Part 1

Whew! What a long, strange trip it’s been…

When I started KeePon Cashflow a little more than 2 ½ years ago, I had no set ideas about how things would progress. That’s a good thing, because as I tried different things I went in different directions. While my focus has and always will be on long-distance investing, I have learned quite a lot of new things beyond that focus. (Many have more to do with what’s most important in life than just real estate investing.)

Because I get a lot of the same questions time and time again, I thought it might be fun to be interviewed by my good friend, Sandra Rea, a fellow investor and long-time professional writer. She agreed. This is the result…

Q: What’s the BIGGEST takeaway from your activities in real estate investing that you’ve learned in the past couple of years that you can share with readers?

A: I’m just a guy who lives in Barcelona and invests in multifamily rental properties in the U.S. If you happen to live in the U.S., I’m just a guy who lives “overseas.” Barcelona is where I call home because my wife is from this area, and we want our kids to grow up here. I love the lifestyle! There are almost too many paid work breaks (a.k.a., national holidays) to count.

The people here are amazingly friendly, and once I learned to speak their language deciding to live and work here was pretty easy. Then I thought about the properties I already had on the east coast of the U.S. But I made it work; I would live and work a “day job” in Barcelona while investing in multifamily properties in North Carolina!

I chose that market for several reasons. Since I’ve written about it a few times, I won’t go into it here, but anyone interested can go here:

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12 Reasons to Invest in Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Here’s the truth… I love what I do, and there are reasons for doing it. I’m not just talking about real estate investing. I also love what I do as a company man. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know a lot of the reasons. If not, I invite you to go back and start from the beginning articles and keep going!

Two important reasons I work so hard on both sides of my professional life are my sons. My kids are now 7 and 8 years old. Right now, I hang out with them as much as possible, but something hit me recently. This has to be the biggest takeaway for me about why I keep doing deals in real estate, and I hope people who read these words take what I’m about to say to heart.

Readers, please pay attention! (Maybe you can relate.)

I looked at my boys as they played one day and it hit me that they won’t be this cute, young age forever. In fact, time flies. Blink and we’ll be wrapping Christmas gifts again. We’ll be at the end of yet another year. I’m going to look up soon and another 6 years will have passed. That’s about when kids stop wanting to hang out with Mom and Dad. It’s totally normal, but if that’s true, I have 6 more summers and 6 more winters to spend with my boys, go on awesome vacations with them, and teach them fun, new things (like skiing). But spending summer and winter vacations with my sons and wife is just not enough for me. If I want to maintain this lifestyle, I’m going to have to hit my goals of getting 300 units of property in the next year or so.

The big thing I want others to think about is that life is short!!! That’s not just a saying. It’s a saying because it is truth. So if you are in a job you hate, do something about it. If you’re in a relationship that makes you miserable, get out. If you are living above your means and the non-stop struggle to keep your head above water is getting to you, stop it!

I’m NOT saying quit your job and join me in real estate investing. You can. I welcome you. But only if you are realistic and ready. In other words, if you have a job you actually enjoy – like I do mine – don’t go full-time with real estate investing (like some “gurus” will tell you).

Why not keep the day job while learning about real estate investing, while choosing which niche is best for your skill set and mindset, and while doing deals?

You are not in a race with other people in real estate investing or in life for that matter. Set your goals and work steadfastly toward them. Consistent action is what gets you to your goals.

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If you’re like me and you love what you do in your day job (i.e., working for other people who pay you well to do what you do for them), that’s absolutely okay. In fact, you can get further in real estate investing if you have a good job. That’s a big takeaway for me.

In the beginning I felt like I had to compete against my mentors and against all those other people you see online who do what I do as an active investor. I’ve stopped competing… and it was hard. Now I know that I’m not in competition with anyone; my goals are my own. I’ll work my plan in a way that is most comfortable for me, which means continuing to work for a fantastic company that compensates me admirably and gives me plenty of perks, vacations and bonuses!

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Q: What if, like you, readers are working a job they like or that compensates them really well, so they are actually too busy to jump in and learn how to do real estate investing?

A: We are all busy. We have jobs and families. We keep a lot of balls in the air, and most of the time we’re busy juggling. If you like your job, there’s no reason to leave it… even if you want to learn how to be a real estate investor. There are ways to participate in deals and earn returns without being an active investor.

For example, if you have a savings account that isn’t earning much in interest or a retirement account that has $50,000 or more in it that is just sitting there doing nothing, why not invest that money in other people’s real estate? It’s actually easier, because you’re helping other people by backing their deals while earning positive returns that meet your goals. (Your money is working hard so you don’t have to down the road.)

