Millennial mompreneur Laine Waller went from working in sales to creating a company that would allow her to help entrepreneurs in our community level up financially. After switching careers to learn more about the banking industry, Laine noticed the lack of resources and information the bank shared with those in our community. Taking matters into her own hands, Laine set out to learn more about each department and branch at the bank before launching her own company, Vraiment Financial. Today, the seasoned business owner helps millennial real estate investors and entrepreneurs develop legal tax strategies to help them save money during tax season. Since launching she has helped over 20 business owners save from 30-50% from their tax bill for the 2019 tax year. Her ultimate goal is to educate entrepreneurs and real estate investors on the benefits of staying organized and prepared in their finances in order to see success. We caught up with the Raleigh-native to learn more about her journey and what entrepreneurs should look out for during tax season and beyond.
Mandy: What influenced you to launch Vraiment Financial?
Laine: Well Vraiment Financial was never the original plan. It wasn’t even apart of the plan. I grew tired of trying to find a company that could assist me with my finances without treating me like another number. I had huge goals for my credit, personal finances and future and I immediately started looking for every book or course that could help me in that. After 8 months, my family and close friends asked if I could assist them in their journey. I thought I might as well do it legally, asked my fiancé what he thought and he was all for it. I paid my first investment to get certified and on November 16, 2018, Vraiment Financial was born.
Mandy: What were you doing prior to launching?
Laine: Wow, so prior to launching I was working as a financial representative for a credit union in my city. I was in sales management for years but my journey in finances made me fall in love with numbers and seeing the significance of helping others. I felt like I could make a bigger impact in people’s lives by branching out with my own financial firm. So I left my position at the credit union on December 11, 2018 and have been a full time entrepreneur since.
Mandy: Why did you decide to focus on real estate investors and entrepreneurs?
Laine: I wanted to shift the company’s focus on an industry that I became passionate about. Real estate investors and entrepreneurs would contact us about how much money they’ve made in their own company but knew nothing about the taxes or that they had to keep everything organized. As a full time entrepreneur, there wasn’t a laid out blueprint for me and I wasted $20,000 of my own money, so I know many can relate when it comes to many mistakes made with their own money. But we can also learn from them. There’s a solution to every problem, and a lesson for every failure. With real estate being a hot commodity for wealth and creating an asset, people usually fall face first because of the little mistakes made, especially in their taxes. Money is constantly being wasted for lack of education. You will not find many accountants that specifically study and understand the tax codes and laws for the real estate industry. We can’t file our taxes like everyone else. There are strict guidelines that we must follow but we can legally lower our tax liability in the process with the right knowledge provided.
Mandy: What is the biggest mistake you've seen when it comes to taxes and Black real estate investors and entrepreneurs?
Laine: The biggest mistake I’ve seen is not having an accountant apart of their team, lack of knowledge and tax planning. Real estate isn’t an easy market to tackle in so it’s important to have an accountant that is familiar with the tax laws and codes. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t going to know everything or you may not have the time to learn it yourself. I’ve learned the hard way to stay in my lane. Real estate is about strategy and its the absolute same thing for taxes. Strategies have to be planned out in advance and implemented accurately. For example, strategies between short term rentals and long term rentals are completely different. Without implementation, it can cost you more money, penalties and time in the end, which is why many investors have to back track, which allows them to start learning from their mistakes.
Mandy: What kind of impact has Vraiment Financial made since you've launched?
Laine: The impact Vraiment Financial has made since we’ve launched has been completely unexpected. I believe it’s due to us being completely vulnerable with our own journey and educating the community on topics people usually wouldn’t discuss. We are completely raw and honest with our audience regardless if someone doesn’t like it or not and many people appreciate that. We have currently helped over 500 people especially women entrepreneurs restore their finances, save up to $21,000 on their taxes by using specific strategies within the tax code, to help them receive the most deductions as a taxpayer, legally. We have also helped over 55 entrepreneurs get their bookkeeping and expenses in order and stay organized. I believe with our unique knowledge and skills in accounting, since we’ve never stopped being students has definitely assisted us in changing the trajectory for our people in business.
Mandy: Are there or will there be any major changes in taxes due to COVID-19?
Laine: Yes. Three of the biggest changes in taxes due to COVID-19 is the change of Tax Day from April 15 to July 15 of this year, giving Americans more time to prepare without a penalty. Then, there’s the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act also known as the CARES Act has presented good news to individuals and business owners for a tax relief. The CARES Act implemented the Economic Impact Payments for Individuals AKA Stimulus Checks that are publicized checks from the federal government. They can be up to $1,200 for an individual or $2,400 for married couples, and the dependent’s children that can receive up to $500 per child under the age of 17. The Stimulus Checks have urged people to file their 2018 or 2019 tax returns in order to qualify. Finally, for the real estate industry, there are better depreciation rules for real estate QIPs. The CARES Act includes a retroactive correction to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows much faster depreciation for real estate qualified improvement properties that was placed in service after 2017. I believe many real estate investors should look into this if they haven’t already.
Mandy: What advice can you give those in our community when it comes to building wealth and generational wealth?
Laine: The advice I can give to our community when it comes to building wealth is to think about your legacy and start implementing the plan of action that you want. Real estate is the number one thing used to build wealth and generational wealth, but we have to start with the education. After we have obtained the education, we must make a thorough plan and strategy. Finally, we need to execute the plan and educate our own children or youth early before they reach adulthood so they are ready to repeat the positive cycle. Now is the time to fix whatever is stopping you from building for your family. Don’t make any excuses, and only seek solutions. Ask yourself how bad do you want it for the next generation because it starts with you.
Mandy: What's next for you and Vraiment Financial? What are you hoping to accomplish over the next few years?
Laine: For Vraiment Financial, we are adding tax resolution as a new service for the end of 2020. We are excited to be able to assist our community in representing them in front of the IRS for any tax issues they may be facing. We have already started working on other businesses within Vraiment Financial in real estate and legacy building that we not only believe will be successful but also encourage the next generation of leaders after us. We can’t wait to deliver it.