For W-2 employees looking for opportunities outside corporate life, this episode is for you!
Our guest Billy Keels is on a mission to help those high-wage earners and/or retirees that have been forgotten about by so many in society. He’s determined to help you feel comfortable and confident going against conventional wisdom by being okay with investing real assets and doing that beyond your backyard! As a long-distance real asset investor, Billy is utilizing the skills that he’s developed over the last 23 years as a happy, successful corporate employee at some of the world’s largest market-leading IT multinational companies to become an entrepreneur. As part of his journey, he’s hyper-focused on consistently helping people to create new alternatives for their life so that you can be also happy about going into your job (or not)! As he builds his family of investors and students he’s determined to help each one of them enjoy each and every moment doing the things that they love most. With a desire to add as much value to each interaction that he has, the 20+ years of travel throughout some 86 countries, working with multiple global currencies, his ability to fluently speak 5 languages, and his passion for living and working across cultures are just some of the qualities that make Billy unique in his ability to serve each and every person that he comes into contact with.
Listen in and learn how you can overcome your uncertainties and start your journey to financial freedom!
[00:01 – 09:15] Who is Bill Keels?
- Adapting what his parents taught him growing up
- Getting access to a great education and traveling
- Learning new languages from living in different countries
- Being exposed to a lot of different things
- Taking action and being curious
[09:16 – 15:20] Overachieving And Retiring After 26 Years In Corporate
- A recovering perfectionist
- Not coming from money, Billy’s driven to achieve
- Lessons learned from losing money in the stock market twice
- Realizing the things he’s missing out in life as a corporate employee
- Getting out of your comfort zone
[15:21 – 23:09] Taking Control of the Outcomes of Life
- Being comfortable with money
- Growing up, talking about money is taboo
- Understanding different financial opportunities
- Helping other people discover financial freedom
- What’s the first step in vetting a sponsor or operator?
[23:10 – 23:56] Closing Segment
- Watch out for part 2 of our conversation with Billy!
“I didn’t sign up to be the top executive and also missing out on the things that were really important to me. And so it was from that moment that, when I look back on it now, that was really the catalyst to get me to do what I wanted to do, which was really have more control over the financial outcomes of my life.” – Billy Keels
“It’s not really about having more money… It’s about being able to do what you want to do with whom you want to do it.” – Billy Keels
Let’s get connected!
Billy Keels 00:00
My parents always told me and even to this day, they told me right if something happens once and that shame on them, if it happens twice, then shame on you. And this has happened to me twice. And I realized that I didn’t have much control over the financial parts of my life. But I kept going. And I kept going, I kept doing what I was supposed to do, because I’m a recovering perfectionist and a student that just don’t know what I’m supposed to do and keep working and keep putting money away. And things are going well until my oldest son’s third birthday. And it’s one of these things that is really life altering. And I realized that on my son’s third birthday, like I had to leave, I was flying to Germany, I was flying to Frankfurt on his birthday. And I will never forget, I kind of wasn’t really feeling well about it. And I woke up really early. And I remember waking my wife up, he woke up our one year old child, and went to go wake the three year old just so that I could actually give him a hug and a kiss before I left. This is not right, like doing all this stuff, because I want to be here and I didn’t sign up to be the top executive and also missing out on the things that were really important to me.
Welcome to the Share The Wealth Show, where minority professionals can learn to escape the racial wealth gap, and catapult themselves into abundance. Your host, Nicole Pendergrass grew her net worth from being negative to multiple six figures. Join her on her investigative mission to expose secret strategies of the wealthy. So we can all have the tools needed to build the life and legacy we were created to possess. Now it’s time for the show.
