Nomad on $10 Per Hour

The following is a guest blog post by Jassen Bowman.

As the social and political debate rages on in the United State in regards to the minimum wage and the desire by many to see the minimum increased to $15 per hour, there is one statement that is repeated over and over again: It’s impossible to get ahead in this country on $10 per hour.

Most people acknowledge that absolute minimum wage jobs are difficult to get ahead on, but it’s not impossible. The conversation tends to become an argument for those career paths for which $10 to $12 per hour is about the limit of progress. In other words, starting an minimum wage is OK, but when the job caps out at $10 or $12 per hour, people lose the opportunity to get ahead.

In 2015, this become an even more heated debated when President Obama used his executive authority to increase the minimum wage for federal employees and contractors to $10.10. Many politicians were quoted as saying that, while an improvement, it was still impossible to get ahead on $10.10 per hour. Sen. Marco Rubio stated this on an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which is when the debate really caught my ire.

In this post, I will explain that it’s not only possible to get ahead in life on $10 per hour, but also possible to build a multi-million real estate portfolio on that same $10/hr job.

Let’s start with a basic but seldom discussed truth: The real problem isn’t the wage base, but rather the exhaustive consumerism of the standard American lifestyle.

Much has been written about the Standard American Diet (SAD), and it has become mainstream thought to accept the fact that, in general, Americans eat like crap. Two thirds of us (myself included) are fat, and the reason why is not a mystery.

Much less, sadly, has been written about the waste that exists in the average American household. The cadre of bloggers and authors covering the topic is small, albeit vocal within their specific sub-groups. Unfortunately, those of us that embrace simpler, low-budget lifestyles are viewed as oddballs — the idea of living well below your means has not yet crept into the American mainstream. I don’t expect this post to have any impact on that, but I’m at least going to take the time to throw my two cents into the debate.

I’m going to specifically address Sen. Rubio’s comment about not being able to get ahead on the new federal employee minimum wage. All of the numbers I’m about to put out there onto the Interwebs are on a per person basis.

The first fact that I want to mention is that almost everything that we spend money on is a want, rather than a need. Westerners in particular are too quick to confuse the two. My years of international travel taught me this very important lesson.

Needs are things like oxygen, water, and food. Technically speaking, humans don’t need shelter and clothing — they’re simply contrivances that allows us to extend our habitat range. For the sake of this discussion, however, I will put those into the “need” category. Most people will find themselves arrested without clothing, so it’s probably OK to lump it into the “need” category.

Next, I need to point out that a large chunk of what we spend money on is straight up a waste of money. The irony never ceases to amaze me when a low-income individual complains about their finances while smoking two packs a day.

So let’s see how to go about living comfortably on $10.10 per hour. I’ll make the assumption that such a person is working 40 hours per week. That’s $404 gross per week, $21,008 per year, $1750 per month. For reference, this is about equal to the US Health & Human Services federal poverty level for a family of three.

Now, let’s start spending!

First, let’s deal with Uncle Sam’s cut. The average American earning $21,000 per year actually has a negative effective tax rate. In other words, due to such things as the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit, the average low-income worker doesn’t actually pay income taxes, but rather receives a refund for free. In other words, low income people, especially those with children, receive a tax refund via money actually paid in by higher income individuals. This is a wealth distribution mechanism, pure and simple. According to the IRS, the average Earned Income Tax Credit paid out in 2016 was $2,455 per person, and a total over $67 billion in taxpayer dollars was redistributed to low income families.

For the sake of argument, we’ll consider that this is a single person with no children. For 2017, that makes their combined personal exemption and standard deduction equal to $10,400. This person is not eligible for the EIC or CTC, and thus their taxable income is $10,608 for the year. Federal income tax on this is $1,125, for an effective income tax rate of 5.4%.

Jane Doe now has $19,883 left for the year.

Oh, but let’s not forget Social Security and Medicare. That’s going to eat up another 7.65%, or $1607, from Jane’s paycheck. That leaves her with $18,276 for the year, and an effective federal tax rate of 13%.

State and local taxes are also going to take a bite. The national average for all income earners, of all wage levels, is just under 10% for state and local taxes. I prefer living in states with no state income tax, but others don’t hold that view. Since there is such a wide range of possibilities, I’m going to pick my old home state of Colorado and say that Ms. Doe is paying 4.65% to the state, or $493, on her federal taxable income.

Add that all up, and we see that she’s paying $3,225 in federal and state wage taxes. That’s a combined effective tax rate of 15.3%. Don’t try comparing this number to other articles you find online, because most sources are only taking income taxes into consideration when running these numbers, which simply isn’t accurate.

So Jane is now down to living on $17,783 for the year after taking into consideration the government’s cut. Let’s look at what is normally the biggest chunk of any person’s spending: Housing.

