Episode No. 37
How To Vet An Operator Before You Invest In Their Deal with Gene Trowbridge
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Episode No. 37
How To Vet An Operator Before You Invest In Their Deal with Gene Trowbridge
Listen To The Podcast On
Your Favourite Platform
Joining a real estate syndication will allow you to leverage other people’s money and invest together in a property.
In this episode, syndication attorney Gene Trowbridge, ESQ, CCIM sits down with us today to give expert insights on syndications and how to become a passive investor. He lists guide questions to ask an operator who’s presenting an opportunity for you.
As a founding partner of Trowbridge Law Group LLP, Gene’s law practice concentrates on the syndication of commercial and investment real estate, through both debt and equity. He has represented over 650 clients in this area of practice. The median offering size is $3,000,000 but he has done individual offerings of over $6 Billion. His practice writes offerings under Rule 506b and 506(c) of Regulation D. As a former syndicator who for ten years raised investor capital through the broker-dealer community, he is able to communicate with his clients on both the technical and the practical aspects of state and federal securities laws. As a long-time CCIM and CCIM Senior Instructor, he has won numerous awards for his teaching ability. His book “It’s a Whole New Business!” is really a “how to manual” on real estate syndication.
[00:01 – 11:11] Who is Gene Trowbridge?
- Gene talks about making great decisions on the kitchen table with his wife and the meaning of wealth
- He discusses his background and how he ended up studying law at 45 and helping other people be good syndicators
- His philosophy is to do a deal by himself first because he wants to make sure everything works before he starts to manage other people’s money
- Last year, he sent 1,600+ K-1’s to his investors
[11:12 – 21:26] What You Need to Know About Syndication
- A syndication can be a great way for people to pool their resources and invest in a deal together
- As a syndicator, it’s important that you figure out where the opportunities are and assemble a team that can capture those opportunities
- Building your database of contacts is key
- What he asks his clients who are interested in real estate syndication:
- How did you get started?
- What do you think is going to happen in the next three years with your business?
- What advice do you have for rookies?
[21:27 – 26:53] Questions to Ask and Vet Sponsors
- What will happen to the capital if something happens to you?
- There should be continuity
- Never invest with an individual sponsor
- Have you done this before?
- Even if this is the sponsor’s first time, they should have something to bring to the table
- Are you going to invest any money in this yourself?
- If I need liquidity, how will you handle that?
[26:54 – 31:19] Becoming a Passive Investor
- Seek out education and be knowledgeable in real estate
- Not everyone is equipped to be a syndicator and not every property should be syndicated.
- The syndication business is a people business
[31:20 – 39:52] Closing Segment
- The final questions
- Spread the risk and get diversified
- Gene shares his strategy in choosing between Baltic Avenue and Boardwalk
- What does Gene need right now to get to the next level?
- Connect with Gene!
“Before I did my first deal, people ask me, have you done this before? I say, No, this is my first time. But I must have something else going on in my life that would make them want to invest with me.” – Gene Trowbridge
“One of the hiccups that I’m seeing today is a multifamily syndicator who decides all of a sudden they’re going to go into mobile home parks. That’s a different game.” – Gene Trowbridge
“We’re only supposed to deal with sophisticated investors and accredited investors, so how do you know? So I think the investor has a responsibility to get educated on the product.” – Gene Trowbridge
Let’s get connected!
[00:00:00] Gene Trowbridge: We’ve done quite a few offerings where it’s just, I’m going to use the term, it’s just debt. People put in their money. They don’t really get any ownership of the property, but they get 7%, 8%, 9% return every quarter where you can’t get that in the bank. And if you’re in a position where it’s secured by a good piece of real estate, if that’s what your goal is, that’s a great investment.
