In this article, we will go into lengthy detail about stock market investing for real estate. We’ll go into topics with shorter posts you can check out, like:
- Real Estate Agent Stock Market Retirement (a 10 Minute Guide!)
- 6 Reasons Why Real Estate Agents Never Retire
- How to Retire Early with Dividend Stocks
- How to Earn More Money as an Agent (4 Ways to Boost Commission Income to Invest!)
Now let’s jump right in to stock market investing for real estate agents!
What is Stock Market Investing?
Our simple definition: stock market investing is where an investor buys shares of stocks and/or bonds in order to reap the financial rewards of the value increasing over time.
What is a Stock or a Bond?
A stock is a share of a company. Companies sell shares in order to raise capital to grow their business. In return, an investor expects their stock prices to rise over time as the company flourishes and grows and reap the reward later when they sell the stock to another investor.
Bonds are a share of a loan made by an investor to a borrower. In stock market investing, buying bonds can be both buying government and corporate debt for a (generally) more stable return.
Stocks are generally considered more risky with higher potential for return and bonds less risky with lower potential for investor returns.
Investors typically only make money once they sell stocks or bonds for more than what they paid for them. Some companies also pay out dividends to the share holders, which we’ll get to in the next section.
What are Dividends and Why Don’t All Stocks Have Them?
A dividend is a distribution of earnings to shareholders. Dividends are particularly interesting because they can provide an opportunity to actually generate income without having to sell the stock.
There are two routes you can go with dividend stocks: most people reinvest the dividends immediately by buying more shares of that stock. But there’s a less common route where an investor wants to build a dividend-based cash flow to supplement or even replace their income! This has been done – and we’ll get to it in a minute – but does require significant investment capital to net enough dividends to live off of.
How People Typically Invest in the Stock Market
Here are the big three reasons people generally invest in the stock market, before we go in to why stock market investing for real estate agents is important:
- Retirement. Commonly in a 401K, IRA, or TSP account for tax advantages.
- Education. Commonly in a 529 Plan account for tax advantages.
- Financial Goal. Regular investing outside a tax-advantaged account.
Keep in mind! Just because you are putting money into a 401K, IRA, TSP, 529, or any other investment account, doesn’t mean it is being invested well! You will have to choose what stocks to invest in for the best possible return and outcome to meet your goal.
We’re not going to go into options, day trading, stock picking, or any other rarely successful strategies that don’t work well for real estate agents. Let’s go over the proven methods for stock market wealth!
Why REALTORS Should Invest in the Stock Market
Okay, this is a BIG DRAWBACK of being in real estate: agents typically aren’t provided with a company-provided or company matched 401K retirement plan/account. Unlike W-2 wage earners, agents are left totally alone with no company assistance to figure out their retirement plan.
Retirement alone should be a big enough reason for REALTORS to invest in the stock market! I love this quote by Warren Buffet who is a legendary stock market investor worth 76 BILLION DOLLARS:
Besides retirement, there are three additional reasons stock market investing for real estate agents makes sense:
- Cash Flow – An additional income stream through dividend stock investing
- Education – Pay for your kids college with a tax advantaged 529 Plan
- Advantage – You know real estate: what might you know about the industry that would give you an investing advantage over the public?
Pro Tip: some brokerages offer lucrative stock awards that boost investing and equity dramatically. Learn more about how agents can earn company stock!
Before we dive into strategies for stock market investing for real estate agents, let’s go over three fundamental truths.
3 Truths All Stock Market Investors Must Know
1 – Investing is easy using mutual funds.
You can intelligently and easily invest using mutual funds! You may only need ONE mutual fund to accomplish your goals. Stock market investing for real estate agents doesn’t have to be rocket science!
You don’t need to pick stocks nor be very active in your investing. On the contrary, setting it up and automatically investing over time is a proven winning strategy in the long run!
A Mutual Fund is a mix of many stocks and bonds. By buying one share of a mutual fund, you are actually buying a whole portfolio of company stocks/bonds all at once. It is a PERFECT way to have a diversified, lower risk portfolio to invest smartly and with ease.
