ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom


Are you trying to climb the corporate ladder in the hope that you’ll achieve the financial freedom that you want? Is working hard enough? It’s time to unlock your infinite potential. Listen to your hosts, Craig Curelop and Zeona McIntyre, as they talk with Rich Fettke about manifesting what you want, taking action, and creating financial freedom. Rich is a licensed real estate broker, active investor, and co-founder of RealWealth. In this episode, he explains the secrets of financially successful people in staying focused. He also shares critical insights on the importance of seeking excellent opportunities and being determined to achieve your goals. Tune in to learn how to secure passive income, improve decision-making, and build the life you have always dreamed of.

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Seeking Out Opportunities To Create Financial Freedom With Rich Fettke

I’m here with Zeona McIntyre. How are you doing?

I am doing great. Thanks for asking. I am excited because our guest is none other than Rich Fettke. If you don’t know about Rich and Kathy, you need to look them up. Kathy does On The Market on BiggerPockets. They have like a market update show that she is on the panel of that as well as doing the Real Wealth Network. We’re going to go into what real wealth means in our show. How was the show for you, Craig?

Rich is such an inspiring person. If there’s one person that I’d want to be in 20 to 30 years, it would be Rich. He lives such a big, fulfilling life. They’re humble. They’ve got the financial stuff figured out. He’s healthy. He has a great relationship with his wife, Kathy, and kids. All the big pillars in life, he’s checked them off. At least that’s what it seems like. This is such an inspiring episode. He came back from a pretty traumatic incident and is more powerful than ever. It’s a great episode. Make sure to read to the end because he drops some bombs at the end as well.

Let’s bring him on.

Rich Fettke, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

I’m doing awesome. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.

Thanks so much for coming on. I know you’re quite experienced and we’re amazed. It’s going to be fun to share your story. Let’s take it back to where it all started and how you first heard about financial independence.

It was a dream back when I was younger. I always thought, “Someday, I’m going to be a real estate investor.” I went through one of those personal development workshops, and they say, “Write your eulogy.” In my eulogy, I wrote something about, “He was a successful real estate investor,” something like that. This is back in ’95. I did that.

There was something in me that was like, “Someday when I have enough money.” I held off. I didn’t do it. My focus was on becoming a personal and business coach. I had built up this coaching business that I started in ‘95. I was doing well. I had signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. I was given keynotes all over the country. I thrived in coaching practice. I had a wife and two awesome daughters, and then I was diagnosed with melanoma. That was what sent us into real estate investing.

I’ll explain why because my wife, Kathy, was a stay-at-home mom. They said, “What we want you to do is get tested to make sure this melanoma hasn’t spread.” They saw four masses on my liver. After multiple tests, I met with an oncologist. He looked at me, and he said, “It looks like the melanoma spread to your liver. You probably have about six months to live.”

I was 37 years old. It rocked my world and our whole family’s world. Kathy was a stay-at-home mom. She was like, “What am I going to do to make ends meet if Rich dies? How are we going to be financially secure?” She started to seek out mentors. She started to talk to financially successful people and found out, not to our surprise probably, that most of them were real estate investors. That’s how they made and grew their wealth. She’s like, “This is what I can do. I can start investing in real estate. This is how I can provide for our family.”

Thankfully, the doctor’s diagnosis was wrong. The melanoma had not spread to my liver. It was what they call a false positive, but it was three months of not knowing, thinking that I had six months to live. That was the impetus for the catheter to push yourself, to find out how to do this. After I was healed, after a few surgeries to remove the melanoma, we started to invest together, and we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. We did a cash-out ReFi on our property there. We went to Rockwell, Texas, North of Dallas, and we bought five investment properties. That was what got us to be landlords to realize that we could create financial security and financial freedom through real estate.

We had friends and family saying, “How are you doing this? How are you investing out of state? How are you living in California and investing in Texas?” We said, “We can show you how we’re doing it.” We thought we formed this little group of friends and family to show them what we were doing. That group started to grow. We started a company called RealWealth to help people do that and invest out of state. Now we have 64,000 members at RealWealth that we’ve helped to create financial independence for themselves. It’s quite the journey

Did this all happen in 1995? Were you seeking out mentors and created this? When did that start happening?

Timeline-wise, no. ‘95 is when I moved from Boston to California, and that’s when I started coaching. I was going to start a chain of one-on-one fitness training centers because I used to own a gym back in Boston. I saw this ad for this thing called coaching. It was new back then. I was a coach from ‘95 until 2002. That’s when my book came out. When I signed a deal with Simon & Schuster, it was 2003 when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was right then it’s 2003 that we started to invest, became landlords, learned that whole journey, and that’s when we started the company.

One little fun fact is that I’m one of those 64,000 members at RealWealth. I don’t know if you are crying.

I’m on your newsletter list.

ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom
The Wise Investor: A Modern Parable About Creating Financial Freedom and Living Your Best Life

I bought a few houses with you guys a couple of years ago, and I think you have such an amazing thing going. I’m excited to be sharing this with our readers too.

We have property teams around the country that are different businesses. They find the houses, fix them up or do new builds. They put the property management in place, manage the tenants, and all that stuff. Our focus is on educating members and inspiring them by showing them how real estate investing can work and referring them to these teams that we know, trust, and have been working with for some of them over a decade.

You started your investment journey in 2000 to 2003 when you had to. At that time, there were no BiggerPockets. There probably weren’t many podcasts. How did you learn this stuff?

There were not any podcasts. The podcast didn’t start until 2005. I know that because Kathy’s Real Wealth Show Podcast was one of the first of three real estate podcasts on iTunes back then. It was Kathy’s, it was The Real Estate Guys, and Jason Hartman were the three podcasts. How we learned it was Kathy did pay to play radio show in San Francisco. She was on KNEW, and she would pay for airtime. She would’ve sponsors come on like a mortgage broker or finance, things like that. They would pay to be on her show and be interviewed.

The cool thing about that is she was obsessed with learning. She would have guests on, including Robert Kiyosaki was one of her guest back then. He was one of the people that said, “Sell your high-price California rental properties and get into other places like Dallas and into the Southeast.” She got all of her education, and I got all of my education through the guests that she would have on her show.

We would have live events and invite these experts to learn that way from people out there, boots on the ground, people doing it, and also learning from our property teams. How are you acquiring these properties? What do you look for? Talking to property managers. Why is this a good area? How do you manage it? What are tenants like? That was the main focus, and a couple of books,

Books have been around for a long time. Z, is there anything you want to add?

You have such a history and so much experience. I want to gear it towards our readers, which are generally beginning. They might have gotten one house, but they’re getting ready to get started. What are some things that you would tell people that are getting started like you were at that time?

In this market, because Kathy and I went through 2008. It hit us hard, and we learned some big lessons. One of the most important things is to make sure you have your financial reserves. Make sure you have six months of operating and living expenses. If we do go into recession like 2008, which this will not be, it’s not going to be the same as 2008. There are many different drivers for this, but the Feds are clear that they want to create a recession, and it looks like we’re heading that way.

Be prepared financially, have that, and make sure that you can control your property. If you acquire another property, make sure it makes sense from day one. Don’t bet on appreciation. It’s been crazy the last several years. Anyone could succeed in the last several years. It’s been easy with the low-interest rates, and I know affordability’s tough, but the cashflow and all that was easy until about 2021.

Make sure that the property that you acquire makes sense from day one. Make sure at least cashflows a little bit, do not bet on appreciation, make sure that you look at the market that you’re going to invest in, and make sure that there are things that are going to drive growth there. People and businesses are moving there, and there’s affordability too. Be careful about where you invest.

It might be smart for some people to pump the brakes and wait before acquiring anything else here in the next few months, as the market is still in this transitionary period. Do you think if you see a killer dealer, go grab it?

Pumping the brakes a little bit, not slamming the brakes on, and not saying, “I’m going to wait.” We see this. There’s a lot of investor fear right now. A lot of people are like, “This is 2008. I’m going to hold off. I’m not going to invest.” They take their eye off the ball, and they take their eyes off their goal. You have to look at. What is that goal for you? What does financial freedom look like to you? What is your lifestyle? Where do you want to be in several years? I think it is a good thing to look at it and come up with a game plan for that.

We should realize that we could create financial freedom through real estate. Click To Tweet

Pumping the breaks is fine because you’re checking it out. You’re looking around. You’re saying what’s going on, but don’t stop. Keep learning, keep growing, keep looking for that killer deal that you’re talking about because if you find it and, you’re going to be happy. Don’t wait, and interest rates are probably still going to go up a little bit. They’re not going to go up as much as some people are talking about, like that 9% to 10%. It can’t happen. There’s way too much government debt for them to do that. I would say, “Take action now.”

One fun thing about right now is a lot of people are slamming the brakes. Many investors have come into the market in probably the last several years where all they’ve experienced is appreciation. Now that things are not going the way they wanted to, they’re pumping and slamming the brake. There’s a lot less competition now than they’re probably ever has been. The sellers also are wanting to sell right now. Now would be a great time to be able to get in and maybe get a deal if that deal works.

One of the things I think is such a good opportunity about now is that if you can find a deal that you’re cashflowing now, in a couple of years, if that interest rate does go down with a recession, you might have this great opportunity to get more cashflow. We weren’t having that before, but now you could potentially refinance and pull out another couple of $100 to $1,000, depending on what your price point is. That’s an exciting thing for the future.

