Ep. 121 – Myra Oliver – Down Home Money

If your goal is to achieve financial freedom and save for your retirement, you need to start planning for it as early as now to avoid struggling in your later years.

Securing your retirement also means finding your passion and living a joyous life on less money. To achieve financial freedom, you need to educate yourself on money and be intentional in taking action towards investing and passive income.

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, we have Myra Oliver, a hair stylist turned real estate investor and entrepreneur. Listen in to learn how being financially free allows you to focus on the most important parts of your life and not just work.

In this episode, find out:

  • When she realized she needed to be purposeful with her money.
  • An entrepreneur’s advice that shaped the rest of Myra’s financial journey to becoming a millionaire.
  • How she built a rental portfolio in over 10 years to get to financial freedom at 33.
  • The journey of building a rental property portfolio from scratch.
  • Down Home Money book – investing, passive income, and finding financial assistance.  
  • Start planning for your future so you don’t struggle.
  • How to live a big life on less by finding your why and working on your passion.
  • Stop wasting time on things or on people you don’t love, and rather follow what gives your life joy.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Money is important; you have to have money to survive.”– Myra Oliver
  • “It’s not how much money you make; it’s how much money you keep and what you do with it.”– Myra Oliver
  • “Wherever you are in your life, you can change the trajectory of your future self through learning about money and taking some simple approaches in protecting your money and assets.”– Myra Oliver

Get in Touch with Myra:


If you are in or nearing retirement and you want to gain clarity on what questions you should be asking, learn what the biggest retirement myths are, and identify what you can do to achieve peace of mind for your retirement, get started today by requesting our complimentary video course, Four Steps to Secure Your Retirement!

To access the course, simply visit POMWealth.net/podcast.

Here’s the Full Transcript:

