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Creating Your Own Success with Matt Wallace

You are in for a treat. This is one of my favorite episodes and the reason why is we're talking with Matt Wallace, who is a gold, silver and precious metals, including diamonds expert.

He has an amazing story as you are about to discover. Even more than the story and the aura of flipping and cashflowing gold, silver and diamonds is Matt’s attitude about it. There is no shortage of opportunities around us and Matt makes us realize that in this particular episode.

If you're especially interested in how you can invest in precious metals and gold, silver and diamonds, you're in for a treat. For those of you who are thinking, “That takes such a long time. People buy and just sit on these things” not with Matt. Matt is going to talk to us about how you can cashflow, how you can find underpriced assets in your own backyard, garage sales and estate sales, and how you can buy it for pennies on the dollar and then be able to melt it down or be able to send it to a refinery and make a couple of bucks.

Are you going to retire with one find? No, but you're going to be able to cashflow and do things with a gold that most people don't even think is possible. The other thing is there are very different ways to go out there and create success. Matt talks about gold and silver, then he talks about real estate.

Matt is a great example of what all of us should be striving for here at WealthFit - start with something, get in the game and then start expanding out. Follow your passion and start setting up your foundation. I'm fired up. I can't wait for you to hear this episode.

Dustin
You're at the airport post 9/11. You're passing through security when four armed guards approach you from the rear. TSA is convinced that the heavy bag that you put on the conveyor belt is C4 wrapped in wires. What's going through your head at this moment?
Matt
The first thing that is going through my head is I have no idea what they think at this point. To frame this a little bit, I'm getting and going in my business, I’m probably a year and a half in. I'm getting a little bit more cash but I'm still pinching pennies here. I'm trying to save some money. I went to personally tour the refinery I was working with. I thought that was the coolest invite. They were like, “Why don't you come down and see the process?” The one thing back then was it was expensive to ship the stuff. I would pay $200 to $300 to have it insured and express ship my gold and silver down to the refineries. I was like, “I'm already flying down. Let's load everything up in my carry-on and I'm going to take all this with me.” I spend this time and I pack it all in there, but I don't think anything of it. What I did realize is I'm going to the airport with a 155-pound bag that I have. I am not letting anyone come near me to touch my bag. I'm like, “No, I got it.” Even the airport taxis, “No, please. I've got this.”
Dustin
What do you say the value is in a rough estimation?
Matt
There was a fair amount of gold there, but there was a ton of silver. I want to say that the bag had $90,000. I don't want anyone messing around because if someone says, “No, you can't go,” or they confiscate, I'm still new and I've never traveled with that stuff. I've always shipped it. I've never had to personally walk this through. What happened was I couldn't fit it all in. I had melted the silver down into these big bricks and put it in my suitcase and I go up, I get it through the conveyor and I'm standing there. I looked around and I'm like, “This is weird. These guards are lining up behind me.” They looked at me and they go, “Sir, is this your bag?” I said, “Yes, that's my bag.” He’s like, “We're going to need you to stand right there. Would you come up here? We’re going to take your bag. We're going to need you to carefully walk with us. We're going to go to this back room. Please don't move quickly, just walk.” I'm like, “Okay.” Then I started thinking, “What else did I have in that bag?” I'm thinking, “What did I leave in here?”
They go to pick the bag up and this guy almost breaks his back. This thing drops to the ground, it's making him nervous because it's so heavy. They're looking at me and I'm like, “Sorry, it's a little overweight. It's a little heavy. I can take it.” “No, sir. Just walk into the room.” I walk in this room. They take me in this closed room. They got guards in there. They're all standing around me and they're like, “Is there anything in here that's going to hurt us?” I'm like, “Something could stab you,” because I'm freaking out and I'm saying all the wrong things. They're looking at me and they slowly opened this thing. This guy, you can tell he's nervous. He's looking at me and I'm like, “Go ahead open it. It's fine.” They’re taking all this time. They swab all this stuff and then he opens it. First, you can see a look of confusion because it's full of metal. I don't have any clothes. There are no personal items in this. It was packed full of precious metals like gold and silver. The gold is separated but packed full. He starts looking at this and he's all confused and he started taking it out. I'm like, “I can make a bit of a mess. Please keep it all together because that's valuable.”
Long story short, he realized it’s not dangerous and they go, “We're going to show you why we're so worried.” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Look at this X-ray.” The silver bars I had melted looked like these six perfect bricks across the suitcase and I had all this silver wire in there. It comes up pure black on the X-ray. I couldn't have designed something that looked more like a bomb in my suitcase and this is shortly right after 9/11. It totally amplified everything. You could see everyone, like these TSA guards did not know what they were in for. You could see this huge look of relief to finally realize it's not explosive. I started laughing because as soon as they showed this to me I’m like, “It totally makes sense why you are all so nervous and everything.” It was a fun story.
Dustin
I can't imagine what's going through their head there. They’re probably thinking, “We hit the motherload,” because a lot of stuff is pretty mundane, I would imagine. Then now they see you and it's like red alert central. I hear you have an even crazier experience on your gold mining expedition to Africa. Can you share the craziness?
Matt
I got into this business young and so being young, you're always looking for adventure and something crazy and cool. I had met this guy who had done exporting diamonds out of Africa. I didn't know anything about exporting diamonds out of Africa, but I knew it had a lot of gold in them. We got talking and he's like, “We can make that work. We could do this.” It intrigued me and it was like, “I'm going to export gold out of Africa, this was a resume builder, a life experience. It was a money pit. It's hard though.” The craziest thing about Africa and what you learn as to why there's a lot of capital invested there, but why a lot of people from the US or Europe struggle to want to invest there is because there are no laws and everything is corrupt. At the highest form of anything, there's corruption. When you go in to get anything done like a gold license or whatever, if I walk in there being white and speaking English, the prices are ten times. It's going to take instead of one day, it's going to take three weeks but it doesn't have to take three weeks if you have $1,000. It can take just an hour. You can't say, “I'm going to go over that person's head or to the boss,” because what happens is the next guy bribes you for more money. He is the boss. He wants more than the younger guy. He knows the game. If you want to get anything done, you have to bribe people.
