TGCI 120: Engineer – MBA – Travelling Management consultant – Real Estate Investing

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Episode 120: Engineer -> MBA -> Travelling Management consultant -> Real Estate Investing

Copy of EP #18 - 2 Guests

Summary

In today’s show, Pancham interviews David Kamara – Founder, Managing Director, and Investor of Cape Sierra Capital.

David was a travelling management consultant when his 8-year-old daughter asked him, “Are you still going to work tomorrow?”. That one question became a wake-up call for him that changed his life. Now with owning over 200 units and managing a portfolio of investors for almost 400 units, he’s surely on the right path in achieving financial freedom!

In this episode, listen to his journey of financial success as he shares his different professional backgrounds before he finally became a real estate investor. Learn as he will also share the challenges, the dynamic shifts and how he fully transitioned into multifamily investing that made him who he is today!

Listen and enjoy the show!

PanchamHeadshotTGCI
Pancham Gupta
Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 9.27.00 AM
David Kamara

Tune in to this show and enjoy!

Copy of Quote #00 - 1 Guest

Timestamped Shownotes:

  • 1:33 – Pancham introduces David to the show
  • 2:29 – His ventures before he became a real estate investor
  • 6:03 – How his daughter got him to find financial independence
  • 9:22 – On realizing investing is not only a side hustle
  • 15:02 – The challenge from transitioning to multifamily investing
  • 19:17 – What Cape Sierra Capital prioritizes in deals
  • 22:13 – How technical skills can benefit in investing
  • 26:51 – How jogging helps with refocusing his mindset
  • 29:01 – Taking the Leap Round
  • 29:01 – His first business ventures and investments
  • 30:11 – Overcoming his fear of uncertainty in investing
  • 31:11 – How his multifamily investment got caught on fire (and learning the importance of insurances)
  • 34:57 – His overflowing advices to investors
  • 37:24 – Where to get his free eBook “The Personal Cash Flow Formula”

3 Key Points:

  1. Spending quality time with family became his biggest factor to achieve financial independence.
  2. To have at least a certainty that you’ll get enough returns, diversify and don’t put all your assets in one place.
  3. Get educated and ask objective questions if you want to start investing. But, don’t simply ask questions but also take action in what you’ve learned so far. 

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Read Full Transcript

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.

Hi there, I’m Robert Helms host of The Real Estate Guys radio program and if you want to have better results in your life you gotta put better ideas in your mind. You’re in the right place. You’re at The Gold Collar Investor podcast.

Pancham Gupta: Welcome to The Gold Collar Investor Podcast. This is your host, Pancham.  Really appreciate you for tuning in today. It is just a pure coincidence that lately I have been getting engineers who found financial freedom through real estate investing on the show. Today again, we have a fellow engineer in the house. David’s story is something that many immigrants can relate to. He was born in Ukraine and then found success and financial freedom here in the US. He came to the US thinking that he will become a doctor but found the cost of becoming a doctor to be very high. He couldn’t get a student loan because he was an international student. He was good at with computer science and math. So, he took the route of becoming an engineer. Eventually he became a management consultant and was traveling a lot for his work. One day, his eight-year-old daughter asked him, “are you going to work?” which meant that he is not going to be home for some time. That moment changed the course of life for David. Before we get into today’s show, a bit about David’s background. David Kamara came to the US as a student at age of 17. After getting his degree in computer science, and with multiple technology offers to go to Silicon Valley, David opted to go to Chicago instead. David earned his MBA from Chicago’s Booth School of Business and started his management consulting CIO advisory and real estate investing business. Today, David and his wife Jessica owns over 200 units themselves and manage portfolio for almost 400 units for the investors. Hey David, welcome to the show.

 

David: Thank you very much, Pancham. Great to be here.

 

Pancham Gupta: It’s always fun to talk to a fellow engineer. This time, we have a computer science engineer in the house. So, David, are you ready to fire up my listener break out of Wall Street investments?

 

David: Absolutely! Let’s do it Pancham

 

Pancham Gupta: Awesome. Looking forward to it. So, David, tell our listeners about your background and more importantly, the person behind that background. I know you came here, you immigrated to this country just like I did.