Too many people, when looking at these scenarios, grossly overestimate the housing level required to be comfortable. To put it bluntly, Jane doesn’t need her own apartment. She might want her own apartment, but she sure as hell doesn’t need it. In fact, this becomes particularly important when we look at Jane’s desire to build a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio.

Jane needs some time to save up for her Nomad down payment and closing costs. So for now, let’s have her rent a room in somebody’s home. A quick look on Craigslist shows me quite a few rooms for rent in the $350 to $900 per month range. Let’s pick something for $450, in a nice home living with a married couple without kids. That’s $5400 per year to live quite comfortably by global standards. It’s also not bad for a city like Denver, where the cost of housing index is 85% higher than the US national average.

Jane is now down to just $12,383 per year to live on. Let’s talk about getting around town.

I just checked, and Jane can get an RTD monthly pass for $1,089 per year. This will allow her to get back and forth to work, go get groceries, visit friends, etc. The Denver bus system is quite good by American standards, and Denver has a growing light rail system, also.

I know what some people are saying. “Hold on partner, you expect her to take the BUS?” Yes, that’s correct.

For a city dweller in particular, owning a car is a totally unnecessary luxury. That’s a blasphemous statement in the United States, to be sure, but it’s true. In some cities, such as New York City, it’s more normal not to own a car, but in general, this would be “strange” in most cities.

Cars are a tremendous expense. Even though gas prices are going down, there’s the cost of acquisition, maintenance, parking (in some places), etc. The IRS National Standards allow for a whopping $471 per month car payment and, for Denver, $213 per month in operating costs. These standards, used for calculating ability to pay back tax debts, represent a “middle class” American lifestyle.

Do you realize how much money that is? That’s over $8,200 per year in expected vehicle costs. That’s insane. For the several years, I got by just fine without owning a car (granted, I had a motorcycle, which is far cheaper to own and operate, but it mostly just sat in storage). For the types of errands that most Americans run, we do so very inefficiently. By planning ahead and clumping our trips, taking the bus is just fine.

Jane is now down $11,294 to live on. Let’s talk food.

As somebody that’s done it, I can tell you how easy it is to spend $900 per month, as a single person, on food. This is accomplished by eating out for every meal. It’s very easy to do.

What’s also easy, also speaking from experience, is to just cook at home and make simple meals. Simple, healthy meals really aren’t that expensive. I personally believe that the slow cooker is one of the greatest inventions ever. Ten bucks worth of ingredients in the slow cooker can easily feed me for three or four days.

Taking this into account, plus a number of other articles I found online in a super simple Google search, proves my point that a single person can eat quite well on as little as $100 per month. Really, really well on $200 per month — this is about what I currently spend myself. So let’s cut the difference and give Jane a $150 per month food budget.

Jane is now down to $9,494 per year to live on.

Let’s talk health insurance, now that it’s required by law. Jane’s situation qualifies her for a $177 per month Premium Tax Credit to help pay for health insurance. On the Colorado Healthcare Exchange, her cheapest plan is going to run $206 per month (just two years ago, it was $107 per month). Minus the credit, that’s only $29 per month for health insurance, or $348 per year.

This brings Jane down to $9,146 to live on for the year.

What else does Jane need?

Nothing. Jane doesn’t need anything more.

I’m making an assumption here that Jane has a wardrobe already. If Jane is smart, she’ll recognize the fact that she doesn’t need to spend hundreds of dollars per month on clothes that will just sit in her closet anyway (I’ve read studies showing that, on average, Americans never wear 3/4 of the clothing they own). Maybe Jane needs to replace a worn out piece of clothing occasionally, but this will be only a few hundred dollars per year, at most. Even less if she shops at thrift stores.

Note that I’m not going to the super-extreme here. There are other blogs, such as this one, that advocate mending your own clothing, darning socks, etc. Most people aren’t going to be willing to do that. I know I’m not.

Jane’s going to probably purchase personal care items like soap and deodorant. I’m not suggesting giving those up. But, at most, these items shouldn’t run more than a couple hundred bucks per year.

We’re also going to assume that Jane has no debt. In this scenario, Jane is in her early to late 20’s., and that she’s averse to consumer debt, as she should be.

I used to be a total moron in this regards. Absolute idiot. Dumbest person on the planet. To the point of bankruptcy. I’m not proud to admit it, but filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the smartest financial moves I ever made, because now I’m debt free.

But we’re going to assume that Jane is smart, and doesn’t have any debt. Not even student loans, because she didn’t think she could afford college, and her parents didn’t have the money to send her, either.

