How to Retire in 7 Years Starting with $0

There’s a guaranteed structure for making millions of dollars, creating your own financial security without relying on the government or the stock market, and most importantly, retiring confidently within seven years.

It’s not magic, it’s not some weird get-rich-quick scheme, and it’s definitely not some crypto coin that’s a secret from everybody else. Instead, what it actually is.

Is a mix of detailed planning, sacrificing short-term pleasure for long-term gain, and a lot of hard work and focus, but it is possible. How do I know? Because I did it at points. It was extremely difficult and truthfully, and many people could argue that I missed out on certain experiences like having beers with friends or relaxing and watching sports games, or maybe even messing around and doing a little weekly softball league or something like that. 

But I’m positive the tradeoffs were worth it for me, and if you think that they might be worth it for you as well, then let me make sure that you understand in just a handful of years you can absolutely move mountains. 

Hey guys, for those that don’t know me, my name is Nick DeAngelo with Saint Investment Group. We currently have over 150 million in real estate assets under management and are raising an additional 100 million. I make these videos because I believe entrepreneur and investment education is severely limited and is also one of the most important things that you can put in your life to create freedom, improve your lifestyle, and give your family the blessing of abundance. 

So how exactly do you fully retire within seven years as a millionaire? From the very beginning, your job is going to be a master planner and a master executor. To be clear, the more accurate and detailed you lay out your game plan and the tighter you stick to that game plan, the faster you will get to your end goal. 

In this case, the reverse is also true. The less that you plan and the less that you stick to the great game plan that you built, the longer it will take to achieve that if you ever even get there. So be clear with what your goals are, plan for those goals, and execute the plan. What I’m about to go through is my own story and my own game plan that I use to ramp up my income and savings, limit my expenses drastically, and most importantly, invest really aggressively. I started out on this path aggressively at the age of 23 and seven years later at the age of 30, I was retired, and guess what? Seven years later, at the age of 30, my companies were sold. I was living in a nice house that I owned in a nice neighborhood with nice schools and even a fun downtown area that I can enjoy on my time off. 

Let’s jump into it step one is I sat down and I fully analyzed my income. To be honest, at that time it was pretty simple because my income was essentially zero. The great recession had happened a few years before and the entire economy was still crushed. So looking at my in-place income was very easy because it was close to zero. But more importantly, I looked at what my income would need to be to put a game plan in place to save and invest that money from there on out, let me let you in on a little secret because my income was so low, it was very clear that if I wanted to make good money and I wanted to raise my own money that I could then invest. I had to literally go out and make that money. I had to create that income for myself cause it wasn’t coming from anywhere else. 

So what did I do? I turned to entrepreneurship and knew I had to go start something that would make me the money and the income that I needed. Now, this might not be for everyone admittedly, but I was in my early twenties, and with the numbers that I was projecting that I would have needed for my income, there were no jobs available at this stage in the economy that could provide that. So the only route I had was to go on my own. The first business I chose to go into was the ATM business and while I don’t think this business is gonna be the most strategic in today’s market, in the previous market I was in and at that time, it was a really good option for a guy just starting out because I could get into the business with relatively low investment and also my downside was extremely limited. 

I couldn’t really get that hurt, meaning I couldn’t get into debt hundreds of thousands of dollars or rack up some huge debt associated with closing a failed business. The reality was the most I could probably lose was around five to $10,000 and while I was extremely broke at this period of time, and that was a lot of money to me and money that I had to save from other jobs, the reality is I knew over the course of my lifetime that the opportunity that business had at that period of time was much greater than the risk and the downside. 

So with some good downside protection and with the upside being potentially very high, ATMs were a great choice for me at that time. Now, if you’re at this stage and you think that going the entrepreneurial route to build your income is the way for you, let me give you a very solid piece of advice that was given to me. 

Avoid businesses and avoid opportunities that do have that massive downside risk. Something where that downside risk is not backstopped by a set number of losses that you could plan on in the worst-case scenario. Also, make sure to choose a business opportunity that does not require massive amounts of debt. Again, this is a discussion about the worst-case scenario. 

Could you imagine taking on an insane amount of debt and that business failing and then carrying that debt around for an extended period of time? It could delay your seven-year retirement plan to possibly indefinitely if that debt is too big. The next step with the ATM business was to grow that incrementally, which meant more machines in more locations. Those started doing well, but the number one thing I realized was my income was not expanding enough. Now I was finally starting to make some decent income, a few bucks were coming in. 

Basically what I would’ve made at a corporate job if I just found it off of Indeed or Craigslist or wherever else and that job paid me a market salary for my age and my experience at that time I was making about that level. But the good news was I was not putting a lot of time into it because I specifically tried to choose a business that was scalable with less time involved. But eventually, the ATM business hit a ceiling at a certain point and I realized the amount of investment that would’ve been required to expand that ATM business to a very large scale was actually not the best use of that money and there were other businesses that I could invest in as well. From the ATM business, I then invested in starting a retail store chain as well as an online business, both of which were highly scalable and had great margins that were unique for the markets at that time. 