 

David: Yeah, I think like many engineers, we come to the west and looking for education. Because I mean, this country is great known for education worldwide. I almost kind of feel like growing outside of the United States, you’re almost forced to learn about the United States through just pop culture and movies and news, you always follow. But yes, my story is I was born in Ukraine, former Soviet Union My dad was studying and the former Soviet Union. My dad’s a medical doctor, or my mom kind of kept in there until he got his PhD and did postgraduate studies. My dad is from West Africa. See early on, when he finished, we moved to Sierra Leone, which is part of the Commonwealth, British colony, West Africa, very fun childhood, both in Ukraine and in Sierra Leone. However, we had some military coups and the 90s is not very uncommon, unfortunately. But long story short, I ended up in the United States for school. Came as a as a visitor transfer to a student and really was interested in pursuing a medical degree. My dad being adopted, I’ve done some work with my dad at home. I had assisted had seen him help a lot of people and I quickly found out that it’s very expensive to become a medical doctor in the United States. And then I looked around and said, well, what else am I interested in? And this was the late 90s. It was kind of fun to hear about all the challenges with the y2k thing coming up. In any case, I was really good at math. I took some computer science classes, I was fascinated by the subject, and ended up with a computer science degree. That’s the quick, quick, short background, ended up living in Chicago, working for an industrial firm writing some custom software to automate things and business and ended up getting my MBA from University of Chicago, transitioned to management consulting, and then ended up starting my own consulting business where we focused on CIO advisory and through those years kind of started with single family investing and transition to multifamily investing much later on. That’s a quick summary and we can dive into it further.

 

Pancham Gupta: Yeah, sure. So, when you said that, you know, you looked into you wanted to be a medical doctor, and the only reason you kind of did not pursue that was because you felt that it was much very expensive to become a doctor here in the US.

 

David: That is true. So, for a while that actually my dad was pretty upset with me. My dad is a surgeon, he’s got a clinic back home and I have assisted him with surgeries because I’ve got used to do that as a kid. But I actually performed an appendectomy when I was 17, with my dad assisting and making sure everything was good. So, when I got here, my first few years, I tried to go, you know, do all the things to make your resume look good for medical school so I volunteered at hospitals. I worked with gentleman who was quadriplegic, but I couldn’t do volunteer in a hospital setting, right. They don’t allow you to do that until you’re really in postgraduate. And the next thing that was a bit of a challenge is the fact that education, medical school is so expensive. But also, if you’re a foreign student, I found out that there’s actually very few loans available to you, because I think the banks see you as a flight risk. Some people I guess, must have completed their education, and then just left and went back home and never paid their loans. So, it was just frankly, impossible to go to med school unless you had a scholarship. We had the funding, which I didn’t have

 

Pancham Gupta: got it. And then you kind of transitioned into math and computer science and you got your degree in. And so, you got your management degree as well. So, did you work during this time as a full-time job? I know you started your consulting as a business on the side.

 

David: Yeah, so my story specifically was undergraduate in computer science, and then went to work for this company in Chicago, the suburbs of Chicago. They paid for graduate school. So, to them, I was able to get my MBA and actually got a master’s in liberal arts as well, while working. So, this was going part time, evening and weekend. And once I had my MBA, I transitioned into management consulting work for a company called PRTM, which focused on operations strategy, which was, you know, back in the days, guaranteed was very well known for having a lot of technical people on staff. So, they’d hire PhDs or people that had actually spent a lot of time in a particular subject matter. We’re part of the software and services group. And a lot of our clients are actually Silicon Valley clients and Facebook’s, the Apples of the world, the Googles of the world very well, we had an office in Mountain View. The transition was PRTM got acquired by PWC and I did that for that went to Ernst and Young. And then after Ernst and Young, worked at a firm in New York, doing very similar things, and then finally started my own firm, full time doing CIO advisory matter consulting. And it was during that period, when I mean, things were going very well, the money was very good, but I was still traveling a time.  We had moved back to Michigan from Chicago at the time. And my oldest daughter was about eight. And one evening, we had a conversation about she said, “Dad, are you still going to be going to work tomorrow, right”, which really meant, am I not going to see you for a few days, because you’re going to be traveling. And so yeah, it was kind of a tough wake up conversation that then I spoke to my wife and I said, we need to do something better. Because at that point, we already invested in a few single-family houses, that was working very well. But it hadn’t scaled, right, we didn’t scale it up and we knew the model worked, we just needed to 10x, the model at 20x the model. And so that’s when we had that conversation and said, we really need to take this more seriously, we had the money. So, the first number of deals first, I think 150 units, so we bought for ourselves with no intention of creating a syndication business.  We literally were trying to get to me being at home more and not having to travel as much which we accomplished. And of course, a lot of like, I was very excited about this space. And I was speaking to my clients who said, you know what, this whole thing you’re talking about, this is very interesting. We have always wanted to be diversified into real estate, but we never wanted to receive the phone calls about toilets being clogged and things that we don’t want to deal with. So, what you’re talking about actually offers a very interesting way to get involved in this. So, we’d like to invest with you. So that’s really how the whole syndication for me happened. Like I really wasn’t looking to go out and find money to buy too many deals. We’re just looking to do things for ourselves. And I mean, at the end of the day, my wife and I thought about it and said, well, I mean, it makes sense. We can do more deals, we can diversify risk and have more tenants, which further diversifies risk. So, there’s really just mostly upside to this. So, let’s do it.

