Have you ever wondered if your gender could affect how comfortable you are in retirement? This may not be a question on everyone’s mind, but it’s something women are facing every day. Recent studies have shown that the challenges women face during their working years can affect their lifetime earnings and retirement income. In order to feel comfortable and prepared for retirement, being able to overcome those obstacles is key. Today, I will interview Tracy Rewey, a successful note expert who will share her tips for creating success as a woman in the industry.
Sarah: Thanks for joining me today, Tracy. This article is going to be about successful women in business. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately that shows women don’t feel like they’re prepared for retirement. They feel lost. I want to talk to you – a successful women – how you were able to build up your nest egg, and tips for how others can create success, whether it be now or for retirement.
Tracy: I love it. I think that everybody struggles with it. This fits right in with what we do.
Sarah: Can you tell me a little bit about who you are and how you got started?
Tracy: Absolutely. I was introduced to the world of seller financing in the 80s and worked with real estate attorneys, title companies, and servicers in a very small town. There was quite a bit of seller financing there, so I learned about seller financing, notes, and people investing in notes. Then, I went to work for a company where that was all they did. I worked there for 10 years, then I started my own company called Diversified Investment Services with my husband. We founded noteinvestor.com and now I get to work for myself. You have so much more freedom of time and location, and you get to reap the rewards of all your efforts. That’s how I got introduced to the whole business.
Sarah: That’s cool. When you find something you’re passionate about, you stick with it. In the midst of all of this, where did you learn about self-directed IRAs?
Tracy: While I was working for the investment company, we had a lot of people that would refer us deals. Some of them would also buy the notes, keeping some of it in the backend in their retirement account. That was my first exposure. Seeing other people do it and going to conventions showed me, but I didn’t get to do my first deal until I left and converted my 401k to a self-directed IRA.
Sarah: When you were first getting started, did you have any business partners besides your husband or outside help besides learning from the company that you had been with?
Tracy: I was very fortunate when I worked for 10 years there. I learned from some of the best. Marcus was their main guy in charge, and he was always like a mentor to me. He said, “Look, I have two daughters. They are in the business finance world. I want to teach you and to treat you the way I would want somebody to treat my two daughters.” I think that was unusual back then.
Sarah: Wow. What a kind role model. It’s good that you had someone in your life that to help with those stepping stones. What challenges have you experienced throughout your time in this industry as a woman in business?
Tracy: I think there are benefits and I think there are challenges. Some of the challenges for me is not sounding assertive enough. I don’t have that deep voice to sound more assertive. I’ve found that saying less when I’m in certain situations usually helps instead of saying too much. I tend to be a talker. I also think being underestimated can be a challenge, but that can also work to your benefit.
Sarah: And what have some of those benefits been?
Tracy: I struggle with saying it’s a male or female trait, maybe it’s a personality trait, but I do believe that women tend to be natural listeners, natural fixers, and natural empathizers. In the business I’m in, people are often selling their notes, because they’re trying to solve a problem and they need the funds for something else. Maybe they had a health concern, the note’s not paying, they have to send their kid to college, or they’ve lost a job. It’s important to be a good listener and a good empathizer. I don’t use that as a strategy. It’s just something I do naturally, and I think that has been a benefit. I am also an analyzer and I’m very detail oriented. Sometimes women make up for not being sure by trying to be over sure, but in our business, that is also a benefit. I don’t mind going through the documents, taking the time, and making sure that I don’t take everything at face value.
Sarah: I love that take on it. You don’t often hear those points you made. Has being a female ever stopped you from a successful investment? Have you ever experienced discrimination?
Tracy: Honestly, if it has, it might only be because I was still learning to trust myself. That’s one of the things I always say: wealth doesn’t know you’re a woman, right? This financial calculator doesn’t know I’m a woman, right? The title policy doesn’t know that when I look at a payment history. It doesn’t know the interest rates. I think it’s a good industry on the finance side. Now, I definitely experienced things that were expected, like really proving yourself before someone would move you up. I always joked that I had to do twice the work and make half the mistakes, but I eventually became a vice president at that company. Another female and I were the first vice presidents the company had.
Sarah: Oh wow! What a big accomplishment!
Tracy: Thank you! I think you have to grow thick skin. I don’t mean that to discount what anybody has gone through, because I know there are people who’ve had serious discrimination and it’s been very wrong, but I’ve been fortunate.
Sarah: Well, that’s good! That’s good that you haven’t! That’s what we like to hear. I’m sure that there were probably some tough times that you had to go through still. How did you persevere through those?
