Agostino Pintus - Bulletproof Your Investing Through Cashflow


  • Agostino Pintus is a former INC 500 Technology Chief Executive, with a masters degree and 2 bachelors degrees, made a life-changing decision to walk away from a six-figure corporate career to pursue his true passion: real estate. In the span of 5 years, he's built a diverse portfolio of multifamily, development, and net lease assets. He is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof Cashflow, where he applies nearly 2 decades of real estate experience to source, negotiate, and acquire commercial properties. He is a dynamic speaker who at a wide range of events throughout the United States and Canada.

    In this episode hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  •  How Agostino made the risky and tough decision of switching to real estate

  • Why reflecting is the biggest thing to do before coming to fruition and living on your own terms

  • The tipping point for him to go all-in on real estate and why real estate was so important to Agostino

  • How cash flowing real estate saved him while he was trying to figure out what to do when he got ripped from his job

  • Why W2 job is the most expensive way for anyone to earn a living

  • Importance of picking one market to get really good at and expanding on it

  • Advice for people considering the cash flow and appreciation in their investments

  • Satisfying investors by buying corporate backed assets with corporate guarantees and delivering a monthly return


0:00 - Intro to Agostino's Career
1:22 - Journey from Corporate America to Real Estate
5:12 - Many Ways to Get into Real Estate
7:00 - Why Real Estate?
11:51 - Agostino's Market
13:51 - Cashflow Versus Appreciation
16:43 - Guidelines to Find a Good Cash Flowing Market
18:40 - Single Tenant Net Lease
21:34 - The Bulletproof Cashflow Company
24:46 - How to Find Agostino










Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Minnesota Real Estate

Read the full transcript here:

Mike Swenson
Welcome to The Real freedom show where we inspire you to pursue your passion to gain time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. I'm your host, Mike Swenson. Let's get some real freedom together.

Mike Swenson
Welcome everybody to another episode of Real freedom. And we're talking about building wealth gaining time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. How many times do we hear the story of I was taught to get a good job, get a safe, stable job, so that I could eventually retire. And so we've got another story like that today, somebody else who has found that the corporate path isn't always the path that's right for them. And maybe they're leaving some meat on the bone and there's more opportunity out there to be able to maximise yourself to your full potential. Today we're going to talk with Augustino Pintas. He is the founder and CEO of bulletproof cash flow, former background in it as a CIO for large company and got into real estate and his focus is three areas, stabilised multifamily development and net lease, we're going to talk about the strategy of being able to diversify that you also have your own bulletproof cash flow podcast and show yourself Augustine, welcome to the show.

Agostino Pintus
Hey, man, thanks for having me on, greatly appreciate it.

Mike Swenson
Why don't you tell us a little bit about your background, that journey from corporate America to real estate? Absolutely.

