Bryce Robertson: Negative Net Worth To Time, Financial & Location Freedom in 2.5 Years

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Not many people have the Freedom Trinity - financial, time and location freedom. For Bryce Robertson, this is his reality, however it was not always the story. Growing up in Australia, he was a high school dropout with no knowledge of business and entrepreneurship. After working a few years in gold mines and traveling the world, he ended up in the USA. With a negative net worth and $2,000 he was able to gain financial freedom in 2.5 years, primarily from investing in mobile home parks. He's focused on growing a great team of people to give him leverage which allowed him and his wife to take 6 months and travel to 20+ countries around the world. Bryce is the host of the Freedom Hack Radio podcast, host of Financial Freedom Mastery, writes articles for BiggerPockets, leads the Cultiv8 Collective Inner Circle focused on investing to create freedom, and wrote a best selling book titled "10,000 Miles to the American Dream."

 

In this episode hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  • Bryce's past before getting into real estate where he would travel the world, run out of money, work to save money, and repeat. Then he met his wife and moved to the US, and began his path to freedom
  • Freedom Trinity is time, financial, and location freedom, wherein you can do what you want wherever you are
  • A primary real estate problem in America is affordable housing. Providing that to people can help you earn good cash flows and excellent tax benefits.
  • If you don’t have a deal on the contract, you don’t have anything, so work on putting deals under contract and raising capital for deals.
  • As you continue to grow you need to find deals if you have money, and vice versa.
  • When you find a mobile home park to invest in, focus on trimming the expenses and raising the rent to increase revenue.
  • Increasing revenue is all about filling vacant lots, and homes, billing back utilities, increasing rents, and reducing expenses.
  • Getting mentoring from people who have gone through the experience can help you see the red flags.
  •  The perfect preparation is quick execution.
  • We need help from property management, construction, acquisitions, and different people to help us succeed quickly.
  • Training the right person takes time in the beginning, but is worth the long-term investment to allow you to scale

 

Timestamps:

0:00 - Intro to Bryce’s Career
1:47 - How His Journey Started
6:34 - Syndication
9:38 - Finding Deals
11:58 - Strategy Behind Flipping and Reselling
15:39 - Impact of Opportunities in Bryce's Freedom Trinity
18:28 - Process of Building Up a Team
21:37- Bryce's Top Thing To Do
26:20 - How to find Bryce

 

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Full transcript here:

Mike Swenson 

Welcome to The REL Freedom Podcast 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 

All right, everybody. Welcome to another episode of The REL Freedom Podcast where we talk about building and gaining time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. And today's guest, Bryce Robertson has hit the freedom, Trinity, financial time and location freedom, a little bit of a background about Bryce dropped out of high school. So I know a lot of times people think you have to be successful in school and get good grades and do that dropped out of high school had a negative net worth with $2,000, and essentially achieved financial freedom within the span of two and a half years. You lead the collective inner circle, you have a strong desire to enhance physical and mental toughness, you enjoy challenging yourself and outdoor adventure sports and athletic endurance competitions.

 

Mike Swenson 

You love traveling and venturing with your wife and dogs, in addition to being one of the leading experts to inspire, empower, empower freedom hackers to live a true fulfillment, living their sole purpose and expressing their freedom through the videocast and podcast of freedom hack radio, and you also are a host of financial freedom, mastery. So a lot of stuff to cover today. I'm really excited to have you on the show and to talk about just kind of yet really highlighting the freedom Trinity. It's what everybody strives for. And you know, you're somebody that lifted yourself up by your bootstraps and went out and got it. So excited to have you on.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Beautiful Great to be here, brother.

