You don’t have to have a lot of money to get started in real estate. Our guest, Don Spafford, proved that you can hustle your way to financial success, and serve other people along the way.
In this episode, Don looks back on how his personal struggles fueled his desire to be in a better financial position in order to help others improve their lives. He considers this as his mission, but he also has words of advice on finding the balance between helping and enabling.
Don Spafford has an educational and professional background in Finance and Securities Investing. His wife is from Paraguay and together they enjoy the opportunities they have to travel back to visit family there and to help the communities in South America. When his wife became a realtor around 2010, it motivated him to want to learn how to invest in Real Estate. The family moved from Nebraska to Idaho in 2015, and it was there in Idaho where they got started. He bought his first property, a four-plex, in 2017, then two more 18 months later. He began moving into commercial real estate including ground-up development projects and eventually landed with Happy Camper Capital, providing syndication opportunities in RV campgrounds. He enjoys spending as much time as he can with his family to create lasting memories. His hobbies include coin and bank-note collecting, traveling, and when he can, he likes to watch movies at home. Don has very high moral and religious standards and will not bend his beliefs for anything. His word is his bond.
[00:01 – 17:28] Who is Don Spafford?
- There’s more than just education
- Don talks about struggling to find a job and eventually looking for other ways to improve their cash flow
- How he and his wife were able to start investing even without being in a strong financial position
- Leveraging his 401k
- Finding a local lender with a good downpayment option for investing
- He lessened the hassle of self-managing by putting up systems for payment
[17:29 – 23:37] Uplifting Others through Real Estate
- Don shares his passion for helping other people
- His mission in Argentina showed him true poverty and wanting to be a driver of change
- Real estate has enabled him to be in a position to give back, especially to his family
- He started a personal finance blog geared towards teenagers and young adults
[23:38 – 29:52] Don’t Feel Bad for Saying No
- Setting up boundaries in helping people is important, even if it’s hard
- Judge it based on the situation and what their actual needs are
- If helping becomes too much of a habit, you’re debilitating others and making them not use their own brains and resources to solve their problems.
[29:53 – 30:38] Closing Segment
- Watch out for part 2 of our conversation with Don!
“I’d say we’ve been definitely blessed with more financial security or income through real estate investing. That has put us in a different position where we can do more to help people.” – Don Spafford
“We’re not just going to give them anything they ask for unless it’s an actual need.” – Don Spafford
“You got to put some limits on there and control it to before it gets out of hand ’cause once you start getting that habit, then they’re going to expect it all the time.” – Don Spafford
- The Book on Managing Rental Properties by Brandon Turner
- Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
Let’s get connected!
[00:00:00] Don Spafford: If everybody’s coming to you and asking for another time, first of all, you got to learn to say no. You know, don’t feel bad for saying no, and don’t feel bad, you know, maybe helping a little bit. You know, if they’re asking for X amount and say, I can give you this, you know, without giving them the full amount all the time, otherwise, it will become, and you see this a lot of time with, you know, celebrities you’ll see like their whole entourage thing. It’s basically a gravy train. It’s like, you got to put some limits on there and control it to before it gets out of hand ’cause once you start getting that habit, then they’re going to expect it all the time.
[00:00:27] Don Spafford: Welcome to the Share The Wealth Show where minority professionals can learn to escape the racial wealth gap and catapult themselves into abundance.
