Guess who the most sought-after candidates for jobs are today
Ric Edelman: It's Friday, May 12th. Have you experienced ageism? Are you worried about recession? Well, ageism and recession, you might figure, is a really bad combination. If you're over 50 and you lose your job due to the recession, finding a new job, you figure, will be a lot harder, but maybe not. Employers are now saying in surveys that they are fed up with younger workers. Managers are complaining that younger workers tend to call in sick. They arrive late. They spend a lot of time on social media. They tend to quit more often than older workers.
In a recent poll by the Wall Street Journal, 75% of those over 65 said hard work is very important to them. Only 61% of those under 30 said that. So guess who bosses are hiring people? 55 plus 2500 companies. We're talking big ones. Bank of America, Microsoft, KinderCare, H&R Block. They've signed a pledge with AARP to fairly consider workers who are over 50 when they hire. The 55 plus crowd is now the fastest growing segment of the workforce, according to the Department of Labor. And it's not just because companies want to hire them. It's also because older people need the jobs they haven't saved as much as they need, so they need the income and they're also in pretty good health.
If you're 65, odds are good you're a lot healthier today than your parents were when they were 65. And that means you're able to work and you also want to work. You want to stay engaged and productive. You want to contribute to society. People over 55 are mature and experienced, and they're finding employers increasingly happy to hire them. The EEOC says that age discrimination complaints are down 45% over the past decade. And guess who tends to be complaining now about ageism? It's not older workers. It's the younger ones. Millennials and Gen Z say they're not getting hired or promoted because their generation has a bad rep. So if you're in your 50 seconds, 60 seconds or 70 seconds, good for you. It's a hot job market. And if you're younger, don't worry, you'll grow out of your problem.
Exclusive Interview: Blockchain Business Innovator Bernie Moreno
Disrupting the world of car registration titles is just a start for this entrepreneur
Ric Edelman: I talk a lot about crypto very often here on the show. I'm a big proponent of the fundamental technological innovation that this represents. But really very common question that I get is Ric, you know, what is it good for? What do you actually do with it? And so that's what we're going to talk about today. And to provide a really tangible example of this, I'm really happy to bring onto the program Bernie Moreno. He is the chairman of Champ Titles. Bernie, welcome to the show.
Bernie Moreno: Ric Thanks for having me. Thank you for talking about technology and really spreading the movement out there.
Ric Edelman: Well, your background is not what I think most folks would instinctively associate with crypto or blockchain technology. So let's take a step backward first. Tell everybody your history and background in business.
Bernie Moreno: Certainly. So when I was 26 years old, I was working for General Motors and a car dealer in Boston hired me to run one of his car dealerships. I had never worked at a dealership in any capacity in my life. I became his general manager right away. Learned a lot.
Ric Edelman: Were you a car guy? Were you a gearhead?
Bernie Moreno: I love cars. At the time, I was a kid. So that's why I went to school in Michigan. That's why I went to work for General Motors. So always love cars. The guy who I worked for loved cars, which is a connection. So here I was, 26 years old, running this dealership, made it his most profitable store in his company, worked for him for 12 years. And out of the blue in 2005, 18 years ago, Mercedes called me and said, “Hey, we've got the worst, most underperforming dealership in the entire country. We'd like you to buy it.” So I took every cent I had and every cent I didn't have and quite honestly bought this little, tiny dealership that sold four cars per month. And we built it into the largest seller of luxury automobiles anywhere in the central US and then added 14 other dealerships; did a billion in sales.
And then funny story Ric. So about eight years ago, my youngest son, who's now 24, came to me from school at the end of the day and said, Dad, I got one word for you. I said, What's that, Kevin? He goes, “Bitcoin.” I said, “What the heck is bitcoin?” So he said, “It's going to be the future. Take every cent you have and put it into bitcoin.” So as a joke, I called up the guy who was my financial advisor from Alliance Bernstein who ran the Central US and said, “Hey, Shane, my son says I should put every cent I have into bitcoin and take it out of your accounts.” He said, “Well, don't do that. But you know, blockchain is really interesting.” I said, “Well, tell me about that.” That conversation led to a year later he leaves Bernstein. I sell my car dealerships and we started Champ Titles.
Ric Edelman: So that's quite a journey. And it's not at all uncommon for people to first hear about this through their kids. Kudos to your financial advisor for having been familiar with crypto. To be able to say Here's an element of it you ought to be paying attention to. So that was a great segue, incredible career you've had in the automotive field. Now describe for us Champ Titles, what that company does. Trust me, everybody, this will eventually get us to blockchain and crypto.
Bernie Moreno: Yeah, no, absolutely. So everybody knows when you buy a car, there's a physical piece of paper that the state issues to you saying, Hey, you own this car and if you have a loan on it, that piece of paper says you have a loan on it and the bank holds on typically to that piece of paper. And of course.
Ric Edelman: You're talking about the title to the car.