 

Pancham Gupta: Got it. So, you know, I want to transition, you said something interesting that your eight-year-old tells you know ask you this question that are you going to go to work. And that meant that you will be away. And you said that you had invested in some single-family homes, like you know, you wanted to be a doctor, you ended up being a computer science engineer, and then into management consulting and being a management guy and on the side, you invest in few single-family homes. When was it that you realize that you know, this is something that something that’s not on the side, but something that I can make as my full-time business, right? So how did that transition happen? Like that this thing can work.

 

David: Yeah, yeah, no. So, the first realization was when my wife and I moved to Chicago, we lived in the city for the first year, it was, you know, live in big city, second, or third largest city in the country, very exciting, great downtown area, you know, like all of that were young when I’m early 20s. And then we bought our first house, right. And that whole process was just a very big education really, for me personally. And just, you know, I mean, you come from outside of the United States, you kind of have this perspective of whenever you buy something, you buy a cash or as you buy a house, in India, wherever it’s like, if you don’t have the cash, you probably not buy, right.

 

Pancham Gupta: It’s so true. That part is so true. Like, you know, buying everything on that was something very, it, well a mind shift.

 

David: Yeah, yeah, it was just a big eye opener, I was like, wait, I only need to put down like 5% or 10% to buy this house and that’s it. And then I just keep on making payments. And my rent is actually cheaper than what I was paying in my apartment. Like that’s a big lightbulb really moment. So, I got extremely interested in the whole space. And I read a bunch of books at that time, my wife and I went to a number of conferences, I took her to some of the first ones she maybe wasn’t very interested in going but I was like, hey, this is very interesting. So, at that point, yeah, this deed was definitely sewn, that this single-family investing kind of makes sense. We never, of course, had a ton of money, right? We just started, I mean, working, sure, a tech career is as well compensated, but we’re just starting at the very beginning. So, we just bought our place. My wife just started working as well. She was working for a health insurance company at the time in Chicago. So, the plan was there. And so, a few years after that, we bought the first duplex and triplex was 2006, which we did that just to like, test the waters and see how it goes and it went, well, I was self-managing those while working full time, right. A few years after that, we bought another house, which was in the same town, we lived in Forest Park, which is right next to a park 10 miles outside of downtown Chicago. And that went well. And then of course, right after that was the whole 2008, we’ll get back to the situation, which for us was fine. I mean, our jobs were okay, I ended up right at that time, kind of moving to the medical consulting, because I just finished my MBA and with that job shift, and there was a bit of a change in lifestyle, and that now I was much busier, right. So, I was traveling a lot more.

 

Pancham Gupta: But this 2008 crisis, you know, did that really put a dent in your confidence in terms of oh, you know, decide investing? And let’s put it on the side? Yeah, whatever I have, you know, I’m going to keep it. But let’s just put it on the side.

