Approximately 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and fewer than four in 10 people have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. If you zero in on minority groups, the data becomes even more disproportionate. This is a sobering reminder of the importance of building wealth.
In a presentation for KW agents, top wealth builders Bo and Kymber Menkiti share the journeys they took and offer insight for how you might follow in their footsteps.
From Part-Time Agents to Power Couple
In the past 18 years, Bo and Kymber Menkiti have gone from working as solo, part-time agents to the owners of a multimillion-dollar empire. In 2004, Bo was working two jobs and closed six transactions. Now, in 2022, the Menkitis are coming off a year when they oversaw $3.1 billion in transactions among their teams and market centers in the mid-Atlantic area. They also have a portfolio of real estate – residential and commercial – in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts, worth about $300 million. Reaching such staggering heights has allowed them to establish a foundation that has already given $1 million back to the communities they serve.
The Wealth-Building Perspective
First, what does it mean to be financially wealthy? In the words of Gary Keller, “I believe that financially wealthy people are those who have enough money coming in without having to work to finance their purpose in life.” In order to reach that goal, there’s a series of phases to work through. The first, and the most common phase for most Americans, is trading time and talent for money. This is when you have a job and you’re creating money.
The next phase of wealth building is trading time, talent, and money for more money, allowing you to multiply your money. In real estate, this can mean operating your own business or maybe beginning to manage a few rental properties yourself.
The ultimate phase of wealth building is trading money for money, when you’re protecting and growing your money through large-scale residential or commercial development or ancillary businesses.
Purpose Drives Everything
How did the Menkitis achieve such exponential growth? According to Bo, it all comes down to knowing their purpose. “Our four little boys – Braxton, Carter, Clayton, and Cameron – drive a lot of our lives and inspire us to go forward every single day,” he says, adding that they are also dedicated to “transforming lives, careers, and communities through real estate.”
Knowing their purpose helped propel them through their 18-year journey to financial wealth and also led them to find other keys to wealth building, such as adjusting their time perspective. Citing the Bill Gates quote, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years,” Kymber and Bo stress the importance of remembering that success isn’t a straight climb to the top. Along the way, there will be ups and downs.
“We say, ‘I lead generated more, and I didn’t do more deals,’ and so we give up when success isn’t linear,” Bo says. “And that’s the most challenging point, where you’ve put the most effort in, when you’ve worked the longest.” For Kymber and Bo, that point first happened after the birth of their first child, when Bo was working 100-hour weeks and they flirted with leaving the business. Instead, they hung in. “The next two years, the business made twice as much money as it made in the first eight years,” Bo says. “And the two years after that, it made twice as much as it made in all the time before. Often, that ‘can’t’ point happens right before we experience exponential growth.”
“For a lot of us, depending on the cycle of your business, this happens over and over again,” Kymber adds.
Identify the Opportunity Around You
As a KW agent, you have access to extensive information about your local area. And, according to Bo, that information creates a massive opportunity for wealth building. “In the corporate world, if you have inside information about a market and you take action on that market, that’s called insider trading, right?,” Bo says. “But if you’re a real estate agent, and you know your community and you know what’s coming and you know what people want and you buy a property that has what they want, I think we call that smart.”
Lean into the information available to you and your own knowledge of the market and its trajectory to make big moves that can help you work your way up that wealth-building ladder, whether it’s buying a rental property, investing in residential development, or adding a staging service.
“We often think opportunity is always on the other side of the fence, and sometimes it’s sitting right in front of us, right around us and in the things we already have,” Bo says.