Podcast

Is Retail CRE A Good Investment Opportunity?

2Q21

Simple & digestible lessons passive investors can use to better understand and evaluate real estate deals in the Retail & Office sectors of CRE.

Read The Transcript

Ben Kogut is a Partner and head of Investor Relations at HJH Investments. As a former entrepreneur, Ben joined HJH as an investor, and through his demonstrated knowledge of real estate investing fundamentals & ability to clearly communicate, he earned a position in investor relations. We discuss some of the acquisition criteria Ben & HJH seek in their real estate acquisitions, specifically the pricing, tenancy, and fundamentals they seek for retail & office properties. We address some of the myths and misconceptions about the retail & office sectors and look at how successful retailers have responded to the boom in online e-commerce, and the ways many office tenants have responded to the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Ben also shares his deceptively simple rules to guide aspiring real estate investors, as well as some more specific insights about the way that his firm is able to close on attractive opportunities in a market where acquisitions are very competitive. With inspiring enthusiasm, Ben shares his belief that the commercial real estate industry can be open to anyone willing to put the time & effort into engineering their own success and offers some tools to help people along the way. Finally, we address how investors can optimize their portfolio to successfully support their lifestyle & lifelong goals.

Key Insights

  • Unveiling some simple lessons to live by as a CRE investor
  • A High-level overview of some of the key criteria to look out for to find opportunities in retail & office commercial real estate
  • Understanding how retail (and other classes) have evolved in response to the boom in online stores & e-commerce
  • Insight into the strategies used to win deals in the extremely competitive post-COVID environment
  • The insights & mindset people need to assess retail properties and tenants

Guest Bio:

Ben Kogut is a partner at HJH Investments, specializing in investor relations. Ben is also an Austin, Texas-based commercial real estate broker with more than 15 years of experience. His passion is to help investors make wise decisions. Ben studied government and business at University of Texas and later earned an MBA from the Acton School of Business; he is also CCIM certified. Ben specializes in Capital Raising, Acquisitions, Dispositions, Operations, Tenant Relations, Lease Negotiations, Financial Analysis, Re-Finance Banking Process, Construction Management, Credit Analysis, & Systems Implementation.

Resources:

Ben on LinkedIn

Ben’s E-book

Real Wealth Real Health

Alpha Investing

[email protected]

Podcast Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Real Wealth, Real Health. The show that empowers you with insights, information, and inspiration to achieve your version of financial wellness. Learn how to balance living a full life today with planning for the future. This podcast is brought to you by Alpha Investing, a real estate centric, private capital network that provides exclusive investment opportunities to its members. And now, here are your hosts, ought to AdaPia d’Errico and Daniel Coca.

AdaPia:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Real Wealth, real health. Today, our guest is Benjamin Kogut. Ben is a partner and head of investor relations for HJH investments, which protects and then grows investor capital through commercial real estate syndications. The investments include industrial buildings, shopping centers, and office buildings, which are typically anchored by high credit tenants with long-term leases throughout the US. HJH has over 350 million in assets under management. Ben is passionate about educating investors about passive income investing and has written an ebook called Five Things to Consider When Investing in Commercial Real Estate Syndications. Ben is based in Austin, Texas and has an MBA and CCIM Certification. We talked to Ben about his passion for commercial real estate, why he loves to teach people about investing in real estate, and he dives into his four cash rules.

AdaPia:

We also get in depth into the asset classes of commercial real estate that he and his company offer investors and how the changes in consumer behavior have shaped the landscape, but not in the way that has caused many to fear certain sectors like retail. There’s a lot to learn about diversification of real estate for personal portfolio, how to win deals in a challenging market and why commercial real estate continues to be an important asset class for any investors portfolio. Ben, welcome to the podcast.

Ben:

Thanks AdaPia, it’s an honor to be here.

AdaPia:

Yeah, I’m so excited for our conversation today. It’s mid-June so we’re midway through 2021. How that happened, no one knows, but we were just saying how at Alpha we’ve been so busy with back-to-back deals all year, and I know that you’ve been really busy in what you do back-to-back all year. I just really wanted this conversation to be about your background, how you got into it. You’re super passionate about real estate investing and educating people, as are we, and just a nice conversation about the asset classes that you working in, what you’re seeing, what we’ve been seeing and maybe we can gaze into a crystal ball for the second half of 2021 at some point.

