WHY the need for Value Driven Investors
Transformational Growth Is Worth Fighting For
Not everyone has what it takes to reach their full potential.
Just as not everyone is cut out to be a leader, an entrepreneur running their own business or a philanthropist investing in the betterment of our people.
Not everyone is capable of LEADING BY GIVING.
For reasons I will provide you in a moment, it takes courage and determination like no other. Very few are capable of such things. But to understand these reasons, fully, and what is required of you to walk this path towards becoming a VALUE DRIVEN INVESTOR — you need to know WHY the need for Value Driven Investors has never been greater.
WHY ‘The Demand’
For Value Driven Investors
Is Greater Than Ever!
Listen. We have many beliefs inside our Value Driven Investor community. If you are going to be a “good fit” for our community, it will be important for you to share our same investor creed. To understand why we believe the way we do. Why we are driven by such conviction to protect our people. You must understand why as a Value Driven Investor — you are needed.
FACT: Greed has a way of ‘Bringing Out The Worst’ in people — have you ever witnessed a behavior that disturbed you? Where what you witnessed was done by a person you never would have expected it from?
Maybe this person is someone you have known for years?
You thought this person was a person of integrity?
That he or she had morals, ethics?
Maybe you didn’t think they were capable of such behavior because you had never seen it before, and frankly, it was completely out of their character?
So you thought.
Maybe this is a person you have known most your life: A best friend, parent or mentor. You have been around this person so long you know them like you know the back of your hand.
So you thought.
The Event ‘I was victim of’ That Started This Journey For Me:
Back in 2007, at the age of 30, I decided to be a passive investor in a company called Triton Financial. This company was founded on buying real estate assets, using outside investors money to do so and delivering a monthly dividend to participating investors.
This was the first time I would become a ‘passive investor’ and entrust my hard earned money to an expert. Believe you me… I did my homework and this company came highly recommended by a good friend and family member who had invested a lot of their own money in the company.
Obviously, I knew investing in someone else instead of myself was going to be risky. Because I didn’t have control over my investment and its return. I was dependent on someone else to deliver as promised.
For several years I passed up the opportunity to invest with this company…
Until one day, after seeing my friend and family member consistently receive dividend checks for years, as promised, I decided it was time to get in the game.
After a lot more research and lengthy conversations with my wife… We invested $80,000 into the ownership of a health club building that was home to a strong performing health club operation. This health club was very similar to “Life Time Fitness.” A long standing, very profitable health club operation I was familiar with based out of Minnesota.
Little did I know what was in store for me.
For two years, we received dividends from this investment just like we expected to. It was GREAT! The cashflow was something I had never experienced as a ‘passive investor’ and I was ready to do more of it.
Why Not!! It was mailbox money at it’s best.
Until, I received word in late 2009 that Triton Financial was undergoing investigation for being a Ponzi scheme.
Just saying that right now makes my stomach drop.
How could I be so stupid!!
One thing led to another and in 2011 the owner Kurt Barton was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme. I was told weeks after his conviction the odds of getting any of our money ($80,000) was slim to none.
We just got robbed!
It was in this moment, I realized investing has a way of bringing out the worst in people — GREED. I trusted my friend, I took precautions to make sure I knew what I was getting into. I knew there was always a chance… That’s just part of being a ‘passive investor’ but I never thought it would have happened to me!
Not Like That!!
How could this guy ever do such a thing to hundreds of people and their families. Just think about the families he destroyed and the hardship he created. I was so mad!
But, there was nothing I could do. It was at that moment I vowed never to do such a thing to anyone EVER in my life.
For 5 years after this experience my wife and I fought to get every dime of our money back from the court appointed receiver (attorney).
We managed to get around $3,000 of our money back… That was it!
Immediately, I started questioning anything and anyone I had invested money in. How was I ever going to trust anyone with my money again?
I started believing it would be impossible for me to invest in anyone but myself.
At the time, I had no clue how this moment in my life was going to change everything for me. Before this happened to me I thought I knew everything about investing.
I was ready to take on the world and get rich.
Now, I realized it was up to me to build my real estate empire and make my dream of being a real estate investor come true.
First, I needed to understand why this man did what he did. Why was he capable of hurting so many families because of GREED?
Because, if I didn’t know what caused him to do such a thing. How could I prevent myself from doing such a thing in the future. I knew in my heart the owner of Triton Financial never intended to create a Ponzi scheme from the very beginning.
I truly believe he lost control and found himself having to make a life changing choice. I needed to know where he went wrong so I would never make the same mistake.
For five years I tracked everything about the case and how this crime transpired. I read every article and dissected each situation contemplating deeply about why, what and how he got into this position.
What I learned in this case and the Bernie Madoff case was GREED, RELATIONSHIPS and REPUTATION are very powerful forces.
