TGCI 90: From W2 to living off just passive investments. Yes, Financial Independence!

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Episode 90: From W2 to living off just passive investments. Yes, Financial Independence!

Copy of EP #18 - 2 Guests


In today’s show, Pancham interviews Ryan McKenna – full-time real estate investor, syndicator, and founder and CEO of McKenna Capital.

Ryan has been balancing his full-time job, passive investing, and building his network when he finally builds up enough capital to leave his job and start his own private equity company to help others to invest passively in different syndications. 

Today, he has grown his passive investments into different asset classes, an investor in more than 50 opportunities and with $1 billion worth of real estate and business assets!

In today’s episode, Ryan shares his wealth of knowledge when it comes to different asset classes and sponsors. He will share why diversification is important to him, his philosophy in his business, how he builds his network, and the emerging asset classes today!

What makes syndications stand-out and why is it a better way to invest? Listen to this episode to find out! 

Pancham Gupta
Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 11.17.40 AM
Ryan McKenna

Tune in to this show and enjoy!

Copy of Quote #00 - 1 Guest

Timestamped Shownotes:

  • 1:54 – Pancham introduces Ryan to the show
  • 2:54 – How he got intrigued by syndications
  • 10:00 – Diversifying his syndications to build his portfolio
  • 15:33 – On knowing the investor behind the deals
  • 20:04 – Active vs. Passive Investing (and what’s the best fit for you)
  • 26:01 – How investing in resilient asset classes helps amidst the pandemic
  • 31:28 – How gratitude and tackling the hardest problems helps developed a positive mindset
  • 36:11 – Taking the Leap Round
  • 36:11 – First real estate investment and how it came about
  • 36:34 – Risks and fear he overcame with his first real estate investment
  • 37:35 – Why one of his self-storage deals didn’t go as expected
  • 39:12 – Why you should surround yourself with fellow investors
  • 41:08 – How to get a copy of his report

3 Key Points:

  1. Diversifying your investments is a good strategy to generate good cash flow streams and to build relationships with other investors.
  2. Explore, educate yourself, and learn from other investors as much as possible to have a better insight into how it works.
  3. Syndication is a good investment whether you’ll be active or passive investing as it will help expose yourself to other markets.

Get in Touch:


Read Full Transcript


Welcome to The Gold Collar Investor Podcast with your host, Pancham Gupta. This podcast is dedicated to helping high-paid professionals to break out of Wall Street investments and create multiple income streams. Here is your host, Pancham Gupta.

Hi, this is Joe Fairless. If you wanna diversify out of Wall Street investments, then listen to The Gold Collar Investor Podcast.

Hey, this is Mauricio Rauld, founder and CEO of Premier Law Group and if you are serious about investing in real estate, listen to The Gold Collar Investor podcast with Pancham Gupta.

Robert: 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 here at The Gold Collar Investor Podcast.

Pancham: Welcome to The Gold Collar Investor Podcast. This is your host, Pancham. Really appreciate you for tuning in today. Let’s get into today’s show. Every time I hop on a call or meet someone new and we start discussing investments, the topic of passive investments come up more than 90 percent of the time. Syndication is one great way to invest passively to make your money work hard for you. For people who have never invested in syndications, they are skeptical of it at first, and I do not blame them as I was skeptical too when I first got introduced to it. The most common questions that I get from people who are relatively new to the world of syndications are as follows: How does syndication work? Is it possible to create enough passive income to replace your salary? What are the risks involved? Is my money liquid? What if I want to get my money back before the syndication go full cycle? Et cetera, et cetera. Today, I have invited a guest who has been living off his passive investments since 2016. He started investing passively and left his job a few years ago. He has grown his passive investments over the last three years into many different asset classes and currently is an investor in more than 50 opportunities across $1 billion worth of real estate and business assets. He is going to talk about how he did it. A bit about Ryan McKenna. Ryan is a full-time real estate investor, syndicator, and the founder of McKenna Capital, a private equity company that helps people invest passively in real estate syndications, focusing on value-add multifamily, self-storage, and other alternative assets. McKenna Capital has helped hundreds of investors around the country invest in commercial real estate, totaling over 10,000 units with a portfolio asset value north of $1 billion.


Hey, Ryan. Welcome to the show.


