Personal – Why Didn’t I Retire Sooner?

As I’ve stated in another article, I was given an early retirement package recently. And if you have read other articles I have posted, you also know that I have been preparing for retirement for a few years now. I am currently 52 years old and planned to be retired from the oil and gas industry by the age of 55.

But I wasn’t sure that we truly had enough saved and/or invested to cover things. So I kept on working.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed most of the aspects of my job, but I was starting to get aggravated with the things I could not change or impact. And in one of my last positions, the amount of administrative busy work that was not HABU, Highest And Best Use, of my skillset.

With all of that said, being told that I was being retired early was a wonderful blessing!

Working from home for the last couple of months of employment and the subsequent five weeks or so has been a revelation. I see and hear people complaining about weight gain and complications from their chronic medical conditions during the pandemic lockdown. I did not experience any of that. In fact, my glucose levels are now sitting at a normal level, with fasting readings mostly below 100. They used to stay between 130 – 180. I have lost approximately 15 pounds.

I was also dealing with migraines due to some nerve issues in my neck. They were exacerbated by the constant stress of work.

Now, those are pretty much gone!

What I have realized over the last few days is that the stress from work was driving a lot of the issues I was experiencing. When I was still working, I would get to the end of each day and be too exhausted to do much of anything else. I would feel mal de ventre, (sick feeling in my stomach), due to worrying about the latest “crisis” occurring. It was so bad that for the last ten years or so, I rarely even had a casual drink because that would just add to the general malaise feeling, in addition to upsetting my glucose levels.

Now, I have none of those worries. I am content. I am spending more time with my family. I am preparing to take the real estate salesperson license exam to become a licensed realtor. I am continuing with real estate investing, looking for quality cash-flowing properties.

It begs the question, why didn’t I retire sooner?

Ultimately, the real answer is that I was not prepared to. After my job was changed and relocated in December, I started to figure out the HOW? of leaving the company. I have some answers, but not all. And that is OK. We have more than enough buffer to get the rest.

Cheers! from semi-retirement!

And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story. If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.


REI – Private Lending with Keith Baker

I did another live stream for my local REIA group and wanted to share it here. The guest is Keith Baker, host of the Private Lender Podcast.

In this video, Keith Baker, Host of The Private Lender Podcast, talks to us about how he got started in private lending, things to watch out for when lending, and his outlook for the future.

Things you will learn in this video:

  • How Keith got into private lending
  • How private lending works
  • Difference between Hard Money Lenders, Private Lenders, and Banks
  • How Keith screens borrowers
  • Keith’s “Trademarked” 3Ps Strategy
  • Why it is good to say no sometimes
  • Why you should always follow your processes
  • What a self-directed custodian is

Resources mentioned in this episode:

You can contact Keith Baker at the following:

Keith Baker

Host, The Private Lender Podcast

The Private Lender Podcast

713-306-4478 cell email

He’d love to connect with you.

Shareable Quotes:

“You’re the CEO of your money, ACT LIKE IT!”

Keith Baker

“People get funny when they talk about their money”

Keith Baker

And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.

REI: Good Business

Today I’d like to pass on something I have shared in our local REIA group with regards to working with your tenants during this time of crisis, especially if they have recently become unemployed or furloughed.


If you have rentals and have not done so already, it might be a good idea to reach out to your tenants and check in with them. Due to various business shut-downs, lock-down, and stay-at-home measures, they may have become unemployed. Depending on their financial situation, it may make it difficult for them to pay their rent.

Below is a copy of what we sent out to tenants:

Hi, Tenant

How are you? We hope you and your family are staying healthy and getting by at the moment. While I don’t know exactly how the coronavirus situation has impacted you, I’m sure it has not been easy. Personally, my family and I are going a bit stir-crazy, but are taking the down time to ride our bikes and totally redo our landscaping, (who needs the gym, right?)

I imagine you are spending more time more time at home than usual, given the current circumstances. Maintenance people are tough to schedule right now due to safety concerns, but please do not hesitate to reach out if there are any maintenance issues so we can make your your extended time at home more comfortable.

If you have any other needs or issues, again, do not hesitate to contact us.Below is a link to a list of resources that may be helpful during this trying time:

Louisiana Family Resources


Clint C. GallianoJJRA, LLC

Since we currently cannot conduct eviction proceedings, (and to be honest, this is not the time to be evicting people unless you were already planning or in the process, more on that in a bit), I think it would be best to work with your tenant to see what they can pay, and accept that with the understanding that the balance is still owed. You can work out a repayment schedule over, say, 10 months or so, starting in May. This gives the current craziness time to settle down and should make the payments small enough so that it does not wreck their budget. This assumes your tenant is staying with you long-term.

