RG 282 – Unlocking Your Next Level of Financial Independence with Chris Larsen
We talk a lot about financial independence on this show. Today, we have Chris Larsen to share more valuable insights into building financial freedom while keeping the important things in life close to your heart.
Chris Larsen is the founder and managing partner of Next Level Income, a platform that helps people raise their income, make smart investments, and achieve true freedom in life. He is a former medical devices professional, clocking in over 18 years in that field. And while on that route, he has also been investing in real estate, earning him 20 years of investing and managing experience.
Aside from real estate, Chris has invested in equities, oil & gas, small business lending, as well as angel investments. He is also the author of Next Level Income: How to Make, Keep, and Grow Your Money Using the ‘Holy Grail of Real Estate’ to Achieve Financial Independence, a book that he wrote just last year to help people seek true financial freedom.
In this episode, we touch on a lot of topics about real estate, investing, financial independence—as well as difficult subjects like loss, the hustle culture, and being open about one’s emotions.
Experiencing loss can help put your life’s priorities into better perspective.
Don’t block the important things in your life to chase mountaintops; balance between life and the grind is essential.
When you become financially independent, you become the best version of yourself.
- You don’t need to quit your day job right away to build financial independence.
- If you’re not mentally clear, you’re going to have a hard time helping other people.
Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!
Listen to Podcast
Reed Goossens (00:00):
Turn the show. I, the pleasure of speaking with Chris Lawson, Chris is the founder and managing partner of next level income. And he’s also the author of next level income, the book, which is how to make keeping, grow your money. Using the holy grail of real estate to achieve financial freedom. Chris has been investing in managing real estate for over 20 years, and he’s been actively involved in over $150 million worth of real estate acquisitions to date. He founded next on link income to help other investors with education. So they too can go off and achieve financial freedom, just like he has. I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share his incredible insight and knowledge with the audience.
Reed Goossens (00:48):
Okay, Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Larsen (00:50):
Reed, I’m doing great. And, uh, I, I always love our conversations. I think I’m about to start pronouncing my name a little bit differently cause you do it so much better than I do so well, it’s the accent. So you have an accent to me. So if you came to Australia, you’d be, you’d be the special one. So, but mate, we met a couple of years back, uh, through, through another friend of mine. Who’s been on the show before Bryce Robinson, uh, in, in the little town of Asheville, North Carolina, it’s a beautiful the world. So you’re still there, right? We are. Yeah. And, uh, yeah, that we had just started our house when you and I met Reed and we’re, we’re done we’re in it and I can’t wait to have you out and next time you’re here.
Reed Goossens (01:32):
Awesome. Well, and dove, we’ll put you on that puts you on the, uh, on the, on the to-do list when I come out next, I’m looking at properties, but, um, but great, great to see you again. Great to have you on the show. Um, let’s dive into it. I ask all my, uh, all my guests, the same question when we started at one o’clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar. I love that question. So, um, I kind of look, I think like, okay, w you know, with job that I do for like my grandmother or something like that, but really my first true job, we grew up in this neighborhood, not too far from Annapolis, Maryland, which is where the Naval academy is here. Um, are there, uh, and it’s, uh, the severed river, I was about a half a mile from the seven river.
Chris Larsen (02:11):
We had this community beach, which was, it sounds kind of, uh, elegant now, but it certainly was, was not that way back then. And I had the, uh, glorious job and that’s pretty sarcastic to say that of collecting trash. And I’ll tell you if you are emptying trash cans from a beach in the middle of the summer, where people are throwing out, uh, baby diapers and leftover hamburgers and hot dogs and stuff like that, um, you definitely have an appreciation for, you know, with a lot of hard work and people go through. So that was my first job. I can’t remember how much I got paid doing that, but it certainly gave me an appreciation for, you know, for, for doing manual labor and doing things that, um, people do every day that, you know, sometimes they don’t get enough credit for, you know, that manual labor is so important as you growing up as a kid, because I remember my dad forcing me to go off and do you know, I remember building pools and, you know, tying rebar and doing concrete and digging holes when I was like, you know, 13, no, not no 13, but probably 15, 16, 17 in the summer holidays.
Reed Goossens (03:16):
And really appreciate, you know, getting an education and you, you know, sweat labor is really, really tough. And, and, and knowing that, you know, for me at least lay the foundations and probably sounds like similar to you, you know, do you want to go off to college and you want to, you don’t want to have to rely on you two hands to dig holes for the rest of your life because it’s this backbreaking work. So, um, yeah, it’s probably tough from the same cloth in terms of our upbringing, but, but what walk us through the life journey of where you are, you know, brought this, brings you to where you are today in your, your, your journey through real estate. And, you know, you haven’t, you have a W2 originally and now you’ve broken out of that. So they tell me, tell me all of that and more, yeah.