Be careful, don’t get too focused on cashflow. Make sure there’s a little bit, even if it’s $100 a month or $50 a month, you get in that because there are all those other benefits, especially if you’re a high-paid worker. You need those depreciation write-offs. Get that tax benefit. You got your tenants paying off your mortgage, your amortization, you’re building equity. That happens over time. We’re boring real estate investors, Kathy and me. We focus on the long term. We think in that 10 to 20-year window, rather than how much cashflow can I make this year? It’s that long picture of building real wealth over time.

I would love to hear a little bit about what your strategy is because I find that with investors, we all have something different. A lot of times, you hear people wanting to run to 100 doors. That’s their crazy thing. You guys have been in the game now for many years. I’m curious to see what your goals are and what your vision is for your portfolio at this point.

It has changed. Our big goal back before 2008 was we want $5 million in debt because we know what that turned into. That was the focus back then, because mortgages were easy to get you these with no income, easy to qualify for no money down, all this stuff. A lot of people got in that focus, and that was the shtick or the meme back then. It is to have as much debt as you can and leverage it up because it’s going to pay off this much in the future. Our philosophy has changed since then, and we’ve seen a lot of people who are like, “I want to get to that 100, 200, or 500 doors. I want to go multifamily and go big.” It’s starting to come back and bite them.

I’m concerned with some of our friends who have these bridge loans and multifamily. They’ve tried to get to that whatever the number of doors fast. Now it’s starting to bite them because they can’t get the finance rate they are planning on. They might not even be able to ReFi out of some of these bridge loans. That gets dangerous.

Our philosophy is a simple buy-and-hold long-term projection. Let’s look at this property instead of what’s this going to do this year. Let’s look at what it will look like in five years and run it through. We use DealCheck. is the software we use, and we put our property into that. The cool thing about that is it can show you your 1-year, 5-years, 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year. You can look at what does this investment look like ten years down the road?

You can compare things that way instead of comparing things only on what does this look like over the next twelve months? What’s the annual return or my cash-on-cash return twelve months from now? That can be blinding because when you look at other properties, you might like, “This makes more sense to buy this property when I look at the one year, but when I look at the ten years, this property over here makes so much more sense.”

I’ve never looked at properties like that. That’s interesting.

I’m the one-year guy. I know if one year looks good, in 5 and 10 years, it is going to look great, but it’s interesting how you look at it from that long-term perspective. It sounds like most of what you’re doing, and what you’re probably encouraging all of your members to do is buy and hold. That’s what I’m gathering. Do you do any flips, anything like that, or any big rehabs?

We don’t do any flips. I’ve got friends who have done 600 flips, and they got that dialed in and the system, but flipping to me is a full-time job to do it right, which is cool. I’m 58 now, in 2022. We have a grandson. We don’t want to be out there with another full-time job. It’s enough to run RealWealth in our team of twenty people.

We buy and hold and are passive too. We’re LPs, GPS, and syndications. We syndicate as well. We do residential development. We’ll raise funds for that. We’ll partner with our investors and do a big subdivision. We’ve got him going on right now in Park City, in Reno, Nevada, and in Bozeman, Montana. The other side of the business is the syndicating piece.

ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom
Financial Freedom: Make sure that you look at the market that you’re going to invest in and that there’s things that are going to drive growth there. There’s affordability too. So be careful about where you invest.


You start off with the small residential, and you grow into the larger stuff where you’re syndicating. Do you recommend everyone take that journey to raise money and all that stuff if they want to scale and grow quickly, or do you think it’s possible to do this all yourself without raising outside capital?

You can go bigger, do commercials, and raise outside capital if you team up with the right partners. Trying to do it on your own is a huge challenge. Where are you going to get that knowledge and experience starting off? When you make a mistake, it can put you in jail. Especially if you’re going to be raising funds with the SEC, they don’t look at things lightly.

I like the concept of starting smaller, getting your feet wet, learning it, and understanding it because a lot of the same principles carry over whether you’re buying a single-family property or moving up to a quad, moving into small multifamily, moving into commercial, mobile home park or anything like that. A lot of the same investing in real estate fundamental supply is what I always think, but that’s my approach. Kathy is a more jump-in, go for it type. She’s like, “It might work. Sometimes it fails.” She’s like, “I learned the lesson.” I’m more of a get a little better each day and learn a little more each day. I guess I avoid losses more. It’s one way to look at it.

I want to get back to what our readers are going to be interested in because some of this stuff gets a little bit high level when you’re thinking about big apartments, and you’re going to be creating a fund or something like that. Generally, that’s a little bit further down the road when people have a lot of experience.

I know you wrote this book. It is out called The Wise Investor. I have started reading it. I’m probably about halfway through, and it is in story form, teaching someone how to get their financial house in order and life coaching in general. It seems to be getting into real estate investing. Do you feel like there are some good nuggets in that book that would help these newbies get going?

It’s a parable about creating financial freedom but also living your best life. It’s taken everything I’ve learned as a coach, working with hundreds of clients over the years, all those lessons about becoming your best self, living a better life, and being more present, focused, and disciplined. Weaving that with what I’ve learned as an investor over the last several years and all those stories that we’ve heard from our members at RealWealth, like where they were, what they did, and where they are now. There are many powerful lessons.

