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Rockefeller Strategies with Brent Buscay
Our special guest is joining us from Reno, Nevada. We’re honored to have the VP of Operations. My good buddy, Brent Buscay, joins us from Laughlin Associates. What’s going on?
How are you doing?
I’m doing great. We were visiting a little bit beforehand and for any of you guys who used to seeing Aaron Young on. We always talk asset protection and Laughlin Associates here but Aaron is off galavanting across England. I think he’s in the Netherlands, but we’re honored to have Brent on because Brent, you’re the VP of Operations. You’re the guy though that sits down with just about everybody that’s Laughlin-inclined or working towards putting some asset protection together. Why don’t you talk about some of the things that you’re doing? You’re in Reno all the time. You’re manning the desks there. You’re manning the office and keeping the lights on.
I’ve got some big shoes to fill. I’ve got to try to outdo Aaron here. I’ve got to get a personality really quick.
You’ve been with Laughlin for a while. Why don’t you talk a little about your role there at Laughlin and getting the history because you’ve been there just a few years?
I’ve been going on 29 years here at Laughlin. I’ve seen a little bit of everything. We’ve watched the trends grow. We’ve been involved with you in the note business and watching the growth in the note business take off. It’s been exciting watching a lot of your students grow from the very beginning to where they are now. It’s pretty neat to get to watch and see that. That’s something I enjoy here. As you said, being on the ground that we get to see these people come in either from the very beginning, it’s their first venture or even more experienced people that are coming in and continuing to grow. It’s exciting getting to watch that.
For those that are maybe in this for the first time as a new episode, Laughlin Associates is one of our sponsors for the podcast, but they’re also one of the companies that we have on all our events. Whether it’s the podcast here, our Virtual Note Buying Workshop, Note CAMP, I’m a big advocate of them because you guys do an amazing job. Can you give a rundown of what you are doing initially with Laughlin? Maybe talk a little bit about the corporate production then we’ll move into some more advance strategies.
The very core of what we do is we’re an entity formation company. That would be the first step into what Laughlin Associates does. We form entities in all 50 states, corporations, LLCs, nonprofits, partnerships. Something that we identified early on in the game that others have not quite figured out yet is our Corporate Veil Protection Program. When we run entities, it’s very important that we treat it as a real business and a lot of us forget and we have this notion in our mind, “It’s just a single member. It’s just me. I don’t need to do anything.” The Corporate Veil Protection Program is an in-depth program that ensures that you take your LLC or corporation, whether it be a single member, a partnership or multi-member and we do the work behind the scenes to give you a legitimate entity that would either stand up in an audit or in the event of a lawsuit coming. It’s the first line protection to protect you.
That’s a great breakdown. I think so many entrepreneurs fail to realize that they have to do a lot. You and Aaron often are saying, “I am not the company. The company is not me.” It’s a separate person. You do a great job. Debbie and the whole staff over there in the office are reaching out to your clients. You help them keep up with the books on a monthly basis of any purchases or meetings or decisions. You do well to make sure you cross the t’s and dot the I’s as I like to say.
We’re there to cover your assets. That’s the nice way of saying it. It’s something that we all can do if we knew what we were supposed to do. Most of us don’t know what that is. You have a team behind you that is reaching out to you monthly, who’s staying in touch, who’s picking your brain. “What have you done today?” The first answer is usually, “Nothing.” Then you start going through the checklist and have you done this? “I did this.” We usually identify a handful of things that should be formally documented. It’s to show that you’re acting as a real business. You’re taking the steps of what’s a larger company would do and you’re formally putting it into a resolution or into documentation to be able to show the world that you are thinking above and beyond just yourself.
The reason that is important is when we form an LLC or a corporation, we get a lot of different answers about why we do that. There’s only one reason. The main reason is to insulate ourselves from harm of the outside world and that’s the main reason. Are there perks, benefits and other things that come along with it? Yes, but we’re doing it to protect ourselves. To protect ourselves, there are a few steps that you need to do and we’ve made it easy because we do it for you. We’ve included it in all of our packages. Whether you’re an existing company or a startup, we have you covered there to make sure that stuff is taken care of.