Radon Stancil:Welcome, everyone, to our Monday podcast, where we always try to have an expert, an interview with somebody who we can learn from. And today, we have brought someone who has really, I mean, in every way, documented how she has done what she’s done, because she wrote a book called Down Home Money, and we’d like to welcome and thank you so much for coming and talking to us, Myra Oliver.  
Myra Oliver:Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be with you guys. And I just appreciate the opportunity to share my story and financial freedom and how you can get there.  
Radon Stancil:Well, great. I know that we were talking before we hit record, and you live now in, you said Denton, right?  
Myra Oliver:Right. Denton, Texas.  
Radon Stancil:Denton, Texas. And can you kind of give us the background as to how a person who… I know if you read your book and you understand that you were a hair stylist, and how a hair stylist got from being a hair stylist to maybe to the point of writing a book and your financial success and trying to document that to help other people. Can you kind of give us a little bit of that story?  
Myra Oliver:Oh, sure. Thank you so much. I am a Southern girl from Kentucky. So I started out in Kentucky. I was raised by two wonderful parents that were both school teachers. I was the baby of three kids, and over the years I got to watch my mom and dad worked themselves to death, quite honestly. They both worked two jobs because they wanted to make sure we had everything we wanted, not necessarily what we needed. Because we needed time with them, and later we realized that when my dad passed away, when I was 22, of cancer. And so I will tell you, because of watching them, I learned at an early age that money’s important. You have to have money to survive, in order to eat, to live, and have shelter. And so I learned at an early age that I just didn’t want to work myself to death.  
 So I was going to get smart with my money, even though I’d gotten into some credit card debt. Because like any 20 year old, your early 20s, we all want what we want and we don’t want to have delayed gratification to get it, right? So I started buying stuff and like everybody else, I got in credit card debt. And then when my father passed, I really realized I had to make some changes. And I wanted to be a hairstylist. My mom and dad really wanted me to go to college. They were determined. I made better grades than both my other siblings. They both went to college, but I wanted to be a hair stylist. My grandmother was a hairstylist. I grew up in her hair salon.  
 And honestly, guys, I watched my grandmother make people feel good. I watched people say to her, “Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much. I feel so much better.” And I got to hear those conversations. So at an early age, I got to watch my grandmother make a difference. And with that, it made me want to do the same. I love people and I love making people feel good and I love making a difference. And so I became a hairstylist. And I moved to Dallas because, guess what? Big hair in Dallas, in the 80s, especially. And my dad helped me buy a hair salon, he financed it right before he passed. And so I paid them back after two years and that’s how I started my journey in the hair business. And then I met my husband and he was a policeman, so I knew we were going to be limited on our incomes. I could only do so much hair and policeman salaries are regulated.  
 So at that time I knew I had to make some decisions with my money and be really smart with my money and get purposeful. And I had a gentleman sit down in my chair… And I mean, it’s just like it was yesterday, I remember this conversation. And he was a wealthy gentleman. I was in the mall, in Northtown Mall in Dallas, and I went out in the mall and said, “I’ll give free haircuts.” To get people in my chair and that’s how I started. And I was a barber, by the way, and so I walked up to this gentleman and I said, “Hey, I’ll cut your hair for free if you’ll just try me.” He goes, “I already had a haircut a couple weeks ago.” I go, “That’s right. It’s time for another one. I’ll do it for free. What have you got to lose?”  
 And he loved it. Come to find out, he was a major entrepreneur himself. He sold big businesses in Dallas, he had a business brokerage. And he had his gold Rolex and he drove up in his Lexus and he gave me some of the best advice ever. He said, “Young lady, what are you doing for your retirement?” And I just laughed because that’s what you do in your 20s. I’m like, “I’m going to be young forever.” Right? And he said to me, “Young lady, you will not be young forever. I was once your age and I’m going to give you some great advice. You should open a Vanguard account and a SEP, supplied employer pension, and get started and you will be wealthy someday.” And I have a lot to thank to him because I did that.  
 I invested in the Vanguard SEP 500 index fund, mutual fund. And from 1998 to 2009, it had built up to $165,000. The next 10 years took me to over a million. So I’ll be forever grateful to him for starting me that. Meanwhile, I’m doing a journey of building a rental portfolio. I bought a house out the newspaper. I started buying houses. And within 13 years, from age 20 to 33, I had bought 10 houses. And of those 10 houses, they were throwing me off $5,000 a month, and that income from me and my husband and he quit the police department at that point because we wanted financial freedom. We didn’t want to work ourselves to death. And we had been working like crazy those last 13 years to get to financial freedom. So that allowed us to be financially free.  
