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Rich Fettke is a huge influencer with an amazing life story.

Rich has been featured in USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Extreme Success, Momentum, and his most recent book, The Wise Investor: A Modern Parable About Creating Financial Freedom and Living Your Best Life. RDA Press, his publisher, lists him as a Rich Dad Author and Wealth Mindset Expert on their website.

With a love for adventure sports, Rich has competed in the ESPN X-Games and is a record-holding bungee jumper, skydiver, rock climber, skier, and surfer.

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Episode Transcription

Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth and Jaren, and you're listening to the REtipster podcast.

Today, we're talking with Rich Fettke. This is our first-time having Rich on the podcast, but we have interviewed his wife, Kathy Fettke on the podcast before. You can hear her episode in episode 118,

Rich is a huge influencer in the real estate space who has a pretty amazing life story, which we'll probably get into and talk about a little bit more of this conversation. Rich has been featured in USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He's the author of a few books, “Extreme Success,” “Momentum,” and his most recent book, “The Wise Investor,” which is a modern parable about creating financial freedom and living your best life.

RDA Press, his publisher, lists him on their website as a Rich Dad Author and Wealth Mindset Expert. With a love for adventure sports, Rich has competed in the ESPN X-Games and is a record-holding bungee jumper, skydiver, rock climber, skier, and surfer. Is there anything this guy hasn't done? That's crazy.

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

Rich Fettke: Thank you. There's something I haven't done. It's to be on this show. So, I'm stoked to be here. Thank you.

Seth: Now you can die a happy man.

Rich Fettke: Right.

Seth: Awesome. So why don't you just tell us your entrepreneurial story? For those who don't know you and don't know your background, how did you get into business, real estate and what are you doing now?

Rich Fettke: Yeah. Well, I'll go way back because business was a little bit different. I never thought I was going to be successful. I was diagnosed learning disabled when I was eight years old. And so, put in those classes with other kids who would be called “a retard class” and everything back in the 70s and tell me I was stupid.

And so, I had this inner gremlin that told me I’d never amount to anything. But I actually got into bodybuilding weight training in my senior year of high school. And that taught me about discipline and focus and goals. It just sounds weird, but it turned my life around. It taught me all about how to structure and have goals and all that stuff.

I applied that to my educational goals. I got a degree in business and then opened up a health club when I was 23. And so, that's where I really learned business and being an entrepreneur. I grew from four employees up to 23 employees. I grew our health club from 8,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet.

So, it was huge for my mindset, for believing that I could actually be successful, to talk to that little inner gremlin and say, “No, I can do this.” And then I sold that when I was 30. I moved to California. That's when I met my amazing wife, Kathy Fettke, and was doing really well with coaching. I got into coaching early in 1995. So, I was coaching people on business and business growth and sales and was doing so well. And coaching was such a new industry. I was elected as the president of the International Coaching Federation and that led to a whole bunch of media placements and a book deal with Simon & Schuster. Everything was going amazing.

And then that's what turned us onto real estate. And why I say that is because it was in desperation. So Kathy probably told the exact origin story, but what happened back then was even though I was on top of my game and feeling great, this thriving coaching practice, a new book deal and everything. I was diagnosed with melanoma and they thought it had spread to my liver. Some of the ultrasound and the CAT scan and everything showed these masses on my liver and a doctor—oncologist actually—said, “You have about six months to live, Rich.”

Seth: Whoa, man.

Rich Fettke: So, Kathy was a stay-at-home mom. She's like “What am I going to do for money?” So, she started to seek out, she started to talk to financially successful people. And not really to our surprise, most of those people who are financially successful had grown their wealth through real estate. So, she's like, this is what I can do. I can get into real estate. And so, she became a mortgage broker. She started to help people with their loans. And then we found out, thankfully, the doctors' diagnosis was wrong. That melanoma had not spread to my liver. So, after a few surgeries, getting the melanoma out of my skin, now I was cancer-free.

But that desperation from Kathy is what turned us onto this thing called real estate investing. And we had a house in the San Francisco Bay area. We did a cash-out refi on that. We went to north of Dallas to a little town called Rockwall. We bought five investment properties and that was just the momentum builder. We started to invest and grow and learn. And then we had friends and families saying, “How are you doing this? How are you investing out of state in Texas?” And so, Kathy and I said, “Let's just form a group of friends and family and show how we're doing this, support each other.” And that little group that we called Real Wealth back in 2003 has grown to now over 64,000 members. So, we've helped a lot of people with real estate investing ever since.

Jaren: If I could hijack the conversation for a minute, I'd really like to go back and just hear your two or three biggest tips on overcoming the gremlin because negative beliefs are a huge obstacle to overcome. So how the heck did you do that? That's huge. Can we just get over that one real quick?

Rich Fettke: Yeah, the gremlin. It’s so true. It’s huge. It is absolutely huge. The gremlin of “You're never going to be successful. You're never going to amount to anything.” I've coached so many people now from CEOs to entrepreneurs, homemakers, and artists, and every single person I've ever coached has this inner voice, has this inner gremlin that is really just trying to protect us from failure, from embarrassment, ridicule, from loss.

And so, yeah, identifying that gremlin is number one. And that's what I learned in coaching. And what helped me with the bodybuilding was to show a different story. To be like, “No, you're telling me I can't succeed in anything, inner gremlin. But no, I can set goals. I'm going to lift this much weight. I'm going to look like this. I'm going to weigh this much.” That was kind of reaffirming.

I think for me, it was finding something physical to overcome that inner voice, but going beyond that, and one I learned in coaching is that inner gremlin, that little voice, it's our subconscious mind. I shouldn't say “just.” It's huge. Our subconscious mind is so much more powerful than our conscious mind. It's about identifying, it's about noticing it.

For me, and one of the things I learned from adventure sports, is dealing with that fear. And so, often that shows up as fear. Don't do it. It's procrastination. That gremlin shows up like, “You better not do this.” For real estate investors that shows up like, “Oh, my parents invested in 2008 and they lost everything. So, I'm not going to invest. I'm going to invest in something else because in real estate, you lose a lot of money.”

It's like that type of inner gremlin. So, it's noticing it. It's checking in. And for me, what I think is the most powerful is just having a noticeable physical sign. For me, when I start getting stressed out or if that gremlin's present, for me, it shows up as clenching my jaw, getting tense, getting stressed out, being a little snappy. And those are all noticeable physical signs for me to say, “Oh wow, this could be my gremlin. This could be my fear.”