Agostino Pintus
So just like I said, I had my start in corporate, I've always been an entrepreneur at heart my entire life. And I thought that tech, for me was the way to go. I always had an aptitude for that. So I went ahead and followed what my parents told me go to school, go get good grades, do your masters did all that stuff. I have master's, two bachelor's degrees, when all school all the way through and actually paid my own way to write. So it isn't like, I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth had to bust my chops to get to where where I did all that. And at the end of it, what did I get? I got a whole lot of I got the GTFO box, you know, I got the box several times. And, you know, I just I realised that as being an entrepreneur at heart, being in corporate just wasn't for me, right. And it's for some people, some people actually do very, very well, a corporate, I'm not that guy. Okay. And there may be other people out there the same thing, like meaning they're doing the corporate thing, but they're not really happy doing it, or that's not really what's in their heart. And that's what was for me, and several times going through getting hired, getting fired, whatever. And it's not always, it's not always my fault. It's sometimes picking the wrong company. People do that to you pick the wrong company, we all make mistakes. And here I am the very last time when I decided I made that decision, and we're talking agreement a bit ago about making that decision to change your life. And that's what I had to do that's really sit down and think, Okay, how many more times am I going to put my the risk of my well being and the risk of the well being of my entire family, in the hands of someone, or people that don't care about me or anyone else? Just I can't really have that anymore. And I decided to make that switch to real estate. Certainly, it's tough walking away from a six figure salary, having the big house and all that fun stuff working in corporate, but that, how should I say that feeling of security is a facade, it is not real, that security that's been told to us by the banks, right by other people, by other companies, or other folks that tell us that, oh, if you have a job, the banks even give you a loan based on your job, this isn't your personal income, right? It's like it's not true. Like if anything an entrepreneur will find will always find a way to make that mortgage payment, compared to compared to your job where I think that you never know what on any given Friday, you may be told to take a walk, you know, and that to me is just not it's not financial freedom, it's not security, you no matter what you're doing, you're still sacrificing your 40 hours a week, for 40 years, for the for the next 40 years, for 40% of your money, because the government's stealing 60% of it. What kind of life is that? It's certainly not financial freedom. It's not it's a facade. It's not real. And real estate is one of those few things that you can actually get into today, that allows you to get to the financial freedom that you want for yourself and for your family and live life on your own terms. There's nothing else out there. Nothing.

Mike Swenson
It's interesting. A lot of people the six figure job, it's secure until it's not secure. And the problem is is you don't know when it's not going to be secure. And so you might be fine for a while and then you kind of get that wake up call and you're thinking okay, now you're questioning your past decisions of what did I do? And is this the right company? Is this the right fit? And the other thing is you get to dictate where you go and as life happens, and here to your real estate investing strategy, you're diversifying, you're pursuing different opportunities. So you really get to make those decisions whenever you want. And obviously there's other people involved and there's investors involved. But as things changed, you get to be the one to dictate that change in strategy versus having to answer to shareholders answering to the higher ups falling in line with what they want to do.

Agostino Pintus
That's right. That's right. I think for many people, it can be overwhelming to think about that kind of stuff. The interesting thing here is that there's many, many ways of getting into real estate, that doesn't mean that you have to take the reins and run the whole business, there's some folks that just don't want to do that stuff. And that's perfectly fine. partner up with someone that does, and maybe it brings something to the table and let them run the business. Or you can invest as an LP as a as a limited partner in someone else's deal. So let them again, let them run the business, all you're doing is bringing the money to the deal to there's many, many ways of getting to the real estate game. And it doesn't always involve being an entrepreneur, you don't have to be an entrepreneur, if you don't want to be an entrepreneur, right? It's just a matter of how hard you want to work. And what do you see for your own personal life? Because I think that's probably one of the biggest things is to really sit down and reflect, what do you want your life to truly look like. And for many of us, myself included, when I was many, many years ago, I didn't really reflect on that, you know, but it wasn't until I took that step, and reflected on what I wanted my life to be and design it accordingly. That's when things really started coming to fruition and living life on your own terms. Like you know, we you hear that term thrown a lot. You have to design what your terms actually look like that has to be thought out and drafted. And if you don't do that, you're just living day to day to day, and I just wasn't satisfied doing that. For me personally anyway. I'm sure there's many people out there in the same boat.

Mike Swenson
So why real estate for you? You've kind of indicated a little bit of that in terms of being an entrepreneur, have you done stuff in real estate before you made that switch? Or were you exposed to it or kind of what was that tipping point for you where you were you did go all in?