It’s a fictional story, but it’s based on real people and life events. The main focus is real estate investing. I wrote a lot for the HENRYs. I don’t know if you’ve heard that term. It’s a high earner, not rich yet people. They’re high earners, but they’re not rich yet, and there are a lot of them here in California, especially when we used to live in the Bay Area. A lot of Silicon Valley executives and workers who are making solid six figures. They’re maxing out their 401(k), but they’re not putting their money to work for them beyond that. They’re not investing. They have lifestyle creep. Their lifestyle keeps matching their income, and they’re not investing.

I wrote it for two audiences. One is those people who are doing that. They’re not investing their money and making it work for them. They’re not acquiring assets. I also wrote it for the people who are starting this journey of real estate investing because it’s like an inspiration. It’s inspiring to be like, “This is where you can be.”

It takes this guy, Ryan Brooks. He is the protagonist in the story. He’s this hardworking family man. He’s got a wife and a couple of kids. He’s a computer programmer, a coder, and he’s the same thing. He’s making solid six figures. He’s doing all that stuff, but he has no time for his family and his life. He’s not in the shape he wants to be in. He’s not present.

He meets his new friend and a new mentor who shows him how he can get his financial life in order and become his better self. It shows the progress of his life and his wife’s over a five-year period. You get to live through the hero in the story and get to see where he was, what he did, what his family did, and where they ended up in five years, all based on what I’ve seen people do in the real world.

As part of this story, I suspect someone living in the Bay Area is making six figures-plus and not living that lifestyle. They have to take a step back. They probably have to find maybe a cheaper place to live. Maybe they have to trade in their car. How do you help people through that shift? Their friends are going to see them go from driving a Mercedes to a Honda or something like that. How do you go through that?

There’s something in there about shifting your mindset of, do you want to be rich or do you want to be wealthy? The mentor describes the difference of those types of people, how they operate, how wealthy people think and operate, how poor people think and operate, and how rich people are financially rich. Living in Malibu, California, there are a lot of rich people here. Some of them are wealthy. They’re happy, fulfilled, and living great life. Some of them are rich, but they’re poor in life. He describes that, and he explains it.

The wealthy people, the way they operate is not looking at to show-off stuff. They don’t operate with envy. They look at what’s my long-term plan here. What do I want to be in 1, 5, or 10 years? They use that same approach, and they’re building wealth. Honestly, they don’t care what their friends think. They know what they’re building, what they’re creating, and the path they’re on.

Make sure you have your financial reserves. Make sure you have six months of operating and living expenses. Click To Tweet

What happens eventually is their friends start to say, “How are you creating this cashflow? How are you creating this wealth? How are you growing this portfolio?” Their friends start to come over to the right side. They take the red pill. It’s something in there, and there was so much around. As Americans, we tend to be programmed to, when you think of investing, it’s investing in the stock market, investing in the Wall Street casino sometimes.

Another reason I wanted to write this book is to show in a book that people will finish. People will read the story. That’s why I did it in a story form. I wanted to emotionalize the information and elicit a change in the reader. They can see, “If I put $200,000 into real estate, stock market, or gold, now I see where I end up ten years in the future.” It spells it on the mentor, spells it out that way.

One of the things I love about you and Kathy, whom I’ve admired for a long time, is that, unlike many real estate people, you guys are not boastful. You’re not throwing around all the things that you bought, like rappers or something. It seems like in real estate, it’s much about bragging on your status, and you guys have always seemed grounded. It sounds like you’ve manifested a lot.

I remember the last time I saw Kathy speak, she was talking about manifesting your dream home, and everything seemed like a wonderful miraculous event. Can you talk a little bit about how you guys stay grounded and how you are continuing to manifest beautiful things into your lives but still being balanced?

That’s why we called our company RealWealth because we wanted to keep it real. It wasn’t about making lots of money. The money is part of it, but it is about living life on your own terms, real people, and real estate. Real was a huge part of our company’s name because that’s important to us, but the process came from coaching. Kathy and I were both certified coaches. We went through about a year and a half program to become certified coaches. We even met in a personal development workshop.

We are about manifesting, not so much in a woo-woo way, even though we’re from the San Francisco Bay Area, where it’s woo-woo. There are some scientifically proven things that we can do that seem woo-woo. One of the most powerful ones is the future focus. It’s about meeting your future self in the future. I have it in the book. The mentor takes the protagonist through the future self. I’ve done it for the last several years with the members of our network. Every year we do an annual event.

In January 2022, we talk about making the most of the year that’s coming up. How do you want to grow? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to become? I take the whole group. We’ll have 500 people in the room. I’ll have everyone close their eyes and take them on this mental journey where they meet themselves in the future in ten years.

