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Financial independence by the age of twenty-five?! Today’s guest started working and saving money at a very early age, which allowed him to buy the time and freedom to do the things he values most. Whether you’re twenty-five or fifty-five, applying some of these simple principles to your own life can propel you toward financial freedom!

Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast! Today, we’re chatting with Gabe Bult, a YouTuber, serial entrepreneur, and real estate investor who reached financial independence before his twenty-fifth birthday—all by subscribing to financial minimalism and frugal living. The only thing stopping him from retiring early? Sheer boredom! Instead, Gabe’s day typically involves precious time with his daughter, a few hours making YouTube videos, and an afternoon spent enjoying his favorite hobbies and interests.

YOU can have this life, too, but not without a little sacrifice, education, and discipline. Fortunately, it only takes a few years of ferocious frugality to get ahead, save for the future, and become “set for life.” And in this episode, Gabe will show you how to do just that! You’ll learn how to save your first $25,000 (and what to do with it), live for free with the house hacking strategy, and start a business that allows you to earn more and work less!

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Today we’re speaking with Gabe Bolt, a former PHI adherent and serial entrepreneur who relentlessly pursued financial freedom for the freedom it gave him over his entire life.

Scott:
Yeah, Gabe is just an example of what can happen when almost everything is optimized for phi, including starting immediately out of high school, including relentless focus on self-education, including an extreme approach to frugality, including a DIY mentality, including serial entrepreneurship and experimentation, including long-term, 10 year horizon for planning out future investments including extreme discipline and financial habits. So really admire Gabe if you can’t tell already, and what he’s built and the optionality that this gave him in life. This guy fired at the age of 24. So I think you’re going to really enjoy this one. I certainly did and learned a lot from Gabe.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. My name is Mindy Jensen, and with me as always is my set for life co-host Scott Trench.

Scott:
Thanks, Mindy. Great to be here with my first time home buying co-host and selling your home co-host Mindy Jensen. Two books by this great lady next to me on the camera here. As always, we’re here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else to introduce you to every money story, including those who achieve financial independence before their 25th birthday because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

Mindy:
Gabe Bolt, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Gabe:
Yeah, thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here.

Mindy:
Gabe, your focus is on living a minimalist life. Can you explain what financial minimalism means and how your lifestyle reflects that?

Gabe:
I first got into the fire movement and then as I started to learn this idea of minimalism, I realized there’s a lot of overlap between the two lifestyles where it’s really just about getting rid of all the non-essential stuff in your life so you can focus on what matters. So for me, honestly, financial minimalism has really just rebranded the fire movement of just frugal living so that you can have money and time and energy and mental space for the things that are important to you.

Scott:
Awesome and is it the simplicity of the lifestyle that attracted you to this or is it the math about why it’s so much better of a way to approach fire, which I’m going to allude to here, that attracted you to financial minimalism?

Gabe:
Yeah, I think for me it was really about freedom. So I realized that if you don’t really control your life, somebody else will. And I was just working so much doing stuff I didn’t like that I’m like, if I can just spend a lot less money and just simplify things as much as possible, I can have really, it was about having time to do the things that I really wanted to do. I just had my second kid recently and I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my kids, and that was an initial goal when I got into this whole movement was like, I don’t want to ever miss a soccer game. I don’t ever want to do this stuff that a lot of people do because they have to send their kids to daycare and they have to do these different things, and that’s because they have a nicer house and a nicer car and they’re always buying stuff and all this stuff. And I realized that every time I’ve bought expensive stuff, I’m like, well, I was happy for five minutes and then I donated it a year later. So

Mindy:
I want to highlight what you just said. It’s about time. So many people here, FIRE, financial independence, retire early and focus on the retire early part. It’s not about retiring early. If you love your job, stay at your job. I’m financially independent, I still work and it’s because I love my job, so I also have way older kids than you do, but spending the time with them when they were little was so important to shaping who they are now. And if that’s something that you can do simply by reducing your expenses on stupid things that you don’t even care about that you donated a year later, why wouldn’t you choose that? I mean, you’re choosing to have children, you should choose to be able to spend time with them as you can. And this is not mom shaming anybody who goes to work or dad shaming anybody who goes to work. I’m just saying, if you have the opportunity, why not take

Gabe:
It? Exactly. And I think that’s why I kind of realized in the past year or so that maybe the fire movement wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do because I don’t actually want to retire. I want to be able to work as much or as little as I want to on something that I enjoy. But if I don’t work for more than a couple days, I honestly get a little stir crazy and I have an addiction. It’s a bad thing, but I get to do something I love now because I love to do it, not because I have to do it. And before I just wanted to get out of that cycle of I have to do this if I’m going to eat and my family’s going to eat. And so that’s really what attracted me as well. Well,

Scott:
Let’s take a step back here and can you describe who you are, what you do with your time, how old you are, and just what a Tuesday looks like for you, Gabe? I think that will be really interesting and appealing to a lot of folks to get a glimpse into your world.

