Generations Of Wealth

Generations Of Wealth | Sean Tepper | Smart Investing

When it comes to investing in stocks, a lot of advice exists out there, but not all of them are created equal. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff and make sure you’re not listening to someone who’s just going to teach you to throw your money away? Look no further as Derek Dombeck brings in someone who really has the goods. Sean Tepper is the creator of Tykr, a platform that combines stock screening and investing education into one. It’s a great platform for those who want to self-manage their portfolio instead of leaving it in some dubious manager’s hands. Curious? Join in and unlock the gateway to smart investing here and now!

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Stocks For Beginners: Unlocking The Gateway To Smart Investing With Sean Tepper

We’ve got another fellow Wisconsinite. Sean Tepper is with us. Sean’s got a completely different background than I have, which is going to be a lot of fun for both of us because we’re going to have a great dialogue of going back and forth. Sean, you had developed a software called Tykr. I don’t want to do it any injustice. If you wouldn’t mind, give us a little background on yourself and jump into it.

Thanks a lot for having me on the show. I appreciate it. Tykr is the company name, like a ticker symbol. I’ll give you my backstory here. I’ll try to take a few minutes. Hopefully, you’ll find an entertainment within. My background is primarily in business with an emphasis on technology. In the 2000s, I built my first company. It was an agency. We did a lot of websites and software for small and midsize businesses.

I made no money through the recession. I did it from 2006 to 2010. However, in 2010, we did get approached by a larger agency that saw that we were finally bringing on some bigger brands. They said, “Would you want to merge with us?” At that point, I learned a lot about a lot of different businesses because we served everything from manufacturing companies to restaurants to automotive dealerships to hair salons. We even served a SaaS business and eCommerce business. Out of everything, after several years, I was like, “That’s a business I want to create. It’s something like Netflix, Mailchimp, or Salesforce.”

We went through the merger, and it wasn’t like a check was written like, “Here’s $1 million. You can ride off into the sunset, and you’re retired.” It was none of that. It was all debts and liabilities wiped clean. I was like, “I get a fresh start.” I didn’t have any good SaaS ideas. I decided, “Let’s work for larger corporations.” I wanted to do that for two years, which turned into several years until I could come up with a viable business option.”

In parallel to that, around 2010 or 2011, I started getting into investing. It was more focused on what you could call angel investing, which is investing in private businesses. I thought I was a smart guy because I’m like, “I went through a merger. I sold my business. I can do the same with a tech business.” No, you were dead wrong on that. I did invest in a few private companies. I made some money and lost some money, but after several years, it was breakeven. I’m like, “I could be swinging for the fences for the next several years, not making any money. This is stupid.”

I decided, “Let’s be smart about it. Invest in public companies, no more private.” I turned right away to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. I’m like, “I want to do this right. I want to learn all the best of the best.” I went on the YouTube rabbit hole. I also read a ton of books. There’s a lot of fluff out there. Thanks to Warren, Charlie, and another guy by the name of Phil Town, I was able to put together an Excel sheet.

My background is primarily in project management. I’m not a software engineer, but I have lead teams. I’ve built a lot of big software applications. Excel sheets are your best friend when you’re a PM. I decided to put this Excel sheet together. I wanted to create a system that is like a green light, red light decision-making process because there are many people out there on Twitter, Reddit, or YouTube giving you good advice on what stocks are good and what are not. I’m like, “No, I want to cut through the clutter and know what’s good or bad.”

I put this sheet together and created a point system. I was aiming for returns greater than 15%. The reason is that’s what Phil Town emphasizes, and Warren Buffett was like. If he was managing $1 million on up to $10 million, he could consistently make 50% returns per year. I’m like, “He’s not a gambling man. He doesn’t use emotions or feelings, which tells me he’s starting with some logic.” That’s why I created that Excel sheet.

For several years, I tested it with my own money. I was making returns between 15% and 50%. That still continues now. It’s close to 50%, but in 2019, I started sharing this Excel sheet with a few regular guys like you and me who invest in the stock markets and get their feedback. I was like, “What do you think of this thing? Would you use it?” I talked to a few people who worked for corporations. They were like, “You should turn this into software.” Several years later, I finally had a software idea that could solve problems. It doesn’t have a huge competitive network out there, and other businesses like it.

