Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord: A Story About Opportunity

All any of us want is an opportunity to try and succeed. We don't want handouts. We just want the opportunity to try. Unfortunately, opportunities don't come evenly. Here's a story about opportunity, or lack thereof for this Asian landlord.

I realized the other day that all my tenants are white. I'd never thought about my tenants' racial makeup until I read an article by Washington Post journalist, Michelle Singletary, entitled, “The Legacy Of Slavery Made My Grandmother Fear Investing.”

Michelle writes how discriminatory policies of the past shaped the way her grandmother approached investing. Her series of articles provides an interesting personal perspective on why there is a racial income and wealth gap today.

Here are some passages from her article that stood out:

When my first employer introduced a 401(k) retirement plan, I sought advice from Big Mama. But she actively discouraged me from “gambling” in the stock market.

“That’s for White folks,” Big Mama said. “They can afford to lose money.”

“The legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and the New Deal — as well as the limited funding and scope of anti-discrimination agencies — are some of the biggest contributors to inequality in America,” says a 2019 report by the Center for American Progress

So, yes, it’s going to take more than a financial workshop to overcome the anxiety my grandmother lived with all her life and passed on to me.

There was only one investment that Big Mama trusted: her home.

The last line about Big Mama trusting only one investment, her home, really resonated with me.

This article will share some of the following insights:

  • Why there are so many Asian landlords and small business owners
  • Why real estate and small businesses are so highly valued among many minorities
  • How the lack of equal opportunity changes behavior
  • Where the belief of not depending on anyone but yourself comes from

Why Real Estate Is So Valuable To Minorities

I've made plenty of objective arguments as to why I prefer owning real estate over stocks. Further, the more children you have, the more valuable real estate becomes.

But Michelle and her grandmother made me realize there may be an important racial component to my desire to own real estate as well.

Owning real estate and rental properties provides a fundamental feeling of security we all crave. The more turbulence you and your ancestors have experienced, the more you will value your home.

I've shared some of my racial encounters growing up in Virginia during high school and college. They were all unpleasant.

But at least these experiences motivated me to study more, earn more, and save aggressively. I felt that as an Asian person in America, education was my main way to ascend.

Once you get your living expenses under control, life becomes much easier. Your other expenses such as food and clothing are relatively inexpensive.

Health care is more affordable if you have a job or earn below 400% of the Federal Poverty Limit. Children can be as expensive or as reasonable as you want them to cost.

But here's the thing about owning rental property. It not only provides shelter, it also provides income that you might not be able to earn because of who you are.

Real Estate Is A Hedge Against A Lack Of Opportunity

If you are a minority, there is a greater chance you will have fewer opportunities compared to if you are a majority.

It is simply human nature to accept, hire, promote, and pay people who are more similar to themselves. Human nature is why so many company leaders of almost any company tend to all look alike.

Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord
[Hiring similar people is just the way things are]

We also know based on simple math that majority rules. When you have a majority, whether it's at your HOA board meeting or voting on a presidential candidate, the majority always wins.

The minority could make up 49.9% of the population and get run over because we have a winner-take-all system. Therefore, as a minority, you are consistently at a disadvantage when it comes to the numbers.

Examples Of Homogeneity

Pay careful attention to company organizational structures. Take note of the similarities between guests on podcast shows and the host. Observe the makeup of judges and award winners. Society takes care of their own. We love echo chambers.

I don't blame people for wanting to hang out or take care of people with similar backgrounds. It's natural to want to be with people who believe and amplify what you believe. I just accept that's just the way things are and try to adapt.

By owning real estate, as a minority, you hedge against a lack of strong income-generating opportunities. The most common lack of opportunity is getting a great job.

Interns for Obama and Trump - Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord
[We tend to provide opportunity to people who look like us. Where are all the Asian interns?]

Here's the voting bias by sex, race, and education

Here's the voting bias by sex, race, and education

My Three Sets Of White Tenants

In all, I have three rental properties as part of my passive income retirement portfolio. My goal as a landlord is to find the best tenants possible. I do not care about race.

During my screening process, I focus on financials, length of work, length at previous residence, references, and character. As diverse as San Francisco is, the thought of race never comes up. It just so happens that all three sets of tenants are White.

As a personal finance writer, I'm always fascinated by people's financial backgrounds. To protect my tenants' privacy, let me share some rough details about them.

  • Tenant #1: Two white individuals making a combined $28,000 a month gross, 780+ credit score. One is a VP in HR, another works for a mid-size tech company.
  • Tenant #2: A white couple making $27,000 a month gross, 800+ credit score. One is a pediatrician, one is a software engineer.
  • Tenant #3: A white couple making $50,000 a month gross, 800+ credit score. One works at big tech, another is a C-level executive.

All of my tenants have stable jobs that pay well. They could also all be prototypical Financial Samurai readers who follow my housing expense guideline of not spending more than 20% of household income on rent.

Here's the kicker.

There's only a small chance I would ever be able to get any of my tenants' jobs. I know because I've tried!

Real Estate Is A Hedge Against Rejection

In early 2012, before I left finance, I submitted dozens of resumes to various tech companies like Airbnb, Google, Facebook, and Apple. I either didn't get a response or got rejected by all of them.

After I left finance, as part of the unemployment benefits and severance process, I was required to apply to several jobs once a week and record my efforts.

Below is one rejection e-mail example from Airbnb. At the time, I knew Airbnb would be a winner. I even went to Airbnb's Friday happy hours. Alas, no luck in getting a job.

Tech job rejection letters - Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord: A Story About Opportunity
One of three Airbnb rejection e-mails I received in 2012

Objectively speaking, I wasn't an excellent job seeker. While I would have entertained potential job offers had there been a great fit, at the time, my main focus was on traveling and taking a break.

That said, I still followed the job application process. After applying to over 100 jobs online, I didn't get any nibbles.

Rejected From A Journalism Fellowship

After giving up on my job search, in 2013, I applied for a journalism fellowship and got rejected. This was a disappointment because I had visited the school twice and talked to multiple professors. I also thought I had something unique to offer after creating my own platform from scratch.

Earning $75,000 a year to essentially go to school and meet new people would have been a blast! Alas, it was not meant to be.

Related: You Will Always Get Screwed: Accept And Move On

Rejected By Startup Incubators

In 2015, I applied to a couple of startup incubators. One was a straight-up rejection and another had me go pitch my idea. I ended up getting rejected by that one too.

Only one of the six startups that eventually got accepted by the incubator is still around today. And I've seen a couple of different companies execute on my initial idea with great success.

Darn. I could have made everyone rich, including myself! Oh well. Just gotta keep on trying as a perpetual failure.

Rejected To Consult For A Potential Affiliate Partner

In 2016, I got to the final job interview round of a Series A startup. They even took me for a team pastrami sandwich and beer lunch. The opportunity came about because the company was looking for affiliate partners and was in the personal finance space.

Always one to explore opportunities, I drove 35 minutes to meet all of the founders and employees in the marketing department several times. There are so many startups in the SF Bay Area that you never know which one might hit it big.

My hope was to get an official offer and then ask them if they'd be willing to let me consult from home part-time. The arrangement would hopefully be similar to when I consulted for Personal Capital back in 2014-2015 and got stock options that turned out very well once the company got sold in 2020 for $850M+.

Alas, I never got the chance to ask because they didn't extend an offer. The startup, however, did ask if Financial Samurai could become an affiliate partner, but I decided to pass.

The startup is now a public company in the personal lending space and is up more than 10X the valuation when I first applied!

Real Estate Is A Hedge Against Less Desirable Traits

I don't think being a minority was a reason for me being rejected by so many places. My lack of experience or too much experience were the main reasons. Or maybe, I simply didn't give off the true enthusiasm of a typical job seeker.

However, let's be brutally honest. My lack of intelligence (or competence, as one reader commented) probably played a big role in getting rejected. The people who landed these fellowships, incubators, and jobs are all extremely smart with glowing resumes. Whereas I'm objectively average. The only above-average trait I possess is high endurance.

Owning real estate is a hedge against being born with below-average intelligence that hinders you from landing more opportunities. It doesn't take a genius to properly analyze a real estate investment opportunity.

Real estate can also be a hedge against less desirable traits that can prevent you from landing a job or raising funds for your company.

Some of these less desirable traits include: poor social skills, a boring personality, a lack of charisma, a lack of confidence, and mental or physical illnesses or disabilities.

Roughly 15% of the world's population has some type of disability. This is a significant minority population we should strive to help out the most.

We can all work on improving our social skills. However, it's much harder to improve upon genetic traits such as high anxiety or sweaty palms!

Your Connections Matter For Income Opportunities

A lot about getting a job and getting ahead is about who you know. And if there are more people who look like you in power, the easier it will be for you to get ahead.

My White tenants all work at high-caliber companies. Once you've worked at a place like Facebook, you can easily job hop to a Google, Apple, Palantir and so forth.

Then, of course, it's much easier for your siblings, friends, and relatives to get into these companies as well due to referrals and legacy admissions. Although nepotism is frowned upon, it still happens all the time.

But for most, there is simply no way to get in. Check out the latest employee racial profile at Facebook, a company that pays at the top-end of the range. We're talking ~$150,000 compensation packages for new college graduates.

Facebook diversity chart
Facebook employee racial makeup

If you are a Black or Hispanic person wanting to join Facebook, you may look at the percentages and feel you have little hope of getting in. With no connections, you might not bother applying. There's simply nobody pulling for you.

Representation matters to give those who are underrepresented hope for even trying.

Even if you do land a job at Facebook, you might not enjoy the environment due to the lack of diversity. The diversity hire dilemma is real for corporates and potential employees. Do you want to get a job and get paid more than others because of your identity or your merit?

Overrepresentation Matters Too

As an Asian person, you might look at the percentages at Facebook and think you've got a decent shot at landing a job. However, you might also look at the figures and feel dread.

Due to the overrepresentation of Asians at Facebook and other big tech companies, there's a feeling the competition is too fierce to get in. Unless you've invented a new algorithm that will save the company millions, forget about even applying. These companies are focusing on diversifying their workforce, not concentrating their workforce further.

Unfortunately, instead of thinking people like me have a great chance of getting a job at a big tech company, I've adopted the latter attitude of competition being too fierce due to my constant rejections.

When you are shut out from opportunities or feel like you are shut out from opportunities, you tend to make your own opportunities instead.

Real Estate Feels Like A Security Blanket

Real estate is a way to participate in a booming economy that doesn't quite permeate throughout all members of society.

We know that the rich have gotten much richer during the pandemic. Whereas tens of millions of others are struggling to get by. This is called a K-shaped recovery.

By owning real estate, even if you can't get a good job, you can still benefit from rising rents and property values due to a strengthening economy.

Even if you can't join a promising company that plans to go public, real estate should benefit from the unleashing of new liquidity in the local economy.

At long last, I look forward to thousands of Airbnb employees upgrading to nicer homes once their IPO lockup period is over. My baby needs new shoes every three months!

Yes, it is a little ironic that a minority who couldn't land a job at any of his tenant's companies is their landlord.

However, in 2005, I made a conscious decision to build a rental property portfolio in case my future income opportunities dried up. I knew opportunities would dry up eventually because I was already tired of work at age 28.

Seeking Security For Your Family

It's important to predict way out into the future because it's not just your opportunities that are at risk. Your children's opportunities may be at risk as well. It is unlikely your children's intelligence and traits will differ largely from your own.

Over the last two years, we got rejected by six preschools.

One reason for the rejections was due to tremendous competition for a limited amount of spaces. Another reason is because my family has no status.

Another reason may be because we haven't explicitly said we would donate money. The final reason may be because my son simply wasn't skillful enough at playing blocks during his playdate interviews.

Who knows for sure why we got rejected. However, the classroom makeup of all the preschools we got rejected to is majority White, even though minorities are the majority in San Francisco.

Poverty rates by ethnicity
Poverty rate for AAPI is second-highest

Clearly, we went overboard once we became financially independent and stopped playing the status game. Now that our son finally got into our school of choice for kindergarten, it's time to course correct.

To gain back some status, I spent the first two years of the pandemic writing Buy This, Not That, an instant Wall Street Journal bestseller. Now, whenever I fill out a school application for our kids, I no longer have to say “investor” or “high school tennis teacher.”

Finding An Education Solution

What we do know is that pre-pandemic, my son was almost shutout. Thankfully, one preschool accepted him and has a spot waiting for him if we decide to send him back. In the meantime, my wife and I will homeschool.

Due to our preschool rejection experience, the cycle of lost opportunities will likely repeat for my children. Rejection is not unique to us or other minorities. It is a sad inevitability.

Owning a real estate portfolio provides me some comfort that no matter how many times my children get rejected, they won't starve. Worst case, they can earn a living as property managers.

Funny enough, as I'm updating this post, our son was offered admissions to one of the most selective preschools in the city. We now have to decide whether to forfeit the enrollment deposit of his current planned school. Maybe everything does work out in the end.

