Episode 6 – Active Investing vs Passive Investing. Which one is right for you?
In this episode, Pancham interviews Matt Faircloth, Owner of DeRosa Group. Matt reveals the major differences between active investing and passive investing. By the end of the episode, you shall be able to determine which investment route is best suited for you.
This show starts off with Matt sharing how the transitioned to real estate investing. Listeners will learn about house hacks, and why it is a great option for those are making their first real estate investment.
Next, we compare active investing to passive investing. Which option is the right fit for you? While, active investing might yield you higher returns, do you have the time, energy and knowledge to take this route? For all this and much more, tune in to our latest show now!
This show will be particularly interesting to folks who cannot decide on whether to invest actively or passively. Tune in for some excellent nuggets!
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- 01:02 – Pancham welcomes Matt to the show
- 02:05 – How did Matt venture into real estate investing?
- 03:24 – Matt shares some interesting details about his first investment, a house hack
- 04:37 – What is a house hack?
- 06:27 – What is an Active Investment?
- 07:26 – How can you guarantee the success of your Active Investment?
- 08:15 – Do you have greater control over your real estate investment?
- 10:00 – Are you well suited for Active Investing?
- 11:26 – What is a Passive Investment? What are its benefits?
- 12:12 – Real Estate Investing vs Stock – Which is the more predictable sector?
- 13:40 – Active Investing vs Passive Investing – Matt explains the differences in simple terms
- 16:05 – Is passive investing the right fit for you?
- 17:10 – Is passive investing a less risky compared to active investing?
- 20:34 – Matt urges listeners to think through carefully before going the active investing route
- 21:26 – Taking the Leap
- 21:36 – When was the first time you invested outside of the Wall Street?
- 23:13 – What fears had to overcome when you made your first investment property?
- 24:50 – Can you share one investment that did not go as expected?
- 26:36 – What is one piece of advice that you should give to people thinking of investing in the Main Street?
- 28:10 – Matt shares some interesting details about his book, “Raising Private Capital”
- 29:52 – Are you an accredited investor? Join Pancham’s “Gold Collar Investor Club” to meet like-minded individuals and grow your business
3 Key Points:
- Active Investing vs Passive Investing – Pros & Cons
- What is a house hack?
- The many advantages of real estate investing
Get in Touch:
Welcome to The Gold Collar Investor podcast with your host Pancham Gupta. This podcast is dedicated to helping the high paid professionals to break out of the Wall Street investments and create multiple income streams.
Here’s your host, Pancham Gupta.
Pancham: More often than not, I come across people who feel that they need to be actively investing in order to make their money work for them and grow their wealth. These two things are different. If you dig deep into Active Investing, it takes commitment and can be equivalent to another job. Today in this show, we are going to demystify Active Investing vs Passive Investing. We will discuss what is needed if you want to be an Active Investor vs a Passive Investor and what are the differences? Hopefully the listeners will get clarity on choosing what is right for them.
Our guest today has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this topic. His name is Matt Faircloth. Matt Faircloth is a co-founder and president of the DeRosa group. He is a seasoned real estate investor. DeRosa group based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, is a developer and owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to transform lives through real estate. DeRosa creates partnerships to finance, select real estate investments, and has a proven track record of providing safe and profitable investment opportunities to their clients.
Matt, welcome to the show!
Matt: Thank you Pancham. It is fantastic to be here. I appreciate the opportunity.
Pancham: Are you ready to fire up my listeners to break out of Wall Street investments?
Pancham: Great! Before we get started Matt, can you tell us briefly on how you got started?
Matt: Sure, absolutely! I got inspired to get into the real estate business as a lot of people did, by reading a book called ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’. That book just really transformed a lot of people’s lives and opened them up to the possibility of different ways to… obviously, I didn’t want to say earn a living, but just to create wealth, to create cash flow streams, and to create wealth for ourselves. Because I can’t say… it’s a different way to have a job, different way to earn a living, different way to make money. Because none of those terms really jive with what he’s talking about in the book. You’re not making money because making money means like, you’ve got to go and make it each day. It’s more like creating it. It’s creating cash flow streams or creating wealth. So, that book absolutely blew my mind.
Pancham: Same thing for me. That book changed my life.
