Fiology: The Study of Financial Independence (FI)

FREE weekly lessons (straight to your inbox) on how to plan for and achieve Financial Independence.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please check the required field.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Fiology Lesson 45: Real Estate Investment Trusts


In the FI community, there is no shortage of advocates for owning rental real estate and there is no shortage of members who steer clear of rental real estate. A few reasons people invest in real estate are monthly cash flow and to have assets that do not perform lockstep with the stock market, thereby reducing overall portfolio risk.

Few argue against the idea that if rental properties were bought and managed according to strict criteria, the returns would likely beat the returns of most REITS. But, to many, the increase in returns isn’t worth the tradeoff of assuming the responsibilities of owning and managing rental properties.

I’ve focused on building my rental real estate portfolio since 2011 and have experienced decent returns. These results come with additional work not experienced with investing in index funds. An example of this additional work is that at the time of this writing, two of my six properties sit vacant, one of which is due to repairs of minor damage by the previous tenants’ pet and the other due to a simple move out without having a tenant lined up to immediately move in.

So, the question becomes, is there an investment that provides the benefit of owning real estate without the challenges of landlording? This is where the discussion of Real Estate Investment Trusts come into the picture.

Note: Investing in Rental Real Estate or Investing in REITs is not necessary to achieve Financial Independence. There are many paths to take that will get you there. Rental Real Estate is “a way” to add diversification and potential stability and REITs are “a way” to incorporate the potential benefits of owning real estate into your portfolio without the responsibilities of landlording.

Watch:  How Do REITs Work? by Nareit1 of on YouTube

Read:  REITs vs. Real Estate Investing  by Miranda Marquit of

Read and Listen:  How To Create A Passive Income Stream With REIT Investing  by Candice Elliott of (There is a good article with a podcast embedded.)

Read:  Stocks — Part XXII: Stepping away from REITs  by JL Collins of

Read:  REITs vs. Rental Property (Comparing Apples to Oranges)  by FI Fighter of

Read:  Is Real Estate a Non-Correlated Asset Class?  by Ben Carlson of

Read:  REITs pros and cons  by by Karsten “Big Ern” Jeske of

Take Action: Now that you know what a REIT is along with some advantages and disadvantages of holding (or not holding) them as part of your investment portfolio, consider the following questions to determine if investing in them is a worthwhile option.

  • Do you think you may want to invest in REITs?
  • If yes, how will they support your financial goals?
  • How will adding REITs to your portfolio likely affect your long-term returns and risk profile?
  • What is the likely overall difference of choosing to include a REIT over simply continuing to to contribute to a low-cost broad market index fund?

Additional Resources:


Watch:  Real Estate Investment Trusts for Dummies  by Commercial Property Advisors on YouTube  

Read:  Stocks — Part XXII: Stepping away from REITs  by JL Collins of

Quote:  “There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice.” – Simon Sinek is an educational resource designed to teach Financial Independence (FI). We scoured the internet to find content from the best and brightest of the FI community and created lessons covering the critical concepts.

Get free weekly Fiology lessons straight to your inbox!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.


Leave a Comment