And then I just check in. I actually have a conversation because that inner gremlin is so powerful when it's in the dark, it's the puppeteer. It runs the show. But when we just slow down and say, “Okay, I'm clenching my jaw, I’m stressed out. Okay, gremlin.” I close my eyes for a moment, taking a few really deep breaths. And then I get grounded. “Okay, gremlin. I know you are trying to protect me from something. And you are trying to keep me from a loss or whatever happens. What do you need from me here? This is my goal. This is my outcome. What do you need from me right now?”

It's really wild. It sounds kind of woo-woo but it's almost like this inner voice will say, “I need you to know this. I need you to learn this. I need you to connect with this person. I need you to find a mentor, whatever it might be.” It will give an answer that will say, “If you do this, then I'll allow you to move forward. I won't put you into procrastination mode.” So, hopefully, that answers the question, but that's my process and what I've done with my clients.

Jaren: That was a book just in that man. We can end the interview right now. That was a lot to chew on, man. Thank you for that.

Rich Fettke: Okay. See ya.

Seth: That whole thing you're saying about noticing it, man, it feels like it's half the battle at least because there are so many things that I walk around believing as though it's true, when there's no reason to believe that is a fact. I don't even really know where it comes from. There are just these ideas in my head. I don’t know if it just comes from my own brain or if I heard it from somewhere else and it entered my head and you're like, “Well, that's my identity. That's who I am.” Even just feeling anxiety about weird things that you shouldn't feel about, for some reason it's there and just having the presence of mind and notice, “Hey, this isn't normal. That's not right. Let's unpack this a little bit.” And that it almost takes a bit of introspection or something where you can almost stand outside of yourself and look at yourself and be like, “What I'm doing, does that make sense right now? Let's think about this more.” And most people don't do that. They are a slave to their thoughts and do all kinds of crazy things because of misguided ideas in their head.

Jaren: It's funny what you guys are touching on right now. I think the biggest thing that's helped with, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was a kid and similar to you, Rich, I was in those kind of special education classes and what-have-you. And one of the things that helped me the most to figure out how to acclimate to society was what you guys are talking about, separating the “me” versus the thought or impulse. That there is an observer of life and feelings and emotions and everything. And cultivating that distinction is really what kind of helped me overcome when my body would get flooded with impulse or hyperactivity or whatever. I'd be able to shut it down that way.

And it's funny that you mentioned woo-woo, because I think a lot of people, they want to be practical, right? They're listening to the podcast. They're like, “I just want to make money and invest in real estate. And I don't want to have time for this mindset stuff, whatever. I just want numbers or whatever it is.”

But it is a funny correlation. The most successful people that I have ever interviewed or heard of, or been exposed to, all talk about this mindset stuff and the spiritual stuff. So there has to be something to it. If enough successful people are doing it, there's probably some reason.

Rich Fettke: Yeah. Honestly, I think it comes down to being effective. I think it's a huge part of it because when you are not aware of that mindset and that gremlin take running the show, you don't even know it. You're checked out. You're just like, “I just want to look at my cash-on-cash returns. I want to look at my IRR and this is all I want to focus on.”

That little voice or big voice in the background is having you be less effective. It's having you stressed, worried. You're making investing decisions based on fear instead of logic. So yeah, I think it's huge to identify it. I agree that the most successful investors that we've seen in our network and the most successful friends that I have in real estate are the ones who do actually take time every day to get grounded, to journal, to meditate, whatever it may be for them or even walking. Some of my best friends are going out and walking. The Stoics said it right 2,000 years ago. “Go for a walk.”

Jaren: I just started walking two times a day, roughly like at least three to five times a week. And it has completely changed the game for any kind of mental health. I've gone through some pretty intense and stressful situations lately, but I was able to navigate the waters because when you walk, at least for me, something happens where I detach from the urgency and the pressure of work and life. I'm like, “Oh, it's not that important. Life is bigger than just my computer screen.” And when I don't walk, I get really like tunnel vision and get caught up in making mountains out of a molehill.

Rich Fettke: Awesome. That is really powerful.

Seth: I’m curious about this cancer diagnosis thing that you went through. I've known a handful of people who've gone through that at a pretty young age, like in their thirties or younger. And that's one of those things I think about, like what would my brain do if that happened to me? Would I just freak out? What would I do? And it sounds like such a scary thing. And for somebody who's been through it and it's sounded like there was a point at which it was very serious. I don't know what stage it was in it, but it sounds like you were going to die. It's what you thought at one point.

How did that shape you as a person? Did that change anything about your direction or just your thought process? I don't know, even your meaning and the meaning of life? Anything like that for you?

Rich Fettke: It's a whole bunch of things. A whole bunch of things happened. And yeah, I was literally with an oncologist and he had my folder and he read it over and looked up and he looked at me very seriously. And he's like, “It looks like it spread to your liver and I'm really sorry, but you probably have about six months to live.” It was like the real deal. I remember going out, getting in my car, I was alone and punching my steering wheel and crying. Yeah, I went through that. The fear, the anger, all that. I went home with tears in my eyes and told Kathy and she was in shock. She didn't believe it. She's like, “No, no, cancer is not going to kill you.” It was just a trippy time.

And I had to do some soul searching, really. 80% of the time I was like, “I'm going to be fine. I'm going to survive this. Everything is going to be OK.” But 20% of the time I was like, “Oh my God, I have a 10-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old daughter.” I remember bouncing on a trampoline with my 3-year-old daughter and fell down and she fell down on top of me and we were giggling and laughing and I just had this wave of realization that I might not see her grow up. And I just broke down and she's like, “Papa, what's the matter? Are you hurt?”

And so, yeah, it was real. It really got me. But then Kathy actually booked. When we talk about woo-woo, Kathy booked a session with this guy who calls himself a spiritual healer. And I told him that same thing. I said 20% of the time I feel like I'm going to die. And he looks at me really seriously. And he’s like, “I never want to hear that from you again and never say that. Do not entertain that thought from now on. You believe that you're going to be 100% cancer-free. You're going to be fine.”

And I got a little angry, like “How dare you tell me how to think or feel?” But I slept on it. And the next day I was like, “You know what? That's a really good point. That 20% is getting nowhere.” And I did have that shift. So, after that point I made this shift of, “No, from now on, I'm just going to believe 100% that I'm going to be fine, whenever that little voice comes in and says, you're going to die, I'm like, no, I'm not.” And it was huge. It was really huge.

And now that shows up in so many things. The big shift for me, like you were asking about what is the big shift, for me, it was zero stress on the little stuff. We invested in a project in Nicaragua and lost all our money. I invested all my IRA into it and lost all our money. And I was able to process that and instead of getting mad at you, I was just like, “You know what? I’m still alive. I’m still here with my family and the people I love.” So, that was the biggest shift for me. It’s like, “Don't sweat the small stuff.” It really had a powerful impact on me over the years, to not get stressed out over the little stuff because I'm here.

