List of the Best Mortgage Calculators

The best mortgage calculators are very helpful when planning for your next real estate purchase.  Personal finance rule of thumb says finding the right monthly payment requires assessing your monthly income and not surpassing 30%.

Limiting your monthly housing costs are a major key to creating financial freedom.  Keeping monthly mortgage costs below 20% of your monthly income will set you up for financial success.

How to use a mortgage calculator

  1. Enter the total loan amount you are looking to finance
  2. Enter the rate you are qualified for with your lender
  3. Enter the term (number of years) you are looking to finance the property
  4. Press submit and view the monthly payment and in some cases the amortization schedule
  5. Change the term and amount financed to see how different numbers impact the monthly payment

Take a look at the best mortgage calculators that will help you research your next personal or investment property financing.

Best Mortgage Calculators

Mortgage Calculator with PMI and Taxes – NerdWallet

The 5 Best Mortgage Calculators – UpNest

Mortgage Calculator with PMI, Insurance and Taxes – SmartAsset

Mortgage Calculator – Dave Ramsey

10 Best Mortgage Calculators – Financial Mentor

The Best Online Mortgage Calculator – DoughRoller

Simple Mortgage Calculator – Money Under 30

The Best Online Mortgage Payment Calculators – Apartment Therapy

Mortgage Calculator – BiggerPockets

Loan Amortization Calculator – Calculate Stuff

Amortization Schedule Calculator – Nerd Wallet

Do you use any mortgage calculators that are better than the ones we listed?  Please let us know and add a comment below.  We’ll add them to the list.

How to Start Investing in Real Estate?

Investing in real estate is a wonderful way to create wealth over the long-term. Hundreds of experts have differing opinions on how to get started and what you should be thinking about when launching your new investment business. Start investing in real estate to create cash flow, freedom, and a new way to build a passive income business.

So many strategies exist to start small and give yourself the opportunity to understand the details before going bigger. One of the best ways to get started is to live in your own property and rent out a few rooms. This “house hacking” strategy has been used by thousands to reduce monthly housing costs and create financial freedom.

Once you have a solid understanding of how you want to approach investing in real estate – start moving forward. Reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and adjusting spreadsheets are all helpful, but the best way to learn is by doing. Buy your first duplex, triplex, or fourplex and you’ll force yourself to figure out the next steps.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn about investing in real estate is to read about what others have done to launch their investing journey. Here’s a list of some very helpful articles that outline how to get starting with real estate investing.

How To Get Started Real Estate Investing With Just $500 – The College Investor

Real Estate Investing 101 – 9 Steps to Get Started – Coach Carson

How To Start Investing In Real Estate – Forbes

How to Invest in Real Estate – Dave Ramsey

How to Invest in Real Estate: 5 Ways to Get Started  – Nerd Wallet

A Beginners Guide: How to Get Started Real Estate Investing – Money Matters

How to Invest in Real Estate: 3 Basic Steps & What to Expect – Investor Junkie

Real Estate Investing Tips for Beginners – The Balance

How I Make Over $250,000 a Year in Real Estate Investing – Good Financial Cents

How to get started with real estate investing – Get Rich Slowly

How to Start Investing in Real Estate | A 5 Step Plan – Dough Roller

Do you have additional articles that should be added to the list? Please comment below and let us know.

How to Make a Million Dollars?

How to make a million dollars? This question is asked all over the internet and answers range significantly. Strategies for wealth creation can sometimes be confusing and we’ve found that aggregating different opinions can help us come to a simplified solution and direction.

Here’s a list of helpful content that we’ve used to look forward and understand different perspectives and strategies for saving, investing, and generating wealth over the long-term.

10 money rules that helped me become a millionaire at 28 – CNBC

How to Grow Your Net Worth by $1+ Million in Less Than 4 Years – GoCurryCracker

7 Ways to Get to $1 Million – Money

The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Become A Millionaire By Age 30 – FinancialSamurai

First Million is the Hardest How to Build A Million Dollar Net Worth – FinancialPlanner LA

How to make a million dollars (advice from actual millionaires) – I Will Teach You To Be Rich


What Is the Difference Between Income and Net Worth? – Dave Ramsey


What Constitutes a Millionaire? – The Balance

Do you know of additional articles that help explain the path to saving a million dollars? Let us know in the comment section below.

