TGCI 198: Immigrated from Denmark and quitting his 25 years of IT job

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Episode 198: Immigrated from Denmark and quitting his 25 years of IT job

Copy of EP #18 - 2 Guests

Summary

In today’s show, Pancham interviews Jens Nielsen – certified high-performance coach, full-time real estate investor, and principal of Open Doors Capital.

With a successful IT career of 25 years, Jens realized that it was not maximizing his potential and discovered real estate investing as a way to diversify his income! Now with over 1,700 apartment units and has done more than 20 deals, he is now helping individuals realize the strong cash flow and equity growth in real estate investments.

 

Get inspired from this episode as Jens shares his journey to financial independence and the push he needed to eventually quit his W2 job of 25 years. He’ll also discuss the mindset shift that led him to explore real estate investing and the specifics of his investment deal.

PanchamHeadshotTGCI
Pancham Gupta
Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.38.39 PM
Jens Nielsen

Tune in to this show and enjoy!

Copy of Quote #00 - 1 Guest

Timestamped Shownotes:

  • 0:43 – Pancham introduces Jens to the show
  • 2:48 – On transitioning from his IT career to a full-time investor
  • 5:35 – How audible books and guidance develop his passion for real estate
  • 8:33 – The mindset push he needs to be able to quit his W2 job
  • 11:40 – On managing 2 full-time gigs of coaching and investing
  • 14:45 – Owner-financing their 11-unit deal and having infinite returns
  • 18:30 – Taking the Leap Round
  • 18:30 – His 4-plex property as his first real estate investment
  • 18:56 – How he overcame his fear of being accountable
  • 19:32 – Factors on why his agricultural land investment didn’t work out
  • 20:59 – Why you should think about the investor you want to be
  • 21:53 – How you can connect with Jens

3 Key Points:

  1. Other than real estate investing, you can also start up a small side business in order to achieve financial freedom sooner.
  2. If you’re not sure what your goals really are, you can hire a coach that will work through your mindset and help identify what’s important for you.
  3. Self-managing your properties could help you save finances but having a property manager would greatly help as they are experts in this field.

Get in Touch:

 

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.



Well, 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 got to 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. I’m really appreciate you for tuning in today. My guest today is Jen’s Nielsen. Jens emigrated from Denmark in 1996. And after a successful career in IT Jen’s followed his passion for real estate and coaching and is now a full-time real estate investor and high-performance coach. He is currently an owner or general partner in over 1700 apartment units around the country across more than 20 deals, given his long it and management background and focuses on underwriting capital, raising it solutions and asset management for his deals. Jen’s also has passively invested in eight syndications, spanning over 1200 apartment units, 2000 Mobile Park lots and over 6000 Square self-storage units plus mortgage note funds and private money lending. His mission is to get more people to invest in private placements for the strong cash flow and equity growth. his company’s mission is to open doors to your secure financial future through multifamily investing. Jen’s is passionate about teaching and helping others achieve success. And he is a certified high-performance coach and uses his knowledge and skills to coach and train new students in multifamily real estate investing. In his past two years Jen’s has coached over 50 students. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and two dogs. When he’s not looking for the next deal. Ian’s rides his bike skis, or hikes Jen’s Welcome to the show.

 

Jens Nielsen  

Thanks, Pancham. I’m really excited about being here today.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Yeah, really excited. I like your background there. Open Doors capital. So, before we get started, are you ready to fire up my listener break out of Wall Street investments? 

 