Mutual funds that track a stock market index (fancy name for “performance indicator”), is simply called an Index Fund. The S&P 500 is a grouped set of 500 companies’ stocks and this is an index used to measure stock market performance over time. You can invest in all of those companies at once by purchasing an S&P 500 index fund.
An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a mutual fund that can be purchased without using an investment broker and without a minimum investment amount. For example, to purchase the Vanguard Total Stock Market Mutual Fund (ticker symbol: VTSAX), you’d need to go through Vanguard or a partner broker. But to purchase the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF, you need ANY stock purchasing tool (like the oh so easy Robinhood app).
2 – You can invest for free, from anywhere.
Big name stock market investment brokers can sometimes be costly. Many have minimum investments. I love investing with Vanguard because they have some of the best performing funds – but most of my investments require $3,000 minimum just to buy into a specific mutual fund.
Plus, some brokers charge you a fee every time you want to buy a specific stock. For example, if I wanted to buy a share of Tesla stock, it might cost me an additional one time fee of $8 to complete that transaction!
But in today’s day and age, it doesn’t have to be so. You can use simple, free tools to be a savvy stock market investor. A favorite of ours is Robinhood. This app that you can access from smartphone or browser gives you an unlimited amount of trades, key insight into news and stocks, and gives you instantaneous investing flexibility.
Open a Robinhood account for free and get a FREE stock! Try it out.
Sure, you can open an account with Vanguard and invest $3,000 minimum in a mutual fund. You also have the option to buy that fund as an ETF using Robinhood for any amount you choose!
You have the power of choice when it comes to stock market investing. Now let’s jump in to strategies for stock market investing for real estate agents!
3 – You have to have money to invest
While the first two truths were advantages of stock market investing for real estate agents, this one is a disadvantage. To make money in the stock market, the cold hard truth is, you need MONEY. You have to have money to make money.
Unfortunately for real estate agents, our employers don’t match our 401Ks and TSP accounts. We don’t get free money added to our retirement investment contributions. We have to do it all on our own from our commissions.
That is unless, of course, your brokerage offers you stock awards or an equity program. Although uncommon in the industry, with these new developments, agents are now able to plan towards retirement with the help from their brokers, making these companies true disrupters in the industry.
Before you read on, consider this: do you have money to invest? Can you put money aside to invest? If the answer is yes, keep reading! If the answer is no, you should consider additional income stream options, like:
- Revenue Share – requires no money but can create a long lasting, significant income stream
- Real Estate Investing – requires some money but can produce amazing returns with incredible benefits, especially as a real estate agent
- Build an Agent Team – requires almost no money but can create a scale-able business very quickly
- Earning More Commission – If you aren’t earning enough commission in invest in the stock market or real estate, evaluate your brokerage
- Pick Up an Agent Side Hustle – There are plenty of real estate related side hustles you’d be perfect at to boost your earnings to invest
How to Invest in the Stock Market for a Real Estate Agent Retirement
We wrote a guide to a real estate agent stock market retirement that will put you on the right track to the most passive possible retirement! If you aren’t convinced, check out these six reasons why real estate agents never retire.
To summarize, you simply need to follow these steps to retire from real estate using the stock market:
- Determine your retirement income goal and age
- Calculate how much of a nest egg you need to achieve that
- Count how many years you have until retirement and how much you currently have invested toward retirement
- Choose how you will invest – the EASY way is using a target date retirement mutual fund (yes, ONE fund!)
- Choose your expected investment growth per year
- Now work backwards using a calculator to determine how much to invest every month to reach your goal
- Stick to the plan!
For the 10 minute version on how to accomplish this, read our real estate agent stock market retirement article. Seriously, read it – it may change your life.
How to Invest in the Stock Market for Dividend Cash Flow
Have you ever heard of Mr. Money Mustache? No? How old (or young) ARE you?! Just kidding. This self-proclaimed financial freedom guru did two things to retire in his thirties (yes, his THIRTIES):
- Absolutely minimize his expenses so he could invest the rest
- Buy dividend producing stocks with that leftover money
How freaking simple is that? What’s cool about dividend stocks are that they pay out to their shareholders! You buy a stock and the company pays you a portion of their earnings. Heck yes, what an interesting strategy for cash flow focused stock market investing for real estate agents.
