Life on Your Terms with Drs. Letizia Alto & Kenji Asakura - Passive Income MD
Life on Your Terms with Drs. Letizia Alto & Kenji Asakura

Life on Your Terms with Drs. Letizia Alto & Kenji Asakura

December 13, 2023 • 12 Min Read

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Have you ever read a book you just couldn’t put down? 

Dr. Letizia Alto and Dr. Kenji Asakura, founders of Semi-Retired MD, are the authors of the new book, Life on Your Terms: Why Doctors Use Real Estate Investments to Set Themselves Free and How You Can Too. Released in the fall of 2023, it’s a powerful read from start to finish and one that can equip you with the proper mindset required for financial freedom

Interested in the book “Life on Your Terms” by Drs. Letizia Alto & Kenji Asakura? get it via Amazon by clicking here


The book follows two-physician couples on their financial journeys. One couple continues to work the rat race, relying only on their physician salary and their 401(k). The other couple uses a mindset shift to overcome fears and pursue a financial life on their own terms. 

For the couple that achieves financial freedom, they also achieve their dreams. One becomes a volunteer doctor, doing what he wants because of his mission instead of a paycheck. The other is able to cut back on work hours to spend more time with their family. For both, their dreams were made a reality through real estate and an entrepreneurial spirit. In compelling and dramatic fashion, this book lays out all of the steps in that journey for the reader, one that mirrors the authors’ own: a physician’s journey to financial freedom.

Letizia and Kenji’s journey has been one of transformation, starting their careers as physicians before also becoming real estate investors and then entrepreneurs. Currently, they offer a mini-course titled “Ignite Your Journey” to those interested in delving deeper into the realm of real estate. Their work illustrates that you, like them, can achieve financial freedom. 

Over on my podcast, I had the pleasure of catching up with Letizia and Kenji about their fantastic first book. As you’ll see in the transcript of our sitdown, they embraced mindset shifts to overcome the challenges of passive income in order to unlock financial freedom.

Want to listen to the full episode? SUBSCRIBE AND TUNE IN TO OUR PODCAST: #183 Life on Your Terms ft. Letizia Alto & Kenji Asakura, MD

Achieving Financial Freedom with Letizia and Kenji

Peter: You are now both authors! Why did you decide to write a book? 

Letizia: Books have played such a large role in our lives and in our transformation. Rich Dad Poor Dad kicked off our whole real estate journey together and inspired us to take action. And then we read other books and put them into practice. It’s been such a key part of our life—reading books together and then taking action. To reach and impact a larger community than we do right now, this book is our gift to help others. Ideally, our readers will take action by considering real estate and maybe taking the steps to build a portfolio. 

Kenji: It’s all about impacting more lives and helping more people. And I just love the idea that you can write a book and impact somebody’s life ten years from now, just like Rich Dad Poor Dad for us. When we first read it, it was probably twenty years since it had been originally published, and it continues to impact people’s lives. And we hope that our book does the same for doctors. 

Peter: When you talk about impacting lives, let’s tell people where you are today with your journey. 

Letizia: Back in 2015, Kenji and I decided to invest in real estate together. We envisioned having the ability to live in different countries, be able to travel, and for our friends to also have that freedom. We achieved financial freedom by the end of 2018, and today we have over 150 doors of real estate and have been GPs (general partners) on a number of deals. 

We’ve achieved exactly what we wanted. We’ve been traveling now for about six months with our kids. We’ve been living in different countries. We have the ability to have our friends with us—an amazing experience. We hosted a party this summer in Italy with a number of people from our community. It’s a dream come true. 

This was made possible by taking the first step in investing in real estate and getting another source of income outside of medicine. Now we help others become financially free, too. 

Kenji: The big difference between the first time we started traveling in 2018 and now is having a community of people who have larger degrees of freedom. They’re able to join us. This coming summer, a number of us are going on a trip to Greece together. It has expanded beyond just the two of us, and that is extremely rewarding for us. 

Peter: That sounds amazing, and like the life many of us want to live. But many of us don’t know how to make it happen. Does this book address that?

Letizia: The book is a fable, written as a story of two couples, both physicians. One couple takes the journey of becoming real estate investors and the other stays in the traditional route of investing in their 401(k), working harder and running the rat race for longer. The couple that does invest in real estate shows all the steps that you need to follow. We show how they build their portfolio, their cash calculations, and building their team. And it shows the challenges, and how they have to use their mindset to overcome challenges that are really inevitable. 

Peter: Where on the journey is the book meant for? It is a book written for someone far along in the journey? Somebody just starting to explore financial freedom? 

