Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Victoria on April 16, 2004 at 12:24:22:


Good for you for making the step to try and help him and understand.

My husband does not understand REI and can not see my vision of it and it frustrates me sometimes.

I’m thinking uh aren’t our roles reversed - only sometimes do I think this, and I know it’s a little sexest. He’s a hard worker, but for sure an “E”

These wifes that get to spend and not think about this stuff oh how sometimes I think - oh they are so dependent (not you Susan) the ones that don’t do anything else because that’s the agreement.
Then I think they are so lucky and what I would do to be on the other side of it and then my reality comes back…LOL

Hope all works out well for you Susan,


Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 15, 2004 at 23:13:29:

Here I am… my husband Tom Kirby (Tom-Pa.) called me a Brain Dead Wife and asked how to get me interested in this business. I’d like to hear from people who were TOTALLY LAME when it comes to MONEY, BUSINESS, FINANCIAL MATTERS, and REAL ESTATE. I’m an ARTSY-CREATIVE person, college educated, (Eng. major), excel in creative writing, art, music, crafts, foreign language and science. Am also a MEDICALLY TRAINED phlebotomist/ medical/ nursing asst., straight A’s, but ask me about money matters and financial stuff, and I am, as my hubby said, BRAIN DEAD. SO IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE who was as “lame” as me, and found an easy way to “CATCH ON” to the concept, cos Tom said that if I can learn a foreign language or medical term, I can learn this.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Michaela-ATL

Posted by Michaela-ATL on April 16, 2004 at 18:16:09:

I haven’t read all the answers here, since it’s a long thread, but the ones I read all talk about the money askpect. Why does it have to be all about money and financial matters for you?

I know a number of couples, that have teamed up, with everyone doing their own thing: The husband wholesales and the wife picks from those properties which one she wants to keep and rehab.

You could work in this together with each doing your own thing. You could both figure out a budget for the rehab and then it’s ‘your baby’. Use your crativity and enjoy it.

I personally am not all that into money and financial matters, but I have been self-employed as a fulltime investor for +8 years. I specialize in major rehab of victorians and craftsman houses and I look for a high profit. That also allows me to really be creative, because those buyers are looking for ‘character’ and they don’t want a vanilla-type rehab.

My favorite book, that combines the financial and decorating aspects is ‘housewise’ by Suzanne brangham. It’s out of print, but you can usually find it at for $ 2.- or so.

Good luck and find a niche, that you enjoy. If you love it you can probably find a way to make it profitable.


Maybe I’m Brain Dead . . - Posted by BOB H

Posted by BOB H on April 16, 2004 at 12:03:47:

I had no idea what a phlebotomist was, so I googled, and to my
amazement - 70,200 hits! Turns out, your training might be just
the thing for you to give The Donald a run for his money.

Think of the real estate market as your patient; pump him up,
reassure him (‘don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit’), and then go
about extracting what you need.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Stew(NE)

Posted by Stew(NE) on April 16, 2004 at 11:14:26:

All I would like to add is God Bless You. My wife of 22 years is an LPN and has started a business as a Geriatric Care Manager. She helps me just like you are proposing to help your husband. I made a website for her business. She doesn’t understand all I do and I know I don’t understand (neither would your brain dead husband) all the health care field does either. We Men are funny sometime, the very thing that attracts us to our spouses (In your case, I bet he loved your compassion), we try to conquer and kill. For what? Money. There is an ancient Hebrew text that warns us about this. I try to remember the “wife of my youth” and let her remain that way.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Sean

Posted by Sean on April 16, 2004 at 09:43:46:


My wife probably pretty well fits your mold. She is college educated, and worked in social work and intended to become a teacher when we married. She is not engineering material, not very good with spacial or heavy mathematics, but is artsy craftsy and loves being a housewife, active in the girl scouts and other ladies organizations in her free time.

We started doing Real Estate just shy of 2 years ago, and while I am quick to pick up new concepts, and have an engineering background… my wife is not the greatest at grasping all the various concepts and principles quickly.

She also has a much higher FEAR factor than myself in terms of things, she is a worrier (I think that is a almost universal female trait) far more than I am.

However, I have to say without her, NO WAY we could be where we are today in Real Estate. She at this point handles most of the day to day things as I still work full time. She still doesn’t grasp all the concepts solidly, but she is still learning and convinced we are on the right track… of course for a while she questioned, particularly when we were first trying to get the sale side of things up and we already had several homes and were buying more… but once I sat her down and showed her that we had created 250k in equities that we were going to recognize eventually she saw the light.

It took us over 6 months to get our first property closed, but now 18 months after that first closing we have done 10… not a record by any means, but for part time effort, I am not complaining. We have expanded from strictly rehabbing to ownerfinancing, sub 2 and lease optioning as well… and our goal this year is 12 properties (2 in 1st calendar year, 5 in second, and shooting for 12 this year, and so far have 3 done this year).

