Pioneers of Financial Literacy: Q&A with Andrew and Angie Taggart

Pioneers of Financial Literacy: Q&A with Andrew and Angie Taggart

How to Have the “Money Talk” with Your Parents (PART TWO)

There’s no singular path to financial literacy and independence.  And some of us have had to forge that path entirely on our own.  In our series Pioneers of Financial Literacy, our intent is to tell the stories of these trailblazers.  

Some are first-generation immigrants who had to help their families understand the American economic system.  Others were born into families who were uncomfortable talking about finances or just didn’t know enough to speak about the topic.  We all share similar struggles like getting a late start on retirement planning and, eventually, having the *dreaded* talk with our parents about their financial statuses. 

We sat down with Angie and Andrew Taggart, fellow investors and real estate professionals from the greater Chicago area.  They are a successful team both on and off the field, and we hope that their stories, insights, and advice will inspire your journey to financial literacy—no matter your starting point.   

Q: Can you give us some insight into your respective backgrounds? 

Angie: I have a background in elementary education and have spent the last 13 years teaching in Chicago Public Schools and in the northern suburbs. Knowing I had more potential to achieve my goals outside of the classroom, I quit teaching in June. I am now 100% focused on investments. My parents were not investors. They were happy W-2 earners who taught me the only way to earn an honest living is by giving your all to a company or business. As medical professionals, their evenings were either spent filling out paperwork, on the phone, or on call.

We went on vacations and were always able to participate in activities, but they used our primary residence as an ATM and are still paying off the home they built more than 30 years ago. They do not have any passive investments outside of their retirement accounts, and my mom didn’t start her retirement account until she was in her 50s.

Andrew: I was raised by two small-business owners, and I saw firsthand the struggles of owning a business—especially if you’re not quite doing it right. My father was an electrician (which were the footprints that I would eventually follow in), but his shop was a party of one. He never expanded or scaled. My mom owned a nightclub, which was ultimately about managing people. So I had the bright idea to fuse (puns not intended) these two facets together and grow Taggart Electric into a full-scale operation.

Growing up, we never lived in a house for more than three years. They would purchase low, fix it up, and move on. Looking back, we were essentially “house hacking.” My parents did some things right, but they weren’t systematically scaling. Once I understood this, I made it a point to think bigger—and always keep my eye on the ball.

Q: What was your big aha moment around financial literacy or investing, and what were the subsequent steps you took?

Angie: In 2016, our accountant told us to consider purchasing a rental property to offset our earnings.  I had no idea what he was talking about because I didn’t understand the tax benefits of owning property.  Then, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad.  That was my lightbulb moment.  Andrew and I attended a three-day seminar on real estate—the rest is history.  

Andrew: I have never worked for anyone but myself.  This entrepreneurial spirit was engraved into me at a young age.  I ended up going to business school and realized it was simply a setup for you to become a corporate employee.  I dropped out of college and started Taggart Electric.    

Q: What were some early challenges/obstacles you faced in terms of financial education and independence, and how did you overcome them?

Angie: Changing my mindset from scarcity to abundance was my biggest struggle.  Along with learning how to invest, I had to rewire my brain to believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of positive thinking.   

Andrew: There is a lot of information out there.  Finding out the best way to consume it was a challenge.  I discovered that audiobooks and podcasts are the best fit for me.  I listen to them Monday-Thursday while driving in my truck.      

Q: Are either of you the “pioneer of financial literacy” in your family?  Did you have to help your parents and/or siblings in understanding finances? 

Angie: I am the pioneer of earning the freedom of my own time.  My siblings and I have a “Weber Investors” Facebook page where we share our current projects and investing ideas.  Investing is a marathon, not a race—and they are also well on their way. 

Andrew: I am the first to get over the hump of the daily grind.  I watched both my parents find success, but they never invested passively and worked all the way to the end.  They had no nest egg, so they still had to hustle in the later years.  

The interesting part of trying to help others understand finances is most people don’t seem interested enough in learning (or they think they already have it all figured out).   

Q: Why and how did you start your own business(es)?  

Angie: Going back to Rich Dad Poor Dad, the author talks about the four quadrants and how you want to be on the business owner/investor side of the quadrant.  Taggart Electric was one bucket in that quadrant, but I knew we needed more.  We have since started our own capital LLC which invests in small businesses, a real estate brokerage, real estate holding companies, a construction company, and an RV rental business.   