Chris Larsen (03:58):
So, uh, then we could dive into a couple of different sections, um, and I can even tell audience how to get a copy of my book, which really kind of goes through a lot of the different things, but, you know, grew up near the Naval academy, about 10 miles away. Um, I really had a passion for racing bicycle. So I went to college and all I really wanted to do was race my bike. Um, but I wanted to get a degree that that was worth something. So I, I did pretty well in math and science. So it was, you know, blessed, uh, with, with some genetic capability when it comes to certain things. Um, I was definitely a bit of a nerd. So I, I went to Virginia tech for engineering and I knew two weeks into it. Um, I didn’t want to be an engineer.
Chris Larsen (04:38):
I, I just, I didn’t, you know, think about like sitting in front of a computer and doing that, that didn’t really appeal to me. And I didn’t give it too much thought read because all I wanted to do is become a professional cyclist, but in between my freshmen, sophomore year, as my best friend, my training partner, my roommate, Chris straighter passed away. He had a massive brain hemorrhage. I was a first day of summer, 1997. And I go back to school. I was depressed. I didn’t want to be an engineering. Um, my grades suffered, I didn’t really, I didn’t really have a girlfriend or I didn’t feel like I was relating to people. You know, I was kind of, I spent the time with the people in the cycling team. Um, I put my head down, I did great that you’re racing. Um, I was an All-American cyclist that year.
Chris Larsen (05:21):
I was winning, uh, Pro-Am races like regionally. And I was a CA I worked my way up to be a category, one cyclist, which you started as a five. And as you score enough points, you get enough, uh, race wins once. You’re a one you can, you can take out a professional license. So you get to race with the pros, even, even if you don’t take out the professional license. Um, but as that summer ended, and I, I won my friend’s Memorial race for the second year running. It was labor day weekend. So, um, Jesus is about, uh, 24 years ago now. Um, um, or 23 years ago, I guess, cause it was the year after, uh, we’re talking here. I realized I wasn’t fulfilled. I wasn’t happy. And as I thought about it, I thought, man, I gotta do more with my life. You know, I’ve been blessed with this life racing, my bike.
Chris Larsen (06:06):
It’s not making me happy. So I quit racing. So now I go back to school the following year, I don’t want to be an engineer. I’m not racing my bike. I don’t have my best friend. And I just kind of was in this reflective period. And I realized that if I was going to make the most out of my life, I needed to have money and be financially independent. And I was always kind of entrepreneurial. Um, I had a paper route, I sold wrapping paper door to door. Um, I bought and sold loft beds in college. I had a, like a landscaping slash like lawn care business, uh, on the weekends when I was in high school. So I never had like a real day job, but I was like, well, I want to be an investor. I didn’t have much money. Um, I was trading in the stock market and I ended up buying my first property because I found out that real estate was more in line with one-on-one to do so then, um, I entered a career in medical device.
Chris Larsen (06:54):
Uh, I did that for 18 years and that’s how I derive the capital to start investing in these properties and kind of like you, I didn’t start off in multifamily. I started off in single family. I did that for about 15 years before I kind of saw the light. So really over the past five years, that’s when we went from, you know, you know, uh, several properties to several hundred now, a couple thousand doors, uh, that were, uh, that we have under management. Incredible story. And my apologies almost, no, my apologies, my, sorry, I’m sorry for your loss. And because it can, it can be such a impactful thing on someone’s life, particularly at that vulnerable age of not knowing what you’re going to do with your career and coming out of college and all that sort of stuff. But I’m very interesting to hear that you, uh, you, you broke into professional cycling, um, early on and I assume you still cycled today.
Chris Larsen (07:45):
Yeah, so it’s, uh, it was interesting is when I quit racing, I quit racing, um, kinda in college and I’d started up again. My now my, my, uh, best friend that lives not too far from me, I started coaching him. We started riding together that was getting on to 30 years old and you can do age graded racists. I started racing again. They got roped into racing for this team that was kind of up and coming and, um, even started a developmental cycling team. And then I, I quote unquote retired again from cycling about six years ago. And what’s, what’s interesting is I actually enjoy it more now than ever because if it’s raining or it’s cold out, I don’t have to ride my bike because I don’t have a race to prepare for. So I ride a few times a week in the winter.
Chris Larsen (08:26):
Maybe it’s once or twice in the summer, maybe it’s four or five times. And the cool thing now, Reed, and I know we’ve talked about a little bit about families, my oldest son’s 11, and I just still him for our first road ride together on father’s day of this year. And he loves, he loves to ride his bike, coming to be coaching his team. So it’s, it’s gone from, you know, a competitive passion to really, you know, a life and family and social passion. That’s, uh, it’s really given me a lot of life lessons and relationships. It’s been wonderful and I was in community, right. That’s the whole point of getting into, into any sport, whether it be cycling off, you know, swimming I’ll beacon to swimming back in the day, you know, we had, we had nip is which is a competitive surf life saving in Australia, or, oh, wow.
