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Gene Guarino | The Coming Silver Tsunami and the Best Investment You Could Ever Make

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

Gene Guarino got his start in real estate out of necessity— a musician teaching lessons in a run-down building, his first deal was a property he both lived and operated business out of.

Today, well on his way to accomplishing his goal of creating 10,000 assisted living homes, he’s helping to make life and elder care feasible for millions of people across the country.

Listen in to hear how he crafted a life full of freedom and purpose with his unique approach to real estate. Gene shares his thoughts on what lies ahead in a post COVID-19 market and shares how others can start to recognize and lean into what matters most.

“For me, it’s freedom in your mind. It’s not money and it’s not real estate and it’s not business. its freedom in your mind… there’s a lot of people that get to the end of their game and they’re like, ‘why did I spend all the time collecting piles of gold or numbers of real estate or doors or units,’ and it’s really that freedom in your mind. Real estate, as great as it is it weighs on my doesn’t give me peace of mind.”


  • [00:01] Episode Overview
  • [02:24] Intro
  • [02:55] Meet Gene Guarino
  • [03:26] Who has had the greatest impact on his life
  • [03:52] One thing that’s had the greatest impact on his sucess
  • [05:16] His greatest setback and what he learned from it
  • [07:07] The advice he finds himself sharing the most
  • [09:43] Getting started in real estate
  • [11:28] Becoming passionate about residential assisted living
  • [13:56] What drives him
  • [17:08] What freedom means to Gene Guarino
  • [20:01] When he realized he didn’t have the freedom he wanted
  • [22:49] What freedom he protects more than others
  • [24:47] The 5-keys of Freedom and giving ourselves room to adjust
  • [26:19] Leveraging to gain more freedom of money and time
  • [27:24] Forced family fun
  • [31:48] Residential Assisted living and the academy
  • [35:36] Getting involved and the future of assisted living
  • [37:48] Gene’s thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic
  • [43:29] Mike Ayala’s mission with Investing for Freedom Podcast
  • [45:27] The importance of knowing what you want to do
  • [47:19] Finding Gene
  • [48:25] Outro


Poem Mentioned by Gene:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” -Kitty O’Meara




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Mike Ayala [00:00:00] 

Today, I have the pleasure of bringing Gene Guarino on the Investing for Freedom podcast. I’m really excited about this show because Gene and I align in a lot of areas and I think you guys are really going to relate to a lot of things that Gene has to say to. Gene is a very successful person in business and he’s has been for quite some time. The thing he’s currently working on is so interesting. It’s called residential assisted living. And I’m not gonna spend a lot of time talking about that will let Gene talk about it. But he’s got this big, hairy, audacious goal or B-Hag., as Jim Collins would call it, of ten thousand homes, which is pretty amazing. Gene talks about how you’re going to get involved in the assisted living one way or another, whether you actually have somebody or relative or yourself that eventually lives in an assisted living facility or you get on the investment side. So you might as well get in now, which is kind of an interesting concept. This is where I really align with Gene and Mona. They are so family oriented and even, you know, they bring this into their business with their employees. A lot of their family works together. They have just such a perspective on life that I just really appreciate. And it’s keeping your life and what you really want out of life. First, a lot of times I think we let businesses drive us instead of driving the business. And Gene has really modeled that for me. Watching him and Mona, you can really see that they keep their personal desires and what they want for their family first and the business second, which in turn that’s not Gene’s words, by the way. That’s my words. But in turn, it causes the business to succeed. And so I had a mentor of mine. Tell me one time that if you take care of the business, the business will always take care of you. And I’ve always appreciated that. But also at the same time, I think if we don’t take care of ourselves and our personal needs, then the business may end up going away because it becomes secondary. And so these two things kind of tie together and we’re gonna have a conversation around some of that. It’s pretty interesting. Genene made a comment. He said one of the best investments you can ever make is in a vacation. And I so appreciate that. Karen, I said early on in our marriage that we wanted to take our children to see the world. We actually scheduled out how many vacations. We’ve said it as a goal, how many vacations we want to take each year, whether it’s a three day weekend vacation or it’s an international vacation. We’ve always kind of mapped that out. And so one of the best investments you can ever make is in a vacation. I agree with that. We always said that we want to make memories over possessions. And the beauty of it is if you keep that straight and you keep your family intact and whole and and just show your kids what’s out there, there’s a good chance that you’re probably gonna end up with the possessions anyway. But, you know, as we’re experiencing at this point in time with the Cauvin and everything else, some of that stuff doesn’t really matter. What matters is keeping your family together and and and just keeping the peace in the family relationships community. That’s all that really matters at the end of the day. And so let’s get into the show. Gene, I think you guys are really just going to enjoy it. 

Intro [00:02:24] 

Are you looking for freedom, freedom from the daily grind and hustle or just finding a way to live the life you always wanted? Then join us on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Host My guy will help you discover new ways to find freedom with tips, insights and interviews. You’ll learn the exact systems he’s used to travel the world and live his best life. True success and happiness are all about freedom. And here’s your roadmap on how to find freedom on your own terms. Welcome to the Investing for Freedom podcast. Here’s your host, my guy Olla, Gene Guarino. 

Mike Ayala [00:02:57] 

I am so thankful for you. And I just got to tell you guys, I’ve known Gene for a few years now. And Gene, every time I’m ever around you and your wife, Mona, it’s just such an inspiring, energetic conversation. And and what you’re doing in the world is just amazing. And so I’m just honored to have you on the show and to just impart inspiration to our to our listeners. So thanks for coming. 

Gene Guarino [00:03:17] 

Thank you. I appreciate that. I love the angle that you’re taking, imparting inspiration versus something else. That’s great. 

Mike Ayala [00:03:23] 

Yeah. Well, I think we’re going to get into some amazing things today. So we always start the show with pretty much the same question. So, Gene, who’s had the greatest impact on your life? 

Gene Guarino [00:03:32] 

You know, when you asked you when you sent me that question, the first person that came to my mind is my mother. And I know that, you know, real realistically, she was a nurse. She taught nursing, but she was also an entrepreneur. I remember shoveling driveways, raking leaves, selling sugar cubes door to door. I think she did it to get us out of the house. But it taught me entrepreneurship. 

