The growing retirement continues to be a major focus here at PeakProsperity.com.
Our recent podcast with Ted Siedle exposed the shocking insolvency of many pension funds. And on the private retirement account side, we’ve written numerous articles revealing the failure to save of tens of millions of Baby Boomers.
In today’s podcast, Chris interviews Damion Lupo who shines light on a potential option that may add useful value to folks planning for, or already in, retirement: the Qualified Retirement Plan, or “QRP”.
The QRP is a vehicle that enables you to have direct control over your retirement savings, vs having to rely on a custodian — who usually drastically limits your options while taking an annual fee. Among other benefits, it enables you to directly purchase ‘alternative’ assets such as precious metals, real estate, businesses and private equity with your retirement funds:
Right now, there’s $25 trillion, with a “T”, 25 trillion dollars’ worth of assets inside retirement plans, and most of that’s in a very limited range of mutual funds.
For most people, their 401K or IRA, and is an afterthought. They simply hope it goes up over time and hope Wall Street didn’t rape and pillage them, which it does. They have very little real control over these funds.
The data shows that when many of these folks hit retirement age they don’t have a whole lot of money there.
QRP stands for “Qualified Retirement Plan”. And really, it’s a type of 401K that gives you control of your money.
It’s a way for you to control some or all of your assets in a retirement actually and do things with your money that are really more interesting, I think, like real estate or physical gold or private equity or business, land in Belize or Panama. It gives you a much broader range of options that start to put you in the driver’s seat so that you’re not subject to the corruption and manipulation of the big money-management institutions.
The reason you haven’t heard of it is because Wall Street doesn’t make any money on this type of account. They don’t control your assets; you do. That’s really good for you, but it’s very bad for them, so they’re never going to promote it.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Damion Lupo (46m:38s).
Chris Martenson: Welcome, everyone, to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host Chris Martenson, and it is March 27, 2019 which means I just recently got off of a cruise with the Real Estate Radio Guys Annual Summit at Sea. Adam Taggart and I were there again, third year that we've been there.
As always, I met and I talked with and learned from just incredible people. But also, as always, I came away really annoyed that such valuable financial information as I was getting there had not somehow been taught to me earlier or just that it had been something that I missed, the really incredible stuff there.
Of course, there's two parts of money. One is making it and the second is keeping it. And part of keeping it, of course, involves the tax codes, the tax laws. And this is where a lot of my annoyance is really centered, which is that there are just – it's a very complex tax code that we live with in the United States, same as any country. And, of course, there are wrinkles to it. There are ways that the government wants to reinforce some behaviors; they want to punish other ones.
The tax code tells you what the government wants. So if you look into it, you would be not mistaken to think that the government really wants oil to come out of oil wells. It really wants people to have houses to live in. And it's rewarding both of those activities, as well.
But there are some other wrinkles, too, in terms of the 401K, the pension side of things that we're going to be talking about today. And I'm going to be telling you about a program I learned about least year and put in place for myself. I've opened up a whole new retirement vehicle for myself, and it's got some very interesting tax advantages and other wrinkles to it that I wanted you to know about.
Listen, if you don’t have or don’t care about having a retirement account or think this doesn't apply to you, it might not. But for everybody else who's in a certain set of circumstances, this could be one of the more valuable podcasts that you are going to hear in your financial education that we're bringing you at Peak Prosperity.
So, this is a little bit complex. It's going to have some acronyms. Fortunately, there's a really easy book that's written along with this. We'll make sure you can get your hands on that. I will be doing everything I can to keep the jargon to a minimum and making sure that anything we use as an acronym gets spelled out. It's a little bit complex, but not that complex. It's worth the time to go into the details.
And talking about this with us today is somebody I met on the Summit at Sea a couple years back and he's gone there every year; saw him again this year. Today's guest is Damion Lupo, whose personal mission is to help free a million people from financial bondage. I guess that's down to 999,999 because I feel like I've taken a step towards freedom from financial bondage, absolutely.
He's an American Sensei. He a Yokido founder, a fifth degree black belt, financial mentor to Transformation Nation. He's a best-selling author in personal financial and money psychology. He's written nine books, has started over forty companies. Damion, welcome.
Damion Lupo: Hey, Chris. It's really good to be here. I feel like I just saw you except it's because I just did last week. We hung out on a great boat together with a bunch of awesome people, really blowing up their lives financially and just creating a lot of freedom. So, it's fun to be able to share that with you and your listeners today.
Chris Martenson: You know, it really is a lot of fun. And this podcast will be one of the first times I get to introduce more of what I got from that trip. So, I'll have a little of that wrapped in there.
And for starters, very curious crowd. A lot of overlap between the audience that I attract and the Summit at Sea Guys attract. We're starting to see more and more of the Venn diagram area begin to expand in that overlap.
People there are curious. They're very intelligent, successful, willing to look at things from a new angle and put that into action. I personally come away fairly motivated, as always, when I'm around that many dynamic people who are doing things. Many things I would never do because that's there interest, but it's just fun to be around that. There's a critical mass of momentum that I carry from that every year.
