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From A Boat Person To Become A Multi-Millionaire

Healing The Asian's Shame With Korianne Mar

Published on: Oct 19, 2018

Success is not given. If you want things in life, you need to work for it. That is one of the biggest life values Korianne Mar’s father passed on to her early on. Korianne is a seasoned real estate investor and entrepreneur, a proud mom, a world traveler, a philanthropist, and a bestselling author with a humble background. As a refugee from Vietnam, Korianne had built two successful real estate businesses that were worth hundred millions of dollars. She is passionate to share her journey from a boat person to becoming a multi-millionaire and pass on her knowledge about real estate investing to help others achieve their own epic life.

Healing the Asian’s Shame: From A Boat Person To Become A Multi-Millionaire with Korianne Mar

Life is unpredictable and it can often feel impossible to find a balance between what you want and what you have. Perhaps you’re feeling trapped or constrained because of your cultural boundaries. Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here with me. Our guests on Asian Women of Power all have similar backgrounds. Like me, they have found a way to create a life that gives them the freedom, power and choice to be who they want to be while still respecting their culture. Let me introduce you to Korianne Mar. She is a seasoned real estate investor, entrepreneur, a proud mom, a world traveler, a philanthropist and a bestselling author. With a humble background as a refugee from Vietnam, Korianne had built two successful real estate businesses. She now owns a thousand units across seven locations throughout the United States. She is passionate to share her knowledge about real estate investing to help others achieve their own epic life. Her motto is, “Life to be lived well.” Korianne also enjoys spending time with her family and traveling around the world. She is a fitness fanatic, loves outdoor activities and is a consistent donor to benefit humanity and homeless projects. Here she is, Korianne Mar.

Welcome, Korianne. Would you take us back to the time before you left Vietnam? What was your life like? 

Thank you for having me here. It is a privilege to be here on your show. I would like to take you back with what my life was in Vietnam. It was good, I am the youngest daughter of my parents. I did not have any worries except for going to school and having fun with my friends. My father let me leave Vietnam because he said my future will be better in the US with freedom and opportunities. Vietnam was a communist country, therefore the opportunity is limited to the common people. My father decided for me to leave Vietnam at age fourteen. My life was okay until I got to a refugee camp at age fourteen. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what life would be in a refugee camp. When I escaped from Vietnam, I got to a Hong Kong refugee camp on August 25th, 1988 and the Hong Kong refugee camp closed on August 15, 1988. People that arrived after that date have to wait long for the interview to get the status of an immigrant to that country. That was my case.

Did you get out of Vietnam by boat? 

Yes, I got out of Vietnam by boat with 89 other people that were on the boat with me. We were on the boat for 31 days because we ran into a storm twice. The boat did not have engines, we’d rely on sails and when we got into those storms, one of the sails broke down. That’s the reason why it took us a lot longer to get to land and also because our boat had run out of food. We had to land in China for ten days to ask for food before our boat continued our journey to the Hong Kong refugee camp.

You were able to get out of Vietnam by boat and you’re floating on the ocean for 31 days and then you get into Hong Kong refugee camp. At that time, did they accept you to get on their land? 


Did no one die during that trip? 

No, none of us died. A total of 90 people, including me, all arrived safely.

Were you able to eat anything during that time or did anybody get seasick? 

The first week was so terrible because I have never been on the boat in my entire life. I got seasick a lot and I didn’t know what to do. All the people on the boat was helping me. They gave me some medicines. After a week, my body had adjusted to the shaking of the boat. The seasickness calmed down and so I was fine.

It took you at least one week to get used to the ocean wave? 

Yes, because my body never experienced the wave, the heat and shaking from the ocean wave. We relied on the sails because we don’t have that machines. Usually, we have to wait for the wind for the sail to move and sometimes the wind is strong, sometimes it’s weak. If it’s too strong, the boat can flip over and you die.

Is that a fishing boat? 


Did you have a space to lie down or did you cramp up in a sit-up position because it was so packed like a canned sardine? 

It’s packed like sardines, that’s exactly how to put it. We all sit to sleep. There is no space lying down at all.

I know that because I’ve gone through that. I escaped by boat too and we were packed like sardines. Most of the women and children stayed at the lower deck. It’s not really a deck but it’s like a shelf where we can sit together and the middle is open. 

The shelf is very small. For example, my boat is about 50 feet long and the width is about eight feet wide. The deck that was available, when there’s no rain, it has the umbrella where the fishermen stay to rest. That area is very small and I didn’t get a chance to stay there because the boat also has children. Those are for the moms and the children. We have to sit outside on the part of the boat where there’s no tent whatsoever.

Did you get sunburn and things like that?

