#51 | Darine with Eszter Sebok: From Paycheck To Financial Freedom
[00:00:00] Darine: How to create wealth?
[00:00:03] Darine: I feel this is the 1 million question here, and the path to financial freedom is different for everyone. But there is a blueprint to income creation that you can follow to make smarter financial decisions.
[00:00:19] Darine: Hello and welcome to STANDOUT From The Crowd, the first live no BS podcast about leadership.
[00:00:30] Darine: So if you like us, tell your friends and colleagues to go over on Apple Podcast and Spotify to give us a five star review because I think we are worth it, don't you?
[00:00:42] Darine: Our Standout guest Eszter Sebok is a professional real estate investor, an author, a mentor, and wait a minute, are you ready for this one? She is four times, four times bestselling author. So join us as she shares how she created wealth for herself as an immigrant woman in Canada and how you can do the same.
[00:01:09] Darine: Hello Eszter, how are you doing?
[00:01:11] Eszter: Hi Darine! Good afternoon, I'm fantastic today. How are you?
[00:01:16] Darine: This is a beautiful day to be happy today because it's International Women's Day. So happy International Women's Day to you Eszter, and to all the women watching us, listening to us, paving the way for other women who empower themselves.
[00:01:34] Darine: Today's topic is very particular and close to my heart because we know the complicated relationships that there is between money and women, or at least for most women and not all of the women, fortunately for us. Do you have any idea where this gap between women, money, what does it make us feel or make us? Because a lot of women feel uncomfortable to talk about it, to handle it, and to make better decision.
[00:02:05] Eszter: Yes. So happy International Women's Day to everybody! Of course, and yes, there's a lot of talks about relationship with money, not just for women, but for everybody. And not too long ago, about 60, 70 years ago, women were not able to hold their own mortgages, right?
[00:02:22] Eszter: So they needed to have a man entitled and then they would be able to have ownership, right? So we've come a long way from that era to now where actually most of the properties are owned by women. Well, the percentage is about 51%.
[00:02:40] Darine: Ooh 51% !
[00:02:41] Eszter: Ooh, yes so we've come a long way and I'm so proud of us and And yes, it comes down to the relationship with money.
[00:02:48] Eszter: So everybody has different kind of concept with the money. I'm from an Eastern European background. I'm in Canada for about 25 years now, and when I came to Canada, my relationship only with money was quite different. Right back home, we didn't have a lot of opportunities and when I came to Canada, I realized, wow, this is fantastic.
[00:03:10] Eszter: I can have ownership, I can have investments, I can spread my money around and really have that abundant lifestyle that, you know, we pray for and we hope for it.
[00:03:22] Darine: So you said something, when you came to Canada your relationship with money was different because you didn't have those opportunities back home.
[00:03:32] Darine: And I feel you touched a point, that something that is very well known, especially among immigrant women, is the relationship with money. Since we are coming to this country with a different background, right, a different education system and a different relationship with money here, we realize that money is accessible and that there is an abundance of money and I wanna sit together an abundance of money.
[00:03:55] Darine: And so how was your education journey coming from oh, you know, I don't handle money because I didn't have enough, I didn't have opportunities to do so to being, hey, I have access to unlimited money. How do I go about it? Like, how was the transition?
[00:04:13] Eszter: It was very early for me. It was, it's a fantastic story. Very inspiring too. So we came, we landed at the airport to Canada on a Thursday and just next Monday coming up, we went to school. So I barely spoke English, but when they took us to the principal's office to choose our courses, and I said, wow, I can choose my courses. This is fantastic, what else can in I choose?
[00:04:37] Eszter: Right? So right then from the beginning I was always seeking for an opportunity, right? And then I started, I finished my school and then one of, one of the greatest stories that I have after I finished university, I went to the bank and I said, okay, I'm ready to get that mortgage right? And I got turned down.
[00:04:58] Eszter: They only wanted to give me a small amount of money that was not even enough for anything at that time, right? You know, I was upset and sad for about 48 hours, but then I got back up and I started asking questions and you know how I can do that? What do I need to do to get to a place where I can actually purchase by myself?
[00:05:20] Eszter: So I started connecting with people who are where I wanted to be and just asking a lot of questions and how they got to where they they are now and what is really the strategy that I need to use in order for me to be a home owner, right? Because this was my ultimate sort of path and goal to start that.
[00:05:44] Darine: So, home ownership, and we're gonna talk a little bit more in details later about how, real estate can be one way to create wealth. We hear it a lot, and I feel like sometimes it's a buzzword. It has been trending for the past few years. You know, talking about financial freedom, achieve financial freedom, like is your ultimate objective should be financial freedom, which I agree with, but what do you define as financial freedom?
[00:06:17] Eszter: That's a great question Darine, it really depends on you know, what it is that you want to achieve for yourself, right? So financial freedom for some people could be taking those vacations that they wanted or taking some time off, spend more time with family or do different things or focus in another business or on a side right?
