Listen to the podcast here:
What Can I Do With My SD IRA with Nathan Long
We are excited and jacked up to have our good friend, the CEO of Quest Trust Company, Mr. Nathan Long, join us.
I’m glad to see you jacked up. That’s an important factor.
I know you have a busy schedule. You’ve got the Questies running all across the country doing amazing things and talking and speaking. One thing we love having you is because it’s our usual first Monday of the month. Money Monday is reserved for Quest Trust Company. You and I were talking about some of the cool things that we’re going to be talking about. For those that haven’t heard of you before or don’t know you, share who you are, Nathan.
My name is Nathan Long. I’m the President of a company called Quest Trust Company. Mainly what we do is hold private assets with tax leveraged accounts and things like people’s IRAs, Roth IRAs, health savings account, Coverdell accounts, Individual 401(k), SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA. Tax leveraged accounts mean that most people that have those accounts hold stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs and all the stuff that you handle it, but you don’t have to hold those things. You can hold private assets. Private assets include things like real estate or private stock, but a big asset class that works well inside of self-directed IRAs are notes. It does work well because a big portion of the way you look at note investing is not always a knock it over the fence thing. It’s a constant churning. For me, that is. Other people do it differently. Different skill levels, I got it. Different people are all over the place.
For me, when I’m investing in notes, I’m looking for a long-term steady nice return secured by assets that are going to give me overall a little bit less hassle than other things. As you turn the volume up, as you turn the amount, the return you get up, you also should understand that you dial-up either your time or your hassle and you’ve got to figure out a strategy that works for you. The big thing is you can take your own 401(k) and instead of throwing a blanket across it across the market, you can buy a note. All that money goes back into your 401(k) instead of owning a stock or something else.
That’s the beauty about it. It’s great stuff out there to be able to use that and then be able to self-direct. Why don’t we share the definition of self-directed a little bit? I talked to a couple of guys who are like, “My accounts are self-directed.”
A lot of people get confused. They think that they could self-direct it like Charles Schwab or Fidelity. The reality of it is that those companies are licensed securities agents. They’re limited to sell new things that are in the scope of their license like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and they receive a commission for doing that. I’m not talking bad about this at all because most of my clients hold an account with us and they buy unusual things with us, but then they maintain their account with Charles Schwab and they just transfer. If they have a note that comes up that’s $150,000 or something like that, they transfer over $150,000 to buy that note when it pays off and transfer it back to Charles Schwab and back and forth. We hold private assets. We can’t sell them to you. You have to go to someplace else that’s why we have these associations with people like you. You teach them how to buy notes, what to buy, and then we show them how to use their retirement accounts or how to use other people’s retirement accounts.
I was talking to somebody who was like, “I can’t start investing until I save.” There are a lot of other people’s money out there or financial friends that you can use if you’re out networking and talking with people. As long as you’re doing your due diligence on a deal and making sure it’s a solid deal and stuff like that, there are other people’s money that you can use. A lot of Quest clients are partnering with other people to fund deals and doing the transactions.
I would guarantee to bet you that most people, even some of your very well-established investors, don’t understand how powerful a relationship with a company like Quest can be. You’re right. It’s a two-sided thing. You start to learn how to grow your money tax-free. Working the same amount but ended up with more money because you’re giving it less to Uncle Sam, sign me up. I always believe in working less and making more. That’s my theory on life. The other side of it is learning how to use other people’s money. Anybody who is highly wealthy always has leverage as a part of their strategy. We’re always using someone else’s money to purchase assets to hang onto them. There are all types of variations of that. Most of those variations can be done in self-directed. Those two things are important but education goes way beyond that.
Here’s something that you don’t understand. If you talk to most of your people that you talk to finance about, your insurance guy or your stockbroker or your guy at Edward Jones, all of those people always as you speak to them, they have what I call a horse in the game. What choices you make affects their commission or how they get paid. At Quest, it doesn’t work like that. You get to call up and you get to talk to an IRA specialist. An IRA specialist has a vast knowledge about retirement accounts and vast knowledge about unusual investing techniques and they have no horse in the game. They don’t care what you decide to do. It’s this very free open discussion that you can’t get most of the time. I can pick anybody out of a crowd and pick any one of my IRA specialists. I can put them together and in fifteen to twenty minutes, they can improve their financial life. I honestly believe that.
