit in my room because there are days when that makes me happy and that’s not an option. I’ll answer it this way because I was going through this five-step journey. I’m about to do an office hour for my community newsletter. It’s to define your dream, define five goals, break those goals into steps, and then put step one into action. That’s how you create action and build a system.

To reverse engineer that, I think about my happiest days and for me, it is I wake up to no alarm. I wake up naturally to birds, coffee, cat or whatever. I either have that day mapped out or I know what I need to do as far as my action items. To your point, that might be a 60-hour week because there are some insane weeks like when I was recording with Zeona. I’ve probably worked some insane amount of weeks to get all the video editing and everything done, but I’m happy doing it. It doesn’t feel like work. Also, I’m coincidentally making money from it.

What I have come to realize is that my happiness is time freedom and control of my day and my actions. Those are my happiest days. If I set my calendar and I decide to wake up at 6:30, that’s fine. My boss calls me at 6:31, I’m not in a good mood. I’m trying to design a lifestyle financially or otherwise, that will allow me to achieve those things.

I wanted to talk about any strategies that worked for you. First off, when you were paying down your debt, were there specific things that you did that would be actionable for people to try out?

The book goes through and it’s a free plan at, but I’ll walk through it quickly. It’s a four-step plan. D.E.B.T. is an acronym. It’s D, Define the problem, E, Establish a plan, B, Build a budget and T, Trust the process. I am an auditor and I do like systems. For me, defining the problem is I went to the annual credit report and established a plan.

I’m old school so I went to They’re still around. They still exist. They’re number one. NerdWallet might be up there. Coincidentally, B is the third step in the process which is build a budget, which goes back to Craig’s answer. Now, can you support a lifestyle that allows you to do those things? Maybe your plan is you want to be debt-free in 24 months, but that means no more mimosas, avocado toast or coffee. Is that a life that you want to live? Are those the sacrifices you want to make?

Whereas before I was in Denver, I cut everything. I detailed this in the book. I gave up vacations. I was that guy. I was cutting my own hair. I went bald for two years. I saved $4,800 because of how expensive my barber was. I cut cable and did all those things. I looked back, especially in a post-pandemic world, at all the memories I missed out on. I was passing up on weddings.

ITF 80 Marcus | Self Improvement
Self-Improvement: Happiness is time freedom and control of your day and actions.


Now they’re teenagers, but children were being born. I’m like, “I’m getting out of debt.” At that time, I was 27 and when I talked to twenty-year-olds, I’m like, “Think twice about this because when you’re 37 and 47, you’re going to think more about those memories than the fact that you saved $200 on cable that month. Find a balance there.” Those are the four strategies that work for me to pay off debt.

I’m curious. I want to talk about this a little bit more. Craig, when you were scrimping and saving hardcore, did you feel like you missed some stuff?

I moved to Denver from San Francisco. In San Francisco, I was living the dream. I was buying $100 shirts and wearing $150 shoes. I had the watch and all that stuff. It was not the me who you know now. I decided to re-establish my identity when I moved to Denver and I knew nobody in Denver. I feel like because I knew nobody, I wasn’t missing out on anything.

For about a year and a half, I was just like you, Marcus. I would sit at home and on the weekends, I would be reading and writing. I would be riding my bike to the grocery store and I would have a backpack full of groceries. It was 5 miles to the grocery store. I would hang dry all my clothes. I squeeze soap into a little bowl and put the sponge in the bowl. You can do all the stupid tricks like the water bottle and the toilet thing. I did all these things to save probably $1.50.

To say if it worked, who knows? It’s the mindset of being scrappy and paying your dues. If you’re an investment banker in the finance space, you’re going to work your ass off for 100 hours a week for the first couple of years. You’re going to make $115,000 a year. You, me and Zeona, I’m sure you went through this space, too. We paid our dues for a couple of years and now we’re reaping the benefits. That’s my two cents.

For me, it’s interesting but some of my richest times were when I was being frugal. The reason for it is because I had so much free time that I made a ton of friends that lived close to me or they had flexible schedules. I had so much time with them. We were cooking meals at each other’s houses. We were riding bikes, going to the park and doing things that were free, but it brought a lot of richness into my life. There are times when I think, “I’ve never seen Beyoncé in concert,” but I will one day.

There’s something special about doing more with less too. How fun is it riding in a canoe passing a yacht or something crazy or I’m in a crappy little car in the mountains and we’re able to have a picnic on top of my car? There are memories like that which I’ve had. I think having less has almost been the fun of it as long as you’ve got the right people around you.