The guy I had partnered with, one of them had gone to the US for his education but he moved back home. He could speak English and he could speak the local language. When I would partner with him, I would send him in all the meetings and then we'd only pay small bribes because they would help him out, but they won't help me. If they saw me everything changed. It took months to get a gold license. The crazy thing about a country like Africa, they have terrible roads. They don't have new cars. They don't have new car dealerships. All the cars are old and used. It's hard to get anything. Everything's expensive but nothing's nice. A gold license was $25,000 to be able to export gold. I'm going like, “This is insanity,” because in the US, there’s no license like that. If you have a license, it might cost me $1,000 a year to do this thing. In Africa, they're like, “You might possibly make a lot of money. We're going to charge you $25,000. If you don't pay the $25,000, we can confiscate your gold at any time.” I do jump through the hoops and I paid this.
I'll tell you a funny story and then I'll tell you a crazy story. One of the funny ways they do this is they have a central bank and all the gold that leaves the country has to go to the central bank first. You pay this little tax to get the gold out. Then they transport it in an armored truck to the airport for you to make sure people don't follow you. That's included in your fee as a little bonus. It used to be before they had redone their airport, that you would get on the plane and when everyone was on the plane, they would walk your gold on the plane and give it to you right there on the plane. Then they did more security and they built the terminal. They had to come up with something else. I feel like you're in a comedy sketch when you go to get your gold. It was the craziest thing. I would show up at the airport and they'd announce, “Mr. Matt Wallace?” You're like, “Okay.” They’re like, “Come.” These guards, they’re like the military and you're following them. They have this round wooden wall room right in the middle of the food court at the airport. This is surrounded with curtains. It's an open room and five guards are all pile in there so that they have witnesses so that you can’t claim something. 
You're standing in there and these guys are touching you all around. It's not that big, it's like four-foot diameter and all these people are in there. Then they go, “We have your stuff.” They open it up and they hand it to you. They’re like, “Check the seal. It's all good. All good? Put it in your bag.” They’re touching you. It was the weirdest thing. They're all into it and they’re like, “Looks like you did good. Hopefully, you got this.” They're joking with you and then they're like, “Okay, go,” and you walk out. It's supposed to be private but anyone knows. You’re right in the middle of the food court. Anybody knows we’ve got gold now. You walk in this random room in the dead center of the airport that has no lights. Five guards go in and then you walk out. They brought you a bunch of gold. I don't feel like it's any more secure. I feel like more of a target. You walk out of there and you're looking around for someone who’s going to take me out. Their systems are wacky but ultimately there are two major reasons why we pulled out. One was it gets expensive. First off, people will not negotiate, which is crazy. You think they need the money and the gold was more expensive than what I pay here. 
They wanted over the market value. The only way they would take a discount is if you came with $1 million minimum cash in $100 bills. There were a few people who did but if you did that type of thing, you needed to have your security lined up to get out because it was very risky. You had to have a lot of things in place. It's a weird system but the biggest thing was the guy that I partnered with got captured. They had done some research and they had gone out to different villages. We were trying to get out to the villages because what happens is the villagers don't get very much for their gold. It's a three-day trek in and a lot of them don't have the money to ride this crazy bus because the roads aren't good. They're all dirt and gravelly and two feet deep potholes. This is not like the potholes that we have here. It slows you down a little. You need an off-road vehicle to get through it. They'd gone out there to try to talk to villagers and tell them what we would pay. If they would work with us, we could have a consistent source. One of the biggest problems they have is they stockpile their gold but then they are very reluctant to get rid of it because they’re afraid they're going to get ripped off. They don't have anything consistent and we are trying to be that consistent source.
What happens is when you're in that town, a broker comes. You might agree with the price and the broker but then he tries to make a fortune. He goes back and tells them, “I can only pay you $0.60 on the dollar,” and he's getting $0.90. He's getting $500,000 in gold that he's making $150,000. Instead of making $5,000, he's trying to make crazy amounts of money. You have this broker problem. We tried to go out and negotiate that and on one of the trips, he went out there and was taken and held for quite a while. Fortunately, he survived it. It was the second time in his career. He had been over there before, but he'd been held for quite a bit of time this second time. The first time he was only held for two days but this one, he was held for over a month and he had to escape. It was an eye-opener that this adventure could have a serious consequence. You also feel like you were going nowhere. You feel like you're treading water, but I will say an interesting fact. I have successfully imported gold to the US for a lot of people. It doesn't mean much. When I went to do this, there's no real fee you have to pay to bring gold into the US. We want to be a gold-rich country. The US government have sometimes import taxes and stuff but there's nothing on raw gold. You can bring in as much as you want.
Dustin
It’s like bringing in cash, there is that limit but gold you could bring in as much as you want?
Matt
I could bring in a suitcase of $10 million in gold and they wouldn’t care. To be honest, they barely even report it and check it. When I opened up my package, the lady’s like, “You don't need to give it to me.” I said, “Why?” She goes, “We don't collect any money on it. I just take your word.” She didn't care. When I came through customs, I had paid a customs broker guy to be there to make sure I got through smooth even though I'm not supposed to pay a fee. This guy is a Chicago-based customs broker for 54 years. He was in his 70s. When I come through and I go, “I'm Matt Wallace. I'm your customs broker, the guy with gold from Africa.” He gets his eyes all big and looks at me. He goes, “You have gold?” I said, “Yes.” He goes, “You're the first person in my 54 years that has ever got gold back that I know from my company. I've had thousands of people try. No one's ever got it back into the US.” It's that difficult. 
That's how much corruption and problems go on over there. Most people go and they get a license. They try and they get discouraged. They realize it's going to cost too much and they have all these hurdles and they never even get it back into the country. I'm not saying I'm the only one, there are other people. For that broker who’s been doing this for 54 years in Chicago, one of the major hubs and he owned the company. It wasn't like some crappy customs broker guy working for a company. He owns the company and he knew a lot of people. He said, “Son, you're the first one to ever get it back in the country.”
