What real estate investments have growth opportunities nowadays? Eng Taing, born in a refugee camp in Thailand, where his family escaped the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia, immigrated to America. Despite not having much, he found a way to thrive for success. Blessed with being good at math, Eng understood data patterns in the real estate market. Now, he is focusing most of his time and money on senior living investments. So how did he end up investing in senior living? Find out by tuning in and learning more about this asset!
Welcome to the Syndication Series where you are going to learn all about what syndication is, and how you can utilize it to build cashflow and grow your wealth. It’s an exciting strategy and I’m looking forward to sharing all of our guests with you. Let’s get to the show.
I am so excited to welcome to the show, Eng Taing. He is the CEO and Founder of Touzi Capital, and a highly experienced real estate investor with $100 million of assets under management. Eng works hard to help people reach their full potential. He is an economist by training from the Wharton School of Business. He also has experience leading data science and analytics at Apple, Capital One and AT&T. He applies that experience when identifying and underwriting investment opportunities in markets. Eng has presented at companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon, where he teaches employees how to minimize their tax burden and keep and invest more of their earnings so they can achieve financial freedom.
Touzi Capital is a real estate investment company focused on investing in Kansas City that believes that your money should work for you. It has been investing in commercial real estate for many years, and trusts that this is one of the best ways to predictably build wealth through passive income. Touzi Capital focuses on high cashflow investments and providing passive income to investors by acquiring and optimizing multifamily, industrial and senior living assets. In doing this, they want to make real estate investing accessible for the everyday investor through technology and a data-driven platform along with their dedicated team that puts you first. Eng, welcome to the show.
What a mouthful. I don’t even know who wrote that.
Talk to us a little bit about your real estate journey. You went to Wharton Business School and then you moved into real estate. Tell me how that worked out for you.
I would love to take a little step back to my formative years to highlight why I got into real estate and why it’s important for me. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. My parents are Cambodians and we escape the Khmer Rouge. There were lots of interesting stories of hiding in jungles and hiding from laws, out of hiding and keeping some pretty terrible stuff. It’s more of my parents’ story. I did grow up in LA and I grew up very poor. I grew up not having much, but I got very lucky to have been growing up in America. I have been fortunate enough to be good at Math and have a family that put a roof over my head, to not see what I didn’t have, and to have enough hunger to drive me to my biggest why.
Hopefully, a lot of your audience has a big why to help them provide security and financial freedom in whatever form that means to their family. That’s been my biggest driver. When I started to get good at Math, I gravitated towards investment banking because that’s the thing people did in my age group. Everybody said, “Let’s go do investment banking. This makes a bunch of money, be a stock trader,” or whatever it is. I did all that. I’m pretty good at Math and at understanding data patterns.
Having a predictable monthly income will make you feel relaxed.
What I found about myself is I did not like the volatility, the up and down, the movement and checking the market. I went through the financial crisis. I helped cause the financial crisis. I’m sorry. When you book $4 billion losses in subprime assets, that’s probably not a great idea. Seeing that side of things and seeing the value of these houses go down, that’s how I first got into my first real estate investments at the young age of 23.
I’m lucky enough to have the capital to deploy at the time. I remember it very clearly. It was a $125,000 investment to a $30,000 purchase price of investment to get $1,000 a month in net monthly income. I liked that feeling of having a monthly predictable income. Obviously, I’m hiding a few things like what I had to do with painting the house, remodeling, getting tenants, and tenant issues. In general, when you come from so little and have just a little bit of security, it gets you a lot of confidence. My story isn’t a story of getting into real estate and just doing real estate. My story is of someone who has always tried to do a lot of things. I had a side passion for real estate and now it’s the main passion of my full-time job or my business.
It’s always been a side hustle. For me and probably some of your audience, you work your 9:00 to 5:00 and you buy real estate. For me, having that passive income help me make better decisions. I was able to go to the Peace Corps when everyone went to MBA. I met my wife in the Peace Corps. I was able to take bolder career decisions of asking for more, of not having a fear-based life of financial insecurity and saying, “I can’t go for this job or make this counteroffer.”
