There’s nothing wrong with seeking a safe and secure job. But more often than not, there are risks that are worth taking to achieve financial freedom.
Our guest, Nicole Gauthier, began her career as an accountant until she realized that there’s got to be more to life than a four-day work week. She stepped out of the typical path and transitioned to real estate to build the lifestyle she wants and leave a legacy for her family. Today, she shares her story and offers valuable advice for those who want to get started in real estate, especially with passive investing.
Nicole Gauthier is the Founder of Wicked Holdings; a real estate investment company
focused on social change and community empowerment. She is a multifamily real estate investor currently invested in 208+ doors and provides opportunities for passive investors to diversify their assets into multifamily investments so that they too can live a life of abundance and financial independence. She is also dedicated to helping educate others on the concept of generational wealth and financial literacy.
[00:01 – 15:13] Who is Nicole Gauthier?
- Nicole wanted to be a graphic designer but decided to become an accountant because it’s the safer route
- She broke out of the mold to discover a different way to increase wealth
- Your 401k is not enough for retirement and there are other options to save money for the future
[15:14 – 24:22] Creating Legacy Through Real Estate
- There are a lot of ways to use the cash value of insurance policies to invest in other assets.
- Nicole believes in real estate because it is stable and income producing
- How she started to invest passively
- Understanding that debt is not scary and can be leveraged to open up opportunities
- To be a passive investor, it’s important to gain clarity on your investing goals and find operators that you know, like, and trust
[24:23 – 25:06] Closing Segment
- Watch out for part 2 of our conversation with Nicole!
“There’s got to be more. I need to be able to create my own schedule. I need to find a way to get out of this five-day work week where most of my life is spent.” – Nicole Gauthier
“ A 401k that you can’t even touch until you’re like 59 and a half and if you do touch it before then there’s all these penalties and tax implications that you’re now subject to… It’s like, why? This is my money that I’ve put into there. Why is it being held hostage?” – Nicole Gauthier
“Debt is not bad. You just have to leverage it to create the right opportunities for yourself.” – Nicole Gauthier
Let’s get connected!
[00:00:00] Nicole Gauthier: Life is just more than that. And so one of the things that, you know, that prompted me to kind of looking outside the box too, was like, okay, this 401k’s great, but there’s got to be more. Or at least there’s got to be a way for me to be able to leverage like the money that we have right now and invest it in a way that we’re not going to be subject to paying like full capital gains taxes on everything.
[00:00:46] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay, hello, everyone. So today we actually got to speak with my good friend, Nicole Gauthier and let me tell you this conversation was very down-to-earth and pragmatic. And she led us through her journey of how she actually started. She started her journey in a completely typical, safe type of W2 job because her parents encouraged her to go the safe route, you know. And how that transformed into she’s doing things that, ugh, a little bit of risque nowadays compared to what the herd, or not the herd, was it compared to what everybody else is doing, you know. So this is a great, great, fantastic episode for you to listen to, especially if you’re somebody who is stuck in the box and you like security and safety, or maybe you’ve been encouraged to be, to pick the secure, safe route, but what is secure and safe is actually different to different people and may not actually be as secure or safe as you think. So we will dive into more of that and what other avenues Nicole decided to spread into and invest into that are outside of the typical, not your stocks, you know. So in any case, Nicole is the founder of Wicked Holdings, which is a real estate investment company focused on social change and community empowerment. She is an impact investor and she invests in real estate and she currently has about 200 doors. She’s a mom of two young kids and a woman dedicated to helping others on the concept of general wealth and financial literacy. She provides opportunities for passive investors to diversify their assets into multifamily investments so that they too can live a life of abundance and financial independence. And that sounds a lot like some of my goals, if you’ve listened to anything that I’ve said in my first episode, or, you know, anything, you follow me on social media, we’re really highly aligned and you’re going to enjoy episode. We have like a lot of banter. We get down to seriousness, I guess, it’s serious, but we get down to the nitty-gritty, but we have some fun, too. So stay tuned, you don’t want to miss the rest of this episode.
[00:03:06] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. Hi everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Share The Wealth Show. And this is the show where we focus on strategies to build, grow, and protect minority wealth. And today I have with me a friend, a great friend, Nicole Gauthier. Do I say it, right? Gauthier?
[00:03:26] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah, Gauthier.
