Episode 383

How to Position Yourself in a Recession with Paul Neal

Paul Neal is the founder and Principal Funding Strategist at Vantage Point Commercial Capital, a firm that focuses on helping entrepreneurs and real estate investors win by funding their growth and dreams in non-traditional ways.

Paul’s unique perspective has been honed over 30 years as an entrepreneur, financial strategist, professional speaker, and executive coach. He took the road less traveled choosing to leave engineering right out of college to become a serial entrepreneur. From great early successes in the 90s and 2000s, to completely losing his primary business in the Great Recession of 2008, to bouncing back and just recently selling another business for a healthy 7-figure sum... he’s experienced it all. Paul offers a wealth of experience and passion to the entrepreneurial community in an engaging, upbeat, encouraging, and witty way. He can carry the conversation easily wherever it goes, and your guests will remain engaged and will walk away with valuable and practical insight and advice.

We chat about:

  • Why you need a lending partner on your team
  • Why the bank is not your friend
  • How to get the capital you need to grow
  • Understanding The Three Legs of the lending stool
  • How to buy out your partner
  • Why The Entrepreneur is the Hope of the World
  • How and why to own the building you rent, and for less than you’d think

Connect with Paul Neal!

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"You can invest 10,000 hours and become an expert or learn from those who have already made that investment." - Jack

Transcript
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Welcome to the REI Mastermind Network where host Jack Hoss gathers amazing stories from leaders in real estate investing.

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In each episode, our guests will tell you what they're doing that works what they've tried that failed, and best of all, you'll learn actionable steps to take your real estate investing.

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To the next level now, here's Jack with another value packed episode.

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So, we have.

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Paul Neal with us here today.

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Paul, I appreciate you being with me here as we cover a pretty timely topic.

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Which is we talk about how to position yourself in this pending recession. But before I do, I wanted to direct everybody to Paul's website. So, head over to VPC dot Capital Slash podcast, dash REI.

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Andtheresno.com in there everyone. So, I'm going to make sure to have that link in the show notes so it's an easy clickable link for everybody. Paul, but I appreciate you being here with me here today as we tackle this timely country.

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Yeah, hey Jack, I'm really excited to be here.

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Super excited.

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I appreciate the invite and yeah, I certainly working with so many entrepreneurs and investors.

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I you know I get these questions all the time, so I'm excited to dive in here with you today.

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So, I will let's talk briefly about your core business though, so everybody knows because if they go.

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To your website.

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I mean, you're even offering a 20-minute discovery call with some people.

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What is you and your team do?

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So, our core business is funding, so we help entrepreneurs and business owners fund the growth of their businesses and and really ultimately their dream.

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And you know, I've been an entrepreneur ever since college that I want to date myself, but back in the late 80s have owned a string of businesses.

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Some have worked out really well, some have blown up and smoke and and so it's been a passion of mine too.

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To really come alongside as a as a partner for entrepreneurs to help them, you know, achieve the goals and dreams they have.

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So, we provide funding.

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We're really in three main area.

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Areas commercial real estate, including you know, owner occupied sort of buying your own building but also investment real estate business acquisitions which we see a lot with entrepreneurs and business owners and and ironically a lot of real estate investors were also successful.

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Business owners and you know they have extra cash, and you know they're wanting to build their wealth and diversify.

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And the third area is growth capital, so those are sort of the three areas.

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They're kind of large buckets, but we find that a holistic approach to the to the entrepreneur really allows us to provide comprehensive solutions to both their short and long term needs and and so we like to partner up.

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With them and we don't.

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We're not transactional.

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We're more strategic and partnership oriented.

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So, what were?

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of funding business when that:

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When we saw that last dip in the economy.

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Yeah, sort of.

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Yeah, I was more in the residential space.

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I had a residential mortgage company.

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In fact, we were sort of on the cusp of selling it.

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It was doing.

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Quite well and the world crashed overnight.

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As you know, like.

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Entity went to zero and and literally overnight and so.

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So yeah, in a related industry we didn't do much commercial, although I was involved in commercial at that point, more as a as a consumer of it from, you know, from owning lots of corporate debt and large lines of credit.

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And that sort of thing, and that's one reason, I guess that my education came the hard way through the school of Hard Knocks in that space and realized that.