So how does one retire using dividend stocks? Simple: you buy enough of them. That’s the catch. Even if a stock produced a 10% dividend (good luck finding that!), to make $100,000 a year you’d have to buy $1,000,000 in that stock. Yes, you need ONE MILLION in CASH. But it isn’t all a sob story.
Here’s a quick example. Let’s say you choose a few dividend mutual funds to invest in that have an average dividend payout of 5% per year. If you invest $2,500 a month ($30,000 a year) into those funds, after 20 years you’ll have about one million dollars invested. Now those funds produce 5% of the $1M, which is $50,000 a year in dividends. Boom! You can find a way to retire on $50,000 a year after just 20 years!
The cool thing is you can alter this strategy one way or another:
- You could invest in better performing (more risky) stocks until you reach a set amount and then move that into dividends. With a 10% return you can reach $1M in 15 years by investing $2,500 a month.
- Maybe your spouse works as well and you can invest $5,000 a month. It’ll only take you ten years with a 10% return to reach $1M.
- You could then wait another 5 years (15 years total) and DOUBLE your money to TWO MILLION. Then you move that money to a 5% dividend fund and live off $100,000 a year!
Pretty cool, huh? There is some real power to stock market investing for real estate agents.
How to Invest in the Stock Market to Pay for Your Children’s College
I became a dad before I became a real estate investor and then part time real estate agent. When I was trying to figure out the best investment vehicle to pay for my daughter’s college, I encountered a problem: TOO MANY OPTIONS.
College savings plans were super confusing to be sure. So I did what any self proclaimed wealth enthusiast would do: create my own course on how to choose and use a college savings plan. Maximizing the federal and state tax benefits is DEFINITELY complicated, so I created a course that helps anyone navigate is. But here is the simple college savings steps:
- Decide if you’ll still be in the same state when your child goes to college (this assumes they’ll want to go to school in that state!)
- Then if you want the state tax benefits, choose a 529 Plan investment account available in your state
- If location doesn’t matter or your aren’t sure, choose a 529 Plan investment account that provides great investment funds and flexibility
- Choose how much risk you want to take on for this investment
- Choose a age-based investment plan that automatically changes risk from high (better returns) when your child is young to low (lower returns) once your child nears starting college
My favorite all around 529 plan is through Vanguard (I know, shocking!). It is a little more complex of a website, but the investments are top notch. College savings plans are a great stock market investing for real estate agents strategy to fund your kids’ education.
Using Market Knowledge as an Agent
We talked earlier about how real estate agents can have aa advantage over the public when it comes to investing in the stock market. Here’s a few ways realtors can use their expertise to make more financially sound decisions when investing in stocks:
- predicting cycles
- paying attention to the economy and the news
- correlating location performance to business performance
- understanding risk/reward
Learn How to Earn more Money as An Agent so you have more money to invest!
On top of those reasons, real estate agents can also work around their schedules and take more time to watch the market. A good way to do that is by planning ahead and not reacting to spontaneous nuances. You will see your productivity skyrocket, giving you more time to spend researching your options for stock market investing.
Real estate agents can also use their skills to supplement income or generate a whole new income stream to save more money towards market investing. It is often said wealth is built through equity, duplication, and multiple income streams. Real estate agents are in a great position to leverage their expertise and time flexibility to pick up a side hustle and add an extra stream of income!
Get Started Today!
Whether your goal is to save towards retirement, pay for your children’s college, or to reach your financial goals, the stock market is a great tool for real estate agents to build long term wealth. Here are some actions you can take RIGHT NOW:
- Consider a real estate brokerage that awards stocks to their agents and nets your more commission to then invest
- Nab a free stock and start investing instantly with Robinhood
- Open an IRA or 529 Plan tax advantaged investment account with a firm like Vanguard or Fidelity!
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