A Permission-less Business

Security for your family is also why you see so many minority-owned restaurants, nail salons, and retail stores. All of these businesses are permission-less businesses. Only a perfunctory use of English is needed. If you have the capital, you can start a business without any gatekeepers.

Once you own a business, you will likely succeed if you put out a great service or fantastic product. Race doesn't matter. At least it shouldn't. This is one of the reasons why we need to preserve the stepped-up basis. So my minorities and immigrants are small business owners. Their children will be hurt if they have to pay massive capital gains tax upon inheriting their family businesses.

While building your business, you can put your kids to work washing dishes, serving food, cleaning, and more. With earned income, you can open a Roth IRA for each child.

Who knows, with a strong enough work ethic and solid investment returns, your kids might become millionaires at a young age. Breaking the cycle of poverty takes a tremendous amount of parental guidance, among many other factors.

And just in case things don't go well for your kids on their own, they can always come back and work at the family business.

The Freedom To Operate How I See Fit

I love running Financial Samurai because nobody tells me what to do. I can write about whatever I want when I want. Further, there's no need to work with businesses partners I don't find valuable.

If my children ever ask me to teach them about online entrepreneurship, I'll be more than happy to share what I've learned.

When the system is stacked against you, not feeling like your future will be determined by someone else is huge.

Depend Only On Yourself To Survive

Do not rely on society to help you. Do not dependent on the government to save you. If you adopt this mentality, I'm confident you will build more wealth and have more freedom than the average person. If you can, get that F You Money! This way, you'll never be beholden to anybody.

I'm not sure America will fight for equal opportunity for Asians as much as it does for other minorities. After all, Asians only make up ~6% of the U.S. population. This is despite many Asian small business owners facing racism and hate crimes during the pandemic.

Three white tenants and one asian landlord

I was ordering cookies on Uber Eats from my favorite place, Anthony's Cookies. Anthony has the best toffee cookies in San Francisco. For cookie lovers, also check out Insomnia cookies downtown.

As I was ordering, I noticed at the end of the description it said “Black-owned.” Cool! I knew Anthony was Black because I have met him many times before.

I was happy Uber Eats was trying to do more to support Black-owned restaurants. At the same time, I started thinking about all the Asian-owned restaurants who are suffering during this pandemic as well. Perhaps not.

But I still have hope Asian Americans will gain more support from the community. It may just take another generation.

Making Academic Opportunities More Difficult

Then I started wondering will there ever be a school admissions policy that helps under-represented Asians or poor Asians get in? Doubtful, if you look at what's going on with Lowell High School and Thomas Jefferson High School doing away with entrance exams and Harvard University revealing its entrance formula.

Therefore, instead of spending all our energy fighting for equal opportunity, perhaps it's better to use our energy to focus on what we can control. Complaining about a suboptimal situation doesn't get us far.

This culture of focusing on what we can control and non-confrontation is why the voice against racism isn't as loud from the Asian community. Further, the last thing Asians want to do is take away opportunities from other minorities.

What is positive is that Asians have the highest incomes and live the longest among all races in America. Therefore, maybe Asians don't need extra help after all. At the end of the day, if you can live a long and rich life, you've got it made!

Competition is fierce for all races. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on why there are so many Asian landlords and Asian small business owners. Again, I don't fault people for wanting to provide more opportunities for people most similar to themselves. It's just the way things will always be.

The desire to feel secure is what all of us want. By owning real estate or a small business, some of that security for you and your children can be achieved. My children are what drives me to keep Financial Samurai running for the next 20 years.

Achieve Financial Freedom Through Real Estate

As a minority, real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom. Real estate is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income. Real estate currently generate roughly $150,000 a year in semi-passive and passive income to help provide fo my family.

Given interest rates have come way down, the value of rental income has gone way up. It now takes a lot more capital to generate the same amount of risk-adjusted income. Further, the demand for real estate is increasing due to positive demographic trends.

Take a look at my two favorite real estate investing platforms. Both are free to sign up and explore.

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eREITs. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and tends to outperform during stock bear markets. Investing in a diversified real estate fund is the easiest way to gain exposure.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends. If you have a good amount of capital, you can build your own select real estate fund.

Investing is the one of the best ways to equalize opportunities for ourselves and for our children over time. There are obviously risks too investing. But over time, investing in real estate, stocks, and other classes have proven to build wealth.

Three White Tenants One Asian Landlord is a Financial Samurai original post. For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000 others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter.

147 thoughts on “Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord: A Story About Opportunity”

  1. Sam,

    It is a bit disappointing to see your takes on Identity Politics. It makes sense. You live in SF afterall which is one of the epicenters of this way of thinking and so you are constantly validated by your circle. There are big problems with the Identity centric point of view that you and many others make. I think most reasonable people would agree with the claim that people like to mingle with others that are like themselves. But you make a big logical leap from a mostly agreeable tepid claim to basically systemic racism is the reason for inequality, to (in other articles/comments) race specific help is what can help. Which sets up a nice Motte and Bailey. Attack (make prescriptions) based on the Bailey, but when challenged you retreat to the Motte (tepid reasonable claims).

    I will address the biggest problem with the identity narrative. It distracts from the actual issue that holds back most Americans, which is class and mindset. It is true that the top positions in the USA are held by white men in disproportionate amounts. So the Identity first Ideologues suggest the correct way to fix this is by artificially advantaging those that are not in in the top echelons. (This disadvantages Asians as well BTW. As you may have noticed, they will pay lip service to Asian struggles but their actions are always counter to them). The reason this is so perverted (besides institutionalizing a new era of discrimination) is that you are disadvantaging ALL white/asian people, for the unfair advantages literally <1% of the group enjoys. Believe it or not, poor white kids in Appalachia statistically never stand a chance at the interview with big tech either. The correlation of who people hire and give promotions to connects stronger to zip code than color. The point is that a majority of whites are in the same crappy situation as POC. They live paycheck to paycheck and are "oppressed" by the top 1% whites. It's not a coincidence you see the same last names everywhere….

    The fight that needs to happen is giving aid/opportunity/support based on NEED, not on skin color. There should be opportunity investments in the poorest of neighborhoods that is available to all that are unfortunate enough to live there.

    Possibly even more important, victimhood mentality needs to be rooted out of popular culture. I admire most of the messaging in your article and blog, so your blog is definitely helping that process! You explain exactly why many Asians succeed even though they are subject to the same "being a minority" issues you describe. If all it takes to overcome this enormous oppression is a mindset shift, seems like it may not be such a colossal oppressive force afterall….Every American should know that even if they are unlikely to become jeff bezos or president.. That's OK, since that is unlikely for ALL. But they have great opportunity here in the USA to build a good life as long as they work hard and try to play smart.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I thought my main message in this article was to focus on what you can control and learn how to take care of yourself.

      The reason why I saved aggressively, started a small family business, and created a rental property portfolio is to take care of my family. If my kids lack the same opportunity as I did growing up, then they’ve got plenty to do.

      Let me reread my own article and see why you have focused on oppression by the white man. I agree on the often quoted Appalachian state statistic as well.

      Can you share your race, where you live and current situation? It would help to understand where you’re coming from.


      1. Sam,

        I apologize for not clearly framing my post. I don’t think it makes 100% sense if you assumed I was just responding to this article. I have been binge reading your blog the last two weeks and the last few articles/comments I read from you painted a picture that I ended up responding to as a whole. For example this article and many of your replies in the comment section:

        Hopefully that adds more context to why I really honed in on your mentions on race. I did mention in my reply that your blog is a big positive towards rooting out victimhood! In retrospect, this post would have been better served as a comment on that other article.

        As for your questions about me. I am a middle aged white immigrant (refugee) that came from the lower class and now solidly wealthy. I recognize “don’t blame race” sounds rich from a white guy, but as an immigrant I received a lot of discrimination when I was young. I may be white, but in smaller cities it is easy for people to tell who is the “other”. There were a lot of refugees of my nationality that were placed in my home city and the locals didn’t all take it kindly. My family came to the USA when I was young with $500 in their pocket and worked long hours at minimum wage jobs for years until they finally broke into the middle class. They stopped paying for anything but the roof over my head and food at around 14 when I got my first job. At 18 they stopped paying for everything as I moved out to college. A few lucrative business ventures later and I am now worth 8 figures. All of my friends back then were of the same nationality and had similar stories. None of them are doing as well as me, but they are all doing fantastic overall. Our parents taught us that America was the land of opportunity, but that we weren’t owed anything and had to work hard for it. In many ways, it was similar values as what I see from many Asian families.

        I earned my wealth through entrepreneurship, for exactly the reason your article states. I saw the systemic issues that held back my family and other families like mine. Good ole nepotism/classism. I guess I never really “blamed” others though, as the opportunity for growth was always still present outside of that system and how can you blame people for being people? I am for improving the system and for the system fixing it’s biases. But to do that, we must accurately diagnose the issues. Focusing on identity first is pervasive in todays society but in my opinion penny rich dollar poor when compared to classism/nepotism.

        1. Thanks for clarifying. Congrats for your success.

          I do think for those who have succeeded, to be careful not to always think that anybody else can succeed as well just because they did.

          We should be aware of our lucky breaks, and our advantages that have helped us get to where we are.

          I do believe that outsized Wealth is mostly due to luck. As a result, it’s important to be thankful for what we have and try to pass on our good fortune.

          You will probably not like this post, but here’s another one for you to read:

          1. Sam,

            I definitely think “luck” plays a role in exactly how successful one is (e.i 10mil vs 5mil vs 2mil). I also think it plays a bigger role in some peoples success than others (Did you have to overcome adversity to make your million or did you put money in the stock market and YOLO’d your way into wealth). But I would push back a little on how far you take it in your article. Life is so long that good and bad luck comes to all. Some people take advantage while others squander it. There are obviously those on the periphery of the bell curve that get more of their share of good and bad luck. However when I talk to individuals that push it all on luck, I usually end up finding out that most of their wealth has been accumulated through investments, inheritance or nepotism. Good luck indeed! The recognition of the extremes is why I definitely believe in having a safety net for people.

            I think the articles working definition of luck is so wide that you are merging it with the philosophical ideas of Determinism. If you are a hard worker, it is trait you were lucky to be born with and/or lucky to have acquired through your environment (also luck!). Obviously we are all lucky to have even been born at all! Lucky for us, this topic has been crunched by the brightest minds throughout history and they have done the legwork for us. Even staunch Determinists agree that you must live life as if Free Will (opposite of luck) exists unless you want to fall victim to the toxic effects of fatalism/nihilism.

            Outside of your quoted article on it, it seems like you have a balanced view of “luck” as well though. So maybe the hardline stance in the article was the outcome of Stealth Wealth in practice!

            Thank you for the great blog and for taking the time to engage with your readers. It is much appreciated.

  2. No meeting of the minds; but, at least we are talking – thanks for the article. Good points on both sides. I hope we don’t tear up the country with angry, because it doesn’t seem like we can get along; everyone has their own story.
    Mine story is I am blessed to have rental properties that cover my living expenses and enough to save. I do not want to go back to corporate america. I have seen people less qualified get ahead. Groups split along color lines and they promote and hire along them lines; I have experienced it and I am blessed I don’t have to deal with it.
    You can’t help one without the others feeling slighted; they can’t see the big picture of trying to level the playing field so everyone can have the same advantages.
    Always in search of passive income and small business opportunities.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Sam,

    Very interesting article, Sam. Based on the amount of replies you received; I would say you’ve gotten everyone’s attention :-) Being one of the few African Americans that have responded to your article, I would say that you have made some very valid points.
    I’m a big sports fan, and in the sports world (especially basketball or football) there’s this saying that coaches use; “Take what the defense gives you”. That’s what minorities need to do. That’s what everyone needs to do. Based on the Asian community/culture that you described; owning rental properties and/or small businesses is what the “defense” gives you. Take full advantage. I obviously can’t speak for the entire African American community, but an industry that I found to be less discriminatory was working for the government (at both the State and Federal levels). Because of the reduced discrimination, AND my strong work ethic and willingness to go back to school (acquired my doctorate), I was able to move up the ladder and make a healthy salary. Later retiring and earning a healthy pension.
    So, I say all this to agree that, no matter what country or community you live in; the majority will always be dominant. BUT, I don’t believe the majority can be dominant on everything, everywhere, and all the time. Just like a running back trying to get through a defensive line…..there’s a hole somewhere.
    Our job is to find that hole and make a 55 yard rush to the end zone.

    – Alvin

    1. Well said, Alvin. I’m another one of the few African-Americans who will respond. One of my favorite quotes is “When the system fails you, create your own system”. Even though I’m an Air Force contractor, my “system” is the stock market and one rental property that I inherited from my grandfather. He was born in 1906 so his world/opportunities were totally different from mine. His one asset was owning a home that he purchased in 1967 and I inherited in 2000. Many times I wanted to sell it due to major repairs and inconsistent occupancy. Glad I didn’t. That home, along with my job and the stock market, helped me build a seven figure stock index fund portfolio. That wasn’t even a dream when I was a kid. Surviving was the dream. Now, my daughter can dream even bigger. There will always be racism, classism, and other isms. I identify them, embrace it, use them as fuel to kick the sh-t out of them. The goal – never let the isms win.