I will clarify two points. Number one, Denver is the perfect city to scrimp, save and be miserable in because it’s a beautiful city. There’s so much outdoors and so many free activities. Texas, I don’t know so much about. I will say that the fact that coincidentally, I went for the money. I went for a job. I got a 40% increase. I went chasing after money and landed in a beautiful city.

Coming from San Diego or landing in San Diego, might be a different lived experience. I want to recognize that if it wasn’t for family and friends, I wouldn’t have come back to Texas. Denver was a great city. Maybe if you’re in doubt, go to Mile High City, Denver and solve all your worries. The other piece of it, I realize many years of maturity was there was a mental health component that I gravely underestimated.

I remember I was 2 or 3 years in and I didn’t properly diagnose it. I didn’t go into therapy until I was in my 30s. I was sad all the time. I was like, “I need to drink and participate in other things that are legal in Denver.” That didn’t cure it. I finally realized years later that I was homesick. I missed my friends. Like you, I moved there with nobody. Because I’m an introvert, this is the part that reflects on me. I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed to myself. I went to work and went home.

I was there for seven years. For the first 2 or 3 years, this sadness overwhelmed me and I didn’t know what it was. I missed my family and my friends which is part of the reason I came home. Probably, if I had diagnosed that more correctly, which is why I’m an advocate for mental health and why I go to therapy, it might have made the lived experience different. Unfortunately, much later or maybe even too late in the process, I was like, “I’m going to force myself to go out and embrace what Denver is.” I didn’t experience Denver to the latter end.

The road to self-improvement is always under construction. Click To Tweet

I’ve got a question about you in the depression state that you were in. Did you know at the time that you were depressed? I feel like I’ve been in this state before where I was down, but I didn’t even know I was down until I realized how happy I am now looking back on it. I’m like, “I think I was depressed back then.” Did you have the same experience or were you just down and out?

It’s almost the exact same. I wasn’t taking the appropriate steps or tools and I wasn’t working with a professional. I was self-diagnosing. I was having maybe some toxic mask. I’m like, “You’re being a punk. Get over it. Shrug your shoulders. Rub some dirt in it and you’ll be fine.” That did not work. It was either an external feeling or someone diagnosed it. It might have been a professional for me.

They’re like, “Did you ever think that maybe you’re homesick? Maybe you feel sad because you’re sad. Diagnose what you’re not doing that made you happy.” I’m not sure when I broke out of it. I can see it very clearly now in hindsight but I remember there was some distinct moment when I was like, “All I do is go to work and come home. Maybe I do need to have a life outside of this.”

When I was living in California, I didn’t realize I was depressed but that is when I was depressed. Every single day, I would be looking forward to Thursday, Friday and Saturday when I could go out and drink. If you’re only looking forward to the weekend to drink, you’re probably depressed in some way. If you’re excited for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and every day of your life are exciting because it’s different, that’s where I feel the happiest. Maybe other people are different.

I’ll say one quick thing to that. I also felt guilty for feeling sad. Maybe that is depression too. This is where I would need professional help. It’s like, “You’ve got a raise. You’re making great money and you live in a great city.” You start to be like what if you’ve been shitting yourself. It’s like, “You have no reason to feel bad and sad.” I wasn’t talking to anybody about it so I got into this vicious cycle.

I have a question about where you learned all the five tips that you have. Was it reading blogs? Was there a particular book that helped you? You’re still on your journey? You’re very close. Who are the people you look up to and stuff?

I’m going to say it was the podcast but it was not with purpose or strategy. A guest came on. I wish I could remember her name. She did Math which is always amazing. She’s like, “If you read ten pages a day, you can read at average, 300 books. If you can 300 pages a day, you’ll read a book a month.” That’s about how long each book was. I’m like, “That doesn’t make any sense.” I hadn’t read. I had fallen off. Everybody was trapped in social media. I was like, “I’m going to try that out.”

I read four books in two months. I was like, “This is amazing.” I was like, “How can I actualize this?” I’m going to read ten pages a day. I’m going to do a review on the podcast. I made the mistake of doing a verbal commitment. You all have probably done this before. The audience started holding me accountable. About ten books in, I was like, “This is the most miserable exercise that I’ve ever been through. I’m going to push forward through for the audience.”

It was the books, but also it’s the guests. Living through, interviewing guests and hearing their lived experiences. With FinCon 2016, seeing where they are and where they started. I’ve talked to people and interviewed them again. Now, they’re millionaires or multi-millionaires or they own their businesses. One woman is doing some reality show that we had on and at that time, she was paid off $20,000 or something.

I find the story of lived experience fascinating. I try to have takeaways and nuggets from that. It was the books if that’s your learning style and it is for me because I am an auditor at the end of the day. The inspiration came from others’ lived experiences because that’s not my reality. The representation matters. I see a man or woman who looks like me who’s achieving it or doing it with more or less and I’m like, “There’s no excuse for me not to. How do I emulate that in my life?”