Dustin
We've got gold and we've got diamonds. The one thing I want to share with the WealthFit Nation is that you talk about buying a house. I want to talk about real estate. There's a bag of diamonds on the table and you would think that the same value that a house is worth that this bag of diamonds would be a hundred times. It's a small tiny Ziploc bag. How much is that in value on the table?
Matt
The cash value that I can get for this is just over $100,000. This will easily get you a down on a piece of property. The crazy thing on these small diamonds, there's a big difference between what I immediately cashed out for and what the retail value is. This bag though would retail for somewhere in the neighborhood of $750,000. If I were to sell this bag, put them back in pieces, take my time and retail them, this would be $750,000.
Dustin
I want to give people a frame of reference because I said it was a small bag and still that may be hard to visualize. On a pair of jeans that little small pocket, not the big pocket but the little small pocket, the change pocket, you could fit that in there. We're talking the retail value of what you could sell that for is $750,000.
Matt
You could cash it in any diamond dealer. If you say, “I want to get rid of these. Give me a check,” it would be $100,000.
Dustin
Matt is part of the WealthFit Nation. He’s a trainer here. He's got a course on this. How did you get into this Indiana Jones world of gold, diamond and silver?
Matt
This is going to be the first time I would ever publicly tell the true story. I have told this to people one-on-one, but I sugarcoat the story a little bit more. I'm going to tell you how I got into this. It was by accident. I was young and in high school. I grew up in a small town. Good jobs were harder to come by and I had gotten this great job at a bank. I was a marketing intern. We made their ads and all this stuff. I would follow around the executive team. It was a sweet job. They would give you great scholarships when you went to college and all this. I had turned eighteen, it's my senior year, I'm going and everything's good. We have these gigantic staff party and it was fun. Being in a smaller town and it's a private party, they were a little lax and a lot of us were able to sneak some drinks. We had some good times hanging out with everyone. Later on that evening, I happened to have a little fun with the vice president's assistant. She was on her late twenties or early 30s, quite a bit older than me. It was something that just happened.
To me, I was like, “It happened, move on,” but she proceeded to share with everyone. She had no shame about it. The worst was this happened right on a weekend. I come in on Monday and I walked in and there are two employees I know. These guys who are about her age looked over at me and they immediately started laughing. I knew that everyone knew. I was like, “One or two, it doesn't matter.” When I went to headquarters and people were doing the same thing, I found out it was getting everywhere. It ultimately cost me most of my scholarship. That's the part my parents don't know. I got $500 instead of $5,000. Needless to say, the job wasn't as desirable as it had been. I was at lunch and one of the other vice presidents happened to own a jewelry store. She was talking about how her husband can't find good help. I raised my hand and I said, “I'm ready to go work.” In the middle of lunch, we're planning other stuff. She was casually talking and I'm like, “I'm ready to go work.”
She’s like, “For my husband, but you work here?” I'm like, “It's good. I'm looking for something different. Let's go try it. When can I go start?” She goes, “How about this week?” I said, “I'll see you there.” He hired me and that's how I got into learning how to make jewelry. Back then, I repaired. I sat on the bench. I did that the rest of my senior year and got that other environment. Then I went to college like everyone. I had a good time. I spent too much money. I needed a job. I wasn't going to look for jewelry. I was going to be a bartender or something cool. There was a jewelry job and my buddies are like, “You’ve got to go. It's a good pay and flexible hours. Give it a shot.” I go in and they go, “You're hired.” I'm like, “What?” They go, “You're the only person who applied who had any experience.” Back then, I was too much of a pleaser. I took the job and that was the best thing that I did because that guy is amazing. He’s a friend of mine to this day. He taught me about custom jewelry, but he also taught me how to buy jewelry and how to buy gold. He had friends who did it in the ‘80s and were making $800 a night in the ‘80s, in the evening, door knocking. That's what inspired me. That's how I ended up coming full circle and knowing how to do this business. It was a bit of a fluke as a young man that led to this.
Dustin
I love those turning point moments in life you just never know. Gold, silver and diamonds, it's electrifying. People get excited by this topic but if you think about this, buying gold traditionally like when people are doing this hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago collecting gold. It’s boring as an asset class, meaning you buy it traditionally and you hang on to it and you ride the wave. We know your passion and excitement. What got you excited when you were younger in learning about this? Why is it so different for you? Why is it not boring for you?
Matt
There are some amazing benefits being in this industry and this business. One of that is what you're looking at right now. In this tiny little square on the table, we probably have $250,000 worth of stuff, including the little bags. We probably have $250,000 worth of stuff that fits in a one-quart Ziploc bag and I can take it anywhere.
Dustin
When you are coming down, I'm thinking you're bringing suitcases of stuff and you did. I'm thinking gold bricks and whatnot and you’re very casual about this whole thing.
Matt
If I had a whole suitcase full, it would be $10 million. I'm not going to be that comfortable chilling with all this gold hanging out. It's amazing how much it adds up. One of the benefits is that with a very small amount of stuff, it’s worth a lot. You can transfer the wealth very quickly. You can move around and you can take it with you. I’m not using that as a strategy to get wealthy, but what's nice about it is. Let's say for example, you fill your backpack with good pieces, you can either go sell them anywhere in the country or you put a little bit of stuff and you can buy it. You can bring a lot back with you. It's small to ship. That's one of the benefits. The other benefit is that I learned instead of buying this and holding it forever like an asset class that doesn't produce. That's always the biggest criticism about gold is that if you have real estate and you have a cash flowing, at least you're making something per month. Whereas if you buy gold and you just sit on it, you have to hope that the market goes up. You’re hedging against inflation. You're not buying something that makes money.
The way I do it and the strategy that I'm doing is I'm not buying one-ounce gold bars that are already been through the refinery in free-formed. We're buying scrap jewelry and because it has to go through the refining process, we're able to buy a little bit under the market value. Because of that, we can flip it immediately. We make a small percentage but we do this every week, every day all the time. What happens is if you're only making 5% to 10% on something, it doesn't sound like a lot but when you compound that on flipping millions of dollars, you can take a very small amount of money and turn it into a substantial amount of money in a fairly short period of time.
