What to Do if You Don’t Have Enough Money to Invest


One of the biggest challenges with real estate investing, or any kind of investing, is having the capital in the first place so we can make investments. If we all could start with $1 million cash, investing wouldn’t be so difficult! But most of us aren’t starting with that.

So, what do you do if you don’t have the capital to invest… or you don’t have enough to invest in everything you want to?

There are two things you do can do to bide time until you can actually purchase something:

  1. Find ways to get more money
  2. Get education

The first one may be obvious, but the second one is where the real power is because it may mean you can skip the first option altogether.

Find ways to get more money

Duh, if you need more money, one option is to make more money. How to do that, though, may require a little more thoughtfulness though.

Here are some ideas for things you can do to make some extra bucks. And presumably, you’d save all of those extra bucks so you can build up towards your first or next investment.

  1. Work more at your current job

A little overtime never hurts! Overtime pay can be great, if you get it, or you may be commission-based or have other ways of increasing your normal wages. If you have that option, and you either enjoy your job or it won’t be too much of a burden to work more of it solely for the purpose of building your investable cash stash, then go for. Doing more of what you’re already doing is one of the simplest ways to make more money.

  1. Start a side hustle

Don’t like your current job, or don’t have a way to make more from it? Start a side hustle. This could be anything—either something brand new or something you’re already doing that makes a little bit of extra money in your spare time, which means you could in theory do more of that and make more money. You want to be a little bit careful when you’re trying to find a side hustle because there are a lot of them out there that promise a lot of money, but making money is much trickier than it seems. Multi-level marketing (MLM) companies are a great example of that. It’s not that you can’t make money with those, but it takes a lot longer and a lot more effort than is usually advertised. It’s somewhat the same if you start your own business—you can definitely make a lot of money with it, but it usually takes a lot more continuous effort than people realize. So if starting a business on the side is one of your ideas, which could be great, but properly analyze it and make sure you have the time and dedication for it. If things like MLMs and starting a business seem too hectic with not enough promise of return, just go get a side job. I used to love waiting tables when I was a teenager, and servers can make great money, so why not pick up a few extra shifts doing that? Or find no-commitment jobs with apps like InstaWork. It’s all about extra work so you can more quickly build up your investing funds.

  1. Work in REI (wholesale, referral agent, bird dog, etc.)

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can make your side hustle something real estate related. Or if you’re looking for a new career, you could get a full-time job doing something real estate related. The idea being that you can make money while also learning more about the industry. Being a normal real estate agent isn’t out of the question, especially if that’s something you enjoy and would like to do, but it can take a while to start making money as an agent, and typically agent work isn’t very helpful for learning investing. Other jobs you could do that are more related to the real estate investing side could be:

  • Wholesaling
  • Being a referral agent for investment deals
  • Birddogging
  • Working as an assistant to experienced investors
  • Work for a financial consulting firm or something of the like

There are endless opportunities in real estate investing, so there are a lot of ways to be around investing while you’re waiting to invest. The only caution with some of those jobs like wholesaling and such is that those can fall into that aforementioned category of jobs that promise easy money but really take a lot more time and effort than people realize. So with those, make sure you’re aware of that and that you’re genuinely interested in that work before deciding to go that route over a more straightforward job.

  1. Find a partner

This is a big one! If you don’t have the cash, maybe someone you know does. They have the cash, you have the investment resources. You partner together and do deals. The catch to this one is, and I hear a lot of people skipping past this when they get excited about the possibility of investing with a partner—make sure you actually know what you’re doing before you pitch a deal to a prospective partner! In a perfect world you would only partner on types of deals you have actual experience with so you know the actual risk points and can actively try to avoid those now that you have a partner in tow, but assuming you don’t have experience because you don’t have the cash to invest yet, you at least need to know what you’re doing to a great enough level so you aren’t careless with someone else’s money. More on this idea of partnering to come.

  1. Find OPM

What a partner brings is OPM—other people’s money. You use other people’s money to invest instead of your own. But working with a partner isn’t the only way to get OPM. You can get OPM through loans, credit cards, venture capital, etc. As long as the money you use to invest isn’t yours, you’re using OPM. But same rule applies as mentioned with partnering—make sure you know what you’re doing before you put other people’s money on the line! It’s one thing to risk your own money; it’s another thing to risk someone else’s.

Get Educated

I’m sure this sounds like the less exciting route to go while you’re waiting to save up enough money to invest, but trust me, education goes a long way in real estate investing. And that’s putting it mildly. There are several reasons why getting education now, while you wait to invest, can be so beneficial:

  • What better way to set yourself up for the best chance of success once you start investing than to have thoroughly learned what you’re doing beforehand?
  • Once you start doing deals, things are going to be chaotic and fast-moving, and time can very quickly get taken away from getting education. A lot of people skip the education part and dive right into deals, and they never actually get to learn the fundamentals that would carry them way further along their investing path (with a much better chance of success).
  • Learning more about real estate investing keeps you excited and motivated to want to push towards getting towards your next investment!
  • You don’t have enough money to invest right now, so you really don’t have an excuse to not get educated because what else do you have going on?

There are three specific things you can focus on for your education that will help you get a more solid footing on your investment path, as well as increase your chance of being able to invest before you have all the money you need!

  • Getting started. Most people getting into real estate don’t have a clue what they’re doing or what they should do in terms of choosing an investment strategy and knowing how to do it properly. Now’s the time to figure all of that out. Here’s what you want to learn before starting any strategy. These are so important that you need to learn these first even if you do have the money to start investing now!
    • Choosing a strategy
    • Learning about the strategy (how to profit, risk points, risk mitigations)
    • Learn how to analyze deals properly
    • Learn how to do thorough due diligence
  • Creative financing. Here’s where you might be able to get started investing before you have all the money you need for a deal! There are a million ways to do creative financing, and there are a lot of books and article written with creative financing ideas. You won’t find a quick one-and-done answer from those as far as how to best creatively finance for yourself, but the more you learn, the more resourceful you can be in trying to figure it out!
  • Structuring deals. It’s going to help tremendously with creative financing if you learn different options for how to structure deals. When you know those options, and you’ve learned different possibilities for creative financing, you can start to move the puzzle pieces around and figure out how to best make it all work. For instance, if you’re thinking of using a partner, how and where can that partner come in exactly and what type of returns can you offer that person? The more you know about structuring deals, the more options you’ll be aware of so you can figure out the best structure for that partnership.

You may not have the money to invest in real estate right now, and you may not have a clue on how you want to invest or ultimately how you’re going to make it happen. Knowing that isn’t important right now. What is important is that you start on the journey of figuring those things out, and you stick with it! The more you chug away, the more likely you are to find your answers. They may not come quickly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come!

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