247 Joy Schoffler: Investment Capital
Joy Schoffler built a financial technology PR agency from startup to scale and then when she exited by selling Leverage PR, she stepped into the investment world where she now encourages women to invest in other women entrepreneurs. Co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Upside Avenue and Casoro Capital, Joy shares her insights on investing, what it takes to create a great company, and tips for female founders.
Melinda Wittstock: Joy, welcome to Wings.
Joy Schoffler: Thank you so much for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I am so intrigued by how you got into business in the first place. Were you one of those kids with the lemonade stand that you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur, or did it come to you a little bit later in life?
Joy Schoffler: I was absolutely a kid with the lemonade stands and just loved, loved, loved anything related to business and finance. As a kid I grew up fairly poor. We didn’t have a whole lot of resources and there wasn’t really a whole lot of role models for financial success, so I just really sought out books, newspapers, magazines, anything that I could find on finance and investing, and just really had a passion for it. We were so poor that a lot of times we couldn’t afford lemonade, so we’d sell ice water. We were just creative, and we’d put some food coloring and let kids pick different colored ice waters. I guess it was more healthy and they had some color choices there, but I just loved…
I saw entrepreneurship as a way to have freedom in life. I saw it as the great equalizer, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter what your family’s like, it doesn’t matter about your education. Nothing else matters other than your ability to go out and create and impact the lives of others for good. I just thought that, wow, this is something that in America not only could I do, but is really what America is all about. Entrepreneurship is American as apple pie. That’s America, we’re a nation of entrepreneurs.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful, though, because it sounds to me that you just didn’t let anything hold you back. I love that you say it’s the great equalizer because really with entrepreneurship you can do anything as long as you can see it, I guess, in your mind’s eye and you’re willing to go all in on it. Did you always know that? Did your parents teach you that, or was that just something that you learned along the way?
Joy Schoffler: I think that I just was really lucky to have phenomenal role models. I always sought out, tried to seek out people who I liked different qualities about them whether it was authors, or people on TV, or whoever it may be. My mom did have a little used clothing store and boutique. I think I learned that it was possible to have a business from her and then really look to others to see, okay, what do successful people do? Successful people really pour out a lot of their love sharing how they got there, and what they’ve done, and the steps they’ve taken. I just literally read everything I could get my hands on. I was a voracious reader to the point where I’d walk through the halls with books and on breaks from school. I just love to read. I was reading Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine way before it was cool to do so. Instead of Cosmo and Teen Magazine those were my go-to choices.
Melinda Wittstock: Joy, what was it that led you to decide you were going to start a PR agency? You started Leverage PR, which you sold a couple of years ago, very, very successful PR company. What attracted you to that world?
Joy Schoffler: It’s actually funny. I was in real estate. I was an acquisition’s director before launching Leverage PR. The company I was with grew from four to 75 people in a year and a half. We made the Inc. list for both years. We just had tremendous growth. When the market had a downturn at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009 I just had my first daughter. I knew the market wasn’t going to improve anytime soon.
Melinda Wittstock: Understatement.
Joy Schoffler: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: 2008 you say, right.
Joy Schoffler: It was beginning of 2009, and I just knew that we were going to be stuck here for a while. I decided to go and basically take some time off with my daughter and then that turned into consulting to friends. Every single consulting engagement I had they needed something similar. They needed to make sure their message to their target audience was correct. They needed to make sure that they were reaching the right people and the right target audiences. The natural result of that was working with them on their communications front and working with them in the media because those were the influencers.
It grew very rapidly and after seven years in business I was acquired by a New York based firm, Caliber Corporate Advisers that were just a phenomenal group and were really able to both absorb my team and really fostered my team’s development and growth and helped them to have the careers that I knew they were capable of as well as just they were a phenomenal agency that got great results. I wanted to make sure my customers were taken care of and they’re still our agency at our investment firm today. It grew out of things that I understood was how it came about.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m fascinated always by entrepreneurial exit stories and what it actually takes to sell your company, especially, from an emotional perspective because here you are, you’ve built this company up that you’re really proud of, it’s your baby, all of that, and you’ve got to let it go. Of course, hopefully, you’ve really focused on all the valuation growth and you’ve got a really good deal. You’ve got a nice exit multiple, you’ve got all that kind of stuff, but what did it feel like?