Reed Goossens (09:09):
Playing rugby, you know, all these sort of that can help bring people together. And the beauty of the sports that you can do over an extended period of time is that, um, like I remember moving to New York city and I didn’t know anyone. Right. But I knew how to play rugby really well. So I went and joined the rugby club and instantly you see drunk rugby club, boom, 50 mates, right? Same thing with cycling, I’m sure. Oh, absolutely. It’s wonderful. It’s a cycling club, right. You’re going to go join. You don’t have to be the best, but it says it’s a sport that you can continue into your later years. And it’s just around coming together and having a camaraderie over a passion that you guys love. So I love that. And I think something that you can, you probably going to sound, you’re going to take on for, into your old age and, and beyond.
Chris Larsen (09:54):
So, um, so also Dennis, one of those, like one of those things that, you know, unlike rugby, like I don’t have to worry about getting hit. Um, you know, by somebody, every time I hop on my bike, I will say, you know, you do have to worry about getting hit by cars or fall off and hit the road and that sort of thing. But yeah, it’s a pretty low impact sport. So as long as you’re safe and you don’t fall off or get hit, um, you can do it for a long time, which is great. Yeah. Yeah, no, I, I always used to joke that, uh, in Australia, Australia, massive cycling community when I used to live there and I sweat as all a nominal cycles. Yeah. I swear to God, those people who just drive their cars to the cafe, right. Take the bike off the car, put him next to the cafe and then sit down and have coffee, not actually do any cycling just to be seen in like a cycling Gail and walk around like a penguin.
Chris Larsen (10:42):
I am not, I definitely am not that person. I would say that I’m joking throwing shade. Um, but might look loss big, big part of probably impacting your life. Um, growing up and, and most has impacted my life as well. Looking back, you know, you think you mentioned 24 years, how has it, what has it done to you? You know, why that maybe other people who haven’t been impacted as loss, you know, may not understand or might not assimilate to? Yeah, I would. So I’ve, I’ve kind of over, over the years for a lot of years, I didn’t understand it. I just had my feelings and emotions. And, um, you know, if, if you’re listening, whether you’ve experienced loss or not, you know, humans, we’re just not like, it’s not part of especially American culture to kind of talk about your feelings and really be introspective.
Reed Goossens (11:30):
Um, so through some different things and, you know, being in a long-term relationship with my wife, um, you know, being a father, being a husband, uh, immune, a brother and a son, you start to kind of go through some relationships and experiences and start to look back and look inside and think like, where, you know, where are these feelings? Where are these actions coming from? And as I read, and I even talked to professionals over the years, one of the things that I came across, um, and I forget if it was a Malcolm Gladwell or, um, but it was during a period where I was reading a lot, um, kind of about mindset and different things. And the author was talking about how children that lose a parent have a higher degree or a higher incidence of success. And I forget if they mentioned this or I kind of, I kind of came up with this myself, but, um, one of the comments was that it puts a, you know, there’s like a finality.
Reed Goossens (12:25):
Like you realize that life is finite. And as an engineer, as a numbers person, I thought, well, that’s interesting because if you think you’re going to live forever, the value of time divided by forever, isn’t very much. But if the value of time is divided by a finite number, the value goes up exponentially. So what I mean by that is, you know, if, if you’re like, eh, it’s just a day of my life. Well, if you knew you were going to live for 10 more days, how would you live? If you knew you had 10 days to live, if you thought you would live forever, you probably wouldn’t value that day as much. So that’s a pretty extreme example, but if you thought you were going to live forever and now, you know, you’re only going to live to 50 or 75 or a hundred or 125, you have a vastly different outlook on life.
Reed Goossens (13:13):
So I did, I lost my father at five, but I think the, and that was probably in the back of my head, especially as I kind of had my foot down as I drove towards, um, 41, which is the age my father died, but the bigger impact, and I know, you know, you can relate to some of these things read was when my best friend died, because I was like, holy cow, he was 18. I thought, what if I died tomorrow? As part of the reason I quit quit racing, because I thought like, is this really the highest and best use of my life? And I thought, well, am I honoring the life I’ve been given? And then I thought, am I honoring Chris’s life that he doesn’t have anymore? And I thought like, I’ve got to honor both my life and his life. Um, and I really realized, you know, people are like, Chris, you don’t, you don’t have to work anymore.
Reed Goossens (13:59):
Like, you know, we have enough money coming in from our passive investments. People are like, why do you still do all this? And the reason is like, I can, and I can have an impact. And you know, but that’s, over the years, I’ve realized that that’s what really drives me. And I, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but you know, if you’re listening and you’ve experienced loss, um, you can probably relate to that feeling in some way. No, I come, you said it really, really well. Mine, I, for those, I think I’ve talked a little bit on this podcast. If not, you actually asked me about one of the, the, the, the, the photo is up in the top. I guess it’s the left-hand screen of, of the, of the viewers, but, uh, it’s a picture of my sister and, um, my sister and I in front of my youngest sister’s grave, she and she passed away when she was six and I was 11.
