June 23, 2023

JF3214: The Mindset You Need to Succeed in 2023 ft. Rod Khleif


Rod Khleif is the director of Lifetime CashFlow Academy, host of the Lifetime Cashflow Through Real Estate Investing Podcast, and director of acquisitions for CRE Equity Capital. In this episode, Rod talks about how investors can prepare themselves for what’s possibly to come in the next 12 months, what he learned from losing $50 million in the Great Recession, and why he believes we could be headed into the greatest real estate opportunities of our lifetime. 

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Rod Khleif | Real Estate Background

  • Director of Lifetime CashFlow Academy, host of the Lifetime Cashflow Through Real Estate Investing Podcast, and director of acquisitions for CRE Equity Capital
  • Portfolio:
    • 4,500 units in seven states
  • Based in: Sarasota FL
  • Say hi to him at: 
  • Best Ever Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Greatest Lesson: There is no failure. Only seminars.

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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Ash Patel, and I'm with today's guest, Rod Khleif. Rod is joining us from Sarasota, Florida. He is the director of Lifetime Cashflow Academy, the host of Lifetime Cashflow Through Real Estate Investing podcast, and the president and founder of the Tiny Hands Foundation. Rod specializes in investing in multifamily, and teaches others how to invest in multifamily. Rob's portfolio consists of 4,500 multifamily units in seven states. Rod, thanks for joining us, and how are you today?

Rod Khleif: It's good to see you, Ash. Let's have some fun today, brother.

Ash Patel: Glad you're here, Rod. Before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you're focused on now?

Rod Khleif: Sure. Let me give you a high-level quick background. I'm a Dutch immigrant, I immigrated to this country when I was six years old with my brother, Albert. My mother's [unintelligible 00:02:50.23] Ended up in Denver, Colorado. Really didn't have much when we got here, struggled. I remember we actually bought food in an expired food store. Believe it or not, they had that. And I remember drinking powdered milk with our cereal in the morning, because it was cheaper than real milk... And trust me, it sounds better than it is. And we were close in the Goodwill and the Salvation Army all the way through junior high school, till I finally lied about my age when I was 14, because I was tall, and I got a job at Burger King, so I could buy my own clothes. And I'm sure people had it harder than I did, or have it harder now with all this economic craziness, but I knew I wanted more, and luckily, my mom had an incredible work ethic, so she babysat kids, so we'd have enough money to eat. And with her babysitting money, we always had a house full of kids, but she was a bit of an entrepreneur. She invested in the stock market successfully, and IPOs, without any formal education. She also invested in real estate. And she's the reason I got into real estate.

She bought the house across the street for about $30,000 when I was about 14, and when I was 17, she told me she'd made $20,000 in her sleep. I'm like "What? You didn't do anything and you made 20 grand? Screw College, I'm getting into real estate." So I got into real estate, I got my real estate broker's license right when I turned 18, which you could do back then with education. And now they got smart, you need some experience... And I was smart enough to go work for another broker, even though I could have had my own office.

But my first year real estate I only made about $8,000, still living at home. My second year I made about $10,000. But my third year I made over $100,000. So what happened between year two and year three? Well, what happened was I met somebody that taught me about the importance of your mindset and your psychology. And frankly, that's what I talk about a lot at my events and all my podcasts, because I really believe 80% to 90% of your success in anything is just that, your mindset and psychology, particularly into the period of time we're heading into economically in this country.

But fast-forward to today, I've owned over 2,000 houses that are rented long-term. I own thousands of apartment units, like you said, and in 2006 my net worth went up $17 million while I slept. And you might say "Wow." And I said "Wow." And I got a head so big I could barely fit it through a door. I thought it was a real estate god. And you know when that happens, God of the universe give us a nice little smack. Well, that was 2008-2009. I lost $50 million in 2008 and 2009.
So again, what I'm known for talking about on my social and my podcasts and on my bootcamps is really the mindset it took that 50 million to lose in the first place, and maybe even more importantly, the mindset it took to recover from that. So that's my story, brother.

Ash Patel: Let's dive into that. And Best Ever listeners, if you don't know the name Rod Khleif, he's one of the pioneers of this industry... So by all means, google him, and you can listen to a podcast that gives you more about his background. But today we're going to dive into the recovery that you went through, Rod, and the economic headwinds that we're heading into today.

Rod Khleif: Sure.