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Folks like me needed alternatives to the traditional bank and and and sort of somebody in their corner that that understood.

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You know what it was like to have to make a payroll and you know the ups and downs and the good, the bad and the.

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Ugly, sure, so what do you see here now?

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Are you seeing any kind of similar signs in the market?

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I mean, we definitely just got word.

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We got two quarters now of negative results, so it looks like we are on the cusp.

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If we're not in.

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A recession already?

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Yeah, yeah, that's true. That's one of the marks 22 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, another one that we really look at is when the unemployment numbers start to turn up pretty significantly.

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If you look at.

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The past.

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I don't know six or seven recessions that we've been through.

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There's always a one of the.

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Coincidental factors is, you know, you go from a point of low unemployment to it starts turning up and it, and it does make sense, because if you know you're an entrepreneur or business owner and you've got maybe.

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You know a few employees, perhaps on the periphery that aren't as productive as you think they should be.

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Or maybe your new orders aren't coming in as strongly as you would like, or maybe they have in the past.

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Then you're going to take defensive moves, and one of those is to start cutting staff, and so really those are the two indicators.

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We haven't seen any market turns up right now in unemployment, but we are starting to see a small trend in that direction so.

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I mean, I think we're definitely heading that way.

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You know whether we're in it right now or not is a little bit, you know, sort of up for academic debate.

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But I think in either case people are feeling a definite change in the marketplace.

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So, is there do you find that there's a little volatility regarding that number or the unemployment wait rate just because we just kind of came out of all these lockdowns?

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And a few other things.

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And people are I.

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I would have to think we're kind of back into the swing of things when it comes to employment, but it seems like there's still a lot of.

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Employees wanted signs all.

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Over the place.

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Yeah, it's a really kind of an odd place.

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You know that we are with that, you know you have.

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You're right, we came out of the lock down, you know we moved to a hybrid workforce.

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Nobody wanted to you know go into the office anymore for obvious reasons and then I think for more lifestyle reasons.

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After that.

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You have a group of baby boomers that you know that were on the cusp of retirement that decided to take the opportunity to retire.

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So, we lost a whole segment of the workforce there.

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You had a lot of working moms that that you know decided that maybe they didn't want to go back into the work.

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Course 'cause it could work flexibly from home.

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Just a lot of currents there, so not really sure.

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I mean, I don't.

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I don't know that we have the clear answer.

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I think it might be in hindsight.

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You know what that's going to look like.

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But I do believe that if we are moving into a recessionary period that the cream will rise to the top and.

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You know there's been a lot of pressure on wages and that sort of thing for employees to you know to.

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Demand more pay.

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You know, in a recessionary period employer are going to sort of.

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Demand more productivity.

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And they're going to look for the best.

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And you know one of the positives that's come out of the whole.

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This whole COVID thing is that now you know where many businesses were focused locally with technology.

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What now we realize we can recruit and hire and train people you know with really no geographical limits so.

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It's an interesting time we're in there.

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So, let's talk about some of your recommendations.

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Then how do we, as entrepreneurs and real estate investors, or frankly, possibly just employees?

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How do we position ourselves in in the best possible way for this impending recession?

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Well, you know, I think there are.

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There's some.

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Key things that that we can all do you know moving into this and this period.

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You know, I think one of the things that we need to understand is that it will be temporary.

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These things don't last forever, you know, and tremendous amounts of profit have been made during recessionary periods of time, so there's always opportunity, you know.

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Like for instance on the housing market on the on the residential side, you know rates sort of went from 2 1/2%.

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6 1/2% in six.

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Months, but when the Fed started raising the interest rate, the prime rate back in June and then again two days ago yesterday, I believe, actually that that signaled to the bond market that, hey, we're going to try to get a handle on this, this inflation and so mortgage rates have started to come back down.

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The 10 year the 10-year bond which a lot of the rates are loosely sort of related.

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Two has come down from a peak of 3 1/2 down to 2.67 so I think there you know in the recession there's going to be opportunity in a lot of areas.

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The housing market I think is.

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Going to present one, but I think.

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I think the three.

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Big takeaways that reflect in the past and think about myself and and a lot of the clients that we work with is, you know, the first thing I would say.

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ttack your expenses. You know:

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I'm a big fan of Pareto's principle. You know the small hinge, you know that.