 

Mike Swenson 

Give listeners that aren't familiar with you just a little bit backstory, how you got to where you're at and how that journey happened.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, so Bryce Robertson native from Australia, got to near the end of high school and realized I'm not going to university, I just wasn't digging it. I wanted to go out there and make money as soon as I could. But at the time, I had no business or entrepreneurship, mentors or influences. So I really didn't know what to do. And I went out there and got what I thought was the highest paying job working with my hands, and it was a blue collar job and I got an apprenticeship as a steel fabricator welder. So I completed a five year apprenticeship in three years. And then I went out to the Western Australia and work in the underground gold mines, where I'd worked five to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, eight weeks on one week off. And I did that for about two years in Western Australia and Northern Territory, until I say, a little bit of cash.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Now, I had a dream in my early 20s, to leave Australia and travel the world for six years. And I did, here's how I did it. I first started with my base camp in London, England, where I would work, I'd work eight to 10 hours a day, five, seven days a week for three to four months at a time, save up a chunk of cash, and then go travelling through Europe until my money ran out. And then I would come back work again, go to Africa, and I did the whole UK, Europe and Africa cycle for three years. Now I want to change his scenery. So I went from 12 million people in London to 5000 people in a really small ski village called Ferny in British Columbia, Canada, because I wanted to experience a snowboarding season. But I loved it so much that and I found out they had some coal mines down the road.

 

Bryce Robertson 

So I ended up staying there for two years, I started my own gig out the coal mines. And when I wasn't working, I was firefighting downhill mountain biking, snowboarding or enjoying the outdoor mountainous activities. And because of that I didn't really travel that much through that two years I did everything there in the mountains saved an even bigger chunk of cash this time. So I could take an 18 month surfing and scuba diving trip down in Central and South America. And in the last six months of that that's when I met my wife who's a native from California. So naturally, I ended up here in the States about 13 years ago, when my wife and I landed here in the States, we were in agreement with each other we want to recreate this freedom lifestyle, except this time, we wanted to do it number one without our money running out and number two with our money growing while we're traveling and having fun and living that same lifestyle.

 

Bryce Robertson 

So we went out and looked at the three main ways we can make big bucks and that's owning a business real estate and the stock market. I think cryptocurrencies fits in that last category, but it wasn't really a thing back then. So in the beginning, I tried about seven different side hustles and then after a while I realized I was spinning plates I was having mediocre success. I need to take a step back and choose one thing. Now I knew it was going to be in real estate because at the time I had a 17 year background in construction and construction management. And but what was I going to do in real estate so I looked at all the different ways to make big bucks Self Storage single family homes, wholesalers to fix and flips notes mobile home parks, multifamily apartments, and over and over and over again mobile home parks kept popping off the page. massive supply and demand in favor of mobile home park owners getting fulfilled what I believe is

 

Bryce Robertson 

America's number one real estate pro Boom, that's a need for affordable housing, excellent cash flows, excellent tax benefits, hardly any competition I was in. So three months later, once I made that decision, I went and put my first park under contract a 40 space Park in Southern California. But at the time, like you said, before I had a neck, I had a negative net worth $3,000, in the bank and on season credit, and then how am I going to get this deal done. So I actually went out there, and I leaned on family and friends to get that deal across the finish line. And that was my first experience at what we now call syndication where we bring investors into the mix.

 

Bryce Robertson 

So we did that. And then I also negotiated some financing there, through someone's retirement account to get that deal across the finish line. And once I got that deal across the finish line, I realized, wow, I could do bigger and better things collectively with other people also realized there was a big need for investors to join deals where I'm doing all the heavy lifting. And we've called that syndication and our space. So for the next two and a half years, I rinsed and repeated the same business model and then created financial freedom.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, that's exciting. So I know, there's so many people out there that even just hearing a story like this, and I think this is why, you know, you're somebody that that likes to take action likes to take risks. So many people are stuck in paralysis by analysis of they come up with all the reasons why they can't do something. And you just paved the road and figured it out as you went. And so what advice do you have for people that that do get stuck? I mean, they're like, how do I do a syndication? There's all these different things like SEC regulations, how does that work? And you're like, Hey, I just went ahead and got money from friends and family. And now it's what we call a syndication. So talk me through that process.

