In my continuing effort to address your overwhelming request to feature true-to-life success stories to help inspire you in your journey to financial freedom, I am very honored to share with you my interview with one of the most influential foreclosure investing experts in the Philippines, my good friend Jay Castillo.
Jay Castillo, made his dreams happen – to become financially free. A few years ago, he was a busy IT manager working his way up to the corporate ladder. At one point in his life, he was really frustrated spending hours and hours working at the office and going through the frustrations faced by employees. He realized that the stress from his job was literally killing him. That’s when he decided to do something about it for the sake of his loved ones. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, he was inspired to learn how to do real-estate investing.
He attended seminars, seek out mentors and built his now very popular blog Foreclosure Investing Philippines at foreclosurephilippines.com. After only a few years, he is already financially free. He was able to quit his job and work full-time on his real-estate business, that is investing in foreclosed properties. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Foreclosure Investing Expert — Jay Castillo.
1) Can you give us some background on what you did for a living before you got involved with real-estate?
I was the MIS department head for a multinational company. I have been in the IT field for more than 13 years and I worked my way up the corporate ladder from being an IT staff, to DBA, to Network specialist, supervisor, and to Manager.
2) What made you decide to pursue financial freedom by investing in foreclosed properties?
It just made perfect sense to invest in real estate and foreclosed properties appeared to be the niche with the most number of properties available out there. As to why I decided to pursue financial freedom, this article pretty much covers everything: http://www.foreclosurephilippines.com/2009/04/foreclosure-investing-is-not-really.html
3) What were the 3 biggest obstacles you had to overcome when you decided to pursue real-estate investing?
1. Lack of financial literacy – Some would say it would be lack of money but I would say it really is just lack of financial literacy. After I started to manage my finances, I started to have a positive cashflow, even though I only had income coming from my job. This is where I got money to invest not just in foreclosed properties, but also for my education.
2. Lack of time – It’s funny that we all have this excuse of lack of time, but when something drastic happens, like when I had to go to be rushed to the hospital, and eventually got diagnosed with hypertension at such a young age, I suddenly realized what things are more important to me, and I MADE TIME to for them. I stopped wasting time on unimportant things like TV, unproductive use of the computer for gaming, I no longer did overtime at the office where I focused instead on getting things done through automation, delegation, etc. I was able to set aside time to learn and do real estate investing.
3. Distractions – There were so many distractions like negativity, doubts, and fears, not just from the people around me, but also from myself. It really helps to have people who have the same goals in life to be around you as they help cancel out the negativity form “well meaning” people who really don’t have a clue what you are doing, and why you do it. Another form of distraction are those unproductive things like watching TV, reading too much newspapers, and a lot of those things that can be delegated or outsourced. For example, we hired a maid to take care of household chores, this alone freed up so much of my time and helped me focus on things that are more important.
4) Can share with us the story on how you finally achieved financial independence?
It was really just a combination of getting other income streams from real estate investing and internet marketing, learning how to manage my finances and stop spending on liabilities, and also practicing “delayed gratification”. It is also very important to “simplify” and lower one’s expenses. It just came to a point where I realized that my expenses can already be covered by income other than that from my job, and that gave me the means to quit my job, and go full time with real estate investing, and internet marketing.
5) How did you get started with internet marketing?
I started to take internet marketing seriously with my blog http://www.foreclosurephilippines.com . Initially, it was just an experiment, as I was looking for a way to have all my foreclosed property listings accessible from anywhere, through the internet, from my PDA, eliminating the need to bring the actual classified ads with me. I remember that during that time, I have just finished helping facilitate an internet marketing workshop of Jomar Hilario in Cubao, courtesy of an invitation from Thea Santos (Thea was the one in charge of Think Rich Pinoy Club Marikina, where I was a member back then), and I said to myself I might as well create a blog for this purpose. Aside from listings, my wife and I started to document lessons learned (our very first was about the auction of tax delinquent properties in Marikina), and people started to follow the blog and I guess the rest is history.
6) Which is better, real-estate investing or internet marketing? And why?
Personally, I am becoming more biased towards internet marketing because the passive income potential is so much more because of the global reach, physical boundaries are virtually non-existent. In contrast, with real estate investing, I prefer to invest in properties that are nearby, and that somewhat puts a limit on where I can invest. Of course there are ways for me to expand my real estate investing like partnering with other real estate investors, but this is turning out to be more complicated as compared to internet marketing. Furthermore, even if one invests in rental properties, I believe hiring a property manager at a certain point is needed for it to remain as truly passive income, I guess I’ll cross the bridge when I get there, so to speak. Nevertheless, I truly believe that internet marketing and real estate investing can have synergy. In fact that’s exactly what I am doing right now.
7) What is the most important habit you’ve learned that has really helped you in your journey to financial freedom?
One needs to have a big enough why that would help sustain one’s drive to be financially free, and I suppose one of my habits in relation to this is I ensure that I always remember why and for who I am actually doing all of this. I try my best to make all my decisions with this in mind. This habit also helps me become very disciplined in just about everything that I do, and this has made a world of a difference.
8) What 3 tips can you give to our readers who are also dreaming of someday being able to leave the rat race and achieve financial freedom just like you?
1. Start with a plan. In it you write your objectives(your vision), your purpose(or mission), your roles and goals, your principles (the non-negotiable’s), and your values. You also need to include the actions you need to do in order to accomplish your goals, make sure these are broken down into “S.M.A.R.T.” tasks (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timebound). This may sound daunting at first. Looking back, I am very thankful that I did make a plan like this using an excel sheet and it was specific enough that it was like a checklist where each task accomplished will lead me closer and closer to my goals. This is very much like creating a business plan and I created mine early 2007!
2. It’s all in the mind. You need to believe that it is possible. Think of it this way, what if your life or the lives of those you love depended on it, don’t you think you can actually do it?! It was like this for me, I strengthened my belief that it really is possible and there is a better way, especially after realizing my work(too much stress doing the work of 3 people) was killing me and I always had a choice what to do. I also believe in the following: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right” – Henry Ford
3. Just do it. No one learns how to swim just by reading about it, etc, you really need to get into the water and start swimming. Sure you may swallow some water along the way, but that’s part of learning, just make sure you don’t drown. No one learns how to ride a bicycle by reading about it, etc, you really need to get on that bicycle and get your feet on the pedals and start riding. Sure you may fall many times, but that’s part of learning. Just make sure you don’t get hit by a car. No one learns how to drive by reading about it, etc,you really need to get behind the steering wheel and start driving. Sure your engine may stall at times and die, but that’s part of learning, just make sure you don’t crash and get killed. The same goes for striving to be financially free, you can’t just read about it, you really need to do it! Sure there will be problems along the way, but that’s part of the journey. Just make sure you apply what you have learned from others, fo llow your principles, values, and have good old common sense!
P.S. Dear Readers, I hope you learned something new today and realized that financial freedom is indeed possible. My hope is that you get closer and closer to it every day.
P.P.S. Quick update on the launching of my Rich Money Habits guide ebook — I have both good news and bad news for you. Bad news — all 10 slots for my special bonus to get a chance to play Cashflow 101 board game with me and my wife live have already been taken. If you’re one of the lucky 10, you will receive an email invitation from me in the next few days with the event details. The good news — I’m extending the 50% special introductory price discount to those of you who haven’t claimed your discounts yet. This extension is available until end of this week only. After this week, the price will now go up. Hurry, get your copy of my guide now!
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