[00:03:29] Nicole Pendergrass: Gauthier. And I say it right all the time. And then of course, all of a sudden I get on the show and I’m fancy and I don’t know how to say it anymore, but in any case so, I gave everyone like a high level, you know, of your bio, what you’re doing and your company. But let’s dive into that. Like, how did your journey start? Talk a little bit about how you started from like childhood what’d you want to be when you grew up and like how you ended up doing what you were doing before you were doing real estate, what made you go into real estate? Like, all that transformation and the direction that you were going and what you thought was better then versus what’s better now and what your goals are?
[00:04:07] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah, yeah. That’s a lot. Okay, so to take a deeper dive into it, I actually had kind of been taught, you know, that the way that everyone’s taught like that, that typical, you know, going to school, getting a good education and then getting a good job and kind of like working your way up from there. But I actually had always wanted to be a graphic designer, which is like really random because that’s not really like a typical career or job that like you hear about much as like a kid, but, yeah, I wanted to be a graphic designer. So I took like some extra classes and stuff at school in order to do, you know, a lot of like creative things back in that day in like early 2000s. It was like such old-school computers, but I felt like I was super crafty with it and really got it. But it was funny because I told my parents like, Hey, I want to go to school for graphic design. Like, I want to be creative and do that. And they were like, no, like you can’t make any money in that. And, you know, it’s really not that like safe of a job because how are you going to like support a family one day, like with a graphic design degree? And I’m like, well, I don’t know. That’s just kind of what I wanted to be ’cause that’s just like my creative juices, like flowing and stuff like that. So obviously I didn’t get into that, but fast forward a little bit more, I then transitioned and wanted to be a stockbroker. And so I actually went to school for a finance degree, got that, and upon graduation, I had the option to either go into the oil and gas industry and work as an accountant and doing like joint venture accounting, production accounting work, or become a currency trader. And I was like, okay, well, currency trading’s not quite stocks, but it’s still kind of the same thing. And you know, at that time it was like, okay, accounting’s super safe. It’s a job, of course, instilled in my head with my parents. Like, make sure you get a good job. That’s going to like pay for, you know, put food on the table and be safe. And so I had that in the back of my mind where I was like, oh, currency trading, like, yes, you can make more money and stuff doing it. But a lot of it’s like cold calling initially and a lot of it is like commission-based with like a really tiny salary compared to what the other option was. And so, because I just automatically, you know, diverted back to like my, you know, my upbringing, I was like, okay, like, I’m going to go with a safer one and be an accountant. So I actually did most of my career in the oil and gas industry as an oil and gas accountant. And that led me up until when we had kids and I became a stay-at-home mom before I entered into real estate investing.
[00:06:39] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. See, you think you know somebody.
[00:06:44] Nicole Gauthier: This is why the graphic design stuff like with the marketing. I think this is why, like, I have so much fun with marketing. It’s because of this background of mine, where I really want to to be creative and do graphic stuff.
[00:06:55] Nicole Pendergrass: Well, your creative juices have been stifled for decades.
[00:07:00] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah. I need to, whose door do I need to go knock down?
[00:07:05] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, this is why you’re doing that rehab. Okay, we’ll get to that later. But anyway, I didn’t, that’s another thing I didn’t realize we had in common is that we both are, we have creative like intercourse ’cause I’m definitely super creative. I love interior design, interior decorating, or design. Like, whenever I was looking for a house, you know I was looking for the past couple of years for a house, anytime I’d walk in, I’d be like, well I think I’d take that wall out. I think I’d move this over here, maybe we could reconfigure, what’s the floor plan. Like if the listing didn’t have a floor plan, it’s like, oh, of course. But if it had one, I’m like already in, like I wasn’t using fancy like interior design software, but I was just like, paint, moving stuff on there, reconfiguring the space. Like, so my husband could see and I’m like, oh, this is the perfect space. You know, like just have fun with that kind of thing. And then also just like performance arts, I was really into that, like in high school or whatever. So this is completely not that kind of podcast, but anyway, I didn’t realize we were so both super creative. Okay, so good to know. And I didn’t know you were actually, like, I knew you worked in the oil and gas industry, but I actually didn’t really know doing what, and I didn’t know you were actually were an accountant. Like, I knew you were into like personal finance, but I didn’t know you were doing accounting for all that time.
[00:08:23] Nicole Gauthier: Yes. Yes. That’s why I told you. That’s why I felt I knew entrepreneurship was like calling for me at any chance I could get to just kind of like a daydream and think about like where, where should I be? ‘Cause it’s not behind this desk right now necessarily like crunching numbers and doing accruals and talking to engineers and all of that, you know, fun stuff doing like month end. And it’s different too because being an accountant as well, like the personalities are, I wouldn’t say dry. They’re just a little bit more, they’re not just like down to earth and bubbly. So it was so hard for me to like, stay out of everyone’s office and like wanting to talk to them or, you know, just like keeping to myself. And then I remember I had like two friends who were like equally as bubbly as me and we’d get in like so much trouble ’cause we’d just be like, ahhh! But we were like the life of the party and everyone else was kind of like, okay, like, well, we’re either going to go back to our desk or we’re going to follow in line. And it’s like, come on. Let’s go have fun. Yeah, no.