I agree with that too because your IRA specialists go through such a rigorous training program, which is great and awesome because you provide so much education out there. You’re the premiere IRA company in the country because of that. You provide so much education online or in person.
That is our business philosophy. If we can get clients that are educated and make good investment decisions, they’ll make money with their investments that they’ll do more of. I get more fees, we make more money and then they make more money. The key is having educated staff and then taking that education and passing that to clients. We do that for free whether you’re a client or not. By the way, you don’t have to be a client to call in and get a free consultation about what’s going on.
That’s a huge nugget for those out there that are reading this. You can always pick up the phone. I’ll vouch for this and call Quest offices and you’ll be able to get somebody on the phone to spend some time with you talking about what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re looking for. They’ll give you straight, no BS, no commissions-based answer.
It is important because if you have the proper education, then you can make your own decisions most of the time better than if someone else can make a decision for you. I’ve been doing note investing for a long time personally. One of the coolest things or one of my favorite things is to bring my friends and family into what I’m doing. For example, my mom. It was a life-changing event. My mom was a good little investor. She always has rental properties. As she got older in life, rental properties get to be more and more difficult because she especially liked low-end rental properties and she was good at it. For most of her life, she had the thing. As you get older, toilets, tenants and low rent wear on you. I finally convinced her to start selling off some of the rental properties and purchasing notes. Now she has this phenomenal income. She thanks me all the time. She says, “I’ve only got a couple of rental properties left and I’m going to dump them.” I’m like, “Mom, you don’t need to.” She’s like, “I just want to dump them. I’ve got so much money coming in now, I could spend it all. You don’t eat any of it anyway.” That’s the truth. It was a life-changing event for her.
One of the other things that my family likes to do is we invest together with our children at a very young age. If you think back to the time when you were eighteen or if I think back to a time with my son, I’m an IRA specialist at Quest, I have all this tax stuff and I’m excited about investing. Can you imagine me talking to my son? He couldn’t hear anything. It’s very traditional in my family. As soon as my son, Derek, started working, I opened a Roth IRA for him. He had some earned income and I made a contribution. I was like, “I’m going to give you $5,000.” He was like, “That’s great, dad.” I said, “I’m going to put it in an IRA account. You can’t use it until you’re sixteen.” I put $5,000 in there and what I would do is with this little account, I would partner it with my larger accounts. I’d take my investments that I was doing. I might have a $100,000 loan that I was purchasing doing a note. The $95,000 came from my IRA and I would take $5,000 from my son’s IRA. You can do the same thing with the Coverdell education account for minor children, health savings accounts or small Roth IRAs. I partnered it and what would happen is when I would get a check back or I’d get a return, 95% of it would go to my account, but 5% of it was going over to my son’s account.
Over time, he’s learning through the experience of a shared note experience. He’s learning about actual investing. At first, he wasn’t even concerned. I got that first note back and it went from $5,000 to $5,600. I’m not doing the $100 note deal. I am basically 90% of the time a lender. Every once in a while, I get one of my notes that pay off early and I get a pop. Most of the time what I’m doing is I’m the backend note guy. In other words, you are finding the deals, you’re doing the $100 option and I’m okay with that because I don’t want to have to do the work. I’m trying to explain my position as an ambassador so people know that most of the time what I’m getting is a return for 10% to 13%. Somewhere in there is where I tend to range in my investments. Some get above that, some go below that. Over time, that investment creates a thing. By the time my son got out of college, he had very good knowledge about investing. He wasn’t just dumped out onto the college world without anything or anything to know. It’s a great thing to talk about and have fun with, play with and understand. It does bring your family together when all of you can understand that you’re making money together as a group. Maybe it’s a South Texas thing. I don’t know.