Reed Goossens (14:44):
So I had, I experienced loss early on in my life as well. Obviously I didn’t lose a parent like you did, but it’s still, you know, processing that as a child. And I probably didn’t process that as much as when my mum passed away. Um, about four years ago, uh, here in it when I was in the United States. And so it’s, you know, an immediate loss in my family and it’s really puts things in perspective. Like you’re talking about it. I did a podcast actually probably the year after my mum died, uh, corporate about priorities versus goals and how we are all on this journey as entrepreneurs to get to the, to the mountain tops. We were going to scale many mountain tops, whether it be in your cycling career or in business, or in, you know, me playing rugby, you know, like, and there’s always going to be the next mountain top to scale.
Reed Goossens (15:32):
And sometimes with that day of you, your, your, your analogy of taking a day for granted, it’s also enjoying the journey. Like there’s always this rush culture of like, I need to beat the mountain till tomorrow. And so I’m just going to block our family block out, you know, life blockout health out, whatever relationships to, to hustle in this hustle culture and not there’s anything wrong with hustling or, or, you know, perceived hustle culture, but there’s also balance and balance is really important in what we do and removing, you know, someone told me one time when you’re sitting at 80 years of age, talking to your grandkids about, you know, whether you own 2000 units or 10,000 units, they don’t really care as long as their granddad’s there to talk to them and share life with them. And that’s so important that, uh, that, that we, we, we, we not slow down, but just be mindful of the, the value of being alive today.
Reed Goossens (16:27):
And it goes back to what you’re talking about valuing every day. And if you had a finite period to live, you would probably change vastly change trajectories on how you work, you know, in your day, what you do go out and pursue when you wake up every morning and the goals you go out and achieve, they’re probably going to change if you know that you’re only going to live for another 20 more years. So when someone, when someone challenges you that I challenge all the listeners, you know, what, what is that in log books that look like? And I think when you boil it all back to both where you started and where I started now, financial freedom is about, you know, for me, it was at least getting out of my W2 job out of that, being in a cubicle, you know, have control of my time.
Reed Goossens (17:06):
And it sounds like the same with you. So thank you for sharing that with me. I think it’s really, really important and something that, as you say, most in particularly men in the Western world, don’t really talk a lot about his feelings in and around, you know, loss and how that’s affected and, and being open with others. So for those people out there listening, if you are going through any sort of loss or have gone through loss, you don’t know how to struggle with it. There are many phone lines, you know, are out there that can help please reach out to both Chris and I, if you do, are struggling through stuff like that, because we’ve gone through it personally. Um, so with that being said, Chris, let’s, let’s, we’ll take it into, uh, a bit more, a lighter realm, but what are you doing today in your business?
Reed Goossens (17:45):
You mentioned earlier that you, you are, you have for true financial freedom. You, you don’t need to work anymore. So what are you doing now? That’s healthy. You get out of bed every day. Yeah. So it is interesting. And one of the things I like to say is, you know, if, if you achieve financial independence and by the way, I believe that anyone in this country, Canada, I mean, you’re, you’re a great example. I just, I was writing a quote for, uh, your podcast that you were on, uh, with me here just this morning read, and just talking about like, this is a true American dream story with, with reduced since. Um, so you guys have to check out, check out his interview. It was wonderful. Um, but no, I think once, you know, once you don’t have to work, once you are free to make the choices in your life, you’re a better person.
Chris Larsen (18:27):
And some people aren’t good people, and maybe they’re going to continue to not be a good person. Um, but you were the best version of yourself, in my opinion, when you were free to follow your passions and your dreams and do those things. So for years, you know, I started with my first property at 21, and it took me over 15 years to be financially independent. And one of the reasons is you, you read these people that are like fire they’re financially independent, retired early they’re 30 years old. I didn’t want to be one of those people that was living on three grand a month and didn’t have kids, or, you know, it was, you know, sitting at home when their wife was working or spouse’s work. And it’s like, I want, I want to have it all. Like, I want a family, you know, I want, um, you know, nice things.
Chris Larsen (19:07):
We’re not extravagant by any means, but, you know, we were able to build really our dream home here in Asheville, which is a nice size, um, you know, we’re able to host a lot of people. We eat nice dinners. We, you know, we, uh, um, buy, you know, we buy quality cars and bikes if I want those sorts of things. So it takes a little bit longer if you, if you, uh, don’t skimp on some of those things. Um, but what I found was I hit that point and it was a little depressing, you know, kind of like the dog that catches the car, right? You’re like, wait, I’m a financial independent, I don’t have to do this anymore. And then I realized it was really, it had this feeling of dread and I was talking to my coach about it. And what I realized was that I didn’t know what it would be like to not be needed.