It took a year to build, went live in 2020, and took several months to get the first paying customer, which was humbling in itself. I needed to get people on the platform for free to get feedback. With that feedback, it makes it a better tool. Thanks to our audience and their feedback, we are now several years old. We have 9,000 customers in about 50 countries. This is something we’re proud of. Our Trustpilot score is 4.9 out of 5. It’s the highest in the industry.

Tykr’s business model is a screener and educational platform all in one. If you want to know what stocks to look for, what stocks to avoid, when to buy, or when to sell, it teaches you how to reduce the risk along the way. That’s what we do. We serve a lot of people in other countries. There are brokers in every country, but here in the States, I use TD Ameritrade. Other people use Fidelity or Schwab. Robinhood is a popular one. You still need a broker to connect your bank account and buy and sell stocks.

Why Stocks

That’s a lot to take in for a real estate guy because I understand everything you’re talking about. My first question is, if you’re in all these other countries, how do you have the ability to analyze stocks that are on a completely different marker? Is it only analyzing stocks in the United States, and those people from other countries are buying United States stocks?

This will give you a look under the hood on how Tykr works. People know we are the only platform out there that has open-source calculations. What that means is people can go to our front-facing site, Tykr.com, and we’ve got an education tab. You can scroll down, and there are calculations. We tell people, “If you want to, you can create your own version of Tykr. Take our calculations, and go.” However, nobody has executed that. It’s harder to create software than most people think. Being transparent there has given us a level-up with confidence. That’s why we decided to do that.

What we do is look at every business around the world the same. You’ll appreciate this because what we look at is nothing fancy. We look at revenue, net income, profits, and EPS, which are similar. We also look at free cash, debts, liabilities, and assets. What we want to do is look at data over several years to make sure the numbers are growing year over year and quarter over quarter.

With debts and liabilities, we want to see those numbers decline. If we can’t get several years, for example, in IPO stock that went public, we’ll try to look at a minimum of 2 to 3 quarters. It’s easy to understand. When you look at this by eyeballing it, it’s like, “That makes sense.” If you were to buy real estate, you want to find out in history if you were able to make more on this or if it was a money pit.

It’s the equivalent of what we would have for a cashflow analysis on a rental property or scope of work on a flip property. Since I’m the green person, and the newbie here in your world, give me the number one strategy for building wealth with stocks. What is a beginner like me who’s been in real estate for several years now? I want to diversify into stocks, but admittedly, I love real estate because I can see it, touch it, feel it, and control it. I don’t take the time to go and learn stocks. I love your platform. What do you tell somebody like me?

I’ll compare the difference because I’ve talked to a lot of real estate investors like you. I love you guys and what you do, the women out there who are in this space. Here’s a quick comparison, and we’ll dive into how a beginner gets started. When my audience comes to me, and they’re talking about comparing the two, they’re like, “Should I invest in real estate or stocks?” I’m like, Here’s the difference. Real estate, a big benefit, as you know, is passive income. That’s beautiful. You want that passive income. With stocks, you don’t have passive income. You can buy dividends, but that’s not how you build wealth. It’s compound interest.”

The benefit with stocks over real estate is that the appreciation rate is much faster. Click To Tweet

The benefit of stocks over real estate is the appreciation rate is much faster. For example, you could buy a $250,000 home in 2024. Will it be worth $500,000 in 2025 and $750,000 the year after? The likelihood is low. However, with businesses, because a strong business has many different revenue streams, its share price can go from $100,000 in year one, $200,000 in year two, and $300,000 in year three, and even further. That’s the benefit stock. You can build your wealth much faster, but there’s no passive income.

Here’s how we help our audience. About 80% of our customers are new. They hear something on Twitter, YouTube, or their next-door neighbor or friend at their last holiday party, like, “You should buy this new penny stock because it’s going to make you rich.” No, it’s not. What we do is teach people the number one word people gravitate towards. It’s not getting rich or building wealth faster than your buddy. It’s confidence. That is the number one word we found with AB testing. People care about that. All they want to do is invest on their own with confidence. We help them do that.

What we do is we tell people to start small. You want to start with between $100 and $1,000 in your first month. It’s like that moment when you’re a little kid jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool. It’s terrifying. Once you do it one time, after that, it’s easy. We want people to invest small in their first month, ramp up thereafter, and use Tykr along the way to know what stocks are good and what’s something you should avoid.