I like to make the analogy of it’s all about the difference between playing business versus being in business. A lot of entrepreneurs are good at going out and buying notes or going out and fix and flipping properties. There are a lot of documentation to make sure that you’re not piercing the corporate veil protection and making sure everything is in order so that if you ever get audited or things like that, your books are all in good order. That does show the separation of you and the business and that’s what you guys do a great job with.
You nailed it on. It’s the separation between you and the business. It’s important to remember whether you’re one person or many, you need to show that separation. That separation between you and the business is what provides you with that protection. Most of us start a business or we go into the note business to better our lives and to better the lives of our family. If you’re going to do that and you want to protect your family and you want to protect what you are working hard for, that’s the first line of defense. There are other things that we could do but all businesses should be keeping minutes resolutions for annual meetings. It’s a state law and it’s a federal that you do it. If we can step in and do it for you and be that friendly voice on the other end of the phone and guide you and you have to just play business, that’s great. We all like to play and we help you to get to play and do the fun stuff.
You have an event upcoming here in San Diego.
April 11th, 12th, and 13th in San Diego. As always, we do have a discount for any of your guests if they use the code, Note. The website is MagnifyYourWealth.com.
For 29 years though, you’re the guy that’s sitting down with a lot of the business owners, the entrepreneurs who have a business or stuff. One of the beautiful things about the Magnify Your Wealth is being able to sit down with you, attorneys like Kevin Day and other people there to help plan out their asset protection strategy long term. Whether you’re buying one note or you’re a real estate investor with one property, we’re all looking to grow big things. That saying, “Keeping the end in mind where you want to go.” You’re the guy that helps to outline a lot of that stuff for a lot of the clients.
One of the things that I got to do is at events, at your events, or at our three-day events, I get to sit down with you and help you map out what are the proper steps. Maybe you’ve done everything correct and we sit down and identify some needs of, as growth occurs, what you can do. It could be as simple as we’re going to completely restructure you and get you started on the right path. I think the event is great for not only learning how to protect your assets but maybe how to exit. How are we going to exit at the end of this?
We also do some estate planning. How to prepare and how to protect the children. One of the big things, and you might agree with this, is the networking opportunity not only to meet our team of experts: CPAs, asset protection attorneys, wealth builders, but build a network with people who have done what you’re doing at a bigger scale. Even just new opportunities that are out there. The networking is one of the greatest things that I’ve seen come from some of these events in a long time. Then it’s just grown into a positive experience. We’re watching people leaving with funding that they were having problems getting before and leaving with new deals. It’s been exciting to watch that event grow into what it’s become now.
When you’re sitting down with investors and entrepreneurs, what are some of the biggest things that you see, maybe mistakes or things they have not put in place prior to sitting down with you? It could be maybe the fact that a lot of people probably don’t have wills or they don’t have things structured properly. Everything can be fixed, but what I’m trying to get at is some of the things that they don’t have in place that you’re seeing coming. In 29 years, you’ve done a few of these strategy sessions.
One of the biggest things we see is people are still continuing to operate as sole proprietors or under themselves. They either know that they should do something and haven’t done it or they just don’t know. Not even just startups or new to the business world, but even seasoned people that continue to do business as themselves and putting themselves at harm’s way. If you’re sued as an individual, who has to pay that judgment? You do. What assets could be used to satisfy that? Can your wages be garnished? We see a lot of note people coming into the note business or even just business in general. They’re still working day jobs. Their goal is to eventually get out of that day job, but they’re working day jobs and you’re putting your paycheck at risk by doing that, your bread and butter and what’s feeding your family. That’s one of the biggest things we see.