    2. Great take, Alvin. One of my favorite quotes is “When the system fails you, create your own system.” My “system” is the stock market and rental property. As a Black man, I know there are a number of isms that I must deal with. I use them as fuel to succeed and kick the sh#t out of. I teach my daughter to do the same. The goal is to win in spite of the isms.

  4. How successful and desirable will the first few Asian-owned pre-schools/prep schools in the bay area be? Especially if they have diversified management to benefit from all perspectives. SO successful, and eventually, just imagine the stellar alumni contributions. Literally everyone of every color would want their kid to go there due to the excellent academic reputation Asians have already established. Surprised it’s not already a thing. Create Utopia.

  5. When I was in school you never had some of the one-sided activism in society today. We had black history and native american studies. But my friends never looked at each other and acted differently, or treated people differently. We weren’t getting PA announcements about the “first {insert racial/ethnic/gender demographic} being put in charge of {insert something they were qualified or that someone wanted them to do}.” I’m not saying those achievements shouldn’t be celebrated, but I think it detracts from the individual and promotes the identifier instead.

    Nowadays, we have people thinking they are entitled to things just because they arrived to this country later than everyone else or look differently than them. I still don’t understand why people are shocked to learn that X% of the population tend to make up X% of the roles that Y% of them they are interested or are even qualified for. Should I be offended if I immigrate to Ethiopia or China, but they don’t go out of their way to be inclusive of me?

    “White privilege” is just as much a stereotype as definitively claiming African-Americans are rappers and the best ones at that. What “privilege” was given when my family put on their boots they worked for, built a boat to sail on, and crossed the Atlantic when this country didn’t even exist, and was forced to sweat in the sun just to get a farm in the middle of hot nowhere, fearful of scalping from people we weren’t bothering or even settled in our area?? More modernly, what about us having to live at the federal poverty level but not qualifying for food stamps? Literally having an empty pantry and needing family members to go to the food bank on our behalf. The humiliation of having an abusive father who was stressed from working 80 hours minimum wage job. That was just growing up. Me as an adult personally being homeless for years? I didn’t get my first full time job for 6 years after high school. I was only able to survive, because it was my only choice. I couldn’t get food stamps because I was jobless and didn’t have dependents. My black friend got into Harvard. I was 3.96 GPA and went to community college. I could only afford it because, thank god I had good grades, since I didn’t qualify for scholarships which were all minority-targeted. I too tried to get into tech around 2010-2012. Did they reject me because they had too many white nerds? Maybe, maybe I wasn’t qualified, or I just didn’t work hard enough. I think it’s both.

    Have minorities been wronged in this country? I don’t doubt it and we as a society have far to go. But making assertions based on emotion or culture and demanding to have more advantages, just because you perceive someone else did, isn’t going to lead to happiness or progress. It is easy to claim white people are blind because they are the majority; however, we have the same fears and many of the same experiences as anyone else. I have witnessed, but also been the target of racism and sexism. Only once in both cases, but very memorable. The first about 10 years ago in a restaurant, when a minority-only staff ignored our reservation and forced us to wait 2 hours (quietly and respectfully by the way), while they seated every other incoming patron of their own ethnicity. And only then, they finally seated us near closing time when our party’s host gave up being Christian-like and threatened to call the police. The second more recently, when the female-led company I work for promoted a female two levels my junior to lead the team I had been leading, even though she had no experience, never taken initiative and never even uttered a word about leadership. A job I worked 5+ years for was handed to someone who would never truly appreciate and culture leadership…..just because I was a white male, the retiring manager was female, and they already had other male managers. Corporate politics can be subjective, but it’s pretty blatant when the VP literally says you are the most qualified, nobody else could do this job, but then gives it to someone who doesn’t even fit the job description. I saw the writing on the wall and left.

    What is this world coming to if we are so concerned with quotas and faux equality, rather than addressing the root cause of these problems? I don’t think token roles or helicopter money is going to solve the problem. As much as Native Americans would prefer, I can’t climb into my time machine and tell my great-great-great grandparents not to get on that boat to the New World because they might mind their own business and still offend someone. But if people really believe that is the root cause of their struggles, they really need to open their eyes and look around. At some point there needs to be personal responsibility within the community. If you want your community to succeed, what are you personally doing to help them? Not asking others who don’t look like you to help them, you? The problem is that people would rather cast blame on something, or things that occurred before their time, or to others who aren’t even related to them.

    I don’t meant to be cynical, but at this point in my life I’m sick of the hyper-activism from victim chasers and likewise fanaticism from offended conservatives. I wish all job/housing/government applications eliminated names, races, and addresses and just assigned numbers, or that all selection processes followed a lottery (after all, what’s the point of hard work to achieve anything without being judged— or constrained— by your demographics). Even then, it would not be foolproof from the naysayers who delusionally think the “others” are against them just because of events that took place years ago, or outside our community.

    This is not the country my family came to build for a greater good and I’m seriously considering retiring elsewhere.

    1. Good examples of racism and sexism! You’re lucky you only experienced it once each. Imagine experiencing it once a month or once a quarter for your entire life. That would stink, no?

      1. Joe's Brother

        Like all of those instances of asian hate you referred to earlier, right? I can only imagine how terrible it must be.

        But I think we know who’s really doing most of the asian hate. Spoiler alert – it isn’t guys who look like Joe, yet we’re still supposed to guilt trip him with snide remarks anyway. Bonus points if you can do it while driving a Tesla on autopilot.

        With your nose so high in the air, no wonder homeless people can shit all over the sidewalks in your city and get away with it.

    2. You make good points, but there’s a lot of assumptions about minorities here.

      Maybe your family got here first. But a lot of white folks didn’t. There have been Asians in this country dating back to the late 1700s, before this country was a country and before a lot of the white people who called themselves Americans now without the hyphen. Asians built themselves a boat and sailed over the ocean to get here. They worked and died in the mines, on the railroads tracks, and on the streets from racism. They fought in the world wars and gave their lives, for a country that didn’t allow them to vote. They got jailed for the way they looked. They built businesses that were repeatedly rampaged by police.

      This country is great on the backs of all immigrants. Many were Europeans but POC were there as well. And yet POCs alone in this group, in modern times, are still not considered Americans.

      Our definition of “white” keeps shifting. Italians were at one point not considered “white”. Then they were “not white enough”. Today, against visible minorities, they have finally become accepted. Same with Jews. Same with Scots and Irish.

      It is not “victim” mentality when your family has been on a land for generations, built and died for a land, to say you deserve equal rights and treatments as the white people around you.

      It is also not “victim” mentality for the children of immigrants, whose parents paid the immigrant tax of coming to this country, working hard, and providing for their kids, for those same kids to expect to be treated as any other citizen in the country of their birth and to have the same opportunities when they grew up, went to school, and worked just like with the white kid down the block.

      To me, my parents already paid the immigrant tax for me so that I could be equal. I refuse to keep paying this tax. Or to have my children keep paying this tax.

    3. I will not comment on your individual story Joe as it sounds like you have had to overcome a lot of challenges throughout your life.

      Two points to consider are that 1) the challenges raised in this article is not about individual challenges but systemic issues where a group of people en-mass faces yearly, monthly, weekly, daily inequities that are often built into the system and 2) that not all minority groups

      As an Asian kid growing up in Canada, the word entitlement was never in our household vocabulary. While I have experienced racism both overtly and indirectly through school, work, etc. I was taught to never blame others and to look toward myself to overcome a situation.

      As a visible minority growing up in a white-dominated society, I’ve grown up recognizing that I need to both outwork, outsmart others to get to the same spot and that’s just life. In fact, I prefer to use the acts of inequity not as a source of self-pity but as motivation to work harder. With young kids now, I will be doing my best to instill these same philosophies and try to prepare them for the world they live in.

      With the global job market we are all capable to moving to a jurisdiction where we might feel less oppressed or where the opportunities are greater (or more equitable). I recognize this is an option for my family, but consider that Canada is still on balance a better place to raise a family vs. many parts of Asia for a wider variety of reasons.

    4. The purpose of my emotionally-charged rant was actually the sprinkled logic, which is clearly absent from many responses here. Sam glosses over everything else except my experience with racism and sexism (emotional). Joan rhetorically gives example of reasons you “deserve” (emotional) something, along with “expect” and mention of “same” opportunities. Why should I have to pay the immigrant tax either in the form of resentment or disadvantage? It’s funny because when the local news interviews POCs about what “equal” opportunities they expect they deserve, it’s always a step above whitie. But if you stop and think about it, it doesn’t matter what color you are. There is no such thing as equal opportunity anywhere on this globe. Do you think the Chinese who built our railroads had the opportunity to own the railroad? Do you think me immigrating to work underpaid in a Congo mine, they will suddenly give me equitable role because I’m white? In both cases, no. Why would it be any different in 2020 as 1820? Those who control and capitalize the labor. I have a deep respect for the Asian American population, as they are an often misrepresented and rarely advocated vs. other POCs. How many movies about Chinese immigrants (aka first slaves) have you seen compare to others?

      Systematic issues always stem from individual ones. It’s easy to point at this readily available mob of complainers and say they are disenfranchised because the grocery store doesn’t sell their favorite brand of almond milk. But at the end of the day, every person in the mob has a choice— accept it, or change it. You can’t blame the system if you go along with it. A systematic issue my family faced was the Big Govt seizing vast swaths of historic, legally-granted homestead. Every other family in the area was disenfranchised by this too. They complained, and didn’t get their land back, not just because it was a “problem with the system”, but because they went along with it. But did we stand around and complaining about it? No, we didn’t go along with it, we took it to the Supreme court and won. Hence my emphasis on doing something in your community. Voting for someone who looks like you is just doing the bare minimum. This shouldn’t be rocketscience for America. ESPECIALLY after the Civil War. ESPECIALLY after the 1960s. The fact we as a society didn’t solve the issues then and for all, is really disappointing.

      Yes, I had a difficult, pressure-cooker upbringing. I also have strong knowledge of my family tree and the facts of the building of this country. We literally come on the Mayflower, several of my family members were Presidents and others fought in every war. We witnessed the travesty of slavery but rather than encourage it, we adopted a freedslave, who was later buried with my family. We lived in fear of Native Americans invading and cutting our heads off. But today my family works to improve children education with tribes in New Mexico and Arizona. This doesn’t even include pre-America history when we literally gave our lives on battlefields in Ireland and Scotland. History influences thinking and opinion, but the present isn’t always as simple to compare. So while my initial rant may come off as “get off my lawn, you late-comers”, the intent was to drive the point that everyone who came before you had just as many, or worse challenges than you. And they are not necessarily out to get you, and probably want the exact same success for you and your generations. But if you’re just complaining, or rationalizing your resentment, nothing is ever going to go in your favor. You can hold your crayon posters and yell all you want, or write a blog post gloating about slumlording whitie, but you won’t change America that way.

      The comments about needing to “outwork” or outmaneuver whites is interesting, because they’re the same exact thoughts I and many other WPs have on a daily basis. Not only do I have to outmaneuver those MASSIVE NUMBERS of whities having privileges over me, but also I have to worry about the company enforcing an ethnicity quota and pushing me out to accommodate POCs. They’re already doing that as recently as a month ago. They are severancing older employees, who are mostly white males, and saying that our POC numbers are disappointing, despite the fact that those numbers are ACTUALLY representative of the POC population in the region, and in some cases, BETTER. The worst part is they aren’t telling us what a quality diversity would look like. They are showing us the numbers and saying they need to change, but won’t divulge how or to what extent. How is that productive? Are we supposed to be happy the POC percentage goes up, even if that means they are disproportionately advantaged over whites? I would love us to get the point where we don’t even have these conversations. But unless we move to a random lottery selection system— processes that remove EMOTION from the process— that probably won’t happen. “Whites” will eventually be the minority, I think 2050 is what they say, and then we/they will be complaining just as much then.

      If my mental challenges were not apparent from the above, they run deep so I apologize if any comments are unsettling. On the bright-side, I recovered from my homelessness. I’m a first generation college graduate, first generation to earn six-figures. No need for a press conference to announce that.

    5. Jeeze. I’m half white, and even I experience preferential treatment and privilege. You can turn a blind eye to something and stick your head in the sand, but it’s still there. It’s always the people with the most privilege claiming that they must not have it. Like Trump with his small loan from daddy…

      Also, this country was always here, and people already used all of it before it was stolen. Prime example of minorities being ignored while one segment of society crushes them…

      And, yes, white people also have privilege in most countries in the world. So, they do make way for you even as a minority. These are common knowledge facts. Just like no one is running around calling all white people immigrants… Oh, the mental gymnastics.