Gabe:
Sure. I’m 28 years old, so pretty much I’m a YouTuber. I make YouTube videos. I do one video a week about finance and productivity and stuff like that, but I was able to structure in a way where I can mostly do, if I do just the baseline of what I have to do, it takes about five hours a week. So if I wanted to, I could work five hours a week. I generally work way more than that because that would be incredibly boring, but most of the time I’ll get up, I’ll spend a couple hours with my daughter, and then I’ll go work for a few hours and then I’ll take the afternoon off. I’ve been getting into saunas and cold plunges recently and working on side businesses and then play with my daughter more and then maybe work a few more hours in the afternoon. That’s generally almost every single day looks like for me.

Scott:
Awesome. And how long have you been doing this kind of lifestyle?

Gabe:
So I’ve been doing YouTube for five years. I got my first house hack six years ago or something like that. And then the Extreme Frugal Living, which isn’t as extreme anymore. I think that’s a season, it doesn’t have to be forever, but that’s probably been over 10 years that I’ve been into this whole idea because my mom recommended Rich Dad Poor Dad, and that’s kind of what kicked off this whole thing, which I don’t even know what it turned into now. Okay.

Mindy:
So when you say extreme frugality, I hear a lot of people saying, ah, this isn’t for me. What does extreme frugality look like for you personally, and how long did that period of your time last? Because I really like that you say it doesn’t have to last forever.

Gabe:
Yeah, so that lasted for me probably once I read Rich at Port Dad, and that was kind of like the first book that kickstarted everything. And then I was like binging BiggerPockets for a while and a bunch of other podcasts. So that probably lasted until two years ago when I actually started to make any money because I realized it was all the classic math that you hear that, oh, if you invest this now, you’ll earn a billion dollars when you’re older. And turns out I don’t actually, I invest too much into the stock market now and that type of thing. But the Frugal Living really lasted five to seven years of just the first year me and my wife were married, we maybe went out to dinner twice. All of our clothes are from the thrift store, all this type of stuff, because we both realized that the sooner we can get out of this, the sooner I can be home and not working three different jobs and we can be there with our kids and we can actually start a family. We can’t afford to do that right now. So I think it was really having that end goal in mind just made it effortless for those years. And then once we were able to take advantage of all those things like buying rentals and starting a business, then we don’t have to be as frugal now and we can actually enjoy our lives a little more.

Mindy:
Stay with us. We’ll be back after a quick break.

Scott:
Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. Well, let’s walk through that journey. So you prefaced this by saying that your mom gave you Rich Dad, poor dad around 18 it sounds like. What was life growing up around money and how did, it sounds like your parents did give you a nudge in this direction here. Can you give us a little bit about your upbringing?

Gabe:
Yeah, so my parents didn’t do the best with money. They had some credit card debt at some different points, and my dad during 2008, he was a real estate agent, which was great until it wasn’t great and then he didn’t earn any money. So it was definitely very up and down with childhood where he had some times of nothing and sometimes where it wasn’t bad definitely weren’t poor, but we never really talked a ton about money as a family. And at the age, I was 11 when my dad started a commercial cleaning company. So I started working five nights a week from the age of 11 till 22 or something like that, which I wouldn’t recommend, but that gave me a really good work ethic and really good. I work really hard for this money and I don’t want it to go away. So that’s still some issues that I have now, I believe.
But that was my initial growing up with money and then my mom’s like, you should read this book because we didn’t, and it’s too late for us to start some of these things now, or we’re having a hard time too, because it’s a lot harder when you have a family, you have a house, all this stuff to make these changes. So she kind of wanted to kick us off and then just hearing those different ideas of like, oh, I didn’t know what an assets and liabilities were and all this stuff really kind of got me addicted down that rabbit hole because I was homeschooled and I cheated through most of school, so I know that college was not really an option for me. So at 18 I got my real estate license. I was Googling highest paying jobs that you can work from without a degree. So I became a real estate agent that did not go well. But anyways, that was kind of my initial upbringing with money.

