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Mindset & Money | What The Government Takes You Never Get Back

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike challenges us to think about our futures and how societal changes that have happened since the onset of COVID-19 may continue to affect us for years to come.

“Out of challenge comes opportunity. And those that look ahead and wargame some of this stuff out and take advantage of some of these opportunities, they’re going to be the ones that win.”

HIGHLIGHTS:

0:00 – Intro
2:41 – People keep asking “when are we going back to normal?” You should expect the best and plan for the worst
4:58 – Start wargaming things out in your head
5:29 – What if Biden wins? What if we don’t get more than 50% capacity in restaurants? What if work never goes back to being completely physical? Etc.
8:03 – “Every time we give the government an inch, they take a foot and it doesn’t come back”
12:43 – You can’t change where the world is going and it’s exhausting swimming against the current in terms of social media
14:22 – Mike has built many successful relationships which started on social media
16:13 – If you don’t let your kids explore the online world, they’re going to be left behind
18:33 – Social media makes connecting with people in real life easier, but not necessarily better
19:50 – Whether Trump or Biden is elected, no one is going to save you
20:23 – There are going to be challenges, but there will also be opportunities
21:20 – Ask yourself how you can pivot during this pandemic

FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today, I’m going to talk to you about a post-pandemic world. And before I get into that by the time you guys hear this, we’ll have a new president. I’m recording this on Monday, November 2nd. And so tomorrow is election day and no, I’m not going to predict who’s the president. And frankly, you know, I’ve got my opinions and my hopes but the reality is regardless of what happens, we have to just try to look ahead, which is the point of this podcast and what I’m going to share with you today.

I was actually recently on an interview panel and there was a guy on the, so we were interviewing an employee for a friend of mine who brings in one of the phases in his interview process is peer interviews. And so I think the particular person that we were interviewing for my buddy, I think he was on step eight or nine of this whole interview process, but there was another guy on the interview process that I was actually really intrigued by and I’m excited to get to know him better, I didn’t know him before this, but he was talking about you know, being able to see the problems in the market and spot what’s really going on. And he asked the question during this interview process, like what is really happening. And the thing is, is a lot of times by the time the average person in America or any country for that matter actually knows what’s going on, everybody knows it. So, by the time it’s on CNN, Fox News, all that kind of stuff. I mean, it is common knowledge.

And so really what I’m going to encourage you to do today is to just try to see the gaps in the market, try to see the problems that are coming, try to see the challenges and like a visionary. We are not all born visionaries, but you can spend some time thinking through that. And so, again, regardless of whether Joe Biden wins or Donald Trump wins there is not a whole lot we can do about that. Other than you do not get out the vote and you know, support the candidates and that kind of stuff. It is too late, again, by the time you guys hear this, we’re going to have a president, whether it’s reelection or a new president.

But back to the post-pandemic world, I keep hearing a lot of people say, and this has been going on for a while. I hear it less and less, but when are we going to go back to normal? What is this going to look like after this? And the thing that I want to say to you today, one of my favorite authors is Jim Rickards. He wrote a couple of books, one called the aftermath, and then there is a new case for gold, currency Wars. If you guys have not read those, I would encourage you to pick those up. If you are not a reader follow his YouTube page because he’s got a lot of insight. And this guy was, he was a partner in a hedge fund in, I think it was leading up to, I think it was even before 2001. I think it was before the savings and loan crisis. He was a partner in a firm then. And he has done a lot of work with the CIA. The government has actually hired to come in and do wargames. And so, the reason why I’m saying this I’m going to tell you, you’ve probably heard the same before, but expect the best but plan for the worst. And there is a lot of people that are just waiting for us to go back to normal. Coming into the election COVID cases are rising. I’m not here to get political on it. I’ve actually not literally, but I feel like I’ve been trying to get COVID. I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I’ve gone to multiple events. I’m not going to say what and where, but I’ve been in, you know, some event with quite a few people, been in some smaller events, been in some meetings, that kind of stuff. And I’ve been through airports. And I haven’t had COVID yet. I’m not saying I won’t get it. And I’m not even saying I’m concerned to get it, but what I am saying is I’m not going to shut my life down because of this virus.