Agostino Pintus
Well, incidentally, it's funny. When I was growing up, my parents were house hacking, I before house hacking was even a thing. It was a duplex. And we were you know, we had tenants in the back. I didn't really think about it. You know, my parents don't really think about either it was house hacking before it was called House hacking like we have today. Fast forward a bunch of years and ended up having to move to Virginia and I was renting the house out that I had currently in Michigan. And it wasn't but when I was working in corporate, I had a friend of mine say you should start buying some single family homes and residential stuff. So I started doing this or buying single families small duplexes, small multifamily s are buying it up like crazy. This is back before 2008 just buying up everything I possibly could that made sense. And I set some parameters, right. So I created a box for myself a deal box. And with the with the available financing and available cash flow and how much debt was and if it fit in this box I'm buying, it didn't tell, you might remember the run up to 2008, where all of a sudden, the prices of these houses started increasing the cash flow just wasn't there. And I'm like, I'm gonna stop buying it just based on what I defined on my box. And next thing you know, everything crumbled, I still own the property. And I got ripped from my company. But throughout all those years, that real estate that I bought, still cash flowed, still kept me alive. And it was a learning lesson. You know, it's kind of like, I wish I could say that I read the Robert Kiyosaki book, everybody reads that little purple book, you know, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, everybody says that, for me, it wasn't that as actual doing it. And figuring out on my own that real estate, cash flowing real estate is what saved me and still was able to keep me above water while trying to figure out what I was going to do next. But I got ripped from my job at that time, right? And it's the same thing that happens today, if you're able to properly position yourself to get into the real estate game, and build some cash flow just in case. Because to put all your eggs in one basket, and a basket you don't even have control over is probably not a good idea. You know, and we've been told since we're a kids, that's what you do. It's not correct. That's not true. That's not It's not how it's done. Right? Maybe back in the 50s. It was okay. But in today's day and age, nope, not It's not safe anymore. Can't do it.

Mike Swenson
Well, and even for people that are working in corporate America, you can start in real estate. And it doesn't have to be a moment where you quit and come over, it could just be picking up some properties starting to get that cash flow happening. And then you've got the power of choice. If I want to move I can if I find real estate's more exciting, I can move over or if somebody decides my fate for me, I've already got one foot in the door with real estate and I think that's where you can get leverage. You don't have to learn everything yourself. Become the real estate market expert and all that all at once. You can partner with people you can find good deals, find some wins ensnares with people that are already in it. There's tonnes of ways to get started, I always tell people, you got to get your foot in your first door. So then you can grow and strategy changes, you can't get better until you get started.

Agostino Pintus
Yeah, that's right. And I will say this though, the W two job is the most expensive way for anyone out there to earn a living the most expensive. And what do I mean by that you're giving up your only resource you have on this planet. And that's time giving up and then on the paper, that you're making these little pieces of paper that literally paying off a printing press or they're printing it off, the government then comes in and taxes it at the highest rate possible. It doesn't make sense, does it? When you say it out loud, it's like it's pretty wild, right? You're giving up the only resource, you have to be at a job you probably don't want to want to be at. And that's the most expensive way of earning a living, you know, so listen, everyone's got to start somewhere. I did, too. I was doing all that corporate stuff. And I took me a while to figure all that out. But let's say you do get into real estate, you get all the tax advantages of real estate at large. Even if you have a bunch of rentals, like single family rentals, you get the depreciation, you get the appreciation, you get to take that loss, that paper loss on your income tax, why not do it, right? I mean, even if you have a handful of these things, it helps because it helps offset the most expensive ways that you're learning that you're earning today, right now. And you have to do it like these days, you have to you have no choice like it's, it's the only way to maximise your time as best you can. Short of doing it on yourself.

Mike Swenson
So for you then going back to starting small starting with these multi families and single family homes, what market were you in, you'd mentioned you were in Virginia, but you had a property in Michigan, where were you investing in? So