Damion Lupo: One of the things that I pulled away in terms of momentum, and what hit me the biggest was this comment that Robert Kiyosaki made about wealth and what wealth is. And it was fascinating, because I'm always thinking in terms of the mainstream where we think about wealth being money or gold or land or people. And then he said, "It's about learning. It's about experience that leads to learning. And you can't learn less. You can never have that taken away. The more you have of that the wealthier you are."
But it's not just reading a book. It's actually just going and doing something. So the momentum is – we were talking about having a garden and the different things that you and Adam talk about a lot with the different things you can do to create prosperity. And I thought, "Oh, my gosh. This is the problem. Most people don’t go out and do something."
So, there's going to some stuff that we can talk about today, additional things like you talk with your community a lot, about doing something that gets the ball going. And that's where the wealth lies. It's in the doing this, not just the thinking about it.
Chris Martenson: In speaking of the doing, and to get to today's subject, you did something which wouldn't have occurred to me, which was you went out and said, "Hey, there's something to be done here about retirement accounts." And you examined it, you looked into it and came up with an angle on this that is really very compelling.
And so I want to dive into that because it wouldn't have occurred to me to go out and think about how I might transform or use the retirement system to my benefit. My financial education was just like everybody else's. Here's a retirement account. This is what they look like, you're going to go into a 401K, you're companies going to administer it. Do you want the Fidelity long fund or the 2X long fund? And that were the options of the universe that were presented to me.
And, of course, you peel that back and you discover, whoa, a lot more things you can invest in, and I would love to have that universe opened up so there's a way to do that in this program you're talking about. And there are different tax advantages, as well, that obviously were not talked about for me all that cleverly in times past went I was doing other retirement planning.
So let's dive right into this. The QRP is the device, the vehicle we're talking about. What is that?
Damion Lupo: QRP stands for Qualified Retirement Plan. We have a spin off, it's kind of our own personal spin, it's the EQRP. And really, what this is, it's a way to development a retirement plan, it's a type of 401K that gives you control of your money.
Right now, there's 25 trillion, with a "T", 25 trillion dollars' worth of assets inside these retirement plans, and most of that's in mutual funds. Like you said, the long fund, the short fund, the left fund, the right fund, and that's it. And so you basically – most people are thinking, well, yeah, my 401K or my IRA, and it's an afterthought. It's like okay, it has some stuff it, and I hope it goes up. 'Hopium' is their strategy, they smoke a bunch of it and then maybe there's a cap in there.
But really, what I found when I started digging into the tax code and seeing a lot of family members that really just hoped – that was their entire strategy – hoped Wall Street didn’t rape and pillage them, which it does, they showed up when they retired and they didn’t have a whole lot of money there. They had not control.
And so the idea was that there's got to be other options. And digging into it, it's almost a fringe space because there are tens of millions of retirement accounts, and there about two million that are self-directed. And among those, there's a small number, like the one that you have and many of our clients now have, where you have a checkbook with your retirement money, which is a crazy idea. The first thing that comes up, people are like, "Wait this is crazy, I've never heard of this."
The reason you haven't heard of it is because Wall Street doesn't make any money on this type of account. They don’t control your assets, you do. And that's really good for you, but it's very bad for them, so they're never going to promote it. A typical financial advisor is not going to say "Hey, this is a great idea. Why don’t you take all of your assets and run them yourself? That way I go and starve to death because I can't feed on you."
So, it's a way for you to control some or all of your assets in a retirement actually and do things that are really more interesting, I think, like real estate or physical gold or private equity or businesses, land in Belize or Panama. Like all these really cool things that start to put you in the driver's seat so that you're not subject to the corruption and manipulation of these big institutions which, I think you can agree, is probably pretty prevalent everywhere.
Chris Martenson: If the big institutions interests align with yours it's a coincidence, a nice one, but kind of random.
The reason I liked this idea of the EQRP is because I'm a little bit of a control freak. I want to be able to control my own stuff. But I will tell you that when I had traditional 401Ks, I felt really out of control from it because there was a very small universe of things you could touch, and there was an administrator and there was a process to do through.
And it felt like to gain access to anything I would need a special signed, notarized document, a note from my mom, and Mercury couldn't be in retrograde. There were all these conditions, all of which were designed to, I think, just create this idea that it wasn't really mine. It's over there. Somebody else is managing it. Pay no attention to the fact that they get assets under management fees off of that and that's where their interests align. That's fine.
But I'm a person who really wants not only a little bit more of that control – I trust myself to direct my investments, and I know a lot of my listeners fall into that bucket, as well. But the thing that really drew me to this is I wanted access to wider range of investment vehicles than is typically freely available through a 401K.
There are other ways you can get at those funds, but it's hard. What I liked here is this is easy because you said the magic word: checkbook control. I think that might has skipped right past a bunch of people, but let's really talk about the bones of this. How does this thing operate, and what does that checkbook control really mean?
Damion Lupo: Well, most people's money, if you've got a retirement, actually, right now you’ve got a 401K or a 457, 403. These are different types of qualified plans, or you’ve got an IRA. There's a trustee or a custodian. There's somebody that you have to get through to get your money. so you have to get permission. You have get a note from your mom, like you said, to get your freaking money. And oftentimes they either say no or they spend so long thinking or processing, you lose out on the ability to do things.