  6. What we fail to address in this article, is the source of the new “equity” ideology. Sam, what’s your take on the Great Reset theme discussed in the World Economic Forum at length last month? Also what are your thoughts on “You will own nothing and be happy”? From what’s happening in California, I foresee the government soft targeting landlords with who they can and cannot rent to..

  7. Brian Locicero

    There’s certainly some truth in the White privilege/supremacy narrative, but the proposed solutions range from silly to dangerous:

    – Renaming schools
    – Tearing down statues
    – Abolish SAT/ACT requirement
    – Defunding police
    – Decriminalizing “petty” crime (
    – Attacking high performing schools:
    – Teaching CRT to children (
    – Prop 16 (
    – CA ethnic studies requirement (i.e. CRT Trojan Horse):
    – CA corporate board BIPOC requirement:
    – Race based UBI:

    They’re just getting warmed up and the federal hammer has yet to drop. So while you may feel a bit of schadenfreude in renting to clueless high income Whites, it’s certainly possible to smother someone with their own blanket. After all, you’re “white adjacent” and “multiracial white”. You didn’t build that.

    Now, the truly wealthy are going for appeasement, buying Woke indulgences like toilet paper in 2020, installing equity police in their organizations, desperate to rain money on anything “Black Owned” so they can virtue signal and get out of the spotlight. To some extent, they can afford it. After all, their kids don’t go to public school.

    But for the rest of us that were trying to game this imperfect democracy/meritocracy to get ahead, the beatings will continue until morale improves. In 2021, I expect a full frontal assault on property rights, with landlords in the crosshairs. You heard it here first.

    1. Brian, I love the enthusiasm! Thank you for sharing.

      May I ask what “white adjacent” and “multiracial white” means when you say that’s what I am? I’m an Asian person and Asians account for about 6% of the population in America. Do you not consider Asian people to be a minority?

      What are some things you’re doing to make your life better and boost your wealth?



      1. Those aren’t my terms. In my opinion, Asian Americans are the very definition of a minority and despite many obstacles, have become wildly successful in America.

        However, to the Woke crowd, “white adjacent” means any minority that is successful and therefore, has internalized white supremacy, which in turn oppresses BIPOC “folx”. “multiracial whiteness” is similar. It’s how they explain minority Trump supporters:

        As for the personal wealth bit, we paid off our mortgage and have two rental properties. I credit most of that to my wife, who is a first generation Chinese immigrant & prodigious saver. My part in the story is becoming a software engineer so we have more money to save in the first place. We both grew up poor but with stable families that taught us good values.

        I’m certainly not a victim and I feel very fortunate. I’m a liberal and I support strict enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, measures to proactively hire qualified diverse candidates and so forth. The point of my rant is to say maybe you’re a bit naive about what’s coming, the world being constructed right now for our children to live in. Were you not aware of all these things happening in San Francisco and California more broadly? Do you support them?

        1. Got it. Thanks for sharing more details.

          “The point of my rant is to say maybe you’re a bit naive about what’s coming, the world being constructed right now for our children to live in. Were you not aware of all these things happening in San Francisco and California more broadly? Do you support them?”

          I honestly don’t know exactly what’s coming. So yes, I am naive. But I’m also a super-optimist and try to always see the positive in any situation.

          I’ve chosen to work hard while taking care of my family until I am vaccinated or until there is herd immunity. Then I plan to take things down a notch and re-retire. See: The Best Time To Retire May Be Under A Democratic President

          After a rough 2020, I’m very tired, like many people. However, while we are still in the woods, I/we might as well work as hard as possible to build wealth today.

          How many children do you have? And what will you be doing to help them? My plan is to build a rental property portfolio and an online business as a hedge. I don’t want gatekeepers controlling our destiny.

          Do you own a lot of real estate, hence the fear of property taxes going way up or something? Just trying to get to the core issue of the “rant” as you say. thx

          See: To Get Rich, Practice Predicting The Future

          1. My fears… sure property taxes are likely to go up. Prop 13 has been described as racist. However, they might just outlaw landlords. It would certainly fit their ideology of landlords being evil.

            We own two condos in Sacramento free and clear that gross about 30k a year. No biggie. We manage them ourselves and our tenants are great.

            Now, I’m not ready yet to sell them, but I have to be realistic and realize there are storm clouds on the horizon for landlords. The “equity” crowd is upfront about their socialist aims. Even if their demands are watered down, it will become harder, especially in progressive states. Unlike well funded REITs with complex compliance and tax strategies, mom and pop landlords are a soft target.

            So for sure my next real estate purchase won’t be in home state of California. It might not even be in America. If I believe in capitalism, which I do, why invest in a country trending socialist? Why send my two children to public schools that teach them they’re evil because of their skin color?

            I know it sounds like I’m a hysterical doomer but I’m really not. I’m hopeful and I believe like you in taking positive action within my sphere of influence. What I’m saying is that you can’t just put your head in the sand and ignore these seismic political trends. Asian Americans are a logical target and if you don’t stand up for your rights, you’ll lose them.

            1. I think it’s fine to sound hysterical. It’s what you feel and you back up your hysteria with some good thoughts. So, your main action is to be aware (stay woke). Being aware is great. However, shouldn’t action be taken if you truly believe what you want?

              Doing nothing just creates uneasiness. By taking action based on what you believe, you will be able to calm your thoughts and feel better about the situation. I suggest you take concrete steps to change what you don’t like.

              I didn’t realize Joe Biden’s administration would negatively target Asian Americans. However, I will do more research to see why he would do this. Just the other day, he signed some executive order to combat racism against Asian and Pacific Islanders. I’m probably missing something.

              Perhaps you’ll enjoy or actually go ballistic over these two posts. I really like seeing both sides of the equation.

              Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future

              A Case Against Meritocracy For Public High School Entrance

              1. I read your posts. I don’t agree with your assessment of the trendline or how to respond to it but that’s fine. To each his own. You certainly have a good track record and I respect your opinions and that’s why I read your blog. Always good to hear all sides of an argument.

                As for the actions I’m taking, based on my personal assessment and desired lifestyle, they include: diversfying from U.S. assets, cancelling my plan to buy another California property, looking at out of state and/or international property, homeschooling, getting a second passport, and more. Not in a panicked “buy gold now and move to Uruguay!” fashion. Just making plans and acting on them slowly, thinking about my family’s happiness and well being, just like you.


                1. Those are rational moves. Is your wife on board?

                  We’ve been homeschooling since March 2020, and it’s been pretty good. It’s also been nice to save money on preschool tuition.

  8. “Yes, it is a little ironic that a minority who couldn’t land a job at any of his tenant’s companies is their landlord.”

    Well, to be precise, the Asian male that was more highly compensated in his 20s than any of them. That’s why you’re their landlord. Finance pays better than tech in the 20s, though with much higher demands and burnout. All of my team’s recent hires are at home with their parents right now, banking rent money.

    And San Francisco isn’t like the Virginia of today. If we crudely group all Asians collectively, they are the largest ethnic group in the city. Though if you go back 60-70 years, quite a few neighborhoods would not sell to you, and the ‘whites only’ clause is still present on many (now unenforcible) CC&Rs. My father in law (Filipino) would have happily put his blue collar earnings into property here in that time, had to settle for East San Mateo. The wealth he and my mother in law generated is quite remarkable, but it could have been even more so.

    On other bits:
    Why few/no Asians in those intern pics for Obama and Trump? A big part is self selection – while Asians are a majority minority at Cal, that’s not true in the Poli Sci department where I was. Asian parents are trying to drive their kids to be doctors and engineers, not nearly so much to be lawyers or involved in politics. Interning in DC may still be unpaid. Is that acceptable to the tiger moms out there?

    Why are blacks and Hispanics poorly represented in Big Tech? Again, self selection is a big component – who is taking CS classes and graduating with the relevant degrees? There are lots of reasons for this- lower quality primary schools contributes significantly as well, and then not feeling accepted discourage many (women as well). So changing it really requires investment and effort at the middle school level and sooner. Hustle can work, esp when timed with the boom eras. I parlayed my poli sci degree and college work spent with the Space Sciences Lab into a dotcom era start. But in 2001, didn’t work for 17 months. Similarly, 2009 was a bad time to start.

    You trying to get a finance (?) job in tech in 2012 had a lot of headwinds
    1- still recovering from the recession
    2- those companies like to hire college grads, or their prior interns
    3- networking is just as essential in tech as I suspect it was in finance. I’ve worked for quite a few before my last 2 companies (14 years combined), but very few came from cold submissions.
    4- tech companies don’t need a lot of additional finance people as they grow, and the startups have the VC folks on this. IP lawyers are a different story.
    5- you were about to retire due to burn out anyway. That probably showed in any cover letters. And if you didn’t do that because EDD didn’t require it, even less chance your resume got more than 30 seconds of attention that year.

    If you tried a couple years later, after a sabbatical, and used relationships as you should have, I suspect the outcome would have been different.

    1. “Asian parents are trying to drive their kids to be doctors and engineers, not nearly so much to be lawyers or involved in politics.”

      You said it for me. Of all the Asian families I know, none have encouraged their kids to get into American politics. A few may mention law school (and steer them to lucrative private practices), but the vast majority I’ve seen are encouraging their kids to go into the sciences and medicine.

        1. Not sure it’s so much about “Asian cultures”, because obviously there are BIG egos in politics across Asia, and dictators at that. ( How about when a country views their emperor as if he’s divine? Hmmmm. ) It’s probably more about the mindset of immigrants to the United States who carry with them ambition. And values from their motherland. There was an interview on YT with a woman from Nigeria who had emigrated to the States. She couldn’t believe how her fellow Black citizens had such a low view of education. In her native country she and her friends would compete hard to be the best in class. They were eager to study and learn. To your point: “power hungry” is not solely found in politics. Rather, business, real estate, Science, Religion, and on. My “Asian” landlady constantly brags about who she knows, their status. It’s about power and prestige for her. Accomplishments aside, and all due respect for her hard work, but…lol.

          1. I wonder if part of the reason Asian immigrant parents don’t push politics on their kids is because they often left their home countries due to politics.

  9. Readers, what do you think are the reasons why there are so many landlords and small businesses run by minorities? Do you think there will ever be equal opportunity for all? If you are a minority, why did you decide to own real estate or a small business? If you are not a minority, how do you view the fairness of the economic game? Is it likely to try and help someone who doesn’t look like you or come from a similar background?

    In answering the questions you pose…In my opinion, there are many small businesses and properties run by minorities that are likely foreign born or 1st generation Americans. I think it’s because of language and cultural barriers. A person from Cambodia can come to the US with low English language skills and open a donut shop where their language skills won’t really matter. This person would likely not get hired to climb a corporate ladder because of that. But in my opinion, they have a more desirable opportunity to create their own empire. The skill sets for small business and landlording are not complicated or technical. They don’t require one to be adept at office politics.

    I am not a minority. I view the fairness of the economic game as, for the most part, fair. With community colleges, trade schools and public universities, access to education is doable and possible for anyone that really wants to do it. I believe if you want it, you can have it. But you must work for it and you have to make intelligent choices to get there, preferably debt free.

    I find the whole obsession with race to be disgusting, frankly. I prefer the “color blind” approach to society where things are merit based. Our current focus on race being the most important factor of life is going to lead us down a more divisive path. Especially because we do not address our current issues with honesty. For example, we like to thing there’s an epidemic of police shooting unarmed African Americans. But we don’t ask questions like, “how many police shootings of unarmed people (of all races) are there in total for the year”? “Broken down by race, which groups commit the most violent crimes? Could this impact how police approach this population?” Or asking the question: “when confronted by police, why do people resist and fight and not simply comply with orders?” Could this effect outcomes? Uh…yeah. Because we are approaching the race issue politically and not rationally, we are doomed. We refuse to have honest conversations about this topic.

    The real focus should be on class, not race. All this talk of POCs being disproportionately affected by everything is never questioned. We don’t dig deeper. We don’t examine the economics of the populations in question and how they are the real culprits…I live in a predominantly white county in California. The poor, lower class whites in our community are in no better shape than POCs. There are lower rates of achievement, police pay special attention to them, they are not properly nourished, drugs are rampant, educational attainment is low…class is the real issue, not color.

    Yes, there will likely always be little differences in how we treat each other. But I can’t control how a POC feels in my presence. I can’t and won’t constantly worry if they feel welcomed or not. I just can’t care about this topic. I can treat everyone I meet with kindness and consideration…but I can’t control your feelings or your perceptions of the world.

    I’m a 48 year old white male married to another male of Mexican birth. I grew up in Northern California to parents that were middle class, but we lived like lower middle class because my dad was a saver and investor. He instilled in me a work ethic and the expectation that I would go to college. My spouse and I have a net worth of 1.5 million and we don’t have ‘regular jobs’. I credit my father with my success…and I credit my persistence and obsession with ‘work’ I’ve done in my life. If my skin color was an advantage in my life, it’s not my fault. But I was not blessed with any superior intelligence or skill. So I do think anyone can achieve in the US. We all have US privilege…more valuable than white privilege. Ask lower class whites if they feel their skin color has granted them any extra privileges in life.