Start the Journey to Financial Independence With The Right Tools

Creating a managing a budget is the number one key to starting the financial independence journey.  Knowing the specifics around how much money you have to spend and where its going will enable you to adjust areas that of overspending.

What is a Budget? Budgeting Terms and Tips

A budget is an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time; it is compiled and re-evaluated on a periodic basis. Budgets can be made for a person, a family, a group of people, a business, a government, a country, a multinational organization or just about anything else that makes and spends money. At companies and organizations, a budget is an internal tool used by management and is often not required for reporting by external parties.

Outline Your Budget

Our budget template is very straight forward and simple to complete.  I’ll walk you through the setup step by step.

  1. Start by adding your total income.

Include the income from all people contributing to your household.  Split out the additional types of income into other categories like real estate or other business income.  In this section include the total income for business-related areas,  you can include the expenses in another section in the sheet.

2. Add the necessary expenses.

Necessary expenses including payroll taxes, rent or mortgage, property taxes, charitable giving, utilities.  All of these are necessary for most people to maintain their home and standard living expenses.

3.  Add the discretionary expenses.

Discretionary expenses including car, gas, clothes, internet, restaurants.  These are all things that can fluctuate greatly from month to month.  Stepping back, most of these aren’t needed to live a life of freedom.  These are discretionary and should be looked at very closely.

4. Add investment spending/saving.

Since investment contributions come out of the overall income budget they are considered “spending” for the purposes of cash management.  Enter all of the investment contributions for brokerage accounts, 401k, 529, IRA.

Outline Your Savings

I’ve been using a number of different savings calculators, some are helpful, others are way too confusing.  Enter the number of years you have left before planned retirement along with your current savings balance.  The expected annual interest rate will be somewhere between 4%-8%.  On average, the market will return 7%-8% per year.

Review Years Until Financial Independence

After completing the savings calculator, you can start looking at how many years until financial independence is a reality.  Based on current or projected savings and percent return, you’ll be able to plan based on a specific withdrawal rate.  4% is the standard for withdrawal, this allows your money to continue to grow without depleting the principal.

Launch your Financial Independence Journey with the Real Estate Investment Toolkit

Making the decision to invest in real estate changed my life forever.  Ever since I was in high school, I was always intrigued by the opportunity that real estate could create for me.

Back in 2009, the real estate market had hit rock bottom.  Multi-unit properties were hitting the market for 25% of what they were sold for in 2006.  Either everyone was in trouble or this was a once in a lifetime buying opportunity.  I choose to jump in a take the position that this couldn’t last forever – so I went for it.

The first financial models that I built were very simple and didn’t provide a long-term view of my business.  Since then, I’ve been iterating on my model numerous times per year.  I love where it is now – the model shows me cash flow and property value projected out ten years.  The long-term view is super important for me because it’s easy to lose sight of the ultimate prize…more cash flow.

My real estate investment toolkit will give you everything you need to launch your first real estate business.


What is Investment Real Estate?

Investment real estate is real estate that generates income or is otherwise intended for investment purposes rather than as a primary residence. It is common for investors to own multiple pieces of real estate, one of which serves as a primary residence while the others are used to generate rental income and profits through price appreciation. The tax implications for investment real estate are often different than those for residential real estate.




How to Launch a Side Hustle and Get out of Debt

A side hustle is not a part-time job. A side hustle is not the gig economy. It is an asset that works for you.  Specifically, an asset that works for you means that it can create freedom in more areas than just finances.  Brainstorm work opportunities that you’ve been dreaming about – don’t let perceived roadblocks stop you.

Motivation to push forward with a side hustle is the key to creating momentum.  Forget pyramid schemes or other get rich quick programs.  Above all, you have the ability to generate additional income by leveraging your existing skills.