Kenji: It’s written for anybody, anywhere on their journey. We put a lot of the challenges in there. They can occur in the beginning of your journey when you’re just getting started in something completely new and foreign from medicine. But fears can come at any point in your journey, and this highlights that. I’ll give you an example. Even for me, I think about bigger and bigger properties or developing one-hundred-unit apartment complexes. There are fears associated with that—so you are going to encounter these challenges at every step. We share how important mindset is and to push through those fears and limiting beliefs. Anybody can benefit from this book.

Peter: A lot of people see the amazing things you two and others have accomplished and wonder if it’s even something possible for them. What do you tell people that think this? 

Letizia: Real estate is one of the easiest ways to get into entrepreneurship. Our mentor, Keith Cunningham, described starting a business from scratch as putting together an airplane. You have to build it from all the different pieces, fuel it, learn to fly, and then go and fly it. But real estate is different because it’s something you can do on the side. You can continue to work, even full-time, as a doctor. You’re buying a business that’s already running. Each apartment building is a business that already has the pieces in place. So, it’s really plug and play. 

Customers are already in place. You have property managers, contractors, CPAs who are focused on real estate, so you don’t have to train your team members. You just go and hire your team, and maybe even use the same team that was already in place with your building. It’s not all-consuming. 

It’s such a great way for physicians to dip their toes into entrepreneurship and build another source of income. Ultimately, if you’re just relying on your physician job, you only have one source of income, and you don’t know what could happen. But if you have, ideally, thirteen sources, like Ray Dalio says, that will help you weather any storm. 

Kenji: To complete Keith Cunningham’s analogy, getting into the rental business is like parachuting into the copilot seat of a flying plane. The pilot can mentor them and show them the ropes. That’s a much more efficient way of starting a business rather than starting from scratch. All the pieces are laid out on the tarmac. 

Peter: What do you think is happening right now in the market? Do you feel like this is a good time for people to get in the game, or should they wait? 

Kenji: For us, we think that you don’t ever want to time your education, right? You didn’t wait to go to medical school or do residency when the timing was right. You just went ahead and did it because you had a dream of becoming a doctor and living that lifestyle. The same is true here. Don’t time your education. And once you educate yourself, doors start to open up to all these opportunities. As long as you have taken the time to educate yourself, you can be successful in any market. 

Letizia: When we first started investing in 2015, people told us, “We’re about to be in a bubble, so don’t invest.” And I just can’t imagine what would’ve happened if we had waited all this time or how much we would’ve lost sitting on the sidelines. If our properties lose a little bit of valuation, we just hold onto them so we can weather any market. There’s always going to be a reason to sit on the sidelines, but there’s a huge danger to miss that opportunity to build. 

Real estate is not like the stock market. Real estate can get you access to deals that nobody else has access to. It’s unique. And it doesn’t matter what the market is doing, you can still get deals. The real danger is sitting out and not taking action by waiting for the perfect time. The perfect time never comes. 

Peter: Why should people pick up your book and read it this weekend?

Letizia: As soon as you start reading it, you’re going to get tools. No matter where you are in the real estate journey, you will get something out of it that you can immediately start applying. That will help you with maximizing the income from your portfolio or with building other sources of income. So the sooner you read it, the sooner you can apply. I think about if we had read Rich Dad Poor Dad five years earlier, where would we be? So read it as fast as you can… 

Kenji: …especially if you’re stuck or really wanting that freedom by generating income in addition to your doctor’s salary. This book is a really great way to do it, and it would make a nice gift for people. 

Peter: I’ve got my copy, and I’ll be reading it tomorrow on a plane! I’m excited to read it and share it with other people! 

You guys are doing awesome work. It’s always great talking with you, and I know that this is just another step in your journey. Thanks for sharing this!

Start Your Journey to Financial Freedom Today

Medicine has changed, and doctors are becoming a replaceable cog in a machine. Life on Your Terms acts as a roadmap to free yourself from your grueling work week and to practice medicine on your terms. And as Letizia mentioned early in our discussion, financial education through books such as theirs can lead to the actionable first steps on your journey.

LIfe on Your Terms is an inspirational guide to reclaiming your role both for yourself and for your patients, and it’s made possible through real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and leveraging both into multiple passive income streams to achieve financial freedom. 

Pick up your copy of Letizia and Kenji’s book today, available in print at Barnes & Noble, Wakefield Books, or on Amazon by following this link. It is also available through Kindle.

When you’re done with your copy, I hope you are as inspired as I am! Use that inspiration to continue your education with the communities at Passive Income MD and Semi-Retired MD. We are looking forward to seeing you!

The included interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. 

Peter Kim, MD is the founder of Passive Income MD, the creator of Passive Real Estate Academy, and offers weekly education through his Monday podcast, the Passive Income MD Podcast. Join our community at the Passive Income Doc Facebook Group.

Disclaimer: The topic presented in this article is provided as general information and for educational purposes. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking action, consult with your team of professionals.

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