She has come a long way, now handles contractors and tenants with ease, has gotten more confident in herself and her abilities, and we compliment each other nicely in our investing endeavors.

I don’t think a wife HAS to understand what her spouse is doing in real estate, but I do think that a spouse that is against it definately is a huge hurdle to overcome… a spouse that is neutral is better, but a spouse who is on board and supportive is the best.

In our situation, no way we could be where we are today with out her. I would still be doing it, but I guarantee we would not have done as much as we have, just not enough free time to deal with all the issues if I had to do it alone and work full time.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by GL(ON)

Posted by GL(ON) on April 16, 2004 at 09:11:12:

Your husband sounds like a real prince (he said sarcastically).

I hope you gave him a kick in the shins for calling you brain dead (not really) because you are obviously far from brain dead.

It could be that you are not interested in investments, money, real estate etc. There’s nothing wrong with that and there is no reason you should be, if that’s your nature.

HOWEVER, I can see that you and your husband, working together, could work “miracles” in creative real estate investing. Because you are creative and he likes investing. The real estate is only a medium, a vehicle for your creative talents.

The question is, do you want to? Could you use an extra million dollars and does real estate sound like an appealing way to get it? You need to get involved (reading this site is a good start) and see if it appeals to you.

If so, then you stand a better chance than 90% of the people who read this board. If not you stand no chance at all. This is a hands on business.

I suggest you read this board and the Success Stories and How To articles to get a feel for the business. Then if it seems at all interesting, discuss with your hubby what it all means to you.

NOT Brain Dead - Posted by Jack KY

Posted by Jack KY on April 16, 2004 at 06:34:52:

You are far from brain dead. Your strengths and interest lie in relms other than REI. That’s OK. In fact that is great. Not everyone has to be interested in investing. Especially given that your husband is doing well in it and you can contribute in areas that you enjoy.

Life’s too short to spend time doing what you don’t like.

Do what you love.


Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by JeffGinFL

Posted by JeffGinFL on April 16, 2004 at 05:24:38:

I recall that post and was wondering if we might ever get to hear “your side of the story.”

So you are not interested in the business/finance side of this field. So what! It seems that you possess skillsets that could prove to be beneficial.

Clearly you are articulate and write well (only need to read your posts once to comprehend them as opposed to most of the typo-ridden things that are seen here, mine included) - seems to me that would prove very useful in developing written marketing campaigns. Throw a splash of creativity in there and I have no doubt you could contribute to his endeavors in REI in this manner.

Foreign language - don’t know where you are in PA, but here in Central, FLA, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I knew more Spanish. I currently have a property for sale and every potential buyer cept for 1 has been Latino.

I’m from PA originally myself (central PA - Hershey area) and I know that language would be beneficial there as well.

REI has its own “language” just as any other field, hobby, pasttime does. Take some time to learn the lingo as others have suggested and I believe you (and your spouse) will begin to see where your talents can be applied to their fullest extent.


Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on April 16, 2004 at 24:59:09:

I, too, believe that if you can learn a foreign language or medical terms, you can learn this. It’s just a mental block. My wife, who is also very creatively-oriented, has a couple of MA degrees, and a PhD, but simply refuses to understand the time value of money. She says that ?Calculator Power? by Jon Richards (An excellent and easy book; ?too hard.? Try as she may, there is no way that she can convince me that she is dumb. She has simply blocked the input.

With her, I think it all boils down to a lack of interest and boredom with things financial. You may be motivated to separate yourself from the kind of interests that your Dad had. Why worry about the way that things have been in the past? Start out with the first steps.

Bronchick has a ?Glossary of Real Estate, Mortgage, and Legal Terms? at This can help you with some of the jargon.

CREO is replete with real-world examples, but you?ll have to follow along with the numbers. A financial calculator is the best real estate investment you can make. I often think that most of the troubles that folks experience when using a financial calculator could be avoided by reading the instruction manual that came with it. This isn?t rocket-science. Most of the stuff that you?ll encounter at the beginning of your investment career can be derived by plugging four known variables into a calculator and solving for the fifth one that?s unknown.

?How to Use Your Financial Calculator?
by Lonnie Scruggs at is a good article that is easily grasped.

If you read all of the articles and money ideas here, the pieces will start to come together. When you get confused, you can always post a question. If you don?t know the answer, there?s no bad question. Usually, we are not all crabby at the same time, so if half-a-dozen people sent you to the archives, at least one person will take the time to answer your question directly.

