For every authority in any field, persistency will always be a factor for achieving their success. They all broke down obstacles in their path through careful planning and implementation. Nobody became successful by accident. The Principal of Mesos Capital, Pancham Gupta, shares his beginnings and how he overcame the struggle of shifting from a high-paying job into full-time real estate investing against all odds and doubts. He talks about how he uses cost segregation to effectively save on tax and breaks down the details of how it works. Also, learn about the importance of continuous learning and implementation in this industry and the benefits of planning ahead of time to not only save on taxes but legally avoid paying it altogether.
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Persistence and Planning: The Keys to Success with Pancham Gupta
Our guest is a commercial real estate expert and an engineer by trade. He’s originally from India and lived the American dream. He has such an inspirational story on how he went from a full-time W-2 job to commercial real estate operator and syndicator and pursuing his passion for being an entrepreneur. You’re going to enjoy this interview. I look forward to any of your thoughts or feedback. Feel free to always email us for different ideas and different guests to have here at Brett@CapitalGainsTaxSolutions.com.
Our guest is an expert in commercial real estate. Let’s face it, most paid professionals struggle with finding quality investments outside of Wall Street. Our guest is the Host of The Gold Collar Investor podcast and Principal of Mesos Capital. He has a Master’s in Information Networking in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He also manages and controls over $32 million in real estate. He has bought and invested in properties in five different states and internationally. His strength is in finding value propositions and has successfully built a portfolio that is cashflowing in the double digits. He’s the Co-Founder of Multifamily Mastermind in New York City group. He also was on a panel of one of the best conferences in the US regarding commercial real estate. It’s called the Best Ever Conference and that’s held in Denver, Colorado. I want to welcome, Pancham Gupta.
Thank you for having me, Brett. It’s an honor to be here.
Thanks for being here. You can find all about Mr. Gupta at TheGoldCollarInvestor.com/download. He has something there for you. Pancham, would you please give us a little bit about your story and your focus?
I came to the United States in 2003 from India to pursue my Master’s from Carnegie Mellon and I graduated in 2005. My idea at the time was that I would get my Master’s, get some work experience, and I’ll go back to India and start something of my own. I wanted to do something on my own from the get-go. After I got married in 2008, we decided that we would go back and we had sold everything, all the furniture. We found out that we’re expecting a baby and they’re like, “It’s hard to move places when you’re expecting. Why not just have the baby and then move back?” That never happened. Plans changed. In 2012, I decided to stay here and started investing in real estate slowly as a hobby and expanded into five different states with small properties.
I realized that I had a demanding full-time job in New York City. I decided, “This is not scalable. My time was getting used to it so much.” I looked into syndications as a business to grow and I did one, then a second, a third, and a fourth one. I quit my job to do this full-time. At this point, I help many high paid professionals who have the money but don’t have either time, energy, motivation or the knowledge to invest in alternative assets, especially real estate. Get all the tax benefits, all the things that you talked about, and how they can defer even capital gains from the stock market into opportunity’s own funds, for example. We have not done one but there are many opportunities out there.In this knowledge age, information is free. But at the end of the day, you have to take action and implement whatever you learn. Click To Tweet
That is absolutely our passion, helping people create and preserve more wealth through tax deferral or tax efficiencies or tax elimination altogether. Before your success, who is Pancham growing up? You mentioned coming from India, but I’m curious what strengths were you given? Not just your story of relocating, but who were you growing up? That particular strength, how has that helped how you help people or led you on your journey to what you’re doing full-time? Take us back to the early days.
I grew up in a middle-class business family back home. My dad was an entrepreneur. He was also a real estate investor back in India. I saw him doing this when I grew up, but I was analytical. I’m good at math and computers, and computers fascinated me. I went into the computer engineering side, but I always wanted to be an entrepreneur growing up. Being an engineer has helped me and that’s what I pursued my Master’s in. That’s what I spent fourteen years in the FinTech industry doing engineering and financial engineering. That skill has helped me understand the world of finance and the world of all these alternative asset classes to where I can figure out all the nitty-gritty details of how these things work and put them together for people to understand. I’ll make it easy for them to understand. My background is in derivatives. For fourteen years, I was building derivative products. Growing up being an engineer and being analytical has helped me even with that skillset. I honed it over the years and I still apply that in this new business that I’ve started.
