Being smart about real estate investing requires being smart about money because, ultimately, it’s a money game. Monick Halm’s guest for this episode has both real estate and the money side covered, and she is going to impart her knowledge and experience about making it in the industry. She is Rita Boccuzzi, a real estate investor, a financial intelligence expert, and a motivational speaker. Having gone through her own struggles as a woman who had to live on a lot less when she was diagnosed with cancer, Rita has become more passionate about helping women and middle-income Americans be smarter about money. She shares some of those money strategies that we can also use in our real estate investing journey. At the heart of Rita’s success is surrounding herself with like-minded people who can guide her. She extends that same success secret to us through her Wine, Women & Wealth events, which help bridge financial education to communities that need it.
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Interview With Rita Boccuzzi – On Wine, Women, Wealth & Real Estate
I’m here with another great interview with a real estate investing goddess of a woman who is a real estate investor. Our guest is not only a real estate investor, but she is a financial intelligence expert. Being smart about real estate investing requires being smart about money. Ultimately, it’s a money game. Our guest, Rita Boccuzzi, helps women be smarter about money. She is a financial intelligence expert and motivational speaker. She’s passionately committed to guiding women and middle Americans to achieve financial peace of mind.
That includes transforming money conversations, releasing money confusion, expanding their financial knowledge, and building confidence regarding money and wealth. All of which are supremely important if you want to be successful with real estate investing or anything financial. Rita leads Wine, Women & Wealth events, and Money 101 educational workshops in the Southern California area. She’s CEO of Flourish Inc. and partnered with Five Rings Financial. She educates you through her heartfelt mission to reform how you think, plan, interact and live out your investment and financial life. I am thrilled to have her here with us. Welcome, Rita.
Thanks, Monick. I am thrilled to be here with such an amazing woman like yourself and such a wonderful real estate goddess. You truly inspire me and I love being surrounded by like-minded women and sharing with like-minded women about finances and empowering ourselves so that we can elevate to that next level and make our best decisions for ourselves. You do that by getting educated just like you’re doing with this show. Thank you for having me. I am honored and truly appreciate it.
You’re a soul sister. You are one mind about the importance for women, money, and abundance, so I’m thrilled to have you. I want to share your story. You have an inspiring story. You’re a real estate investor. How did you get started in real estate investing?
It started a long time ago when I was 21. My initial reason for investing was because I wanted to move out of my house on my own and sustain. Growing up, I watched several friends of my parents become successful through their real estate investing. That inspired me to say, “That’s the avenue I want to go.” From age 16 to 20, I put enough money aside to put it down on my first condo. That was my first real estate investment many years ago and then my second one was when I was 25. That bug bit me. I loved it because just seeing how you can create passive income and create a self-sustaining lifestyle from real estate was exciting. I was young and I was still learning a lot for sure. I want to teach my kids, too.
That’s super inspiring that you were thinking about putting money aside as a teenager. It’s one of those things like, “If I had known this, where would I be now?” That’s awesome. Where are you with your investments?
There are life events that happen in life, and where I’m at is I have one real estate that is a buy and hold rental and I have an equity partnership. I know we’re going to go over some more things of how I got here and why. I’ve done some trust deed investing. I like the buy and hold. There’s something about giving somebody home and benefiting, and you’re also having that win for me. There were some life events that shifted in my life that created a change. One of them was the 2008 market crash and the other piece of it was not having enough education and support to understand that what I was doing and the steps I was taking were great. Also, to keep on that path versus jumping off of that path, thinking I was doing something better. That leads to where I made mistakes along the way and the things that shifted where I would have had a different story.