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Turns the big.

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Door, what few things can we do to make the biggest impact?

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Act and you know a couple things come to mind there one is, you know, review all of our credit card statements and and bank statements for these auto drafts and auto charges.

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You know, I think I had a friend tell me one time and and I thought it was great that his CPA.

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Required him to defend literally every quarter he had to defend every credit card charge to say, you know, yes, I need this this.

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Is not a luxury.

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This is a necessity.

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I've got to have it and of course luxuries are fine.

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If you can afford them, but moving into you know or recessionary period it might not be the best choice, but at least be aware of it.

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You know how many times do we have charges come into our credit card, or you know debit cards that just we don't even know about.

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They just hit us.

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Particularly, you know, Contra preneurs we.

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I don't know if you've got this Jack, but the but the shiny bouncy ball syndrome you know, and hey, I love technology and let me try, you know, let me try this or let me try that.

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And you know, and and I think it's great to experiment.

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But how many of those experiments fall on the, you know, they fall in the ash heap of history, but yet we're still paying for those, right so?

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I think you ruthlessly go after those with a highlighter and start attacking them.

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You know I hate to say it, but you know, from a staffing standpoint, if you run a business really be, you know, not ruthless is not the word, but be.

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Be cognizant take inventory of the positions that you have and relook at that organization chart to see you know are we are we doing what we need to be doing.

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Do we have?

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Do we have extra employment here that maybe we don't need right now?

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Or maybe for the next 12 to 18 months?

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And I know that sounds crazy.

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Because it's been so hard to hire people in the last two years, but I think with that there's also sort of been an attitude that's developed with a lot of people that you know they can sort of, you know.

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You know, call their own shots and from a from an employee standpoint.

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So, I would look at that and you know from real estate investing standpoint, you know maybe review the management company fees.

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Look like you know and and some of the Subs and the different.

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You know different companies that that you're utilizing to make sure you're getting the best deal.

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Maybe renegotiate some of those.

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n interesting one in terms of:

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Have a business?

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You know, maybe this is an opportunity that hey, your partner has been around for a little while and and and and maybe that partner wants to move on to greener pastures.

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Maybe they're older, you know.

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We see a lot of that and and they don't want to really kind of knuckle down through the recession.

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Maybe this is an opportunity to review something like that so.

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I would say the first big thing is really just digging into the expenses.

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I mean, I think the 2nd.

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Thing is to shore up the balance sheet.

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You know, look at your debt.

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You know.

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Obviously, the conventional wisdom is to pay off any really high interest debt.

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But I would also say right now I'd be careful doing that because cash is going to be king.

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It's always king in a recessionary period.

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So, what I might consider more would be, you know if you have, you know business debt.

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And I'm really specifically talking about business debt, but it applies to personal as well.

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You know, can you extend the terms you know?

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Can you get?

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Can you renegotiate those?

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Can you consolidate some things you know a lot of a lot of business debts are on short terms and.

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And there are ways to push that out just to improve cash flow.

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And maybe there's something on your balance sheet.

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There's something in asset you have that you don't need anymore.

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You're not using a piece of equipment or for that matter, a piece of real estate that it's not performing the way you want it to.

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Maybe you sell and look to, you know, get that off your balance sheet and again preserves the cash.

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Which brings me really to my third.

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Point in that is.

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Is really cash, you know?

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Warren Buffett said be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.

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So, you know, we're kind of at a time right now.

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Where I, I think there's great opportunity.

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Pretty, but again those that have cash or are the ones that are, you know, going to be able to take care.

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You know, you know, jump on the.

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Opportunities when they present themselves, you know?

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There are ways to do that.

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You know, maybe secure a lot of credit.

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One of the things that I love to do if you're a business is to really dial in your accounts receivable.

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I see this all the time and I've had this with.

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Some of my companies in the past where we were kind of.

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Lackadaisical or laissez faire about?

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Really you know?

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So, any kind of collections and this might have to do with, you know renters as well, but more for entrepreneurs, we got aggressive and and asking for deposits upfront.

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Uhm following up just basically we heard we heard about one point just to get on the phone and remind customers about two weeks before their bills were due that they were coming due to pay and and that really helped.

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Believe it or not, so it shortened the.

