Lawrence, the Wolf of Queen Street, shares an incredibly harrowing and personal story about overcoming a brain tumor and financial ruin, and how he worked through it and came out the other side, even better than before. This episode covers mental health and financial growth in the face of tremendous challenges.
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The Wolf Of Queen Street Featuring Lawrence Lotze
Sometimes, I do solo episodes just so you guys are clear, and then sometimes I get incredible guests on. I’ve got a friend of mine, a new friend from New Zealand. He’s a rock star in the investment game, and more so building a huge podcast. He beat Gary Vee one week, so I got your attention now. He’s got a super cool accent. I can’t do what he does. You’re going to love his accent. It’s Lawrence Lotze. His podcast is called The Wolf of Queen Street. Welcome to the show, Lawrence. Thanks so much for being here.
Thanks, Jack. It’s always amazing to be on a show on the other side of the table. It’s sometimes hard when you’re so used to being the person doing the interview and someone speaking about you. You’ve got to sit back and nod, and you blush almost most times when you come onto a show and someone does an introduction. I’m excited, for sure.
The pressing question I have on my mind here is what do you got behind you? You’ve got any bourbon behind there?
I do have some bourbon. I’ve got American Honey bourbon. Funny enough, bourbon is a big fan of three of my friends. Some of it is moved inside where we drink. To anyone reading at the moment, I’m sitting in my man cave. I’ve got the bar behind me, and it’s fully stocked always because it suits my brand name, which originally started as the Wolf of Queen Street.
People are going to go, “Hold on. It sounds familiar. The Wolf.” Yes, I knocked off the Wolf of Wall Street. Not that I was first, I wanted to be that image. I wanted to be Jordan Belfort, that craziness, that success, and all that money. When I started my brand years ago, our main street in Auckland, New Zealand is called Queen Street. I thought, “I’ll call myself the Wolf of Queen Street.”
Is Queen Street in your country? That must be a big street.
That’s the main street in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. It was that whole vibe that I wanted to build behind this brand of success, money, and all that stuff. The original photo of myself and the brand was in a white suit from wearing in Vegas because you can only wear a white suit in Vegas. I thought, “This is the way to go.” The man cave became part of it and so did that image, but things change over time as life throws you a few cool balls along the way.
We’re going to get into that. What else have you got in the man cave? You’ve got a pool table, ping pong, and Poker table.
At the moment, I’m a big antique and toy collector. I’ve got a football that you can’t see at the moment right now. They’re all behind me. I’ve got darts over there. I don’t have my pool table yet at the moment because we are about to rebuild. I have a pool table, darts, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, all of that in the corner, and a few other tidbits.
I’m a big MMA and boxing fan, so I’ve got Conor McGregor gloves, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather gloves behind me up on the wall,. As I said, I’m a big antique and toy collector, so I have all toys from the 1870s up until the 1980s. Not to show my age of youngness at some stage, but I still got all my Legos. I’ve got a whole lot of my Lego sets that I bought as a kid, the actual set that I bought over 30 years ago. I’ve got them in cabinets over there.
Collectibles have done well of late, haven’t they? Value increase.
As a weird one and as perfect with the show, nothing I’ve bought in my toy or antique collection I’ve bought at a full retail price. I love them all. I will buy it and always make sure that there’s value as an investment. My brain is always thinking that way. I’ll go in and buy a toy at $5 knowing that it’s $10 or $12 if I want to sell it. There’s always a potential for that. Not that it can be done at the moment, but what I’m hoping is that my collection can get a value of an asset value behind it in a handful of years’ time. The bank will allow me to leverage against that asset value.Always make sure that there's value in an investment. Click To Tweet
That doesn’t exist now. If you have a limited-edition vehicle, car, or something, you might be able to do their powers in. I’m saying specifically in New Zealand’s market, I can’t take a $40,000 or $50,000 toy collection to the bank and go, “Here’s $50,000 as an asset. I want to leverage against it.” They won’t do that at the moment. I’m hoping the way we move in the market and the world we see at the moment with stuff like digital currency, NFTs, and all those other things that don’t exist physically, that I might be able to take my physical items and use that as an asset.
That day is already here or it’s coming soon. Lawrence, you’ve got an incredible story and you’re briefing me. I knew a bit about it. Lawrence and I met on LinkedIn, my new platform that I’m attacking to build my brand. We’re in a pod. It’s like BNI in the States, Business Network International. It’s that online group of people that support each other, gauge with each other, and try to make each other feel our posts and our content is good even when occasionally it’s not. At least I could speak for myself. I got to know Lawrence in the pod and listen to some of his podcasts. They are fantastic and all the good, the bad, the ugly, and all of that.
First going back to the group that we met in, it’s been amazing being part of that group. Anyone else out there on social media and thinking about it, if you can find 10 or 15 like-minded people, or semi-like-minded, we don’t have to all be the same. As Jack says, sometimes we question our own logic on our social media posts if it’s good or bad, but luckily if we’ve got friends that help us out and help our brands In there as well.
Coming back to my story, my origin around the brand and the business, everything was driven. Years ago, before I started up this brand, the Wolf of Queen Street, I’d done investments. I’m a massive property investor with long-term holds and cashflow properties. I’d done investments across that for years and years beforehand. Got a bit into the shares and everything else. At this point, years ago, I’d gotten big into my investments. There were properties in the one corner, and if anyone understands wealth or wealth creation, you’ve got a bucket that you want to throw all your investments in with all different returns.