Joy Schoffler: I was really lucky in that the firm who acquired me they took great care of my people. They honored all of the terms of our deal. They’ve just been very ethical and really good to the clients. They’ve kept all the clients on. They’ve continued to grow that. It was really good. It was just a phenomenal success story, but even the most successful with no problems it still felt like you were giving your baby up for adoption and then watching somebody else parent it in the same house. It’s hard. It’s hard, hard, hard, hard. It’s just a challenging thing. It’s respecting the new boundaries. It’s realizing that they are now the boss of your people and stepping back.
The way that we planned my particular exit I was still a senior advisor with them for a couple years with a little bit of an earn out period where I was doing active work to push it over and help make the transition smooth for our clients, but it was still hard. I think it’s even harder when you go in and now you’re employees in a division. I think you really have to think through all the different pieces of it like what are you actually wanting your life to look like on the other side? What did make it easier is I went and spent two months in Nicaragua with my kids bumming around the beach and really enjoying myself, and traveling, and not answering emails, and not picking up my phone, and just enjoying life. There’s nothing like completely letting go to help you let go.
Melinda Wittstock: Joy, it’s so important what you say because as you’re moving towards selling the company knowing where you’re going after that and what the big mission is, and where you’re going to go next I think is vital to your psychological well-being, I guess, going through that process. I’m curious, though, how early in the formation and evolution of Leverage PR did you know that ultimately you were going to sell and how focused were you on valuation growth strategies like thinking ahead to who was likely to buy you and how could you increase your exit multiple and that sort of thing? When did you become conscious of all of that?
Joy Schoffler: Great question. I am a firm believer in goals and actually thinking back probably one of the ways that I was able to achieve what I’ve been able to achieve based upon where I came from is every single year I sit down and I write down my goals, or every time I accomplish a big one. Sometimes, it can be closer to a year and a half, what-not. Every time I either at an annual basis or when I accomplish a big goal, I sit down and look at three months, nine months, one year, five year, 10 year goals. I’ve done that since I was 15 years old. What I did was about five years into it, I decided, I said, “It’s grown to the point where I’ve got staff who depend upon me. I’ve got clients who depend upon me. I’ve got a lease. I’ve got this, I’ve got that.”
I think, sometimes, a lifestyle business and a consulting business can turn into a real business when you’re working it, and you just open your eyes one day and you’re like, “Wow, I’ve got to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per quarter to keep this sucker going.” It’s become way bigger than yourself, and it’s become something meaningful for the people who are there and the people who you serve. Really about five years into it, I said, “I really want to go back into the investment industry.” It was always a passion. A lot of my clients were investment focused and I was helping on the strategy end. I was very involved with provisions of the job backed that opened up investors to the ability to invest to everybody across the nation, not just accredited investors.
I knew that it was something I wanted to do and I put it down as one of my three year goals. I said, “This is something I want to do.” I lucked out and I backwards planned and said, “Okay, I know this is something that I want to happen within the one to three year timeframe, what are the steps that I need to take?” Part of that was taking on clients for a smaller retainer and less fees in order to build the brand and the reputation of the firm to attract other big name clients that an acquirer would want. I wasn’t huge. We’re Austin based. We didn’t have any extreme specialty in the beginning, but we really branded ourselves as a FinTech PR firm because I saw that as an area of growth and an area I really understood in finance.
We started working with clients like South by Southwest with big name recognition where we could get other clients. I took a lot of stats to build the brand, have growth of the revenue, just do certain things that I knew would keep our brand out there in the spotlight because I knew that would help. A lot of times with marketing and PR and different digital services firms the cobbler’s son has no shoes. You’re the last person that you help. I put a person in charge of making sure that the firm had representation and was constantly in the media that really helped build our inbound search results, so we had a ton of inbound leads come through, built up our brand, our reputation.
That ended up in multiple different firms wanting to acquire us, but ultimately going with ones that would help me meet my other life goals. Because I had them written down, because travel was a major goal, because my freedom, my time with my kids, and my passive income streams were all major goals of mine and took precedence over a bigger salary or took preference over some other shiny objects that really I could have made way more money and worked on way bigger accounts, but how much time would I have had with my kids? Could I take off a month every year? Could I do the things that were major life goals? Because I really structured having these written out and really sat down and looked at what was important long-term for me I knew which firm I wanted to go with.
Melinda Wittstock: Thank you so much for explaining that because I think the clue in a lot of ways is, Joy, you’ve always known where you’re going because of the discipline and the rigor with which you set those goals. If we don’t know where we’re going we can’t get there and you have such clarity about your mission. Even now as you moved into, hey, I wanted to get into the investment community, which I think is wonderful, and I want to move our conversation more in that direction.