Nicole Pendergrass 01:28
Hey, everyone. So welcome back to another episode of the shared wealth show. I am your host, Nicole Pendergrass. And today we get to talk to Billy Keels. And Billy, he’s on a mission to help those high wage earners, who have been forgotten about by so many in society today, and we really discuss and delve into is not about how much money you make it is though, you have to start with wealth accumulation. But there are strategies and vehicles you can use to keep that wealth and to be tax efficient. And we talked about his journey from growing up with nothing in the midwest to eventually like traveling the world and becoming fluent in so many different languages and living in so many different countries. And really like his transition from not talking about money at the dinner table to earning money to looking for vehicles to be tax-efficient, and keep more of his money and to helping other people do the same. So he is determined to help you feel comfortable and confident going against conventional wisdom by being okay with investing in real assets and doing that beyond your backyard because he’s in Barcelona, Spain right now, and he invest in the United States and other countries. But he had this all over. So location is not a limitation for him. And I think there’s so many different gems that he dropped during this episode, you definitely want to tune in and listen to more. And as a long distance real estate asset investor, Billy is utilizing skills he’s developed over the last 23 years as a happy and successful corporate employee at some of the world’s largest marketing it multinational companies. He’s becoming an entrepreneur, he has become an entrepreneur, but he loved his job he loved working as a corporate employee. So that also shows that you don’t have to hate your job in order to have an entrepreneurial mindset and move forward with your investments and what you want to do and build wealth and take control. You don’t have to let control stay in the hands of you know other people directing what you should be doing what you should be investing in. And this is a way to just open up your mindset into the education and options that are out there so that you know that there are openings available, and you don’t have to stick to what you know everyone else is doing. Billy has a unique ability and he wants to serve each and every person that he comes in contact with, to really help them grow and develop and be tax efficient, and invest and grow their wealth in a responsible, nontraditional way. So please stay tuned and listen in, hope you enjoy. Welcome back, everyone. Welcome to the share the wealth show I have with me here today, Mr. Billy Keels. And Billy, I gave a high-level overview of your background and your bio, but dig in a little bit more about what you’re doing now.
Billy Keels 04:29
Perfectly happy to do that and Nicole, if you would just allow me just very very quickly because I know you put a lot of love and effort in putting this together. And because you have an amazing podcast, I would just ask everyone. As you get started as you listen, make sure that you take just a couple of seconds to leave Nicole an honest written review as well as a rating. It’s really going to help to make sure that you get the content that you need you get the guests that you need. Like I said I know this is a labor of love for her and she’s doing so much stuff so just take a couple of seconds to leave her an honest written review as well as writing so Nicole with that just in the background. So you mentioned it before as well. So Billy Keels, I guess the interesting part is I’m a guy from the Midwest, I was born in Columbus, Ohio. By the time I was 12, my family, we’d lived in like three different states, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, my brother and sister were born. We’d lived in like, so I think it was eight or nine different houses in those three states, different cities. And so the reason I tell that is because my parents are definitely, I grew up very, very blue-collar, I watched both my parents worked two jobs, they did every single thing that they could to make sure that me and my brother and sister that we were in really good public school districts. And there were even a couple years, I think we went to private school. But basically, they were doing everything just for us to be able to be there. And during that time, I also saw what it was like for two parents who were working two jobs really make some tough financial decisions, right at the end of the month, they had to decide if it was x or y. And there’s a lot of different reasons that they had to get to that point where they were making decisions in the last couple of days and what they were buying, we always had food. So it was never that issue. But I watched the struggles of families or my parents that didn’t have the financial tools or the financial knowledge. And at the same time I saw them, do everything sacrificed so much for us, so that we could be in the places that gave us access to really great education. And on the backside of that though, because we didn’t have a lot financially, we had a lot of love. And that was fantastic. But I was then surrounded by these kids that had everything, like all the stuff, they had the newest cars, they had the coolest clothes and all that kind of stuff in that inside for me that I guess it was, it’s always been one of the reasons why I’ve just been really driven to go out and continue to achieve right, I tell that story. Because my parents did all this, the things that I saw the way that it impacted my life and eventually went to college got two degrees. And I went to college in the southwest of Ohio University called Miami University. And then after that, Nicole might well also to my parents divorced. And that was a whole nother story. But we won’t go into that on this podcast. But right after college, I had this amazing job where I was working and traveling throughout 58 countries and five years, which completely changed my just my whole worldview, because I wasn’t really aware of a lot of things that were happening outside of Ohio, much less in 58 different countries. And so what that did for me, I was working with a lot of fortune 500, CEOs and executives. And while they were either on board meetings or big incentive type of trips, and what that did for me is it started to open up my mind to hey, listen, there’s a lot more out here. And after that five years, I didn’t see myself doing like a normal nine to five job. So I ended up going and was accepted at university at a university in Paris called the Sorbonne. And I went there to learn French language and culture. I wanted to learn more about salsa dancing, and I want to learn more about wines. That was absolutely fantastic. And I know you already know this, but I want to share this with your audience. Since that time, in 2001, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the language and culture, I was dancing salsa night in the evenings and also had learned a lot more about wine was probably drinking more wine than I learned about it. But that’s a whole different story. But along the way, I actually left Paris and moved down to the south and a town called a Montpellier. And when I was there, I ended up working got into the IT space. So I wasn’t working in it before. And I started in hardware. Eventually, I’ve spent the last 26 years working in big corporations. I just recently stopped doing that. But I went from hardware to software. And also I ended up meeting somebody who was from Spain. I moved to Italy to start up a sales team, I moved back to France eventually moved to Barcelona, Spain, where you and I are talking today or at least I’m in Barcelona, you’re, you’re in New York. And the thing is with that, you know, I always kind of tell people I moved to Barcelona got, married a little while later, ended up having two kids. And I always kind of laugh with people. I said, you know that my one-year sabbatical has turned into 20 years, I’ve lived in three different countries. I’ve learned four additional languages. So speaking five, and recently after 26 years have decided it was time to go on and do something else outside of the corporate life. So I think there’s probably a number of things that we could talk about. But that’s just a little bit about me, the regular guy from Ohio has kind of been exposed to a lot of different things very curious and just continue to take action on a lot of different things.