[00:09:20] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay.
[00:09:21] Nicole Gauthier: I’m much better off where I am now.
[00:09:22] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. Okay. So then yeah, you won’t be in trouble, but any case, so you coming from someplace where an industry where you wanted to break out of that mold and basically almost a lot of your colleagues were very follow the rules, go by the books, do it this way. This is how, you know, finances work. And this is how you should, you know, be operating within that financial world. So what, from that, like, do you have anything that you learned from being an accountant or seeing your colleagues operating in a certain way or even clients operating in a certain way? I don’t know. Were you business to business or to consumer?
[00:09:59] Nicole Gauthier: No. Yeah, it was business to business. So like we had, I was dealing with other oil and gas operators as well.
[00:10:04] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. So then not to other to clients, but in your colleagues and if you knew anything about how they were operating or how, what people were talking about with their finances, like, you know, if they’ve talked about that at all in the office versus what you are doing now, like, what would one of the, some of the things, I guess the question is, what are some of the things that you took from that that was like the standard status quo thing that everybody was doing? That was like if you didn’t like, this is a safe way to go ’cause you picked the job cause it was safe and you were encouraged to go the safe route. So I’m sure there’s a lot of safety and things in there that you probably don’t agree with now.
[00:10:43] Nicole Gauthier: Oh, for sure. Yeah. Well, I’d say, okay, the biggest thing was like me thinking about the nine to five schedule. In my case, it was not nine to five. It was more like, I don’t know. I went in there pretty early, so it was probably like 6:30 to maybe like 4:30. But I thought about that and I was like, why are we working Monday through Friday? We have like two days off during the week. And then really Sunday’s like not even really day off ’cause you’re already like preparing for Monday. So it just felt like just, I don’t know, it felt like there’s got to be more to life than just like working and even then, you know, so, okay, so that was like, the biggest thing. It was like, okay, there’s got to be more. I need to be able to like, create my own schedule. I need to find a way to get out of this five-day work week where most of my life is spent working except for, you know, the two or three weeks vacation that you get with your job. That was one for sure big thing. Another thing too, was that like, most people were okay with that. They were okay. Like, life was their work and when they had babies and, you know, Matt leaving Canada is like a year-long, so totally different than in the states. But they were like ready to get back and I’m just like, oh, okay, but like, I don’t know, just something felt like it just wasn’t right. I’ll also say too, like the 401ks, like that bothered me, where, you know, at the time I didn’t know any better. So I’m like, yeah. 401k, like profit sharing and stock options and stuff like that. Like, that’s all like a huge bonus. That’s great. Until you realize that with a 401k that you can’t even touch it until you’re like 59 and a half, for one. And if you do touch it before, then, then there’s like all these penalties and tax implications that you’re now subject to. And it’s like, why? This is my money that I’ve like put into there. Why is it being held hostage? I want to enjoy my life before I turn 60. Like, shouldn’t we all want to do that?
[00:12:28] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah.
[00:12:28] Nicole Gauthier: Life is more than just like sitting behind a computer desk or, you know, I guess for some people, you know, they work with their hands, so maybe they’re on the roof or maybe they’re digging in a toilet and like, who knows. But life is just more than that. And so one of the things that prompted me to kind of looking outside the box too, was like, okay, this 401k’s great, but there’s got to be more. Or at least there’s got to be a way for me to be able to leverage like the money that we have right now and invest it in a way that we’re not going to be subject to paying like full capital gains taxes on everything, or anytime that we realize any sort of gains or any income from it at all. So that was really, I’d say those two things for sure were like kind of the pivotal point.
[00:13:07] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. And those two things actually are things that people, they don’t realize that there’s options outside of that, right? Like that you don’t actually have to work five days a week. You can pick a job, maybe not with your current employer, you can pick a job where you have more freedom and flexibility than that, especially now in this day and age where there’s a lot of work-from-home options. I know, you know, a lot of politicians are trying to get us back into the office and people are like, nah, I’m just going to resign. I’m not going back. So I know, I think that’s going to be a struggle for a while, but that’s never, it’s not really ever fully going away and there’s going to be so many opportunities to do remote work where you don’t have to go into the office anymore. And then also having options outside of 401k for environment and, ugh.