One of my big missions is to get women to invest in other women. I’m curious what you see there because I know as a tech founder how difficult it is for women to get access to venture capital, for instance. Right now it’s only two to three percent. Even if the female founded business qualifies insofar as it could conceivably be a billion dollar business that model is so broken for so many women. I’m curious what you think about the best way for female founders to go out there and get money and, also, how to encourage more women to invest in other women.
Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. Well, there’s a couple of pieces to that. I think a big one is that as a woman entrepreneur don’t just go to women funding events. In fact, that’s probably one of the last places you want to go if you want money. I know that’s going to sound completely crazy.
Melinda Wittstock: Why is that? Is there some reason why women are sort of reticent to invest?
Joy Schoffler: Well, it’s not even… When you’re one of the few women… There is a great article that I was featured in for South by Southwest this write-up that the Dallas Morning News did, and it said, “These women aren’t here to sip flower cocktails.” The whole premise of the article was at South by, all the women were going to women oriented funding events, or a good portion of them. There was, for example, a lady who I met who is an African American woman. She was so brilliant. She had a PhD. She was 29. She launched this amazing startup that was just phenomenal. Had that same lady applied to the South by Southwest pitch event, had she applied to other pitch events with other people in the audience, and really gone out there, and gone out there far and wide within the funding community and pitched her heart out at every one of those events and shared her ideas with other people she would have been funded.
She went to only women oriented, or excuse me, minority woman events. That was the only ones she went to. I talked to her later about why she didn’t go to the other ones, and she said, “Well, I just didn’t think about it. I thought as a woman minority person I needed to just go to this event.” In honesty, there are so many men who want to invest in women and help them to become more. I think it’s a matter of whether you’re a woman investing in a man or a woman investing in another woman you’re oftentimes going to invest with a group of other investors, so your pool of capital that’s going to be available to you is so much bigger if you go out and pitch to these bigger groups of VCs.
There’s going to be women and men who are involved in it, but it’s going out there and pitching where the other areas are because I tell you the men, too, and a lot of the women they want to invest in these groups, but if they’re not just a lot of times spending… You have an advantage as a woman lots of times to go and pitch to these events because they want to help women, and because you’re a smaller percentage of the people applying you’re going to stand out. When you go to a woman pitch event you’re going to be pitching alongside all these other ladies, and you’re not going to stand out, so being in the places will be a big help. I don’t know if that was clear enough of an answer.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, no, it is insofar as a numbers game. If you want to go raise serious money you’re going to get no more often than not. It’s like deal flow, right?
Joy Schoffler: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s a numbers game, so you’ve got to get out in front of as many people as possible. I know in some of the early stages, though, I have witnessed this myself where women of tremendous means have no problem writing a check to charity for millions of dollars, but will struggle to write a check for $10,000 or $25,000, or a relatively small amount to a founder who is solving with her company the problem that a charity is solving. So many female founders talk about this in the tech world, and I’m wondering whether this is just simply a case of education, or something else that holds some of those women back from taking the leap into supporting their sisters in business.
Joy Schoffler: You can definitely brand yourself along the impact investment route for that particular case, but from a woman entrepreneur standpoint I don’t… I’m part of an Austin-based investment club. We have several family offices who are very wealthy, and then several investors like myself who just invest in various different things that work, or that are a fit for us. We’re smaller check sizes, so out of the people who’ve applied to pitch to us I don’t believe we’ve had a single woman even apply.
Melinda Wittstock: You’re kidding me.
Joy Schoffler: No.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, goodness. Ladies of available companies listen to this, not one applied. I have a lot of listeners who are women with awesome tech companies and also in the Austin area. I know so many of them because I’m an alum of Springboard Enterprises. There are so many and yet they haven’t applied. Do they just not know about you?
Joy Schoffler: We’re more just a group of high net worth investors and family offices, so we’re not public in any way to perform so it’s probably…
Melinda Wittstock: Right. How do people find out about you?
Joy Schoffler: If people want to go to my website and just on the form at upsideavenue.com on the contact request box you can just let me know, and then I’ll pass it onto the deal person there. I’m happy to refer. We don’t have a website or anything because it’s truly just a private group of investors who meet together.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m sorry to interrupt, but this is a really interesting thing because people invest in people that they already know. I think for a lot of women coming into it that are just not connected it’s hard to know even where to look like how you connect into family offices, how you know about them, other funding sources and ways in which women can get access to capital because 2% of VC money that really has to change.