[00:00:55] Nicole Pendergrass: Hi everyone. Welcome, welcome, welcome back to another episode today of the Share The Wealth Show. And today we have a very actually unexpected guest. It is Mr. Gene Trowbridge. He is a syndication attorney and has actually come on and talk to us a lot about the process of not just syndication, but if you’re going to be a passive investor, what questions should you be asking an operator who’s presenting an opportunity for you? What are the four most important questions for you to ask in order to protect yourself, protect your money, and know that the operator is going to do right by you and with the deal? So Gene, actually, he has years and years of experience. First, actually he started as a broker, I believe a commercial broker. And then he turned into after, after investing a couple of times passively, he said, Oh, you know, I could do this. And he became a syndicate and he syndicated for years. He actually did a lot of ground up construction with self storage units. And then at some point decided, you know, I don’t really want to do this anymore. I want to switch gears. And he went to law school and became a syndication attorney, and everyone in the multifamily space uses him or has heard of him. So very big name that we had on today and I’m very excited to bring him to you guys. Let me just catch up a little bit more on his bio. He has been in the commercial and real estate investment business continuously since 1972 and has been an attorney since 1990. After his CCIM designation, he continues to serve as a member of the CCIM faculty, and he actually is really big on education and educating people on real estate and syndication and making sure that he has his mentorship and all of that as well. A lot of his YouTube channel he mentions in the show, has a lot of information and interviews with other people and just teaches you, educates you on what it means to invest in a syndication, how syndications work, and make sure that you’re doing things correctly and by the book. So you do not want to go to Securities and Exchange Commission jail. In any case, he is a member of the California Bar. He lives in California right now. He has his own law group, Trowbridge Law Group, LL P. As a former syndicator, he was raising capital for 10 years. He sponsored 16 investment groups. He was raising equity from investors through registered representatives and brokers, broker dealer community, and he actually sent out 1,600, over 1,600, almost 1,700, that’s 1,600 K-1s in a single year. What’s a K-1? A K-1 is a tax document that you get as a passive investor that shows your income and losses free to file taxes with. This show is jam packed with information. Please listen to the whole thing. He brings years of experience and knowledge and insights, and he actually taught me a bunch of things. Actually, I learned things every time we have an episode or every time I’m talking to a guest. But today is no different. Stay tuned.
[00:04:11] Nicole Pendergrass: Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Share The Wealth Show. This is the show where we learn how to create, grow, and protect minority wealth. And today we actually have with us a very special guest. Mr. Gene Trowbridge is here, and if you guys don’t know who this man is, you are in for such a treat. He has a wealth of experience, years of knowledge, and he’s really going to break it down and share with us a lot of his insights in the syndication space. So Gene, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:04:48] Gene Trowbridge: Well, thanks, Nicole. I’m glad to be here and I love the way you positioned that, I guess, years of knowledge, you said that word, years. I loved it. And that’s good. So that’s one of the things, you know, when you talk about wealth. Wealth can be a bunch of things. Wealth can just be, knowledge It can be money, the wealth in having a happy family. I’ve been married 50 years and I owe that to my feeling that all the great decisions in life, Nicole, are made around the kitchen table. When I got married to Kay, that’s what we started to do every day, at least once a day, and we still do it. If I’m not traveling, we still do a sit down to talk about what’s going on. And in life, some of the things, over 50 years, some of the things are tragic and some of the things are magic. And if we’re always talking about what’s going on, things kind of even out. We can deal with the tragedy ’cause we know it’s coming. Or we think it’s coming and we can get excited about the match it, but it doesn’t hit us like this. And we’re comfortable. So that’s what I think has wealth has all sorts of meaning, but let’s talk about money.
[00:06:02] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. And I completely agree. That was such a wise insight right there. Wealth is not only about the financial aspect, wealth is well-rounded with a lot of different things and aspects of your life. And it’s all how you view it, it’s all relative, right?
