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Finding Your Balance & a Lifelong Educational Journey with Craig Horton



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Today’s guest is a veteran and real estate investor, Craig Horton. He shares his journey in the real estate business and talks about the importance of continuing to educate yourself. Gary Pinkerton and Craig also discuss the significance of balancing all parts of your life and the freedom that is part of the real estate business.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant, and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Hello, and welcome to Episode 96 of the heroic investing show. We’re getting close to 100. Folks, on this show, we focus on those challenges that are unique to armed service members, veterans, and first responders. But we also focus on those things that we’re all seeking. And for most of us that is getting more time with family getting more time to focus on those things that inspire us. And so to do that, what we do is introduce to you the concept of replacing some of that w two income, hopefully all of that w two income one day with passive income from a variety of sources. I work with all kinds of alternative investments for my clients at paradigm life. Some of them are more passive than others. But my personal favorite is income producing rental properties, single family, wonderful family. But I have to admit, I’m also very interested in larger multifamily in mobile, home parks and self storage. I think they’re all viable and all extremely interesting. I also love the concept of providing student housing in college areas. I’m just basically a junkie of income producing assets. We do all different kinds, like I said, apart on life, it doesn’t have to be tenants and toilets, if that doesn’t fit you. But this gentleman, I’m going to talk to you today, a friend a close friend. Now I met in person actually just a month or so ago. But we’ve been you know, communicating back and forth. They’ve had a great relationship here for several months already. He’s a fellow Navy veteran. He’s graciously invited me and my wife Susan to come to his next ship reunion down in Washington, DC and next year, I think it is and I can’t wait to do that with them. A great friend, but he’s also an incredible real estate investor. We recently had john Schaub, on. That was a recommendation from Craig, my guest for today’s episode, Craig Horton. And it was a great recommendation. And he was a student of John’s and has, you know, really learned quite a bit from him. Craig’s background he’s from Medford, Oregon, was born and raised there, spent quite a bit of time in the Navy. His father was a real estate investor built a bunch of the buildings that they still own. He and his wife really run a management company now and are managing quite a few properties. But it’s extremely successful for them.

There are another one. No similar to john being students of john Schwab that liked to have their properties paid off. We continue to banter back and forth about that I understand his perspective. Absolutely. I think he would say he understands mine. But a lot of times people don’t come from a position of being able to pay properties often. So if you want to get there faster, how do you do that safely and prudently with long term fixed rate debt. And that’s really what I like to want to talk about extensively on this show with my followers, so that you can get down this path because it’s a beautiful path. I love having people like john Schwab and Jason Hartman and Craig Horton shine the light on this forest. You know, talk to us about what this can be, if we stay devoted to it if we keep sharpening our pencil and minding our knitting, you know, and sticking with it, putting prudent things in place like asset protection and mentors, and safe, long term fixed rate debt on properties that are cash flowing. We want to see you know, what the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow looks like? And my friend Craig Horton is going to show it to us. So thank you so much, please enjoy this discussion with a dear friend.

Gary Pinkerton 4:26
So ladies and gentlemen, thanks so much for coming back with us. And as I mentioned in the introduction, I’m here with a perhaps new but very, very good friend of mine, somebody that I think I could introduce as a twin and two peas in a pod when it comes to real estate and our philosophy. He was just talking before we came on the show about reflecting back to my speech at meet the Masters when I said that, you know, Atlas Shrugged was one of those books that really inspires me and, and it is a book that has made a big difference for Craig as well. And so please, warm welcome. And thank you so much for joining me, Mr. Greg Horton.

Craig Horton 5:01
Thank you, Gary. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be with someone that just loves atlas shrugged. I know that this may be part of the focus of our podcast interview. But that is a very powerful book for a lot of entrepreneurs. And I was so happy at meet the Masters in your speech where you, you had a picture of the book cover and you talked about the book because it just had a big impact on my life for so many years and continues to this day.

Gary Pinkerton 5:28
Yeah, as I mentioned in the introduction, Craig and I are both Navy veterans and in Korea, you is somewhat of a short stint, I guess, from between leaving high school, doing some Navy time there. But then getting right back into the family real estate business that your dad grew. And you and your wife have worked hand in hand and grown it considerably beyond that. And you were telling me that you’ll manage Did you say 230 220 units?