 

David: Yeah. So, I don’t think there was a very, it wasn’t a big decision point for us. I think it was more of a lot was happening at that time for us in our life. So, we had our first daughter in 2007. So, there’s just like a lot of just family dynamic shifts, right, without parents and figuring out how to be parents and juggle all that while working. I was completing my degree, part time. So, there’s just a busy period. And then of course, transitioning to management consulting.  One of our tenants in the single-family home that we had at the time, ended up falling behind on payments for a little bit, which I mean, it was painful, but it wasn’t crazy. And then we got another tenant that was okay after that. So, I think it was just, we weren’t as focused on the investing side at that point. And frankly, had I really been paying attention, right. I think that was like if you speak to people, that was a time when most people got into this space heavily, right? Because assets were so discounted, and they made a ton of sense. For us, it was just a very busy time, from our family perspective with becoming young parents trying to juggle both my wife and I and grad degrees at the time. And then transitioning to this management consulting career, which kind of really changed our family dynamics, I was not traveling on the road. And for anyone who has been in management consulting, it’s very exciting. It’s very challenging work. But again, it’s you kind of have to adjust your life expectations because you’re typically on the road three days, four days, a week, many weeks a year, I think my, one of the first few years, I think I travel upwards of 45 weeks a year, 46 for a year. And it’s great from the perspective of you get all these points that all the hotels and flights and all the whatever car rental places that I mean, you go on vacation for free, essentially, and you stay in the best places, because you have the status is on such, but it definitely adjusts your family life expectations. And so that period, we didn’t capitalize on and looking back, I definitely look back and say, wow, we could have bought so many things at discount then. Didn’t do that then, but um, once we moved back to Michigan, again kind of said, oh, we should continue this. But it wasn’t a focus, right. I think Korea was going really well and getting promotions. You’re getting big bonuses; you’re doing really well. It was just not as much focus. So, I would say that’s what that period was for us. 

 

Pancham Gupta: Okay.  So, let’s shift gears to now actually where you are today, from that point on time when you your management consulting was going really great to your eight-year-old asking you, are you gone? And then you started buying more and more to now where you have, I don’t know, like 150 homes and syndication business, right? So, tell us about the shift. And when did you actually quit your full-time job?

 

David: Yeah, so I actually quit my full-time job in 2016. And again, when I quit full time working for an employer, that was when we started our own magical consulting firm, full time. So, we were doing very similar work essentially had a number of private equity clients, energy corporate clients, that essentially, were very impressed with the type of work we were doing. And I had a number of colleagues that were thinking the same way, I’m saying we could do this ourselves; we don’t need a big firm name to do something. So, we went out on our own and service clients, that still meant we were working just as hard and selling even harder, right, you have to sell to, if you’re on your own to make sure that there’s money coming in. But I mean, there’s just so much nice, from a less bureaucracy perspective, and you’re dealing with the clients directly, your kind of setting your own terms, you’re negotiating your own pricing, you can charge your clients less, but keep more personally, because you’re not paying for the fancy office in Manhattan, another fancy office in San Chicago, wherever it is. So just a lot less overhead. And that worked really well. So, at this point, essentially, I mean, I’m working for myself, I have a team that I’m working with that we trust, and everything’s going well. And the money is really good, right. So, this is where we had that conversation with my daughter and at that point, we started buying multifamily. So, we bought four or five projects, 40 units, 37 units, 48 units, and those were just hours, right. So, we just essentially said, let’s do this and let’s go. So, the challenge was, I guess, conversation with my wife, and the conversation was, how do we do this? And do we feel comfortable doing it? From a financial perspective, we were there so it wasn’t too much of a leap and from, I guess, 

 

Pancham Gupta: From the mindset perspective, like going from a single family to 37 or 40 units, like how did that happen?