Analytical mind, sharp mind with computers and math, working hard and being persistent and now, it’s used. Your dad too. You had real estate in the family over there in India. You had a lot of reasons to move forward. You said you went for the job first and then transitioned into real estate. Walk us through some of that transition. Take us to the moment when you said, “I was born to be an entrepreneur,” or, “I was born to be a full-time real estate investor.” Take us from that transition from the W-2 or the job, which you switched over fully. What point did you figure it out? What were the steps to fully burn the ships, if you will, and go full-time?
It was hard for me to make this leap. I’ll take you back from 2005 to 2012 first. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Being a first-generation immigrant in this country and being from India, it was hard for us to do anything legally on the side because I was on a work visa. I didn’t have my permanent residency until 2012, so I couldn’t do much. On the side, I started two startups in software before I went into real estate and those then collided. They were so-called failures or I learned from them and they were real-life seminars. In 2011, I read these books Rich Dad Poor Dad and CASHFLOW Quadrant from Robert Kiyosaki and that changed my mindset completely. That’s when I started investing in real estate. Investing in the US versus investing in India in real estate is like the North Pole and the South Pole. That’s totally opposite there. People invest in appreciation, whereas Robert Kiyosaki teaches us to invest in the cashflow. That’s what I started doing and I started learning about the markets as a hobby.Be persistent and don't give up. That's the key to success. Click To Tweet
I started investing in 1, 2, 3, 4 single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes. This hobby at some point became an addiction where I had my commute of 1.5 hours each way, so three hours total. I was spending time learning about these, listening to podcasts, reading books, and spending my nights and weekends on analyzing deals and talking to all these investors. I’m using my vacation days to go to these conferences and not taking any vacation when I was working. It became a passion for me and I started even raising capital as joint ventures on doing some of these deals. People started coming back for more and that’s when I started looking at syndications. For me to switch from a full-time job to full-time syndicator was a difficult shift because I had a high paying job. For me to make that transition from the mindset point of view was difficult because everyone around me, whether my friends, wife, and parents said, “What about this? What about the benefits? What about this high paying job? You don’t have any of that income right now. What are you going to do about all of that?” They were right in a way.
They always told me, “What if it doesn’t work?” I told them, “What if it does?” It was hard so I hired a mindset coach to help me quit my job. It was difficult. There’s a funny story. I decided that I’m going to get Tony Robbins’ Master Platinum coach to help me with quitting my job and I went to my wife and I’m like, “I want to hire a mindset coach to help me quit.” She was like, “What?” I said, “To help me quit.” She was like, “Just go quit. You don’t need to hire a coach for that and especially pay someone to help you not make money.” I was like, “You make it sound so simple. It’s not that simple.” Anyway, I did hire a coach and he did help me quit. That’s how I got around my negative programming over the years that I’ve had to make that leap.
Hopefully, you’ve already written a book or you’re starting to write a book because there are many lessons there and many opportunities for you not to pursue your passions and dreams, not to work hard on the side and the conferences on the side. Be diligent on your work but still build the dream. It’s both. Too often, we think it has to be won now and all the big dominoes have to fall over now, but no. You can knock over the small dominoes along the way of your entrepreneurial journey, your business, or the next real estate deal you’re buying. You might have to knock over that bigger one and it may take a mindset coach. Whatever it does take, that’s the key. Figure it out and take action. I absolutely love that story. You love what you’re doing and you decided to go full-time. What’s the most rewarding part about what you do?
The most rewarding part of what I do is helping people and that helping people part can be broken down on multiple things. Number one, we tried to help investors invest their money, create this passive income for themselves and for their family and also not pay taxes on that. They have all this money, but they don’t know how to invest so I help them invest that money and educate them at the same time. Second, they buy these value-added multifamily buildings in the southeast. We have six cities where we look and invest. In those cities, when we buy in these places, we improve the overall community. We are helping all the people who are living there so that we make a good place that they could call home for them to live in. I love what I do in terms of helping. The third way is I have this podcast, like yours, where I’m trying to teach about all these things that are not taught in school. It’s all about mindset. It’s like the education side. I’m helping the investors with their money problem or the tenants to create a home for them where they live in a nicer place, nicer communities, or education. All of that is rewarding in what I do.