Tykr isn’t necessarily giving them a list of stocks to investigate. They’re finding their own list of stocks to investigate, and they’re plugging that into Tykr.

We have, as of now, 40,000 stocks around the globe. I want to give you context on our onboarding experience. Once you sign up, it walks you through, and based on your interests, it gives you a list of stocks to start with. You add those to your watch list. You are like, “I’m interested in this.” It’ll give you other recommendations.

We have a high level here to explain a few details. We could even do a screen share if you wanted to go there. We’ve got stocks and ETFs, which are a bundle of stocks. We also have crypto on the platform. However, crypto is not a business. We use it as a marketing play to bring in the crypto traders and show them like, “You can invest in crypto, but you want to invest like Warren Buffett.” The watch list tool is my favorite because you get to add stocks to it. If anything changes with the score, you get notified. If something happens or something’s going wrong, you can sell it for profit. We have a portfolio tracker. You can track all your stocks in one clean location.

I want to circle back on a point you made when you were discussing the difference between stocks and real estate. You mentioned real estate being passive income. After being in this for several years, that’s a fallacy in real estate. There is no passive. That’s to the benefit of stocks. This is not to say that, at some point, you won’t be able to collect money and have the mailbox money we all strive for. My mailbox money still comes with phone calls from managers. There are always problems.

I have a passive investment in a duplex, and I have a passive tenant’s sister who won’t leave. There’s nothing passive about it. I took my wife out for dinner for a birthday, and I was serving a notice on a tenant because they wouldn’t leave. I love that people have that dream of being passive in anything, but there’s still going to be an active role, which is good to discuss and be open about because that is what we do.

4 Pillars Of Money Management

There’s a lot of fluff out there. There’s a lot of stuff everywhere on YouTube and the internet about how easy a lot of what you and I do is. The reality is it’s easy in theory. It’s not hard, but it takes effort. Even for me discussing this with you and realizing we’re both natives of Wisconsin and have a lot in common, I’ve spent time in my life studying stocks. Honestly, there’s not been something like Tykr for me to push the easy button. There are a lot of other things that you can teach us. You had mentioned before we started recording there are four pillars of money management. Can you discuss and talk to us about it?

I’ll give you the four, and we’ll dive into each. The first pillar would be debt removal. The second pillar would be increasing income. The third pillar would be increasing wealth. The fourth pillar would be wealth protection. Where Tykr falls is increasing wealth. There are a lot of people out there, and I’ll call out to Dave Ramsey. I respect what he’s done. He’s got many revenue streams. He’s got some great products. His app is going crazy.

Dave is focused on debt removal. I appreciate that people need to control their expenditures and not buy that brand-new Tesla Plaid, even though you should have gone with a used Camry. Get that under control, but don’t live there. How do I increase my income? In many cases, an easy way to do that is to get your resume polished and learn how to do a job interview to level up in your current career or get a job with a pay bump somewhere else.

I’ve worked in IT. IT jobs usually do pay well. How do I get into a field of it? Somebody wants to learn how to invest in real estate. I’ll keep my day job, but how do I buy another property to start making some income? That’s increasing income, but increasing wealth is like, how do we flip that equation from working for money to getting money working for us? That’s the compound interest that Einstein has been quoted as saying, “It’s the eighth wonder of the world.” How do we make money work for us?

The fourth pillar is wealth protection. I’ll drill into this a little bit, which is that there are people who are nearing retirement or financial independence or somebody who sold a business or real estate or inherited capital from a loved one who passed away. In that case, you want to remove temptation from the equation. Don’t put it in a savings account because you could end up spending that money, but it’s somewhere else it’s protected.

That’s why we work well with financial advisors and wealth managers. When people hit a certain level, we’re like, “Try to remove temptation. You can invest on your own, which you can use Tykr, but keep some of that in Tykr and continue using Tykr. Let’s put it with a financial advisor. They protect that capital.” There are the four pillars.