 

David: Yeah, so that definitely was a little difficult in that. It’s just much larger numbers, right. So yeah, I basically looked around and said, I could probably stumble through it and figure it out, but I want to move quickly, I want to go fast. I don’t want to sit here and figure it out right from, from a tech guy perspective, right? Well, let’s talk about code reuse, right? Don’t have to rewrite the code, right? Go use somebody’s library, right? The STL or whatever it is that you’re using, whatever libraries that you can import into your code file that can be just call the function. So, for me what I did there was how do I leapfrog the kind of whole learning experience. So, I went out and found a mentor. I’ve had a mentor, actually person who was in Michigan as well work with them very closely. And I mean, it was a very great experience. What I specifically was looking for at the time was, I wanted to be able to call someone on a specific deal I’m working on an ask them specific questions, right? For me, the idea was the money that I’m going to pay this person I’m probably going to recoup in the first one or two mistakes I make, right? Because again, now you’re dealing with much larger numbers, I mean, tax scenarios and how to structure things. That experience for you is very valuable. And I definitely recommend it to anybody who wants to be active and wants to get to accelerate progress. I mean, we all do this, right? I mean, the reason you go to college and pay whatever tuition is for any college is not just for the credentials, it’s more to get the experience and move forward and ask that knowledge. Yeah, exactly. So, this, I viewed this as the same thing, and it worked out really well. So that was kind of the next week, but from a mindset perspective, we already had single family homes and some duplexes and triplexes. So, we knew the model worked. That was not so much a mental leap for us, it was more of I don’t know how this works for 40-unit property, for example, right? What are the new questions I need to be asking? And that’s where that was very helpful.

 

Pancham Gupta: Got it. So, what do you like, you know, after you did all of that, what do you do today? What does your company do today?

 

David: Yeah, so today, we’re actually in a very comfortable position of not having to do a deal a month or a deal every six months. We are very selective about what we choose to get involved with. We still invest our own money in any deal that we do. We still buy deals for ourselves only because again, from my perspective, it’s more about generational wealth, how do we create wealth that just continues and I mean, if you think about it, like when I, most of my investors that people I used to work with and people that I know very well professionally and personally so I take it very seriously right? And I try to explain everything I do, I’m very, very upfront about it. But I guess we look at deals in places where we feel we have a unique advantage. So, for that reason, we’ve kind of stayed mostly close to home. So, we have some property in Metro Chicago, because we know the area, we exited some of our investments in Indiana, we have the majority of other owner other investments right now in Michigan. And that is because we have a really good partner in a property management company, we actually give them GP for some of the investments for our investments, because again, in your ability to execute a business plan, that depends on the people managing it. And so, your property manager is one of the most important partners you have, as you well know. So, for us, we like what they do, they prove themselves in a couple different properties, they manage it for us, which was really helpful. There are some more challenging situations that they did extremely well and, and that is very important. So, we would like to move to the southeast and invest in some of these higher growth demographic areas. The pricing, there isn’t as good right. What’s to look at, and we invest for cash flow, right. So, what our company does today is we look at places where we can add value where we have an advantage and where our returns are very, like the certainty of returns is very high. So, if you look at the returns in this space, they will extend from two tranches right, tranche one is your cash-on-cash return, price two is any kind of improvement to the property appreciation on sale or, or disposition or refinance. And we really highly value that first tranche, which is the cash-on-cash return. And so, what that means is we look at very stable properties, everything 90% loss, occupied, that’s what we look at it no bread and butter. And appreciation will do what it’ll do cap rates will do what they’ll do, you can’t really control that too much. We will do some live value ads, right, we’ll come in and renovate kitchens and bathrooms and floors but we’re not trying to do mass rehabs of 200 units.  We try to stay away from those just not our forte not to say that that’s a bad approach. Just we try to minimize the variables we tackle.

 

Pancham Gupta: Got it. Cool. So that’s great. David, this is awesome. So, I want to actually ask you a question, completely shift gears. So, someone who’s listening right now, either they are in management consulting, I know a lot of my friends are in management consulting, in this day and age, and also a lot of friends or, you know, computer science engineers and other kinds of engineers. They’re listening to your story and they might be thinking, you know, what, David got really lucky. He started at the time when the market actually crashed and he’s in management, consulting, you know, he’s making good money. And he’s he actually started investing on the side. And things worked out really well market went up and up. And, you know, he’s very lucky. What would you say to someone who is actually thinking and he’s doing analysis, paralysis, totally paralyzed by the analysis of the situation, the market going up and up, and, you know, COVID, and all the other things that are happening around you, and they’re thinking, you know, what, you know, I want to get into this space, where it’s just not the right time? What would you say to them?

