My name is Jesse, and this is my financial journey.
When I look back on what got me to where I am today, I immediately envision a vibrant childhood (third of four boys), years of playing sports, a military career, and a life-long desire to create something bigger than myself. I know that saying may seem cliché but stick with me on this – I think many of you reading this will be able to relate.
See, growing up, my parents engrained two things in us: do good things and never live outside of your means. This lesson was one of the driving factors in my decision to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point (Go Army!). I was able to serve my country while not burdening myself or my family with student loan debt. For me, it was a win-win.
Six years of Active duty service and two tours in Iraq later, my outlook on the world and my environment was incredibly different. My gestures of “doing good” didn’t seem good enough anymore. I wanted to do something bigger. Frankly, I had to do something bigger. I needed to find a way to make a mark, but how?
Three things serving in the military will give you are thick skin, lasting life skills, and a deep love for learning. It also didn’t hurt that you got a paycheck on the first and fifteenth of every month. Who doesn’t love that!? Yet, what the military does not do is teach you what to do with that paycheck. How to make it grow, how to invest it for retirement, or save it for a rainy day. Life skills that you don’t need to survive in combat, but you do need to survive in everyday life.
When my time in the service was over, I found myself jobless, directionless and living in my parents’ basement. I went from being a Captain in the Army, in command of 120 soldiers, to getting rejection letters from jobs for “lacking experience” in the workforce. As you are probably picturing, this wasn’t my best moment as I fell into a spiral of low-self esteem and an even lower bank account balance. Captain Jesse Prince was an overnight civilian with no resources or income. It was humbling, and it was terrifying.
Fast forward a few months and a handful of rejection letters, I was in my parent’s kitchen (staring into my mother’s freshly packed refrigerator, oddly enough), and it came to me: “speak the language of your profession.” So simple, right? Something I learned while in the service indeed would become a guide outside of it.
I made a list of the things I found joy in – I decided to channel my passion for real estate and go to graduate school to get my degree in Real Estate Finance. During that time, I looked for employment in that field as well. Like when I was in the military, I needed to find an environment where I could put my learnings to practice. Luckily, I stumbled upon a handful of amazing people who helped me do just that.
I’d always known real estate investing was an incredible way to build wealth; however, what I lacked was the means to do so. I was a professional investor without the means to invest – ironic, huh? HappyNest was born.
I decided to Google how to invest in commercial real estate without having to front large sums of money for a downpayment. All I found were platforms with high minimum investments ($1,000 or more) and confusing technical language. At one point, I thought, “If I, as a professional, am turned off by these platforms, I can only imagine what others are feeling.” Armed with my newfound skills and a burning desire to do something great, I began gathering the information and resources needed to start HappyNest. My ultimate goal: create a place where every individual, regardless of their financial means, could have the opportunity to become a real estate investor. Allowing people to realize their financial aspirations through investing in real estate, an asset class once reserved only for the wealthy. Why just $10? At one point in my life, that’s all I had in my bank account.
My path hasn’t been the easiest, but I feel confident that many can relate. I hope that HappyNest can help you achieve whatever goals it is you may have.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
My name is Jesse, and that is my financial journey.