Mike Ayala [00:03:50] 

Wow. That’s amazing. That’s really cool. OK. Gene, if you could narrow it down to one thing that’s had the greatest impact on your success. What would that be being committed? 

Gene Guarino [00:03:59] 

And I think being committed is a really important part to anything in life, whether you’re married or in business when I should be committed. That doesn’t mean you’re going down a path. And once you realize it’s not the right path, you get off that it’s being committed to your end result and doing whatever it takes to get there. 

Mike Ayala [00:04:16] 

That’s amazing. And you know, we talk about the five keys to freedom. What you really want? What? Why do you want it? What are you going to do to get it? Measure the results. And then I think the key. This is number five. It’s adjust along the way. And I love that you just said that, because it doesn’t mean that you’re not committed to certain outcomes or what you really want. But I think we also have to give ourselves freedom sometimes to adjust when. I mean, this is a great time to get outside. Circumstances sometimes dictate that. So it’s not you know, you’re not necessarily changing the mission, maybe just the objective. 

Gene Guarino [00:04:43] 

So, yeah. And the path to get there, I think a lot of times people think it’s the end result. You’re really shooting forwards, enjoying the process. You know, I’m in the I’m in it. We’ll get to this part. But I’m in the business of taking care of older people. And so many of these people, you know, they’re at the end and they just wish they. Took some more time while they were in the middle and smell the roses, spent time, built relationships, and I think right now we are all getting a huge opportunity to reset our entire lives how we operate, not just the end result. 

Mike Ayala [00:05:13] 

Wow, that’s that’s so true. So good. Appreciate that. So what was your greatest setback and what did you learn from it? 

Gene Guarino [00:05:20] 

The greatest sent back. Which category do you want to go in? 

Mike Ayala [00:05:23] 

I know, right. 

Gene Guarino [00:05:26] 

You know, it’s it’s really interesting, because when I when I when you gave me that question before, I was trying to think back, you know, setback. I almost don’t see things as setbacks as much as I do opportunities to grow. But from a real estate perspective, I remember my first major project where we were doing a converting an old like a hundred and fifty year old building into our music school in a commercial space. One night I went in and the foundation had caved in on one side of the building. My first thought was, well, who left the lights on? Next thing I’m like, oh my goodness, that is sunlight coming from where it’s not supposed to come. Major setback financially. Gut check wise. We didn’t have the money to do that. And it really came down to that committee. And once again. Are you going to follow through? You’re going to take the next step to make it through. Call that one of the real estate setbacks. 

Mike Ayala [00:06:15] 

That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s awesome. I assume you pushed through. Give us a little insight on uh. 

Gene Guarino [00:06:22] 

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, the bottom line is push through is dig out. It was you know, when you think about a foundation in one hundred and fifty year old building where it is a massive building and it was digging out. It was pinning the foundation is rebuilding the foundation the extra cost. I don’t know what it cost. It’s extra. We just had to do it. We had to do. And I think in the end, the good news is we bought the property for twenty seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven dollars and seventy seven cents. There’s a whole story there. We put about ninety thousand dollars into it and then we sold it for three hundred and five about two years later. 

Mike Ayala [00:06:57] 

Wow, that’s awesome. I love how you just tie that commitment back into it. 

Gene Guarino [00:07:00] 

That was before you were born. That was a long time. 

Mike Ayala [00:07:04] 

There’s a lot of wisdom here. I like it. 

Mike Ayala [00:07:08] 

So what is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most? 

Gene Guarino [00:07:14] 

You know, loved the ones you’re with is when I’m when I’m sharing the most right now, it’s you write down. Some people don’t even have a choice of where they can go. They’re saying, stay in your own home. It’s like, wow, you know, so who’s there? Do you love yourself to start to accept yourself and your spouse, your kids, those around you? And the other thing is, you know, as people come to your mind, like I had somebody come to my mind today and I’ll call them later. There’s a reason why they’re coming to your mind. So listen to yourself. Listen to the inspirations and act on them. Still live in the moment. Love those that you’re with and act on the inspiration. Those stances are coming to your mind. That’s so good. 

Mike Ayala [00:07:52] 

I was having a conversation with a mentor of mine, Rob Thomas, the other day, and we were we were kind of talking about that. I. It’s interesting and I want to try to figure out how to like remember this on the other side of it. 

Mike Ayala [00:08:04] 

But how many times throughout the last couple of weeks has somebody come to your mind? And I’ve been acting on that, I think, because I’m more internally focused probably than I’ve ever been, because we’ve slowed down a little bit, even though we’ve got a lot going on in our business and outside world, it’s we’re not moving so much. And I’ve found myself doing the same thing that you’re talking about right now. Gene, when somebody comes across my mind, I’ve actually stopped and put them in my calendar and make sure that I reach out to them. And almost every single one of them have been like, hey, I was just thinking about reaching out to you. I want to work on this together or I’m so glad I literally had a guy not last Saturday, but the Saturday before he was on my mind. I reached out to him and he was literally crying because he’s got so much going on in his business and he’s like, thank you for reaching out. 

Mike Ayala [00:08:46] 

And I just wonder, you know, in times before this, when we’re just so busy and moving through our day that we don’t stop and hear that little inner voice. And so that’s so powerful. I appreciate you bringing that up. 

Gene Guarino [00:08:56] 

Yeah, actually today I’ll try to find it, but there says a friend of mine posted something and it was a poem from I’m going to say eighteen, sixteen or something. A long, long time ago it was the potato famine in Ireland and it was this poem. And I’ll pull it out because it’s it’s really poignant to today because I see from that poem of those people being isolated in their home during a time of hardship nationally and all of the amazingly wonderful things that came out of it. So I think this is causing us to pull back and refocus on what’s important. What are you going after and why are you doing it? 

Mike Ayala [00:09:34] 

So good. 