Tracy: When I started out, my first job besides babysitting was in high school, I worked for an attorney’s office. I used to do all the routes, picking up and dropping off papers. There was this one real estate office with this one gentleman and I was young. I’d go to pick up papers and he actually swatted me on the backside as I was walking out the door one time. I was in tears. There was a lady who I worked with, the mother hen of the office, and she was not having any of that. Shortly after, that route was no longer on my route, and they had to bring their own documents to our office. I felt validated, which was nice.
Sarah: Wow. I’m glad that they took you off that route. That’s good.
Tracy: I know. I commend them. They didn’t pretend it didn’t happen. I’ve been surrounded by good people in my life that were supportive. I had a very strong mother too, so she learned to make me stand up for myself.
Sarah: Always so much to learn from our mothers! Now, you are quite successful. You have your own business, you’re hosting expos, and you’ve got a solid track record behind you. What would you say is your secret to success?
Tracy: I would say perseverance, being a good listener, being a good problem solver, and not trying to squeeze every last dollar. I know it’s cliche, but I really believe that there are ways to make everybody come out of a situation feeling good about it. I think being able to collaborate with other people is key. I’m so very fortunate I’m at a place in my life where I can support and help other people that are learning the business. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that.
Sarah: That’s great! So, what about self-directed IRA investing? Have you used your expertise to invest with a self-directed IRA?
Tracy: I’ve done some partials in my IRA. Those have turned out well. I try not to mix income. If I’m putting a deal in my IRA, I keep those separate. If I buy all of it in the IRA, I sell all of it through the IRA and hold it for a certain amount of time.
Sarah: That’s smart to keep those two buckets separate.
Tracy: I’m probably more careful than most. I never want to co-mingle funds in any way.
Sarah: Very smart. It sounds like you’ve been able to balance that quite well. How do you handle your work/life balance?
Tracy: The real answer is that I still struggle with that. I wish I had words of wisdom. I think we tend to put ourselves last, and then we think we’re doing it because we love and support all the people around us. Really, what happens is that we end up not being the best form of ourselves when we run ourselves thin. Then, nobody really benefits. I have learned over the years that you have to take time for yourself. You have to have balance and understand that everything will not always get done. We have to make time for ourselves and to nurture ourselves, but sometimes we forget to do that. It’s good when you have somebody around you that you can trust. But I’m still working on that.
Sarah: I think that’s true. I think a lot of people are continuously working towards finding the right balance. To round it here with some of my final questions, what would you like to achieve next? What are your goals? What’s on the horizon for you?
Tracy: I have a goal to help women become more comfortable and secure in investing, and I think there’s some beautiful trends happening where I’m seeing more of that. I’ve been trying to be part of that movement. Last year, we started the Wise Women Investors Group and the Wise Women Expo. It’s about building that community and supporting women to be confident, to invest with confidence, and to gain freedom so they can live more balanced and free lives.
Sarah: That really is amazing! And I know there are other educational resources you’ve done. Care to mention that?
Tracy: I’ve written a 400-page manual, but it’s not a digestible book. It’s more of a “how-to”, so that’s on my horizon as well.
Sarah: That’s exciting. You’ve definitely done a lot in your career. My last question for you is this: for the women looking to get more involved and grow their retirement accounts, what are your tips for growing a self-directed IRA?
Tracy: We actually did a wonderful webinar with Quest on that. It was about my top 10 tips for buy notes in an IRA. I would definitely refer people to that class. If I had to boil it down to a couple of things, I first would say to just do something and to start wherever you are. We are constantly underestimating ourselves or being frustrated by something we didn’t do. I encourage everyone, no matter where you are at in your time, to let that go and to start. If you don’t have an IRA account, then open one. If you have one and you haven’t fully contributed to it, then figure out how to do that. If you’ve done that and you still haven’t fully invested your money and it’s sitting there uninvested on the sidelines, then do something about that. I’ve certainly been guilty of all those things along the way, so I’m not preaching or judging. I’m just saying, take some action. Learn, invest, and make some mistakes because you learn from those. I have. Lastly, solving problems. They don’t go away by ignoring them.
Sarah: That’s great advice. Everything you mentioned is so true. Tracy, thank you again. I really appreciate the time you’ve set aside to participate in this article. Hearing you share how you’ve been successful as a woman in the industry was really inspiring. You’re a wealth of knowledge and have shared some great advice.
If you would like more information about the Top 10 Tips for Buy Notes in an IRA, you can rewatch the class on our Youtube page! To learn more about how to get started investing with a self-directed IRA, schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with an IRA Specialist by clicking HERE.