There could be high risk at 50%, 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100%. You’ve got all the way down to your 0% and 1% like your gold, silvers, and so forth, or cash and your tomb deposits. At this stage, years ago when I started this brand and saw myself as successful, and that’s why I wanted to be this brand, I had all these different investments going on. I had property, I had company shares, ETFs, gold, silver, term deposits, and digital currency as everyone had into a few years ago.
Looking at other areas as well, I had passive income coming from other areas, but in businesses or courses. That was all in place, which fed into a bit of my ego going in 2019 when I started this in March and it would follow a couple of months. I started the brand and I interviewed amazing guests, but it was more the sense of I wanted to interview the best CEOs, top executives, and entrepreneurs across the world in the American space and in Europe. and I did all of this for 3 or 4 months, get on the show and I enjoyed it.
I realized that while that was happening, suddenly underneath there was not as much growth as I thought had come with the brand or the success with it. I was wondering why, because I was chasing a bit of ego with what was going on at that moment. Funny enough, a lot of us on social media chase that ego going, “If I stand next to someone that’s important, people are going to naturally think I’m important.” It works for five seconds and then people lose interest right after that. Going through this moment is life.
As I said earlier in the show, life came with a bit of a curve war, which it does to a lot of us quite often. This was a big curve war in 2018. The year before, I had a great year myself for my wife, traveled over to America, we go and party in Vegas as anyone does and traveled all over the world with our kids. It was a year where we pat ourselves on the shoulder and said, “It was a great year, a successful year.” You look back at it and went, “I’m successful. I’m doing well.”
I’ve put myself on a pedestal, “Look at me, world,” hands up. We’re doing amazing. The beginning part of 2019 started, and while the brand and the business were going, I started feeling a little bit out of myself. I felt a little bit off and flat, not sure what was going around. I said maybe 2018 was too big. Maybe in 2018, I did too much. I was getting a year older. I was getting into my mid-30s, putting on a bit of weight, and I wasn’t all there.
I finally convinced myself. As guys, we are horrible at this. I put my hand up and anyone that’s reading out there at the moment, please take consideration. As guys, we are exceptionally bad at not asking for help or going to go check on something if we feel something’s wrong. I finally convinced myself to go to my local GP and say, “Can you check me out? There are a few things I’m not happy about. I don’t feel that’s the right way.” They said, “Okay. We’ll do a couple of tests.” We did a few tests through April going into May, and it finally came back to me in May. They said, “There’s something in your tests that shouldn’t be seen in males.”
I was like, “Is there something I should have known about with my genetics and stuff? What’s going on?” They said, “We want to send you for a test. It’s a common thing that happens. We’ll send for an MRI. You get a small growth in the back of your head and it can affect some stuff in your body.” Firstly, I found it weird that a doctor said this was quite common, that you have a small growth in the back of your head but I said, “Let’s do it.”
Maybe he was trying to make sure you didn’t get too nervous or worried about it. I don’t think it’s that common.
At this stage, everything looked towards this part. The one hormone that picked up at this moment was something called prolactin. To any females that are out there at the moment, that is a hormone that females produce when they’ve had a baby. I had three times a level of a pregnant woman in my body. It’s not even a small spike. It’s through the roof. sure. They couldn’t understand why. They said to me, “Go and have an MRI scan and I’ll see you a week later for the results.” I said, “Awesome.” I go in the morning again. It’s a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I go with my wife. We’re going in first thing in the morning.
It could have been about 9:00 AM. We’re going to do the MRI scan and everything else. An hour later, my specialist calls me and he goes, “Lawrence, I don’t want to see you a week later. I want to see you at 9:00 AM tomorrow.” I get goosebumps every time I say that. At that moment, there was a realization that everything I thought, everything I believed, and that I knew would change because no one’s going to call you and go, “You’ve got to see me immediately,” when there was an expectation that, “It’s going to be okay. We’ll see you later.” The gold moment of, “What’s next?”
We went the next day to my specialist and what was going on and said, “We scanned and we found something in your head.” My wife made the joke, going, “Lawrence has brains?” We got over a bit of the laugh to break the bit of the ice and says, “Unfortunately, we found something. It wasn’t something small. We found a golf ball size brain tumor. It is also sitting around the pituitary gland, which had wrapped around the pituitary gland, which controls your hormones, which is one of the reasons your hormones were over the place and it is also pushing on your optic nerve.”
I had not realized off the test, I had lost 30% of my sight at that moment because the darkness had started to close in on me as it was pushing on the nerve. It was so slow. I had no realization that this was happening. It was right next to the carotid artery at the back, the largest artery back of the throat. This was growing right next to that as well.
The specialist said to me, “Lawrence, this isn’t something that you can wait till 6 months or 12 months on the path to get sorted. This is something we got to go to.” It’s one of those moments in your life you never want to have. You don’t ever want to have more than once, even once, and it’s where someone says to you, “I don’t know where you’re going to be tomorrow, and I don’t know where you’re going to be next week. I don’t know where you’re going to be next month.”
Working through with us at the moment, things are moving quite quickly to sort this out. A handful of weeks later, on the 26th of June on 2019, which is my birthday, I had to go for brain tumor surgery. As I’m sitting here at the moment, the surgery went right or semi-decent. They did well because I’m sitting there but that was the start of that journey and the real problems, not just even that, that came in afterward.
When they removed it, the specialist came to me and said that it was a lot bigger than we expected. He told me it was the size of a golf ball. He said afterward, “It was larger.” They had to remove my pituitary gland which controls my hormones and how my body reacts. There was a lot to come in the next few months that would change my life forever. Going through this after surgery, a couple of months afterward, I’m sitting down. I’m recovering and everything, and I’m going, “I’m self-employed. I had all that. Months ago, there was that success in inverted commerce. I’ve made it and I’m self-employed, so I’m not working. Money’s going out and money’s not coming in.”