Ryan: Hey, Pancham. Thanks again for having me on here.


Pancham: Absolute pleasure to have you on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. Your story is something that is going to resonate so much with the listener who’s listening and, you know, really, really excited to get into the show.


Ryan: Thanks. I’m excited as well.


Pancham: Yeah. So, are you ready to fire up my listeners break out of Wall Street investments?


Ryan: Absolutely. Happy to do it.


Pancham: Great. Great. So, Ryan, like, you know, tell my listeners who’s listening today, you know, about your background and the person behind that background, how you got started in this business where you’re in and your background.


Ryan: Sure. So to kind of, I guess, come full circle with the story, I have to start at an early age, I came from an entrepreneurial family, and to me growing up, I always placed a high value on family and spending time with them and with my dad being an entrepreneur and having control of his time, I always felt like that was a path that I wanted to someday kind of seek out where I could control the lifestyle, control how much time that I wanted to spend and have more flexibility. So, I didn’t necessarily know what business I wanted to get into but, along the way, I stumbled across real estate investing and early on in college at Arizona State, a teammate of mine, so I played baseball at Arizona State, a teammate was — his father was an apartment syndicator and so I just got talking to him one day about what he was doing and the business really intrigued me and I just thought it was pretty cool to buy these large 200-, 300-unit apartment complexes and fix them up and then sell them and I really learned at that point what a syndication was, pooling together a lot of investor capital to actually purchase these large apartment complexes all while I was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. So, that book became my blueprint for my passive investing and active investing strategy today, but it was really cool to have that back then and then have kind of like an informal mentor who was actually doing this right in front of me while I was in college. So, that really kind of got things set in motion for me. It kind of gave me an end goal, like where I wanted to end up, but my path took many journeys along the way, as I’m sure most do and so I got into the business world and was in a couple different industries while I was trying to get into real estate. There were a couple moments where the timing wasn’t the best. I was looking in 2008 and would have loved to get into it then but I got into the insurance business instead and that worked out well, but along the way, I was able to do well and make enough money that I could start investing into real estate and, starting in 2016, I really put a lot of capital to work in multifamily syndications and, in over a three-year period, I was able to invest enough to essentially walk away from my corporate job and that was always kind of a dream of mine. I didn’t necessarily know how long it would take but I figured I was gonna do it at some point and it’s maybe a little bit different strategy than most who kind of get into more of an active approach, say single-family, rentals. I did it while working full time and just investing passively, finding some really good sponsors and some opportunities out there and then just kind of started putting capital to work. And, all along the way, I was sharing what I was doing with people in my network and they were really intrigued with kind of this strategy and process and so it got me into the syndication business to help others and that’s what I do today at McKenna Capital. We help provide passive investment opportunities, mainly focused in multifamily, but we’re doing self-storage, we’re doing mobile home parks, we have an ATM fund, so anything that’s got really nice cash flow, good value-add upside and great tax benefits is really where we focus and it’s all kind of derived from just passive investing throughout the years and really kind of going out and finding that those lucrative cash flow streams that so many of us try to get into real estate to achieve and so I’m just happy that each day I get to wake up and do this and work with great people and so I feel truly blessed.


Pancham: Your story, Ryan, is a dream come true for everyone. People are working in corporate world who want to get out of the rat race, that’s the dream come true. And you said a few things over there in your story, that you were an insurance business and only in 2016 you started investing. Was it like you started investing in syndications or that was your first investment outside of Wall Street? Like were you investing before then?