Matt: Yeah, and I have met Robert a few times, and I’ve told him how much that book changed…It’s by far his best work and there are other books out there that he has written that are that are good as well. But I’ve met Robert and told him how much that book… how grateful I am for it because it created a new life for me. So, if I rewind me back to 2002, when I was working full time as a traveling sales rep, and I read the book, and it opened me up to new possibilities. Since then, I’ve had my ear towards real estate and bought a house hack. I Bought a three bedroom, one and a half bath, lived in one bedroom, rented out the other two to two friends of mine. Lived there for free. So, went from there to quitting my job to buying some smaller real estate assets to buying some larger real estate assets to buying some commercial property, doing lots of fix and flips, and just being an all in all real estate entrepreneur, and then eventually raising money from third party investors that wanted to make a great return on real estate without doing the doing and doing the legwork and the sweat that it takes to make the real estate work.
The truly passive or as Rich Dad talks about in the book Cash Flow Quadrant, people who want to reside only in the I-Quadrant. I have built a B level business around supporting people that want to just invest in the I-Quadrant. So anyway, that’s been my stick, my MO for a while now. It’s been great. I have been doing this for 13 years full time.
Pancham: Wow, that’s good. I actually did not know that you started with the house hack. We’re going to do a show, just on that topic. That’s pretty cool.
Matt: Not everybody that’s listening wants to or has the desire to go and live with their tenants. House hack, for those who don’t know, those aren’t like bigger pockets junkies like you and I are. For the people that don’t know what a house hack is, we should describe that quickly for your listener base. House hack is where you live in a rental property. When you buy a rental property and live in one segment of it and run out the rest of it. That could be a duplex, triplex, quadraplex, or a single family home. If you want to rent out bedrooms, which is what I did. It works well if you are young single male, but if you are not a young single male with some buddies of yours that want to live with you, then you might want to buy a duplex or triplex. You can take advantage of low money down 3.5% down Fannie Mae FHA mortgages. The people that I know that do it, I got a guy that used to manage property for… you know, he still manages my properties. He lives in a three family… lives in one bedroom in one unit with his wife, rents out the other two. He is cash flow positive $800 a month and he lives in the property as well.
Pancham: Right? I have given that advice to so many people. Only two of them has taken up that advice and have thanked me for a good advice. .
Matt: It’s transformational. It’s transformational, because you don’t realize how much a typical person pays day to day in living expenses. If you can eliminate or minimize the living expenses and then eventually move out of it one day, and make that a full time rental or low money down, it is transformational what house hacking can do.
Pancham: Exactly. Alright. Thanks for sharing that. Let’s get into the topic for the show. What is an Active Investment, Matt?
Matt: An Active Investment to me is an investment that it takes time, effort, whatever it is to move the needle, to create the return that it’s supposed to do. Now, that could be, I’ll think of an example. Let’s say you went and bought vending machines. Those are the good cash flow and you don’t have to be there. It’s not trading hours for dollars but it is active because you’ve got to go and unless you sub it out and make it passive by hiring someone to do this. If you’re going to make it active, that means you need to go and restock the sodas and go and get the cash and take it to the bank and do the books. That is an Active Investment. Real Estate can be an Active Investment or it can be a Passive Investment. But a short answer to your question is Active Investments require a reasonable injection of time to maintain them.
Pancham: Right. Okay. Would you say other than time, is there anything else that’s common with Active but not with Passive?
Matt: Yeah. I think it’s Time, Resources, Knowledge. When I say resources, not only do I mean of course, financial resources, but people resources, human capital of people that can help you bring about a deal. It takes a lot of things to make an investment active, a lot of things to make an Active Investment work I mean.
Matt: It’s not just time, but it’s time, resources, and focus.
Pancham: Exactly. I would say that time is the big part of it. And also one thing that Active Investment can buy you is control. You can control some of the investment strategy around that.
Matt: Well, yes and no. This will be a fun conversation.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you bought a three family and you bought it as a 100% investment, not a house hack. You hired a third party property manager and that property manager will manage the property based on your guidelines. So, you’re able to communicate. For those of your listeners that don’t own real estate yet, the property manager will, a good property manager will ask for your input on management strategy. So, they’ll say,”How do you want to surmise the rent? At the top of the market, middle of the market, bottom of the market? What kind of renovations do you want us to do once vacancies come up? Do you want to go with our standard leasing criteria?” I am sure they’ll highly recommend that you go off their standard leasing criteria. “Do you want to be little more flexible? Do you want to have an even higher leasing standard?”
