Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

Retiring Early with Small Investments in Passive Assets with Ian Horowitz


In a world often dominated by flashy real estate investors, there’s a quiet revolution happening among those who started with limited assets and are making big impacts in their communities. Former Baltimore firefighter Ian Horowitz joins Jonathan on this episode of Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing.

With just $15,000 in the bank and bad credit to boot, Ian shares how he transitioned to retirement from his firefighting career before age 40. As a managing partner of Equity Warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland, Ian demonstrates that even with modest beginnings, strategic real estate decisions can lead to remarkable financial success.

While now primarily invested in self-storage and multifamily assets, Ian’s story began with a single-family home. He shares what he learned along the way with Jonathan, emphasizing getting your financial house in order, betting on yourself, and building a supportive community both online and in real life. Ian’s story is built on tenacity and a hunger for knowledge, revealing that success in real estate doesn’t always require a large salary or a formal education.


Jonathan and Ian cover in further depth:

  • While his fellow firefighters discouraged real estate investing, Ian knew he could find success beyond firefighting and side work. He and his wife took their last $15,000–and Ian’s bad credit–to purchase their first single-family investment property.

  • Ian lacks a formal college education, but his appetite for learning is voracious, leading him to a self-taught education in real estate that greatly contributed to his success.

  • Even when he achieved real estate success, Ian wasn’t quite ready to let go of his career as a firefighter until another investor asked why he wasn’t betting on himself. That stuck with him, ultimately leading him to quit his job and focus on investing full-time.

  • Self-storage works well for Ian because it requires little maintenance, you can invest outside your jurisdictional area easily, and you can add small fees that people have come to expect when they pay for something.


You don’t need a large income or a ton of money to become an investor, and Ian Horowitz’s story highlights what it really takes.

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