Tell us a little bit more about your story. What happened for you?With our life lessons, we could either cry over them or do something about creating a change that's better for other people in the future. Click To Tweet
It’s a little challenging because where I’m at is related to what’s transpired along the way. What transpired along the way was I was looking at things with uneducated eyes. I did a few things right. I had a few people helping me out but I didn’t have things vetted or verified right. One of the things that I would just look at was upside potentials on things. When my properties increased in value, instead of holding on to them, I sold my first two. Had I not done that, I would have at least $1.3 million in equity, free and clear within $1,200 to $1,400, possibly $1,800 in cashflow passive income earnings. That’s one of the things that happened because you’re on one track but then you’re not realizing that if you veer one way or the other, it’s going to create a big shift. I was looking only at the aspect of appreciation and getting the money out of the appreciation. I’m not thinking about the other effects of maybe the economy like the 2008 situation. Nor was I thinking that I would ever have a health event along the way, which also happened.
Tell us a little bit more about that and what that did for you.
I had several health events, but the biggest one was when I was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately enough for me, it was only Stage I, and I had to go through treatment. To go in a succession of orders, I had those properties. The markets went up and I sold them, but I didn’t sell them at the top. I was working in corporate and believing the myths that I had everything in place for me if anything should ever happen. In 2008, the real estate market did affect me as a small investor, despite the fact that I did have some good coaching and experts involved. As we all know, when the government gets involved, the game changes and most of us couldn’t expect what had happened at that time.
That happened and depleted half of my resources. The one good thing is I had planned enough and had had enough coaching, education, and knowledge that my reserves helped in keeping me from going into foreclosure. Two years later, I had my life event. I was diagnosed with cancer. Not understanding the fact that because I was in corporate and I had all my benefits from my corporate job, those benefits would just disappear after four months of being sick. At a time when I needed it most, to have that blow was hard. Learning the hard way while I was sick that I did need some life-saving treatment during that time period. Only to find out that that life-saving treatment, because they were in the form of injections, was covered under a drug formulary.
It wasn’t about whether it was life or death, it now became an approved drug which was then not covered. When you’re sick, as anybody knows, we all have our income that comes into our lives and we all have our expenses that come into our life. Hopefully, our income is always above our expenses but when you’re sick, that’s not typically what happens. Your income takes a dive, your expenses go up like it did with mine, and you’re living on a lot less. Trying to get healthy, you shouldn’t be worrying about your finances. That was what I was doing because a year prior, I had learned about benefits that could have protected me from that situation. That’s what brought me to teaching, especially women and middle-income America.
The types of benefits, plans, strategies, and choices that we can make for these benefits are not readily being taught. People are still being told what to do. They’re not being taught so they could make their own decisions. I like teaching and empowering people so that they can make their best decision. If I had been taught, it would have been a much different story for me because I was 43 at the time, I was diagnosed that I was sick. As a healthy soccer mom, I was in the corporate world and I have all my benefits. Life is good and everything’s okay. I thought, “I can wait until January to get this done.”
I got sick in November, so two months shy, which made all the difference in the world of having any choice of what I could implement if I could turn on an income or have some other reserve other than doing what I had to do. It was to deplete the rest of my cash reserves, my accounts, and tap into the equity of our home. To have been better prepared to protect those assets for other things and tap into something else, I wish I had known at the time, but I didn’t. All we can do with our life lessons are we could either cry over them or we can do something about creating a change that’s better for other people in the future. That’s what I chose, which is to teach people how to do that.
That’s what we do with our classes. Part of it is our relationship with money and what we’ve been taught. Has that discussion happened in our home with us growing up from our parents or have we learned it in school? If we haven’t, where can we tap into these resources without paying multiple six figures or five figures to learn about all of this? That is possible. At the time, I didn’t know that so I spent a lot of money learning about all this because nothing was available at the time. Things are changing and I’m happy and excited about that. It is changing for all of us in many ways.
