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Ken McElroy on Property Management and Investor Mistakes



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Gary Pinkerton starts the show by talking about real estate investing and how you should be flexible based on the market condition. Afterward, Jason Hartman hosts Rich Dad Advisor Ken McElroy. They talk about the common mistakes that Ken sees in real estate investors, Ken’s real estate business model, tips on how to do property management right, and why you can’t just buy real estate any time you like.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Hello, and welcome to Episode 135 of the heroic investing show. This is a podcast for first responders, veterans, active duty members of the military, retired firefighters, police officers, and really anyone who’s looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business, and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We help current and prior first responders put protections and systems in place to enable them to build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product they are uniquely gifted to share with the world. My name is Gary Pinkerton. And I am humbled and extremely proud to co host this show that heroic investing show for all of you. On Episode 135. Jason has a discussion with Ken McElroy, and those of you I’m sure who are interested in real estate are familiar with Ken McElroy. He’s someone that I consider a mentor somebody that I’ve been around and and spoken to and learned a tremendous amount from over many years now. He’s a real estate adviser for Robert and Kim Kiyosaki. He runs their multifamily real estate portfolio. He’s a real estate successful real estate syndicator has been doing that for many decades. But his largest success is what he did to raise investor capital, and purchase rental properties, large apartment buildings and add value and refinance out investor capital and repeat the process starting in 2008 910 and 11, when capital simply wasn’t available, and so Ken and his partner went to Canada and raised a lot of investor money out of Canada to help purchase real estate when there was no appetite for large lenders in the United States to fund continued reinvestment into these properties. And so he’s single handedly or his company, single handedly is responsible for improving living conditions for thousands of people, and making a lot of investors very, very wealthy. So there’s a tremendous amount we can learn from Ken, he and Jason On this episode, and actually, we split it into two different parts. And so next Friday, you’ll get part two of Jason and Ken McElroy where they focus a little bit more on the ideas of homeownership and how to treat your property manager and your tenants. But on this one, they start off talking a little bit more about the impact of the tax bill and what changes are coming. Ken talks about the two common mistakes that he sees most real estate investors making. He talks about his real estate business model, the fact that real estate This is a key point that real estate is very cyclical. And so you can’t just lock into I mean, you can maybe lock into one niche, but you can’t lock into one formula, right? So people who think that it’s smart to buy in one town or one exact type of property, because it’s been successful for them for the past few years, are eventually going to go the way of the dodo bird, because markets change. You know, there’s a time to be a buyer. There’s a time to refinance, there’s a time to just rehab what you have. There’s a time perhaps to partner with new construction. There’s a time maybe to do conversions from residential over to commercial and maybe there’s a time to convert from commercial back to residential condo conversions are not the right solution. In every market. For example, condo conversions are big at a peak of a market. But at the low end, when we’re just starting a large upswing in real estate, it typically means that there’s high demand. And it’s more important to be building large apartment buildings for people to rent then probably it is to be doing condo conversions. So you have to be fluid and be able to to move with the economy as conditions change around America. And so I think Ken has been just an absolute incredible example of how to do that. Adam, he’s been building self storage in southern Texas on the Gulf to support activity down there because of fracking of oil. And now the new oil exporting just an example of how you can change your model to support the needs out there in society. And in the end, an entrepreneur is someone who has the ability to be early to recognizing where there’s a need in the economy and solving that need for people and getting compensated for it really, I mean, that’s what an entrepreneur does. So he’s really been pretty inspirational, really good about doing that. And then his other message, I thought in this one that was really good comes near the end of this clip, and he’s talking about how, and I’ve learned this in spades in my own small portfolio over the last decade, is that C class properties look really, really good on paper. But they end up performing much lower than the performance, while A or B class don’t look so good. But you end up with a better tenant. And they start performing a little bit higher than the paper because they take much better care of your property. And perhaps you’ve overestimated for what you’re going to have and expenses and vacancies. So I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this two part series. I’ll be back to intro, part two, next Friday. And I really, really hope you all enjoyed our world war two, veteran and hero, Marine Corps, Larry Claremont from Chicago, what an amazing guy. Hopefully that acoustics It was very challenging when we first were recording, but hopefully, the amazing Adam was able to do some some incredible stuff with that in post production and able to save a lot of that really, really good conversation. So thanks so much. I’ll be back with you next Wednesday for some other original content, and then we’re going to be back with part two with Ken McElroy on Friday.