That helped because I was buying real estate every year, and having that little base of support grow and grow. I knew that I didn’t need to have much to survive. Having that, on top of everything else I was doing, gave me more freedom of choice and urgency. It’s a long story of how all these formative things helped me get into real estate, as well as why I’m doing more real estate and why I love preaching to the choir about real estate and subsidiary tax advantage. I’ve heard a lot of people who invest in real estate and not pay taxes. I love talking about that as well.
I went out to lunch with my mother-in-law and I told her, “I’m not sure what’s going on with me but I am getting teary-eyed with everything that’s happening around me.” It’s not everything, but things touched me so deeply. I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Just hearing your story about being a refugee and running to Thailand first, and then escaping to the United States, it’s a very similar story of my parents who had to flee from Pakistan during the separation because they were Hindu. Basically, they only had their clothes on their back and they ran across the border. They had these big houses in Pakistan and India. They had 15 or 18 people living in one dirt-floor shack.
I know the story. I never had to live it. They came to the United States and then had me. When I hear these stories, you realize how insanely lucky we are here in the United States. What I wish is that people understood that luck and it did not deter them from their drive. How old were you when you moved to LA?
Three years old.
You probably don’t remember too much of that struggle. As little people, we still get the subconscious impact of that. Your parents brought you here and they had this drive. They wanted to create safety for you and you got to see that, then that helped you to build that drive. Sometimes, those of us that come from immigrant families have this huge advantage of understanding what it could be like if we were not here and we didn’t have this opportunity. That touched me so much and I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing that story.
You’re welcome. That was my purpose. I love to share my story. My story is my parent’s story. My story is a lot of people’s stories, of not just immigrants who are refugees but of people who don’t have much. I fundamentally believe that it’s a lot of mindsets. It’s having that mindset to be grateful for what you have and what you can have for your health and for all the stuff. I know my son grew up very spoiled. I’m trying to figure it out. I don’t know how to not spoil him. I want him to have fun too. I want to buy him all the toys, but I have pictures of me in his age chasing chickens in the camp. It’s a different journey.
You are right that mindset is everything. You got a mindset from your parents, and you’ve inherited and developed your own mindset. That mindset will then hopefully, will impact your children and the world around you. Everything that we do is done through the filters of our own eyes that are affected by our own minds. If you come from a filter of gratitude, everything that you see will be of gratitude, and living that life helps our children to understand it and see it.
Even with all that they went through, my parents were so grateful to be here. They were so grateful for their children and for their opportunities. That’s a big reason why I’m so grateful for everything too. I totally understand what you’re saying. That mindset piece is huge. I’m sure no matter how spoiled your little one is, he will get that from you too. He might be chasing chickens but he might be doing it in the park.
That’s what rich people in San Francisco didn’t know. They just buy a chicken coop. It’s a sign of affluence that I got chickens and fresh grown eggs.
It’s come full circle. It’s not just an immigrant mindset. I thank you for emphasizing that. There are a lot of people that come from a place where they are not very privileged, or they had very little, or they were in bad circumstances. Through the change of their mindset, drive, and being able to have a vision of what might be possible, they are able to overcome that and create a life of freedom and choice. I released my TEDx Talk, which is called Who Is The Boss Of You? It’s all about economic freedom to give you a choice. We’re on the same wavelength on that. Let’s talk about real estate specifically. Talk to me about your favorite investment class or asset class.
I’ve gravitated towards senior living as a great asset class. For those who don’t know, senior living has many varieties to it. You have nursing homes, independent living, adults 55-plus assisted living. I was fairly in the middle of assisted living where folks, elders, and our residents are the greatest generation and they’ve contributed so much to this country. They are 85-plus. I love to invest in places where you have strong fundamentals or an asset class with strong fundamentals. That means there will be a lot more old people in the future. That’s just the demographic shift that is a known quantity in America, the silver tsunami. The growth of this aging population will need more care, better communities and better facilities to take care of them.
Having just a little bit of security gets you a lot of confidence when you come from so little.