So look at what we just laid out. Jane is making $10.10 per hour, the new minimum wage for federal employees. I even made her pay for her own health insurance, just in case she’s just a federal contractor and doesn’t get health insurance at work. Jane lives in a room in a nice house in suburban Denver, and pays her own way in life. She earns over $9,000 per year more than she actually needs to live on.

You’ll notice that there are some things Jane doesn’t have. For example, a cell phone. With many cell phone plans breaking the $100 per month mark, this service is yet another example of the extravagance of Western life, and it’s a needless expense.

Blaspheme, yes. But really, it’s true. Jane doesn’t need to be reached at a moment’s notice. She doesn’t need to check Facebook every two seconds. Jane can spend time with her friends face to face. Heck, she can buy the first round of beer because she’s not paying for a cell phone. Ya’ know, the way life was 20 years ago, when hardly anybody had a cell phone.

Does this mean she doesn’t have one? No, it doesn’t. Jane likes the security of being able to call a cab if her friends ditch her at the bar, or to quickly check the bus schedule if she’s on an unfamiliar route. She also calls her mom once a week for half an hour.

Well, guess what? That level of realistic talk and data can be had with a $20 phone and about $20 per quarter in pre-paid cell phone cards. I’m a tax consultant and marketing consultant, for crying out loud — you know, somebody that spends a fair amount of time on the phone — and this is the type of cell phone service I use.

With all this said, and even some cash here and there for entertainment or a round of drinks, and the math clearly shows that Jane has well over $8,000 per year extra to do with as she pleases.

The point of all this math was to counter Sen. Rubio’s comment that a person can’t get ahead on $10.10 per hour. Well, using this calculator I was able to determine that full-time attendance at Front Range Community College in Colorado will cost Jane $5,338 in tuition and books. Interestingly, the same calculator states that, since she’s low-income, she’ll receive $8,275 in grant aid (NOT LOANS). This covers her full cost of college.

This handy calculator from the college shows something else pretty awesome. It says that Jane’s room and board cost is only $9,603, plus gives her an allowance of over $5,000 for transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Jeesh, those numbers look familiar, don’t they?

The reality here is that Jane can pay her own way through college at FRCC while working her $10.10 per hour job, even without grant money. She has the cash from her job to do this. BUT, because she gets the grant aid, some much more interesting possibilities open up if Jane saves that $9,000 per year that she has left over. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Is her schedule going to be hectic? Yes, it is. Is she going to be tired, and have to sacrifice having an iPhone 7 and a daily latte? Yes on all counts.

But come on, those aren’t sacrifices. They’re luxuries. And since Jane wants to get ahead in life, she’s going to spend her nights and weekends going to class and studying. She’s going to apply herself, and avoid wasting money on needless spending. If necessary, she’ll make two trips to work each day in order to accommodate a class she needs for her academic program that is only offered mid-day. (Although it should be noted that many of FRCC’s career certificate programs can be completed entirely via evening classes.)

When she finishes her certificate program, Jane will earn $12 to $20 per hour as a welder, LPN, computer technician, etc. These are one year or less certificate programs. After her career change and significant salary increase, Jane may decide to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in her spare time. Or maybe not, because now she has a valuable skill and a career.

This is how Jane gets ahead on $10.10 per hour. In fact, based on these numbers, and using financial aid, Jane can actually get ahead in life on pure minimum wage.

Oh, but what if Jane is a single parent? Doesn’t that change the equation? Yes, of course it does. Maybe Jane is going to have to suffer the indignity of living at home with her parents for a couple more years (which many 20-somethings are doing already anyway). Maybe she’ll have to work a swing shift job while her father watches her child in the evening, and she can only take two or three classes at a time. Regardless, Jane can still get ahead in life by making the right choices — even on minimum wage.

Bottom line: The assertion that somebody can’t get ahead on a low income is just plain incorrect.

Now let’s take things a step further, and demonstrate how Jane can actually build wealth on her $10 per hour wage.

We’ve already demonstrated that Jane’s tuition and fees can be fully covered by grants and the Colorado Opportunity Fund. So that’s taken care of. Instead of a room in somebody’s else, let’s put her into a small apartment with a roommate. There are plenty of decent apartments in the Denver suburbs that are in the $1000-$1200 per month range. Let’s split the difference, and move her into an $1100/mo apartment in Northglenn that I found right now on Craigslist, or $550/mo for her half. Let’s say they skip cable TV, turn the lights off when not in use, and throw on a sweater instead of jacking the heat up to 72 in the winter. Let’s estimate utilities at $100, for a total housing cost of $650/mo. Although substantially higher than the previous scenario, the extra $2400 per year is well within her budget.

Why do this?