I think that a good property manager will allow the owner to have more control and most importantly, most property management contracts are only good for 30 days which means the ultimate control you have as the owner is firing that manager and hiring somebody else. So, I think that there’s more control if you’ve got… if the only interface between you and the asset is a property manager. It is a little more time. It’s not 100%. Owning a small piece of real estate like that is not 100% passive, because there’s still time that you as the owner have to inject on super small real estate like that. But I think that you get almost full control, let’s say like 90% control with a good property manager.
Matt: You agree?
Pancham: Yeah. I completely hundred percent agree. So, who do you think that Active Investment is for? Who is the right person who can fit the mould of Active Investment?
Matt: I have seen people that have a day job do active investing with say 10 units or less. If someone’s looking to grow their portfolio and get heavy into this business and be very active in the real estate business, then I think that they really need to eventually go full time and do this business full time. But to answer your question, I think that someone with a day job could handle a small Active Investment portfolio. But if they’ve got any more than 10 units, active investing is really for the full timer, I think.
Pancham: Right? You know, I would say it doesn’t really just apply to real estate. Your example on the vending machine is one of the examples also for the active investments and even the hedge fund managers who are actively investing in stock market. It applies to them as well. They have to study the market. They have to study the companies. They need to see how the management is doing and all that. So, all of that comes as part of Active Investments and I think people need to have time, and energy, and the knowledge so that they can spend time to really research all of this stuff.
Matt: Hmm, yeah.
Pancham: Thanks for explaining that. So let’s go into Passive Investments. What would you say is Passive Investing?
Matt: Passive Investing is an investing where you… if you put in enough systems, or invest in something, there’s enough people managing the asset that you don’t need to put in time anymore. I think that’s more of a Passive asset. Now, a paper stock could be passive, but paper stocks have too many things. There are too many hands that don’t have the same interest as you are involved in paper stocks and not everyone that owns a paper stock or controls the paper stock has the same interest. Whereas what I like to invest in, when I do Passive Investments because I do that too, but when I invest passively, or when I recommend people to invest passively, they invest in something that everyone’s got a common interest in. Because if you own Microsoft stock, some people would like to see it go down, especially people that have a control over it through maybe they’ve got to put option on it or something like that or maybe they have they’ve sold it short. They’d like to see it go down. Whereas if you own it, you’d like to see it go up, and everything like that. So, it’s not a common interest. Whereas if everyone owns real estate, nobody’s going to want to see it go in that direction. They all want to see it to be profitable. They all want to see it achieve its goals.
So, what I like about Real State Passive Investments is that it’s a common interest in that. But there’s still… true Passive Investments in real estate require people. They require warm bodies and people that they can move along the goals of their real estate and people that invest passively are just, they’re really investing in the people. They’re investing in the people that run the real estate. People like you and me that run those assets for them, on behalf of them, so that they don’t have to put in their time. We will put our time in exchange for them not having to do it.
Pancham: Let’s talk about two extremes of Passive Investing. One extreme is that you have to do nothing. You just have to vet out people. Let’s say, they vet out you or me, they just write a check and that’s all they have to do. Versus would you call a house hack or let’s say a property that’s managed by a property manager for you a kind of a Passive Investing or Active Investing?
Matt: I think its semi. It’s a little bit of both. I believe that there is a spectrum. I think that on one end of the spectrum, you’ve got full Active Investing where you’re even doing some of the handyman work yourself. I know people that do that and they do very well, but they’re willing to put in a lot of their time to run the asset, right?
Then the complete other end of the spectrum are some investors that I have that are 100% passive and I mean, I can’t even get those people on the phone. They just want to put their money into something. I can’t get them to turn their phone calls that “Hey, I want to chat about the investment you are involved in.” They are like, “No, no, no. You are good. I’m sure you are okay.” I got one of my investor – he’s traveling the world right now. I emailed him and he was like, “Yeah, I’m in Iceland right now. I can’t talk.” He is a 100% passive, and he’s fine with that. He just wants his quarterly profit draw ACH to him and then wants me to send his K-1 directly to his CPA. So, he wants to go 100% hands-off for whatever he’s involved in. That is the other end of the spectrum.