Murs Tariq:Wow. Well, that is a tremendous story and thanks for sharing that with us and all of our listeners. And so a couple of things I want to touch on, because that you’ve got a great story there, and the first is with the hair stylist thing… And this is not a question, it’s more of a comment, but isn’t it crazy how when you sit down with your hair stylist, it’s kind of like a hair therapist. They’re there to do one thing, but you’re also sharing everything, intimate details with this person that you barely even know. I do it with my hair stylist all the time. And so I commend you on that and seeing your grandmother do it and you growing up into that. And that, I bet, taught you so many personal skills and communication skills to get you to where you are today, so kudos on that.  
 My question, though, is so as a hair stylist… And then you started buying up these rental properties. How did you get to that decision? Because at some point you probably said, “I need to be doing something else.” Right? “I’m amassing some money in this Vanguard account, but I need to be doing something else.” And how did you land on real estate?  
Myra Oliver:Well, because just like what you said. Remember, I’ve got people sitting in front of me from all walks of life, talking to me while I’m cutting their hair. And I realized quickly that I wasn’t going to get rich on men’s $5 haircuts because that’s what the price was back then. That’s unbelievable, right? And I knew I needed to learn perms and hair color and highlights because that’s where the money was. So I started doing women and I got lot of real estate agents coming in, too, because they’re great about referrals, right? They live on referrals so they’re great about referrals when people ask them, “Who did your hair?” So I had a lot of real estate agents and I’m listening to them talk about real estate and I really started evaluate my life and how fast it was going to take me to get to financial freedom.  
 I read the book, Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robbins and Joe Dominguez, and honestly, it changed my thought process on money. It really made me see my money differently and get really strategic and purposeful with it. And my first goal was 3000 a month because that’s what my husband was making as a policeman, so I just started looking at houses and what I could afford and what I could do.  
 And back then, the 80s, early 90s, you could buy HUD homes for… They allowed investors to buy them for 25, 30, $40,000 at the time because the market was so bad. And so that’s where we started. And we started in horrible neighborhoods. The crime rate was really high and my husband was like, “Oh, I can’t believe we’re doing this.” S sometimes he was wearing his uniform to go collect rent. So I’m not going to tell you this was easy. It’s a simple process. Money is simple. We complicate money, right? But I just really realized if money in money out and how much I needed to get my husband out of… He was working narcotics, so that’s why I wanted to get him out of the police department, quite frankly.  
Radon Stancil:Well, good. Well, I want to ask you, you wrote this book, which we talked about, you call it A Simple Approach to Financial Freedom: Down Home Money. And I’m just going to kind of read some of the chapters just so people can get a sense of what’s in the book. One is financial freedom, change your mind, change your life, discover your big why, the cost of freedom. Then you talk about real estate investments. And then you talk about these side hustles and small businesses. If you were to describe to me or to our listeners, if I invested the time to sit down and read your book, what is the goal of you writing the book? What do you want that person, that reader to get out of it? What are you hoping that that will achieve what you wrote?  
Myra Oliver:Oh, that’s a great question. And my hope is that that people will realize that it is not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep and what you do with it. And are you buying assets that will throw you off a passive income so that you can work because you want to work, not because you have to work? And this book, I think, it shares with people… Especially in today’s time. It’s just ironic that the book came out when COVID hit and money got tight and all the struggles people are having, because I think it was a perfect timing for the book, because I think so many times, especially with Instagram and Facebook and YouTube, we watch people influencers, and it’s always about the Lambo and the living the big life and the having the big and more, more, more, more.  
 We’ve such consumers, right? And I think that this book will help people to understand that wherever you are in your life, you can change the trajectory of your future self through learning about money and taking some simple approaches to protecting your money and your assets. And that’s where you guys come in, where people can get that help that they need. If they aren’t sure where to start, then they need somebody like you to direct them in the right direction. And I think that sometimes people are so scared to pick up the phone and call you guys, right? Because it’s the fear of not knowing. And I think that fear paralyzes all of us. And I will say, the one thing about me is I just fell my way forward. I don’t care how stupid I look. Ego is out the window.  
 I just don’t care about that anymore. And I want people to understand, quit worrying about what other people think. Get focused on your life and where you’re going, because at the end of the day, there’s not going to be social security left. Your social security is not going to be enough, first of all, to take care of you. And so you need to plan for your future so that you’re not struggling. And don’t wait for somebody else to do it for you. And so that’s really my book because it is so simple and it’s not complicated. It’s about a two to three hour read. It’s a very little book. It’s not a big book. That is my hope, because I think that we complicate money so much that people just get paralyzed and don’t move forward on helping themselves.  