Large sums of money which are not yours can lead to greed. One begins to justify why that money is theirs and begins to use it as such. As their greed gets stronger they work harder to leverage their relationships through any and all means necessary. They are on one mission. Build more trust and take more money. The longer they can keep the game going the more they can fill their insatiable thirst for money and greed.
I realized reputation was a key factor in keeping their Ponzi scheme alive; for both of these crooks. Before anyone knew what they were doing… In Bernie Madoff’s case this went on for decades. He had the reputation as a genius investor. One who could never do wrong and always delivered mailbox money to your house every month. Who wouldn’t love a man like this.
Coming to this realization I now knew how I was never going to let this ever happen to me and my people.
Two factors (Environmental & Behavioral) explain Why Value Driven Investors are so badly needed:
1 — Greed is a fundamental human instinct. We all have. It is one of the strongest after effects deep seeded in our survival instincts.
Based on my experience with Triton Financial. I saw a company which was well established as a real estate investment company. Buying commercial properties using investors money and delivering on their business plan. Until the leader of the company became frustrated with how slow the company’s growth was and how much capital he had access to.
It was at this time greed started setting in. Knowing he could raise more money than he could place in strong cash flowing real estate. The leader decided to venture out into new territories. Territories he was not familiar with. Investing in things like insurance and buying businesses — not real estate.
Carelessness and greed would be his demise.
It was greed that took over his better judgement. It was the thought of more money, more influential relationships and the trust that brought more money and more power. This was all too enticing for the leader of Triton Financial to ignore or pass up on.
Ultimately, it was this greed that led to desperation once this heartless leader realized he was in too deep to get out.
Once he realized he passed the point of no return.
This is how greed can sneak up on you and manipulate you into doing something you never intended to do. Lie, Cheat and Steal from those you have trusting relationships with.
If you think this isn’t happening more and more in our world… Open your eyes and look closer.
Greed in the investment world is multiplying exponentially!
2 — Desperation is the ‘Most Powerful Force’ on earth, because it’s tied to survival. And to the extent someone will go to “survive,” is almost endless.
I assumed it was Greed that put the CEO of Triton Financial in jail. Quickly I realized he reached a point of desperation. It was desperation that triggered his survival instinct and caused him to do anything possible to keep from being caged up like an animal.
The thought of SURVIVAL Instinct reminds me of a documentary I watched on Netflix about Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta. The biggest drug dealers in the history of Miami.
Because in the end our survival instinct can drive us to make decisions which lead us down a path we never intended.
I believe all of us are put on this earth and begin life with good intentions. As children we learn about life and ourselves. As we become teenagers we start experiencing and understanding the world around us. It’s at this point in life where we must be self-aware of our environment.
Is it toxic or is it healthy?
Self-awareness is the key to making choices that lead you down the right path.
For Willy and Sal, their environment was toxic. They didn’t see a better way. They saw everyone around them struggling to survive. They saw everyone around them in pain and suffering.
Because they were driven to find a better way and live a life on their terms… Not a life like so many they knew around them.
Willy & Sal’s entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and they jumped at the first opportunity they got. Unfortunately, they knew no better and took it.
They had very little, if any, self-awareness to guide them.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s these two became the biggest cocaine drug dealers in Miami and potentially all of the United States of America at the time. Done by smuggling thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States. All while running what was thought to be a 2 BILLION Dollar drug operation.
All from a scratch pad and a network of people they could trust.
For them, it started right out of high school. Heck, I don’t even know if they graduated high school. They were natural born entrepreneurs. Inspired by opportunity and driven by profits.
As young kids they came across an opportunity to make some money. Because they both came from poor families. They needed to fend for themselves. They needed to SURVIVE.
Of course they were going to take advantage of this opportunity to make some money, feed themselves and their families. This is how it always begins.
In doing so, they were introduced to the world of a drug dealer.
Just like cocaine, the drug itself, they were hooked! They saw the life they could have. They saw the money which would buy the things they needed at the time like: Food, Clothes, Shelter and Growth.
As pure bread entrepreneurs they craved opportunity, profits and a better life.
As young men desperate to survive. They saw a short term solution for a long term problem.
The choice they needed to make, “Was breaking the law worth it?”
Or is there a better way?
As they dove deeper into the world of becoming a drug dealer. Willy & Sal saw more and more opportunities to reach their full potential. Driven by their entrepreneurial instinct they jumped on each opportunity to grow their business. Until one day their big moment came.
They went ALL IN and jumped!!
I truly believe this was the exact same situation the owner of Triton Financial found himself in. When he saw a big opportunity, questioned the risk he was taking and decided breaking the law was worth the alternative.
Going to jail, which would be the opposite of SURVIVAL.
As I researched the articles, read the FBI reports and received regular updates from the court appointed receivership in regards to my money. It was obvious to me, this leader became desperate once he realized he passed the point of no return.