Jason Hartman 6:52
Now, our guest today is Ken McElroy, or probably like we did with the last interview, we’re probably going to go a little long, so we’ll probably do this one in two parts.

I got to play an important video for you. This is with Steve leasman. He’s a senior economics reporter with CNBC all probably know who he is. Listen to this, listen to this. It’s really quite amazing. Here we go.

‘CNBC clip’ 7:16
I was here a quarter ago breathlessly talking about the rise in optimism. I don’t know what the next step up is above breathlessly, because we have done it. Again. We’ve surpassed the old hyperventilate, I don’t want to hyperventilate. But folks, we have this surge in optimism. And it appears to be helping at least a little bit, the approval rating of President Trump, take a look at the numbers, you’re for the first time in the history of the survey. And folks who’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now. 51% of the public says this, the economy is good or excellent. We have not been at 51%, you could see it rose steadily under President Obama. But it absolutely surged under President Trump.

Jason Hartman 7:55
And the way this is the life of the survey.

‘CNBC clip’ 7:57
This is the life of the survey that we’re looking at. Absolutely. And then 41% of the public says that the economic outlook is good, or the economy will get better in the next year. You don’t see it here. 50% of the public says a good time to invest. They’re upbeat on the outlook for their wages erupted on the outlook for housing, and then take a look at the next set of screens. And we’ll show you how this may be affecting the approval rating of President Trump, you can see that his approval rating went up by four points. And his negatives came down by three points. This is the approval rating, by the way guys is in line with a recent trend you can see in some some some polls is 40%. Over above, getting rid of the three handle getting the four handle our not having half the country

‘CNBC clip’ 8:38

‘CNBC clip’ 8:40
numbers like that.

‘CNBC clip’ 8:40
But I think it’s more than even i think i think he’s underperforming relative to the economy. But then take a look at the next screen back, which is his economic observers. And those are better. Yeah, he was already net positive in our poll 4341. Now he’s positive 4743. A little bit wider there. And you can see people approve of his economic handling of the economy. Well, less. So the overall. And I want to just show you the trend here, which is the next screen guys is the net approval, we do approval minus disapproval. You can see he had a very bad summer. And then it’s come back to where it was. He’s minus seven and on the economy. He’s plus four right there, which you don’t see. The question is what why is this happening? One thing we know for sure, Republicans have come back home they’ve they’ve dug in. They they had abandoned him a little bit, in other words is number two republicans were not as high as they should have been. They’re back where they are independents, a touch more positive democrats a touch more positive. But it doesn’t seem to be the tax bill, because I’ll tell you, the tax bill does not pull very well. Just 26% approval overall of the 800 Americans we polled nationwide, and it’s even tepid among Republicans, just 56% approval among Republicans. But hold on, let me just tell you the other side of that. There’s a large Don’t know. Okay, there’s a big 30% don’t know in

Jason Hartman 10:05
the final details. So

‘CNBC clip’ 10:07
I think that’s probably it. But I think what we’re seeing here is the economy, really helping out the president and we’ll see what the upside here how far he can go. There are obviously other things that keep people from from backing the president they say people vote with their feet and in the stock market.

‘CNBC clip’ 10:26
Right. So I know you’ll global synchronous growth, but stock markets going up has to do with the tax bill. So people voting with the feet to control the money are voting in favor, you’ll never get a tax bill. Very high in it. And then the as far as the approval rating for Trump, what do you think that the maximum approval rate, what

‘CNBC clip’ 10:45
do you think his solid negative number that

‘CNBC clip’ 10:48
will never change?

‘CNBC clip’ 10:49

Jason Hartman 10:50

‘CNBC clip’ 10:51
45 minutes

‘CNBC clip’ 10:52
45 impeach him 45 would

‘CNBC clip’ 10:53
be I don’t think 45

‘CNBC clip’ 10:56
I think 45 at least just with the tweets and the you know,

Jason Hartman 11:01
that if you took Twitter, I’d love to see if you took Twitter out of this

‘CNBC clip’ 11:05
not well, or just in general.

