Why I Keep “Working” Past “Retirement”
It’s not about the Money. It’s about Doing What I Love.
I often get asked “David, if real estate was so good to you and allowed you to depart your clinical practice when your daughter was sick, then why do you do what you do today? Why do you have this Freedom Founders community?
“Is there something else that we don't know?”
I'm as transparent as they come. I didn’t create Freedom Founders for the money. Now, does Freedom Founders make money? Yes, of course. It is a for-profit business. We bring great value to the members we serve, and that takes overhead. And to do it well – bringing the people, the constructs, the due diligence, the verifications, everything we do to make that happen – it requires operating costs.
So, yes, we do make money, but here's a little secret. You actually tend to make more money by doing the things that you know a lot about. Yes, I built my real estate “Mini Empire” over many years going back to my twenties when I was boots on the ground. I’ve learned how to do it. I've done it from the ground up.
Boots on the Ground is not for Everybody
The people I serve today are not necessarily the kind of people who want to do it from the ground up. They're not in their twenties. Most of the people that we serve in Freedom Founders are in their forties, fifties, or sixties. They have a business or a practice and have family to take care of. They provide more value doing what they already do with their technical skills than by learning how to do the boots on the ground real estate.
When I was in my twenties, my time value wasn't so great, which is why I used my time to build from the ground up. I then evolved as a dentist, but I had the ability/the time to actually build a network and get my hands dirty early on.
Most people don't have that kind of time or opportunity today, particularly the people that I serve. So I bring that to them. I give them the opportunity to fold time. Collapse the time it takes to learn the ins and outs of real estate. And, more importantly, I connect them to the right people. I bring the leverage of the community to the people that I know bring the real estate opportunities to us.
Finding the Right People, Such as a Dentist Real Estate Community, to Collaborate with is Key
Selfishly, I also want the same thing as my Members. I want to be a good steward of the capital base that I worked so hard for over the years (both in dentistry and in real estate). I want to be able to maintain that going forward. I don't want to go out and do it by myself anymore, like I did when I was in my twenties and thirties.
So how do I do it now? I've got to collaborate. But with whom?
That's where the work comes in. It takes a lot of work to build a network. You certainly can build a network like this on your own, going out into the world, finding people who raise capital, and doing your due diligence as you develop relationships with them. But is it worth it? At certain points in your life, yes and in others, no.
When you're in a business or a practice, you learn that you're more productive with your hands and your mind. You also learn that you can actually fold time and speed up the time to a goal (speed to goal) through a collaborative effort. BUT you have to find the right people.
But how do you know who the right people are? How do you know what's behind the curtain? You don't, not at first. That’s what we do in Freedom Founders and where you can become a more sophisticated investor.
I don't sell people real estate. I guide them along a path to get them to where they want to go in life. I help create that speed to goal. I get them to where they want to be (sometimes that’s exiting their practice) much, much faster than if they try to do it themselves. That’s the key to becoming a more sophisticated investor.
Most people want to be able to do a lot of things, but can’t because they're so busy in their professional career or education. They don’t have the time or capability to learn how to do it profitably and reliably. They think, “Well, to do that, I have to go back and get degrees in finance or real estate.”
You can definitely do that, but that's not the fastest track to get there. The fastest way is to find the right people.
The Reasons Why I Continue being the CEO of Freedom Founders
I could absolutely make more money doing real estate by myself. I could create my own real estate funds and make more multiples of money than I do at Freedom Founders BUT I’m not in it for the money.
#1 – I Know How Much is Enough in My Life.
That's a key principle we teach in Freedom Founders. How much is enough?
I get to do what I love to do with the people I love to do it with. That's more important to me than anything else in my life. Making more money is great, but doing it with the people I want, the way I want to do it is better.
I don't want a real estate business. There are other people that do that very, very well. I want to make connections. We do that through the right people. I want to keep my money with those kinds of people the same way my Freedom Founders Members want to.
#2 – The Leverage of the Freedom Founders Community
My Members and I both want the leverage of a community. We have a relatively intrinsic obligation hanging over the heads of people that bring us deals because we have the leverage of our community.
They don't want to tick us off, or provide bad customer service or a bad outcome to any one of our people because we're a relatively large group of real estate investors within the small world real estate investors in the US. I'm well connected in this arena. They don't want to cross David Phelps or Freedom Founders.
We would not have that leverage on our own… including myself. The leverage of my community stands in front of everything we do, so I can expect the highest level of service, expect better deals, better performance, better returns for our group than I could even if I was doing it myself. That is the leverage my community brings to the table.
#3 – I Want to Keep Evolving
I always need and want something else to do in my life. I had the opportunity, the blessing, to be able to pivot from a great 20+ years of clinical dentistry. But I was able to pivot because I never stood on one thing in my life. I had several things going on at any one time.
Is that easy to balance? No, but keeping my hands in different jars (dentistry, real estate and connecting with people in both arenas) allowed me to pivot when I wanted to pivot. It didn't leave me lost for lack of something to do.
A big problem I see in many people who have gone the course of their career path and done it very well is that at the end, when they're ready to look over the valley of the next opportunity, they're scared to death to jump.
Why? It’s the loss of their identity. It’s not knowing what they're going to do next. They never knocked on the door to even think about what comes after.
That’s another big piece of what we do in Freedom Founders. We help people explore what that next is. The investing and finances are still a big piece, but your identity is just as big of a part. You have to figure out, Who else is inside of you? What else is there that could provide value at some level?
Don’t Follow What Society Tells You. Make Your Own Path.
You don't have to “retire” at 60 or 65 or whatever year society tells you to. You don't have to “retire” period. You shouldn't even look at it that way. You should look at it as an opportunity to make moves, have options, to pivot, to adapt, and modify your position.
You can only do that if you know the capital base you have built all along is going to continue to provide sustainable recurring income. That’s way different than the traditional marketplace that says, “Accumulate this big pile of money and when you ‘retire’, you can just start depleting it over the next 25 years.”
That’s not the game plan I signed up for and nor should you.
If you want to hear more, you can follow me on my podcast, The Dentist Freedom Blueprint Podcast. I've also got a number of books out on Amazon that speak a lot about my story, and how I help our Freedom Founders members.
And of course, you're always welcome to schedule your discovery call with one of my team members (link below!) to determine if Freedom Founders might be a place for you.
To your freedom!
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are some other ways I can help fast track you to your Freedom goal (you’re closer than you think) :
1. Schedule a Call with My Team:
If you’d like to replace your active practice income with passive investment income within 2-3 years, and you have at least $1M in available capital (can include residential/practice equity or practice sale), then schedule a call with my team. If it looks like there is a mutual fit, you’ll have the opportunity to attend one of our upcoming member events as a guest. www.freedomfounders.com/schedule
2. Become a Full-Cycle Investor:
There are many self-proclaimed genius investors today who think everything they touch turns to gold. But they’re about to learn the hard way what others have gained through “expensive” experience. I’m offering a free report on how to become a full-cycle investor, who knows how to preserve and grow capital in Up and Down markets. Will you be prepared when the inevitable recession hits? Get your free report here.
3. Get Your Free Retirement Scorecard:
Benchmark your retirement and wealth-building against hundreds of other practice professionals, and get personalized feedback on your biggest opportunities and leverage points. Click here to take the 3 minute assessment and get your scorecard.