What I love is when you’re talking about wealth preservation. For myself and my wife Tracy, we’ve had our kids involved in our real estate business from an early age. My oldest is seventeen. She’s involved in a lot of aspects of our business, including property management and working in some of our events that have, like our Generations of Wealth voyage, which we do on a cruise ship. She’s involved. We encourage all of our real estate investor friends who come to our events to bring their families and include their kids. It can’t, but Tykr can be used by people to help their children learn how to invest in stocks properly. Is that something that you’ve done within your own network or family?

Looking at our data, the usage on Tykr is almost the same between ages 18 and 55. After 55, it drops off. We are getting kids who are like, “I want to invest in stocks. How do I do it wisely?” Kids can’t outright create or sign up for a broker and running. The best way to go is for most brokers to have what’s called a custodial account. It is an account that you share with a child that’s younger than eighteen. You can monitor what they’re investing in. You’re the owner of that until they hit eighteen, and they can go off in the running.

I’m telling friends these days that instead of going into a 529 account, it’s an account that you can start putting money into for college. In this day and age, college isn’t always the most economical solution. It doesn’t have the biggest ROI, but you want to put money away for your child. They want to start a business or get into a tech school or real estate. I want to put money away. Create a custodial account with your broker. Every birthday, every holiday, maybe they’re making some money over the summer, they can sock that away and get money working from them. I wish I had done that when I was in my teens. Where I would be now would be unbelievable.

Learning From Failure

I started my real estate journey early in my twenties but got my butt kicked in 2007 and lost everything. What put me in the position I’m in now is the failures that I have gone through. You sold your previous company, but it wasn’t some huge windfall. It was the knowledge that you got from it. Something that most people don’t realize or want to even think about is you’re going to have failures. You’re going to lose money. We’re going to have bad real estate deals. It’s a matter of having more wins than losses and having a decent batting average. What was your big a-ha moment early on when you sold that first company? I’m assuming you had some doubts about your future. What did that feel like?

I was frustrated with myself after that because I didn’t make any money off that, and I spent several years of lost time, and opportunity costs were gone. I was like, “Pick yourself up, and let’s go start working for bigger businesses.” At that point, I knew that I needed to figure out a way to get money to work for me. You could be an accountant, an attorney, a website designer, or a podcast editor. That’s fine. Do it because you love it. It’s a trade of your time for a paycheck. I’d never want to go back to that. I never want to do that business again. I want something that can create that residual income and scale. I can add a lot more revenue without adding liabilities.

I started working for bigger businesses to learn how they operate, market, and sell. That was great. It wasn’t until several years later, I decided to look at all the customers that I once worked with. I had a folder I saved. It wasn’t just customers or everybody I pitched. I looked at the bottom. There were 400 folders of 400 different businesses. We served about 100.

After talking to people through the years, I seemed to understand different business models much more easily. I have to thank God for that opportunity of several years of not making money, but I have so much knowledge. It was the foundation of investing that helped me understand different business models and what’s scalable. I will say this to anybody using Tykr. You don’t need that background. I was thankful at the end of the day, but at first, it was painful.

Our tagline is, “Live your vision, love your life.” What is your vision for the future with not only Tykr but your business in general? Are you looking for massive growth? Are you comfortable? What do you want to do? What can our community do to help you?

I learned this working for big businesses. I appreciate some of the people I got to work with. It is a high focus on the customer. One company I worked for was Kohler. Kohler is great. They make high-quality products. I remember sitting in a meeting with the CTO. The CEO wasn’t in the same room, but there was this common thread of providing a gracious experience from A to Z. Running Tykr from the beginning, I’m like, “We’re going to do that.”

When we first launched, our software was bad. It’s not good. I’m like, “What we can control is how we treat people.” We create that gracious experience from A to Z and lean into how we help that complete new person to the market invest with confidence. I will always maintain that thread with this business. How do we help people invest with confidence? That’s the focus on the customer.

My own focus is this is a SaaS business. I look at Netflix. I love tech. I’ve been in tech for several years. I know where tech business can go. I know we could serve a million people with this platform easily. We need some partnerships and people sharing Tykr. We also need a good network effect. Their friend shares it with their friend, and their friend shares it with three more friends. We need that. That’s the vision over the next several years of serving a million customers. I know we can get there.

We need generations of wealth and other platforms like ours and your own to make this go viral, and you’ll have a new problem. You’ll be overwhelmed.