[00:06:19] Gene Trowbridge: It really is terrific. You know, I’ve had three careers really. My first career was a commercial real estate broker coming out of college, but the biggest thing I could sell and make a commission on was real estate. You know, I couldn’t sell airplanes ’cause I wasn’t an engineer or big rooms of computers. So I went to sell real estate, totally driven by the commission. You know, I didn’t know anything about real estate, but I did that. And then I found through investing myself in a couple of small deals that I had a lot of people I knew who would like to invest, but they didn’t have the time. They didn’t have it all the money, they didn’t have the skill to do it themselves, but they know me and I was developing some expertise. So they thought, well, if Gene’s found something that, yeah, it was an opportunity, maybe it’d invest with Gene. And that’s really the trick of being a syndicator. So I did that for a long time and then as I say, the care and maintenance of partners will soon wear you down. And one day around the kitchen table, I said to my wife, came home at lunch, I said, you know, I’ve had enough of this. I’ve always wanted to go to law school. So at 45, I started my third career. I went to law school, and I don’t know how good your math is, but at 45 I went to law school for 30 years, I’ve been an attorney in the syndication area. I don’t do divorces, wills, I don’t do anything. All I do is try to help people be good syndicators, which in turn helps their investors generate some wealth.
[00:08:01] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. That’s very impressive. And I was going to ask you to give us an overview of your background. And there it is, like, so, so impressive. Okay. So you mainly stopped syndicating just because you were tired of handling or dealing with partners and other people and just wanted to go out and do on your own.
[00:08:22] Gene Trowbridge: Nicole, I got to a point where I had a challenge at my business. I really was challenged to do bigger deals. I was raising my money through stockbrokers and the stockbrokers came to me and said, you know, your deals I was raising $5 million at a time. This was a while ago, okay? And they said, you know, $5 million, we raise that so fast. We like your deals. We want you to do $10 million deal. Well, I had a philosophy that I had enough money to do the deal that I was going to syndicate, at least for a short period of time myself just in case some money raise didn’t go as fast as we wanted. ‘Cause you don’t want to raise money and give it back to people and say, well, this didn’t work. Wait for the next time ’cause I’m not going to wait for the next time. That was one of the discussions I had with Kay. I said, you know, now they want us to commit $10 million, whether I had it or not, they wanted us to commit $10 million as part of their due diligence. Gene, can you close this deal if we haven’t raise all the money yet? And I said I don’t want that risk. And that was my whole sales force. I didn’t have a Rolodex of investors. I had a Rolodex of stock brothers that I could call on. And now, if they weren’t going to do it because it wasn’t a $10 million deal, I thought it’s the perfect time to do something else. So I went to law school. So it was a challenge. But your point is, well taken. The last year that I was fully enveloped in that, I sent out 1,687 K-1 s to investors and that’s a lot.
[00:10:02] Nicole Pendergrass: You said 1,600?
[00:10:04] Gene Trowbridge: 1,687. It’s a lot, given the fact there were no companies that would help you do that back then. Like, there are today. Yeah, totally different picture of we were syndicated today, and so that was a lot of looking envelopes, and so I could just see if I grew my business, I’d have to get more staff, more office space, more lines of credit. You know, all those things that would be important. I just thought no, I’d had enough and since we’re talking about wealth, I had made some money and I had probably five or six years of income streams coming from the funds that were completed at that time, which really couldn’t afford me to go to law school. Law school’s not cheap, and it takes a lot of time. So I knew I was going to have to slow down and work and see this money coming in. Kay was still working. We had kids in school and I’m going to go off and have a midlife crisis and go to law school. So it was the perfect timing to do something I always want.
[00:11:11] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. I love it. I love that. So I guess I’ll just go ahead and jump in because my listeners are in that process of learning to build wealth and I’m exploring a lot of different alternative strategies. Things are that are not traditional, not your normal investing stocks and bonds and your retirement account and I’m trying to get people to look outside the box and see avenues that they may not realize are there or wealth building strategies. So as a real estate investor myself, and I’m actually getting started with my first couple of raises. So I have a long journey and career ahead of me in that regard. But for the people who are either nervous to do syndications, actually, I want to dig into the bad side of syndications. So I don’t know if this episode is really going to help or hurt, but any knowledge is good, right? It’ll help.