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Cash cycle for us.

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So, we had more in the bank.

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There are ways to there's a concept called factoring where you can essentially turn your invoices into money upfront that's an option for some people but not all but again with those with the caches opportunities be looking for that now during the recession again while other people are fearful again business.

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Acquisitions, can you expand your business?

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Can you in in real estate or some people getting you know getting knock kneed and they're like oh I'm not sure I want to hold onto this property.

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You know now.

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Is the opportunity to be to be.

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Looking for those.

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Maybe it's a good time to buy your building if you know if you.

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If you have a practice a business of some type.

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Like maybe your successful dentist we have one right now is building a building in in in Austin, TX and he's a real estate investor and he decided he wanted to.

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Add his own.

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Building for his practice into that portfolio and and so he's building the building where he's going to lease out.

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A little over a little under half of it.

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And that's going to pay a significant portion of his of the rent he's already paying to somebody else, so.

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I would say those.

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Are the big three at this point that I that I've identified is just really aggressively look at your expenses?

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Shore up that balance sheet and really, you know.

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Start stockpiling cash and looking for opportunities.

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Now, those are some great points.

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You know you; you bring up check your personal expenses.

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One thing it.

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It just kind of reminds me of a quick little anecdote here is that I had.

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I got a new debit card with a new debit number because mine expired or something.

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And I didn't simply just didn't renew Netflix, and I have a family of four here, and it's been months.

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Now and not a single person has mentioned that Netflix doesn't work.

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You know it's amazing like what, what, what you're paying for.

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That, frankly, is just not being used.

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It really is.

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And you know I'm as guilty about this as anyone, and that's probably why I brought it up.

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But you know, I periodic, I think about it and.

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And you know, I mean, I did.

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Make myself a rule.

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Many years ago, that as I was going after the bouncy ball and trying some, you know the latest and greatest software that was going to revolutionize my life and my business.

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And you know, in three easy payments, they always wanted an annual contract, right?

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And and and they would really in some cases twist your arm.

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And and I just.

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Would never, ever do that and I felt like well.

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If it's so good, then you know.

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I don't need an annual contract and if it's so good then you know, I'd be happy to pay every month.

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And most times that served me because I found out that my appetite desire to go pursue something wasn't going to be met with the you know the golden ticket and and so I was able to cancel it.

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But even still, I'd end up paying two or three extra months and and, you know, hit myself on the head.

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And I'm like, why am I?

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Paying 100

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And $60.00 a month, you know.

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Which is that's real money, right?

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For something that.

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It's just worthless, so to me.

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Great and then you also mentioned you're absolutely right.

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I think there were more millionaires created coming out of the last recession than any time in history.

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And it's it is going to happen again.

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Well, they'll probably break that record coming out of.

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This one, yeah, I think so.

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I think so, and you know, I think.

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To help the housing market is interesting, you know, I know a lot of your listeners or real estate investors and and single family and we focus mostly in single family up to about 30 units or so.

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That's kind of where we play and the here.

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The inventory situation.

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I know everyone 's been you know talking about that and we do expect it to come up some, but you know you have.

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I saw a Black Knight statistic a couple of weeks ago. It was in the neighborhood. I'm paraphrasing but about 40% of all mortgages on the books right now were less than 3 or 3 and a half percent interest.

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Rate and you know 45% of the homes are free and clear in the market and so you have this.

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This whole sector of the housing index.

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True that those people aren't going to move right? Why would you leave your home and your 33 and a half percent mortgage and go buy a new home at a 5 or 5 and a half percent mortgage and you're in, not to mention the fact that the price on the home has gone up.

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You know significantly.

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In the last two or three.

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Years so I get to pay 50% or 100% more for a home.

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And pay a higher interest rate.

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Makes no sense, so those people are only going to move if they have to move.

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And so.

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So even with rates coming up and now starting to moderate which again in the in a recessionary period.

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Historically, you, you'll see that interest rates have always moderated in the long the long end.

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Of the curve.

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So, with inventory stabilizing and getting more into a sort of a balanced market, but not an over glut of inventory.

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I think it's going to present great opportunities for those people that are staying in the game and not running with their tails tucked between their legs.

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I mean, I think we need to be smart, and we need to be you know.