Craig Horton 5:57
219 units that are apartments and then we have, like 20 houses and duplexes, the houses and the duplexes. My wife and I own both our widths under the umbrella of our management company. And all those the apartments that we have, basically, my dad built all of them, and they’re paid off. And it’s just a really good stream of income. And then we have a separate Corporation. It’s that management company that my wife and I now own outright and we manage the units. They’re mostly two bedroom townhouses. We do have some one bedroom units, and we do have some three bedroom but most of them are two bedroom townhouses.

Gary Pinkerton 6:37
Nice and does your family have? Do you have a lot of commercial businesses or are spaces other than you know what houses your stuff there at Horton Plaza.

Craig Horton 6:47
We have a side business that my dad got into after the apartment is retirement communities Independent Living retirement communities. As an ownership interest in several those, we do not manage those. We have a separate management agent that manages those facilities at my mom and dad actually live in one of the retirement community. So they’re actually owners and tenants, and Horton Plaza in Medford, Oregon, wonderful facility. And that’s where our offices that we bought our office on a lease option from Horton Plaza, basically. And so my wife and I own own our office space.

Gary Pinkerton 7:23
Okay, so you and your wife wrote a wonderful book that you shared it, you gave a copy to my wife, Sue, and I talk a little bit about that, and what’s in the book and about your journey together.

Craig Horton 7:34
We wrote a book in 1990, called side by side, the married couples guide to a successful real estate investment. And my wife and I always have, we’re just very, very close. And she worked for a bank for about eight years. And then she went to work for med for better housing as our office manager and kind of worked with me side by side and in the real estate business. And she’s kind of semi retired now. But she still comes in the office two to three days a week. And she interviews applicants for apartments and just make sure that working with me that we make things, we make the business that sound and secure. And she’s been my rock for so many years, and we’re just so close. We’ve been married 45 years, I’m now on a five year plan. Starting last month in January, January 2023, we are going to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I’m working on the five year plan. I actually got that idea from Jason Hartman with the most recent meet the Masters, we had the five year plan contest. So I just adapted that to our concept of planning our wedding anniversary 50th. And we’re working on that it’s kind of exciting. It’s a lot of fun. You’re gonna spend five years planning your 50th anniversary. That’s exactly right. invite me to that party. Oh, well, look, we got the DJ lined up, I made a list of the songs that we’re going to play for the dinner dance. And we’re going to have a mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which is our church that we attend. And it’s really going to be a lot of fun. We did this with our 25th, about 25 years ago, almost 25 years ago, we did this with our 25th we spent a year preparing it and it was just one of the outstanding events in our lives. And it was great, but I’m like you and a lot of successful people. You know, we plan ahead and we set goals. And when you do that, it just really makes a difference. And it produces a lot of success in whatever endeavor you’re in, whether it be a 50th wedding anniversary or be a real estate investment. I’m a big believer in setting goals and making plans and dream in the dream.

Gary Pinkerton 9:36
It is certainly true that what you focus on expands Yeah. And that’s why it’s so devastating to focus on problems right. And I mean, people who complain seem to get more and more stuff dumped on top of them. And unfortunately, not too many of us have learned the lesson you just said but when I finally started focusing only on on things that I could be grateful for and focusing on goals and doing you know three points of gratitude in the evening and Things like that man, did that make a huge change in my life? it’s almost hard to put into words, the difference

Craig Horton 10:06
A saying that I’ll pass on to you that I heard and I’ve heard in the business over the years is a guy told me that was successful investor, he said, focus on long term benefits. And don’t think about short term problems, always remember the long term benefits. And that’ll get you through the short term problems. And I really think that’s just great advice. And I’ve tried to run my life that way. You know, I don’t, the short term problems can be challenges, but I don’t want to get me down. You know, I’m always thinking about those long term benefits, whether it’s marriage or real estate, and boy, it just, it really works.

Gary Pinkerton 10:36
Yeah, absolutely. You have another member of the family. So you qualify as as a, what should I say you are a qualified guest, having been a military veteran and good friend, your son also first responder. So tell us about Larry and you know, his journey so far. And what he’s doing now,

Craig Horton 10:54
Larry worked for the Phoenix Police Department as a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona for 20 years. And he retired, he had a good career. And he now has two rental houses. And he’s he’s actually working on buying a self storage facility, probably somewhere in Arizona. And he’s, he’s gone to a couple of seminars about that. And he’s got a he’s got a business coach that’s helping them. He’s made a couple offers. And it hasn’t happened yet. But I know what’s going to happen. And he’s really determined and dedicated. And I’m just very, very proud of him. I’ve tried to take him to a lot of seminars that I go to, and we’ve gone together and we just have a blast and like we were meet the masters and we had dinner with you the day before the seminar started. And we just had a really had a good time together. But we’ve done that several times as we went to one john shop seminar that highly recommend his summaries one of my mentors, but Larry and I went with together and we just, we just really have fun and we connect and he gets to meet these successful entrepreneurs. And it’s just a tremendous experience. And I want to leave a legacy for him. That’s part of the reason why I do that. And I’ve just been blessed to have the resources to make that happen.