Ryan: I was investing before then and that was more of the single-family route that I was kind of dabbling and trying to kind of break into the real estate investing space and so I actually started in 2006 and I quickly learned that I couldn’t scale that and it was tough because I took on a lot of responsibility when I was signing on the loan and putting more capital to work into one property and then thinking it was going to be more passive than it really was and I just — I didn’t make the returns I thought I was going to get. So, eventually, when I had more capital and I had built up some relationships and was confident that I’d seen this work many times over, because being in the insurance industry, I worked with a lot of real estate groups on their insurance so I got to see firsthand how they built up their portfolios. I knew that there was a lot of money to be made and I wanted to be part of this and so when I had enough capital, then 2016 is when I really started deploying, you know, my funds into these syndications and I invested in about 12 multifamily syndications across five different sponsors. That was really kind of what got me to the point where I could walk away and still kind of keep building it, but I got to the point where I was a few years in and then I started to see the refinances happen so like on top of the cash flow, I was getting more capital back. So, kind of the combination of the two really gave me the confidence that I had a nice passive income stream, that I could continue to keep building off of. It really was a pivotal moment for me because, at the time, I was — I had so much on my plate. I guess my message here is that, I know people are busy out there and have a lot going on but, at the time, I was I was working full time, I was passively investing, I was building a business, I was in the middle of an MBA program at Notre Dame, and I just had my second child and it was kind of crazy and I did all that for about a year or so before I left my corporate job because things were going really well and I wanted to really pursue my dream but the stress that took on my body and my health kind of operating at that level, long term, it just wasn’t going to be sustainable. So, part of the reasons for getting into this business was to reduce my stress and to have a little bit more family time but it was not easy but there was a plan in place and I talked to more and more people today that are trying to do that, trying to emulate that and I’m here to say that, you know, there’s a different path, a different way, and I just want to create a little bit more awareness around these real estate syndications and kind of a new, better way to invest.


Pancham: Right, absolutely. So, how many syndications have you invested so far, just roughly?


Ryan: Yeah, so roughly it’s probably at least 50 real estate business syndications and —


Pancham: And these are not just multifamily, right? You mentioned you’ve done ATM funds, you’ve done litigation funds, that’s something that always fascinated me, something that I was like, wow, and you’ve invested in — you know, tell us, just go over different kinds of syndications you’ve done. You’ve done multifamily, you’ve done ATM —


Ryan: Self-storage, I’ve done ATMs, litigation funding, mobile home parks. Did a hemp fund out in Colorado. I’ve done a food hall in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve done a lot of angel investing as well so investing in kind of pre-seed startups. That’s a fun, kind of fascinating world. Doesn’t have the cash flow like real estate but it has the 30x potential which is kind of cool so that’s more of a long-term play but a lot of this is a diversification strategy. I mean, I look at there’s many different ways you can diversify outside of Wall Street into these syndications. You know, not only do you have the sponsor diversification but you have the geographic diversification across different markets and then also the different real estate asset classes or even outside of real estate, for example, some of the other asset classes I invest in. So, I try to really make sure my portfolio is very well diversified so not one investment will kind of make or break me and it’s all really predicated around the cash flow streams because that allows me to keep having money coming in while I’m out doing something else or building something else and, over time, you start to kind of get that snowball effect when you gotta let a lot of these deals run their course and it typically takes a few years before some of the larger capital starts coming back to you but the whole premise is to kind of rinse and repeat and roll the funds back in and to kind of keep growing those cash flow streams. So, yeah, a lot of these deals I do, because just — I read up about them or I have other people in the industry who turned me on to some of these unique opportunities and then if it’s something that I really believe in that has worked for me, then I will try to put those deals together for investors in our network and so that’s really kind of my philosophy and I absolutely love looking at deals and building relationships with other operating partners out there who are looking at growing out their niche and their competitive advantage in whatever marketplace they’re in.


Pancham: Right. So, out of all the things you mentioned, one thing that is fascinating is the litigation syndication that you did. Can you just quickly, 30-second overview, what was that?