What happens once you switch gears and do what you did was you actually have a checking account at a bank with your money in it, and you sign the checks. So, as long as it takes you to write a check is how long it takes you to do anything.
It's hard for people to imagine. In fact, I have clients that will call me and say, "I have a check here for $600,000. I'm freaking out." And I go, "Why?" and they go, "Because I'm controlling my money." I say, "That's new, isn't it?" and they say, "Yeah. Somebody also have always been babysitting." I go, "Why do you still have babysitter? You're 45 years old. Didn't that stop when you were about 12?"
People aren't used to it because we're trained that we're too stupid and we should have somebody else that's smart with credentials. All that means is you’ve got somebody ripping you off every month with fees.
This really switches to where you have control, and that scares some people. They really are uncomfortable. And then for a lot of folks, including probably a lot of folks listening here, it makes them very happy to think hey, I can get control.
I think it's a very good idea to be a control freak with your money. Wall Street is going to do what Wall Street does for its benefit. You are a, it's like you said, it's a coincidence if the interests align. Because typically, it's the aftermath.
Look at your accounts over the last couple years. And it's sort of strange because maybe the market went up, and your account didn’t go up that much, or a little bit, or a lot less than the whole market. It's because you're being feed to death in the shadows.
Chris Martenson: Even if you are comfortable having your money say in an index fund or something like that, a super low fee fund, there's really no reason that you can't still have that under your control, and you're the one deciding when and where and how to do that. But it's really the idea that you can invest in a really wide range of things.
Before we get into that, though, let's talk about the mechanism of setting one of these things up. Again, this could sound very complicated. Let's just demystify it. Yes, there's some steps to follow . I didn’t find them all that onerous. You made it really easy, you're company really just ushered the process beautifully.
So let's talk through that. Somebody's interested. Tell us what the process here is.
Damion Lupo: Really what happens, it is pretty simple. We have a conversation. It usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. It's a process of us making sure this is the right fit. And once it is we do an application. The application is information to build the vehicle, it you will. We get the application and then we build it. It takes a few days for us to build it.
And then, once it's build, that person gets an email with all of their documents and their step by step instructions. With that, the next step is setting up a bank account. It takes the next day.
From that point going forward, it's really just getting the money into the account. And this could be rollover or it could also be new money that's coming in, if you have self-employment income. But for most people, we've got money that's sitting somewhere and we want to pull that over. So that's just a request to wherever the money is, and it's a rollover transfer. and that usually takes about a week for that money to get over.
So the logistics of this are a couple of calls and a form that is sent over to a current custodian saying I want to have my money transferred. And at that point usually a check shows up within a week, and you are sitting there with a checkbook and you have control of your money.
So it's not overly complicated. On purpose, we took all of the friction and confusion and said, okay, how can we make this simple? And so most people, if they have a complaint, the compliant is it seems to simple. And so I laugh about that, I go, "Well, I can complicate it if you want, but I think the Wall Street system does enough complication, so we're going to keep this simple."
Chris Martenson: Sure. And there's one other wrinkle in there, too, which is there's an account, it's sitting with the name of whatever this 401K is, because that is the owner of that. And of course, you then, as the checkbook controller of that, you are the custodian of that account.
Damion Lupo: Yeah. You get to be the role. So there's a couple of terms, whether it's a 401K or a QRP or an IRA, there's custodians and trustees. It's basically the same person. It's the person that has oversight. They have a responsibility to take good care of the funds or the assets. And so we're really talking about the same person. Who is in control of the money? Once this is set up, that would be you.
Chris Martenson: And then there's one other piece which involves, for some, or maybe for all, but certainly for me, is the setting up of an LLC as well.
Damion Lupo: We also set up and entity because there's some value in setting up entities elsewhere, meaning different states have different values, whether it's Wyoming or Delaware or Nevada, and so we set up an entity that it can actually control your assets.
And this is a unique part of the EQRP where you have both control and privacy and speed and a little bit of anonymity. So when I say privacy, we keep things off public record where we set things up. And we also allow you to invest to where the outside public doesn't even know that this is a retirement account. That's on purpose. It keeps it very simple for everybody else, makes your life easier while keeping it very private.
So we do some things that are pretty unusual. There's a lot of different firms that set up retirement accounts. We decided to take all of the problems, all of the litigation potential, which is probably one of the biggest threats we have now is getting sued. If you have money, you're a target. We talked about this on the cruise. rick people have targets on them, and so if you have money you're looked at as rich by somebody.
There's just a socialist movement in the United States and it's all about hey, let's get the money from that people that have it. So, we need to help prevent you from having your money taken from some ding dong that decides to trip over your lawn. So that's part of the process of setting up the entity.
So we do all of it. It's turnkey in that it is relatively simple from the client's perspective. So all the complication is inside of our Blackbox.
Chris Martenson: Well, let's talk about some of the simplification process. Gosh, Damion, it sounds like I'm going to have all this extra paperwork. There much just be gobs of paperwork. Don’t I have to file things at the end of the year? Tell us about that part of the process.