Dustin
I want to break this down. On the table as well in addition to the nice bag of diamonds, there are a collection of rings. We're not looking at gold bricks or bars that were already refined. One of the things you talk about in the course and one of the things that you share with me offline is this idea that you can go to a garage sale. You can go to an estate selling and buy gold jewelry and get it at a great discount because people don't understand the same value that you understand. Can you unpack that a little bit and explain that?
Matt
One of the avenues where we're getting stuff, you have garage sales, estate sales, pawnshops, all these places. Think about it. This is one thing you have to realize for all of you out there. Every person, everyone you know has a piece of gold. Everyone does. They may not be looking to sell it at that moment, but when you think about having 370 million people in the US, there are always people selling. There are people passing away, people getting divorced, people who are cleaning out and don't care. What happens is these people had a garage sale. They put out some of their junk jewelry. Sometimes they don't realize something’s gold or they think, “That's just a little piece of gold. It's probably $5.” They don't realize that it's worth $40 and it's not to say that that one piece that you're getting is going to be $5,000 and I paid $5. You can very regularly go out and find things for $5 and $10 that you can melt.
We're not talking work. It's not work to sell these stuff. You literally melt it, send it off and get a check. You're going to get $40 back for that $5 piece or $100 back. That's one avenue and you're going to make a better margin on that. You’ve got to hunt a little. Then what we do as we get bigger is we come to these places like pawn shops and coin shops, who get gold on a regular basis. We say there's a benefit to working with us instead of a refiner. When we go through all those benefits and we help them with stuff and then we pay them a very high percentage, we're only making 5%, 6%. We come into your store or they mail it to us and we forward the money. However it is, there are lots of different ways. We do that and then we make the small percentage, but we don't have to go find it. It's coming in. They call us. My phone's been blowing up. People are like, “I got $10,000 worth of gold. I need you to come. Send me this $5,000.” All the clients who get it regularly for us, we make that small percentage.
Dustin
What I'm hearing you saying is you're starting, getting going. You're hustling a little bit more. You're going out and you're going and finding it, but then you're establishing those key relationships. The smart man figures out how to not hustle that hard but rather have deals come to them.
Matt
It's still fun. Some people love the hunt. I know a lady who’s been doing this for twenty years and she still does the hunt every weekend. She is a mad woman with it. She loves the hunt of this and you find great stuff and it's like anything. If you continue to do it, you're going to hit more of those home runs. It's the base hits that pay the bills. It's the base hits that businesses are built on. Every business, if you're doing something long enough, gets a home run. It’s like, “That was a killer deal we had.” That's not what any business or anything in life is built on, it's the base hits. That's what I like to tell people when they're thinking about this. If you get out there and hustle, you're going to get all these little base hits and it builds your knowledge and you're going to get some money in your pocket. Finding it is the work. Once you find it though, it's easy. People are like, “I don't know how I'm going to sell it.” It's not like that. You put the stuff in a bag, ship it to us or another refiner that we talk about and you'll get a check.
Dustin
I want to break this down a little bit. I go to a garage sale, I find a piece of gold, I give the guy or the gal $20, and then you talk about melting it down. How am I melting this down? How do I flip it?
Matt
That's probably the one thing I should clarify. I always say melting it down and that's because that's something we do in our company because we've gotten big enough. For the longest time, we have a pile of gold that does not melt down and it doesn't have to be. You have to get this gold. You're going to sort it into the different karats or not because if you send it to someone that’s going to melt it down, they’ll sort it for you. From there, they will pay you an amount based on it. For example, I'm holding a ring and it's the old vintage class ring. It's pretty heavy. This ring is a ten-karat gold and it has about $160 worth of gold in it. $160 is more substantial. Think about this, if you didn't know anything about gold and you're going through a family member stuff and you see this big bright blue fade class ring stone and you think, “We're going to have a garage sale.” You put it out there and you’re like, “Give me $25.” Someone's going to be, “I’ll give you $25,” because they knew what the value is. With a very simple amount of training, you can learn the value of this in twenty seconds. Even at the sale, you'll be able to know, “I'm going to make this amount of money. Here's $25.” The other person is like, “Fine, I got rid of the junk.” People don't realize what they have. If you're willing to hunt, there are great rewards for you.
Dustin
Matt is holding a class ring as he described, but it's all bent up and at the garage sale. This thing is $5 maybe. That's fascinating. That's $160 right there. Break down the difference between karats because I'm not clear on that 10, 14, 24, all that stuff.
Matt
If you hear 24 karat gold, it means pure. What that means is if you have a piece of 24 karat gold, it is only gold. The only thing in there is pure gold. The ten, fourteen and eighteen-karat are different purities. That's it. The ten-karat gold, it’s a fraction. If you take ten divided by 24, it's going to come out 4.1666. What that means is there's 41.6% gold in the piece. This ring, let's say it weighs ten grams. There would be 4.16 grams of pure gold. All the other weight of the ten grams is going to be silver, copper, other alloys that they mixed in. They do this because when you alloyed gold, it becomes a lot more durable. 24 karat gold is super soft. Not only is it super yellow but it's pliable. You can bend it with your bare hands. It doesn’t take much. To make things last overtime, we alloy them down. 
Fourteen karat gold, the difference is 58% gold and eighteen karats have 75%. To know that, you take eighteen divided by 24 comes out 0.75. It's a simple formula once you understand this and it's about the amount of gold that's in it by weight. The last thing I would say is if you have ten grams of ten karats, you're going to have 4.1 grams of pure gold in there. If you have ten grams of eighteen karats, you're going to have 7.5 grams of pure gold. It's significantly 30% more value in those ten grams. That's why it's important to know how to tell between ten, fourteen, and eighteen karats when you're buying this stuff so that you know what it's worth. Other than that, they mix a bunch of other alloys in there to make it stronger, harder and more durable.
Dustin
You're more than a gold and precious metals guy. I want to get into some of the other stuff that you're investing in because I want the WealthFit Nation to realize and get started with something, own it, have fun with it, but then expand like you have done. Is there anything else cool I should ask or anything else you feel like sharing around gold, silver, diamonds, that we hadn’t touched on?