Joy Schoffler: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m curious about that how can women just plug into this a little bit better and have access to just knowing about where and who they should be talking to and developing relationships with?
Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. There’s a couple different multi-pronged approach they could take. One is just searching for whatever industry your business is in looking and getting a feel for what types of funding organizations are out there. There are several investment banks who can help with funding and typically there’s industry specific investment banks. A lot of those investment bankers will have conversations with you even if you’re way too early stage just so they can start to develop that relationship. On an industry by industry basis just having the conversations with investment bankers to say, okay, what are my different funding sources available? What are the metrics I need to hit? What are the goals that I should be setting for myself for the funding sources in the B and C round? What are the things I can do now to set myself up for those goals even if I’m in the seed round, just so I can start to understand what people are looking for to make better use of this conversation.
Searching for investment bankers in your industry is one and they’ll a lot of times be able to give you huge insights into, okay, here’s the type of people who you should, basically, you should connect with. Here’s different funders who are very active in this space. There’s often reports that the different industries will put out that have the most active either acquirers or investors for a particular industry segment. Looking there, first and foremost, I’d say is probably one of the best bets. Everybody goes for organizations like the YCombinator, or different tech stars or these different really high profile ones, but a lot of times if there’s smaller industry incubators or accelerators those could actually be a better fit for you. Then I don’t necessarily think the startup community being really ingrained there if you’re an entrepreneur is the best fit because you’re just around other people who are also looking for money. Being part of the startup community can be a job in itself because there’s always a million events and things to do.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh, yeah. You can get so distracted trying to raise money and going to all these different events and pitch competitions that your eye is off the ball in growing your business and getting clients and getting traction and all those things you need to do to even qualify for the funding to begin with.
Joy Schoffler: Absolutely. The thing is that those investors, the real active ones, they’re actively looking for a deal flow. If you learn from an investment banker or different people what it is that they’re looking for because these are people in their community on a regular basis even if the investment banker necessarily isn’t the best person to help you right then they can often give you the steps you should take right then to help you be prepared for later on. What that can do is you can connect with a lot of people from that particular organization on LinkedIn and just share high-level bullet points that you know that they’re going to be interested in about the growth and trajectory of your firm and the steps you’re taking.
I think all serious investors are not really looking for projections. They’re looking for what have you done in the past from your experience and what is their exit. If you can tell them your past how you’ve done it, and that can be backed up in a very realistic way with third party backup then they see that you’ve got a really good conservative exit where they can get their money back you’ll probably get that money. People want to put their money to work. They want to have something to do with it. A lot of times investors just don’t see an exit. That’s why I love real estate is I know what my exit is going to be. I know I’m going to get a good cash flow, and then worst-case scenario I just have to hold, but I can always sell property.
With tech investments or startup investments it’s hard because, gosh, I’ve got 12 companies I’ve invested in and only one have I seen a little bit of an exit. However, with my real estate portfolio, I’ve had 6x on some and 2x on others, so maybe it’s just a sign of where we are in the cycle as well that people are moving towards more sheer bets. I personally stopped doing anything but fixed income investments, and real estate about two years ago, or excuse me, about a year and a half ago because I was a little bit shaky on where the market was going. I just wanted sure things because a lot of investors right now, too, are a bit scared that, hey, the market… When liquidity is really at a crunch or people’s businesses don’t have the customers because we’re going to go into a downturn I don’t know that I want to put my money there. Let me put it somewhere where worst-case scenario I feel like there’s going to be an asset there at the end of the day. I think you have a lot of that in the market right now, too.
Melinda Wittstock: Joy, a moment ago you talked about accredited investors and wanting to extend the opportunity beyond accredited investors. First of all, just remind everybody what it is to be an accredited investor, and what are some of the opportunities for people who don’t necessarily have that net worth to be able to invest in startups, invest in ways to get passive income other than your 401(k)?
Joy Schoffler: The SEC defines an accredited investor of having either a net worth above a million excluding your primary residence, excluding your house, or an annual income of 200,000 alone, or 300,000 when combined with a spouse. Really that was less than 10% of the population were allowed to invest in a private offering. I have been really lucky that even in my 20s, because I worked for an investment firm as a director, I was able to invest in private offerings, which is where I made anywhere from 2x to 6x on returns on capital and real estate.