Ryan: Yeah, so we were investing in mass torts and so very unique fund where there’s actually a component of this that you probably are familiar with if you’ve seen the ads on TV that are targeted from a legal perspective of, you know, if you’ve gotten mesothelioma or you might be at risk of a round-up claim from some exposure there, that’s one component of the fund. We have the largest legal marketing firm who is out putting our capital to work through advertisement to really create awareness for some claimants out there that might not be aware that some of their symptoms or maybe they’ve gotten cancer from certain products out there and we have a whole team that goes through and evaluates their claims and then there’s a law firm that’s part of this fund as well and so they help us kind of decide where we should be spending those advertising dollars. We’ve got about seven or eight large mass tort claims with round-up being kind of the biggest one out there. It’s kind of interesting because when we find 50 or so claimants, we can actually sell those to other law firms so it’s kind of a play of what does it cost to find people out there who actually have a legal claim and then what is that worth on the open market to another law firm. So, kind of the cash flow part of the business is maybe it costs us a few $1,000 to generate a lead but we can sell it for $15,000 or $20,000 to a law firm in a batch of 50 leads. And then we also can cherry pick some of the larger claims that might take a little bit, you know, might have a little bit longer tail to it and so the whole idea of the fund is every six months or so, we can kind of churn the sale of these claims to law firms and then kind of double and triple down on our funding to go put more advertising dollars to work and kind of repeat that over and over again and then, at the end of the day, have kind of a longer term tail on some of the bigger claims. But the nice thing about the business is you don’t have to — we don’t have to, from a compensation standpoint, go and litigate what this claim is worth. All that is spelled out based upon your conditions. So, the mass torts we really like because it’s kind of a predefined amount based upon your claim and so it’s just really more of a matter of finding people that have actually had exposure and can prove it and that’s really the business model and working in conjunction with experts in that space. So, very fascinating. It’s an emerging asset class. We got in kind of at the ground floor of it, you know? It’s doing really well and I hope, in the future, we have some more opportunities like that because it was pretty unique and, again, outside of real estate, outside of the stock market, it’s, if you’re looking to diversify, it’s nice to have, even if there’s a recession, something that really isn’t dependent upon how well the economy’s doing actually.


Pancham: Right. That’s great. So, you know, now you’ve done so many, like more than 50 syndications, right? And you’ve done many, many different asset classes. So, I have two questions there and people who are beginning their journey who are trying to test out the waters of passive streams, right? One question — actually, two questions they will have always. One, when they have the opportunity, how do they know that it’s a good opportunity, right? Second, how should they vet out the sponsor or how would you do it? What are some of the key takeaways you have in both of these areas?


Ryan: Yeah, those are great questions. And, yeah. I mean, it’s tough when you don’t really know kind of what questions to ask and, first and foremost, I would say try to get as educated as you can so you know what questions to ask and then kind of compile a list, but I think it’s really important to talk to others who are doing what you want to be doing or maybe who have invested with other sponsors out there because hearing from someone who’s had personal experience I think is a great way to get better insight, but when I look at a deal out there, I mean, I say to all of our investors, I mean, you look at a bunch of deals, for the most part, the numbers all kinda look the same. I mean, there’s not too much variance from one deal to the next, in my opinion, but what I believe is most important, it’s the people behind the numbers. That’s the part that you want to get right and I think if you can really get good at that and building those relationships and getting comfortable with someone that you’re going to be investing your capital with, I think, long term, that’s a really good approach because, again, most people will start and look at the numbers, “Oh, this one’s projected to be 2 percent higher, it must be a better deal,” and that’s not necessarily the case because you also have to kind of understand the underwriting assumptions that are associated with the pro forma and the projections. And so, when you get a good feel for an operator and you know that they’re conservative and they can show you and kind of articulate that business plan in a way that aligns with your goals and objectives, I think that’s a really good starting point. But, yeah, you want to really feel comfortable with it and I think it’s the people, you get that part right and then if you can get your arms around the deal and then understand the deal enough to ask the type of questions that would be important to that particular deal and what you’re looking for, because one of the deals might be more of a growth play and if you’re more of a cash flow investor, maybe that’s not a good fit so you got to kind of figure out if there’s an alignment in the philosophy with the sponsor and are they putting together the type of deals that you actually think would be good for you, but, yeah, you can do a lot on the internet nowadays and Google searches and it’s a pretty small community out there once you get involved with just the various summits and associations and so there’s — once you find a sponsor or two, it’s quickly and easy to find several more and I would just encourage you to just start talking and reaching out to people who have maybe already made these investments or ask the sponsor, “Hey, can I connect with a few investors who have invested with you? I want to kind of hear their experience.” So those would be kind of I guess some of the things I would share as you’re kind of first starting out and you’ll never have 100 percent of all the answers just the way you want them to be and so I wouldn’t want to set that expectation, but I think if you’re 90 percent of the way there and you feel really good about it, I mean, at some point, you can get analysis — or paralysis by analysis and some people never end up taking action because they’re always out there kind of learning and saying, “One day, if this happens, I’ll do that,” and so, I think it’s just important to get as comfortable as you can but also, at some point, to pull the trigger and take some action because that’s how you’re going to learn, that’s how you’re going to get that experience, and that’s how you’re going to know if it’s a good fit for you or not. So that would just be something that I would encourage, if someone is looking at a real estate syndication and it is something different to them, you can get into some of these deals for $50,000 and if it’s a diversification play of your portfolio and it’s a small portion, I think it’s a worthwhile process to kind of explore and see if it aligns with what you’re looking for.