Ben:

I’m in let’s talk. This is great.

AdaPia:

Perfect. All right. Well, how about let’s just start with we know what you do at HJH and you’ve been doing it for a while, super successful capital raiser, but how’d you get into commercial real estate and how did you specifically get into being a capital raiser?

Ben:

Got into commercial real estate back in 2005 first as a commercial real estate broker, went and got my CCIM and was really inspired by some mentors of mine. I’ve always believed that it’s better to copy genius than create mediocrity. So I have made it a point to surround myself with people who are further down in their career who are successful and I’ve always looked for ways to, to learn from them. And this is before podcasting and social media was a thing and I was just doing it in real life, just very aggressively trying to connect with people who were successful and learn as much as I could from them. So they guided me down the path of getting my CCIM. Then I got my MBA back in 2011, surrounding myself… Went to work for a family office here in Austin, Texas handling a very large portfolio of variety of different types of assets.

Ben:

And then it was my time to follow my dream which was to be an entrepreneur. So back in 2015, I started a brokerage company, a development company and started personally investing in commercial real estate, and learned that development was not for me. It is a rough business. And so that’s okay. We survived that, but realized, okay, that’s not for me. And really it was what I learned was the benefits of cashflow, and predictable cash flows, and the unit economics of the fundamentals of the tenants that occupy the real estate that we like to acquire. Once I really understood that, I started actually as an investor with HJH back in 2017 and built a relationship with the CEO, a guy named Cory Harkleroad. He started the company and after chatting with him for about a year, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to join the company as head of raising capital and investor relations and that sort. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.

AdaPia:

Wow. So when you started working at the family office, because you got your CCIM… So actually, let me back up and ask just for clarification, what is a CCIM?

Ben:

CCIM is a commercial real estate designation. It’s a series of educational courses. They call it the MBA of commercial real estate and it’s very technical. It was really a good education for me early on in my career.

AdaPia:

Oh, got it. Okay, cool. So you go into family office, which some people know we work with some family offices as well, but a lot don’t. I mean, the way that they invest is so different than the way maybe a professional invests or I invest and they have access to different kinds of opportunities. So what was it about real estate for you that you just really locked in on that?

Ben:

I think that the scalability of it was really attractive to me. The inflation hedge that it’s an alternative asset, as opposed to going in the stock market. It’s historically continued to appreciate in value. There’s always going to be dips here and there, but frankly, that’s still held to be true and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue. It’s something that has allowed me to never stop learning about.

AdaPia:

Yeah, that’s fair. You’re both never stopped learning. So the Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, comes up for me when you say that it’s a fabulous book, but it’s also just a mindset. You also love to teach so let’s talk about… There’s something that I know you wanted to share with us and then you wrote an e-book that we’ll link to in the show notes for people, but tell us a little bit about the teaching part, why that’s so important to you and also how that’s helped you do what you do.

Ben:

Frankly, before I started raising capital and teaching people about commercial real estate, and passive income, and our niche, I didn’t know that I enjoyed teaching. So now I know that I enjoy teaching. It’s become a passion of mine. It’s biblical. It’s better to teach a man to fish than to give a man a fish. And so that sits with me and turns out my dad is a teacher. He is a dentist, but has now since moved on from dentistry to teach dentists, and he’s actually gone back to school to become an architect. That’s a whole other story. But it’s just personally rewarding to see people grow in their own personal journey and to be able to help them reach their financial goals probably sooner rather than later. And so I know you enjoy teaching as well. Honestly, my career is the better than anything I could have ever dreamed up, that I get to help people reach their goals. And so all of these things are building up together and I’m just having the time of my life right now.

AdaPia:

You can tell. There’s a huge smile on your face. I know a lot of people will be listening, but it’s true. We talk about this a lot of with helping people reach their goals and helping them understand the role of commercial real estate in a portfolio. I often talk about how I got my start working in a bank when I was 18. I was on financial planner path. We don’t learn, not even security’s courses today really talk about real estate outside of two pages in the manual about a REIT. So when I discovered real estate, which was a lot later, it was shocking and, at the same time, one of those things where it’s never too late to get into it, I’ve found. So I don’t know what you think about that, it’s such an important thing and it excites me. It excites us at Alpha too to just… You get there so much faster with your goals.

