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Self-Directed IRAs, Offshore Teams and Guatemala

JP Dahdah is the Founder and CEO of Vantage IRAs, a top self-directed retirement plan administration and alternative custody company that helps investors diversify their retirement savings. He specializes in alternative investment custodial services for self-directed IRAs and private market investments. With a 25-year career in financial services, JP has received various awards and recognitions, including the Entrepreneur of the Year and Forty Under 40 Award from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Most Admired Leaders award from the Phoenix Business Journal. He is also the Founder of Advance Guatemala, a charity supporting Guatemalans in need.


Welcome to The Future Is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen. We feature top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, those who bring a global mindset and a unique perspective to their life and business. Now, let’s get started with the show.

David Nilssen 0:23

Hey, David Nilssen here. I am the host of this podcast. On The Future Is Borderless, we connect with leaders from around the world who have what I like to refer to as a borderless mindset. And the purpose is to share ideas, new innovations, best practices, and things that will help power growth in our personal and professional lives so that we can thrive in a rapidly changing world. Now this episode is brought to you by Doxa Talent. Doxa helps businesses to source full-time, highly-skilled workers from all over the world. And as a result, these companies can scale faster, increase margins and improve culture. If you want to learn how to grow your business with offshore talent, simply visit All right. Well, I’m excited for today’s show. Today we have a really interesting guests name is JP Dahdah. He’s the founder and CEO of Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans. Vantage administers over $2.5 billion in assets while assisting investors to diversify their retirement savings into alternative investments like real estate. Over his 25-year career, JP has earned numerous accolades, including Entrepreneur of the Year by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the esteemed Most Admired Leaders of 2019, which was chosen by the Phoenix Business Journal. JP is not only a successful entrepreneur but also an active philanthropist. In 2008 he founded Advance Guatemala, a charity supporting Guatemalans in need. And he contributes to the community through his roles in The Entrepreneurs Organization and the Scottsdale Art Board of Trustees. So JP, welcome to The Future Is Borderless.

JP Dahdah 1:55

Thank you for having me, David. Cool.

David Nilssen 1:57

Well, this is an interesting one because I’ve actually known, and I share the audience. I’ve known JP for quite some time. At one point, I had started a company called Guidant Financial, which used to be in the self-directed IRA space. And we partnered with custodians like Vantage. So I know JP for a long, a long time, super cool to have you on the show. But I thought maybe we’d start with self-directed IRAs, the business that you’re in, and you spent a lot of time thinking about day in and day out. Can you talk a little bit about the backstory there? Like, how did you get the idea? How did you start it? Tell us a little bit about that.