Scott:
So you said you’re not going to go to college because of your homeschool strategy that you were employing at that point in time. How did you go about building wealth those first couple of years and was it just this extreme frugality and just letting the pile grow a little bit bigger? When did investing? Yeah,

Gabe:
I was working, I was a real estate agent. I was working during construction and I pretty much didn’t have a ton of time to spend money, so I was just being very frugal. And then I learned about that idea of house hacking, I think at 18 or something like that. So I was pretty much saving up my first 20 5K, kind of like I didn’t read your book until I was 23 or something like that, but it turned out it was the exact same thing that I was doing. So I saved up my first 20 5K and I bought my first house hack at 22, and that was my initial thing that allowed me to go from living from free at my parents to living for free at this house hack and that kind of, we just kept the ball rolling and kind of went on from there. Awesome.

Scott:
And I want to dive into this 18 to 22-year-old period. Love the House Act by the way, period here. What did your income growth look like? Because that’s, I think something that is always really interesting to say, okay, there’s the college path and then there’s just go to work right out of high school and begin building the career. How did that trajectory go for you in a general sense?

Gabe:
Yeah, I’m trying to remember what my income was. It was not good. It was below the median because I had real estate. I think I was a real estate agent for eight years or so, and I definitely lost money during that time because all the upkeep of doing it. And then I would do one or two deals a year that didn’t really make me a lot of money. I was working, so I was making maybe 30, 40 KA year from the full-time cleaning company and then maybe another 10 to 20 K from side hustles and stuff. It was not a lot of money, but I also looked at it as I can either go for four years and lose a hundred thousand dollars or I can work and at least be at ground zero when I’m through this whole process and I had no idea what to go to school for.
And I was like, I don’t want to go do this thing that I absolutely hate, which is study for something I don’t even know and spend all this money. I’ll just figure it out on my own. And that’s what eventually led me to trying so many different businesses until I found one that I was able to build, which for me was YouTube and something that I liked, but a lot of that was just trial and error of like, oh, I’ll start this business. And they’re like, well, that was horrible. And then you start something else, but you gain a skill from each one. And that’s kind of like what kind of built it for me.

Scott:
Yeah. So it sounds like during this four year period from 18 to 22, you emerged with somewhere between 120 and $200,000 in total income for that time period and a house hack and multiple experiences and your real estate license, which you say you didn’t use, but you have multiple house hacks. I wonder if those things are related to in some indirect fashion there and from a comfort level, and it’s really interesting to hear that, okay, some people graduate from college with an engineering degree and go get a job at Lockheed Martin making hundreds of thousands dollars a year or close to a hundred thousand dollars a year starting out, and some people get an anthropology degree and make $30,000 a year, and your option is definitely not a bad one. It sounds like a really actually in many ways, an advantage to the career that you’ve pursued over the last 10 years in a big way. Is that how you see it?

Gabe:
Yeah. For me, I think not going to school is one of the best decisions of my life just because I know I’m such a horrible student and my brother went to school to be a, what do you go to school for Fish and game or something like that, and he doesn’t use his degree. And I know a bunch of other people who spent four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars or at least tens of thousands of dollars and don’t use their degrees. So I was like, I’m not just going to go to go. And I think I definitely learned some pretty valuable skills during that time.

Scott:
I think that these four years are super critical and I keep diving into them. I want to go after another angle here on this, which is it sounds like there’s a ton of self-education that’s going on and that’s happening between the ages of 18 and 22. Is that right? Or a big chunk of that. Okay. And then you also said you started businesses on the weekends or had all these side hustles. I’m a big believer in the idea of, hey, nine out of 10 businesses fail. So the logical conclusion of that is to start 10 businesses. Is that aligned with your approach and experience there? And if so, can you tell us about some of the things that didn’t work out or petered out or,

Gabe:
Yeah, so it wasn’t planned. It wasn’t like, oh, I’m just going to start businesses. I have this whole idea. I was just failing at a bunch of things, honestly, and I didn’t want to get a real job, but I knew I didn’t want to do office cleaning forever. So I was just trying anything and I was like, oh, okay, being a personal trainer, that would be cool. And then I was like, wow, there’s a lot of studying that goes into this and then I actually don’t like people that much, so maybe that’s not going to be for me. And even real estate, I was like, oh, okay, high cap salary, all this stuff. I don’t like people that much. So that didn’t work out either. And then I started landscaping businesses when I was a kid and then, I don’t know, it was the whole thing, marshmallow shooting company when I was in late teens. But again, you have to sell the marshmallow shooters that you make and that involves talking to people. So it was a lot of stuff.