Ben:

Absolutely. It’s never too late to learn. To that point, I decided to write that short ebook. And so maybe I’ll share a little bit about that. One of the things that people kind of get their eyes open about is the four rules of cash. Have you ever heard of Solomon’s four rules of cash.

AdaPia:

I have not.

Ben:

It’s in my ebook, HJHInvestments.com/book. It’s free, go check it out. It’s real short. But the four rules of cash, they sound really simple, but there’s some depth to it and that’s what I like about simple lessons. And so rule number one is more cash is better than less cash. Easy enough. Cash sooner is better than cash later. Now, rule number three: less risky cash is better than risky cash. And rule number four, drum roll, never run out of cash. We go into a little bit more depth on what those rules mean and how to balance those out when you’re looking at different alternative investments. And so just wanted to kind of share with you some of those rules. What do you think about those?

AdaPia:

I’m thinking about them and I’m like, “Yeah, makes sense,” and at the same time, I’m thinking how hard it is to have cash on hand consistently, whether it’s because it burns a hole in your pocket because you want to put it to work and you don’t want cash drag, whether it’s you’re waiting for, let’s say, a liquidity event or you haven’t built up enough of a portfolio where you’re getting whether it’s dividends or distributions. And so it’s really logical and yet it’s very challenging is what comes through for me.

Ben:

Nice. Yeah. That that’s that’s right. And they all have different consequences to your investment thesis as you’re moving forward. Would rather have cash now or cash later? Why? What are the pros and cons to making your decisions based on these types of rules? And so there you have it.

AdaPia:

Yeah, especially now. We were talking about all these deals, and I know Dan wants to jump in and talk about deals and asset classes so I think we should just dive in because let’s put that cash to work.

Dan:

Well, I was going to say before that, for me personally, it’s this kind of funny setup which is completely irrational, which is I really want liquidity at all times. I get really excited when I have that liquidity event, but then immediately my brain turns to, “How do I get all of this cash somewhere else as quickly as possible?” And then you’re just in this internal conflict about how you feel about it and in perpetuity. Quick insight into how my brain works, but admittedly not rational.

Ben:

Fair enough. Fair enough. Well, at least you know that about yourself and that’s a good step.

Dan:

Right. That’s very true. Realization is step one. So let’s transition now and talk about investing. Ben, maybe you just want to chat a little bit about the different asset classes, deal types you’re interested, why you think they make sense, et cetera, and then we can kind of go from there.

Ben:

Sure. So at HJH Investments, we coincidentally just closed on our 59th acquisition last week and so our niche is buying shopping centers, office buildings, or industrial properties. So those are the only three property types that we acquire. And what they all have in common is at least 30% of the tenancy is triple B credit or higher with more than five years of term remaining on the leases, and we have to acquire it better than a nine cap. So in other words, high credit tenants, long-term leases, better than a nine cap. If it checks those boxes, then we make an offer on it. We do research every day with our acquisitions team looking at between 800 and 1,500 deals every week. Out of that, about 16 properties will fit in our criteria.

Ben:

Out of that, we’ll make three to five offers a week on different deals and two out of three deals that we put under contract will pass our due diligence process. It’s a large, large funnel that we are very, very specific about what we’re looking for, kind of a needle in haystack kind of situation. That’s our formula and we’re sticking to it.

Dan:

How have you seen the portfolio change or what have you been seeing since COVID, but then I think in our world, in this real estate world, things have seemed to shift a little bit in 2021. The mindset is a little bit different than it was the back end of 2020. I would love to get your thoughts on that.

Ben:

Sure. So the three different asset classes. The easy answer is we haven’t been able to find any industrial properties. So the industrial market has been extremely competitive. We have been buying retail and office. Office in particular has been fantastic for us. We’ve been able to pick up suburban office buildings throughout the Midwest that, again, they’re occupied by high credit tenants with long-term leases. We found that there were many owners who were motivated to sell in the pandemic because some people think that office people were never coming back to the office. Well, that’s not what we think whatsoever. In fact, we’re seeing the opposite. People are coming back to the office. We are signing new leases. We are buying also medical office buildings, which have had hardly any issues whatsoever throughout COVID. And so we struck while the iron is hot. We found people were motivated, oftentimes for reasons that were unrelated to the actual asset, that we’re looking to get rid of the property.