Ash Patel: So you had the luxury of failing spectacularly. You've learned a lot --

Rod Khleif: I call them seminars. I call them seminars, by the way; they're not failures.

Ash Patel: Good. Yes, I agree with you. And because of that, you have to have a much different view heading into 2023's recession. What are your thoughts on -- and I'm not asking you to predict the future, but how to prepare yourself for what could be on the horizon?

Rod Khleif: Well, I can tell you what I did when I lost it all. That will probably add some color to this and help. But there are several pieces that will really help. Let me see, how do I want to do this? Well, one of them is your focus right now. It's so easy to get caught up in all the crap that's in the news, and what's happening there, on social media... You don't even know what to believe anymore, and we won't even get started on the political side of things. It's just crazy what's happening in this country. So it's super-important right now to manage your focus, because whatever you focus on is going to get larger, both positive or negative. Some great examples of this would be I get people that ask me "How do I get out of student loan debt?" And I'm like, "Wrong question." "How do you make so much money that the student loan debt's irrelevant?"

Here's the thing - where focus goes, energy flows. And if you've got incredible focus, you're going to have incredible success. And again, what you focus on gets bigger. They asked Mother Teresa, for example - another great example - if she was anti war. She said, "No, I'm pro peace." It's a play on words, but it's important. And I'll give you another similar example... It's important that you don't dilute your focus either. But more than anything, I will just say this -on diluting your focus, I remember back in Denver, I had frozen yogurt shops. I had vending cars selling ice cream, carpet cleaning, I was doing real estate, and everything suffered, because my focus was diluted. So make sure you don't do that as well.

I got rid of everything except the real estate, and I bought 500 houses in that run. But the thing that's super-important is that you stand guard at the door to your mind. Keep that negative crap -- I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a less profane word to use there, but that's the bottom line, is what it is on social and on the news right now. Just remember this, the news organizations are not public service organizations; they are there for a profit, and they don't make a profit unless you watch it. And you don't watch it unless it's screaming negative headlines. So they're there to startle you and scare you. And if you bring that stuff in, you're going to get sucked into fear and you'll be paralyzed.

And I'm going to tell you, Ash, I believe we are heading into one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime to really create wealth. Some people are saying it could be the greatest transfer of wealth we see in our lifetime. And certainly, there are lots of different ways you could capitalize on this. But you've got to pick a vehicle. And you can buy businesses; there are baby boomers retiring that own tons of businesses... But everything's going on sale, in my opinion. This is my opinion, I really believe we're going to see some real pain in this country economically. And I think it's unavoidable at this point. I'm not saying that to scare you, I'm saying that to excite you, because you've got to pick your vehicle. If it's buying businesses, go learn that. If it's buying some other asset class besides multifamily, go learn that; if it's multifamily, go to the Best Ever Conference or come to one of my bootcamps. I've got one coming up in September. But get up to speed as fast as you can, because I really believe it's coming and I think there's going to be incredible opportunity. We can talk about why whenever you like.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Before we do that, Rod, I'm going to push back a little bit on you... We have an entire generation of people who have experienced the arrow going up and to the right. And now maybe for the first time their deal's underwater, there's seemingly no way out... They have to deliver bad news to their investors... I get what you're saying --

Rod Khleif: What are you pushing back on then? Because what you're describing is the pain that existing operators are already going through.

Ash Patel: What I'm pushing back on is how do you have a positive outlook when all these headwinds are coming on you, you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders? Again, bad news to deliver to everybody, you've potentially created a financial disaster for yourself... What do you say to that person? How do they remain positive?

Rod Khleif: Okay, for that person, it's a different conversation, for sure. And again, I lost $50 million, so maybe I'm a little more battle-scarred and less - what's the word? ...compassionate than I should be. And forgive me for that, okay? And if you're suffering right now -- in fact, I'm working on all sorts of strategies for my students. I've got coaching students, they're called my warriors, and I'm working on all sorts of strategies for any of them that are suffering right now, that are in adjustable rate debt. And there are more technical strategies as it were, but let's talk about the technical strategies first.

I'm having a loan broker who's extraordinary talk to my team here tomorrow. And lining out resources for rescue capital, and opportunity funds. Obviously, that's the last resort, but lining those out. Coaching my students on making capital calls properly, so you don't scare your investors so that they're inclined to actually step up and help you get through this.