Scott:
Was this an invention that you had?

Gabe:
Yeah, PVC pipes and then you make a marshmallow shooter and we would go to different, was it homeschool events and New Hampshire indoors or whatever those are called where it’s a bunch of DIY stuff and you could sell ’em and you can make ’em for a couple bucks and sell ’em for 20 bucks. But we never demonstrated how to use, I was super shy, so didn’t sell very well.

Scott:
I just see so many parallels between my journey and yours, which is why I’m asking these questions. I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it as try 10 businesses at that point in my life. But when I was 23, which is more corollary to your 18 to 22-year-old, I was trying to be a tutor. I was driving for Uber, I was doing DoorDash. I tried to start a winter gloves for driving business. I thought Noodled around with a winter tire rentals business here in Colorado. And I started Trenches Tees, which is still on Facebook out there, and I had two shirts that were for sale. One was Buddha approaching a hotdog vendor, and he was saying, make me one with everything. And the hotdog vendor is replying with, sure, but change must come from within. I thought this was the best idea ever at that point in time. And I have another one that had a giant windmill and it said Renewable energy. I’m a huge fan, and that also did not sell very well. So trenches, tees, go look it up, maybe I’ll get a sale today on there. There’s no inventory. So good luck anybody listening to this, but that was my journey. It sounds like that’s fairly parallel to yours,

Gabe:
Dude, I started a T-shirt business too. That’s so funny. Yeah, no, even now it’s still an addiction. I have four different YouTube channels and just none of the other ones do well. I don’t focus on ’em that much, but I always, every couple of months I’m like, Ooh, that would be a good idea. Maybe I should do that. And then I’ll start something new, whether it’s tshirt business, which I tried a couple drop shipping, different things. I just keep trying new things just because I think I like that newness of it.

Scott:
So what are some of the ones that’s actually, let’s pick up the story. Here’re 22, and you have a house hack and you’re coming out of this, I don’t know if this is how you break out your journey, but that four year period, do things begin to change or what happens next?

Gabe:
Yeah, nothing really changes. So we got that first house hack. Me and my wife got married right after I got it. We were renovating it for a few months. She wasn’t working for the first year we were married or so, and we were pretty much renovating that unit that we were living in. I was working full time, also a real estate agent. Also started my YouTube channel. Also was doing stamp concrete, which was another business that I started with my brother and my cousin. So I was pretty much just working constantly for those next couple years as well. So my income went up a little bit. We had very low expenses, but I was just saving up for house hack number two and house hack number three, just trying to climb that ladder.

Scott:
Awesome. So tell us about House hack number two and House hack number three. When did they hit what years and what ages did those come in?

Gabe:
Yeah, so it was like a year and a half later, so that’d be 23, 24 was when I got my second house hack. And so that one was when I quit my day job because we were able to, it was a triplex. First one was a triplex, second one was a triplex. We were able to live in one unit again while renovating it and then renovated another four bedroom unit and turned it into four separate Airbnbs inside of it. So rented out four bedrooms individually, and then the income from that was enough to pay our mortgage and our living expenses. It was making like $5,000 a month. And at that point, as soon as the Airbnbs were up, I immediately quit my job and I was like, I’ll figure something else out, but I’m not doing that anymore. And that’s how we got the second one.

Scott:
What year was that event when you quit your job and said a game over and where are these properties located?

Gabe:
Yeah, so first of all, yeah, they’re all in Manchester, which is New Hampshire. It’s the only city that has rentals in them that I could find. So that’s where I am now. And then, yeah, so quitting my job was probably not the best timing. It was right during Covid, so whenever that was, when I quit it, literally a week later, everything shut down. So I was like, well, I hope I figure something else out. I was still running the Airbnbs, so I was cleaning the Airbnbs and stuff. I had my YouTube channel, which was making $500 a month, and I never expected that to be the thing I had. I was doing real estate, which that was making maybe 10 grand a year. I was doing maybe two deals a year or something like that. And I was like, I thought I actually thought real estate would be the thing that I would maybe transition into, but if worse came to worse, we would be able to live very frugally on this income from the Airbnbs. So that’s what I was like, I’m sure I can make 10, 20 grand a year, do another stuff for us to live on. And then just once I started sinking my time into my business, which was YouTube at the time, that’s when that started to scale. But yeah, that’s when I left my job.