Mike Ayala [00:09:35] 

Yeah, well, if you can get that poem over to us, we’ll link that in the show notes so that people can have it. So I appreciate that. Well, Gene, let’s let’s get into your background a little bit because you’ve got a diverse background and then kind of just bring us to where you’re at today and what you’ve got going on right now. I mean, you’re you’re on such a higher cause and just watching it has been pretty amazing. So, yeah, it’s just kind of dig into your background, take us wherever you want and tell us what you’re up to. 

Gene Guarino [00:10:00] 

Sure. Well, I’m going to it’s a I’ll take a short trip on a long story. But I was a professional musician as a teenager. And when we you know, when you’re 16 years old, there’s only so much you can do. But I started giving drum lessons. I was a drummer and we opened up a music school. And by the time I graduated from high school, we had over 300 music students. We had five of the high school teachers working for us. So it’s pretty cool to walk down the hall at the end of the day and point to the teacher and say, don’t be late for work. So that was kind of cool. We were tenants and we leased a property from somebody for two years and the landlord was bad and the property was worse. And at the end of those two years and a necessity in this, how we got started in real estate, we’re on the front porch and we said we’ve got to either shut this whole thing down or we have to get a new place to do our business and looked up the street song for sale sign. And that was the beginning of the real estate career. I was a no money down deal because we had no money. We’re musicians, right? You spend more than you make so that no money down deal of moving our business into it where we had the business and we lived in it as well. Then we bought another home, three houses up, and then that commercial property with the Collapse Foundation up the street even further. That was the beginning of a real estate career that, you know, flash forward almost 40 years later. It’s still what I’m doing. But every time I do a business, it really is something that I’m doing that I’m passionate about. And I’m a teacher by nature, and I like to inspire other people. So if I’m doing it and somebody else wants to learn it, I’m your guy. I’d love to teach it to you. 

Gene Guarino [00:11:28] 

So, FlashForward, it was about 20 years ago where I first heard about what we do, which is residential assisted living. And the person who’s talking about it was in the front of a room, hundreds of people. And he said this is the greatest thing. It’s gonna be coming. The baby boomers are here and so on. And I got really excited and I went up to the front of the room is 20 years ago. It is a tell me more. He said, well, I can’t. So why not? Is it because I don’t do it? I’m just telling you, you should do it. And then I think we’ve all had that experience of the guru and the front telling you what to do. They don’t do it themselves. They used to do it well. I asked him, do you at least know somebody who’s doing this? And he said, yes. And I went to them and said, Will you share with me how? And they said, no. So why not? Is it because we want you to take all our business? The thing about how absurd that is when there’s millions of people who need what we do. And they weren’t willing to share. Then the other people that I found that were doing it, most of them were not nearly as successful as I wanted to be. And they couldn’t teach me how to do it properly. So my interest waned. And until about 10 years ago, when my own mother needed help. And when mom the itself, everything changes. It’s not about money. It’s not about real estate. It’s about mom. And when she started to need that kind of help and assistance, she didn’t need a nursing home, but she couldn’t be home alone. You start to realize, wow, what do we do? Do we do it ourselves? Well, I’m not designed to be a caregiver. Do I hire somebody to come into the home? Well, that’s twenty three dollars an hour right now. Eight hours a day. Five days a week. That’s four or five grand. She needs 24/7 supervision. What do we do next? Thing you’re thinking is maybe it’s time to put mom in a home. And as soon as you say that you think you feel guilty and I said, I’m going to want to do that. But we had to look. 

Gene Guarino [00:13:06] 

And when we went out there to look for what was available, it sickened us, the bad homes were full in the good homes were full with a waiting list. 

Gene Guarino [00:13:13] 

And I said, that’s not what I want from my mother. I wanted to be in a home, not a hotel, not some big institution, nameless, faceless. So that’s what I’d vowed to create it. And we did. And soon after, people were asking us to teach them how. And now we own our own homes. We invest in homes. We have a whole education company teaching others how to as well. 

Mike Ayala [00:13:32] 

Wow, that’s amazing. 

Mike Ayala [00:13:34] 

It’s pretty it’s pretty fun to watch, and I know I’ve met a lot of your students and and people that have learned from you, investors that have done deals with your students. And it’s it’s pretty amazing to see what you guys have really pulled together and accomplished. You’re making a big dent and you’re in a powerful area. So I appreciate what you’re doing. 

Gene Guarino [00:13:54] 

We’re excited. We’re blessed. 

Mike Ayala [00:13:56] 

Amazing. So the main reason that I started investing for freedom was to help people open their minds and change mindsets about money. And again, as I said in the intro, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing all this. So what drives you today? I you kind of mentioned, you know, your mom and what brought you into it. But what what drives you currently? 

Gene Guarino [00:14:16] 

Well, what drives me currently is. And by the way, I want to because you just shared I want to make sure I hit that, too. When I first got started, a real estate was about the quick cash, you know, fix. You play, buy and hold wholesale. Then you start renting and you make a hundred bucks a month and you’re 18 today. That would pay for a round of golf. So at some point I got smart. You got smarter, a lot younger than I did. Where it’s you know what? I want to create one something that I can get paid forever as much as I need. So the business side of me kicked in with the residential assisted living and our original mission. And this was when I say our original mission, we’ve been we’ve been doing it seven years. I’m in my eighth year now of owning an operating, but our sixth year of training others how to do it. But about three years ago, we set a mission two and a half years ago to help create a thousand homes in a thousand days. And the reason we did that is because each one of those care homes, you have 10 residents, let’s say, on average, and they have family, they have friends. So you’re actually able to really affect positively 80 to 100 people for every resident in your home. So over the course of a couple of years, you’ve had a thousand homes with each one of them impacting a thousand people. Ten residents and all the people that are around them. That’s a million people. So we set that goal and we’re reaching that. We’re very close to that now. We’ll definitely reach it by our goal at the end of 2020. So the bigger goal is to end. The bigger mission is to be a part of the training, education, support of owners, operators and investors in this entire residential assisted living niche and and being a part of twenty five percent, which is about ten thousand homes. So that’s our beachhead. But what really drives me is family and the people in those homes. The money’s great, no doubt. And the need is huge. And just growing immensely all the time. But those residents, they need help. Those families need help. I can relate. I was one of them. But the family, my family, we we have a family of companies that we call the a-l family, and it includes everything that we’ve talked about and do. And there’s about 10 family members. So kids, in-laws, brothers who are a part of the business and about fifteen others. So really right now it’s more about them than me. I mean, I could stop doing everything and I’m fine. It’s really about helping them grow as young adults. And my kids are incredible and helping them get in position to do something they love and they’re passionate about. 