JP Dahdah 2:29

Well, previous to this business, I was a registered investment advisor. So my business was to help people with their financial goals, the financial situation. And Genesis Vantage was really one of my higher network clients coming to me one day and saying, hey, JP, I got this opportunity, through a friends to invest in his real estate development deal. And my client was, like, 52 years old at the time. So the user guy, I want to put $250,000 into this deal. But he won’t give me the money back or value five or seven years. It’s really illiquid. And so I really want to use my IRA to do this. And I said, fortunately, that’s something you can do. And you’re 52, so you’d have to pull money out and pay taxes and penalties. And I basically told my client what I would very much competently thought was the truth, right, I had been trained by Fortune 100 company, I’ve gone and gotten all kinds of certifications. And I know, to the best of my knowledge, I was getting my client the right information. So I said, hey, I don’t think that’s going to be the right account. Let’s work through some other things we can do to get this money into this investment. And he was just kind of relentless. He was like, I would understand why I can’t do this. This is ridiculous. I was 27 years old at the time, so I think he was also kind of baked in, hey, maybe JP isn’t experienced enough of me that haven’t been around the game a little bit too much. He’s like, well, I want you to cheap look at it, call the top people that you know, and then try to figure out if there’s a loophole or something we can do. So I did that. And two years later, I’m still calling and telling them hey, no chant that called JP Morgan, like all Goldman Sachs, I called like top people in New York. And they’re just confirming what I’ve been telling you, right. And so we kind of left it at that. And about two weeks later, I go to lunch here in town with an attorney that I was building a relationship with. We had several clients together. He was an asset protection attorney and so we’re sitting down and this client was one of the clients that we were kind of thinking about unions to work with. And so I’m telling them the story right, they got to my client won’t give up this idea he didn’t use if I write. I’m sharing this with his attorney and my attorney, attorney, friend of mine has been said to us, you know what, I’m a part of this group in Florida that does them our offshore conferences and stuff for asset protection. But there’s a friend of mine there, who’s an attorney in a state, he’s sort of a company that does something like this. And so he’s when I get back to the office, let’s call my friend up, and we’ll see what he says. And so, you know, that was really the beginning, he went back to the office is called his friend, he passed a website over to me, I returned back to my office, go to the website, it says, buy real estate with your IRA. My jaw dropped to my keyboard, and that was one of those kind of moments of impacted my life, right? It was like, all kinds of thoughts, will how did this happen? How is this possible, you know, I, here I am, an advisor, won’t feel the most evolved kind of level, trying to do what’s best for my client, and I now feel that I’m giving him the wrong information. So that was really the genesis and I kind of made my decision really, that I wanted to be part of a solution and not are of a problem that I felt that the financial industry was really kind of set up, incorrectly all of the advisors that are giving information to clients, we’re really just talking about half the story and not giving them all the entire truth. So that’s how Vantage was started. I just got very disenfranchised with what I realized was how the financial industry was set up. And the kind of advice that we were kind of trained to tell people when it wasn’t in their best interest. We weren’t giving our clients all the information just because It wasn’t our business model, basically. Right. And so, I decided to start Vantage and kind of shifted from being an advisor to just being on the custody side, where we kind of became educators want to do anything kind of started our awareness campaign, and that was, when you try to tell a world that something exists that they didn’t know, and everybody that gives advice, professional CPA attorneys, financial advisors, every publication is misinformed and kind of Tom’s, kind of perpetuating this misinformation, it’s kind of tough to scale. And it’s all it’s fairly, it’s kind of a David and Goliath IP storyline, but there’s a lot of people that build wealth outside of the stock market, and I feel that people should know that they can make things, you know, invest in other things with their retirement account.

David Nilssen 7:42

Yeah, it’s so funny. I do recall back in the early 2000s when we were first starting Guidant Financial and talking about these types of concepts, and most of the advisors and even a lot of your tax professionals say, well, it’s not possible. I think industry awareness is a little bit different. But back then, I remember like, you were fighting ignorance…

JP Dahdah 8:02

Nineteen years later, people are still figuring it out. But it’s certainly a lot more, it’s a little bit more. Yeah, my vision was really, that one day, this would be household, video room information that everybody wasn’t. Does this exist as like, what company should I use to get this is what I’m looking to do? And that’s really where I thought would happen one day, it’s like, got this right.

David Nilssen 8:26

Awesome. Tell me just real quickly, what are some of the most common use cases that you see? What are the things that people are buying more times than not?

JP Dahdah 8:35

With alternative assets, I mean, we define alternative assets as anything that’s outside of the stock market. Okay, let’s, let’s just start there. But the most common asset class within our industry is real estate, of course, I mean, people love real estate, tangible asset, and they buy it in much a bunch of different ways, you’re not being buy it through entities, you’re limited partnerships that will cease when they co-invest with other people, some of our clients buy it directly. But as you can imagine, the amount of money you have in your retirement account really will define how you buy that real estate, right. And your job is to get leverage with your IRA, which a lot of people also do not know, and there are lenders that will lend to your retirement account, you can buy rental properties with putting a certain amount of money down with your IRA and then getting a loan to your IRA to buy a property. But you’re there’s obviously specific rules that the most common is I would say real estate, and then second to that would be private lending. And of course, in this environment that’s become very, very popular, and the amount of baby boomers out there and the amount of people that need to have a decent fixed income coming in, private lending has really become popular because they can define their terms. They’re basically the bank. They’re using their IRA money to lend money to other people, and they get to decide how much money they want. I charge maturity, all the terms and set up the structure. So people love that control. And when the bond market is in the toilet, baby boomers, new retirees need to figure out how to put 50 or more percent of their portfolios into a fixed income allocation. And when they hear about this, they really get excited about the fact that they can kind of do a secured real estate and do some other things with it. So I would say those are the two most popular, and then of course, private equity. And I think people who are a little bit more, willing to take a little bit more risk, and are accredited investors are those who are really kind of investing in private companies, private equity, venture fund startups, angel investing and those sorts of things. Obviously, a couple of asset classes that always pop up as the hot new alternative, when the great recession happened, it was all about precious metals, and gold IRAs and yield buyer coins and your boo Yan, and then now that it was cryptocurrency, you know, crypto IRAs became a thing, and everyone wanted to buy crypto with their IRA. So there’s a couple of ups and downs that happen on the asset class side, depending on the market. But I think for everyday Americans that just want something outside of the stock market, the first place they stop is real estate. And that’s where a lot of wealth is ultimately created in this country. And just in general, so.