They get to talk to their future self. They get to see where they’re living and what they’re up to. They get to ask their future selves questions. Kathy and I have done that same exact process for several years. It’s incredibly powerful. In the talk that you heard Kathy give, she probably talked about how her future self told her. She came back to earth and visited here ten years in the future. She was living in Malibu, and she was a surfer. Kathy hadn’t even surfed back then. We’ve been in Malibu for several years now. That was several years ago that she did this. She’s like, “What Malibu? I’ve never even been to Malibu.” Here we are now, living in Malibu. Kathy is surfing right now as we talk.

It’s amazing when you set that intention because of your subconscious mind, and when you can see that future, it starts to open up your eyes. It taps into that reticular activating system part of your brain, the part that notices things that you’re looking for. If you get that clarity and vision about, “This is where I want to go. This is who I want to become.” Your brain automatically starts to seek out people, opportunities, and actions that you can take in your life to get you there.

That’s been the big way of us manifesting on the visualization part of things. We take real clear actions too. We have a coach I talk to every other Friday to keep me on track, keep me accountable, and help me see new perspectives and see what I’m not seeing. There’s a practical side of it too. Once you get the vision, you have to take action.

We’re going away. I’m going to do that with her that ten years in the future thing and see exactly the life wants to be like. I want to caution people, too, that when you are doing that exercise, make sure it’s the life you want to live, not the life you want other people to see you live. A lot of people want flashy cars to impress their friends or to make sure that their family knows they are doing well and all of that. That does not matter at all. It’s, what makes you happy?

I’m known as a fairly frugal person, but if you know me now, I spend frivolously on the things that I love to do, and I scale back tremendously on the things that I don’t care about. The biggest thing for me is cars. I’m not a car guy. I don’t care. I need to get from A to B. I will probably be driving the cheapest car for the rest of my life, but I like to have a nice place to live. I like to go on nice vacations and all that stuff. Don’t compare yourself to other people, and also make sure that you’re doing things that truly fulfill you and your life.

That’s a good point because, in the story, the mentor explains assets a little bit differently from liabilities. Robert Kiyosaki did an awesome job with assets and liabilities in the financial sense with Rich Dad Poor Dad. Robert wrote the Ford for The Wise Investor, which is pretty awesome, and he was stoked on that. He talks about the assets, liabilities, and financial sense. The mentor in the story says, “I see assets as anything that brings you income, more happiness, better health, or more time. Liability is the opposite. A liability is something that takes away from your income, your happiness, your health, or your time.”

ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom
Financial Freedom: It’s pretty amazing when you set that intention because when you can see that future, your subconscious mind starts to open up your eyes and actually just taps into that reticular activating system part of your brain that notices things that you’re looking for.


It’s a cool way to compartmentalize things into that asset versus a liability. Your example of the car. It’s like, “Is this going to bring me more income? Is it going to bring me more happiness?” Maybe. For some people, it’s that big goal of, “I want a Porsche 991 or something.” That’s what they’re working toward. That’s their reward, celebration, and trophy, which is fine. It allows you to step back and say, “Is this a liability or an asset? Is this person in my life a liability or an asset? Are they adding to my life, or are they taking away from my life?” It’s a cool way to compartmentalize assets and liabilities on a bigger and more full whole-life scale.

I want to switch gears to talk a little bit about raising financially savvy or independent children that are going to be independent going forward. I imagine that your kids are no stranger to wealth. They didn’t always grow up wealthy, but they’ve grown into this in the last decade or so that you guys have built a great company. How are you keeping them grounded? What are the things that you’re teaching them for their life?

Kathy had our younger daughter Christa on the Real Wealth Show Podcast. She interviewed her about the exact same question. It’s like, “Let’s hear it from the source.” What Christa said, I agree, and this is what our goal was coming up having our kids grow up was to not provide too much for them to have them earn it. That’s the way I was raised.

If they want something, we’d ask them, “How can you earn it? What can you do here?” No handouts. That was a big one. Our daughters thanked us for that. They’re like, “Back in the day, when our friends would get whatever they wanted, we were envious, angry, and all that stuff, but thank you for having us figure out a way to earn it.

Our older daughter bought her first property up in Chico, California, when she was 24. That was appreciated over time. She went on the road and was traveling around. She rented that out for cashflow. It appreciated more, and she was able to sell that property, take that money, and put it into a new property down in Southern California. It’s incredible to encourage that.

Honestly, it’s been easy because they’re living there, hearing it at the dinner table. Our younger daughter does all our social media management. She will watch one of our webinars or she’ll listen to a whole podcast. She’ll look for the snippets and the best lessons there to share on social media. Both of them have gotten this constant influx of education. We always rewarded that.

Instead of paying them for chores, you pay them to finish a book. You acknowledge them that way. It’s like, “Improve your education.” We’re not treating them like workers. We’re treating them like entrepreneurs where you are rewarded financially for how much you learn, the actions you take, and for making the world better.

