Leveraging Your Medical Degree to Earn Side Income
Passive Income MD, Physician and Creator of PassiveIncomeMD.com, joined me to talk about the many opportunities to create passive income helping you reach an early retirement. We discuss crowdfunding, real estate investing and different ways you can use your medical degree to earn side income. You can even start while in residency, by creating blogs, writing books or participating in peer-to-peer lending.
He shares his own story on how he got started and what he has learned from his first real estate investment. He currently works 20% less clinical hours than a year ago because of his passive income, and he posts his income report every quarter on his website so people can follow the journey.
Use your medical degree to earn side income.
Passive Income MD also gives advice on how to manage a busy schedule while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. We all want to enjoy life, and passive income is one way you can start a gradual retirement now while cutting back on clinical hours.
One thing about our conversation that I really love is how he comments on not needing to be an expert from the beginning. You really need to take action, get a plan in place and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s just overall excellent advice.
What you will learn:
- The different sources of passive income
- How to use your medical degree to earn passive income
- Crowdfunding and how to get started
- What to consider when looking at investment opportunities
- How crowdfunding platforms get paid and what fees are involved
- Tips on how to select your first real estate investment
- Where you can start if you have zero passive income
- When you should look at selling a property to move up in scale
Full Transcript: Leveraging Your Medical Degree to Earn Side Income
Hello everyone and welcome back. I’m really excited for today’s episode as we’re talking with our guest about all things passive income. He’s a physician that blogs under the name Passive Income MD and while he choose to remain anonymous for now, he’s allowed us as readers some insight into his life.
Passive Income MD’s mission is to help physicians understand and build passive income.
He publishes income reports for all of us to follow along in his journey and it’s quite impressive how well he’s been doing for just six years out of training and having two little kiddos running around in his place. His personal mission is to help physicians understand and build passive income that will assist them in achieving their own version of financial independence, which is amazing.
In our show today, we talk about several ways physicians can earn side hustles and we also dive into some real estate investing topics like which platform he uses for passive real estate investing and how he bought his first investment property from his cover, which is crazy.
One thing about our conversation that I really love is how he comments on how you won’t be an expert from the beginning. You really need to take action, get a plan in place and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s just overall excellent advice.
I’m excited. Our conversation was awesome. I hope you enjoy it. This is our conversation with Passive Income MD and as long as his readers are getting value out of his content, he’s going to keep producing it. Great news for all of us as he continues to find his writing voice and keeps providing excellent content several times a week.
Also, before today’s show, I want to make sure to announce this important disclaimer. I am a family financial planner and a fiduciary for my clients. But let’s be honest, I don’t know you or anything about you.
Physicians can earn money from the right side-hustles.
This show is for educational purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as legal or financial advice. Please consult your attorney, CPA or your family financial planner before you take any action or make any important financial decisions. Before we jump into the interview …
Here is this week’s digestible tip.
Okay. So today’s digestible tip is all around the concept of saving versus spending. You can only spend a dollar one time. You can only assign it a task once. As money comes in and money flows out, every time you make a decision to either save or spend a dollar, you’re assigning it a specific job.
Is that job to buy a Starbucks coffee today? Is it to save in your IRA for the future? Is it to put towards an investment property or a real estate investment like we talk throughout this episode to build passive income so you can work less hours at some point during your career?
What is it that you’re assigning your dollars to do? And make sure that the task you’re giving the dollar correctly matches your beliefs and what you believe will give you a truly fulfilled life, to live your ideal life. Make sure that your spending matches what you really want in life.
Thank you so much for coming to the show Passive Income MD. I really appreciate it.
Awesome, great, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Passive Income MD began as a fun and creative project.
Definitely excited to have you here. Passive income is a fun topic to have. Definitely is an advisor. I try to have my own passive income streams and I’m excited to dive into more about you and the blog and help out some of our listeners here generate some additional passive income. Can you go into the back story on why you created Passive Income MD and what your motivation was for creating the awesome site?
I actually didn’t have huge plans for it when I first started. It really just started out as like a fun creative project for me. I noticed that a couple of years out from residency and fellowship I started getting involved in all these different passive income ventures and I started talking to a lot of people in the hospital about it and I found that people were coming to me asking about what I did and how I did this and that.
I thought, “Look, there isn’t a good site to talk about this online, why don’t I just put something up and see where it goes. If anything just … maybe my friends will look at it and we’ll be able to start some discussion here and just go from there.” I put it up and next thing you know a lot of people started coming to the site, a lot of people that I didn’t know and it got some nice coverage on some national sites and away we went.
Now it’s become something that I feel is somewhat of a mission. I feel like a lot of physicians need to know about this and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from a lot of the readers, the subscribers and people, again, I don’t know personally. But they’ve said some really encouraging things. So it’s only been a nice self-reinforcing circle. Now, I spend a good amount of time on it and I hope that I’m helping people.