You don’t need to risk everything to create a lucrative side hustle.  Keep your day job and use extra hours in the day to set up strategic systems that allow for automation to start generating additional income.  Most importantly, move your thought process from focusing on an hourly wage to opportunities that can generate passive income.  Everything from launching a niche blog, purchasing a rental property, or starting a digital marketing agency.

Combining a consistent side hustle with your day job creates freedom in your life and finances.

Finally, when you launch a successful side hustle the increased confidence and flexibility will give you the ability to think bigger about your life.  Living in freedom allows for an incredible amount of unique opportunities.  You’ll have the ability to put yourself in the path of growth – find people and work that creates space.

Find your motivation.

  • Define the reasons you want to launch your side hustle.
  • Write out what you want to accomplish and how to get there.
  • Define measurable goals that allow you to stretch yourself.

Find your path.

  • Once you’ve defined your side hustle start moving forward.
  • Read articles from experts and learn what others have done.
  • Talk with mentors and friends about your plans.  Have them keep you accountable as you move forward.

Find your network.

  • Network with others that have similar interests.  If you choose to start investing in real estate, start networking with other investors in your city.
  • Learn from others how they started, what tools they used, and roadblocks that caused pain.

Put your plan together to pay down debt.

  • One of the most significant drivers for your side hustle could be paying down debt that has sitting around for years.  Use the additional funds to focus on your highest interest accounts first.
  • As you make progress and get rid of debt altogether, you’ll find freedom in knowing that you created a side hustle that isn’t only giving you freedom in life, but also in finances.

10 Strategies to Reach 1 Million Dollar Net Worth

Strategies to Reach 1 Million Dollar Net Worth

It seems that so many financial bloggers make it seem easy to actually achieve a financially free lifestyle.  Reaching goals and moving forward isn’t easy, it takes dedication and the ability to move forward when everyone else is telling you you’re crazy.

Step out and figure out the path to get into real estate investing or join a small business and give your self the opportunity to succeed.  It’s not really about penny pinching and living on zero cash.  Life your life in freedom, find your identity, and keep moving forward.

Take a look at some strategies for reaching your goal of saving 1 million dollars.  Notice that these strategies don’t reference small savings here and there – these are big ideas that can propel you into financial freedom.  Think big and don’t look back.

  1. Set big goals and read them often
  2. Focus on passive income through real estate or online businesses
  3. Enable your creativity to thrive and build something unique
  4. Save 20% of your income
  5. Purchase investment property and have a long-term hold strategy
  6. Invest in low-cost index funds
  7. Keep track of your progress using tools like Personal Capital
  8. Limit your exposure to consumer debt.  Purchase cars when you need them, not when you want them.
  9. Expand your network by learning from others that already have achieved similar goals
  10. Put a plan together on how you will change your current financial situation.  It only takes one step to start moving in a new direction.

Make the decision to change – its only a decision – we’re all rooting for you.

31 of the Best Networking Questions

31 of the Best Networking Questions

The best networking questions can be tough to create, but these are vital in getting what you need out of your next conversation.  Networking is one of the most important factors when trying to create unique and powerful connections in your community.  Reaching out to people and asking them to grab coffee takes guts, but its totally worth the effort.  Prepare some unique questions and you’ll always have something interesting to talk about, it doesn’t take much time to write down 5 to 10 questions that may be relevant to your contact.  Preparation will show that you know what you’re talking about – and you’ll get some great tips that you can leverage to make positive decisions in the future.

My networking experiences have generated serious opportunities for my career and in real estate.  Interesting people know interesting people and you’ll never know the potential until you ask.  I’ve created my own list many times of the best networking questions – it’s paid off 10x.

All it takes is a simple email to your contact, ask them if you can buy them coffee or lunch, pick a spot and spend 30-45 mins.  Give them a mini agenda of your networking questions before you arrive, this will give them some prep time to think about your questions.   You’ll get some great answers that should be more than a “shoot from the hip” answer.

Read through the questions below and take some notes for your next networking event.  Go for it and move to action.