[00:13:54] Nicole Gauthier: For retirement.
[00:13:55] Nicole Pendergrass: For retirement, retirement, geez lousie. So have you found anything outside of the 401k that you are kind of replacing that with for your future, like retirement or whatever that looks like for you, and what does retirement mean or look like for you?
[00:14:12] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah, definitely. Of course, like I’m not going to bash investing in the stock market at all, or for like even investing a little bit into your 401k ’cause we still do that. But we’re using that as our backup. We’re not using that as our main point of, you know, retirement saving. So, you know, one of the things that we’ve done was we actually reduced, we used to like max out the amount that we could put into our 401ks. And we’ve actually reduced that down to only what the employer was matching. And then we’d taken that difference that normally would go into the 401k and we put that into like a separate savings account that we’re using for investing in real estate. So whether that’s investing passively as a limited partner, or we’re using that to invest in active things like our own rentals, or even like saving money for, you know, being on the GP side of things, that is where that money is going. So we’re really just focusing on ways that we can not only increase our wealth but also have our money consistently staying in motion. So yeah, I would say that for sure.
[00:15:13] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. And you mentioned there. All of those different options were around real estate. So why real estate and what are you doing in real estate? Why, did you look at any other types of wealth-building options besides real estate? And if so, what drew you to real estate?
[00:15:28] Nicole Gauthier: Yes. So I’ve looked into something else. It’s like cash flow insurance or infinite banking. So that is one thing that I’m currently working on, getting pushed to the finish line. So actually, I think I had already told you too, that I had done like my medical and all that stuff, ’cause it is typical. It is your typical insurance policy, like a life insurance policy. However, it works and it’s structured differently. So it works more in the benefit of allowing you to build up that cash value initially and early on so that you can use it to your advantage for investing in real estate or investing in other things. Like, one of my friends used it to invest in Bitcoin and it was like, you know, maybe you’re making like, at that time, I don’t know what their Bitcoin looks like now, but there’s definitely ways to leverage the cash value that is in these insurance policies that’s been like basically front-loaded in a sense to leverage into investing in other alternative assets. And for us, I’d say that real estate, for one, my dad would always tell us that like, land was valuable. I say that because we’ve had, my family owns hundreds of acres, not hundreds of thousands, but hundreds of acres in real estate back home in Louisiana. And the problem with that is that it’s been generationally passed down, but to the degree that there are so many of us that it’s been passed down to that it’s basically landlocked. It’s like, what are we going to do with this? There are like a hundred people that have like little tiny pieces of ownership on it. And we’ve had family, like move on to the land and like build houses and stuff like that without permission of other people in the family. And it’s like, you’re not going to make your family members like tear the houses down, but at the same time, like how dare they, right? So instead of just dealing with all of that nonsense, I took what my dad always said. I was like, land has value ’cause they’re not making any more of it and I’ve gone ahead and I’ve been like, okay, with my husband and our kids let’s go out and we’re going to create our own legacy, and not worry about all of those other things, ’cause it’s just not worth it. So yeah. So that’s kind of how I was a little bit inspired, I guess, with real estate. And then also too, you know, like with passive investing that it’s a great way to get started in multifamily investing without doing like a lot of the work. And you’re still getting all of those benefits. Like, you know, your tax benefits, ’cause of the depreciation, you get your cash flow, so your quarterly distributions. You also are participating in the equity ownership as well. So you’re getting, you know, you look at the equity multiples and the splits and whatnot, and you’re like, okay, like this could work for me. Like this is great. And then to your point as well is, you know, I’m in real estate full time. So I am also on the active side as well and I don’t know. I just, I believe in the asset because it’s stable and it’s income-producing. You can leverage the debt in more ways than one. And I think that there’s a stigma around debt as being something that’s negative. But when you really do like a lot of research and you start to kind of come into yourself and you realize with real estate that there’s different types of debt. There’s good debt and there’s bad debt and real estate falls into that good debt if it’s paying you. So it’s just all about leveraging.
[00:18:39] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. I think wealth-building is a huge, like the people who have built the biggest portfolios of wealth leverage debt. You know, our whole society is really based on debt. And if you do any type of digging in or research on it, you’ll find it easily. You know, our dollar is debt. Everything is debt.