    Sam, I love your blog and read it often. I am so inspired and thrilled by your success and your savvy. Keep it up. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me or don’t look like me…I love the content of your mind and your blog:)

  10. You wrote that your white tenants have jobs that you couldn’t get on your own. Do you think you pick them for a reason: they have the career connections you want? If you want a job in the tech industries, one of them can give your name.

    1. That is quite a good idea actually! I didn’t ask any of them in 2012 during the transition year I left finance bc my tenants didn’t work at places I wanted to work back then. They were also quite junior 1-3 years out of college in one property.

      Now, I’m too old and tired. I want to go back to early retirement by the year 2022. However, maintaining good relationships with my tenants might be able to help my children in the future. Who knows! It’s always good to be a good person anyway.

  11. Mistress of Home and Finance

    Thanks for making such an honest post!
    It makes sense to me that when faced with powerlessness and rejection, you seek out control where you can. And in the US, real estate and business ownership are the mainstays of this.

    I’m at the stage in my life where I do regular employment and invest in stocks, but I’m fast approaching the point of being ready to rent out real estate.
    I’m privileged enough that after only a few years of rejections I landed my first jobs in STEM.
    That said, I know that I was taken on for diversity and my “smarts” rather than for competency, so I’ve had impostor syndrome.
    It makes me distrustful of regular employment, especially when I look around and see no other women in my area of the company. Or when my non-traditional background comes up with upper management, and they prefer people like themselves.
    I’d rather succeed or fail on my own merits.
    I can’t wait to start renting to people, to help soothe that concern.

    1. Keep thinking about your story of the junior that mocked your blogging efforts back in the day. Feels like it may have come from a place of racism (in addition to stupidity).

    2. Man everyone has imposter syndrome especially when you are new in tech it will come and go. Also, honestly you think you were hired because you were a woman it’s okay take the opportunities you are given. We all do.

  12. I think talking about racism and money is a taboo best avoided.

    In today’s climate we have too much to lose and nothing to gain on the topic- it’s a red flag.

  13. Reading Every Day

    You said, “Then I started wondering will there ever be a school admissions policy that helps under-represented Asians or poor Asians get in? Doubtful…”

    Actually it already exists. It’s called…affirmative action. Under race-conscious admissions policies that already exist, elite institutions commonly give preferences to both underrepresented Asian American subgroups (like Southeast Asian Americans, etc.) and low-income Asian Americans.

    Quoting from the research of Thomas Espenshade and Alexandra Radford:

    “The [socioeconomic] gradient for nonwhite students at private schools consistently favors candidates from lower and working class backgrounds over those from more privileged circumstances . . . There is strong support for the view that admission officers are awarding extra weight to nonwhite students from poor and working-class families—especially those who are at closest to the bottom of the income distribution . . . For nonwhite students, on the other hand, there are clear signs of a low [socioeconomic] admissions advantage. Black students who come from lower or working class backgrounds can expect a favorable admissions decision in 87 percent and 53 percent of their cases, respectively. The expected chance of being admitted falls to just 17 percent for upper-class Black students. Strikingly similar patterns characterize chances by social class for Hispanic and Asian applicants to private institutions.”

    (Quoted in the book, “Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data” by Julie J. Park. And she continues:)

    “According to the data, the likelihood of admission for the group of Asian Americans from the lowest income bracket at private institutions is 58 percent, 30 percent for working-class Asian Americans, and only 10–17 percent for higher-income Asian Americans. If you’re opposed to any form of race-conscious admissions, you may still be perturbed that the probability of a low-income Black student being admitted is still higher than that for a low-income Asian American. That trend exists in large part because of how very few low-income Black students there are competing at the level of elite college admissions due to rampant educational inequality. They really are unicorns. But if you’re concerned that race-conscious admissions hurts Asian Americans in a way that especially penalizes those from low-income and working-class backgrounds, Espenshade and Radford show that these Asian American students are actually receiving a boost; they have a significantly higher likelihood of admission than their test scores, GPA, and other standardized metrics would predict. Yes, they are still outnumbered by upper-middle-class Asian Americans in selective institutions overall, but of those who do apply to elite private institutions, it appears that they receive special consideration.”

    Full chapter posted here and more resources here:

    1. That’s awesome! I didn’t realize Affirmative Action is also helpful to Asians. Perhaps the data that has come out of the Harvard discrimination lawsuit against Asians is wrong.

      Why do you think people believe that Asian students have to score higher on their standardized tests scores and get higher grades to have the same chance of getting in as other races?

      What race are you and what is you background and kid situation? Cheers

      Related: The Rapid Depreciation Of A Harvard Degree

      1. I think we all know that Asian Americans have to score higher on tests and grades than other races to get in.

        The data from over 100 schools is all there about the average SAT scores by race.

  14. Big tech hires anyone with competence, they have a lot of money. Your perception of the tech industry has always made me wonder whether or not you know anyone in tech like you claim.

    As affordable housing is becoming more important than the small time landlord income such as yours, so not sure if it will be around for the next generation.

    Do you feel like a victim?

    1. I certainly don’t know as many people in tech as I do in finance, where I spent my career up until 2012. I wouldn’t have used my connections to get a job in tech anyway. It wasn’t and isn’t part of the way I like to do things. If I use my connections and get the job or whatever, I’ll always wonder whether I got something due to my connections and someone owing that person a favor or whether it was due to my abilities. Related: Don’t Let Honor And Pride Get In The Way

      In my article, I used “lack of intelligence” as the main reason why I didn’t get hired. It’s pretty much a synonym for lack of competence as you suggest. The only solution for me is to get smarter and try harder. Check out the passage below.

      “However, let’s be brutally honest. My lack of intelligence probably played a big role in getting rejected. The people who landed these fellowships, incubators, and jobs are all extremely smart with glowing resumes. Whereas I’m objectively average.”

      I don’t think I feel like a victim because I ended up buying as much SF property I could afford since 2003 and bought stock in every big tech that rejected me since 2012, in addition to my existing positions. For example, I’m thrilled that Netflix beat its 4Q2020 numbers and plans to be cash flow positive in 2021. I got rejected by Netflix, but the company is now my largest individual holding.

      In order to improve my writing, may I ask whether this article makes me or other minorities who buy rental property and start small businesses sound like a victim? Your feedback will help me bette craft future posts. How about you? What do you and where are you on your financial journey? Thanks so much and keep keeping it real!

        It has been stressful holding Netflix. So many negative articles. Same with Tesla. There is so much “information “ out there, it is hard to ignore. It makes me doubt myself.
        Do all investors struggle with doubt?
        Last year my Schwab account earned 60.7 percent and I earned every penny. This was not easy money. This year I could lose it. I don’t know.
        As the numbers get larger, the stress increases.
        I am convinced there should be support groups like AA. HOLDING ON IS WHAT IS DIFFICULT.
        Some day I will sell. I won’t want the stress
        You write about the undeniable benefits of F.I. I agree. But I have substituted one stress for the stress of a job.
        I honestly hope your readers are not awake at night wondering “what have I just done” when they touch that key.

        1. Cheer up Charles! Enjoy every day, especially on days when your stocks are doing well.

          So long as you’re spending money and some of your profits on a better life, you won’t regret it.

        2. Sam, this was an interesting post. You come across as very self-aware and mindful of the racism that exists. That said, I would say that almost everyone has a degree of “otherness” from the powers that be, whatever their background. It could be race, income, geography, weight, etc. I am in the designer fashion industry where certain don’t get considered just simply because they don’t look the part.

          Also, I would point out that a lot of Asian landlords in SF went that route first (or science, medicine, finance, etc.) because it’s harder as a first generation immigrant to acquire the soft skills, confidence and cultural references to succeed in blue-chip careers where pedigree and connections matter.

          As for getting into schools in SF, it’s tough for everyone, even with connections, but I would agree there’s a stereotype for Asians as being all very similar and therefore not adding much “diversity” that makes it tougher. I would say SF, for all it’s majority minority status is one of the most racist places in the US to be for an Asian-American, especially an Asian-American man.

            1. Agree on the language barrier. Yes, I am speaking as an Asian-American man. Technically I am not even first generation as I was not born in US and did not speak English at home.

      2. I m a big fan of this blog. I’ve to say, though, this article does have a victimised feel. The bits about getting rejections from the big Tech firms, for example – I guess there’re other factors in play too, other than race. (I’m SE Asian).

        1. No worries. Don’t feel like a victim. Get motivated! I ended up buying stock in all the public companies that rejected me. And the gains are enough to pay for my children’s college education.

          If I felt like a victim, I would have given up. But instead, I created my own destiny and have remained free since 2012.

    2. I want to be a victim and small time landlord who owns millions of dollars in real estate and can rent to White people like you so I don’t have to work :)

      Ah, America is so great!

  15. NW Islander

    Three thoughts on this intriguing post:

    1. Real estate becomes less “permission-less” in a market prone to bidding wars. My highest bid on a gorgeous home was rejected by sellers who had a “sentimental preference” for selling their home to [someone who looked like them]. Many years of climbing the property ladder finally got me to a better place, but costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and massive life upheaval.

    2. As a single woman, I feel targeted by contractors and subs. They assume that I don’t know anything (they are wrong) and try to take advantage. One subcontractor made several comments about how lucky I was to “inherit” the rental property he was working on for me, until I made the mistake of telling him that I had purchased the investment – at which point his focus changed to trying to adjust his bid. Last month I passed on a great rental investment, because I am just burned out on dealing with shady tradesmen. I don’t need to go through that again so soon.

    3. Black swan events are becoming more common on the West Coast, where I live. I’d love to own more real estate here, but to hedge against wildfires, earthquakes, etc., I think my next purchase(s) need to be outside the continental U.S. Sam, since you are so invested in NorCal real estate I do wonder about your approach to risk management in this vein. E.g. your approach to seismic event insurance and related reserves. Those deductibles add up, the Big One is coming, and I don’t want to be completely wiped out.

    1. How did you find out the seller wanted to sell the home that looked like them? That’s hard to find out and cool that you did! I’ve already written real estate love letters to try and make a close connection.

      I like to live life in the moment and not worry about disasters all the time. Once you have insurance, there’s not too much to do. If you always think about the negatives, it must get debilitating. I’m an optimist.

      Good luck, and stop thinking that you’ll get hit by a bus tomorrow!

    2. As a woman in the PNW I hear you. With the subduction quake overdue and 5 active stratovolcanos that will surely be triggered, I vacillate between living optimistically for the moment and investing elsewhere. As ‘overdue’ could be anywhere between yesterday and the next 5000 years, geologically speaking, I think it is worth investing elsewhere while continuing to enjoy heavily insured life here.

      Also, regarding contractors, this is surely obvious but personal referrals from the most respected people you know are the ONLY way to go. Long ago I was a wallpaper hanger and interior decorator and learned so much about how the building industry work. Letting a contractor know about your contacts and that they were referred to you will reflect in a greater degree of integrity because their business reputation and future projects can be deeply affected and the decent ones know this. Whereas anywhere else this is shameful, as a client in a highly competitive market, masterful name dropping and, as mentioned by Sam previously, dangling potential future projects during negotiation or during ‘tough talks’, will let your contractors know that their actions/quotes/reputations WILL be affected – but you should never need to outright say that. If so you have the wrong contractor. On the flipside, sharing and referring a good one can set you up with reliable relationships that can save you money and headaches on future projects.

  16. Sam, you’re right on.
    Here are some other observations…
    There are also no fat people or old people in those photos.
    I have thought I needed alternative income as I got older not because I don’t want to work, but because I won’t get hired.
    In this day and age when I see companies canceling insurance policies because of social media, or the founder of Gab having his credit cards canceled l, unable to get a mortgage, having his bank accounts closed….
    I personally think we all need alternative income. The days of communist social credit scoring are here and you’ll always be on someone’s list depending on which way the wind is blowing. People are mean.

    1. Good point about the discrimination that happens to people who are overweight or are over a certain age. Again, having a permission less business where you get to decide how things go sounds like a good idea.

      Your comment reminded me of this post. I thought about age discrimination at 40 or over 40 while I was in my early 30s. It made me want to make as much money as possible and secure my financial future before age 40.

      Very similar parallels!

  17. Oh man, this one’s really getting me to think… Never in a million years would I have thought up all these hedges, but then again I’m white and very much privileged! Really Really caught me with this one, well done… Gonna be marinating on it for some time here.

    1. Cool. I’m really glad that this post has helped you think about this situation and your situation more.

      Best way to learn is to listen to different perspectives.

      Hopefully, there can be more voices in the personal finance community. And more personal finance sites that are recognized.