Because Jane has spoken to a mortgage lender about the FNMA Homeready program. The program allows low income homebuyers to purchase a home and use a roommate’s monthly rent to apply toward qualifying income. The roommate rent can be up to 30% of the total gross income used for qualification. In addition, the presence of the non-borrower household income can be used as a compensating factor that allows going up to a 50% debt to income ratio.

If Jane’s roommate sticks around for a full year, and agrees to move in and continue paying rent as a roommate after Jane buys a house, then a fascinating thing happens. Including the rent payment from the roommate, Jane can qualify for a mortgage payment up to $1250 per month, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI). This allows her to buy a house up to about $195,000 — plus she had the full year with the roommate to save up for down payment and closing costs, which together will cost roughly $9,000. Remember that number from earlier?

So this means that… Wait for it… 12 months of living in a cheap apartment with a roomie allows a $10/hr worker to buy a decent house.

This is all assuming no other debt and spotless credit.

Are there single family, non-manufactured homes available in greater Denver? Yes, yes there are.

Jane can now pursue the low down payment Nomad model, and buy a new home each year to build her multi-million dollar real estate portfolio. As she finishes her education, her income will go up, improving her ability to qualify for future mortgages.

So there you have it. Real math showing that low income, non-college educated individuals can not only squeak by, but actually build a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio over the course of their life working entry-level jobs.

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering to help run one of our local chapters of the Nomad Investor Clubs on Meetup. We appreciate your interest.

Nomad Investor Clubs is a volunteer run organization that relies heavily on volunteers to coordinate and facilitate the local meetups chapters on Thursday evenings.

How Are Chapters Organized?

Most weeks, our local meetup chapter will have a discussion meeting. In some ways, we operate like a book club where Nomads all read the same book each week then get together to discuss it. Except… we’re not reading a book… we’re watching a class on a specific topic relating to the Nomad investing model.

The classes are taught live by James on Tuesday evenings at 6 PM MST. They are open to the public and free to attend. All Nomads and volunteers are encouraged to attend the webinar live to be able to get the content, ask questions and get answers. Plus, you should attend the class live just in case the recording fails (which does happen).

We do attempt to record each class and make that recording available for a very limited amount of time before it gets saved away in the archives for Premium Nomads only. The recording of the class from Tuesday is usually available for everyone for free from late on Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday up until the meetup. After the meetup on Thursday, the recording is archived and only available to Premium Nomads and we start allowing registration for next week’s class.

Each local chapter of Nomad Investor Club usually has 1 to 3 volunteers.

What Do Volunteers Do

Volunteers are expected to:

  • Promote and uphold the “Go Giver” philosophy and culture of the clubs (there’s a 4 minute video on the principles of the “Go Giver” book below)
  • Attend the classes on Tuesday evening (or at least watch the video recording of the class on Wednesday or Thursday before the meetup so they know what the discussion is about)
  • Attend most meetups on Thursday
  • Work together harmoniously with other volunteers and coordinate to make sure another volunteer will cover for you if you can’t make a meetup
  • Coordinate a venue for the Thursday meetups – Starbucks is fine for your first few meetups until you outgrow it
  • Greet Nomads and make them feel comfortable and welcome and
  • Encourage discussions on Thursday’s meetup with Nomads about Tuesday’s class topic

“Go Giver” Philosophy

The Nomad Investor Clubs culture is based largely on the principles taught in the “Go Giver” book (summarized in the 4 minute video below).

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteers get a free Premium Nomad membership as our way of saying, “thank you for volunteering!”

They also get the satisfaction of knowing they’re being active in the Nomad community and helping their fellow Nomads on the Nomad path.

Interested In Volunteering?

If you’re interested in volunteering and helping your local Nomad Investor Club chapter, here are the steps:

Step 1

Sign up for free for the meetup for your local area (or let us know if there isn’t one formed yet):

Step 2

Register for a free Nomad membership:

IMPORTANT TIP: You’ll want to remember that address since new Nomads that visit the meetup on Thursday will often ask you how to register for a free account.

Step 3

Register for the next class:

IMPORTANT TIP: You’ll want to remember that address since new Nomads that visit the meetup on Thursday will often ask you how to register for the classes or to access the recording of the class for Wednesday and Thursdays.

Step 4

Contact James to let him know that you’re interested in volunteering.

James Orr, Realtor in Fort Collins, Colorado and Father of Nomads (this is what James prefers but you can call too)
Mobile: (970) 225-6989

Let him know:

  • Your full name
  • Email address
  • Mobile number in case he needs to reach you during a Thursday meetup
  • What city of Nomad Investor Club you’re interested in volunteering for

If you’re the first volunteer, we’ll need to find a venue to meet at. New, small chapters can usually meet at a Starbucks until you start having larger numbers of Nomads attend.

Step 5

Once you’ve volunteered at your first meetup or two, ask James to upgrade you to a free Premium Nomad.