So all of these different technical strategies that I'm teaching my coaching students, my warriors, but... It is inevitable that there's going to be some distress. I don't know if you saw the recent Wall Street Journal article about that huge foreclosure in Houston... One of my competitor's student's there, about 3,000 units, and I believe there's going to be more of that. And let me just say this - if you end up going there and you can't save it, just remember me. I lost $50 million. I had hundreds of foreclosures, and here I am, back, happy, excited. Failures are setbacks, and that's why I call them seminars. I've built 27 businesses so far in my career, several worth tens of millions of dollars. Most spectacular flaming seminars. We fail our way to success.

So don't fear it. Deal with it, do the best you can, keep your integrity and do everything you can to protect your investors... And that's all you can do, because there are outside global forces, outside your control. That's just the bottom line. But just don't let it destroy you.

I will tell you, people jumped off buildings back in the Great Depression, and even in 2008-2009 for losing less than I lost proportionately, because they couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. But don't fear failure. I got to meet the billionaire owner of Spanx, Sara Blakely, at a mastermind that I was in, and she told me something that was super-impactful. And that is her dad used to ask her and her brother almost on a weekly basis, "What have you failed at this week?" And I thought, "What an awesome question ask your kids so they don't fear failure."

So again, if you're going through this - what is Winston Churchill's famous quote, if you're going through hell, just keep going"? Just do everything you possibly can, don't get caught up in fear, because fear paralyzes. Look at every possible angle, and do the best you can. That's it. You'll come out the other side of it, no matter what.

Ash Patel: Have you currently advised people, or are you in the process of advising people who are underwater on deals and dealing with investors?

Rod Khleif: Yes, I'm doing it right now. I'm doing a capital call, for example - how to do that properly, and hopefully raise enough money to get you over the hump. Raise enough money for that rate cap, or whatever it takes to get you through it. And I think if investors are shown that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is an opportunity to save their initial investment by putting in some more capital to get over the hump... Because nobody projected it was going to get this rough, that the rates were going to go this high, that rate caps were going to be so ridiculous.

I'll give you an example. I just did a Facebook Live on rate caps, and back in 2020 if you wanted a three year 3% rate cap on $100 million, it was $23,000. Three-year 3% rate cap. Today, that 100 million dollar rate cap for one year would be 2.3 million. Who plans for that kind of a hit? And of course, with the interest rates, cap rates have gone up, so values are coming down. With these interest rates on these adjustable rate loans, a lot of people are struggling with their debt service coverage ratio. And that's just the interest rates. We're not even talking about what's happening with insurance right now. Insurance is insane as well. And of course, taxes have gone crazy, too.

So there's just a lot of headwinds, and I like to look at it from the opportunity side... So I talk about that, and it seems very compassionless... And I do have a lot of compassion. I do. But -- and I said 'but', so that means everything I said before is a lie, but it's not. I do care about people. And that's why I'm spending so much time; I've got a big presentation tomorrow for my warriors, my coaching students about what we can do with debt and that capital call conversation, which actually we already did that one, and just treading carefully right now, being super-conservative, not being aggressive.

Ash Patel: Rod, going forward, are you trying to stay away from variable interest rate, variable rate debt, bridge loans? Are you guys trying to start locking in fixed debt?

Rod Khleif: Oh, for sure. No question. I wouldn't even consider a five year debt right now. The only debt I would consider is 10 year. It's too volatile, and the rate caps are just crazy. The last deal we did was 10-year Freddie Mac debt 60% loan-to-value. It was a screaming deal in Nashville. Crazy story. We just had a fire there, thank God nobody died, but we lost 20 units... But I haven't done a lot of purchasing the last year. Only two assets; one in San Antonio and one in Nashville, because it's just too frothing for me. Frothing is the only word I can use to describe it. It reminded me too much of 2006 and 2007, because when you get hammered like I did, you become pretty conservative. Hit me once, shame on you; hit me twice, it's Rod's fault. So I'm just being super-conservative, maybe to a fault, honestly... But I think it's coming to light that conservative really was the order of the day.

And here's what's scary, Ash - there's 1.6 trillion in debt coming due by the end of next year. And first quarter this year, there was a 75% year over year decline in sales. So it's not selling; you know what's happening with interest rates and rate caps and cap rates... I think we're going to see bank failures, we're going to see a lot of this debt going into default. And if you're in this position right now, I hope you're just taking as much action as you can to try to mitigate it. Sometimes you can't, and you just move on. That's it. You just have to move on. You can't do anything else.