Matt
What I love to tell people about this business is that it's one of the few businesses that I know that although technology has changed a little, there's a little more advanced gold tester. There's maybe a little more advanced diamond tester, but the basic equipment that still exists is the same technology. I know guys that have made tens of millions of dollars in profit over their career over the last 56 years. They’re using the same method. If you learn one method of gold testing, it will apply now and it will apply in 40 and 50 years. It doesn't change because once you learn how to calculate the value, the price of gold might change but the concept of the business doesn't. It's one of the few industries that investing time now is a lifelong gift you're giving yourself. It's not something you have to revisit year-after-year and go back to continuing education or get better and smarter to stay on the cutting edge. This is something you learn the skill and you master. Now, you have the rest of your life where you'll be able to capitalize on these little opportunities that come up.
Dustin
It's so funny how you frame that and you're absolutely right. When you think about stocks, you think about real estate, laws change, these change, that changes. Gold has been around forever but it doesn't change.
Matt
Neither do these principles of the business. We have the same thing way back if you look at it. It was like tax collectors or pharaohs who would collect gold. They’re like the refinery where you could go to them or you would cash it in. Even in early 1900 when you're trying to confiscate gold coins and bring it back, the government that was paying you for them, they were becoming this hoarder. There's always someone wanting to buy it. There's always someone purchasing this. The other crazy thing about gold that you never have to worry about, not that many of you are going to have this problem because even I don't, but if you had $10 million in gold, you could get a check same day. As crazy as that is. You take it to a big refinery on the same day. It’s that liquid. There are so few things that are also that liquid and that consistent. There’s always a buyer for it.
Dustin
One thing did pop into my head is I took my son and family to San Diego and we live on the fringe of Old Town where the California Gold Rush was. They had this little exhibit where we could get fool's gold. What is your advice or what is the strategy to figure out if I got real gold or fake gold?
Matt
I’ll try to give you a few tips and tricks. There's a little bit more in testing it and knowing. In general, what I tell people the number one thing where you get ripped off is if someone's trying to sell you something. If you go somewhere and some guys are like, “These are ten karat gold and they're fourteen karat gold. Take any of your picks. They're only $10.” It's a little too pushy. Anyone who would know that they are gold is not going to sell them that cheap. What you're looking for is you're looking for guys that got a bunch of crap rings for $2 and you happen to find the one gem. You're not going to probably find a whole tray of them. That being said, what you're looking for is with a basic tool like a ten-power loupe. If you're walking around a swap-me garage sale, you pick items up. You're looking inside. By law, every piece of jewelry made needs to be stamped with a karat mark. They need it on the inside of the earring or a bracelet, somewhere it's supposed to be stamped. Can it wear off over time? Yes, but they all should have it. Probably 90% plus still have their mark. 
Dustin
I wanted to find loupe here.
Matt
The loupe is about the size of a quarter. It's a ten-power lens that allows you to magnify close up, so you can clearly see the mark inside of any piece of jewelry. It's a basic tool. They’re about $30 for a good one. If you look at a piece at a garage sale and it says ten, fourteen karat and they want $1, $5, $10, it's almost positive. I can't say this for sure. It could be a life piece but most pieces, if they have any amount of gold, are at least $25 to oftentimes $100 in gold. It’s very easy for them to be a $100 piece. I'm picking something up in front of me, as I'm showing them, this is probably $75 in gold. A very small ring can have that. If you find something for $10, $15, $20 and it's got a mark and some guy's not being pushy where he says I've got these different things, he doesn't know what it is. It's very likely it is real. I tell people you've got to be more cautious. What I'm telling you is a basic tip. I want you to go through and learn how to test it and how to value it so that you know what you're looking for. If you're going to wing it and you get a loupe, just keep that in the back of your mind. If someone's pushing something on you, that's usually when you're going to get burned. If you naturally find it and no one mentioned anything and it's unlabeled and it's marked ten, fourteen, eighteen karats, then I would probably chance it because it's probably good.
Dustin
Gold, silver, diamonds and precious metals, you're making money and life is good, but somehow you get the itch to diversify and go into other asset classes. Which other things are you into?
Matt
The main thing that drew me in was real estate and the reason that being for probably all of your audience out there is something very similar. Not just the appreciation over time, but the depreciation that you get, especially when you start making money. You're going to need write-offs, you’ll need other deductions and then the fact that it cashflows. Your tenants are paying down your mortgage and you are making money along the way. In the long run, you have this great asset. It's paying you along the way, which is something that gold doesn't offer. When you're looking at this, you're like, “If I'm doing this business, I still have to show up even though I enjoy it.” I can make the system a little easier where I don't have to be in my gold business every day but you're still showing up. Whereas I was like, “I could take some of this money.” I could buy real estate, then it doesn’t matter. I have property managers. I don't have to show. I can replace my income. If something happens to me, something that every independent business owner should be aware of, you might have great health right now but that doesn't mean you're always going to have great health.
If something happens to you, do you want to put your family in jeopardy? Do you want them to no longer have the income or lifestyle they're used to? You want to find ways to protect that. My parents were schoolteachers. They had learned how to invest a little, but we only had small single-family homes, cheaper ones that you could rent. At one point, we had maybe an apartment complex, but we lived in the big unit. Mostly, everything we had was just single-family homes because that's what all my dad could save up to buy another one and then right up. We were not making a lot of extra money per month. Those of you out there know, single-family homes don't tend to cashflow a ton unless you get a lightning deal. Most of the time when you're buying it, they pay them, so they breakeven or whatever and you get the benefit on the taxes. I wanted stuff that was a little more putting cash in my pocket. I've looked at multifamily and other different investments. One day, it hit me. I was like, “I need to do something. I need to buy a property, right, wrong or indifferent.” 
Dustin
Talk to me about the first deal. Your first real estate deal.