Murs Tariq:Right. Or you just get stuck in a habitual manner of doing what you’ve been doing for 20 or 30 years. And the pandemic obviously has been such a negative thing over the past year and a half, but some major opportunities have also risen out of it from an investment perspective, real estate, or in the stock market, but also from a career change perspective. We’ve been seeing a ton of that. In one situation, a long term employee maybe gets offered a package to retire early. And that gives them the opportunity to say, “Okay, well what do I want to do next? What’s going to be meaningful for me in my later years?” And then with the growing aspect of everyone being able to work remotely and companies finding how powerful remote employees can be, that has made access to different types of companies bigger than it’s ever been. So you’ve got a chapter in here and it’s called finding your big why, I believe, or discover your big why. And so can you tell us a little bit about that and why you think that’s so important?  
Myra Oliver:I think that because we get so caught up in consumerism, right? And we get caught up in watching what other people are doing and we compare ourselves to others, I think that you’ve got to discover what is your big why? And I think that a lot of times people find… Especially you got to know what gives you joy. And what gives you joy for one person is going to be different than others. And financial freedom is very much… It’s very personal and everybody’s different. Some people can live on $3000 a month and be the happiest ever. And some people can live on $10,000. Some people it’s $50,000, right?  
 And I think that when you find why you are doing what you’re doing and what gives you joy and what is your passion, a lot of times you’ll discover you will be fine living on less if you can work in your passion. Less stress, less drama, less everything becomes really big, then you start living a big life. And I, personally, got caught up in that. I got back on the treadmill. So we spent three years in financial freedom where we did not work, we lived off of our investments. I was 33. I was too young, quite frankly. And so I got bored and I was buying houses so I was watching real estate agents. And I always thought I could do it better, right? I just thought, “Wow.” And so I got my license and I got back on that treadmill to going towards success. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want, but for me, I really discovered freedom’s what I wanted, not another job. Real estate is a 12 hour a day job, right?  
 Showing houses and building that business. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s where you’re going, but I had already reached financial freedom and I was happy, but apparently not, because I got back on. And then I spent another 10 years of my life… Because I don’t do things small, I became the number one real estate agent. Then I went and ran my office here in town and made a deal that if I could double the office, I’d have ownership. And then after I got ownership, then I discovered, “Well, I want to go run a region. I want to be one of Keller Williams’ top people.” So then I went and ran Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana putting franchises in and doubled that region. And then I woke up, honestly, in 2016. I was sitting in a John Maxwell seminar, and John Maxwell said something that was profound for me. And I’m sitting on the front row, because I’m a learner. I love to learn.  
 And he’s looking right at me. He really wasn’t, but we’ll pretend. I felt like he was looking at me because he was speaking my language. He looked at me and he said, “Success is great. But significance is where it’s at.” And I still, to this day, get chill bumps when I say that. I started making my exit strategy immediately. And then in 2018 I stepped down from the role of running the Ohio Valley region and decided that, “Okay, I’m going to move towards my book, writing my book, and doing the things that truly give me joy.”  
 And I just don’t want people to waste time in jobs that they really don’t love and being around people they really don’t want to be around, when the important people are your family and your friends. And it’s so important. We go to work every day and we give our best to our jobs, and then we come home and give our worst to our family because we’re tired. And a lot of it is the stress of trying to keep up with the Joneses, quite frankly. And now it’s the Kardashians, and I will tell you, that’s an expensive lifestyle.  
Radon Stancil:Well, very good. Well, you’ve certainly shared some good information. We obviously think that hearing experience of somebody else is always beneficial. So your book, Down Home Money, certainly could help people kind of think about maybe and reflect. They might not take your same course, but at least help them reflect and think about what is it they want. So if people want to learn more or buy your book or find out more about you, can you kind of tell everybody how to do that? What’s the best way to do that?  
Myra Oliver:Sure. I am on Amazon. So Down Home Money: A Simple Approach to Financial Freedom. Amazon, you can go there. Also, I have recorded it in Audible. We’ve just released the Audible on it so you can get it in Audible hardback or paperback. I have a weekly YouTube channel that is Down Home Money and it’s just about real estate, money, and life. And so feel free to check out that. It’s every Tuesday. Tuesday’s my day, so there you go. And then my website is Down Home Money. So everything’s Down Home Money, Instagram and everything.  
Radon Stancil:Well, great. Well, thank you so much, Myra, for coming on and talking with us. It was a joy talking to you.  
Myra Oliver:Well, I appreciate you guys and keep doing what you’re doing because we are making a difference.