Yeah. I absolutely think you’re helping people and full disclosure for our listeners is I’m actually a sponsor of Passive Income MD and I’m not a sponsor just because I want to get my name out there. I actually really like your content. I think it’s great content. I don’t see many other blogs specifically for physicians talking about specifically passive income and different income streams.
I really enjoy your content as an advisor over at Physician Wealth and I know that my wife definitely likes reading your stuff because I kind of force it to her but I know that your reach is expanding and that physicians definitely need to hear your message. So keep up the great work with that.
Passive Income MD is a free resource for anyone wanting to learn passive income sources.
All right cool. As I continue to do this, people are reaching out to me and I’m actually learning so much. I’m talking to plenty of other physicians who … they’re way ahead of where I am and where I’d like to be. So, if anything, I’m just learning from them and trying to basically just report back to other people.
Yeah, that makes sense and now that you’ve been growing I know you’ve gone through a rebrand on the site and it looks awesome now. What are your plans going forward for the blog?
I know that as you start to put out more content you’re going to need to keep educating yourself to provide that great content but where do you see the blog heading currently?
I’m really just trying to make it a free resource for people to go to. I’m always trying to tweak it to make it better for people. When they first come to the site, I want to make it very clear, here are some ways for you to learn about different sources of passive income, here are ways for you to get involved, here are some stories about some physicians who have already done these type of things.
I’m always tweaking to try to make that clear. I’m new to this and I’ve never done this before, so I’m learning as I go. There are some great examples online of other physicians who have set up some amazing blogs like obviously The White Coat Investor, Physician on FIRE, Future Proof, those guys.
I’m trying to take cues from them and tweak this thing as I go. I don’t have any plans to stop doing this anytime soon. I really enjoy it. I didn’t think I’d enjoy writing this much. Again, as long as people feel like they’re getting value out of it, I’m happy to continue doing it.
Sometimes, as a physician, you get caught up in a specific eco-chamber.
That’s awesome. No, I definitely think people are getting value. I know a fair bit about personal finance and I get some value out of it. It’s just the different perspective and getting a little bit more insight into a physician’s mind. Physicians are interesting. They stick together. They ask each other for help and advice and things, which is great.
Sometimes you get caught in that eco-chamber that it’s not good, but for the most part it’s good in the fact that they can instantly trust you knowing that you are a physician, you have their best interest there, you’re not selling them out to the first person you can just for a quick buck, like many other sites can and actually do. I think you’re doing a great job with it. I’m curious, how much time are you putting into running the blog right now?
I’m trying to be really disciplined about it and put posts out at least three times a week. In the beginning I said, “Look, whenever I come up with a good blog post I’ll do it, but I found that if I don’t keep to schedule, then sometimes you just … other things get in the way.
Yeah, so I put things out three times a week, takes me a few hours to write each post. Some of them are a little bit more research heavy. I spend some time just planning out posts in the future, talking to other people who could potentially be great guest posts and highlights on my blog. I probably spend a good, at least 10 to 15 hours on the blog a week, that’s it.
Start enjoying life right now by using income earned from side projects.
In addition to your full time?
Yeah. I’m still working full time. Well, I’ve cut down a little bit. If you check out my income reports or some of the posts that I’ve written recently and I like to talk about this whole notion of gradual retirement.
As my passive income sources have increased, I try to take action right away. For me it’s not just about saving for a day when I can retire when I’m 65 or 70. I want to start enjoying my life right now.
I start getting income from these other sources. I’m actually starting to cut back on my clinical job now, today. Honestly, I think I’m down about close to about 20% of where I was about a year and a half, two years ago. I’m at about 80% of where I was.
That’s amazing that you’re realizing the dream during the dream if you will. I like that.
Yeah, and hopefully I’m putting it out there and I’m trying to make it so people can follow along. This is something that I haven’t really achieved where I want to be at. It’s not that the financial freedom, that notion of financial freedom, I’m not quite there yet but I’m getting there. So hopefully you’re seeing that along the way through my post.
Absolutely. You’d mentioned the income reports, is this something that you do regularly or you’re starting to do a little bit more regularly I should say?
Passive Income MD stays accountable by revealing is his earning statements.
Yeah. Part of the whole thing about the blog is I wanted people to be able to follow along with my journey, to know that I’m just putting my money where my mouth is and this is what I’m actually doing.
My goal is to put those out at every quarter, so every three months or so. People are asking for more and more revealing look exactly at some of the numbers, and I’d love to do that. It’s just that … there’s definitely some concern about putting it out there publicly.