Ben:

We’re happy to buy it. We’re long-term owners, long-term investors and so we understand that there’s going to be cycles in the office market. As long as we buy it right, at the right price per square foot, the right locations, the right tenancy, then we’re going to be just fine and it’s proven to be correct. There’s that and then retail. There’s some people out there that think that retail is dead. Amazon and this and that. Well, the secret is out about Amazon. I mean, we all know that there’s online retail, and e-commerce, and all that good stuff. Well, what’s happening is that shopping centers, frankly, have pivoted and transformed in the way that they look like. For example, 10 years ago, shopping centers would be a place where you go shop.

Ben:

By the way, I’m not talking about malls, enclosed malls. That’s a different category. So we just bought a grocery anchored shopping center. We believe that yes, there is going to be grocery stores that sell online and deliver and all that. I think a lot of it, frankly, is you order it online, you can pick it up and keep moving on with your day, but then the shopping centers are restaurants, and medical, and bars, and service oriented businesses that frankly cannot be moved to e-commerce. And so we have diligently looked for opportunities like that where if we can buy better than a nine cap, then we’re going to go through the DD process and then eventually raise the capital for it.

Dan:

So if you’re buying a better than nine caps, which is a number that when I hear it seems very high to me, not just because in real estate it’s very high, but even within that asset class, is it because you are finding distress deals? The grocery anchored retail, the medical office, industrial, as you mentioned, have all become so popular since COVID because they’re resistant to the things that you have challenges with typically when you have a property and tenants and service providers. And so given that, are you seeing distress deals? Is it just that you think there are less people within the retail or suburban office class even within the niche that you’re operating with? How should we think about pricing in your space when our reference point for a lot of investors is often multifamily?

Ben:

So since we do research every day, we know exactly what, what the right cap rate is. Kind of like I alluded to, the cap rates we’re getting are because the sellers are motivated. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with the properties. In fact, we often do very little value add to the properties. They’re are mostly stabilized with certain exceptions. What I can share with you is some of our strategies on winning deals that might be beneficial to you and your listeners. And so I’ll just kind of fire them off real quick on how we’ve been able to, win deals. And so number one, if it’s on the market, so we get a lot of deals off market directly because of our reputation, but let’s just say it’s on the market.

Ben:

We will make an offer on that asset within 24 hours of it hitting the market. So we are oftentimes the first offer a seller will view. And so I don’t know why, there’s probably some psychological reason for it, but more often than not, the first offer wins the deal. So that’s a tip that anybody can use. Make the offer right away. That’s number one. Number two, we’re going to go ahead and preemptively send them a list of references. So here’s a list of everybody we’ve done business with. Call anybody on this list and they will tell you that we at HJH, we do what we say we’re going to do. Number three, we promise the seller or the broker, whoever we’re talking with, that we will personally physically be on site within two weeks of being under contract. So that requires a lot of travel.

Ben:

I just got back last week from quite a bit of travel in Detroit and Indiana and that’s a lot of hard work. And so when we go out to these secondary markets that are harder to get to, that narrows it down and makes us look a little bit better because we’re promising them that we’ll be there onsite, and that’s what we do. And number four is just real simple, do what you say you’re going to do at all times. Integrity. And so I guess the bottom line, takeaway message that I want people to know, is make offers. Make the offer. If they want a price down below here, but you’re willing to pay a price lower or whatever it is, just make the offer and let them counter, or tell you no, or whatever. However they respond, it doesn’t matter. So make offers.

Dan:

So at the point that you are making an offer, have you gone through any level of diligence or asset level evaluation or you’re just making an offer and then if you get to that next step, that’s when you’re then going through the process of evaluating the transaction?