 

David: Yeah, I speak to a lot of those people. These are your I mean, typical gold collar investors, right. So, I love the term you coined, or the gold collar investor, meaning somebody who’s highly paid, very educated, typically, and frankly, able to make certain investments that others may not be. I mean, I have a friend, a business school friend who had a very similar conversation. He is very technical, he’s very analytical. And, you know, my advice really is go do something, right. You have to act. Yes, don’t dive into something blind by any means. That’s not a good strategy. Apply all the scientific things, right. So, you want to ask interesting, objective questions and get good answers to them. But at some point, you need to essentially, make sure that you get enough certainty to move forward, you’re not going to get 100% certainty, that’s not going to happen, right? There’s still, it’s still a business, there’s still risks. The thing I would say about real estate, though, is it’s a much simpler business. It’s a much simpler business then most of us have ever worked at, right. If you’ve worked in a consulting business, that’s a services business. There’s so much concern about like demand, right? Where the project’s going to come from? If you’re working in a product business, there’s concerns about demand, there’s concerns about the supply chain, there’s so many different questions. With real estate. I mean, really, it’s very simple. So, if you think about just demographics on this planet, forget the country, right? I mean, in 1980, there were only about 4 billion people on the planet. Today we’re approaching 8 billion. That’s only 40 years, right? In the United States in 1980, there were about 220 million people. Today, it’s 330 plus million people, right? So, all of those people need to live somewhere. And so, housing, just by default, is a basic need. And again, I’m extremely confident that it’s not that difficult to make the right investment, right. So just like any other investment, you want to diversify, I wouldn’t say go put all your money with David or go put all your money with Pancham, put it everywhere, right? Drop a little bit in different places in terms of operators. You also want to look at where are these people investing, right? Okay, I’m investing in the Midwest, you’re investing the southeast, some people are investing in Colorado, put it in different places, right, you can easily find what the growth states are even within whatever the states are, you want to look at what’s the what’s the strategy. But my general point is really what I’m trying to, to, I guess, open people’s minds to is, you want to diversify beyond Wall Street. And I think that’s kind of one of the themes that you teach as well, that’s definitely very valid and good. But in terms of the returns, like a mediocre return in real estate is 8% a year, that’s a mediocre return. That’s if somebody really didn’t do well, you know, and if you look at the stock market in the past 20 years, you averaged about 8%. And that’s before taxes. Now, real estate, a super advantage from a tax perspective, and that it just so many other ways you can win. So, I’m kind of rambling now. But my main point to some of my technical colleagues is get educated and do something.  Don’t keep on educating yourself without taking any action, because at some point that doesn’t you know.

 

Pancham Gupta: Engineers. Alright, great. Thank you. David, I have one last question for you. Before we move on to the next section of the show. Do you have a morning routine that you follow? If so, do you think that attributes to your success? And what is it?

 

David: I am not extremely strict in my morning routine, I’m definitely a morning person. And I think this was, again, something that was helpful in consulting years, because you find yourself in whatever city you just wake up. And you have, I mean, depends on where you are, there’s not a certainty of what’s going on. So, I used to run a lot, and I still run my life, and I was still running around a little bit less, we used to wake up and just get out there and run, right. And the great thing about running is, you can be in the cornfield, or you can be in New York City, there’s always fun places to run and discover and just kind of, you know, there in the morning, you’re refocusing your mind, you’re figuring out what you need to get accomplished. I’m not as strict about it today. But today, my wife and I typically run during our lunch hour. We both are fortunate enough to work during this pandemic from home. But in general, we have that flexibility. And I used to run marathons. And that was a totally separate, fun thing to do. I do believe that yes, the way you wake up does help. A great book is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, who actually had the pleasure of hearing speak in person. I think it’s very helpful to feed your mind, right? Whether you’re a morning person, a night person, you can just always be on break, right? You need to give your mind something productive. You definitely need a break. So again, Netflix is fun, but you can always be on Netflix, I get this my advice. 

 

Pancham Gupta: Great. Thank you, David for sharing your thoughts here. And we’ll be back after this message… If you want to know the top six reasons on why you should consider diversifying outside of the Wall Street, then you are in the right place. I have written a free report for you. It goes into not just the top six reasons why investing in stocks for one case may not be the sound strategy. But also, what are the alternatives. Get your free report today on thegoldcollarinvestor.com/download. I repeat, thegoldcollar investor.com/download… So, David, let’s move on to the second part of the show which I call taking the leap, I ask these four questions to every guest on the show. My first question for you is when was the first time you invested outside of Wall Street? Was it that house that you bought in 2006?