From now on you’re going to see that though but I’m trying to keep it just to my subscribers, but I will be putting that out every three months or so. My plan to put out some more concrete numbers there as I get closer and closer to my goal.
Got you. Where can they subscribe at?
Just on the site there. There are sections there where you can subscribe to the newsletter.
Perfect. That’s PassiveIncomeMD.com for anyone listening.
Yeah, that’s right.
Perfect. It’s amazing to hear where you taking it and what you’ve been doing and how you created it. How were you able to find the time to balance everything between the site, working full time, I know that you have a family, and then the other non-existent hobbies that you have, because I don’t know how you’d find time to do those? How do you fit everything in?
Yeah, it’s funny because I’m one of those type of guys where the more things you pick up, the more efficient you have to force yourself to be and you become a little bit more efficient. I think people will find the time to do the things that are the most important to them.
As you start doing that, figuring out what’s important to you, you find that you found places where you’ve totally wasted your time doing other thing that are not important. I’ve really gotten rid of a lot of those things and really just focus on the essentials.
So, obviously, like you mentioned I have two children and a wife and I love spending time with them and to me that and my clinical career, those things take priority.
Beyond that, I find time, just in the little crooks and the nannies of the day to work on the blog. I still find time to hang out with my friends and a big hobby of mine, I love to play golf. My wife and I love going to eat at restaurants. So I don’t think any of that has been compromised.
Prioritize the things that help you achieve your life goals.
The things I do a little bit less of are things like staying at home, watching Netflix, things like that. Just sitting on the couch doing nothing. I feel like now I have to always keep busy doing something just to make sure everything is still … I still have the time to do things I love.
That makes sense, prioritizing. With my physician clients over at Physician World I talk a lot about goals and prioritization of goals and what is your money going to be used for? Money is a tool, right? What is that money actually going to be used for? What are your dreams and your goals and the possibilities in life?
It’s still rare to find someone like yourself that actually knows how to prioritize, knows what they want, and is out there actually doing it. I definitely applaud you for getting your life together and knowing the direction that you guys want to take. It’s no simple task.
Your wife is a physician as well and with two little kids on top of everything else, it’s pretty amazing what you’re doing and you’re still pushing out some really great content. So, pat on the back to you and keep up the great work.
All right, thanks. The busier you get, you have to have a great calendar. You have to do these things and prioritize things correctly, be really focused and intentional with your time. Otherwise, none of this works. I think I’m being forced to do it actually.
There are several side-hustles you can do with your medical degree.
Yeah, out of necessity to do everything that you want to do.
Yeah, out of necessity. Exactly.
It’s pretty amazing. I want to, if you don’t mind, switch topics a little bit and jump over to some of the passive income strategies or things that your peers, physicians can do using their medical degree.
What are some of the things people are interested in hearing from the Passive Income MD here and they want to know, what are some of the things that they could do with their degrees?
There are a lot of things you can do to get some additional income. Some are more passive than others, right? I think ultimately the more passive they are the better. I made it pretty clear on some of the posts what that means to me in terms of passive income. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to work at all. It’s not like you just say I’m going to do this and then the checks starts rolling in.
Unfortunately, they still do take a good amount of work but most of it happens on the front-end. You set something up and you work really hard and then ultimately down the line hopefully they provide some sort of residual income or more of that “passive income” later on.
Now, there are a lot of things that … I’m always on the search for this type of things. With your medical degree, a lot of these are a little bit less passive but a lot of people have used the medical degree to ultimately set up businesses, right, which provide some sort of income later on.
Use your medical degree to earn side income.
Some people have used their medical degrees to write books and write material out there in terms of course training and learning that people can learn from. There’re plenty of physicians who are authors and some of them are amazing. I’ve read … if you haven’t read already you should read the House of God, Drug Dealer, MD, these kind of things, are really interesting books written by physicians. Yeah, that’s a source of passive income ultimately.
They have to write the book but after that the checks will hopefully start rolling in. The White Coat Investor did an amazing job with a financial book for physicians and I read that book and I give that book out to other people. He put that work in up front, done some marketing and he’s able to provide that great valuable resource and people buy it on Amazon.
Yeah. I actually purchased a couple copies of that book and gave them out to some friends saying in the very beginning, “Hey, here’s a way to get your foot in the door, some finance stuff and to understand it.”
Of course with my buddies I’m more than happy to help them out in any way I can. But that was a good intro to personal finance for physicians. So, definitely writing a book it makes sense from a passive income standpoint.
Use your medical degree to create an on-demand doctor app.
A lot of people have started businesses with their medical degrees. They’ve started some sort of telemedicine businesses, they’ve started on-demand doctor type apps as well.
