She was very sick, and had to spend $250,000 to save her own life, at that time, money was everything because it was needed just to continue living. Krisstina had money saved fortunately, and was able to bounce back from being sick. Now she helps people earn more money, or learn how to manage and live with money in a better way, leading to happier lives and thriving businesses. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“It’s more about learning and growing than it is about making more money” – Krisstina Wise
Krisstina Wise Real Estate Background:
- Real estate investor, Millionaire coach, and creator of several multi-million dollar businesses
- Author of the Amazon Best-Seller Falling for Money
- Based in Austin, TX
- Say hi to her at https://wealthywellthy.life/
- Best Ever Book: Dollars and Sense
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Krisstina Wise. How are you doing, Kristina?
Krisstina Wise: I’m doing great, thank you.
Joe Fairless: I’m glad to hear that, and looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Krisstina – she is a real estate investor, a millionaire coach and creator of several multi-million-dollar businesses. She’s the author of Falling For Money, and she’s based in Austin, Texas. You can go check out her website, there’s a link to it in the show notes page. With that being said, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?
Krisstina Wise: My background was in real estate, so that’s my claim to fame. I had a leading real estate brokerage, nationally known as the real estate destructor, innovator. I played that game for a long time. I got really sick in 2013, fell off the grid because I needed to go into life-saving mode. Coming out of that, I had this really a-ha moment on my proverbial and literal deathbed. Number one, money matters more than anything, because in my case, money saved my life. And not earning income that most people talk about business income, earning income, how to make more money, how to grow your business, how to scale your business, how to 10x your business, whatever the case is – it’s that I was able, because I had a great business going, that was leveraged and could work without me, 1) I had some income coming in, but 2) because I had liquid cash and other (maybe not so liquid) assets, I was able to save my life, have the money and have access to what ultimately saved my life. It cost me a quarter million dollars to save my life unconventionally.
At the same time, I also realized that life isn’t just all about the money either, because I was so money and investment and passive income focused, and business focused, and success focused, and achievement focused, I was missing my life. Then all of a sudden I realized “Holy cow, I’ve been so focused on achievement, I’ve not really even enjoyed my life. In fact, I don’t even know what enjoying my life means, other than to make more money.”
So I really went on this search after that to figure out “Okay, what am I good at outside of real estate? What do I wanna do for the rest of my life if I get another chance?” and it just kind of came to me that I love teaching people about money – the importance of it, how to earn it, how to save it, how to invest it, and the meaning behind that. And just kind of get out of this grind and out of this game of more, and just getting content with “How much is enough? What are we after? How do we get there? How do we enjoy our life while we’re creating and producing and building and growing our balance sheet?”
Joe Fairless: At what point did you write that book, “Falling for Money”?
Krisstina Wise: I wrote that right after I came out of being sick… And funny enough, in 2012, before I got sick, if anybody had said “Christina, you’re gonna be a financial author, you’re gonna teach money, money mastery, money investing… This is what you’re gonna do”, I’d have been like “You’re crazy. I’m in real estate sales, brokerage, technology, advisory, that type of thing. This is my world.” So I would have said, “No, there’s no way.”
After I came out of being sick, I actually just sat down to write a blog article for the few people that – after I fell off the face of Earth – still were wondering who I am… Which, by the way, is very humbling, because we think we’re really important, and then once we’re out of the game for a few months, people go on to the next person that’s important. So it’s really humbling… “Wow, I’m not as important, or great, or amazing as I thought I was. The real estate world went on just fine without me.” But the few people that were still maybe hanging on and wondering, I thought “I’ll sit down and write a blog article, say how I’ve been really sick, I’ve been out of the game, but I’ve come back.” Just a little bit of an update; I wasn’t giving the full story, but giving an update.
And just the most amazing thing happened. Also, if somebody would have said “You’re gonna be an author and write a book”, I’d be like “I can’t write. I’ll never be an author. That’s not on my goal sheet.” And I sat down, and a book came out of me. The muse took over, a book came out of me, and it was all about money and this journey and how important it is. That was my message, that says “Alright, Krisstina, this is your next phase of your life, is to help people get really good at money, and investing, and to work towards financial freedom, for real.”
Joe Fairless: In your book, it talks about establishing a healthy love affair with money. Will you define that a little bit, to talk about what that means?
Krisstina Wise: Yeah, the way I think about money – it’s really looking to have an intimate relationship with it. We tend to be so screwed up when it comes to money. One, people either have a mindset that they’re not worthy, or that they can’t do it… So we either have under-achievers when it comes to money, meaning they just can’t quite earn enough, no matter what, and then we have over-achievers with money, meaning they bury themselves through just earning more money, and they get caught up in that, and really with this dialogue that “I’ll just go make more money.” But one way or another they’re just in a grind, and there’s no real meaning to it, other than just love of having more. So our egos get attached to having more money, and then what money can buy, and being on that achievement track, and just that external validation track.
