- Avery Heilbron didn’t learn how to invest his money until he started self-educating on the subject.
- He read “Retire on Real Estate,” which inspired him to invest in properties.
- He also read “Set for Life,” which introduced him to the idea of financial independence.
Growing up, Avery Heilbron understood the importance of saving money.
“I always had a really good sense of being frugal. My family never bought flashy things or spent money poorly,” the 27-year-old told Insider.
But he never learned how to invest his savings. That came after college, when he started self-educating on the subject.
Heilbron, who studied math and statistics at Colby College, took a job as a data analyst after graduating in 2018. He got in the habit of paging through
after work and on the weekends.
The literature inspired him to find ways to make his money work harder for him.
It also introduced him to the idea of financial independence, which he’s already achieved, he told Insider. “Theoretically, with the investments I have … I could stop working,” said Heilbron, who owns two rental properties in Boston, which Insider confirmed. He says he saves more than 80% of his income from him.
The “FIRE” (financial independence, retire early) lifestyle doesn’t appeal to him as much as the “FIRO” (financial independence, retire optional) one does. “I want to get out of the corporate gig but as soon as I do that, it becomes, ‘What’s the next thing? What projects am I going to be doing?’ Because I can’t just sit around all day,” said Heilbron, who still works full-time as a data analyst and grosses over $100,000 a year from his real estate holdings and various other side hustles.
Here are the two money books that changed Heilbron’s money mindset and helped him get to where he is today.
1. “Retire on Real Estate” by Kai Anderson
Written by real estate investor and landlord Kai Anderson, “Retire on Real Estate” is what nudged Heilbron in the direction of owning property. “That book opened me up to the idea of using real estate as an investment and retirement vehicle,” he said.
Heilbron set the goal of buying a place as soon as possible and started saving as much of his paycheck as he could. After reading Anderson’s guide and listening to episodes of the popular real estate podcast “BiggerPockets,” I have decided to use a strategy known as “house hacking,” in which you rent out a portion of your home to offset your mortgage payment.
That’s exactly what he did: He bought his first property — a $525,000 duplex outside of Boston — financed it with an FHA loan (he put 3.5% down, or about $18,000), and took on a $3,300 monthly mortgage. He and his girlfriend moved into the two-bedroom unit downstairs, as the loan required him to make the property his primary residence. He also found a roommate and rented out the upper floor of the duplex.
Between rent from his girlfriend, roommate, and the family that moved in upstairs, Heilbron was bringing in $3,600 per month in rental income. That meant he was not only living for free in his own home, but he was profiting $300 a month.
Heilbron is still building out his real estate portfolio, but he’s already grossing more than $100,000 a year from his two properties in Boston, he explained in one of his YouTube videos.
If you want to build long-term wealth, “I think real estate is 100% the best thing,” he said. It requires time and patience, and some savings to get started, but if done correctly, “you can create cash flow, your properties will go up in value as long as you have a long-term view, and you get a lot of tax benefits.”
2. “Set for Life” by Scott Trench
Scott Trench’s “Set for Life” teaches readers how to save 50% or more of their income while also increasing their earnings in order to become financially free.
“It’s called ‘Set for Life’ for a reason, because you’re trying to set yourself up for life financially,” said Heilbron. “It’s the blueprint of how I’ve tried to put my life together.”
He uses Trench’s savings strategy and focuses on keeping “the big three” expenses (housing, transportation, and food) in check, rather than worrying about saving on smaller purchases like coffee. It helps him save the majority of his paycheck from him. He’s also found ways to increase his income from him and generates side money from real estate, personal coaching, and social media including YouTube and TikTok, where he reaches nearly 200,000 followers combined.
Trench’s philosophy can come across as intense at times, noted Heilbron. For example, “he says that if you’re driving, never listen to music because it’s a waste of time; instead, make sure you’re reading and listening to audiobooks.” But the author’s intensity resonated with Heilbron. “He’s writing to the person who just started in the corporate world, is making a median or average starting salary, and is just being really diligent with their savings — taking that money and investing it — in order to turn it into something bigger and hit financial freedom.”