It’s months later. In the back of my head, “Don’t worry.” People are going, “What about insurance?” I was, “I’ve got insurance that covers my income. I’ve paid for the last ten years and got everything in place there.” I call up my insurance company and I go, “It’s Lawrence. This is my surgery. This is what I had done. Here’s my insurance.” They go, “We’ve got insurance, We’ll have a check and we’ll come back to you.” I’m like, “Cool. I called them back a few days or a week later. They’re like, “You’ve got cover.”
I’m like, “Okay.” They go, “Yes, but it doesn’t cover your surgery.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” They’re like, “Your payout, your income protection, and everything else, it’s not going to pay out for what you have.” I’m like, “What are you talking about? I can see it on my insurance contract. It stipulates right here for a brain tumor.” I’ve got the email and I use it when I do public speeches. I can show the two actual conditions that the insurance company screwed me over about.
In New Zealand, we are forward with our medical practice and so forth, and most brain tumors were a handful of years ago. That stuff would go through the skull as most people realize it. You would see people with scars on the skull and head and they’ll go through that. In New Zealand, they do it the total recall way. A lot of times they go up through the nose into the surgery. My condition said that if I went through the skull, I’d pay out any other way. They wouldn’t pay out. Because we are medically advanced in the country, the condition caught me out.
The second condition that they told me as well was, “Lawrence, there are no long-term effects with your condition. You are healthy, stable, and everything else, so we shouldn’t need to pay you out.” I went back off to get a liver specialist and said, “Sorry I’ve had brain surgery. I’ve removed my pituitary gland that I’ve got no control over my hormones. There are days I can’t get out of bed. There are days that I’m like on a road rage because I get up and down. I could be bipolar on some days. If I get into an accident, I need to get injections or certain hormones immediately, or my body was shut down and I’ve got to take medication for the rest of my life and you’re trying to tell me I’m stable and healthy?”
Fighting for this for a couple of months, they’ve turned around as insurance companies unfortunately do. They said, “Sorry, this is our line. Case close. You can’t fight it. You can’t challenge it.” This was going into December 2019. You can feel it’s months later, no income, no income protection. It got to the stage where all this success, investments, and everything had built up the year before it felt like I had to sell.
I had to sell my gold, silver, my shares, and my ETFs. All that stuff had to go. I had to start selling that because these shares were bringing me cashflow but not enough to cover my expenses and everything else that the surgery had put on myself and my family. There was that realization going into January 2020 when I bounced on a mortgage. I got to the stage where I couldn’t pay my mortgage that month. I had no understanding of how in a month’s time I was going to pay the rest of my bills. In partial to this moment of financial ruin that I’d found myself in because of my changing my conditions, I and my wife also couldn’t see eye-to-eye.
in February 2020, we had to come up publicly to our friends in our close circle and say, “We are not sure if we are going to stay married after fifteen years because the person, she married is no longer the same person. I had become a different person and we can’t see eye to eye. There’s all the stress of financial ruin. There’s the stress of relationships.” For the second time in a 12-month period, I find myself in the darkest moment of going, “I don’t know if I’m going to have a marriage. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay my bills.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with my family, my kids, my kids being able to go to school after all the stuff of working so hard since I came over from South King to New Zealand, all of it could be for nothing.” It was at that darkest moment of my life, in the pitch dark, and hid at the bottom that because I was willing to pay attention to look, I could see a small glimmer of light that there was something down the end of that dark hallway that if I followed it, I could slowly start making steps into it.Sometimes, in the darkest moment of your life, in the pitch dark, when you hit bottom, you start to pay attention and find that glimmer of light that something can be done, and you slowly start taking those steps. Click To Tweet
That’s when I had to go through a re-learning of education of my wealth and wealth creation and everything else around that of first is stepping back of going, “I’ve been zeroed from the top of the ladder to the bottom, coming down to nothing. I’m slowly going back to work, so I’m getting my salary in, but how do I know that I’ve cleared everything I’ve owned and am still on a drastic date? How do I slowly build that back up over 6 or 12 months into 2020?” That’s the path that I slowly go through and take to start growing it up and up.
You said January 2020. It wasn’t that long ago. We’re having this interview in September 2021. That was 21 months ago. That’s not long. What did you do to make this big turnaround so quick? They seem you’re doing great. I would’ve never known that you were in that dark of a moment not that long ago.
It was a bit of luck, a bit of desperation. Through that moment I’d found myself, and this is one of the things out there to anyone reading at the moment. In society, it’s hard at times to ask for help when we need it. I was prepared to ask for help in that situation, to find guidance from people that would know what to do at that point. I had an understanding of how to invest and what companies to buy and shares, but at that stage, I had no money to do it. The money I had was going out the door to cover everything else.
I had to go and find the right specialist that could come in and have a look at where my expenses were going and everything else and say to me, “Lawrence, subtle changes that’s going to change $50 a week or $100 a week and if you can do this for four weeks, we can make up that $400, $500 for that payment you got to do at the end of the month.”
I had to go out and find a couple of companies and a couple of organizations, in the beginning, to reeducate me about, “I’ve fallen all the way down. How do I think when I’m at the bottom of the ladder? How do I think as a first-time young family that can make enough to pay the bills? How do I think about paying the bills and somehow trying to get ahead to put $5 in savings or $50 in savings?” That was what we had to do on 20th February and March as we slowly went through.