Damion Lupo: We literally do everything. There's nothing that you even have to file. If you have over a quarter million dollars, for example, there's a 5500 form. That's something that we do in house. And of the filing with the state, Secretaries of State, registered agent, all these things, these are the complicated pieces that we do.
It's part of the service we provide. Because if I'm in your shoes I'm asking, okay, how do I do things that are simple? Well, most companies do part of it, and they hand you a pile of paper and say good luck. That's a terrible experience.
So we actually do all the filing and we also coordinate with a lot of attorneys and accountants, so we're part of a team. It's not just a mill where we produce something, hand if off and say good luck. We literally are part of your ongoing team, which is important.
I think investing and financial is a team event. It's not just something we should be doing on our own. So, we take care of everything in the background so your goal and your mission, your job, is literally just to invest. We take care of all the compliance and filings and everything else.
Chris Martenson: Now, let's talk real quickly about the legality of all of this. Sometimes in accounting there's stuff that's very clearly in the black, some that's a little bit sort of over in the white, a little grey area in between. Before you told me about this, I hadn't heard about one of these. So one of my first questions was, "Oh, is this one of these crazy things at the edge that you're sort of skating on thin ice, or is this a really solid piece?"
And I've satisfied myself investigating it, but I'm sure other people have that same question. What you do got there?
Damion Lupo: One of the things people do is they say, 'Well, I haven't heard of it, therefore it must be illegal." And I go, "This is not Wesley Snipes program." And if you don’t know the reference, he decided to play some crazy tax game, and I think he went to jail or very bad.
This was set up in the '70s. ERISA set up 401Ks, and as the years have gone on, there's been legislation that have allowed people to have their own retirement plan. So, that was changed 17 years ago in early 2000s under the Bush Administration. At this point, there are a couple million of these plans. They been built. They're been set up.
Your plan that you have from us was literally sent to the IRS, and you receive approval before we deliver it. So it's not something that we're hoping will work out. It is black and white. There is no grey. And any challenges to any part of it have already gone through the court system, and there's case law.
It's not because we're wondering or hoping that maybe this will work out. You can't afford to do that when you're talking about retirement stuff because you don’t want to wake up at 60 years old and have the IRS say, "Hey, we don’t like the way you did that."
So this follows very, very specific guidelines to where you can sleep at night. And that's important for everybody. It should be because you don’t want to be wondering about that if it's going to all go away because you're playing.
And people often ask certain questions. There's sometimes called a ROBS, which is where you basically invest in a business. And it's a strange thing because both to me and people like Tom Wheelwright – many of the listeners know he's a Rich Dad Advisor – he and I have talked about this, and people play in the grey. And I just point blank, when somebody asks my about that particular thing, I say, "No, you're violating the code, and I can show you where you're violating it."
Everything that I reference, I can show you the code in the QRP book that I wrote. It's literally based on the code. The tax attorney and I that wrote it, everything in there we can site the code. So this is important. It's not my opinion. It's what the IRS said.
Chris Martenson: Great. A lot of different types of plans out there. I had a typical 401K. I also have a SEP IRA. So I'm starting to get familiar with all these different types of plans. They each have certain different limits that you can contribute and what you can and can't invest in. There's rules are that.
Can we go through just some of the highlights that would differentiate a typical 401K? Somebody might have SEP IRA and also the QRP?
Damion Lupo: Definitely. Typically a 401K that you have with an employer or a typical one that somebody has is very, very limited. You have like five options, and they're all stocks, bonds, cash, mutual funds. Those you have limited control, and it's really on purpose because there's a lot of fees that are going to an administrator. And so that's typically vary narrow.
We tend to get excited about because there's matching. So we say, "Oh, this is good. I'm getting free money." Yeah, but you're stuck in an asset that you really have no control over.
There are limits with those where you can put up to $56,000 a year. So that's a high limit compared to an IRA which is only like $6,000 a year. So that's cool. The problem is you don’t have much control.
You mentioned SEPs. So a SEP IRA is something that a lot of people have, especially small business owners. The problem with it is there's still a custodian, and there are problems if you ever do any real estate investing because you trip up a thing called UBIT, which is one of those acronyms you want people – the Unrelated Business Income Tax. And that's because any real estate that has debt, which we think is pretty useful when you have real estate, triggers this tax.
So, what you need to know about that is if you're going to do any type of real estate investing with a retirement account, the only one it should be is the qualified plan like the EQRP or a solo 401K because those are exempt from the actual tax from leverage. So that's a valuable difference.
Another huge difference for a lot of our clients in the interest in holding physical gold. And physical gold you can actually use your qualified plan, like the EQRP, you could use that to buy physical gold and take possession because you're the trustee, and you get to determine where that gold is held.
With an IRA, even a self-directed IRA, a big difference is you can't hold the gold. I can show you in the code where it literally says it has to be a certain type of depository. What that means is you may as well just put it in a bank safety deposit box because you don’t have any control. If the bank closes, you don’t have access to it. To me, it doesn't make any sense to have physical gold unless you actually control where it is and you can touch it.