 

Bryce Robertson 

That's such a good question, Mike. So the way that my answer to that is really just like, what you have to do is just understand the concept of what you need to achieve. Again, and then have some people looking over your shoulder. So I mentor people who have gone through the experience for for that can see the red flags, and then all you really need to do is just focus on the one next step that you need to do. So like when I was in that position, and negative net worth $2,000 in the bank on season credit, no experience, what did I need to do? I need to get it under contract. So I focused on getting it under contract. Okay, got it under contract, what's next? Do some due diligence. Cool, did the due diligence, what's next? Oh, I need money. I need financing. I need investors. So I just did it one step one step one step one step. And then I got the deal done. If I had have actually thought in the beginning, oh, my god, how am I going to do this? How am I going to do that? How am I going to do that I would have taken myself out of the game. So just focus on the one next step that you need to do, and have someone looking over your shoulder to make sure that you're doing the right thing.

 

Mike Swenson 

And I love how you just focus on taking that next right step. And I think yeah, sometimes people get so caught up because they think I've got to think three, four or five steps ahead to make sure that I don't hit a roadblock. And you're like, just hey, what's the next step? Okay, I got that done. What's the next step? So finding that balance? Because you know, you talked about get it under contract, do the due diligence and then find money? A lot of times people might think, well, I've got to find the money first. And how does that How did that work in your world? Where it's like, let's let's just focus on getting it under contract? How do I do that? If I don't necessarily have the money lined up?

 

Bryce Robertson 

In a perfect world? Yes, you would have the money lined up first. But look, this was my first deal. And I was just like, I was piecing it all together and getting it done. So in a perfect world, you would go out there and you would build relationships with investors first. And then you would, you know, you would take that path. But you can get stuck on that path too. You can be like, Well, I'm not gonna go out and getting deals, I don't feel confident that I have enough investors yet. And you know, work on both at once, I'd say work on like building your investor group, if you're going to raise capital for deals and work on putting deals under contract, one of them's going to come first. And then you just solve the problem of the other one. In a perfect world, you would have the capital, they're ready to go first. But don't let that stop you from putting a deal under contract, because unless you got a deal on the contract, you don't have anything.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, I mean, really, it's as simple as two things, it's money and deals. And if you have money, you gotta go find deals, and you know, vice versa. And so those are the two things that really matter as you continue to grow. Okay, so you got that first one under contract? And how did that build and escalate from you to Yeah, where you said, you, you know, in two and a half years time, you've you've essentially achieved your financial freedom. How did you go find some of those other deals? What did that look like? I know mindsets really important. And so, you know, what were the things that you kind of had to tell yourself to be able to move forward?

 

Bryce Robertson 

Well, actually, it wasn't really what I told myself was actually what one of my mates told me and it was a guy that I just met at the time later on, we ended up collectively writing a book together. 10,000 miles to the moon. You can dream, but he was another Aussie that I met. His name is Reed Goossens and he got introduced because we're both Australians investing here in the US. And he's like, oh, cool, man, first phone call. He's like, Oh, cool, man, you did a you did a 40 space mobile home park. And I was blown away. Because only like literally just like closed on the deal. I'm thinking, I'm feeling like 10 foot tall.

 

Bryce Robertson 

And he's like, so let me ask him a, why are you doing such small deals? And then I kind of like took that arrow. You know, at the time, I'm like, Man, I thought I was doing some pretty cool stuff.

 

Bryce Robertson 

That was my first deal. And then I sat and thought about it. I'm like, wait up, why am I doing such small deals. So my next deal ended up being a 200, space Park, and then just like growing, expanding from there. So really, the hardest deal I did was the first deal. And to do bigger and better deals after that has actually been progressively easier and easier. And, you know, money was the challenging thing for the first deal. And now I've got like more investors than we can throw deals out, you know, so we, you know, there's always challenges as you're growing and expanding. But yeah, man, we just, it's you, all you have to do is just believe that something's possible and then go out and do it.

 

Bryce Robertson 

And I think when you're listening to podcasts like this, and someone's paved the way for you, one of the things that made it easy for me in the beginning is I went to a real estate meeting. This is before I got my first mobile home park. And I'm looking at all these people and Tommy Bahama shirts, it looked like they just got off a cruise ship. And they're like, yeah, we've done tons of fixin flips, and we've made 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of dollars. I'm just like, if you guys can do it, it's a done deal on doing, you know, so you just got to believe in yourself, believe in the process and then plug away at it.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. So for people that you know how, you know, maybe they're in single families or multi families, and they've heard about mobile home parks, talk a little bit about the kind of the strategy behind it. You know, what, what do you do to take where it's at right now, and to be able to kind of essentially flip it and resell it in the future? What's the strategy for you?