That’s when you were starting to grow. It sounds like your rental portfolio if I’m doing my mental math of years and age correctly. Were they interested in watching you grow? Did you take them along that journey, or how did you get them involved? Sometimes teenagers are like, “No, my dad and mom are doing that. I’m going to go do the opposite.”

There was a period of that with the older one, not the younger one. The older one was funny because Kathy was like, “Karina, you should be studying and learning and stuff.” She’s like, “Why? I’m going to get your portfolio.” Kathy’s like, “We’re going to live a long time. Papa is playing and on living into 108. You’re going to be pretty old when you get our portfolio. Don’t count on it. You better start getting on your own thing.” That was a wake-up call for her. We would play the Cashflow game together. I think that was a great one. We played that a few times. It’s very educational.

I would get them books and be like, “You’d like this book,” a book that would be written for younger people. There are some Rich Dad books that are written for younger people. More than anything, it was more dropping lessons every once in a while, trying not to mansplain or being too much like that but to come in and say, “We got this property several years ago, and this is what it did. The tenants have been paying this mortgage off for us every month.”

Give them overall the big global lessons. They can start to absorb it over time and not be like, “You have to learn this. You have to do this. We expect to do this.” It’s little reminders of what we’re doing in maybe weekly doses. Maybe it’s like a comment one week and next week is another comment. It was like that, but making sure that we’re constantly dropping those little nuggets of wisdom, lessons, or setting the example. Walking the talk is the biggest thing.

It almost feels like you’re not forcing it on them, but you’re almost dropping the hints and letting them connect the pieces together. They have figured out what mom and dad are doing versus mom and dad telling them what to do, which almost makes it they have the ownership of it. They can go ahead, do it, and we create that same thing.

It’s the same with a spouse, too, because we have a lot of members at RealWealth whose one spouse is all into it. They want to invest in everything the other one I know. I don’t know about this. We could lose money. They’re resisting it. They have no interest. They don’t come to any live events. They don’t attend any webinars. They don’t read any books. The other spouse is all into it and doing all that. It’s the same type of thing. You have to do the slow drip of that knowledge. You can’t be getting angry at the person, like, “How come you’re not excited as I am about this?” Invite the other person in.

Don’t take your eye off your goal. You should keep in mind what your lifestyle is and where you want to be in 10 years. It's a good thing to look at it and then come up with a game plan for that. Click To Tweet

Through questions would be the most powerful thing. Where do you see us ten years in the future? Where do you see us financially? Do you see us still working and working as many hours? What do you think our net worth will be? You start having the other person start to get the gears turning. Whether that be with your spouse or your kid, that’s it. The power of the question is way more powerful than any type of teaching or lesson.

I love that you use a coaching approach because I’m usually a little bit too blunt. I run through the wall, but I should probably ask questions. I wanted to say that this had happened on my side as well, where my partner, when I met him, he’s from Europe, and he thought I was never going to own a property. It’s not the same investing in Europe as it is in the US. I worked on him over the years. Several years later, he’s got five properties, two of them from RealWealth. It’s been cool to see he gets it and is grateful for what it’s doing for his life, but it didn’t start that way.

When you get two people putting their heads together, it’s like rocket fuel. You start like, “We got this.”

This is a little bit of a shift but tangential to what Z said about investing in Europe versus the US. In a lot of places like Japan and Europe, the prices are high that it doesn’t make sense for the traditional person to even buy an investment property. Do you see the US getting there because everyone is waiting for this downshift, so they can start investing again? In some places, you may see where it makes sense to invest as traditional investors anymore. It makes sense to buy now. You can have it. In 10 to 15 years, no one else can buy. Do you see that?

There’s a shortage of homes. We’re 5 million homes short of what we need, which has been the lowest building rate over the past several years, especially single-family homes and multifamily homes. The rents are only going to go in one direction, accessibility to investing. That’s why investing now in the US is the best place in the world for investing.

I don’t even know of another country that does 30-year fixed mortgages. Now there’s talk of the US moving into 40-year fixed mortgages because of the interest rates to make it more affordable for people. Affordability is limited right now, and prices are high. Some of these banks and mortgage companies are looking at if we do a 40-year, that’ll lower that monthly payment. People can get into our property and be able to afford it. There’s so much opportunity in the US. We’re blessed to live here.

It’s great for the affordability, and on another end, it’s a little bit scary when you look at how much you end up paying with interest. I’m all for leverage, but when you do sit down and look at the numbers, that’s a lot.

You’ll pay almost double. The thing is, you can lock in that 40-year fix but don’t have an early payoff penalty. You can always pay it off sooner, but at least you have that security that you can control the property, especially rental property, through any type of a downturn or vacancy. You don’t have this huge monthly mortgage payment, but in those months when things are going well, you can make double payments or whatever you want to do and pay it off early.