‘CNBC clip’ 11:07
We asked that question a while ago, people want him to stop tweeting you saw this is what

‘CNBC clip’ 11:13
works from it.

Jason Hartman 11:15
So I hope you found that video interesting. We’ve got to get to our guests Ken McElroy. But before we do, I want to remind you we are wrapping up the five year plan contest. Go to Jason hartman.com slash contest, Jason hartman.com slash contest. Meet the Masters, we got a new landing page. Make sure if you’re interested you upgrade your tickets so you can enjoy dinner and intimate dinner with Ron Paul. And you can meet him and get a photo op and get access to the green room and all the rest of the good stuff. At our upcoming meet the Masters event in La Jolla. If you haven’t registered, of course, you want to get your tickets for that ASAP. Jason hartman.com slash masters for that Jason hartman.com slash masters. And remember income properties the most historically proven asset class in the world.

We’re going to go to Ken McElroy one thing during this interview with Ken McElroy, the rich dad advisor, great guy, he talks about how I spoke at his conference last week. It was great. It was his annual employee retreat, I was honored to be one of the speakers there. And during my keynote speech, I talked about something called the wheel of life. This is something that I learned about from one of my early mentors at age 17, who changed my life that was Denis waitley, along with Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and Earl Nightingale, my four great mentors who really changed the course of my entire life, the Wheel of Life is about life balance, what some of the speakers that teach on this wheel of life concept where you sort of rate on a one to 10 scale, different areas and aspects of your life. They talk about making your wheel round, so roll through life really well. And I agree with that. That’s a that’s a good point. You know, there can be as Stephen Covey, another great mentor of mine talked about the late Stephen Covey talked about you can have seasonal imbalance, it’s okay for things in your life to be imbalanced, just as long as they’re not permanently imbalanced. You know, if you’re engaged in a special project or a campaign, or whatever it is, you know, you may be imbalanced for a while, don’t beat yourself up about it. But try to ultimately correct that where you, you have more balance, okay. But the other thing that speakers don’t talk about when it comes to the wheel of life, is they don’t talk about the fact that your wheel should be large, okay? Because if you rate yourself, and we’ll probably do an entire show on this, or I’ll get the audio from Ken of my speech, and I’ll just play it on the podcast for you. So all of you can hear it. But if if you rate yourself a one in every category of life, well your wheel will be round. Okay. But it won’t be very big. That won’t be much of a big life. Right? I think the goal is to have a kind of a big life where you’re doing a lot of things and engaging in life and having some adventures and a lot of satisfaction in every area of life. So hopefully, you get a 10 in all areas, or an eight or nine, right and you have a big wheel, but also a fairly even wheel. Because remember, a small wheel, like maybe the wheels on your luggage or Hey, your skateboard if you skateboard, right, those get stuck in a rut very easily. The larger the wheel, the easier it can go over bumps in life and and get through ruts in life, right? If the wheel is small, it’s going to get stuck. So I just want to share that one little example. But let’s get to Ken McElroy, and we will have part two of this interview tomorrow on the next episode. So this week. Hey, we’re doing five episodes this week. I hope you’re excited. Anyway, here’s Ken McElroy Rich Dad advisor. It’s my pleasure to welcome back a returning guest and that is my friend Ken McElroy. He is the epitome of the word entrepreneur. For over two decades, he has experienced massive success in the real estate world from investment analysis and property management to acquisitions and property development. With over 700 million investment dollars in real estate, Ken offers a unique perspective on how to get the biggest return on investments. He is also of course, you know his name because he’s been on the show before, but he’s the author of the best selling books and the rich dad advisor series, the ABCs of real estate investing, the advanced guide to real estate investing the ABCs of property management. his newest book on entrepreneurship is the sleeping giant. He’s an advisor to Robert Kiyosaki of the rich dad company. And they have co authored several audio programs, including how to increase the income for your real estate investments, and how to get your banker to say yes, how to find and keep good tenants. He’s a chapter two contributor to the newly released the real book of real estate. Hey, Ken, welcome back. How are you?