Scott:
Awesome. So same question I just asked you. What was your day to day in 2020 during Covid in this context? How much leisure time did you have or did you not have any because you were pouring it all into a startup?

Gabe:
Yeah, I’ve never been great about having leisure time. I could have had a bunch of leisure time, but yeah, I just spent it doing other things. That’s something that I do regret. Looking back, I was like, I should have lived more and had hobbies and friends and stuff like that, but I didn’t have any friends and I was pretty much, so a day in the life would be,
I would be renovating our apartment or the other apartment. That was a year. It was constant renovations. It was two four bedroom units. So that was a lot of what I was doing. YouTube was probably two hours a day or something like that. And then spending time with my wife doing a few other things, trying real estate, I thought I was going to a bunch of real estate classes. I thought I would be this huge scalable thing and turns out, again, I don’t like people, so if I knew myself a little better, I could have saved myself so much time and money. And then, yeah, that was most of what I was doing is pretty much just that year. As soon as I quit, I was just like, I got to get these Airbnbs. I’m cleaning them every day. We had four separate people turning over constantly that literally the cheapest Airbnbs in the city, but they were booked 29 days throughout all of Covid. They were fully booked because it was so cheap. So that was most of what I was doing is keeping that running, coordinating all that, and then trying to grow my business. Were

Mindy:
You making money off of the Airbnbs with them being so cheap?

Gabe:
Yeah, so even though they were so cheap was since there was four bedrooms, it ended up being like a thousand dollars a month per bedroom, which was like $4,000 for that one unit plus another thousand for the one bedroom we had upstairs. So that was five grand total from that place while we were living for free. And then 3000 or so was it like 3,500 was our expenses for keeping everything and mortgage taxes and sheets and that type of stuff. So I was making maybe a thousand dollars a month from that one plus a thousand from our last rental or close to that from our last rental as well. That was back before prices shot up. So both of these were super low interest rates, super cheap properties, or not super cheap, but super cheap now. So the numbers made a lot more sense then. Yeah.

Mindy:
Okay. Earlier you suggested that you don’t really invest in the stock market and you’ve got, how many total units do you have? Rental real estate wise?

Gabe:
So two triplexes and then we’re in a duplex now

Mindy:
Eight units, one of them is yours. So seven units plus one for you. What else are you investing in or is that it?

Gabe:
Yeah, I got to figure that out. So I’m saving up right now for my next one pretty much is what I’m doing. I do have some money in stocks and some in crypto, but that’s mostly just sitting in both of those places in high interest savings accounts until we get our next rental. But I don’t really do the whole Roth IRA or that type of stuff right now, just because real estate makes so much more sense. For me specifically, it’s probably not for most people, but for the last 10 years I’ve obsessed about real estate, so that’s just for me makes so much more sense. So I’ll invest into other things for short term, but my plan is not for it to stay there.

Mindy:
Okay. So you bought your house hacks back when rates were low. Does house hacking still make sense for you?

Gabe:
So I’m going to try to be a lot more creative in this next one. So I don’t want to live in a duplex forever, honestly, with two kids, we want to have a farm type deal. That being said, how do we get a farm without having to pay for it after living for free for so long? I’m like, I never want to pay a full mortgage. It just seems wrong. So we’ll either live and flip that or we’ll find a way to get something that’s going to work where we can have an in-law or an Airbnb on the side or some other revenue stream that’ll help us at least lower the expense on that. So probably our next home is going to be more of a forever ish type home that hopefully doesn’t cost a ton of money. So house hacking for me is I wouldn’t move back into another triplex just because I don’t have to at this point. Okay.

Mindy:
And would you characterize your area as a high cost of living medium or low cost of living area?

Gabe:
It’s not super cheap. It’s not like expensive like a Boston type deal, but it’s definitely not the cheapest thing around. So I guess that Midco and the first two house hacks were the cheapest part of the crappy city of New Hampshire or Maine, New Hampshire. And then we’re on a little bit of a nicer side now, but the first two we’re definitely a lot cheaper places as well.