So that's a huge difference. The EQRP gives you the ability to control things, to have leverage with real estate without being taxed. You can put the most money in this of any of these plans. Now it's $56,000, or if you're age 50, it's $62,000 per person per year. So it's a lot more. With an IRA, $6,000 a year, give me a break. You're not going to get rich, you're just going to get old. To me, it's not a benefit.
Another really valuable thing, all the different plans have the ability to have a Roth component. And a lot of times people get excited for a self-directed IRA that has a Roth. They say, "This is great. It's after tax." What you should know is that an EQRP, a qualified plan, also has that build in. If you want, you can have your money being after tax, which is pretty powerful when you compound it down the road.
I think you and I would agree that tax rates are probably going to be higher down the road. So this idea that we should put a bunch of money into a retirement account and then wake up one day and be broke and in a lower tax bracket and that's when we're going to pull the money out, that's a good idea. Why would we plan to be broke? That's stupid.
So Roth gives you an option to plan to be wealthy and rich, have assets. So it's there right now. It may not be there forever. It was talked about being taken out of the code last year by the Trump Administration.
Some of these things, it's an evolving environment. It's important to know what's going on, take advantage of things because often times they're grandfathered in. When they go away people that have it get to continue.
Mitt Romney has $100 million plus in his Roth account. I don’t think they're going to tell him he has to just disband it. I think they're going to say, "Okay, you got it but nobody else." So that's important.
Chris Martenson: Let's talk about that taking possession of gold or I assume silver or something like that. Is the trustee – you would have to obviously show that you were taking a good fiduciary responsibility for this thing. I assume that if you took possession of your gold and then filed a police report saying that somebody walked in your kitchen and took it out of your flour bin, that probably wouldn't have been a reasonable fiduciary responsibility.
As trustee, you have to be responsible for this behavior and what would be considered a responsible fashion, right?
Damion Lupo: That's it. A fiduciary's job is to be a good steward of assets. And so if you put a sign on your front door, "Gold on kitchen counter," that doesn't qualify as a good steward. So, it's really just being responsible.
That's another point that some people say, "Who's this for? Who's it not for?" It's not for somebody that's reckless because there's nobody between you and your assets. You're literally in charge, so if you blow it up that's on you.
And that's one of the reasons that some people keep their money inside of mutual funds and things or with custodians because they're just not responsible. So it is an important point. You got to be smart about your assets.
Chris Martenson: All right. Let's talk, too, now. One of things that attracted me to this is that a lot of the tax code is it's unnecessarily confusing and difficult to follow. And even if you really study it, you still can't get your arms totally around it. And what I mean by that is that for a lot of the IRA stuff they tell you what you can invest in, but, of course, they if they haven't said it and it's still something you can invest in, it's kind of grey. You don’t know.
But when it comes to the self-directed 401Ks, and that includes the QRP – correct me if I've got that wrong – they did something really unusual, which is they told you what you couldn't invest in. And that's a very small, crisp universe of things. Did that I get that right? And if so, what are those things you can't invest in?
Damion Lupo: It's kind of funny because people will call and they’ll say, "I found this thing I want to invest in." And I say, "Great." And they say, "How do you know? Is it on the list?" And I say, "The list is the list of things that you can't invest in." There are people you can't invest with like your parents or your kids, you can't invest in a deal with them. And there are certain things.
What's funny is the certain things are mostly like collectible items. So, it's things like rugs and wine and coins that are not bouillon. So you can invest in gold coins, but that's just basically raw gold almost.
Chris Martenson: No numismatic value.
Damion Lupo: No numismatic. Exactly.
The other think you can't invest in is anything that you're getting a current value from. So you can't go buy a vacation home with your retirement account and then go spend the summer there. People get into trouble because they're trying to screw over the IRS.
You think about it, you mentioned it in the beginning, the tax code is there. It's incentives to get society to do a certain thing. The idea here is that the IRS and the Department of Labor and Congress want you to go do things that are create assets that are going to support you because they know they can't do that when you get old.
You're using your retirement account as a vacation property buyer, then you're not really creating assets that are growing. And so the idea here is make sure you buying things that are going to grow, and they're going to expand so that you're taking care of your retirement.
It's not a big list. It's very crisp. It's very clean. It's very direct. And if you just look at the list, and we share that with people, and we say here's what not to do. If you get in trouble it's because you're trying to play with fire, and it's because you're violating very clear rules. It's not complicated. It's not mysterious, and so you follow the rules and us this tool to create a lot of wealth.
Even if you make a mistake, people say, "Well, what happens if I screw up?" You can fix it. Doing a disqualified transaction there's a 15% penalty on whatever you invested in for each year that you have the problem. So it's not horrible. It's not good, but you can fix it. So, it's not overly disastrous, if you will. It's something that can be remedied.
Most of our clients don’t run into that. What people tend to do is they forget to file a 5500 form. But you don’t have to worry about that with us because we're going to do it for you. You just have to say, "Hey, I need you to do this and please do it." So we take care of it for you.
Chris Martenson: Great. I love that part.
