Real estate broker Ryan Serhant, star of the Bravo series "Million Dollar Listing" and "Sell It Like Serhant," knows a thing or two about money — he spends his time selling high-end real estate to some of the richest people in the world, after all. But when it comes to his own money, he's fairly conservative. He saves a lot, and he knows the value of a dollar.
When it comes to investing, he sticks to a pretty simple strategy: Invest in what you know.
Serhant recently sat down with the Grow team to discuss the most valuable investing advice he's received, how he learned about money at a young age, and more. Here is his story, as told to senior reporter Sam Becker.
The best piece of investment advice I was ever given was to invest in things you know. Things you use. Things you could see yourself using; things you actually like. Don't invest in stuff that doesn't interest you, because then you're not going to follow up on it. You're not going to be as active an investor.
So, I invest in things or products that I enjoy, use, or think are really interesting. And that includes investing in technology, investing in people who are inventors and creating things — both physical products as well as software — [and] investing in real estate.
When it comes to real estate, I used to really think that to be a wise investor, you have to invest what you actually have to spend, so don't spend more than you can afford. But I've found that to be incorrect.
The best investments I've made are the ones that actually push me outside of my comfort level. Because you need to work more. You need to do more to actually get a return on this investment. And that's worked really, really well for me.
The best investment I ever made: I invest in my business all the time. I invested in our YouTube vlog, and I think it's funny because before I started the vlog on YouTube, everyone thought it was stupid and crazy. Including me. Actually, mostly me.
I thought it was dumb. Just another form of social media. I was just sick and tired of it and I had no idea what it was going to do to our business.
But it is a massive way of driving business and driving brand awareness. So, by investing the money that I did into the vlog, more people buy my book, more people buy the course, more people reach out to me to buy and sell homes.
I distinctly remember what it was like to be in New York City in the summer of 2008 with no money. I had no idea how I was going to pay my rent come September 1. I had no idea how I was going to buy groceries. I had no idea what I was going to do.
And that is a terrifying, sickening, awful feeling. If you've ever been that broke — anywhere, but especially in New York City where everything is really expensive — I feel for you. You know what I'm talking about.
That is really what pushed me to get into real estate. I had a friend who said, "Listen, it doesn't cost anything, just get your real estate license, go out there, and start advising people and showing people rental apartments. You don't have to buy anything. You don't have to do anything. All you have to do is be yourself, know your stuff, and people will pay you a fee for showing them apartments."
And that's what I did. And it worked.
I got my first rental commission and it was like $500. I was like, "Yes, 500 bucks! Awesome!" And my next one was $700 and then $1,000, and it grew slowly from there.
Ryan Serhant is also the author of the book "Sell It Like Serhant," and his new digital course is available now.
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