Jens Nielsen  

let’s do this. It’s my passion to get people to invest where their money makes have a lot bigger impact versus in the depth of Wall Street. So, let’s do this. I’m really excited.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Yeah, me too. Me too. So, before we begin, you know, why don’t you give your background like how you got started out in this business? And also, you know, what were you doing before you were doing this business? And, more importantly, the person behind that background?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, so thanks. I mean, I’m given you know, the name and my slight accent, I was born and raised in Denmark, came to the US 26 years ago. So, I’ve lived here about half my life. Now, I have a long career in it. And I know a lot of your listeners are in that space, too. So, I think we can connect there, right. So again, to the US, I got my undergrad degree, I got my master’s degree in computer system management. And I worked, you know, for various corporations and actually worked for a local government for a while and I work for a Native American tribe. So, I have worked in a lot of different areas in it. So, I was always on the wasn’t in the startup world, I was kind of in the more established space, and, you know, had a good lifestyle, made decent money, and it was very comfortable. It was good, I could go to work and leave at five and just do my other stuff. But I also realized that was I truly living up to my potential that I just white is going to work every day to make somebody else money and just you know, get paid a small percentage of their of their profits. So after, you know, many years of thinking of different ways to kind of diversify or finding other ways of income, I kind of stumbled on real estate about six or seven years ago, like man real estate is really an avenue that you can take because you can be extremely passive if you want to, you can be active, you can be somewhere in the middle, but you have a lot of control over your income and your success in that space. So that’s why I embarked on the real estate path and have since you know, after 2527 years of an IT career, I retired about a year and a half ago, and I’m doing real estate full time. So, I you know, we syndicate apartment complexes in various states here in the US and I just love it. It’s a great, it’s a great transition from doing it work for the first part of my life.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Wow. So, your story and it resonates a lot with me in a way because I came, what year did you come to the US from Denmark? 1996. Got it. So yeah, I came to the US similar thing, I got my master’s here started working in FinTech space, and then retired from that career and 2019. So, the given that you were in it, and you did similar things in you came here. So, you mentioned a few things, some of those reasons, for my reasons, too. But let me ask you this, right, like, how did you get to know about real estate? When like, how did you find out about real estate? And how did you develop that passion, so to speak, to get into this space?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, it’s actually it’s interesting. I very clearly remember what happened. I always like to read books and listen to Audible. And one day, I was looking for the next book to read. And I stumbled across how to invest in cash flowing real estate, from bigger pockets. I was like, no, this sounds interesting. Let me pick it up. And I, you know, put on my phone, took my dogs for a long walk. And I came home, I came home, I told my wife, this is what we need to do. This is the Avenue just makes so much sense, right? Because it’s something I could, I felt like it wasn’t, there was a lot less risk in that comparing to start your own business or starting, you know, a startup or something like that. It’s like, man, we got to do this. And then I immediately I was like, okay, who do I know that’s in this space? And I reached out to a good friend, who I knew through cycling and other things is like, hey, man, I know you into this, can I buy some dinner and you can talk me through it. And we sat down, we had dinner, he talked me through it, and say, wow, this is pretty straightforward. I can figure this out. And he connected me with a broker. And you know, within a month or two, after that initial conversation, I was buying my first four Plex down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So, I kind of went quickly from thinking about it to actually acting. So, it was it was awesome.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Wow. So, when you say that you had that book, you came home to your wife, and then you met your friend and you find out you know about this, you start doing this stuff. So how when was that? Like? How long did it take you from that point on to the point of actually quitting?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, so that was in 2016. Right? So, it’s been like six years, probably around this time, six years ago, I bought my first property. And the first few years, I was kinda like, I wasn’t taking it. I was like, Yeah, you know, over 10 years, maybe we can buy, you know, a handful of properties by ourselves. Because I didn’t know anything about syndications and using other people’s money, I thought you had to use your own funds. As a worker based upon my income, my expenses, I can probably buy, you know, one or two properties every year if we are careful. So, it took you know, I did that for a couple years, and I scaled up, but I had like, 20-30 units myself, I was like, Man, this is good. But it’s not going to get me to where I want to go quickly enough. And so, after a couple years, I started, you know, moving into the business of syndicating, and so forth. So, long story short, it took me about four years to get there, because I retired about a year and a half, two years ago. So about four, four and a half years for me to get their head I started, you know, thinking that I’ve been thinking big early on, I could probably do it quicker. But that was kind of my journey along the way there. 

 

Pancham Gupta  

Got it. So, you know, a lot of questions I get and the similar story because I have similar story there. So, after four years, did you have enough income to actually quit your W2? And do this full time? Did you quit based on that cash flow you were getting? Or did you quit? And keep some reserves and hoping to surpass that?

 

Jens Nielsen  

That was a good question. And actually, it takes a while to build up a solid cash flow from real estate, right? Because it’s especially if you’re splitting it with partners and so forth. So, what I ended up and I didn’t want to really get my I want to reinvest all the cash flow from the real estate. So, what I actually ended up doing, I had been starting to do some coaching and other things. So, I actually started up a small side business of coaching people and suddenly I realized I can make just as much money coaching people for much, many fewer hours than in my IT career. So, I actually started doing that on the side like oh, you know, if I just do a little bit of this underside that will supplement my income enough to get out of my job. And then suddenly as soon as I did that, everything took off and the progress was much quicker and very, very quickly. I exceeded my not from necessarily passive income but from the various acquisition fees and other things that we do along the way, right because I went active. So right now, if I stopped being active, yeah, my cash flow would certainly support my lifestyle, no problem, but you know, Two or three years ago, it didn’t quiet. So that’s why the side business came in for me to get out a W2 job quicker.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Got it. Got it. So that’s great. So, did you have this as a question? Again, very common question. How did you train like you were working for like, what? 20-25 years? She said, NWA? Yeah. All right. And, and it pays well, right? It’s not that it doesn’t pay well, right pays well, was it hard for you to make that decision? It was

