Passive Income Real Estate Professional – Joining us today is our guest, real estate investor and wealth strategist John Casmon, who shares his inspiring journey from facing financial uncertainty to mastering the realm of real estate investing. John delves into the defining moments that shaped his path, revealing how alternative methods like syndication can open the door to financial freedom even for busy people. His insights provide a fresh perspective on overcoming obstacles, leveraging assets and the importance of diversifying beyond traditional investments. This conversation is not just about real estate; It’s a powerful narrative of resilience, lessons from failure, and the transformative power of conscious investment.
John Casmon is a real estate entrepreneur who has partnered with busy professionals to invest over $100 million in apartments. John consults with active multifamily investors to help them start or grow their businesses. He hosts the Multifamily Insights Podcast (formerly Target Market Insights) and co-created the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit. Before becoming a full-time investor, John oversaw marketing campaigns for General Motors, Nike and Coors Light in Corporate America.
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[00:00:00] Naseema McElroy: What’s up, my financial savvy folks, I’m delighted to have John Cussman join us today to talk about some alternative ways to build wealth. I love sharing stories like that on this podcast so you know what’s available and what’s available to you because there’s a lot of that information out there.
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It’s often from us, but if we can share these relatable stories, you’ll see yourself doing them. So welcome John, I’m so glad to have you on the podcast, so glad to meet you, and I look forward to hearing more of your story.
[00:00:47] John Casmon: Naseema, thanks for having me. I am delighted to be here today and speak to all of your listeners. So let’s talk better.
[00:00:54] Naseema McElroy: Yeah, let’s do it. So let’s get started and talk about your journey into real estate. Was it something you always thought you would get into? I know this is the only wealth building method I was exposed to as a child, like my grandfather owned real estate and my uncle owned real estate.
And I really didn’t understand. But I thought that was the only way to build wealth. ‘That was the only example for me. But what about you? How did you get into it?
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[00:01:21] John Casmon: You’re luckier than me because I don’t know anyone in real estate. In fact, it’s like when you go back and think about your life, these moments happen all the time. You say, I don’t know that. That was the stimulus, wasn’t it? Because people don’t always know your origin story, right?
So the short version of my origin story, I was always interested in real estate because I was always interested in making money and we didn’t grow up with a lot of money. Helped me to lunch, didn’t you? Hence my free lunch in high school. Money was always tight.
So money was always my driver when I was young, trying to figure out how to make money? How do people with money make money? How did they get the money? And one thing that came out was college, they go to college, they get a good job, the American dream. So that was the first way. And I’m a little older. You start to wonder how much college costs. I feel like college is too expensive. So I went to an in-state school that I felt I could afford with Pell grants and loans and such.
But when I was in school, I started thinking more about money when I was meeting new people and interacting with new people. And gave me a book. It’s rich dad, poor dad. I read it and I’ve always been interested in real estate because it’s the most prolific way to build wealth as you can look around and see the houses around you.
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So, right, stocks, I didn’t understand very well, I knew people were making money in the stock market, but I felt you needed a certain skill to value companies and everything. But when it comes to real estate, it seems like your everyday average person does. But Rich Dad Poor Dad was actually the first book.
Put it in context for me. So that was in my mind. I did what most people do. Going to college and getting a degree. I got this great job, marketing and advertising. It started growing professionally. I actually worked at General Motors, advertising and marketing, and I did well, but it happened in 2007, 2008, 2009, and the company eventually went bankrupt.
That’s when I realized, even though I did what I had to do, I went to college, I got a good job here, and I’m at a company that’s very publicly going into bankruptcy, and there’s going to be a big round. Dismissals and my name may be called at any moment.
So. That was the moment I realized that my job wasn’t as secure as I thought and that I needed to take another look at real estate. Later I started focusing on real estate investing.
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[00:03:40] Naseema McElroy: It’s a very interesting time, you say you’re older than me, but actually I think we’re the same age
[00:03:48] Naseema McElroy: I look younger. I know we are about the same age, but I think your experience going through bankruptcy is very interesting. I remember it all happening with the big car manufacturers too.
It was at that time. I said recession and for me my introduction to wealth was real estate. I was 25 years old then. I have 5 houses, I had an apartment, I lived in LA, a duplex in LA. Two homes in North Carolina and later a family in Georgia.
That’s when the market fell out from under me. So we had some crazy times together. you know
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[00:04:40] Naseema McElroy: Yeah, now I think that’s like a not-so-bad point, but a good point for people, because people are losing their jobs and the market isn’t what it is. In the old days interest rates were very high and groceries were very expensive.
So thanks for sharing this. Let’s get started now, but I wanted you to know that I’m with you. So yes.
[00:05:05] John Casmon: Yeah. That’s not the point, is it? I think for you at that time, for me at that time, and even for people now. When you go through a situation like that, you have to recalibrate, step back, look at where you are, where you want to go, what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not working, do you need to change your savings? That’s all, isn’t it?
I was very young then, wasn’t I? I was early in my career, I was at General Motors in Detroit, and you know what I realized first? I have no family here. I didn’t want to be in the city at all. I love this job, I love this company number about love, I love what I do.
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But I never said in my life, hey, I want to live in Detroit. So I said
I’m a Midwestern boy. It’s just another Midwestern town for me, and it was nice. But Chicago was a big city, wasn’t it? If it was a city I would want to be there.
So one of the first things I did was, you know? I want to move to Chicago and invest in real estate. I did that too. My wife and I, we got married at the time, and we moved to Chicago and it took a while to settle in, but we bought two apartments, all while working a W 2 job.
So we got jobs and then we started investing in two apartments, we lived in one apartment and we rented the other one. So we call it home hacking now. But that was our introduction. And going from there, okay, let’s get a clean rental. So we bought a three-unit building that was a pure rental, and it worked out great
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