Some people use their medical degrees and do some sort of consulting. That’s not necessarily passive or even being a telemedicine doc, some of those are not necessarily passive but there’re are ways that other physicians can use their medical degrees to create some additional income.
Then I’m also for creating a lot of additional income. Using your medical degree because there’re ways to do that and get paid pretty decently, especially with some of these chart reviews, medical consulting, telemedicine type stuff. Then what I tell people to do and what I try to do is take that good income and then use that in other ways to create other sources of passive income.
Maybe that necessarily aren’t medically related for example in real estate, right? Or investing in some other companies. Ultimately putting money into the market, right?
You can use your medical degree, the nice thing about it is that you’re in high demand for certain industries and you can demand a pretty good compensation using those medical degrees and then you can put that money towards other things, which actually hopefully will create more income for you.
Use your degree to go into real estate.
That makes perfect sense. You touched on real estate and it’s where I want to go next is, I think there’s been more millionaires made by real estate than anything else, and that’s coming from a financial planner who still puts a lot of money in the stock market. But I do own a few rentals as well.
I know that on your site you’ve talked a lot about crowdfunding, you talked a lot about multi-family and I believe you’ve even shared some of the details of that first multi-family property you have purchased. You talked a little bit about single family.
I know from experience that you could consider them passive investments as they do make money while you sleep, but those do require a considerable amount of upfront work, due diligence, setting up the appropriate legal structures and all that. But I guess let’s take the first one with crowdfunding. I believe you’ve, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve done about 12 crowdfunding deals?
Since the time I wrote that, I’ve done about two more.
Yeah, I’ve spent a good amount of time learning about the whole real estate crowdfunding industry there. I was lucky to get into it early and learn about it early.
Recommended real estate crowdfunding sites are coming up!
I’ve written a few posts on it and one of the places where I’ve highlighted some of my favorite sites is a post that I just put out that’s called the best real estate crowdfunding sites. I think it’s a great way for people to dip their feet into real estate investing.
The amazing thing about crowdfunding is that you don’t have to put a lot of capital at stake. That’s one of the big barriers to entry into any serious real estate investing is that you need to put together a good amount of capital before you get to do it, right?
Yeah, multi-family could take hundreds of thousands of dollars to get into commercial deals. You’re talking millions of dollars for a decent deal. What are some of the minimums without going too much into that post, who’s the number one crowdfunding platform you’ve been using?
The number one? Some of the minimums like you ask for could be as low as $100.
Some of these are available for non-accredited investors as well. Even people like residents could potentially do it. I’m not saying that that should be your primary source of investing as a resident, but it might be one way to learn and follow along in terms of the industry and get to dip your feet in.
Absolutely. We’re talking more alternative investments here. We’re not talking your main 4 or 3Bs and IRAs and that good stuff.
We’re talking about some alternative stuff that they could do in addition to that.
Check out these recommended real estate crowdfunding sites.
Right. I consider it a given that all those things are ultimately taken care of and then you have a little bit of money set aside for some of your alternative investments. Then this might be a great place to put that.
Now, I don’t want you to necessarily just have one favorite. I invest pretty widely across a couple different types of platforms. Because they have their own little niches and little wrinkles to them. So, depending on what I’m looking for, I might invest in different platforms. Some of my favorites are RealtyShares and EQUITYMULTIPLE or a couple of places where I’ve invested pretty heavily, Patch of Land.
There are some new ones that have come into the picture which have little different … they have a couple of different focuses like one’s called Rich Uncles and there’s a company called AlphaFlow, which is really interesting. These are companies where I’m currently putting my money.
Okay. Just without going into crazy amounts of detail, when you look at an investment, what are one or two of your criteria that you’re looking at? If someone doesn’t have a lot of background in real estate, I know this might be slightly over their head, but what are you looking for when you look at these investments?
There are a couple of things I look for when vetting out some of these crowdfunding deals. First of all, I want to make sure that I go with a platform that has been tested a little bit over time. These things are pretty new but I try to stick to the ones that are a little bit more established, that have a good amount of deal flow and they’ve gone through some of the challenges in the market over the last couple of years.
Set a little money aside for alternative investments and use your medical degree to earn side income.
Ultimately, the things that make the big difference are the operator involved, the person who’s actually doing the deal. I actually try to vet them out as much as possible. How established are they?
How long have they been in the business? Tell me about some of the deals they’ve done in the past with that particular platform and whether they’ve had any issues with any non-payment or had some issues with the deal in terms of being late.
Those are things I vet out first and then make sure I go with a good reputable operator. Then secondly, then I look at the actual property that they’re investing in.
For example, they might be flipping a home in Los Angeles for example, and if I have some local knowledge of the market then I might look and say, “Okay, well that’s a good area.” And what their projections for what they think they can ultimately sell this home for, they actually make sense. I spend a little time doing that.