I'm really interested in the real estate investing. One of the ways I understood that made sense to me is that if I want to buy a rental property and then have somebody have use of it, it can't be somebody, myself, or somebody in my vertical line. So that's grandparents, parents, children. that's a vertical line. But horizontal lines. That could include uncles, cousins, things like that is okay if I understood the material I was reading. Is that correct?
Damion Lupo: That's right. It could be almost anybody except for parents, grandparents and kids. It's open. Spouses is not okay, but boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, totally fine. So all these different people, there's tons of people that you can do stuff with. You could rent a property to your cousin that your retirement account owns.
There's lots of options. Very limited on what you can't do and who you can't do it with. Beyond that, it's pretty wide open. So you look at your list and go, "Is this person or is this deal on this list? No? Good." Then you're good to go.
Chris Martenson: The idea of being able to designate is this going into Roth or not? And just for people who are listening, so a Roth is coming out pretax, so if I earned $100,000, I put $20.000 into this thing, I'm still paying taxes on my $100,000, but that $20,000 cumulates however it grows.
That comes out tax free as long as the rules don’t get changed, as long as, a qualifier on that one. They probably won't change it retroactively. They might just close the doors and say nobody more, to your point about what they were saying about Mitt Romney.
Otherwise, the stuff is going in pretax. So, if I think that I'm in a high tax bracket now but anticipate being in a lower tax bracket later, I'm probably going to not use the Roth or vice versa. It kind of depends.
So everybody needs to talk with their own qualified financial planners and plan that through. The tax stuff is really complex. I'm just outlining it here so people have education around this. Again, not financial advice, of course. Talk with somebody that really knows your circumstance.
And to that end, I'm really interested in real estate investing. And now it gets a little bit more complex as to the inner section and interaction between a retirement account, which has certain tax sheltering and benefits and things like that, and real estate, which has its own sets.
So help us understand what some of the benefits might be here for having money in a self-directed plan where I could choose real estate as an investment class and how that might work.
Damion Lupo: One of the things that I've seen a lot in this industry with the retirement planning is that people even become fanatical and they say everything should be in a retirement account. And that's not even close to true. And a great example is real estate because there are tax shelters, because of depreciation, because of bonus depreciation after the Tax Reform Act in December of '17.
There's not a good reason to have long term property that is a rental property that you're going to get cash flow from inside of a retirement account. I wouldn't do that. It's kind of a dumb idea. A lot of people do it with their IRAs, and the problem is you're getting two things. You're losing all the deprecation benefit, and likely you're going to have a tax because you have debt on the property.
So what would go in there? What would make sense? Well, what makes sense in real estate is either land where there is no depreciation or anything, putting land inside of an account.
And also, any type of syndication. A syndication is where maybe you're one of ten or twenty or fifty investors that are buying an apartment complex. Because most of the syndications are being purchased and then four or five years later they're being sold. If you think of it, it's sort of a long-term flip. A flip, there's no depreciation involved, and if it is, it gets undone when you sell the thing. So it’s a great place to put money from your retirement account because there is no benefit to the depreciation.
So you're not really putting a tax shelter in a tax shelter, as Tom Wheelwright says, "That's a bad idea." But in this case, you're really just putting money into something using the qualified plan as your tax shelter and then when the investment flips, when it's sold off, all the gains – it doesn't matter whether they're capital gains or income or any off that. It doesn't make any difference. It's all sheltered.
So those are the land and syndications, things that are going to be short term, great. Anything that has long term cash flow with depreciation, I wouldn't put that stuff inside of a plan.
If you think about it, that's really the big differentiation between what should go in there and what shouldn't.
Chris Martenson: Syndication is something I really just learned about last year. That sounds like a big word, a bunch of syllables. It's really just talking about pooling a bunch of different investor's capital to buy something.
So let's imagine there's a $10 million apartment building. It's got, I don't know, 400 units in it, and they're looking to raise $100 thousand from 100 different people. And that would be a syndication. So that would be a deal, and that's what Damion is referring to here, is that idea of pooling people's assets.
And Adam and I are looking into some syndications and all of that because it makes a lot of sense. And those are really for people who, more like me, I've got a very busy job. I don’t want to be an active real estate investor, meaning I don’t want to be the person who has to get up at 2:00 in the morning to fix a broken toilet or tend to other things. I'd rather be a little bit more hands off, and syndication is a way of beginning to gain access to real estate in all of its myriad splendor.
Lots of different syndications out there touching everything from conversional to residential assisted living to apartment building, single family homes, you name it. So that's just to unpack that word a little bit. So that's where it starts to make a lot of sense.
And I like this idea of land because one of my personal strategies, Damion, is I want to be a big land owner at some point in time. And that's going to be one of my long-term strategies. And begin to accumulate what I consider to be raw land with timber on it or farmland or things like that that may or may not have development capability down the road, but certainly is not going to be doing a lot of depreciating over time. So that's an area I'm personally very interested in, and I know a lot of my listeners are as well.
To hold something like that, a piece of land with a title, it belongs to the 401K at that point on the QRP. What's involved in that whole process? When you go to close that transaction on a piece on land, do you show up as the administrator, as the trustee, of this account with your magic checkbook?