Mike Ayala [00:16:39] 

That’s so amazing. And, you know, as a side note, I’ve I’ve I’ve not gone through your courses, but I’ve been in the same same buildings and around and watched your team and a lot of the events and stuff that we go to cross over. And you truly run a world class program. It’s amazing to watch, though. Thank you. We’re going to come back to assisted living here in a few minutes, because I want to make sure that we kind of really get into what is that and how can people get involved in the big picture behind all that. But for a second on the Investing for freedom concept, so what what is freedom mean to you? Like what? What drives you every day around the word freedom? 

Gene Guarino [00:17:18] 

Yeah. You know, for me, it’s freedom in your mind. It’s not money and it’s not real estate and it’s not business. It’s freedom in your mind. And I say that to you, Mike, because I think there’s a lot of people that get to the end of their game and they’re like, well, why did I spend all the time on collecting piles of gold or numbers of real estate or doors or units? And it’s really that freedom in your mind. 

Gene Guarino [00:17:41] I’ll be frank. You know, I know I love the fact you want me to be very frank with you here, it’s that real estate as great as it is. It weighs on my mind. It doesn’t give me peace of mind. My wife and I. There’s a place we go visit in the Bahamas and we rent a house there. And it’s a it’s a great house, great location. I don’t want to own that. I just want to come and use that. It gives me peace of mind when I go use it, pay them way over what it costs them to own it. But if I owned that every day while I’m sitting at home, I’d be thinking about that. Is it raining? Is it windy? What about this? What about that? So peace of mind. And I think everybody needs to decide what that is for you. So this is great trying to figure out what is stressing you in your life and how can you readjust what you’re doing to get rid of those things that are stressful. The 80/20 rule works in positive and negative. You know, 20 percent of what you do is giving you the stress 80. The stress in your life. So figure out what that is and let somebody else do it or eliminate it. Get rid of it. Avoid it. But if you do that, man, most of the time you see me, Mike. I’m pretty happy, smiling. The glass half full. Yeah. Let’s enjoy the process. 

Mike Ayala [00:18:46] 

I feel like we could stop and go home right there. And that was. That was gold. Gene, that was amazing. You know, if you were you triggered something in my mind. I remember. 

Mike Ayala [00:18:55] 

Again, we talked about this, this formula that I constantly work with and what you really want. Why do you want it? When I was first exposed to that, I think I was twenty six years old. I was working with a consulting company and they asked us if they made a comment. They said that if your business or your job is not helping you accomplish your personal goals, then you really just own a job. And that really triggered some things. And they started asking us the question that I ask today, like, what do you really want? If money in time was not an option, what would your life look like? And then the answer is that Karen I came up with. Then or were completely different than what they are today other than we wanted some income producing properties, which I won’t digress and get into that right now. But one of the things that made that list was we wanted a mountain house. We wanted a condo in the city. We wanted all these things. Right. And you know, what I realized was that we didn’t actually want those houses. What we wanted was to be able to experience that whenever we wanted. And you just said something that’s so key. You guys go to the Bahamas and you rent this house. You don’t want to own that. You just want that experience and you want the freedom to be able to do that. And that’s so powerful. I love everything you just said. The freedom in your mind. That’s so amazing. I’m going to listen to that over and over. So appreciate it. You got it. So when when did you realize you didn’t have the freedom you wanted or or does it always just change as it’s an ever moving target? 

Gene Guarino [00:20:10] 

Well, I mean, I think all of us go through all kinds of things. But I mean, just take you back to the last little bump we had in history. You know, the financial downfall in 2007 for a lot of people in real estate was a really big momentous thing. So just prior to that, what had happened to me was I am a one of the things I do, Mike, as I speak. So I I speak and I speak on topics that I know about. And I train people and I love to do that. So as a as a speaker, for years, I would speak for another company on other people’s products in stages and so on. And I remember distinctly it was in that 2005, 2006, the market was screaming up and everybody was getting into real estate. They were flying out to all the seminars and all the shows. And and I’m like, this is the wrong time. This is not the thing to do. So I said, I’m not going to speak on that topic right now because I don’t want encourage people to get in the top. I didn’t know was the top, but just my gut told me, no, you should have been here five years ago, not today. So they didn’t have a space for me then to teach others, because that’s where their whole company was at that moment in time. So I said, okay, no worries. I can create one hundred thousand dollar income a dozen different ways. Well, then the market changed and the market flipped and things went down. The world changed. And it wasn’t just real estate that went down. Everything went down, people’s psyches mentality and so on. So out of those doesn’t have four ways that I can make a six figure income. I tried one after the other, after the other and after the other. And I realized, wow, you know, those things that I thought would be easy enough to do. I was not able to pull it off or my heart was really into it. And I think, frankly, that’s what it was, mostly because you can say, oh, I can make money. I see the guys out cutting the grass. So I ran that through. I would do so much better and make so much more than what you really want to do. You’re really committed to that. And I think what I really did in retrospect, as I went through a dozen things that I wasn’t passionate about, I didn’t care enough about to follow through on it. So we can see a failure. And I say, no, just took me a longer time to realize. Find what you really want to do. So the market went down. And then I realized now is the best time to get back into that real estate. And that’s when I got my first residential assisted living home because I mixed that passion with I need to take care of mom. There’s a massive need. There’s a wave of opportunity coming in. Real estate happens to be really cheap right now. So that combination is why I moved into that net. Current passion is living out in it. 

Mike Ayala [00:22:39] 

It’s amazing. You know, these are the consistent questions. And just coming back to the first one on what freedom means to you in that mind, freedom. This might answer these next couple of questions. But what freedom do you protect more than others? And I usually out, you know, is it time, money, et cetera? Is it your mind? Is it is it your mindspace? 

