Starting off in corporate, Shaniqua Nicole had a successful career climbing the corporate ladder in the financial industry at Merrill Lynch and Hewitt. After saving six figures and realizing that her peers were lacking the knowledge she had learned, she took the leap of faith to help her peers. On today’s show, Shaniqua sits down with Monick Halm to share how she got started in real estate investing and how, through the Opulence Financial Group, she is helping high-achieving Millennials to make money and grow and protect their wealth.
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The Millennials’ Guide To Wealth And Financial Freedom With Shaniqua Nicole
On this show, I interview incredible badass women who are investing in real estate and crushing it in their lives. I am excited to have with me Shaniqua Nicole, The Millennial Money Maven. She’s a serial entrepreneur, mom, wife, mentor and wealth strategist on a mission to change the face of wealth and to empower others financially. She started off in corporate. She had a successful career in climbing the corporate ladder in the financial industry at Merrill Lynch. She had saved six figures and came to realize that her peers were lacking the same knowledge she had learned. She is the eldest of eight siblings, with the teenage parents. She’s a natural-born leader and took the leap of faith to help her peers build a wealth management agency, Opulence Financial Group, where she helps high-achieving Millennials to make grow and protect their wealth. Real estate has been a part of that journey for her. I’m excited to have her with us. Welcome, Shaniqua.
Thank you so much. How are you?
I am great. You have an unusual story of how you got started in real estate investing. Please share, how did that start for you?
I would say for the last years, I have been too afraid to start my real estate journey. I’m the oldest of eight siblings and I was born to teenage parents. They always told me to go to college and get a job, and I did that. I worked at one of the top financial firms in the world. I thought that life was everything at that point, but I always knew that I wanted to invest, I wanted to build wealth and I felt like my job wasn’t fulfilling. I was 21 years old, I was looking at buying my first property. At that time, my mentors and the people that I looked up to were my parents’ friends and they weren’t real estate people. Everybody has many negative things to say. They scared the crap out of me for years, until I built up the guts to finally bite the bullet and purchase my first property.
Share how you purchased that first property.
Being the worst person that I am, I know this story is crazy, but I got tired of my own crap. I said, “I have the money sitting. You never invest more than you can afford to lose. What the heck?” You’re going to do this thing and figure it out as we go. Being a mom, wife, and business owner, what I knew going into my first real estate deal is that I didn’t want to overleverage myself. I wanted to be able to buy something cash. I wanted to be able to cashflow that property. I’m in the cashflow accumulation part of my wealth building. That’s the way that we get to financial freedom.
You pay all the bills and the investments and all of my goals with passive income. That’s where my mind was and that’s what I wanted to do. I knew that real estate was a safe way to do it. I had money in the stock market. I’m like, “We’re going to do it.” With the amount of money that I have, it wasn’t a lot. I knew that I wanted to be around $25,000 cash. I started researching, “Where could I buy houses for under $40,000, $50,000?” Between great Instagram, YouTube University and some of the friends that I have, it led me to Detroit. I eventually stumbled across HubZu.com. I started to check out some of the houses, see how much they cost, see how much they look. I also started to build my network in Detroit. I’m like, “If we’re going to do this, I want to make sure that I prepare and at least I’m giving myself the best shot at doing a good job and not throwing money down the drain.” Simultaneously, I started to bid on houses. I did not win the first one I bid on. I’m like, “This is a joke, I’m never going to win one of these on my auction properties.” Then one day, I won.
Tell us about this property. How much did you pay? How big is it?
It is three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath, brick home in Detroit. Detroit is a rough neighborhood, but it’s running for $9,000. I paid $18,000 for it. I invested $20,000 into the reno. I have a loving family living there. Because I come from a single mother, my goal was always to provide safe, affordable and nice housing to single mothers. We found one, I did the house really nice so that she can be proud. She can be in a safe place, even if you’re living in an environment that might not be the best. She’s trying to make the best out of her life. I’m excited to continue to do this over and over again.
You’re saying you’re making $9,000 off of a house that you’ve put $38,000 into?You need to take advice from people who are actually doing what you want to do successfully. Click To Tweet
Yes. I make $900 a month. It’s little more than $1,000 a year. I pay a property manager 10%, so about $9,000 for a year.
That’s a good ROI.
That’s why I’m going back either to Detroit or Chicago. Those are the two markets that I’m looking into. I would say the next deal for me is going to be a group deal. I’ll have a group of women that we’re building our relationship and trying to syndicate a deal there.
I want to circle back to something you said at the beginning when you were talking about all of the negative things you heard for years from people who never invested in real estate. What were some of the things that they were saying that kept you from taking action? Let’s talk about this.