Seth: Yeah. I was actually talking to my chiropractor about a month ago. He's actually helped me out a lot with certain issues I've had with my neck. But he was telling me something interesting. He said when he was in chiropractor school, whatever they call that. There was a class he had to take where they have to study some of just the worst degenerative diseases around. Just terrible things like where people's bones fuse together and their whole body is in pain and all this stuff. And he said that for whatever reason, about 20% of the people who would take that class start experiencing the symptoms of those diseases as they're studying it, because it's like in their head and they're thinking about it. I don't know if they're thinking consciously, what if this happens to me or what? But there is something about just the ideas that we allow into our mind. They can totally have a physical impact on us, I think. So maybe there's something to that, the way you were thinking,

Rich Fettke: Right. Yeah. It's like the danger of starting having this weird pain and you start to Google it. It’s like, oh, I shouldn’t be Googling this, right? Like, no, get away.

Jaren: Guys, I want to get a little granular on this. I know we haven't really talked much real estate yet, but I think I would regret not asking this. In the moment, when you are in the battle of fear or anger or pick your fill, how do you shut down and not react? Because it's easy for us when we're level-headed, got some good coffee, got some good sleep last night to be sitting here. If we could just control ourselves, that'd be great. But I think that's the biggest issue of humanity since the beginning of time is like, how do you dissect this gremlin that seems to want to sabotage? When you're in that moment, what's your advice? You're flooded with that emotion and it's very overwhelming and you feel helpless. How do you overcome it?

Rich Fettke: I think the best technique that works best for me that I've seen works so well for others is breathing. And it sounds really simple and really basic, but I got totally into it, like why does this work so well? And I studied it and this is one of the lessons I wove into “The Wise Investor” book story was about breathing. The mentor constantly is just like “Breathe.”

And he constantly says that to his mentee because what happens when we breathe deeply, and we breathe deep down into our belly, it stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs all the way from the brain down to the gut and the diaphragm stimulates the vagus nerve. And what that does is it sends the signal up to our prefrontal cortex of our brain. And that affects our heart rate variability.

And heart rate variability is huge for improving your confidence, feeling more grounded, feeling more centered. So, there's actually a physical change that we can do. And sometimes it only takes like two, three deep breaths, like eight seconds in, hold it for a second, eight seconds out or 10 seconds out. And you start to stimulate that vagus nerve and you start to feel more confident. It works whether you're going to go up and give a keynote speech, you're about to give a sales presentation, you're stressing out. You're about to ask someone on a date. It works the same. So that's what works for me. I think it's just amazing, the power of breathing.

Seth: I think there is a physical and a mental component to it. And what Rich just said is probably that physiological element, which I totally believe that works and that's effective. For me, on the mental side of things, if we're talking about just thought stopping, for me, if there's ever a thought I need to stop, it's usually related to anxiety. Like I'm freaking out about something or something's going to fall apart.

What I try to do is sort of twofold that's going to kind of combine into one. But I think of the worst thing that could ever happen. Like what am I really afraid of? And I accept it. Whatever that thing is, just accept it. Because the minute I accept that, the tension's gone, I've already accepted it. It's like a part of me doesn't like that as the solution, because I don't want to accept it, but if the goal is to just stop anxiety, then just stop fighting it. And the reality is that thing most likely is not going to happen. But even if it does, it's still okay, life still goes on. And me just worrying about it is not going to solve anything. So, there's that component of it.

But also, as a Christian and just thinking about my worldview of who God is in relation to me. And I remember that God doesn't owe me anything. The one who made volcanoes or if you don't believe in God, the universe that made volcanoes doesn't owe me anything. I'm this little nothing, speck of nothing in the universe. And who's to say I deserve any good thing? And if I do get a good thing, that's awesome. That's great. But it's not like there's some harsh injustice done to me just because things don't pan out the way that I want them to.

And I think that comes down to a person's expectations of how the universe works. And in my view, for me to just think “I deserve all this wonderful stuff,” it just doesn't really add up to me, because I don't. There are lots of people in worse situations than me that didn't do anything to get there and look where I am. Anyway, just kind of a worldview thing.

Rich Fettke: Yeah. Gratefulness works really well. Focusing on grateful. But what you did there, it's a technique that we actually learned in coach training and it's called “bottoming out.” So, what you did naturally there is what we've been trained to do, you actually take a client who is freaking out and they'll worry, and you say, “Okay, so let's just play a little game here. That inner voice, or that fear is saying what? If this doesn't work out, what is this saying to you?”

And then you kind of go all the way down. It's like, “Well, then I'll lose my job.”

“Okay, and then what?”

“Then I won't be able to get another job.”

“Okay, and then what?”

“I would be homeless on the streets.”

“Okay, and then what?”

“My wife and kids are going to leave me because I’m this homeless guy.”

And all of a sudden, they get to a point and then they laugh. They get to a point where they are like “Oh, my God. This is so ridiculous. This is not going to happen.” But it's actually good to go all the way down and bottom out to that worst fear. And then you realize that it's actually ridiculous.

Seth: Yeah.

Rich Fettke: That's cool. That's cool that you do that.

Seth: Definitely. So, let's talk about “The Wise Investor,” this book you've got, you've been working on. There are a lot of different financial and investing books out there. What is yours about and how is yours different?

Rich Fettke: Yeah, there are a lot of great, amazing real estate books. I read a lot of them. The Wise Investor is different because it's a parable; it's a story. And the reason I wrote a story is because I wanted to write a book that people would finish. I read a wild statistic that 86% of people who start a non-fiction book do not finish it. And being the author of a non-fiction book 20 years ago, I was like, “Oh, I want people to finish this whole thing. That's my intention.” So, I wrote a compelling story that emotionalize the information.

So, it's not a how-to book on investing. It's not a how-to book on personal discipline or anything. And that is exactly what Robert Kiyosaki wrote before me, which is a blessing. And in that forward, he writes about that. And he's like, this is not a how-to book. This is a book that's going to create an emotional change in you. And it's going to have you see things in different ways when it comes to finances and investing and life. So that was my goal with this book. It was to write a story, a parable that actually takes the reader along on a journey that just kind of sucks you in a really addicting way. You want to read the pages.

And the cool thing, I've heard a lot of feedback from readers who said “I read it in one sitting. I read it on one flight.” And that's exactly what I was hoping to do. So that's how it's different than most of the other how-to books.

Jaren: What would you say are the top three to five high-level principles that the story highlights?