Pancham: Great. Some great advice there and, you know, a lot of people who are listening and listener here, you know, he is — he or she is — if they have engineering background like me, they get into that analysis paralysis stage and never pull the trigger and a lot of times, people also think that you know what, they want to invest actively as opposed to passively because there is this thought or feeling that they may make more returns if they’re doing actively. What are your thoughts around that? I know you’ve dabbled with — alluded to that before 2016, you were doing that. What are some of the downsides or pros and cons around active versus passive?


Ryan: Yeah. I mean, I think you can make money both ways. It just depends. I think it really comes down to control and do you have the ability, if you want to be active, are you working full time and then trying to be active? Because there’s a lot of risk associated with that if you’re not a real estate expert, per se, because you’re now typically having to put up more of your capital into your own deal, you’re taking on more of the risk. Yes, you can make more money, but is it worth the tradeoff of you having to do everything and maybe you make a few dollars more but you take a tremendous amount of more risk on your plate versus putting your capital with someone who does this full time who is in a market that might have a competitive advantage and the likelihood of something going wrong is much less than what it could be on your own if you’re not experienced. And the beauty of passively investing is once you decide, you know, “Hey, this is a good investment for me,” or, “I like this team, I like this deal,” once you make the investment, I mean, you’re done. You are hands off. And that is worth, in my opinion, a lot of money. I mean, I can’t tell you just how it’s changed my life, the freedom and flexibility it’s given me. I mean, I don’t even have to think about these deals because once I’ve made the decision, my money’s gone, it’s in the investment, and I trust the partners I’m working with, and I don’t get hung up about one deal if it’s a little bit behind schedule because I now have a blended portfolio that I’m going to have deals that outperform, I’m going to have a lot that are kind of coming in right at what I expected, and then I’m going to have a few that are going to be underperforming, but as a whole, my goal as a passive investor is I want to achieve a 16 percent annualized return and if I can do that as a good base, good foundation, I’ll sleep well at night and that’s kind of the philosophy I take is more of a long-term approach. So I would say, yes, if you want to be active, you can be active. And we actually have a lot of active investors that invest in our syndications and the reason being is that, if you’re active, you’re typically active in a local market that you live in, that you’re — it’s near you and your team and so you can have a competitive advantage, you can do well in that market. But most people I’ve talked to, they miss out on some other opportunities in other markets because you can’t be active in every single market. It’s just impossible. So syndication provides a great way to increase your diversification, give you some easy leverage where a lot of active investors say, “Hey, look, I’m active in Phoenix, but I don’t have exposure to Jacksonville or Charlotte,” and so they can invest in a syndication to give themselves that exposure and they don’t have to do anything, it doesn’t take them away from their active business and when that money comes back, they can decide, “Hey, do I want to put this back into my active business or do I want to reinvest into a syndication?” So, I think syndications gives you a ton of flexibility that you can be active and passive at the same time and I would encourage you to try that because maybe, in your local market, let’s just say that things change and there’s not any really good deals right now, then you can invest in syndications in the meantime and have another alternative to kind of keep your money in motion and keep it growing for you. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say one is better than the other. One is definitely easier than the other and that is passive for sure, especially if you’re a busy working professional. I mean, it’s something that, you know, the biggest response I get when I talk to investors, they tell me this, it’s like, “God, I wish I would have known about this 15 or 20 years ago,” like, “What I could have amassed, what my net worth could be today, how different my life could be,” like that is the number one response I get and it’s a pretty powerful statement because people reflect and they look back and they see, “Wow, this is a lot different than what my financial adviser has kind of told me to do and what I kind of hear about from Wall Street,” and so it doesn’t take much for an investor to really kind of look at the structure and the setup and kind of the business plan here to say, “Hey, this is different, in a good way. And, wow, it’s kind of, if I can follow this strategy, this path, things could be far different than what maybe I’m expecting over here,” and so we just want to create awareness and put out anything we can to help investors understand these types of opportunities. But, at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide what’s the best fit for you and passive versus active is always kind of the question in real estate, which one do you do, and I’m happy to say that I think passive is the new way. I mean, I think, from a syndication standpoint, I mean, 99 percent of the population doesn’t even know these types of deals exist. And I think —


Pancham: Exactly.


