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EP 75: From Firefighter to Real Estate Future Millionaire, Timothy Lyons, Principle/Managing Partner

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

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On this episode of The Millionaire Choice Show, Tony talks with Timothy Lyons of Cityside Capital. Timothy and Cityside capital are a real estate investment group working with investors to build a diversified real estate portfolio as part of their investment strategy.

About Timothy Lyons

Tim is a 15 year veteran of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and currently serves as a lieutenant in the borough of Queens. Until recently, he also worked part-time as an emergency room RN at a level 1 trauma center. He brings years of real world management and leadership experience to his real estate investment career.

Tim’s initial goal with real estate was to create passive income and in turn, be able to spend more time with his wife and three little girls. After partnering on a multifamily property he saw first-hand the power of real estate investing as an opportunity to create passive income and build wealth for his family.

He started Cityside Capital with the goal of not only growing his own portfolio but also to help others realize the power that real estate investing can have on creating passive income and building wealth.

Cityside Capital has $45 million of assets under management including 335 multifamily units. Tim has also invested as a limited partner in 256 multifamily units in Texas and in a large retail super center in Tennessee.

He graduated from Providence College in 2005 and can often be spotted in the crowd when the Friars play in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Learn more about Timothy Lyons and Cityside Capital,

Take advantage of Complimentary Life and Money Mentor Session with Tony or Downloand FREE eBooks.

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Intro (00:01): Is money slipping through your fingers. Are you missing your opportunity to become a millionaire? Welcome to the millionaire choice where we talk to millionaires and future millionaires about how to build wealth and what to do with it. Once you have it, we're here to help you do two things, make your millionaire choice and create your own millionaire plan. Here's your host speaker wealth coach and author of the millionaire choice. He made his choice and he created his millionaire plan at age 25. Now it's your turn. Welcome your host Bradshaw.

Tony (00:44): Welcome back to the millionaire choice show. We are gonna be talking with a great guy today. You're gonna learn a little bit about real estate and honestly, an angle on real estate that I'm not that familiar with. And we'll let him tell you more about it, but we're talking with Timothy Lyons of Cityside capital. He's the managing partner, and co-owner a Cityside and, just a little bit of trivia, which I'm sure he'll share a little bit more about his life, but he's a New York city fire department, Lieutenant and former ER nurse. So we're gonna be hearing some, some great stories, from Timothy and his journey to become a millionaire. Timothy, welcome to the show.

Timothy Lyons (01:17): Tony, thank you so much for having me on today. It's a pleasure.

Tony Bradshaw (01:20): Yeah. Thanks for sharing so much of, you know, your background and where you come from. I think one of the things I love about doing this show is, not just talking to millionaires, but talking to future millionaires, like you who have made what I call the millionaire choice and decided they wanted to, you know, kind of not live the way that they were kind of set up to live. Right. So I think a lot of people kind of feel like they're stuck right in the, in the class that they're born in. I was, I wouldn't say I felt like I was stuck. I just didn't know any better as a young guy that, uh, that life could be any different than what you grew up in. And, and I, and it's interesting to hear a little bit about your story, but tell the, tell the audience and the future millionaires listening, kinda how you grew up and you know, how you broke free from that.

Timothy Lyons (01:57): Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for setting that up. So, you know, I'm the youngest of three boys and my parents were divorced when I was three years old. My dad didn't live too far away, couple towns over. But you know what, I realized very quickly that money was always kind of an issue in our family. It was paycheck to paycheck, you know, both parents worked full time, and you know, kind of when you grew up in that kind of household, I guess, you know, we, we never really longed for anything. I always had a baseball glove and cleats and, you know, my sports activities were paid for and stuff like that, but there was really nothing left over, per se. And I knew that when I became an adult and a father, I just didn't wanna have that same type of maybe stress or upbringing for my kids.

Timothy Lyons (02:44): And I just wanted to be, do and have more and, have that optionality, that money would provide, I didn't exactly know how that was going to happen. But that's what I kinda, I kinda held it in my, in my core. That's what I, you know, would like to have happen. As it turned out, I, kind of went down the traditional path, right. They tell you to get good grades, go to school, get more good grades, you know,

um, go find a job. That's gonna pay you every two weeks with, a couple weeks vacation, you know, with a nice retirement plan. And then someday you'll be able to retire. And, you know, although that sounded kind of lame to me, that's kind of what I did anyway. Right. So, um, I joke I was pre-med for about 15 minutes in college before I joined the fraternity.