Why I love this asset class, and I’ll compare this to multifamily because I do have both, is it’s both business as well as real estate. It has many great intangible changes. You are renting. You have to have depreciation. You have leverage and all these things that real estate gives you. You also have a business that essentially, for us, is an all-inclusive resort where our rents are typically five times the amount that you would pay for a comparable apartment building. You have a $500 revenue, but you have three times the costs. That comes from making sure that you have three meals a day and all this stuff. It’s just by creating community. I love thinking about creating community and how we can give our seniors the best community as these are the retirement years. These are the years that they would stay probably for their entire lives.
What I like to compare it to multifamily is that typically three years is the average length of stay. Once you get somebody in, they’re staying for a while. Because we do private pay, not Medicaid or Medicare, we know exactly that they can afford these things three-ish years. Overall, they are income resistant. In a pandemic, you can lose your job or income and be unemployed. Our tenants are recession resilient as I would like to call it.
They have an income. They have the money ready. They put that out from the funds. They’re using this for the last remaining years of making sure they’re in a great place. I’ve gotten deep into senior living. The reason why I got into senior living is because I love cashflow. I invest with cashflow and I’ve been investing in California until it didn’t make sense. I’m a nimble and flexible person. I don’t want to just be, “This is what I’m doing. I will only do that. I’m never going to do anything else.”
While you will learn expertise in that thing, if the market shifts, if California gets more expensive, which it has because it gets more regulated and may control, which it has, and if multi-family becomes more expensive, which it has, then I can’t get the same kind of cashflow that I’m used to, and I’m spoiled. I like to surround myself with double-digit cashflow. I’ll invest in this as well. I will chase after good asset classes that there’s a good moat around. When I started, I bought something to invest in, I didn’t have any guidance on how to buy real estate. They didn’t have sites back then. I figured out what to buy and do the math myself. I was pretty good at Math. I can figure it out.
If more people can do what you’re doing, that means the return is not as good. It’s more competitive. What you want to do is get to more uncompetitive areas where you can create a moat of competitive advantage. Senior living has a huge moat. No one is going to go figure it out like, “I want to invest in senior living nowadays.” Hopefully after this show, maybe some of your audience will. It’s definitely a great moat. There are lots of people in the space, but not as many as they should be. There are lots of communities that are thriving even during COVID.
When I think about what I want to continue to do from investing overall is I love cashflow. I say cashflow risk appreciation, even though all my assets have appreciated. This is what happens to assets, especially when the government prints a lot of money. I liked cashflow because I can get that money now and then compound it or invest it in many different things. When you invest for appreciation, you’re like planting a tree, then it becomes a big tree, but then that’s very risky to only have one tree. When you’re investing for cashflow, I like to think of you are planting the tree and you got a forest. You can invest all the cash from it in many different things. Having double-digit cashflow, meaning if you put $100,000, you get $1,000 a month, gives you the freedom to do a lot of different things.
That’s what gives you a lot of buffers because if you’re just investing for appreciation, I don’t want to say negative, but others have investments that can do both. That’s the money that you got to put into it every month. If you lose your job, you might not have that cashflow from that property to cover that debt. Cashflow investing for me is always a big buffer of safety. I’m always thinking of how conservative, how safe it can be, and how much money this investment can make so that it pays for itself and for all my other debts.
For senior living, I love the way that you talked about that. I talked a little bit about California as an appreciation market. Usually, you’re going to have negative cashflow, which now everybody is like, “Don’t do that.” It’s a bad word. When you have an appreciation market, you’re usually not going to have any cashflow. Sometimes you’ll break even, or if you hold for a while, maybe. There are different ways of investing in it. It is good to consider what are your goals and to pick a strategy accordingly. I love that you’re so clear on exactly what you want.
Talk to me a little bit about senior living homes. I’ve looked a little bit into it. I’m very curious about it. I’ve got a lot of elderly family members that have been in homes. I hear a lot about insurance issues, not insurance like medical insurance but insurance as in insuring the home. It is its own big thing that none of the other asset classes have. Have you found that to be a particularly big challenge? What do you think about that?