Ryan: — aren’t even at the tip of the iceberg here. So I see a lot more capital coming from kind of the public markets into the private sectors and I think this is going to be a great business for many years to come.


Pancham: Absolutely. And after 2012 JOBS Act, it became even, like even more prevalent and even more available to private investors and I say one thing that the biggest thing is that, you know, control. And the biggest thing that you lose when you go from active to passive is the control. And if you’re okay with that, then it’s all good. But if you’re a control freak, then it may not be a strategy for you. 


Ryan: That is definitely a great point because if you want the control, then you shouldn’t be investing passively in a syndication. It just is not going to be a fit, and it probably won’t be fun. On both sides.


Pancham: Exactly right. Exactly right. All right, great. So, I have two questions before I move on to the next section of the show.


Ryan: Sure.


Pancham: This question I’ve been asking since the pandemic hit, we are in this situation and you’re not traveling a lot. How have you changed your strategy because of this, if you have, and what are you focusing on now because of this?


Ryan: Yes. So, definitely, when COVID first hit, I mean, we were nervous. We didn’t know what to expect and it’s not like any of these deals prior to COVID we were underwriting for what COVID might look like, and we didn’t know it was something to consider, right?


Pancham: Yeah.


Ryan: Yeah, thankfully, we were very conservative in our underwriting that we can kind of fall back on other areas that will help but I think we definitely felt like, “Alright, we got to go kind of to defense mode. Let’s look at our current portfolio and make sure that we have everything kind of stabilized or that we’re in a good position to kind of weather this storm.” So, for a while, things didn’t really transact. New acquisitions just really slowed down and a lot of it had to do with financing as well, because some of the lenders just didn’t really know how to underwrite these deals in a COVID era and if you can’t get the financing, you really can’t get a deal done. And then we had investors too that just maybe had uncertainty with their job or their business so they were kind of sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what was going to happen. And then, I would say about three, four months after COVID kind of settled in here, we were able to kind of look back and see how did this impact our portfolio and were renters still paying rent and we started to see good positive signs even though that we were expecting it to be a lot worse and that gave us a good feeling but we still knew that we had many more months to go and we weren’t, you know, we’re not out of the woods yet but the encouraging signs that we’ve seen and just the ability that, multifamily, there’s a reason we invest in it in the first place is because it’s a resilient asset class and it’s one that performs well in good times and bad times. And I think, when you really take a step back, I mean, you’re providing affordable housing, and in the United States, we have an affordable housing crisis going on and at its basic core, you’re providing shelter for humans and that’s a need that everyone has. So, I think you’re in a pretty good place if you can provide affordable housing in markets where there’s population and job growth and demand. And so far, we’ve seen that be a priority for our tenants that, beyond kind of food and shelter, I mean, those are the two things that you typically get paid every month, so across our portfolio, we’re seeing 96, 97 percent rent collection and that gives us a really good feeling overall kind of going into 2021 where we think there’s gonna be some pent-up demand because of COVID. Just our own portfolio, we had many deals that we were looking to exit but just got pushed off because of COVID and so hopefully those deals in 2021 will be in a great spot to look at to exit and all the deals that are in 2021 that are kind of coming due on their business plan, they’re going to probably be looking to exit as well so I would imagine there’s got to be a lot of others in the same position so I think 2021 is going to be very active from a transaction standpoint, and through COVID, as much as it’s impacted the world and a lot of businesses out there, I think people have actually seen multifamily as a safe haven because it has performed very well. So, we’re seeing capital come in from investors who may have invested in retail or hospitality or office that are just a little skittish and so we’ve just seen cap rates compress even further in multifamily, which is kind of crazy because you’d think it would be the opposite in a pandemic but there’s even more demand —


Pancham: And the rates went down too, right? So that kind of accelerated the cap rate compression.