In my head, 30 years is a long time. It’s probably a third of someone’s life. Forty years is long, but how much different is 30 to 40 years? You’re going to pay more in interest, but you would pay a crap ton on 30-year fixed interest too. I’m like, “I’ll do the 40 all day.” In 30 or 40 years, the rents are going to be much higher than they are now. It’s almost not going to even make sense to pay it off. Especially if the interest rates are low. If you have the courage to go for 30 or fixed, you should probably have the courage to go for a 40 or fixed. That’s where I’m at.

If they start offering it, I will do that for sure.

Before we switch gears and wrap up, I wanted to hear what’s the next step for you guys. You’ve written a couple of books. Kathy’s written her book. You’re doing large-scale stuff now, syndications. Do you want more properties, or are you getting to a place of enough and cruising?

We’re getting to a place of enough. I wouldn’t call it cruising. Kathy rewrote her book because that came out in 2014. She rewrote the whole thing for a new version. That’s coming out soon, updated with numbers, economic drivers, and all that stuff. She finished her audiobook. I’ve been asking her for an audiobook since 2014. That’s coming out too.

We’re not sitting around. When it comes to our business, we’re not looking to grow it much more employees-wise. We have twenty employees. We want to be a small giant. There’s a great book called Small Giants. It’s about having an effective company that makes a difference. We see ourselves as a conscious capitalism company. We believe in capitalism but in the sense of having more than profits as the focus. How are we serving our members? How are we serving in the property teams we refer to, and how do we make a difference in the world and give back?

ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom
Financial Freedom: Get clarity on your vision. When you start to seek out, your brain automatically starts to look for opportunities and actions that you can take in your life to get you there.


One of our big focuses and mission at RealWealth is donating 10% of our profits from real estate transactions to a few charities that change the world like Mentors International, Operations Smile, and Habitat for Humanity. Our goal was to donate $1 million. We’re up to $800,000 now. That’s our major focus. How can we get more people to create real wealth in their lives through buying investment real estate, investing in real estate, and building a portfolio? I’m a real estate broker. We get a typical broker referral fee when we refer to other brokers and property teams. We take 10% of that, and we donate it to these charities that change the world. That’s a driving force for us.

You guys are with XP, is that right?

We were with XP for a while, but we were going to do a national agent program, but when BiggerPockets started to do that, we were like, “They’ve got it. They’ve got a lot more members. Let’s let them do that.” We focus on the fifteen property teams that we work with.

I want to ask a little bit about like your life in general because we’ve talked a little bit about your family, which seems like it’s on point. Your business has created you guys a decent amount of wealth. When you’ve got the wealth thing figured out, which it seems like you guys do, everything else falls into place. Your health seems great. You told us you donated $800,000 to charity. You seem clear. When you talk about the Real Wealth Network, it’s more than wealth. I’ve heard stories that you and Kathy shred out on the mountains too. I want to talk a little bit about when you’ve got that financial thing figured out, how does everything else fall into place?

I would say we’re still figuring it out. There’s still so much to learn about growing wealth and building long-term wealth. Our goal is still to create more passive income. We’re constantly looking at how we can create more passive income so we can be job optional. We love our work and what we’re doing, but we want to retire from the things we don’t like doing. That’s why we have people on our team to focus on things they’re good at.

Honestly, we want it. It’s about being intentional. I do that program every year for the members of RealWealth. It’s called Be a Focus Investor. Kathy and I do the same thing, and we do it with a family. We sit down. We’re like, “What’s this year about? Where do we want to be at the end of this year? How many family trips do we want to have? What is life look like in ten years? What does life look like?” I have lifetime goals. I want to live until 108, and I’m clear that I want to be surfing with my great-grandchildren.

There’s something there about the wealth piece. Having that passive income and creating wealth through business and real estate allows us to live life on our own terms, which means getting out to surf more, going on ski trips, going hell skiing, all these things like that. Get in the full adventure out of life and make every day full. Being told I had six months to live was the exclamation point for me on that. It was like, “I got almost a second chance here. How am I going to live my life on a day-to-day basis? How am I going to get the most out of this life and be grateful for every single day?” I don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s my focus.

We’ve gotten so much. This has been a rich episode. I would like us to switch into our final four. We’re going to ask you four questions that we ask at the end of every show. I’m starting it off. Usually, Craig says something about it. Do you want to add anything to that?

I’m all good. I think we should get right into the final four.

What are you reading right now, Rich, besides your own books?

I am reading The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, and it’s all about how we build willpower and can develop willpower and change our brains and physical level through neurons, neuroplasticity, myelination, and all that stuff.

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

I’m going to say, “Be curious.” It’s simple. Two words. I learned that through coach training, and that’s what we had to drill on constantly over and over as being curious. Instead of often, we think we have the answers. It’s our agenda, and we have to tell people how to do things and everything. Being curious is powerful. I’m going to get a question marked tattooed on my wrist as my first tattoo. It’s my reminder to stay curious because it works. Be curious about other people, life, and learning. That’s my biggie.