Chris Larsen (19:55):
And I was scared of not being relevant. And I felt this was only in the past year read. I thought, well, geez, like how, you know, helping investors, helping people, you know, take part in some of these deals that we do, it’s fun. But I was like, well, I need to do more. I ended up starting coaching because I really wanted to have a bigger impact. Um, started working with a local non-profit and started a financial literacy program. And what happened over the past year is I evolve from having a very narrow vision of achieving financial independence myself, and, you know, bring a few people along for the ride to having this bigger vision of how can next level income, which was founded on financial education impact. More people impact a broader audience so that more people can see that financial independence is, is a reality.
Chris Larsen (20:48):
Like your example shows people, which is one of the reasons we had you on the show, but also help them shortcut that path. And it doesn’t have to be my path or your path. And we have, we have people that use short-term rentals, you know, that achieve financial independence, businesses, um, you know, all kinds of different things. So, you know, really aside from spending more time with my family, you know, less time, um, picking up the phone at 7:00 AM or 7:00 PM when I’m, when I’m with my boys making breakfast, taking the school, making dinner, maybe like last night, um, we’re like kind of snuggling on the couch, watching a movie on a weeknight. You know, those things are super important to me, but also, you know, doing things like this, sharing my story and helping others try to find the quickest path to financial independence is really what we’re all about.
Reed Goossens (21:35):
And I will say reflecting back to you. It’s so it’s so interesting. I went through something similar when I, when I quit the corporate world because you know, coming to America and I’m sure a lot of people, and you’re including yourself, fraud the north star for such a long period of time. When you get bitten by the real estate boggle, the financial independent bug is quit your day job, quit your day job, quit your day job. That’s the north star, right? You, you, you striving towards it. Then when you get there, you’re right into the dog that catches the like, oh, okay, what’s next? And I remember I got there a couple of years ago. I’m 35 today. Um, but I got there a couple of years ago, but it was in trying to under recalibrate my brain too, because we are human. Right. We have human needs.
Reed Goossens (22:17):
We want to, you know, you’re speaking about being relevant in the world is such a driver. And that then obviously takes it to being what’s the new north star. And for six to 12 months in combination with losing my mum, go back to loss, there was no realization of what is that new north star. And I think for me, at least, um, being present and then having something that’s bigger than yourself, because we are so consumed with selfishly getting out of the rat race, right. When we start on this journey, like, I think you are, and most of the listeners are that we don’t, when you do get that, you got to take that pause and I applaud you for taking it and then being, creating something bigger than just yourself, right. Because we all pitch, I want to help all these people, but actually going out and doing it is another thing.
Reed Goossens (23:07):
So talk to me a little bit about next level income and what you’re doing in and around financial literacy, because I think that is so important in helping, not only you feel like you’re relevant, but you know, playing a bigger game, you know, and having more people participate in that game. Yeah. Um, we have a couple of, couple of things just to touch on what you just said. So first off, like it’s, you almost have to do it. I was just reading or listening to something, talking about like being selfish. And it’s like, you know, people are like, oh, it’s, you know, that’s selfish to do this or do that, or take time for yourself. It’s like, but then people talk about self-care oh, I’m having self-care Friday. Or I’m doing like self care is selfish. You know, working at working out as selfish, you know, you know, sleep, you know, having the proper sleep is selfish or taking care of yourself, achieving financial independence for yourself, for your family.
Chris Larsen (23:58):
It could be termed selfish, but at the same time, is it selfish to put the oxygen on your face, in the airplane before you help others? Like, if you’re, if you’re not healthy, if you, you know, you’re not comfortable, you know, with your own path in life, if you’re not mentally, you know, prepared and mentally clear, then you’re going to have a hard time helping other people. So I just want to say that, you know, it, it’s okay to focus on all those things before you do that. Um, but as far as the bigger vision, I challenge anybody. That’s listening. You think bigger, like what happens is we get down this path and we’re linear. So we’re, we’re we’re numbers. We think catalytically read right life. Isn’t it, life isn’t linear. It’s, it’s, it’s curvilinear, it’s exponential. And we can do so much more. And that’s what I’ve realized here.
Chris Larsen (24:44):
So next level income, I kind of stumbled into it frankly, a few years ago, my marketing lead, uh, Caleb, uh, who, uh, I think, uh, you know, as well, um, he’s like, Hey, you know, you should start a podcast. And he’s thinking like, and I’m like, well, I don’t know. Like, I don’t want to do a podcast. Seems like a lot of work. I’m still working 68, 80 hours a week. Sometimes, you know, I got, I got a family. And then, you know, what I realized was people would ask me questions and I like to help. I like to share. I’ve been helped a lot, you know? So I’d write an email, I’d have a phone call and then a month would go by. I have the same email or phone call and then two weeks would go by then a week, went by. And then I was writing the same emails and having the same conversations, you know, every week.