Networking Question Ideas

  1. What is the single biggest success in your career that has come out of your startup?
  2. Why are you an entrepreneur?
  3. What are the top five things that you would tell a new entrepreneur?
  4. How did you get started with your first business?
  5. What do you think of the startup community in the area?
  6. What are the top 5 areas that you will focus on this year?
  7. What problem is your business or product solving?
  8. How do you structure your development roadmap?
  9. What would you do differently at the beginning of your startup, knowing what you know now?
  10. What are your top leadership qualities?
  11. How will you define success for your business this year?
  12. How will you define success for you this year?
  13. What is the most fascinating piece of the technology that your business has created?
  14. Did you create a business plan before launching your business?
  15. Is your business planning to release any “game changing” technology in 2013?
  16. How many employees do you have?
  17. How many employees will you be adding in 2013?
  18. What is your elevator pitch?
  19. How is you target customer and why are they buying your products?
  20. How does your business convert customer feedback into future product innovation?
  21. Do you like using the word “innovation”?
  22. What are your top three favorite characteristics of your employees?
  23. What makes your business successful on a daily basis?
  24. Where do you want you business to be in five years?
  25. How does your business give back to the community?
  26. If your business  could only do one thing this year, what would you do?
  27. What is your favorite startup failure?
  28. How has failure shaped where you are today?
  29. How have you managed through failure?
  30. Are you still working on your original business idea?
  31. How has your business morphed since you wrote the original business plan?

5 Ways to Get Things Done – The Difference Between Ideas and Action

5 Ways to Get Things Done.

I want so much more out of my daily life. So much opportunity to grow, build, and help people – it becomes overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start. Sometimes figuring out where to start is exciting and allows me to take part in new opportunities that I would have otherwise never have been able to experience.

My experience includes:

– Being one of the first employees at a successful Saas startup sold for $110M
– Managing a software product with 1000 enterprise customers
– Being part of one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world
– Starting a real estate investment company during the crazy days of 2009
– Launching a number of small online ventures (these are mostly to keep my mind creative and nimble)
– Building and selling a job board to popular industry blogger
– Purchasing and managing an existing online business that generates revenue from subscriptions and one-off sales.

Each of these experiences started with fear of the unknown and many thoughts that revolved around failure. Most of the “fear of failure” thoughts had to do with wondering what other people will think of me if I crash and burn a new venture. At times, I find my identity in what people think of me versus believing the truth about who I know I am. I continually remind myself that I live to serve other people and my ultimate goal isn’t to win everything. My ultimate goal is to make people around me successful and help them move forward.

I’ve also had some new ventures not work out as expected. I try not to call these failures, but learning experiences and “paying tuition” to the School of Hard Knocks. I’ve learned a lot about myself when going through the decision making process around laying a new idea or venture to rest. Its tough, but completely necessary when viewing everything through entrepreneurial lenses. It can be very fulfilling to “fail fast, fail often” – this is the only way to create a product or service that others are willing to pay for. The best way to stay motivated when thinking about potential failure is this: “fail until you don’t” – if you’re innovative, talk with potential clients, think about how to keep shipping product, you will eventually find something that sticks.

While not all of these were ideas failures, some never really had the opportunity to succeed…I become board with the idea or realized I didn’t have time to pursue it. Many times I start something and realize that I have a better idea – the first idea or opportunity fades away because I choose to move on. I’ve learned that moving to action too quickly can be tough because it can be easy for me to leave projects unfinished. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is common with entrepreneurs – its easy to keep moving forward and leave half baked ideas in the dust. Life’s too short to focus on something that doesn’t fit your passions or create excitement when you wake up in the morning. I’ve had to force myself to focus on quality ideas and work to complete them.

I have big goals for myself….and I usually accomplish them when I put my mind to it. A visionary at heart, I don’t care much for the details so I push myself for big accomplishments. These accomplishments don’t just happen – actions need to be taken, risks managed, and fear overcome. Dealing with fear of the unknown and pushing ahead to get things done defines the daily tasks of any entrepreneur. Its a constant mind game that needs to be

1. Trust
Trust is huge when dealing with fear of starting something new. Entrepreneurs need to trust people around them, trust themselves, and be confident in the direction they have chosen.