Ryan: Yeah. That’s a great point because if you look at like interest rates, you gotta think at some point, if history repeats itself with inflation, if you’re able to lock in some low interest rates in this environment and if inflation kicks in like it has in the past, real estate’s always been a great inflation hedge. And so we think that we could be sitting on some really nice assets and some great apartments that, in time, could really do well in that environment, kind of a high inflation environment. So there’s a lot of things that we look at. You know, yes, COVID has impacted us but not as much as we would have I guess initially thought and not as much as other aspects of the economy that are hurt really bad right now and so we’re very fortunate and thankful that we’re in the space we are, but who knows kind of what the future looks like, but I can say that we tried to put every precaution in place, we tried to do everything we could to kind of mitigate things and, so far, it’s held up very well and we’ve adapted too with COVID. I mean, all of us. You know, virtual leasing, we’re doing things like that where we can still get what we need to get done, it’s just a different way. And I think there’ll be many new advances in technology that will come out of this, but I think all of us would love to get back to a point where we can get together and see our neighbors and hang out and do some get-togethers and parties, things like that.


Pancham: Do this live, you know?


Ryan: Yeah, I know. Yeah, just be normal again, and so I would say, I’m pretty bullish just on, you know, we’ve been through a lot, it’s been tough, but I think we’ve got brighter days ahead of us for sure.


Pancham: Cool. My last question before we move on to the second part of the show is do you have a morning routine that you follow? If so, does it attribute to your success?


Ryan: So I do have a morning routine and I would say it does help with my success and just my mindset as far as getting me off to start in a positive way each morning. I have a gratitude journal, it’s actually an app on my phone, that every morning, I take a picture that, you know, I look at my phone and I find something that’s just a fond memory or a recent picture that just brings a smile to my face and I kind of post that up and then I’ll put three things underneath it that I’m grateful for. So kind of showing and expressing gratitude and a lot of them are just simple, like my family, my freedom, my flexibility, you know? Like those are three things that I reflect on and it just — it makes me feel like, wow, I’m living the life that I wanted to live and that these aren’t monetary things that make me feel the way I do, these are, you know, these are the people, these are just things that a lot of others can easily do and have. And so, for me, it’s like I just get my mind in a great start each morning and I think it does help because I’m more eager to kind of start the day in a more positive place. And one other thing I’ll mention too is kind of a morning routine. I always try to tackle some of the harder problems early in the morning when my mind is more fresh and the things that have the highest value are typically done first and then some of the other things that maybe aren’t worth my time or they’re things that get pushed off, I try to tackle those later and sometimes I’ve learned they just resolve themselves and so instead of worrying about it right now, if it’s not a high priority, you’ll get to it, but focusing on the things that are most important, it kind of goes back to that Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule —


Pancham: Yeah.


Ryan: — and so the I’m a big believer in that. So, yeah, I think kind of the combination of just starting off each day with some gratitude and being very humble for what life has given you and then just tackling the hardest problems first, I think you’re gonna end up looking back on the day and then feeling like you accomplished a lot and that it was a good day.


Pancham: Yeah. So what’s the name of the app?


Ryan: It’s a gratitude journal. So I think it’s —


Pancham: Oh, the name of the app is gratitude journal?


Ryan: Yeah, I think it’s the, like five minute —


Pancham: Yeah, I use a five-minute journal but it’s a book, like — it’s a journal.


Ryan: Yeah, they actually have a book as well. I just use the app because it’s easy to —


Pancham: Yeah.


Ryan: — to really kind of find a quick picture and then put some thoughts down and get my day going and you can set up reminders so it kind of pops up whenever you want it to and there’s usually a nice quote along with it too. So I just — it’s something that, again, takes not even five minutes and it’s just a great way to start your morning and get you in a positive mindset there.


Pancham: Great. Thank you for sharing that, Ryan. We’ll be back after this message.




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Pancham: Let’s move on to the second part of the show which I call Taking the Leap Round. I asked four questions to every guest on the show. My first question for you, Ryan, is when was the first time you invested outside of Wall Street? Was it 2016 or 2006 when you bought that house?


Ryan: 2006 was when I bought that house. That was my first experience in real estate and it was one that I was very eager to do because I wanted to learn and to just at least get in the game.


Pancham: Got it, cool. What fears did you have to overcome when you first bought that house?