Andrew: I started Taggart Electric because I couldn’t take orders from anyone else.  Then, I stumbled into an S-corp without real knowledge of all of the tax benefits/write-offs available to me. 

Q: Were there barriers to entry along your road to success as an entrepreneur and investor?  If so, what resources do you lean on to help you navigate them? 

Angie & Andrew: We joined a local real estate mastermind group in 2017 that propelled our real estate investing portfolio.  We had access to private money lenders, experienced investors who were willing to review deals with us, access to lower-priced materials, and the accountability of showing up and producing within the group.  We are still active in this mastermind group but now our focus is investing outside of Illinois. 

Q: Andrew, did your experience growing up around small businesses provide you with a foundation of financial literacy?  Were finances discussed when you were a kid and did it help you learn about money, saving, investing, etc.?  

Andrew: It was beneficial because I understood from a young age that your hard work puts money in your own pocket.  We talked about finances all the time, and the idea that your income needs to be greater than your expenses was constantly being reinforced.  I also think my entrepreneurial roots gave me a leg up because there was never a W-2, work-for-the-man mindset that I needed to overcome. 

But because there were no podcasts, internet, or Rich Dad Poor Dad back then, neither of my parents took advantage of the long-term investing play.  That was all self-taught. 

Q: What financial wisdom did your parents impart on you?  On the flip side: what financial lessons have you taught your parents?

Angie: My parents did what they thought was best for their children.  They grew up in a time without the internet or mainstream investing books.  People didn’t openly discuss investing strategies.  Real estate was never on their radar as a way to achieve freedom.   

They are interested in what we are doing and are very proud we have taken “risks” to get to where we are in life.  While they are still nervous to invest in anything outside of their retirement accounts, my mom is considering rolling one into a self-directed account. 

Andrew: One of my dad’s best lines was “Buy it for one, sell it for two.” He also told me that my monthly rent/mortgage should be equal to one week’s worth of income.  Oh, and to never buy a finished house. 

We have shown my mom the power of a good accountant … you don’t want the cheapest person in the phonebook.   

Q: When you started dating, how and at what point did you two discuss finances? Did you two have the same goals? If not, how did you get on the same page?

Angie: I remember the summer we met, Andrew was the only contractor working for Taggart Electric, and he had one job working on a three-flat.  The owner paid him in cash upfront, and I thought he was so rich with his stuffed manila envelope.  

Because Lonie (Andrew’s mom) owned the Underground Wonder Bar, Andrew always knew running your own business was the way to freedom.  It just took me some time to break ingrained habits.     

Andrew: My goal for Angie was to get her out of the W-2 grind.  I watched her trade her time for someone else’s gain.  We both started learning about investing at the same time and were able to simultaneously grow together. 

Q: How do you teach your kids the value of saving and investing? 

Angie: Our children are involved with all of our businesses.  We have a family management business that pays them for their work; their W-2 income goes into their individual Roth IRAs, which they self-direct (with our help).  My oldest son’s favorite investment was his investment in Roblox on IPO day!  

Andrew: We play the kids’ versions of “Rat Race” and Monopoly.  They also come with us when purchasing precious metals to see what a fiat currency can buy you.  

Q: What anecdote or advice can you share to help others get on the path to financial independence?

Angie: Mindset is everything.  If you don’t believe it, it won’t happen.  My favorite quote (by Anais Nin) is, “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.” Trying something new can be scary, but staying in a position that you dislike is WAY worse than failing.  

Andrew: You need to understand the game of life.  Too many people spend their time playing Candy Crush when they should be figuring out how the financial world works. 

Q: What resources (blogs, books, podcasts) would you recommend to our audience?

Angie & Andrew:

  • Our mastermind group: Andrew Holmes Mastery Group
  • Podcasts:
    • Main Street Business Podcast
    • BiggerPockets
    • The Rich Dad Radio Show
  • Books: 
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
    • Multiple Streams of Income by Robert Allen
    • Real Estate Note Investing by Dave Van Horn
    • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S.  Clason
    • Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
    • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

More about our Pioneers of Financial Literacy series:

Stay tuned for upcoming content, where we will be:

  • Delving into the stories of other pioneers and their journeys to financial freedom
  • Uncovering secrets other investors and subject-matter experts have used
  • Exploring and explaining tools to build confidence in your financial journey
  • Discussing how to help others on their wealth-building journey
  • Offering advice for how to talk to your significant other and/or kids about finances
  • And much more!

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