Ash Patel: I would imagine historically you've found a lot of deals through broker relationships, or through your network. Are you doing something different to find those distressed assets today? What are you doing to find deals today?

Rod Khleif: Well, honestly they haven't really hit that much yet. I think it's still the people that want to sell. And I can tell you, I think a lot of operators are looking for every other option besides selling right now as an option for themselves. So I don't think they've really hit that hard yet. But we've got lists of debt that's coming due, and things like that; we have not aggressively pursued it yet. Full disclosure, I am building an opportunity fund; I should have it completed by the end of the week, we're just working through some tax ramifications. But I do believe that those opportunities are coming. Even if this is a mild recession, and they start lowering interest rates immediately, which I don't see... The notes on this last Fed meeting indicated they're very well likely to be another interest rate increase. But even if it flips quickly, I know that the people with bridge debt are in trouble.

And I don't know if you know this stat either, that a third of all commercial real estate debt is adjustable. I was shocked when I saw that in a CRE article the other day; I didn't realize it was that high. So there's a lot of pain, not just in the multifamily asset class. By the way, there's about a half a trillion, five hundred billion in multifamily coming due by the end of next year. A lot of these operators, because they couldn't get the loan-to-value with Fannie and Freddie, used bridge debt to get the returns where they needed to get these last couple of years, thinking that the parade was going to continue forever... Which - I'll be candid - is the same thing I thought back in 2006 and 2007. I thought this gravy train was going to go forever. How could it ever go back? It's such a strong market. And maybe that's why I'm a little more in tune in advance of what happened this time, because I can remember the pain of what I went through.

Ash Patel: Rod, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you this... I've been a non-residential commercial investor for over 10 years, and I invest in retail, industrial, office, mixed-use... Why not pivot and start investing in some of those asset classes?

Rod Khleif: Obviously office. Office, you put your hand out and you stay away from office right now. I just saw an article literally in today's CRE Daily that about 20% of all office is empty right now. And they're not sure it's gonna fill back up. And they're looking at alternate uses, like converting to multifamily, but that's super-expensive. I just saw a new fund opened in New York that's thinking of converting them to self-storage. I thought that was interesting. So office is a no.

Retail - I know a lot about retail. I've never invested in it, but I studied it for a long time... And of course, you've got the Amazon dynamic. I don't think that's going away. God forbid we have another pandemic... But I like retail, and you can really make a lot of money in retail, but I know a lot of guys that really got hurt in retail, too. So I'm not going to mess with it.

I love self-storage, no question there, but you're not gonna get the value-add type returns you're gonna get elsewhere. I like industrial as well, especially flex space, small office, nice warehouse in the back... I think there'll always be a demand for that. But I have not invested in it personally. I love mobile home parks, but again, those have gone through the roof as well.

My partner has done 6 billion in commercial real estate acquisitions, and I asked him this very question you just asked me - should we pivot? And he said "Everybody is seeing the same thing in all these other asset classes that we're seeing in multifamily." So not to say we wouldn't; he's a retail expert. He headed up Marcus & Millichap's retail division for three and a half years. He was over like 400 or 500 brokers, so he's an expert in that asset class, and he hasn't pushed me to go there yet.

Break: [00:18:44.02]

Ash Patel: Rod, you mentioned you're starting a recovery fund or a rescue fund, which is very trendy right now... What do you say to those investors who say "Rod, come on... Real estate - look at what's happening, the headlines; people are getting decimated. Why would I invest in real estate now?"

Rod Khleif: Sure, that's a great question, and it's one that we're hearing all the time. And the answer is, first of all, there's nothing else that gives you tax benefits except maybe oil and gas, which I don't know a thing about, but I heard that you get some tax benefits there... But yes, real estate goes through cycles; we're in a down cycle. But as an investment, specifically commercial real estate, traditionally very solid and safe. And even with the potential bloodbath that's coming, if this market crashes, I think you're gonna see some major pain in the stock market. We won't even talk about Bitcoin; you saw the FTX debacle, and Bitcoin is way down... So there's just not a lot of options.