    2. Change the dominance of only White people in the PF blogosphere J! But also recognize who your colleagues are at Motley Fool and who took over your site. All White! Let’s diversify. Thanks!

      1. Yup yup – working on it! Our new curation project we’re about to launch with The Fool will be circulating great content from *EVERYONE* in the space – not just the majority (or the most popular) – so that should start helping elevate the minority voices out there more… Already got this article tagged for it too since it so well opens up the eyes on something a lot of us aren’t aware of! Feel free to send me anything great you’ve seen in the space too that helps us all learn more and I’ll happily check it out :) (contact info at

  18. I am curious to know in 2012 when you were applying to these tech companies, did you apply for these jobs through their company websites?

    If so, that strikes me as somewhat odd… At that point you already had 13 years of experience and an MBA from a great school, if I was in your position, I would be bypassing all that gatekeeper nonsense and getting into the door through warm referrals or better yet knowing someone inside the company.

    Please note that this is an observation and not a criticism by any means.

    For me personally, the last time I had to apply through a company website was for my first job coming out of undergrad. All other jobs since then have come through my networks and not once did I have to fill out an application or submit a resume through some online portal (a.k.a. black hole)

    Just my $0.02

    1. Yep, I went through the black hole method of applying directly online on each company’s website. I think the EDD required I apply to 4-6 a week, so going online and submitting my application was the most efficient way to go to fulfill the criteria.

      I probably could have at least landed an interview somewhere if I pushed my connections. But I didn’t.

      I have a habit of not using my connections for anything, which can be a big con for getting ahead. But at the time, my heart was in FS and taking a break.

      How about you? What’s your background and story?

      Related post:

  19. As a white male, I am a bit concerned about recent events around the Social Justice movement. As just one example, my son (straight A student in an IB program with all possible high school math courses taken and crushed, as well as a competitive swimmer), was recently flat out rejected from Cornell, and told that his application wouldn’t even be evaluated in the spring. While that stung (and there are plenty of other schools out there), I came to find out from friends who regularly attend Dean’s meetings remotely that the number 1 priority for them (and apparently most Ivy league schools right now) is social justice, and admitting as many minorities as possible, especially since SAT scores aren’t being reported this year, and therefore can’t detract from their academic standing. A guidance counselor at a high end private school corroborated that of the 8 high achieving white males that applied Early Decision to Cornell, not a single one was accepted. I imagine most will land on their feet, but it makes me wonder how much concentrating on race as a factor will inflict harm to other folks. I personally grew up poor and spent a career in the military to be able to get where I am today.

    1. Sorry to hear. Where else is he applying to? I guess many will find out where they go in the next couple of months.

      As someone who felt he had no chance of getting into any of these types of schools, I didn’t even bother replying. I just went to my state school, The College of William & Mary.

      Rejection stinks. But it’s a great motivator!

      1. I have a white male family member at Cornell right now. The ticket in was sports. So he needed (i) exceptional academics + (ii) coach referral. For this reason (and others), I’m going to keep encouraging my much younger white son to continue to work as hard as he can at the sport of his choosing.

        I have tenants who went to better schools than me, and have jobs I probably couldn’t have gotten either. Owning real estate can be a pain in the butt, but I no longer worry about job security because I have “real estate security.” I’m not a minority, but I am a woman (and bought and now operate real estate prior to / independent of my husband) and a first generation college grad in my family. :)

    2. I commented on the admissions process being stacked up against me as an Asian-American high schooler earlier in the comments section on this page (under the pen name “JoinEm”). Once I found out how stacked it was against me, the goal posts needed to change, and I accepted that. If Cornell or a similar school is your son’s end goal, I would recommend narrowing the goal posts. It’s not enough to get straight A’s in an IB program and being a competitive swimmer. That profile is a dime a dozen among the kids who apply to these schools. The next step would be to enter and win national and international competitions (academic or otherwise). If they don’t require SATs this year, take it anyway and get a perfect score. Hey, it was tough learning that the finish line was much farther than I had originally thought, but once you re-calibrate the finish line and finally cross it, the badge of honor is that much more meaningful. It’s also an opportunity to realize that anything is possible with sheer determination. The feeling when you come out on the other side is not comparable to anything else. You can’t control what race you are, but you can control how much above and beyond you go beyond everyone else.

      1. I do like your attitude. It would be great for younger people to adopt this type of way forward.

        I do agree that there is nothing better than building some thing with your own two hands. Joining an already established company and working for them as one thing. Creating something of your own is another thing.

    3. Horrible.
      I see it where I am as well. People are being hired and promoted based on their ethnicity so a company can improve their stats.
      I have always seen minorities “sticking together”…whether because of shared culture of the feeling that they were left out of “mainstream” culture. I dated a MAlaysian Indian and man…did that family hate me. I just didn’t fit into their plan for what they thought their offspring should marry. They wanted an arranged marriage with another Indian. I broke it off because I couldn’t imagine my kids being hated that much! I also didn’t like how they treated maids from the Phillipines in their house…slavery. Seriously.
      What I don’t get and never will is why it’s okay for minorities to act like this but not others. Can you imagine a Caucasian student club at any university? Or a heterosexual club?
      All I can say is don’t isolate yourself. Most of us don’t care about race.

      1. Isn’t that the point of the article? Everybody stick together and hires people most similar to themselves. Therefore, if you are a part of the majority, you are always going to have an advantage.

    4. White dude here. Whites had generations of unfair advantages, I don’t think it is wrong to try and even up the vast disparities of wealth that white people have built up and passed on to their kids in the form of private schools, tutoring and other enriched environments and give Blacks and other disadvantaged minorities a leg up to make up for it. I would personally prefer if admissions officers considered wealth more and race less but it’s not my call to make.

      Admissions is a zero sum game, if some are going to win then some are going to lose.

      1. But dude…there are a lot of poor uneducated whites. I agree income should be considered.
        I just can’t imagine the flack that would occur if uber eats said “white or Asia owned business” in their listings. This is horrible. I hate Silicon Valley. They hypocrisy is over the top.

  20. Sam,

    Great article. Your point on contacts is spot on.

    One thing I want to point out about Asian families and their interest in real estate (at least from an Indian perspective): In most Asian countries, especially India, one has to remember that land is a premium. While in the US, most of the cost of the real estate is the house (big cities like NYC, SF, and LA excluded), in Asian countries, it is the opposite; most of the cost is the land. As such, at least among Indian immigrants, they love getting large plots of land. It is their way of saying “I made it” to the people back in their homeland.

  21. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing different perspectives as it helps me think through how best to guide my kids.

    A few points (for perspective, I’m a brown Latino whose family migrated to the US in the 1970’s):
    – Your comment about human nature is spot on. I mention this when I’m having discussions about institutional racism. It may not be intentional but the majority unconsciously will more often than not support themselves for this reason. Similar to you, I accept it and try and work within that system. I also donate to organizations that helped me so they can continue opening doors for others.
    – Everyone wants to believe their success is do simply to hard work. Some will downplay the help they received from family and friends or downplay their upbringing. My wife and I have done well, but without the help from the people at our universities and other organizations that helped opened doors for us, we’d be much less successful. You still have to grab the bull by the horns but, having a bull to grab is half the battle.
    – I do give plenty of credit to African Americans who have pushed for a more equatable country. Regardless of what type of minority you are, we all stand partly on the shoulders of people like MLK.

  22. Just so I understand:

    – Asians identify that their relative overachievement means the “diversity” deck is stacked against them, but
    – Blacks are supposed to feel mistreated despite every one of these companies massively recruiting, cheering for, and favoring them at every stage
    – White people are not permitted the in-group preference others are encouraged to embrace, and in fact must practice anti-preference for themselves

    My Hispanic side says everyone has gone loco, and this oppressor/victim religion is a cancer

    1. Is that your understanding? I don’t see it that way, but I can’t fault you for believing these things if that’s how you feel.

      The key is to control what you can control and take action to better your own life. Asian landlords and Asian small business owners are trying to do just that. There is no oppressor/victim attitude when you take action. If I felt that way, I would probably still be working and miserable.

      How about you? What are you doing to improve your situation? thx

    2. Fascinating to see your interpretation of this article that focuses on taking action to improve one’s situation.

      I think your comment and disregard for the points in the post is example of why things don’t change quickly. People just believe what they want to believe and aren’t willing to listen to a different perspective.

      Which again, means all the reason why we’ve got to focus on doing what’s best for ourselves.

    3. Agree with you 100% The victim mentality is becoming very dangerous for this country. Wasted energy that deviates from the cause and has potential to put power in hands of very dangerous people. I do not believe the current SJW trend to push for “racial justice” is real. It’s smoke screen to weaken the country and in the end likely most harms the folks it claims to want to help.

      Like FS, I encourage people to consider how THEY create value for themselves and family REGARDLESS of circumstance.

      Who cares what AOC, TRUMP, FOX or MSNBC say? Snake oil salesmen exist all over the place. Don’t get suckered into wasting energy on their false messaging.

      For me, companies advertising their racial background and using “racial justice” BS to generate sales are turnoffs and likely to not generate sales from me. I could care less. I am only interested in knowing if the product/service is a good value.

      I would rent from Financial Samurai if his units were nice and price was fair. If he started going on about being an Asian landlord, I would bail as I could care less.
      I assume he agrees with me on that point.

      1. Curious, did this post come across as having a victim mentality? My goal was to explain with there are so many minority-owned small businesses and landlords, and to take the opposite approach.

        Another goal is to put myself in Michelle D’s shoes and Big Mama’s shoes and understand why there may be distrust in stocks and other investments as a Black person in America. I really think we have got to really take in other’s people stories and try to understand their perspectives so we can make progress.

        There are no race considerations when trying to find suitable tenants. It’s the finances and the character that are in focus.

        1. No, the post was good and you do not come across as victim. Indeed just the opposite, you recognize world is not fair and generally do not whine about that too much (although a little bit at times).

          You have taken it upon yourself to figure out ways to generate wealth for family and yourself.

          I have nothing but respect.

          1. OK, good to know. What are some of the things I whine about and end up not taking action? I need to work on those things and cut them out b/c I hate complaining and not doing anything about it.

        2. Education is the key. Big Mama was probably distrustful out of ignorance of financial investing. Real Estate is tactile, easy to understand if your living in the house you own. It’s the education system that needs to be changed to better serve Minorities. Financial Education, and Civics. Imagine if every minority was given $1,000 to invest in the stock market?

    4. Thanks for your comments. Really hard to be that objective. You are heads and shoulders above the rest. Don’t let anyone know how smart you are because anti-intellectualism is rife. Good vocabulary is white and discriminatory in case you haven’t heard.
      I wish I knew you in real life.

  23. I am really surprised that as a former VP at a major top investment bank that tech companies did not bite on hiring you as part of the team. After 100+ applications, I would have thought at least 1 would have given you an offer.

    It kinda makes me wonder if finding a day job and sticking with it over the long term is the right way to go. Though I do know that staying at the same company over an extended period of time does mean that your salary growth might not be on par against someone who moved companies often.

    Lots to think about these days.

  24. Thanks for this article Sam. Pretty much all my investments are in rental properties. I had not thought too deeply into why I favour real estate up until this point. All I knew was it feels safe, it generates cash flow and its long-term. So thanks for putting it in these terms.

    I definitely do not wish to ever apply for jobs again (or anything really) if I can help it. And I would like my kids to be equally independent too in that sense.

    In racial terms, I am what you would refer to as “black”. [Lived in Africa for many years and never actually met a person with black skin].

  25. Reading about you being rejected from a journalism fellowship made me LOL.

    “Earning $75,000 a year to essentially go to school and meet knew people would have been a blast! Alas, it was not meant to be.”

    Maybe it was your spelling? Just giving you a hard time, love reading your blog, thanks for writing it!

    1. You caught the spelling! You’re probably right.

      As a minority who learned English after Mandarin, it’s definitely harder to get in compared to native speakers. Hence, another reason why there are so many Asian landlords and Asian small-business owners. Great English is not necessary to succeed. Services, product, and numbers are what counts.

      But now that you mention spelling, I am proud to have written so many words and written so many articles on Financial Samurai since 2009! It’s tough enough to write 3X a week for a month, let alone for 12 years. Some of my native English speaking friends haven’t written an article at all since college!

      Do you write btw? I’d love to read your work and get more readers to write on FS if interested. Thx

      1. No I don’t write, I wouldn’t feel comfortable exposing that part of my life to everyone. I prefer to just read blogs like yours, learn as much as I can, and live the “stealth wealth” lifestyle you talk about.

        1. Cool, cool. It’s definitely easier to edit than to write. To put yourself out there also takes a certain amount of courage and thick skin. But I always wonder why people with great editing skills don’t writ.

          I try to share about 10% – 20% of my experiences to tell a story. But it’s good to keep most things private.

          Further, the most successful sites in the world tell no stories. Instead, they employ freelance writers to write matter-of-fact posts, which are useful. I want to slowly go that route more and more. It’ll make life easier and it will probably be more lucrative too. A win-win!

