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As a new immigrant to America, Mark Perry – who will be the first to say it, was clueless about money. He describes coming to the States from South Africa with $200 in his pocket, the most money he ever had in his life, and blowing it all quite quickly, on hockey skates, a winter jacket and a carton of cigarettes.
MARK’S EARLY JOURNEY
He was very fortunate that he had been able to secure a scholarship that paid for the bulk of his education and so he started off on the right foot in that area. Unlike so many students these days, he later graduated college with no student loan debt.
As his life progressed, he was married for a short time, and divorced but later, through some match-making and lucky coincidences, he found and married his wife. They have been married now for over 20 years and have four children and reside in San Diego.
THE FIRST FINANCIAL SPARK
Mark recalls that there were several “moments” that set him on his current financial path. Shortly after his divorce, and still very young, he was stuck in his apartment, very sick. This was during the time before remotes. The T.V. was fixed on PBS and he was forced to watch a show on finances by David Chilton, the author of the Wealthy Barber. Mark says the information ignited something in him and shortly thereafter he met with a financial advisor.
Though he regrets the investment vehicle he was sold, a life insurance policy, it did start him on the path to regularly saving for his retirement.
THE BEST HOUSE-HACK EVER
Fast forward several years later and Mark had remarried and he and his wife were on fairly solid financial footing, but were still not optimizing their retirement savings. The opportunity arose for Mark to pastor a church in San Diego. During the course of negotiating the position, Mark was able to secure housing as part of his compensation. For the past 17 years, Mark has been able to live in San Diego, on a pastor’s salary, rent free.
SAVINGS RATE AND COMPOUND INTEREST
What Mark’s story shows is the immense power of savings rate combined with compound interest. In 10 years, saving a minimal amount, Mark was able to save $25,000.00. By increasing his savings rate to between 40-50%, in the next 20 years, he was able to accumulate $800,000.00 in retirement accounts.
What this means for Mark and his family is that he is now LEANFI. LEAN FI equates to 20 times your annual living expenses.
In this case….
20 x $40,000 = $800,000.00
THE NEXT PHASE OF INVESTING: REAL ESTATE
Mark is now branching out into real estate investing. He has opened a Roth IRA that allows him to purchase real estate through his Roth IRA. He now owns two investment properties, he owns outright in the Roth. One was purchased for $20,000 (including repairs) and the other $17,000 (with repairs) – together they are cash-flowing $750 a month, which is incredible!
MARK ON THE FINAL QUESTIONS
Mark’s one lesson from childhood that he has carried over is to save something! It doesn’t matter how much, just begin with something.
The two lessons he would like to pass on to his children are to increase your savings rate as much as possible and the incredible power of compound interest.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND MARK
On Facebook, C.Mark Perry
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MARK’S FAVORITE READ
The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton
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