So pushing my chips from the ATMs into these two extra businesses allowed my income to grow more substantially and more consistently at a higher rate and between those multiple businesses, they all started achieving a good amount of success. 

Month after month, revenues were improving, systems were being built and improved on, and even hiring and staffing were getting exponentially better. After two years of grinding hard on these businesses, we finally started hitting over a million dollars a month in revenues. Total boom, the income was achieved and I was freaking blown away by those numbers candidly. 

Now keep in mind I was working 12 to 16 hours every single day, seven days a week and while like a million dollars can sound like a ton of money per month, and we did have good margins, keep in mind there were expenses, there were requirements of the business to reinvest into the business to keep that growth going, but at the end of the day, after all the expenses were paid and all the employees were paid and all the reinvestment was done, I was still making a lot of money at that moment. 

For my life at that time, a 12 to 16-hour workday was 100% okay. But again, working that many hours does not leave a lot of space for any other things in your life. I had no kids. I was not spending a lot of time with family and friends and basically, the only downtime I had during this phase was going to the gym here and there and then going on a date maybe once or twice a week. 

So that said, my schedule was pretty dang clear. You might have some responsibilities that you must attend to and you kind of gotta build things around that and you kind of have to build things and craft things around that. But to be 100% clear with you, the more freed up that you are and the more of your schedule can be open and focused towards boosting your income, the faster you can achieve the results that you want. 

It may not be the prettiest answer, and it might not be the most fun answer, but I wanna make sure I’m 100% clear on that point. So the income was in place by these companies slowly building up and becoming successful individually. Once your income has hit the levels that you need to execute your game plan, the next step you take is to evaluate where you’re at and see how you’re trending toward the numbers that you need to achieve. When I did this and evaluated my income at the moment, I realized something very important. 

The income was only one piece of the puzzle. Now income is the first piece and it’s the most important piece, especially initially, but it’s only one piece in the puzzle to aggressively retire. Now that I have the income in place, my next goal was to make sure that I didn’t spend all the money that I was making. 

So I created a super tight expense budget. I kept my meals extremely simple, basically eating chicken and vegetables for every meal. My entertainment budget was essentially how much dates cost in my early twenties, and even though the companies were making over 1 million per month, I still had that very clear memory in my mind about how it was to be very broke. 

So I chose to continue driving my old Prius that had amazing gas mileage, no payment on it and even had the superpower of going in the fast lane by myself in traffic. So we’re gonna pause for a second because I have a question for you. Is a Prius faster than a Ferrari? Well, if there’s traffic and you’re in the carpool lane and a Prius, I don’t know, maybe, maybe not, but I’ll let you answer that one on your own. So now I have a huge income. 

I had a lot of money coming in every single month, and I had extremely low expenses, basically at the bare minimum of what I needed in day-to-day life. So what did that equal? That equaled my net income being very high every month, which is perfect for step number three, which is aggressively invested. 

This is the phase in which I saw my net worth grow most drastically, possibly in my entire life on a percentage basis. I went from having a good income and good cash flow every month to having a legitimate portfolio in investments that were paying me good income consistently and this is because I invested nearly 100% of my net income from that point. 

Moving forward from the start, I split my investments into the stock market, just buying some simple S and P 500 ETFs and the other bucket being real estate investment where I was doing some JV partnerships with some mentors and some people I trusted and the reality is I did both because I wanted to learn both and understand both to some degree. 

But that also allowed me to do is compare and contrast what I liked about certain investments and what I didn’t like about other investments and this is what my conclusion was, investing in both. I freaking loved real estate, I loved everything about real estate, I liked all the benefits and to me, it was extremely clear that I wanted to focus more on investing in real estate and less on investing in the stock market. 

So I slowly diverted more and more and more of my money away from stocks and put that and more towards real estate investments. I knew my game plan further down the line was to sell the companies that were providing the income I was using at that time, meaning that I wouldn’t have that income forever and meaning that that income needed to be replaced. 

So it was extremely motivating for me along the way to keep those expenses low and to squeeze out every penny of net income I could to then dump it back into real estate and get that income recurring. 

Truthfully, my mindset was to invest every single dollar that I could. Now fast forward a few years, it’s getting closer to the end of that seven-year window. The companies continue to grow at a consistent pace and the income continues to improve. But so did my investments over that period of time and so did my portfolio with me consistently investing in it and seeing my monthly investment income increasing. I was really curious to run the numbers on how my income from my various investments compared to my income from my various companies. So I sat down, I spent some time and I compared the two of those in detail. 

What I realized was after years of putting money towards investments and taking that money that I received from those investments and then further reinvesting it and letting that money roll and grow the value of those investments had grown drastically not only that, I was curious about also how I was spending my time at that moment and also I spent some time doing an audit, not just of the income at that time, but my time and how it was being spent at that time in my career.