Gene Guarino [00:22:57] 

You know, what’s really interesting is I’ve been I’ve been wrestling a little bit with this because I have a little bit of FOMO fear of missing out because I love doing everything. So I’ll stay up late and I’ll get up early. And I want to be everywhere in every place. So there’s times where I’m not jealous enough of my time and I’m not careful enough with it to preserve it. So when you say what’s important with that freedom is I’m going to give you an answer that’s kind of generic is what freedom is to me is the ability to do what you want when you want, with who you want as long as you want. And that sounds good. As long as you know what you want. 

Mike Ayala [00:23:33] 

Totally. Yeah. If you don’t know exactly what you might, you might end up getting it right. 

Gene Guarino [00:23:39] 

Sadly, that just that I think so many people just blindly go through there. They’re working hard and great. Just like I did. But you realize when you get there, it’s like, well, that’s not what I really wanted. I mentioned that six school year, 300 students, we built that building up. We didn’t just buy that building with a foundation that’s willing to sell it. We built that thing up. This thing was rocking and making his money and keep mine. I’m in my mid 20s. I’m a long haired musician making great money. We’ve got a recording studio and music school. We’re playing rock and roll. It’s all good. We sat down with a business consultant who spent weeks and weeks with us. We paid him a lot of money. At the end of it, he came back, he said, All right, guys, here’s your plan. I’m going to show you how you can triple your business, go three times as big as you are right now. And he laid it all out. And my brother and myself, we were partners and still are. We looked at each other and said, is that what you wanna do? And I said, that’s not what I want to do. And that’s not what I want to do either. Get in there. Once we had that clarity of vision, we said, that’s it. We’re selling. You know, in the business consultant fell out of this jury is like, what are you nuts? Yeah. You did all this work. I’m showing you how to like, but we don’t want to go there. But until we had the clarity, we didn’t know. 

Mike Ayala [00:24:46] 

That’s so good. And I don’t mean to keep bringing this up. But on the five keys to freedom, you know it begins with. What? What do you really want? 

Mike Ayala [00:24:54] 

No, no. I was just… 

Gene Guarino [00:24:56] 

Its freedom of time. Freedom of time to do what you want. And I think, you know, I tell them it’s freedom of time. That’s the key to success, is be jealous of your freedom of time. But I tell people this all the time. With some adjustments in your financial world, you probably can have exactly what you want. You’re just focused on the wrong thing. 

Gene Guarino [00:25:13] 

Some people own properties free and clear, and if they just sold those used the money to buy a different asset that produces more income than they would have all the money they want. They’re done, but instead they’re grinding it out with something. I’m going to own this property, pay it off in 30 years. You may not be alive in 30 years or three years or three months. Yeah. So enjoy every moment. 

Mike Ayala [00:25:32] 

And that first key is what do you really want? And then the last key is adjust. And I think everything you just said is so powerful because it’s a journey. And that’s why I brought it just into it, because a lot of times what we think we really want as we really get into it. You were bringing up that consulting story. You know, what you guys thought you wanted wasn’t really what you wanted. And so that’s where I think the giving ourselves permission to adjust when we figure out that what we thought we wanted isn’t actually what we were going after. I think that’s so powerful because I think a lot of times, you know, it’s the theory of loss constraints. Right. We get so far into something that we feel like we can’t. We’re so far into it. We can’t adjust. And I think it’s I think it’s so important to know that whatever you personally want, whatever’s most important to you is what you have to stay focused on and give yourself the ability to change those plans. Yeah. And then what’s. I think I think you’ve already kind of answered this, but what’s one way you use leverage to gain more freedom? 

Gene Guarino [00:26:26] 

When when you say leverage others, two things come to my mind. Money and time. Right. So the idea of money, obviously of use, other people’s money, you can go a lot further, faster. First property with no money down. Last property with no money down. So it does mean I don’t have money. Does mean there was money involved, just other people. So leveraging others and then time there’s I think the biggest thing, deleveraging time and going further is to admitting and that’s the first thing admit when you have a room admitting that you can’t do it all one and you’re not the best person to do it all. 2 And number three, here’s what I really focus on. There’s other people that have gifts. There’s other people that have talents. I want them to use their gifts and their talents. And if I can help be a part of them being better at who they are. That’s an awesome thing to do. So admitting you can’t do it all, admitting that there’s others that are better and now bringing them together in a cohesive teams, you can move mountains and that’s what we’re doing. 

Mike Ayala [00:27:23] 

That’s awesome. You just answered the last question so we don’t even have to ask it. It’s you know, what’s one thing you used to do yourself and now pay someone else to do? You’ve got an amazing team. You’ve already kind of alluded to it, but that’s been pretty powerful to watch. So let’s talk about forced family fun. This has been an inspiration to me and my wife every since you and Mona said it to us three years ago or whenever that was. Love it. So what’s forced family fun? Let’s talk about that. 

Gene Guarino [00:27:48] 

You got it. Well, you know, when you’re when you got kids and your kids are getting a little bit older, mine are older than that. The reality is, you remember when it’s like the kids don’t want to go do something that you’re providing for them, whether it’s go to the movies or go camping or something. And there that I don’t want to go get the car. And that was kind of our joke from the beginning. Its efforts have forced family fun. Hey, we’re gonna go. You’re gonna enjoy it. And ultimately, they did. And those things, by the way, Anna and I I want to say this so I don’t lose this thought is one of the best investments you can ever make. It’s family vacations, not going to Disney or something expensive. Really? You can that’s fine. But it’s just spending time with them that will come back to. Bless you, your kids, your grandkids and your legacy for ever. I’m living proof of that. So now institutionalizing first family fun for us during Christmas and New Year’s. Either we’ll go on a family vacation together or we’ll do it at home. And each one of the kids, regardless of vacation or home, picks an activity. So they pick an activity. We’re gonna go. Everybody gets a massage. Everybody gets a pedicure. We’re going to go to the movies. We’re going to go to that, you know, escape room place. We’re going to do a game night at home. Everybody picks an event. And that day, it’s all about that event. And it could be a few hours, could be the entire day, but every one of them gets to pick one. And now they get to fund it, which is great, too. And we enjoy it. We all look forward to it. We even have kids, friends who want to be part of it with us. So net the group gets bigger and bigger every year. 