I think of it as an added cost that is baked into the revenue. Your NOI and op expenses are baked into it. It has three times the cost. You had licenses that you have to get. Oftentimes, a medical license but when you open anything you get a license of that nature. We’re building single-story communities where you typically have 80 to 90 people in the community.
We have many different layers of liability protection both from having insurance, which can be costly but it’s baked into the cost, to also a management company, which we either own or a third party. We would have the liability of all the HR because it’s a people business. It’s having people and taking care of people. You want that to live off your investment. You have three entities when you are investing in senior living versus when you have multifamily. You might just invest in your own name. You may have insurance. You could do an LLC but being in California, it’s $18,000 a year.
It is a little bit more complicated but once you get to know that business, you know how to handle those things.
I love complicated things. I love to figure it out and then maybe someone else will do it because it’s complicated. They might want to do it and there will be more for me. That’s great.
Senior living is a queried asset class.
There are two other questions I wanted to ask you. First of all, I do want to talk about opportunity zones and how they fit into this. I know that we’re going to talk more about that in EXTRA. We will get there. The other question is, do you invest in homes and take other people’s money to invest in them? For instance, if I wanted to invest in senior living but didn’t want to have to learn all that stuff, can I do it through you?
That’s exactly what we do. Thanks for bringing that up because I will say all these complicated things. One of the things you could do is at least know that at Touzi Capital, I’m here to provide you with an option to invest with us and participate in the same cashflow that I’ve been talking about and the same stuff without having to sign a loan, without having to get the insurance or having any liability because you’re not even on any of the paperwork and the corp liability business. We take care of everything. All the headaches of hiring people and all that stuff, we’re taking care of. We’re doing this at scale so that when you’re doing anything ten times, you get better at it. It’s something that I appreciate myself. We love to have anyone potentially because you’re investing and growing with us.
Thank you for that. Ladies, as you know, we will be asking him how to get in touch with him. That’s one of those things you might want to talk to him about. If you have an interest in senior living homes instead of learning the whole game, you can have a piece of your investment portfolio with him and make income passively. That’s a possibility too. Talk to me a little bit about opportunity zones. We’re going to do the deep dive in EXTRA about this, but give us a little high level because I know that several of your properties are in opportunity zones. Is that true?
Yeah. We’re developing two properties. One is Jacksonville. We’re breaking ground. I will be flying over for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I love opportunity zones and what it represents, which is a new law that was passed during the Trump Tax Cuts. If you know the letter of the law or the tax code, you can reduce your taxable income, which means you can keep more of your earnings. If you work hard for your money, keep more of your money. Use all the things that the rich people and investor class use all day. This is a great opportunity because we have a lot of folks who have a lot of stocks. I come from Apple and they make a lot of money from stocks.
When you sell stocks, you have to pay capital gains. In fact, when you sell almost any asset, you have to pay capital gains. That capital gain is tax and for opportunity zones, it’s the first class of investment that you can essentially say, “I’m not going to pay that. Not now. I’ll pay that later.” Put that money into an opportunity zone. If you owed $100,000 of taxes on capital gains, don’t pay that. Pay that later. We defer taxes all the time. That’s a great strategy. That’s all real estate. That’s what people are most interested in. When you do 401(k), you want to defer taxes in the future. You defer taxes for six years, not too long, then you reduce it by 10%, and then you hold it for ten years. It’s quite a while for any real estate investment. All future capital gains get eliminated.
Compared to a non-opportunity investment, and I do have both, if given the same number of returns, let’s say, 12% each annual return, the opportunity zone will give you 50% more money at the end because you would have free money going in and free money going out. It’s like a Roth and 401(k). I can go into the details on that too but basically, don’t pay taxes if you can. There are ways to do that. Even if you’re a W-2 employee and working hard, there are many ways. If you’re investing in money, investing in opportunity zones, investing in places that the government is saying, “Invest in this place. You would get a great tax benefit.” These places sometimes are great places to build senior living communities.
