Growing up, Jay Papasan has a distinct memory of his father reading the business page of the paper each morning. He also remembers having zero interest in it. “I worked the crossword,” he says. So it was no surprise when Jay double-majored in French and English as a young man. What Jay didn’t know was that he would reconnect with business and finance as a publishing professional, and this combined with his boyhood memories of his father would change his life.
Jay’s first run-in with investment writing came while working for a large publishing firm in New York, where he was part of the team who worked with Ric Edelman. However, he says it wasn’t until 2003 when he got involved with the research, interviews and writing of a little book called The Millionaire Real Estate Investor that he said his eyes were opened to investing.
“My wife Wendy and I had an epiphany in ’04 after I had been working on that book,” Jay says. “We didn’t want to be employees forever. While we love our jobs, we realized they don’t have to be where our money comes from.” That was the moment Jay and Wendy made their first financial investment plan: Have a million dollars in net worth and $75,000 in passive income in 10 years.
Eight years later, let’s see where Jay is on his path to financial freedom.
KellerINK: Can you share an aha investment moment?
Jay: Wendy and I hit our goal two years ago. It ended up taking only six years, rather than 10. That has been one of the biggest aha’s for us. If you set goals and are willing to live on less than you earn, wealth building can happen faster than you think.
KellerINK: What is the one thing you would like readers to take away from HOLD?
Jay: We are gifted to be in business with the co-authors of this book [Steve, Jennice, Linda and Jim]. They’ve been in relationship with Gary for a long time, they understand and agree with his philosophies and they are phenomenal teachers. And one of the best lessons readers can learn is to keep a lid on their lifestyle as their income increases, and invest the difference. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor changes your mindset. HOLD shows how to take action. This is your guidebook.
KellerINK: The book emphasizes the importance of choosing the right team, partnerships or relations in real estate. What makes you and Wendy such great partners?
Jay: The first step in any investment relationship – family or not – is getting in alignment on finances. In a marriage, money is the number one reason couples fight. So when Wendy and I got married we made an agreement on how we were going to use our money and we held each other accountable. It helps to get clear about shared financial goals, and having a partner can actually be quite powerful. We’ve carried that same structure into our investments.
KellerINK: Working alongside Gary for 11 years now, what are your top three take-aways on building your wealth?
Jay: First, it’s not about how much you make – it’s about how much you save. This applies in your personal and professional lives. In business, it’s not about how much revenue you bring in, but how you handle your expenses. Second, it’s better to let 10 good ones get away than take one bad. And Gary lives this in all areas – business, investments, new hires, etc. He is relentless on his criteria. Third, he has taught me and my family to think big in all areas. We always thought we were thinking big, but hanging out with Gary changed this completely. We learned if you ask big questions, you’ll change your trajectory, and we’ve started living by this example.
KellerINK: What sort of attitude or qualities do you believe are necessary for a HOLD investor?
Jay: I don’t believe there’s a type. Anyone can be a successful investor if you surround yourself with the right people.
KellerINK: What is one of your most significant real estate investments – based on the HOLD strategy?
Jay: The best two investments Wendy and I have ever bought are the two houses we’ve lived in. Both rent at the top of the market and have had virtually no vacancy.
KellerINK: OK, now for the tricky questions. What’s your favorite movie?
Jay: Jaws. I’ve probably watched it 40 to 50 times. I even made a Jaws metaphor for budgeting in SHIFT Commercial as an homage.
KellerINK: One more – what’s a constant in your pantry?
Jay: Coffee and peanut butter.