In today's world, everyone knows just how important it is to begin saving for retirement as early as possible. After all, your golden years can be your most enjoyable - but they can also be your most expensive. The cost of living will likely rise, your income will certainly drop, and your medical bills might increase as well. Not to mention, you might want to travel, experience the world, help your children, and enjoy your retirement without worry.
Knowing just how to responsibly plan your retirement is absolutely critical, and Farrah Ali, real estate investor and author of the new book, Diaries of a Female Real Estate Investor; How a Single Mom Went from 80k in Debt to a Multi-Million Dollar Portfolio, has some strategy tips to share that will ensure that you have the wealth that you need to do it in just five years.
Spoiler alert: it all begins with real estate investing. This blueprint will not only help you to set yourself up for success but will prompt you to cultivate the right mindset needed to achieve your goals.
For Ali, the real estate investment process begins with focus - specifically, focusing on how you want to begin building your portfolio. That focus is critical to your success.
But where to start? Ali believes that placing an emphasis on residential single-family homes and multi-family homes with up to four units is the best place to begin. But why?
First and foremost, everyone needs a place to live. Residential real estate investments are the most common types of investments that you'll see in real estate because they provide investors with a multitude of benefits. From a strong, steady, and consistent cash flow to enviable tax breaks, you can easily begin to build wealth and plan for retirement even with your first investment.
Ali says the value of educational opportunities is not to be underestimated. All of the educational opportunities that you pursue from the day that you decide to invest in residential real estate need to revolve around investing and finance, she says. Investing isn't exactly something that you can just pick up on and learn as you go - even when some websites and influencers out there tell you otherwise.
Real real estate investing means learning about area analysis, identifying profitable opportunities, calculating profits and cash flow, learning how to rehab a property and ensure the best value, managing properties, refinancing benefits, and so much more. Learning all of these concepts inside and out will only help you make the best choices for your real estate investment portfolio.
The source of your education matters, says Ali, because not everyone who talks about real estate investing knows what they're doing or how to properly convey their knowledge to others. That's why she wrote her book: to give other people the tools they need to find success.
As a real estate investor, your first big score will certainly feel good - and you should absolutely celebrate that win, Ali says. But then, your focus needs to shift to replicating that big score. How do you design a system that works for you? Do you want to stick only to rental properties? Do you want to become the next big home flipper in your area? What system will you choose?
For rentals and flips, Ali recommends purchasing houses in highly specific markets and within a certain price range. This provides you with a bit more stability and predictability because you know the market, you know there is a potential buyer or renter out there, and you know what your potential return on investment is. From there, sticking with distressed homes and making minor updates and rehabs to increase value can go a long way - no demolition required. Learn your system, figure out what works, and continue to execute it.
Real estate investing is all about the resources, and according to Farrah Ali, you don't need very much money of your own to begin investing. Ali has been able to find lenders who have funded 100% of the purchase price and refinancing. What you do need to do is invest in the right education and when you have the right support group and resources, finding money becomes the least of your issues.
Real estate investing is very much a time-sensitive game, Ali adds. You need to find tools that help you save time, expedite the process, and promote efficiency - all without sacrificing quality. When you're able to do this, you will surely see just how much of a return you can earn from each and every opportunity.
Ali says she cannot emphasize this enough: support is everything when it comes to real estate investing. Finding people, partners, and communities to support your process really makes things easier and more digestible. It can be a complex process and having the right support system will allow you to better navigate the decision-making process.
These five simple steps will empower you to start your real estate investment journey and begin moving toward the retirement you've always dreamed of. Whether you're just getting started or have a few properties in your portfolio and want to learn more, Ali's free masterclass, walks you through the real estate investment process from start to finish.
What are you waiting for? Let's make that first investment!
Farrah Ali is an author, real estate professional and entrepreneur with more than 18 years of professional experience. She has been featured in Business Insider, Yahoo News and on the Let's Talk Real Estate Investing podcast. To get a copy of her book and access to her free masterclass to learn how to start investing in real estate, click here farrahali.org