Jennifer is the Co-Founder and COO of Leafy Legal Services, she has a great backstory, going from homeless to owning her own company. Her goal is to protect investors who are growing their business and to prevent them from getting sued and losing it all. She gives tips on what you should do to protect your assets and how to utilize your, LLC, to invest in future deals and she also shares how you can utilize your 401k to your benefit.
Jennifer Gligoric Real Estate Background:
- Co-Founder & COO of Leafy Legal Services and co-host on Leafy Podcast
- 20 years experience in real estate
- From Galveston, TX
- Say hi to them at: https://www.leafyassets.com/
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“Treat your real estate investing like a business” – Jennifer Gligoric
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks, today’s host, and today we’ll be speaking with Jennifer Gligoric. Jennifer, how are you doing today?
Jennifer Gligoric: I’m doing great. It’s really wonderful to be on the show.
Theo Hicks: Absolutely, and thank you for joining us. I’m looking forward to our conversation focused around the legal aspects of real estate. So Jennifer is the Founder and COO of Leafy Legal Services, based in Galveston, Texas, and she has been helping entrepreneurs and real estate investors get started for over the last 20 years. She has a very harrowing back-story; she found herself homeless as a teenager and managed to put herself through college and become a successful business owner despite the odds against her, and she attributes her success to a mindset of abundance and paying it forward as the means to happiness. If you want to learn more about Jennifer and her company, you can go to leafylegalservices.com. So Jennifer, before we get started, do you mind telling us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Jennifer Gligoric: Yeah. Well, I actually have a pretty long background. My background started in crisis intervention for businesses. Well, I say that… I worked as a young kid. My mom had the longest-running employment agency ever type here in Houston, Galveston Metroplex. So I was the kid that would set up the secretaries that had cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, because that’s how they did it back then, instead of my [unintelligible [00:04:10].17] typing tests and things like that. So I already knew how to interview for a job, how to do the paperwork to get a job, which, if you’re a parent, teach that to your kids. They’re not teaching it in school, and I gotta say that that’s pretty critical. So I already knew how to do basic secretarial stuff and that, but the money was in sales. The money’s always going to be in sales. So I was very driven by the money. So I went into telemarketing and sales, and long story short, I ended up into crisis intervention for businesses.
With a heavy background in HR, I would get in and they would hire me to fix their widgets or, “Oh, we need more brochures. Our pitch is crap, redo it,” and then I’d get in there and it was never that; it was always HR that was tanking the company. They were hiring people at the wrong rates, putting them in the wrong positions, having them do the wrong things. So that was my career, is going in and fixing companies, but really I was fixing small business owners, teaching them how to be better managers, teaching them how to have better systems, how to hire people they can trust and let run to take a break every now and then.
Many small business owners, you ask them, “When was the last time you took a vacation?” or real estate investors, and they just give you this blank look, because they really are always working. Well, that’s not good. Some of your biggest breakthroughs in life are when you take a little bit of a break. You’re just going to run yourself into the ground and you’re going to drive everybody around you nuts when you do that.
About a decade ago, my specialty turned into helping companies scale using entirely remote workforces, but top talent; not $3 an hour VAs, people that had left the corporate world, and for whatever reason, they needed to be at home. Sometimes they wanted to raise children at home, sometimes they survived an accident that they were never meant to survive, or an illness that would’ve kill them five years ago, and they can’t be in commute. And I thought what’s better for the environment than helping people not clog up our roadways, adding to carbon emissions, to not having to build and do this sprawl. People can stay in their own houses. And it’s better for the local communities, it’s better for local businesses, and it’s better for the economy as a whole.
So I did some big scale-ups. I actually met the person I brought on to be my CEO because he hired me to scale up a very large digital marketing firm, and during that time, he was a real estate investor; I was getting into real estate investing because we were dealing with the likes of Than Merrill, Kevin Harrington; we were working with people that were putting them on stage, we were working these huge events, and scaling up very large, well-known marketers. Our first company, we took from three people to 221 people in 21 countries within 18 months, and that’s the power of virtual workforce when you don’t have the ridiculous overhead that you have with offices and everything else, and when you’re hiring the right talent; that’s also key.
Then about three or four years ago – I lose track of time – I was tasked to scale an asset protection law firm. Having already been in the real estate space, and working with some of the top names, it was a natural fit, and as I did that, I realized, “Wow, there is just a lot better way to do it. It can be a lot more cost-effective,” and I have a love of real estate investors and entrepreneurs that are just starting out, but also, there are people that grow and they start getting 10, 12, 13 houses, and they’re getting them all in their own name, and then they lose everything because of one lawsuit. So we have a mission to help unburden the nation’s court system from these vexatious lawsuits, which really piss me off. The idea that someone’s making money by suing other hard-working people really grinds my gears. So if I can stop that and make it very difficult for those people to operate, I want to do that.