So really where I wanted to take the reader was how could we reverse-engineer it, and just get really good — like, what is our definition of a good life, and what is meaningful, and how much is enough to live that good life, meaning how much is enough to live the lifestyle that we’re good, and content, and we have space, and time, and we’re just not overwhelmed, and stressed, and after the More game. And then with that, just really learning to love the money and what it can do, and having really positive emotions about it, that are healthy, and we’re connected to a really healthy narrative and healthy goals… And our body, our number one asset as well. A big part of our investing isn’t just in real estate, isn’t just in some type of assets to build our net worth and our balance sheet. But if our body is our number one asset — one of the reasons that I got so sick is that I just lived a life that was unsustainable. I was just on the go all the time, and I didn’t even slow down, because I was in the race for more.
So if our body is our number one asset, it’s like “Okay, how do we even organize our thoughts and feelings and real dollars around investing in us, investing in our well-being, investing in our health, mental, physical, emotional health, investing in what’s important to us, experiential… And again, getting closer and connected to a narrative we build of “What truly is a good life outside of this concept of More?”
And then with that, we can be very grateful for the money that we have and that we earn, and make it a life journey to grow. We never wanna stop growing, we never wanna stop learning, but it’s more about growth and learning and experience than it is about money. But then at the same time, make no mistake, it’s getting really good with the money for the right reasons, because we have a really positive relationship with it, and we’re after money for the good it can do, for ourselves, our families, our legacies.
Joe Fairless: So what are some practical tips, if the listeners are nodding their heads like “Yes, that sounds great. I want to be more about growth and experience, and when I think about money, I want to have positive associations with it, so that it empowers me and propels me into things that are better for me health-wise, and I’m able to do more good, versus just chasing after a dollar for the sake of increasing my ego, either consciously or subconsciously?” So assuming they’re nodding their heads “Yes”, what are now some practical tips that we can do to act on that?
Krisstina Wise: Well said, and that’s just it. I think step one or tip one is recognizing whether or not we’re in the chase, and what I call “In the grind.” I have a lot of people, for example, that work with me, and they’re earning a million dollars a year take-home from their business, or usually that high income from business… But they still are after the chase, meaning it’s just “Where do I go from here? Well, I guess I’ll make two million dollars, and live that lifestyle.” So it’s just start from A and going to Z, and then figuring out “Where do we get to the place of enough?” and the answer is there’s never enough with that model, because wherever we are, there’s someone else to compare to that’s doing better, or has more. So all we can do is never be satisfied, never reach a place of enough.
So my tip is to start backwards. Again, it’s really sitting down and looking at “What does my life look like to have a good life, that isn’t stressed out, that isn’t overwhelmed, isn’t building a bigger business, with more employees and more problems? Where is my happy spot? What do I see myself doing, for real?” And it takes a while; it’s not necessarily easy to do, because it takes space and time to even sit down and conceptualize this. So it’s looking at that and then it’s quantifying it. Then it’s like “Okay, how much money does it cost to live that life?” And I like to say, take out the mortgage payment; if you don’t have a mortgage, you don’t have any car payments or credit card payments… We’re kind of taking out the debt. So if we don’t have debt payments, how much would it cost on a monthly or annual basis to live the life that I want, that includes some travel, it includes whatever your good life looks like? Quantify that.
My philosophy is we don’t need car payments, we don’t need all these other payments. We should be debt-free anyway… Like consumer debt; business debt is fine. Maybe we have a mortgage we can add on that, but then it’s just very easy to quantify, how much does it cost to live my good life? And that’s the goal number. Maybe we’ll surpass it. We probably will, when we look at this, but number one, the number is probably a lot smaller than we think it will be when we do that exercise and do that work.
So then we can look at “Okay, that’s my net worth number that I’m after.” Then we can work backwards and we create a plan as far as “How much money do I need to invest, over what time period?”, to hit that “good life” number as quickly as possible, whatever timeframe that is. Then from reverse-engineering, now we’re looking at “What’s my investment strategy? What type of investments am I looking at? Is it a short game or a long game? Do I need to do this over the next ten years, or do I have 20 years to play with?” We can work this backwards, and that’s all getting to what I call that “good life” number, that financial freedom number… Because the money game, when we know how much money is enough that we’re kind of after, hopefully we can blow it out… But that number alone can take some of the stress out, and then we’re living and working and building towards hitting a number that has real meaning, that’s attached to a real future narrative that we really want. It doesn’t have to be exotic, and luxurious, and [unintelligible [00:10:56].21] and yachts and caviar… I mean, it can be, but I think for most people that’s not what they would want anyway. It can be much simpler and much more meaningful for some.