Ben:

Typically we will have reviewed a rent roll, at least the basics of it. Whatever’s in the offering memorandum. We’ll tell the seller, “Hey, listen, if everything checks out the way your OM is, great. We’ll do it at this price and these terms, and we’ll move forward. Then later on, we’re going to dig into it and if we find things that are discrepancies or anomalies, then we’re going to have to cross that bridge when we get there. So really the clarity of the OM is super important so that we don’t have to get to a situation where there’s any modifications down the road. Normally, there’s not, but we’ll tell them right up front, “Hey, this is what we’ll do. We’re going to do this deal.” And that’s what we do.

Dan:

And so you said, I think earlier, you close two out of every three deals. Is it that you have under contract or that you agreed on? What was that for?

Ben:

Yeah, the point of that was that not every deal passes our DD process. In fact, one out of the two deals we reviewed last week did not. We got on site and, frankly, the deferred maintenance, it was just not nearly as good looking as what they made it look like in the photos. And so we real swiftly said, “Hey, this isn’t for us and we’re moving on.”

Dan:

Got it. It’s a really interesting strategy which is why I wanted to kind of better understand and have you articulate it because you think about the process we typically follow where we’re going to go out, we’re going to visit the property and tour it before we’re putting in the offer but before we’re going on the contract. If a deal does become marketed or just that time gap allows the opportunity for a lot more people to come in, but that’s the way that it’s historically been done in this space and so that’s how people do it. So it’s interesting to hear how you guys are kind of getting around this problem that we’re seeing right now, which is deals that are on the market are going at substantial premiums oftentimes to where people expect these assets to trade. And because of that, deals look less interesting on paper. So yeah, really interesting that you guys were able to kind of find a workaround for yourselves.

Ben:

Yeah, anybody can do it really, frankly. Just get out there. Know what you’re looking for. That’s really what’s super critical so that when you see it, you can swing for it and hopefully the seller is motivated enough to go for a price that works for our business model at least.

AdaPia:

Yeah, it’s fantastic to hear and it’s also such a different asset class, like Daniel said. A lot of people are used to multifamily. They might hear a little bit more, invest in senior housing when they work for Alpha. I just wanted to cover one thing really quickly because you mentioned, and I know I’ve been really curious about this, is the grocery anchored retail and all of these changes. Because when you said Amazon, I thought industrial and the grocery anchored, not the mall. Can you talk just a little bit more about that? So for people listening, their understanding. Because I know when I see retail, it’s like a reflective… Oh, I don’t know. That’s retail. Even being who I am, knowing what I know, it’s an interesting knee-jerk reaction. And so the only way to get around reflexive reactions is to be informed. So can you talk a little bit more about the retail space?

Ben:

So I think looking at the unit economics, AKA, what are the widgets that are being sold, and looking at what is the trend line for those types of things. So one similar example would be Best Buy. If you had asked me 10, 15 years ago while Amazon was really… And e-commerce was on the up and up, I would have said Best Buy would be out of business by now because anything in the Best Buy store, you can buy online, literally everything. If you look at their stock price, it’s super high. Why? It’s because they were smart enough to pivot in their business model. And what I mean by that is you go in there and you’ll see a Sony TV, and a Vizio TV, and a Samsung. So all of those companies are basically renting space to put their TV on the wall, or there’s a mini apple store inside of it, or there’s even an aisle where there’s Amazon products.

Ben:

And so they pivoted and now they have fantastic sites spread out around the country where people can go buy their product online and come pick it up in the store. And so we are seeing this time and time again with retail and frankly I think shopping centers should be rebranded to a service center or something like that, but service center has a car connotation to it. Except for grocery anchor, most people aren’t really shopping. They’re going to get their nails done. Just drive around wherever your local city is and look at who are actually occupying the spaces of the retail shopping centers around you and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

AdaPia:

Yeah, that’s a really good point, especially as, well I’m in California. I know you’re in Texas. We’re about to be allowed outside again and be actually able to go and do that research. I think that’s important for people to get a feel for it. You’re right about what is in those spaces. I wanted to touch back on this because wasn’t Amazon in a bidding for, is it JCPenny or somebody that was about to go… I think it was JCPenny that was in bankruptcy and there was talk about Amazon buying them and becoming the strategy that you mentioned about Best Buy, how they’ve basically become a retail footprint distribution center. Do you know what happened with that or if that would have even been a good strategy for Amazon to have more of a physicalized kind of retail presence?