Secondly, we see corporations or LLCs that have been formed that have never done any type of proper documentation. In fact, a lot of times when we talk to somebody, either corporation or an LLC and then we do a little digging for them and we find out that the entity hasn’t existed for three or four years. They didn’t maintain their state fees. They didn’t pay their state taxes and they’ve lost their ability to use that name. It’s scary to think that but that’s common. People are running ten years filing taxes as a corporation and not having a corporation for the last eight years.
That’s another big area. You mentioned wills and trust. If you have a home and if you have children, everybody should have a living trust, a will, and a medical directory behind that. We all know we should do it and we all say we’re going to do it, but it’s one of those things that we talked about it and then we just continue to move on and it’s not there. Maybe the most common thing is people who have some type of structure in place but there’s no rhyme or reason to it and they’re not maximizing the benefits of how they have their structure set up. That’s another common thing that I see a lot of.
I could attest to that because I see a lot of people have one entity and they forget about the filing fees that they’ve got to file with the state. Simple franchise fees, tax fees, stuff like that. I’ve been guilty of that in the past as well. It’s like, “I forgot to file a form.” I’ve got to go back in and pay the penalties for doing that. You have to keep up with that stuff. That’s why you need somebody to hold your hand to remind you, “These things are due or I need your minutes from the last month, or what decisions did you make? Did you buy a piece of property? Did you decide to go with different software? What type of vendors are you working with? Do you have an event that’s going on?”
There are a lot of things. “Are you going to keep that property as a rental? Do you need to move it into a separate entity that protects itself and goes from there?” You mentioned something about seeing a lot of people grow their note business and real estate business with the last couple of years. It’s good to have an entity and to have an LLC. There are not a lot of work but a little bit of work and a little bit of maintenance that goes along the way to keep things in a year.
It depends on how active you are, there can be a lot of work. If you’re a little less active, it might be a little bit less. It’s something that we’ve designed that if you participate with what we do, we’ve made it easy on you. If you could set ten minutes aside a month. After we enrolled you into the Corporate Veil Program, ten minutes a month would be all the time that we would need of you to prepare what you needed and get that sent off to you. We often set ten minutes aside. It’s something that’s important. Admit it, we don’t do it. I’ll raise my hand, I don’t always.
If I don’t have one of my entities enrolled here, it doesn’t get done. I know how to do it. I’m more than capable and I have a pretty good resource team behind me that would probably help me if I ask them but you don’t do it. It’s important to have somebody reminding you, whether it’s phone calls or emails. It’s important to have somebody reminding you that your annual filings are due. Maybe there’s a tax return due, it depends on what type of structure you have. Just having that advocate in your corner that’s looking out for you to do what most of us don’t think about doing.
Are there specific things that are covered in those ten minutes monthly?
We’ve got it down to a checklist. Have you made any major purchases? If it’s note-related, did you buy any notes? Have you foreclosed on anybody or are going to become a landlord now? If so, what are we going to do with that property? Have you hired anybody to rehab a house? Have you entered into any new leases? We go down through it just a checklist of what we know would be relevant to you, but really to get you to think of stuff that you’re thinking is not important to open up and get you thinking to in the right frame of mind.
How many clients do you have at Laughlin? Have you taken a roll call on that recently?
We haven’t taken a roll call recently. I know we’re at over 100,000 entities formed. We’ve hit that mark of active clients. We have various stages of clients which I should know because we went through a major overhaul of the system. You would think I know the counts on that.
That’s 100,000 entities. You’ve got a lot of attorneys that are referring business to you to handle that day in and day out documentation because they don’t have the time and they don’t want to deal with it. Your staff is so set up and systemized. You got everything ready to rock and rolling and you can do cheaper than most people can get with their local attorney. Let’s face it, we all may know our local real estate attorney here, but they’re not going to take the time to a plan. They may not know all the disclosures that we have got to file anyway too.