[00:18:58] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah. Right. But there’s a huge difference between like consumer debt and good debt. Right. And I think that anytime that, you know, the traditional person, the person that’s not really educated on the finance or like the financial literacy side of things, they hear debt and it’s like, scary. It’s like, ah, like I don’t want that. I’m going to stay away from it. And that’s been like one kind of thing that I’ve had to learn too, is like, okay, debt’s not bad. You just have to leverage it to create the right opportunities for yourself. And it’s a little bit of a waiting game, but when it starts to pay off and you’re able to pay back down that debt and you’ve got assets to take its place, it’s like why would someone not do that, right?
[00:19:37] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. You know why? I think because a lot of people are impatient in society, especially nowadays with, you know, Amazon. I mean, everyone always says that we have like an instant society, like microwaveable, Amazon two-day shipping. We want everything quick and I can lie. I fall victim to a lot of that in just like daily living. But when it comes to wealth building, of course, I want cash flow faster. You want everything faster, but I’ve just been doing it so long and I see the benefits of even like the short term of the long term. I don’t know how to explain that, but overall, like I’m willing to put in and to have a 5 or 10-year plan that people, a lot of people can’t even fathom what 5 or 10 years from now looks like. And of course, that plan will change, but at least have something to get you started moving toward. Okay, anyway, you mentioned investing passively and being active ’cause you’re doing real estate full time. So have you invested passively before?
[00:20:31] Nicole Gauthier: Yes. Yeah.
[00:20:32] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay.
[00:20:32] Nicole Gauthier: That’s kind of, that was like the first bit of me, or I guess like the first deal of mine in the multifamily side was I was actually passive before I became active.
[00:20:42] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. If someone listening is interested in passively investing, let’s say they really resonate with your story. They don’t want to just stay in that box and do all those traditional things, but how can they get involved with investing passively if they don’t know a lot about real estate?
[00:20:58] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah. So I think the biggest thing with getting invested passively is to understand the, like kind of the mechanics behind it. And if you were to think of like investing in the stock market, right? Like you’ve got a financial advisor and you pass your money to them and they invest it for you into various different stocks, like blue chip, small, medium size companies, et cetera, index funds like you may or may not be part of that decision process, but regardless it’s being done for you and it’s being handled and you’re reaping those returns and those rewards. It’s kind of the same thing with investing passively in real estate, where you get to know, like, and trust an operator or sponsor who’s got a deal, perhaps you might be looking in a specific market and you find a person that’s an operator or a general partner in that market. And you go and you reach out and you develop that relationship with them I’d say the biggest piece of it is to really is to know, like, and trust the operators and then understanding the metrics, too, because each investor has a different goal in mind, right? Like, some of them might be investing passively because they want cash flow and maybe some don’t care so much for the cash flow but they want the equity. And then there’s others that invest in class A assets that don’t want either, they just want wealth preservation. So they’re fine with like a lower cash on cash and maybe even a lower equity multiple, but it’s a safe place for them to invest their money with like a returns that are better than the stock market. And so that’s their reason. And then they might be high-income earners out there that are looking for just straight depreciation. All they want are the tax write-offs. So there’s different reasons as to why someone might get passively invested. And I think that the biggest thing is to determine that goal first, like what are you looking for? What is it that you want? And then reaching out to other operators and understanding what metrics that they have for their investments because some might only be underwriting to, you know, a one and a half equity, multiple. And at, I don’t know, let’s say like a 7% cash on cash and their IRR might be under 15%. Someone might like that. I don’t, I wouldn’t want that. So I would say no, thanks, and move on to the next operator, right? So that’s another thing too, is diving deep and figuring out what your metrics are as to what you want to get invested in. And then to like, I guess is a little bit of a shameless plug, but I have a free guide on my website, which I know will get into that later, but a free guide on my website and that helps with, like all of the acronyms and the little terms that us real estate professionals kind of throw around there and gets into like a deeper dive as to like what passive investing looks like.
[00:23:34] Nicole Pendergrass: Good. I’m actually glad that you mentioned that ’cause I was going to say, if anyone out there who doesn’t know the terminology, please reach out to either of us that we could explain, but, yeah, we will get the link, if you send me the link and I’ll make sure that it’s in the show notes to that guide. So guys make sure you get that guide. If you don’t know any of those terms that Nicole was just spitting out, make sure you get that guide so you can learn and, you know, the learning on the passive investing side is not too, like you said, like someone else is handling, investing that money and knowing how all of that works, how all of the real estate works on the back end. So you need to understand what the opportunity is, and you need to understand who the operator is that you are going to trust with your funds. But other than that, there’s really not a lot extra that you need to really know as a passive investor unless you’re maybe looking to scale up and get active.
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