David Nilssen 11:22

Yeah. Not surprising, I guess. In your bio, I talked a little bit about or a share that you had been recognized as one of the most admired leaders in Arizona in 2019. I’m just curious, I always think back to what is that moment? I guess the question is, what is that moment? Or is there a moment in your entrepreneurial journey where you have something happened that had a profound impact on how you do business, or how you think about building your business? And for me, I always go back to 2008. And some of the things that I learned going through that particular crisis, but is there a moment that you can remember where you learned a tough lesson, or you were sort of put your back up against the ropes, I had to make some decisions that have sort of changed what you think about business going forward?

JP Dahdah 12:07

No, I would say that. When you’re an entrepreneur, I feel that beginning at least at the beginning of your journey, it’s all kind of about you, what’s my vision, what direction I want to take this company, and you kind of think about you, this is the culture I want to build, these are the things this is the strategy that I want to execute. And it really seems a little self-kind of more, thinking about yourself for a while. And I think what happened, that’s kind of what I would call stage one of the company cycle is you’re still kind of, you want to push revenue. And it’s like, you think revenue really matters. And you’re kind of using it as a pump your chest kind of moment, right. And so I think that the aha moment really came when I just really, it really crystallized to me that it’s absolutely not about me. And that I really worked for my team, and that it’s really, culture is what I think it is, it’s what we make it within the team that we have, and our shared belief systems and values. So I had my core values at the beginning, it was JPs core values, aspirational, I hope my team that I eventually iron, will we all connect with these things, but over the course of that first stage, it’s like no, what are the behaviors that I’m seeing in my people that are common ground, right, and so those are core values of all indicate our core values, not just kind of JPS aspirational things that I want us to stand for. So I think in I don’t know exactly the year but I certainly feel like my leadership style in my just my behavior and kind of how I approach things was certainly not individual. To me, everything was focused on others, not just the client, but I’m talking about the team itself. And that was been pretty instrumental. I think, for me, and even my team, those who have been here with me, for that amount of time, you’ll be able to kind of giggle and we kind of laugh about them witnessing this kind of transformation of the younger JP into stage two and now we’re embarking on stage three of our business. So, it’s I kind of think it’s, I, we and then today, right? That’s kind of the way I framed it with my team is like, the first stages I, I, I and then we’re kind of onward team. Now we’re doing this together and you’re kind of you know, locking arms. And as you evolve as an entrepreneur, you really want other talented people. And it’s really they’re the ones executing they’re the ones coming up with the strategy. You need to find the talent that can really execute when you’re no longer around. And really has that system. And, and that’s what we’re entering right now. So I think understanding those dynamics in the business growth and the stages, I think has been pretty instrumental.

David Nilssen 15:10

That’s awesome. I always, always sort of talked about that journey that you’re talking about is what makes you strong in the beginning makes you weak as you grow, right? At first, everything funnels through you and your hands on you’re in it, your chief cook and bottle washer, and eventually got to push authority and autonomy into the organization, right. And that’s the transformation of your time.