Rich Fettke: Huge pieces around time. And it's about how wealthy people think. And the mentor describes it to the mentee. And the mentee is this guy whose name is Ryan Brooks. He's this hardworking family man. He's making his solid six figures. He's maxing out his 401(k). He's got a wife, a couple kids, but he has no time for his family, no time for his life and he's not putting his money to work for him. He's what they call HENRY - A High Earner Not Rich Yet Person.

Though he's making good money, he's not investing and his money is not making money. And the only way he feels he can get ahead is to work more hours and climb the corporate ladder. And so, he realizes that that's just not going to work. And so, this new friend and mentor he meets is experienced, he's wise, he's the wise investor. He's an investor, especially in real estate, and owns his own businesses.

And he goes over some of these principles about how wealthy people think versus poor people think. And not just financially. One of them is the way he describes assets. I think Robert Kiyosaki did an awesome job with assets and liabilities in “Rich Dad Poor Dad” in the financial sense. In this, the mentor takes it another step further. It's a little bit more holistic. So, the mentor says, “An asset is anything that creates income or better health or more happiness or more time in your life. And a liability is just the opposite. It's something that takes away from your income. It takes away from your health or your happiness or your time.”

That's one of the principles that I actually just love because it allows us to compartmentalize these things. Is this thing adding to my life? Is this an asset? Is this bringing me more happiness? Is this going to bring me more time? Investing or hiring this person, is it going to bring me more time? Then, yeah, that's an asset. You hear in business people are the greatest assets. Things like that.

That's one of the big principles. And then going back to the thing around how wealthy people think versus poor people think, different than rich people and poor people. And I've lived in Malibu, California, and there's a lot of money. There's a lot of money around. And some of these people with a lot of money are really happy, and getting the most out of life and spending time with the people they love. And some of the people are grumpy and miserable and they have all this money, so they're poor in life.

And so, the mentor describes that. He says just like the old saying, “Some people are so poor that all they have is money.” And so, it's this holistic approach to investing wisely, investing in yourself, investing in business, investing in real estate. And so, there is some how-to in that, the basics, the overall basics of real estate. So, most of your listeners who are investors who would be reading “The Wise Investor” are kind of singing to the choir, they are preaching to choir, they’d be nodding, ”Yeah, I'm doing this, I'm doing this.”

But it opens up our eyes to a little bit more beyond that, about how wealthy people think without envy. Poor people tend to operate through envy. They look at someone with money and they say, “How do they get that money? I bet they did it in some crooked way or something like that. Or it's not fair.” And wealthy people look at someone who's successful and they say, “Wow, that's inspiring. I want to do that same thing. That person is awesome. They're making a difference.” So, that's just one. There are a couple of the principles in the book.

Jaren: It's interesting on that point you just made. I don't know how to truly articulate this well, but I'm going to do my best to keep it concise. It seems like there's a certain threshold of the ultra-wealthy thinking a certain way and then kind of like the lower-tier or like mid-tier wealthy think a certain way, I notice. Because as I've been kind of coming up through the ranks and gaining more wealth and so on, I notice some people in my circle who've been in my life for years, there's a competitive edge to entrepreneurs I've noticed that I don't really necessarily have, because I don't know if I'm like a cut from the cloth entrepreneur, even though I am one, when you meet somebody who really has that entrepreneur mind and they're just like born with it. Yeah. They seem to have that competitive edge where if somebody's getting results in some area, they kind of like, “Ah, I want to beat this guy.”

So, where's the line between using that competitive edge as fuel versus having it become a negative place? Because I know it can be fuel, but I just don’t know where the line is.

Rich Fettke: I think it really comes down to people are people. And so, if someone earns a lot of money, they become financially successful. There's that person who is always operated from a place of giving of “We're all in this together, we're doing this together” and they give back, they donate, they contribute. It's really just balanced as a human being.

And then you got the people who started off with that kind of competitive. It's more about them. And so, yeah, to your point, I think as we earn more money, I've seen that especially after over the last 20 years where Kathy and I created a good amount of wealth and seeing a lot of other people create a good amount of wealth and seeing the difference in how people operate. So, when I speak to it in the book and the way the mentor is talking about it, he's speaking to that wealthy person that I aspire to be and that I look up to.

And so, yeah, definitely there are people who are still selfish and still about them. They don't give, they don't tip and all that. So, I guess my purpose in the book, or my purpose in life really is helping people become the best versions of themselves. And when I did that in coaching, it's like helping people live their best lives, being their best selves and everything. I think that's what I allude to with the principle in the book is around how wealthy people think. I'm kind of speaking to the wealthy people that I hope there's more of in this world, the wealthy people who give and care and focus on time. They want more time in their lives because they want to do something great with that time. And it's not just about accumulation or how they look or anything like that.

And that's why we called our company Real Wealth. It was all about being real, being authentic. It was about Real Wealth is having the money, but also the freedom to live life on your own terms. So, way back in 2003, we said we're going to be the anti-guru company. We are not going to have gurus come in and speak in front of the room and

do the sales type. We just want to keep it real, make our education for free and we are going to help people spend their money and invest their money in real estate on non-expensive courses. So, yeah, it’s very interesting that you bring that up.

Seth: The mentor in your story has an unconventional perspective on debt. Can you tell us more about that?

Rich Fettke: Yeah. He looks at debt as there's good debt and bad debt. We know this. A lot of the story is principles for people who really haven’t seen that or haven’t looked at that way about how debt can be good.

So, I wanted to speak to some of the Dave Ramsey’s followers about how debt can actually be good when you get a higher return on your debt, a higher return than your debt is costing you. And I think it's just a huge mindset shift. I think in America, especially America, we are a little bit brainwashed or hypnotized around when people say, “Are you an investor?” Even the title, “The Wise Investor,” people think it's about investing in Wall Street and the Wall Street casino in stocks. And Kathy and I invest in stocks, but it's such a small part of our portfolio. Our focus is on real estate because we've seen all those benefits of real estate investing.

So that's a huge part about that unconventional perspective on debt is that debt can be a really good thing if you use it wisely. And he talks about the power of leverage and how you can 5X your return on your investment and where you can't do that with any other investments. Where else can you go into a bank and say, “Hey, I want to buy this asset. I want you to pay 80% of it. But I want all the depreciation write-offs. I want all the appreciation gain.” It's like, where else can you do that? I think that's the huge part about debt. Yeah.

Jaren: My wife's from Kazakhstan. So, I'm exposed to just vicariously through a lot of foreign nationals. And that's something that makes is that I'm super thankful for in America is the options we have when it comes to financing. Like 3.5% down is unreal. No one has ever even heard of that when it comes to like an FHA loan, that's a crazy town. And 10% down is a crazy town, but those loan products exist. So, it's just a huge opportunity. And again, going back to your point, remember to be grateful that sometimes we can get overwhelmed with leads and the hustle and the pursuit of everything, but we should be very thankful for the opportunity to work because there are others out there that aren't as fortunate.

