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I Can’t Invest in Real Estate Because…

Summary: Do you have a lot of reasons you can’t invest in direct-ownership real estate? Did you not have enough time or money or do you have a friend or family member who lost money on a rental? If so, this post is for you!


Let’s spend some time tackling your limiting beliefs.

Yes, this might not be pretty. And I’m sure we’ll get some fiery responses to this post.

But these things need to be said. Because we’ve heard them time after time, from person after person.

And they are holding all of you back.

They are holding you back from taking action. They are holding you back from investing in real estate, of course. But, more importantly, they are also holding you back from achieving financial freedom as fast as possible.

You are letting fear lead your decision-making.

Do you really want to live like that? If not, read on as we tackle each of the most common limiting beliefs that people have when they start to consider investing in real estate.

But before you move on, please note, this is not going to be a PC article. So if you don’t want to challenge yourself and you are easily offended, skip this one.


I can’t invest in real estate because I don’t have enough time.

Do you think that a CEO of a Fortune 500 company has more time than you?

Look, most of us are overworked, multi-tasking machines. We juggle kids and work, friends and family. We come home exhausted some days (or maybe even most days!).

But the fact is, even if this is your situation, you probably have some time you are wasting. Maybe you get sucked into Facebook frequently (that’s me!), or you check your email 30+ times a day (that’s me too!). Maybe it’s binging on Game of Thrones (I wish that was me!). Or maybe you just spend too much time on tasks that don’t need to take that long; maybe you do tasks that you actually don’t need to do. (Does laundry really need to be done three times a week, or can it be done just once or twice?) Yeah, I’m guilty of that, too.

Ultimately, we all have to make choices about how to spend our time. And to fit in real estate investing, some of the things you currently spend time on may need to fall by the wayside.

This is not to say you should drop the important things, the time with your kids or your partner, to invest in real estate. The key is to find the time that you are spending on things that do not add happiness and value to your life and drop (and/or reduce the time) spent on those activities.

Dropping or reducing time spent on low-value activities is one option, but at some point, you have to eventually do the laundry. So what can you do? Outsource. The question you should be asking yourself is, How valuable is my time? As a physician, it’s worth at least $150/hour or whatever your hourly rate turns out to be. So is it better for you to do doing things that you could outsource for $15/hour?

How do some people seem to accomplish so much? They do B- work. What does this mean? This means that you focus on getting stuff done instead of doing it perfectly. A lot of us spend too much time on tasks because we want it to be perfect. The problem with this is that most of us never get things done. The key with B- work is to give yourself a limited time to accomplish a task. If it’s not the way you want it when time runs out, too bad, you have to get it out. Though I certainly am a long way from getting this down perfectly myself, I know now that if I’m going to accomplish more in less time, I have to accept that my work will be far from perfect.

For example, I’m not aiming to put out “perfect” blog articles that take me forever to get done (and maybe never get done at all). Now, I aim to get good work out quickly. I know it’s far more valuable to our readers that I get out twice-a-week blog articles than no blog articles at all. Along those lines, I’ve chosen to limit my blog-writing time to 1 hour and 30 mins per article. It’s been a tough practice to do. But it has pushed me to be far more efficient and focused since I know that’s all I have.  

I know B- work is a tough one to stomach for us Type A personalities. But ultimately, you have to decide if you’d rather have everything perfectly organized with no additional income, or a messier house with a source of semi-passive income coming in each month. Which do you prefer?


I can’t invest in real estate because I don’t have enough money.

People who have a lot less money than you invest in real estate. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve seen hustling, doing BRRRRs and doing house-hacks who have very little money. These are average Americans living on $40-50,000 per year. And they are investing in buy-and-hold real estate.

Do you have a primary residence? If the answer is yes, then you have enough money to invest in real estate. You’ve just chosen to tie up your money in your home. We think that’s a bad idea if your goal is to achieve Fast FIRE.

If you don’t, then you’re just going to have to be a bit more creative.

Either way, the key is to look at the problem of not having money and find a solution. Just don’t give up saying you can’t. You need to turn your can’t into a must.


I can’t invest in real estate because I live in a high cost-of-living market.

People have been investing in remote markets for a long time.

Does managing a property long-distance come with a unique set of challenges? Yes. But with a little ingenuity, these challenges can be overcome. Kenji self manages a number of our properties from a distance and he does it by building relationships with local vendors and even tenants to address most issues. He has even dealt with some complicated issues from a distance and hasn’t had to travel from home to handle them.

Also, many people rely on property managers. If you have a property manager, do you really need to be in close proximity to your market? Are you really going to show up to change a lightbulb? Is your management going to be better because you can drive by the outside of your building any random day? The answer is an emphatic no.

The bottom line is that many people let the fear of long-distance investing stop them from even trying. So they pursue inferior investments close to home in their high cost-of-living market.


I can’t invest in real estate because it’s too risky.

Being a physician is risky nowadays. Thinking that your job will always be there and that you aren’t replaceable by a nurse practitioner or another “physician-extender” is risky. Thinking that you’ll always be healthy or your family members will never need you to be there in any extended period of time is risky.

