From Motherhood to Multifamily with Kate Stephens
Life with a child really changed Kate Stephens’s perspective on real estate. She got her to start investing in single-family homes when she lived in the United Kingdom, and after moving to the United States just 11 years ago, she continued to buy single-family homes as a way to establish and maintain financial security.
Once her daughter arrived, a new mindset began to settle in— Kate Stephens realized that single-family homes were time-consuming assets that only had value on a spreadsheet. The aspect of cash flow had never entered Kate’s mind before, but as the time it took to manage her growing portfolio of properties increased, the concept of cash-flowing investments that required less management became increasingly more attractive.
“After I had a kid, I realized that numbers on a spreadsheet don’t pay for the groceries very well, and I transitioned my thought process from acquiring capital and assets to pursuing cash flow,” Kate said. “Financial security is really important to me, but the paperwork is not. So going from investing in some single-family homes and some small multifamily units to just getting a K-1 and giving that to my accountants has been truly delightful.”
While being a dedicated mom is her number-one job, Kate Stephens also works for a medical device startup in the infectious disease space. Passive investments have played a fundamental part in her strategy to establish financial freedom and independence.
“There’s a lot of talk in the FIRE community around financial independence with a goal to pursue other interests. For me, as a mother, it’s much more visceral than that,” Kate said. “For me, that goal is, if anything ever happened to me, I want my family to be okay and for them to be able to stay in our home and to be able to focus. Or if my child suddenly developed some other needs or had an accident or an illness, that I could dedicate all of my time to whatever life might throw at me.”
She continues on her journey with clear goals in mind, which she chooses to pursue through passively investing in syndications. In addition, Kate Stephens continued to gain clarity and passion around her role as a passive investor by attending the Best Ever Conference in 2019, which she felt was a significant investment in herself.
“I still consider myself fairly new on this journey, so because this is my main investment strategy, I wanted to put time into learning to be a better passive investor,” Kate said. “It’s so funny because I sometimes go to conferences for work and I’m usually the one presenting. [At the Best Ever Conference] I felt like I was really on vacation, just being a guest, listening, and learning. That was lovely, having this kind of dedicated opportunity to learn in time that’s sort of carved out, where I’m not a mom or at work.”
Then in 2020, Kate returned for her second Best Ever Conference experience, this time as a virtual meeting. While naturally different from the in-person experience in Keystone, Colorado, the virtual conference gave Kate one of her most significant networking benefits of all.
“The Mini Mastermind group that was set up during the Best Ever Conference was really good. We’ve actually continued ours, so we still meet. That’s been the biggest gift from that virtual conference,” Kate shared. “Of course, there were interesting talks and pieces of learning, but the Mini Mastermind group, I think for me, was the biggest win.”
Kate uses opportunities like the Best Ever Conference to embrace learning in a fun environment, especially since the moments to do so for herself can be few and far between. Carving out time has to be intentional, just like seeking out knowledge to improve as an investor.
“The next piece of learning is becoming a better passive investor. For me, that involves connecting with more sponsors, understanding how they underwrite deals, and what their business growth plan is,” Kate said. “Then finding other investors and learning their success tactics.”
About the Author:
Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.