I want to highlight a couple of the things that you said. This is partly why I am passionate about helping women create passive income streams through real estate. Having these real estate properties that not only are you getting passive income that’s not tied to your job, but there’s also equity you can tap into. Many of us are taught that the way you get money is to work for it. You got a job and you trade your time for money. You might put some into a retirement account that goes into stocks that you can have when you retire, but people don’t think, “What would happen if I got sick and I can’t work?” I had to deal with this with my brother, who had cancer. It’s not just you who can’t work. It’s often the spouse can’t work too, because they’re taking you to appointments. There are a lot of expenses that show up that are unexpected, so having plans B and C and having other sources of income is crucial. From what you experienced, you turned out to become a financial intelligence expert. Why do you think there are so much money confusion and lack of financial intelligence out there?
One of the things that I say along with my associates that I work with is that “It’s not a lack of money problem. It’s a lack of money education problem.” I hear it all the time. The school should be doing a better job of that. The reality is the schools have a business model that’s been working for many years, and it’s still working for them, and it isn’t up to the schools to teach us about money unless you specifically are going to school for a business or economic education. The reality is we have our households and we deal with money that comes in and goes out likely on a daily basis, so you’re dealing with that resource of money every day and it is up to us to find the ways to learn about that.
That’s what I was doing. I felt strongly about that. “If somebody should be teaching my children, then why not me? How can I find out?” At the time when I was coming out of my sickness, the only thing I could think about is I could go back to school and learn about finance. For me, the book part of it and the theory part of it wasn’t as good as learning from people who have had experiences. If somebody has done real estate investing, do you want to learn from somebody who’s walked the walk or do you want to learn from somebody who’s teaching you from a book? For me, it made more sense to learn from somebody who’s walked the walk.
I took several of these courses with people who have amassed wealth and now they were teaching about it, so I felt it was a wise investment for me because my intention was to leverage that and then go back and share it with the world and teach it. Women are the nurturers of our communities and when we learn something great, we share it. We teach our children and our friends. We bring them along for anything that’s a great ride. We want everybody to win and do well. That’s why the focus on women is to build confidence around that money relationship. Start having the conversations we typically haven’t had, get away from the societal-isms that are the negative of that, start to create that mindset, self-develop, and also use the knowledge. It’s a more holistic way of approaching money and doing it with fun and positive experiences. If you have a negative experience with it, do you want to approach it? Typically, they’ll say no. Let’s start to enjoy ourselves, learn, and grow together. That’s how I view it all.
If somebody wants to become a real estate investor, ultimately, you have to have a healthy relationship with money because it’s a money thing or money issue. I want to jump a little bit to a slightly different topic related to something you teach about. Rita and I had coffee one time and she was telling me about this product that can be used in real estate investing. I want to talk about this because it’s something that a lot of people don’t know about. I thought it was fascinating, and that is tax-free index accounts. Can you share with us what is a tax-free index account and how can a real estate investor use one?
I’m going to give you a definition that’s from Tony Robbins. I don’t know if you had the opportunity or anybody out there has had the opportunity to read MONEY Master the Game, which is this giant encyclopedia of a book. For a lot of people, I recommend Audible. That makes it a lot easier to go through. He specifically defined index accounts as the ability to passively own the upside of the market while protecting your money from the downside. An account of a tax-free index account is an account that grows tax-deferred and money can come out of it tax-free. This is something I sit down and review with our clients. If you’re a real estate investor, you’re building your money into this account or putting your money into this account. At one point, you can have the money coming out and you can utilize that money to invest in whatever piece of real estate that you want. This is something I have specific conversations with my clients about.
This is something we discuss a lot and we’re intentional about what is going on and what we’re doing so that we make sure everything is done right. That money all the while is still also growing in that other account. This way, you have that money that you know you never want to lose structured correctly, and then at the same time, you’re leveraging so that you can grow your money, whether it’s a buy and hold passive income. You’re creating two passive income streams of money for yourself, and that’s a simple way to do it. This is why we do the Money 101 workshop, which is six key money principles. We do go into more detail, but that’s about a 50-minute class and it’s free for people. We do offer that by invitation. We do it on a webinar or we do it live around Los Angeles County, but also down in the San Diego County area. People can jump in and see a live class if they want to do better in a live setting versus a virtual setting, but we do have both.If something is right for you, it's right for you, and if it's not, that's okay. You've learned something new. Click To Tweet
I want to highlight one thing that you said and why these tax-free index accounts are super interesting. Your same dollar invested, because you’re structuring it, can be invested in two things and growing at the same time simultaneously. It’s amazing. You have on one hand this market account that is taking advantage of gains in the stock market but not having losses and you can “borrow” or pull out a certain amount of money from that account. You’re invested in real estate at the same time that’s growing in this other account and you’re investing it in real estate. This is a super cool product.