 

David: Yeah, well, I guess maybe a little bit back, right. Growing up in West Africa, I used to sell cigarettes when I was like 11 years old. So that was like my very first business. And then I sold drinks, right? I sold soft drinks at my dad’s clinic. And when I got to the states at the University of Michigan, you know football is very big. I don’t like football. What is this all about? So, I went and bought like a whole bunch of Michigan gear for football Saturday mornings, and I was out there like selling gear. So, I was always kind of like an entrepreneur so that I mean I guess it’s not really an investment but it’s a business. Another fun one is, one summer I actually rented an ice cream truck, and I was like driving the neighborhood looking for all the fields and the baseball fields where the kids play and like that too and keeps on ringing in your head like you know it’s the time but yeah, the first real investment outside of Wall Street was the duplex and triplex that we bought in 2006. And that was a great experience because it kind of opened the door to a lot of learning. 

 

Pancham Gupta: Wait, cool. Did you have any fears that you had to overcome when you first invest in that duplex or triplex? I’m sure selling cigarettes you didn’t have any fears, but at the age of 11,

 

David: Again, different country, different jurisdictions, but yes, the fear is where, can we afford this? And can we afford to lose this investment if it doesn’t pan out? And so, this is where the analytical side of you is helpful, right? You do your research, you talk to people you talk to, you talk to, and this one was single family, right? So, I’ve talked to the brokers go drive the neighborhood, my favorite at the time, and still is really is going to talk to the fire department, right? Ask them questions about this neighborhood, because they’re very objective. They don’t want to sell it to you. They don’t want to not sell it to you. They’re just there. And they’ll tell you, we get calls to this block, or we don’t get any calls to this block. So just do your research. I mean, at the end of the day, if you want to have a different outcome in life, you have to do something else, you have to do something different. And so that’s my advice. Do your research for that -inaudible-.

 

Pancham Gupta: Right, cool. My third question for you is, can you share with us one investment that did not go as expected?

 

David: Yes. So, one of our one of our multifamily investments. This one was interesting. And this is where I said, a property manager actually kind of really proved themselves. So, we bought this property. It was in the summer. So, we closed, let’s say, the middle of the month, right? Two weeks later, we were all set. My wife and kids were on a Disney Cruise. Having fun, like, literally we’re pulling away from the shore. And again, this call, no, I get a text. So, if you haven’t been on a cruise, reception is very spotty, depending on where you are, right? So, you’re pulling away from shore. There’re no satellite dishes, so to speak, focused in that area. Again, this text and it’s a picture that’s coming through, and it’s a burning building. And looking at this thing, and I text right back, I’m like, is this for me? It’s coming from my property manager. And he’s like, yeah, this is the building you just bought. And so, I’m like, drop everything. This is, I mean, the Disney Cruise is really fancy. They had a really nice dinner, laid out with the characters, and try to get to the top deck to get some reception. And I tried to call and of course, I’m hearing every third or fourth word. And he’s like, yes, the building is on fire. What I’m catching is everybody got out, so nobody is hurt. So that’s good. But I’m on my way there right now. He’s saying, so I’m like, Okay, so what’s happening, like, give me more information. And literally, the reception is just horrible. So finally, this guy is like, Listen, I’m on my way there. I have other people on the way there. Everybody got out, there’s nothing you can do about it. Enjoy your cruise, it will be okay. And he hangs up. like man, it’s just crazy. So, I bought a special data plan on the cruise. And of course, that doesn’t give you much reception neither. You know, it’s just horrible. But again, through that time, that was a tough week. And that I mean, I literally couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t helicopter out of there to go to this place. But he was nice enough that I mean, they were there that night, too. I think like 3am. So, the whole building went up in smoke was caused by a cooking fire. Everybody got out, we were able to move the tenants to whatever open units we had, which were not too many. We set up a GoFundMe for the other tenants. And, interestingly, our insurance covered the whole thing. So essentially, I guess my advice here is don’t overlook your insurance policies, those are important, they do come in handy. Um, it was just a like, really a trial by fire type of a linear experience. And that, I mean, this is not something you have a plan for, let alone this was this was literally a few weeks after we closed on this property. So, there’s just a massive learning experience. And then of course, trying to work with insurance and figure out what’s covered what’s not covered, what are they going to pay for just going back and forth. That’s, that’s a whole set of project management on its own that you need to deal with. But that was definitely not planned and go as expected, but overall, ended up being okay. And again, just due to having good advice on getting the right insurance people involved. And, again, that happened beforehand. So again, in a way, maybe we were a little bit lucky, but it was a great learning experience for sure. 