Rich Fettke: I love that perspective. Another one is the 30-year mortgage. I talked to other foreign people or people in other countries I should say. And they're like, “You guys have 30-year mortgages?” They're blown away at it. So yeah, there's a lot to be grateful for here as an investor.

Seth: Are the characters in this book based on real people? Where did you get the inspiration for the story exactly?

Rich Fettke: Yeah. Definitely based on real people. Not exactly. It's their kind of combination. And so, it's a fictional story, but definitely based on real-world events. The mentor is my future self, if I turn out really good and really wise and very successful. So constantly I was looking at, “What would the mentor say here? What would he ask? What question would he have or what advice would he have?” At some times, I would literally go visit my future self and be like, “Okay, this is me in 20 years. What am I like? What would I say? What would I do here?”

So, it's based on real people, especially people from our network. We have 64,000 people in our network and seeing the ones who really succeed and come into it and say, “This is what I want to do.” We always ask when people first come in and they sit with one of our investment counselors, the investment counselors are like “Where do you want to be in 20 years?” They start there. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you want to be in three years?”

And they actually coach and come back and then they help them come up with a game plan through that. A lot of those people we've seen and when we've interviewed them after, people who've been in our network for almost 20 years that we've been in business. It's like talking to them and saying “Where were you? What was the shift for you to say I'm going to change my life and I'm going to start investing, I’m going to go after these goals?” Then what did you do? And then where did you end up and where are you today?

A lot of those lessons that I’ve learned from interviewing folks have kind of wove into the story of Ryan Brooks, his wife Carissa, John Weiss, the mentor, his wife, all that. Yeah. Including the mean boss at work. Definitely some of my experiences, like, “Oh, I don’t want to work for someone like that ever again.”

Seth: Yeah. Is it just a coincidence that the village idiot was named Seth Williamson in your book? I'm just kidding.

Rich Fettke: Whoa.

Seth: You do have an audiobook version of this, right? Is that going to come out soon?

Rich Fettke: Yeah. There is an audiobook coming out with the hard copy in August. That was an interesting one because I had so many people say, “No, you have to narrate it. You have to do the book.” And I'm like, “Yeah, but this is a parable. There are 10 different characters.”

Seth: Oh, yeah.

Rich Fettke: Men and kids. So, what I did is, I signed up for a couple courses on voice acting.

Seth: Wow.

Jaren: Nice.

Rich Fettke: We'll see when it comes out, how the reviews are. I'll see how I did. I think I did okay. We'll see.

Seth: Man, I got to listen up. I've got a separate kid’s story podcast where I've been working on my own voices. So, I'm actually really interested to listen and critique you when I hear that.

Rich Fettke: I welcome the feedback, I think.

Seth: No, I'm sure you did great.

Jaren: I actually wanted to ask Rich something about goals. I want to know your take on hardcore goal emphasis versus atomic habits, if you're familiar with that concept. There's a book where pretty much he's like if you just pretty much focus on establishing a really good daily checklist, your goals will be hit regardless if you have them set or not. So, you might as well just build a system around healthy things that lead to a good end.

I've also found that was a really helpful mindset shift for me but I also found practically, it's just easier to have targets. Like what am I aiming toward if I'm aiming at nothing. So, I'm just curious what your advice would be on. Are you the type of person who's like “Set a goal and then 10X it. And even if you only hit 60% of it, you reach for the moon, at least you hit the stars.” Or are you kind of like, “No, it's still practical things and have it become more try to focus more on habit versus the end game?”

Rich Fettke: It's a big one to me. It's a big one to me. I've been so into this ever since those early days of bodybuilding about getting hooked and Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, and all these things, learning about goals. And I've done the full-on detailed goals, breaking it down to the little steps and I've done just kind of loosey-goosey, just set an intention for the year or something.

It really depends on the person. Some people are way more OCD and when they break it down, it is way more scientific. And some people, like my wife Kathy, are way more flowy. So, she just likes intention.

With that said, the Greeks called it telos. We are teleological beings that need a target. Having that target. Telos means target. As human beings we need to know where we're going, we have to have a purpose and a drive moving toward something. So, the day-to-day, just only measuring that, I think will leave us not fulfilled and not happy.

I'm totally into Tal Ben-Shahar. He wrote a book called “Happier” and he's a university professor at Harvard. He has the most attended class at Harvard in all of Harvard's history and it's about happiness. Tal Ben-Shahar, his book is “Happier.” I highly recommend it.

And what he and his students researched over the years and have found what truly brings human beings happiness is having a goal, having something that you're moving toward and getting better and progressing. But it just has to be something that you're seeing, something that you're like, “This is where I want to be.” And he relates it to a mountain. It's really cool. So, he says happiness is not about the goal or the top of the mountain. And it's also not about meandering aimlessly around the mountain. Happiness is the pursuit of the goal on top of the mountain and enjoying your way on the way there.

So, it's cool. It's just like James Clear from Atomic Habits. It's like, make sure that you're moving along and you're making progress to what's important to you. And also make sure that you're clear on the top of the mountain. What is that for you?

And I've seen that with our company too. When we set an intentional mission, we say, “Here's our mission for the next three years.” It rallies the truth. It brings people together. We're like, “Yeah, we're doing this. We're moving forward tracking it. We're measuring, and we know we're getting there.” That brings a lot of happiness, a lot of team connection, a lot of fulfillment.

So, I think it's important to have both. To have the intention of where you want to go and clarity around that. And then just breaking down those little daily actions. That's one of the quotes that the mentor puts in the first journal he gives to the mentee. He writes down this thing from Rick Hanson and says, “If you take care of the days, the years will take care of themselves.”

Seth: Yeah. It makes sense.

Jaren: A quick follow-up to that. I think Seth will like this question, because we've had a lot of conversation back and forth around this subject. Using the public as a means of accountability. So, sharing your goals. And Seth will know firsthand I've had many rounds of trying, the key people in my life that I highly respect, I've tried to leverage them as motivation and accountability. To no avail, it totally didn't work. Every single time, I totally gave it up. But I would have different rounds throughout the years of reporting scorecards to keep people in my life that I thought would like their disapproval of me not fulfilling my habit would make a difference. Totally didn't work for me.

But I'm just curious, based on your experience and your thoughts, do you think it's helpful to publicize, like some people say, “Tell everyone your goals” because then you're actualizing it with your words and then you're actually having to keep yourself accountable because otherwise you're going to look crazy.