Bernie Moreno: Yeah, the car title. So our thesis was this physical piece of paper causes enormous friction in the system. It's a pain for banks, it's a pain for consumers, a pain for car dealers. So we said, why don't we take that piece of paper and convert it to a digital process and not electronic title? That's different, but actually a truly digital title. And we launched a company about four years ago. We're now the full onboard title issuing authority in West Virginia or in a few other states that were not allowed to talk about because of NDAs. But West Virginia has become the first state in the country to publicly announce that they are fully digital and no more paper and actually just passed a law to allow West Virginia to serve as a clearinghouse. So think of it like Memphis is for Federal Express; West Virginia will be for car titles. So you could move a Connecticut title to Florida via West Virginia digitally.
Ric Edelman: So you stress that you said digital, which is not the same as electronic. Explain the difference between the two.
Bernie Moreno: Yeah. So an electronic title is where the where the data is maintained electronically. But ultimately, when you want to move the title, it has to drop down into paper form, wet ink signatures, notarizations mailing it. Ours is. Think of it like a boarding pass on your iPhone. When you get on a plane, there's no more paper. It's barcodes and you can transfer it seamlessly with no friction.
Ric Edelman: And how does any of this relate to crypto?
Bernie Moreno: So we use the same underlying technology. So what we do is we use blockchain as our underlying data structures and we use smart contracts to facilitate. The transfer of the title from one party to the other.
Ric Edelman: And are you doing that simply as a matter of choice to saying we're going to use blockchain technology to build this? Or was it a matter of not having an option that it was either blockchain or not being able to do it?
Bernie Moreno: Well, you need an immutable ledger. You need something that can't be hacked, something that's incredibly secure, incredibly efficient. And we found blockchain is the most efficient way to make that happen. And it's worked really, really well. I mean, it's we've got certification. We've had five public companies that have invested in Champ Titles and that have all examined our tech. And it's as foolproof as it can be. As you know, it's almost impossible to hack blockchain.
Ric Edelman: Now, I don't mean any disrespect to the great state of West Virginia, but if I were to ask people, give me a list of the five states where you anticipate innovation emanating from, I'm not sure West Virginia would be on that list. So how did you strike your relationship with the state and get their reception in such a favorable way and first mover thinking?
Bernie Moreno: All the credit in the world goes to the governor. So Governor Jim Justice is a business guy. He's not a politician. He's somebody who's really an independent thinker. And he wants to put West Virginia back on the map in a lot of ways. And so when we presented this to a variety of different states, he said, you know, give me the full-blown solution. We're in about 23 other states in some form or another, But West Virginia is the one that's gone deepest in this. And they're really excited about the fact that they have that first mover advantage that they've created this title clearinghouse. And what's interesting is it's not only going to save them enormous amounts of money, but once clearinghouse is fully up to speed, they're going to make money with their Bureau of Motor Vehicles instead of it being a line item on their budget.
Ric Edelman: Talk about the economics of this. Is there economic value to the state other than the fees that DMV is going to be able to generate? Is it creating jobs in any way?
Bernie Moreno: Well, what it's doing is it's saving everybody in the ecosystem a lot of money. So you've got the paper that these things are printed on no longer has to be there. They're antiquated computer systems are costing them a lot of money. They didn't have to pay for the development of the system. That was a big deal. And they get much, much more fee income than they would have gotten in the past.
Ric Edelman: And I do have to share your view that the leadership of the governor really does speak volumes here, that many states are recognizing or frankly, should be recognizing that the way they've done business in the past is really going away. We all know about the Rust Belt. We all know that manufacturing is largely moved outside the US, that we're struggling to create high paying jobs. You know, we went from blue collar to white collar and now we're moving to green collar, creating jobs that are not bad for the environment, jobs that are able to provide really good incomes for the population and many communities at the local level, let alone the state level, are realizing they've got to reinvent themselves. And so I think that the governor's acknowledgment that West Virginia has not been known as a titan of business, this is an opportunity to do so. Some people argue that the state of Delaware became a big deal about trusts because what else did the state of Delaware have to offer? And so you champion a new sector of the economy. You can really transform the state and all the prospects and for everybody living in it. So kudos to the governor for recognizing that fact. Can you give us an idea, Bernie, of life with this process? Let's say that I'm a car buyer and I, as part of it as you mentioned, I'm going to deal with getting the title to my car. I think we all know what that experience is in the car buying process. But what is the experience via Champ Titles and going through the blockchain technology platform that you're using.
Bernie Moreno: So dramatically easier and most importantly, dramatically faster? So typically, like if you go into a let's call it an inefficient state, you buy the car, you get a paper plate in the back of your car. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes having a paper plate in the back of their car. You got snow, rain. This thing gets all crinkled up, You know, you forget that it's even back there. So you start calling the dealer. Where's my plates? They can't get you plates without the title. And during the peak of Covid in California, it was taking six months to get a car title. Think about that. And the banks hate it because they've lent money on that asset and they want to make sure it's securitized. So for six months, they're wondering, where's my asset? Do I actually have a lien on it? So we we're able to take that process and it's virtually instantaneous, like literally a day. So you buy a car at a dealer in West Virginia within a day. The title securitized. If it's a lien or the leasing company has the title in their possession or the consumer has a title instantaneously. So now you can sell it, dispose of it, this clearinghouse allows you to move it from. One state to the other. Very, very quickly, without Federal Express paperwork back and forth, that type of thing. So it's a huge savings to everybody in the ecosystem, especially one that you probably don't think about, which is insurance companies, because when a car is totaled and there's a loan, the insurance company has to pay off the bank. They wait for the check to clear. They mail the title sometimes, believe it or not, they don't mail it. Federal Express. They mail it snail mail. So we took insurance companies from 60, 70, 80 days to resolve a claim down to 2 or 3 days.