Who Pays For The Meetup?

Nomad Investor Clubs LLC pays the cost of the Meetup Pro fee (about $35 per month), the technology for the classes and website, etc. We expect volunteers to find free venues to host the meetups and volunteers should not spend money on the meetups.

Volunteers are not required to invest or spend any money related to the running of the Nomad Investor Clubs, but volunteers may want to know how the Nomad Investor Clubs funds its operations and can afford to provide the classes, technology and pay for the cost of Meetup: the chapters are expecting a small percentage of the Nomads to voluntarily “chip in” to the support the club and/or upgrade to Premium Nomad. We are also seeking real estate agent and lender sponsors to offset the cost of running the club. We may also from time to time look for additional opportunities to help fund the Nomad mission like bringing in a guest that teaches a topic other than Nomad a few times a year. James, who is a real estate broker may also refer local Nomad buyers to a real estate agent in exchange for a referral fee.


If you have questions, please contact James:

James Orr, Realtor in Fort Collins, Colorado and Father of Nomads (this is what James prefers but you can call too)
Mobile: (970) 225-6989


Contract to Close

This week's class description:

Congratulations! You've had your contract accepted to purchase a Nomad property. Now what? That's what we will cover in detail in this class. Everything from earnest money through inspection, loan approval and much more.

Attend the live webinar then attend the local meetup in your market to discuss the class, network with other Nomads and professionals that can help you on your own Nomad path.

Step 1

Log in to your FREE account and then register to attend the live, FREE webinar of this class where you can also ask questions.

Once it is recorded, we will post the video here to watch (usually until Friday when we start looking at next week's class).

New? Create a FREE account

Watch Last Week's Video

Log in to your FREE account to watch a recording of last week's class.

New? Create a FREE account

Step 2

RSVP and attend your local Nomad Investor Club chapter meetup to discuss this week's class to network with other local Nomads and professionals that can help you implement the Nomad model in your local market..

Usually Thursdays at 6 PM local time

IMPORTANT: Class dates and times are subject to change without notice. Check your local Nomad Investor Club meetup for date, time and location of local chapter discussion groups.

Upcoming Classes and Meetups

Class Name/Meetup Discussion Topic Webinar Date
Seller's Property Disclosure Case Studies
Apr 4
Negotiating Win-Win Inspections for Maximum Benefit
Apr 11
Closing Real Estate Deals
Apr 18
Catch Up Nomad Overview
Apr 25
Analyzing a Deal with Brian's Spreadsheet
May 2
Cap Ex: The Silent Killer
May 9
Nomad with Lease Option Exit Overview
May 16
Analyzing Deals 201: Selling with Lease Option
May 23
Marketing for Tenants
May 30
Tenant Screening
Jun 6
Mock Tenant Screening
Jun 19
Tenant Buyer Sales and Marketing
Jun 27
The $5,000 Lease Demystified
Jul 11
Property Management Mastery
Jul 25
The Lease Option - The Lease Part II
Jul 28
Solving Tenant Challenges
Aug 1
Fixer Upper Nomad Overview
Aug 8
Cash Flow Explosion
Aug 15
Bookkeeping and Accounting for Nomads
Aug 22
Return on Investment and Return on Equity
Aug 29
Topic To Be Determined
Sep 5
Legacy Nomad Overview
Sep 12
Emergency Plan Workshop
Sep 19
Analyzing Deals 301: Multi-Family for Nomads
Sep 26
Asset Protection 101: Overview for Nomads
Oct 3
Asset Protection 102: Document Examples
Oct 10
Young Professional Nomad Overview
Oct 17
How to Acquire a Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio with just $3,000
Oct 24
Interest Rate Scenarios for Nomads
Nov 7
Warning: The Dangers and Risks of Real Estate
Nov 14
Little Down Nomad Overview
Nov 28
Building Wealth with Real Estate using Appreciation
Dec 5
College Nomad Overview
Dec 12

IMPORTANT: Class dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Nomad Investor Clubs

We are actively expanding and adding new Nomad Investor Clubs. If you're interested in starting one in your local market, please call or email James at (970) 225-6989 or

In the meantime, these are the 21 Nomad Investor Clubs that we have already.

And these are the cities we're likely to add next.

City, State Est. Population
Fort Worth, Texas 833,319
Charlotte, North Carolina 827,097
El Paso, Texas 681,124
Detroit, Michigan 677,116
Washington, District of Columbia 672,228
Boston, Massachusetts 667,137
Memphis, Tennessee 655,770
Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 654,610
Portland, Oregon 632,309
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 631,346


Seller's Property Disclosure Case Studies

What do sellers typically disclose to buyers when selling a property? What might you expect to see on a typical seller’s property disclosure on a home you’re buying? Join us for a special class where we look at some unusual and rare seller property disclosures and some of the more common varieties as we look through a handful of actual seller property disclosures as case studies.