Some of that realization and that education was giving away some of the normalities in life that are luxuries from a financial point of view. Again, that’s the whole buying coffees while you’re out, doing the takeaways and lazy things, not making the food at home, going out, and doing adventures. We had to bite the bullet and go. We were going to cut back on everything as much as we could for 2 to 3 months but do other adventures. We don’t go out to theme parks. It doesn’t mean I can’t take my kids to the park, and we can go play in the gyms and we can go and do a run, and go play in the sports at the sports field. It just means we’re not paying for going to the theme park or paying to go to the movies.
Why don’t we set up at home and make our home cinnamon, put in an old DVD, and give them that experience? Funny enough, kids love adventure, but they only love adventure when they can do it with their parents. You realize quite quickly that my kids would love to sit in our lounge with teepees made, watch a movie and us lying on the floor and have a bowl of popcorn as much as me paying money to go see it in the cinemas. There were a lot of those subtle changes coming in. Each one of those changes pulled back a bit of $5 a year, $10 a year, and so forth. We could start getting this ball rolling of getting ahead on the numbers and so forth.
What I was lucky with as well is that when we came into February 2020, I’d sold everything I’d owned. I still owned my family home and I still had one other property investment. It was the last in White Knuckle I was holding onto. We were able to go because one of the advisors I brought in was a top-end property investment mortgage broker.
He was able to come in and review the whole way my accounts were set up with the bank and the way my payments were set up. Again, in New Zealand, this broker and advisor costs me no money. He gets paid by the bank for anything. Any new business he brings in, the bank pays him. it costs me nothing to bring him on, guide me to change my accounts, and so forth. It was free advice and change. Subtlety, we were able to make some changes in the way my mortgage structures were set up, how to break things up, and how to push some of the mortgages longer out in payments while we were struggling.
Instead of having them at 15 or 20 years, push them back to 30 years. Again, the payments all of a sudden were subtly less so that at the end of the month, the numbers were higher. Once we got through this over a couple of months, the numbers started adding up. I could pay the bills. I could cover the mortgage. There was leftover a little bit of funding. This is where the thought pattern is, “How am I going to start now again and start investing?”
Where am I going to invest and how am I going to invest with only $50 a week or $200 a week or whatever it is, depending on the situation? How my mindset had to change from a few years earlier where I could go, “I’ve got $5,000 spare. I’m going to go throw $5,000 on ETFs or on shares.” Over a month period, I got to look at, “How am I going to change that on a month-to-month basis?” I had to rethink my strategies. One of the big things I was looking into was the knowledge of when you invest, you want to invest a widespread so that your risk-return averages out. If you’ve got to get the 30%, 40%, or 50% if those are bummed out, are you protected by the low percentages?
Can you give me a couple of examples? You got the different buckets that you’re talking about.
Let’s talk about different buckets. Extreme on the side is high volatile shares that are out there. There are high volatile shares of companies that haven’t been proven and stuff. They’re seeing massive growth, but their chance of tanking is quite high as well. They could be doing 60% to 80% to 100% growth, but they’re usually quite short-term. Anything else as well in the market at the moment, digital currency is such a far high volatile market.
You’ve got to believe that.
Anything that’s underpinned in digital currency, not blockchain, but digital currency sits on that spectrum, that 30% to 100% returns over 3 to 12 months sits on that far extreme on that side. When you come back, you will start getting into more stable, your 30, 20, and 10 percentages. That could be company shares, that could be ETFs, that could be REITs that you guys have in America, the investments across the property.
You have your property investments yourself that sit in that space as you come in. Lower down, you might have your term deposits depending on what your cash rates are doing. In New Zealand, they are not worth anything. They’re 0.25%, but in some stages, there could be 4% or 5% depending what the economy’s doing. You come down to gold and silver right at the end.
There you go. I have gold and silver precious metals. I had a guy that is a broker on the show up a few episodes ago. 3% to 5% bucket would be a high cash value whole life. That’s what we recommend to the audience. It’s that conservative bucket that you’re talking about that is almost impossible for you to lose. Moving on up, there’s real estate that you’re going to do. That could be 7%, 8%, 10%, or even 20%. It’s tough to get 30% on real estate, but in the last few years, it has.
You should come to New Zealand.
I was like, “How long is that party going to go?” That’s the question that I keep asking. Digital currency, cryptocurrencies, you can get 100%, 300%, or 1000% on those. They can go down as fast, and they do. What you’re saying is that when you were rebuilding, your first modus operandi was, “I got to reduce everything that is a lifestyle expense. We got to get rid of the restaurants. We’re going to watch movies at home.”
“We’re going to go pretty bare-bones and save as much money as possible. We have our seed money to then start reinvesting and building ourselves back up. With that seed money, spread it out with the different buckets so that you’ve always got your safety net, your sleeping secure investments. You got the ones that you have a shot at moving the needle on your net worth.
One of the biggest things that I had to think through was before I could go and buy sizeable chunks. I could spend $2,000 a month on shares, and for me, that was sizeable chunks. For some people, it’s a lot of money. For some people, it’s a little, but it’s value to yourself. I didn’t have to think too strong about the brokerage and the extra $50 if I buy through this platform to that platform.
When I had to restart, this was part of the big education. How can I get my hands on this investment line across this line by ensuring that I pay the least amount of money to get my item in that line? For example, you can go to big brokerage companies, buy shares, and pay them the premium for them to buy the shares on your behalf, host it, and so forth. You also get a lot of apps out there. We’re talking about shares, for example. In New Zealand, we’ve got something called Sharesies. In the UK, Mr. Wonderful has got something called Beanstox. In America, there are a whole lot of apps around them. Unfortunately, I don’t know them by name, but for every share you buy, it’s $0.01 brokerage.
Fidelity is completely free trading.