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Be very cognizant about what we're walking into and make sure the deals make sense, but I think we also need to maybe turn the media off a little bit, and you know they're hyperbole on everything right.

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Everything is a crisis du jour.

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And the housing market is just great for crisis and resections is great for crisis 'cause if it bleeds it leads.

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And that's how we sell tickets and so I think if you're serious about your future as an entrepreneur or an investor I think you need to, you need to.

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Turn that off there.

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Was a period in my life.

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I'll tell my wife.

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When I were young and we had been in business, not long.

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We literally took our TV out to the dumpster.

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That's when you used to have the TV 's that were you know with a with a tube in them and they were kind of heavy.

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That granted it was a.

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Small TV we didn't have a lot of money back.

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There in the early days.

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But still, we took it out and literally threw it in the dumpster and we're like, we don't have time for this in her life and it was probably the best.

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In fact, I think about it today and I think maybe I should do the same thing.

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Maybe I should take my TV out of the couple.

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TV 's and and get rid of them.

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But yeah, I think I think it's going to be a great.

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Time and an opportunity.

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For those people that are looking for it.

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Sure, so as you're preparing for this how is your underwriting and things changing have, they at all?

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Yeah, they, have they?

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Have you know we, see?

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Yeah, we're being defensive too. And so, in the past? Where on the loan to value side. We would go a little higher on. We'll just take single family investments for instance; we would go all the way to 85%.

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We've trimmed that back to 80 in most cases, but still good cash out to 75% in in many cases.

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Uhm, you know, we're being a little cognizant like for instance, in terms of concentrations and things one of our clients is a builder and they build about 6 to 8 homes a month.

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And they just recently came in and they wanted to build a few a few homes in an area that that we felt like they're getting a little heavily concentrated in and so we're having some conversation with that.

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We may cut back a little bit on the on the loan to value, but again, I think a lot of that is a bit of a knee jerk.

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People are kind of in the wings waiting to see what's going to happen.

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You know in a sense that.

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Rates went all the way up and peaked into June with the inflation.

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Fears and we're

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Still, going to see inflation numbers for the next couple of months because we're looking at a 12-month moving average.

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And when you look at the 12 months ago, the numbers were low.

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The reported numbers were low and so the difference today is going to show high when we start getting into September.

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October the numbers from September, October a year ago were higher and so that the delta is going to look smaller and it's going to look like those numbers are coming down.

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So plus, you're seeing other signs like the big the Walmarts and Target recently came out and said they're carrying a lot of inventory.

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So, they're going to be cutting prices, so I think the knee jerk, particularly in the investor market, was hey, we're going to cut back on loan to values we're going to.

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We're going to be careful on.

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You know how much concentration any one particular borrower has?

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And we're going to look a little bit more at their experience, and we're going to raise the.

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Rates because it's reflective of.

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Yes, I think you're going to see that start to moderate.

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Once they see where the world goes in the fall.

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If we don't go through another great Recession of 08, which I seriously don't think we're going to do, then I think you're going to see that moderate and they're going to get more.

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Aggressive and and that sort of.

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Thing sure, well, just a reminder, everybody head over to VPC dot capital slash.

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Podcast Dash Rei and I'll like I said I'll make sure to have that link in the show notes.

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But, uh, well Paul, I you know I.

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I warned us that we're probably going to chew up through our time pretty quickly here, but I do have a few rapid-fire questions for you if your game.

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Hey, let's play is there.

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Is there a?

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Is there a reward here if I get?

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Him, right?

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There's no wrong answer.

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Let's put it that way.

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OK.

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Well, you know you, I mentioned you're on a real estate investing podcast, So what real estate investing myth would

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You like to bust here today?

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That you have to.

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You have to repair the toilet yourself.

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Self at 8:00 o'clock on a Sunday night when the Super Bowl is just getting ready to take you know start kickoff.

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Right, that's the way I used to think, and funny enough, my father, who I love dearly, had a terrible experience in real estate investing when he was younger and that clouded my judgment for many, many years.

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He went into a Multiplex.

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And it was, it was in a bad area.

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It was just a bad decision, and he will acknowledge that.

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And it was just kind of funny, but all my life I was taught that's what you have to do because that was the experience that he had and it's just not true.

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And to prove.

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It my brother.