Yes. I still have one picture. I was like a charcoal tan.

What was your life like in refugee camp? What did you do when they accepted you to stay in the refugee camp? 

I’m not sure if you have read anything about Hong Kong refugee camps. The Hong Kong refugee camp is the worst refugee camp for all the camp in the history. The living condition there is extremely bad. The reason why it’s bad is that it has been closed completely that they will not accept any more refugee after August 15, 1988. My boat came only after ten days. We came on August 25th, 1988. Because of that, all the people that came after August 25th have to go through all the interview process before we can become an immigrant to any country that we would like to go. During that time, there were about hundreds of thousands other refugee people from Vietnam that came. The process of the interview was lengthy and I did not get interviewed until I reached out to one of the refugee lawyers. He is from England. He came to Hong Kong to help the Vietnamese refugees because he saw a lot of difficulties for all these immigrants and to all of us.

I reached out to him and I sent him a letter. At that time, my English was bad, so I asked one of my friends that speak English well to help me. I asked him, “Would you please kindly help me to get the interview because I have been here three years but have not been interviewed whether I can get my refugee status.” He saw my case and because I was a minor, he brought my case into the Hong Kong Supreme Court and he won my case. I was able to get out after eight months of fighting for my case. He said, “Why did you keep her and not interview her for three years?” Because of that, I got out and he found a British family to sponsor me. In Hong Kong, when you’re under 21 years old, you still have to have a family to sponsor you in order for you to get out of the camp. After eight months of knowing him and after a total of three years and eight months in a refugee camp, my case won and I got out and live with the family that he found for me. They are a British family that lived in Hong Kong. After the refugee camp, I lived with them for ten more months while waiting for my interview to get accepted to the US.

Why the US? 

When I lived with them, this is something that I feel very grateful that people have such a big heart. They are however from England but they suggested to me to get an interview for the US because the future for younger people will be better and easier in the US. I took that advice and applied to the US embassy to get the status to come to the US.

Did you have any relative or people you know that live in the US? 

No, I am the first person in my entire family to get to this country as an immigrant.

It’s a blessing. When you look back, those incidents prepare you for what has to come next. You can see that you are blessed and that’s why you are doing something to pay it forward. 

When life puts you so much in challenges and facing a lot of them, I embrace those challenges. That built me to where I am today. Facing challenges allow me to fight through them and say, “This is temporary. It’s not permanent.” To me, difficulties never last, only the strong people will.


Become A Multi-Millionaire : Hong Kong refugee camp is the worst refugee camp of all the camps in history. The living condition is extremely bad.

What did that experience teach you? 

That experience taught me that in life, there are many things that you cannot control. It’s up to me to perceive it and let it affect me or build me. In my case, all the difficulty that I went through built me up, it did not destroy me.

Share with us what’s next after you came to America. Where did you stay after you got accepted from Hong Kong to here to be an immigrant? Where did you stay and how did you survive? 

At the time that I came, I was sponsored by one of the Lutheran Church because I was still under 21. The Lutheran sponsored me to get to Fargo, North Dakota. That was the city that I first came and lived for almost seven years of my life. When I was still two years before I turned 21, I was living with another family through the Lutheran Church that introduced me. I lived with them for eighteen months and during that time, I started to learn English. It prepared me to get to college.

Did you stay with some foster family?

I stayed with the foster family through the Lutheran Church sponsor and arranged all this before I came to the US. I stayed with them for eighteen months before I lived on my own and started my college.

You moved out of that house when you were 21?


At that time, you went to college?


You worked a couple of jobs and managed to earn two Bachelor’s degrees with no student loans. How did you do that? 

When I was in the Lutheran Church, I met one of the social workers. When I first came, I didn’t know what college is about, what are all these things. There are so many things for me to learn because I’ve never gone to school here. I asked her what will be available out there for me to do. She said, “Would you like to go to college?” I said, “Yes, I would like to go to college.” I asked her, “How do I apply for college? How do I pay for my college?” All different things, all the questions you can think of because I didn’t know anything. I asked her, “Would you suggest or advise me on what I need to do or direct me to a person that can help me?” She introduced me to four or five schools around here that I can apply for. She said, “You can ask all different kinds of scholarship. Whatever the grant that they have, apply for them all.” That’s what I did.

I applied to three schools and two schools accepted me. One of them gave me a lot of grants because I had no income. I came after eighteen months and I didn’t work during the time I tried to learn English. The only work I had was at McDonald’s. That was my very first job, but I earned the bare minimum. I remember the income that I earned was only a couple of thousands. It was very small because in 1992, it’s like $3.75. That proved that I don’t have enough income to support my tuition. When I applied for that school, they gave me the full grant for all my years of college. All the grants and scholarship I received from the school was able to pay for all the college tuition. The thing that I have to be responsible for is my living expenses. I worked two jobs to have enough savings to pay for my living expenses, my food and all the thing that’s necessary for me to go to school for five years.

