Mike Cobb is the co-founder & CEO of ECI Development and President of Gran Pacifica. He has been named among the “100 Outstanding CEOs in Central America” by leading Central American magazine Mercados & Tendencias. At the height of a successful career in the computer industry, Mr. Cobb left to pursue more pioneering opportunities in the emerging real estate markets of Central America. In 1996, he and his business partner formed a company, Exotic Caye International, to provide loans to North Americans purchasing properties in Belize, Honduras and throughout the region.
As the need for capital outstripped the supply, the mortgage company was converted to an international bank under the jurisdiction of Belize. It continues to provide mortgage services but has expanded its services to encompass the full realm of financial products. Mr. Cobb also saw the need for a regional real estate company that would serve the Baby Boomer consumer with a North American standard product for the next 2 decades. He led the group into real estate development and created a holding company for several properties including a resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize. In August of 2000, Exotic Caye purchased 3.5 miles of Pacific Beachfront property due west of Managua, Nicaragua.
This master-planned community hosts world-class infrastructure, homes and condominium units. In February of 2006, the ECI Development group acquired 1100 acres and 3 km of coastline in Costa Rica, setting the stage for expansion into this popular market. Most recently they merged their Belize property with a much larger parcel and have begun to develop 200 condominiums units on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Additionally, Michael has spoken at hundreds of international conferences about real estate financing and development.
- What has been happening since we last spoke?
Mike bought his very first rental property at the age of 30 in Belize. He wasn’t originally planning on buying a property but he was vacationing there and decided that he wanted to come back often. The property didn’t knock it out of the park, but it gave Mike a place to start investing in other properties and start a business.
He has since purchased properties in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama with other deals on the go. Mike discovered a group of people he refers to as digital nomads that can work from anywhere that have a huge interest of living all over the world.
More and more people with children are picking up and moving overseas. It’s becoming more common for families to look outside the traditional paradigm and raising children in bilingual education systems.
In many cases, people in their 50’s are buying properties with the anticipation of using them as a retirement investment. For families, more people are just buying homes in other countries because the process is much more achievable now than it has been in the past.
Mike’s passion is in getting the word out. He is always shocked by people that say that all their net worth is tied up in the United States. Asset class diversification and building a legacy is very important to Mike and he tells people that the world is a big place with lots of areas to invest in.
- Building A Legacy
There are major economic cycles that normal average people do not talk about, and the generational cash flow cycles that Mike loves to discuss are the ones that only the billionaires are really paying attention to. Building a legacy this way is something that the British have been doing for the past 200 years.
As strange as it may sound, timber has been the playground of the billionaire set for a long time but it doesn’t have to be exclusively for the ultra rich. Just take 10% of your investable net worth and turn it into a generational cash flow cycle. Timber is a powerful wealth stewardship tool precisely because it is not liquid like other investments and you don’t have to commit to hundreds of acres to make it happen.
There is a lot of wisdom in taking the monthly cash flow cycle and turning it into a generational cash flow cycle.
You don’t need to know everything about timber in order to take advantage of it. Mike interviewed and hired a forestry company to manage his investment so that he doesn’t have to.
Even with a generational cash flow cycle, you can pace it out every single year so that after the first 25 years it can actually become an annual cycle.
Mike had an opportunity to purchase 2500 acres of Pacific coastline property in Nicaragua that he couldn’t pass up. This has enabled him to expand his vision to developing communities instead of just properties.
- Mike’s Takeaway
The best part of the generational cash flow cycle is that it can’t be messed up, your kids have to wait.
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