JP Dahdah 15:32

I want a flat, I want a flat organization, title don’t matter, and I had this kind of pipe in the sky, just I didn’t want to be portrayed, I didn’t want to create this kind of like this ladder. And so, I mean, I literally, my org chart was much flat little, that’s what I was trying to did, obviously, now, we certainly cannot do those things. But it’s funny how at the start, the visions of what you’re also what you stand for, but what you also don’t want to stand for, right, that kind of start creating these little beliefs that you think you’re trying to lead people towards? And I did tell people when I’m interviewing them sometimes, like, this is a entrepreneurial environment. In my mind, that means a lot of things, right? I’m sure in their mind, they’re like, what is that mean? I don’t know what, yes, we understand corporate environment versus entrepreneurial environment. But I don’t think a lot of people who know any better will have maybe been able to do both understand the difference, right? I mean, what is it entrepreneur environment? If you’ve always been working for corporate America, you don’t really know. And again, I’ve learned some of these words that we use as entrepreneurs sometimes, because we’ve lived life experiences that kind of frame these thoughts and these concepts. And then you try and bring people on. And I don’t really know what all means, I guess, and then television. You know what I’m saying?

David Nilssen 17:02

Totally, I love that I love the idea of being a mature startup, right? You can even mature organization, decades of experience, but still sort of cultivating this noncorporate non-conforming environment. So tell me a little bit about, recently you guys embarked on this journey to sort of expand your team outside of the US. You talked a little bit about the circumstances that sort of led you to explore going borderless with your talent strategy?

JP Dahdah 17:29

Well, since we’re the financial service industry, you know, I was very resistant. I’ve been always very resistant to having employees work, even work from home, flex hours, we need to be here to serve our clients, our clients, we’re holding their retirement money. So I kind of felt that that was always like, they want to kind of us to follow that model, right. But then, of course, COVID happened. And that changed everything, really, I mean, three days, we had everybody working from home and kind of shocked the system. And as that, so that really was I said, the main opener, because everybody was getting comfortable with people working from home. And that video from a leadership perspective, or to monitor that bad time where decentralization and digital transformation, right, we’ve got because you’re looking to hire people, or people were, like, oh, we had onboarding, and we had trade we add all these infrastructures, but they weren’t set out for a model that had everybody not working in the office. Right. So it was like God, it was like, kind of wartime leadership, right? Like, I’m trying to tell my team like, do we have this, we need to set this up? And they were like, Oh, my God, JP, like, chill out, you know, we, this takes time. And it’s like we’re still trying to serve our clients every day. And so it was an interesting learning opportunity there. But as that happened, that we started working on those dates, we had external factors that were really affecting. I mean, the COVID really had an effect on all of us, right? Behavior we are, what we thought your relationship to work are, how we were willing to now willing to accept, you know, people not wanting to come back to work, inflicting social and political albeit, it was just, it’s benign, it’s in a challenging environment to lead through right. And so I would say that it those external factors, also kind of forced more conversation and more strategic thinking around how we’re going to get through this and then the job market went to crap in my opinion. I mean, it was just a decent year at the last beat, it was very challenging to find. And now there are you’re finding people under the new rules, right? It’s like But now they’re really being very selective. And you know, companies are overpaying all kinds of positions. And so being a small business, that’s really challenging to compete with, and to add it, I’m in a business David, where, you know, the majority of my team is what I kind of call it a commoditized salary range, right? It’s the 40,000, let’s call it $70,000 rate. There’s a lot of companies that hire people within that range. And that’s like, so those are typically not a best not a workforce that is, they’ve got their eye on a path, and they’re, like, gonna be committed to this one industry or this one thing. It’s like they’re looking for work, and they’re looking for pay, and they’re looking for benefits, right? So, these external factors, plus the job market, it kind of put us where some people left our business, when we’re trying to hire people back, they say they were committed, and they would flip and say, oh, I just got another job offer, so our core team was really struggling to trust, and that’s one of our core values. Trust, right. And they were like, we’ll be spending time with trying to onboard and now they’re leaving, and it’s just was very costly. So for all those reasons, for all those reasons, I knew something had to change, I was like, this isn’t working, we need to grow our business. And that we can’t this way, just so expensive, and just can’t who can do it. So that’s ultimately what led me to calling you and exploring this and kind of understanding because, again, I had my bias. That’s right, we all have our biases about certain models, and our clients have that bias as well. So really, that’s really been for me, it’s like, okay, we, you know, you got us to think differently, with a lot more comfort, and then maybe took away some of those biases, when you kind of shared how you structured your business, and what you take from it in your own businesses. And then, as my team got those, kind of the positive trust and found those people that we were working with that guy, these guys are great, they’re smart, they get things up quickly. And then when you go outside the borders, sometimes I think one of the benefits is on culture, just that the country’s culture and how people whose life experience has been, has just been different. And so we have found that really, because we found ourselves having to do a lot less annual meetings about people’s lack of performance meetings about not just different reasons that we did not have to lead or hold people accountable to certain things, was something we were finding a tremendous benefit from having a team outside of the US. So really, it wasn’t so much just to cut costs, it was also we found that the type of employees were getting in are like, super committed, and they won’t have you ever take it a PTO date, but most of them, it’s like, they’re just in it. Right. And so that has been awesome. So I don’t know, those are several that have begun that being like, over time, now we’re trying to get it where our clients can kind of remove some of those biases, right? So they don’t care that someone’s working from home. But there’s this perception, and if someone is working from home in the Philippines, that somehow all their money’s gonna get stolen from their account or something. So there’s some, there’s some of them, charity kind of serves, there’s just, some people just, they can’t fake outside the box of the border. So whether so Melissa and Philippines working in my office here or in some other state, that would be fine. But if the fact that the say oh, I’m in the Philippines, whatever country that begins to are us, you got some clients that are not happy about it.