At that time, you are on your own. Did you live in an apartment that you share with somebody? 

At that time, I was on my own and I have a roommate. We shared a two-bedroom apartment that was very close to the school.

Who was your role model until that time and who are your role models now? 

My role model at that time was my father, even until now he still is my role model. The reason for that is growing up, I was raised by my father and he is an extremely busy individual as a businessman, but he always has that time and focus on family. To me, I look it up on him. I realized that he also had some challenges in his life too. At the same time, he always knows his priority is his family first. I respect that because even if he so busy, he always spends quality time with me and my siblings to share with us about life values. I used a lot of those values when I was in the refugee camp. It allowed me to make decisions on my own without making many mistakes.

It’s given me a lot of strength to make a lot of good decisions that apply to my life, even now to my business. I realized that life value is something that once you pass it down, it’s always there. It’s like a light in your head, so whenever you need to use it, it’s automatic to make the right decision or the wrong decision. When I was in the refugee camp for three and a half years, the condition there was extremely bad. I got pulled into many different situations of other children that are not doing so well. My father taught me how to select certain people in your life, how to make friends with other good kids and why is it important, those are the things that I already built in me that I selected. I’m always asking myself when I make a decision, “If it’s my dad, what would he do?” Because of that, I always feel like the heroes in my head even to now, I always think of him.

Can you recap the life values that your father passed on to you? 

He says that success is not given. If you want certain things in life, you need to work for it. I learned early on that I have to work hard to earn certain things in life and don’t be dependent on somebody else to call your success. Early on I feel like everything that I want, I should have the plan and work for it and don’t be dependent. The third thing is he always say that if you want to be successful, pick the right people along your life. Even when I was little, we’re neighbors with a lot of families around, but he’d always point out, “I like that family better because the children behave better.” He gets all these seeds in my head and allowed me to say, “That is better. This is not so good,” but he does explain it to me why it is good, why it is bad. It gave me the reason to make my own choices. I become more selective of who I wanted to be in my life or who I don’t want because of him. He says, “The influence, the environment, those are affecting you. You control the environment, so don’t let something pull you.”

In the refugee camp, you can turn either way. You can be the best person or you can be the worst. Using that situation to make the best out of yourself is much better because people have choices. Kids in the refugee camp have no discipline but because of my dad teaching me, when you get up, you need to make your bed. When you do this, why do you need to be neat as a person? Why do you need to do this? As a father teaching me all these things that I can use to my life, I realized all these are so valuable to me because it’s allowed me to think why I should do this or why I should not do that. He gave me the reason why, he doesn’t say, “You need to do this, you need to do that.” He always gave me the choices and he also says that when you make your choices, you have to be fully responsible for the decision that you made.

When you make your own decision, be responsible for the decision that you make rather than blame somebody else if it doesn’t turn out right. Who is your role model now? 

I still think a lot about my father because he’s affecting me a lot in terms of life and business. Without those values that he ingrained in me at a young age, I cannot make bigger decisions. I always think about how he makes his own decisions in his life, what lead him to this point, and how he raised us or the way he raised us. He only wants the best for me and I know that’s his intention. It is the same value that I’m using right now to teach my two children. The best thing you can give your children are the values that they can use for the rest of their life, something that they can decide and be confident of the decision making. Confidence builds up based on the value that they’ve grown up with, how they give value on certain things, how they see things, how they perceive things, how they can clock out on certain things that may be affecting their life decisions. They have to know all of that. However, you give as much as you want but at the same time, I hope the environment that they get in, they can realize that, “I think that’s not good.” They’re strong enough to decide for themselves without me being there, and my dad gave me that.

Become A Multi-Millionaire : Using your situation to make the best out of yourself is much better, because people have choices but they have no discipline.

Where is your dad now and what does he do?

He’s back home in Vietnam. He’s retired. He’s 84 years old. Talking about business, he’s very successful at the age of 40, so he retired at a pretty young age as a businessman. He also owns a lot of real estate in Vietnam.

Does he still own the real estate in Vietnam and still living from the income that he generates from real estate? 

Yes, that is correct.

How did you get into real estate here in America? Did you have any mentor? 