I don’t think it’s just a South Texas thing. We are very used to doing that with family and friends and things like that partnering up on different aspects of things. It’s the case. When a lot of people realize that, their whole eyes and ears start to open up. I know one student of mine who was taking Coverdell. She and her friends would get into a deal and they would do the same thing. They would partner together to fund the deal, but then it will also include one or two of their kid’s Coverdell to help boost that investment. Some of the things I would highly recommend if you’re doing a flat lending thing, make sure you’re in a first lien position. Make sure you’re not funding more than 70% or less of the true value of the asset. Always double check who you’re funding as well, check the values of the property as well. Do normal due diligence.
You could if you do have to foreclose and have some idea of the procedures in that state. I only buy loans in certain states because certain states are just too onerous. I always look at the state and then the applicable laws of the state, county or city that you’re in.
You always want to make sure there’s insurance on the assets as well on your name. Always have the attorneys create the paperwork and double check it. That’s what I like about your staff there. They’re reviewing the paperwork to make sure it’s documented properly and things like that too before they’ll fund us. I was in your Austin office and cracking up at Michael in there and he was like, “I’m going to get a deal funded fast in four minutes here because I double checked. Can I get a half in case the paperwork is incorrect? We’ve got to get it fixed.”
It does happen sometimes. You will be excited to know just before they turn it on. They’re turning on ACH system. I don’t think I’m supposed to announce this yet, but we can now receive our ACH payments in real time. If someone makes a note payment, as soon as they push the note payment, they’ll get an email back that says it’s received. As soon as Quest opens up, it posts to the account. That’s almost instantly. Before, it posts and you have to wait for a couple of days on our system, but now it’s going to post fast. That should make it easier for you to check your note payments and stuff coming in.
I sold an ACH to $5,000 otherwise it still got to be a wire if it’s over $5,000, right?
I have no idea, but you’re probably right.
Steph and I have been making a lot of ACH payments and working with the staff over there with the portal tweaking a few things and going back and forth.
Some of those tweaks are coming online now. That’s what we’re excited about.
That’s one of the beautiful things I love about Quest. You are investing in technology. You’re investing in doing some things that make it easier for your clients and clients of your clients to make it easier to get paid and get the money in and back and forth, and funded and stuff like that. You used to be tickled pink on some of the things you’re doing.
I bet you didn’t know this about Quest, but maybe you did. We put all the money back into Quest. Me and my brother, Quincy, are the majority owners of Quest. Since its inception, 97% of all money Quest has earned has gone back into Quest. Our employees see our books and as a result, they feel very invested. When you talk to a Quest employee, they are invested in the company. In nine years, we’ve never raised our fees, but we’ve opened up three education centers. One is in Austin. We have one in Dallas, we have one in Houston and we’re going to continue to open them across the country. We’re excited to provide that education. As always, most of that education is for free.
You do have an amazing event upcoming in August 2019. It’s the Second Annual Quest Expo, which is the 23rd, 24th and 25th of August 2019. You had an amazing event last 2018 around the same time with the over 500 people.
You convinced the girls to do that event.
They were going back and forth, and I was like, “You keep speaking of these other expos, why don’t you create your own?”
I thought you were nuts too but we got so excited. We had 700 or 800 people there and I got such good feedback. I did the same thing with the expo. When we do an expo or sell tickets to the expo, we took everything from the expo and we put it back in so people kept getting excited. If they buy more tickets, then we put more stuff onto this show and the people got more excited. We’re excited about it this year. I may be partial but it’s one of the best expos that we’ve done or had in a long time. I hope I can repeat it and have that same type of thing.
We changed our schedule to fit our Mastermind around the last ones and we’re doing the same thing this year. It’s in Houston instead of Dallas. It’s the 23rd, 24th and 25th. That’s a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can go to QuestExpo.com to get your tickets. Book ASAP because you can save some price on the early discount tickets. If you use the code Carson19, we’ll give you a discount as well. We thank Ingrid for creating that for our Note family and Note Nation out there. Think about this. Where else can you go and be able to hang out with hundreds of other real estate note investors people that have IRAs looking to invest and then the other experts and speakers? You had some great panels on the last one and also some great breakouts by speakers. You had a great vendor area where we had the chance to spend time.
That’s entertaining too. Everyone seems to be so engaged. It was fun. The people on stage were animated and it was a good show.