Timothy Lyons (03:29): And,, the wheels kind of fell off for a little bit there, but, you know, got myself back on track. You know, nine 11 happened in college for me and my uncle was a New York city fire captain. And he was very badly injured in nine 11, buried under tower two spent about six weeks in the ICU in Jersey city, and he's still with us to this day, but I remember I made a, I made a commitment to be a New York city firefighter, shortly thereafter. So, um, graduated college weeks later, I'm in the academy and I'm living the dream, right. I'm a New York city firefighter. Um, you know, having fun every day is a new adventure. And you know, what I found was, um, that a lot of guys and girls, um, that were on the job, they had second careers or third careers, because of our schedule and the flexibility of the schedule, you know, we work 24 hours on, then we might have three or four days off, uh, before our next 24 hour shift.

Timothy Lyons (04:27): A lot of people were contractors and, you know, I mean, people work in all different sorts of jobs. It's insane. Um, but there was a couple guys who were nurses in my first firehouse and they had the nice call, their wives didn't work. So they convinced me to go back to nursing school. Uh, so that's what I did. I went back to nursing school and I, became an ER nurse. And again, I like to work. I like to be in these jobs, that's, you know, action packed and adrenaline, you know, not every day is where every minute is like gunshot victim coming through the door and like, you know, TV scenes, but you know what, it, it provided me a way to, you know, really, you know, put into practice what I had, what I had learned, whether it was medicine in the ER, or, you know, putting a fire out.

Timothy Lyons (05:16): Like, I just really liked what I was doing in the process. I had three little girls who were now 10 and, you know, when they were little and I was working a lot because, you know, the more I worked, the more money I made, right. So I was trading my time for money. And at the time I knew that I was working a lot, but I didn't really have any other choices. Right. Or I didn't, I, I didn't know at the time that I had any other choices. So in the beginning when they were little, they didn't say anything, you know, so listen, the bills got paid, maxed out. My retirement accounts, took a vacation or two per year and life was good. but then when I got old, older, you know, they'd be, you know, tearful when I left for work or if I wasn't home for two or three days, cause I was doing some sort of marathon at work, you know, getting text messages and phone calls.

Timothy Lyons (06:06): It started to wear on me, my wife, my kids. And I started to feel really trapped and stuck in the W2 grind, even though I really liked my jobs. So it's a little bit of like a rock and a hard place. And ever since college, I've been like a finance buff. I've been reading the wall street journal, uh, since college, personal finance books, you know, different types of programs, you know, really kind of being on the, but I was on the periphery. I never really took action. I, I was kind of stuck in that education phase. You know, let me go read one more book. Let me go listen to one more audio book. Let me take in one more podcast. And the application of that knowledge really kinda Eva me for a while. That's that, that is up until I read VI dad, pour dad by Robert Kiyosaki, the summer of 19 on the beach, family vacation.

Timothy Lyons (06:57): And I couldn't put the, a book down for like a day and a half. And once I slammed the book shut and I finished it, I just, you know, leaned over to my wife, my lovely wife, Christina. I said, babe, I said, I'm gonna be a real estate investor. And she said, sure, you Arton. You know, and she's, she's awesome. She's been super supportive, no matter what I've kind of done in life. She wanted no material participation in the, in the real estate business, but she knew that if I put my mind to it, you know, with my kind of money mindset, I'm, I've been described as cheap. Tony, I know it's kind of hard to believe, but, um, you know, I just don't like to lose any money. I don't like frugal frugal. Yes that's you know, so, she totally supported me and that's when, you know, basically I went on this real estate journey, and we can dive more into that, but you know, in a matter of, you know, I guess just under two years, we're approaching nearly 400 million of assets acquired, you know, obviously with partners, and more than like 2 2400 doors, multifamily doors.

Timothy Lyons (08:04): So, I'd love to unpack any of that. So I'll throw the ball back to you and see what you wanna talk about.

Tony Bradshaw (08:09): Yeah. I love your story, man. I think, like you said, a, a, you can learn all you want, but if you never apply it, the, the learning is useless and, I commend you for, you know, building up, but probably a lot of what you learned over all the, those years now that you're, you, you finally turn the, you know, the key on the car, right. You're being able to apply like that, that stuff. And it's probably coming back and serving you well, but I love what you did. Cause a lot of times when I talk to people about money, they think either they're, they're too old, they're past their prime. They can't do it. Which by the way, how old are you?

Timothy Lyons (08:39): I'm yeah, 39.