We’ve got the New Zealand Stock Exchange. We’ve got the Australian Stock Exchange. The main places I would buy through were through them. Their brokerage cost originally a handful of years ago was $30 a buy. They’ve reduced that now to $15 a buy. If I’m only spending $50, I can’t pay $15 a buy. I’m never going to make a return on it. I’m losing money. I had to then find the places.
Sharesies is one app in the New Zealand market and it charges $0.01 to share. If I’m spending $50 and I’m buying 15 or 20 shares, I’m only spending $0.20 on top of that to buy it. My operational cost to get into investment is a lot lower than it was beforehand. Also, I had to look at other companies. I love doing ETFs. If you sign up with companies that do ETFs, regular payments, even if it’s a small amount, $20 a month to invest, a lot of their admin fees, or their fees are a lot lower than if I’m buying one offs again.
I bought into an ETF through New Zealand. I hedged my ETF on the American stock market. By doing a minimum, I started at $50 a month. That’s increased now. I was paying cents every time that it was buying for me shares every single month. I was able to get in at a small amount of investment but made sure my operational cost getting there was reduced. In America, there’s a lot more competition. It’s not as drastic as the price point but it is a thought to look around as to shop how to get your product and to look at the least expensive way to get that product. That’s what I had to do.Look around, shop, and find the least expensive way to get that product. Click To Tweet
Another thing is gold and silver. Silver is cheap. People buy gold and silver and they leave it with the brokerage company that sells it. They have to pay the brokerage company that houses the gold and silver and saves it for them a fee to do that as well. That’s how it works in the New Zealand market. For me, I had it safe, quite protected. We are quite a safe country in the world. Any of my gold and silver I bought and I put it in a place that wasn’t costing me money for someone else to protect it. I was protecting myself. It doesn’t mean that when it gets to a certain point, I’m happy to leave that amount of wealth around my property.
In the beginning, I could reduce again those cost items as well. We started new technologies that are coming along. Digital currency is coming to play. This is so volatile, but you can buy 1,000 tokens for $0.20. I went in and would spend $20 or $30 and buy all these idiotic coins. If any one of them paid off, all of a sudden, my $20 would be $200 or $2,000 on the lowest stack ones. Someday I will say I came big into it, which I’ve gotten into this year is a property that is now sold across the blockchain.
This is fascinating. I heard this on your show. I’m so huge on real estate. I believe that first invest in yourself. That’s the biggest investment you’re ever going to get is becoming smarter and more skilled. The second part is to build a cashflow business. The third thing is to invest in cashflow-producing assets. Almost all of that primarily is in real estate or some form of real estate.
The problem that is traditional with real estate is that it’s a pretty high cost of entry for a new investor. Even to buy a small single-family in Indianapolis, you’re not going to get much quality under $100,000. The newbie is going to have to spend 25% usually, 25% down. There’s $20,000, $25,000, plus now they have a debt payment they’ve got to service. It’s a little riskier.
I like this idea of what you’re about to share. I’m trying to preface my audience. They understand that this is going to give them the benefits of real estate, but more liquidity. When you buy that $100,000 property, it’s not liquid. You can’t go and access that money the next day, the next week, or months before you’re able to get that money back out of it if you should need it.
Lawrence, as you know, the problem too is when you buy real estate, if you sell it quickly, the selling costs usually can’t win. You will lose money because your selling costs are going to be so high to pay out commissions, title companies, inspections, and all that. Your property doesn’t go up that fast in value to be able to offset. I wanted to set the stage for you there and make sure that everybody’s clear about how good what you’re about to drop is.
Thanks. Also, I’ll run you through aisle numbers in New Zealand so you can understand why myself, a lot of my friends, and our investors have gotten into or looking into this game is the average house price in New Zealand across the country $700,000 at the time. 700,000 New Zealand, you’re talking about $450,000 to $500,000 US. That’s the average house price across the whole country.
The average house price in Auckland City is about a tip of 1 million New Zealand dollars. You’re talking about $700,000 US is the average house price in the city I’m living in. We are required by the banks, a 20% cash deposit. You need $140,000 US to buy a house, The average house in the city that I live in at the moment. Think about that as an 18-year-old, 20-year-old, or 25-year-old young couple. You could understand the challenges we’re having in the New Zealand market around a property. That’s another discussion. We can get on that another day.
People that are in the game are in the game, but other people are looking at opportunities. How do I get my hands on a property? Historically with property, you buy a whole section or whole house, or you and a couple of mates go in together. You have large chunks of property that costs large amounts of money, $50,000, $100,000, or whatever it is to get into it. Now we’ve got this new technology or platform called blockchain or the underpinning technology of blockchain. There could be a few other companies out there, but the company I’m talking about at the moment is called RealT, which launched out of America. I’m a client of theirs. I own 12 properties in the last check through them.
The company goes and buys a cashflow property in Chicago, Detroit, and so forth. People are going to go, “Hold on. Those cities are sometimes a bit on the down.” They do their numbers or the due diligence, everything’s there on the platform but how it works is they go and buy property cash. They put this property into a company. We’re going to call this company. This company itself is then put onto the blockchain and shares or tokens are allocated.
For example, the majority of the properties we buy in Detroit are about $50,000 or whatever it is. Across Chicago, it’s a $50,000 company. It’s one company per property. The tokens are only $50 US a token, and therefore, there are only 1,000 tokens available in this company. To anyone that’s reading, it sounds exactly like buying a share in a company like Facebook or Apple. You’re buying a share in this company that owns the property, but the company’s owned on the blockchain. It’s decentralized finance.