[00:12:06] Gene Trowbridge: We want people to be aware. We don’t want to scare anyone. We don’t want to scare everyone away.
[00:12:09] Nicole Pendergrass: No, no, no. But I want you to be prepared.
[00:12:12] Gene Trowbridge: Yes. With your eyes open. I’ve got a series of questions that we’ll get to that I think everyone who’s listening who might want to invest in someone else’s deal should ask. And then I think if you’re one of those someone else’s, you better know an answer to those questions, so as I said earlier, before we started at kind of a one-trick pony, a real estate guy from day one. And in the syndication where people who don’t have enough money to buy their own real estate, they don’t have enough time to manage their own real estate. They don’t necessarily have the knowledge necessary to do that, can pool their money with someone who does have some money, some time, and some expertise, and goes out into the marketplace and find some opportunities and brings the opportunities back to the investors. I learned a long time ago as a syndicator that I really wasn’t selling anything. I was saying, well, what I was doing was building self-storage facilities. We built a lot of self 32 self-storage facilities in Southern California. So the opportunity we had there was to take a piece of dirt, identify where there was a need for self-storage facilities, build it and then sell it. We never wanted to be in the business of running self-storage facilities. I didn’t want my investors to count on me for a check every month so they could buy groceries. I was looking for investors who wanted to build their net worth. They’d find their income somewhere else, but they wanted to build their net worth. So within a year, two or three, I could take their money and give them back 150 or 200% of their money. I met their needs and so I had to find people who saw that as an opportunity and saw the fact that I had to assemble the team that can capture that opportunity if we all invest together. I think that’s very important. If there are some people listening like you who are about the first money raise, you’re talking about your database, you’re talking about the people that you could talk to. I think in developing the database, I would go in this direction. I would find people who are interested in real estate. Do you really want a lot of people in your database that are interested in blockchain? I don’t know, but I think you want real estate, right? And you want to tell them what area of real estate is it that you’ve identified that provides opportunities. Not everyone wants to invest in storage facilities or retail or apartments, but people want to invest in different things. So you have to figure out where the opportunities are, and then you have to assemble a team that can capture those opportunities. And then you have to tell people, these are the opportunities. Here’s my team, and then finally, here’s my offering. When I started, all I had was, oh, I just got the offering booked from the attorney. I’ll go out and sell this. But I didn’t know I was talking to people who wanted real estate or wanted the development risk of real estate or wanted to build their net worth as opposed to cash, well. So I quickly learned what I needed to do in building my database with really stock brokers who had clients, who were looking for equity buildup at net worth. So that’s a long story, but I think that’s what you need to do. So now we’ve got two players in the game. We’ve got people who need the help of a syndication, a sponsor, ‘ cause they can’t do it themselves. There’s nothing wrong with can’t do it yourself. I know fabulously wealthy people who are in 20 or 30 deals with other people, they wouldn’t think of being the boss. They’re doing extremely well. In fact, they retire from being a passive investor in other people’s deals. And then I know people who are after one or two deals, they’re back. I can do this and I want to make that, that part of money. So it’s a pretty interesting world that we find ourselves in, Nicole.
[00:16:35] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, I agree. And I think that that also hits on a point that there are so many ways that you can go after wealth building, whether it’s even just in the real estate industry, there’s so many different avenues you can take. And like you’re saying, if you want to be passive and create that data or you want to be active and create that database and find the team and find the offerings and the opportunities and all of that. But then even if you want to be passive and you want to be that passive investor and just invest in all the deals and to even get to the point where you can retire from being a passive investor, that means you’ve done very well over time. Another thing I want to point out that you mentioned, and I don’t know if it’s gone over like listener’s head, as a passive investor, there are different strategies based on different asset types, and you need to know what you are looking to do or do you want cash flow, then a ground up development deal is probably not good for you. If you want to build wealth and you just want your net worth to grow, then a ground up development could work because you’re not looking for, like Gene said, the money to buy your groceries. So there’s different types of commercial real estate products, and they offer different types of monetary value, whether it’s monthly, whether it’s quarterly, whether it’s in a couple of years, where you have to wait. So you really should sit and think about what you want to do and what you want to get out of your wealth-building journey, what you need the real estate to do for you when you’re deciding on what kind of operators and what kind of assets to invest with.