Other people say, “Don't tell anybody about your goals, keep it completely close to your chest. And then only tell people when it's already done what's happened retro accurately.” So, what's your take on that? Which route would you suggest is more advantageous?

Rich Fettke: I think it comes down to, just like real estate investing, it depends. People say, is this a good market? “It depends.” Is this a good investment? “It depends.” It's the same thing with this. It really depends on who you're and how you operate. You guys might know Adam Adams.

Jaren: I know him actually.

Rich Fettke: Real estate investor. So, Adam did that thing recently where he said by my birthday, I want a six-pack. And put pictures on Facebook every week of his progress. And it totally worked for him. That’s why he needed that public accountability. It worked great, it was awesome and it was inspiring for a lot of people who watched that process.

Some people they're more private and they don't have to do that. However, accountability is really important. So, for me, I'm not the public accountability type where I put it out there and say “Hey everyone” and all that. It's almost like my gremlin latches that and says, “Oh well, you are going to let them down anyway.”

So, it really depends on the person. But what works for me is having my own coach. I have had my own coach since 1995. Different coaches over the years. The coach I’m with now I’ve been with for 14 years. I talked to him every other Friday. We do a 50-minute coaching call. But the power of that accountability for me is he just holds up the mirror. And when it comes to accountability, he's just like, “How did it go with this?” And I'm like, I didn't get, didn't do it or whatever. And he’s like “Okay, what happened? What got in the way?” And he takes a look kind of like behind the curtain, why didn't I do it? What would work better? What would be more effective? And it’s not judgment. He doesn't make me wrong, but he's just like, “Okay, that didn't work. What might work? What would you like to try?”

And over the years that we've coached together, I found ways to be held accountable and to do what is most important to me and to do what I'm going to say I'm going to do by setting up these little structures and little systems that work for me. So, for me, accountability is absolutely vital. Without the accountability, I've gone for six months without a coach to say let's see how this goes. And it's like, I come right back to coach saying I know I need this accountability because it's so easy to justify and rationalize why we don't do what's best for us. But it's harder to justify and rationalize things when someone is there holding the mirror up and you just look in the mirror saying, “Oh man, I'm just with myself right now. So, I have to find a different way to accomplish this.”

Seth: Yeah, I gotcha. So, you say there's no such thing as self-made success. I think I know what you mean by that, but what do you mean by that? Just to clarify.

Rich Fettke: Yeah. I would think you would know what that means in the sense of that. You hear so many people, especially like a reporter, tell a story about someone “She's a self-made success or he's a self-made success.” And I understand that. It's like they started at the bottom and they did.

But the people that I've met that are really successful, they always talk about the other person in their life or people in their life that help them get there. The mentor or the group of people, or the best friend or the spouse or something like that. And the reason I wanted to weave that into the story about there's no such thing as a self-made success is because when we come from that place, like I'm going to be a self-made success. We close our eyes to that. Dan Sullivan's “Who Not How.” Instead of looking at who can help us get there, we just get stuck on the “how.” When you're like, “I'm going to be a self-made success. I don't need anyone else's help. I'm going to do this on my own.” And we make things more difficult for ourselves. We make things harder. When you come from the place of, “Oh, there's no such thing as self-made success” then you come from that filter of, “Okay, who in my life can help me get there? Who can help hold me accountable? Who can support me? Who can be a mentor in real estate investing who's done it, has been there, done that, help guide me?”

That's the main thing. It's almost a mantra that I say to myself, “Rich, there is no such thing as a self-made success, ask for help.” Because that's been a weakness of mine. It's like asking for help, asking for support, asking for accountability and all that. So that's why that's just an important one.

Jaren: Twice in this conversation I feel like you've touched on humility without calling it out explicitly. When you were told “Don't ever say that 20% of the time you feel like you're going to die and you're hopeless” and that kind of thing, you got mad, but then you humbled out and listened to him and reaped the benefits of that truth. And the same thing happened in what you just mentioned. And I've noticed, especially as of late that a lot of success is painful as it is, man, because I’m not going to lie. To be humble, to take the high road, it sucks sometimes, man. It really does. It's not fun. Sometimes it just feels so much better to Hulk-smash and go punch a hole in the wall or something. But it doesn't serve, right? It doesn't do anything.

I think (and correct me if I'm wrong, and I’d love your feedback and insight, your thoughts on this, but…) one of the keys to actually getting breakthrough in success across all spectrums, whether it's financial, spiritual, physical, whatever, it's being humble enough to be like, “Yeah, I kind of suck at this. I'm a novice. I'm not very good.” And when people who are more successful than you give you feedback, even though it hurts, you got to kind of “Thank you, appreciate it.”

Because they actually are kind of giving you a little bit of a whip-in for your own benefit. It doesn't serve them. They're successful. They don't need to tell you anything. But if they actually care about you, they give you negative or constructive feedback, that humility I think is key. So, I love that you brought that up.

Rich Fettke: Awesome. I agree. A hundred percent. Yeah. I grew up in Boston and there was a certain sense of you don't want to show that. It almost felt like weakness. It's like, “No, no I got this.” Almost like Good Will Hunting. You know what I mean? There's toughness in everything. And then I moved to California. It was a really different vibe. And then that is something that I've really had to work on, that humility and to not act of, “No, I've got it all together” and be able to admit that “No, I need to grow here or this is where I'm weak.”

And something happens when you do that, when you can admit your weaknesses or your mistakes without a loss of strength, I think it builds strength. It's like, “I've got this. I'm really good here. And this is where I'm strong. This is my gift. And this is where I really need to work on.” I think it's actually empowering.

Jaren: I love it.

Seth: Awesome. Well, at the end of every interview, well, in some of them when we have time, we ask three final questions of our guests. So, question number one is what is your biggest fear?

Rich Fettke: Well, it's kind of morbid, but it's losing my daughters. Yeah. That's my biggest fear. It's like that weird morbid thought of just like, “Get out of my head.” That’s my biggest one. I’m flipping that over and it shows that they are the most important thing in the world to me.

Seth: Yeah. No, I get that too, man. It's really weird. It's totally irrational. There's no reason to think that that would happen, but it's just such a horrible thing. I don't know. Just plagues me sometimes, but I can relate.

Rich Fettke: Yeah. Yeah. It's like “Get out of my head, get out of my head.”

Seth: I know. I know. Seriously. So, what are you most proud of?

Rich Fettke: What am I most proud of? I'm going to say the person that I've become, honestly. I've really grown a lot over the years. And just to your point about humility, I'm really proud of the person I've become as far as giving and focused out and being able to manage my emotions, not snap at people, really seek to understand. So, I'm going to go with that one.

