I just want to say thank you to you guys in the forum. I was recently inspired by your threads about the economy, problems with tenants and buyers, and your call out to be proactive in 2009.

I took this literally and wanted to be proactive as well. In one of my businesses I produced an exit survey on the survey monkey website and shot it out to those who had cancelled a membership I had, and it opened my eyes. What a great idea!

In addition, I wanted to be proactive with the buyers in my homes. You might want to try this as well. I actually took a bunch of minor fundamental financial tips and created a book. I had the book printed and gave it to those people in our homes. I told them I wrote it and would appreciate some feedback on it, and have gotten great feedback from a lot of them!

The book teaches things like “Pay yourself first”, and includes cost cutting tips and how to spend your money. In between all of this, I included a step by step breakdown of an experiment I did with my kids. We took some pocket change and “snowballed” it. Using only the money we had we bought and resold items and did some other strategies to slowly “snowball” up to a few thousand.

Anyway, it turned out to be a success with the tenants and a few of them are trying their own snowball, which is an unbelievable feeling to see them actually paying attention to their finances, and I’m hoping all of this leads to people being able to pay better and more on time.

I highly suggest that if you want to be proactive, you do the same thing. You could hop on Google and pull up a bunch of articles, credit tips, and what not, and easily put together a book.

Then offer it to your tenants and buyers. By telling them that you wrote it, they may feel an obligation to actually read it. After all, that is the point, and if they read it, it just might change the way they think about their finances.

I don’t know, maybe I’m nuts, and I just did this thing so I don’t know if my numbers have actually gotten better just yet, but I feel it would help.

It’s worth a shot and it also shows your tenants that you care.

Just an idea…

A young man that does some carpentry work for me, was seemingly always in a financial bind and needing to borrow money. With the most recent loan, I also gave him a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I doubted he would ever read it. When he repaid the loan, he was excited about having a plan for his money.

I don’t know how it will all play out, but at least a seed has been planted.

I love your idea about a book. It serves multiple purposes, too. It shows your customers that you care about them and helps you get paid. That’s enlightened self-interest at its finest.

I am also going to try the snowball experiment with my kids. I bought an entire 10x12 full of stuff at a self storage auction for $40 the other day. The next day someone offered me $80 and I took it. I imagine I could have pieced it out and gotten more, but I was able to double it with no effort. Now my kids and I have $80 to work with and it will be a nice test of their creativity to figure out how to invest it for growth. Two 10X12’s, perhaps?

Thank you for alerting me to the existence of This will be a great tool to help me market my properties, especially the self storages. I am going to create a “new customer” survey as well as an exit survey.


Wow that is a great way to “connect” with your tenants. The most inovative idea so far in the lets get back to basics year 2009! I would really like to help our tenants live a little better life (not expecting miracles here). Simple things to better their relationship with this means of exchange called money. Start right at the bottom like explaining the “envelope” saving system and work our way up. And breaking down the “rent to own store real costs” I have no idea how to teach them how to balance a checkbook. Include a how to make extra money section also. It seems like almost every large purchase (cars, appliances, vacations, toys) we have made has been paid for from extra effort cash! Lonnie’s book “Taking The Mystery Out Of Money” would be like the masters degree study for the best of the bunch.

Beck, I have spoke with people who are really overwhelmed by sudden financial hardships. I have found D.Ramsey’s pecking order of who gets paid in this order 1. Food, 2. Utilities, 3. Housing, 4. transportation to really seem to be helpful.

Many times struggling people will have no food and pay mastercard (because their collectors are effective)or something else non-essential.

My partner, Jerry, attended D.Ramsey class in spring 08. He found it so inspiring and informative, that he decided to teach the class at his own church. He convinced me to attend, even though we like to think we knew all we needed to know about finances. I was amazed at the basic principles that I learned. He is teaching another class soon, which I will attend for free this time as an alum, and I may fill in as teacher if he needs a day off. I think we may consider offering to split the price with any tenants that wish to attend so they can learn the tricks to financial freedom.


I have some residents who are good people and I like having them in the community. However, they are always late yet the make enough money to pay their bills. Several people spoke about Dave Ramsey and his book. Is this book written simply enough for people of limited education to understand? If so, do you think I would be crossing some sort of line if I were to give it to these residents?



Wheat Hill


I would find out who in your area offers the course and then get some flyers from them and hang them up or pass them out in the community and talk it up. The cost is usually $100 per couple to attend a seminar and get the kit. It is a real laymans terms class with a lot of good information for people. I think you would get a lot of good response. The people who offer the seminar usually offer one night for people to come sit through a class, which is 13 weeks I think, and see what it is about so they know if they want to attend.


I went to this guy’s website and there are tons of books and courses and no seminars anywhere close to me. How in the world do I pick one book or item to give to residents?


Wheat Hill

Total Money Makeover is the most relevant and useful for the purposes that you have described.

Great responses from everyone. I have not actually read Dave Ramsey’s stuff, but I’ve heard it is very effective.

I took this a step further and made the book an Ebook, threw up a small website and offered it for sale for 9.95. Then on the site I offered an affiliate program for the people to email a link to their friends, and for each book they sell they get 5.00.

So essentially they get the book free if they sell two copies. I dropped a few hints and then offered it on Facebook and Twitter and so far it seems to be going pretty well.

I’ll still give free copies to my tenants, but I thought if I could sell it online too, that would be a great way to get it spread around and make some extra money. I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback so far.

So if you guys do end up writing a book, rather than buying Ramsey’s stuff for your tenants, you might want to try selling it too.

A domain name is like 20 bucks for 2 yrs. at go daddy and hosting the site is 15/month. Building the page is pretty easy and then you just get a merchant account which I got through Paypal (around 30/month) So it will cost me around 50/month to do this, which means I have to sell 10 books/month at the affiliate rate of 5.00 to have it pay for itself. I think that should be pretty easy.

I don’t know how well the affiliate program will work, but if I could get the book sold virally online, then who knows?

Maybe I can get on Oprah!

Well…what’s the website.

Brian was kind enough to send me his ebook. I really like it, the ideas are simple and reap immediate benefits. For someone with little to no financial knowledge/discipline it could mean a world of difference. It even inspired my wife and I to gather up things that have been collecting dust and cluttering up our lives, and selling them on craigslist. So far we have brought in over $600 in the last 2 weeks. We also have been hitting a few auctions for things to resell, what else is there to do in NY in February!?

I highly recomend it for tenants as well as investors.

Thanks Brian,


$600 in 2 weeks!!! Fantastic!

One of the things I forgot to put in there is all of the things I have found in abandoned mobile homes that I’ve sold. Mostly tools.

But today, One of my guys is going to look at a home where the family is leaving a 50 inch HD television when they move, and they are asking 3000 (OBO) for the home. I should be able to get something for the TV.

It’s funny, noone ever leaves a library full of books in a mobile home…

Thanks Don!