Now, I will tell you, you can get 4% to 5% interest now at some of the high savings banks. I just moved a few million over one... Which is great. But even 4% to 5% is not keeping up with inflation. They will tell you it is, but it's not. So our money just keeps decreasing. It kills me, but I'm in a lot of cash right now. I believe you're in a crisis, cash is king. And I tell my investors, "Listen, it will come back, and if we can buy right now, if the numbers make sense, it's an asset that isn't going to be impacted by the current economic environment." Like, right now I'm not doing C class assets. This is no way, because that demographic's getting killed. They can't afford the gas and the food and everything else. But if I can find an A or B asset, the numbers make sense, and I can project it without any rent increases, just bringing the rents to market, for example, I'll jump all over that deal. That's a solid deal. And again, you get the tax benefits. Typically, we can offer a 7% or 8% preferred return, and it's still a great investment; you're hedging against inflation.

And then if we find an asset that's distressed, the returns can be exponential. And that's really what that fund is for, is for exponential deals, if they come across. Deals that maybe we can't get financing on, and we have to pay cash for, or very low loan-to-value, for example. And I don't think that's a difficult argument to have with an investor, that for this fund we're going to focus on distressed assets. And if something pops up, typically the returns are going to be exponential.

So I don't know if that answered your question, but... I don't do much investor relations, just so you know. I have a team that does that, so they can probably do a better job than I just did on that explanation.

Ash Patel: Rod, let's pivot a little bit... I know you have a lot of success stories from your coaching program. What about the people that don't take action? Do you have any techniques or mindset advice for people that have gone through your program, and just never took the first step?

Rod Khleif: Yeah, I spend a lot of time on mindset, and I have one-off coaching calls with people to get them realigned with their goals... And that's where it starts. They've got to create a burning desire for themselves. Napoleon Hill talks about it in his book, Think and Grow Rich. They've got to want it. So one of the first things we do at my boot camps, for example, is we do goal-setting on steroids, because how do you get anything if you don't know what it is? You've got to know what it is you want, and why you want it. That's how you push through fear and what's coming. That's how you stay focused on what you want, and not all the noise and the fear mongering on the news. That's how you push through any limiting beliefs that you may have. Or maybe you're comfortable; that's how you get uncomfortable, because that quality of your life is in direct proportion to how much discomfort you can take.

For example, I just did a video on that this morning. I jumped in my cold plunge and I talked about getting uncomfortable, because that's how you achieve success, is by allowing yourself to have a little discomfort. But it starts with the goal setting. So I try to reassociate my students with their goals. I tell them "You've got to make a firm decision after that." And I don't mean dip your toe in the water, or just think about it, or dip one foot in, one foot out; you've got to be totally enrolled. The Latin word for the word decision means to cut off. If you're going to attack the island and battle, you're burning your ships, because you're taking their ships home. That's a decision. It's freakin done.

And then you're committed. And once you're committed, you're like a train on a track. That commitment will help you create massive action. But if you're not committed, you'll get knocked off track. So it starts with the goals, then the decision, and then you've got to take action. In some cases it's the first step. And I see it with my students all the time, it's the law of the first deal. That's the hardest. It's the most stressful, it takes the longest, and they're complaining "It's been five months", six months, maybe even a year sometimes and they haven't got one. Then they get one, and next thing I know they have three or four. It's like, what just happened? They realized that it was the fear, and what was holding them back was all between their ears. But they've got to push forward and do that, and stay positive. Stay focused on what they want. Stay optimistic. It's so easy to focus on pain and struggle, and most people focus on what they don't want. Whatever you expect, you're going to get. So when you expect amazing things, you'll get amazing things. Remember that. And also remember, if you've had a setback, if you're going through one of these, if you're one of these operators that's struggling, once you go through it, remember that you choose the meaning you place on what happens to you. And I will tell you, it was hard for me losing 50 million. I thought I was set for life. But my meaning now is that I would never would have met my wife. I've got a supermodel beautiful wife, who's more beautiful on the inside than the outside, and I never would have met her and I'd give it all up again for her.

So again, if you've had something negative happen to you, decide to have a positive meaning on it. And then again, you've got to push through that fear, you've got to push through limiting beliefs. I'll tell you a quick story, Ash. When I immigrated, I didn't speak English, and I got thrown into school, and I found out what bullies were for the first time. And actually - yes, I've got it back here; I want to show you something. My mom, proud Dutch woman that she is, thought she'd send me to school in these wooden shoes, because she's a proud Dutch. So I got my butt kicked again. And I also had these leather shorts that Germans wear for Oktoberfest. These are the actual ones she made me wear. We've found them in my house when my mom went into assisted living.