Marcus, your story is a pretty interesting one. You started off with a whole lot of debt in your 20s. You got scrappy in your late 20s or early 30s, chasing money, but also saving a whole bunch of money to now you’re in a good financial position. You’ve got a good job, making good money and investing in the stock market. Maybe you’re like Lean FIRE or pretty close to Lean FIRE but you’re getting to that next step of Fat FIRE, which you want to do through real estate. Does that sound about right?

ITF 80 Marcus | Self Improvement
Self-Improvement: Denver is the perfect city to scrimp, save, and be miserable in because it’s a beautiful city, and there are so many free outdoor activities.


Yes. For me, it’s moving the finish line up and having more control over my income and my life.

I love what you said about taking back that time to live the day that you want to live. There has been a lot of wisdom that you’ve given us in this episode. Are there any last words of wisdom before we head into our final four?

I don’t think I’ve shared it here. I’ve been watching these motivational videos on a playlist. I’m that guy now. One that I heard from Steve Harvey was, “The road to self-improvement is always under construction.” That’s why I’m always going through these changes. You think you’re going to reach a finish line. You get to the top of the mountain. You realize how many more mountains they are to climb. My next finish line will be real estate, but I’m sure there will be another finish line after that.

Make sure you stop and enjoy the view at the top of each mountain.

I have a question. I want to know what you’re visualizing for your real estate future. Do you have a plan or a strategy that you’re like, “I want to try this one out?”

For me, it will be with getting with a financial planner in real estate. I like to surround myself with a team, find an expert and follow their advice. I have two financial planners in mind. Another thing is my fiancé texted me, “I need help putting a budget together.” I’ve been lecturing her about this for a few years. That being said, I’m glad it’s coming to fruition. It’s joining the vision of two people and that’s what’s making me think about this.

What it looks like in actuality is I know in my head what I want to accomplish and I need to figure out what that is in a system. I want cashflowing properties that replace my income, whether that’s fully through real estate. My take-home after-tax is $7,000 or something like that and that’s before the side hustles on the personal business.

What I would like is to have multiple income streams, real estate or otherwise that replace that because I’m happy there. I can live on that. It’s a lifestyle that I’m accustomed to. We take vacations and everything like that. I wouldn’t have to ask permission for PTO so I could control my life. That threshold couldn’t be happiness and then building up from there. What I don’t know is, “What are the funnels to fill that income?”

One thing I want to highlight is that you might need less than that because, at the current place, you’re saving a portion of that. It might be 50% of that. If you’re going to replace that with real estate income that will continually come, maybe you only need $4,000 or $5,000. The math with real estate is fun because you could find properties where they make you $1,000 a month and you only need five of them. It is fun that way. It looks like Craig has something to say.

I love real estate. It takes that financial independence track. A lot of people in financial independence like the index funds, but it takes 10 to 15 years. It’s pretty typical. That’s to hit 1 million, so the 4% rule, that’s $40,000 a year. You aren’t living that good of a lifestyle on $40,000 a year. I wouldn’t, at least, especially with inflation and gas prices. These days you’ll pay $40,000 a year on gas. Being able to have an asset like real estate that grows with inflation, that provides passive income, that gives you the tax benefits, and that has the loan paid down is a powerful way to invest. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 90% of America’s millionaires hold real estate.

We’re excited for you to be on your journey.

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So am I. I don’t emulate a lot because I’m an auditor. It’s new, so that’s another pivot I’m at in my life. I don’t plan on stopping the index fund. I don’t plan on stopping the multiple income streams. I see those as maybe concurrent races that are also running. A lot of them are automated though so I’m like, “What’s also going to challenge me in these next decades of my life that I could be excited about?”

It could be learning a whole new skill.

Let’s get into the final four.

Question number one is, “What are you reading?”

You already know the one that I’m reading. I’m surprised I don’t have the title memorized. It’s BiggerPockets’ How to Invest in Real Estate. I’ll say another book because I’m reading two concurrently. I’m reading The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen, which sounds much darker than it is. I’m a full-fledged nerd. It’s about the five major extinction events, including the dinosaurs, that almost ended the world.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I almost got stumped there. I’ll go with my father’s quote because at least it’s at the front of my mind. He told me and he does this. He’s still around. He used to tell me things too early in life for me to appreciate or understand. I was seven when he was like, “Son, I want you to use your 20s to learn, your 30s to apply and your 40s to teach and mentor.” I get the voice from my father. I was like, “What was he talking about?”