IMPORTANT: Class dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Additional Classes

Negotiating Win-Win Inspections for Maximum Benefit
Apr 11 Ad
Closing Real Estate Deals
Apr 18 Ad
Catch Up Nomad Overview
Apr 25 Ad
Analyzing a Deal with Brian's Spreadsheet
May 2 Ad
Cap Ex: The Silent Killer
May 9 Ad
Nomad with Lease Option Exit Overview
May 16 Ad
Analyzing Deals 201: Selling with Lease Option
May 23 Ad
Marketing for Tenants
May 30 Ad
Tenant Screening
Jun 6 Ad
Mock Tenant Screening
Jun 19 Ad
Tenant Buyer Sales and Marketing
Jun 27 Ad
The $5,000 Lease Demystified
Jul 11 Ad
Property Management Mastery
Jul 25 Ad
The Lease Option - The Lease Part II
Jul 28 Ad
Solving Tenant Challenges
Aug 1 Ad
Fixer Upper Nomad Overview
Aug 8 Ad
Cash Flow Explosion
Aug 15 Ad
Bookkeeping and Accounting for Nomads
Aug 22 Ad
Return on Investment and Return on Equity
Aug 29 Ad
Topic To Be Determined
Sep 5 Ad
Legacy Nomad Overview
Sep 12 Ad
Emergency Plan Workshop
Sep 19 Ad
Analyzing Deals 301: Multi-Family for Nomads
Sep 26 Ad
Asset Protection 101: Overview for Nomads
Oct 3 Ad
Asset Protection 102: Document Examples
Oct 10 Ad
Young Professional Nomad Overview
Oct 17 Ad
How to Acquire a Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio with just $3,000
Oct 24 Ad
Interest Rate Scenarios for Nomads
Nov 7 Ad
Warning: The Dangers and Risks of Real Estate
Nov 14 Ad
Little Down Nomad Overview
Nov 28 Ad
Building Wealth with Real Estate using Appreciation
Dec 5 Ad
College Nomad Overview
Dec 12 Ad

IMPORTANT: Class dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Help Finding Nomad Clients

This morning, straddling a short interruption of helping Tammy with Black Friday shopping, I shared an old journal entry I had written on ways to find new Nomad clients.

I feel, more than ever, that helping more people learn about the pros and cons of the Nomad investing strategy is my personal legacy. With that realization and commitment comes the responsibility of sharing what Nomad is with more people in both my local market and also with helping other real estate agent and lender sponsors find more potential Nomads to share with and serve.

Back in May, 2016 when I made my own personal list of 100 ways to get a new Nomad client, it was more just a formal brainstorm session of thinking of a variety of ways that we’ve found Nomads in the past and ways that I believed would work if I were to invest time in trying to help more people discover what Nomad is so they could make the decision to pursue the Nomad path or not.

For our real estate agent and lender sponsors, you can access my newly published list of the 100 Ways to Get a Nomad Client in the Next 12 Months. It is one of many resources that I am publishing in preparation of doing a full day training for sponsors later in 2017. I will be creating a number of resources and then converting them to presentations that I will use to help sponsors work with more Nomads and be a better provider of service to Nomads. Once I have enough for a full day event, I will announce the new event with the intention of recording them for sponsors to reference moving forward.

Fixing Nomad with Lease Option Exit Book

I hope all members of the Nomad family had an amazing Thanksgiving. Tammy, Timmy and I spent Thanksgiving with our best friends and had a great time.

As many of you already know, I emerged from my Nomad cave a couple weeks ago with the newest Nomad book based largely on the How to Acquire a Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio Starting with Just $3,000 presentation that I did. The book walks you through the Nomad with Lease Option Exit model for a property in Windsor, Colorado.

What many of you did NOT know is that I planned to put a large part of the book on the web free for everyone to access.

When even fewer knew was the I intended to make almost 300 different versions of the book: one for each different city in the US that uses the actual purchase price, rent, appreciation, etc for that particular city.

So, here’s an update.

First, a very, very rough draft of the book is up on the website already and if you’re OK with seeing “works in progress”, you can check it out here.

By “work in progress”, I mean that I did originally copy and paste the content from the Windsor, Colorado book that I wrote to the web. Then, I started to go back and update the charts so that they were dynamic. That part is done.

Then, I was going back and updating the book to use variables that I’d be able to change based on the city and state for that version of the book. This turned out to be more gnarly than I originally thought. I was through about year 5 when I realized I needed to change the code significantly to accomplish what I was hoping to do. So, today I modified the code base and probably broke quite a bit of what I already thought I’d fixed in the first 5 years of the book.