One part of it’s practical. Meaning, it’s an individual family or individual investor. One part of it is community-oriented, helping a whole area improve. The other part is maybe national or international with education for the masses, teach them through your podcast. I love those three pegs if you will. Take us to some examples. Maybe you can share a deal story or two about somebody who has either full-time Wall Street or full-time job and now they have this extra passive income. How does that change their lifestyle? Walk us through a deal story that comes to mind for one of your investors.
I can talk about a deal that we sold back in September of 2019. That was our first syndication. We did about 26% or 27% IRR on that deal when we sold it. We sold it within 23 months and we were able to raise the capital. We were able to execute our business plan and sell it for the price that we had thought we would. Since it was our first deal, we raised capital from our close friends and family members. One of the good friends of mine was only investing in Wall Street products. When I say within Wall Street, it’s a wide term, only stocks and index funds. That’s what he was doing and he invested and trusted us with his money. He had since invested in every single deal of ours. He’s told me stories about how he can get this passive income from us. For example, if he invested $100,000 in that deal and he was getting a 10% return, he’s getting this $10,000 every year. Now he doesn’t even have to think about his vacation. He can use that money towards his vacation and be done with that one investment. He also knows that his principal is growing. He’s getting this constant cashflow. He doesn’t have to pay taxes on that and he does a good vacation with that money. It’s amazing.
There’s so much education out there but there are so many people who still do not know. You’re helping people with an amazing asset such as commercial real estate through syndications and operators like yourself who have a track record and who is in it for the right reasons to help people. That produces passive income and it’s another source. It takes the pressure off of having to work. Let’s say he did ten of these and you add up 1,000 times 10. Maybe you can walk away from a job and have more time and energy. That being said, let’s focus on the taxes because it’s part of our role in Capital Gains Tax Solutions was helping you with that. You said he doesn’t pay taxes. Walk us through the strategy you use to eliminate some of that tax.
There is something called depreciation. It’s the tax benefit and incentive that’s given by the IRS to all the investors who are investing in real estate where you can take these paper losses on your returns, which is called depreciation. With commercial real estate, it becomes even more lucrative because what we can do is something called a cost segregation study. What that study does is it’s another incentive on top of the incentive that they already had. Trump’s tax law made it even more lucrative. What that means is that you break the building down into multiple components like it’s made up of a roof, windows, electrical panels, lighting fixtures, carpet, furniture, and all of that. If we break down that building into all these components and you put a value against each and every line item, “The roofs are this much and the land is for this much. The electrical panels are for this much. The carpets are for this much,” and all of that. If you have that study done and you have all these line items, then you can take up to fifteen-year items.When you buy a property, make sure you do your part in improving the community that property is in. Click To Tweet
The items which will depreciate over the fifteen-year lifetime, though which have a lifetime of fifteen years. You can take all of that value as depreciation in the first year of ownership. What that does is for example, at a high level, you buy a building for $1.25 million and $250,000 is the land and the building is worth $1 million. Typically, you can take 30% to 35% of the value, which in this case would be $300,000 to $350,000 as depreciation in the first year as a paper loss on your tax returns. What that does is any income you make on that building, that income has to be more than $300,000 to $350,000 for you to pay any taxes, which is an amazing benefit. If you add on top of that leverage, this $1.25 million building, let’s say 20% down, it would be $250,000 that you would have to pay. Imagine you’re investing $250,000 and you have a loss of $300,000. Let’s say you generate 10% on that $250,000. That’s $25,000. You wouldn’t have to pay taxes for years until you reap that benefit so it’s amazing.
That is the power of cost segregation, accelerated depreciation to offset the income. This $100,000 investor has $10,000 that’s coming in but when it’s coming in, he’s receiving the cashflow. On his tax returns, because of the accelerated depreciation, he’s zero tax on that that will last until that portion runs out. He’s a percentage owner of that total. Let’s say it’s $350,000 but essentially, for a number of years, he should have zero. Let’s fast forward to when you’re going to sell it. Walk us through what’s happening with the capital gains tax. We talked about a deal that you did where you paid some tax. Walk us through that a little bit of when this has all come back for the client to pay the tax.
