Making a Living as a Fixer-Upper

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You don’t have to start with more money than anybody else to become wealthy. Though being born near the finish line certainly doesn’t hurt, many people have noted how lifelong struggle builds strength in investors. This is true in many of life’s arenas: athletes, musicians, politicians, in almost doesn’t matter – people tend to do better, longer when they are desperate to achieve their goal.

You can see this in the lives of world-class investors like Peter Briger, as well as numerous everyday millionaires you’ve never heard of. In almost every case, these investors achieved success by being willing to work and risk where others weren’t. And they did so by buying up broken-down or under-valued assets and resources.

Buy low, sell high. That’s the simple recipe for investment success that could be explained to any 5-year-old. This works for any kind of asset you can name, liquid and illiquid. For people intimidated by the very concept of investing, it’s important to spend some time ruminating on all the ways that this simple formula could be applied to real life.

For people with little money, Penny stocks, Roth and Traditional IRAs and worker sponsored 401(k)s, and even simple real estate may offer pathways to big dividends. Let’s take the last example, for instance. Many people rent houses owned by individual landlords, not companies. Each of these landlords is in a situation where his or her mortgage is being paid off, perhaps two or three times over, by you, the tenant.

A downpayment on a home is expensive, and may be out of reach for people without the right kind of credit history. But a little work on that front, some saving, and the willingness to work with a fixer-upper, can put people on the track to entry-level real estate investment. This is just one path of many by which normal people have created far better financial lives for themselves, by improving depreciated resources that others have left behind.

It’s the same strategy that major investors use with companies they buy. Investors like Warren Buffett won’t buy a company unless they’re sure they can help increase that company’s efficiency and market share. Buffett sits on the board of all companies he owns, partially or outright. In many cases, he has taken simple companies from the brink of bankruptcy, pivoting them into new roles in new markets and making millions in the process.

As you can see, all investors seek out assets and properties that are affordable, but have potential to grow in value, sometimes many times over. It takes a little forethought, experience, and sweat (in some cases). But if you are willing to do hard manual labor of that property, research the market relations surrounding that company whose stock you’re interested in, or work to better manage the company you just bought commanding stock in, you’ll be ready to make your money grow through your time and effort. It may seem like professional investors work on a level that you can’t attain. Even if you don’t achieve their wealth, you can master the processes by which they became wealthy, in whatever application you choose.

Photo courtesy of: ClassicallyPrinted

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at or follow her on Twitter @shoeaholicnomor.

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