Gary Pinkerton 12:06
Absolutely. And I really enjoyed meeting both you and Larry. When, how old was Larry, when you first started taking him to seminars and things like that?

Craig Horton 12:13
I would say it’s been within the last five to 10 years.

Gary Pinkerton 12:17
Okay. He’s always been an adult nearing the end of his his first career.

Craig Horton 12:20
Right? Right. It was probably mid to end of his police officer career got it. Okay.

Gary Pinkerton 12:25
I knew a lot of people who bring their kids to events like that, and I’m trying to start doing that with mine. Just curious, you know, how far back but I don’t think you can ever be too early with that.

Craig Horton 12:34
Absolutely. And it’s so important because I remember the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talk to Stephen Covey, he talked in there about leaving a legacy and that in my dad has taught me that too, that we want to have a living legacy that that lasts beyond our life on earth. And I think it’s particularly in families. I just think that’s very, very important. And I know you’re practicing that with your two sons, and I just think it’s great.

Gary Pinkerton 12:58
Yeah, I do too. I think it’s gonna pay big dividends in life. I already see it. They’re just so engaged and have a much different perspective than all the kids they go to school with, which is really super important.

Craig Horton 13:09
Right? It’s like an Atlas Shrugged, you know, and they talk about how you you stand out in the crowd and you do you follow a life philosophy that’s different than other people and you do it with strength and then I get back out with shrug, but I love it,

Gary Pinkerton 13:23
Well, you know, Pat Donahoe, you know, a mentor of mine is the owner and CEO of Paradigm life, and you met Pat and right, wonderful guy, but he’s taught me so much. And he did a presentation and back into life at this summit that we were at for advisors and, and he was talking about living the infinite game and and I can’t remember, forgive me, for the gentleman who wrote this book about the infinite game versus the finite game and people who live the finite game in business or in relationships or just in life, they’re never happy because they’re, you get to this goal. If you either achieve that goal, you don’t achieve the goal, right? And once you’ve achieved it, no, the rival syndrome falls or jumps in. And at best, you have an interruption at worst, you have a depression because you’re nothing left in life, you know. And so, if you’re playing the infinite game, which is what you know, Reardon was playing with his Rearden metal, you know, and Danny dagny Taggart was we know is doing with her railroad. Yeah. People are just, that’s what a true entrepreneur does, right? They’re doing this just to continue to improve. That’s right. Absolutely. When the iPhone three was was a success, you know, he didn’t stop with that, you know, that just kept going and going and going. So pretty inspiring, and it’s about continuing to improve and continuing to play the game for the progressive no being in the game.

Craig Horton 14:37
The additional comment I would make to that is, when you do that you need to have a balanced life and have it have balance in all areas of life because some people, Steve Jobs is a good example. He was very successful Larry’s life, but he didn’t take care of his health and he defeated taking care of his health. He could have lived a lot longer and done some great things. So you got to the lesson with that experience is you have to live try To live a balanced life, it’s so important. And I know, I can tell from being with you when we had dinner particularly and talking and hearing about your experiences that you’re, you’re good at that. And I really respect and appreciate that so much. The balance you’ve got.

Gary Pinkerton 15:12
I would say that I certainly work on it. But I am a workaholic. I had heart and going by doing fitness things doesn’t come natural. I have to force myself to get out there and get out. And you know, I just have to constantly remind myself, which I think everyone who knows where their blindsides are, they just got to focus on him. right and right, one of the things like, I’ve listened to Zig Ziglar forever, and and, you know, now his son and a friend of his are carrying on the Ziggler podcast.

Craig Horton 15:40
Right, right. I listened to that podcast a lot.