There are also a few things I need to correct in the book. I had a conversation with another one of my best friends Jassen, who is a super sharp tax guy, and made some modifications to how I was calculating depreciation based on our conversation. Turns out I was not asking the question in the right away. Over lunch last week, another one of my best friends, Michael, who is a super sharp accounting guy, had a good conversation about depreciation that had me (and him for the briefest of moments) second guessing what I had just changed. Shortly after our lunch Michael sent me an email showing me that he was correct. So, I still need to update the way I calculate Depreciation in the Nomad Calculator Classic.

For those geeky accounting and tax nerds here’s what happened (everyone else can skip this paragraph). Jassen told me that the starting value of the property for Depreciation is based on when you put the property in service as a rental. And, he’s right: if the value of the property is lower when you put it in service as a rental, you want to use the lower amount for your starting value for depreciation. However, if the property value has gone up, you want to start your depreciation using your purchase price as Michael pointed out. So, I need to change the Nomad Calculator Classic to go back to using the purchase price or write code that says if you’re appreciation rate is less than 0% then use the value in year 2 otherwise use the purchase price.

Another thing I need to fix, again thanks to a correction and some research by Michael, is how I calculate taxes on the sale of the properties to tenant buyers in the books. I was calculating long term capital gains although I think slightly more conservatively for the model, albeit incorrectly. I was not doing depreciation recapture correctly. I plan to fix that as well soon.

I’ll keep hacking away at sections of the book moving it from the book format to the web format. Once it is all variable based and working, then I’ll start adding additional cities to it and lock down some parts of the book so that you need to register for a free account on this website to get access to to more than maybe the first year of the results.

In the meantime, you’re welcome to see the really, really rough version that is up on the web and watch as I slowly make updates to it. And, the first 100 Northern Colorado Nomads that attend the Holiday Party on December 14th will receive a copy of the Windsor, Colorado book as my Christmas gift to you. Those have been ordered, are being printed and I expect them to arrive in the next week in the first week of December.

I am being bamboozled into going shopping with Tammy (not my favorite thing in the world) on Black Friday, so until next time…

Thursday Nomad Webinars

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some of you may have noticed that we recently made some changes/updates/improvements on the Nomad Class Schedule and I wanted to share with you what is going on behind the scenes in the big Nomad cave.

Thursday Becomes Tuesday

First, we made some changes to the Northern Colorado live Nomad meeting schedule. Originally we had all the classes scheduled for Thursday evenings as we’ve been doing for 2016. The other investor club in town asked us to respect that they’ve been having their local meetings on Thursdays. I wasn’t even thinking about that when I made our schedule originally and when the person that runs their meetings mentioned to me, I agreed to change it. So, starting in 2017, the live Nomad classes in Northern Colorado (Fort Collins actually) will be on Tuesday evenings.

The schedule now reflects that.

Watch Recordings

Second, I went back and added links to the video recordings of the classes we’ve already recorded. Premium Nomad Members will be able to watch the recording of the last time we presented that class instead of waiting for the next live presentation.

Now, you will see an option to “Watch Recording” or “RSVP” for classes where we have a previously recorded version. It will look like this:

I think many Nomads will like being able to go back and watch previous recordings, but I warn you: I am making new distinctions about Nomad daily. That means that a class I taught a month ago will often be different (I’d argue better) than what I would teach today. As I interact with other Nomads, lenders and real estate agents locally and from around the world I learn more, get better and it is definitely reflected in the Nomad content. So, watching a recording of a class should not be a replacement for attending the newest live version of the class.

Which leads me to my next announcement and the title of this blog post…

Thursday Nomad Webinars

It is looking more and more likely that we will be conducting live Thursday Nomad Webinars that will likely be the same topic that I am teaching on Tuesday evenings live to my local Nomads in Fort Collins.

I am going to be teaching the live webinars for several reasons.

  1. I keep asking myself: what can I do to make the lives of the real estate agents/lenders that want to work with Nomads easier, better, more fun, more profitable? This is a question I ask for my Nomad clients too, but I think about serving other sponsors the same way. One answer to that question is: what if I actually did the presentation each week for their Nomads for them. So, that’s what it looks like I’ll be doing… I’ll be presenting a live webinar that they can get their Nomads together for (probably at their office in a conference room or their office’s classroom) and host a local Nomad meeting with local networking, but where I do the heavy lifting of preparing for and teaching the class for them. This will save them a ton of time since these classes take time to prepare for and present. With the new webinars, the sponsor can literally show up and have me do it for them and their local Nomads.
  2. I’d like to give agents, lenders and Nomads in other markets the opportunity to ask questions live. I get a lot of questions from Nomads that attend our live classes in Fort Collins, but not that many from other markets. This will allow me to help more people and answer those questions.
  3. I’d like to record the webinars. Sometimes recording my local class does not work or comes out poorly. Technology is awesome, but sometimes it does not always cooperate. Often from human error, but occasionally from things beyond my control (like temporary power outages) the recording of the live Fort Collins class fails. I’d like another opportunity to record it for Premium Nomad Members and sponsors.