Using the money in your savings or retirement account can be your starting point to enter into investing in real estate!! Invest it in a property – or invest it with someone like me who actively invests – and get much greater returns than you ever will receive by keeping it in the account. Pretty soon, you’ll have more money to invest. You might find that it’s fun… plus, you never have to swing a hammer or negotiate deals, walk properties, evict tenants, manage repairs or do anything else with the property! You are the passive investor backer. You earn returns consistently. If you’ve used your retirement account, the profits go back to that account (because that’s the entity investing… not you the person).

You may wonder what interest rate you can charge when letting other investors use your savings. That is up to you and the investor(s) you choose to back and work with. It boils down to a conversation or two. Together you decide the outcome. I know a number of individuals who will pay high interest; I know people who will pay less. I also know active investors who only want to work with equity partners. These backers are like angel investors. They are not averse to risk and they want to come along for the ride. This has the potential to bring really positive returns.  So, really, it comes down to how willing you are to take risks. For me, at the moment, I prefer private lenders (investor backers) to whom I make interest payments. At the end of our agreed lending term, they get all of their initial investment back. My lenders have mentioned to me time and time again that this has been a positively impactful strategy for them.

You can see why this is so attractive to my backers!

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Q: Did you ever have an AHA! moment?

A: Yes! I was the eternal student. I paid for so many courses it might surprise you, and I’ve worked with a few mentors. What occurred to me while building KeePon Cashflow was that I could truly help people! It was a surprise.

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I know so much about real estate investing and the many different strategies someone can use to attain properties, manage them and grow their wealth through real estate investing, that I sometimes I have to pinch myself! I catch myself educating others during a call and I have to stop to take a breath. Wow!! I really, really know this stuff and not just because I’ve read about it and am regurgitating it. I’ve been putting into practice everything I have learned over almost the past decade in my real estate investing education. Now I get to help other people in their journey.

It’s all about growth and contribution… growth and contribution. It’s what Tony Robbins and other life-shift and mindset leaders tell us. All I can say is that I’m there and it’s all true. You have to grow and then contribute by teaching others who have ears to hear and a heart to put into action what you share with them.

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I still love learning new things and reading books about real estate investing, sales and leadership. That’s something I probably won’t ever stop doing. But now my focus is on sharing what I know with others. That’s why I started KeePon Cashflow!

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Q: I’ve read your eBook about your journey, so I know how you came to the decision to get involved in real estate investing. But was there a specific event that happened in your life that’s not in your eBook or articles that put you on the path to becoming a long-distance investor who lives in Barcelona while investing in multifamily rental properties in the United States?

A: Oh, my goodness. You are making me think!

It had to be when I was in 8th grade and my family moved to a neighborhood that my parents could not really afford to live in comfortably. Being in the ‘right’ school district was important to my parents so that we could have access to quality education. Once again we rented where we lived. The kids I hung out with in school lived in what I considered to be huge homes there that their parents owned. Their parents were still together, so they weren’t from ‘broken’ homes. They had things I could only dream of, for example, when they turned 16 many of my friend were given a car as a gift from their parents.

At that young age, all I could think of is how on earth can I get where those families are? How can I have the beautiful, brand-name clothes, nice car and big home? These things were important to me then, so I started working different jobs… even selling knives door to door… to begin accumulating money to put into a savings account. I knew that hard work would get me where I wanted to be.

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Today, material possessions aren’t my focus. Time management is. Rather, how I can manage my own time to spend a heck of a lot more of it with my wife and children.

For me, working my 60-hour-a-week job isn’t going to give me that time, so I have to change my role in the company. Like I said, working in multinationals has been very good to me.  My current employer has provided me with exceptional great professional development opportunities and a benefit to my life and lifestyle. But to earn what I do I have to keep up the pace, which requires me to be on a plane 60% of the week! That must change. So sometime in the near future I will look to leverage my current experience in a different way.  Maybe finding a way to train younger, less experience sales people in the company how to do what I do in their jobs. I will have way more time with my family because I won’t be on the road all the time, and my wife will be smiling a lot. You know what they say… Happy wife; happy life!

I want to be at home more to support her in everything she does with my sons and in our life together. She supports me by doing the graphics in my videos and eBooks, etc. She’s really, really good at that side of things. If I’m home more, just think of what we can accomplish together. I’ll help with my sons more and be there more for her around the house. I’ll have more time to find good properties and do more deals, too. That’s what I call a big win-win-win!!

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This concludes the first part of my two-part interview. If you enjoyed it, please come back next week to read part two!

Also, be sure to go back and read the other articles I’ve written for you here on my blog. While you’re at it, listen to my podcast interviews. What better way to learn how to do deals in real estate investing than by listening to others who have gone before you?

Have a great rest of your week. Keep learning.

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You can also check out my latest podcasts and collaborations here keeponcashflow.com/podcasts/