Matt
The first one that I did is this investment. Not only did I buy something but I bought a massive project. I went in with a rehab. It was a five-plex. I'd been saying, “I’ve got to get something.” I found this property on the MLS. That's hard to do sometimes. It had been on there, but no one wanted to buy. This thing is a wreck and rundown. I looked at it and it's in an area that's getting rehabbed. It's coming back. I wanted to take the shot on it. I tried to negotiate with the seller. I come to find out that he owed $223,000 on the property. I offered him $225,000 and I kept trying to get low. I tried initially to get lower. He's like, “I can't go lower than $225,000. That just gets me out.” It allows me to pay the realtor and I'm done. He lived out of state. He didn't want it. There's no option, it wasn't going to get it through a short sale. That's what we did. We bought it for $225,000. I knew there were some problems.
This property was my real first experience in how bad people, like the filth they will live in and that was shocking. I had a young guy. A very able body but I can't even believe how bad he let it go. He had to be evicted but we kept most of the tenants. We just removed two. That's a whole different story. We remove him, we get in and we start rehabbing it. We go into this property and on the back side, we pull it off and the whole wall falls apart. Termites come pouring down and all this stuff. Fortunately, I had these amazing builders who had become good friends and business partners. He's like, “We'll hook you up. We're going to get this taken care of. Don't worry we'll get this where you're not killed in your budget.” I put about $90,000 into it. I'm in it for $225,000, $90,000, about $315,000 maybe at the very most $320,000. I redid everything. This has HardiePlank siding trim. I did all new doors, I did all new windows, I did new roofs, new gutters and new paint.
I had a guy come to tear off all the ground. We poured concrete around everything. New automated exterior lighting, security system, everything. I was like, “I'm going to make this the best.” It went well. I had an $85,000 budget, it barely went over. I’m very happy with it. We were able to raise rents. We got some new tenants over time. It's now worth $485,000. It came about $170,000 in equity and that's conservative. In the market, I could probably start at $550,000. I could sell it for sure at $485,000. I'm cashflowing in $2,000 a month and I don't take care of it, I got this manager. The other gem to this is these diamonds that I get are what paid for it. The diamonds that I practically get for nothing or at a very small amount bought the project and did the remodel. This little bag that I have in front of me is going to do another one. It was an amazing project. $225,000 in, $90,000, paying $170,000, it took only four months. I did that quick and got this cashflow coming and I was hooked. Now I can see a clear path as to what I'm doing to build another income, to build my net worth and to protect myself in the future.
Dustin
I want to touch on a little bit around self-storage. What attracted you to self-storage?
Matt
That is the other project that I'm working on. I was hooked with multifamily. I'm doing another one right now. I have a commercial office building. I'm doing a house flip. I'm probably in too many different things but storage is my number one. If I could do anything, it would be storage and I hope to one day be sharing all of these with you guys. I love to be talking more about it. This is very important for everyone out there, for anyone at any point in life and to get what you want out of life. You have to look at what do you want your ultimate lifestyle to be. Some of us spend a lot of time getting into businesses that require 50 to 60 hours a week. It's very hard for us to get ourselves out or we buy a ton of single-family homes because it was easy, but it didn't make us a bunch of money per month. We can't get rid of our job and now we have two jobs. We have a job taking care of our properties and we have a job that we're working on a corporate job or something like that and you didn't get your ultimate goal. 
For me, when I looked at what I wanted out of my life and the lifestyle, I've discovered there's a lot more that I want to do. There are a lot of great projects that I love helping and contributing giving back to an organization that I want to be a part of but like anyone, I want a comfortable lifestyle. I was like, “How am I going to have real true massive income but not have all the headaches of like tenants and all these problems and all these remodels?” I started looking at asset classes and properties and different stuff. I started asking people who had storage places and they’re like, “They're great. I don't know. We never go to ours.” At least they have someone who cleans up, they sweep some things. I'm like, “What do you make?” They were good friends so they're telling me. They're like, “Our little one, we probably clear $10,000 a month.” I’m like, “What? You get a part-time employee. You're not even running it right and you're getting $10,000 a month?” That started this real fascination for me. I was like, “I got to know more. I got to know everything. I got to know this.”
There's a company in the US who does teach about self-storage. I went to one of their things and then I went to a mastermind thing and then I went to these rooms with people. I started talking to every owner that I could possibly do. I started looking at how they fund storage, the cost of building storage. I started calling building manufacturers how long it takes them to build. I learned everything I could. I was flying all over the country to learn this stuff. It became even more apparent to me that it was one of the best things you could invest in. In recessions, people lose their home. They need place to store stuff. When economies are doing well, people store their boats and all the crap but they still buy. They still fill up just as fast. I've heard this a thousand times, so I know this is something a lot of you're thinking, “I know there's a billion going out there in my area. There are so many places going up in my area. We’re full.” You may not be full. You may but you may not because storage is a simple formula.
You need a certain amount of square foot of storage per person if you have a growing town. If your town is growing 100,000 people like a metropolitan area, you’ve grown 100,000 people, you need a ton more storage. That's the formula. That's it. It's not a matter of like, “Our area storage doesn't work.” All the big guys know that it doesn't matter. It's a population thing. You go around and we see how much population there, how much storage do you have? If you don't have enough, we build more. There are other markets that maybe a little bit better or a little bit worse but overall, it's an average amount of a square foot per person. It hooked me and I started searching for property that was going to work. We found one. We’re in the middle of a deal like financing it. We're going to build it from the ground up. I'll tell you these are my cliff notes. If you remember anything about storage, this is what you want to know about it. It costs for us, not every part in the area but for us, it's costing one-third the price per square foot of an apartment complex to build. One third, it should cost you no more than 50% though. 
For us, it's one-third. We're saving a little bit more. It cost one-third the price per square foot to build. On average, it rents for 2% more per square foot than an apartment building. You have no tenants, no trash, no toilets and none of these problems. When you look at that combo, it can be run by an ATM or one part-time employee and you look at the fact that the cost to build is so low and yet the average price per square foot is just the same. It's a real money maker. Our facility is 42,500 square feet. It's considered on the smaller size. It's only 2.1 acres and $1.8 million to build. Most people would cost him about $2.1 million to $2.2 million just to be straight. I’m partnered in this with contractors and because we're local in a small town, it's like calling in favors to keep costs down. I don't want to oversell it or make mine sound like a unicorn-type deal. 
