Eric Satz (rhymes with “cats”), founder and CEO of Alto IRA, is a serial entrepreneur who’s seen both wins and losses. Eric knows investing is no longer just for the wealthy, and is living out his mission of delivering 21st-century investment opportunities to everyone, even non-accredited investors. Eric is a former investment banker and early-stage investor with a passion for nurturing startups and raising capital. He teaches an entrepreneurship class to high school students in Nashville and served on the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 2015-2018. Through Alto IRA, Eric is making alternative asset investing available to all by giving people the support they need to choose amd make their own investments using their IRA savings.
● Who is Eric Satz?
Eric is a product of his parents, two very different individuals. Both had significant impacts on who Eric became in life with his mom bringing the entrepreneurial mindset and his father the steadiness and in many ways an entrepreneurial spirit of his own.
Eric started out his career as an entrepreneur selling classically selling lemonade and delivering newspapers. Once he graduated, he went from academia to Wall Street to a company called DLJ. It was there that he worked with a number of entrepreneur clients. From DLJ, Eric opened up a coffee bar in New York City in the same year that Starbucks opened their first NYC venue. That was Eric’s first real failure, but luckily that paved the way for Eric to get back on Wall Street. Long story short, Eric has opened an online foreign currency exchange, since moved to Nashville, started an online organic grocery delivery business, and venture capital firm. It was at that last one where Eric discovered the opportunity to invest an IRA in alternative assets, also known as the alternative IRA.
Now, Eric’s mission is to give everyone in America to have the choice in retirement. If nothing changes the way we invest today we will have 25 million Americans living in poverty by 2050.
● Retirement and Location
The financial industry has gone to investments in ETS mutual funds and index funds, and that means the expectations for returns shouldn’t be any higher than 4-6%, which is a big problem for people that are looking to retire. Another problem is the public market has changed, the average person no longer has the opportunity to participate in most deals until they are already overvalued.
Most people raising money don’t know they can accept IRA money as investment, as much as people who have money in their IRA know they can invest it in privately owned businesses. 90% of all savings in the country reside in retirement accounts.
Eric’s alternative IRA platform has solved this problem by making it simple and easy for people to invest their IRA money. There are a lot of sophisticated investors don’t know that this kind of investing is even possible.
● The Alternative IRA
Alternative assets are not publicly traded securities which can be bought through a traditional broker. Also, a self directed IRA is not an alternative IRA. With a self directed IRA, you only have the choice between the approved list of publicly traded securities.
Retirement savings dollars should be invested in long term, illiquid assets because those are the assets that will generate the returns you need to get to actually retire. Investing in liquid assets like stocks and mutual funds for retirement is exactly backwards.
● Accredited Investors
The idea of an accredited investor has its origins in the Securities Act in 1933 and 1934. They were originally created to protect investors from shady people investing their money in railroads that were never going to be built and at the time, they probably made sense. Today, it basically means that the government is essentially saying that people who have money are smarter than people who don’t, which is something that Eric takes issue with.
People who know that their future depends on how their investments are going to perform over time are going to do their homework, and it’s entirely unfair to say that they can’t because they’ve never been given the opportunity.
Since the Jobs Act, there have been a number of crowdfunding platforms that have opened up investing to non-accredited investors but there is still a lot of work to do.
There is a conflict of interest when it comes to financial advisors and an alternative IRA. When you invest in an alternative asset, they don’t make any money so there is no incentive for them to make sure you know what’s possible.
In a lot of ways, Eric’s business was an effort to scratch his own itch. But after going through the experience of trying to invest in an alternative asset, he started to dig into the issue and found an opportunity and a mission. America needs access to real estate and private companies to generate some outsize returns and make retirement a possibility for more people.
● Eric’s Takeaway
If you are related to that voice, you have to make sure you are on the same page otherwise that will probably be the end of that relationship. If you are going to move forward, don’t do it half way. You have to commit to it, otherwise you are just going to be second guessing yourself the whole way. There are going to be a lot of bumps in the road, being an entrepreneur is hard and will test your character. You have to be passionate and committed.
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