Some of the panels you had were a good back and forth and things like that too. I know you’ve got a few things lined up. Ingrid is talking with our buddy, Mark Yuzuik, about maybe if you want to do to it with this show. You had a casino night last time and you’re planning to have another casino night on the second night here as well, which is a lot of fun with everybody. You’ve had just a great day. I talked to Fuquan Bilal and he is excited about returning. One of the great things is you have such an amazing expo. You can feel it when you walk in. The staff is excited. Everybody in the staff working in the event was excited, pleasant and jacked up about it. I know everybody from our crew that was there because we had about 70-plus people at it and they were like, “This was awesome. We can’t wait for next year.” That’s one of the things we’re doing. We’re tweaking our Mastermind to be wrapped around the Quest Expo so that people can kill two birds with one stone or one event. That’s the thing you look at. You go no only for the networking, but you’re picking up relationships and building relationships. I know people were coming in.
It only takes one. If you go to an event like that and pick up one good one, that’s all it takes. If you don’t, then maybe try a different cologne or something. I had people coming from all over the country and I have the advantage of knowing what’s in their pocket. It’s not that I can tell anybody that, but I know. The amount of big money type of people that showed up there to find investors was amazing to find places to put their money. I was impressed with that. Thank you for suggesting it and pushing the girls to do it and giving us some of the guidance on how to make it so good.
Ingrid challenged me to help fill more seats to make it even bigger and better and I said, “I’d be glad to drive engagement.” If you are reading this, go to QuestExpo.com. It’s August 23rd, 24th and 25th. It’s not meant to be sales. This is an event that you want to go to. I don’t get anything off the tickets. I’m glad to have more people there because it gives us an opportunity to network with everybody and spread the Quest gospel as we like to say on the growth and the creative things that you do. Nathan, what are some of the other creative deals that you have done inside your IRAs, HSAs or ESAs out there?
Once you have a deal, sometimes it’s good to bring it back home and think about it before completely executing the deal. Look at it a little bit and see where it works best. For example, we’re going to buy a note. He was selling the note off and taking the backend of the note. In other words, he was going to let the first frontend of the payments flow to the person’s money whom he is using. He’s using $100 option, but about five to six years from now, he’s going to get five or six years of payments which he doesn’t have to pay anything out on. It costs him $100 now, put it in the cooker for five years, it doesn’t do anything and after five years, it starts making payments. Where should that deal be?
For a lot of people, that deal should be in a Roth IRA. They’re like, “I’m starting with $100 and I’m going to turn $100 into a whole bunch of money, but it’s going to take time. I don’t need the money now. I’ve got plenty of time now. I put that in my Roth IRA and all that happens tax-free. I’m padding my retire.” If I was doing that, I’m going to take all the money on the upfront and I haven’t eaten now. I need to pay my mortgage. I need to do things. I’ll use that deal in my eat bucket or I’m feeding myself now. A lot of times, I’m dealing with a deal where I’m getting a small income stream that’s going to increase over time or putting up $100 and I’m getting an income stream over months. It’s going to build up wealth over a period of time.
Some of these longer-term types of strategies belong in different types of accounts and you’ve got to pick. You could also make a mistake and go the other way. Here’s something I did. A few years ago, I invested in a note with my niece’s Coverdell Education Account. This was a note that was secured by a business and some other things. It’s a very long-term note. The pay is great, it’s got a great interest rate, it’s going to pay great. The problem was that it was long-term and it was a Coverdell education account. She just graduated from college and the investment is still going on. The investments are a good investment, but it was so long-term I hadn’t taken into account the fact that we need to pull this money out and use it before then. Most of the time, the way to do it is to take a moment and look at it. Most underused account or the account that people miss, and it’s expanding its powers most likely in the future, is the health savings account.