Agostino Pintus
I had, I was living in Michigan at the time before I moved to Virginia, to take a job out there, right. So it's in Virginia Beach at the time in Hampton Roads. But I'm a real big believer and just picking one market and getting really, really good at that market. So when I was there in the Hampton Roads area, I pretty much stuck in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk in those in that market stay very, very close and very tight in that market. So I those are things that I learned in the single family world. But I still do to this very day here, the multifamily world, we've done through under $15 million worth of stuff already, in and around multifamily acquisition development in that lease. And we apply the same rules that it did back in the day, 17 years ago, when I was doing the single family homes, right, same rules apply right long term debt. I shy away from any type of adjustable rates or anything else like that. I shy away from that. And buying the right asset with a great deal of upside. And one of the first things to think about is how do I get rid of this thing? How fast can I get rid of this asset? I was thinking about that? When I when I first looked at a property, how fast can I get rid of it? You know, in case I have to write, I have to pull the ejector button. It's interesting that many of those sorts of rules I learned going in I still apply to this very day. And but yeah, anyway, a real big believer in just staying in one market and expanding on that market. That's that's really what I do.

Mike Swenson
I've had some conversations here, particularly in the last couple of weeks, just with newer investors exploring cash flow versus appreciation, you know, and there's a sliding scale out there of I could be all cash flow, no appreciation, I could be all appreciation, no cash flow, or somewhere in the middle talk about that. Obviously, we know your cash flow heavy, you want to focus on cash flow. But what do you talk about with people that want to invest in those markets that are maybe heavy appreciation markets, and they're like, Oh, but I could make so much more if I bank on the appreciation versus the cash flow. I'm curious to see kind of what advice you have for people considering those things.

Agostino Pintus
I'm doing a webinar tomorrow and I touch on this this cash flow versus appreciation. We have tonnes of stuff on our YouTube channel, we talk about this. Here's the thing. Ash flow is the holy grail of how you earn money in the real estate game. That's it full stop. Okay, appreciation is reserved for the people for the big big REITs or other guys that have a war chest that in the event that something goes wrong, ie an economic downturn like we're experiencing now. They can still cashflow the asset if they have to, if they get caught with their pants down because all of a sudden the rates the rate jumps up and now they have a huge mortgage payment to cover and they have no money right? It's gambling when you do appreciation. So let me explain. There's capital markets and appreciation markets. I only invest in cash flow markets. That's an appreciation markets like say New York City, Los Angeles, even Miami has turned to an appreciating market because there's nothing really backing up the the gains of the asset itself other than just demand but if that demand suddenly changes or On the system sort of rule takes place a change in rules take place or whatever, it's out of your control. It's ridiculous to do that. There's guys that were buying stuff. For instance, in Florida, they're buying stuff. But eight, nine months ago, 10 months ago, and they're overpaying for it my opinion, I'm paying, let's recap for it for some a class asset. And remember, underwriting it, if anything goes wrong, these guys are screwed. They're done. And next thing, you know, the market just shifted. They're going to lose that asset. Right now. They're underway, right? Why? Because they're what they're trying to, they're subscribing to the greater sucker theory, if I'm going to pay 3%. Today, maybe someone down the road will pay 3% to ridiculousness, no, always invest for cash flow. That's it. Always, right. Especially if you're new, getting into this business, don't get greedy. That's the thing. You know, don't get greedy when you're learning this thing. You have to you have to be good at getting the cash flow, identifying the right deals, getting the cash flow in the door. Because if there is, again, if there's a sudden change in market, you're you're hosed. You're underwater. That's it, you know, and you don't want to do that. Right. And that's what appreciation does its appreciation is like the count on something you can't see or put a number on. You're asking for trouble. Never Never sign up for the greater sucker theory. That's because essentially, that's what the that's what the appreciating rule relies on. Someone else is going to overpay for it down the road to risky,

Mike Swenson
But you had mentioned, you know, focusing on cash flowing markets for somebody out there that's newer to real estate, what are some guidelines or maybe some other criteria that they should look for to find a good cash flowing market or not?