[00:00:55] Nicole Pendergrass: Hey everyone. So today we actually speak with Don Spafford. He actually has an educational and professional background in finance and security investing. He wanted to be a personal financial representative and advisor, but he ended up doing that around the time when the crash happened in 2008. And so no one was hiring and he kind of had to pivot. He talks about his journey from being really poor and not having the money to kind of just sustain and how he was considering bankruptcy quite a few times in his life and he did have had good credit because he kept paying the minimums and just making sure that he would pay those on time to not ruin his credit. So he didn’t want to file bankruptcy, but it was, like, a serious consideration. And how he started with going to a real estate conference, how he didn’t have the money to sign up in the back of the room, how he met somebody there and how he slowly started to grow, how he learned about a 401k loan so that he could purchase a first property. And he started with the four-family house on the residential side that was like an hour away and he would drive there and self-manage, and he kind of just pulled information from the free resources that he had available to him and built up. And then what did he do? He really networked, he networked his behind off for a long time and just, like, listening to podcasts and then, guess what, he would get the contact information at the end of the podcast and actually reach out to the person which a lot of people don’t do. And he would make connections that way. And then as he started meeting more people, he would make connections between them. If he saw opportunities, he would give them to people who he knew would want those types of opportunities and him just adding value to everybody else’s life made people want to pull him into projects and investment opportunities.
[00:02:52] Nicole Pendergrass: And that is a way to kind of hustle your way from having nothing, to being able to be financially free enough or financially stable enough to help your family members. And we talked about the mindset of that. Like how do you help your family members and still be able to grow your resources and preserve them for your future generations? You can’t give away all your money to the current family, ’cause you have nothing to leave to your heirs, but there’s a fine balancing act. You don’t want to just say no to everybody all the time. But Don talks about the art of saying no and learning how to do that, which is actually super critical. In any case, Don has some great insights and experiences through the story that he tells and through the conversation that we had, he lived in North Argentina for two years on a volunteer service mission. He always was about giving back. His wife is from South America and they give in the South American community multiple times. They give back to Spanish communities in America in various ways as well. Like, he just has this whole aura about him, about wanting to help people and wanting to give back. And so even with his growth and success, now he’s still involved himself in a company that has the core mission of being able to create accredited investors from non-accredited investors. And there’s a very unique way that he goes about that. And it’s not your traditional multifamily investment type of situation. So in any case, you need to listen to the whole episode because we get to that part in the end. And I don’t want you to miss anything because you really need to reach out to him. And like he was doing to the other people on the podcast that he was listening to to see what that next opportunity may be for you and maybe use his journey and story as a kind of roadmap to help you create your own journey for investing and building yourself up to that next level. Sometimes it just takes some grit. It takes some knowing how to create value, and connecting people. You don’t always have to have a lot of money starting out. You can create something from nothing. And this is a perfect example of that. So in any case, enjoy the episode.
[00:05:07] Nicole Pendergrass: Hey everyone. Welcome back again to another episode of the Share The Wealth Show. And I am your host, Nicole Pendergrass. And this is a show where we talk about how to build, grow, and protect minority wealth. And today we have with us. Mr. Don Don Spafford. Don, thank you so much for coming on today. Like, I really appreciate you being here and. I actually appreciate you even reaching out to me, you know what, I’m going to go to that part later ’cause I want to just be transparent with listeners that this might have not almost happened, but good thing that me and Don are cool and I like Don, he likes me and we can have open conversations because if you are watching the video, Don is not a minority. And I was concerned a little bit about how you guys with my listeners would receive him, but after we have actually been talking, we have so many commonalities with our mission. And there’s some other things that I didn’t know about Don that luckily, because we were able to have these conversations I found out and I’m excited to dig in more actually about it because we just scratched the surface on our other conversation. But Don, I’m rambling already enough. I gave a brief overview of your background and experience, but I want you to chime in, tell the listeners kind of like a snapshot of what got you to where you are today, especially any kind of shifts, paradigm shifts, information that you didn’t know, things that like, kind of blew your mind and made you change directions, but how’d you get where you are today?
