Why I started RealyInvest:
As a kid, I didn't know too much about money -- but I was interested! I studied economics and political science as an undergraduate and learned a lot of cool stuff, but I still didn’t have much practical wisdom about the stock market, real estate or how to begin investing for my future.
Just out of college I took a job as a runner at a commodity futures exchange in Chicago. I took orders to buy and sell futures from phone desks, then hurriedly ran them into an open outcry trading pit filled with hundreds of screaming traders.
That experience really opened my eyes to the ways of money. Fortunes were being made and lost betting on the direction of things people use every day--corn, wheat, interest rates, the S&P Index and more. Wow!
Later I became a trader myself, focusing on treasury interest rates. Eventually I branched out an entrepreneur. As a business consultant, I got involved with a growing self-storage company. I discovered I could help this company find the best real estate sites for expansion and make healthy consulting fees doing it.
My interest was sparked. I took that consulting money and put a second mortgage on my house. At the time, banks were looking to open new branches. My concept was to buy desirable land, then lease it to the banks long-term.
I discovered we could finance properties if our national bank tenants were contractually committed to long-term leases. I was building real wealth by relying on the good credit standing of my investment-grade tenants.
As I grew my business we did many bank ground leases, built buildings for Starbucks and Chipotle, as well as other fine tenants. I would lease or build the properties and sell them to the investment market.
My industry has its own stipulated language, methodology and protocols that I learned over time. We even have huge conventions to affirm ourselves as insiders. The barriers to entry into this world of the rich getting richer are quite high -- and getting higher.
As the father of two sons this concerned me. My wife Susan and I began to wonder how we could teach our sons what we have learned: that this kind of conservative, long-term investing is the fundamental bedrock of wealth creation. And what about a whole generation of young people that need to create wealth and security for themselves and their new families?
We wanted to introduce young people to the concept of investing in real property--the idea that they, too, could prosper by harnessing the power of companies they buy from every day. And we racked our brains about how we could make this kind of investing possible, even for those with just a little money to get started. With the latest technology and dogged determination, RealyInvest was born.
-- Jeffrey S. Beebe holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and a graduate degree from Yale University.