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Question number three. What is your why?

Many things are going into my brain right now, but my why is helping people become their best living their best lives. It’s in my book. It’s what I did as a coach. When I take people out rock climbing, repelling, skiing, or something like that. They’re afraid. They push themselves beyond what they thought they could do, and they do it. I get tears in my eyes. My why and my purpose is to help people grow and live their best lives.

I came back from this 14ers trip. Are you familiar with the 14ers in Colorado?


Me and one of my good buddies did seven and seven days. Part of that was this class five traverse across like Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. We were in over our heads, but we got to the point of no return, like climbing this wall. That’s probably an 80-degree angle. It’s like a 200-foot drop. We were scared out of our minds, but we got to the top. We wanted to cry and give each other big hugs. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone. No point did we think we were going to die or anything because all the holds were good, and we were careful. Did that feel good getting to the top? I felt what your clients were feeling at that last moment.

You get a little mix of adrenaline, being proud of yourself, courage, and all that stuff all come together. We need that as human beings.

It’s like a spiritual thing that comes over you. It’s great, and it felt good. Rich, this is the last semi-real question. What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse?

I’m going to have to go with my spirit animal. It is an orangutan. I’d ride it up trees and all this stuff. It would look like my dad or something.

Do you want coconuts or something at it? Isn’t that what orangutans do? I don’t know.

They do it all. They’re smart, kind, and amazing climbers.

I’m looking forward to seeing you right around on your orangutan the next time I see you. Rich, where can people find out more about you? We talked about the book. Pick up The Wise Investor, the Real Wealth Network you mentioned. Where else anything?

That’s an easy one. is our website. Everything is there. A lot of investor resources, the podcast, and the webinars. I’m the only Rich Fettke in the world on social media.

It’s super inspiring, and it’s a wealth of knowledge in the real estate space. Rich, thanks so much for coming on, and we’ll be in touch.

ITF 98 Rich | Financial Freedom
Financial Freedom: Assets are anything that brings you income or more happiness or better health or more time. And a liability is something that takes away from your income or happiness or health or time.


Thanks for having me on. I loved it.

That was Rich Fettke. Z, what’d you think about Rich?

I felt like a creep because I knew all the stories that he was going to tell. When he is like, “There was this episode with Kathy and my daughter,” I was like, “I already listened to that episode.” It’s like when you meet a famous person, and you’re like, “I know way too much about your life.” I was having that experience.

I had known that he had suffered from cancer and came back with a vengeance. I have always known Rich. He is such a great person. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about him. It’s such an inspiring story. It shows what real estate will do in the long term. A lot of you reading are likely in your 20s or 30s. If you can buy and hold these properties, even if they’re house tax that you’re buying once a year, the wealth that you generate over 20 or 30 years is phenomenal.

Don’t be afraid to do the boring stuff. Sit on it, hold it, rent it out and let the wealth build for you because what you have on your side as 20 or 30-something-year-olds is time. Use that to your best advantage. I wouldn’t be trading, retrading, buying, selling, and all that. Hold on to what you got, enjoy your cashflow and live a good life.

On that note, Mr. Money Mustache put out a post, and it’s called Why You’ll Probably Never Run Out of Money. It was such a game changer for me to go in and fill out that spreadsheet because I’m one of those people who tends to worry about stuff. Do I have enough properties? Do I have enough cashflow? Is it going to be okay in the long run?

To do some of those future projections, even if you have a couple of properties, knowing that they’re going to be paid off in 30 years, you’re probably going to be in a good situation. If you worry about money, I highly suggest going checking that out, especially if you’re getting started in your 20s. You’re pretty much good to go because you get to ride out this long horizon of time. You don’t need 100 properties. You’re doing great because you’re here reading this.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. If you like this episode, please leave us a rating and review and share this with your friends because this is how we make the show grow and impact more people’s lives. Someday when we’re all financially independent, we can all be hanging out on a beach together somewhere. Thanks so much for reading. I’ll see you next time.


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About Rich Fettke

ITF 98 Rich | Financial FreedomRich Fettke is the author of The Wise Investor: a modern parable about creating financial freedom and living your best life.

He is a licensed real estate broker, active investor, and co-founder of RealWealth, a real estate investment group that helps its 60,000+ members improve their financial intelligence, secure passive income, and obtain financial freedom.

He’s also the author of Extreme Success (Simon & Schuster, 2002) and the audio program, Momentum.

A pioneer in the field of business and personal coaching, Rich is a former vice president of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and holds one of the ICF’s first Master Certified Coach credentials.

Rich’s work has been featured on TV, radio, and in print including USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.

A passionate adventure athlete, Rich lives in Malibu, California, with his wife Kathy, where they invest, work, and play together.