[00:06:42] Don Spafford: Yeah, thanks. Thanks for intro, Nicole and yeah, I was hoping nobody had noticed I’m not a minority, but you pointed it out. So now, everyone knows. So yeah, likeyou said, you know, you and I connected long ago and, and it’s been great watching your journey along the way as well, you know, seeing your, your growth and everything you were doing. And so for, yeah, for me, so, boy, it kind of hard to go, go back. I guess the mind shift, I guess, but the mind shift for me, I guess was maybe about really, I’d say about five, six years ago when I really got started with, with real estate investing. Prior to that, you know, I’d worked my whole life pretty much seeking like the traditional, people were taught, you know, get education, get a job. Well, I got the education, but the jobs just weren’t coming. There’s more to it than just education, you know? I kept adding more education and getting, you know, learning more about, in particular investing like finance and investing in stock market type stuff is what I was really, my educational background, but you know, had hoped to reach a certain level, you know, be like a financial advisor, portfolio manager or something like that, you know, but then of course, as everybody knows, the 2008 market crash that affected pretty much every job related to that industry. So, you know, companies were going out of business. So I, well, I can’t get a job if there’s no jobs we had. But and so along that, you know, I just kind of kept, you know, kept my nose to the ground, I guess, glad to have the job that I had and it was like, well, it’s, you know, good enough, I guess. And just keep pushing forward at that and hope for the best. But as my family continued to grow and our, our needs grew, you know, medical expenses came up and things, and they just kind of always continuously put us back into a hole and I feel like you could never get out of it. I’m sure that’s something that most of your listeners can, I’m sure, relate to that, you know, have that debt they can never get out of. You know, and it got to the point where we were, I’d say, very close to, to the verge of bankruptcy. You know, I’d thought about it several times was like, maybe we just offered bankruptcy. I did not want to do that though. I cared about my credit and everything. I didn’t want to have that. More than anything, I guess, it’s just more of a personal, you know, pride thing or something but in doing that, I was like, there’s got to be another way. There’s got to be another option rather than just, you know, getting a second or third job, you know, I don’twant to work, be working 24 hours a day too. And so I think it was about maybe six years ago, I guess. So I saw a commercial on TV for one of those real estate guru seminars, you know, to, to come and learn how to, you know, flip houses or something. I was like, eh, that sounds interesting. Let’s go check it out.
[00:08:57] Don Spafford: You know, so, my wife and I went to that just to see. You know, of course, they’re a great salesman. The whole program started awesome, was like, yeah, this is cool, but I knew that I couldn’t afford it anyway. So, but, at least it got me to the point of thinking more about something with real estate. And so I did not, subscribe to their program, but at that meeting, I met a guy there that was already doing some house flipping and stuff. And I asked him like, yeah, how are you doing this? You know, where are you getting the money from and all that. And he mentioned to me at that point, you know, BiggerPockets, which I’d never heard of before that point. And so like, okay. That sounds interesting, yeah, which I still did not know what BiggerPockets was. It sounds like it’s a, you know, a private lender side or something else. So, I came home and I looked it up and it was like, oh, this is interesting. You know, they, they got these podcasts and webinars and, there are calculators to run some numbers on, on how the property’s going to cash flow. And I like fell in love with that, like immediately. I’m like, this is amazing. And so I started getting my education really at that point. Once I got into BiggerPockets and started listening to the podcasts and the webinars and asking questions in the forums and just, you know, interacting with people that, that are much more advanced than I was at that point, which I, I knew nothing. And so yeah, with that, going back from our financial position, we were still, I would say, at that point, maybe about 50,000 in debt or something like that. It’s not from having nice cars and, you know, we don’t drive new cars or anything, didn’t have necessarily nice things. This is all just general, the slow debt that just builds up over time. You know, your medical expenses, even putting your groceries on your credit card, ’cause you have to, and you know, these things just kind of over time build up and so, you know, I was like, as much as I wanted to invest in real estate, how can I if I don’t have, I have no savings, if we don’t have, you know, a strong financial position. Luckily, I still had good credit ’cause I was still paying my debt on time, at least. But I found out getting through BiggerPockets, kind of taught me about some creative financing methods that, you know, something I had never considered before.