There are no brokers, real estate agents, lawyers, or anything else. I go on a website. I go into RealT.co. They passed their 100th property weeks ago. They released maybe 2 to 3 properties a week. You go on there. They’ll show you, “Here’s the latest property. It’s going to be for sale in about two days. Here are all the numbers. It’s a multi-unit. These are the doors. This is the rent. There are the operational costs, Here’s all the information. Here’s the return on it. Here’s the token pie.”
The token normally sits around $50 or $55. The majority of the return on this is anywhere around 10% to 12% return on the rent now. It’s property investment. There might not be tenants for a period of time. It has all the same risks as any other property investment. Don’t think it mitigates any of that. Where the difference comes into it is that I or anyone else that would love to own a portion of the property can do it at $50 US a token. This month, I might have $50 spend. I go in and I buy their token. Because it’s on the blockchain, it is almost instantly.
I go on the platform. When it goes for sale, these properties sell outwards in 24 hours because it’s worldwide. Blockchain is anywhere. People are buying everywhere in the world. Everyone wants to own real estate in the US and this is how they’re doing it. I go in. I select I want one token. I say, “Buy.” Within about five minutes, the contract arrives in my email. It’s a full-size contract.
I’ve done this a few times. I’m good. I go through. I sign the contract. I get sent back. There’s an acknowledgment, and within a couple of hours, I get my tokens issued and the title of those tokens in the company emailed to me. Within a handful of hours, I now own 2 tokens, 3 tokens, or 1 token depending on how many I bought in that company that owns their property.
I’ve got ownership of that property. The best thing above that is you own a token and there’s rent that comes in. There are two ways you can deal with the rent that is issued to you. If it’s an 11% return, you have a $50 token. It gives you about $5 in change a year. You’re making $0.45 a month. You’re making about $0.10, $0.12 cents a week. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s an 11% return. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t look at the, “I’m making $0.10 a week.” Look at the percentage of the return.
How this works, which is cool, there are two options. When your rent gets paid in, you can either get the rent paid out directly to you in digital currency across Ethereum, or you can get the rent reinvested automatically in another property. Your $0.11 gets paid out to me. I do the reinvestments. I reinvest it on a weekly basis into another available property that goes over a year that is earning 11% on the 11% that I’ve been paid. To anyone that knows investing, if I’m getting weekly compounding, that’s going into something else that’s compounding. It’s a luxury wind whirlwind that keeps going on.
Compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. One quick question to make sure I understood. What coin do you get paid out in? What currency?
You can take payments across Ethereum.
Yeah, so I haven’t received any across it because I don’t have that option selected because I reinvest my token.
You’re saying you get paid in the Ethereum token or across the Ethereum blockchain? I love the Ethereum token. That’s my favorite. I tell all my guys, “Get Ethereum. Buy x.”
I’ve got to double-check on that one. I apologize because I haven’t selected. I haven’t followed through on that one but I think it’s across the Ethereum technology, not necessarily on the token.
Is it paid out in their native token, whatever their token is that you purchased? Do you get more of that token?
Whenever you purchase, you have more ownership of that token. One thing that’s smart about this is they’ll have all the properties on one side that you can only buy up front and have all the properties on the other side that you can only reinvest it. When I buy, they’ll normally list 2 or 3 properties at once. I’ll go buy a token at least in each property or more depending on how much my budget allows. If I buy one token in these three properties 1 week or 2 weeks later, my reinvestment goes into the property that’s on this side of the table. Now I’ve got a fourth property that I’m investing in and everyone reinvests in this property.
Within about a month, this property’s now folded up. They add another one. Within 6 months or 12 months, you’ve got a small portion of ownership in 20, 30, or 40 different properties by automatically how the system works. Your bucket of ownership isn’t all set in with one house in one town that if something happens in that suburb, you’re stuffed and it is spread across. You still have the same value in that’s getting your 10% return. That’s compounding, but it’s spread across 10, 15, or 20 different properties. Every time I go back and look, I own another $5 in this house and another $5 in that house because it keeps spreading along more or less depending on what your value is.
Another way too that you can benefit from this if I understand it right, is that every year, the house gets reappraised so then first appraised value. For the readers, an appraisal is that somebody comes in, an independent auditor almost per se. They come in and say, “Based on the comps and the condition of this house, it’s worth 50,000. They do that appraisal every year if I’m not mistaken. Let’s say the property goes up to $100. It’s not realistic in most cases, but so then now the value of your token, the $50 that you put in is now worth $100.
There are two ways there’s value in the token. You got value by putting the money in and it gets spread out by the rental reinvesting. You’ve got the original token and that’s correct. They review. How RealT does it is when they sell the property, it has its value now, and every 12 months off to that permanent, they go and revalue the property. They do a new appraisal. The appraisal can go up as well as it can go down. Your $50 off to 12 months could be $55, but also could be $45. That’s what investing is. There’s something else that can be done as well because people are great. I own the token. What happens if I need to cash out? What happens if I need to get my money out?There's value in the token. Click To Tweet
There are two ways you can do it on this platform. You can either sell it straight back to the platform to RealT at the price you paid. If I paid $50 a token, I can sell it straight back to them at $50. It does take a couple of weeks to go through that system. There are so many people that buy. They do have a platform where you can sell it individually, privately, to each other.
I can go, “Jack, I need to cash out of my tokens. I’ve got $500 of tokens. They’re 10 tokens. Here’s the property. Here’s everything I want $520 for it to at least make some money.” I and Jack talk through and negotiate. then it’s transferred across a blockchain of ownership again for those tokens. That can be done in 5 minutes or in 5 days, depends how fast myself and Jack are on the negotiation. You can cash out in two different ways on those tokens.