And so, expect the best, but plan for the worst and back to Jim Rickards. He did a lot of work with the CIA and the treasury department and the federal reserve and the government doing wargames. And it’s interesting because the Pentagon and the CIA and all these, you know, FBI, they all do wargames. The military plays wargames. It’s no different than scrimmaging and football. That’s something we can all relate to. You know you got kids on a baseball team, you play a scrimmage, right? Because you want some real-world experience around that. Sometimes, you know, we play skins and shirts and football, so that even though we’re on the same team, we’re practicing real-life scenarios against each other. That’s the same thing as wargames. And so, what I would encourage you, or challenge you to do is start wargaming things out in your head.

Now, first off, this takes some downtime, some quiet time. If you’re the person that’s constantly running to and from, and you don’t have meditation time, you don’t have any downtime. And when you do get home, you’re so tired and burnout that you just sit down, and you turn on the TV and you just veg out. You’re going to have some real challenges in life. What I’m encouraging you to do is to, to wargame, some things in your head. What if Biden wins again, we’re going to know this by the time this happens, but what if we don’t ever go above 50% capacity at restaurants? What if my business can never go back to completely physical? What if the company that I work for never goes back to completely physical? I think we’ve got some serious headwinds ahead of us, and there’s a lot of optimism out there. Again, expect the best, but plan for the worst. I’m naturally an optimist. When I joined the real estate guys mastermind with Robert Helms and Russ Gray, one of the questions was that they asked is, you know, if you had to point out one of your greatest weaknesses, what would it be? And I put on the application, mine was the, I’m the eternal optimist. Like that can be a detriment to me because I’m always seeing the positive in everything.

So, when you’re wargaming these things out, you have to look at the positive and the negative. You must look at all the repercussions. And so, I don’t think that we’re going back to normal. When 9/11 happened. There was a bunch of, and again, I’m not trying to go over into too much of the political realm, but when 9/11 happened, we lost a bunch of freedoms that we never got back. I remember traveling to Spain for my 40th birthday two years ago. Yeah, I’m 42. It was kind of interesting traveling in Europe, you know, getting on the plane and as Americans, like the security is not the same and I’m like a little bit scared. I’ve got this fear ingrained in me and then getting on a train. I am like, there was zero security. There’s no metal detectors. There’s all these like, I found myself in a minor state of fear, which isn’t usually where I live. But as Americans we’ve been like just conditioned, we’ve lost a lot of our freedoms and this whole COVID pandemic is really preparing us. We’ve given up a lot of our freedoms. And I’m going to do some future episodes around, What I think is coming with real estate and the stock market and some of the freedoms that we’ve given up and at what cost has all this happened.

And by the way, I’m sensitive to the people that have died. I’m sensitive to the people that have gotten super sick. I know some of them. But at the same time, I’m also sensitive to, you know, where our country’s headed quickly and also the power grab and the loss of freedom that we’ve had in a short period of time.

So, I don’t think we’re going back to normal, just like 9/11, it never went back to normal. Every time we give the government an inch, they take a foot, and it doesn’t come back. I remember my mentor, Barry Lipparelli, who I talk about a lot. I remember when I first got into business as a 24-year-old within the first couple of years, I was having a conversation with him and he said, whatever you do stay focused on your business. Don’t get into politics. He said, let the politicians be the politicians. And I’ve thought about that a lot in a long time. And the reality is, and this might be some of the solution to the problem, but the reality is super successful business owners don’t generally get into politics because they’re not career politicians. We just happened to have a president. And again, I’m not saying I’m for or against it. Who happened to have a track record in business. Some would argue successful, some would argue not, not here to talk about that, but he’s got a lot of business experience. It is very rare that you find somebody with that much business experience get into politics because generally speaking, they’re too busy running their business and they’re too busy going about their life.