At the same time, once I get comfortable with some of these platforms that I use, that’s what they do. Their whole job is to vet out these deals and only bring good deals to you as the investor. So, I don’t spend as much time vetting these things out as I’ve gotten to trust some of these platforms. Again, I stick to the ones that I like and I just go with them.
With respect to the platform, and I’ve actually, I’ve dabbled with looking at investments but I’ve never actually jumped in because I actually do my own investing here in a local market in Vegas.
But do these platforms investor own money? Do they pre-fund and do they keep any of their own money in the deal or is this just the platform and then they exiting and just get a service fee?
These platforms help you diversify your real estate portfolio.
A lot of these companies do things differently, and so you’re going to have to check that out. For example, a company like EQUITYMULTIPLE they invest alongside you in every deal. Companies like Patch of Land, the pre-fund all the deals. I guess you could say their money is at stake as well.
Some of these other companies like a company like RealCrowd or CrowdStreet, they’re just online platforms that basically make the introduction between you and the operators and they get a small cut of it, right?
So some might say that they don’t have as much invested or at stake in the deal. So every platform is a little different. You have to look at that when you’re actually going to pick which one you want to invest in.
Yeah, that makes sense. For the listeners who maybe don’t follow this as closely, when we’re talking about service fees or getting the cut of the deal, usually that’s on the servicing of the loan or the equity that is put in.
So, if the borrower is borrowing a million dollars at 10%, the investor would get 9% and that 1% is a servicing fee for the platform for basically not only connecting the people together but also their involvement and servicing the loan and making sure all the payments get done correctly and allocated correctly and then taxes are … all that kind of stuff is taken care of from a back-end paperwork perspective.
Why I like some of these crowdfunding platforms is that I’ve invested into other deals, syndicated deals for example, where I’m just a small time investor and I invest in somebody trying to buy an apartment building and ultimately turn it around and sell it. The problem is that I worry that if something goes wrong with the deal, who do I turn to help me out in the situation, right?
The nice thing about having some of these platforms behind you is that you know that if things go wrong with the ultimate operator of the deal, they’re the ones that are going to manage all that.
I just feel like there’s less headache at the end of the day, which helps justify some of the fees that I might be receiving a little less on account of some of the fees that they’re taking.
This is what it’s like to go into your first multifamily investment.
That makes sense. Time is going to tell. We’ve had a pretty nice ball market across multiple asset classes recently, for the past seven, eight years. Some of these guys are going to get tested. Maybe not tomorrow, but in the near future when we do have a correction in real estate it will be interesting to see how this shakes out and if there are defaults and how that all works.
Which, is a little reason why I’ve been hesitant on that but I’m actually thinking about doing our first deal here in the next month or two if something comes up. I’m definitely going to be checking out some of the platforms you had mentioned.
With respects to multi-family, you had wrote a couple posts actually on that and for those who haven’t read that, would you mind going into your first apartment deal? Do you feel like it’s a truly passive income at this point? Talk a little high level on investing and multi-family.
Yeah. I started writing a post on it because so many were asking me about it. It’s a long process and it’s hard to summarize in just one or two posts. But I’ve put out post number one and hopefully post number two should be coming out here shortly.
I’ve always been interested in trying to acquire multi-family property. I’ve seen a good number of physicians do that in the past and been really successful. There are some of my older colleagues that I work with. Some of the ones that seem to be a little less stressed about their current incomes and seem to be pretty set up for retirement.
“What have you done to set yourselves up?”
I just simply ask them, “What have you done to set yourselves up?” A good number of them have bought apartment buildings and multi-family, and at this point 20 years down the line, 25 years down the line, a lot of them are paid off and they’re just providing … they’re just a monthly check for them, right?
I wanted to be in that similar situation and so I started looking into some of the multi-family units, properties in this area and honestly I had no idea how to start. I just asked one of my colleagues, “How did you get started?”
They introduced me to a real estate broker, good commercial real estate broker in that area and I spent a good amount of time with that person, just sitting down with them, trying to understand the process, trying to understand how it all works.
Obviously I started diving into a bunch of resources online, a great one online is a site called BiggerPockets.com. They have probably all the great resources that you need in terms of trying to invest in real estate. They provide it all there for free.
Another great book that I read was the ABCs of Real Estate Investing by someone called Ken McElroy, which helped break down some of the numbers and finances and those kinds of things.
That’s a phenomenal book by the way.
Yeah, I love it and beyond that … You can find everything online that you need and hopefully my site also provides some of those resources. But yeah, I started with that.
You’re going to make mistakes but lean into the learning opportunities.
I was a little bit hesitant about going in on my own for this first one because again, it’s a pretty large capital commitment and luckily I was able to find a friend, a neighbor and another physician, all the same person, who was interested in doing the same, and we decided to do it together and learn together.
