Tragic Adversity, Mail Delivery, and Rental Properties | Jimmy Ridenhour

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In today’s episode, Cody and Justin bring you an interview that is guaranteed to be a new one for you. This is the story of Jimmy Ridenhour who, unlike most of our guests, has no blog, book, podcast or ever been on a podcast. That doesn’t mean his story isn’t remarkable.

Jimmy’s story starts out with a very tragic start that involves murder and family turmoil but he amazingly finds his way to success and has an unmatched amount of positive vibes when you meet him in person.

After that tragic start, Jimmy landed on his feet literally as a mailman at age 18. While most people his age were racking up college debt, he was bringing in upwards of $80k a year while he put in 70+ hour weeks. This allowed him to purchase his first home for $125k and have it paid off at age 23. Now he’s 27 with five properties and already has an income stream that would allow him to be financially independent if he wanted.

This is a can’t-miss episode!

Episode Summary

  • Jimmy was born in the outskirts of NYC
  • Migrates to Arkansas around 3 years old
  • His father gets murdered while going to sell his car
  • Life becomes chaos as his mother struggles with depression and substance abuse
  • Splits time between his mom & grandparents until 12 then moves to grandparents full time
  • He started learning work ethic and business from the new family he was living with
  • From age 12 to 16 he saved $5k from small-town jobs
  • He decides to follow in his Aunt’s footsteps in working at the Post Office to hopefully have her normal life vs his chaotic one
  • He creates a postal profile at age 16 in hopes of one day becoming a postman
  • Then his grandmother passed away and his grandfather developed Alzheimer’s
  • At 18 he’s eligible to take the postal exam & scores high enough to get hired right away
  • He starts working 70+ hours a week
  • At age 20 he buys his first house for $125k which he paid off at 23 through high savings rates and house hacking via a roommate
  • Saving $80k in those three years while making a range of $50-80k per year
  • He talks about shaking the scarcity mentality but also keeping his very low budget lifestyle
  • He’s currently making 55k per year
  • His boss sold him his second house for $50k and which he puts $13k in for fixes
  • Gets deeper into BiggerPockets and starts crushing podcasts while delivering mail for work
  • Finds his 3rd home through a family member for $30k and knocked out all the fixes himself
  • Finds his 4th home for $40k which appraised for $65k that only needed a quick paint job
  • He discovers Paul Thompson from Ready Investor One and got involved in his first Wholesale purchase for $47k, invested $20k, sold it three months later and profited $18k even though he contracted out 90% of the work
  • He highly recommends doing all the work yourself in the beginning so you can negotiate better with contractors and protect yourself from getting taken advantage of.
  • His plan is to end up with 12 rental properties total
  • His expenses are currently so low (~$1300/mo) that he’s already financially independent with the 5 houses he has
  • He’s currently cash flowing over $2k per month through his rentals at age 27
  • Recommends using Mr. Landlords how to find a good tenant scoresheet when filtering out tenants
  • He manages all but one property and is now experimenting with the one property manager to hopefully someday step away and allow all his properties to be managed
  • His #1 tip is to just get started because you’ll learn so much from the first house
  • And trust me you won’t want to miss this week’s wildcard question about the most insane date Jimmy has ever been on!

Key Takeaways

  1. Your past can’t define you. Jimmy had an incredibly rough start and is still somehow so far ahead of almost anyone I know. This financial independence journey isn’t reserved for kids with parents who taught them the value of money at a young age or who paid for their college. It doesn’t have to be pursued in a big city with an outrageous economy. You decide if your path is successful, not your past.
  2. Just jump in. We hear this tip so often but it can’t be overstated. Just start. Whether that’s index funds or real estate, you just have to get off the couch. The first experience will be profitable even if it doesn’t look like it in your bank account. That’s because you’ll learn so much from it that you’d never get from simply reading about it.
  3. There is no one path. Much like the first take away we just want to highlight how non-traditional this story is and how many excuses we hope were eliminated today. More specifically I think the interesting take away here is the value of earning income earlier. Jimmy didn’t do the traditional 4-5 year degree, pay off debt, start getting ahead around 30 model that most do. He started earning serious cash at age 18 and that’s why he’s so far ahead. Don’t box yourself or your kids in when thinking about your path.

Call to Action

Focus on your happiness because financial independence is not all about the end goal. Take time and enjoy the journey folks!


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Links from the Episode

Mr. Landlords Tenant Application

Scott Trench’s book: Set For Life

Ready Investor One

Contact Jimmy:

Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)

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