That’s incredible liquidity for real estate, isn’t it?
It is such a cool way. That’s where a lot of my friends that are in the property game in New Zealand and across Australia as well as loving this because they can throw it in and they can put it out when they need to. The only big thing of saying is that it’ll be interesting to see year 1 and year 2 what those tokens are and how those values go. The big thing a lot of people have asked me about RealT.
Again, I’m just an investor myself. I got no kickbacks from them. This is what I can see. Over 100 properties have gone through this process. They’re quite stabilized. This is still realistically day 1, 2, and 3 of Bitcoin. A lot of people are looking into this. They don’t feel confident, but that’s where a lot of my friends now go, “Why don’t we get into it?”
The majority of my friends are trying to build up from a low point of view then like, “I want to get $5,000 into this and then see what the next several months do in this.” Again, $5,000 could be a lot or it could be little depending on the situation, but they’re like, “I want to put a small amount for them in this space and then see what that does.”
As with any idea investment, if it does well, they’ll double it and triple it over another 6 months or 12 months or throw more money in there. Their technology is being discussed in New Zealand. A few friends of mine have large companies here, and they’re all talking about waiting for it to be launched in New Zealand. They wanted to get launched here because we have one of the hottest property markets in the world and we have had that for ten years. The pricing keep going through the roof.
They’re like, “If we can launch that year, you’re not going to be getting an 11% return. Your token growth is going to be way higher.” Our property’s done the last several months or coming on now, slow down and we’re down to 25% growth. We did higher than that through COVID. We are slowing down at 25% growth and we are expecting the next several months because the government’s brought in a whole lot of new legislation to slow down. We’re expecting it to slow down to a halt at about 13% growth.
That’s still strong, isn’t it?
Historically, what’s it done there in New Zealand? It’s usually 3%, somewhere in that range type of value growth with a property.
We stabilize around 6% to 8%. That 7 to 10 year double of value in New Zealand is what you’ll get. if you hold a property every 7 to 10 years, it’ll double in value. We stabilize 6% to 8%. I can come up to that 10% to 12%. The GFC had a subtle effect, but we are in such a different way. We’re a country of only 5 million people. You got to remember our size is smaller than a lot of American cities. That’s why our mold doesn’t necessarily fit into the rest of the world. We’re one of the smallest countries out there. That’s why numbers can be so drastic out there.
I got to ask. I love Lord of the Rings. Those movies were all shot there. Did you ever have a chance to be an extra or watch the filming?
That was before my time moving over to New Zealand. A lot of my friends and people I know were all extras on Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, all of which were formed in New Zealand. A lot of movies, Mulan, The Meg, all of that is formed out here. Peter Jackson is Kiwi. What the government does here now is they do massive techs kickbacks to any production companies. We see a lot of American stars come over and they do the filming here.
One of the big things in New Zealand is, as much as we love celebrities, don’t get me wrong, we’re in a culture that doesn’t go into chaos over celebrities. For example, if our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, were walking down the street, people would go, “How are you doing?” She would have one police officer maybe walking with her. She wouldn’t have any special forces. She still lives in the same house that she was in before she got elected in the normal suburbia.
In the residential area, our president lives still in her own house with the same neighbors. That’s why you see a lot of Hollywood stars. When they come over to New Zealand, they love it because they go, “I can walk down to the local cafe and people go, ‘That’s you,’ and go, ‘Hi,’” but they won’t get swamped or stormed. They won’t be cameramen outside trying to film them and stuff. They can live a normal life. We see a lot of people coming over and then wanting to stay here.
Is the country as beautiful as it is portrayed in Lord of the Rings and in those movies? It looks amazing.
Yes, the South Island is exactly what it shows in the Lord of the Rings and more. It’s funny, I was talking to a friend a while ago. We went to our top ski place and a holiday place called Queenstown. We fly through the mountains, so the mountains go like this, and you fly down the middle and it had a snow cap and it’s gorgeous with the lakes and everything else. She was talking about some areas that you go an hour or so out of there and it feels like you’re back in this Jurassic period with the wild rocks coming off of the water and there’s no one around and things.
It’s as beautiful. Coming from South Africa myself, which is a beautiful and unique country, sometimes I have a dilemma of going, “Which country is more beautiful than the other one?” In South Africa, you’ve got a different uniqueness. You’ve got all that wildlife, nature, and everything else. In New Zealand, no animals can kill you. We don’t have spiders. We don’t have snakes. We don’t have any venomous animals, big deer, or anything that can go and harm you. It’s quite safe in the wilderness.
That’s great. Safe from the people, safe from the animals. That’s a good place to be. Lawrence, last question, what’s the biggest learning lesson from your incredible ordeal? Are you at that stage where you’re like, “I learned a lot? I’m at a stage of gratitude for what happened because it helped change me into becoming a better person,” or are we not there yet? It wasn’t that long ago. Sometimes it can take multi-year periods for that to develop.
I was humbled quickly. The chip fell off the shoulder quite quickly and the ego, so that’s changed. My brand, direction, and focus fundamentally are pivoted as well due to that. My brand and podcast are more now about educating people around scenarios. I’m very big about educating people in the property game and the business game and giving that a lot of free education out there that they’re not getting from companies that should supply that. I’m helping as much as possible. I was humbled. I accepted my beating and I took it.
Fundamentally, the biggest thing is you don’t want anyone else to fall off and not know how to get back. You don’t want anyone else to go through those issues and not be prepared. Everything I invested had some cashflow, but it was a long-term strategy. The properties I originally had will pay me out when I retire. The shares have got capital growth, but it’s going to do well in 2 to 3 years’ time. When you’re at a realization, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
That mindset changes that I’ve always got to look after myself and my family. I can look after them and think about them in 5, 10, or 15 years’ time, but my overarching strategy’s got to always make sure I’m protecting myself in a higher cashflow, easier way to get hold of money and wealth so I can protect myself and then sharing as much of that knowledge as possible to anyone that’s willing to listen.
