The following interview with Monick Halm of Real Estate Investor Goddesses was conducted over email and edited for flow and clarity.
Asha Atkins of Wealth Noir (WN): Hi Monick. Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to sit down with Wealth Noir and the community to talk about your business and your expertise in real estate investing. Can you share with the readers a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I am the founder of Real Estate Investor Goddesses. I am an educator and advocate for female real estate investors and have a mission to help one million women achieve financial freedom through real estate investing.
WN: Monick, that’s an incredible mission to help one million women achieve financial freedom. You are accomplishing this goal, which is so important. Tell us, how did you get into the Real Estate Investing (REI) business and what about real estate was attractive to you?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I was taught to go to school to become a doctor, lawyer, professor or engineer. The only thing I had ever been taught about real estate is that you should buy your own house. LA is a very expensive market and back in 2005 I couldn’t afford a house by myself, so you can imagine how expensive it is 15+ years later. Fifteen years ago, a starter home cost upwards of $600K, and that was difficult for me to afford. So, my friend and I found an old craftsman house with two units. We took one unit and rented out the rest of the property. That’s how I became an accidental landlord and investor.
When I met my husband, he had rental property, and we got a single family rental. After the 2008 crash, we sold one of our duplexes and used the profits to flip houses. Eventually, we started to syndicate—bringing groups of investors together to purchase larger properties, such as large apartment complexes, industrial facilities, mobile home parks, etc.
WN: So you have house hacked, flipped houses, and now you’re purchasing units and increasing your portfolio. How did you decide which strategy worked best for you?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I don’t believe REI is one size fits all. You want to think about your end goal—whether that’s tax benefits, leaving a legacy, or having enough for retirement. So what you choose to do will vary based on your end goal. Think about it like planning a vacation. You have to know where you’re going and then how you want to vacation. Are you going to Paris, Patagonia, or Pittsburg? Will your trip be a road trip, cruise, bicycle, etc.? That’s the same thing with REI. Some people love taking an ugly duckling property and making it beautiful. Some people want to invest without having to lift a finger or ever speak to a tenant. There are so many different ways to invest and get your money working for you.
WN: I love that perspective you shared on viewing REI as a ‘what type of vacation you want.’ Monick, what about passive income is most attractive to you?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: Ultimately, passive income provides you with financial freedom. When your passive income exceeds your expenses, that’s financial freedom. That means you no longer have to trade your time for money. And there are really great tax benefits from being a real estate investor.
Another thing that’s attractive to me is the tax benefits of real estate investing. The idea that the more you make the more you pay in taxes doesn’t hold true here. A lot of times, even though you’re making money in real estate, you will have a loss for tax purposes (i.e., you’ll owe less to Uncle Sam). This is important because when it comes to money, it’s not just what you make that matters, it’s what you get to keep.
WN: I want to talk more about the work you do with women at the Real Estate Investor Goddesses. What does it mean to be a Real Estate Investor Goddess?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I chose the term goddess because I believe we each have the divine within us. Our name is a reminder of the divine feminine. When I teach real estate investing, it’s not just about the nuts and bolts of real estate but how to do it from the feminine. Women are wired differently from men and it affects how we approach money. And most often in this culture, we’re taught how to show up from the masculine dog-eat-dog way. So, instead of muscling through, women succeed best when we move through pleasure. There’s no gain in pain for us. We have access to a deeper wisdom that we’re often taught to ignore. And then we’re wired to be around other women. Sisterhood is healthy and healing for us. Women do better in supportive groups of women. We deal with stress not as men do: fight, flight or freeze. We tend and then befriend. Women succeed best with cooperation not competition.
WN: How did you come to understand the science of how women think?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I started studying the divine feminine, personal development and what actually leads to success over 25 years ago. It was more than just learning and theory. I experimented with anything that I thought might work, and when I found it I brought it to my goddesses. I’ve always had this deep need to help others. The work I do is an integration of all that I’ve learned for women to be successful in real estate. I’m obsessed with achieving my mission to make sure my students succeed.