Mike Ayala [00:29:20] 

That’s so amazing. I you triggered something in my mind. I remember we used to have a fifth wheel when when our kids were younger and, you know, we’d do the Disneyland trips and went to Italy and all this stuff that we just thought was amazing. 

Mike Ayala [00:29:34] 

And we would go to Moab or St George for spring break in the fifth wheel. And, you know, that might cost us with gas and the $10 a night in the space and everything that might cost us a thousand dollars. And then we do these trips to Italy that are thirty thousand dollars. And I remember asking the kids one time, what was your favorite trip over the last couple of years? And they’re like St George in the fifth wheel. And I’m like, what? Like it? That was you know, you take these amazing trips and you spend all this money and you think that that’s what really matters. 

Mike Ayala [00:30:04] 

And they loved that trip because we had the bikes in the back of the fifth wheel. We had the roller blades. We were barbecuing outside. 

Mike Ayala [00:30:10] 

That’s what really matters. And so I loved the point that you brought up. It’s not that especially in times like this, you know, we don’t know what the next couple of months are going to look like. We try to keep these evergreen, but with the Corona virus and everything that just, you know, hit us, we don’t know what the next months or years and all that’s going to look like. And I think we just got to remember and this is why I love talking, Eugene, like we’ve just got to keep things in priority. And what really matters and I really appreciate that about you and Mona. It’s been pretty amazing to watch. 

Gene Guarino [00:30:38] 

Thank you. that’s so nice of you. 

Mike Ayala [00:30:42] 

Well you guys, you guys. You guys live it. I know you’re not perfect, but I haven’t seen it. 

Gene Guarino [00:30:48] 

Hey, well, speaking of that, one of the great things I was thinking about that this morning, this has been awesome being home because I’ve been exercising every day. We’re eating right. It’s just some of those things that we just are so busy to do. Now we can actually do it. There is no excuse. So, I mean, I’m dropping weight. I’m exercising. We’ve got our bikes fixed up for traveling. And then when we walk around, there’s families out there walking around. This has been a real awesome opportunity for a lot of people to take advantage of that family time. 

Mike Ayala [00:31:17] 

Yeah. It’s so amazing. The way that it worked out for us, too, is pretty interesting. My oldest son was supposed to go on a Asian wake surfing tour earlier this year and, you know, Asia had gotten hit early. And so he had to cancel that. And then he was supposed to go on a U.S. tour. So he had put notice on his apartment and was going to buy a camper. And so anyway, he had to move out of his apartment early, early this month. 

Mike Ayala [00:31:40] 

And so he’s bought a camper and he’s parked outside of our house. And so we’re all together, too, which is pretty awesome. 

Gene Guarino [00:31:45] 

Oh, that’s great. 

Mike Ayala [00:31:46] 

It worked out perfect that he can come inside for the good looking guy. Totally. Totally. OK, so let’s get to assisted living. So a couple of things I want to talk more about assisted living. But also, I want to make sure we tie this together because you are. 

Mike Ayala [00:32:01] 

The way that you teach in the programs that you offer, I again, I mentioned this earlier, but I know so many people that have gone through your courses and have actually done homes under your teaching. So there’s some opportunity here for four people to align with you and learn from you and a lot of different areas. And so people that are interested in figuring out how to create additional streams of income and that kind of stuff, there’s some opportunities we can talk about. But what is assisted living? 

Gene Guarino [00:32:26] 

So what we do with assisted living is residential assisted living. And the distinction there is residential. So we use a single family home to operate this. And one of the only times I’ll use the word business because you can operate a business out of a home. This is a group home for the elderly. So it is sanctioned and the Federal Fair Housing Act works in our favor. So the best way to explain this is there’s two parts and I’m using my hand. And I’m so Italian, you can’t see me, but I use my hands. Everybody on one side. It’s real estate. On the other side, it’s business. So you can do either or both. So we do both. But you could be just a real estate investor owner and you can lease it to an operator. So if you’re going to do that, there’s things you need to know about what that is. But the operator is gonna be operating that residential assisted living business. You can be just the operator. Now, most people that are listening right now, Mike, I’m sure, are saying I don’t want to work with old folks. That’s not my thing. I don’t want to operate a business. I want to be passive or I want invest in. It’s like. I get that. I get that. But you have to look at your market. And when we talk about the baby boomers and their needs, they’re not in assisted living today. The person is in assisted living might be 80 or 90. Then somebody who doesn’t need a nursing home with medical care. But they can’t be home alone. It’s this in-between stage. The best visual I can put in somebodys head is the Golden Girls show from the 80s for women living together, taking care of each other. But that’s not quite what we do. It’s in between that in that nursing home. 

Gene Guarino [00:33:51] 

It’s not medical, but it’s not their home alone. There’s a caregiver 24/7 assisting and some need more help than others. But nobody moves into assisted living unless they need assistance. 

Mike Ayala [00:34:03] 

That’s cool. That’s awesome. So, How, let’s talk a little bit about the residential assisted living academy. 

Gene Guarino [00:34:10] 

So and again, I appreciate you doing this for everybody who’s listening. I love the first part of this whole interview because to me, that was really, really wonderful. Thank you. And I’m going to give everybody access to a lot more information after we’re done. So stick around right to the end. But the academy itself really came out of like I said, I got started seven years ago. I mean, in my eighth year right now. And when I first got started, I didn’t know what I was doing there. There’s no place to go learn. There was no teaching or educator or mentor for me. I just had to pay the price of, you know, do it yourself and figure it out and shoot yourself in the foot. Cost me a lot of extra time, money, hassle, effort. So people immediately were asking me to teach them how, which I did. I remember the first training, maybe had seven people in it. The next training may be twelve. Today, when we do our trainings at the academy, there’s about 100 people in the room every time we do eight trainings a year. And we’ve done that consistently for the last three years with eight classes and lots and lots of people. They come from all over the country, even all over the world. Last class people from U.S., Canada, Australia coming to learn this concept. And we always do the trainings in Arizona. And the reason why we do it in Arizona is because we get to go see the homes. We get to get a real feel of flavor for it, because hearing about it, listening, watching is one level of education. Touching, feeling, smelling, experiencing is a whole nother level. 