Nicole Pendergrass 09:08
Wow, actually, you are far from regular. So even say that, but okay, so you retired from your corporate life of 26 years, you said and you were very happy in that role in what you were doing there. And so now you said to do something else. So what is that something else that you’re doing now?
Billy Keels 09:28
Yeah. So you know that part of it was I didn’t actually plan on doing because, like you said, I mean, I during my corporate career, I loved being in the corporate game. I mean, it was absolutely fantastic. It was one of those things where I was surrounded by lots of really, really smart people. I was working in companies that were market-leading companies. So it was always we were on the cusp of the things that were happening next. And when I was working in software, there’s a lot of people that are software sales, sales executives, I was a pretty much a middle manager executive within this really big company, but I was in top talent program. I was overachieving and had been to Hawaii a number of times for people that were top achievers in the sales capacity. And all of those things were fantastic. But you know, and I just kind of tell you how I got to where I am today, one of the things that was happening is I am a recovering perfectionist. I am someone who has always gotten really good grades, I’ve always done the things that I was told to do, you know, like, go to school, get a good job, and you know, save your money and stuff like that. And so I did that. And because I don’t come from money, I was always driven initially, by being able to have things so that I could do the things that I thought I wanted to do. And one of the things, it’s always been really big for me, because like I said, I didn’t, one of the things we had at home was a lot of love. And so as I started creating my own family, one of the things that was really important for me was to continue to make sure that I was there for my kids, you know that I was at all the sporting events, and that I was around helping being able to help and support my wife and also being, you know, fantastic executive at the office and all that kind of stuff. And I was doing that. And I’d had some challenges in the stock market because 2000, the bubble burst. And I’d been saving for probably like five or six years at that point. And I was really freaked out. But my financial advisor told me, don’t worry, just kind of like do some dollar-cost averaging, I didn’t really understand what that was. And it was like, don’t worry, just keep putting the same amount of money, eventually it’s going to come back. And my financial advisor was right, because about five and a half, six years later, things were back where they were supposed to be, and even a little bit better. And things are starting to move forward. And then in 2008, things happen again, and I was kind of like oh my gosh, I lost 33% of the value of my portfolio, right. And so the thing that I’d always learned, Nicole, was my parents always told me and even to this day, they told me right if something happens once and that shame on them, if it happens twice, then shame on you. And this has happened to me twice. And I realized that I didn’t have much control over the financial parts of my life. But I kept going and I kept going, I kept doing what I was supposed to do, because I’m a recovering perfectionist and a student that just don’t know what I’m supposed to do and keep working and keep putting money away. And things were going well until my oldest son’s third birthday. And it’s one of these things that is really life-altering. And I realized that on my son’s third birthday, like I had to leave, I was flying to Germany, I was flying to Frankfurt on his birthday. And I will never forget, I didn’t think about it until I woke up like the night before I was going to bed I kind of wasn’t really feeling well about it. And I woke up really early. And I remember waking my wife up, we woke up our one-year-old child and went to go wake the three-year-old but a little bit before six o’clock in the morning just so that I could actually give him a hug and a kiss and before I left because I had to go from our flat, I got in the elevator going down to the street to catch a taxi cab and I just felt sick. I was like, This is not right. Like I’m doing all this stuff because I want to be here and, you know, I flew to Germany. And then that evening when they were having a birthday party, I was in Germany. I don’t even remember what the dinner was about Nicole like, I mean, I knew we were talking about, you know, how can we strategize and get to the next thing. And then I was on a call, while my in laws were there with my wife and they are blowing out the candles. And I’m missing all that. And I don’t even remember what it was like, I don’t remember what that meeting was. But I remember missing that event. And that’s not what I wanted to do. I didn’t sign up to be the top executive and also missing out on the things that were really important to me. And so it was from that moment that when I look back on it now that was really the catalyst get me to do what I wanted to do, which was really have more control over the financial outcomes of my life. So that I could start to really choose to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. If I chose to continue to go into the nine to five, that’s what I was going to do. If I didn’t want to go, then I wouldn’t do that. Because I had the financial stability outside of the nine to five. And so just by being able to look to get more control over the outcomes of my life and being able to have the freedom to choose what I wanted to do. That’s what started me investing in outside of Wall Street or into specifically when I got started was into real estate. Since then I’ve been investing in a lot of different things. But that’s really what started and now I’m really my business is to serve other people who are high-income earners, high-wage earners. I know we can talk a little bit more about that. But it’s just to give you a little bit of reason as to why I started my company so I can have more control and now start to help other high wage earners be able to do the exact same thing.