Chris Larsen (25:24):
And I thought, well, podcast is a great idea because I can curate this information. And I started to write a blog and then killed thought, I should. He’s like, Hey, you could write a book. So I formatted it and being an engineer, I kind of came up with this structure and I actually only, it took me two weeks to write my book. So you actually get a free copy at next level, income.com. We have a book link there, um, if you’re listening. Um, but it was a really fun experience to figure that out. And you’ve written a couple books. So you, you know, you know, now it took like two months to edit, so it wasn’t done in two weeks. But, um, so all that started happening. And then what I realized was there was a real thirst, there was a real need. And you know, when you get those phone calls, like I just had a phone call from a young gentlemen and he literally called and said, Chris you’ve changed my life.
Chris Larsen (26:08):
Wow. And I had two conversations with this guy, and that was the second one. And so the first convert, he, he was reading the podcast, he’s reading the blog, you know, listen to the podcast. I had one conversation with him, you know, and he said, you you’ve changed. I actually said our lives, my wife and I, and I was like, wow, like, that’s really cool when you hear something like that. And it’s like, okay, how can you, how can I help more people? Um, you know, so, uh, what we’ve done next level of income, the mission is to help people achieve financial independence through education and opportunities. So education is the first thing. We try to provide education to help people make more money, keep more of your money because that’s what matters at the end of the day. The IRS is very complex with its tax code.
Chris Larsen (26:55):
So if you can have a proper tax strategy, real estate is wonderful for these things. You can ultimately keep more of your money. And then once you have that money, how has it work for you? How do you grow your money? So it’s called the mic keeping growth strategy. And then the other part of next level income is opportunities. So we talk about education and opportunities. So we have opportunities to invest in what I love, which is multifamily, self storage of. We also do some commercial office. Uh, you and I were just talking about our first mobile home park that closed here recently in South Carolina, which was a kind of an adventure. Um, so, you know, it’s, and people can have their own opportunities as well to do that. So it’s really helping them, you know, figure out the information and then ultimately giving them the opportunities that are out there.
Chris Larsen (27:42):
And then the coaching that we’re working on and expanding going into 2022 is again, it’s to help people, you know, take that information and then actually apply it and have an accountability process through that. And then ultimately have a community that we’re building behind the scenes. So now this means you can talk to people like you and I have, we were talking about mentors when you and I were on the show, you know, have mentors or partners, um, or potential future partners that can help you on your path. So, you know, as we build out the quote unquote ecosystem of next level of income, that gives you kind of a sneak peak going into the future here. That’s I think that having those little tidbits or feedback that someone you helping someone for the better is just mostly, it just must make you feel so much, so much more empowered to keep, keep going on what your, this journey that you created for yourself.
Reed Goossens (28:34):
So well done. I applaud you for everything you’re doing. Um, what, I guess the next question from that is you mentioned what you’re investing in today. You said you do a whole slew of things, multifamily, um, you know, commercial office, self storage, what’s been the most interesting deals or asset type that you, you, you liked in today’s market. Yeah. So started, I mean, I call it, look my book, it says right on here, the holy grail of real estate. So I call, I call multi-family the holy grail apartments, the holy grail. I go all through it in my book, like why I think it’s the holy grill. Um, and that’s the bulk of what we invest in and what, um, we have most of our personal money invested in. Um, but I also, um, I’m not blind to the fact that the world’s changing. So mobile homes, for instance, like when we first started in multifamily, we were buying seventies, eighties ventures properties.
Chris Larsen (29:25):
So I think as cap rates have compressed, and I know, you know, the, you know, the market really, really well read. Um, I was concerned that, you know, investors would not be rewarded for the risks they’re taking in some of these lower caliber properties. Whereas I think mobile home, there’s still that opportunity out there. And if you look at mobile home, if you look at self storage, which are two recent additions to our portfolio, personal portfolios and offerings, I look at the drivers. So multi-family, it’s owned institutionally. Like we were talking about kind of some of the adventures in the mobile home park and, you know, um, institutions and professionals are really trading, buying, improving, selling multi-family deals like these big institutional quality Mo Mo Mo multi-family deals like you on mobile home parks, self storage, they’re smaller deals. And, you know, if 75 to 80% of these big multi-family deals are owned by large players or institutions, it’s the inverse in mobile homes and self storage.
Chris Larsen (30:22):
So there’s some inefficiencies in those markets, which is why you have sellers. Like we were dealing with that, we’re doing some things that were probably not legal, shall we say? Um, and they don’t run them well, so there’s inefficiencies that can be exploited. So I think there’s some opportunities in self storage, um, and mobile home. Um, and then, uh, again, there’s, you know, there’s some other things that we do, uh, within next level income. I like we talk about using cash value, life insurance, to help optimize your investment flows in and out, protect your family and do things like that. So, um, but from the investment perspective, it’s going to be multifamily. It’s going to be self storage, mobile homes. Um, and we also do the odd commercial office project as well in select markets. That’s that’s awesome. And what markets are you in? You know, that’s probably a good segue into yeah.