  26. Sam,

    I belong to a group of Asian American investors who meet up once a month. I would love to have you join us if you’re interested :)

  27. David on FIRE

    Samurai, I’ve been following your page for a few years now. Great post. Comes off with a tinge of “fate-bound” destiny pathos though. Yes the well connected will get those jobs at the big tech companies first, but don’t sell yourself short, you come across as very intelligent. You said yourself, you have high endurance. That’s grit. I’d hire you with your endurance and grit over Ivy League and Stanford pukes any day. The thing in your article that really strikes me is that your tenants make between $324,000 to $600,000 per year yet they are renting? Surely with incomes like that they can afford to buy in SF, or is it that they choose not to? You set yourself up nicely with a long term safety net and don’t have to jump in that endless tech corp rat race. That is a virtue.

    1. Thanks for hiring me. Unfortunately, it’s not the reality that I have experienced. And I cannot deny reality, but accept it and do my part to bolster my future.

      As for income, one set of tenants are just friends, so they won’t get married. The rest, maybe one will get married, and buy. And the other set said that they are they plan to be here for another three years.

      So it might be good timing where I sell one of the rental properties, and use the proceeds to buy a place in Hawaii.

      A lot of renters make a lot of money here. Again, recent college graduates and many of the big tech companies are making over $100,000 a year.

      So owning desirable rental property has definitely been a positive over the past 18 years that I’ve owned.

  28. Retired at 48

    We must all look in the mirror when it comes to this subject. Even you said it in a previous post about when you were hired at GS it’s very very rare when a person from a non IVY League type school w/out “connections” is hired at GS. While I don’t doubt your intelligence and clearly your ability but how much of you being Asian helped and opened the door for you to get hired in their office covering the Asian market w/no GS type pedigree? I must also add, big huge props to you because when the door opened you have crushed it and continue. This happens to all races, whether on purpose or not. But we must recognize it happens all the time.

      1. Retired at 48

        Retired, 53, White, lower to middle class upbringing. Married later in life (45) have a step son. Follower of the stealth wealth concept in all ways for years. When dating my wife she had no IDEA! Similar to you and lot of your readers probably, in that my wealth and net worth is self made. All of it through real estate and a great pension! 7 single family homes, 4 are paid off. Started a Roth later in life. Went to the University of Hard Knocks through to many Middle East visits.Retired Veteran (28 years) attained Bachelors degree at night over the years. To your readers, financial security and wealth is out there for all and can be attained in this country w/not a huge annual income by being prepared, hard work, dedication and “luck”as you say Sam.

  29. I always enjoy your posts — they make me think. And I enjoyed this one, for the same reason.

    But I am not so sure on what constitutes a ‘high level’ of racism. You wonder if the application for your son’s rejection from preschool could have been racism — my parents, who worked extremely hard for their Michigan farm, could never have afforded preschool at all! And frankly, Husband and I couldn’t have, either, for our daughters. It was the way it was. I didn’t think of it as prejudiced — I just knew we (and our folks) couldn’t afford it.

    Michelle Singletary’s article about her Big Mama was fascinating. But I had a totally different response by the time I finished it than what she was aiming for — my mom had exactly the same fears and responses as Big Mama. But we don’t have a slavery heritage! My mom’s came from her parents, who also had to work extremely hard during the Great Depression to keep their farm. (And they took in a LOT of relatives who weren’t so fortunate.)
    So… could it have been the Great Depression that was driving Michelle’s grandma, as much — or more — than her slave ancestors? A lot of people of every color had it hard during this time period.

    (And in answer to your question, I suspect that a lot of owners of small businesses and house rentals are minorities, because you just need to save enough money to do so. You don’t need to apply for these, as long as you have the cash — and the previous owners are willing to sell.)

  30. I don’t think Asians are underrepresented at all. Asians are more likely to have college degrees, more likely to have jobs at Tech companies, have higher average incomes, live in wealthier neighborhoods with better schools and in general have more opportunities than Whites.

    BIPoc certainly have it rougher than Whites and Asians, but it is hard to claim Asians are discriminated against when Asians are overrepresented at every elite high school and university in the land.

    1. In your opinion, are Asians people of color?

      Is your perspective as a majority or minority?

      One of my goals of this post is to explain why you see so many Asian owned small businesses and Asian landlords, especially first generation Asians.

      There is definitely great opportunity in America. But the opportunities are different for different people.


      1. I am white, my wife is Asian and my kids are mixed of course. In my California city I am in the minority but I don’t think I am discriminated against. I think that Asians are People of Color and face some racial discrimination, but nothing like what Blacks, Native Americans or even Latinos face.

        Sure opportunities are different for everyone. I was the first one in my family to go to college but I made the most of it.

        1. Maybe you should ask your wife about her experience with racism growing up, if she grew up in America.

          Just because someone is Asian, doesn’t mean they didn’t experience racism. It’s everywhere. And you only know what you know. So it’s best not to diminish what or how other Asian people feel.

          1. As an Asian woman, I agree. I will also challenge this perspective to life outside the bay area where asians clearly are a minority in everyday society.

  31. Perhaps NYC is more diverse as we’ve not really lacked diversity in our tenancy (a handful of units)! What continues to resonate with me as your reader is the need to build passive income and some generational wealth as while I think our daughter is smart, she is likely to just be above average. And being above average as an Asian will likely disadvantage her as she will not be getting “extra credit” in her application to a top college like my husband and I probably got given we were immigrants ourselves, and even thereafter in a career in finance. In short, she’s likely going to need a little more help in the financial security department!

  32. My father was a refugee from Nazi Germany. After being expelled from the country our ancestors lived in probably for 1500 years, there was a lot of reluctance to invest in anything that wasn’t liquid and mobile. For example, don’t study law as law is different in every country and therefore not mobile. And only invest a minimum in real estate. So, we feel much more comfortable with financial assets.

    I am still influenced by this. Though it is hard to imagine things becoming too bad in Australia….

  33. Sam, I am a 1.5-generation Asian-American, and I am totally in agreement with you in putting efforts into only those things that are within my control. I, therefore, may not end up being a world-changing figure in today’s society, but I have accepted that. I tried to work within the system to achieve an advantaged position rather than try to overhaul the system itself. My focus has been a bit different from what’s in your article, however, in that rather than going after opportunities that have little to no “gate-keeping,” I have always gone after opportunities to which I believed those in power/wealth gravitated. I suppose it’s like, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Where do the privileged in America live? Where do they go to school? What jobs do they have? What do they invest in? Who makes the economic/political policies and what backgrounds do they have? Once I answered those questions, I ended up pursuing exactly those things. I attended the same schools, I pursued the same type of job, I moved to the same neighborhoods, and I invested in those assets (mostly equities) that they did (recently, I have switched some to real estate due to your influence). Oftentimes, this meant I was a token minority many times in my life, but I feel that the policies that help the rich/powerful end up helping me, too. As an Asian-American, seeing the stats for tech companies look unreal. I ended up first in Big Law and am now in big pharma as a patent litigator, and I can tell you that the diversity profile in the big law and post-big-law fields look nothing like what it looks like in tech. I am the only Asian patent lawyer at my company, which has more than 200 thousand employees globally. That is nothing like tech!

    Of course, there were some early “gate-keeping” bottlenecks I needed to go through in order to follow through with my “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy. Especially early in my life, getting entrance to the “right” schools and my first big-law opportunity were the two bottlenecks that required someone to open the gate for me. My college counselor told me (with an honesty that, looking back, I truly appreciate) because I was Asian, there was no 100% guarantee I could get into my top three schools with full scholarships even though I had a perfect SAT score and near-perfect GPA and national awards. This was a reality check for me at the age of 16, and ever since, I realized that it was not enough that I perform in the top 0.1% of the total applicant pool, but I needed to perform in the top 1% of the total Asian applicant pool for me to have any guarantee in school admissions. After going through three admissions processes (boarding school, college, and law school) and finally getting my foot in the door to my first big-law job, I feel like the rest came easily with simple hard work and competence. All opportunities afterwards were easier to grasp with experience due to increased specialization and experience required, and applicant pools getting smaller and smaller.

    Taking advantage of the anonymous platform here, to be honest, as someone who followed through and succeeded with the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy, it’s sometimes easy for me to believe that everyone else should be able to succeed with my strategy, too. This is why I’m not the best Asian-American spokesperson for racial inequalities. I’ve become resigned to the fact that there won’t be equal opportunity for all. Sometimes, the system will work against you. For example, in my case, it worked against me for academic admissions. Sometimes the system might work for you (I can’t think of a way being Asian-American actually helped me get ahead in life compared to being Caucasian, but perhaps I have overlooked something). In the end, what you can do is work three times as hard for opportunities that are stacked against you based on the statistics and become an opposing statistic that might make a difference for those that come after you.

    1. Man, being in the top 1% of Asians and working 3X harder than average sounds exhausting! Poor kids!

      Can you share more about your boarding school experience? How did that come about? You don’t usually hear about minorities going to boarding school.

      Do you have children? If so, how do you plan To push them into the too 0.1% without breaking their spirits?


      1. Hi Sam, your comment is well-warranted, and I would like to respond by including a caveat that of course, people come to understand the competitive nature of the world at different ages in life, and I happened to understand (and thrive in) this competitive nature at a younger age. I don’t think children should be pushed into striving for the 0.1% unless they truly have the motivation to do so from within. I think the parents, after realizing your child has such a drive, should then take on the role of a coach/cheerleader to help the child achieve this while ensuring that the parents’ desires are not being conflated with the internal motivation of the child. I don’t think most people understand the competitive nature of society until much later in life, and although I believe it’s just easier to navigate the competition when you start early, it’s quite feasible to get in the game later in life so long as one is willing to put in the work to compensate for the odds that are not in your favor. I know plenty of colleagues who started much later but worked to move mountains to get to the same position I am in today.

        One additional issue that is sort of inherent in this conversation is the assumption that the US is an ultra-competitive society. My friends and I often talk about the fact that the US is not the best place to live for everyone. Our country rewards the top performers and the mountain movers and tends to leave less left for those who cannot stay in the race. I say this based on my experience living and working in Asia and Europe and seeing how much more distributed the wealth is there (especially Europe). I tend to think the US is best suited for a certain type of producer. This is also the reason I stay in the US rather than choosing to move to Europe.

        To answer your question, my spouse and I are currently expecting our first child this year. We don’t assume that our child will be like me. I want to help my child understand what the world is like first and only if she thrives in competition and is self-motivated to do the work it takes to achieve against not-so-good odds will we try to get her onto an ultra-competitive trajectory. I think knowing your child is the first step. Most likely, my child will not be like me, so we have to plan for that scenario. She has some things going for her that might help. She does not need a full scholarship, and she will have a financial cushion (that we don’t plan on disclosing to her). We’ll also think about sending her to school in a different country to give her an option to live in a different country that might suit her better.

        Regarding your question on boarding school, boarding schools have a certain reputation based on those portrayed in movies and books. Many people think boarding school is for delinquents and troubled children. There are boarding schools of that type, too, but the boarding school I went to was a prep school with a rigorous admissions process. I happened to attend Phillips Exeter Academy, and it was the best decision I ever made, and the smartest people I have ever met I met at the school. Wikipedia has a pretty thorough article on the school, but the diversity numbers are quite great. I ended up at Exeter because my middle school could no longer support my curriculum, and I was very bored. Exeter opened my eyes to a new world, and I was forever changed by that environment. I would highly recommend it for kids who thrive in an ultra-competitive environment. The school has need-blind admissions so that excellent students from all financial walks of life can have an opportunity.

        1. Definitely good to know your kid first. I will be curious to hear your perspective on your kid’s future several years down the road.

          On boarding school, I guess the stereotype is that mostly rich kids attend and have the opportunity to go to Exeter, Andover, Deerfield etc. Hence, may I ask did u come from a well-to-do family or did you attend with scholarships?

          I think you’ll enjoy this post:

          I often wonder what is the point of all these fancy degrees and jobs if it’s not helping others in a meaningful way.

          1. Yes, I’m sure my perspective will change after having a child. I’m interested to see how I will evolve as well! I do come from a well-to-do family, but not as wealthy as one would think for sending a child to boarding school. My parents paid in full the first two years, and this was a sacrifice for them, and then I got full scholarships for the last two years. Most of my classmates were receiving financial aid and were not from well-to-do families. There is a perception that Exeter and other prep schools are for the rich, and this has historically been true in the 20th century but not anymore. Successful alumni donating to the school have ballooned the endowment so much that admissions is need-blind and 44% of the student body are students of color. I consider myself to have attended Exeter without having had the family connections, wealth, or prominence that may have been required in the 20th century. I was recruited by Exeter from Korea, where I was attending middle school at the time, and my parents were not educated in the US or had any meaningful connections in the US. My story is similar to those of many of my classmates coming from rural America or across the globe. My parents figured out a way to pay the tuition once they believed Exeter was worth it, but many of my classmates paid nothing. I also eventually paid nothing after two years of being in the top of my class.