I say this to all of our investors. If you do enough of these investments, you probably wouldn’t have to pay any taxes ever. For example, we sold this building in September, and all the capital gains tax that we have. If that $100,000 guy took that money and invested in another new syndication, all the accelerated depreciation or bonus depreciation from that deal will offset the passive gains from the previous investment. I tell all my investors that you can plan out and it’s not that we will wake up one day and sell the building. You would know 6 or 5 or 3 months in advance that we are going to sell this building. You plan it out that way where you are ready to invest that money in the other deal. Let’s say that doesn’t happen. there are ways which we have not done, to take that capital gains and put towards a newer investment and not to have to pay taxes on it.
One is a 1031 exchange. You can do that but with syndications, it’s a little hard to do because of certain nuances with that. There is a way called TIC, Tenancy In Common, structure that you can do where you take that portion of the capital gains and the entire investment and put it towards the new syndication. We have not done that but then there are ways where you can do it. This exact building, which we sold in September of 2019, could have been that one building where we sold it, but we didn’t do any of this TIC structure or any planning towards saving taxes. We would have to pay capital gains taxes on the sale of this building. Even passive investors would have to pay as well. They know that they will have to. It’s not that they don’t know this, but this is something that we could have done better where we could have designed it in such a way that we didn’t have to pay those taxes.Invest your time and energy with people who know what to do or try to learn it yourself and do it. Click To Tweet
The key is planning. Getting a plan in place and trying to have a clear picture of what your capital gains taxes, what your depreciation recapture is, then making sure you execute that plan. Know that all of the strategies need to be done, except for the cost seg on the next deal before the close of escrow, such as setting up a 1031 exchange or a Deferred Sales Trust or doing a TIC structure. Some are known as a drop and swap where you’re moving into different smaller tenants in common entities. That being said, pre-plan and know exactly what the tax is because it can be anywhere between 30% and 50%. The government puts these legal loopholes in place so that the economy and more deals are done, more jobs are created, more apartments are built or renovated and more businesses are started.
These are legal loopholes that have been around for decades that go back to the study of macroeconomics, which states, “If we can keep money flowing and moving into more business and more investments, it’s going to spur economic growth. All ships rise and there are more jobs, more income, and therefore, more tax revenue.” This is why they put these legal loopholes in place. The key is having a team that’s there to help you execute. You may have a CPA to help you execute on your personal tax return and having a team to help you execute this. I consider you a real estate wealth advisor after helping countless investors, $32 million in real estate assets that you own and manage with your partners, being a speaker at these large conferences, and having the podcast. What are the top two wealth-building strategies that you would share?
I’m biased. Real estate is the single most asset class that has made more millionaires in the whole world. When I said real estate asset class, that means it’s not just multifamily. There are so many niche asset classes within real estate. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are multifamily retail strip malls, self-storage, mobile home parks, you name it. There are so many of them. Learn about one, become good with one, invest your time and energy, and invest with people who know this or try to learn it yourself and do it. That’s the one single most thing, the wealth-building strategy.
The second is to keep learning. I read many books and listen to so many podcasts like yours. There’s so much information out there. Everyone says that in this knowledge age, information is free. You can YouTube anything and you can go to a podcast for anything. At the end of the day, you have to take action and implement whatever you learn. If you just learn and not do anything, it won’t help you. That’s the third thing. Number one, learn about real estate and invest with people. The second is to keep learning and then take action.
We’re going to go into the lightning round. Your favorite book you’ve read? It could be Rich Dad Poor Dad too, but maybe there’s something that caught your eye and you say, “I recommend this book.”
I would highly recommend Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. It’s turning professional and that helped me when I was going through this transition from a full-time job to full-time syndication.
A favorite podcast you’re listening to?
I’m listening more to mindset-related podcasts. My favorite one is by Lewis Howes. He’s doing the School of Greatness. It’s a good one.
Best vacation spot in India?
Goa. It’s a beach spot. It’s like the Miami of India.Learn about one asset class and become good at it. Click To Tweet
Best sport in India?
I always wanted to play cricket, but I never have. It looks fun. Everyone always seemed to be having a great time when they’re playing it. One last question and this the most important question for readers to connect with you and understand a little bit more of how you keep going when things get tough. How do you stay centered in your values and encouraged to charge forward to reach new goals?
