'That One Deal Made Me A Millionaire': Former Airline Pilot Ryan Tseko Reveals His Investing Strategy That Anyone Can Follow

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For years, the wealthiest investors and institutions have enjoyed exclusive access to lucrative investment opportunities, leaving retail investors with limited choices. 

Hedge funds like William Harnisch's Peconic Partners and Michael Burry’s Scion Asset Management produced total returns of 191.5% and 159.79%, respectively, over the past three years. The minimum investment required to participate in funds like these often ranges from $500,000 to $1 million.

Retail investors, on the other hand, have typically been confined to index funds like the Fidelity 500 Index Fund or Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral, which track the S&P 500. While the 44% returns these funds have generated over the past three years are considered impressive by most standards, they pale in comparison to those investment funds reserved for the elite.

Former airline pilot Ryan Tseko, who is now executive vice president of Cardone Capital, understands firsthand the transformative power of gaining access to the same assets as the wealthiest investors.

From Airline Pilot To Real Estate Millionaire

Tseko fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a commercial pilot when he was 21 years old, landing a job at United Airlines’ United Express and moving his way up to becoming lead captain at Jet Aviation flying the Gulfstream G550.

Tseko told Benzinga, “I loved being a pilot, but it’s not the high-paying job many people think it is. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it would be nearly impossible to build wealth just by saving and investing in the company’s 401(k) plan.”

Motivated to take control of his financial future, Tseko turned to real estate as a means of generating passive income and securing his financial freedom.

Working diligently alongside his career as a pilot, Tseko successfully built a small real estate portfolio using the income he earned. “I wanted to be doing bigger deals, but the single-family and one- to four-unit properties were all I could afford.” 

Tseko soon discovered that scaling and managing the portfolio while maintaining a full-time job posed significant challenges. “I would just be getting back home from a long trip then have to go pick up rent checks and deal with maintenance issues,” he said.

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Check out these featured investments from Benzinga's Real Estate Offerings Screener.

Seeking inspiration, he began following renowned real estate investor Grant Cardone, whose investments aligned with his aspirations. 

“I saw what Grant was doing, and knew I needed to invest in the same deals that he was,” Tseko said. With some persistence, he managed to land an opportunity to invest in a deal with Cardone. 

“As soon as Grant said I could invest with him, I called my real estate broker and told him to sell the whole portfolio. I ended up with about $400,000 after taxes and put it all into Grant’s deal. About 36 months later he sold the property and cut me a check for $1.1 million. That one deal made me a millionaire.”

Witnessing firsthand the life-changing impact of investing in the right opportunities, Tseko teamed up with Cardone to help make these assets available to other people in similar situations.

The timing couldn’t have been better. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2017 had recently passed, making it possible for Cardone Capital to accept investments from non-accredited investors through Regulation A+ offerings.

“People deserve to be able to invest in these assets,” Tseko said. “All of us start out as non-accredited investors. The thing that gets us to become accredited is typically the investments we make with our money. To me, it seemed completely backward. These large institutional-quality real estate deals have only been available to the ultra-high net worth and institutions.”

Cardone Capital has deployed more than $130 million raised through its Regulation A+ offerings into multiple class A properties.

Follow Ryan Tseko on Instagram for more on real estate and aviation. 

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Posted In: Real EstateAlternative investmentsCardone CapitalGrant Cardonereal estate investingRyan Tseko
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