[00:10:34] Don Spafford: So since I’d been working, you know, I started working when I was 14, obviously. So, so I’ve been working since I was very young, but as soon as I was, you know, had a job where I was able to, I, I started contributing to my 401k. Now that’s not a lot, usually just in the minimum to get the maximum employer match, you know? And so over time kind of somewhat built up, I realized that I can borrow from my 401k and use that money for my down payment. So, that’s what I planned to do. I found a, also a local lender in my area luckily that had a 10% down payment option for investment properties, so did not need 20%, 25%, just 10%. So this was early 2017, we started looking for properties. We found one. I’ve actually found on Craigslist of all things at that time. Yeah, a fourplex, you know, newer built. The numbers worked out great, at that point, in the 1% rule, which, you know, I can explain in a bit for listeners, but so, I mean, the numbers worked. I was like, okay, this is great. This is going to be a good property to start with. You know, I can borrow money from my 401k. The 10% down payment makes it not that much. It was still a huge risk. If this blows up in our face, we’re definitely just screwed. We will be facing bankruptcy or something, but luckily it all worked out. You know, it, It worked out better than I expected. And, you know, and that was kind of the starting point of getting this momentum moving in the whole real estate investing, you know, aspect of our lives.
[00:11:45] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, that’s crazy. And I was going to say, that’s basically very similar to how I started. I started with a three-family, although I didn’t buy as a full investment property ’cause I did live there. So I did FHA with three and a half percent down and I also, you know, borrowed from my 403B, not for the full amount, but just because I was short some and I realized I can borrow against it. And same, I was only contributing on my 403B up to the employer match ’cause I didn’t want to put all my money into, you know, the retirement accounts ’cause I, I knew there were other ways ’cause I had started looking at real estate. So there’s so much similarity in our startup stories, that’s crazy. But a question I actually have is the 10% loan. Normally when I hear of a 10% loan available for like an investment property, it’s because they consider that your second home, but that can’t apply when it’s a 4-unit property. So what was that? Just like a whole different, I know there’s a different market then, so maybe that’s why they just had that product? What do you think that was? is that available still today?
[00:12:50] Don Spafford: It’s available still today. Yeah. It’s a local lender that does portfolio loans. So they allow up to a certain, wait, I haven’t checked ’em recently, but at that point, you could do up to, I could be wrong on this, you get up to 12 loans then, I think it’s, I want to say, two at 10%, then 10 at 15% down. So something like that. So some mix of 10%, 15%, so, okay and yeah, they, they still have that program today. They did kind of cancel it for a bit during the COVID times, but they reinstated about a year ago. And there’s actually a couple of other local lenders in my area that also do 10% down payments on, investment properties, yeah. And in most cases again, it’s, it’s an in-house portfolio loan, so there’s no, you know, additional fees or PMI and that kind of stuff on it. And their interest rates are still within normal range of anything else out there. So it’s a great option to, you know, if you have that option to get started with less money, you know, I still try to use them if I can if I buy anything that’s you know, a residential property that would count for that.
[00:13:36] Nicole Pendergrass: Were you self-managing that first property?
[00:13:39] Don Spafford: Yeah.
[00:13:39] Nicole Pendergrass: How far was it from where you actually lived?
[00:13:41] Don Spafford: It’s about a 45-minute drive. So I, I was, you know, initially trying to find something where I’m at and not having any luck, did put a couple offers in a couple of properties, but didn’t get accepted. And I started looking at, you know, the next two cities over. So we’re kind of right, right between two college towns, basically. The one I actually found when I liked a lot was a five unit. But again, that was now a commercial loan and that required a much higher down payment, something I did not have enough for. And then the other one was on the other side and that was the 4-unit. So I could get the residential loan 30-year fixed to, you know, 10% down. And, and again, it was, yeah, it’s 45 minutes away, which could be kind of a thing. But, but for me, I was like, okay, it’s close enough that it’s not too big of a deal that, you know, if something goes wrong, I can still get down there. And I did want to self-manage it from the start, one, to save on that cost of the fees and, two, ’cause I wanted to learn the process. I wanted to get to know the property better, know the tenants better. And so that’s how I figured I might as well do that and go for it. One of the books that helped me a lot that early phase, too, was the, it’s called The Book on Managing Rental Properties by Brandon Turner, you know, BiggerPockets book. They have the book on rental properties and the book on managing rental properties. So the managing one is the one that I kind of was going through that as we were going through the whole closing process on this, property. Just like, you know, kind of learn and get some ideas of what to do. I still like that book a lot for what it teaches there.