Once we know that, then that’s what we’re working towards, since sometimes when we’re looking at the earning game, we don’t have to build a 30-million-dollar business to hit that number. Maybe we can get to a 5 or 6 million dollar business and not have the stress or the headaches, because maybe I don’t want the trade-off of having 50 employees or 100 employees, or that type of thing. I want space and freedom and time and I want to be able to have as few obligations as possible.
So for me, when I’ve done that number, and what I value most is my time and flexibility and freedom to do when I want, what I want and how I want, with whom I want, then that means for me my business numbers are smaller than maybe somebody else’s, my business goals.
So once we work back, again, it just gives us more meaning, it gives us more direction, it gives us real numbers, so we know what we’re working for, and it keeps us mostly out of the More game, it helps us not overspend and not live lifestyles that ultimately will probably get us in trouble and steer us away, and send us on a different trajectory than the one that we’re after.
Joe Fairless: What if after we create the plan to hit the “good life” number, as you call it, it’s clear that we are going to need to, based on our current approach, have a company that has 30-40 employees, but we don’t want that, but in order to hit our number we have to build that up? What would you say?
Krisstina Wise: Well, our business is one way to get there. It’s ultimately however you’re going to generate enough income to produce, to have enough money to invest, so that you can start to build your asset value, build your net worth… Because ultimately, the money game, if we’re after financial freedom, the only real financial freedom means the cashflow or the income from our assets replaces our working income. So when non-working income replaces working income, then we have our freedom. That means I don’t have to go to work today if I don’t want to. I can close my business tomorrow if I want to, because all my assets are generating enough money to be able to pay for my cost of living. So that’s where I am, and that was my goal – I just wanted to get to the place where I earned enough, invested enough and had my plan to get me to a place of financial freedom as quickly as possible. And I got there quicker because my lifestyle expense isn’t as high as maybe a lot of people in my income bracket.
So my current lifestyle – it’s a great lifestyle; I’m by no means done, I’m still in the earning game and I’m still growing, and I got divorced last year and lost half my net worth, so I have to be back in the earning game anyway… But the idea is that all my assets, all my real estate passive income and my other asset income, and everything that I’m doing – that amount of money from those assets pays for the cost of my life. So now I get to choose what I’m gonna work on, and how much time I’m gonna spend in that type of thing. And if I wanna increase the cost of my lifestyle, I wanna add more to it, that means now I need to go earn a lot more, to invest a lot more, so that my assets are gonna grow to match my upscaled lifestyle.
It’s an ongoing game, but ultimately it’s all about how much income do we need to earn, and what are the methods for earning that income, that we have enough surplus to invest to build our balance sheet, assuming that our business isn’t our exit strategy, which is really risky, and/or we don’t have a trust fund that somebody else put all that money away for us to live off of.
Joe Fairless: Which we would just lose it later anyway…
Krisstina Wise: Exactly. [laughs]
Joe Fairless: So what are some successful investments or approaches that you’ve taken that have turned out well for you?
Krisstina Wise: Well, I’m always looking at my overall portfolio, and we’ve all heard the word “diversification”, and that type of thing… But why I love your show, and conversations like this, is to really try to help people break out of conventional wisdom and conventional planning and just conventional advising, meaning “Put money in the stock market, do some index funds”, that type of diversification, with bonds etc. And just whatever that more traditional retirement type old-school mentality is – that’s not the way we build wealth and get rich.
These conversations – it’s in the alternative investing world. When I’m looking at diversifying my portfolio, 1) I like to talk about – our balance sheet is a living organism, meaning the old school finance, set-it-and-forget-it, put the money in those “retirement accounts”, let these money managers take their fees and manage it, and hopefully you’ll have enough at this thing called retirement… That’s very risky, it doesn’t work anymore, and there’s a lot of other options. There used to not be other options, but now there are.
So when we’re looking at an alternative, this is a living, breathing balance sheet – that’s how I like to talk about it and look at it; it’s always changing, you’re always in it and working it, and saving and investing for the next day, and looking at different options in this alternative realm of investing, that is way outside of convention.
So obviously, real estate is an alternative investing. We love real estate, for many different reasons. But I don’t wanna be over-leveraged in real estate, because anything that is not diversified is a little risky. So I’m looking at my living thing like any type of investment; I’m always saving to have enough money to make that next installment in some type of investment. Usually in $50,000 chunks is what I’m looking at. So I might put 150k in, or 250k, or 350k. [unintelligible [00:16:10].25] I like to think in 50k chunks of savings.