Ben:

I don’t know that specifically, but I do know that they bought Whole Foods, for example, which is an Austin based company to expand their footprint. I don’t know if you’ve been into a Whole Foods since Amazon bought it, but it looks very different from what Whole Foods look like prior to Amazon’s ownership of it. Also, you’ll see Amazon to go, which are smaller locations with their most popular items being sold. So those are popping up everywhere, but really Amazon and other e-commerce stores, that’s not who shopping centers are being threatened by hardly anymore. I mean, as long as it’s a good location with foot traffic and outside of California, with all due respect, people are going out and about and shopping and living their lives almost normal as it was pre-pandemic. And so we think that there’s going to be almost an explosion of people who are really, really wanting to get out and try to get back to normal and catch up on all the things that didn’t get to happen throughout the last, let’s call it 18 months or whatever. So yeah, some thoughts like that.

AdaPia:

Yeah, that’s great. I appreciate that. So I wanted to pivot again a little bit and talk about your personal real estate investing or portfolio. I mean, as professionals in the industry, a lot of our portfolio isn’t commercial real estate, but what role does it play for you in your portfolio and how you plan it, especially on a going forward basis? We know we have incoming inflation. It’s already here, it’s not incoming. It could potentially only get worse. How are you positioning your portfolio today and how have you positioned it since you started investing in real state?

Ben:

So I think that diversification wins the game, so spreading my money out. Frankly, I invest in every single HJH deal and so I am very diversified amongst all of our different assets. I’ve invested in other people’s commercial real estate deals. I’ve also recently invested in non-real estate deals such as a consumer product good called, it’s Skinny Pasta, which was a pasta alternative that a friend of mine was is running that company and I had an opportunity to invest so I thought, “Well, that’d be a fun way to diversify,” and I just enjoy the product. So it’s kind of fun. Frankly, based on the rules of cash, I am looking for cash now as better than cash later. And so what I mean by that, if you’re asking what is Ben Kogurt’s personally, I’m looking for something that will pay me a dividend right away the first month as opposed to some multifamily deals that I’ve seen. You put money in now and the sponsor will go and fix up the property and they’ll sell it two, three years from now and then you’ll get a pop and then some.

Ben:

So that’s great and all. No problem with that. But for me personally, I’m looking to build my monthly passive income so that, frankly, I’ve recently surpassed the point where the passive income I have coming in exceeds my personal expenses. And I know for a lot of people, that’s the goal right. I’m there and now I’m just trying to push it. I have a number of my head that if I achieve that, you got to have a goal. So I’m looking for monthly passive income that will far exceed the amount of money I could personally spend on a monthly basis.

AdaPia:

Yeah, that’s a really good way of looking at it in terms of the monthly income that exceeds your monthly expenses. I know for me, and it kind of references what Dan mentioned before about as cash comes in, I don’t want to get rid of it. When I have cash coming in from my passive income investments, I’m waiting to accumulate it a little bit more so I can invest in another syndication, at least at this point in my life. It’s not exactly compounding, but almost and that’s how I tend to think about it as well which is why I like a combination of what you do and what we do because in some ways from a diversification perspective for me, I try to balance out what will have a bigger pop a little bit down the road and what can have a more stable monthly cashflow so that I can constantly every year be investing and kind of creating a bond ladder but with real estate syndication. So that’s another way that, or at least that’s one of the ways that I think about diversification within cashflow and real estate.

Ben:

Anytime I have an opportunity to spend money on something fun like a car, or a boat, or vacation or whatever, the thought that goes through my head is, “Okay, well, it’s just going to slow me down from reaching my personal monthly cashflow.” And oftentimes I’ve delayed many of the projects and fun things that I want to spend money at just because it’s just not the goal. My goal is basically two and a half X in passive income coming in versus the amount on average I spend on a monthly basis. So if I spend $10,000 a month just between rent and car and life and all that, then I’m looking for $25,000 a month in passive income.