I do have some reservations and challenges I might need to solve with doing webinars on Thursdays.

  1. It is possible that sponsors won’t have the technology setup to be able to host a meeting where they can show a webinar to a small group. They could still use the Power Power slides I provide to teach their own live version or invest in the technology to be able to do it. My hope is that between their real estate office, their lender’s office, their local Board of Realtor’s office/education room or a local title companies’ education room they’ll be able to find one that has the ability to project a streaming webinar from their computer/laptop on to a presentation sized screen with decent sounds quality. It seems reasonable, but again… I am not 100% sure.
  2. I’ve not done a class like that and not 100% sure how it will be received. In my mind, it seems like an amazing idea, but until I try it I won’t know.
  3. Some of the content I present is definitely biased toward my local Northern Colorado market. I don’t have super in-depth knowledge of every other local market nor could I teach 300 markets in one class anyway… I might need to teach my local market and then suggest folks talk their local sponsors to get their localized version.

Provided I can work out some of the challenges, I am excited about adding value to more Nomad and sponsor’s lives with the live webinars in 2017. I think the challenges are surmountable so expect to see live webinars on Thursday in 2017.

Nomad with Lease Option Exit Book

Please select a State from the list below to see the cities we have completed and to read the city specific Nomad with Lease Option Exit book immediately on this website for free.

Real Estate Agent and Lender Wanted

We are in the process of creating Nomad with Lease Option Exit books for a variety of cities using local real estate market data to show you how the Nomad model works for that city. We are looking for real estate agents and lenders in those markets who'd like to work with local Nomads.

Real estate agents and lenders should check out our sponsor page for more details.

Insurable Risks

I am preparing for a presentation called Warning: The Dangers and Risks of Real Estate that I am giving later this week. Members will be able to watch the recording of it once I do the presentation and post the recording at the link above.

In the presentation I go through each type of risk associated with real estate and then, systematically look at ways to mitigate or completely eliminate each risk.

One of the first things, and easiest, is evaluating the insurable risks… the risks that you can purchase insurance to transfer the risk from you as a Nomad to the insurance company in exchange for an insurance premium.

Insurance risks can be broken down into two major groups. First, the insurable risks that are most commonly insured then the list of risks that are insurable but we don’t often insure against them.

Commonly Insured Risks

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Hail
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Personal Injury
  • Liability

These are the easy risks that you typically do buy insurance for when you buy insurance as a Nomad. If you’re getting a mortgage on the property, insurance for these risks may even be required by the lender before they even give you a loan. And, if for some reason, you stop paying on the insurance, they may force a policy of their choosing on the property (usually one that is much more expensive than you could get) and add it to your mortgage payment.

This insurance covers you in case there is a fire, lightning strike or hail damage to the property. Sure you’ll likely need to pay a deductible, but it prevents you from suffering unlimited losses.

Many of these policies include insurance against vandalism, personal injury and liability should a covered event occur at the property as well.

Again, these are the most common insured risks.

Less Commonly Insured Risks

There are other risks that you can get insurance for, but most people do not. Here’s a list of some of the risks you can get insurance for, but most Nomads will not.

  • Loss of Income
  • Flood
  • Meth
  • Rent Guarantee

Let’s take a look at each of these since they’re much less common.

Loss of Income

With insurance that covers loss of income, you’re insurance company will pay if something happens to your property where you’re unable to rent it. This type of insurance is much more common with businesses where the insurance company will pay should something happen (like a fire) that prevents the business from operating and producing income.


You can voluntarily buy flood insurance, but few people rarely do. It may be because it often has a fairly high cost. In some cases, if you’re located in a flood zone and the lender requires you get flood insurance before giving you a loan, you may be required to buy flood insurance.


It is extremely uncommon, but you can actually buy insurance that would cover rehabilitating your property should a tenant decide to cook meth in it. Rehabilitating a property that has been contaminated with meth can be an expensive process… easily in the tens of thousands of dollars. Insurance for this risk tends to be expensive and most Nomads will not opt to purchase it. They’ll instead take extra special care in screening and selecting tenants to reduce this risk.

Rent Guarantee

Again, uncommon… but you can get insurance that will cover paying rent should your tenant not pay. Since this tends to be expensive insurance, most Nomads will opt not to get this insurance either.