Jaren: I love it.

Seth: Awesome.

Jaren: What is the most important lesson you've ever learned?

Rich Fettke: The most important lesson I've ever learned is to be curious. Be curious. It just always serves me in business, in investing, with my daughters, with my wife. I'm actually going to get a small question mark tattooed on my wrist, my only tattoo, just as my reminder to be curious. Be curious about other people, be curious about the situation. It just always serves.

Seth: Yeah. I love that, man. Yeah, everybody is a teacher. Even people that you wouldn't expect know something that you don't all the time. Sometimes it's kids that know something you don't know.

Rich Fettke: Right, yeah.

Seth: Always having that humility and be ready to learn. That's a huge thing.

Jaren: Hey Rich, before I jump off the show, just for the show notes’ sake, where would you suggest people go to get a business coach or life coach? Because obviously, you would be a really good resource for that.

Rich Fettke: Absolutely, sure. There's the International Coach Federation. The International Coach Federation has a coach referral service. They're a nonprofit largest coach organization in the world. And then where I was trained is Co-Active, That's the coach and training institute and they have phenomenal coaches too.

When I went to get my last coach, I went there because I know that it's a Socratic method of coaching. It's about being curious. It's about drawing out. It's about holding the client's agenda, not teaching them or telling them what to do. It's very much about pulling out their excellence and their next steps and all that.

Seth: Gotcha. And if people want to learn more about you, is it Is that where to go or any other place they should check on?

Rich Fettke: Yeah, is our organization and company we've had since 2003. And then “The Wise Investor” book is available at any major bookseller, Amazon.

Seth: Awesome. Sounds good. Yeah, we will link to all of that stuff in the show notes for this episode at because this is episode 137.

So, there we have it, folks. That was our conversation with Rich. I hope you guys enjoyed that. Did you have any closing or parting thoughts, Jaren?

Jaren: Yeah, I did actually. I feel like one of the things we did not do a good job of in this interview was playing devil's advocate because we talked about where is the line between positive thinking and manifesting your future, whatever, versus practically there are physical limitations. Like I'm not going to become an NBA player tomorrow. That's not going to happen probably for the rest of my life, given where I'm at being 31, whatever. Probably it is not in the cards, but I could get a basketball. I could maybe become a little league coach or something if I really loved basketball. But I don't know, there is a line. I just don't know where that is. And there are some things where if we were to just walk away from the interview and leave it without this commentary, I feel like it would be misleading.

Seth: Well, let's be unfair and push back now that is not here and can't respond to it. What did you disagree with?

Jaren: Yeah. It's not that I disagreed with him. And I think he would agree as well, but there is a certain level of… I mean you were probably the most instrumental person in my life, funny enough in this regard. You taught me a lot, you kind of helped me. I was a diamond in the rough. I’m still a diamond in the rough but I think you helped teach me the final touches of what it is to be a professional. Like you can't go to conferences in PJs and sweatpants and stuff.

So, there is a line. There is a certain degree of feedback on how my writing was when I first came to the team at REtipster compared to when I left. When I first started, it was very informal and grammar mistakes everywhere. And I still have a lot of room for improvement. I think by the time I left, I was much more concise and much more formal and better. And you helped me get that next level of polish and professionalism. And I think there is a piece to that. Like you can't go show up to a meeting with a seller and a buyer dressed in looking like a bum or carry yourself like you don't know what you're talking about because no one will take you seriously. So, there's a fine line. You can't just have nice thoughts and think it's going to happen. You have to kind of combine it with pragmatic stuff as well.

Seth: Yeah. It's weird the things you learn about life the older you get. Because I remember when I was in my early twenties, I didn't get any of that stuff either. I just kind of thought it was dumb. Why do we have to play this game as humans where we have to dress up nice and talk the right way? And why don't you just get it? Why don’t they just accept me? But I know the older you get and the more you experience people who don't get it and how that comes across, it's like, oh yeah, I guess it does sort of make sense to have this standard that everybody can understand and expect and predict and just winging it and not knowing the rules isn't going to fly. That's going to have lots of problems in life if I continue doing that.

And I remember people had to have hard conversations with me about that. And in the moment, I was kind of offended and annoyed by it, but in hindsight it's like, yeah, you are kind of right. I was kind of young and dumb and didn't understand it, but I get it now.

Jaren: The problem is the older I get the more young and dumb I realize I am.

Seth: Yeah. Well, that's a lot of people who get PhDs, that's what they'll tell you. What I'm learning is how much I don't actually know. The more and more you specialize in something, the more you understand how much there is to know and how much you can never know.

Jaren: Mystery, I think is helpful to get accustomed to because there's a lot of life, a lot of mystery in life.

Seth: Yeah. I didn't even think of that, but I think you're right in terms of the pushback or whatever we want to call it. Just kind of diving deeper into that and understanding, “Where is the line?” Because it's not just about thoughts. There are certain realities that we all have to deal with, whether we think positively about it or not. Usually, I'm good at catching that stuff, but I guess I totally missed it on this one. I'm glad you brought it up, but I guess we'll have to have Rich back again, episode number two to talk just about that.

Jaren: Yeah.

Seth: Yeah. A good question. Let's see here. We haven't done this in a while. We haven't had time. A lot of our interviews have gone super long, so we've had to cut it short, but I'm starting to lose track of which ones of these we've already asked. So, hopefully, I'm not doing a repeat one here.

Jaren: I think it's okay if we do repeat ones because things change over time. If you were to ask me today what I'm afraid of most, it would be very different than what I've answered in the past. We evolve and change.

Seth: Unless it's a question like what was your earliest memory? Because that probably won't change.

Jaren: That’s true.

Seth: But I hear you. Okay. So, what is the most fun trip you've ever taken? Have I asked that one?

Jaren: No.

Seth: Okay.

Jaren: Well, you go first because I'm thinking through.

Seth: Yeah, for me, I think I would have to say when I was in high school, I was lucky enough to be in a special choir and we took a trip to Brazil.

Jaren: That's cool.

Seth: And that was amazing, to be in high school and have that kind of opportunity to go to the other part of the world and just experience different cultures. And that was just a very, very cool thing. As an adult though, probably going to Hawaii was my favorite trip.

Jaren: I've never been to Hawaii.

Seth: That's a really special place. We went to Kauai and Oahu. Didn't make it to the other islands, but man, it's just an amazing place. I get why people want to get over there and it's kind of hard to get there. But if you can get there, it's pretty sweet.

Jaren: It's funny that you brought that up because I didn't even think about mission trip type or traveling overseas. I didn't even think about it. I was thinking more like road trips, and I was like, oh man, most of my road trip memories are of people who are annoyed and tired and grumpy.