Mike Ayala [00:35:32] 

Yeah, yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So. We’re in an interesting time and this, the show’s probably gonna come out. I don’t know, late April. 

Mike Ayala [00:35:44] 

Is there is there still… is there still opportunities for people to get involved and what are you what are you seeing coming up? I mean, I think we’ll be doing people a disservice if we didn’t talk about how things are going to adjust and adapt. But I see a lot of opportunities here, too. And the fact that people need residential assisted living is not going to change. Right. 

Gene Guarino [00:36:04] 

Right. You know, this what is really becoming apparent right now is the idea of small is better than big. We’re all hearing that seniors are getting affected by this. And, you know, what’s really interesting is we’re talking now, but it will be weeks in the future. The whole world will have changed to that point. Right. And by that point, you know, I give you my predictions where I think we’re going to be in what’s going to happen and we can talk about that. But seniors in small homes right now are safe. There’s a small, limited number of exposure to people. 

Gene Guarino [00:36:37] 

It’s a more comfortable atmosphere because it’s a home. The one change that we’ve had in the homes is because it’s a limited number of visitors, including family. The isolation has increased, but it’s even worse in the big box because they were getting so little attention before. 

Gene Guarino [00:36:52] 

And now in the big box and when I see big box of Brookdale Sunrise Nature with 200 residents, with, you know, 10 caregivers taking care of 200 people, they got barely any help. And now with even more isolation, I can only imagine. 

Gene Guarino [00:37:06] 

But that’s a date more dangerous situation for a senior than it is in a home with six, eight, 10, 12, 16 people where it’s limited in space.  So this is good now it’s getting better and better. The idea of doing it in a home is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s going to become more and more the place to be. So we’re very excited about the future. 

Mike Ayala [00:37:29] 

That makes a lot of sense. I’m like. And this is a horrible analogy when I say it anyway. I like sitting. I love the concept of a catamaran. And I would much rather be on a catamaran right now, a three or four of other couples than on one of these cruise ships. So I think that’s kind of how I was seeing this when you’re talking about that. It makes a lot of sense. So. 

Gene Guarino [00:37:46] 

I like that. I like that. I’m going to use that. 

Mike Ayala [00:37:48] 

Yeah. So here’s what I think’s really interesting. And like you said, I mean, nobody has a crystal ball. And I would love to hear your thoughts on, you know, what you think. And I think the smarter the more people we can surround ourselves with that are that are smarter and are considering what’s happening. 

Mike Ayala [00:38:04] 

The more ideas and viewpoints we can take in, the better assumptions we can make. And so even though this is going to come out in three or four weeks, the one thing that I’ve really focused on in the last few weeks is tightening up my communities, getting more involved. I’m in several masterminds and groups, the more I can stay connected to, the better decisions I can make. And so what’s going to be great about this is if anybody’s interested in residential assisted living, even if things have changed and things continue to change quickly. You’re on the forefront of this. And so they can find you wherever we you, whatever we share with them. What do you think’s gonna happen? 

Gene Guarino [00:38:39] 

Well, I’m going to give you and again, everybody my opinion. Right. I’m not a, I’m not Dr. Fauci, I’m not Cuomo I’m not Trump not any of that. I’m just giving you my opinion. I think there’s really two major levels to this, certainly. There’s a virus. It’s real. There’s no doubt about that. How? Actually, you know, everything that I look at right now, what they’re saying is most of the people who are dying from this are people that had previous conditions of some kind. This complication pushed him over the edge. It didn’t necessarily just they get it. The only thing they had in there done some, but not many. So that’s one, too. I don’t think it’s going to be as big as they’ve projected, because this hour we’re in such a world right now, my group, the media can blow things out of the water. And so it is it is happening. And I have no doubt that by the time this comes out, there’ll be a hundred two hundred thousand people that have passed away. It’ll be like three bad flu seasons, all in one shot. I get it. And that I don’t mean to be harsh or anything like that. Let me let me just jump to the forward on this whole thing. Hey, guys, if you’re not comfortable with you where you’re going after you leave your meat suit here on Earth. Figure that out right now, because at some point when you get hit by a car, you get the COBRA 19 Corona virus, you’re going to die. You’re leaving the earth one way or the other. Make sure you are comfortable with where you’re going. And if you don’t know what I mean. Call me, e-mail me and we’ll have a conversation because I’m comfortable. I left today. I’m good. It’s everything else that’s left behind that I lead it in a good place, a better place. So my prediction going forward. Number one, on one level, this physical human virus and wherever it came from, which we’ll find out at some point, wherever it ends up being, is real. We’ll have to deal with it. But the the takeover of what’s happening from a financial standpoint is absolutely incredible. What we’re seeing here right now. Now I feel like I’m on a cruise ship. I love it. I love Griffin, you know, but the point is there is no way that Bernie Sanders could come in and done his, you know, tens of trillions of dollars in. And yet we’re going exactly that route. And he didn’t even have to get elected. And we’re doing it out of good thoughts. We think we’re helping. It’s because you put the Gabon’s and everything crushing the economy. And right now, you’re not even hearing about oil prices that are. If that were the. If this weren’t happening, oil prices would be page one. Devastating news, but nobody is even talking about it. We just want to save a few cents on gas. But this is a massive redistribution of wealth. It’s a massive government takeover and control. Prior to this, rent control was coming in. All kinds of things happening. And I don’t mean to be doom and gloom for all of us that are. It’s me, two guys, all of us there in business. It’s just I see this for what it is. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s major and it’s worldwide. So spiritually, there’s a whole nother level. And that’s why I was mentioning to you guys, say, make sure you know where you’re going. Make sure you know where your faith is and surround yourself with people that are more of the positive nature. Because, Mike, what I I was kind of sitting back for the first couple of weeks on this, and I caught some heat from some of my tribe where they’re saying you should be out in front talking about all the stuff. It’s like. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen. So let’s sit back. Let’s wait until and I’ve made a decision. And the decision is going to be the positive voice. I’m going to be focusing on the things that are going right now, the people that are dying. The people that are being released. Not the people that are losing their job. But how many opportunities are coming up where there I talked. I was just on the phone with a guy whose businesses of three or four times from where it was because of the opportunities. We’re doing a podcast, which we could not do unless we had technology. There’s things that are happening today that will literally change the world for ever and they’ll never go back to the same so positive note. It’s gonna be all good. We’ll get through it. We’re a resilient people. People will die. I understand. I will die at some point, some way somehow. I get it. I’m okay with that. I hope you are with yours. But everything else is how we get through it. The people we hang with. Are you being helpful or hurtful? Are you being factual or are you just giving your opinion? That’s why I said at the beginning. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it. But I love having that conversation. But not if somebody is saying you monster. It is, or I know better. 