Not only had he raised money on his own. But he used other people of high standing and exploited them, with no knowledge of their own, to assist him in these acts. Because now… He was desperate to keep his Ponzi scheme alive.
His life depended on it.
Knowing if he was caught, his lavish lifestyle along with his life of freedom would be over. It’s because of this desperate situation which he put himself in… That his survival instinct kicked in.
We all have it. We are all programmed to do anything to survive. How do you think humans got to the top of the evolutionary hierarchy?
I know all too well what it feels like to be desperate.
In 2016, I found myself in a desperate situation when I herniated a disc in my back. The herniation was so bad when the doctors received my MRI they said, “I can’t believe you are not screaming in pain!!”
Because the MRI showed one of the discs in my back was slammed into my sciatica nerve. This is one of the major nerves in your body that runs down your leg. For 8 weeks I was dealing with the most pain I have ever experienced in my life. I would never wish it upon anyone. Not even my worst enemy… Like that guy from Triton Financial.
I was walking crooked, nerve pain was shooting down my leg and my stress level was so high I couldn’t even think. This led to the night I will never forget for as long as I live.
The Night I Was Broken
My situation was so bad, I’ll never forget the night when I broke down. This was after weeks of isolation sleeping downstairs in my own separate room away from my wife. She had a family to run. I slept downstairs Because the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get comfortable and the pain never stopped!
You are probably asking, “How much pain were you in?”
I was in so much pain, when the doctor asked me to describe the pain I said, “Doc I am in so much pain I’m going to give it a 9 because in my book a 10 means I am dead.”
The doctor responded, “I believe you. Very rarely do we see a situation like this.”
That night, when I broke down. I found myself tossing and turning for hours upon hours in my bed. The pain never stopped. It was as if someone hooked my sciatica nerve up to an electric chair and never turned off the switch. I was screaming in my head all night long.
That’s when it happened.
I have always been one to take pain and handle very difficult situations better than most. As an athlete I have felt pain and been tested all my life. I knew this was just another test both mentally and physically.
I endured for over 8 weeks when mentally I came to a dark place in my head.
Now that I look back, maybe it was a lot like the place Willy & Sal were in before they found a way out.
I felt stuck, I felt trapped, I felt like this pain was never going to end.
Worst of all… I felt like the pain had taken everything from me.
I couldn’t be a good father because of the pain.
I couldn’t run my business because the pain stole my ability to think.
I couldn’t be happy because the pain made me pessimistic
I lost hope that the pain would end and I would be able to go back to being my best-self.
This truly was the most desperate moment in my life.
Everything I had done to become the person I was… Just before my disc herniated… Was all taken from me in a split second.
As I sat in my favorite chair at 3am in the morning. Trying desperately to relieve my pain in any way possible. A thought crossed my mind, “What if this pain never goes away and I must deal with it for the rest of my life?”
It was at that moment when tears ran down my face and I looked to a higher power saying, “Please don’t do this to me. Please don’t take all the gifts you have given me away. Please don’t leave me in this pain forever. I have a gift and I want to deliver it to the world like I believe I was meant to do. But, I know, in this pain… It is not possible.”
Just the thought of that broke me.
I lost it and broke down. For that moment I quit. It was undeniable.
Willy & Sal must have felt much the same way when they looked around their environment and saw all the pain their loved ones and the people they cared about were going through. They must have decided anything is better than ending up like that.
I feel their pain. I was there in my own way.
The difference between Willy, Sal and myself. I decided that night, if I was relieved of my pain, I was going to be a guardian of good.
Only about 3% of the population is greedy, to the point of being a criminal. But just about every human on earth, when injected with sufficient desperation, can be motivated to do bad things.
It’s because of my life’s experiences and the choices I’ve made which empower me to create The Value Driven Investor.
I have experienced the physical pain of a herniated disc which took everything from me.
I have experienced the pain of losing $80,000 in a Ponzi scheme after entrusting someone I knew for over a decade.
I know what it’s like to start from nothing. Like when I was a broke kid out of college in my parents basement trying to figure out how I was going to make something of my life.
After everything life has thrown at me. I still choose to be a Guardian Of Good.
I choose to never make the same mistakes: Kurt Barton (Triton CEO), Bernie Madoff, Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta made along their journey.
I choose TRANSPARENCY.
Because transparency is the principle which removes my ability to lie, cheat or steal from you or myself.
That’s the lesson I have learned from the stories of: Kurt Barton (Triton CEO), Bernie Madoff, Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta.
They not only hid everything from the people who trusted them. They hid things from themselves.
Their in lies SELF-AWARENESS
Here’s WHAT ‘All This’ Means To You
Desperation. Unethical Investors.
Their Lies and Deceit
They don’t just hurt the client.
They destroy the reputation of the honest investor.