We do a lot of work for attorneys and CPAs because we have it streamlined that makes it easy for them. Most attorneys, if you think about it, we all say, “I have an attorney.” Most of us do not have an attorney. We do have somebody that we can call and pay $250 to $300 an hour. When we send a formation to attorneys, usually they’re forming an entity for you but they’re not maintaining it. They’re not there to guide you on what you should and shouldn’t do. They’re there to collect a fee to give you what you asked for. Then if you ever have any questions, you give them your credit card and start the billing cycle. That’s what they’re there for.
I get a lot of times somebody says, “My CPA is going to do this for me.” Your CPAs are going to prepare your taxes. They’re going to make sure you’re following the law and they’re going to file a tax return for you. They’re not going to keep you compliant and watch over you there. All of these guys have a role. If I need something legal or if I need contracts and things like that, I’m going to go to an experienced attorney who specializes in that area. If I need my taxes done or if I need to figure out how to maximize my deductions, I’m going to go to a CPA. If you need entity formation compliance, you should come to somebody like us who this is what we do. This is what we specialize in and this is all we do. We’re not bouncing around doing multiple aspects. We concentrate on a very core portion of your business.
Especially you mentioned the CPAs. Between January and April 15th, they’re busy doing tax return work. They don’t have the time to file the documents if you took out another JV partner or you borrowed $50,000 or you went to the bank and get a line of credit. These are all little things that add up. They don’t have the time four or five months a year. That’s why you need to have somebody like Laughlin helping you out with everything here. If somebody is looking to grow their business, let’s say they’ve got an LLC and they’re looking to add 50 properties or notes to it, what are some basic steps that you would recommend that they should do to start protecting themselves?
I like to use the analogy of not putting all of our eggs in one basket. Is there a magic formula to do that? It’s a risk level. What are you prepared to lose? There’s a misnomer out there that if I have an LLC or corporation, I can’t lose anything. That’s not necessarily true. You can lose what’s inside the business. That’s a reality. If it’s the right structure, there can be some very good things that might detour somebody from trying to take those assets. We have charging order protection in LLCs. Nevada has charging order protection in corporations. We don’t want to put everything into one basket and we might even want to separate stuff by risk level.
We might have some higher-risk assets that we might want to move to another entity and some lower-risk assets that we might leave in another entity. It’s a risk assessment of where are you at? What if you lost this? Is it just suck or is it devastating? As we age and get older, some of us aren’t as energetic as before. You need to think about that. Starting over as you age could be impossible. We’ve seen families break up over lawsuits and because you’re not protected, there’s just a risk level there. There are different jurisdictions. You see it a lot. Nevada is a preferred state. Delaware is a preferred state. Wyoming is a preferred state, but it’s not always applicable to everybody. There are situations where these states come into effect. That’s something we would sit down. Is there a way for you to use one of these preferred states that make sense? I don’t like just pushing somebody there because that’s what they were told or they hear a radio ad. It needs to make sense.
I love what you said like people see a TV ad or they hear a radio ad and they take that. They run with that thing and that’s uniform across everything that they do with every person and that’s not the case. That’s the issue I see with LegalZoom. They set up paperwork but they’re not following along and helping you grow or helping you stay compliant along the way. That’s why we recommend you need to have somebody like Laughlin. About 95% of our mastermind members are clients of Laughlin Associates. It tells you a big thing. One of the great things that I love is the Magnify Your Wealth Summit, April 11th, 12th, and 13th, taking place in San Diego. You guys host that twice a year. You’re bringing in experts that you’re sitting down with. Why don’t we talk a little about that interaction and that round table aspect that goes on at the Magnify Your Wealth Summit?
One of the things that we figured out is we need to limit the space at our seminars. We’ve kept it at 100 people. That’s what we want at the three-day not because it benefits us necessarily having just 100 people. It benefits the attendees because what we do offer is everybody gets one-on-one with any of the staff members, myself or if I bring any of my team, but more importantly with the experts like Scott Carson and Kevin Day. We have multiple people there that are giving up valuable time and they’re guaranteeing you a one-on-one sit down. That’s something that we’ve done. It ensures everybody that they have the time with the person that they need. Scott, you know that at 4:00, we don’t just necessarily leave. If you need to talk, we stay.