You totally piqued my interest. I would like to do a deep dive on that in EXTRA, where you can talk a little bit more about how that actually works because you go to high-level as I asked. I want to know more about that and exactly how that works. Ladies, we’ll be talking about that in EXTRA. Definitely stay tuned for that. Before we go to our three rapid-fire questions, tell everybody how they can reach you.
They can reach me at our website TouziCapital.com and email me at Eng@TouziCapital.com. I am always happy to talk about taxes, real estate investing, and financial freedom. It’s all the things I’m passionate about. I have YouTube videos and TikTok. I got viral and it’s a million views. What we love about this space compared to everything else I’ve been doing is I’ve done a lot of talking to people and seeing people on their journeys. I’ve learned so much by talking to people. If you’re trying to do anything, networking and relationship building is key to success.
Definitely, get in touch with him. He’s very generously offering some of his time, which not very many people do. Be respectful and kind. If you’re interested in this topic, give him a call or send an email. Eng, are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?
Give us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.
I hate saying it depends, but what I always say is get started. Just do it. A lot of people always think. I think too much. I think all the time. Getting started is going to be the best way to learn. If you’re short of money, find somebody who has money. If you are short of time, find somebody who has time. Those two things, time and money, will allow you to get into real state. There are so many technologies nowadays. You can use Redfin, Zillow or all these great applications that I didn’t have when I started. That will help you to get into it. Just get started. You will fail. You will learn. It’s all the same, and it’s going to be a great journey.
Tell us one strategy for being successful in real estate.
The big strategy that I’ve come to is to value your time. If you value your time, then you can create processes or decisions that are going to keep you down in the weeds or quagmire of figuring out how to evict somebody or do this or that. While you have to do that in the beginning, if you’re trying to be successful, that means you will try and do this a lot. You’re not just going to try this once. If you get lucky, you’ll try this ten times. Think about what you would want to do 5 to 10 times over and figure out how to scale. That’s why for me, it’s always been about going up, scaling, and knowing that a multimillion-dollar loan is easier than a $100,000 loan. I just need the income for it. I just need to have the experience. Scaling and thinking about how to do things multiple times is always a great strategy to be successful.
You work hard for your money. Keep more money.
Scaling and systems conserve your time. What is one daily practice that contributes to your personal success?
I do fasting. I’m an intimate faster. That’s a little bit of me back in time and not eating breakfast. I used to eat a lot when I was working at a corporate job. I loved having lunches but what I found is there are some great health benefits of fasting for me, not for everybody. For me, it’s giving me a little focus during the day to have a black cup of coffee, and then get into my routine. That has helped me focus on the task at hand every day.
This has been fabulous so far. Thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show.
Thanks for having me.
Ladies, we got more. We’re going to be talking about opportunity zones and how they can save you in taxes, capital gains and all that cool stuff. I’m super excited about that. Stay tuned for EXTRA if you are subscribed. If you are not but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get the first seven days for free. You can download this one and whatever ones you want to read and check it out. For those of you that are leaving us now, thank you for joining Eng and me for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.
Eng is an experienced private fund manager with $100M assets under management. He has 12 years of private market and real estate investing experience and has focused on cash flow investing to create significant passive income. Eng is an economist by training, from the Wharton School of Business. He also has experience leading data science and analytics at Apple, Capital One and AT&T. He applies that experience when identifying and underwriting investment opportunities and markets.
Eng is the classic immigrant story that can only happen in America. He was born in refugee camp in Thailand, where his family escaped the Khmer Rogue from Cambodia. Having grown up in Los Angeles, he pursued economics by day trading and playing Poker to pay for his tuition while attending the University of Pennsylvania. There he trained as an economist and afterwards went into Investment banking. Later he would leave the financial world to join the Peace Corps, volunteering in the Republic of Georgia–a year after the Russian invasion. There he met his wife–Jennie, who was also volunteering abroad. They now have one son, with another on the way.
Eng has presented at companies like Apple, Facebook, & Amazon where he teaches employees how to minimize their tax burden and keep and investing more of their earnings so that they can achieve financial freedom.
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.