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Went out and he has a whole portfolio of 17.

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Or 18 single families now and and.

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Yeah, you just want to do that.

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Yeah, and it did happen to me once, but that's a it's a story for another time, so you run you're not able to say rich Dad, poor dad, but what book would you recommend everybody check out or what are you reading right now?

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Wow, I'm reading a book right now called.

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Uhm, the end of the world is just the beginning.

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And, uh, it's actually very interesting.

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It's a little nerdy, but it it's talks about how globalization has essentially ended and how we as the United States and North America are actually in a very strong position going forward as things change.

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Where we went in the in the 80s and 90s into this whole globalization and supply chain, we saw with COVID how the pandemic disrupted all the supply chain.

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But how we're blessed here in the United States with all of our natural borders and inland waterways and and technology and people and and farmland and all kinds of blessings that most people in the world don't have under one sort of 1 geographic border.

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And it's a fascinating book.

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Fascinating, I don't recall the author's name off the top, but it's a. It's a.

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Great, it just literally came out.

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Two or three weeks ago.

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OK, yeah it.

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Based on that title it was either going to be a business book or some dystopian sci-fi.

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So, what is the best piece of business advice you ever received?

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Best piece of business advice.

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Uhm get a coach or mentor the best laid plans go awry, and we all get emotionally wrapped into what we do, and we get busy working in our business, and we lose the forest for the tree.

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And by having a coach or a mentor or somebody who not only knows us and our tendencies but knows the landscape and they don't even have to be necessarily in expert in that particular business, but someone who can really hold you accountable to those goals and dreams and targets that you.

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That you lay out and really to kicking the, but when you get off track and and and stay straight.

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I mean, if Tiger Woods can have a golf swing coach, I think I.

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Can have a coach in business.

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Yes, sure.

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What's the worst piece of advice you've ever received?

::

Uh, worst piece of business advice Mm-hmm.

::

Let's see that is a good question.

::

And if you don't have one, that's perfectly fine.

::

I know.

::

Yeah, I don't.

::

Nothing comes to mind there.

::

I'm sure it will.

::

We hang up.

::

That's perfectly OK, so this was a great conversation Paul, I really appreciate it one more time VPC dot Capital Slash podcast dash REI.

::

Like I said.

::

I'll have that link in the show notes, but.

::

Is there a question or concept you wished we would have covered here today?

::

No, I think I think Jack, really the I really appreciate you having me on this has been a lot of fun.

::

I think you know, for me it all comes down to the why you know why don't we do what we do and as real estate investors as entrepreneurs as business owners?

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You know we.

::

We have a goal, a dream and a mission, and you know, I just feel like when the entrepreneur builds a successful business.

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Not only do they win, but their family win.

::

The communities win and ultimately you know their employees win the nation wins.

::

You know the entrepreneurs, is that really is the.

::

Backbone of this.

::

Country and you know we're in a fight whether we realize it or not.

::

With you know everything big.

::

I call we fight big right we fight.

::

Big government, big tech, big banks in a lot of cases really aren't you.

::

Big media big business.

::

I mean we found out it was glaringly in her face in the last couple years, but they all want to consolidate the power.

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Of the individual up into the masses, and it's a lot easier to control.

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They're not in this for you and I for entrepreneurs.

::

They really aren't in it for our success.

::

They want us to fly sort of information.

::

You know, the way that they dictate.

::

And and I think that and and that's the other reason.

::

I'm just so impassioned by, you know, wanting to help?

::

Entrepreneurs because we.

::

We have a lot of commonality.

::

We're going to come in all.

::

Races, religions, backgrounds.

::

I always laugh about.

::

You know everyone is a racist and everyone in this and that.

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That it's like.

::

It's like, no, we're really, we're more.

::

We're the human race we're more alike than we are apart and and if you're in business and entrepreneurship, then you know it.

::

You're.

::

You're really living right.

::

You've got highs and lows, and it's a fight every day, and so I think that's it.

::

I think just to say, hey, I just encourage all your listeners that you can do it whatever you're doing.

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You know stick, stay the course and and it.

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Will be worth it.

::

Well, I appreciate that Paul and and I hope we can chat again sometime.

::

This is a great conversation.

::

Yeah, Jack has been great.

::

I hope so.

::

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::

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