A lot of times, we live in fear because of where we come from. I come from a single-mother household. She wanted me to get a good job and be safe more importantly. Parents and people can make you scared to do anything. First of all, my mom did own her house once I was a little older. I’ve seen some of the things she went through. We had a house fire, lost everything. It was so expensive. She went in so much debt and eventually bankruptcy behind it. She was scoring there. It was like the taxes in New Jersey are expensive, the real estate is expensive. You don’t want to tie yourself down to an area that you don’t know if you want to be there. I was going to college at the time, but I wanted to buy a condo. I’m like, “I’m not going to live with my mom forever.” I moved out while I was in college, I got an apartment but I wanted to buy a condo. She talked me out of it, but I know better. I know that there are college students that want their own property, want an apartment or off-campus living. If I had known then what I know now, it would have been student housing after I decided to leave New Jersey. She scared the crap out of myself.
Hindsight is 2020, I’m glad you shared that because it’s important for our readers to realize that there are a lot of people very well-meaning, they love you, they want you to be safe. They don’t want you to be hurt, but you need to take advice from people who are doing what you want to do successfully. If you’re wanting to learn how to invest in real estate and you want to invest in real estate, talk to people who are successfully investing in real estate and ask them for advice. Whereas somebody who’s never gotten into real estate investment, it’s not very helpful.
I was only 21 years old and I didn’t even look at it as if I was investing in real estate. I want to own house or condo for myself. I never even looked at it as real estate. Because I have a cousin that was in real estate, I would have gone and reach out to him and he would have gladly help. I got stuck for years and here we are.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistake in real estate was not having the full team like I want it. I wanted to have a property manager and they’re managing the renovation for me in Detroit. She was busy at that time and I was like, “We’ve got to get it done at the house now.” I didn’t have it. I could have probably spent $10,000 on the renovation. I ended up spending $20,000 because I wasn’t there to watch it. We had snow and COVID. It was a longer drawn-out process. I could have an even higher return a little sooner. That has been my biggest mistake so far. Since then, I’ve been building my networks and I know for the next deal, we’re going to have people in place at the beginning before we go down the line.
Let me ask you a question about that, but in terms of wealth building in general. I know that you’re helping people to grow and protect their wealth. What has been your biggest mistake in that regard?
My biggest financial mistake has been cashing out my 401(k) after I left my first job. At that time, I started working at Merrill when I was nineteen. I was there for five years. When I left, I had $30,000 in my retirement account. I was also graduating college, I had my own apartment, I had accumulated some debt and I cashed out my 401(k) to pay my debt off. If I could have hustled harder, kept my $30,000 in there, that would have been worth $100,000 now. That was during the last recession is when I was working at Merrill and investing at that time. I cashed it out and paid off debt. My mindset at that time was that, “I have these credit cards at 20% interest. I need to get rid of it.” I wasn’t even thinking about what that money could turn into. I looked at it as savings once it was available to me. I didn’t do that the second time around.
We learned the hard way. I had one of those too in my life. Now I know and do better.
What was yours? What was your finding?
I did a similar thing. I left a job and I took the money out instead of rolling over. I thought I needed it, but I could’ve taken a loan and paid it back, but I did not. Then I paid a lot of penalties and fees. I didn’t know better. A lot of times we know better, we do better but I didn’t have parents that knew a lot of that stuff. They never invested and never taught me about investing. They just tell me to get a job.
That’s why I love to be that contact for people. People ask me why do I focus on Millennials? Because I believe in us, I believe we have the power to do it. We’re the next up. If we don’t do it, we’re not going to have it. Everything is going to go to crap, the whole economy. We have to make the money. We have to save money. That’s why I’m passionate about helping Millennials. Typically, Millennials will have less money than a person that’s ready to retire. There are some people that specifically focused on helping people that are ready to retire because you can make a lot of money there, but I have a soft spot for us. I love seeing people become successful in their finances.
The earlier you start, the more it can grow and the bigger difference it can make.
Even five years can make a huge difference. Especially at a time like now with stocks have been down to 50%. I’ve been kicking myself for not trying to play it a little safe during recession, because I was working through the last one and saw people. I was working in retirement management and at that time, I managed billion-dollar funds for corporate account, Home Depot, Walmart, whatever. Seeing the negatives on the accounts on a daily basis, that also made me a little more cautious in the stock market. Although I’m going to continually do it, I’m not looking at it. I also wasn’t actively in the stock market like I am now. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m more of a risk taker. I have some in there, but the stock market has very little connection to reality from what I can tell.
The actual value of companies and then the stock value are not so bad. There are fundamentals. There are numbers that you can look at and crunch the numbers on and see what makes sense. They will lead you right more often than what’s been going on in the market now. We have a lot of new people in the market that don’t know what they’re doing. I agree with you that the movements are pretty wild with what’s going on in the market and what’s going on in the economy. They don’t match. They’re painting a picture of what the future looks like, especially with all these tech companies that are growing economically.
I own the whole market and I sit on it for a little bit, but mostly I’m in real estate where it makes sense to me. What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the partnerships, the clients and the work that I do. My work makes me proud. My goal typically working with a client is to get them to save their first six figures. When you save your first six figures, it makes seven so much more real. Helping my clients get to their first six figures saved. That has always been making me happy and happier every single time that I do it because the more it happens, the more I know that I can help a whole lot more people.Wealth is having your money make you more money. Click To Tweet
When you mean by six figures saved, what does that mean not sitting in a bank account?