            Your article on Harvard is interesting. My spouse is in the tech industry where he sees talented engineers who taught themselves to code without getting college degrees, and their salaries are higher than those of doctors. My spouse himself went to college for his computer science degree but tells me it was just a way of checking the boxes rather than learning anything that he couldn’t learn on his own. He says most of what he learned for his job he taught himself throughout his life. I, myself, am in the legal industry, where pedigree with regard to school still matters and matters a lot. It’s the only gateway into big law. My spouse and I often talk about how different our fields are. I see degrees not mattering for many areas, but not anytime in the near future for the legal industry or the medical industry. I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

        2. Thank you for sharing in these posts. I am in a similar situation with my infant and worry about putting too many expectations on him even if his parents are high achievers. I think the watch and see how hard to push is a good tactic. Also, totally agree on not letting the kids know how much money you have, at least in their formative years.

  34. @Elizabeth

    Of course not everything is a perfect meritocracy but in almost all cases, the person ultimately hired was determined to be a good fit.
    There are several particular fields where a particular race/group dominates far beyond their percentage within the population yet no one complains.
    Some examples:
    Black athletes make up a much larger percentage of professional basketball and football players than all other races combined. Should non-blacks force professional teams to hire no more than 13% blacks? Definitely not, those who watch sports want to see the best athletes.
    Models are nearly always thin and very attractive. Should the obese be hired to become the next swim suit model or walk the runway? While we may believe it to be unfair, those who hire the models for their marketing efforts would certainly disagree.

    Could it be that Tim is correct and the best fit is more important than attempting to create a workplace that simply meets someone’s ideal racial mix?

    1. You apparently haven’t looked at a Victoria’s Secret catalog lately. Being thin and attractive is no longer required.

  35. I love being American but wow so many Americans have really disappointed us in recent times with their hatred, prejudices, and inability to treat their fellow Americans with respect and kindness.

    Great reference to Big Mama’s belief in only investing in her home. I can totally understand why some people had/have that mindset. My mother has a similar mindset. She values her home above all else and shuns most everything else.

    Thanks for sharing so many of your own perspectives in this post. I can relate to a lot of what you said and I believe a lot of others can too.

    I hope 2021 brings more kindness, respect, and acceptance in our country.

  36. Dividend Power

    Interesting article. Your taker on this and many other things always provides new perspective.

  37. Your article resonated with me for a different reason. Yes, I am Hispanic and can therefore relate to some of the racial disparities mentioned, but the bigger division for me is disability. As a blind individual, outside of my full-time job, I run a small freelance writing business, because I get to decide what applications I use in my workflow that I can trust are accessible with my screen reading technology. Working for someone else, I am always advocating to make their chosen tools more accessible to blind users. Getting past the traditional hurdles to get hired is one major battle, and then fighting to remain competitive can sometimes feel disheartening. One day I’ll get good at my side gigs enough to walk away and independently control my own operation.

    As to real estate? Man, I don’t know. I remember what it was like looking for a reliable contractor when things inevitably needed fixing at the house I previously owned. Now my space is a lot smaller, but the maintenance fix is a ticket away. I keep reading you though, because I do see the benefits of owning/renting out property. I’m starting with Fundrise. Baby steps…

    1. I agree.

      “ Roughly 15% of the world’s population has some type of disability. This is a significant minority population we should strive to help out the most.”

      I welcome a guest post from you to share your frustrations and solutions for people with visual disability if you wish.



      1. Great article Sam and agree as someone who was surrounded by “huge ticket friends and acquaintances “ I was from a lower middle class family. No talk of prep school, boarding school, or elite colleges. I was just happy to graduate with degree.
        Fast forward and my saving Grace was learning financial success and discipline. I can’t wait for the stock market to open daily as thank god I make more there than working. I too could never get hired @Facebook, Square, Nvidia, et all but will buy their stocks all day, every day. Now for the next real estate investment? Open to your suggestions!

    2. As an immigrant to the US from Europe, your post resonates with me. I immigrated in my 20 with just a backpack with my wife who is a US citizen/woman of color.

      I didn’t have any connections or knew anyone, so I studied hard. Learn about real estate, 401K, starting a business. My biggest break came when I got a job at a tech company on the west coast.

      As an immigrant with no connection you really get the short-end of the stick. My first car loan had a 18% interest rate since I had no credit history. Until I became a citizen, I couldn’t vote, had a risk of being deported if I get a felony, etc.

      I used my big tech job to generate wealth, I used my side hustle to invest in real-estate. I have done ok by FIRE standard and amazingly by European standards.

      Regarding your perspective about race, it is always a thorny issue for me. Ethnically I look white but I never thought about the color of my skin until I moved to the US. I feel like the concept of dividing the US population by races is a double edge sword. You will always end up with a radio sub group that appears as the winner and another one as the loser. A compounding effect is then painting each racial sub group with a broad brush. , . It over simplifies each individual lived experience. That is a recipe for constant racial tension. Ironically where I am from, that kind of thinking is called racist.

      Racism exists in the US. I have seen it against my wife who is a colored minority , but I have also seen it among my in-laws toward other minorities. We all have bias and growth to do in that domain. Racism in this country often happens at the individual level and that is where the change needs to happen. Everybody is concerned, it is not just a “white” problem like I hear sometimes.

      Final thought, a lot of the financial inequity in this country is by design. Historically people have rejected a more government managed way of redistributing wealth. It is great when you have skills in demands, the health to produce value or lucky to have generational wealth, but it is very specific to how the US is designed. My family in Europe is not as stressed and focused on accumulating so much wealth. They live a simpler life and they are happy like that.

  38. The tenants salaries – is that gross or after tax? By the way, absolutely love your site. Long time fan who never commented.

  39. It is really interesting how homogenous the FIRE community is as well. Almost all the participants are White and they all gravitate towards interviewing and linking to each other. I did notice after the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 that more of the White podcasters started reaching out to more Black people and bloggers though.

    Most big media people are White females as well. So it’s natural to reach out to their White counterparts when looking for a quote or writing a story.

    I definitely see more of an effort to help the Black community after 2020. But for other races, sadly, not so much.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    1. I disagree. I see many young black men and women all over the comment sections of FIRE YouTube videos

  40. Mario Furtado

    Hi Sam,

    Sometimes I think your posts are prone to exaggeration and hyperbole, but not this one at all. This was heartfelt, genuine, and truly resonates with a fellow Asian immigrant like myself and my wife. I’ve never felt the emotional need to own real estate like you keep stating, but my wife (who is also Asian) and her parents have that same intrinsic need to own at least their house so I’ve seen it and felt it.

    The part that really resonated with me was where you talked about a permission-less business and seeking security for your family. When I buy stocks, I feel the exact same way you do. They may not give me a job at a top class company (or if they do, it won’t be the leader position), but I can definitely ‘own’ the business and have all of them working for me. The thought of being an ‘owner’ which you can never be fired from brings me great comfort in that it equalizes the inherent lack of opportunity that most minorities face in America. I am making sure that both of my young boys (ages 11 and 9) know that their Mommy and Daddy own businesses where others work for our dividend or ‘fair’ share of the profit regardless of what race we are. And it’s also important at a young age that they also know that they own great businesses also (we’ve opened up custodial accounts for them and gift them stock every year) so that they grow up comfortable knowing this opportunity is available to them should all others fail.

    Thanks for sharing a great perspective. It’s the emotional needs and wants that often underpins most people’s ‘objective’ thoughts. Understanding them helps us truly understand what really motives us.


    1. Thanks Mario. It is great that anybody with some money can buy any stock and become an owner. I’ve done just that, buy stock in all the companies I got rejected from so I can ride their wave. Psychologically, it felt good that they were now working for me, even if I couldn’t.

      Can you elaborate on which posts are exaggerated and hyperbolic? I’ll look into them to see how I can adapt my writing. I’d like to know whether the issue is you simply disagree with my stance, or whether my writing is indeed exaggerated and hyperbolic.

      I’d like to adjust my writing style going forward. I’ve found that all the largest sites don’t have much in the way of opinion, but they have the largest readership. Less opinion means less debate and pushback. This also means saving my energy and time.

      Thanks for the feedback and best to you and your family!

    2. Investing in stocks is the most unbiased, completely color deaf way to earn a stream of income. But it must be based on long, as in decades time-frame. As Warren B said, short term the market is a voting machine, in the long term, it is a weighing machine. I grew up at poverty level, worked my way to an engineering career. Started investing with my 401k. My big-tech career ended at age 45 when they re-org’ed out my job. But I am not complaining. Engineering gave me a middle class life, but the stock market enabled me to reach the 1% before retirement age. In the work place, race/cultural bias is always there, mostly in the background as smart people know the rules. When you buy/trade equities, the only thing matter is results.

  41. Society is made up of makers and takers no matter what color you are.
    My dad feels exacly like the womans grandmother. We came from USSR where at one point money became almost worthless overnight due to hyper inflation. To this day he still thinks I should sell all my investments and buy property.

  42. There are innumerable reasons someone may not get a job position. Having interviewed a few hundred people for jobs, my overall impression of most (90%+) was they were not prepared, their resume was poor to average (at best) and they showed very little personality during the interview.

    There was an article about hiring at the top firms that went something like:
    Hired for their resume, fired for their personality.

    There was never a ‘perfect’ or ‘best’ candidate. What I wanted was someone that was eager to learn, that I thought was teachable and most of all have at least a modicum of modesty and be easy going. No one wants to work with asshats.

    Of those few hundred, I had one – ONE that was not hired that contacted me later. First a thank-you card, later a follow-up call asking if I could give them some suggestions on how to improve their interview skills. This lead to another meeting and later, a job offer. Unfortunately for me, they had already accepted a position elsewhere.

    When I hear people complain about not getting a position because of ‘insert reason here’, I would ask them:
    Do you honestly think that you were the BEST person they interviewed?
    Did you have multiple people critique your resume?
    Did you do your homework on the company and position before the interview and practice ahead of time?
    Did you follow-up afterwards with a hand written thank you card (NOT EMAIL) and ask them for feedback?

    If your answer to all of the above isn’t yes, then what do you expect? You didn’t get the job because you did not do the basics and in my opinion, did not EARN it.

    1. Tim, you sound like a white guy who is unwilling to recognize any of the strife that minorities have been through in this country. If you choose to ignore the strife, things don’t change.

      1. Quite the opposite – being a retired cop before i entered the private sector, I’ve seen firsthand the problems in our criminal justice system and how some of those same prejudices prevail in private business.

        In the companies in which I worked we set out to hire a diverse group of people as we felt it made the company culture stronger.

        Simply because I believe people should have confidence in themselves and work hard – to ‘earn it’, does not mean I do not also think employers have a responsibility to help. I do and we did.

        However, after re-reading my post after your comment, I do see how it could be misconstrued in that context. I assure you, that was not my intention. Sometimes we don’t get the job simply because it wasn’t a good fit – for both.

    2. @Tim – Sure, it’s easy to say people who get the job “earn it.“ But what if you never have the opportunity to earn it? Your total disregard for the reasonings why minorities on small businesses and rental properties is a clear indication that you don’t want to recognize what has been written in this post.

      You think everything is a perfect meritocracy, when it is clearly not.

    3. Tim, may I please reprint your comment in a future blog post? I run a small blog aimed at young adults. I thought your comment was spot on.

      1. Yes, you may.

        There is always a danger in having short posts misconstrued. Sam’s original topic is important and I was hoping to provide a comment to further that discussion not minimize the impact and seriousness of prejudice in our society, in and out of business.

        When I fail, I try to always look in a mirror first as more often than not, that is where the responsibility lies.

    4. It is easy to believe that the best person always gets the best job. But I think the reality is that there are many people who can do the job well. But given our inherent biases, we provide more opportunity to the people who look like us. And who are the people who have the most money and power in America?

      Many people can do the same job well. But not everybody has the opportunity to even get an interview.

      1. I agree that many can do the same job well or even better perhaps than who we hire. That’s why I said there was no ‘best’ and someone that wanted to learn / was teachable was much more important than their CV. I too was turned down by the big tech companies due to…? who knows. Got an interview at Microsoft only to be told no thank-you. I went into it thinking I was a shoe-in, since they had asked me to interview and I knew most of the people that I spoke with that day.

        In the end, they did me a favor as what came next was another startup with great partners that are my friends to this day.

        Sometimes one door closes – two open.

      2. As Tim indicated, it isn’t always who is most qualified. Our number one rule was “don’t hire an asshole”. Ironically, one of my partners was black, as were 90% of his hires. I asked him about it at one point and got the answer that he was “just giving a brother a hand up”? I asked him if he would be okay with me only giving my brothers “a hand up” and didn’t get a response. He didn’t change his hiring practices though.

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