Dave Zook is an experienced real estate investor and successful business owner. He actively invests in multi-family apartments, self-storage, and ATM space. He is the Founder & CEO at The Real Asset Investors and Owner at Horizon Structures. Zook is also a bestselling author and sought-after speaker.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

Lancaster County PA in the heart of Amish country. I had great folks around me from an early age and I was taught the ways of life and business from my dad who was a very successful businessman

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

How important it is to team up with great folks/partners. I wish I had known that I was in control of my own tax liability and that if I changed the way I did business or invested I could make a lot of money and pay no tax

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

The usual conventional stuff. Invest for the long term in a well-balanced portfolio in the stock market. If you make a lot of money you have to pay a lot of tax.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Early on in my investing career, I got into a partnership with a couple of guys who ended up being bad partners. I had a big deal go bad where my managing partner got hit with a terminal illness and his team decided to take off with some money while almost driving the portfolio into the ground

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I lead with a desire to serve my investors and customers

What is your morning routine?

5 am wakeup. I force myself to drink a large glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon. I have my devotions and prayer time and then I’m in the office by 6 am. My wife meets brings me lunch at 8 am and we go for a 4.5-mile run

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Taking my priorities off myself and doing my best to add value to my customers and investors. I run regularly and drink lots of water

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Focusing on things that are important and that move the needle and delegating things that I can hand off to my team. Setting a time limit on meetings and making sure that they are run efficiently

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The Bible because it is the word of God, it holds the keys to the kingdom and it is alive. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter taught me how to think about investments, cash flow, and taxes.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

If you wanna change your tax you have to change your facts. The harder I work the luckier I get.