What adds to that and is cool is that contractually guaranteed to have a 0% loss because it’s in an index account. It’s not in the fund. It’s like being on the sidelines participating. You’re not in the stock market participating. There’s no loss on top of it all.
I have one like that. It’s a little different. It’s always growing, so it’s a minimum of 1% but it is maxed out at 4%. I’m getting up to 12%. I’m getting no less than 1%. There are no losses and I’m able to pull out and reinvest in other things. It’s a super interesting product and something to think about and maybe put into your financial planning. I wanted to share that because I remember us talking about it.
I think that it’s important to be curious enough to learn and to see. I’m one of those people. I love learning. If something is right for you, it’s right for you. If it’s not, that’s okay. You’ve learned something new and it’s not too good to be true because there is that ceiling, like in your case, it’s 12%. While it’s a good product, it’s guaranteed, your money is growing. You’re doing the real estate and you’re maximizing. This is what wealthy people like the Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts have been doing for a long time.
Part of building wealth is growing it and then part of building wealth is not losing it. I know you touched upon it but I want to get back to this question. I always ask this to every guest. We learn more from our mistakes than we learn when things are seemingly well. What was your biggest mistake in your real estate investing career and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake was selling. I was naive and I was talked into it saying, “This was the market high. Get what you can right now and then you can go from there.” In all reality, I should have listened to more than one opinion. I should have had three opinions. I like to do that now. A girlfriend of mine taught me that that’s a real estate investor as well. The other thing that I talked about is education is while I paid so much for it, there’s so much available to us. The real estate investment groups that are out there, I highly recommend people getting educated, and I wished I had known about that. One of the things that I do to keep my success going is to surround myself with mentors, teachers, trainers, coaches, accountability partners, and people that I can constantly go to. Make sure that I’m making the right decision and get three opinions. They may all be the same and that’s awesome. Two may be the same or if they’re all three different, then I’m going to keep going to make sure what I’m doing is making the best sense. In other words, vetting what I’m doing.
The flip side to that question is, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve always been curious and I no longer let people talk me into things. I go and I learn. When I learn something great, then I help share it. What I’m most proud of is being able to create a shift in other people’s lives and they have opportunities that maybe I otherwise did not have at the time or I did not see. What I’m most proud of is being able to help people get to do what I didn’t get to do at the time.
To what do you attribute your success?
My success is because of surrounding myself with like-minded people, always being resilient, looking forward, and having the best mentors, trainers, and teachers around me all the time. I definitely could not do it without an army and having an amazing accountability partner who poses the question. You always want to ask yourself the right questions. Sometimes, I’m stuck and I don’t know what that is. When I’m talking to one of those people, they’ll ask me a question that will help me to think and guide myself in the right direction.
What advice would you give a woman just starting in the field of real estate investing? Another way of asking is, what do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
Honestly, for real estate investing, I wish that I had started attending REAs with the sole intention of learning, hearing, and seeing what resonated with me because there are many facets to real estate investing. Find people that resonate with you and the information and education, and then learn it well. A lot of it can be learned by going to these groups and then there are a lot of different programs but find the one that is right for you. It doesn’t need to be this big, expensive education like I did. I could have saved a lot of money by maybe going to REAs in my local area for six months, going to them regularly, getting the best view of what resonated with me, choose that, and then go from there. That will save people thousands of dollars.