Then as things progressed and we made more and saved more and invested more than I became accredited and was allowed to invest with other types of companies. However, for 90% of Americans they were not allowed to do that. My same amount of money that I put in the stock market I may have… I’m terrible at it. I’ve done different advisors and the whole nine yards, and nothing has helped. When everybody else doubled their money in the stock market over a 15 year period the same amount that I invested in real estate that I got even a 2x return on maybe I’ve got, gosh, maybe a 10% return in some of the stock market. It’s been pitiful. It’s really sad. That was the only option available for regular investors. For 90% of Americans that’s it, that’s all you could do.
The JOBS Act passed in 2012, which opened up investing and private offerings to all Americans that were the people who were doing the offering, basically, had certain filings that they did with SEC. One of the terms that’s really known well with the people is crowdfunding where a person lists their company on one of these platforms like equity net, for example. Basically, people come in and can invest legally on their platform. There’s different types of exemptions and as you’re going through the subscription process it will usually tell you whether or not you’re allowed to invest in that type of offering. Basically, that opened it up to not only investors being able to invest, but as somebody who’s doing an offering, being able to even let people know you exist are alive before you really couldn’t talk at all about anything related to a security. You just didn’t talk. You maybe did a little thought leadership and expertise out there in the market, but you didn’t talk about the fact that you were raising capital or you even had open investments.
Fast forward now to 2018, and we have all the regulations of the JOBS Act are implemented. Not only are you allowed to invest in small startups, but now bigger companies like ours who are 16 years old, have 160 employees, have done over a billion in acquisitions. Companies like ours where even letting smaller investors be able to invest as little as 2,000 into our real estate diversified portfolio of multifamily, senior living, and student housing and we’ve had historical returns above 28% portfolio wide. When you look at the opportunities that are now available to people they’re just so different than even five years ago. It’s a completely different world.
Really, at the end of the day as an investor you’re able to not only invest in these companies, but you’re able to diversify because even before if you did meet that accreditation standard most either real estate or private company people it just didn’t make sense for them to take your investment if it was under $50,000, that was typically the threshold. Sometimes, you could get in for 25, but it was typically about 50k. What happened there is you really couldn’t diversify. Another thing that the technology behind a lot of these platforms is enabling is for investors to be able to spread out the risk and be able to put a little bit in different companies, or a little bit in different real estate projects, or wherever and pepper it around, so that they can then diversify a little bit more and not put all their eggs in one basket.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. This is so important because for a lot of entrepreneurs we double down and put everything we have into our own businesses. Often we need to do that, but it’s also wise to figure out how to get some passive income streams because there’s going to be all kinds of swings and roundabouts and things you don’t expect. It’s important for entrepreneurs to diversify as well.
Joy Schoffler: Oh, it’s so critical.
Melinda Wittstock: It really is, and yet it’s something that so many entrepreneurs really forget to do so you can end up in this vicious circle of the business funding your life, everything in your life going back into the business so you have this circle around from the business to your life, business to your life. As the business grows your tastes grow, all of that. If you’re not putting some into this third column, which is investment separate from your personal expenses and any new luxuries you discover and separate from the investment into your business you can end up, well, with a lot of regret. What is a good plan for a founder starting out and what proportion do you think of money from the business, from personal income should go into investing and creating those passive income streams?
Joy Schoffler: When my husband and I were in our late 20s we actually decided when friends were moving up and buying nicer cars and nicer houses and making these choices we said, “We would really love a different house. We’d really love a bigger house, and we’d really love these things, however, we really want to make a commitment where if one of us is not working that we’re still going to be okay.” At the time I was in the commercial real estate space and your money is very tied up in different deals. You make a whole lot at once and some business owners are like that’s where you make a whole lot at once, but you don’t necessarily have a steady income coming in. At that time we decided we’re going to try to just live off one income.
We set a rule in place where a third of our money is going to go into short-term savings when we do get it, but over and above that one income. A third of our money would be long-term savings as well as any goal based savings that we had, and then a third would be investments. Now when we had our first child, what we did was we augmented that, also, to take all childcare costs off the top of that, and then use the remaining in those three buckets. Sometimes, we cheated and didn’t necessarily do all of it or splurged, or whatever. We’re human, right? But what we did was we followed those rules when we started my business, and because we had a really low cost of living lifestyle we set my salary incredibly low in the beginning. I didn’t hire until it was absolutely necessary. I kept contractors on for as long as possible.