Ken McElroy 16:15
Great, Jason, great. appreciate being on the show. Again, I always appreciate the opportunity.

Jason Hartman 16:20
It’s good to have you back. And it was great to see you last week. Thank you for having me as a speaker at your annual corporate retreat. What a great group of people you have. I just thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I think they enjoyed my presentation, too. I hope

Ken McElroy 16:34
they did. Yeah, you did a great job, you know that. We’ll elife It’s a hit everybody. I got lots of comments, and people loved it. So thank you very, very much. We try to educate our folks through personal development, and it seems to be paying off or you know, we have a very, very low turnover rate in our company.

Jason Hartman 16:54
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Just to give a little overview of your company, you know, how many employees do you have? You have, you know, you kind of have to sort of concentric circles of employees the way I would look at it. You have like your corporate people in your corporate office there in Scottsdale, and I’ve been to your office before. And then you have your big circle, which is all the different people on site at leasing offices, maintenance people, property management people. How many are there? It seemed like there were probably, I don’t know, 130 people? I’m guessing at the event?

Ken McElroy 17:24
Yeah, yeah. So we had, what we did is we flew in managers and maintenance supervisors from all our properties. So we have almost 10,000 units. We like to have them here in Scottsdale, once a year, and we study a book together. But all in all, I think we have just under 300 employees all together. Wow.

Jason Hartman 17:48
corporate office. Wow. That’s amazing. That’s a lot of employees to manage. And gosh, you know, 10,000 units, you know, can I think you’re upping my own personal goal now? I’m, I’m green with envy over here. That’s awesome.

Ken McElroy 18:08
As you know, it’s a overnight success.

Jason Hartman 18:10
Yeah, you’re you’re a 20 year overnight success. Exactly. Good stuff. Well, he can I want to talk about a few things with you. As I mentioned in the intro, you know, we’re going to talk about the economy in general, maybe we’ll talk about the homeownership rates, and some best practices in property management, because as any legitimate real estate investor knows, it lives or dies on property management, you can watch the late night infomercials, you can read the books go to the hypee seminars and the pitch fest. But you know, at the end of the day, this is kind of a mundane business, it’s just to do the right thing every day. And you’re gonna make a ton of money, because it’s the most historically proven asset class in the world. But you got to be willing to set up the right practices and the right thing. So you know, maybe since I kind of teed that one up more, maybe we’ll start with that. I don’t know, where do you want to start?

Ken McElroy 19:00
I think it’s a good start. I think a lot of times, Jason, there’s there’s two things that I see, as, you know, two common mistakes that I see, the first one is people get caught up in the hype of flipping. And as you know, there’s a time and a place for that if you’re going to do it, but you do pay a lot of tax and then you got to buy something again. So finding a good real estate deal, typically for me has been the hardest thing and so I like to keep them I like to cashflow them. And so I think when people think of real estate, they think of you know, timing a market, you know, buy low sell high college stock. So I think that’s a common mistake. And that’s completely different than that what I do, as you know, we don’t we don’t sell hardly anything.

Jason Hartman 19:45
Right. And let me let me just before you go on, let me make a comment on that. I have definitely noticed over my decades in this business, that the people who flip and who you know, do the the fix and flip type model they have spending money But the people who buy and hold they have real wealth. And you know, at the end of the day, I’d rather have real wealth and spending money. I mean, spending money is okay, I’ll take it. But, you know, you pay so much to the government when you flip these properties and, and, you know, it’s just like the good sustainable sort of value investing philosophy that is yours and mine. And, and Warren Buffett’s, if you want to use a stock metaphor is to just buy it and hold it, you know, I completely agree with you.

Ken McElroy 20:28
It is Yeah, and that, you know, and I’m speaking from experience, you know, cuz I, one of the things that I did in my career since going back 15 years, I did condos, I did condo deals, and condo conversions and condo projects, and a whole lot of effort to sell thousands of condos, you know, over like a four or five year period, we were very successful, our company made a lot of money, we, you know, we had a great, great organization. But once we were done, we didn’t have any real estate left, we’d all made a bunch of money. And you know, the company shrank down again, because there’s no revenue coming in, because all the condos were sold. And so you’re always having to go out and buy things to keep things going. And unfortunately, or fortunately, Real Estate’s cyclical. So you can’t buy throughout your career, there has to be a time where you have to step back, and then come back in, and then you know, buy and then step back and comment on that.