I got into real estate by accident and that is funny when I think about it. When I was in Vietnam, my dad was talking to my older siblings about businesses, but he never talked about his real estate investments. However, I know that he owned a lot of real estates but he never brings that point up. He only gave us life value. Until I get to the US, when my husband and I bought a new home in Cupertino, we rent our old home. From that old home, after we pay for all the monthly expenses from the income that we receive monthly, we net about $200 per month. From that point I said, “This is an interesting investment. After you pay for all the expenses and people pay for your mortgage, you still have net of a few hundred dollars in your pocket.” That opened my curiosity to learn more about the investment. That’s when I went for the seven-day real estate training course and that’s also the time that I met my mentor.

Who is that? 

One of my mentors passed away. His name is Gary. He has never been in the public eye, so he’s not somebody that’s famous. He has been in the field for a long time. At the time that I met him, it was a coincidence that he was looking for the high net worth investor at that event. I met him and I said, “I don’t have any money to invest with you at this moment,” but we’ve become pretty good friends afterward. From there, we exchanged numbers and I asked him to be my mentor.

The mentor, you mean you sent him some questions from time to time and because he likes you, you took his course and he would mentor you without charging you money? 

He’s not the one that’s teaching the course. We went to the same event. He was there looking for high net worth individuals to invest in his master plan that he’s building in the other state. He was sitting next to me during that event. Being high net worth means you have to be a millionaire and up to be accredited to invest in his project. At that time, I didn’t have that money but I know that he has a lot of experience in this real estate investment. We keep in touch and we become friends. That’s when I have him as my mentor. During the time, he also suggested a lot of the right decisions for me to make in my real estate investments and we’re friends so he’s not charging me. I came to that event and he came to that event. He was looking for investors. I was there to learn about real estate investment.

The other thing is when you go to some of these events, you would meet different people and just have an open mind because you never know who are you going to meet and who will be your mentors. Whatever field that you are in, go to a lot more of those events because you’re going to meet the experts in there. Sometimes they are very humble, they don’t talk about themselves. For example, his purpose on that event is to look for high net worth investors, people that have money. I had no money, but I was there in that event because I learned about real estate investment. I was curious and I want to learn more. These other events, you’ll never know who you’re going to meet. Once you meet that person, do whatever it takes to keep that beautiful relationship as a mentor and student. Usually as I see it, people that are successful have an abundant mindset. They are willing to help when you are willing to learn.

I’m the type that I like to learn and I like to attend events. You never know who you are going to meet. We met at an event, somebody said, “Kimchi, you’re a Vietnamese. Meet, Korianne. She’s Vietnamese.” You did not know me and I did not know you. We connected and we start learning about each other and hopefully in the future, we can support each other.

Of course, it will be my pleasure to do it.

You have done lots of real estate investment. Did you ever lose your investment money in some real estate deals and how do you ensure that you won’t make that mistake again? 

I have lost 20% of the 100% of all the projects. Out of the 20% of all my projects, I lost money. For example, if I do twenty projects, four of them will be bad and sixteen of them will be good. What I learned from those projects early on in my career is I need to step back a little bit and look at the projects a lot more in detail and always focus on my objective. Once I meet all my objectives, it will be a yes. If one point out of ten is not meeting my objectives, I will not go for it. Based on my experience with my investments, I already have all the criteria written down. When I see some projects coming in, I can make the decision based on they have to meet all these twenty things. If they don’t, I don’t even think about it. I don’t even make an offer and because of that, you will not be so busy to do a lot of transactions. I’d rather do a few of them and they are the best ones and that I make sure I don’t lose money.

Early on in my career when the market crashed, I lost a lot of money in 2008. Because of my mentor who was still around, he talked to me. He said, “Korianne, I know that you work way too hard for this business and I know because you have not been long enough in this business,” because I have not been in the business to see the full cycle of real estate investments, “Cut the loss quickly and move on.” I took his advice and cut the loss quickly because he said real estate is a long-term investment. It will not be correct in one or two years. If it will be correct, it will take years. Now I look back and he is so right because after seventeen years in this business, it will take a lot longer for the money to come back. I’m so glad I listened to him and cut the loss quickly at the beginning. Now I have guidelines that I have to follow through and I’m just focused on that. When I focus on that, my investments turnout quite good.

In your company, you are the decision maker. Do you have any other partner that you can bounce an idea with?

I do not have partners. Most of this is just I and my husband. He’s in the business right now with me. I do have a person to bounce the idea, but I do have five other very good investor friends that I bounce ideas with.

Your husband is a part of your company, so he is a partner.

The decision-making is still pretty much I make it. He is the one that I bounce the idea with more than the decision-maker, which is good because I’m in this business ten years longer than he is. He is a wonderful partner that I talk to but the decision-making at the end, I still make that decision.

How did you meet your husband?

I met my husband at a high-tech conference. I used to work in the high-tech industry before I changed my career to finance and real estate investment. I was another software engineer. That’s how we met.

How long ago?

Twenty years ago.