First, don’t be in a bank account. Some people, not all of it, but at least you’ll start with some money in the bank account. We’ll have some that were going to risk in the market. It depends on the appetite of the person and where they feel comfortable. A lot of people like you they’re like, “A stock market? I don’t want to do it.”
It hurts my heart to see people leaving money in an account where it’s making 0.1% or something.
There are many things that we can do but it’s something to see six figures in your bank account. It can be your retirement account, your 401(k) or any account. For me, I struggle with accepting the valuations of real estate sometimes. I don’t include real estate in my network because it’s not real to me. You have an asset and I have the $900 cashflow coming in, but it’s not like I can’t pull it up on TD Ameritrade and see the $100,000 in my account.
I’m like, “What’s in my investment account?” “Stocks.” I’m like, “That does not go real. The real estate, that is real. I can touch it. I have money coming in every month. They’re real people paying real rent with brick and mortar real property, that is flagged from millennia, that is what wealth has been based off of how it’s been passed, how it’s been created. It’s why I call it real property. For me, that is what I consider my wealth.
My appetite has definitely changed. My appetite for real estate has changed. My appetite for business has changed. I believe that owning businesses or even being a partner in businesses is a great way to build wealth. Most people that leave corporate careers become self-employed. Self-employment is you’re still trading time for money. You’re getting more money. You have more time, but that’s not where the wealth is built. The wealth is built in investing in assets, whether they’re real property, an IP or other businesses that need the capital investment and collecting your dividends or earnings. That’s important for sure.
When wealth is having your money, making you money and when you don’t have to trade your time for money, that’s important.
If they didn’t come from money, and once they at least have the first six figures in the bank, their appetite for risk increases and they’ll start to invest more. They’re going to invest into real estate or maybe they’re going to do some other things that they’ve probably been nervous about beforehand.
To what do you attribute your success to?
Number one, being the oldest of eight siblings, the oldest cousin and we grew up to very young adults. We had a lot of time where we had to teach ourselves. At a very young age, I feel like I trusted my decision making. I trusted my ability to lead. Those have been the two biggest things that have attributed to my success and being able to do what I want.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in this field?
If you’re trying to build your wealth, the first most important thing to do is to set some big goals for yourself. If you’ve never had $10,000 in the bank, that’s going to be the first thing that you want to do. You get that $10,000 in the bank, then you’re going to feel proud, you’re going to be motivated. Next, you want to try to get $25,000, then you want to look at $50,000. As you continue to build that confidence in yourself and in your ability to generate money and save it, the scale is endless to where you can go from there.
Before we get into our famed end of show, Trinity. What is the best way for people to reach you and find out more about what you do?
It’s time for our famed end of show, Trinity. Trinity is a brag, a gratitude and a desire. What is one thing you’re celebrating now? What is your brag?
My brag is I am so happy and grateful to be a millionaire and making $1 million in twelve months. There’s a caveat there because I have not made $1 million in twelve months yet, but that is the plan for 2021. I’m happy and grateful that I’ll be making my $1 million in the next twelve months because you have to celebrate before you get there. The victory comes way before you get it.
I love future bragging. What’s one thing you’re grateful for?
I am grateful for my family. My husband and my son keep me grounded. They keep me going. I’m grateful to people like you in the community that are sharing our stories and getting this information out there for people.
Thank you. Last but not least, what’s one thing you desire?
I desire for let’s say 40% of black Millennials to be millionaires over the next few years.
So shall your desire be or is so much better than you can imagine under grace and imperfect place. This was lots of fun to me. Thank you so much for being on. You can connect with her at ShaniquaNicole.co and connect with me at REIGoddesses.com. There you can join our community of women who are creating financial freedom for themselves to real estate, join our investor club, find out about our upcoming events and be part of the fun real estate investor goddesses. Please comment, like this, share it with your friends. Join us next time for another episode.
- Shaniqua Nicole
- Opulence Financial Group
About Shaniqua Nicole
Shaniqua Nicole is a serial entrepreneur, mom, wife, mentor and wealth strategist on a mission to change the face of wealth. After a successful ladder climbing corporate career at in the financial industry at Merrill Lynch and Aon Hewitt, Shaniqua Nicole had saved six figures and came to realize that her peers were lacking the same knowledge she had learned. The eldest of 8 siblings to teenage parents, she’s a natural born leader and took the leap of faith to help her peers build wealth through her wealth management agency – Opulence Financial Group where she helps high achieving Millennials to make, grow, and protect their wealth.
Shaniqua Nicole believes that wealth building is a Team Sport. As a lifestyle influencer she encourages Millennials to live life on their own terms through responsible spending, investing, continuous education, mental and physical wellness, and entreprenuership..
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