So, honestly within about three months, we were able to identify a good property that we wanted to buy, it seemed to make a good amount of sense, and one that we could learn on.
We just went for it. I think that’s part of this whole process is that we could have sat there and we could have sat there just wondering, going over all the different contingencies and trying to figure it exactly out and make sure it was perfect.
The thing that we realized over that time is that nothing is going to be perfect. We took some of the pressure off ourselves to make sure that this one was like the most amazing deal.
We realized that we’re going to learn and we’re going to make some mistakes. We said the best way to do that is actually dive in and do the best we can, learn on it and actually just a great learning experience for us, and this will hopefully just be a stepping stone for us to find better deals.
BiggerPockets.com is a great resource for commercial real estate information.
That makes sense. Listeners must be going, “Wow, that’s scary and daunting and I don’t even know where to start.” You had mentioned some resources and I’m on BiggerPockets, I love BiggerPockets.com. There’s a ton of resources on there, some really great books, I’ll actually link to a few more in the show notes.
But when you were looking for deals, they just didn’t fall in your lap when you met with the commercial broker. You told him we’re looking at X price range, X, this, this and that. Would you mind sharing maybe a few of your criteria with a disclosure of it makes sense in your market, it might not make sense in … it more than likely will not make sense in any other market.
But would you mind sharing how you selected down properties and what you would look at and maybe some of the deal flow that you did or did not see in that initial couple of months that you started looking?
I went to Southern California. So the prices here are pretty high, but we wanted to … we actually wanted to invest locally so that we could drive over to the building if we wanted to deal with some of these issues, it would make us feel a little bit more comfortable. We first decided, okay, we don’t want to go outside of about 45 minutes of our current area. We wanted to make sure we could drive to it.
So we drew a big circle around the areas where we could drive to within 45 minutes. Made sure that, obviously we had a price range. We each had an X amount of money that we wanted to be able to put in and we didn’t want to … we wanted to account for some repairs, some unforeseen issues, have some sort of emergency type fund or reverse type fund. So, we came up with a ceiling for where we wanted to be in terms of our price.
You’ll have to spend some time researching properties sent your way from a broker in the initial months.
So we took that to our broker and we started there. We said, “Look, these are the areas. We don’t want to drive longer than 45 minutes and here’s our price point. Just find us properties.” They started sending us properties our way and what we would do is honestly drive the areas.
It took a lot of research in those first three months, we spent a lot of time driving around, looking at the buildings, walking the streets. We also spent a good amount of time diving into some of the numbers and trying to understand the whole concept of the net operating income, understand exactly what cap rates are and these kind of things. I actually wrote about that, right? There’s a couple of numbers that you need to know when you’re investing in real estate.
Yeah, it was a great article.
Yeah, but it’s not super complicated. Honestly, we deal with a lot more complicated things, I think, in medicine in terms of the numbers. We’ve all gone through serious physics and advancement medics and these kind of things. Most of the numbers that come up in real estate, they’re just honestly just adding, subtracting, multiplication and division, and beyond that, you don’t need to know much more.
We spent those first couple of months just trying to understand how to deal with some of those numbers. Kept looking at property after property after property.
Eventually we started figuring out, okay this is a good deal or this is a pretty good deal. Ultimately, when we saw one that we thought was a very good deal, we jumped in. We were pretty aggressive with it and luckily we were able to get it.
Your time as a physician is valuable. You’ll have to hire out where needed.
Was there a lot of rehab with that one?
Yeah, there was a good amount of rehab. Honestly, more than we thought.
Were you guys handy or did you hire it out?
No, we definitely hired it all out. I think that’s one thing as we’ve come to realize is that we’re physicians and we’re busy physicians and we have families and these kind of things.
Your time is extremely valuable, right? Sure I could be there and I could be mowing the lawns myself or doing these type of things but part of the reason we bought these things is that we wanted to ultimately free up more time for ourselves in the future, right?
We considered that just a normal part of the expense. We have a management company that takes care of things. We don’t want to get called in the middle of the night for plumbing issues or things like that, right?
So we have a great management company and I think that’s a huge member of the team that you have to get set up. Then we make sure that we have good people working for us who could fix things and we did some rehabs on the units.
Honestly, figuring out who’s a good contractor and these kind of things was part of the learning process. We actually ended up firing a few contractors to find somebody good that we wanted. Again, you don’t know how to vet these things out when you first start, so you learn along the way.
I found that the only way to actually do that is actually by doing it. You’re not going to be able to read about it and be able to be an expert from the beginning, just like in medicine, right?