 

Bryce Robertson 

we have actually got a pretty unique position in the marketplace, which not too many mobile home park operators have. We do buy stabilized parks, which are about 70 to 80%, occupied, but we're really specialized in buying about 50%, opera, occupied parks. So they've either got a ton of vacant homes, or a ton of vacant lots or a combination of both. And so we go in there and we buy it for cents on the dollar, we're buying at about like, you know, 2020 to $23,000 per light, where you know, when we can sell it, we sell it for about 7050 to $70,000 per lot. And we've got our own in house property management company, our own in house asset management company and in house contracting crews.

 

Bryce Robertson 

And we just move our contractors, they go live at the park, they knock out all the remodels in a really short period of time, find used homes, bringing them in remodel them, or we bring new homes and get it all set up. We send ourselves machine sales managers in there and fill up the occupancies and refinance cash out investors and move on to the next one. And that's that's really the unique niche that we're in. But for somebody else to join and do this, there's so many ways that you can actually increase the value of a mobile home park because it's based off the net operating income and how that applies to a cap rate. So if we look at the net operating income, how can we increase that because it's going to massively increase the value of the property. So we can increase our expenses, I Sorry, wrong way, we can increase our revenue, or we can decrease our expenses. And so we go in now we do both of that at once.

 

Bryce Robertson 

So we try and trim all the expenses, get rid of all the fat, just don't only have the baseline expenses in there that we need. And then we raise rents. That's the way to increase revenue. We also build back utilities another way to increase revenue, we fill vacant lots increase revenue, we fill vacant homes increase revenue, it's really about increasing the occupancy building back utilities, increasing the rents, and reducing the expenses. And when you look at how that multiplies when you have that newly increased net operating income, and then you apply the cap rate to it, I mean, we're talking about making big bucks here, for example, we had 200 Space park that we individually put water meters on, they're all computer red and everything like that cost 70 something $1,000

 

Bryce Robertson 

They let's just round it up and say $80,000 to install these water meters, and then build back the water to tenants. But then when you look at the effect on the net operating income and then the cap rate applied to that when we sold it, it gave us an extra $500,000 worth of sales value just by installing those meters and peeling back the water. And all that cost was like a little less than $80,000. So the return on investment to do things like this is pretty amazing. When we fill a vacant lot depending on if we get a new home a used home or white if we get a new home it cost us about $6,000 And then we have financing programs that we can leverage.

 

Bryce Robertson 

And then that was worth about 50 to $70,000. If we do a use term, it's costing us in today's market about $25,000 to fill that, like, get it remodeled and ready for a tenant. But again, on the back end, we can sell the park for about, you know, 50 to $70,000 per watt. So you can look at their return on investment on those and then multiply that by how many wants to do on that on 10. Lots 20, Lots 100 Lots 200 Lots. And, you know, you can kind of do the math and figure out what's in it.

 

Mike Swenson 

That's phenomenal. So talk about how that has unlocked because I do want to make sure we talked about that the freedom Trinity here. So So talk about how your financial life and then kind of your your location life has changed in the doors that that's opened as a result of what you've been able to do.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, so you know, I achieved financial freedom quite a long time ago. And then after that, you know, kept plugging away and working for a while and expanding because just because you create financial freedom, that doesn't mean you want to stop, right. But then I got to 2019 and the beginning of 2019, my wife and I like hey, let's go down to Costa Rica. We're gonna go surfing for three weeks, we might look at some real estate there. Maybe we'll start at backpackers hostel down there or something like that. We're just like exploring. We got down there. We had 10 days there. I got some cool surfing and but my wife was like, Yeah, let's go somewhere else. So we got up. She's like, he's really cool playing flights down to Chile and South America. So cool. We went down to Chile hiked in Patagonia. Next thing, you know, three months in South America spontaneously.