Become A Multi-Millionaire : The best thing that we can give our children are life values.

You met your husband twenty years ago when both of you were engineers. You got married and you lost your job. You moved on to real estate investing and he stayed with his engineering job, then he joined you. He left his high-tech job and now focused on helping you to build your business.

He loves high-tech. This is something that I always suggest to people, do what you love. He still works in high-tech. He’s on and off, whenever he would like to go back because he has his heart there. As a married couple, we respect each other’s interest to keep a very healthy marriage. He’s still working in high-tech and working with me when I would like to talk to him for any project that I would like a partner to share ideas and bounce and discuss him with. He’s on and off, wherever he feels where his happiness is. It’s quite important in our marriage because he also gave me a lot of my own interest, my own space, of doing what I love. To answer that question, he’s on and off. He’s still in high-tech because his love is there, his heart is there, his soul is there. I want him to be happy, but he’s also interested in real estate as well.

Share with us your parenting style. I know that you learn a lot from your father. He taught you some values about life. How do you teach your sons the value of money? Do you give them what they want or do you give them what they need? I know that you’re not a typical Asian woman and I’m not either. What I mean is the typical Asian woman, especially as an immigrant who came here, we create a life. We create wealth and all we want is to do give our children what we did not have. Most of the people, in that case, they will spoil. They would pamper and spoil their children because they have everything right now. They don’t want the children to suffer, to go through the same experience, the same humility of making money, how hard it is and things like that. They say, “I have enough money. What do you need? Here’s the money to enjoy yourself to do whatever you want. Do you want a designer jeans? Go ahead, here are a few hundred dollars,” and things like that. I saw that often. It makes me upset because that’s not the way to teach your children the values of money and wealth. I wonder about how do you teach your children? 

I know what you mean and I have seen that from my relatives. It’s not fair to our children here, but I do want to share with you about how I teach them. I ingrained in them a lot of my life values that I learned from my dad. I always tell them that you would value life a lot more and deeper when you own everything on your own. I told them that you don’t have to have everything to be successful. I told them that I came here with three pairs of clothing. I worked for it and I got everything that I need. I do believe that they also had that opportunity like I had. I say to them to never feel entitled on anything that mom and dad built because it’s meaningless for you if you get it from us.

At the age of seven years old, both of my kids, my husband and I sit down with them. We’re talking about how to budget their own money that they received from our relative under Vietnamese New Year, the Lunar New Year, the red envelope. For example, each of them had three piggy banks. When they received the envelope, we have three piggy banks. The way I teach them is how we have to save 60% of whatever we received, whether it’s income or the gifts that they receive from our relatives. 60% goes to savings, one pig. 20% goes to charity or some things that they believe that deserve the help that they should contribute, and 20% is for their fun money. If they receive $100 from my sisters, for example, they would put $60 in their savings, $20 in that charity that they strongly believe that should deserve their contributions, and $20 that money that they can use for fun. If they’d go out for a movie with their friends, they can use that money.

I do not give my children money. That is one thing that I do not do because I have seen it and it bothers me a lot when the children don’t understand how to earn their own money and keep spending instead. They would not know how to even protect it, to put it that way. I feel like what do they learn by spending? Like for example, you said you see some parents would give their kids designer jeans for $200. To me, I think that is a wrong way to do it. Of course, we love our children, but if I have to give my kids $200 to buy their jeans, I would make sure I have certain things that say, “You can buy those jeans, but you need to do these other things.” For example, “How are you doing with your school? How are you doing with your sport?” Things like that. Give them the incentive that they earn it.

For them to earn some allowance to spend on their own, we have certain criteria like, “If you get an A, you get $10 for the whole quarter.” If they get below A, they have to pay me back. I play some of these things with them when they were very little, so they know how to earn things even as very small. They feel also pretty proud when they earn an A for $10. They also know that if they earn below A, they have to pay me back that $10. They know the consequences. They don’t just earn, but they also know the consequences that they had to pay me if they don’t earn A. It’s quite important because being independent and be able to earn your own thing is quite important because it allows you to fight a lot harder for what you want in life. Anything that’s given is going to go fast and people will not know the value of that unless they earned it first. If they lose it, you can come back and help them with that. That’s fine but they have to go out and make their own way first. Then come back and say, “Mom, I need this, can you help me?” Do try to help them at that point, but don’t just go give.