You can read about things, physiology, you can read about these kind of disease processes all that you want, but until you actually see it in person and learn how to deal with these kind of things, you can’t really call yourself an expert in it, right?
Real estate can become quite passive.
At this point do you believe that this is a passive investment for you?
At this point, about two years after our purchase, it’s actually become quite passive. We have a great management team in place. All our tenants are extremely happy and they’re all paying the rent. Honestly, we don’t even deal … we don’t get phone calls or things on the building at all. We just look forward to our monthly check.
I’m sure there will be issues along the way as they come. Most of the active process took place in the first about a year and a half when we were rehabbing some of the units, there were some turnover of some of the tenants and things like that. But about two years in we’re really settled in. It’s definitely that whole passive income that we were looking forward to when we first bought the building.
That’s perfect. Yeah, I found that after the first year and I only buy single family, getting it rent ready, finding tenants, manager, all that stuff, the first year it takes some effort, and then after that the biggest chore is managing the manager, if that actually exists, and then the accounting piece of it is making sure that income is coming in, your expenses are within check, everything gets paid, and that’s the extent of it.
Otherwise, it’s how they call it, mailbox money. It makes sense. I appreciate you sharing and walking us through your first multi-family deal.
Now, it’s time for the Curbside Consult.
So physicians listening to this show and saying, “I can do this.” I want to make some passive income doing X, Y, Z.” It doesn’t matter what it is, where might they first start if they have zero passive income?
That’s something actually … That was one of my first posts that I posted when I started this website. I called it the 10 perfect passive income ideas for physicians. Those are … they’re ideas that people can jump into right away.
Some of the ones that people can jump into without having too much experience or even putting a good amount of capital are things like, they can invest into real estate crowdfunding like we mentioned, right? Whether you’re in a credit investor or non-credit investor we can talk about what that is later if you need to.
You could invest in something literally today if you really wanted to and get a monthly check in terms of a monthly dividend. Those are great ways to do it in terms of real estate crowdfunding. There’s peer to peer lending where you can act as a bank.
There are people that are looking to do things like consolidate their credit card debt or things like that, right? Or try to reify some of the student loan debt and things like that and they’re looking for some funds online.
Peer to peer lending, things like Lending Club and Prosper are two places where you’re able to do that right away. There are some other type of a little bit out there, all types of way to make passive income but some people are doing it and I’ve shown that physicians are doing it. They are doing stuff creatively on YouTube for example.
You can consolidate credit card debt or rectify student loan debt with peer to peer lending.
Of course there’s the famous ones, ZDoggMD, right? He’s got a great channel on YouTube. He makes content, puts it up on YouTube and on account of the ads that are put up on YouTube and everybody sees those ads. He makes money, anybody takes a look at it, right? Clicks on it.
I know a resident right now that he is a musician, plays the piano, and he’s created these amazing songs online and put them on YouTube where people can study to his music. He’s got millions of hits on it. Every time somebody on it, listens to his music, he makes money.
I’m going to highlight him on my site pretty soon.
Perfect, I look forward to it.
There are tons of physicians. If you ever go to the … there’s a Facebook group called Physicians Side Gigs that I help moderate. There are tons of physicians on there doing all sorts of different things to create passive income. It doesn’t have to even use their medical degree. They use their creativity or other types of passions.
Use your creativity and passion to forge passive income.
For example, there is a physician on there who creates her own line of soaps. She loves making her own soaps and she creates and she sells them online. There are people who, like a friend of mine, she created different types of inventions, right? She even made her way on Shark Tank, and was able to create a passive income.
I think of you have the creativity, it doesn’t always take a huge amount of funds to start these type of things, but it does take some time, some effort, some dedication to do these. There are ways for people to get started right away.
That’s awesome, and that transitions into our next one which you’ve touched on a little bit here without knowing was, what are the few things that physicians still in residency can do?
The first thing that came to mind as you were talking about this stuff is Etsy and a few of the other platforms that allow you to create things. But do you have any other value bombs that you can drop on people that might be able to generate a little bit of passive income while they’re still in training?
There are now in addition to blogs like mine, there are residents and there are fellows actually creating blogs now, and that they’re able to monetize.
Do you blog? Monetize it!
A couple examples of these are Future Proof M.D., Life of a Med Student, those are guys who just started doing residency and they were able to develop enough of a readership that they’re able to attract advertising and do some, make some money through some affiliates and things like that.
Residents can also, if they really want, again, if they really wanted to, they can invest in peer to peer lending, I think, right? They can do peer to peer lending. They can do real estate crowdfunding. These are ways to get involved. I know some residents also who have written books, written study guides and these kind of things and being able to collect some passive income on account of that.
Makes perfect sense.
Yeah, so there are good amount of ways for residents to get involved if they really want to.