Most politicians are career politicians and they’re there for power. And so, every time we give the government an inch, they take a foot, and we don’t get that back. Again, we didn’t get it back at 9/11. And if you just go backwards, there’s so many times we never got that back rules, regulations, laws that were made every time government grows a little bit, so just from a purely from a business perspective, unfortunately, I’ve had to lay off a lot of people over my business career because in the business cycles we grow and then we stabilize, or sometimes outside just like in 2008 or even during COVID outside forces dictate us having to make changes within our business. The one thing that you very, very, very rarely seldom see is government making layoffs or cuts and yeah, they do furloughs and that kind of stuff, but very seldom do you see them getting more efficient and making cuts. Usually, it’s just layers and layers and layers of bureaucracy. And when government grows, when regulation grows, they have to hire more people. And some of that, just as a side note, I’ll get into this into a future episode too, but AI is also changing government. So, we’ll see kind of how, I don’t think government’s going to, you know, lay off a bunch of people.

But I think in the future, just like the IRS using more AI to do audits and automatic tax audits and that kind of stuff, like, I think you’ll see them hiring less and less people. So, you know, some of that could disrupt government too, but again, every time we give the government an inch, they take a foot, and very seldom do they give that back.

So, what does a post-pandemic world look like? And I just want you to think about this. I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m not telling you what it’s going to look like. I want to challenge you to think around some of this stuff and I’m hoping most of you are. But there’s some things that I’ve heard and seen recently that it’s got me thinking that we’re holding onto yesterday. We’re holding onto the past and the future is coming at us faster than it ever has. So, we need to be looking ahead a little bit. I’m not telling you to live in the future because I’ve said that quote before, you know, getting stuck in the future is just as bad as getting stuck in the past, but I would encourage you to just play out some wargames in your mind. And some of that could even be positive. It could be positive strategies. It’s not all negative, but wargame some of that out.

So as a W2 employee you know, some of the questions that I have around post-pandemic world, there’s so many companies including us that have not gone back to physical. So you know, how challenging is it for you to stick out as a W2 employee in a Zoom call, just think about that, you know, in an office you could go make the rounds and connect and everything else, and you know, then you’re in a meeting. Well, the only time you see some of your counterparts is during a Zoom call. So how do you stick out as a W2 employee? And obviously, the results are the obvious way, get results on your job, but also, it’s engagement. During the pandemic, if you will we all had to shift quickly and realize that we needed to engage via social media.

And here’s the thing like, I’ve heard this a lot lately, too. I mean, we just had the social dilemma come out. Everybody’s talking about the social dilemma and how much social media has affected our lives. And I was just with a group of dads in front row dads and a big topic of conversation there was, you know, the amount of time that the kids are spending on social media and my kids are 20, 18 and 16 now. And we don’t really regulate how much time they spend on social media. In fact, we never really did. And our kids had phones earlier than probably most kids get to have phones. And I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but you can’t change where the world is going. And you can try to fight that, but swimming against the current is exhausting and the world has slowly been shifting more to a virtual realm or to a social realm that kind of, but overnight we became virtual people. We’re living in a virtual world and this social dilemma, It’s scary. But we would all have to revolt and go back to flip phones to get away from this.

A while back, I kept getting advertised things that I was talking about. And, you know, a few years ago when we would get advertised to something that we had just talked about, we thought it was weird, but now we just know what’s happening. And this guy that’s in my pod with GoBundance, he said, you must have an open mic. I was like, what is that? And so, I was looking through it and yeah, my Instagram Mike was open, right? Well then, I shut it off. But then the next time I went to record a story, it didn’t have access to my microphone. So, we either have to disengage from the process or we have to play by their rules. And this is, it’s a struggle, you know, we’re all going through this struggle. This is the social dilemma, but the reality is this isn’t going away. And so, this is our kid’s future, and this is the future of business and it’s the future of W2 employees and the way work’s going to happen. So, you know, just some of the questions again that I want you pondering and thinking about is, you know, what does your life look like in a post-pandemic world? We’re not going back. I can almost guarantee you; we’re not going back to the workplace like it was before. So how do you stick out?