Jason Hartman 21:27
I have never met anybody who can really reliably predict the cycles. I mean, you can take some good educated guesses. But you know, it’s just hard to know. I mean, you know, you just value invest, and you can just buy things that make sense and hang on to them. You know, it’s pretty simple.

Ken McElroy 21:47
It’s surprisingly simple. And so I just, you know, Jason is, you know, I, that was a big, big lesson for me, because 15 years ago, I had cash, you know, I had nice things, but I did not have wealth. And so the next time that was in 2001, I decided that the next my next run was going to be a buy hold cash flow model. And that’s what I’ve done. And so now, we’re actually close to a billion dollars now in assets. And it’s been all through buying properties, well, making sure they cash flow, and then returning that cash flow to the investor. So you know, we had to dig deep and syndicate and go after, you know, money to, you know, raise capital to buy things, but it’s a much better model. And, and I will tell you, we will, we will have a correction, occupancy rates will go down, there will be concessions, and there will be less cash flow, you’re going to experience that. And so when you’re when you have well positioned assets that are not too highly leveraged, that are cash flowing massively, then you’re going to last through those times just fine, you

Jason Hartman 22:56
know, Yeah, I agree. And if you’re not investing in the very, very cyclical markets, also, you don’t invest in those, you’re pretty much in the hybrid markets, as far as I can tell, that used to be linear. So you know, these are not like the high flying markets. I mean, you’re not you’re not buying stuff in Manhattan, New York, right? Or, you know, Miami and these super expensive, high rises or in, you know, in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’re you’re doing more prudent stuff than that, aren’t you?

Ken McElroy 23:29
Yeah, we are. So our, our, our model has been kind of what we call, you know, the workforce. So, we want really nice, well maintained properties. And when I say that, I mean, they’re, they’re gated they have clubhouses, you know, some of them have concierge chairs. Yeah, some of them have gyms, some have indoor pools. So these are nice properties that we bought, that might be 20 years old, that you know, needed a few million dollars. And of course, we’re building to so we’re building brand new, but to your point, we’re building in markets like Phoenix and Scottsdale and you know, Plano, Texas or Carrollton or Dallas, you know, some of these markets that are really have great people, great jobs, but really, people do have choices in those markets, too. And do they want to rent or do they buy a home? So there are, there are strategies on where you want to buy rentals in those markets? Unlike San Francisco or Chicago or Seattle or New York, where you might not? You just don’t have that kind of a downpayment.

Jason Hartman 24:32
Yeah, no, I couldn’t agree more. Those markets are just absolutely crazy. Okay, so talk to us about some best practices in property management, just you know, just rattle off a few of them. Of course, you’re speaking and I’m super excited to have you speaking in our upcoming meet the masters of income property event, it’s gonna be awesome to have you speak you you were kind enough to come and speak to my venture Alliance mastermind, my small group once last year, but this will be the big one. So you’ll be speaking to a much bigger audience, this time. And we can’t wait to have you, you know, you’ll have a chance to go into this a little more depth maybe in person. But, you know, just a couple of thoughts here on property management how to do it. Right.

Ken McElroy 25:10
Yeah. Well, I think there’s a few things. One, I don’t think that a lot of real estate investors engage the property management folks early enough. In other words, I think that they should be part of the process, part of the acquisition, I really do, I think that if you’re not going to manage it yourself, you really need to get the the individual involved, because what they’ll do is they’ll help you understand rents, they’ll help you understand expenses, they’ll help you understand markets. So you know, all those kinds of things. You know, property management is very local, local business. Yeah. There’s a few big, big mistakes that are made. And probably the biggest mistake is on you know, who you let in? Actually, you know, obviously, because there’s a whole series of mistakes tenants can add and