[00:17:59] Gene Trowbridge: The last couple of years, Nicole, we’ve done quite a few offerings where it’s just I’m going to use the term, it’s just debt. People put in their money. They don’t really get any ownership of the property, but they get 7%, 8%, 9% return every quarter where you can’t get that in the bank. No. And if you’re in a position where it’s secured by a good piece of real estate, if that’s what your goal is, that’s a great investment. It’s really wonderful. Well, you know, we’ve all heard that so many people who are really wealthy in this country made it through real estate. That’s fine. But there are a lot of people who made it through inventing websites and medical devices and all that too. So real estate isn’t the only game in town. But unfortunately, it’s the only one I can really talk about. But you know, we talked earlier, what am I investing in today? Well, right around the time that the pandemic started and the stock market was on a rampage, which just really has spent for the last three or four years. I converted just about everything to cash, so I’m a little older. And the risk is something I’m more concerned about than I used to be because I don’t have time to make my money over again if I lose it. I’m in cash and, you know, the yields aren’t so great. And especially today with inflation being at eight, you get a yield at two or three, you’re really losing money, aren’t you? Well, that’s fine. You can lose a little bit all the time or you can lose it all at once. I’d rather lose a little, right? For me, my family, and my situation where I am, this was the right thing to do. And I guess there’s another deal. I have a lot of clients. I probably have 800 different clients and they all are wonderful offerings. I can’t invest with any of them because it would be a conflict. You know, I’m the attorney and if I invest and something goes wrong, then they’re all going to be after me. And so I’m so busy on deals that I know the sponsor and I know the deals. I don’t have time to look at anyone else’s deals. So I just said, I won’t do that anymore. For, a couple of years as an attorney, I was still buying my own real estate. And then that’s a problem, time management. Cash, so I went to cash. You know, on my YouTube channel, I have 30, I think I have 37 interviews, Nicole, with people who are my clients, and I asked them the same three questions. How did you get started? What do you think is going to happen in the next three years with your business, and what advice do you have for rookies? Okay. And the most important answer is what advice do they have for rookies? Well, no, I guess the most important answer, the first one is I got started ’cause I didn’t have enough money to buy all the real estate I wanted to own myself. So I needed to reach out to other people to invest with me. That’s how everyone got started. and then, the last one is, this is not something you do by yourself. You need to have a team. If you’re going to manage other people’s money, heaven forbid, the risk if you decide that you’re going to do it all by yourself. We’ve had sponsors die during the last three years. COVID, gone. What if they had been the only person who could sign documents, who could make decisions? What would’ve happened to the investors.
[00:21:26] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. And actually, that leads right into something else I really wanted to touch on is for all the people who want to be passive investors who are listening, what should they be doing to vet potential sponsors and what should they be asking? What should they be looking out for? And I guess after that I’m going into maybe the biggest hiccup you’ve seen happen over your time. Yeah. Just to share what could potentially go wrong.
[00:21:54] Gene Trowbridge: Well, I’ve already mentioned the one. I’m going to give you the four questions I think an investor should ask.
[00:22:00] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay.