When I had extra money that flowed into the business I didn’t take it out of the business really quickly. What I did was I built up the business savings to the point where I had two months of short-term savings there to pay everything before I started to fill other buckets. Then once that comfortability was like, okay, I won’t be ruined if something goes bad because that is a lot of stress. As females a lot of times we have way too much stress on our plates anyway with kids and juggling schedules and where it still feels like we’re the primary everything in life, sometimes, in addition to also having a business and then having societal or personal expectations of looking certain ways, or even the time to get your nails and your hair done takes lots of time. It’s regular maintenance, and there’s things that we have to deal with from a time perspective that God bless them, guys can take 10 minutes and be out the door. It’s hard to get out the door in 10 minutes and still look pretty presentable as a woman.
I digress, but the main point there is that you’ve got so much stress and so much worry and concern on your back already as a woman I didn’t want the other stress to be financial with my business. I filled that bucket of short-term savings up first to really have a good buffer to where I was just comfortable and I could make decisions okay in my business. Sometimes, I didn’t take advantage of all the growth opportunities because of it, but I slept a lot better and I had a stable of consultants who I could scale up and down as much as possible for as long as possible until I really had to bring on the full-time employee or lost it, or I had to do health insurance, or I had to do this`. I didn’t do anything until I absolutely had to in regard to fixed cost.
Once I had that in place, what I then did is anything extra I would start taking off the business table completely, so into those three buckets I would, actually, I digress. I would additionally make a large tax payment after that was completed, so I’d have my two months, then I would do a big tax payment just so I wasn’t going to possibly have a really bad notification come the following May. Would do a big tax payment, would use my long-term savings under a SEP contribution. I did a self-directed IRA so I could still invest it in what I wanted to, but I did it through a SEP vehicle so that I had that additional write-off in the business. Then I had put a little bit of it aside for personal savings, and then a little bit aside of it for personal, long-term growth.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. This is so important. My goodness, I could talk to you for hours about all of this. I think you have to come back, and talk more on the podcast about this.
Joy Schoffler: Oh, it would be my pleasure.
Melinda Wittstock: Before we start to wrap up, though, I’d love to know from you, Joy, what your big vision is given the fact that you do these three month, six month, nine month, 12 month, five year, 10 year plans where do you see yourself going?
Joy Schoffler: My big vision right now is to really share our mission of our REIT. We are breaking escrow next week. We already have two phenomenal properties. One with a 10% cash-on-cash, the other with an 8% cash on cash already in place from day one that we’re deploying into, so really to do a phenomenal job for our investors, and make our 15 million goal raised by the end of the year. It is a big audacious goal, but this time at 2020 I want to have raised 15 million, and I know that I will. I’m super excited about this. People need options. We had a loss in the stock market on Friday it closed down 180 points. I just see the stock market as crazy overvalued, and people think that is their only option that they have to that that’s where their 401(k) is so they have no other choices.
They don’t even realize there’s self-directed IRAs that they can move stuff into so that they have flexibility with their IRAs. They don’t have to just keep it in the stock market. People think that’s the only place that they’re going to go. If you look at the Smart Money Index, which is an index of where a lot of the institutional investors are most of them pulled out when the big loss happened a while back. They’ve had a 20% decline in the markets so a lot of the really big successful investors are not doing a lot in the markets unless they’re shorting them from what that index says, and it’s the Smart Money Index. People at the end of the day being able to allow people to invest in multifamily, senior living, and student housing where we’re anticipating a 4.2 million unit additional need by 2020, or excuse me by 2040 rather, so within the next 20 years we have that much of a need for new units coming online and just seeing where the demographics are.
Baby boomers are moving out of their single-family homes. A lot of them are becoming renters again. Millenials don’t want to buy a house in some cases, and a lot of times have too much debt too, and then generation Z the biggest cohort of that population is now renter age. Just looking at allowing people to help them get into something that is a little bit less volatile than the market is super exciting to me, so that’s my big long-term vision now is to help educate people about other choices that they have with their investments. No matter where they go to invest just helping to educate people about their financial future and that they have choices. They have the ability to do whatever they want in life.
My parents didn’t even graduate high school. I was the only one out of me and my sisters, my mom, who even graduated high school let alone went to college, and had the success that I’ve had. It is possible to do whatever you want in life, whatever you want, whether it’s travel, whether it’s being able to go write a book, or take your startup public, whatever it is, it is possible, and just to be able to help women stay financially sound to make those long-term goals and visions a reality is my long-term 10 year goal.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, Joy, how can people find you and work with you?
Joy Schoffler: I am at www.upsideavenue.com. Once again that’s upsideavenue.com. We are a multifamily income REIT helping people invest for as little as $2,000.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Joy Schoffler: It was such an honor to be here. Thank you so much.