There are some late nights or early mornings but we make it happen and make sure you get all the questions answered. One of the nice things is if you had to go and search out these people one-on-one, some of them have some pretty high retainers. Kevin Day is a $750 an hour attorney. Kevin’s there talking to you for free and multiple conversations. We have other guests there that their fees are $3,000 to $5,000 to get onto their appointment book. If you’re into the note world and you haven’t been to a mastermind, Scott is there. You’re getting some attention that is valuable and to be able to grab the note master right then and there. I think the mastermind people get a little bit spoiled because they get to see the whole you and get all of the attention. It’s just another way to access people that can change your life or keep you from making mistakes.
The biggest thing I make is being able to sit down one-on-one with Kevin and Jim and everybody over there. You’ve got people that are CEOs of companies and accountants there to help you spend time with. You’ve got asset protection attorneys and people doing offshore trusts and all sorts of structures. You really get the chance to spend time and they’re dedicated to making sure your assets aren’t in a sling but are protected. Let’s put a plan in place and start planning out and implementing that plan. The first time I went to one out in Reno a few years back. I went just because I want to learn more about you guys. Steph and I at the end of the first lunch period for three or four hours in, we’re like, “We structured a lot of things wrong. We’ve got to get this figured out.” Compared to an onion, you’ve got to peel back the different layers and figure, “You can implement it this year.”
It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It just means, “Let’s just fix it to get it properly done, the best way to get it done.” As entrepreneurs, a lot of times we Band-Aid things together because we’re so busy doing things. We’re in the midst of running a business or being an entrepreneur, we don’t necessarily put things in place or are planning it out because we’re constantly busy. This is an event that helps you focus on that. It takes some time. “Let’s settle down. How do we structure this properly? I should probably add in a different entity for my rentals. I should probably add a different entity for the loans that I’m JV-ing with people on there.” There’s a whole variety of different things that people should be doing. This is a great place to get your head straight and get the process started.
One of the things we do at the event is as we’re covering different topics of asset protection, we cover what’s the right entity? What does each entity do? How to make sure you’re running it properly? Then we start to work into our Advance Asset Protection Strategies that are designed for entrepreneurs. We work through a workbook while we’re doing that. At the end of the first two days, you’ve laid out a map for us that allows us to guide you and give you a visual explanation of what your picture looks like now or what your world looks like now, what it should look like to accomplish what you’re trying to do?
Then it gives you a very good blueprint or roadmap to keep on working as you grow. More importantly, when you leave one of our three-day events, you know what those life events are that triggers when you should do something. It opens up this whole new world of you’re prepared now for when it happens. Instead of scrambling trying to figure out, “What do I do?” You know what you should do and it’s laid out for you. A very valuable thing that you leave with is that roadmap to your financial and your asset protection gauge.
That’s one of the biggest things I could tell people. It’s a roadmap. It’s a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and that’s okay. Take one step a day or one step a week towards your future. As we talk about planning for your future in mind. We’re entrepreneurs, we’re in real estate for a long time, it’s good to have stuff set up properly. One of the biggest things people always ask me when they get to start is, “Can I get started with my existing LLC?” It depends what’s that LLC with. Is that with your previous entity or your previous business? Then maybe not. If it’s with something that’s currently in the real estate, okay. The biggest thing that I want people to harp on is it’s okay to pick up the phone and call Laughlin. Talk to the experts over there and talk to Brent. Talk to the staff over there. Ask them questions and they will give you the honest answers. The answers always depend on what your situation is. No situation is the same.