Nicole Pendergrass 14:17
Wow. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And it’s gonna reiterate that but you summed it up so nicely that it’s like you don’t remember what that meeting was about. But you remember the feeling of missing your son’s third birthday. And you’ll never forget that you know what I mean? And that changed the whole entire trajectory of what you were doing. You’re doing all the things you’re supposed to do and still missing out. And there’s a lot of people like that, who are making all the steps and making all the systems are doing what they’re told they’re supposed to be doing. And it’s still not paying the dividends they expect at the end years down the road. But what the difference is a lot of people don’t take life by the horns or take that in situation as an impetus for change. So that So what I want to help encourage people listening today that you don’t have to stay in the status quo, just because it’s comfortable, you can get out of your comfort zone it is going to be, it’s going to stretch you. But it’s possible you can create the life that fits more in alignment with your goals and your values and what you want to do. So I guess during that journey, now, you’re helping people who are in the same predicament that you were in to be able to take more control of their finances in the future? What are some of the things that you help them invest in? How does that look? You know, what do they do if they, if someone listening either is accredited or a high earner or they know someone who is? Who would need help with this kind of situation? What does that look like?
Billy Keels 15:45
Yeah, so maybe I can also take a step back, if you’re okay with that, Nicole, because you know, and a lot of people may not know, like, this was one of the things that, this was one of the challenges that I had, because I didn’t, like at my house, we didn’t talk about finances, we didn’t talk about money, it was taboo, because we didn’t have any, it was a stress point, right with my parents. And so when you grow up that way, I didn’t grow up around a lot of people that I could talk to about, hey, listen, I’m making X amount of money, it was always I knew that I was making more, more money. And I was probably making more money in my job than probably both of my parents had done. But I didn’t know who I could talk to. I was in this new space, right. And so the people that I was surrounded by, didn’t know about how money worked. And the people that I didn’t start getting closer to, they already knew how money worked. Or at least that was my perspective, right? The people that I had, that I knew at the office or other friends that were, you know, their families was two or three generations that they’d had this type of wealth, and they just they talked about money at the table. And so when you talk about something like accredited investor like I would, I didn’t even know that I was an accredited investor, I didn’t know that it meant there is a special IRS designation or qualification that if you’re someone who earns $200,000, a year as an individual for the previous two years, and expected to do that this year, or as a household, you are earning $300,000 A year and also expected to do that in this year that you are an accredited investor by income. I didn’t know that if you had a million dollars of net worth not including your primary residence that you are considered an accredited investor, I didn’t know that you could take a series seven series 65 or series 82. Because that’s something that’s come out recently that you are an accredited investor. I didn’t even know what that meant. Right. And more importantly, afterwards, I didn’t know that that meant you had access to special types of opportunities that the general public will probably never ever see. Because they don’t qualify for it. So it started by really being able to understand, okay, how can I make sure that I’m starting to understand what this is like Okay, I found out that I’m an accredited investor. Now really? What does that mean? How can I start to talk to other people, and not feel comfortable? I remember sitting in rooms with other people, and they would talk about investment opportunities and just kind of shake my head like, oh, yeah, I know what’s going on. Because this is one of the things that happens as a recovering perfectionist, you got the A’s on this on the grades and all that stuff. It’s uncomfortable to talk about things that you don’t know, especially when you’re in a room with a bunch of other accredited investors, and they already know the thing. So part of what we do rather than just, you know, one of the things that I’m very, very passionate about, is helping that person who was like me, right, that has been on this track, they’ve done all the things that they were supposed to do, they’ve gotten the good grades, and now they’re at this point that, hey, listen, I actually can access things that I wasn’t aware of. And sometimes you, you feel like you shouldn’t be able to because, hey, listen, I’ve been working really, really hard. And I’ve earned all this money, and I’ve saved this money. And it’s just kind of sitting there because I don’t trust moving it