There's a reason why it's a little bit less but it still would be a good deal at $2.2 million and when it's done, $3.7 million valuations. We almost gained $2 million. Each one of us will almost become a net millionaire off of this one deal. After mortgage, insurance, property taxes, everything, each one of us will net $8,500 a month of building. The deals aren't quite as good. Just to be clear, if you buy an established facility because if you buy an established facility, I’m going to sell it to you for $3.7 million. You're not going to get it at $1.8 million. If you want to do this, you're going to have to invest the time and energy, but building is the real moneymaker. Even if you bought an established facility, it's going to be very few headaches and over time it will make you a ton of money still. That was my storage eye-opening experience and I'm hooked. If that's all I could do, I would.
Dustin
I want to move us into what I call WealthFit round because it just popped in my head. My first question is you're doing gold, you're doing houses and you're doing all these deals. How do you manage all these entrepreneurial ventures and investments? How do you do it?
Matt
Let's be honest here, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Pick something, whatever you have and master one thing because once you master something, we all know that it doesn't require the same amount of energy to continue it. The problem is people who start five different new things and they're not masters in any of them, they can't get ahead because you can't learn enough about one. You can't systematize because you've got problems going everywhere. For me, maybe that was the benefit I had in getting in this so young. The gold business, I have mastered this. I can do it in my sleep. I can hold this stuff and know what it's worth. I can shoot numbers off my cuff and know that I'm within like a few percentage points. It's second nature for me. Because of that, it allows me to put more time and energy into the new ideas that I have, but I didn't do that until this was mastered. I want to be clear about that. I stayed focused for a lot of years.
I didn't do very much out of gold and silver for quite a few years until I built a base, until I had extra gold and silver in the safe, until I had some money in the bank, until I had some more consistent customers. My one caveat to that was my little wild hair with Africa but it was still in the gold business. It wasn't probably the best move. Then after I built this base, that's where I was like, “It's time to do real estate.” My plan originally was to do one deal a year and I was like, “In ten years, I'll have a whole bunch of places.” I know it's turned into six deals. It's getting out of hand. I’m buying buildings left and right. I got really into this. I can put more time and energy there. The other thing is if you do well, there comes a point where I had been running so much of this on my own. I was the guy who works hours. There were no set workhours. Saturday, Sunday, 7:00 in the morning, 10:00, at midnight, I'm the guy still doing this business. I have a way that I can buy a lot of the stuff online through a special trade network and I'm always doing it at 11:00 PM, midnight, 1:00 in the morning, for the next day prepping.
I was doing it all by myself. You get to a point where, even if you've done it well yourself, you need to start looking at hiring that team. It may slow you down a little bit in the beginning because you're spending more money and you're doing this training but now my store runs. I have a jewelry store as well. That's pretty self-sufficient. It got quite a few employees, but I hired some personal assistants. They've taken over some roles and the company has made a major difference for me. It added some quality of life back. Initially, it's that hunger but I had a goal. I knew there was some endgame. You can't just decide that you're going to grind it out the next 50 years everyday all day. It was like, “I'm going to master this. I'm going to get to this amount in the bank or this amount here and then I'm going to get this next property. From there, I'm going to get to this amount of passive income.” I have these very set numbers for a new level. It's still tough managing it all. I've got 20, 25 weeks out of the year I'm gone. That's a lot when you’re also trying to run the businesses. It’s not something I could have done before I had the team and not something I could have done until I fully mastered this.
Dustin
Sometimes when you hear people say, “I'm gone 25 weeks out of the year,” it's more out of obligation like the corporate traveler, but you get to travel like you just came back from doing a guy’s trip or a mastermind thing and you're now here shooting the course here in WealthFit. These are good travels.
Matt
There's always a little element of business mixed in there. I also get to do a lot of fun things. I've been to Cabo. It was a gigantic mastermind. It was so much fun and then people who were all working on their businesses and great networking stuff. I do jewelry shows around the country. I was in Montreal at an event, then I went to Boston. I’ll go to Formula One in Texas, but I spend a day going to some big established jewelers that we’d work with down there. There's that little element but that's the thing. I realize I don't want to retire. I was very blessed with a few things. At a young age, I hit a few things where I had a fair amount of money and I was like, “I'm retiring. I'm going to go hang out and golf and do nothing.” I went and did that. I'm in my early twenties and everyone's in their late 60s. None of my friends can do anything. It's like, “This is not what I want anyways.” I wasn't making millions. I was very easily making six figures and I was like, “I'm comfortable. I can do whatever I want,” and realize that it isn't what I want. What I've now decided is that I want my lifestyle and my business to go together. I'm doing both, that when I'm traveling and I'm gaining more knowledge. I’m meeting more people but I'm also enjoying it.
Dustin
What's been your most worthwhile investment?
Matt
100% every dollar that I have put into myself or the education, whether it's personal development or learning something new. We are our greatest asset because there could come a time where we live in a country where you do something slightly wrong, you get sued and you lose it all. Divorce happens, maybe you lose half of that and you have to start over. These things happen. Your business goes bad and something happens in the economy. If you haven't invested in yourself and if you're not constantly learning and getting better, when you have to start over, it's going to be a lot slower start. You have one basic skill. You’ve gotten lucky that you've got a certain point on that. For me, it's made it where I am not afraid. If I lost everything tomorrow, I'm going to build it back faster.
I know that formula. I know that I'm going to have it. I have the connection. I'm always growing the business. I haven't burned my bridges. That doesn't terrify me and it allows you to make maybe sometimes bigger, bolder investments but also there's a wild side to it. You go for it because you can take the stuff and this stuff doesn't mean anything. Also, through the money that I put in personal development stuff and what I mean by that is different masterminds and events. Different things where you meet other like-minded business owners. Sometimes what happens is in your network or your circle, you have friends that maybe you had a long time. They don't share maybe the same passion to grow or to have a certain amount of passive income or to enjoy life. What happens is when you don't have that, you get caught up in it. You start to lower your standard. I've got it better than that. That's your comparison. The more you do this and you spend time around people like that, it opens your eyes and you set the bar higher. 
