Establish a culture of saving and investing, rather than spending. Many people are preoccupied with immediate satisfaction, make emotional purchases and never do any budgeting. If they consider the benefits of having an investment (especially in income-producing assets, such as real estate) or a savings account, they will be more careful with their financial decisions. The current problem is that the greatest long-term investment asset (real estate) is difficult to acquire or invest in for the average person. REINNO will change that!
As a part of my series about the The 5 Essentials of Smart Investing, I had the pleasure of interviewing Barry Moniês. Shortly after earning a Business degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts, Barry Moniês started a real estate investing company purchasing multifamily properties in and around Greenwich CT. Since then he has been involved in analyzing, financing, purchasing and managing millions of dollars worth of commercial real estate. In 1997 Mr. Moniês also started Computronix, a B2B IT solutions firm providing technology services to the legal, financial and real estate industries. One of Mr. Moniês proudest recognitions was when he was requested to accompany Connecticut Governor Rowland on his Trade Mission to the European Community. Mr. Moniês had the distinct honor of representing the business community from the State of Connecticut. Most recently, Mr. Moniês joined REINNO (a real estate tokenization and lending company) as one of the Managing Partners.
Thank you for doing this with us! Our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?
I have always been a fan of using technology and creating breakthrough solutions that increase efficiency and competitive advantages for individuals and companies alike. The financial industry suffers from many inefficiencies, whether you look at investing, lending or real estate transactions. As a real estate investor and property manager myself, I experienced them first-hand and saw an opportunity to solve them through technology innovation and customer-centric services. Together with my partners, Viktor Viktorov and Kristiyan Lozanov, we have developed a unique tokenized financing and lending solution for real estate investors that is disrupting the market as we know it.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
One of the most interesting stories of my career was when I was invited by the Governor of the State Of Connecticut to accompany him on his European Trade Mission to represent Connecticut businesses. On our trip we met with political and business leaders in Germany and Ireland to discuss business issues and partnerships. The highlight of the trip was a private meeting with the President of Ireland.
The foundation for the invitation from the Governor was the fact that the Governor presented me with the Stamford CT Chamber of Commerce President’s award for my successful growing tech business (servicing mostly financial services clients) and my strong support for the Chamber of Commerce. The Governor was the keynote speaker at the event and that is where we first met and spoke about business issues and potential solutions. A few months later, I was invited to accompany him to Europe.
What started as my strong focus on growing my business and dedication to providing solutions for the business community created the opportunity for me to accompany the Governor. That was one of the most powerful catalysts in building my business and my reputation. The funny part is that it was just announced that I will again receive the Stamford CT Chamber of Commerce President’s award for 2019…approximately twenty years after I received it the first time!! It will again be presented to me by the current Governor and I am anxious to see where that newfound (re-found?) recognition will take my current business!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am currently working on REINNO — a tokenization and lending solution that brings ease of financing and liquidity to real estate owners and investors. Legacy commercial real estate is highly inflexible, costly and time-consuming. Tokenization (digital shares) enables fast fractional ownership, and instant loans against those tokens allow investors to tap into the value of their assets easier and faster than current methods. Currently mortgages can block entire properties. With REINNO real estate lending, token owners can decide on the size of loan collateral by depositing tokens and receive money almost instantly. Then, as they pay back the loan, they regain equity equivalent to the principal they paid against the loan. It turns real estate into a flexible investment instrument, helping investors gain control and leverage over their assets.
Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers?
There is a lack of financial lessons in schools as approximately only one third of the states offers it. Most of them incorporate this topic as a small part of other classes, such as math. Only five states require a semester-long course focused on personal finance, so most of the kids do not know the basics by the time they are ready for college. Financial companies can lure recent high school graduates into getting high-interest credit cards, despite the fact that most college students have little to no personal income. As a result, they acquire a lot of debt and still have no idea about personal finance. This lack of finances sadly runs throughout their adult life and causes many to remain subject to a life of burdensome debt.
If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?
Number one: Teaching the basics of personal finance all the way from first grade to college. It is important to begin financial education early and make sure the new generation is financially literate by the time they start their adult lives.
Number two: Enabling healthy conversations about personal finance.This topic is often avoided by families, partners, friends and colleagues alike. People are uncomfortable talking about finance because they do not want to admit they have problems or lack understanding of a particular topic. Erasing that negative stigma would benefit everyone and give them a chance to make informative choices.
Number three: Establish a culture of saving and investing, rather than spending. Many people are preoccupied with immediate satisfaction, make emotional purchases and never do any budgeting. If they consider the benefits of having an investment (especially in income-producing assets, such as real estate) or a savings account, they will be more careful with their financial decisions. The current problem is that the greatest long-term investment asset (real estate) is difficult to acquire or invest in for the average person. REINNO will change that!