I’m not a giving person. I give to charity but not to my kids because I want to make sure that they learn the values of earning because they are capable. Allow them to do something of themselves first and you as a parent, watch them. Tell them, “This is so important to build you up.” All this good habit when they are little will add up as a natural thing for them to think about. Like my dad, he never says, “You can get all this. You can have this,” no, my dad is not giving to us like that either. He would say, “When you make your room, you clean your house, you clean up the bathroom, you can get this.” It worked out well because I feel proud to earn something that he said that to me. I know it’s important for the kids to understand the value of certain things and work for it because you are able to do it yourself. Don’t depend on anyone to do it for you. That’s another thing, independence is important because it allows people the confidence to decide, confidence to move forward, the confidence to say, “This is right. This is not right. I can make that decision myself.”

Tell us about your nonprofit organization that you are supporting. 

I’ve been supporting some of the organization mainly in Southeast Asia, Bantaynhanai.org and Giving Tuesday every Thanksgiving. There are a few orphanages in Nepal and in Cambodia. Whenever we got to travel around the world, we’re looking at some of these nonprofits that we would like to visit and then we’d contact them. This is the thing that I let my oldest son help me so that he’ll feel something that he would like to do. He has been doing wonderfully in the last few years. He does the research. He calls the orphanage or any organization that we’re going to visit. He would ask them and find out what do they need, how can we contribute and help them better. That is something that I would like to do. It also helped my children to see the real world. I have been taking them to these places so that they can see what the other children don’t have and feel grateful for what they have. My oldest also had volunteered to some of the orphanages in Nepal. He grew up so big from that event, one week to volunteer there and he came back with a different mindset. He feels proud that he has done something that most well-to-do family cannot do, but he was able to adapt well.

These are not your nonprofit organization?

These are some other people’s nonprofit organizations that I contribute to.

Are you planning to start your own? 

Yes, I would love to in the future.

What are you most proud of? 

I’m very proud of my little happy family. To be a career woman, I strive to have a balance between career and family life. I have a beautiful family that I’m very proud to have and also because they support me to be who I am and motivate me whenever I feel downtime because we’re human. Sometimes the day is good, sometimes the day is not so good but I have a family to fall back to.

Become A Multi-Millionaire : Each of us has a power, have choices, to make our own choice and make a wonderful life as you wish.

That’s what family is for. We are fortunate to have our husband, to have our children and they all support us and we support each other. That’s what family is for during the downtime, during the time that we don’t feel great about ourselves, our accomplishments and things like that. Who else is better to reach out to besides your coach?

Emotional support is quite important for anything. You also have to celebrate the journey of your success. We as a family, we strike that balance. For me, not just as a mother to support them, my children and my husband, but life is not all about work. Sometimes we have to pause to enjoy what we’ve created and to me in the last eight years, I haven’t done that. To me, that is quite important. Don’t forget to celebrate what you have created. That is also the way for us to look at life. It’s not just about work but it’s about life, about living, about the real experience that you want to create in your true self and that’s quite important.

What makes you feel at peace? 

I love nature. I would like to go almost onto hiking with no phone, no connections for a month or two weeks because it allows me to take a deep breath, fresh air and not worrying about anything except to be connecting with nature and connecting to myself, to love and to be happy. I like to be at peace, just go out there and see the nature and spend time out in nature with nothing distracting you to think about. For me, it’s to reflect on what I have done in the last ten years, five years, creating myself and getting to know myself better with nature.

What do you do for fun? 

I travel around the world a lot with my family. We’ve taken up three months, four months to travel. I have been with my children to 47 countries and we usually spend three months in the summer together. My children love to travel too, so they had their wish list of what they would like to experience. The best thing that we can give our children is life values. To open their perspective, the more they experience things in life, the better. They’d be well round off with their decision-making because I know they have enough schooling here. The schooling that where they go is good. On top of schooling, there are many other things that people can go. Travelling made me grow a lot and it’s allowed me to make a lot of bigger decision for myself too because I need that time to reflect in life. I need that time to relax. I need time to think and create. I don’t like busyness. Busyness that produces no results meant nothing to me. Fun for me is to reflect on the things I have done. It gives the time to think and reflect on the things that I didn’t do well so when I come back, I can do better. I need a lot of that space and time. The quality of the results that I produce is more important. Fun time to me is a time off, to get my cell off, to think and create, is quite important.

How do you define the following words: power, success, fulfill? What do they mean to you?