Scott:
Alright, we’re going to take a quick ad break and then we’ll be right back.

Mindy:
Welcome back to the show.

Scott:
Gabe. I’m picking up again the principles of frugality do it yourself mentality. It sounds like you not afraid to swing a hammer and fix things up yourself self. I imagine you self-manage, run all the systems, you clean the place or cleaned the place for a long time yourself as well, it sounds like. And there’s this relentless pursuit of I am hypothesizing, a relentless pursuit of self-improvement and self-education. Is that right on the last point there in particular with self-education and self-improvement? Yeah,

Gabe:
For sure. I think was it last year or the year before? I was reading a ton of stuff for so long and I was like, I’m going to take a break from all this self-improvement stuff and I really was not as happy as when I’m, I want to get the best shape of my life. I want to get as smart as I can. I want to build this business as big as I can, not because, because I want more money, because I want to give this my best shot. And there was a lot of the times that I’ve realized that I wasn’t giving life my best shot was when I was not the happiest. So I have gone back to that reading almost like a book a week and trying to do this stuff just because there was one page in Rich Dad, poor Dad that led me down all this stuff to reading all these books, all this stuff, and you don’t know what that one page of one book, that one thing that you hear on a podcast that will literally change your life. And so I am constantly looking for that next little thing that just unlocks something. You get that aha moment that literally makes the rest of your life 1% better. Do

Scott:
You notice that if I have the same approach there again, another parallel here where a book a week is probably what I’ve averaged. I’ve noticed that when I stop reading, when I lapse on that, all the other systems in my life begin to break down. I don’t work out as relentlessly. My eating gets worse. I tend to have a beer or two in the evening, those types of things. Do you notice that as well for yourself in

Gabe:
There? A hundred percent. It’s like an anchor habit maybe where it’s like for me, I read in the morning, I get up, dude, I’ve started to get up at five, I’m trying to beat my daughter to waking up if I don’t have that time to read in the morning. And I have this morning routine that I had for so many years that I just really try to, so I’ll do whatever it takes to keep it going because when I don’t have that, when I don’t read even a couple pages in the morning, my day starts off different. And then yeah, you don’t have the motivation to go to the gym. It’s like you’re getting a personal pep talk or encouragement from some of these great people in history or alive now. And for me, when I start my day that way, it really changes a lot about my entire day. So for me, yeah, that is super important. I really try to defend that even if it means getting up at five o’clock, which really sucks, it’s just I’m happier that way even though I’m less happy waking up. So is

Scott:
It as simple as just reading for a few pages every day or trying to setting a goal of one book a week or one book every other week, whatever you think is reasonable and then absorbing the information patterns begin to emerge? Or do you think you have a superpower and taking action based on what you read and what you’re consuming leads to direct changes in your behavior on a regular

Gabe:
Basis? No, I definitely don’t have a superpower tell you. There’s so many books where I read them four or five times, I’m like, I should probably do that. But I think for me it’s called, there’s this idea of the two minute rule where I just commit to the first two minutes of something. So I’ll commit to reading my book for two minutes in the morning and then generally I’ll read for way more than that. But when I can break down these habits into those small actionable steps, it just really compounds throughout the rest of my life. Even going to the gym, I’ll commit to going, put in my workout clothes, go sit in the car, and then if I go to the gym, I go to the gym. But if not, I’m free to walk out. But so many times I can trick myself into doing what I know is right for me by just committing to those first two minutes. So that’s something I try to do with that where this whole self-improvement thing is like a cycle where if you kind of get off of it for me, everything kind of goes off though. Goes off the rails.

Mindy:
I have to correct your statement. You said you don’t have a superpower, but I disagree because it is so easy to not put on my gym clothes, not sit in the car, not drive myself to the gym. It is a push to get that done. It’s a push to get up early at five o’clock. Do you know how easy it would be to turn off your alarm and go back to sleep and let your daughter wake you up so easy? So just because you’re not taking action on every single thing that you’re reading doesn’t mean you don’t have a superpower. So I’m sorry to say Gabe, but you are wrong.