Gary Pinkerton 15:41
Yeah. And, and one of the themes they’ve been on for close to six months now is they’re interviewing people in there asking him like the five wheels of a successful life I think it is. But you know, it’s it’s health. It’s it’s spirituality, fitness in business and family, I guess. But it’s really interesting to hear this from just one person after another. So it’s a really cool way to do a podcast and to get different perspectives about that message

Craig Horton 16:07
Right. I highly recommend their podcast. I don’t listen to as many of these sessions I guess I should, but they’re the Zig Ziglar podcast is great. And I’m a huge fan of Zig Ziglar, I had the honor and the privilege one time of hearing him speak in person, and it was fabulous.

Gary Pinkerton 16:23
I missed that. I missed that. And Jim Rohn both. I really wish they were

Craig Horton 16:27
I heard Jim Rohn. But I heard Zig Ziglar. And it was fantastic. Really, really good. Yeah, crazy.

Gary Pinkerton 16:33
So how about a few minutes on your thoughts of kind of meet the masters and, and just the value of going to things like that?

Craig Horton 16:40
Well, I believe you never stopped learning. I’m just a huge fan of learning, you know, books, I read a lot of books. What I do now is listen to podcasts, I’ve got an iPad. And so I’ve got a couple of wise wireless earphones, and I get on the treadmill, I listen to podcasts, and I just, it’s really fabulous. But you can’t ever stop learning as to because you’ll you’ll just you’ll die as a person if you do. And I just think it’s really important, I believe in the value of learning and education and that I know you do too. And I’m almost like a preacher about that I got it. Sometimes I gotta slow down that because I just I love learning. I’ve learned so much, particularly from books and podcasts. And I just can’t say enough about it. Because the person that learns a lot and never stops learning or generally in a lot of cases becomes a very successful individual. I’ve got several friends that are that way like you and like john job and some others that I could Pat Donohue or Russell grade, Robert Helms, Mark Harrelson, who’s kind of semi retired now but I used to go I went to his several his seminars in the day, I just can’t say enough about the power of learning and education. It’s really, it’s, it’s so important. Even if you just start with a few books in your library, and you read those books. And then you can even fact you don’t even have to buy books, you can go to the library, and you can read a lot of really good books. So I just think it’s really, really important.

Gary Pinkerton 18:08
Yeah, and I started this list of, you know, my favorites, and I, it’s my plans to go read them every couple of years. It’s amazing when you go back and read them good. You know, it’s like somebody, somebody snuck in and changed the pages on you. Because, you know, it just doesn’t read like it did the last time because you’ve changed so much in your own experiences that it’s it’s again, a fresh new book, you know, so right. It’s really interesting, pretty experiential, you know, going through something like that.

Craig Horton 18:34
And I noticed that one of the another thing I like about talking about meet the Master Jason Hartman, he’s really into learning and education. His podcasts are just so interesting. And he gets guests from different walks of life and interviewing them and, and he’s, I really respect and appreciate that so much.

Gary Pinkerton 18:52
Yeah, you know, one of the things that I appreciated most about my time in the nuclear power submarines was before everything else, and this important thing, like, like, you know, you have priorities in your schedule, right. And when things conflict, you got to figure out what’s the highest priority and other than safety of ship, you know, and operations if you happen to be deployed or doing a mission. In the normal world, I’ll call it training always outweighed other things, and we would spend four to six hours kind of like firefighters, you know, always training for that thing that we really wish would hope didn’t happen. But I really gained a huge value for success through education and through practice and repetition. And that’s what I see from from Patrick Donahoe and from Jason Hartman. And I think it’s why I’m so attracted to both of them is that before anything else, they seek to educate, and it’s their philosophy that if my customer, my client, my follower, is well educated, then they will do the right thing and I think that they will, you know, join ranks with me and they will introduce me to friends and family and people that I can help because they value that Before I asked for, you know, to provide service, or do you get paid, I spent time to educate, you know, and give people so that they make the right decision.

Craig Horton 20:09
Right. And it’s like when you do that process, and you, you practice it over over the year, you build up a lifelong mastermind group, I can tell you, like, for example, meeting you at meet the master that was probably, I don’t want to buddy up, but I gotta tell you, that was a highlight from a particularly because of your background and in the Navy, because I, I really value my service in the Navy so much, but you, you build these relationships, and they become lifelong, and they just push you to success. Because with real positive relationships with a mastermind concept like this in thinking Grow Rich, it’s gonna happen. And I’ve seen it happen so many times. And it’s a real powerful concept of life. And it’s just like, again, it’s so so important.

Gary Pinkerton 20:52
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m cautious having had a few conversations with you, Greg, that you and I could end up with a four-hour podcast.