So I got beat up regularly, and then we had bullies at the end of my block, and she chased them off with a flyswatter. So the next day I got my butt kicked. And I came up with this belief system that I wasn't good enough. And I used to ask myself, "How can I show them I'm good enough?" And a lot of people have these limiting belief systems, "I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not strong enough. I'm not old enough. I'm not young enough", whatever. And just remember this - if you have one of these that you're consciously aware of, there's a reason the acronym for belief systems is BS, because 99.9% of them are. They have no basis in fact that, we just believe they're real. So if you've got one of those, let me give you a quick tip - bring it out in the daylight when it pops up, and just look at it with your adult rational mind. Recognize that it's BS, and you'll push through it. It takes a few times.

I used to be afraid to raise my hand in class in case I got embarrassed in front of the group, and now I speak in front of thousands of people a year. So you can push through if you've got one of those. So there's a few things. I could keep going, but...

Ash Patel: You hit the nail on the head. And like you said, you rarely meet people who've only done one real estate deal. As soon as they do the first one, it snowballs from there. The last question for you before we do the Best Ever Lightning Round is you mentioned your ego got you into a lot of trouble in the past. Can you give us a quick example of the money you lost...

Rod Khleif: I did? I don't remember saying that, but my ego got me in a lot of trouble.

Ash Patel: Your ego got inflated, and the universe came back at you...

Rod Khleif: Oh yeah, yeah. When I had all those houses, I thought I was a frickin' real estate god. Yes. Okay. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Now I know what you're talking about.

Ash Patel: So a quick example of the money you lost, and then advice for people today who may have had a great run, and their egos are out of control.

Rod Khleif: Well, I've gotta tell you, you better deal with it. When you lose it, it's going to be very humbling for you. And here's the thing that's super-important to remember, okay? You are not the failure. Your business failed. Do not identify with the vehicle; do not become the vehicle, okay? Because your identity is very powerful.

For example, I've got a sign right here. I'll show it to you real quick. I'll read to those who can't see it. It says "I am health and vitality." Okay? Anything you put the words "I am" in front of is an identity statement. And there's no greater force in human psychology than the need to remain consistent with how we identify ourselves. So be very careful that you don't identify with the multifamily business, especially if it goes down the tubes. It is a failure, but you're not a failure. And honestly, I wouldn't even call it a failure. I'd call it a seminar, because you're going to be so much wiser and stronger after it happened. So did I answer your question?

Ash Patel: Yeah.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Alright.

Ash Patel: Yeah. What is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Rod Khleif: Just get started. People say "Should I wait to buy real estate?" I get that all the time, because I talk about this looming recession... Like "Should I wait?" No. If there's a good deal, just get started. And once you get that first deal, you realize it's not this big, mysterious thing; you realize you can do it, anybody can do it. I've had students that are NFL athletes, NBA stars, famous actors, and I've had people that grew up on ramen noodles and still live in a town of 2000 be super-successful. So anybody can do this. Your economic background, your education - none of that matters. You just have to learn it and take massive freakin action.

Ash Patel: Alright, Rod, are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Rod Khleif: Sure.

Ash Patel: Rod, what's the Best Ever book you've recently read?

Rod Khleif: My love language is gifts, okay? And there's a book called The Five Love Languages. I got to interview the author on my show, which was a real treat for me, because I've given away thousands of copies... But my students get books all the time from me, and I'll just list some of them. One of them is "Turning Pro" by Stephen Pressman. Everybody starts out an amateur. But to be a professional, you've got to put on the professional hat. So that's a great one.

The Slight Edge - about those little decisions you make every day that traject your life up or down. And that day, they don't mean that much, but over time, they really matter. This is especially applicable to health. Another one, of course, is Gary Keller's "One Thing." I've had his co-author, Jay Papasan. Fantastic book. Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning. Fantastic book. I've also got the blessing of having him on the show. So there's a few... Of course, the best book out there, period, for your success is "Think and Grow Rich." That's something you should be reading two or three times a year. No question.