Gabe:
All right. I’ll put it this way. I trick myself into doing everything. I don’t want to get up at five. I’m not a morning person, but I’m so depressed if I don’t have my thing. It’s all self-preservation stuff where I do these hard things. If I don’t go to the gym, I get super stressed out and then I will have a mental breakdown. I’m not doing all this stuff. So I do these hard things. I know it’s way worse if I don’t do them. And when I kind of frame things that way, it’s even the same thing with saving money. If I don’t do this, it’s going to be bad. So that really is, I almost trick myself and coach myself into doing a bunch of the things that I do. It’s not because I want to do them. It’s like I’m scared of the consequences of not doing them. So

Scott:
How would you translate that into someone who’s just getting started on their money journey? Your discipline is incredible to wake up at five, to read 50 books a year, to live this frugally to self operate a rental business, to try your hand at so many different activities until you see which ones stick and which ones you’re passionate about. How does someone begin trying to replicate the journey that you’ve had if maybe they’re a couple of years into their career and don’t have the savings and that discipline and habits that you’ve built up here?

Gabe:
I’ll just say what worked for me is there’s two things. There’s this why, what is your why? For me, it was wanting to be able to afford to have kids and actually spend time with them. And then realizing that dude, we came to the same ideas, the same type of lifestyle. It worked more or less for both of us. And there’s a proven path when I realized that no, I’m listening to all these podcasts and all these people who are normal people are doing this exact same thing. If I just do what they’re doing five to seven years, five to 10 years, I’m out. I can do whatever. And then that happened. And it’s realizing that it’s not 30 years away. It’s not 40 years away of if you can grind really hard for literally a couple of years, the rest of your life is just so much easier. Even if you don’t reach full fire, you can like, well, what if you work three days a week doing something that you like and earn less money? You don’t need to do this crazy big stuff. You can just not have the brand new house, not have the brand new card, not spend a bunch of money on different stuff and get to live this type of lifestyle without reaching the huge $2.4 million in the bank. Okay.

Scott:
Let me push on this a little bit. I completely agree with you, but I want to put myself in the shoes of 18-year-old Gabe or 22-year-old Scott. So I’m hearing what you’re saying, but I’m pushing back and I’m saying, look, you bought your first house hack with a 3% interest rate mortgage at a time when you could make all these other things work. But if I were to buy your house hack that you currently own from you right now, I couldn’t get the numbers to work in the same way and that path wouldn’t work for me. What would you say to somebody who challenged you with that approach?

Gabe:
No, dude, it’s way harder right now. But the cool thing is, is that there’s not one path. There’s building your own business, whether it’s anybody can start a YouTube channel, anybody can start a cleaning business, which worked out into being a much scalable business for a dad. Anybody can become a real estate agent. It’s kind of iffy right now, but there’s so many different things, and the people I talk to, the more times I realized any of these things work, maybe it’s not real estate investing for you, maybe it’s something else, but any of these things work if you really go for it for multiple years, not for a couple months. Why I failed everything. I tried it for two months and then I was like, okay, well, I’m not going to try that, and then I try something else for two months. And then they’re like, oh, okay.
And the one thing that I stick to for, I didn’t miss an upload on YouTube for five, six years. Five years. I’ve never missed a weekly upload. And that’s the thing that’s done well because that’s the one thing I didn’t quit. So there’s a lot of paths you can go down. The main thing is that you don’t give up after two months because oh, the system doesn’t whatever. It’s like it feels that way. There was literally months where I was losing subscribers every time I posted, when people reminded that I was alive. And that’s where everybody quits on any business, any business goes through that. And there’s a lot of paths, and yes, it’s harder for so things, but maybe it’s easier for something else and you got to find that something else. I don’t know what it’s,

Mindy:
Yeah. On episode 468 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, we interviewed John Taffer from Bar Rescue, and one of the questions we asked, one of the last questions was, what sets apart these bar owners who are successful with the bar owners that aren’t? And he said they didn’t give up everybody that he’s ever talked to, they kept pushing through. And I mean, you’re just another example. I’ll try this for two months. You’re probably not going to have success in anything in two months. And I’m not saying that to discourage anybody who’s listening, but stick with it for a while. Obviously, don’t stick with it if you are just bleeding money. But being a real estate agent, you’re not going to be a top real estate agent tomorrow. That’s just the reality of the situation. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a great real estate agent if you put effort into it. There’s a lot of tips and tricks for growing your business, but it also takes time, which goes back to my comment a few moments ago. You have the superpower to actually do something, take action instead of just, well, that sure would be nice, but I’m just going to sleep today instead of getting up, and I’m not going to go to the gym. I don’t feel like it. And so again, you’ve got a superpower.