But I think that there are areas in the middle. Especially, perhaps what you alluded to, where somebody wants to go full passive, but they still have to put a lot of time and effort upfront – vetting the operator, vetting the deal, making sure what they are doing, getting themselves into achieving their goals. Then they write the check and then they can go hands off passive, and maybe spend a little bit of time each quarter in inspecting the operator and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
Pancham: You know, Matt, I would love to get investors like that, your Iceland guy. He’s a true example of money working for him?
Matt: Yeah, I know he is. He is, in some ways… I admire him. He’s my hero in a lot of ways, because I would like to travel the world and hang out with my wife, not possible for me right now, because I have got two young kids. I don’t think they would be too happy if I decided to just, you know, pull up anchor and travel. But, you know he is a great investor. Not all my investors are like that. I have got a lot of investors that want to be more hands on than maybe they actually need to be. And then it runs the full spectrum that just from a control standpoint, they’d like to be more involved than it is actually necessary, but I am willing to let them in and let them play a part of it if they had like to.
Pancham: All right. That’s a pretty good spectrum from active to passive. So who do you think Passive Investing is the right fit for?
Mat: Passive Investing is the right fit for people that don’t have the time but want to diversify their wealth building. They already own paper stocks. Perhaps, they already own shares of a business as well. They are into other private placements. A lot of my investors are diversified. They own stuff in oil and gas. I have I got one guy who owns a chain of pizza restaurants. Believe it or not. As a minority owner. So, perhaps are involved in other things. But that guy that owns a chain of pizza restaurants also has a full time day job. His main gig is the full time day job. Those are the best passive investors – people that love what they do, or want to keep doing what they do, or enjoy it. To be honest, maybe they just make enough money doing what they do. They wouldn’t want to walk away from it because it’s a really good gig that they’ve got. So, for any of those reasons, they don’t want to leave their job and do this actively, but they want to enjoy the benefits of real estate.
Pancham: Right? I would like to add one more point to that and that point is risk. If you are very risk averse, or you don’t want to take on the risk or liabilities that comes on with some kind of Passive Investing, especially real estate, it’s a very good fit for those kind of people. As Passive investors, they have very, very less risk. When it comes to investing money with an experienced apartment sponsor or any other sponsor, versus an active investment where they are investing money right directly into the real estate and what if the cannon sues them? They have that risk that they have to manage. Would you agree?
Matt: I would definitely agree. It spreads the risk around when they are investing with someone who arguably is taking more risk then they are. Because a passive investor investing in a limited partnership real estate investment project, the risk that they are taking is limited to… the reason I call limited partner is because they are limited to their investment. So, they put in $100,000, the biggest risk they take is losing their $100,000. You are taking that risk anyway when you are investing in anything on Wall Street.
The other side of it is if you are an Active investor, you run the risk of a lot of other things well beyond that. You most likely will have to personally guarantee a loan if you’re an Active investor. If you are an active investor, you run the risk of getting sued by someone slipping and falling or by anybody who decided they were unhappy with you, for one reason or another. Tenant lawsuits, they come up a lot because we live in a very litigious society right now. You run a full gamut of risk and any Active investor’s exposure is well more than what their cash investment is in that. So, for that reason, I would agree with you that the Passive investor’s risk is limited. Their exposure to lawsuits or exposure to claims or exposure to anything is simply limited to their investment. That’s it. The most that they could ever lose is what they put into the deal.
Pancham: Exactly. And if they do their homework right, the probability of that scenario is very, very low.
Matt: Minimized. Yes.
I would like to summarize these two points into three separate sections. The spectrum that you mentioned for the active, very, very active to very passive investing can be divided into three different things: Control, Time commitment, and Risk. It’s some degree of mixture of these three.
If you want control and you have a lot of time, and you are okay taking risk, I would say you fall on the active side of the spectrum. But if you don’t want control or want minimal control and want to spend minimal time and take minimal risk, then you fall on the passive side of the investing. Everything in between is kind of for people with different degrees of control, time, and risk that they have and that would really define the whole spectrum.