Craig Horton 21:02
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, we could. My wife sometimes has to tell me to cool it a little bit. Because I just, you know, I love what I do. And I love, like networking with great people like you were doing on this podcast. Yeah, our memory. So I have to tone it down a bit sometimes. I really enjoyed it so much.

Gary Pinkerton 21:21
Yeah, of course. And so do I. And so we’ve made mentioned to john Shaab, he’ll either be right before or right after Craig. So if you haven’t heard him yet, you will soon or you need to dig back into your archive a couple, couple of them back in your library. And you know, forward over to that one, because it’s a great interview too. And I really appreciate you putting me on to john, and I can’t wait to go to one of his seminars, perhaps next next January down in Florida. Great place to be in January.

Craig Horton 21:46
Yeah, Gary, I appreciate that compliment so much. But john is a big mentor of mine, in the real estate business. And also as this conceptual individual, he’s very involved with Habitat for Humanity. And he’s a fine teacher, you’re just he’s top of the line on you know, I appreciate you following through with him, but I just have tremendous respect for him. And I refer a lot of people to his material, his books, and he’s got a newsletter, but his seminars, he only gets two or three a year. But all they’re wonderful.

Gary Pinkerton 22:16
So we didn’t talk too much, Craig, about your you know, really so much about your family and what you do, and when we talked about managing these properties, but really, this is an incredible story of, you know, over half a century starting back with your dad growing, owning, managing real estate, rental properties, income producing properties, and you know, some incredible things, I think it’s enabled for your family,

Craig Horton 22:38
it’s been a great journey. And it’s not easy, it’s a lot of work. But long term, why real estate is where it’s at. I’m just I’m like a preacher, I get on, it’s almost like the gospel of real estate, excuse my terminology there. But it’s, it’s, it’s like that, and you particularly, you get to the point where you have very low debt, and you’ve got strong, positive monthly income coming in, you know, after so many years, and you don’t have to do a lot for it. Wow, it’s just that’s a pretty good way to be provides incredible staying power, doesn’t it? Right, and it gives you a lot of freedom, because part of the real estate business is about freedom, you’re going to use capitalism to make you financially free and to make you also free as a person to do other activities with with what you have like one of the things that my wife and I have done, I’ve talked to you about this a little bit is we created our own foundation, we took one of our houses, that was free and clear. And we put in our foundation, eventually we sold it but we now give five to $6,000 a year to charities affiliated with our church, but anybody can do that. And I’ve tried to encourage people to do that. And then then again, the real estate business has enabled me to do that. And wow, this has been great. I really, and then we’re leaving a legacy. When we pass from this earth, my wife and I that foundation was still in existence. And every year, we will be helping others with donations and grants from that foundation. It’s wonderful.

Gary Pinkerton 24:08
That’s amazing. That’s incredible. I want to have you back on and talk more about that I am coming to the end of my allotted time. Thank you, Craig so much. Any any parting words? Or I didn’t ask you about a website. I don’t think your book is actually for sale, is it?

Craig Horton 24:22
No, no, but our website is med for better housing.com. And I’d be happy to if you go to the website, and we got an email address on there and you can send me an email, I’d be happy to talk to you. I always always like to one of my missions in life is to help others because I’ve had others help me over the years and I just tried to pass that on.

Gary Pinkerton 24:43
Yeah, I will tell you that guy will vouch for that. Greg is a wonderful gentleman who will will get back to you quickly with emails. Very, very prompt and courteous about that and he’s always ready to provide some good positive encouragement about every podcast that I do. I think he might be the only person that listens to everyone. Immediately.

Craig Horton 25:01
Oh, that’s great. Well, I get a lot out and I, you know, I’ve learned from successful people that you need to say thank you, you know, you need to just even if it’s in a brief email because people really appreciate that and I just think it’s, you know, my dad taught me that I’ve learned that Tom Hopkins another one of my mentors taught me that. Yeah, but they just the power of the thank you is so so important that I, I appreciate that feedback, but I need to say thanks, if somebody does a good job, it’s something that’s just really really important.

Gary Pinkerton 25:34
That’s awesome. Well, thanks Craig so much for joining me on this. We’re gonna have you back before too long. I’m gonna get Larry on here too.

Craig Horton 25:39
Okay. That’s great. He people eat love to do that. Be a proud dad if he if he was interviewed.

Gary Pinkerton 25:46
Absolutely. All right. Well, have a great weekend. Again, much appreciated my friend.

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