I’m praying for wisdom on that. That’s cute, Sean. You can go for a million customers, but how are you going to get there? I’m going to need the right team. I’m going to need to get customer service people. How I use customer service is I don’t talk to people with corporate speak. It is like using language like, “You bet, welcome back,  go get them, and keep up the good work with the stock market.” People resonate with that. How can I find somebody to use that language and know about stocks? I’m like, “That’s not going to be easy to find that person.” I’m thinking about these things. My hiring timeline and who I need. That will be a challenge.

Don’t you think we could go to Lambeau Field on a Sunday at a Packer game and hire some people there? They know how to say, “You bet.”

You’re onto something.

They’re not going to be sober, but they’re going to be friendly.

Can you talk about stocks a little bit? You’re in. Let’s go.

They could probably sell stock in the Green Bay Packers. I wonder what Tykr would say about investing in the Green Bay Packers.

I remember some friends who were proud when they invested in the Packers. I was like, “What’s your rate of return per year?” They looked at me cockeyed, and they don’t do that. You’re a shareholder, but you’re not seeing any share returns.

You’re a fan with a stock certificate, which is what you are. As we start winding down here, Sean, what’s a question I haven’t asked you that I should? Being a real estate guy, what should I ask you?

From Minimum Wage To Millions

Can anyone do this? My answer is I want to give you a fun case study that you’ll appreciate, which is a guy by the name of Ronald Read. Anybody can Google his name. You’ll find an article on CNBC. This is a guy who’s a janitor who built up a net worth of over $8 million. The question is, how does somebody who’s making close to minimum wage become a multimillionaire? The answer is individual stocks. He wasn’t buying mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs and letting them sit. He wasn’t using a 401(k) on its own.

How does somebody who's making close to minimum wage become a multi-millionaire? The answer is individual stocks. Click To Tweet

This is a guy who knew Warren Buffett style investing, and even before Warren Buffett, Warren Buffett’s teacher was Ben Graham. Ronald Read knew that. He had about ten different stocks. The stocks through the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s were GE, Dow Chemical, and Johnson & Johnson. These are not sexy tech businesses that came out several weeks ago. These are well-established businesses with great balance sheets and multiple streams of revenue. He did that month over month. He was able to build up a sizable portfolio. If he can do it, anybody can do it.

I want to make sure that everybody has the ability to get ahold of you. You are willing to give everybody a discount. Can you talk about that a little bit?

If anybody’s interested in the Tykr platform, it’s a fourteen-day free trial, no credit card. We tell people, “Take the car for a drive before you take it off a lot.” We want people to test-drive it. If it’s your thing, it’s great. If not, no worries. After fourteen days, if you add your credit card, it’s $15 a month or $99 a year. You can use the code SAVE30. We’ll give you 30% off every year or every quarter.

You’ll be able to go to TheGenerationsOfWealth.com/SeanTepper. It’ll be in the show notes. You’ll be able to get that discount there. Sean, is there anything else that you want to add? Is there any way that people can contact you directly if they want to?

There are two places. One is Tykr.com. If you have any questions there, you can go to the contact page. Otherwise, I’m active on LinkedIn. If anybody wants to connect with me, I’m checking LinkedIn almost every day.

I learned a ton from you. I may have to come down to your area of Wisconsin and have a beverage with you one of these days. This is the first day we got to meet, but our pre-show discussion and the last 30 minutes have been a lot of fun getting to know you, and I appreciate your time. I’m going to have to go start buying some stocks now.

If you have some extra cash lying around from real estate, put it to work in the market.

Thanks, Sean, and thank you, everybody, for joining me, along with Sean. Please follow us on social media. Like us, share us, tell the world about Generations of Wealth, go out there, live your vision, and love your life.

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About Sean Tepper

Generations Of Wealth | Sean Tepper | Smart InvestingSean Tepper is the Founder and CEO of Tykr, a software that helps people manage their own investments with confidence.
 
He originally created Tykr as an Excel sheet in 2016 to save time with investing.
 
After four years, he made consistent returns ranging between 15% and 50% per year.
 
In 2019 he started sharing this Excel sheet with other investors and everyone asked “When are you going to turn this into a software to share with others?” Tykr took about one year to build and officially went live in 2020.
 
Today, Tykr has over 8,000 customers in over 50 countries.

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