Keep in mind that there are quite a few successful real estate investors who don?t know legalese, have never owned a calculator, and didn’t have as a resourse, so you?re already a step up.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by House Hunter

Posted by House Hunter on April 15, 2004 at 23:37:42:

Oh Brain Dead Wife…your ignorance pains me. But your willingness to learn more than makes up for it. I am sure if your husband is interested in real estate he has probably picked up a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and if you are still struggling with these concepts, he probably hasn’t convinced you to read it yet. If you do not have a copy in your house, go get it, read it, take a moment to cuss your parents and your schools out for not teaching you the stuff years ago, then read it again. It is all about opening your mind to different realities than you have learned, which your creative background will compliment. In addition, when he asks you to attend the next REIA meeting or seminar - GO - spouses are typically free if it is a paid seminar. If nothing else, you will see what he is trying to accomplish, and knowing that others are successful will help you both reach your goals.

Good luck and happy hunting.

I SEE THE LIGHT! (response to Michaela) - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 16, 2004 at 19:10:52:

Michaela, That would just be my speed, too. I am very much into decorating and crafts, and can literally turn TRASH TO TREASURE. Give me a dilapidated piece of furniture, wood, rusty metal object, and with a little imagination, paint and accessories, I turn a piece of discarded “TRASH” into a work of art or useful shabby chic home decor accent. When Tom and I got married, I envisioned a home Wild West wedding to cut down on costs and be different. I took fifteen 4 ft x 8 ft plywood sheets that had been left out in the elements,old paneling, cafe “saloon-type” swinging doors, windows and shutters, (all discarded), and everything old and western I could salvage or buy cheap at auction, (wagon wheels, milk cans, old pots and pans) and created a life-size WESTERN TOWN prop, complete with a working Saloon bar, Hotel, Brothel, General Store and even a JAIL! When Tom first saw the JUNK that I was collecting and cluttering up our property, he said, “what do you need that for, it’s JUNK!” He saw: a discarded Bed Headboard, double lotus lamp, old frosted mirrors, old bottles… I saw: a Saloon bar. My Wedding Dress: handmade,from $3 worth of Ivory cotton eyelet ruffled CURTAIN panels and valances that I got at a yard sale! I KID YOU NOT! (Just call me Scarlett O’Hara) I can see the potential of something crummy and make a “SILK PURSE out of a SOW’S EAR.” So your suggestion of fixing up a home (with my country decorating/ antique tastes) might bring more money because I see “character” in older homes. One of the posters on this site suggested to me NOT to get too much into decorating a home, cos it might not be cost-efficient and might take away from the ending profit. But like I told you, I can turn “crap” into beauty, utilizing freebie or cheaper materials and paint, so it might turn out a WIN WIN situation for both Tom and I. He gets to turn-over a property and I get to “do my own thing” and put my creative input after all! MAN! THIS IS FUN! I SEE THE LIGHT!

Re: Maybe I’m Brain Dead . . - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 16, 2004 at 18:06:30:

Regarding the phlebotomist comment…Very catchy analogy. Funny, I would always calm my patients before “sticking it to them”, and introduce myself to them as “the vampire” or “the bloodsucker” to add humor to make them feel at ease. Humor is important because it takes their mind off the anxiety of the unknown, and the stress of what was to come. Never told them that “it wasn’t going to hurt a bit”, that is against the phleb’s credo… because everyone is different, and although you may TRY to use a small needle and be gentle, everyone has a different pain threshold. “Never lie to your patient” or they will not trust you the next time. So I would say, “a little pinch” and do what had to be done, as painless as possible. Now as a real estate investor, I am hoping that I will not be a bloodsucker, but that my sense of humor and compassion WILL make the process as painless as possible. Tom tells me that sometimes these people actually look upon you as a ray of light and hope, after months or years of financial struggle and stress, and a millstone finally being lifted from around their necks. I am hoping that I am that kind of person and our experiences will be “painless” for all…

Good post (nt)! - Posted by MoniqueUSA

Posted by MoniqueUSA on April 16, 2004 at 16:32:47:


Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 18, 2004 at 02:42:30:

Stew, If you are familiar with Hebrew, then you may also be familiar with some common Yiddish sayings. In reference to your most recent comments of late: “Ne gunisht helfen”. (not sure how it is spelled in English, it is pronounced: Neh Goon-ishdt Hel-fen ) By the way, I studied conversational and written Hebrew myself, and though I don’t use it often now, I still remember some phrases and words. Ah-nee meh-dah beh-ret Ev-reet, kah-saht. (Translated: “I speak Hebrew a little bit”) “To-dah Rah-bah” (Thank you) for your wisdom and kind words. Your wife is a lucky woman.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Robin(AZ)

Posted by Robin(AZ) on April 16, 2004 at 16:50:10:

What is the text, if you can recall the name? I’d love to pass it on to my fiance, because we both need to be reminded, sometimes, to remember that I fell in love with his unique and indomitable spirit, and he with mine!