Finally, when I got about 20, 30 and 40, when I hit those milestones, it started to make sense. I’ve used those in job interviews. I’ve repeated it 1,000 times and it impresses people for the first time. He might have stolen it from somewhere. Hopefully, he didn’t get sued eventually. I love that insight and I’ve done a good job of applying those time around.

Question number three is what is your why?

It’s evolving. For me, it’s going to be a family legacy. The simplest would be legacy. One of the times in which my mindset changed, we were about to record a podcast. It was Sunday and we record on Sundays, release it on Mondays, and we got the news that a helicopter had gone down in the hills. You all might know where this story is going.

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Ends Of The World Paperback

We found out that it was Kobe. We took a break. I took an hour to walk around the neighborhood. We found out that his daughter had also passed and several other individuals had. We’re not recording a podcast that day. This was pre-pandemic. It fundamentally changed what I wanted to be doing with my life. There are those events in your life and I was like, “My life would be different from here.” It started another inception event. Kobe was in his 40s, if not younger than 42, but he was near enough in age for me to change how I approach my own life. I think it would be legacy.

He was 41 when he passed.

I was 38, 37. It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would for celebrity death.

That was the thing that kicked off 2020. That was like, “This year’s going to suck.” On a less serious note, who was your first ever crush?

It was Toni. If I ever see Jason, he’s going to be furniture moving. Toni was in elementary school. I had a crush on a curly-haired girl named Toni and I confessed it to my best friend, Jason. I wasn’t at a point where I could talk to women at that time because I’m in elementary school. He’s like, “There’s Toni. Don’t you have a crush on her?” She turned around. We made eye contact. I think Toni had a crush on me too. I was, “Hell, no. Women? Girl, it’s goonies.” She ran off crying. Her curly hair was bopping in the background.

You were like, “Damn that. I missed my chance.”

Jason moved on. He’s like, “Whatever.” That was the first. It sticks with me.

Where can people find out more about you, your podcast, your book and everything else?

You can find The Marcus Garrett Show wherever you’re listening to this show. Every week, we have an entertaining conversation with your favorite influencers about Life After Debt. For some of the free giveaways that I was talking about earlier, you can visit I’ve got all kinds of giveaways there, including a 30-day free trial for office hours. Join the newsletter if you doubt the Office Hours like, “Who is this guy?” or click the Office Hours button to get started.

Go check out for more info there. Marcus, thank you so much for coming to the show. It’s been an awesome time chatting with you and getting to know your story a little bit more. Z, is there anything you want to add?

No, I’m excited. I enjoyed being on Marcus’ show. Go and check that out too, but it’s a good conversation and I appreciate your depth and vulnerability. Thank you.

I appreciate it. Thank you all. Thanks for having me.

That was The Marcus Garrett. Z, what do you think of Marcus?

I think Marcus had some good nuggets of wisdom. I love how he breaks certain concepts down, like his debt pay down. It sounds like his book would probably be entertaining. I’m going to go check it out. Just learning strategies, but also hearing his stories, I appreciate his depth and vulnerability. I liked that he talked about mental health because that’s a taboo topic like money.

I think it is too. I tend to get attracted to taboo topics. If a taboo topic comes up, I want to dig in deeper. Mental health is something that we all go through. I didn’t even realize that I was depressed when I maybe was. I don’t like to call myself depressed or say I’m clinically depressed because, at the end of the day, that word to me feels like it’s going to bring me down. I would never admit that to anybody. Looking back at my time in California, I was happy and smiling and all that but on the inside, I was not. It’s interesting how that reflection happens when you feel true happiness.

It happens to lots of people. If you’re feeling sad, find yourself a therapist or a buddy who you can talk to.

I’ve got tons of friends and I may do this too, where they have a therapist even if they’re not sad and depressed. It’s having someone to talk to about the deep stuff, talk to get stuff off your chest and have someone be there to listen that’s an unbiased opinion. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve never taken action towards it.

We all know you need it, Craig, so I’m glad you’re coming around to do it.

Fair enough. Is there anything else you want to say before we pop off here?

No. I’m excited. I would love to ask everybody to leave us a rating or review if you like our show. Share it around with your friends and we’ll see you in the next episode.


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About Marcus Garrett

ITF 80 Marcus | Self ImprovementAfter surviving the mean streets of the inner suburbs in the Great State of Texas, Mr. Garrett obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and work experience as a Certified Internal Auditor, Financial and Data Analyst. As a Senior Millennial, his inflated self-esteem was amplified with participation trophies given to him without merit during his most impressionable years. Somehow he overcame these personal roadblocks to become an award-winning freelance writer on topics ranging from love and relationships to debt and personal finances.