Ash Patel: Rod, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Rod Khleif: I'll tell you a quick story... So I built this $8 million house on the beach. I'd always wanted to live on the beach, there's no beach in Denver; it took me 20 years to do it. Two months after I moved in, I'm floating in the pool at night, and I'm looking up at this testament to my ego... And let me just describe this place, just to give some context. So there was a giant waterfall from the second floor balcony to the pool. You had to walk through the waterfall to get to the pool. A pool that was in magazines. The house had a big spiral staircase up through the middle, a wine cellar elevator... And by the way, I owned the beach on one side, and I had my boats on the backside. So it was a golf to bay; it was like a slice through an island. On the second floor I had aquariums that cost me almost 200 grand, that wrapped around the staircase. That gives you an idea the house. Two months after I moved in, I'm looking up at this thing, I'm floating in it, pool at night, pool's changing colors, it's got fiber optic lighting... I'm looking up at this testament to my ego, because it really was. I built it to prove the world I was good enough. And I got depressed. And again, I worked for this for 20 years, and this is two months in. And I'm like "How could I be depressed?" And there were three things happening, Ash. One was it's never about the goals. So they say the happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell the boat, right? So it's never about the goals. You need them to create that burning desire. But happiness comes from progress and growth. And I didn't know how I was going to grow. But the big thing was I'd been totally focused on Rod. Rod, Rod, Rod. Show the world I'm good enough, show the world I matter. And that's the year I read a book by Tony Robbins, who's one of my mentors, and I'm like, "Man, I liked this." I didn't even finish the book and I went to one of his boot camps and I found out he fed families for the holidays. And I'm like "What a concept. Do something for someone else." I'm embarrassed to say I had to be 40 to get that memo.

But I went back, called my brother in Denver, I said when it comes to Thanksgiving, let's feed five families. So he called his church and he found five families that really needed help. And the third family changed my life, Ash. We go up, we bought food, we bought toys for the kids, frozen turkeys, everything they needed to have a meal and a real treat. And this woman comes out and she sees the stuff on the porch, she starts crying. She's got five kids, Hispanic woman, in a one bedroom, and two or three of the older kids started crying. I started crying, and I was hooked. I'm blessed to say in the last 23 years we've fed somewhere between 140,000 and 150,000 children here in Sarasota and Bradenton for The holidays. We've done tens of thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies. In fact, we've just scheduled our next backpack raid; about 1,800 to 2,000 backpacks on August 4th. That's coming up. And I've done tens to thousands of teddy bears to give to local police departments for officers to keep in their patrol vehicles when they encounter a child that's been traumatized. And I don't say this to brag, but I'm could tell you -- I know you've got people listening to your show watch that have blood dripping from their teeth, they want the success so bad... And we've been taught to believe we have to achieve to be happy. We can't be happy until we've achieved. But I'm going to tell you, if you incorporate giving back right now, you'll be happily achieving. And I know it's a play on words, but here's the thing. Even if you don't have the money to give back, give up your time, because the success will come faster. That's the way God works. So just do it right now. Trust me.
Just one last piece - I did a Hall of Fame for 10 of my students. We did it at my Denver bootcamp, we had about 1,000 people there, and we awarded these 10 exemplary warriors. And we did a PowerPoint for each one of those warriors. And I noticed a pattern - every single one of them gives back. Sexual trafficking, schools in India, veterans homelessness, veterans suicide. One right after another, and I pointed the crowd, I said "You guys see a pattern here?" So trust me, you want success - give back, it'll come faster. Of course, you don't do it for that reason.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Best Ever listeners, hit the rewind button for about two minutes and listen to that again... Such great advice. Thank you, Rod. And Rod, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

Rod Khleif: Sure. I've got a lot of free resources at rodslinks.com. My bootcamp site is there. I've got a big bootcamp coming up in September, August 15th through the 17th. It's not a sales pitch. I talked about my coaching for about 30 minutes, but it's three days of full-on training. So if you're serious about this - it's like 200 bucks, $197. It's a no-brainer if you can come. There's free books there, some awesome books about the business... And all my socials are there. And if you've ever got a question, I answer every single question on social. So rodslinks.com is the best place. Also, I do a goal setting workshop every New Year's Day. And at the bottom of that is my goal setting workshop, with a guide you can download. I'm not going to try to sell you anything. Do it with your kids, do it with your spouse. People spend more time planning a frickin' birthday party than they do designing their lives. That's designing your life, and that's at the bottom of Rod's links as well.

Ash Patel: Rod, I've gotta thank you for your time today. You are, again, one of the pioneers of this industry. You've been very gracious with your time. Thank you for giving us updates on what's happening with the market, how you're handling things, how you're pivoting... So again, thank you for your time.

Rod Khleif: Thanks, it was a pleasure to meet you.

Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners. Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave us a five star review. Share this episode with someone you think can benefit from it. Also, follow, subscribe, and have a Best Ever day.

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