[00:22:00] Gene Trowbridge: And you’re going to be surprised ’cause I’m not going to mention cash flow. I’m not going to mention net operating income. I’m not going to mention any of that. Before you get too involved in the offering documents and mechanics of the real estate, first question, Nicole. Nicole, if I give you my $50,000 to invest in your deal, what happens if something happens to you? My firm won’t write securities documents. Nicole, you came to us and said, I’m going to do a deal and I want to be the only managing member and the only general partner. I won’t take you as a client because I think that is way too risky for the investors. You need some continuity, and I don’t know how we work that out, but here everyone is different and you’ve got to have some continuity. The lender is basically going to require you to have that investors. Never invest with an individual sponsor, number one. Number two, hey Nicole, have you done this before? And you know, all of us have had to say no to that question. Before I did my first deal, people ask me, have you done this before? I say, No, this is my first time, but I must have something else going on in my life that would make them want to invest with me. So to start out with you better build that background story. And then after you’ve done your first deal and they say, Hey Gene, have you done this before? You say hell yes, once. But that’s, you know, that’s the start. And then the third one is Nicole, are you going to invest any money in this yourself or skin in the game, however, you want to use the terms? And I used to think the only thing that was important was the cash flow or the cash investment of the syndicator. But today, syndications are signing mortgages. They’re signing mortgages for full recourse. They’re signing mortgages for partial recourse for carve outs. So they do have skin in the game. And you need to be able to tell your investors, Yes, I’m in there. I’m in there with you. And then the last one is, Nicole, if something happens in my life, where I need liquidity, how do you handle that? And the answer there is that the operating agreement has a couple of articles in it on liquidity, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary. And you as a sponsor should read that and be able to answer that question and go over it with your investors so that they’re comfortable. I mean, this whole thing that buying units in an LLC, how does that work? How do I get out of this thing, you know? So you have to be able to make your investor comfortable that there is a plan in case they need it. So those are the four questions I think you should ask. And then the question is, do you know anything about real estate? We’re supposed to take money from sophisticated investors. Who’s going to make you sophisticated if you’re new in investing in multifamily? Where are you going to get the education? Is it the syndicator who’s going to educate you? Probably not. Are there podcasts like this that educate you on multifamily? Sure. Are there trainers out there who you can sign up and take their courses? Can you read books? How are you going to get sophisticated enough so that when you read investment documents that you know what’s going on? And I think that’s important, and one of the hiccups that I’m seeing today is a multifamily syndicator who decides all of a sudden they’re going to go into mobile home parks and they take their money and their investors fund right over in mobile home parks. That’s a different game. I went to a mobile home park educational training once where one of my clients is a big mobile park developer, and they had a two-hour presentation of a video that was made inside of the factory where they make mobile home coaches. It’s amazing what goes into making it a mobile home, and it’s different than a two-by-four in insulation in an apartment building. So how do you know that the sponsor is sophisticated in that or that you as an investor are sophisticated? We’re only supposed to deal with sophisticated investors and accredited investors, so how do you know? So I think the investor has a, has a responsibility to get educated on the product, I think so. We’ve all lived in an apartment building. That’s why one of the reasons apartment buildings and multifamily are so popular to invest into. We all understand. There’s a water heater, there’s a stack of a washer dryer, what’s inside of a self storage facility. A lot of metal metal wall, concrete, metal walls, one bathroom and you know, what the hell.
[00:26:53] Nicole Pendergrass: So I have a quick question then. With the concept of sophisticated investors, I feel like a lot of my listeners would be non-accredited investors, whether or not they are sophisticated is the question. What can they do besides, like, is there a certain timeframe of education that they should come complete? Is there any court? Like what is it that takes it to make them become sophisticated enough to invest in an offering?