Take a play from social media. I decided I don’t know, a year and a half ago, that I was going to start building my personal brand and I’ve been able to build so many authentic relationships. Some of you are going to argue with me on this, but I’ve been able to build a lot of authentic relationships that first started on social media. I’ve also been able to continue relationships and dig and go more into authenticity and become really great friends with a lot of people that I met physically in person, but then continued that relationship on social media. If you don’t have a personal brand, whether you’re a W2 employee, whether you’re a business owner whether you’ve got an online brand, any of that, you’re going to find some challenges. And again, I’m not here to give you a bunch of answers. I’m here to just challenge your thinking a little bit because I think we’re in for some headwinds. And I think if you don’t get ahead of the virtual game, the social media game and start building your personal brand and begin moving your personal brand, begin moving relationships and begin moving your businesses more to the online world and accepting that you can’t fight this. You’re going to be better off. It’s moving this direction, whether you want it to, or not.

Parents, same thing. I’m not telling you to let your kids spend endless time on social media and the internet and the online world, but this is where it’s going. And if you don’t allow them to search this out and figure out what it looks like for them, they’re going to get left behind. Back in the day, I’m not saying it’s this case anymore, but you know, 10, 15, 20 years ago, when we would look at somebody that was homeschooled, we would think that they were a little different, right? Because they didn’t have the social interaction and that kind of stuff. It’s different now. It’s completely different. I have a lot of friends that are in the homeschool world and they get the interaction, all that stuff. So, I’m not saying it’s the case anymore, but if we don’t let our kids explore the online world, the digital world, and the virtual world, they’re going to get left behind. They’re going to be at a disadvantage. And so, I just would challenge you to think through that. And again, but its businesses, relationships all the above.

I decided to build out my personal brand, which is why I share what I share with you guys. I’ve had people ask me a lot, like, Mike, what are you selling? Like, what are you doing? I’m not selling anything online. Like I’m just sharing my message. I love sharing the things that I share. Even the Investing for Freedom podcast. I haven’t made a penny off this podcast. Now there’s some things that I’m working on that I will be able to bring you guys value through some of my networks and connection and you’ll have access to, you know, buy courses and that kind of stuff from people that I know and will that potentially help me make some capital? Sure. And it won’t be in the direct form of sponsorships. It’ll just be me affiliating. And if you’re looking for an apartment investing course, then I connect you with the right person and we all win together. So, but I haven’t made a penny off. Yeah. Investing for freedom podcast. I haven’t made a penny off of my Instagram page. In fact, my core business, as most of you guys know is real estate. We do bring in investors, but we buy manufactured housing. And again, we do bring in investors, but I’m not necessarily using my social media to reach out and get you as an investor. That’s not my purpose. I’m just here to share my truth and build my personal brand and build my identity.

A lot of people don’t want to get on social media. They don’t want to put their brand out there. They don’t want to adjust to the Zoom world, to the virtual world because we’re resisting. And by the way, I agree with you. It’s so much better to be in an in-person meeting. It’s so much better to go to dinner with you. It’s so much better to have a one-on-one conversation at a coffee shop with you. But the virtual world has opened us up to relationships we could have never had prior to the pandemic. It’s also decreased costs of getting in front of people or having relationships and conversations.