Mike Ayala [00:43:06] 

So that is so powerful and I appreciate that. I am going to be completely honest. There was I’ve been working on this Investing for Freedom podcast for a bad enough price six months longer than I should have been. I’ve delayed the launch. I delayed it for weeks because of some business things and I was just too busy. And then when all this happened, I was like. 

Mike Ayala [00:43:27] 

Should I even launch this like. Is this. Is this the right time to launch this? And I even had some mentors of mine saying, you know, I wouldn’t launch anything right now and all this. And then I started. This is what’s really drove me to just say, you know what, I’m going to keep going forward with this. When I hear the passion and the message and everything that you just shared with us, I have to get this out there. And here’s what I think. I agree with you, by the way. Like when he said feel like around the cruise ship, which that’s another conversation. But I agree with you. And I think there’s really only I love what you’re saying about knowing who you are and where you’re going. That’s amazing. But we’ve also got a lot of big things happening here. And there’s gonna be I think I think the gap is widening between those that do and those that don’t. And so we’ve got some decisions to make here. And I think we can sit back and say, woe is me. I’ve got things going on in my business. So do you. We can sit back and take the victims approach and say, you know what, that was out of my hands. There was nothing I could do about it. I’m just gonna roll over and die and take the money with everyone else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take the money, but or we can say, you know, what’s the opportunity here? We can take the positive approach that you’re doing. And that’s just so inspiring to me. And I appreciate you saying that. And it just further reinforces I’m in a march forward and launch this thing because people need to hear what Gene has to say. 

Gene Guarino [00:44:46] 

Thanks. Mike, I appreciate that. We all have things to say and just be cognizant of the people around you and how you can help. The best thing we can do is to ask somebody else. And truly mean it. How are you doing? And if somebody just gives me, I’m doing good. It’s like, no, no. How are you really doing? You know, and be willing to have that conversation, because just talking to somebody and having a conversation like we’re having now is incredibly powerful and helpful. 

Mike Ayala [00:45:11] 

Yeah, it’s so amazing. So, Gene, any before we, you know, kind of wrap this up, any anything else you want to make sure we touch on or are you sure? 

Gene Guarino [00:45:22] 

Well, I do want to say again, thank you, because this has been a different. I do lots and lots of podcast where we talk about the money and the opportunity and so on. But I love the direction of what you’re doing. So thank you for inviting me. I including me in this. And I think you nominate. I’m gonna just kind of bring this all together. Everybody was listening. You’re gonna get good at something. The question is what? What are you gonna spend your 10000 thousand hours on to get good at? And that’s what they say, 10000 hours. Become an expert in anything. You’re gonna be a juggler, an actor. You’re gonna be a what are you going to be? What are you gonna do? So figure it out first. What you really want, see or know you’re headed in the right direction. And if and when you see that you’re on a wrong path or it’s just not going the way you want. That’s when you make that new decision. And it’s OK to change direction. You don’t have to drive it into the ground and say, well, I knew it was right three years ago, but I kept on going. On the other hand, if you don’t have a strong y, a strong passion behind what you’re trying to go after, you’re going to quit, you’re gonna give up. There’s things are going to come up that will give you an excuse to stop. Whether it’s exercising diet, a business, a spouse, whatever it may be. So get committed. 

Gene Guarino [00:46:30] 

And then my final word of wisdom is you’re all gonna get involved in assisted living one way or the other, either in real estate business or both, or you or family members can be lying in a bed writing a check to somebody who does so make a good choice. And if nothing else, you should get one of these residential assisted living homes for yourself. 

Gene Guarino [00:46:48] 

So you or a loved one can move into the master bedroom and looks for free. Pass on a blessing to your kids, not a burden. 

Mike Ayala [00:46:55]

 I love that. So you are just I got to thank you for coming on. You’re truly a thought leader. You’ve been an inspiration to me and so many others that I’ve seen. So how how can people find you? How can people connect with you, Genene? 

Gene Guarino [00:47:08] 

Sure. Well, thank you. And I’m going to give everybody a really easy website, but I want you to write it down. So grab that pen. And at this Web site, I’m going to give you a number of things. You could download my mike free book, my latest book, and that book itself, Blueprint How to Start Your Own Residential Assisted Living Home is my gift to you. In addition, there’s a seven part webinar series there about an hour long. You can learn this and really get a good idea. And then third, you can do any or all three. You can set up a call and have a half hour conversation with one of her team to figure out discover if this is the right thing for you or what part you might play. So the Web site is So go there. Have at it my gift to you. My gift to you, Mike. And thank you for having me on. 

Mike Ayala [00:47:58] 

Thanks for doing it. And guys, you do not want to miss this opportunity. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and connecting with Gene. And so take advantage of that. I hope you go out and and have a great next few months. If you found value in this episode and you know someone who’s wanting to start or move further along in their journey toward investing for freedom. 

Outro [00:48:17] 

I would be forever grateful if you would share this show with them and help me get this message out to more listeners. Also, if you enjoy what you’ve heard, I would appreciate it if you take 30 seconds and leave me a five star review. And share this with your friends. And until the next episode, cheers to moving further along in your journey of investing for freedom. 

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Episode 13