[00:27:24] Gene Trowbridge: Well, that’s a good question. We build something, the third document that a securities attorney would develop is something called a subscription booklet and an offering questionnaire. So in the offering questionnaire, I’m going to ask you, you know, what have you invested in? What’s your job? What’s your education that makes you ready to invest in real estate? And I’m going to really be the judge of that as the sponsor. Oh, there is no bright line. The bright line really is, I guess, do they know enough about the investment to understand the risks that would truly, if there is a bright line. And so you’d get, that knowledge by being able, can you read the documents? Do you understand the product? It’s really difficult to, but once again, there are programs out there where people, trainers train you to be good investors. I know several programs. All they do is train you to be a passive investor. You’re going to go for a weekend and you learn all about multifamily, all about mobile parks, and no attorney is going to stand up and talk to you how to be a syndicator All they’re going to do is get your product knowledge so that when you look at an offering, you can tell. That’s kind of interesting. But, you know, back to your your story and you’re creating podcasts about building wealth. I think some people, I I have said this in the past, not everyone is equipped to be a syndicator. Some people are just better off being passive and not every property should be syndicated. They’re, you know, at risk is a big deal. But I think the thing that I like to talk to people about is the syndication business is a people business, Nicole. You know, your two or three deals and all of a sudden you have a hundred investors. Now you’ve got a hundred investors who are your best friends, whether you want them to be your best friends or not. And you know, we had, when I set out 1,687 K-1 s, I had 850 investors, okay? And the minute anything goes wrong, they come to you because you have their money. Well, you don’t have their money. You know, the money is in cement trucks pouring concrete slabs to build, tilt the storage facilities. But they want to visit their money and they’re going to visit you. That’ll drive some people out of this business. At some point in time, it was a part of my decision to leave the business that I just, you know, I’ve got 850 now. What would I do with 1600 investors? God forbid, I think I’ll hide.
[00:30:06] Nicole Pendergrass: No, that’s very true. Well, this has been A lot of good insights and information and I feel like the people listening, listeners out there, got a lot from it, especially if whether they want to even be active, the people who are listening who are are on that path, or the people who just want to be passive now they know kind of how to vet your syndicators and make sure you’re looking at documents. You know, you know now that there’s courses out there that can help you learn everything. Well, not everything, but a lot, give you a crash course on passive investing and multifamily or other commercial types as a product and what to look for so you can start to become sophisticated if you want to be.
[00:30:47] Gene Trowbridge: YouTube accounts. YouTubers, there’s a bunch of people out there who know the products that have YouTube presentations. That’s how you can learn
[00:30:56] Nicole Pendergrass: YouTube University is great. I love YouTube University. You can learn a lot on there, whether or not everything is true, you have to vet that yourself.
[00:31:06] Gene Trowbridge: Everything on mine is true.
[00:31:08] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay, so everyone, look at Gene’s YouTube channel, we will have it in the show notes. I’m going to study his channel too because I need to hear all of the interviews and everything he has going on there.
[00:32:28] Nicole Pendergrass: Gene, you know, I really appreciate you coming on, and I’m out actually going to ask you the final three questions that I ask every guest. So the first one is, Warren Buffett said that diversification is protection against ignorance. What does that mean to you? And is diversification a good thing or a bad thing? What do you think he means?
[00:32:48] Gene Trowbridge: I think it’s imperative. I think it’s imperative. You know, and my example is you put all your money in one property that goes bad. You put all your money in three properties and one of them goes bad. Which would you rather have in the three properties? So you’ve got to spread the risk and be diversified, yeah. In fact, when we were syndicating, we built two storage facilities in each offering, just in case, just in case.
[00:33:14] Nicole Pendergrass: Smart. Super smart. Have you played Monopoly before?
[00:33:19] Gene Trowbridge: Sure.
[00:33:20] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. Now Baltic is one of the cheapest properties and Boardwalk’s most expensive. In your strategy to win the game which one are you looking to buy first and why?
[00:33:31] Gene Trowbridge: The railroads ’cause there’s one on all four sides. That’s the deal. Yeah, that was always fun. No, I don’t think you can start at Boardwalk. I don’t think you can. I think that’s a mistake that you can make. I guess, I haven’t played in a very long time, but it seemed to me that the more properties you bought, the better off you were than just simply buy Boardwalk.
[00:33:57] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. Understood. Actually, I like that answer. You’re the only person and I’m the only first one to go like outside of the box and say the railroads, . I love it. That just shows your mindset. Don’t stick with the status quo. Think outside the box. That’s what I’m trying to teach everybody here. Think outside the box, people. Okay, and so. I don’t know if this question, because you kind of, it kind of seems like you are where you want to be. You love your career right now. You’re doing it because it brings you joy and that’s just, it’s what you do and what you know. But my last question is also, what’s the one thing you need to take your business to the next level and what is the next level? Is there one?