 

Pancham Gupta: Well, thank you for sharing that. The one question there is did you enjoy your cruise?

 

David: It was, I have to say it was less enjoyable than it could have been. But yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, having four kids in the right kind of ages, it was a great experience. I mean for, I’ve never been on a cruise before. My wife and I always kind of like to go somewhere and join the local people joining the culture and just see the sights and sounds and this was really the first cruise we did but the Disney Cruise definitely delivered, and I encouraged and recommend it to those that have kids

 

Pancham Gupta: Cool. My last question for you is what one piece of advice is would you give to people who are thinking of investing in main street that is outside of Wall Street, this is the same thing, get educated, that you mentioned.

 

David: Yeah, the first thing is that this is not taught much, right. I think we all kind of stumbled onto it. And I mean, multifamily is just one place, right? I mean, there are so many other things you can invest in. And frankly, I ended up writing an E book on this called the personal cash flow formula, where I look at a bunch of different asset classes and who can invest and how open is it? And what are the pros and cons, essentially, how liquid is investment? How illiquid is that what are the risks? Definitely get educated. And I mean, to anyone, I would just say, you have to do what’s comfortable for you, right? Everybody has their own degree of comfort, and everyone has their own risk aversion or risk affinity, you have to know yourself, right? And you have to know what you’re comfortable with. If you’re okay with I mean, like we just had in the last few weeks, read the whole rotation out of tech stocks. And all these I mean, Apple and Facebook and Tesla like dump like dumping 30% and a few weeks, great if you can take that pain, great. And I know those stocks bounce back in its rotation, because we think we’re approaching a place where the pandemic is at a waning and maybe there’s much more regular things that are becoming mainstream, such as cruises, those stocks are going up, airline stocks are going up. That’s fine. But you really have zero control, right. And that’s the problem I had with my stock investing. I did extremely well in stocks. My journey actually started in stocks. And I managed my own portfolio, which is very contrary to anything they teach in business school, right and business school, they teach you go buy index funds, right away and never touch it. And that strategy works. The issue for me is I didn’t want to wait till I was 60 years old, right? I didn’t want to wait and not be able to take that money out. So, stocks are great, but they have a ton of limitations. Most people are kind of taught that that’s the only way and don’t really look past it, right. And if you think about it, I mean, the Wall Street machine has billions of dollars, and they have a lot of money that they could use to market, to educate people. That’s the only way and they think that’s where most people find themselves. But there’s many other options, especially for gold collar investors. And I definitely recommend that people get educated and see what fits their profile

 

Pancham Gupta: Great. That’s a great advice, David. So, David, thank you for sharing all that information. I know you have this great handbook that you put together. You just mentioned about it, which is the cash flow handbook. You know, how can people get hold of you want to connect with you or get that handbook?

 

David: Sure. So, I mean, our website is cape sierra capital, but you can get that at DavidK@thegoldcollarinvestor.com or you could actually get that on our website as well.

 

Pancham Gupta: Great. Thank you, David, thank you for your time here.

 

David: Thank you so much, Pancham. It’s great talking to you.

Pancham Gupta: Thank you for tuning in today and learning from David and his story. If you really want is, if you want to get his handbook, The Cash Flow Handbook that he put together, email at DavidK@thegoldcollarinvestor.com that’s DavidK@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.thegoldcollar investor.com and follow us on Facebook@thegoldcollarinvestor. The information on this podcast are opinions as always, please consult your own financial team before investing.


Copy of EP #18 - 2 Guests

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