So then I’m looking at — alright, well if I’m looking at my portfolio and think of it as a pie chart, and I’m looking at my overall let’s say 60% real estate… I am heavy in real estate, because I’m in real estate, I love real estate, and I get it, and it’s my passion, and maybe a buy/hold type cashflow… But I’m always gonna have a percentage that’s a little riskier that I might into other businesses, business ventures where I might have some influence and maybe can do some advising, and that meet my criteria for more private equity… And not traditional private equity, but private equity meaning investing in companies or people that I know that are starting businesses or going — I usually don’t like seed capital, but looking for growth and need some capital for scale and some growth.
I’m looking at some alternative stuff like life settlements or things that tend to be a little bit more on the growth side. I’m always looking at maybe putting in some funds — I have money in a big real estate fund, a women’s entrepreneurs’ fund, and things where I’m investing a percentage in the fund and let the fund managers try to go for an exit, kind of a VC-type model.
There’s just so many different options that are available today that are really exciting, and it’s fun to learn about these things, and have money in different places. Some of these, like a real estate fund that I just exited out of – it was a seven-year play; it was a great investment, by the way, because it was when the market was really down, and invested in Phoenix and Florida when everybody said “Stay away from those markets.” They had great investments, and then those developments, that fund just sold out, and it was a beautiful check that landed in my bank account.
So those are looking at “Okay, this is probably a 5 to 7 year play.” I may collect a little bit of cashflow or dividends, but I’m really for the growth and the ROI on that, as opposed to cashflow… So I’m just looking at balancing out how much cashflow, how much growth, how much private equity, how much is pretty risky, how much is pretty safe… I’m a big believer in whole life insurance as a cash savings vehicle… And again, I’m just always building [unintelligible [00:18:11].11]
I’ve just put in — in fact, I’m right in the middle of it… I was just online right before we were talking in fact, and I’m ready to put in a $250,000 investment installments; one in an oil and gas opportunity, and another one in a life settlement opportunity, and looking at those. That’s taken out of cash, and I’ll save some more and build those up, and look for the next investment.
Again, it becomes very normal and fun, and you learn a lot when you have great options and advisors and people around you. You make some mistakes, but you learn with time.
I guess I’ll complete by saying that I just really encourage people to love their money, to be very intimate with it, know where every dollar goes, get really great at saving, so that you start learning to invest… There’s many options, like you guys, out there. Just work on growing your balance sheet to get closer to that good life number, that freedom number, and live the life you want, don’t live somebody else’s.
Joe Fairless: And then taking a step back and just thinking about it from your overall experience as an investor and as an entrepreneur, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Krisstina Wise: Just get started, just invest. Find great people. The biggest thing is that people don’t invest. They’ll talk about it, they’ll do research, they’ll read the blog, they’ll listen to your podcast and they just won’t take action. My advice is invest, just take action; get your feet wet and learn as you go.
Joe Fairless: We’re gonna do a lightning round. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Krisstina Wise: Let’s do it, let’s see what you’ve got.
Joe Fairless: Alright, let’s do it. First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Break: [00:19:42].18] to [00:20:27].23]
Joe Fairless: Okay, best ever book you’ve recently read?
Krisstina Wise: Dollars and Sense, by Jeff Kreisler. Great book on how people misthink their money. That’s one of my latest reads, and what I recommend.
Joe Fairless: Best ever deal you’ve done?
Krisstina Wise: Best ever deal I’ve done… My best deals have been buying real estate in Austin, Texas.
Joe Fairless: What’s a mistake you’ve made on a transaction?
Krisstina Wise: Oh gosh, I’ve made so many mistakes… My biggest mistakes are not reading the fine print.
Joe Fairless: Any particular fine print that you can think of that got you?
Krisstina Wise: My piece of advice to this would be hire experts, hire real attorneys and spend money to read the fine print. [laughs] I try to save the money and think “Oh, I don’t need those attorneys”, and they’re worth their weight in gold, so… Hire the experts.
Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back?
Krisstina Wise: I love teaching money. I just really love to help people learn, and how to apply financial concepts that can get them out of the rat race.
Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’ve got going on?
Krisstina Wise: Probably the best way – my book is called Falling For Money, so just go to fallingformoney.com and get a free download for your audience. My name is Krisstina, so Krisstina.com. You can read my blogs, or find my podcast… Plenty of info out there if anybody wants to see what I’m up to.
Joe Fairless: You have Krisstina.com?
Krisstina Wise: I do, with a k and two s’s.
Joe Fairless: Yes, unconventional spelling, but still, it’s impressive to have just your first name .com. Nice. Well, Krisstina, than you so much for being on the show and sharing the approach that you take from a mindset standpoint with finances, and how you think about it. We talked about this in depth already, but I love the practical tips too that you gave. You really laid out the step-by-step process, which I have not read your book, but I have read a summary of your book, just whatever is on Amazon, and I know you have that laid out in detail in your book… So Best Ever listeners, if you want that more in detail, then go grab her book.
Thank you so much for being on the show. I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Krisstina Wise: Thank you.