[00:34:35] Gene Trowbridge: I’m in a mindset of legacy. Trowbridge Law Group, will that go away when I retire? I hope not. I have a law partner. I have another person in the firm, who’s in his second year of law school, wants to come in. And there are five other people who make the business run. There’s no question I’m the rainmaker. But I don’t want this thing to go away. We’ve all worked, with my group of people I have now, we’ve all been together like eight or nine years. I want to make sure that there’s something after that. So right now I need to get Tim through law school. And so I have two partners and we have a good social media presence. She’ll continue on. Dave, our office manager will continue. I just need to make sure that things are okay with them. And I think the name, even if I slow down a little bit trying to generate business, I think the name will still be strong. And I want the name to be strong so that all my existing clients keep coming to the company, whether, you know, Nicole does their legal work or Jonathan does their legal work is still some aura of a Trowbridge. So I’m on legacy wanting right now. Does that make sense?
[00:36:00] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, definitely. It makes perfect sense. And I think I mentioned to you when we first got on the call, I don’t know if we were recording then or not, but that your name rings bells in the multifamily sphere. You know, like, you are, you know the person, everyone knows who you are, you know what I mean? And so that right there already creates a legacy because we are just all like, it’s a small community. Even though, you know, there’s people all over the country who are doing this, your name just goes across and everyone knows that there’s quality associated with your name and your brand.
[00:36:34] Gene Trowbridge: Well, I appreciate that. One of the things I’m doing is, well, I’ll tell you three things anyway. A couple years ago I said I’m going to not work on Sundays. It’s, you know, ’cause, we’ve been virtual for a long, long time. And it’s so easy to go downstairs on Sunday with work. I’m not going to work on Sunday. And then then I said, well, I’m going to start my Sunday at noon on Saturday. I’d never really been able to follow that. Okay, So now I’m saying I’m through every day about three. I’m in California. So at three o’clock, the East coast is going home. The middle of the country, it’s five. They’re about ready to go home. So I can quick, ’cause I need to spend more time with my wife, okay? That gives her her day to do whatever she wants to do. But at three o’clock, I say I drop the shovel and I’m, I’m coming in. We do stuff. I think that’s important. But the one thing I am really getting better at is I don’t type the documents anymore. I let the people in my company do the workload, which trains them. I review everything, but I’m not a very good typist. I never have been. And so I think that’s important. And the farther I get away from having to type the documents, the more time I have to do things like this with you.
[00:37:52] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. And I appreciate that. I’m glad you got that off your plate because we need your expertise and your knowledge to be shared with the world.
[00:38:01] Gene Trowbridge: Okay. So you’re overly polite and overly nice, and thank you very, very much.
[00:38:07] Nicole Pendergrass: No, thank you. And so that, that’s it. That’s a wrap folks. Where can people get more information about you if they want to look you up, look at your YouTube channel. I’m sure I got sent the links for that, but let us know how they should contact you.
[00:38:22] Gene Trowbridge: Okay, well, the firm’s website is trowbridgelawgroup.com. That’s a great place to start. My direct phone number in California is nine 9 4 9 8 5 5 8 3 9 9. That’s 9 4 9 8 5 5 8 3 9 9. And you can get me by email gene trobridge law group.com and our YouTube channel is just simply Trobridge Law. Perfect.
[00:39:00] Nicole Pendergrass: I’m definitely going to look that up. Okay. Okay.
[00:39:03] Gene Trowbridge: Thank you.
[00:39:04] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. No, thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you from coming on, everyone, I hope you picked up all the the gems that Gene was sharing ’cause he really shared the wealth with us today and I appreciate it.
[00:39:15] Gene Trowbridge: Thank you, Gene. Have a good evening.
[00:39:18] Nicole Pendergrass: Bye Nicole.
[00:39:19] Gene Trowbridge: Bye.
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