Each of us has the power to make our own choices. What I mean by that is you are in control of the choices that you make in your life and in your business. Power is you have your own choice. You make your choice and then if the choice that you make is a mistake, it’s okay, you can make another choice. You can make that choice to turn around. An example of power is if you want to lose weight, you can make the choice of having a good eating habit, have a good exercise schedule, then you can lose weight. If the choice is, “I want to lose weight but I don’t want to exercise,” then you make the wrong choice because you don’t want to exercise, you don’t want to cut down your eating or things like that. You have to make the choices and sometimes the choices don’t turn out the way you want. It’s okay. You can make another choice to make it better. Each of us has a power, have choices, to make our own choice and make a wonderful life as you wish. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Success to me means to live a life on your own terms. You do whatever you want, when you want and with whom you want. Fulfill, to me is, at the end of our life, whatever you learn, you teach. Whatever you receive, you give. Fulfillment is life is not about you, life is so many things that we can do to contribute and you can impact. You can impact them based on the skill that you have. You can share that with people or you can inspire other people with what challenges have you overcome in your life. Share it with them so that they can see that there is a light, there is hope that you can do. Share that message more because the world needs more of that. Be the light for the next generation.

What will you not compromise or tolerate in your life right now? 

Time is one of the most valuable assets that we all have. I am extremely selective of how I spend my time. I have a lot of good habits every day. I need to focus on and to work on those things. I cannot tolerate people’s complaints because when I came here, I had nothing. I don’t expect people to have nothing like me to realize certain things that they have. Living in the US, we have an abundance of opportunities, whether it’s health, you have everything that you need. I cannot tolerate people that complain and wishing and hoping. I like to be around with others who had that energy of, “I know I’m making mistakes. It’s okay, but I can keep doing it so I can see my progress and to get better.” Those are the things that I like to spend my time on. If I want to help somebody to get better, I would love to help those people, but I cannot help someone and keep complaining I’m not so good and have a negative mindset. I don’t want to be around those people.

What would you recommend to our audience who are still working, who do not have any savings because they are either paying for their kids’ college tuition or paying for their life insurance or they’re saving money toward their retirement? Is there a better way for them to use some extra money either from their 401(k) or their retirement, self-directed IRA or something like that? Let’s say a fund of $100,000 or less to buy an asset that can generate cashflow every month. Do you think that’s possible? 

Yes, it is possible. Before we get into deep of the investment, you have $100,000 and that’s a lot of money. In order for you to invest in anything, I would suggest people learn about that investment first. You don’t have to depend on anyone to make the decisions because you have to learn to understand your investment. I would be very bias to tell people to put that $100,000 into real estate because it is my field. I love real estate investment. Learn first and understand your investment before you decide because it may not take that long. With $100,000, people can invest in one property that generates cashflow. Once you learn, you understand what does it take to find the investment that would give me cashflow.

For example, if you gave me $100,000, I would invest into some area of real estate, still have cashflow of 7% or 6% cash-on-cash return. Those are the states that will have strong job growth and the economy is stable with the population growth and affordable housing. For example in Florida, the prices are still, with some areas, very affordable. You can buy those properties and still have cashflow with your $100,000 investment. Before you do any of that, I highly suggest understanding about real estate investment first. Understand what does it take for you to put $100,000 into one project and you can see that your calculated return is coming back to you. Real estate is a long-term investment. You can buy something with cashflow from day one today and then keep it for ten years and twenty years down the road because properties are able to double in ten to eleven years.

If you pay the project, for example, the value of a house in Florida, in one city is $200,000, you can put down $100,000 on one property and take a loan of $100,000. In the end, you pay for all the expenses. If you can net about $600 to $700 per month and you multiply that by twelve, that means you have $8,400 a year. 84 divided by $100,000 to invest, you can get 8% return cash-on-cash. Real estate investment is not just about the income. Real estate investment is about ideal investment, if you understand all the calculations. Real estate is when you have the cashflow as income and then you can have the benefit of depreciation because the government allows you to depreciate the value of the rental that you have. Then when the person that stays in your house pay for the mortgage for you every month and the equity of your mortgage, $100,000 mortgage that you have is going to pay down.

The equity accumulates more every month when somebody stays at your place and pay for your rent. Appreciate is something that another benefit is over the period of ten to twelve years or eleven years max, the property that you purchased will double its value based on the inflation rate. Those are the basic fundamental. When you buy something for $200,000, you can leverage other people’s money, which means you can borrow from the bank to get a $100,000 loan. When the house appreciates, it does not appreciate based on the money that you put down, the $100,000, but you have to leverage another $100,000, so the total of that appreciates 3% for example, you earn about $6,000 per year. $6,000 plus $7,000 that you earn from your cashflow per month, your return on investment can be 10% to 12%. First, you have to know all this key factor, what makes a good investment and then you can do it. I suggest before you do any investment, learn it first. I would buy the rental property with cashflow the day one I own it. If it’s not cashflow, I don’t buy it.

Become A Multi-Millionaire : It’s quite important in marriage to give each other space for their own interests and to do what they really love.