[00:06:38] Eszter: So it really depends what your goal is and once you determine that goal, that is the driving force to sort of be smarter with your money, right? And there again, there are different strategies that you can use. Another point to mention here that a lot of us are entrepreneurs in Canada, right?
[00:06:55] Eszter: Which is fantastic. But this is why it's so important to have this conversation and think about your relationship with money because when you're an entrepreneur you are on your own. So when you retire, there's no money coming from the government. So you really have to set yourself up really ahead of time.
[00:07:12] Eszter: So when you come to that point, you can easily retire and not be stranded, right? So, you know, entrepreneurs or people who are in the corporate world, there's tons of opportunity for us, we just need to make sure that we prepare ahead of time and set that up and there's a process to doing that and achieving financial freedom.
[00:07:35] Darine: Oh, and I love that, and before we dive into further into different strategies, as I was preparing this episode, I was doing some research and I came across a study actually that was conducted by the World Economic Forum on wealth equity across 99 countries, and the report found that women are at a disadvantage with regards to wealth accumulation over the span of their working lives.
[00:08:05] Darine: So here, nothing new, right? That's something that we already know. But here is where it becomes interesting as women are underrepresented in high, under represented in higher paid positions, the amount they can direct towards savings and investment, and, you know, the corresponding earning based contributions to wealth, of course, is lower and lower than men.
[00:08:30] Darine: So what factors should we consider when making financial de financial decisions?
[00:08:39] Eszter: Mm-hmm... Very good point, and you're right. So no matter what your income status is right now, there is, there's always a way to increase your income stream, right? And I always tell people that when, especially when you're younger, you still have the energy to create more like multiple sources of income, right? So some of us are in the nine to five corporate world, but after work, even myself, when I started working nine to five, because I was in a corporate world at first, I had something on the side, or also when I was in the corporate world, they had opportunities within the company. So I took advantage of all of those things that they offered.
[00:09:20] Eszter: For example stock plants, right? Or contributing to those are really important things, and that little bit of money that comes off of your paycheck goes into different sources that are constantly growing. So maybe the first few months are difficult because you're getting little bit less on your paycheck, but before you know it, a year has gone by and you have two sources that you have already invested that are more as the time goes by, right?
[00:09:51] Darine: Yes, and actually, you know, as we talk about creating multiple sources of income, you know, either you're working on a nine to five and you start the site hustle, or maybe you wanna work double shift. That's not what you are planning to do or your life, right? Oh, you could do that if you enjoy doing that.
[00:10:09] Darine: The idea here is really to set up the base for you to be able to start you know, taking steps towards your financial goals. Now, as I was saying earlier there is a gap in wealth accumulation in gender gap in wealth calculation. And some of the reasons that I didn't mention is, you know, most of the part-time job are fulfilled by women and low paid jobs also are fulfilled by women.
[00:10:37] Darine: So when your priority is to pay the bill, right, how can you balance short-term, which is putting food on the table, you know, and having a roof over your head and long-term financial goals?
[00:10:55] Eszter: Yes, so, when we think about the side gig or the second source of income we have to sort of open our minds to what else we can do because, you know, with the pandemic a lot of things opened up online.
[00:11:08] Eszter: So a lot of businesses went online, so you don't even have to be physically. To some of the jobs or the income producing jobs that you can you can sort of take on, right? So you kind of have to work smarter, not harder. So some of the ladies that I know, they do their nine to five job, but then they have a side gig that they're selling some kind of product that is sold out.
[00:11:32] Eszter: And that's how they make the extra income, right? And some of these things you can set up so that it's it, the business doesn't really need you to be there all the time, and it kind of runs on its own. So there are different types of things that you can do. You don't have to spend 12 hours working physically, right?
[00:11:51] Eszter: Because that's, that can be really exhausting. And that could take a real toll on yourself, right?
[00:11:57] Darine: And it does, it does. And you know, the approach is really, I do believe to understand and we are still talking about it. I think it comes more naturally for the younger generation, right? The millennials and Gen Z, you know, to look at opportunities that they can create out of the internet without having to be working like 24/7 on it and be able to create passive income.
[00:12:22] Darine: I just don't want passive income because when we talk about passive, there is some upfront work, and cost that you need to put in order to create passive income, right? But I feel like when I was talking with a high profile person working in politics, I was talking to her about the relationship between women and money.
[00:12:46] Darine: And she was telling me, even in Canada and I was surprised actually I didn't expect that. A lot of women don't even have a bank account, or they have a shared bank account, a common bank account with their spouse, but they are not aware of what's coming in and out because they are not the ones handling the money, right?
