Since I was still on Supervised Release, making a move to Newport Beach would not be so easy. I reported to a probation officer in a different judicial district. As a resident of the San Francisco Bay area, authorities required that I report to a probation officer in the Northern Judicial District of California.
Andi’s employment offer required that I relocate to the Central Judicial District of California. Besides convincing my probation officer to support my move, I’d have to persuade a probation officer from the Central District to authorize my transfer. If I could overcome those challenges, I’d have a few additional complications to resolve.
Fortunately, the seeds I began sowing from the start of my journey positioned me well to seize opportunities like the one Andi offered. I felt confidant Carole and I would be able to transition from Northern California to Orange County. But I needed to see what she thought. After Andi made his offer, I called Carole to ask what she would like me to do.
“Take the job.” She didn’t hesitate.
As an experienced registered nurse who was pursuing a graduate degree, Carole expressed confidence that she would find new employment. Carole always supported efforts to build a career around my journey, but she liked the idea of me transitioning away from the prison industry and into other ventures. Andi’s compelling job offer opened a world of opportunity.
With Carole’s support, I consulted with two of my closest friends, Justin and Lee. Both of them were like brothers to me. I’d been working with Justin and the nonprofit foundation he created. We used that foundation as a resource to both fund and distribute products that spread our message of personal growth, accountability, and developing critical thinking skills. If I accepted Andi’s offer, I’d have less time available to work with him. Yet when I told him of the opportunity, Justin saw the value.
“If you become more successful, your story will inspire more people that the lessons we offer really work. Your success could lead to more orders, and it sounds like you’ll still be able to devote time to work on our projects. Take the job. We’ll both have to work harder, but we’ll figure it out along the way.”
Lee and I had spoken about Andi before. Since Andi was an entrepreneur and visionary who built businesses that grew to billions in revenues, he would impress any businessman. Lee liked hearing stories about others who built successful businesses from nothing more than ideas. When I told him that Andi invited me to join his team, Lee encouraged me to accept. “Sounds like an opportunity to learn, contribute, and grow. Take it.”
With encouragement from Justin and Lee, I took the next step of contacting my probation officer. Once I had support from probation, I contacted Jeff at SFSU and told him that I would not return to teach in the fall of 2014. Instead, Carole and I would be moving to Southern California.
Return on Investment:
We had only recently finalized the mortgage to finance our house. The housing market in the San Francisco Bay area was on fire and we likely could’ve sold our house easily for a substantial profit. Yet I felt strongly that housing prices would continue to rise. Carole agreed. Rather than selling our property, we agreed that we would make our first real estate purchase a part of our retirement plan. Instead of selling, we’d find suitable tenants who would rent from us. The rental income we received would allow us to pay the mortgage.
Carole led that initiative to find suitable tenants by running an ad on Craig’s list. More than a dozen applications came to us within days. During the year that we lived in the property, Carole wanted to decorate to make the house more “homey.” Yet I considered the investment as a stepping-stone, something we would eventually rent. Instead of decorating, we kept the house stark, looking new. It was part of a longer-term strategy to eventually attract stable tenants who would want to make the house their home.
Chris and Seth equipped our house with upgrades like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a whirlpool bath. Carole and I were going to miss the house, but we found a wonderful family with impeccable references who pledged to take good care of our property. They loved the neighborhood and signed a long-term lease, expressing interest to remain until their children graduated from high school. Carole’s due diligence contributed to us finding the right family. The $2,800 monthly rent would cover our $2,500 mortgage payment, leaving us with a reserve to pay our annual property taxes.
Since we financed our property with a 15-year mortgage, a significant portion of each payment would apply to principle reduction. Our debt on the property would drop by $1,500 each month, allowing us to build equity quickly. After 15 years, Carole and I would own the property free and clear. We considered the investment as an awesome resource to advance our plans for a stable retirement. Owning real estate, it would seem, could become an integral component of our plan to build a million-dollar net worth within five years. Carole and I made a commitment to work together in ways that would position us to acquire more.