I can remember several people that stand out because it's not just about money. I met a guy that looked like he could have been on a fitness magazine. He is chiseled. He had his whole family at the event. He and his son were building this handrail together. His son was raving about it and he had his daughter and his wife there. They were all working. They were doing this event together. He owned an insurance company and he saw all of it. He was very happy. I had a long talk with him and he was like, “I'm fortunate that I get to spend the time with my kids. I get to do this and we get to work on projects together. I have the business. I've got my health.” All of a sudden you realize that any excuse you were making, if you wanted to be in better shape or you should have had this, you now can't use that or you know that it is an excuse. There are other people doing it. When you're around more people who are doing it, then you raise your own standard for life. That is the best money I've ever spent. Any of the investments pale in comparison because it's what happens if you lost those investments. Where would you start over?
Dustin
Outside of education, what would be your guilty spending or your splurge?
Matt
I'm going to have a helicopter and an airplane. I'm a pilot. It's an expensive hobby. It used to be something where you can burn a few thousand regularly to go have fun but I absolutely love it. My dream is to have one of my houses where I have a helicopter pad right on the back. You go out, get in the helicopter and if you want to go to the airport, you fly directly to the jet terminal and get on. You don't have to deal with traffic. You get to go site seeing. You get to take your friends around. You get to experience great fun events flying. To me that's going to be, I'm sure, my guilty pleasure.
Dustin
You're a young guy, extremely successful with lots of different adventures. Looking back over your life so far, what would you say is your biggest defining moment? Maybe something that changed your trajectory forever.
Matt
The biggest one that stands out and this would have changed my life. I can 100% tell you I would not be sitting here with you and I would not be in the gold business. In college, I went into the Officer Candidate School for the Marines. I was looking at joining. My dad was Special Forces. I have a lot of other family members who are fighter jet pilots and everything. It was always something that intrigued me, but I always had these two sides to me. There was always a part of me that wanted to be like this successful business who did stuff and give back. There's a side of me that wanted this crazy adventure. The thing about being a pilot is it's a different kind of contract. It's a longer contract. The way it is, it's six years after all of your training. Your training is usually about four years. It's about ten years minimum. A lot of you are like, “It's only four years you should do them both.” I get that. It is if you're doing that, but as a pilot, it's a little different.
I did Officer Candidate School. I made it through, but they give you an interesting thing at Officer Candidate School. They want you because you're going to be in charge of a bunch of people when you come in. You're not enlisted. When you're enlisted in order to go to bootcamp, you sign the paperwork. You're joining. You're in. As soon as you go to bootcamp, you're in. In Officer Candidate School, they recruit from colleges and they have you go through like a similar bootcamp. You don't get to shoot real weapons the next day. It’s all the miserable schedules, working out of time, grueling and the difference is you have to want to be there because they let you quit at any time. In bootcamp, you can't quit. If you break your leg, they just say, “When it gets better, you're going back through.” You have to want to be there and so it's pretty grueling. I went through that, but they give you time to decide if you want to join.
You don't have to sign your paperwork. You have the next nine months, the rest of your year because they want you to be in. I went back and forth on this all the time. This was one of these things. There were a few factors that came up. My dad had battled cancer on and off and so I knew I wanted to be able to be around if something happened there. I didn't know if I wanted to commit ten years because I was afraid I was going to get roped into twenty or 30 because in my family, that's what happened to everyone. They’re like, “I'm going to go be a pilot,” and they were a 30-year career. Nothing wrong with that but if you have other goals, you've got to have a realistic way out. If you know yourself, I might get suckered into that. I was thinking all of these things. My dad stepped in. It was crazy. He never does. Anyone who knew my dad, he was like, “You do whatever and suffer whatever consequences.” He’d support you but he would be like, “What do you want to do? That sounds interesting. Have you thought of that?”
When I was a kid, we’re like, “We’re going to go do something.” He's like, “I don't know that and if you get caught by the police, I'm not standing up for you. If you end up in jail, don't call me.” He's just like, “Whatever you want to do.” He called me and he was like, “Let's go for a ride.” He goes, “I don't want you to do it. I waited because you have one week to decide. You're still on the fence. I'm going to tell you my opinion now. I tried to see if you wanted one or the other. I was going to be quiet. It's different. I think you can do something else.” That was a big defining moment because otherwise, you sign that paper and the next ten years, I'd be flying some cool helicopters or jets. There are still days I miss that. Honestly, the camaraderie of the people is an amazing experience. There are definitely moments where I’m like, “That would be a pretty cool thing.” There would be days where like that's definitely what I want. That absolutely change the entire trajectory of my life.
Dustin
You're great to talk with. I'm super excited for the course that's coming out, which will give people some insights into gold, silver, diamonds and precious metals. If folks want to find you perhaps to sell your companies gold, where can folks keep up with you outside of WealthFit? 
Matt
I will be working to improve this because to be honest with you, I run the companies. I've done very well. I've been fortunate and I lacked in social media stuff. I watch a lot of things, but I don't post a ton. We're going to be working on making a lot easier to find us and have some more things going on. My company is called Auric Enterprises. I love James Bond too. In Goldfinger, his company is called Auric Enterprises and his name is Auric Goldfinger in the actual book. I had this guy that I knew when I first started my company and he came up with this for me. On the spot, he was like, "You need to call your company Auric Enterprise." I love it. When he told me what it meant, I was like, "That's it." It's Auric Enterprises. If you look it up at AuricJewelry.com, that's my company. If you search Matt Wallace Gold, oftentimes I come up because there are not a lot of people teaching you about gold and silver, especially in the scrap and how to do this. I'm definitely easy to find in that regard. We're trying to make it a little better for you in our social media and all the rest of it out there.
Dustin
Matt, thanks big time for the interview here for the show. I'm super excited about the course coming out. We're going to have a lot of fun with it and make a lot of money quicker than some of the other programs. It's not that it's right or wrong, it's just that I love when people get to win because then they get hooked and then they do more. I'm super excited. Thanks, Matt.
Matt
Thank you so much, Dustin. Thanks for having me here.

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Facebook Live Marketing

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