[00:14:50] Nicole Pendergrass: You know what? I feel like I have that book or had it somewhere and then I never read it. It might be sitting on my bookshelf, but in any case, like, and it’s funny because my 3-unit is like 15, 12 to 15 minutes away when there’s no traffic, and I still, like, don’t want to go over there all the time. I just like, oh, it’s just so out the way, got to get in the car, move. I’m just so lazy when it comes to that, especially in New York City. And when parking is hard, like if I have a good spot, I don’t know. I want to move my car unless, like, it’s absolutely mandatory.
[00:15:22] Don Spafford: Yeah, I don’t go there often now and back then, I would, for anything. Now I’ve, you know, I’ve got people I can call if something needs to be fixed or whatever. I only go there for new tenant move-ins and inspections, but you know, other than that, I tried to not go there.
[00:15:34] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask was how much time did that 4-unit take at the very beginning, and did you have like any systems or anything that you helped make managing it easier so you could step away from having to go all the time? Like, at the beginning part?
[00:15:49] Don Spafford: So yes and no. The one thing I did ‘ because initially the previous owner. He was collecting the payments in person. Like, he would just go there and get ’em. I was like, well, I’m not going to do that ’cause if they’re not home or whatever, I don’t want to come back. So right away, I put two systems in place, you know, whatever’s most convenient for those tenants. They can either, you know, pay online. I set up an account with eRentPayment and so they can pay it online if they want to, which what also gives them the option to report that to their credit bureaus to help improve their credit, or if it’s more convenient, they can just deposit it at a local bank. So set up an account in the bank just, you know, down the road where they can go in and send a deposit, only does not provide like a balance, everything. So they deposit that in there. Then as soon as they make a deposit, I get an alert saying that, you know, funds are there. I can go in and just transfer that to a different account right away. So, that’s the one thing I did. And then other than that, yeah, everything else, I would be the one to come and clean them initially, anyway, do some minor repair things, you know, and so I did quite a bit hands-on initially, and I actually involved my kids that, too, help them to kind of, one, do some work. I’d pay them for it, of course, and help them kind of see that process. And then, I still do, I guess the, you know, new applications for any new vacancies, application. I’ll go through all the whole checking process, but I still of course do a full background check and credit check on that, all through getting that eRentPayment, but that’s really about it. I mean, everything else is pretty much straightforward. Luckily I had pretty good tenants to start with. One of those initial ones, you know, five years later is still there. And I tried to do a very thorough job upfront of, you know, vetting new, new tenants to put ’em in to make sure I don’t have problems down the road. And, you know, so far, everything’s been great. Never had to evict anybody, never had anybody, you know, destroy the property or not pay. So you know that one’s going great for me.
[00:17:24] Nicole Pendergrass: Nice. That’s great. Okay. So, you know what, because I kind of know some like the service level of your mission and who you are trying to help and the impact you’re trying to create in people’s lives, and I see a little bit of why that’s some of your mission because of how financially you struggled at the very beginning until you got your footing and started getting investing in real estate and that momentum started building. But can you tell everyone kind of what’s your mission? Like, what is your impetus for helping other people? What are you trying to accomplish with your investing, what you’re doing now, and the opportunities that you’re trying to get to people, and kind of how did that arise from what you were doing before?