The last question I got for you here is this physicians owns several rental properties that have some pretty massive gains they’ve held for quite a bit of time. They’re looking and saying, yeah, the cash flow is nice, this passive income is nice, a couple hundred bucks a door or whatever it is. That master game is pretty tempting.
When should you look at selling properties versus, and maybe moving up in scale if these were starter homes to bigger homes or smaller multi-family to bigger multi-family, when is the optimal time to scale up or to eventually exit a passive income property?
Physicians own several rental properties that have some pretty massive gains.
Really it depends on your goals. It starts with that. Are you trying to increase your net worth or ultimately are you trying to maximum your cash flow, right? I know a lot of people who are a little younger, they’re a little hungrier, they’re still making good incomes with their physician salaries and they’re not quite yet to retire.
So what they like to do is try to build up their net worth or try to build up as many properties as possible. Then later on they’ll worry about paying it off and worrying about the cash flow later.
They probably shouldn’t allow too much equity to be built up in some of their properties, and what they could do in that situation to avoid paying taxes, they can do something called 10/31 exchange, where they’re able to literally exchange out some of this property, possibly for some bigger properties, right?
Take a single family and buy a duplex or take a duplex and buy a quadruplex or even a multi-family, and do that, basically pushing off your taxes for the foreseeable taxes using a 10/31 exchange. I know a lot of physicians who are doing that and they do that trade every so many years.
For example, I have a friend who recently exchanged his eight unit building and was able to exchange it for a 22 unit building. He could have just stuck with that eight unit building, which would have cash flowed pretty well.
Some noteworthy goals include building up your net worth.
But his goal is to try to acquire as many units as possible, where somewhere in the future he can ultimately live off those. That’s his goal. His goal is to try to build up his net worth, try to build up as many properties as possible.
Now, for example, my father, he’s a physician as well too. His goal right now is he just wants to live off the cash flows. His goal is not to sell any of these properties, and he’d rather not. For example, he loves having them paid off. He wants to live off that monthly cash flow and he doesn’t … there’s no reason for him to ever sell.
I try to find a nice balance there. I’m trying to live off some of the cash flow today so I can work a little bit less in my clinical job but I’m also looking towards the future where I’d like to have, acquire a good amount of assets under my belt so that someday they can provide a little bit more cash flow in the future. There’s a nice little balance. Unfortunately, there’s no right answer.
Yeah, it’s all personal.
It’s all personal and what’s your situation and what your ultimate goals are. But the cool thing is with real estate and these kind of things, there are ways to do anything, whatever your goals are there are ways to achieve that.
Absolutely. I think that was a perfect answer and something that I try to bring up a lot with my clients at Physician Wealth is what are your goals and how do we accomplish those goals. The more true you are to yourself, knowing in this example, I would really like the cash flow, well you probably shouldn’t sell to get the gains.
Know your goals and keep how you want to accomplish them in mind.
If you really want to keep rolling, not rolling the dice, but do you want that equity and that built-in equity, sell it 10/31 into another piece of property or a bigger, better piece, a property, maybe it’s from a two-unit to a four-unit or from one home to two homes in your market. You have to know what you really want.
If you want to grow, your balance sheet grow, your units grow, your number of doors, or if you need that cash flow like your father. That makes sense and that was a perfect answer and I appreciate the answer.
Okay, thanks. Hopefully that helps people.
Absolutely. Well thank you so much for being on. I really appreciate having you on. I know this is going to be a popular episode. I think you did a good job and we really appreciate having you on.
Great. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it.
Stay tuned for more awesome content!
Well, that was a super fun discussion and special shout out to Passive Income MD for being on the show. I can’t wait till you’re not anonymous anymore, so I don’t have to continue to call you Passive Income MD, but it’s all right for now, buddy.
I hope that this is of benefit to you all and true Passive Income MD forum, as long as you give guys get value out of this podcast, I’m going to continue to produce it.
Speaking of value, I’m super excited about the plans for next week. Next week I’ll be mixing it up a bit and we’re going to be doing this kind of question answer type show that’ll allow you to record your questions and get them answered by me during the show.
You can go to financialresidency.com and about halfway down the page you can click the record your question button. Make sure you let me know where you’re calling from, your specialty and most importantly your question that you’d like answered.
I’ve also been answering questions in our private Facebook community called Financial Residency VIP Community. Search for us in the group section on Facebook and join hundreds of physicians who want to help improve their own financial lives. I’ve been getting a lot of private messages also on Facebook.
I’m more than happy to answer all of you guys’ questions, but I really appreciate if you could ask the questions in the Facebook group itself, and I think your colleagues would really appreciate reading the questions and also it’ll allow them to learn from the answers as well.
Thanks for listening and I look forward to helping you guys throughout your financial journey.