This question was posed to me this weekend when my son asked me how I do my job. Working in real estate I work with people from all walks of life. More recently I engaged services with graduate student name Maria (hiding her real identity). Maria is a full time working professionals seeking a graduate degrees through night school and online learning classes. Maria was very concerned about how the deferral of her student loans would impact her affording a new home. This is not uncommon. The government has reported student loan debt well into the trillions of dollars (https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2017/02/21/student-loan-debt-statistics-2017/). When I asked about her plan to pay off her loans she answered that; “…hopefully when I graduate I will be able to apply for a higher paying job.” This leant me to think about my conversation with my son. In the 80’s an important job skill was resume writing. In the 90’s job interviewing. In the early 2000’s it was networking. Although these all have importance I am learning that financially independent people learn how to creatively financially engineer every aspect of their lives. New technologies with crowdsourcing in order to finance real estate, movie, even business acquisition and start up projects is only one example of creative financing. Let’s also not overlook job skills as a fair “trade” to acquire a service or asset. One example would be to take an equity position in the purchase of a house in exchange for providing services to remodel and oversee the construction of the house. One partner buys the house and provides funding for the rehab costs while the other does all the work. This is a strategy I recently used for a house purchase of a single-family remodeling project in southern California. With my skills in sourcing materials and labor, my partner can focus on finding funding sources that ensure this project can be completed. Over the next two weeks I will be discussing additional creative solutions to financially engineer real estate transactions.