[00:18:07] Don Spafford: Yeah. So that’s kind of, I guess, multifaceted in a way. The way I was, I was brought up, the way I was educated from my parents and, and, you know, church, I’ve always had the desire or need to help people, you know, I’m not the type to see somebody, you know, common things say for New Yorkers, right, see something getting mugged, you walk past, you keep going. You know, I’d probably be the one to stop and help and, you know, probably get hurt myself, but that’s just being who, who I am, I guess. And so, you know, I like helping people. It makes me feel good, part of that, you know, going through my own struggles personally and other family members and friends that have, you know, gone through different things. Wanting to be in a position where I could help others has always been a goal for me in the end. You know, I served a mission in Argentina for my church for a couple of years, and being there is where I really saw true poverty. Never before had I been, you know, in somebody’s home that have dirt floors, no running water, and many people living in this small space.
[00:18:56] Don Spafford: So from that point, especially, you know, I’ve always wanted to find a way to, to go back and, and help the people there. My wife is from Paraguay as well. So, you know, we, have like good connection with the people in South America, of course, even here in, in the states with the Hispanic community. And there was a time when we lived in Omaha, Nebraska for a while, and actually most of my life, I should say, but you know, I was involved there with the Boy Scouts and, a scoutmaster for, for, you know, a group of Hispanic boys and all of them, their families had immigrated to the US. And so I kind of took that on more as a, of a role of not just being a, a traditional scoutmaster, but more of like a, a mentor trying to help these boys to, to learn and see things in a different way. Of course, this is before I was myself involved with real estate investing, but just my own personal financial goals at that point and trying to show them there’s ways to improve their lives and, and do better. I’ve always had this desire to, just, to, to give back and help others to improve their own lives and achieve the things that maybe their parents couldn’t or, or, they hope to be the first in their, you know, their generations of family to even have a college education or to be financially secure without debt or something like that, you know. So there’s many, many things that we wanted to go back and, and do, and, and help people in many ways that we can.
[00:20:02] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay, perfect. Now that you are more successful and have been, you know, really climbing that ladder within the real estate world, in what ways has that helped you either amplify what you’ve been able to provide or do for other people? Are there any programs or educational things or what have you been putting out there or doing to kind of guide people or give them opportunities for financial advancement?
[00:20:30] Don Spafford: So a while ago, I’d say, early 2019, I guess, started a blog at that point about financial education. So it was going to mainly geared towards, let’s say, like, teenagers to young adults, at least when, when I first started that that was the goal. It’s more about personal finance, education, help people make wise decisions to try to stay out of debt and, and then invest wisely to set themselves up for a stronger financial future. And actually, part of, you know, what led to that was, I actually wrote a book, maybe a year or two before that, which I’ve not published yet.
[00:21:00] Nicole Pendergrass: I was going to say, I didn’t know about your book.
[00:21:02] Don Spafford: The whole point of that book was for, you know, my kids. I’m trying to get them to read the things I’m reading and listen to the podcast I listen to and they’re not interested. It’s like, well, if I write my own book, maybe they’ll force them to, to read it, you know? So I of course had them proofread it. So they’ve technically read it. Yeah, but I’ve not gotten to the point of publishing it, but. it’s my goal still for this year. I want to get that book published, but, because of that kind of led to, you know, starting a blog. It’s like there, I can reach more people through this. I can just do this financial blog and kind of help, you know, educate in a different way about that. So that’s one thing I did start and I still maintain that. I’d say not quite to level as I had planned to when I started it, but you know, when I get back to it here and there, I’ll add on new posts to it. But, I’d say we’ve been definitely blessed with, you know, more, I guess we’ll say, financial security or income through real estate investing. Now that has put us in a different position where we can do more to help people, you know, in particular, at that point, you know, again, in 2019, my mother was actually, she was going through a lot. She passed away into that year, but, you know, we helped cover a lot of her expenses and bills that she was going through. And my wife’s parents in Paraguay, their house was in big major disrepair, I’d say, and you know, we were able to send, you know, a considerable amount of money to help them get their house repaired and fixed so it would be a safe place for them. Something we would not have been able to do otherwise. And just recently, we just got back from a trip to visit her family just this last week.