Seth: There’s one trip I took to the grocery store. It was just unbelievable.

Jaren: It's horrible. No, but I'll give two because I would give my original thought of a road trip context and then one that was where I traveled overseas. Road trip context. When I moved from California to Indianapolis, I and my wife drove across the country and we drove through Colorado and Utah and Arizona. And I just look back on that trip and I don't think we fought or had any kind of gripe. It was just nothing but fun and excitement and optimism for the future. That was just a really exciting trip.

And Utah is ridiculously beautiful. They have multiple colored dirt tones in their soil. So, it just looks like you're on a different planet. There are parts of Arizona like that. But then when you get to Colorado, it's really funny because you actually had to drive through Kansas as well. And half of Colorado, if you believe in God, it's a funny joke whether you believe in God or not. But it's like God got behind because he spent too much time in Colorado and then got halfway there. When he got to half of Colorado in Kansas, he's like, “All right, I'm too busy. I got to catch up.” So, he just did what he needed to get done because it is a very sudden cutoff. But the part of Colorado that is beautiful and mountainous and green, it is literally like everywhere you go is a postcard. It is unreal, breathtaking. So that trip, I remember very fondly.

And then the second one was when I went to the Amazon jungle, I went to Peru and I stayed in the Amazon jungle on a boat on the Amazon River, bathing out of the river and so forth. Sleeping in mosquito nets and all that for a month when I turned 16. So, I turned 16 on that trip. And there's not a week that goes by generally that I don't at least daydream or remember something that happened on that trip. So, it's very formative.

Seth: Yeah. That's awesome, man. On that road trip thing, I think if you live anywhere in the Midwest where there are no mountains, like just mountains at all, are really a sight to behold. I remember even going to Pennsylvania, that version of mountains was like, “Whoa, look at this variation. It's just so cool.” A lot of the Western U.S. is really cool to see if you're not from there. Just because it's so different from cornfields and stuff.

Jaren: Yeah, yeah. And Southern Indiana is beautiful on its own.

Seth: Yeah. I've heard that.

Jaren: But the Northern part, from where I'm at to Indianapolis, it's nothing but cornfields.

Seth: Yeah.

Jaren: I'm doing deals in Pennsylvania, by the way. I got a deal or two out there.

Seth: Is that when you sought out or did it just kind of fall in all out?

Jaren: We did seek it out. Yeah. Because an investor we worked with who’s based there and not a lot of people are targeting Pennsylvania, so we decided to test it out and got a couple of deals.

Seth: So, the person you're working with sought it out and you ended up doing it?

Jaren: No. It was more like, “Hey, let's take your mark. Because it is kind of the exclusive thing that I do with some investors. I'm shying away from that, moving away from that model. But for a long time, I would be exclusive with my funder per state. And so, they'd get the first rider refused on everything and then if we capitalize on a deal, they didn't want to move forward on, but it came from their marketing, we'd still pay them out something on the deal if we got somebody else to fund it. And we were using their capital in Tennessee and we wanted to just transition it to PA and see how it would be different just to kind of test it out. And we got a couple because he's from there. That's why. He was like, “Okay, let's try that.” And so, we got a couple deals there.

Seth: Anything about Pennsylvania worth knowing for people or for me not having never worked there?

Jaren: Assessed value is garbage. Don't use assessed value for anything. Absolutely anything. At least in the areas we're targeting, everything is like a thousand dollars. So, it does not help at all.

Seth: Wait. So, does it serve any purpose at all? Is there any logic that goes into it?

Jaren: There's no correlation between market value and assessed. Yeah, nothing at all. And it's a tougher state similar to Tennessee or North Carolina where it's harder to wrap your head around comps. So, using land-specialized agents is pretty crucial.

Seth: Yeah. That's not a non-disclosure state though, is it? You can see comps and stuff.

Jaren: I'm pretty sure it's a full disclosure state.

Seth: Yeah. I mean that's more important than assessed value, for the most part.

Jaren: Yeah, but it still can be a bit difficult, especially in the rural counties. Well, that's not necessarily for Pennsylvania, but just generally across the board guys, double-check your acreage sizes. I've been using MapRight’s drawing feature to double-check because sometimes DataTree is just inaccurate and I got burned recently. I thought I was buying a 4.5-acre parcel and I ended up buying a 0.38-acre parcel.

Seth: What? That's huge. How did that happen?

Jaren: I had hired somebody and I had given him the reins to find an agent and I didn't verify that the agent was good. I didn't step in and kind of oversee as much as I should have. By the time we closed, I found out that the agent hadn't even walked the property. He hadn't even seen it. And then when he got there, it was super steep and it was super small. So, we lost money on it.

Seth: So DataTree told you it was more acres than…?

Jaren: 4.5 acres and then…

Seth: Wow, that's kind of concerning.

Jaren: Well, in Oklahoma it is like that. There are a couple markets where the data is just wrong. So, you just have to, in certain places, double-check. When you call the county, you just have to say, “Hey, I'm confirming that this is 4.5 acres.” That kind of thing.

Seth: Is this the shape of the parcel? Like when you just visually look at it, was that correct? It was just the number and the property characteristics report that was wrong?

Jaren: Exactly. Yes.

Seth: Okay.

Jaren: And the MapRight has been huge in being able to use that. There's a measuring tool where you just trace the outlines, the boundaries of the parcel and it projects an estimate of what it actually measures out to. I've yet to see that thing be wrong. I mean, it might be like 0.3 off or something, but you're not going to see a 4.5 and a 0,38. You might see like a 0.4 or something.

Seth: I was actually working with Google Earth a couple weeks ago to try to measure out the width of something in feet. Like the distance of a telephone pole from another one. I always assumed that was like a pretty spot-on, but it's not at all. It was, I think over 30 feet wrong based on the measurements I had done. And I don't know if that's because the actual satellite image was wrong that I was using to measure or if the actual measuring tool was wrong. But either way, it's not at all exact science when you're using that kind of thing. I don't know why I thought it was. In hindsight, I shouldn't be surprised by this, but it's just a new “Oh, okay. I’m going to be aware of it.”

Jaren: Yeah, man.

Seth: All right. Well, good talk today. Good interview. Good question-and-answer time. Anything else you want to cover before we wrap this up?

Jaren: No, man. As always, it's an honor and privilege. It was a great interview.

Seth: Yeah. And if anybody out there is listening on their phone, if you want to text the word “FREE” to the number 33777, you can join the REtipster email list and stay up to date with all the cool things happening in the community. So, thanks everybody for listening. Again, the show notes, We'll talk to you guys next time. See you.


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Seth Williams is the Founder of - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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