Additionally, you should get this repayment agreement written up as an addendum to your lease. This will provide a paper trail of it.

***DISCLAIMER*** I am not an attorney and I do not play one on the internet. Please consult your attorney for proper legal phrasing.

Now, if you were already in the process of evicting someone or preparing to, one option you can try is “Cash for Keys”. This is obviously not without cost, but could possibly give you a quicker resolution than waiting to evict them. The way cash for keys works is that you offer the tenant you want to leave a lumps sum dollar value to vacate the property, leaving it in undamaged clean condition, within a certain number of days. You frame it to them as something to help them find a home that better suits them. And, unless there is already a lot of damage to the property, give them back their full deposit to expedite the process. This will help to keep them from damaging the property before leaving.

How are y’all real estate businesses doing?

REI – Free Rental Property Tax Guide!

A few months ago, I ran across an ad for a free rental property accounting web application on Facebook. I didn’t think much of it and continued on about my merry way. Then I started hearing ads for the same company on the Bigger Pockets Podcast. So, I decided to check out Stessa for myself.

I like it! Stessa is simple to use and allows you to output your financial data to hand over to your CPA at tax time. As a perk, the team at Stessa put together a free Rental Property Tax Guide. I liked it so much that I have partnered with Stessa to share that Tax Guide with my readers.

Click on this link to get your own free copy of the Rental Property Tax Guide by Stessa.

Let me know if you like this guide and if it is helpful to you.

I plan to do a more detailed review of my experiences with Stessa in the near future, so stay tuned!

And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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REI – Observations on Finding Tenants

Hello there, trusted reader! This week I am going to discuss a few observations I have made on the subject of finding tenants for my rentals.

As discussed in a previous post, we purchased another rental in December. Before the purchase was final, we started advertising it for rent. We listed it with a couple of different syndication services, Put a “For Rent” sign in front of the property, and posted it in pretty much every local and/or rental-related group on Facebook, in addition to posting it on our Facebook business page.

Syndicated Listings

The property was listed on because we are evaluating their service for application, rental payment, and other tools that assist property manager.

The set up was easy and they list the rental as available on their site, in addition to syndicating the listing to and

Cozy also offers one of the top-rate low-cost online rental payment platforms, based on reviews & comparisons. If tenants use the ACH (Automated Clearing House) option, payments are free. They also have the option to use a credit card to pay, but add a small percentage service fee. I have not implemented it in our business yet, as our tenants are more comfortable paying with checks and money orders.

In addition to the online rental payment system, Cozy provides an online maintenance request system, tenant screening, and document sharing with tenants. The maintenance request platform is only available if you are already using their online payments. The tenant screening offers options for background checks and credit reports, at no cost to the property manager, due to the tenant paying these fees. The document sharing is the equivalent of a shared drive to upload leases and any other documents for tenants.

Cozy Syndication

From our experience, neither the Cozy listing, nor the syndication partners are popular in our area for attracting potential tenants. People looking for places to rent don’t seem to frequent these sites.

Zillow Rental Manager

Zillow offers a similar set of services, excluding the maintenance requests and document sharing. They provide tenant screening and online rental payments, similar to Cozy. Where they really shine is the listing syndication. Zillow lists rentals on, but since it also owns and, it syndicates listings on those sites simultaneously.

For this recent property we had issues getting the rental listing to be accepted by Zillow due to it still being listed for sale on Zillow when we first put it up for rent, but it syndicated to Trulia and Hotpads just fine. We received quite a few inquiries from these sources.

Facebook Groups/Facebook Business Page

Facebook seems to be the hands-down winner for attracting prospective tenants. We ultimately received more inquiries from Facebook than any other advertising channel that we used. It involved a little work…there are a lot of groups! I will post a detailed methodology on that some day. It is kind of interesting.

I created a video of pictures from the home and a digital flyer that was shared on and from our Facebook business page. The flyer listed the location, rental rate, the lease length, and basic restrictions (No smoking, some pets allowed). This helped to attract interested inquiries and potentially screen out anyone not interested in what we had to offer.

Traditional Advertising Channels

If you haven’t noticed yet, the only cost of the methods we utilized was a “For Rent” sign. Ads in the local newspapers cost too much, plus we have much better circulation on the channels we do use. That is why we don’t even bother to list anything in the with the papers.

If you have rentals, what do you use to attract prospective tenants? Leave me a message in the comments or email me at

And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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