David Nilssen 24:19

Yeah, it’s funny, I kind of liken this a little bit to what we talked about earlier with self-directed IRAs. In the early days of that industry, the lack of understanding the lack of awareness, led a lot of people to push back and say it wasn’t possible or it was risky, or what have you. And I think COVID gave us a tailwind in terms of work from home. And for some of us that are I think earlier adopters, it’s also created this access to other international talent pools, but it’s still going to take a while for the rest of the sort of community industry, whatever you want to call it to catch up, but I appreciate what you said. Because I think, our vision has always been to lift up global communities by creating meaningful work. And if the work is meaningful, then Pete Pull, your jobs are very much appreciated. And we are certainly seeing that. But nothing is perfect. So I am curious, though, like, how is it? Like, what was the biggest challenge you faced as you were starting to bring on some international talent? You’re trying to integrate different cultures, you got some people working in the office, some that are not alike. What was the one or two things that were the biggest challenges for you guys to overcome before you started to hit the gas and said, we’re going to go all in?

JP Dahdah 25:26

Well, I feel like when you’re looking, obviously, when you’re hiring, you are looking for specific things out of the people that you’re hiring, right? Whether it’s experience, let’s say a client a service, you’re looking for experience on the phones, right, but you’re also looking for knowledge about what you do. And so us that, then the biggest human seal is sure we’ve got people got years of experience on the phone. But what is an IRA? They need to be educated at a higher meeting, you know, beyond what the guy the or the girl from Charles Schwab is in service, because they’re thinking of it from the Wall Street perspective mutual funds, and all these sort of things. We’ve got to have people who can talk about alternative investment strategies make the person sound comfortable, I mean, feel comfortable about this is a company that can do business with because they understand the strategy of trying to deploy, they understand the process that I’m doing, ask questions about rules, or have questions about, well, can I do this, I’m going to do that. So I mean, that knowledge, so when asked to have on the specific topic is been challenging, because they’re starting from ground zero. And because of the amount of people that we needed to replace, and kind of get into these key positions, you can’t birth adults right to say what you cannot just magically scribble on all this information. Now, AI is healthy. And I know that there’s at least now a way to improve our capacity of how to develop training and how to get information to people quicker, right, with a lot less bird. But it’s still a lot to consume. If you’re a new person, especially from a new culture and a new topic. It is the lot.

David Nilssen 27:20

Well, it’s funny, there’s a lot of notable industries, right, but to your point, retirement plans, as they exist in the US are different than anywhere else in the world. And so the technical knowledge is something that should be caught up. You said something earlier that I just want to point out, and this is what I’ve found is the number one determining factor as to whether or not someone succeeds in an offshoring strategy, and that is, how they onboard and train team members, because most of us are used to being in an office where we just say, hey, sit next to JP, watch them for two weeks, pick it up by osmosis, you’ll figure it out. We don’t have the benefit of being that sloppy when we are in a hybrid or a remote environment. And so really forces us to sort of level up in terms of how we train and onboard, if we do that, it can be very successful. If we don’t, it can be very challenging.