Your recommendation is on point. I agree that you need to know the area that you are investing in. That’s number one priority. Don’t invest in anything, any business or any investment if you don’t know anything about it. For me who lives in California, it’s hard to invest in something that is positive cashflow, over here is a negative cashflow. I wonder if there is still something out there in the United States, houses or something that we still can invest so that we can receive positive cashflow like what you say. 

You can still. For example, some other areas like Florida, Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando, the housing is still pretty affordable. Even if you put out $100,000, you can still get a mortgage and you can still get cashflow. Those are some of the areas. In Texas, there are some areas that you can also invest your money as well. Housing there is still affordable and the rental income is also pretty good for the return on investment that you put down. Something that I would like to bring up too is I had my mentor and I did not know any of this option available then, because I was living in California and I had so much equity on my rentals. My mentor is the one that taught me, “You are not the only person to have this issue of how can I invest to have cashflow considering the California housing was so expensive?” My mentor advised me, “Korianne, with that money that you have, $200,000, you can sell that property and then by using that $200,000, you can do five more homes in Arizona,” in 2001. Because of that from $500,000 cashflow in California, because the housing is way too expensive, I used that $200,000 equity. I cashed it out and bought five more houses in Arizona because the housing prices at that point were affordable. It was $180,000 to $200,000. I was able to use that $200,000 and put that for five more homes in Arizona. I was getting cashflow $1,700 per month.

I saw other people doing that, but the real estate is bubbling right now and it’s about to burst. 

We’re at the peak right now of the real estate cycle and also in the stock market too. Anything that you invest anywhere, do your homework. Learn as much as you can because it is worth it. Don’t invest if it’s not cashflow. I will say, “No,” but if you decided to invest, make sure that investment has two sustain on its own without your help. That means the cashflow have to bring enough to pay for all the expenses, so you don’t get your income and pay for it because that is a bad investment. I would never suggest people to go in and buy something and hoping for appreciation. That is a wrong way of thinking to invest in real estate. Buy real estate only cashflow upfront. If it’s not cashflow, look for the next deal to buy. It’s not safe to buy an investment based on appreciation and wishing and hoping. That is a very risky investment to make. Putting at that point too is my book. I wrote a lot about it about how I bought my investments, how to buy cashflow. As always, my priority objective is I will not suggest people buy something based on appreciation. Appreciation is a bonus based on the inflation rate, 2% to 3% per year.

What’s the name of the book?

The name of the book is a Property: Master The Wealth and it’s available on Amazon.

If our audience wants to learn more about you, where should they go?

They can visit my website, Korianne.com. That is a website where I share some insights about cashflow versus investment. It’s also the place that they can contact me directly. We have the contact area that they can shoot me an email if they have any question of how I can help them.

Thank you so much for being here with us, Korianne. I want to tell you that I’m very proud of you to represent the Asian Women of Power. You not only have the look, but you have the brain and a heart to make a difference. I applaud you for what you have accomplished so far and I wish you all the best in the future. 

Thank you, Kimchi, for having me here and I feel very grateful that I can share the message so that your audience can gain some hope and some light that can help them and lead them to the next best things in their life. One of the best things I can share with other people is about what I have gone through. I want to let people know that you can become any person that you want to be. The best way to live our life is to live our lives in our own terms. Whatever the dream that you have, get up and work for it. I know that you can have it. Thank you for having me here, Kimchi. It’s a privilege to be here.

Thank you. For our audience, what is your number one takeaway from this interview? Let us know in the comment area. When you are ready to participate in a further discussion, please go to www.JoinAsianWomenofPower.com. Until next time, live life loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes 

"Difficulty never last."

"Success is not given."

"If you want to be successful, be selective on who you want to be with."

"You value everything more if you earned it by yourself."

"Don't forget to celebrate what you've created."

About Korianne Mar

Korianne Mar is a seasoned real estate investor, best-selling author, proud mom and philanthropist.

She held corporate jobs after college and then her last company shut down because they ran out of money. Instead of pursuing another job in 2001, she took control of her financial future and followed her dreams. She founded two companies in her late 20’s. Though hard work, commitment and dedication, Korianne was building both businesses from the ground up at the same time. She underwrote $150 million in residential mortgages while building her rental property portfolio from just one rental property and grew it to 45 rentals. During the last 17 years of her real estate career, she has analyzed thousands of rental projects, but she acquired only 100+ quality income-producing real estate projects that generates consistent monthly cash flow and grew her net worth to multi-seven figures. By 2008, her real estate investments provided her financial independence, so she withdrew from the mortgage business.

She commits to helping ordinary people like herself to create financial independence and wealth through smart buy and hold income-producing real estate investments, so they can live a life of their dream.

She enjoys traveling around the world with her sons when they’re off from school and contributes her time to less fortunate families and orphanage charities.

Website:  www.korianne.com
[email protected]

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