somewhere else. Because I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t trust going in the stock market because it goes up, it goes down, it puts me on a rollercoaster ride. And I don’t want to live like that. Because my outlook on life is much too financially conservative and, and so it’s about being able to first connect with those people that are having these either income net worth, or certain types of accreditations and being able to have a conversation with them understand. Okay, well talk to me a little bit about where you are today? What are the things that you want to do? And one of the things that I’ve also recognized is that in the beginning, you think that it’s about money, it’s about having more money, it’s not really about having more money, because at the end of the day, none of us get out of here live. And so it’s about being able to do what you want to do with whom you want to do it right, and being able to have that freedom to choose that that’s the most important thing. So what we do at my company at First Generation Capital Partners is really or MGCP. What we really do is help to connect with specifically first-time accredited investors or some people that are they may not be a first-time accredited investor, but they’re looking to do things in a much more tax-efficient way. They’re looking to do things that allow them to have the type of cash flow that allows them to have the freedom to choose what they want to do, and that’s a part of it. But these are the individuals that we are looking to serve. We’re not looking to serve everybody. We’re looking do serve very specific people. And yeah, and so that’s a little bit about what we are, and maybe also to why we got to this point. Hopefully that answers your question as well.
Nicole Pendergrass 20:08
No, that was fantastic. Because you just really laid it out that people just don’t know, we don’t come from households where money was talked about, I mean, money was talking about in my household, but it was, don’t spend that much on that. Too expensive. You know, we don’t do that we don’t spend full price for things. And, you know, even I remember, like, one of the biggest things from my childhood is I remember, the movie theaters, even going to the movies, to watch a movie, we can never go to a regular movie theater, there wasn’t down the road. It wasn’t even that name was cheaper than that. It was actually like there was a $1 or $2 movie where the movies that were out like four or five, six months ago, they would release then. So that’s when we saw movies, you know, five, six months after the fact at the $2 movie theater, not at a matinee, or if it came out last week, we’re not seeing that. But that’s not what we do here. So yeah, but that is the probably extent of a lot of people’s financial education. Even going into college, it was just don’t open a credit card, there was no other discussion behind why or why not or what credit will be important in the future and things of that nature. So and this, like you said, this was a labor of love for me, because I want this type of information to be out there. And I want people to think outside of the box and out of the spoon-fed information that we’ve been taught by the masses, because if the masses aren’t wealthy, or where you want to be, why are you following what they’re doing? Follow people like Billy and do what he’s doing and do what people are doing who are ahead of you. But then there’s also we don’t see us doing it a lot of times. So that’s where platforms like this can help. Because it makes it visible, it makes it people see that it’s possible to create your own life, and you don’t have to follow what the herd is doing. In any case, so when people are looking, let’s say they find someone like you, or someone who can help them and has that information and knowledge. How do you kind of vet a sponsor or operator or someone that you can trust? Like, how does that look for you to even know and be comfortable trusting this person with your money you’ve been working so hard to build up?
Nicole Pendergrass 22:22
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Billy Keels 22:22
So I think the first form, the first thing is everybody has to have, you know, you need to have your due diligence, whatever that is. And when I say due diligence, it means have the steps for you, that allow you to get what I say is the most positive metric that nobody talks about. There is a metric, Nicole, that absolutely no one talks about. My goal is by probably in the next year or so that everyone will be talking about this metric, because it is the most important metric of all, and it’s related to due diligence, it’s related to the way that you’re going to invest. And that is we talk a lot of times about cash on cash, we talk about your net present values, we talk about your internal rate of returns. But how many people talk about the ROS? Not many right?
Nicole Pendergrass 23:10
Okay, guys, don’t kill me, but I’m gonna have to cut this episode short. This is too juicy. And we need to do this in a part two. So stay tuned for the next episode that airs and you hear the rest of our conversation.
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