JP Dahdah 28:06

The second word, digital transformation came up back in the, it’s decentralized, it’s okay, checkmark, we decentralized we’re now we have a decentralized infrastructure. However, you’ve got to go through all of that digitizing all of all that content and proving it all, you can’t get that onboarding, right, you won’t get the training, right. And so that’s been using zoom and doing things. And where we’re at right now is really not overtraining, because you know, we’d have enough people will kind of, I think some of our processes are becoming almost genuine, or people generalizing, and we want the whole team in this unit to be able to do kind of a lot of these different things, to not create silos, but now it’s almost like, well, that’s only elongating the training that someone needs to do, because they have to know it all to do it all, it’s just not so we’re now right-sizing our training to specific roles and responsibilities. And so that’s kind of where I would that,

David Nilssen 29:10

Yeah, cool. Yeah, we did something similar. And I’ve done this a lot with many of our clients, where we help sort of bifurcated process, and start with sort of, like, here’s the entry-level work, that’s 50% of our customers, and then you start to move them up to sort of what I would call advanced or, you know, more complex plans or duty

JP Dahdah 29:36

Before we move on, when you have you go remote to a borderless model, you’ll find that there’s specific type of talent in certain regions of this country. Like every lead 65% of your KP and G’s workforce was in the Philippines or something like that. So there’s a lot of accounting there’s a lot of finance there’s a lot of video risk managed audit work, they’re there. And so okay, great. Both are transitioning really well into our business. But we also need people here, right? There’s so there’s a combination of cannot everybody from somewhere else. So we’ve got to find this mix of what are the roles that we need to have in the in-person. And sometimes challenge that you’re wanting someone in person, but those people, their COVID experience, they’re still wanting hybrid, they’re still wanting to still work. So it’s like, diluting a little bit of that culture and the vibe that we have traditionally had at Vantage and been very proud of, it’s like, okay, it’s kind of sometimes I walk around, and it’s like, well, it the energies that sometimes you get sucked out of the building, if you know what I mean. So some of that stuff are some key considerations, your people as you’re finding that right, shown to the right mix of in-person, but actually needed to be in the office. So that not new tire culture is just kind of, digital nomads, a little bit lifeless, if you will.

JP Dahdah 29:36

Before we move on, when you have you go remote to a borderless model, you’ll find that there’s specific type of talent in certain regions of this country. Like every lead 65% of your KP and G’s workforce was in the Philippines or something like that. So there’s a lot of accounting there’s a lot of finance there’s a lot of video risk managed audit work, they’re there. And so okay, great. Both are transitioning really well into our business. But we also need people here, right? There’s so there’s a combination of cannot everybody from somewhere else. So we’ve got to find this mix of what are the roles that we need to have in the in-person. And challenge sometimes that you’re wanting someone in person, but those people, their COVID experience, they’re still wanting hybrid, they’re still wanting to still work. So it’s like, diluting a little bit of that culture and the vibe that we have traditionally had at Vantage and been very proud of, it’s like, okay, it’s kind of sometimes I walk around, and it’s like, well, it the energies that sometimes you get sucked out of the building, if you know what I mean. So some of that stuff are some key considerations, your people as you’re finding that right, shown to the right mix of in-person, but actually needed to be in the office. So that not new tire culture is just kind of, digital nomads, a little bit lifeless, if you will.

David Nilssen 31:04

It is so much harder, it’s funny, like, I think the hybrid environment actually creates some of that pressure, too. I always tell people, I’m like, look, I’m a fan of being in the office, I’m a fan of being out of the office in between, you pay for both, and you have to do both. And it takes extra work. Right. And it’s that that is something you pay for both, and you got to be best in class at both. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the work that you do outside of Vantage. I talked a little bit about your nonprofit Advanced Guatemala, can you tell us a little bit about what that is? Like? How did you come up with the idea? What is it that you’re specifically trying to do with that nonprofit?