Ok, thank you! Now to the main question of our interview: You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart Investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.
Sure! Here my five tips. By the way, I have 3 boys, ages 9, 15 and 21, so I have to actually practice what I preach!
- Experience — Learn as much as possible about finances and particularly about investment vehicles you are interested in. The best way to learn is to mix of academia and real-life experience. Seek out people who have been successful in your desired investment areas and find a way to get them to teach you! A good investor can most importantly teach you how to avoid mistakes. Starting in my twenties, I studied stocks and options trading for many years by reading books and paper trading (practicing on paper without real money). After five years of book studying and paper practice, I put some money into a trading account and lost it all within a few weeks. I actually lost my trading investments 10 times in my investment career before gaining the required experience. Why? Learning from just reading a book does not teach you the nuances that you get from years of experience in real trading.
- Timing — In many investments, even if you are correct in choosing the right investment and direction of the investment (such as stocks or options), your timing will be off. Be patient and consider your financial timeline.. Do not be obsessed with day-to-day market fluctuations but keep an eye on the overall state of the economy. Keep in mind that it takes time for an investment to become profitable. Make sure you can afford to hold an investment throughout any lock-in period and then some. The worst feeling is when you get into an investment and it either expires worthless or you need to pull out your invested money early at a loss, only to see it become profitable the day after you got out! Timing is everything, give it time and be patient!
- Diversify — Always look for some liquid investment options. The ability to quickly liquidate an asset is invaluable when market conditions change or your personal financial situation changes. Traditionally stocks and bonds are considered more liquid than, for example, real estate. However, with the rise of tokenized assets, even properties can be turned into cash in no time. Many times in my life I have been completely 100% sure about some specific investment that would certainly make me rich. Unfortunately, that never happened…even though I was absolutely sure (and my broker even confirmed!) that Pet Rocks were the world’s greatest invention and everyone would buy one!
- Be consistent.- Create a financial plan and stick to it. Most importantly, write it down! Many successful investors prefer to invest small amounts within their budget regularly and consistently. This way they can build wealth slowly, diversify and adjust to new market conditions as needed. Most of my investment life was spent investing based on sets of loose rules, which I changed often because I believed I could “outsmart” the markets!
- Mindset — Be mentally prepared for every investment. You need to be confident in your knowledge of the investment and be prepared to lose all your money if you are wrong (and you will be!). Never invest “Scared money”, which is money you can’t afford to lose or need back quickly. Investing is more a psychological game then anything else. If you worry too much about losing your investment or get too greedy, you will probably make mistakes in your judgement!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am extremely grateful and honored that I had a chance to start a business with Gleason Greene, a veteran of technology services with the IBM corporation. He was a strong supporter of the free market, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. When we met, I was still young and thought I knew better. As I got older, I learned to appreciate his advice. He was always by my side, ready to share his expertise, experience and help. Gleason taught me countless valuable lessons about both life and business, especially to never give up on what you believe in. I would not be where I am now without him, both personally and professionally. Most young entrepreneurs want to do everything themselves but they need to understand the importance of having a mentor with experience. They absolutely need to proactively seek advice and reach out for help, especially in areas they are not strong in.
When Gleason and I started working together, I was the aggressive, young, business rebel and he was very conservative with his time, money and business judgements. After working together for about the first 15 years and me being the ultimate salesman, I used to tell people that I finally changed Gleason as we became much more alike in our thinking, obviously because he became more like me. One day I realized that without knowing it, he actually changed me as I became more conservative like him. He was ultimately the better salesman! Unfortunately, after 22 short years as business partners, Gleason passed away this year at the age of 89. Gleason is a true titan of business, my mentor, my business partner and my friend!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love the saying “True entrepreneurs do not know how to fail”. In the entrepreneurial world it is all about persistence and not giving up. There are challenges, not everything goes as planned. Some businesses do not get a chance to succeed. However, the most important thing for an entrepreneur is having a passion. Persistence and dedication will help you find a way. Computronix has been in business for 22 years straight and continues to operate successfully…..because I don’t know how to fail!.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start a movement based on one of the ideas I live by and try to teach my children everyday; “How you do anything is how you do everything.” In other words, the way in which you handle or manage any situation in your life or business (good or bad, big or small), is how you most likely handle all situations. Basically, you should take pride in all aspects of your life and how you conduct business no matter how big or small the situation. If your mindset is to put care and passion in solving a client’s littlest problem, you will most likely put care and passion into solving big problems. That mindset will help you do great things in your life and your business.
Thank you for the interview. We wish you continued success!