Health savings accounts are amazing. You put the money in, you get a tax deduction, you take the money out, and it comes out tax-free for qualified distributions, which are hugely broad. It covers all types of crazy stuff including optical, dental, acupuncture, holistic medicine and massage. All this is qualified medical expenses and it’s not only for you. It’s you, your spouse, children and parents, and you can pick up proceeds from previous years. Health building money in a healthcare savings account, according to John Hyre, it was one of the most important steps to building financial freedom as we go forward. You go, “Why?” The cost of healthcare is going up for several reasons. One is administration, but also technology. We get better and better at fixing things, but those fixes cost more and more so we’ll need more money. You’ll get sick, you’ll get ill, you’ll destroy every bit of your wealth building up that paying off to be better. Learning to build up money in a health savings account and learning how to use them can be fun. Did you know that once, I bought an airplane engine completely tax-free?
I was hoping you would talk about that story. Tell us the deal.
A few years ago I had opened a health savings account. With a health savings account, you put the money in, you get a write off on your taxes and the idea is to have some money there to pay for your medical expenses. You don’t have to have a special type of insurance called high deductible health plan, but 64% of all Americans that are covered under health insurance are covered by a high deductible health plan. Most people would qualify for it to have one of these types of accounts. What I did with that particular account is I put $5,650. That’s how much I could put that year. The contribution limits are different. It’s a little bit higher and they’re expanding to get much higher as they go into the future. I put it in and I got a write off on my taxes. That same year, my ex-wife had a dental procedure. She got the grill fixed. It was about $35,000. Any guys that were married, I had to fix the grill. I didn’t have $35,000 in my health savings account. How much did I have in there? I had $5,000. What did I do? I pulled out the Southwest card, I paid for the teeth and went on with my life. I could have simply put the money in the health savings account and the very next day taken it out. Would that have been worth doing? The answer is yes because I got a deduction on my taxes. I was in the highest income tax back and it would save me a couple of grand in taxes, but that’s not what I did.
I put the money into the account and I started to invest it with the partnering that I was talking about. I partnered it with other investors and I specifically did notes. At this time, I was a little bit more hacked up. I had a little bit more time so sometimes I was selling off the notes and I was taking notes. I was looking for myself so I would get payoffs. I get the early payoff and I would get the cashflow from these early payoffs. They did pretty well. Over a period of about eight years, that $5,000 grew to be about $46,000 and then something happened. Do you ever have a midlife crisis? You’re still young. It’s coming, Scott. Without having a license to fly, I went out and bought an airplane. I did learn to fly it, but it was a very old one. It needed a new engine. It was a 1952 Cessna taildragger. What did I do? Remember my wife had that receipt a few years ago. You could pick up receipts from years past. I simply went to my health savings account and withdrew $40,000 and bought a new airplane engine, tax-free and penalty-free using that dental receipt a few years ago. Remove the money tax-free and penalty-free. It’s an amazing account. If you want more information, you can go to Quest.
There’s a class called Best of Both Worlds is what it’s named. If you watch it online, it talks all about the health savings account. Most people don’t understand the idea of rather than just having one type of retirement account, you’d have a Roth IRA for you, a Roth IRA for your spouse, and your kids can get a Roth IRA for that. You might have a traditional IRA or some of your 401(k) and the other money has gone into that or you’re working to get to a Roth IRA. We have come to an education account for children, our grandchildren and health savings accounts. We can put those all together into one note and create income for all of those different sources at a higher rate of return than anywhere else. When you combine the two things, note investing and combine that with self-direction or the knowledge of doing it tax-free, it is the most powerful wealth building tool and it can be extended to your family. True wealth building isn’t about having money. True wealth building is having enough money that you could make your own decisions, feel comfortable for you and your family. It’s an overview of the whole thing. Don’t you agree?
I agree with that. That’s the true definition of wealth for Nathan for sure. Do you still have the plane?
I do not. When I moved to Houston, there’s so much weather here. When I was in Arizona, you only had to worry about one thing. It was hot and that was it. Out here, I would get up in that plane and fifteen minutes later, it’d be a storm over the airport and I had to divert 90 miles out of the way or something like that.
You almost make a water plane with as much rain and flooding.
I got stuck up there a couple of times. Although I’m a fairly experienced pilot at this time, I let it go. It’s like a boat. Your happiest day is when you sell it.