WN: During her speech a few years ago at Dartmouth, Shonda Rhimes said she doesn’t do it all because she can’t. She continued by saying, “Whenever you see me succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means, I am failing in another area of my life.” As a business owner, podcast host, author, wife and mother, how do you manage your time and deal with not always succeeding in the other areas of your life?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I don’t do this alone. I don’t clean. I have a cleaning lady who comes weekly to clean and do the laundry. My parents moved onto our property and they help with my daughter. My husband helps cook, and he does the school drop offs and pickups. It’s imperfect, but the main thing I try to focus on is self care and making sure I have the energy to handle everything I must do. If I’m depleted, then I’m no good for anybody. I had to learn that I come first. I give from my overflow. I have to make sure I’m exercising, sleeping and eating well, and from there I turn outward.
WN: I love that you recognize the value of your team and how everyone can play a part in the success of your business. What is required to be a good leader and how does that inform how you delegate responsibilities?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I believe that a good leader must inspire through purpose, not push people through force (e.g., “you must do what I say because I’m the boss”) or get them to act merely through bribes (e.g, “if you do this, I’ll pay you a bonus.”).
A great leader has a strong, inspiring reason that pulls people to come and help. A great leader also has a servant’s heart. They are in service to their team, their purpose, and the world at large. People who resonate with the why and the heart of that leader will be thrilled to follow. They won’t need to be coerced by force or money.
WN: You said something interesting in a 2020 interview, “I wanted to be around people that think syndication is normal.” How important has building a tribe of like-minded people been to your overall real estate investing success?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: The people I surround myself with have been absolutely instrumental to my success. I don’t seek to be with like-minded people though. Every extra digit you add to your income requires a different mindset level. If I’m only going to be with people that are like-minded (that think the same way I do), I’m going to stay where I am. I want to be around people that are more successful than me. I want to be around people who are interested in growth, building relationships and helping people. I want them to be successful and be playing a bigger game. I want to learn what I can so I can think better (and hopefully give back in the areas where I might be stronger).
WN: What is a syndication group for our readers who may not know?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: A syndication is essentially crowd-funded real estate. As a syndicator, I’ll bring together a group of passive investors who will pool money and have an equity stake in the property. As an investor in a syndication, your involvement is passive—in other words, you are not responsible for any management decisions or actions. You just invest your money and wait for it to come back with friends. You get to share in the cash flow, equity and tax benefits.
WN: What is the one biggest mistake you see your clients making that you wish they would avoid?
Monick Halm, RE Investor Goddesses Founder: The biggest mistake that I see my clients making that I wish they would avoid is not taking action. Some people can wait and wait until everything is “perfect” before taking action. Of course, there’s never a perfect time with perfect information. That’s why we have a lot of structures in place to support our goddesses in taking action and getting deals done.
WN: As I mentioned earlier, you are incredibly busy. You have accomplished so much and clearly have no plans on slowing down, which I think is admirable. How do you decompress from the busyness of life?
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: I meditate and pray for 30 minutes every day. I also journal and do yoga. Additionally, I travel often for pleasure and I take at least eight weeks off per year. I have created a lifestyle where my education and real estate businesses work largely without me and can be managed from anywhere around the world. That for me is freedom.
WN: What was the greatest lesson you learned while investing? If there is one thing you always tell to new or existing investors, what is it? What is the one thing you would want anyone considering investing in real estate to know.
Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Founder: The most important thing to remember is that real estate investing is not one-size-fits-all. Regardless of your budget or lifestyle, there’s a way to get real estate working for you to help you create freedom. That’s why I wrote my guide, Investing in Real Estate from $1 to $1 Million: Investing Strategies for Every Budget and Every Goddess. In that book, I share 12 strategies requiring varying amounts of money, time, and/or tenant interaction. I want everyone to know this is possible for them, and they, too, can achieve success in real estate.
Thank you so much, Monick, for spending time with Wealth Noir and helping us better understand syndication, the plethora of investment strategies out there, and for also taking such a strong stance in supporting women in the REI space. If you all want to know where to find Monick, check her website and follow her on social media.