Ryan: You know, it felt like you were taking on a lot of risk because we were buying a house out of state and we were gonna have to manage it, we were gonna have to find tenants and was signing on the loan and it was very expensive and it was all on me. So, a lot of risk. But I also told myself, “Look, I could sit here and talk about this risk and wanting to build a real estate portfolio, but if I never take action, it’s never gonna happen.” So I had to push through that. Even though there was risk, I like to say it’s calculated risk. You know, we did our due diligence, we found a good area, we found a good home, we had some good people involved to help us out, and so once I got comfortable with that, I knew that this wasn’t just gonna be a one and done deal. It was gonna, you know, we were gonna grow and learn from this and so looking down the road while, you know, this was part of my plan, it really kind of alleviated those concerns of the sticker shock of the first investment.


Pancham: Right, right. Okay, great. So, my third question, can you share with us one investment that did not go as expected for you?


Ryan: Yeah, I have one right now that is not going as planned. It’s behind schedule. It’s actually a self-storage deal that I invested in. And the nice thing about syndications is that it’s typically a five-year hold so we’re roughly two years in and it’s behind schedule but we’ve got three more years to make up for kind of lost time and so, at the end of the day, what really matters is what the end result is and I understand in these deals that there’s going to be some bumpy roads along the way, especially in the first couple years, but, yeah, I mean, part of the issue was that the target market, the sponsor kind of thought it was a different market, different clientele and we spent about a year or so where we were kind of trying to grow that but it just — it wasn’t a good fit for the actual facility and once we realized that, we had to pivot. It’s going well now but we kind of lost a year and we’re behind, but we’re making good progress and so, it was a situation where the sponsor stopped paying out distributions and we just had to understand that, look, this is a long-term hold, it’s going to be okay, but, yeah, it’s not good news to hear when it’s that far behind schedule, but to know that the operator’s got a great track record and we’ve got confidence in their ability to turn this around. I mean, I’m not worried about it, but from a numbers perspective of where we are today, yes, it’s, in my opinion, it’s not performing to the level that I expected it to.


Pancham: Got it, got it. And, you know, you do these things and you learn, like these are real world seminars.


Ryan: Yep.


Pancham: Right? So, all right, thank you for sharing that. My last question for you is what is one piece of advice you would give to people who are thinking of investing in Main Street that is outside of Wall Street?


Ryan: You know, one piece of advice I would say is surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. So, what I mean by that is talk to other investors who maybe have already invested and ask them questions about what their experience is like and what got them into this type of investment vehicle and really kind of hear their story because I think the best thing we can do is share knowledge and expertise and our own experiences with others so that they can determine if that’s something that they want to go out and build or achieve. And so, yeah, a lot of this is really just helping others and sharing, creating awareness. So I would say don’t be fearful. I think if you surround yourself with good people that you trust and you got to really, at some point, I really believe, you know, pull the trigger once you’ve done your due diligence and you feel confident enough that this is a good fit. And, again, it can be just a small portion, you’re doing a diversification play in your portfolio so think of it from that lens. And I think you’ll be happy long term that you’ve at least discovered an alternative to Wall Street because I think most will argue that it’s, in their opinion, it’s a much better alternative but I still believe that you got to have a good allocation in your portfolio, including stocks and bonds, because you want to have some liquid capital as well but I definitely think it’s worthwhile to get educated and know what else is available outside of Wall Street.


Pancham: Great. Thank you for sharing that advice, Ryan. It’s been great. I know you’ve put together an amazing report, top 10 reasons, right, to be diversified outside of Wall Street, right? Is that the —


Ryan: Yep. Top 10 Reasons Real Estate Syndications Are a Better Alternative.


Pancham: Great. So how can listeners get a hand on that report if they want that report?


Ryan: So they actually can e-mail and we can send out that report. That’s just an easy way to get that information and be happy to follow up with any questions or anything like that that comes from any investors or listeners here.


Pancham: Sure. So, again, the e-mail is We’ll put that in the show notes. And thank you, Ryan, for your time today. It’s been awesome. You’ve added a ton of value.


Ryan: Well, thank you, Pancham. This was a pleasure to be on your show and I’m glad we could connect today and thanks again for having me on.


Pancham: Thank you. Thank you for your time.


I hope you learned something from Ryan. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to investing in different kinds of asset classes and with different kinds of sponsors. So definitely check out his guide by e-mailing and if you have questions, e-mail me at 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 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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