[00:22:18] Don Spafford: And we were able to do things that we probably could not have done otherwise, at least without putting ourselves no more debt, I guess. My wife’s parents are luckily still, still alive, but you know, her father is, is not doing great in health and why we’re there, we, we purchased some burial plots for them, so they’re ready. And we’ll be there when that time comes to not have to the family kind of, you know, figure out what to do. And that definitely was not, we’ll say a cheap expense, you know, it was still quite costly for there in particular. And so, you know, we were able to cover that expense and you know, just, we, we do a lot still to help maintain her family, her parents, like some of their monthly needs for medical needs and things like that. Something that we would not have been able to do otherwise, you know, and then outside of that, of course, you know, we often give to lots of charities and other causes that you know, are, are dear to us. We have several goals of things that we plan to do at, at a later date once we are, you know, in a much higher financial position to do different things, to help, you know, the needy in our community and other communities around here in our area, but also around the world, talking about giving back to South America. One of my goals for, for a long time is, has been to find a way to even build a factory or business, something down there that can actually provide jobs and income to the people there that can provide a true, you know, living wage that they can live off of and feed their families. And not struggle like they are now. So that’s one of our long-term goals eventually to, to do that potentially, you know, even build homes and other things that could help the people there.
[00:23:37] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. The question that popped up in my head is that’s one of the goals of a lot of people when they start, when they do build financial resources, they really want to be able to turn around help friends and family, be that financial source for, like you said, like you were fixing their house, you were just giving when there was a need, right? So I think something that a lot of people, especially, and that’s probably in any community, but especially in minority communities where they’re the first ones who have actually even gotten to that level, that everyone is asking them for help because they’re the successful ones now, right? But then how can you still build wealth for your family and your future generations if you keep having to help the past generations, but you can’t just leave them out, hanging to dry, right, so how do you find that balance?
[00:24:27] Don Spafford: Yeah. That’s a great point for sure too. And I actually, I kind of saw this, you know, long ago when my father passed away in 2003. Again, my parents were not wealthy, he did not have a huge life insurance account or anything, but you know, he had enough through his work or personal, you know, I think he gave my mom maybe like a hundred thousand dollars, something like that, which is, again, not a lot for life insurance, but I saw that happen with my mom. I almost immediately, you know, other family members or, or people would ask her. It was like, oh, Hey, I could use some help. Could you help me? And you know, of course, my mom, she’d help them. And she probably just gave it all away, left her with almost nothing soon after. Of course, I told her why’d you do that? Just tell ’em no, you know. It’s not going to make much difference, but we’ve kind of been had that a bit, you know, luckily you know, my wife’s parents never ask us for anything. First of all, you know, we do get some things from, once in a while, some other family members that want us to help with different things. We, first of all, don’t tell them our income is or what our financial position is. They just know, first of all, we live in the US. They might assume you’re, you’re rich ’cause you’re in the US.
[00:25:25] Nicole Pendergrass: Very true. Everyone in the US. Filthy, filthy rich.