AdaPia:

Got it. That’s a good metric. That’s a really good metric to think about. I’m thinking about I’m going to have to calculate mine after. It might take me a minute on the, on the podcast. So let’s shift into this because you mentioned something about fun in your life. I’m not a big spender. My husband has taught me a lot about feeling abundant by giving myself things that I like because otherwise I really don’t because I’m a little squirrel and I want to put everything away. But of course we’re living a life and I know you have kids, you have a family. And so talk a little bit about how you balance the investor with a lifestyle and finding that balance within yourself and basically how you do that for your life. I know it’s important to you, so would love to have you share that with everybody.

Ben:

Yeah. That balance is very important to me. And just to clarify, I don’t have any kids. It’s okay. I do have a girlfriend and we’re going down that path, but we’re not quite there yet. For me, being able to take care of other people has really just been a very important value of mine that I’ve learned from my parents and grandparents. And so I think that it also starts within myself. And so I know that if I have a healthy body, I’ll have a healthy mind. If I have a healthy mind, I’ll be able to do healthy things to take care of other people. And so I do spend a lot of time making sure that I am personally healthy, both physically, mentally, spiritually, and all those kinds of things. It’s a commitment. It’s a lifestyle.

Ben:

I have recently learned to meditate. That has really helped me get clarity on balancing all the things that pull in life. Luckily I’m an energetic guy and I just like to have fun and I love what I do. It’s really just a real pleasure. Life has just been really fantastic for me lately and I’m very grateful for that. I just think that if I can help other people in their journey as well, it’s a gift and an honor and a privilege to be able to do that.

AdaPia:

Aw, thank You for sharing that. I don’t know why I thought you had kids. You’re always doing so much stuff, but I love hearing that. And you know me, you know I’m big on mindfulness and meditation and finding that space to clear the mind and live in a harmonious way. I think balance can sometimes feel like static instead of it being something more harmonious. This idea that things in balance are fluctuating back and forth, but if you were to ever stop, the likelihood of it stopping on a flat line of balance is almost impossible. So it’s this going with the flow. I digress into some metaphysical things.

Ben:

No matter what, the most important thing is, keep moving forward. And when it’s important to let go of things, and we have things that have hurt us along the way, we have to learn how to let things go so that we’re not dragging them around with us like luggage and just keep moving forward.

AdaPia:

100%. That flow and that movement. It leads really nicely actually, thank you, into the last question that I would like to ask you, which is what does wealth mean to you?

Ben:

So the first thing that comes to mind would be health amongst my family and friends, the people that I love. So the relationships, that makes me feel wealthy. That’s when I’m happiest. That, and when I am able to be outdoors having that… I had a pleasure, my dad, my brother and I got to go to Idaho sort of towards the beginning of the pandemic and we spent six days off the grid floating down a river, a pristine river. And so I was present and unplugged from social media and internet and blah, blah, blah. That was probably the first time I really felt present if you know what I mean. I was not worried about any work or anything else going on out there. And so I think those are probably the two most important things. I mean, if we talked about wealth from a financial standpoint, which is kind of what I think most people think about wealth, then from that standpoint, it’s going to be afreedom.

Ben:

It’s going to be being able to spend my time wherever and whenever I want. That’s why I do what I do because the investing commercial real estate pays monthly dividends and that ultimately allows me to do whatever I want whenever I want and I’m happy about that.

AdaPia:

There it is. Well, thank you so much for sharing everything. Thanks for spending some time with us today. It was really informative, really interesting and we’ll include links to the ebook for HJH. If you want to just really quickly tell people where they can contact you if they’d like to get ahold of you.

Ben:

Yeah, thanks so much. So again, HJHInvestments.com/book and you can also reach me there or I’m on all the socials at Ben Kogut, last name is spelled K-O-G-U-T, and look forward to connecting with everybody.

AdaPia:

All right. Thanks so much, Ben. Thanks for tuning in to Real Wealth, Real Health. We hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and found it both informative and insightful. We welcome all your questions and your feedback about today’s episode and especially we welcome your questions about specific topics that you would like us to cover. So shoot us an email at [email protected] And if you have a moment, we really appreciate ratings and reviews as it helps us grow our online community and our interactions with you. We’ll also be linking to a number of relevant articles on topics that we might’ve touched on during our conversations. Some of them are broad. Some of them are technical, but we’re always aiming to provide information that helps you better understand the mechanics of building this healthy financial foundation, especially if you’re looking to do this with real estate.