Community//

“Think about it.” With Jason Hartman & Michael Gevurtz

I understand this is a difficult time and the advice I’ve been offering people, specifically those who have anxiety about finances and money, is to stress the importance of discretionary spending. Really think about how you’re spending your money. It’s not just the dollar amount of something that counts, it’s what could you do with […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I understand this is a difficult time and the advice I’ve been offering people, specifically those who have anxiety about finances and money, is to stress the importance of discretionary spending. Really think about how you’re spending your money. It’s not just the dollar amount of something that counts, it’s what could you do with that money instead. During a crisis, knowing how to allocate capital is so important.


As a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Gevurtz.

Michael Gevurtz is an entrepreneur and investor in the real estate and finance industries. He is the CEO and founder of Bluebird Companies, a diversified real estate organization specializing in private lending, development, and construction management in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization. Michael is experienced in all aspects of real estate ownership, including acquisitions, financing, development, construction management, leasing, and property management.


Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, 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?

My background in finance is mostly based in the real estate sector. I previously worked at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) as a site acquisitions associate, where I was responsible for identifying and performing due diligence for acquiring land for retail power centers. I was also an Associate Director of Development, over-seeing shopping center, and enclosed mall development projects totaling over $50 million throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. From there, I co-founded Six Stone Management Group and investing in my own properties. Since 2010, I have focused on opportunities in the revitalization of Philadelphia’s emerging neighborhoods, and in 2018 I founded Bluebird Companies.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

In 2007 I bought my first property to rehab and sell. I thought I could do everything based on instinct and experience, which was a huge mistake. I did not have the right people in place to perform the work, I was way over budget and then, when it was finally ready to be flipped, it was the 2008 financial crisis. Needless to say, I did not make money on that project. The lesson I learned was that rehabbing a house — or any project — is a lot like organizing a business. You need to have structure, hire the right employees and have a plan. Also, make sure you have a general contractor you can trust.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

One of the projects I’m really excited to be working on right now at Bluebird Companies is an old lumber yard in the South Philadelphia area that we are renovating. It’s taken years to get off the ground due to some restrictions with zoning and engineering but it’s going to be amazing once it’s completed. We’re turning this old lumber yard, which is actually four properties put together, into new luxury apartments and commercial spaces. One of my passions has been revitalizing neighborhoods and areas that typically sit vacant in hopes that it brings in new people and families. I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and I built my own family here. I love being a part of something that gives others the same opportunity to live and work in this amazing city.

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’ve been fortunate enough to have surrounded myself with great people throughout my career but someone who has been particularly instrumental to me is Gary Veloric, an entrepreneur and businessman who is best known for being one of the founders of J.G Wentworth. I met with Gary a few years ago, when I was taking steps towards founding Bluebird Companies. He invited me to his house on a Sunday afternoon to talk about my company and business goals. I was nervous, but I felt confident I would be able to speak about my business plan. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Gary asked me so many questions — most of which he knew I would be unable to answer; but that was the point of the meeting. It showed me that I was focusing on the wrong aspects because I assumed I would be able to run a business simply because I understood the business. There’s a big difference. Gary made me realize that in order to be successful you have to be systematic and deliberate in your business operations. He also introduced me to Evan Binder, who would go on to becoming Bluebird’s COO.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

I understand this is a difficult time and the advice I’ve been offering people, specifically those who have anxiety about finances and money, is to stress the importance of discretionary spending. Really think about how you’re spending your money. It’s not just the dollar amount of something that counts, it’s what could you do with that money instead. During a crisis, knowing how to allocate capital is so important.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

You have to understand your personal situation and how it fits into your investment philosophy. Take stock of everything dollar you make and spend. I am a huge proponent of having a budget and letting that drive financial decision. If you don’t need that extra $500 every month, and you have a long investment horizon, I would say to stay the course and continue to invest, even if it’s volatile right now. If you’re closer to retirement, consider keeping that money to have as cash on hand.

Eventually, the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

I cannot stress the importance of educating yourself. Research, read, learn, and explore as many potential industries for investment as possible.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

The general consensus is to become very unsettled with stock volatility and people become fixated on short term price changes because they’re buying the piece of the company. However, real estate has proven to be a long-term wealth generator and even though the value a real estate investment also changes daily, you don’t typically look at it like you would a stock. I believe real estate is an industry that shows great potential in helping people invest for their futures.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

Hedge funds and private equity funds that have a specific strategy to invest in a more volatile situation are also good for alternate investment opportunities.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

I would encourage them to invest it into a mutual fund or 401k and let it grow for at least 20 years.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. 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?

I am actually the father of two young daughters. Things I would want them to know are: Not to make decisions based on emotion — spending money out of fear or sadness can only lead to bad habits. Remember to stay disciplined to your set financial plan because it can be easy to spend the money, especially when you start to make some of your own. Surround yourself with smart people as there’s always something to learn. Always be prepared to experience the worst-case scenario because, if you can handle it, you’ll be able to rebound even stronger. Lastly, you must have humility so you can acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There is a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet that says, “…Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” This has always resonated with me because it’s all about perspective. I believe in trying to see the positive in every experience and that even the experiences that prove to be more challenging, I try and remember that they will provide me with a teaching moment.

You are a person of enormous 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 love to spread a movement of universal compassion and the collective understanding that everyone’s situation is different but still important. I have been involved with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and have been able to travel on mission trips with them around the world. This has given me the opportunity to connect with people I never would have otherwise met. Through them, I have learned that matter where we live or how much we have, we all share the same hopes, dreams, and fears.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“Helping others is one of those things” With Jason Hartman & Nathan Brooks

by Jason Hartman
Community//

“It’s all about changing your mindset” With Melissa Wyatt

by Jason Hartman
Community//

Jeff Landau of Team 805 Real Estate: “Have a daily contact goal”

by Charlie Katz
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.