 

Bryce Robertson 

We hiked in Patagonia. We went to Michelin star restaurants in Argentina. We served in Brazil, jungle treks in Bolivia. It was amazing, awesome time. And then after three months in South America, my wife's like, Hey, by the way, I found some really cool flights over to Paris, let's go hang out in Europe for a little while. So next thing you know, a three week trip turned into a spontaneous six months 20 Country World Tour. While that was happening, I was working about four hours a week, still keeping all the operations go on, because I've built out the teams. And then also launched the book through that period, the book I mentioned earlier, 10,000 miles the American dream, and then also launched new investments, all while working four hours or less. And then granted true.

 

Bryce Robertson 

When I got back, I started working like 80 hours a week for a couple of months to catch up and do a lot of stuff. But that was just an example of living the freedom trinity of financial freedom, time, freedom, and location freedom, meaning that you can do what you want, when you want from where you want. And that is true freedom in the material world, I think we could go one layer deeper, because I think true freedom actually comes from within. And it's more of a spiritual experience. But talking about the 3d world, I mean, the freedom Trinity is really the way to go. And it's very tangible, and much more accessible in today's environment, where we can really all you need is all I need is my phone, and a laptop and game on. If I got internet connection, I can do this from anywhere all over the world.

 

Mike Swenson 

Now you talked about because you had built up your team, and kind of stabilized that that provided you the opportunity to do that. So talk through the process of of building up a team kind of getting that piece of the pie stable so that you can go and work four hours a week.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, so one of the things you want to look at is the concept of like, How much money am I worth an hour, okay, and you kind of just look at how much money you making divided by like how many hours you're working. And as an entrepreneur that that number is raising and raising quickly if you don't properly. And then you look at, okay, if I'm worth say, for example, if I'm worth like $100 an hour, then if I can find somebody to do the task for me for $20 an hour, and I can earn $100. Now, I'm actually making $80 an hour, you know what I mean? On top of that, by getting that person, and then you expand that through different people. So really, a lot of people in the beginning they're like, Hey, man, I want to do everything myself, no one's gonna do it as good as me, well, that might be true.

 

Bryce Robertson 

And maybe other people are only going to do it at the centers good. You're not going to grow very quickly. And if you really want to scale it, you have to build out things for sure. So you got to look at like what's, what's some of the things that aren't the best use of my time that aren't making a big return on investment, but they need to be done? Bookkeeping is one of those. So you go out there, you get a bookkeeper. Okay, what's next? And you know, we needed help with like property management, and all these different people and then construction and then and then acquisitions. And then, you know, all these different parts of our business we were actually building out and it what happens is you'll find, oh, too busy. I'm too busy. I need more time. Okay, what can I offload? Who can I bring on that can actually do it? It's not how can I do that? It's who can who can do that? And then you find the right person, that's a good fit to do it. Train them up, which takes time in the beginning so you don't get that relief straightaway.

 

Bryce Robertson 

But once you've trained a map, and if you've chosen the right person, then man, you will just go, Oh, that is so cool. Once you do the first one, you're like, Man, I want to do two, r&b three on and four, and then just keep building and building a team. And and then it's always just this ebb and flow of like, okay, yeah, we're getting bigger and bigger. Again, we need to bring on like three, four or five more people right now to help with that. And it's kind of a balance between like, how much money you're making, how much cash flows are coming in? How can you support these new people that are coming in? How much time do you have, and it's kind of more of an art really than a science. And, but, you know, so many people, so many small business owners with a real estate investor or not get stuck on that.

 

Bryce Robertson 

They don't want to like, they don't want to hire people, if they hire people, they're worried about firing them. Like, if someone's not working out, get rid of them straightaway. And they just move on to the next person, and then build out your team. And really, that's the way to scale. I mean, you there's no way you can do this alone, and get over that fear of actually building out a team because it'll be the best thing you ever did. Because ultimately, one one thing to add on that is like, What's your ultimate skill set. And you could think about that yourself, Mike. And you can be like, I know that it's like, I am best at doing this particular thing. So you want to free up all of your time, so that you can do that one thing and really shine and let other people that specialize in bookkeeping and property management and construction and all these things do their thing, while you're focusing on your thing, because that's when you're really going to shine and you're gonna get the most out of it.

