STARS & STRIPES
HEARTLAND INVESTMENT COMPANIES
THE SECRETS TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE
(AND A SUCCESSFUL INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP)
When our anniversary rolls around this June, my wife Gina and I will celebrate 31 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe we’ve been together for that long — sometimes it seems like only yesterday when she shot down my movie date proposal in eighth grade — but there’s no denying that our relationship has grown stronger over the decades. This month, with Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships. Of course, that means I’ve been thinking about my lovely wife, but I’ve also been considering what the secret is to relationships in general, like the ones I have with my kids, my friends, and the investors I work with at Heartland every day. In the end, I think every successful partnership comes down to two things: trust and communication. The first “secret,” trust, may seem obvious, but it’s by far the biggest factor in a strong relationship. There’s no way Gina and I would have made it this far, raising three kids and taking all of life’s punches, if we didn’t trust each other. And if I really boil down my relationships with investors, taking out factors like personal wealth and income, the reason they’ve invested tens of millions of dollars with me over the years is because they trust me. In fact, when he was writing about his Iowa investments in his book, one of my clients said something like this: “I have apartment holdings in Iowa that I’ve never been to and I’ve never looked at, but I have a guy in Iowa I invest with whom I trust, and that’s why they’re there.” I’d bet it’s the same story with 95% of my clients, most who live out of state and leave it to me to handle the day- to-day work of managing their properties. To put it simply, if they couldn’t trust me, I wouldn’t be in business! I feel like the second secret, communication, doesn’t get enough credit in most relationships. Communication is vital so both parties always know where they stand and so no hiccup, no matter how small, goes unnoticed and unaddressed. I tell all of my investment partners (and Gina!) the good news and the bad news, and even more importantly, we’re constantly in touch. Open lines of communication reinforce trust. I’m always calling or emailing my
“IN THE END, I THINK EVERY SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP COMES DOWN TO TWO THINGS: TRUST AND COMMUNICATION.”
investors to update them on the latest developments with their properties and make a point to take time to address any problems, questions, or concerns that come up. Not only is it good customer service, but it’s also good manners, period. At the end of the day, Iowa isn’t the sexiest place to invest in (and I’m probably not the sexiest man my wife could have found), but I’d say we’re both consistent, trustworthy bets, and that’s what matters most.
P.S. - Look forward to the results of last month’s bald eagle photo contest in our next edition!
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