2. Identity
When building a company or joining a new team, your Identity is very impactful to everyone you will work with. Knowing who you are and what you believe will help you deal with fears of failure. Usually, fear of failure is just a lie that needs to be shut down. Move forward with what you’ve been called to do and be strong in your identity. Don’t let other people tell you who you are or where you should get your worth.

3. Passion
Passion about new ideas, brainstorming, love of new things, building companies, and growing teams is exciting for entrepreneurs. Keep momentum going by staying focused on your passions. Don’t let fear take you off track and over analyze situations. Go for it and start taking action – you’ll never regret starting something new – you never know until you take the first step.  Move forward and get something on paper, make it happen and you won’t have any regrets.

4. Network
Your network is major aspect of helping you move past fear and get to action. Stay close to people that will encourage you, guide you, and help you navigate the trials of life. Close friends and colleagues will get you through tough times that require hard decisions. Listen to mentors- they will see things from a different perspective and can provide guidance that is extremely valuable. Don’t live in a vacuum, let others into your life.

5. Focus
Overcoming fear and moving to action takes serious focus. Don’t let fear of failure cause your focus to slip – make goals each day and get them done. You’ll have a million excuses as to why something won’t work out – dig deep and take action. Its a unique ability to take an idea and turn it into a real company.

Overcome fear and don’t let it cause you to be stagnant – take the challenge and move to action. Your identity isn’t what other people think or say about you. Know who you are and help other people along the journey. I challenge you to step out of normalcy, think differently, impact people for good, and use your skills to create something that leaves a legacy you can be proud of.

Entrepreneurship is a great adventure – overcome fear and move to action.

Getting Started with Real Estate Investing

Getting started with real estate investing is something that anyone can do.  Learning some of the lingo can be really helpful before you start to talk with other investors or real estate agents.  Once you get comfortable talking about cash on cash return or appreciation, then you can dig deeper and research more complex topics.

Understanding the core principles of real estate investing will enhance your wisdom and decision making process when it comes time to find the right property.

Take a look at the list outlined below – some great terms to get you started on your real estate journey.


Appreciation is an increase in the value of an asset over time. The increase can occur for a number of reasons including increased demand or weakening supply, or as a result of changes in inflation or interest rates. This is the opposite of depreciation, which is a decrease over time.


At its core, depreciation is simple: You figure out how much the property is worth for tax purposes (the property’s basis), how long the IRS says you must depreciate it for (its ­recovery period), and then you deduct a certain percentage of its basis each year during its recovery period. Rental buildings are depreciated over 27.5 years. The recovery periods for ­personal property—office furniture and computers, for example—are much ­shorter, usually five or seven years. This means you’ll get your full depreciation deduction much more quickly. It is to a landlord’s advantage to be able to classify as much rental property as possible as personal property, rather than real property.

Tax Deductions

You need to keep accurate records for each asset you depreciate showing:

  • a description of the asset
  • when and how you purchased the property
  • the date it was placed in service
  • its original cost
  • the percentage of time you use it for business
  • the amount of depreciation you took for the asset in prior years, if any
  • the asset’s depreciable basis
  • the depreciation method used
  • the length of the depreciation period, and
  • the amount of depreciation you deducted for the year.

Cap Rate

The capitalization rate is the rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate. The capitalization rate is used to estimate the investor’s potential return on his or her investment.

Cash on Cash Return

Cash-on-cash return is a rate of return often used in real estate transactions that calculates the cash income earned on the cash invested in a property. For example, when an investor purchases a rental property, she might put down only 10% for a cash down payment. Cash-on-cash return measures the annual return the investor made on the property in relation to the down payment only.

Four Ways to Value an Investment Property

  • Sales Comparison Approach
  • Capital Asset Pricing Model
  • Income Approach
  • Cost Approach