Gabe:
Well, thanks. But there’s actually this idea that really helps me called the three year rule that I think I learned from Matt Della or something like that. It’s this idea that if you’re going to start anything, you should stick to it for three years or not start it at all. That’s what really helped me for the few things that have gone well for me is because I committed to that it could suck for these next 51 weeks and it doesn’t really matter because doing it for the long haul. So when you zoom out that way, that’s what’s really been helping me a lot as well on any habit going to the gym’s going to suck and you’re not going to see any results. And then if you zoom out three years from now, you’re going to be way better health. Everything’s going to be different. So that helps me with perspective.

Scott:
Love it. The two minute rule and the three year rule are awesome takeaways, little tidbits that I’m going to remember coming out of this and apply to my own life like, all right, great. I don’t feel like working out today. I’m just going to get on my shoes, start on the bike, or get running for two minutes. If I don’t like it, I’ll stop. I won’t stop at that point. So those are great little nuggets. I love it.

Mindy:
Alright, Gabe, where can people find you online?

Gabe:
You just look up Gabe Bolt on YouTube or on Instagram. That’s pretty much the only places I’m at. Yeah,

Mindy:
That’s Gabe, BULT. Awesome. Gabe, thank you so much for your time today. This was such a great conversation. Yeah,

Gabe:
Thanks so much for having

Mindy:
Me and we will talk to you soon. Alright, Scott, that was Gabe and that was awesome. I really, really enjoyed hearing a different perspective on the pursuit of financial independence. I love his idea of extreme frugality. I love his reasons for pursuing phi. I’m so frustrated by all these people who are saying, I want to retire early. Well, that’s not the point of pursuing financial independence. Yes, you have the option, but are you really going to sit around and do nothing? I don’t know anybody who sits around and does nothing and isn’t productive in some way. So I think that the focus is on Gabe’s story is back to the FI part. I want to be doing these things that I want to be doing, and I don’t want a job to get in the way. It’s almost like he’s getting money out of the way so he can live his best life.

Scott:
And I asked that leading question at the beginning, but around was he interested in extreme frugality because of the math or because of the value of minimalism and essentialism? And I think for him it seemed like more of the latter on there, just the value of it. But maybe you don’t want to do that forever here. It’s still the right mathematical approach to solving this problem early in life is extreme frugality because every dollar that you don’t spend is another dollar you don’t have to earn, which will be taxed heavily. It’s another dollar that your portfolio doesn’t have to generate. So if you save $1 a month, that’s $12 a year times 25, what is that? I am going to lose myself here. 12 times 25 is $300 in wealth that you don’t need to accumulate in order for your portfolio to sustain itself at the 4% rule.
So I mean, it’s an incredibly, incredibly powerful mechanism, and if you can keep your expenses low, especially in your early twenties and accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, and get to the other side of this, then the opportunity, what happens is instead of working at a job and scaling your income to maybe six figure mark, if you’re pursuing a scalable career there, you’re actually going to start businesses which can compound very rapidly over a several year period and get you into places like where Gabe’s at. So I think it’s just the absolutely most, it’s the most powerful single number on this journey. Even if you’re not aligning or empathizing or really internalizing the, I’m going to live way below my means and be a minimalist, doing it for a few years, or being willing to do it for as long as it takes can give you the optionality to do whatever you want after you achieve financial independence. It’s so powerful. It’s the number one number in the financial independence equation. You have to get that number low because it makes everything else in your life easier, including if you want to be worth millions down the road.

Mindy:
Yep. I have nothing to add because you are absolutely correct on every front. Scott, should we get out of here?

Scott:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
That wraps up this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. He is Scott Trench, and of course I am Mindy Jensen saying, got a flea. Bumblebee BiggerPockets money was created by Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench, produced by Hija, edited by Exodus Media Copywriting by Nate Weintraub. And lastly, a big thank you to the BiggerPockets team for making this show possible.

Watch the Episode Here

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In This Episode We Cover

  • How Gabe reached financial independence by the age of twenty-five
  • Financial minimalism” explained (and why it’s MUCH easier than you think!)
  • How a few years of frugal living can fast-track your journey to FI
  • Living for FREE with the house hacking investing strategy
  • Starting a business that allows you to earn more and work less
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in This Episode

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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