JP Dahdah 31:42

So, being I’m a native Guatemalan, I moved to the US when I was eight years old, and the majority of my family, you know, we move and then vote with my immediate family, my siblings, and my mom moved back to Guatemala. And then, of course, and so I was the only one that stayed in the US, besides, obviously, my dad, and he got re-married, he was in Ohio. And so aside from that, I was here. So I would go back to Guatemala back and forth. And one of those trips, I just literally kept noticing that every time I went to Guatemala, it was an airplane full of people doing philanthropic work in Guatemala, they see people wearing their T-shirts, and we’re gonna go serve the people and it just kind of like, I’m like, I’m football I’m on. I’m not doing enough, really. And that was at a point in my life where I kind of as I reflected, I was like, I could do more, I should be doing more. And so on the flight back from that trip, I just decided I want to be intentional about my philanthropy, and I want to start a nonprofit, being an entrepreneur, maybe that’s the first always the first thing is I’m just going to start my own thing. But I knew that I didn’t want a typical model, in my understanding, I was like, look, there’s enough nonprofits, right? One isn’t going to make a big difference here. And a lot of them need similar things, right? They’re all raising money. They’re all competing for dollars from donors. So my model is really a collaborative model, I started up, I have a wealthy three, but we don’t have our own projects, we don’t have our own cause. I looked at how countries are developed and how they’re structured. And there’s four main pillars that every society, every community has, like education, health care, housing, and economic development or entrepreneurship, right. So that took those four pillars. And I said, we are going to be dedicated to doing basically, due diligence, we’re going to go and collaborate with nonprofits that exist, that are doing work in Guatemala, and one of these four pillar categories. And we’re going to find the ones that we believe, have the most sustainable projects, and are doing the best work, and we’re going to cover them and then we’re going to ask them, what did they need, they need money, then we would go raise money specifically for them to add more fuel to their work. If they needed context, Guatemala, or relationships, I felt like human capital was where I could add value because I had relationships in the US and I had relationships in Guatemala. So I felt that the best thing I could bring to the equation was some of that kind of both Thai country, relationship value now and capital but at the same time, I’d have a model where I had a for profit business, I couldn’t dedicate and build another team for just a nonprofit. So we have no staff, we just have our board of directors, and we look to identify these collaborative organizations and we pet projects and we raise money and do basically whatever they need. And so we’ve been doing that since 2008. And again, it’s for me it’s really that intentionality of my philanthropy at the Chiefs meet committed to a year you can’t keep up 501 C three if you don’t do anything JP, and so it forces me to, to do work really to do not only help, and then obviously, you know, you’re doing this with your friends or you’re doing this as you’re trying to raise money or get awareness from this causes. I love going to Guatemala with the people that I love and working and doing this Putting that energy out there. So maybe get them to think about their philanthropy a little bit too, and our corporate strategy here advantages to serve others. So I think you have that too phrase strategies really resonates. And it’s really about serving other people, man; it’s really where I’m allowed.

David Nilssen 35:37

Yeah, I love it. It’s funny, this reminds me of something. I was actually writing an article recently, and I was talking about, like, the importance of collaboration and doing some research, I came across the story about wild dogs, right. So, you have tigers, which are the strongest, largest big cats on the planet, but they’re their own king, because they’re by themselves, there’s very little collaboration, and they’re very ineffective, because they’re by themselves, and they’re not built for endurance, the idea with wild dogs has been actually are successful more than 85% of the times when they’re hunting. Because they do what’s called persistent hunting, highly cooperative, everybody has a role nobody’s King, it’s made for endurance. And it’s intended their sort of philosophy is that none of them are competing with each other. But if they collaborate, they can get more accomplished. And so as you’re, as you’re talking about, that it kind of made me think you have the wild dogs strategy for that.

JP Dahdah 36:37

Not just kind of a little showroom of other nonprofits that are doing just great work, we get to showcase them. And when we talk to them, and we say, Hey, can we raise some money for you? They’re just kind of like, what? They’re like this that used to it, right? They used to compete and not collaborate. So I think that that’s what’s worked, at least for us.