I’ve got a friend who didn’t buy a whole plane, but she bought a fractional. If I’m going to buy a boat, I go out and join the Lake Travis Boat Club and for $500 a month, I got my pick of any boat I want for six hours a day or something like that. It’s less work on my behalf or less trouble I should say. Let’s talk about a couple of other things. I always tell people like, “If you’re coming to Houston, Dallas or Austin, go to the live events that Quest has.” You’ve got a variety of each location as a Trillion Dollar Investment Mixer that takes place. You’ve got a lot of lunch and learns that’s going on. You’ve got a lot of people that show up to these events. It’s a great way not only just to get an education, but rub elbows with people that have money sitting on the sidelines and not making anything.
Often, when I close my door on a Friday, there’s $304 million sitting in cash at Quest and those clients are earning 0% interest so they’re anxious to get that money moving. A lot of people go, “Why would they do that? Why would they have that money sit there?” They know it works, they’ve already done it enough times. They’re just out looking for the next deal. Some of it is transactional. $70 million or $80 million of it is in float between transactions, but the rest of it is people actively looking for their next deal.
That’s one of the things I tell people all the time if you’re going out. In Texas and going out to other locations, you come across somebody who bought a property with a self-directed IRA. One, they’re real estate investor. Two, they’re looking for deals and three, it’s not quite as challenging to educate them on the real estate transaction as somebody who’s never pulled the trigger on a deal. Ideally, they’re the great people to work with for your investments out there, to fund your deals, partner with, co-fund or whatever you have them do. What’s the biggest thing that drives you bonkers? I know there are a variety of things. I know you’re very detailed about your schedule.
There are people that come up to me and say, “Nathan, I went to your Quest event and nobody lent me any money. Nobody gave me money for my investment.” I’m like, “I can lead a horse to water.” Raising money or learning to use other people’s money is a talent. It’s a talent that can be learned. I tried to teach people that, but most of them got to slow down and learn how to talk to people. Understand that when you are using someone else’s money, you’re developing a relationship with them. If I’m looking for a real estate deal, I’m just going out to look for a deal. I’m going out and looking for a note. If I’m going out and looking for an investor, I want that investor not to do this deal for me, but to continue to fund each deal that I do for the rest of my life. You better slow it down and learn how to have some relationship development skills. You understand this because you built your whole business on it, in relationships with people one at a time and making sure that they count. If you’re a real estate investor, you need to treat your investors that way. It needs to be a relationship. Slow it down and don’t run to the bar and say, “This bar is terrible. I didn’t have anyone want to come home with me.” You’re going to have to put a little more effort into it than that.
You’re 100% right about that because it is all about relationships and building rapport. I always tell people that even though it’s not required these days by the JOBS Act, you still need to have a three touch approach when you’re talking with people. Get a chance to meet somebody and talk with them. If you meet them in a networking event, don’t get diarrhea of the mouth or throw up on them with everything. Just continue to visit them, I’m a big proponent of like, “If you have deals that need funding, walking with some deal sheets, you do a great job of allowing people to get up and say what they’re looking for and what they’ve got available.” You’re not endorsing any investment. You’re allowing the opportunity to talk about what they’re looking for and carry the conversation there.
I was at an event in Dallas and some guy had a twenty-page presentation. He was trying to show people in between the boots, and I was like, “Slow it down.” It’s good to get the person’s name, but then follow-up with a phone call or an email. Talk with people. Tell me about your experiences and the good and the bad because we all have goods. I trust people more than I have been through the bad than those that haven’t been through a downturn because they know how to take care of their investors. If everything is always coming up rosy, you’ve got to be careful of that because everything is not always roses.
I can give a little secret. It’s always best to attend live. We’re talking to some people and all are like, “I’m in Kansas City right now or whatever it is. It’s going to be hard for me to get down to Houston or over to Austin or Dallas.” What you can do for most of the events is log on at the end and type into the chat box, “I have an investment.” We have moderators at the event that will read off your name. We had an investor typed in and said, “I had some notes in Dallas that I’m looking to sell.” No other information than that. They posted it, they didn’t get a response right away, but then the little thing went online and someone saw it. Someone responded to a little post, sent them an email and said, “I’m not interested in notes in Dallas, but I’ve got a good friend that buys them. I’m going to put you together with this friend that buys them.” They weren’t even interested. They were just being polite and said, “I know someone that’s looking.” They put it together, she sold all three notes and closed that. It’s impressive and I was surprised she never attended the event. It was one sentence in a chat box and she found someone to buy her three notes.
