Money pro tips: A Q&A with real estate investor Alex Allison


Policygenius Staff

Policygenius Staff

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Published January 31, 2020|4 min read

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Each week, we ask a personal finance or business expert for their money pro tips. This week we talked to Alex Allison, co-founder and managing partner of D. Alexander Capital, a real estate investing fund.

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Last thing you resisted buying: A very, very fast German car.

How did you resist it? I turned to the Spock side of my brain and did a quick, logical analysis. The reality is that I have driven less than 10,000 miles over the past three years. Since relocating to Colorado in 2018, I haven't owned a car and rely on Uber, Lyft, Lime and Bird. Plus, let’s face it: Cars are usually not an investment but a depreciating asset.

Last thing you splurged on: Running shoes. My last few purchases included six pairs of Hoka One One’s (at once), followed by two pairs of the Nike Vaporfly 4% and Nike Vaporfly Next% — runners know what I’m talking about. I am super active and love being outside either running, hiking, or working out. In the past, I did not give much thought to the equipment I used. After diving headfirst into distance and endurance running, quality gear matters a lot to me.

Why’d you OK the splurge? I had the realization that to maintain running one to two hours per day over the long haul while pushing to go farther and faster along the way, one thing I couldn't overlook is the shoe supporting the run.

What’s your current money goal? My money goal is always a moving target (up and to the right). My purpose is to use money so that I can leave a mark on the world by delivering value to others.

How you’re working toward it: Taking smart, measured calculated risk. By surrounding myself with goal-oriented and focused people with big dreams, you improve and get better at life. This in turn, helps me so I can help others.

Money thing you’re most proud of: Launching and raising our first real estate fund in eight weeks with some of the world's top industry pioneers, category creators and investors.

A money regret: Not focusing on tax benefits in my early career and prioritizing my personal needs lower than others. You have to invest in yourself before you’re able to optimally invest and help others.

Biggest money stress right now:There is never enough time, and yes, time is money. Especially in the early stages of a company lifecycle, time is a precious resource that must be spent wisely.

Best financial advice you ever got: The road to wealth is a marathon and not a sprint.

Worst financial advice you ever got: Take a comfortable and secure job. There are a number of strategies to achieving strong personal wealth over the long haul and it's all relative. Two-thirds of our waking time is spent working, so there is a huge upside doing something you love with great people.

Biggest real estate money mistake you see people make: Investing without a plan or long-term focus. Society has been trained to assume real estate is always a sure thing. And yes, real estate investing has a return on investment, but there has to be a calculated, smart plan in place and an understanding that real estate moves in cycles.

Best real estate money you’ve ever spent: My first real estate purchase that I made solo in my early 20s. It was my primary residence that I bought for 50 cents on the dollar, a brand-new home that had been taken into receivership. While the transaction wasn't massive, owning the asset and having leverage enabled me to invest in other areas during my early adulthood.

What would you do with a $1 million windfall? I'd double down on residential real estate in vacation markets with my company, D. Alexander. A new real estate asset class is emerging driven by a number of factors, investors and companies like ours. Those that buy right and prove to operate with strong predictable returns will benefit by the creation of a new real estate asset class.

Most rewarding part of starting a business: The process. I love building and seeing a concept take shape from nothing to something remarkable, with value and substance. Everything from strategy to execution and getting more done with less, the highs and hard times, the competitive nature and always striving to be the best version of yourself. Building a brand, product or offering that others value, and doing it with an amazing group of people around the table, is the ultimate reward.

Image: Nastia Kobzarenko