When we talk in a format like this, we’re talking generic and you can’t delve into the specifics of every individual, but every situation is different. The big thing is if you go to LegalZoom or something like that, they’re not guiding you. You’re forced to a website. You’re clicking through all of these buttons. You do not understand what you’re clicking on and you’re hoping you’re doing the right decision. I’ve talked to people and the answer is, “You don’t need anything yet. You’re not there.” A website or something like that is not going to do that for you. We’re Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00. We do not charge for consultations. We will talk to you. There are no obligations. We’re flexible when it comes to that. Sometimes, you don’t need anything and somebody needs to tell you that and what you know when you would be ready to do something. Then there are other times where somebody stepped into it full-gun and they need a lot. We try to get a plan to get you there slowly and what makes sense financially for you and what’s going to protect you.
That’s the big thing. Pick up the phone. Talk to an expert. Don’t try to get to this alone, especially in this sue-happy world. Get started with whatever you’re focused on. Put the stuff in place because most people come from a reaction standpoint if something major happens. They get sued or losing something or deals going south. Step in and prepare ahead of time. I have my Note Night in America webinar and one of the biggest things is if I had to start all over, how would I create my perfect note business?
One of the most valuable things right off the bat is making sure my asset protection is in place. Have Laughlin and spend more time with Laughlin initially. Actually, I didn’t know Aaron or anybody from Laughlin when I first started my company years ago. I would’ve spent a little more time talking with you guys especially. You guys are such a resource that delivers above and beyond what the cost is for the Court Veil Protection out there. The website is MagnifyYourWealth.com. If you use the discount code, Note, you said they get a discount?
Try that and get a discount there. It is one of the most valuable events that we go to. Every time I go, I learn something new. There’s another nugget in my pocket and a feather in my cap to help me protect my assets and protect my entities and do great things for my company. Not only currently but long-term in the future.
Something we can touch briefly upon that your mastermind people have pretty good access to but the three-day event is great. We can teach you how to protect what you have already, whether it’s your personal assets or assets inside your business and protect your business from you. When you attend an event like that or if you wanted a consultation on something like that, we can take it to a next level that teaches you how to protect your business from you and also how to insulate those assets from judgments. That’s the next level that is available at an event like that.
What’s the best number for people to reach out to Laughlin?
Brent, thank you for taking the time. Aaron’s off galavanting across Europe for a couple of speaking events.
It’s nice joining you like always. I look forward to seeing you.
Thanks so much, guys. Take the time to check out MagnifyYourWealth.com for the upcoming event. April 11th, 12th and 13th in San Diego. That’s a great place to go to as well plus the fact that you can pick the brains of some of the amazing experts that are going to be there to help you with your assets and your long-term business and a great place. Literally, there is not a bum in the whole place. Great people are there. It’s an absolutely amazing capital raising spot if you’re looking for entrepreneurs because a lot of times there are people there that are looking to transition. They are selling their business. They’re in the process of leaving and want to start something new. It’s just been a great place. Take the time to get signed up at MagnifyYourWealth.com or call Laughlin or check out LaughlinUSA.com to schedule some time to talk with them. Brent, thanks for joining us.
Thank you for having me.
Go out and make something happen. Protect your assets and we’ll see you at the top.
- Laughlin Associates
- Virtual Note Buying Workshop
- Note CAMP
- Corporate Veil Protection Program
- Note Night in America
About Brent Buscay
We’ve been an advocate for entrepreneurs for over 40 years; a pioneer in the incorporation industry. Laughlin prides itself on the long term relationships we have with our clients. We work closely with our clients to help them start, grow and profit from their businesses while assisting them in fulfilling their dreams. Laughlin was originally started in 1971 by Harley Laughlin, an independent truck driver who had the vision to provide entrepreneurs with the same resources and benefits as big business.
We are the luckiest people on the planet! Our team of highly experienced specialists has a combined 157 years in the business. On average our employees have worked here 11 years. We are available to assist you from the top down.
“We strive to treat our customers as we would want to be treated ourselves. Our customers are a reflection of our service.”
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