Just so that everyone knows, Quest live stream their live events on their Facebook page and that’s what Nathan is talking about. It’s a great way to go on there and watch. They have a whole different schedule. If you go to QuestTrustCompany.com, you can see their live events or live webinar series that they have available in the live stream. When I spoke with the Trillion Dollar Mixer, you guys live streamed it. There were questions back and forth. They were the ones that will alert us to know that my battery in my lapel had gone out. They were like, “There’s no audio.” I was like, “We need to get it back on.” It’s not the only drive. We’ve had students that have attended the Houston event got up and somebody from St. Louis or San Francisco reached out and said, “I saw that you’re talking about your deal on the Quest Trust live stream. I’d love to fund the deal.” It’s a great way that you embrace the technology that way.
My staff embraces technology. I can barely turn on my computer.
Where do you want to see Quest go in the next five years? I know that you have a plan that you’re thinking about and your guys are embracing it. You and Quincy are doing a lot of stuff. Where do you see Quest in the next months?
It’s interesting you did that because I put that question to my staff and I wanted them to answer the question. I wanted them to design the answer and they have. They have a couple of different designs, but one of our biggest things is to have an East and West Coast presence. We wanted to have a West Coast presence because the banks are open later there so we can fund much later in the afternoon. We can fund into the West Coast times and we would love to see more education centers, where people could come together just like we do in Austin. We come together, people break bread, the center is there for all of our investors to use for education purposes. It’s a great way to create business and to have a lot of fun. Our motto at Quest is we want to make more money, we want to have fun doing it, and we to do it in less time. No one laughs about that, but everyone goes to work for, “Let’s deal with it. Let’s embrace it.” We do maybe put a little bit too much emphasis on the half more fun part of it.
That’s the thing. If you can have fun on what you’re doing, you’re going to retain more information. The last thing you want is to have the Charlie Brown instructor and people that aren’t invigorated by their staff. No offense, I can say this because I’ve been to a lot of different other events across the country. When there’s somebody who’s not Quest stuff speaking, you see the employee mindset like, “I barely get to get through this. I’m not going to show up on time. The boss isn’t here so I don’t care.” That’s not the case. Your staff is always excited. They’re always invigorated, they’re always smiling and having fun, on top of their game. They’re great ambassadors not only for Quest but also for self-directed IRAs out there.
I appreciate that Scott, and you’re doing a good job for your industry too.
We’re always trying to tweak what we can do. We’re not perfect by any form or fashion. We make plenty of mistakes, but we learn from our mistakes and try to make sure that everybody else learns from our mistakes so we can help them.
This is key in business. Stop trying to be perfect. It’s much better to be responsible than perfect. I’m not perfect. My staff is not perfect because we’re not dealing with perfect things and fasting is not perfect. There are mistakes that get made, title companies make mistakes. There are title mistakes, there are things that happen. That’s okay as long as you’re accountable. It doesn’t matter. Get ahold of someone and you can fix it and you can move on. Stop living in fear of making a mistake or whatever because we can all get better.
That’s the truth. What’s a big goal that you’ve got for yourself, Nathan? Do you have anything big?
To travel slightly less. I’ll let them do a little bit more of the speeches and to do a little bit more. My personal goal is to raise personally over $250,000 for some of our charities including helping the four-legged friends, which I like to do a lot. My wife is very actively involved in animal rescue. We can’t have a dog unless it’s so jacked up that nobody else wants it.
You’ve had a few three-legged friends that go with you pretty often. Just so you know, Nathan is a vegetarian. He and his wife are both vegetarian, but he goes home every night and cooks the dogs meat, don’t you?
Most nights, the dogs get meat or eggs, so we buy a lot of meat and everyone is like, “You’re vegans that buy meat.” I love my dogs and they need me. Sometimes I do cook for them. It’s true.
We do the same thing as well for our four-legged animals here. When we had fish, the cats got some fish too. That was some things there as well. You’re headed overseas a little bit.