Damion Lupo: That's exactly right. It's as if you were buying anything else, you're just putting on a different hat. So when you sign you're signing as trustee, and you buy that thing.
This is actually a really great place to hold assets that are part of your Roth account because if you think about land, oftentimes, land, especially if you're growing things, if you're agriculture, the land isn't worth that much in the beginning, which is great. So you buy it with your Roth, so you have a small amount of money. Down the road 10 or 20 years, you have a lot of things growing. There's a lot more value. Guess what? There's no tax on any of it.
And here's another interesting thing. Let's say you buy it when your 50, and you say I want to grow things. And then I want to use this and I want to actually benefit from the produce, perhaps, that's on there, but I'm going to wait until I'm 60. Awesome.
So let the thing produce and grow over the next 10 years. And then when you're 60, when you can pull the assets or you can pull the fruits, literally and figuratively, out of the investment, at that point you make a distribution. It's all tax free. So you can grow a tomato, eat the tomato, it's tax free from your retirement account.
It's a very cool strategy that's in line with the whole community and the philosophy around self-reliance and building up assets that you're actually going to be able to use in your community.
Chris Martenson: So in terms of funding one of these things, again, if you have any existing retirement – first off, could you roll any old account? Let's imagine I've got a hodgepodge of retirement accounts. I worked for this company for six months and I got a couple thou there, I've got a Roth there, I've got a SEP there. Can all of those roll into the QRP?
Damion Lupo: This is a really important point. What can you put in? What can get in there? There are a couple things that can't go in. A Roth IRA cannot be moved into a qualified plan. That's a limiter, an inherited IRA can't go in.
The other one that's a maybe is if you have a current 401K at a current employer. If it's there you might be able to. It's called an in-service rollover. Most of the time it's not going to happen, but when you leave the job you can move that over. You can move any old 401K, 457, whatever, the thrift savings plan if you're a government employee. All of those, once you’ve left employment, 100% of that can be moved over into your plan. A regular 401K or a Roth 401K can also be moved into your plan.
So almost anything can be moved over. And even if you have, let's say you have a regular IRA, and let's say its invested in something and you go, "Well, it's already invested. I don’t want to sell my thing." You can move the assets over. It's called an in-kind rollover. You can move almost anything over that you want.
It's like what you can invest in. They say, all right, these two things, inherited IRAs and Roth IRAs, two things you can't move over. Everything else is eligible and the only one that's iffy is if you still work someone. You might be able to move it, or you might have to wait until you leave.
So you have a lot of flexibility, and you can do it as many times as you want. There's a bit of confusion around being able to do one rollover per year. That's only if you take the money out yourself and hold it for a month or two and then put it back in. But if you do a direct transfer rollover, that's from one custodian to you as the trustee, you can do that 100 times a year. There's no limit on that.
Chris Martenson: I set this up in the context of being a small business owner, and it made a lot of sense. Is that who this is really geared towards, or does this work for somebody who happens to be part of a practice or have a regular job, too?
Damion Lupo: There's no limit on who can actually do this in terms of if you have a 401K, if you have employees, if you have none of these. It's really open to anybody. The stipulation that the IRS has is this is for a business owner.
So the question is, what is a business owner? Well, if you open up a lemonade stand in your front yard, you have a business. If nobody even buys your lemonade, you still have a business.
So it's really the question is okay, well, what do I need to do to have a business? I don't know. You could do almost anything. If you're an online affiliate, if you have an Amway business – that's probably a four-letter word for some people – but hey, I've had them. And if you're selling anything, if you have an eBay business, that's a business.
So it doesn't take a lot. – people get hung up on this. They say, well, I'm a W2 employee or I'm a doctor, I have colleagues and I have employees. All of these things are eligible. And we just have to say okay, what's the business activity? That's all it is. You can have ten different plans, you can have one. It's really very flexible.
There's a lot of misinformation and a lot of confusion, so people tend to stay wherever they're at. But the reality is, if this sounds like a good fit there's a way for you to do it, without a doubt.
Chris Martenson: Your company, how long has it been offering these, and how many people have you helped achieve a little bit of freedom here?
Damion Lupo: I've been doing this for about ten years being in this space. I think total there have been about 10,000, which is kind of a drop in the bucket compared to the two million that are out there. But it's enough to where we have a very, very firm grasp on what we're doing. Pretty much the problems that are would come up have come up, and there's been fix for them.
So it's interesting. There's a lot of people that are popping up into this space of retirement plans. It's like investing with somebody that's doing their first investment and they also have a job, so this is their part time thing and you're going to be their trial run. You don’t want to be part of a trial run. You want to be with a firm that's established, that's got a team.
And so we've been doing this a long time. It's a well-established process. Like your experience, you had an experience that's probably better than our first client years ago. It's very simple.
Chris Martenson: It was very simple. It was very easy. It certainly was. And this has been very helpful for me because, again, I'm interested in – the key things that really attracted me to this was the idea of having this put through a Wyoming LLC and the privacy that afforded, the extra layer of protection around that. I'm also going to be wrapping that in later with a trust strategy so that I can really get protected.