But I found from analyzing my time that 90% of my efforts and time were going toward those companies on a weekly basis and really when I was looking at it, only about 10% of my time and effort was going toward the investments and at this stage, I was not working the 12 to 16-hour days anymore. 

My weeks were more normal, probably around the 50 to 60-hour workweek mark. But the next thing I realized was the most shocking. My investments were officially making me more money than the companies were making me. Even though the investments only took 10% of my time, this was an absolute revelation. 

My mind was blown and from there, the path was obvious. It was that I needed to sell the companies, take the money from the sales of those companies, and put it into even more real estate. In my mind, the math was pretty simple. If the investments could perform at x with only 10% of my time, think about how many opportunities there might be if I spent hundred percent of my time and hundred percent of my focus on investing. In other words, for my net worth and my income to grow, I actually needed to strategically and aggressively retire from my current career. 

Because when analyzing the number my retirement ring actually meant I could make more money and be more successful with less time invested. But it’s because in the process of the seven years I was working towards retirement, I realized that I actually really love real estate investing and it’s the most fun and exciting career that I could find for my time and effort, and energy and also while I wanted to and needed to retire from the previous career, I realized that I did not want to sit around all day being lazy and drinking beer and just doing nonsense. I still wanted to work and I still wanted to be active and compete and build things even though my income and investments at that time could have sustained me just kind of cruising around and living a pretty mellow life. The biggest takeaway that I can offer you is that this is very possible and it’s very doable. 

I know because I have done it, I committed and I went the full distance and you can too. There is more opportunity that exists just by having a laptop and a wifi connection than ever before in history. So if you’re interested in that, let’s break down the steps for you on how to get there. 

Step one is you need to dial in your income. This can either be from your current job, your job, and a side hustle, or you`re owning and starting the business yourself and ramping that up to supply the income you need for every income opportunity you choose. Make sure it has one caveat: it either has massive upside potential and massive growth potential for your income or that it’s already paying you very well and enough that you need to achieve your investment goals over that period of time. The reality is that you will need the highest income possible so that you can invest the highest amount possible. 

Step two is expenses. This is the not-fun, not-exciting, not-sexy part. The goal is to have your expenses incredibly ridiculously low like you’re waking up every single morning knowing that you’re focused on investing in your future. You’re focusing and finding ways to save more money consistently so you can invest in opportunities that will build your income for a lifetime.

That said, remember that there are smart expenses to take on in this phase. The reality is you cannot solely save your way to retirement, and that income is a huge component. So if you invest in things that will boost your income in a reliable, direct, measurable way, then something like further education or taking a course to increase your skills may be a very smart move at this stage, even though it will actually cost you money. If it disproportionately boosts your income, then it’s a smart investment. 

The third step is to invest like a crazy person with a high income and with low expenses in place. The goal is now to identify and place that money into investment options that will pay you over the long haul. You’re evaluating investments at this stage for cash flow. You need that income every single month paid by these investments. That’s because your goal is to retire, meaning that your investments are going to need to pay your bills on a regular basis. So cash flow is going to be king for you. Now here’s a question. Is this possible with stocks? Sure, it is possible with some stocks that pay things like dividends. Sure, it is possible with some stocks that pay dividends, but even Apple in this current market environment, one of the largest companies of all time is considering dropping its dividend. 

That’s really scary for me and that’s really scary for the state of the market to have dividends drop for all those people that are relying on that income to survive and pay their bills. 

So my advice is to stick to real estate because you know it’s a tangible asset. You know it exists and you know it pays that cash flow consistently. As far as what to invest in real estate, if it was me going back in time, I would focus on growth investments and income investments in real estate. So balancing something like let’s say syndication for an industrial building and investing in something that pays consistent cash flow like an income fund, I think is a perfect balance where you have real estate on both sides, but you’re really getting the best of both worlds from those investments and if you’re following this game plan into aggressive retirement, then just remember that the goal is always that you are in investments, that your investment income exceeds your monthly expenses, and that you can rely on those investments to do so in the future as well. So invest for the long term into assets that you know are going to be there for you when you need it most, and you don’t have that job income to pay your bills. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of returns can I expect from investing in low-cost index funds?

The returns will depend on the performance of the stock market and other factors, but historically, low-cost index funds have provided solid returns over the long-term.

How do I get started with creating a budget and reducing expenses?

You may begin by keeping track of your expenditure, finding areas where you can cut costs, and creating a budget that corresponds with your financial objectives.

What is the importance of having a long-term investment strategy?

A long-term investing strategy can help you reach your financial objectives and provide you peace of mind. A long-term investment perspective can also decrease the impact of short-term market swings.

Is it really possible to retire in 7 years starting with $0?

Certainly, it is feasible, but it calls for thorough preparation, strict implementation, and a lot of effort. To accomplish this, you will need to significantly alter your way of living and financial situation.

Should I work with a financial advisor?

Making wise investment choices and developing a retirement strategy can be made easier by consulting with a financial adviser. Nevertheless, it’s critical to select a dependable and trustworthy adviser and to be conscious of any fees related to their services.