[00:13:07] Darine: It's the end in those situations, the man of the family, like handling the money. So what would be the first, the first practical steps to take in order, you know, to start maybe improving our understanding and our relationship with money. And in order to start making the small changes that need to happen that won't have a big massive impact on your day-to-day life, but that, you know, with the compound effect can make a big impact down the line?
[00:13:50] Eszter: Yes, so first of all, like everything else starts with your mindset, right? So I bring that up because we all have different background and what you mentioned about ladies not even having their own bank account, it can be a cultural difference between us, right?
[00:14:05] Eszter: So once you, I guess you have that conversation and sort of set yourself up like that, maybe start with a different bank account or your own bank, and maybe realizing that money is as they say, it's not the root of all evil, right? Because a lot of people have that mindset and it stops them from succeeding right? Money is great when you know what to use it for, and you use it for the greater good. And if that's, if your desire is to focus on your passion or focus on your family, this is what you, you look at and focus on, right? So once you have that goal in your mind, you start taking little steps prepare financially.
[00:14:49] Eszter: For example, having your bank account, your own bank account. It's a great step, right? If you're in the corporate world, if they offer any of the incentives, take full 100% advantage of that. If you're not in a corporate setting and you can still take advantage of having an order SB, the contribution is once a year.
[00:15:08] Eszter: You can also invest in GICs. A lot of people are investing in Bitcoin. So there are little things that you can do and you can start putting money into it. Most important, wherever, you are moving your money to should be a compound interest account. So you can start with, you know, you're getting paid and maybe 10% of your income will automatically go into the savings account where it's a compound interest.
[00:15:36] Eszter: This way you don't get the money, you don't need to do anything with it. You can set it up at the bank so that they automatically transfer it every month. You don't see the money, you don't think about it, and it's just growing on the side. And this is one of the first things that I've done as well. After the corporate world, I just started putting my money aside so that it grows and I can have that down payment for my mortgage, right and for my property.
[00:16:01] Darine: So here are the goal for you, if I'm correct. The goal, the primary goal was to save money, you know, ensure that there is a compound interest that would help you to create, to get enough money as a down payment. So that was the primary goal, right? To have enough money to accumulate enough money to have a down payment, which is the perfect transition actually to talk about real estate investment.
[00:16:26] Darine: Here, I hear like many of you, many of us everyone talking about real estate, everyone getting into real estate, and I see people, you know, going from regular, can I say regular person? Like regular day-to-day life to building wealth regular paycheck to paycheck, I should say lifestyle, to building wealth and more freedom and, more comfort.
[00:16:49] Darine: So tell us a little bit more about real estate, how do you approach real estate and why do you think real estate is such, can play such an important role in helping you building wealth?
[00:17:04] Eszter: Real estate is just my favorite avenue to build wealth. Because as you know, the real estate marketing in Toronto, Ontario, and even areas are quickly growing. People are retiring, they want to move out of the city. And there are some young people who are growing up outside of Toronto. They wanna come into the city. So there's a healthy kind of transition both ways, right? So, that's how you sort of gave yourself where you wanna be and start prepping yourself early on.
[00:17:35] Eszter: Keep your credit score clean. Pay your bills on time. These things may be super simple for a lot of us, but you know, once you don't pay attention a little, you know, issue can make a big difference down the line, right? So you wanna start setting yourself up and working towards that down payment now. First time buyers have the opportunity to put five or 10% down, so that's an easy transition to get into real deal. They also are a little bit easier on the first time buyers. The government also offers a credit on closing, right? So real estate not only generally speaking, a lot of people are into real estate.
[00:18:14] Eszter: One out of four citizen in Canada is actually an investor. So a lot of, yeah, that's a big number. And you can see that other people are taking advantage of the market turning. So of course there's a natural sort of up and down in the market, but we know that Ontario always recovers. Even in my past experiences in 2016 we also went through a big dip overnight.
[00:18:38] Eszter: You know, real estate went down by like 20%. But within a year, not only we recovered that, but we came out a few percentages on top of that, right? So as long as you understand that real estate is always a great way to create wealth for yourself. The market is there to support you because the Toronto real estate market always grows, even if there's a little bit of changes as we experienced the past couple of years actually, but we're recovering nicely and people can still make a very nice a profit from purchasing a home for themselves and then taking some money out of mortgage after maybe a couple of years, take that equity out of the home and now you become an investor and you invest in your second property. So that's basically how a lot of people are doing it, not just buying and selling within a short period of time, right? Now, it's a little bit of a long term goal and a long term game if you will.
[00:19:37] Darine: So when you say long term and when you talk about equity and taking out some of the equity of the house to invest in another property, like how many years are we looking at here?
[00:19:49] Eszter: Depends on the market. Usually within a year's time the property has increased in value.
[00:19:55] Eszter: This is given of course, that you are in an area that is a fast growing area. I'm not talking about, you know, somewhere, you know, a property that nobody wants. So we are talking Toronto and GTA. So within a year or two now, the prices not only are increasing, but because you're making your mortgage payments every month.