So then we started Leafy Legal, and now we have this amazing team. We have attorney relationships across the country and we have the best paralegals with 98% of our clients are real estate investors; the other 2% are entrepreneurs, and we help them hide their assets, protect their assets, have the right structure in place so that they’re operating compliantly and legally, and they’re able to scale in structures that are meant for real estate investors, and then we help them tie that into some incredible estate plans. Plans that are made for people who are young and working, not something you slap together for 50 years from now or if you ever pass away. And then we help them become their own bank and think about money differently by having solo 401ks or SDIRAs. So that’s what I’m doing and I love it.
Theo Hicks: Okay. So let’s focus on the first part first, which is the asset protection and you mentioned how it really grinds your gears about the fact that people make a living off of suing other people. So what are some of the top tips, top strategies that people can start implementing or should start implementing, that maybe most people don’t necessarily know about? What are some of the hidden gems?
Jennifer Gligoric: Well, I think that most people know they’re supposed to have an LLC, at least, but yet they’re still doing things in their own name, and their name is on the LLC. Well, if your name is on an LLC, I can look it up. It’s public record, I can see that you’re a member of that. You want to operate using anonymous structures, and then you want to hold your assets in structures that are not tied to you. You want to have an asset holding company that has arm’s length agreements away from you; that you’re holding in another structure, and the way you operate and you do business and where you hold your assets are two separate places that someone can’t get to.
Theo Hicks: Okay, because I know when I was making an LLC for a property, I was like, “Well, I can just google the LLC, and then my name comes up,” and I don’t understand how that protects me. So can you explain that process for us from A to B? So I create an LLC, and then what am I supposed to do?
Jennifer Gligoric: Well, you’re supposed to go to a company that helps you create an agent trust that is listed on the LLC so your name is not a part of it. You are a beneficiary of that trust, which is a private document, so that’s not filed with the state. So [unintelligible [00:10:41].24] the name that you can find on the state is the name of your anonymous LLC, and you can do it in almost any state. Real estate investors, what you’re going to hear of most, you’re going to hear of Delaware, Wyoming, Nevada and Texas; those are the top four. Most real estate investors, if they’re any bit savvy, you’re going to live events and you’re talking to asset protection people, it’s going to be one or if not all those states. So we create entities in any of those states.
The way you scale your business depends on a couple of things. You need to write down “This is where I live, this is where my homestead is, my house, and this is which state or states I have property in, and this is where I want to grow my business, and this is what type of real estate investing I want to do.” Depending on your answers to all five of those depends on what structure is best for you and it’s different for everyone. Because there’s a million different ways to skin a cat for someone, depending on of course, your budget and where you’re looking to scale and what you’re looking to do.
Theo Hicks: Okay. So I have my agent trust, and then I have the LLC that I buy a single-family home with. Do I use that same LLC to buy all my properties, or do I always create a new LLC for each property?
Jennifer Gligoric: No, you want to use your fundable entity, which I’m assuming is that LLC that you’re trying to create a professional borrow profile with that’s not tied to your social security number, as your professional entity. If you’re still buying in an LLC, but everything’s tied to your personal social security number, you’re defeating the purpose of why you’re using an LLC for that, and a lot of people do that.
So a fundable entity is an entity that you create with the idea that you’re going to have your own credit and you can walk into a bank and you can get a fundable business line of credit up to $500,000, a million dollars, and it’s not tied to your personal credit, and that’s something you need to work on. So we help people create fundable entities, and then your operating company is your anonymous LLC. And then when you get that property, you immediately want to transfer it out of your name and into a trust.
Theo Hicks: Okay, perfect. And then the other thing you worked on was about, you said, being your own bank, and you talked about the 401k. So do you want to walk us through that process as well, if I want to get started being my own bank today?
Jennifer Gligoric: So if you have a solo 401k, you cannot have any employees. So that’s very important; you don’t qualify for this. So this is a specific financial instrument that is available to self-employed individuals who do not have employees, but you are allowed to cover a spouse. And in 2020, you can make a contribution up to $57,000 into your solo 401k, which is five to ten times the normal contribution limit that is for a normal traditional 401k.
For the solo 401k products that we use, you can roll everything but an IRA into a solo 401k. The reason that you want to use a solo 401k if you’re in real estate investing is that you can be your own bank, you can loan money to yourself on your own favorable terms. Because you’re your own bank, you have to pay yourself back; you have to pay it. You have to make the payments, you have to make the payments back on time, but you’re keeping all the interest. You’re also the one that has checkbook control on this. So unlike being pigeonholed by someone else controlling the 401k, say, the reserve, the mutual funds you’re allowed to invest in, these are the stocks you’re allowed to invest in, and here are these limited amount of products you’re allowed to look at, with a solo 401k, you can invest in real estate, you can hold a property in the name of the solo 401k, you can give yourself up to $50,000 or half the total value of your solo 401k, whichever is less (because the cap is 50) and then you can take that money however you need it. So let’s say someone comes to you and says, “I want to start a marinate business, and I just need $10,000, but they want to charge me 13% interest.” Let’s say your rate’s 3%, you charge them 6%, you’re keeping all the extra interest, and now you’re investing in the business.