Robin (AZ)

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 16, 2004 at 10:52:37:

Dear GL: Thank you for your positive message! You and so many others on this site have given me NEW CONFIDENCE in myself and a new splash of self-esteem. You know, I hate to say this, and Tom will soon read this on the site to see how I feel, but HE IS VERY CRITICAL of me and sometimes says, “What are you? Stupid?” when I cannot grasp the concepts of investing and money management. Maybe it was lack of interest on my part, but on the other side, I do not say to him, “what are you, an idiot?” when he asks me how to spell what I think are the simplest words, or he speaks in “double negatives” and uses improper grammar. Are you reading this, Tom? Your REI friends are now going to whack you over the head, (and YOU DESERVE IT) for criticizing me and making me feel dumb and useless, when I have my own talents and abilities that overshadow yours, and that is what can make a successful TEAM if we work “TOGETHER” without malice or criticism, when the other person cannot shine in the other person’s role. I think that my anal retentive nature and need to document everything in logbooks, files and label and color code things will be useful in making this business a success. I am permanently physically disabled for 2 years now, due to a back injury (herniated discs)suffered on my hospital job and I can no longer be the health caregiver that I was, which makes my medical training and people skills go down the tubes. I am home all the time and not working. I have my good days and bad, which prevents me from working full-time, because an employer would not understand if I take off due to pain, but being that I am home and Tom works full time I can be an asset to him to do the research, make phone appts. and phone calls and do the legwork and paperwork at my leisure at home. I had wanted to make some extra money making crafts and selling them on Ebay, because clearly my disability will not render the same money I would have been making had I been back at work. But Tom pooh-poohed that idea, telling me that I would be wasting my time, we could make so much more money doing the real estate and the little money I would get making something creative, or freelance writing creatively would be superfluous. (Tom, that means “wasteful, obsolete, unnecessary”)LOL He HATES when I use big words! “Talk NORMAL”, he yells at me! But that is my upbringing and vocabulary, my way of speaking, it’s just my way. Sorry. Maybe that will help me when dealing with professional people: lawyers or banks and such. Thank you all who are responding to me in a positive and supportive way. There’s an old saying: You can draw more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Treat me with respect and I am willing to bend over backwards to help you in YOUR endeavors. Criticism should always be “constructive, not DESTRUCTIVE”, as in name calling. (Signed: My new name, NON-Brain dead wife)

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 16, 2004 at 01:55:03:

Thank you Brent for your lengthy and compassionate letter. You are right about the lack of interest/ boredom and mental block creative people have when it comes to financial matters. (My Mom is an excellent seamstress-designer but never could understand big business either. She can type and do secretarial work but is computer illiterate.) I am considered quite intelligent but monetary concepts never interested me, they bored me to tears. My husband is equally as bored with proper English and Grammar etiquette, and couldn’t write creatively or grasp a foreign language either, (except perhaps the dirty words! LOL) He can whiz through computer-finance-stock trading and real estate books however, while I can’t get past the first few paragraphs. Go figure! I think it may have something to do with someone being left brained or right brained. Creative people have different minds and aptitudes than pragmatic ones. I would love to chat with your wife. Perhaps we could learn together… (or at the very least, commiserate with each other!) I will look up those books you suggested and see if I can make any sense of them. And your suggestion about overdecorating is well-taken. Thanks again.

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by Susan Kirby

Posted by Susan Kirby on April 16, 2004 at 24:09:59:

Dear House Hunter: Thanks for reply. Concerning the book title: Rich Dad-Poor Dad. My Dad IS rich, a successful businessman, now retired, and living the good life going back and forth between his luxurious Boca Raton,Fla home and Central Pk West (NYC) condo. My Dad tried to get me interested in stocks, bonds, business, etc. but shook his head in disgust about my clueless nature, and proud of my creative talent and abilities, and cultural background, he invested money FOR me and put in my name. My older brother got the family business cos I was not “business minded”, I was the creative one in the house, like my MOM who is an artist-designer. BUT there IS a plus side here. I am very good at decorating and fixing up homes, painting-carpentry, have my own workshop and tools. I can always help my husband by fixing up homes to resell!

Re: Brain Dead Wife - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on April 18, 2004 at 07:10:58:

You may look at this as 'creitical’and Tom seems to look at it as ‘joking around’, but what it really is is ‘emotionally abusive’.

I was married to someone emotional abusive years ago. Always the joker to the outside, but on the inside he was intimidated by me, being a quick thinker and a doer, and he did everything to put me down to make himself feel better, always under the guise of being helpful. Well, I’m not going to go into more details.

Only you both know, if there’s something to that. Try to get your hands on a book called 'I’m dancing as fast as I can."