Not because I think particularly that I'm a target, although I have a fairly public persona at this point in time, but we live in a country where anybody can sue you for any reason at any point in time. And that's just the nature of the beast. And so if you like living in a house you own that has no fire insurance on it, fine, but I'm not that guy.
So I like the protection that affords, but really, it's the ability to invest in all these other things. Here's my long-term view. Stocks and bonds are going to just destroy wealth for a long time coming just because of the nature of the bubble that we're in, all of that. Personal belief system, I don’t think those are the right places to invest.
So I'm really scrambling around, like a lot of people, saying, "Well, where can I invest?" and I wanted the freedom to make that determination for myself with a very limited set number of things I can't do. Okay, I'm not going to by a collectible Ferrari. Fine. With a rug in it. So I can't do that and lease it to my mom. That's not going to happen. [Laughs]
Damion Lupo: He's piling all of the problems into one transaction. This is a big X.
Chris Martenson: Is that just 15% for all of those at once, or is that 15% for each infraction. [Laughs]
Anyway, I'm not doing that. But otherwise, I really wanted to be able to – I think this next future is going to be about very unusual asset classes and things like that.
And so to the degree to which I know a lot of my listeners, including myself, have retirement planning as part of their past and/or current or future, I think I just wanted to let them know that there are other options out there.
This was part of my eye opening - was understanding that this isn't about taking advantage of loopholes in a tax code. This is about using the tax code as its written. Okay, that's already applied to me anyway; here's what you have to pay. That part's applied. Well, there are other parts to it, let's figure out how to put and apply all of these together, and that there are areas that the government wants to advantage because they want those activities.
And if I'm going to be in those activities I need to know about them. I need to learn about them. I should have learned about them in high school, didn’t get it there. Didn't learn about it even in any of my MBA programs. It's bizarre.
This is not overly impossibly complicated information, but it's really important information. So, that's what I wanted to bring to people.
Damion Lupo: I'm glad you shared this. And unfortunately, there's really not a place that were going to – we're not going to learn this in school. Even if you have an MBA you're not learning this stuff, and it's – don’t you have an MBA?
Chris Martenson: I do.
Damion Lupo: This is not something that's taught. And that's the highest end of business and finance where you're being an MBA. It's unfortunate, but you just have to follow the money and ultimately this is a very value tool for you, just not really for anybody else if you do it. So that's why most people haven't heard about it. It puts you in control.
I don’t think most people want to have you in control of your stuff; they want to be in control of your stuff.
Chris Martenson: That's where we depart ways.
Listen, Damion, really good stuff. And I want to give people all the appropriate links and information. First off, people who listen to this, would they be able to talk with you if they had other questions and were interested in figuring out more about this?
Damion Lupo: Yeah. It's really easy to connect with me and to – really the first step with this is education. So, when I wrote the QRP book, it was to give people basically what they needed. It's a great reference guide, and it also allows people to walk through the process and say, "Oh, okay, I get it," because there are a lot of nuances. It's been boiled down to a point where it's actually in English where people can really read it.
The process is getting a copy of that, and then also having a conversation with us. It's not just about the general guidelines. It's about your personal situation. Does this make sense for you? Some people, it probably doesn't even make any sense for, even if they're qualified.
What I would suggest is you get a copy of the book, you get a copy at theqrpbook.com, and we'll send you a copy of it. I'm also going to send you kind of the Cliff notes, the ten-page Cliff notes of it, so you'll get that in the email.
And then once you get that we'll set up a time to talk. And if it's a good fit, a couple weeks from the time you say yes, you're going to have your money in your account. At the very least, you're going to be informed of the options when you go through the process. I think that's good, to know your options.
Or if you want to put your head in the sand, that's also an option. But you're not listening to this, you haven't lasted this long over the last hour because your head's in the sand. You're still here because you care about knowing it and empowering yourself.
Chris Martenson: Absolutely. We'll have some of the links down below in the podcast here. But in case somebody's listening to this someplace like YouTube or other places where they might not be availing of those links, please direct people to your website and let them know how they can follow up more directly.
Damion Lupo: The fastest way is go to totalcontrolfinancial.com. If you're on your phone right now, you're watching or you're driving and you want to get this ball going, here's the fastest way. Text the word QRP to the number 72,000. That will get the ball rolling, and it's as fast as you texting somebody else. So QRP to 72,000 and the ball will get rolling. You will literally get the report on your phone, and the book will get sent out. So it's very, very fast and efficient no matter what you're listening to or watching this on.
Chris Martenson: Excellent. Well, that certainly sounds easy. And I would advise people to at least get educated. At least look into it if you think this applies just so you know. It might fit. It might not. You might decide to do it. You might not. All of that is up to you. But I just wanted to make sure people had the same access to this information that I got.
And it made sense for me, and I did it, and it's been very simple, and I'm glad I've done it, so far. No hitches, nothing to report except it's been very smooth.
So, Damion, thank you so much for helping me with that process and for your time today.
Damion Lupo: Thanks, Chris. Great to be here. Looking forward to talking with people and helping people get empowered and get free.
Chris Martenson: Excellent. Well, thank you so much.