Tony Bradshaw (08:41): So for a lot of people, they would be saying, oh, I missed my opportunity. And I think our brains are wired that way to, to make excuses on why we haven't built wealth or why we're not building wealth. And, uh, and it's, I think our, our minds and our psychology are playing tricks on us just to make us feel better. Right. Oh, I missed my opportunity. I can't do it. And, and that really puts people in, in action, but, but you're actually putting it into action. And what I love about it is as you're, you know, you're still a future millionaire, so you're on your way, but you've got a path and I'm sure you've learned like when you started, you've probably grown so much just since you made, since you shut that book on the beach that rich dad, poor dad book on the beach and said, I'm gonna, you know, go be a real estate investor and your wife probably smirked at you a little bit, but that you've grown a lot since just that moment. Right. You could probably look back over that time. And you said, was it the, the summer of

Timothy Lyons (09:34): It was July of the 19. Yep. And you know, four short months later, I'm closing on a three family rental property. You know, people are blown away by that, but you know, it's that application, it's that action, right? If we needed a PhD, Tony, every time you had to take action, nobody would ever do a thing in life. You know, and I think a lot of people want the blueprint, the roadmap to kind of be, you know, it out in front of 'em, but there's simply no such roadmap or blueprint that someone's gonna come and save you. Uh, and once I, once I realized that, and I knew that I just had to take the action that I knew enough to

get started. And I'd kind of build the parachute on the way down as people talk about, um, I was willing to do that because I hadn't made a choice.

Timothy Lyons (10:13): And, that's why I, you know, the name of the, your show, the millionaire choice is so near and dear to my heart because it wasn't in it wasn't until I'd made that choice, uh, with three kids with two jobs, you know, and people kind of tell me, sometimes I would say the skeptical people in my life will be like, why are you doing all this? You know, you, you're New York city firefighters, the isn't that enough. Um, you know, you're a Lieutenant, you know, you know, you, you used to work in an ER, you know, you had steady work, you have a pension to look forward to. And, you know, I think that thinking, you know, served a lot of people, well, probably, you know, in my mom and dad's kind of age bracket, um, you know, the pension, but you know, less than one in 10 jobs in 2021 here are, are still having the benefits of a defined benefit plan, like a pension.

Timothy Lyons (11:06): And it might even be less than 10% at this point. Right. So yes, I'm like, yeah, I guess I could have been ordinary and I could have been living my life the way I was, and I could have been very happy and, you know, but I wanted to be, do and have more. And I just knew I was able to do that. And it wasn't until I made the choice, but also, you know, it wasn't until I started surrounding myself with people, that were smarter than me, people that were doing the thing that I wanted to be doing. You know, it wasn't until I decided to do that, that things really kind of took off. Yeah.

Tony Bradshaw (11:39): I love what you're saying. There, that's a principle of, you know, surround yourself with people that are kind of going where you wanna go. And, and I think unfortunately for a lot of us, the people we grow up with aren't going anywhere and we, we continue to hang out with them and, and they're holding us back and we don't realize that, you know, I've got several people in my life that I would say that about, but, I was very fortunate to not hang on too tightly to the people that I grew up with and, uh, decided to kinda, you know, step forward and, you know, embrace new people, right. So, you know, it's no, no, secret that I worked with the Ramsey organization for fifteen years and, you know, you can't help, but be around Dave Ramsey and go somewhere. So he, he is always a, like a perpetual motion machine, always moving forward.

Tony Bradshaw (12:20): But I was fortunate to spend that time there. Now this newer part of my career, life journey, you know, being 51 now, gone from that organization for five years, it's trying to rebuild that group of people that's going where I wanna get next. Right. And it, you know, my first goal was to become a millionaire by age 40, The next one is, you know, how can I get to 10 million or a hundred million? Cause the reality is, you know, if you look around, the more you meet people, you're like, man, that guy's not any smarter than me. That guy's not any, he's not any more intelligent. It's not like what's he doing differently than what I'm doing? Because the reality is we all have, you know, pretty much the same hours a day available to us is what we choose to do with that time.

Tony Bradshaw (12:59): That determines where we end up and where we're gonna go. Right. You can spend your time, like you said, you had a great job. You had a great pension. You had, you know, working as an ER nurse, that's

the system that you were in, but now you're choosing to just, all you're really doing is saying, I, you know, that's a great system. I'm just choosing to use a different system. And this different system is gonna take me to a different place in the future, same amount of hours. Right. You're investing the same amount of time. You're just choosing to invest it differently. And you're gonna end up with, with very, very different results. And I find that very exciting, cuz you're, you're at the beginning of that journey, you're only two years in like, wow. Right, right. Eight years from now, when you look back, you're gonna go, whoa, man.

Tony Bradshaw (13:39): That was that day on that beach with that book in my hand was like, it was a turning point for my, my life, my wife, my family, my, and your, your three girls. How old are your girls? Uh, they're 10, eight and two. Yeah. So really young. Yeah. And what I love about at, you know, my kids are, 10 up to 21 and I would say my, my older boys probably, uh, did not get as much of my time as they should have. I'm trying to do better with, you know, my younger three children who are ages 13 to 10, but my oldest three, probably I wasn't as focused on them as I needed to be as a dad. So I'm trying to, you know, you, you learn, live and learn and thankfully I may able make some corrections, but what, you know, encouraging the people that are listening.

Tony Bradshaw (14:20): Cause I love your lifestyle. Cause you see it. I'm sure you see it already is the amount of freedom you have to