Theo Hicks: Okay. So I get the 401k to not only buy my own properties, but I can use it to invest in someone else’s properties.
Jennifer Gligoric: That’s right. You can do it in other properties. There are certain restrictions on it. It’s not just the gamut of what you’re spending money on, but considering what is left to a regular W-2 401k, it seems like you can do whatever you want. So there are some prohibited transactions and we have a list of those, and prohibited persons, but for the most part, you can pay off high-interest loans, and then use that same payment at favorable rate and then you keep the interest for yourself. You can bypass UBTI tax and unrelated business tax by using a solo 401k, which is a huge tax benefit. You can invest in other types of businesses, you can invest in Bitcoin. A lot of instruments are available for you that are not available. So it’s very powerful. I was on the Chris Naugle show, the Risky Builders, and he does a money show and he’s like, “Stop having your money sit on the couch,” and I’m like, “Yeah, it’s just eating Cheetos, getting fat doing nothing. You want to make your money work for you,” and that’s a mindset too. That’s the difference between that poverty mindset and then the mindset that really rich people have. They think about money differently, they use money differently. That is not a scary thing for them. They’re like, “Oh, heck, yeah, I’m gonna use that instead of this other one.” But we are given so many fear tactics on money throughout our lives that gives us limiting beliefs. “Pay everything off; you don’t want to have any credit card debt, you don’t want to have any debt at all; you just want to buy everything and pay it off.” And then you go to get a loan and you have this credit score of 820 or 840, and you can’t get anything over $3,500, and you’re like, “How come?” Well because you’re a professional consumer who they’re not going to make a penny out of. So the 80 algorithms that they track you with have said, “You’re not someone that they’ll give money to.” And then you’ll see 680 walk in, and that person walks out with a $200,000 line of credit. Because your credit score is meaningless; it’s your borrower behavior. So when you start to change that and you start using a fundable entity and you start thinking about things different, you have a better structure. With your real estate business, you’re protecting your assets. Those are borrower profiles that are tracked, that are very attractive for banks and lenders; tier one banks and lenders, which is the ones you want.
Theo Hicks: Okay, so we’re gonna cite everything you’ve said so far because I’m sure a lot of that stuff is definitely best ever advice and I’m gonna have to listen to this again because this is a lot of new information and I don’t know how much I can grasp, but I’m sure it’s normal in a 15-minute fitting… But besides what you’ve said so far, what is your best ever real estate investing advice?
Jennifer Gligoric: Treat your real estate investing business like a business. Don’t shirk in the very beginning by getting your entity and everything set up and protecting yourself. So it is a business that you plan on being successful. Because of that, you need to protect yourself because you’re a successful business person. The people who do that ahead of time and get things set up, and they don’t skip step A and go all the way to step F, those are the people that are less likely to lose later on, and they’re more than likely to get respect with different institutions and the people that you work with, and you’ll be more successful.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Jennifer, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?
Jennifer Gligoric: Okay.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Jennifer, what is the best ever book — well, I usually we say recently read, but what’s the best ever book to learn more about what we’ve talked about today? We’re changing that up a little bit.
Jennifer Gligoric: Okay. To learn about what we talked about today, go to my website, leafylegalservices.com; you get a free ebook and it tells you all about it.
Theo Hicks: Leafy Legal Services free ebook.
Jennifer Gligoric: Yeah, that’s right.
Theo Hicks: Okay, if your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Jennifer Gligoric: I would just keep the podcast. I have a really good podcast that I’m doing. I would probably monetize the podcast more, and I would keep my same team, because they’re amazing. I’d figure out a way to keep my same team. I don’t know; I’d just morph it.
Theo Hicks: What’s the podcast called?
Jennifer Gligoric: Leafy Podcast.
Theo Hicks: Boom, Leafy all around.
Jennifer Gligoric: Yeah.
Theo Hicks: What deal did you lose the most money on, and how much did you lose?