Agostino Pintus
It's good question. Typically, what you're trying to find is steady job growth, steady population growth, the basic fundamentals of real estate, they've been around for forever, pretty much right? There's, there's not like right now, I'd say Texas and Florida, there's still a massive influx going in today, right at the beginning, during during all the COVID stuff, there's a huge influx, right. And that to me, is cool, good for those states good for their economy, but it's it's happening too rapidly too quickly. Right? They have a place like Cleveland, for instance, right? The steady job growth here studying the amount of people moving here into the state into the city and they've taken on jobs primarily in health care very, very safe as long as people on the planet there's going to need be a need for health care will be okay. Right? You have places like Tennessee, right like Nashville, Nashville is it continues to be a very very stable market. I think it's been it's been appreciating rather quickly right here to make sure you're paying the right price for that type of market. But same sort of thing. Oklahoma City is always cash flowing markets very, very steady, right. Steady Eddie's which are looking for right through the southeast wild swings that come in, and based on just nothing, just pushing up the value for no apparent reason. Right? It has to you're almost looking for an equilibrium of supply and demand. And you can sometimes figure that out just by looking at how many jobs How is income at the at the individual level, how many people are moving into that state, the basic fundamentals will always rule in this business, especially now after this correction that we're in right now. You're gonna see a lot more of that taking place. People are gonna go back to the fundamentals. You know, we did talk

Mike Swenson
You know, we did talk about your beginning in the multifamily and the small single family talk about what you've mentioned, the development and the lit net lease, how did that come about for you, as you've grown over the course of your last 17 years? Investing?

Agostino Pintus
Absolutely. So we acquired a lot of multifamily. Like I said, we always buy on certain rules. When I started noticing, however, that the valuations of some of these assets that the brokers and the sellers were demanding and stuff making sense, we started looking at at development and building these assets. Here in Cleveland, for instance, and around Cleveland, you have two things going for us here you have opportunity zone, which basically shields any types of gains. If you guys want to know more, you can just Google it, you'll see how that part works. And then we're limited on time here. And then you have a 50 year tax abatement. Okay, so those two things, make a development deal extremely juicy. So we're focused now these days on adaptive reuse, like historical assets, like the Rockefeller building in downtown Cleveland, for instance, is one of the assets that we're doing right now, and other types of Office conversions and ground up, ground up development. And so we're doing that and we also do single tenant Net Lease so blind pool that buys corporate backed assets, Dollar General Dollar Tree, Walgreens, CVS, stuff like that. So we're not buying some unknown company. We're buying corporate backed assets with corporate guarantees and deliver a monthly return. So that satisfies the investors out there that are looking for a steady monthly income no matter what happens in the economy during Any type of downturn, any type of, you know, a type of event that that might be going on, you always get that cash flow. That's why we did that business doesn't matter what's going on the economy doesn't matter if it's COVID again, or whatever it might be, this fund will always cashflow. So that's why we set that up too. So it's a phenomenal way to get and build passive income. Very, very predictable. It's very predictable. So that's our net lease fund that we do that on.

Mike Swenson
And now you've got three different areas. They're all in real estate. But as things change, and ebb and flow over time, you can pick to focus on a certain leg at a certain time. But now you've got a lot more balance there with your total portfolio.

Agostino Pintus
Yep, that's right. That was that's the intent. That was the intent. Yeah, I mean, maybe after this, this economic shift is over, we'll see pricing come down to reality with some of these multifamily assets will start buying again. But for the time being, there's still a need for new assets. That's why we're returning to development. And it makes sense to do it here in Cleveland, because there's still a market for it. And because of the things I mentioned earlier, it makes financial sense to build here, because there's so much juice in those deals for investors to get in on. As opposed to building the same asset in a place like say, Florida, or Texas, where you don't have tax abatement you don't have you don't have the the OSI component, which really has a lot of return to the deal. That's the core difference of why we still we're still bullish on this market.

Mike Swenson
Talk a little bit then before we wrap up about bulletproof cash flow, your company and anything else that we want to learn about you.