[00:25:29] Don Spafford: Right, so we don’t tell them, of course, you know what capabilities are. Of course, they know that we’re helping her parents and we’ve sent money once in a while for different things. But we try to put limits if you know, one of her siblings, for example, some time ago asked us to pay for a laptop for her son to go to school. Like, no, we’re not paying for that. That’s not something he needs, you know. So they know that, you know, we’re not just going to give them anything they ask for, unless it’s an actual need, like, you know, they need to pay the utility bill to not have the, you know, electricity or water cut off. Okay. We’ll help you with that this month, you know, small things like that, you know. So, and then just, you know, other gestures will send, you know, once in a while, like for, you know, a birthday, anniversary or something like that, we’ll send some, some gifts. When we just down there now, our niece had, kids say, you know, birthday party. So, you know, we of course did a special something for that. but yeah, so, if everybody’s coming to you and asking for from another time, first of all, you got to learn to say no. Don’t feel bad saying no, and don’t feel bad maybe helping a little bit, you know, if they’re asking for X amount and say, I can give you this without giving them the full amount all the time. And you see this a lot of time with celebrities, you’ll see like their whole entourage thing. It’s basically a gravy train. You got to put some limits on there and control it to before it gets out of hand ’cause once you start getting that habit, then they’re going to expect it all the time. So it’s really, it is best to early on kind of put those limits in place and, tell ’em no, and, you know, maybe judge based on the situation, what their actual needs are, if it’s something that you can actually, or something you actually need to help with, or could help with, or they should figure out on their own ‘ cause at the same time, you don’t want somebody to be fully dependent on you for every problem that comes up. They need to be able to figure out their own problems and solutions and, and find ways to resolve those issues for themselves and not count as you as their savior for everything.
[00:27:00] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. Wow. Because you know what, that was where my mind was going with it. And it’s hard sometimes because you really, especially when people, they learn how to put on the puppy dog eyes and they have to the face them because they can’t see the way out. And you’re their only way out. But if you always say yes to saving them, like you said, you’re actually debilitating them and making them not be able to use their brain, use their other resources, even if it’s not a financial resource, there’s other ways to figure things out. And in the long term, it might hurt in the moment for them, but in the long term, it’s going to make them stronger because you don’t gain strength by just like walking around like you have to get to the gym and pick up weights and the heavier, the weights, your bigger your muscles get. And like, even though that’s a simple analogy, but that’s very true for tough circumstances that people go through in life as well. Like, you know, the people who are like the best personal development kind of speakers and coaches have been through a lot in their lives. You know, like they’ve gone through, been trudged through the mud and back up, and they’ve learned how to crawl their way out. And that’s why they’re so insightful and so impactful when they’re trying to give people advice or coaching people through the other problems ’cause they’ve been there. Like, they wouldn’t be able to do that if they didn’t go there first. So I love that. Like, you got to learn to say no. It’s hard.
[00:28:27] Don Spafford: Yeah.
[00:28:27] Nicole Pendergrass: But you just got to make the decision on what is the actual need and what is something that they could actually figure out themselves. And it doesn’t mean or make you a bad or mean person. I think a lot of times people, you know, don’t want to hurt somebody else’s feelings, but a book that I’m reading right now, actually it’s Unfu*k Yourself, but it’s like, you’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. Or is it that book or is it another book? I’m reading so many books, I’m getting them mixed together, but they basically say a lot of the same things anyway. But anyway, yeah, you’re just not responsible for other people’s feelings because they’re going to be mad if you do and mad at something else if you don’t. So you can’t always save that. That’s great. Okay. All right. I’m just so caught up into that whole thought process. It’s easy to say, hard to do. So you have to just practice it little by little. Practice saying no. I think everyone listening, your goal should be to say no to at least one person a day.
[00:29:21] Don Spafford: Like, mentally put yourself in position, like, if you did not have the money or wealth you have now, like, if I was where I was five years ago when I had, you know, all debt and no income then, would I say yes or no at that point? I’d still say no ’cause I don’t have the way to afford it.
[00:29:34] Nicole Pendergrass: Got it.
[00:29:35] Don Spafford: Even myself, I try to not consider any, any income or wealth that comes from the real estate. I still consider, you know, this is what I make from my W2 or whatever. And that’s it. Nothing else. It’s out of sight out of mind. So I don’t even consider that as additional income or whatever. So, you know, if I know in my mind, okay, well we have to cover our own personal expenses. I don’t have much extra for anything else. So sorry, I can’t help you.
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