Reed Goossens (31:13):
Where are you investing around the country? Is it in your backyard or you investing across a, the other side of the over USA? Yeah. Well, my, my story isn’t quite as dramatic as yours. I didn’t move around the world to find, um, you know, my, my American dream, so to speak, but I did move from Maryland to North Carolina. So I grew up in Maryland, went to school in Virginia and my wife and I were living just across the border, uh, in Virginia. Um, just, just like we could see DC from our condo really close. Um, it was, it was a fun area, but I was looking at the demographics. So I got into the medical device industry because of the demographics. I mean, there’s no secret that baby boomers were working out. They needed surgery, they’re living longer. So I was an orthopedic sales spine, orthopedic spine sales because of the demographics, multifamily appealed to me because of the demographics.
Chris Larsen (32:03):
And I thought, well, if I’m going to work, if I’m going to buy real estate, I should do it where people are moving. So I looked around the country. I also looked at areas that, and I still have the spreadsheet, by the way. Um, I was just organizing my files this past week. And it says where to live is my name of my spreadsheet. Um, and I, I stack ranked all these cities just like you and I do when we go through, you know, multi-family, um, properties and areas of the country. And I said, man, Southeast is going to be where people are going to be moving. And remember, this is almost 20 years ago that I was doing this. Um, so look looked around the Southeast, also looked at Colorado, Arizona, some other areas, um, uh, didn’t look at Texas, although that’s one of our target markets.
Chris Larsen (32:42):
So we moved to the Southeast, but we don’t invest in the Southeast because we live here. We live here because we invest here, if that makes sense. So, uh, the markets that we own properties in or own properties in, um, Atlanta, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and we’re focused mostly on secondary markets. So we’re talking about like Charlotte Raleigh, Charleston, Greenville, uh, Orlando is not really a secondary market anymore. It’s a, probably top five market, um, today. Um, but we also like Texas as well. So some of the bigger markets which, uh, compliments do you for being in Texas, um, it’s been on a tear, absolute tear here. Um, you know, some of the self storage deals were a little bit more spread out because there’s some secondary and tertiary opportunities that we exploited. But, uh, those markets that I just mentioned are the big ones that, uh, we really like, and we’re very bullish on going forward.
Chris Larsen (33:30):
And the, the COVID pandemic has just put an accelerant fuel on the fire for those markets. Yeah, same exact same thing across our chosen markets and, you know, tracking where jobs are going and where, you know, movement of populations. And, um, just the shift in how, uh, you know, jobs, you know, good paying jobs are moving to the secondary tertiary markets and thus that’s having an effect on, uh, rental prices. So I think you’re going to see it across a lot of different asset classes. Like you mentioned, mobile home parks, self storage, um, obviously office space and in the multi-family space. So awesome stuff. Um, where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years? Both personally and in your business? Yeah. I’m trying to think bigger. Like it’s, it’s interesting this year has been fantastic. Um, so, you know, we’re gonna continue to grow the real estate portfolio.
Chris Larsen (34:18):
We’re over 2000 units now, um, five years, I think, you know, 5,000 to 10,000 doors, uh, this is a target there, but really the coaching business, you know, we’re looking to expand that here as well, and, you know, not forgetting the first thing that I kinda mentioned there, you know, my kids, my boys are nine and 11 and I see first and foremost, you know, being, being with them and being an integral part of their lives as they become young men and, you know, doing more trips with them, more, more bike rides. Uh, and I’ll probably still be here in Asheville because it gives us a really great quality of life as we work towards all those things. Stuff might look at the end of every show. We like to dive into the top five investing tips, you’re ready to get into it. Absolutely let’s do it.
Reed Goossens (35:00):
What is the daily habit you practice to keep on track two, we’ll do a goals. I’ve been meditating for over five years. And you know, my, my, my doctor told me, uh, over five years ago, he’s like, Chris, you don’t need to like speed up. You need to slow your brain down. So just getting up meditating for 15 to 20 minutes every morning and remembering what I’m grateful for, and then focusing on what my big objective is like, you know, the long-term objective, not diving right in to emails. Uh, but focusing on that, that thing that I’m really kind of trying to move as a big rock has really helped me over the past five years. That’s also me. I can’t tell you how much meditation has helped me in my personal life as well. It’s just taking, slowing down, but also being, um, what’s the word, uh, you know, really intentional about what you’re going to attack the day within, not just filling it up with busy work.