Jason Hartman 25:55
screening is what you’re addressing. Yeah,

Ken McElroy 25:57
yeah, yeah, it’s, there’s all kinds of ways to do that. But, you know, we run criminal credit, background checks, and sex offender checks on every one of our tenants. So we do about four or 500 a month, you know, on our properties our portfolio is, so it’s so crucial that you have no idea like, I can honestly tell you, Jason, I don’t think that we evict very many people, you got a man, we have 10,000 tenants, right. And when you find somebody that they just want to rent, they’re good family, they’ve got good jobs, they are so good, you know, they, they just want a nice, quiet, safe place to live. And the experience can be remarkable, as compared to the opposite. You know, I have a bunch of stories around that, because we’ve made a bunch of mistakes, you know, over the years. And that’s why we’ve gotten to where we’ve gotten as far as our criteria to get in. And so what I see what happens, if there’s vacancy, and somebody has a stress point over money, maybe their mortgage is due, and they go on to Craigslist, not that that’s necessarily a bad spot, and they end up renting and you start to see things like drug activity, or, you know, who knows what, you know, they just don’t pay or, you know, the damage. And you know, there’s just a million stories, right, that can come from putting that wrong tenant in there. And then it can be very expensive to get them out, depending on the state, as you know. Yeah. Like California and California. That’s a disaster.

Jason Hartman 27:31
Yeah, yes. The worst whenever you’re New York’s probably worse than the California but they’re both pretty terrible.

Ken McElroy 27:37
It’s tough to get people out. So you know, you really want to, that’s probably the biggest single most problem. And then everything stems from there. I mean, all your issues stem from that. Okay, so

Jason Hartman 27:49
let me let me back up one step from that even. And I think it’s sort of in what you’re saying, and kind of what you said before, Ken, but you didn’t actually say it. So I want to make sure the listeners here, you know, we offer a, b, and c properties that people can buy through our network, and we offer the C’s stuff, but we really try not to sell it. It’s, it’s kind of like your discount line. And it’s just those look great on paper, man. But in real life, I mean, you know, they might do great in real life, okay. But you know, then the law of large numbers, when you look at the averages, right, I think you’re just going to do better with better quality properties. That brings you a certain type of tenant profile. Now, granted, there are exceptions, you know, you can have a property with a D tenant, or a D or a C property with a tenant, you know, you it’s all individual, but in the law of large numbers and law of averages, it’s going to work out that you’re just going to have better experiences with better quality properties and better quality tenants. I say you agree with that?

Ken McElroy 28:55
I do. Yeah, you know, and I’ve managed all those kinds of properties. You know, I’ve managed personally over 30,000 apartments, up and down the western US. And there’s several in Phoenix that we’ve, you know, well back when we were doing fee management. I remember two particular properties or you know, one was, it was so bad there was a police substation in our rental office. You know, another one that literally would not they had this I can’t remember exactly what they call it, but they would not go in unless they were to. So in other words, if there was a call to that address,

Jason Hartman 29:30
and not no single cop, when I go with a single cup of

Ken McElroy 29:33
knockout, I remember walking in one of the units and there was an ak 47 leaned up next, you know, on the on the side of the road next to the front door. And so you know, birds of a feather flock together man there was gang activity drug activity and and those are management issues. Don’t get me wrong. The property next door on both sides was just fine. You know, it’s who you let in is big and you know, it’s the craziest story in the one There’s literally a guy in a wheelchair. This is unbelievable to me, but he was a guy in a wheelchair. He was a drug dealer in a wheelchair. So the cop for watching him Guess how he got in a wheelchair? got shot? Yeah. So here’s a guy in a wheelchair dealing drugs already been shot once. And he’s, you know, under surveillance. And so, those are those are real things. And and not everyone in that property is is a drug dealer, you know, but people are that are living in those environments. Move out good people move out. Yeah, no, you just really got to be careful on who you let in. And you’re right about it’s not always in a C property. I’ve seen a properties be that way. I’ve seen B properties be that way and see properties be that way. But most of the time they land in the C’s because they’re lower rent. You know, they’re they’re lower rent options on the outside of town somewhere.

Jason Hartman 30:52
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s true. So so I think that’s an important thing. This will be continued on the next episode. Thank you for listening and happy investing.

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