Agostino Pintus
Well, bulletproof casual really started as a discipline name implies, I wanted to set this up as a way to get income no matter what happens just because of where I was in my life and where I was, you know, thinking where it wasn't my mindset. And that's why I called it bulletproof cashflow. No matter what happens. There's always cash flow rolling in, right. That's the whole naming. And that's why we put it together. So what I did was I built a whole media and education business around this model. So you mentioned the podcast earlier, we have 500 episodes. I think at this point in a lot of episodes, we've been at this for a while. And we have 700 videos on YouTube, webinars, online training, all kinds of stuff out there for people to go and enjoy as well. And like I said, it's really for us, it's really just helping people get into the real estate game, because I truly do believe that in order for you to have the life that you want the life that you've really deserve. Real estate is the only way to do it. There is nothing else out there where it's tax advantage where the bank is coming in, give you 75 80% of the money to do the deal. I mean, they wouldn't give that money to buy their own stock, but they'll buy but they'll certainly help you to buy a piece of real estate, what does it tell you? All right. So take advantage of it while you can. And even when there's an economy like we're in right now, there's always a deal out there, you just got to know what you're looking for.

Mike Swenson
It's great that we have the information out there. And then the next component is go do something about it, take some action, you're not in your spot that you're in unless you took some action back in the day, and you got better and you learned and you adapted and then you figured things out a little bit differently. And so we can consume a lot of the great content but then it's take action on top of that and don't be scared to do that. There's going to be that certain time where you have to make that leap into action. But then like you you've built a great career now in real estate because of the action you took a long time ago.

Agostino Pintus
Well, I mean, hey, listen, I did it the hard way though. I mean, I at the time, I didn't know of any courses or anything else like that the Guru's didn't really exist or it wasn't really looking for them. I learned from guys like Robert Kiyosaki, Carlton sheets, if you remember that guy from the 1970s. You know, I found one of his old courses and went through that. I mean, I that's how I learned and then yes, I applied it and made some mistakes along the way. Right. But But like, obviously made a lot more, but good things and bad, right? And the mistakes obviously were fatal. Right? It's just a little things I probably could have done better. And that's the thing. What that's why we have Matt, our mastermind to help people really learn from the mistakes the others will make. It's okay to learn from mistakes as long as they're not yours, right. That's the thing. So that's what Warren Buffett says so why not get into a mastermind so you're not doing this yourself. And for many people out there there may be a little nervous about getting in and doing it on their own. If you get into an A good mastermind that knows what they're talking about led by someone who knows what they're talking about, you're going to be okay. You know, because you're going to have a community they're backing you up and they'll help you make the right decisions. So you're getting into the right deals. That's really what it all matters right there. It's just getting getting into the right deals.

Mike Swenson
That's it and where do they go to learn about your your mastermind and your your stuff, so you can go to the multifamily

Agostino Pintus
If you're looking to get started, if you're already in the multifamily game, you want to do bigger deals multifamily is the other one, or just go to bulletproof cash. There's all kinds some great information there too. We have downloads of all kinds of stuff that you can enjoy as well. So all kinds of free ebooks ebooks on everything from how to raise capital to how to talk to brokers and everything in between. So definitely check that out.

Mike Swenson
Well, thank you Augustino for coming on. It's awesome to hear the stories of people that have found found freedom through real estate and getting out of corporate America excited to see the career that you've built and excited to see the journey you continue to go on.

Agostino Pintus
Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Real estate agents.

Mike Swenson
Are you tired of letting the busyness of life get in your way from achieving your real estate investing goals, I'm super excited to announce we've created the real freedom investor agent tribe, it's a place for you to come get educated and network with others so that you can make sure that you're hitting your real estate investment goals. So find out more on our website real Click on the store link. We've got a membership we've got a mastermind group and some private coaching as well. Check it out. I've priced it super low. The goal is to get you in not have price be a determining factor to keep you from your goals. So come check it out. schedule a call with me and we're happy to see where your real estate journey is going to take you.




50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.