So listeners, if you are deciding on which one is right fit for you, these are the three parameters that you have to look at when you are thinking of what really is good for you.
Matt: I want to add on to that. I wouldn’t be swayed by the money. Because a lot of people that I talk to tell me they want to go active, because they hear the money. They hear that, “Well, I can make more money. I can make a higher return on my capital if I’m active.” They get blinded by the money. They see the folks that are putting action into the deal making. They say, “I can make that myself.” You could but what you don’t get is that there’s time associated with earning that and then producing that revenue. You’ve got to weigh out all the factors and look at the money of course, but look at that along with everything else.
Pancham: Right. Exactly. Thanks for sharing that. Anything else you would like to add before we go to the next section of our show, which we call Taking The Leap around?
Matt: No, let’s do it.
Taking The Leap
Pancham: Alright. These are the four questions I ask every guest on the show.
My first question is when was the first time you invested outside of the Wall Street?
Matt: I want to say it was when I bought… It’s probably when I bought my house hack. But I’m really trying to wrack my brain and think of other things I had, like maybe small businesses I had or something like that. Can I say business entrepreneurship? Would you count that?
Pancham: Yes, absolutely.
Matt: All right. When I was 19 years old, I worked for a local farmer in my hometown, Baltimore, around there. He would give you a pickup truck. He gave you the truck and you would fill the truck up with fruits and vegetables and a lot of corn. You would go and sell that product on the side of the road. But you had to invest in a certain amount of inventory. He viewed you as a 1099 independent contractor. You were not an employee of his. So, there were certain investments that you had to make to get yourself set up with him as a vendor of his.
I most likely as a kid had some other stuff going on earlier. I would say like a small entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship stuff as a kid. But the one that I can think of that was most lucrative was this one, selling corn and produce on the side of the road. Which was a lot of fun. Read lot of books, got a great tan, really enjoyed it. But it was one of those things where I had to make a small investment to produce the revenue.
Pancham: Great. That sounds cool.
Matt: It’s fun.
Pancham: My next question is what fears did you have to overcome when you first invested outside of the Wall Street?
Matt: Yeah, it was a bad… There is a myth that Wall Street is safe and secure and predictable. So, I had to get beyond that myth to realize that I really should be investing in something that I can control. But there still was the fear of the unknown, of what’s going to happen, what if I lose my money or whatever. Which is so funny, because when people invest in Wall Street, they don’t have those thoughts like what if it goes down? What if this happens? What if that happens? People don’t think about that enough when it comes to Wall Street. They just trust their financial advisor or trust their financial planner. You just go dump money into the Wall Street product. Even whether it goes up or down. Now I go, okay, and I’m sure invest for the long term all that stuff.
Pancham: Right. With Wall Street I have seen that people do not even pay attention to the fees that is associated with it. 401k’s…
Matt: That’s because it’s hidden. It’s not disclosed. It’s a shame that those organizations are not required to say here was your gross profit and now here’s your net profit. Let’s examine how much of what you made, of what you actually made on the growth side had to get paid to your financial planner and a commission and an overhead for their organization in just pork and fat in you know, things that are all skimming off the top. Right?
Pancham: Right. Exactly.
Can you share with us one investment that did not go as expected?
Matt: We had a lot of fix and flips. Fix and flips were kind of a gamble in some ways. I like them. I like the action of getting in and physically creating a new space and renovations. I enjoy. I love everything about fix and flips. I just don’t like the unpredictability of them. You work your butt off to create this product and then you go put it on the market and there’s seven other houses just like that for sale and so it’s going to sit even though it’s a beautiful, beautiful product.
We’ve had several fix and flips go upside down. We weren’t able to pay the lender off and had to go inside out own pocket. On many, many fix and flips, the lender made more than we did. That happened a lot. So, I would say that we did number of projects like that and it really got sideways.
Rentals are very forgiving. I find that the longer you hold a rental, the more forgiving they can be, even if they don’t do well in the beginning. The rentals that I had that didn’t do well, I just held them long enough and they just started to behave themselves over time.
Pancham: Exactly. I have the same experience. Fix and flip – I find it’s a job.
Matt: It’s a risky job too. It can be very lucrative, risky job.
Matt: And there’s a lure to them partly because of all the TV shows that are out there about the money.
