Americans, while the vast majority of non-African-American and non-His- panic whites do own their home. I’ve been a student of these facts before social justice and wealth building was popular.” The motivation for Ragland’s inter- est in wealth building through real investing came from close to home. His daughter approached him one day and said she was thinking about buying a house and needed advice. They had a series of conversations and Ragland guided her though how to purchase her first home. That led to more people asking him how she did it. After getting a large amount of inquiries, Ragland sat down with his daughter again about everything they had discussed. This time however, he recorded the conversation. The transcript turned into a series of TV appearances on the topic and an Amazon best-selling book, 7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Own Home!, which discusses the wealth gap and the importance of home ownership. Today, home ownership is a family affair for Ragland. His three children all own real estate (even his youngest son who is a college freshman) and all three are on the path to financial security because of it—an achieve- ment that Ragland calls his “most important accomplishment.” “The reality is, the wealth gap can be closed in one generation if people just get serious about home owner- ship as that first step,” Ragland said. “After you get your first home, don’t stop. Get another rental property and then another rental. It’s almost like a game of Monopoly—four green houses, roll them up into a red hotel, except they aren’t hotels, they’re apartment buildings. And the for- mula for creating wealth isn’t hard. You just have to pay attention, find yourself a mentor, and be willing to

Ragland with Steve Streetman

can follow our system and own five to 10 rental properties if executed properly. Those rental properties could pay you between $5,000 and $10,000 a month in passive income in the Maryland/D.C. area. For many people, that is enough to be able to retire, or at least have your spouse leave their job and come home. “That gives you real choices in terms of what you want to do with your life,” Ragland said. “If you go to work, you go because you love the job, not because you need the paycheck.” DEVELOPANOWNERSHIP MINDSET Whether someone owns one property or 10, it’s important they think of themselves as a real estate investor, Ragland says. His thinking is home ownership draws a distinct line between the consumer and the producer. If someone spends their whole life consuming, they may look at life as, ‘What can I consume next?’

get out there and actually do it.” Ragland also noted the easiest way to close the financial gap is for people to pay attention to what they’re spending their money on— including how much they’re spending on rent versus what would that same rent payment would look like if were applied to a mortgage. “I think most people realize they could probably get more housing if they took the same dollars that they are spending on rent and dedicat- ed them to a mortgage,” he said. “Granted, it might cause them to move outside of an urban area and to a suburb. Case in point, my oldest son and girlfriend were paying $3,800 a month for a one-bedroom apart- ment in Washington, D.C. Finally, he said, ‘This is insanity.’ They’re now in the process of buying a four-bedroom house about 15 minutes outside of the city.” Home ownership can be the first rung on the ladder to creating wealth, according to Ragland. In as little as three to five years, anyone

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