Jennifer Gligoric: Oh, it was a contracting deal, and the most I’ve ever lost was over $150,000. And the reason I lost it — and it was contracting with work with a client, and I lost it because I stayed working with someone that I kept thinking, “They’re not really going to screw me over. They won’t really do this to me. Look at how hard I’m working for them. Look at what I’m doing,” and I was waiting for months for them to be a different person than what they were showing me they were consistently, on a daily basis. Because they would give me these little hints of “they’re not evil”, and I think, “Oh God, you’d have to be evil to screw me over like this,” and the thing is they gave me every single red flag and I needed to go with my gut and I should have cut the cord a lot sooner. So my advice now is when you know it’s rotten, it smells rotten, it looks like rotten, cut the cord. Don’t wait for someone to automatically be a better person than they’re showing you that they are.
Theo Hicks: What is the best ever way you like to give back?
Jennifer Gligoric: Through work in jobs, like helping people with work in jobs, and then I give back– because I was homeless, so I give back to the homeless shelter that helped me so much – Covenant House. So anytime I can, I’m willing to help them.
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what is the best ever place to reach you?
Jennifer Gligoric: leafylegalservices.com. You just go there you can set up an appointment with me. If you want to talk to me, I give a free consult to anybody. I just want to help people.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Best Ever listeners, make sure you take advantage of that. Alright Jennifer, I really appreciate it. I don’t think I’ve ever learned as much in 15, 20 minutes as I learned today about asset protection.
Jennifer Gligoric: I get that a lot.
Theo Hicks: So first, you broke down your background and you’ve definitely done a lot. You started as a young kid working with your mother’s company and you talked about the skill sets that you learned, learning how to interview and do basic secretary work that you recommend parents teach their children because they’re not getting taught in school. You went to telemarketing sales, transitioned to crisis intervention for businesses, which is where you ended up meeting your CEO, and you talked about all the different companies that — basically, you’d go in there, you’d help them know how to run a business.
Jennifer Gligoric: Yeah, and that’s what I do now. Even what I’m doing with asset protection right now with real estate investors, many of them, I’m just helping them run their business better. All of these structures – yes, it’s money and it’s a structure, it’s boring, la-la… But once you get it set up and your accounting gets set up with it, the right structure will streamline a lot of things for the investor and protects them, and therefore it allows you to be safer to make more calculated risks, and that really can springboard you not only, but then the money things that we teach them as well. So yeah.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, we’ll definitely have to bring you back for a Skillset Sunday class. I wanted to talk about that today, but we ran out of time. So maybe we can bring you back for another episode to talk about how to scale a business more step by stepwise.
So then we talked about the asset protection, and go back and listen to what she said, but you want to make sure that you’re not creating LLC with your name on it. So you want to create that agent trust that is listed on the LLC, which is a private document that people can’t get access to and see your name. You talked about some of the top states for asset protection – Delaware, Wyoming, Nevada and Texas. You went through some questions that you need to ask yourself to determine what the best asset protection structure is for you – Where do you live? Where do you want to invest? What types of property do you want to invest in?
We talked about the fundable entity so that you can start working on building up a reputation so that you can get a line of credit that’s not tied to your personal name or personal credit. We moved on to talking about the solo 401k which helps you be your own bank. We talked about how it’s for people who are self-employed who don’t have employees, but you can cover your spouse contributions up to $57,000 a year. You can roll everything into that IRA, you can loan yourself money, and then you can pay yourself back and keep the interest, and then you have complete– well, not complete; there are some restrictions you said, but you have complete checkbook control. So you can invest in real estate, you can hold a property in the name of the 401k, you can take a loan against your 401k, and then use that to buy real estate, invest in other business, buy Bitcoin, you said, and you bypass that UBTI tax.
You briefly touched on the mindset and about limiting beliefs of thinking that “Well, I need to pay everything off and have this really amazing credit score, but then going into a bank and I can’t get a loan because I’m a professional consumer”, and the algorithms say, “This person cannot get money.” Whereas someone comes in with a credit score that’s 200 points less than yours and they get a massive loan… And I like what you said – the credit score is meaningless; it’s all about your borrower behavior.
And then you gave your best ever advice, which is to treat your real estate investing like a business and set up the asset protection from the beginning and have the mindset that I am a successful investor who needs his asset protection from beginning, and by doing so, you’re protecting yourself, but you’re also getting the benefits of getting more respect from different people you want to interact with. So that’s just brushing the surface of what we talked about.
Jennifer Gligoric: You take the best notes. That is incredible. That is amazing. You must have been so good in school.
Theo Hicks: I did okay. I appreciate it. I’m gonna do a podcast on the best ever way to take notes in an interview.
Jennifer Gligoric: Seriously, that’s great. That is like the bestest. I love that. I love that thoroughness.
Theo Hicks: Well, I appreciate it, and I appreciate you for coming on the show and giving us all this solid asset protection and being your own bank. Just really solid, just personal advice as well, with the limiting beliefs; I liked that as well. Best Ever listeners, as always, thanks for tuning in and listening. Have a best ever day and we will talk to you tomorrow.
Jennifer Gligoric: See you later.
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