 

Jens Nielsen  

hard. I mean, it was, you know, you’re trained to think that your W2 job is to make you secure income and all that stuff. So, it was difficult. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife, I started to, I think I’m kind of a person, I kind of have to see it. So, I started seeing like, oh, man, I’m getting the cash flow. I’m doing some coaching on the side. So, I’m starting to see these things build up. I was like, well, I can figure this stuff out. So, and then what, you know, my boss allowed me to kind of go part time for about six months. That was kind of the other softer landing, if you will, this is in the middle of COVID. You know, suddenly, we were all working from home. So, I was able to work part time, I was able to build the real estate in the side. And I was like, Man Did I can make this work? Yeah, but quitting cold turkey. That’s, that’s scary. I had a bit of a soft landing. All the people just say they cut you know, they, they’re ready and so forth. But and I also had my own coach, I hired a coach to work through my mindset to make sure that I really knew what was important to me. Right.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Yeah. So that’s interesting. You say that. So that was you hired him before you quit to help you quit? Okay, cool. So, what are you doing today? Tell us about that.

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, so basically, no, I still do coaching. I’m a certified high-performance coach. So, I help people develop their mindset around you know, that get their clarity for their vision, give courage, be courageous in their becoming who they want to be productivity and influence all of the things I do that that’s, you know, my still my side business that I run. And then the other part of it is we syndicate apartment complex. We’ve done three deals this year, we got two more that we have under contract, you know, so we’ll probably do 5,6,7 deals this year. And that’s pretty much what I do, right? I’m an analytical guy from that IT background. So, I focused on underwriting, I focused on systems and technology and everything else. So, I do that. So basically, you know, between those two gigs, it’s a full-time job, but it’s my own job. I work out of my house, and I’m making more money now than I did in my IT career.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Yeah. So where do you invest? Like, what cities do you have any focus area?

 

Jens Nielsen  

I live in New Mexico, I have, like 65 units down in Albuquerque was it’s just me and my wife, maybe one or two partners. But the stuff we’ve been syndicating has been in Pennsylvania and in in Ohio, just because we have some partners up there. So, we have a kind of a strategy and a nice that works for us. So those are the markets on which we are currently focusing. Oh, done some stuff in Oklahoma as well. But you know, kind of that Midwestern states?

 

Pancham Gupta  

Got it. Okay, cool. Cool. So, are you operating these yourself? Or are you do you have property manager for the one that you have in Albuquerque to 65 units?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, I have property managers and everything. I don’t want to for a little while, I tried to self-manage. We had a small mobile home park try to manage that for a while I was like, Man, I’m just, I think there’s really two types of investors or owner operators who are just trying to be in the in the game every day and deal with all the tenants, which is hard work. And I, I don’t particularly like that. So, I was like, no, I really need to be an investor and let the property management companies do what they’re good at. And I’ll just pay them, whatever their fears and the same stuff, but the deals that we’re syndicating actually, my partner has a property management company who manage our property. So that’s helpful as well. But that’s basically how we operate our deals.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Got it? Got it. Do you invest in Denmark?

 

Jens Nielsen  

I do not. I don’t even know what that would look like. I feel like the US probably has the best, the most attractive and easiest way to invest. So, I stick to doing it here.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Got it guy. Yeah, you know, I am from India originally. And it is very different to invest there like the rental yields are not as high as he ran. It’s very different. Let’s put it that way. Cool. So great. I would like to ask you one more question before we move on to the second part of the show. So can you share with us one like the numbers on your first deal that you did for people who are listening and curious like what kind of like cashflow approximately price, and you know, yeah, I

 

Jens Nielsen  

think maybe, because I’ve sold the first two deals, I think I’ll talk about in my third deal, which was, it was 11 units again in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I think we paid maybe $350,000, something like that. I would have to go and look the exact number. Yeah, roughly correct. Yeah. 350k It was pretty rough. But we got like owner financing on it. And we were able to reinvest the money into the deal for the first couple of years. No, and the rents were like, 400 $500, very low rent. So, we invested the money into the property, we turn the unit, we upgraded them, you know, we started raising rents. And we actually refinance that, what a year and year, year, and a half ago, something pulled all our capital out. So, you know, I think it would appraise for almost $600,000, and we paid 350 for it. And now rents are like an eight or $900. Category, I mean, rains. I mean, what’s my monthly cash flow? I think it after all, everything is paid all debt and everything is probably a couple of $1,000 a month that we earn, earn on that.