[00:20:16] Eszter: You're accumulating that equity, right, in your, in your home. And then after let's say in two years now your home is not worth $500,000. Now it's worth $700,000, right? So you have $200,000 that you can take out as an equity, cuz you built that right? By making payments and the market just going up, right?
[00:20:40] Eszter: The market value of your property going up. And so now that $200,000 that you take up, you can put it as a down payment to an investment property.
[00:20:49] Darine: So that's ... Wow, that's very practical. I feel like it's a real estate investment, one-on-one here. I hope you are taking notes people, because this is very interesting right on point.
[00:20:59] Darine: I see Saoussane here who says, I love the topic. We love it too. Listen, yes. We are learning how to make money. Also what a great show. And Amed says financial freedom I believe is one's fulfillment on our own terms.
[00:21:16] Eszter: That's right.
[00:21:17] Darine: That's right, exactly.
[00:21:18] Darine: So it's true that I feel like we live in a bubble in the sense that Toronto and the gta and is very favorable when it comes to real estate. Now, for the people who live outside Toronto and the GTA let's say, but they're interested, like what are the key information they should look at in order to know if getting into real estate would be a smart financial decision for them?
[00:21:42] Eszter: I would say definitely give me a call, let's have a chat, if you have a financial advisor, you can have a chat with your financial advisor as well. What makes sense for you? But definitely speak to an experienced real estate agent or professional who is not only buying and selling for clients, but also an investor themselves.
[00:22:00] Eszter: Because when you start investing in real estate, it's a different kind of path, and you have to pay attention to different things Now. You are a business owner, right? You have to treat the property as a business, right? So it's a different kind of mindset there. But definitely, I highly, highly recommend getting into any type of property in Toronto or the GTA.
[00:22:22] Eszter: We are doing fantastic, Toronto is in the top five cities of the world. We are growing so fast alongside with Mexico, which brings up the idea that you don't just have to, the opportunity is there not just to invest in Canada, in Ontario, but now people are going abroad and investing in Mexico, Panama Dominican Republic, wherever your heart and the desire can take you, you can definitely set that up for yourself.
[00:22:53] Darine: Yeah, and so for the people who wanna learn more on how to create financial wealth, for the people who are interested in getting into real estate as a way to build and create wealth, how can they and where can they contact you?
[00:23:11] Eszter: Oh, I'm very easy to find. You can find me on social media. I'm on Facebook and Instagram, linkedIn. You and I connect on LinkedIn a lot Darine?
[00:23:20] Darine: Yes.
[00:23:20] Eszter: So, yeah, just reach out to me. I have a free 30 minute session that I can offer everybody, call me,. let's have a conversation. No obligation, of course. I just wanna get you into the mindset where you can make money for yourself and your family and live your passion.
[00:23:38] Darine: Exactly, and you know, you don't have to do it alone. And there is no bad or wrong questions. The only bad move, and I wanna say it out loud, that you can make, is not asking questions and not asking questions to experts. I bring you some of the greatest leaders and entrepreneurs on this show, all Canadian women.
[00:24:00] Darine: So you see that, first of all, it is doable, it is achievable, but so also you can grow your network with like-minded people, smart people, doers, you know, who are making a difference, who are walking the talk and not just like portraying themselves as expert and gurus. No, they don't do that. Not the people in my network at least, you know, they are like real people who do care about supporting others, other women, but other people also.
[00:24:32] Darine: So take advantage of this opportunity. This is really this simple call can make a big difference in your life. You never know. Worst case scenario, you know, that would be like extra information for yourself, but that could change your life. And here again, we have Saoussane who says, "I'm on my way to financial freedom."
[00:24:53] Darine: Congratulations Saoussane. "I started the side hustle and that's my first step and I recommended so much". Exactly step by step, right? We talked about the compound effect when it comes to making money, but there is a compound effect also to the actions and the small steps that you take over a certain period of time.
[00:25:14] Darine: So that's all for us today. Thank you so much, Eszter. That was such an interesting conversation for sharing so much with us and for showing us that it is possible you can be an immigrant for women in this country and make it happen. You can be a woman in this country and make it happen. And this is one of the beauty of this country, Canada, where no matter who you are, as long as you decide to take action, you commit to it and you surrender yourself with the right people, you can make it happen.
[00:25:46] Darine: So, thank you so much Eszter for your conversation today, yes. And for those of you who are new to the podcast or if you haven't done it, I haven't done it yet. You can subscribe and listen to all the podcast episode. You just have to scan the QR code here that you see, and I will see you next week Wednesday for another live episode on STANDOUT From the Crowd.
[00:26:11] Darine: Thank you everyone. You take care, and you staysafe. Bye-bye.
[00:26:15] Eszter: Bye bye.