My wife and I are going to London for the first time in our life. We’re excited about that. I picked our anniversary so I didn’t have to buy an anniversary dinner. We’re on the plane. It would be airplane food.
As long as you get the champagne and you hold your pinky up. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. If you’re heading to London, we were there last time, it’s a great place. I spent a couple of things that I would recommend. How long would you be in London for?
We’ll be there for ten days.
You’ve got a lot of fun things to do there. That will be a blast for you. It’s such an interesting thing. We have our financial markets a little bit differently when I was over there and talking with somebody about self-directed IRA. They had no clue what that was in London and it was interesting. They were like, “Do you allow that in the States?” I was like, “Yeah. If you’ve got your jacked up teeth, HSA would be grateful for you.” That was a comedian. We were jumping back and forth on some things.
The only other country that has any form of self-direction at all is Australia. They can self-direct some of their IRAs. It’s self-annualization or something like that. Everyone else thinks we’re strange. We’re the only country that allows it, which is interesting financial freedom that I hope we’re able to protect because it does spawn a lot of small businesses. It helps a lot of Americans maintain and keep homeownership. That’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about notes or something, which is the social aspects of what we do. I often help people. I like making money, Scott. More importantly, some of the investing I do is I help people save their homes. You should do a whole show just on that about some of the examples of what we’ve done that our social impacts and why we need money.
That’s one of the things that we were joking about. Our motto has been turning problem properties in profitable solutions. Instead of rehabbing a house, our biggest goal is to rehab the borrower and to help them stay in their house. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s a great idea.
A lot of people lose sight of how much social impact they have. They always like to make investors out to be some type of evil people and they don’t understand without them blocks of money, especially in these neighborhoods where houses are below $75,000. Banks don’t want to mess with that stuff. Without the private industry coming in, saving, fixing and taking care of some of those notes, these people would not have their homes. That’s something that people should understand. Politically, it’s important what we do.
We looked at our portfolio, the stuff over the last few years. We’re at 65% of retaining the borrowers and the properties. We’re a little more selective when we’re buying. That’s our whole goal in mind. If it’s occupied, that’s one thing we want to buy because it’s a win-win. Keep somebody in their house and helping them turn that once the American dream into the American nightmare, if they’re behind on their mortgage and afraid they’re going to get foreclosed or evicted, we’re able to take away that fear and say, “I get it. We’ve all been through things.” It’s an important thing to do. If you can help give back at some sort of fashion while you’re making money, that makes life a whole lot more fun. I want to thank you for taking the time to come out. We’re two South Texas boys once again on the Note Closers Show. How big was Orange Grove when you were living there? How many people were there? Do you remember?
It was 3,500. Somebody told me it’s growing out there and I was like, “Are you sure? Are we talking about the same place?”
That’s the same thing with Ingleside where I grew up at. It was 3,600 when my parents moved there and started a local hardware store when I was in fourth grade. Now, there are over 10,000 to 11,000. Nathan, thanks so much.
Thank you so much, Scott.
Thank you. Once again, check out QuestTrustCompany.com or go to the QuestExpo.com. Grab your early bird tickets. Use the discount code, Carson19, to get 25% off. Take advantage to book your tickets to the largest self-directed IRA event in the country. This is the largest and the best. Come on out and we’ll see you there in August. Otherwise, go out, make something happen and we’ll see you all at the top.
- Quest Trust Company
- Charles Schwab
- Edward Jones
- Best of Both Worlds
About Nathan Long
As the CEO of Quest IRA, Nathan Long oversees the operations of the company and aids in improving the practices implemented. After joining his brother, Quincy and the Quest IRA team in 2007, Nathan has aided in growing the company to over forty employees located in four different cities, with continued expansion expected in the near future. Prior to working at Quest IRA, Nathan was in the automotive industry for over 17 years as an upper-level executive for Automotive Investment Group, AIG, and participated in growing the ABC Nissan Branch in Phoenix, Arizona. Nathan also holds the title of Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP), from the Institute of Certified Bankers. Throughout his time with Quest, Nathan has focused his time and efforts on providing superb customer service and developing excellent educational resources.