Having gone through not to the level that you did, I certainly had a humbling experience. The male ego is so built and so wired to chase success and to be recognized. We want people to say great things about us. We want to feel we’re at the elite. We’re competitive. When we’re constantly chasing that over and over again, I don’t think any male will escape the beating, the humbling experience.
It’s going to take shape in different forms, but going through that humbling process is a great thing because then it allows you to, in a way, relax and live your real purpose and be focused on happiness instead of success. Do you feel happier? You’re focused more on, “I want to be living a joyful life now,” versus, “I got to make money. I got to prove myself,” type of thing?
There’s none of that “I’ve got to prove myself” anymore. I’m happy. It’s funny, a friend of mine and I had a question for each other a couple of weeks ago or a month ago. It was, “What is that one thing that you own or want that will show the tick box that, ‘I’ve achieved life. I’m successful?’” It was quite an interesting question. I came home and asked my wife, “What do you think’s the one thing that I will own or have, therefore I’ve been ticked that’s a sign of success?” She says, “You’ll never have that because you’ve got the bug of entrepreneurship and the bug of always wanting to chase. You’ll always want to choose something and go more.” To me now, it is different from where it was a couple of years ago.
A couple of years ago, it was, “Chase that $1 million. Chase that $10 million. Chase that people know you on social media and when people walk down the street, you expect them to know who you are.” Now that chase is, “Chase and help another company out if they need the help. Go and help a lot more.” It’s more chasing so that other people can have those opportunities, not necessarily that I can be on the front line. That’s more in the sit-in-the-back.
I always see myself and anyone that’s in the original cartoon Aladdin with Robin Williams. At some stage, the genie is sitting there with the pompoms and going, “You can do it!” That’s where I am at the moment, right in the background of everyone and that realization of cheering that on. It’s not just because that’s where I want it, but you’ll be surprised what happens when you put other people in front of yourself from an endearing and integrity point of view, how that’ll come back over a period of time and support you back as well.You'd be surprised what happens when you put other people before yourself. That will come back over a period of time and support you back as well. Click To Tweet
Success comes from what you get. Fulfillment comes from what you give. There’s nothing that beats fulfillment. You want to have both. We’re never going to stop chasing success. That’s how we’re wired as your wife pointed out. She’s smart. Women know us. That’s never going to stop but being able to have that in check and in control. It sounds like you’ve made some incredible strides. What do you got going right now that people can follow you or learn from you? You have a YouTube course that I registered for. I want to learn some of your YouTube hacks. You got a great podcast for people to plug into.
First, if anyone’s interested., it’s Lawrence Lotze. You can find me on all the social platforms out there at the moment. I try to be on as many as possible and I’m way too active on most of them. You can always get ahold of me. The Wolf of Queen Street Podcast runs on YouTube that is running there at the moment. I do a podcast course. I teach people to launch podcasts within eight weeks, help them get ranked, and give them all the strategies to sit behind that.
I’m excited about this. I’ve launched my Black Book of Secrets for YouTube course. I normally did private one-on-one YouTube mentorship with people, which costs almost $700 over 2 to 3 to 4 weeks for companies, individuals, and brands. I’ve put that into a live two-and-a-half-hour event for anyone that’s interested, for only $19. I would love to make it free, but there’s a bit of a realization that if you make something free, people don’t have respect.
It’s not valued.
The $19 is for that psychology factor that if you pay a little bit of money, you’re going to pay a bit of attention to it. I’m excited to have Jack on board. It takes people through what YouTube is and how it works, and this is one of the things that people find the craziest is, how you can post a video on YouTube with no subscribers and still get views. People don’t realize that because YouTube itself has its own brain and AI. They will take your content on your behalf and put it in front of someone else without you doing anything.
All of this is what we’re covering in the course and show you how to be done. Once you learn it, you go, “There are no ways of not knowing how to make it happen.” That’s the big thing that’s happening and I’m super bummed about that. If anyone that’s reading is interested to learn more about that, message Jack or me. I can send you the link and I would love to have you join us in that course.
We covered it pretty quickly. There’s more in-depth to the blockchain property deal. You interviewed the owner, the founder of that particular platform on your podcast. Do you remember what that one was titled or the episode?
It would’ve been RealT Investments. It’s episode 71. It will say RealT in the decentralized finance in the name. You’ll be able to tell it from the other ones that are talking about this topic.
If you guys want to hear a little bit more detail about that, be prepared to listen to a pretty smart dude talk about that. I’m warning you. You won’t feel smart when you get done with that one, but you’ll feel more knowledgeable. This was incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, your experience, your ordeal, and your authenticity. You’re doing great things. I’m excited to have the relationship and to be able to have you on. Thanks for being here.
Thanks so much.
Here we go, guys. We’ll see you on the next episode.
- Lawrence Lotze
- Black Book of Secrets
- The Wolf of Queen Street – Apple Podcasts
- Episode 71 – Past episode on The Wolf of Queen Street podcast
About Lawrence Lotze
I have always had a passion for helping to connect people through similar life experiences and challenges and found that creating a podcast was the best way to do this. Over the last 24 months I have focused on building and promoting a brand that enables me to do what I love. Through the support and guidance of my new found network I have managed to create a successful platform which enables me to reach out to views across all nations. During this success life decided to bring me back to earth with a thump.