Matt: Really, it’s criminal, they really dumb down and make it seem so simple. You just go and put carpet and paint in the house and you make a 100 grand. It doesn’t work like that.
Pancham: It does not.
Pancham: It does not. All right.
The final question of the show: What is one piece of advice would you give to people who are thinking of investing in the Main Street that is outside the Wall Street?
Matt: I would say is to get to know your operator. That’s what’s great about investing on Main Street. If you want to buy Microsoft stock, the owner of Microsoft or the CEO of Microsoft is probably not going to be able to meet you for coffee. But if you want to invest in a syndication or in a Main street project or even if you want to take your IRA and loan it to the guy that runs the coffee shop, it’s the real thing. I’ve heard of this.
An investor, friend of mine had an IRA and loaned it to the guy that ran the coffee shop down the street from his house. That guy with a coffee shop, went out and opened up another coffee shop, opened up a chain. He started to franchise his business through private loan from this guy and his IRA, right? Because he trusted him. He went in there and bought his coffee there every day anyway. So, why wouldn’t you work with him? Right? I think that investing in Main Street allows you to reach out directly and get to know the person that’s working with your capital direct – hands-on. That’s why I think that investing on Main Street is 10 times better than investing in Wall Street because there’s a big curtain in front of Wall Street and you really don’t know what’s going on behind that curtain. Whereas with investing in Main Street, you invest with someone who’s willing to show you what’s going on behind the scenes if you ask.
Pancham: Exactly. And there is transparency and no middle man in terms of the fees.
Matt: Yeah. Right.
Pancham: Cool. Thank you for answering all those questions, Matt. So, how can listeners really reach you? You want to talk about the book that you recently published?
I wrote a book called Raising Private Capital and it talks about different people. There is the world of syndications or in the world of assembling Passive and Active Investments and I love that you use that analogy.
The Active investor I call the deal provider and then the Passive investor I call the cash provider because the primary activity the cash provider is dealing with is putting money into a deal. The book speaks to motives and incentives and mindset for both of those people, deal providers and cash providers. I think that it’s a great book for someone looking to invest in passive assets. It’s also a good book for someone looking to generate and create passive assets, through and being an operator. Through active efforts they then enroll people to get involved with passively. It’s a lot of lessons and true life stories that I’ve learned over the last 13 years of investing full time. It’s something that I’m really excited about. I got the opportunity to share it through biggerpockets.com. It is the publisher of the book. It’s something that I’m super excited that they gave me the space to create the book and I really put a lot of what I know into it.
Pancham: Great. Thank you Matt, for your time today. My listeners, I will leave you with this: “Spend time in thinking about what you really want to do, and think in terms of time, time commitment, control, and risk, and you will know exactly what gels with your mindset.”
Thanks again, Matt!
Matt: Thank you Pancham. Great being with you.
Pancham: Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the thought that you have no time after work and family time to learn about investing? Do you feel left behind that you are not putting your money to work for you? Do you want to create passive income but you do not know where to start? If so I have good news for you. I have created an investor club which I call “The Gold Collar Investor Club” for accredited investors. I will be putting together investing opportunities exclusively for this group. These are the opportunities where I have done my part of the due diligence for you and will be investing my own money alongside you. If you are interested, please sign up on thegoldcollarinvestor.com/club. I will reach out to schedule a 30 minute phone conversation to discuss your investing goals once you sign up. This can be a good opportunity to diversify and take some chips off the hands of Wall Street to produce some cash flow. In case you are wondering what is an accredited investor, accredited investor is someone who has earned more than $200,000 as filing single or more than $300,000 filing jointly for the last two years. Another way to qualify as an accredited investor is if your total network is more than $1 million excluding your personal home. It includes your stocks, 401k’s, IRA’s, cars, etc. Just not the equity in your personal home. If this is you, I would highly encourage you to sign up.
Thanks for listening. If you have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s p as in Paul @thegoldcollarinvestor.com. This is Pancham… Signing off… until next time… Take care!
Thank you for listening to The Gold Collar Investor podcast. If you love what you’ve heard and you want more of Pancham Gupta visit us at www.thegoldcollarinvestor.com and follow us on Facebook at @thegoldcollarinvestor. The information on this podcast or opinions. As always. Please consult with your own financial team before investing.