I’m trying to develop some daily rituals that I do to keep myself centered and make sure that I’m working towards my goals and not deviating from them, and also growing. One ritual that I do is by Hal Elrod. He wrote a book, The Miracle Morning. He suggested this routine called SAVERS. I try to do that routine every day. I’m not successfully doing it every single day but I’m getting there. That’s one thing that I do. The other thing is I’m reviewing my goals at a weekly level and making sure that I’m not deviating from them, whatever I had. I attended a three-day goal retreat in Las Vegas to work on my goals and what I’m doing is reviewing them, trying to do that weekly, if not weekly, bi-weekly, to make sure that I’m staying true to those goals.
For the readers, he’s referring to SAVERS, which is an acronym. The first one is silence. The second one is affirmations. The next one is to visualize your day. The next one is exercise. The next one is to read something and then the last one is scribing. It’s something like some journaling, scribing, or writing down and then reviewing your goals so that you can stay on track and not deviate. We’ve all been given a mission. We’ve all been given gifts and it’s easy to be distracted in this day and age but if you can review your goals daily or weekly and you can practice some rituals that are going to help put you in the right mindset and stay focused on your goals and values, then you will not regret it. I want to thank you, Pancham, for being here. You can find Pancham at TheGoldCollarInvestor.com/download. He has a gift for you there and you can find him as well at The Gold Collar Investor podcast. Any last words to leave with the readers?
Be persistent and don’t give up. That’s the key to success.
Thank you so much. I want to thank our readers. As always, we believe having a clear plan to defer capital gains tax and invest in commercial real estate assets is going to give you tax deferral and tax write-offs and can eliminate taxes altogether. Using plans or options such as cost segregation, 1031 exchange, and the Deferred Sales Trust is the best way to grow your wealth. With that, reach out to Pancham, especially if you’re in the New York area or anywhere on the East Coast for potential multifamily investing opportunities. Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing you next time.Real estate is the single asset class that has made more millionaires in the whole world. Click To Tweet
What a pleasure it was to speak with Pancham and get to know him a little bit for the first time. We had never talked before and those are some of my favorites because it’s more organic getting to know him. Hopefully, you got a chance to get to know him with me and felt like he did there. It’s a story of many people who are persistent, who thought their lives were going to go one way or had a preconceived plan, per se, but then it gets shifted through a passion that was inside of him since he was young and he’s able to live out his entrepreneurial dream and help a lot of people. The three pegs that stuck out for me were, he has a passive income plan multifamily syndication where it’s practical. It’s one-on-one or individual to the individual he’s helping out.
Second is he’s improving the community. It’s local so it’s more than just them and their wealth building but it’s helping neighborhoods or apartment complexes or a place where needs improvements and investment. It moves to local and then it moves to national or international because he’s teaching others to do the same and spread the opportunity to build wealth with partners in a neat way. I love those three things. He’s connected for it. Also, he talked about, “What if it does work?” Shifting the mindset too, “What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t have the benefits of the job? What if this business metric doesn’t work out?” to, “What if it does work? What are all the good things I can do to help more people?”
Hal Elrod, if you haven’t read his book yet, I recommend you buy that and read it. It is a game-changer type of book for me and many of the guests I’ve had. The last one is Turning Pro. I will check out that book and maybe a vacation in India. It sounds like a nice place. If anyone’s ever played cricket before, tell me about it. I love to figure out a way to play cricket. In the US, it’s hard to play certain sports like that. If we can help you at all with capital gains tax deferral clarity, cost segregation, understanding 1031 exchanges, Deferred Sales Trust, which is our favorite. Feel free to reach out to us at CapitalGainsTaxSolutions.com and if not, we look forward to seeing you or hearing from you next time. Thank you so much.
- The Gold Collar Investor
- Mesos Capital
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- CASHFLOW Quadrant
- Turning Pro
- School of Greatness
- The Miracle Morning
About Pancham Gupta
Pancham is the host of “The Gold Collar Investor” podcast & Principal of Mesos Capital. Pancham has a Masters in Information Networking in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Pancham manages and controls over $32M in real estate. He has bought and invested in properties in 5 different states and internationally.
Pancham is great at finding value propositions and has successfully built a portfolio that is cash-flowing in double digits. He is a co-founder of the Multifamily Mastermind NYC group. Recently, he was on a panel in a real estate conference (www.besteverconference.com) held in Denver.
- Full-time multi-family syndicator with 32M under management.
- A host of the Gold Collar Investor podcast which helps high paid professionals learn about investing outside of wall-street and learn personal finance.
- Graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and spent 14 years in the FinTech industry in NYC.