If you have insurance, you realize that there are no guarantees in life. But one true fact is this: if you have multiple sources of income, you will do far better than if you have only one and that one dries up.

The second point to make here is that investing in cash-flowing real estate is calculated risk. If you do it the way we do, it involves a lot of risk mitigation. This isn’t to say that you won’t have a bad outcome once in a while due to luck or unforeseen factors. That’s part of life. But, as a whole, you’ll end up in the positive. And, over time, you will build up a source of semi-passive income that will sustain you and future generations. And this is a far cry from just relying on trading your time for money as you are now in your clinical job.


I can’t invest in real estate because I don’t know how to do it.

Did the fact you didn’t initially know how to do surgery or auscultate a heart stop you from being a doctor? No, you just had to do the work to get an education, so you could learn the art of medicine. You also needed to find the right mentors along the way to help you build expertise and experience.

How is real estate investing any different?

You do not innately know how to invest. You must read, attend seminars, meet with, and network with other investors. You must find mentors who are already doing what you want to do so you can copy what they’re doing.

Your education will not be as structured as showing up to class in medical school or rounds in residency. You will have to make more effort to make sure you get an adequate, well-rounded education.

And you will have to do some of your learning through experiences. They may not always be great experiences, just as it wasn’t always a pleasant time when you were pimped on the wards. But did you come away with some serious knowledge? Yes, you did.

So, this is the time to motivate yourself to get an education, find a mentor, and get out there and act.


I can’t invest in real estate because my spouse won’t let me.

This is a real scenario and a very common one. In some cases, you may not be able to help your spouse understand why you want to invest in real estate. That being said, though, there is one way to try to help your spouse come alongside you.

You can spend time talking about your financial goals together. If you can create a vision for what you want your life to look like together, then work backwards to figure out how much money that is going to take, you two may be able to come to a realization that working a ten hour day + weekends physician job is probably never going to get you there (unless you do some serious saving for the next 20+ years).

That’s when creative thinking will allow you to examine all options for how to get to financial freedom sooner. And then, maybe, your spouse will be open to hearing about other options besides socking away money in your 401K.

Again, this approach will not always work. So you may need to put off investing for a while. Or maybe you end up going it alone with your own money initially. Neither situation is ideal. We believe that as a team, you will make much better decisions and go much farther than you ever will alone. But it may be that your significant other just needs to watch your successes before he/she comes alongside of you.


I can’t invest in real estate because FILL-IN-THE-BLANK had a bad experience.

Most of us are doctors here. We believe in the scientific method. So why would we believe that an “n” of one gives us the ability to make an accurate statement about all real estate investments? Just because a friend or family member or neighbor had a bad outcome does not mean that all real estate investing is flawed.

Did your friend only buy things that made 10% cash-on-cash from the outset or did they buy for appreciation? Did your family member buy a property right, making money day one, number one? Did your neighbor manage the manager or just let the property sit? Do you actually know the details of what they did or did not do? I’m guessing you don’t have a full picture of what actually happened.

You are making a broad statement regarding the risk of investing in real estate based on half-known information. It’s a statement based on one person’s outcome, without knowing the quality of the person’s decision making. This is not a well-informed decision.

The truth of the matter is, you never hear about the good outcomes. The true investors, the ones who are successful, hardly every share their good stories or toot their horns. They’re too busy living a semi-retired life to tell you about it.


So should I invest in cashflowing rentals?

Only you know if you want to devote the time and energy that it takes to build knowledge and networks. Only you know if you have the discipline to stay focused on only buying cashflowing properties. Only you know if you are willing to find the accountability partners that you need to be successful and accept their feedback, even when it’s not positive. Only you know if you are willing to switch your mindset from one of being overwhelmed and fearful of perceived risk to one of a problem-solving, proactive small business-owning entrepreneur.

So, let me ask you, are you ready to invest in direct-ownership real estate?

If you are, reach out to us and join our Facebook community for physicians or community for professionals to find like-minded individuals.

Do you want to learn how to creatively fund your real estate portfolio and achieve financial freedom? Join the conversation! Follow our Semi-Retired MD  Facebook page and join our Doctors or Professionals  group!

Semi-Retired M.D. and its owners, presenters, and employees are not in the business of providing personal, financial, tax, legal or investment advice and specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk, which is incurred as a consequence, either directly or indirectly, by the use of any of the information contained in this blog. Semi-Retired M.D., its website, this blog and any online tools, if any, do NOT provide ANY legal, accounting, securities, investment, tax or other professional services advice and are not intended to be a substitute for meeting with professional advisors. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of competent, licensed and certified professionals should be sought. In addition, Semi-Retired M.D. does not endorse ANY specific investments, investment strategies, advisors, or financial service firms.


Hi, we’re Kenji and Leti

we provide coaching and mentorship for doctors and high-income earners

Several years ago, we were newlyweds working as full-time hospitalists. On paper, it looked like we had everything: the prestigious careers, the happy marriage, the luxurious rental home, the cars, etc.

But in reality? Despite having worked for several years, we had very little savings. Despite our high income, we had very little freedom in terms of time or money.

One thing was clear: we had to do something.

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