 

Mike Swenson 

So what was what was that top thing for you? So as you look at, you know, what, what's the highest and best use for me and the value that I bring? What do you spend your time on?

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, podcast speaking on stage, live events, high level meetings and joint ventures with new business partners, high level decision making of like new investments that are coming in and strategizing, and then just high level like driving the business plan on an execution on all the projects that we've got going on. That's really where I spend my time.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. And how did that change? So as you started to get a little bit of momentum? Where did you see what was your highest and best use networking with people that have money? Is it helping to find deals? Is it helping to put together deals, kind of how did that grow for you and change and adapt?

 

Bryce Robertson 

Throughout the process? Yeah, I mean, I just started in the beginning, I started offloading all of the tasks that were not bringing in extra money. So like bookkeeping, it's like it has to be done. It's super important, but it's not actually technically making me more money, you know, like, okay, get a bookkeeper. And so I can go get more deals,

 

Mike Swenson 

you focus your time on maybe finding the next the next deal, and then hire that bookkeeper to build out behind you.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, so and then you've got, you've obviously got to manage these people, right? You can't just like hire someone to expect they're going to do the best job you have to do. Like, you have to manage them prudently. But yes, hire that person and go find more deals, and then look at the deals that we do have gone on, how can we compress the timeframe and get this business plan executed even quicker. And that's really where I specialize. And that's where I'm, like, you know, selecting the right deals, saying yes and no to the right deals, getting the best financing, compressing the timeframe, pushing things along, getting to that money pumping out on the end quicker for ourselves, our investors and everybody involved. And yeah, that's we, you know, we're all about taking massive action as well.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. And I think, you know, one of the themes that I hear often is, yeah, it's about speed, right? Your job is to ramp things up to move things along as quickly as possible, so that you can compress timeframes. Go find the next deal, go find more investors, and so you're really orchestrating the speed and trying to make that treadmill run faster.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, and I would say that we, you know, to toot my own trumpet and everything like that, but I think we do an exceptional job at it. And really, it comes down to planning dude. I think that a lot of people wait until it's time to do something, and then they start like, strategizing on it and doing it. We like anticipate things like way ahead, man. So like, by the time we are closing on a mobile home park, we've already got everything lined up, our contract is ready to move there live at the park, they already know what they're going to do. We've already bought our materials, got everybody lined up, we've got the meters ready to be installed.

 

Bryce Robertson 

We're like web primed and ready to go you know, and I think the perfect preparation is like one of the most important parts to like quick execution. Instead of trying to like figure it out where you go anticipate it solve all problems up front as many as you can. You still gonna run into problems along the way. But then just like hit the ground running, whereas so many other people they're like, Okay, I closed now I have to think about This and this and this like did we did that months ago, you know. And that's why I think we can like do this so quickly.

 

Bryce Robertson 

The other the other key to it, I think, is volume. So if we've got 20 homes to remodel, we could have and this is what most mobile home park owners have. They'll have a construction crew, they're now moving from home to home. And then each month, they'll remodel a home and lease up a home. And after 20 months, they're complete, we'll get that done in like six weeks to three months, we'll send out like three crews, four crews, five crews, whatever we got to do. Some parts will have like a cruise, and some local support as well. So we do a lot of preparation, up front, a lot of planning, working with the cities and surveyors, and all of this, getting it all dialed and then boom, we send that we send to the force Zahn and just get a knock it all out at once.

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Well, I know our time is short today. And so I want to be respectful of that. But thank you so much, Bryce for coming on and just just sharing how you had humble beginnings you you found the right way you found the right thing to plug into and make it work and really live the life that a lot of people idolized, right being able to have that financial freedom have that time freedom and just being able to on a whim go into a six month travel with with your wife. So that's awesome. So thank you so much for coming on. For people that want to learn more about you and what you're doing. How can I do that?

 

Bryce Robertson 

Yeah, come check us out at invest cultivate.com and cultivate is spelt with the number eight so it's see you well, tip number eight.com Come check us out. They're

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Thank you so much Bryce, for coming on. Appreciate your time.

 

Bryce Robertson 

Beautiful. Thanks very much.

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