 

Pancham Gupta  

That’s awesome. So, did you pay back the seller? And now you have a bank financing?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, bank financing on there. We revised finance when the interest rates were really low. So, you know, that’s, that’s awesome. So, and it really, I literally have no amount of capital in it. So, it’s infinite return, right? If you’d look at it that way. Right, right, right.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Credit. We’ll be back after this message. 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 repeat 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. And in case you are wondering, what is an accredited investor, credited 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 net worth is more than $1 million, excluding your personal home. It includes your stocks, 401Ks, IRAs, cars, etc. Just not the equity in your personal home. If this, is you, I would highly encourage you to sign up? So yes, let’s move on to the second part of the show, which I call taking the leap Brown, I asked these four questions to every guest on my show. My first question for you is when was the first time you invested outside of Wall Street? Was it when you bought that single family home? Yeah,

 

Jens Nielsen  

I mean, I think it was a four Plex. The first property bought was a four Plex there. Yeah. I think about six years ago, that was about the first time i put money in another outside of Wall Street. Yeah, I did two things. I bought my own properties. And then I also started, you know, putting money into other people’s syndications and so forth. Got it.

 

Pancham Gupta  

So, did you have any fears that you had to overcome? When were you buying that?

 

Jens Nielsen  

For sure, right, you know, especially first of all, I had to tell my broker that I was going to sell stocks and other mutual funds I was holding, and I was going to just take this money and go somewhere else. So even having that conversation was difficult. And you know, I was like, I mean, I felt suddenly it was my responsibility versus just trusting somebody else. Definitely. There were some fears around it. Neuro but it took some education and so forth to get there. But yeah, I was nervous. Got it. So

 

Pancham Gupta  

my third question, can you share with us one investment that did not go as expected? Yeah,

 

Jens Nielsen  

I think this is a lesson learned from me. I invested in some REO, cultural land in Central America through this fund a few maybe three, four years ago. And first of all, I didn’t quite understand what I was investing in. So, I was like, oh, these guys know what they’re doing. So, I put some money into that. And COVID hit and hurricanes and everything else really that day. is going terribly, I think they’re going to dissolve the fun that. I mean, I probably lose my investment in that, in that. So, couple of things I learned. I was like what?

 

Pancham Gupta  

Sorry to interrupt you there. What was the investment though when you say agricultural land?

 

Jens Nielsen  

there is it was a portfolio of April’s coffee plantations, it was coconut. And it was hardwood, you know, they basically would buy plots of land in a fund. So, I mean, unsurfaced it looked good, but then so many problems with the price and coffees and beetles that attack the coconuts. COVID everything else? So really, you know, I think if we sit on that land for 20 years, it may be worth it. But the fund is insolvent. They can’t pay for his operating expenses. So yeah,

 

Pancham Gupta  

well, you do, and you learn, you know, this this as well. Lessons. So, my last question for you is what is one piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking of investing in Main Street that is outside of Wall Street? Maybe even right before when you read that book?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Yeah, I think first of all, you have to think about do you want to happen? I mean, I only really know real estate. I don’t really know any other ways of investing, right? But do you want to become an active owner? Are you willing to, you know, buy a small property, manage it yourself, and take that profits that way? If you’re willing to do that, that’s a great way to diversify. If you are more hands-off kind of person, find a trusted partner that you can investment within their deals, you know, be passive investor there, right. But I think we should all have some exposure to real estate in one way or another and you just have to decide if you want to be active or passive.

 

Pancham Gupta  

And great. Thank you and for you for your time here today. How can people connect with you if they want to reach out find out more about what you’re up to?

 

Jens Nielsen  

Absolutely. So, my email is my first name Jen’s jens@opendoors with an S capital.com jens@opendoorscapital.com. And for anybody who wants to schedule a quick meeting with me, they can go to open doors capital.com/call and get on my calendar for a quick 20-minute call if you want to talk, real estate coaching or anything else.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Thank you enjoy your time here today.

 

Jens Nielsen  

Thank you, Pancham. So, I really enjoy that conversation.

 

Pancham Gupta  

Thank you. Thank you for joining me today on The Gold Collar Investor Podcast. If you have any questions send an email to be at the p@thegoldcollarinvestor.com as 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 dot the gold collar investor.com And follow us on Facebook at the gold collar investor. 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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