And by the way, one more thing I don’t know about you, you might think that I’m an extreme extrovert. And I’m not. I am not the guy that walks into, you know, a new event or a conference. And I’m like, Hey everybody, Mike’s here. That’s not me. I’ll tell you one thing that social media, podcast, any of that kind of stuff is good for when I do, I go to a conference or an event, there’s usually people, especially when you’ve already been there a couple times, you’ve met people at an event and then you go away for six months or a year. And then you come back. I can’t tell you how many times people come up to me and they’re like, Hey, I listen to your podcast or Hey, you put up a social media post, or Hey, we’re friends on Facebook. It makes connecting with humans so much easier. I’m not here to argue better. One-On-One in-person relationship is always going to be better, but it makes connecting easier. And it makes staying in touch easier. Yes, you could have a phone call. But even when I get on phone calls, it’s like, I’ve been on many phone calls that happened because they saw a post on my social media.

I’ve had people reach out to me that I already know that have said, Hey, I saw you put this post up and I have a question about X. So, what am I really saying here? Whether you’re a W2 employee, whether you’re a business owner, whether you’re just, you know, using this in your personal life, we are not going back to a pre pandemic world. I can almost guarantee you that. We’re not going to wake up November 5th and everything’s going to be back to normal. I’ve heard people say that COVID is going to go away after the election. I’ve heard all kinds of things and whether Trump’s elected or Biden’s elected, you’ve heard me say this. No, one’s coming to save you. This is the first time in the history of the world that I can think of that the entire world’s been in something together, the same struggle, kind of aligned around the same thing. And yeah, we still have enemies and blah, blah, blah. But the whole world is struggling against this outside force and we’re moving a certain direction. So, I don’t think we’re going after the election or even next year. I don’t think we’re going back to a pre COVID world. Not the same as it was.

We’re going to feel the effects of this for a long time. And there are going to be some headwinds and there are going to be some challenges. There’s going to be a lot more layoffs. There’s going to be a lot more unemployment. There’s going to be a lot of foreclosures. There is going to be opportunity in real estate. There is going to be opportunity and buying businesses, as I’ve said all along. When? I don’t know exactly, but there’s going to be a lot of turmoil and suffering too, the middle is getting wiped out. Mark my words, the gap is widening and the more free stuff that we want and the more we move toward the government helping us. And the more we move away from capitalism, again, not here to get political, we can have a conversation about it, but the more we move away from this stuff, the more challenging it’s going to get.

So, we’ve got some headwinds in front of us, but the thing about it, again, back to me being the eternal optimist I’m challenging you too. Wargame this out. How can I move a portion of my business online? How can I create a new business online? How can I show up in a better way when there’s 500 employees that I work with on a Zoom call, you’re just a little box now? You know, everybody always hated being a number. Now you’re just a little box. How can I show up? How can I make my mark? And it’s through engagement. It’s through showing up outside of that, it’s reaching out to your coworkers, it’s reaching out to your vendors. It’s reaching out to your clients in interesting and unique ways. And I’m just here to say that I don’t think that social media is necessarily the end all be all. And yet it has its privacy challenges and everything else, but this is the way that the world is going. So I would really just challenge you to think about everything I’ve said and just take inventory in the areas that you’ve been fearful around using the new tools and medium, because it’s happening faster than I think any transition has ever happened that I’ve seen, at least in my life, we’re going there.

This was all coming anyway. This has all just been accelerated and whether it’s planned or whether it was just through an opportunity that it all happened. I don’t know, but it’s all coming together faster than ever. So, I would just encourage you to think about all the limiting beliefs and the mind blocks that you have in your mind. We’re up against some challenging times and you know, the old brick and mortar businesses, some of them are going to survive, but many of them are not and things are moving faster than ever. And you don’t want to get left behind. So how do you wargame some of this out? How do you look ahead? How do you think like a visionary and try to figure out what’s coming? And again, it’s as simple as expect the best, but plan for the worst. Think this stuff out, hope that helps. And I hope that really triggered some things in you.

I don’t want to leave it on a negative note. I do believe we’re in for some challenges, but out of challenge comes opportunity. And those that look ahead and wargame some of this stuff out and take advantage of some of these opportunities. They’re going to be the ones that win. And I hope you’re on that train.

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