We’re going to end this as I usually do, which is with the trinity. Before we get into the trinity, what’s the best way for people to reach you and find out more about what you do in your classes and events?
The best way to find out about classes is I have a Meetup group called Wine, Women & Wealth. Men and women can join the meetup. Ladies are the only ones that can attend the Wine, Women & Wealth, and the Money 101 six key money principles class is co-ed for men and ladies. All those are free learning for people so that they can start getting educated and being around like-minded people. They can email me at [email protected]. They can also text me if they’d like at (818) 276-5375.To make sure that you are making the right decision, get three opinions. Click To Tweet
We’re going to end with the trinity. The trinity is a brag, what you are celebrating, one thing you’re grateful for, and one thing you desire. What are you bragging?
What I’m bragging about is things are expanding out here in the LA County area. We’re going to be having the Wine, Women & Wealth, and the six key money principles done in what I call Spanglish, so Spanish and English. Bridging communities and getting that education out there for the communities that need it. We’re expanding in the LA area and growing. I’m always looking for more people who want to expand, grow, and love what they do. This is taking off like gangbusters because people love it. They want it and they need it. We need it and we’re going to be changing the way wealth is done generationally. I can see it, can feel it, and it’s happening, and that’s awesome. That’s my brag.
I’ve been to an event, yummy wine and food. I went to the Wine, Women & Wealth event. Super fun ladies and there’s great energy. If you’re in Southern California, definitely check her out. What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for my faith and my resilience. Together they go hand in hand because I know as entrepreneurs and investors, life will happen. Things go up. Things go down. If you always have that vision, that why, that mission, and something that’s heartfelt that you know you believe in, it keeps you going. Honestly, I’m grateful for feeling and knowing my purpose in life that keeps me resilient and ever faithful to keep on moving forward.
Last but not least, what’s one thing you desire?
On the business side, I want to elevate middle-income America. I want to cut the bankruptcy rate in half, which is 62% due to medical-related issues that hit my heart. I want that to stop and we can cut that in half by educating people. I also want to travel a lot more with family and enjoy life. I want other people to be able to do that, and I believe we all can.
So shall your desires be or so much better than you can imagine under grace and imperfectly.
You’re welcome. Thank you for this fantastic interview, sharing your story and knowledge with us. You can find her by going on meetup and checking out Wine, Women & Wealth, and [email protected], and she also left a phone number. Thank you. You can connect with me on the RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com website. There, you can get a free eBook, The Real Estate Success Blueprint: 7 Crucial Steps Every Woman Must Take to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor. You can also join the REIG Investor Club, which gives you access to all sorts of cool real estate investments. That is there plus so much more. Get in touch and we will catch you next time for another Real Estate Investor Goddess interview.
- Wine, Women & Wealth
- Money 101
- Flourish Inc.
- Five Rings Financial
- MONEY Master the Game
- Audible – MONEY Master the Game
- [email protected]
- Wine, Women & Wealth – Meetup group
- The Real Estate Success Blueprint: 7 Crucial Steps Every Woman Must Take to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor
- REIG Investor Club
About Rita Boccuzzi
Rita is an entrepreneur, financial intelligence expert, motivational speaker and radio & TV host who is passionately committed to leading women in business to achieve financial peace of mind by transforming money conversations, developing a positive money relationship by expanding their financial knowledge to gain the success they dream of.
Rita’s curiosity about the differences between those who had enough financially and those who did not started at an early age. After multiple financial losses, she studied finances and wealth with the industry masters. Learning from these life lessons her mission and commitment is to lead and inspire by educating and empowering women to achieve financial independence by getting to the core issues on how women relate to money along with teaching practical strategies.
Rita currently works with women who desire to take charge of their financial future, expand their knowledge, and build their confidence regarding money and wealth. She leads a community where women learn to feel great about money through workshops and programs to transform how you think, plan, interact and live out a successful financial life!
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