David Nilssen 37:00

Awesome. Well, I know we’ve got just a few more minutes left. So just a couple of quick questions. One, I want to talk about the idea of work-life balance. So, here, you’ve got a successful organization, you give a lot to EO, you have your nonprofit for Guatemala, and you’re a husband and father of two. So like, how do you think about balancing all of those things, so that nobody loses at the end of the day?

JP Dahdah 37:25

Honestly, I don’t believe in balance. Balance is something that seems to be like, have equal, everything has to be kind of an equal part. I’m a believer that entrepreneurship is life. To me, it’s just life, it isn’t like this other thing that it is, it’s for me, it’s, it’s everything I do, right, it’s like, being entrepreneurs, you know, like, you got to manage your family, you got to have your time, your personal time, and of course, work in your business. So for me, it’s really about living a life of priority. Being crystal clear about what your priorities are at the present moment, and then blocking the time. Let the allowable time for that priority in your life, which isn’t going to be balanced. Vantage, right before COVID was my fourth priority. We had people in place things were running very well, I was actually trying to get myself out of the big kind of testing out of it look like when JP’s will not allow that succeed what were the key urgent things I needed to pay attention to? And so now it’s like number two be and so, you know, this changes your life priorities changing, and we started our business David, I’m sure you’re like, oh, this is my baby. Like I got to work I got to work at work everything’s I got to work right well, yeah, there’s no balance there. So I believe it’s I’m very disciplined I guess in my life, I’m a planner but I’m also very intentional with my calendar, one life one calendar, I’m very clear I create little what I call flow formulas, I have my little flow formula be my flow, be vapid, be spending a certain amount of time and the things that matter most to me. And I’m get very honest with myself and my spouse, and anybody that’s important to me about what those priorities are because they’re not going to be their same priorities. And so, I think one of the big kind of been a little bit of a life hack for me, but I think challenge for most people is, you have a partner who demands what they believe is the amount of time that you should get based on their perception of what they need. Well, if my wife was to see me seven days a week and have quality time with me, she’s gonna be upset a lot. Right? And so we’ve got to be able to have conversations and you know, for me, it’s four times a week it’s family time. I haven’t date day with my wife once a week. So I created these little, almost like these time blocks folks that make up where I’m in my flow of all the things that I need to be happy to feel fulfilled. So that if I die today, I can say that I was, at least trying my best to work at the highest frequency on my energy and has worked really well with Mike with you know, once I got that into place, my wife was doing it and then we did as family we go, we block our entire year off a year in advance, we have a ritual, we block everything out so that we know, everything’s kind of when the cannabis is empty, but when the calendar has nothing in it, you look fired up the head, there’s really nothing in it. So you put it in there. And so if you put your priorities in there, then it’s easy to say no to a lot of things that just distract and get you busy or busy sake and basically waste our most important currency which is time you know, so for me, that’s, that’s how I approach I guess, life balance is just make it whatever imbalance you need to be in your flow. Get clear about what that is, and communicate it to the people that it affects. And then protect that time. Like, the thing that right now you’re protecting over everything else, because that’s the reality of your behavior, you just say, oh, my wife is, my kids are super poor, or you’re not spending any time with them. So it’s just like you helping yourself and so to end them and they feel it, it just becomes conflict, becomes resentment, it comes to somebody that they emotionally then have to deal with, like, my dad was never around. And I felt some of that stuff with money. So it was like, I just want to be honest about, my behaviors going to tell the world what matters most because that’s what I’m putting my time into. And so as long as I’m crystal clear and protecting that time with those things, I feel like I can feel I can sleep at night knowing that at least I’m being honest about it.

David Nilssen 42:01

Yep. Well, listen, I think we’ll leave it there. We’ve been listening to JP Dahdah, the CEO and founder of Vantage Self-Directed IRAs. JP, where can people go to learn more about the work that you guys do?

JP Dahdah 42:12

Sure, is our website and if you want to learn more about our nonprofit.

David Nilssen 42:23

Cool, I’ll put both of those in the show notes, but thanks for being on the show today.

JP Dahdah 42:27

Thanks, David. Take care.

Outro 42:30

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