Reed Goossens (35:52):
So, so, so it’s a lot of that sort of stuff. A question who’s the most influential person in your career in my career? Wow. That’s uh, um, I would say, so talking about my real estate career versus my, my investing career, um, the first group I invested with, um, the they’re still friends of mine, Chad and Dan. Um, they not only really introduced me to this space, but also helped my original partner and I get through our first deal. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t, if I didn’t mention them. Um, but in my book, I talk about, uh, our family friend, Clint preventa, and he’s the one that introduced me to both cycling as well as investing. And both of those things helped me develop the habits and skills and the relationships that ultimately put me on that investing path to end up meeting those two gentlemen as well.
Reed Goossens (36:48):
That’s awesome. I love a lot of that sort of stuff. Um, the question Mister is what’s the most influential tool in your business? When I say tool, it could be a physical tool, like a, a journal or your phone, or it could be a piece of software. What is it? Yeah. So I recently started implementing a new system, a new piece of software called notion and O T I O N. And it’s, I’m actually in the middle of a course right now that I’m going through. Um, and it’s really helping me pull together, you know, all the different parts of my, um, my organization from a family and health perspective, but also from a business perspective. So, um, like Trello is, is a nice system to organize projects and you can do stuff like that within it. Um, and I, I just started working with a VA, so being able to prioritize and then, and then hand off those tasks and outsource, um, after we’ve kind of really optimized, the systems has been huge.
Reed Goossens (37:40):
That’s awesome. That’s awesome stuff. Cool, man. Uh, the question was, what has, what has been the biggest failure or lesson in your life and what did you learn from them? We may have already spoken about it, but what is it been in, in sort of one sentence in one sentence?
Chris Larsen (37:58):
Um, so that was the caveat. Now, can I make it one sentence? Um, so I think, uh, thinking too small and I can, I can apply that to multiple different things. So I’ll expand on it just, just very briefly. And, you know, I think a lot of people have this scarcity mindset when they start out and they think small, or they’re like, I don’t want to tell anybody about this idea I have, because, you know, they might take the idea and do it instead of me. And I transform that mindset over the past several years into what I’m calling abundance mindset and thinking like there’s enough deals for everybody, there’s enough money for everybody.
Chris Larsen (38:36):
And that allowed me to expand my network. And really when you expand your network and start connecting people and have people help connect you, um, that reverses that whole thing. So if you, if you don’t have a mentor, if you don’t have a network, if you don’t have accountability, if you’re not sharing ideas with other people and learning from somebody and teaching other people, change your mindset, have an abundant mindset, surround yourself with people that have a similar mindset and are willing to share and help others grow. It will do amazing things for you. I completely agree. That’s so thinking too small as probably some things that we all get stuck on. And I think you mentioned earlier in the show about how there’s so many people you come across in the professional world that has done and how they take that to wean themselves off the W2 income.
Reed Goossens (39:23):
Cause it’s all about mindset. So I love it. Cool. Last question was where can people reach you to continue the conversation they want to be in your sphere? Where do they go?
Chris Larsen (39:30):
Yeah. Next level income.com next level income.com. As I mentioned, you can get our book for free there. You can also reach out to me, email@example.com. Uh, if there’s anything that I’ve mentioned today and I can help you out with, on your personal journey towards financial independence, please let me know.
Reed Goossens (39:45):
No some stuff might, well, I want to thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to jump on the show. I want to just, you know, reflect some of the feedback that I took away from today’s show. I think the biggest thing is in around, you know, uh, you know, being, knowing that you’re valuable, right? And, and understanding through certain lessons in life, that you can be more than what you originally thought of yourself.
Reed Goossens (40:06):
And you came through some, some early lessons, some lessons early on in your life that you were able to pull upon to say, Hey, I’ve got more to give. Um, I’ve got more to, to, to, to live for. Uh, and that has helped me put your mindset into perspective of being really intentional about what you do when you die and how you go back about, you know, one achieving financial freedom for yourself, but then getting to a point where you are now at a position to share it with others has really been a true Testament to yourself and how you’ve grown as a human, I think, through some early challenges in your life. So, um, so says, firstly, well done, but secondly, did I leave anything out? No, it’s fantastic, man. Awesome stuff. Well, look again, thank you so much for jumping on today’s show.
Reed Goossens (40:51):
Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon. Thank you very well. They have another cracking episode full of some incredible advice from Chris. If you do want to get a check out of any his stuff, remember to head up to next level income.com and remember to get a copy of his free book. It’s widely, um, widely really, really well available. And it’s a cracking book to get your hands on, to really learn more about what you can do with your, with, with what you have today. If you are a professional, looking to try and break out of your W2 income, really highly encouraged people to go there and check out Chris. Remember, thank you all again for taking some time Addy data tuning to continue to grow your financial IQ. Remember if you are interested in investing with myself and checking out some of the deals going on, head over to reduce and stop calming, click on invest grade, and we’re going to do this all again next week. Remember be bold, be brave and go give life a crack.