Ric Edelman: That's pretty remarkable. But explain to me the logistical element for the consumer. You know, as you mentioned, in the old system, I got a piece of paper. Now, it might have taken me a while to get that piece of paper, but ultimately I have a piece of paper that I can safeguard it in my house. But if there is no paper any longer, it's merely a digital file. Where's that digital file? How do I receive the digital file and how do I store it and safeguard it?
Bernie Moreno: So a few ways we can give you a secure link to a website. We call it a title vault, where you see it there or what we're seeing most clients do is they put in their apple wallet like your boarding pass. It sits there. So it's there. You can see that it's in your name and you have it, like, think about how we transition from boarding passes that used to be mailed to you. I'm old enough to remember you're flying somewhere. Somebody mailed you a boarding pass. I don't think anybody under the age of 30 watching this has any idea what I'm talking about. But now it's this barcode that you scan when you check in at the airport.
Ric Edelman: I'm assuming that if I use your online vault for storage of the title, that I get a password, I have a username and password. What happens if I lose that? What happens if I download the title to my smartphone and I lose my smartphone, I lose my passwords or my smartphone gets hacked, etc. What are the safeguards and protections with all that?
Bernie Moreno: Yeah, so all that's built into the system. So the digital title lives and actually it's West Virginia as the controller, which is our system, but it lives in their system. So they all the data exists in our system that we provided for West Virginia. And if any of the items that you just mentioned happened, that digital title is still safeguarded by West Virginia. In other words, West Virginia is the one keeping track of who owns that car and an immutable ledger that we produce for them. So when you transfer it, there is a process that you have to follow that's not as simple as just hitting a button. You have to follow a process to sell it, bill, a sale, etcetera. All of that electronic safeguards exist in the system itself.
Ric Edelman: So it's obvious through your explanation that this is clearly safer and faster. And by being safer and faster, I can envision that this is translating into cheaper on behalf of the companies that are involved, the banks, the title settlement companies, the insurance companies, certainly the car dealer. I can see how all of those are generating benefits economically through lower cost of operation. Is any of this going to trickle down to the car buyer? Is the consumer going to see any savings?
Bernie Moreno: Well, the consumers are all taxpayers, right? So the tax West Virginia just announced a record income tax cut. These are the things that government needs to do. Government cannot continue to tax people. They're going to run out of people to tax. So what you have to do is you got to lower the cost of government service delivery. I'm talking to you about literally the most boring thing on earth, car titles, right. And I'm telling you that in one state, we're saving millions and millions and millions of dollars on just car titles. Imagine, take 50 states, take a look at Medicare delivery, health care delivery, all kinds of licensing. There's just so much money that can be saved through a more efficiently run government. The problem we have is that we have politicians that have never done anything in their lives, so they really don't even understand it. So for them, it's just more money and not about how you save the taxpayer money or deliver better services for less money. That's what every company on earth has to do. In a private business you can’t keep raising your pricing and deliver worse service where you can. It's just going to be a very short-term business.
Ric Edelman: And governments, unfortunately, have never really had the attitude of customer service and accountability and responsibility, as you noted. So are you limiting yourself in your career and your business at Champ Titles to the most boring of aspects of car titles? Or do you have bigger, grander, broader plans for the company?
Bernie Moreno: Well, the company's vision is to be the world's registry for movable assets. That's what we want to do. So beyond car titles is the ability to literally be able to keep track of any movable asset that has some sort of titling to it. So we think the company has an amazing future from that perspective. As you know, one of the hardest things you can do is to own a business and it's something exponentially harder to do is do a startup, especially one that's disruptive. So we've been at this for five years. We're now ready to really hit our inflection point. And so the company's future is very, very bright.
Ric Edelman: And you have political aspirations. You ran for the Senate in 2021.
Bernie Moreno: Well, none of the reasons I ran for the 2021-22 seat have changed for me. I think the country is better served by what our founders had in mind, which is people who've done something in their lives want to go to Washington DC to serve their country. And here's the important part and then come home. I think the idea that we have a political class or career politicians that are always thinking about their next election, their next race, their next donor that they have to get fundraising from leads to very bad decisions that we've already seen. So I think voters are really sick of this. I know I am in West Virginia. We have a senator now, a Democrat senator that's been in office since 1975 and never known anything else. So they can't possibly be thinking about how to provide proper guardrails for our economy because they don't even understand any of it works. They've never had to deal with it. They've never understood how government can get in the way of business. So for me, somebody who's willing to do that is important. I came from this country legally, from South America, and I was a kid. It was the greatest gift my mom could have given me. And I have absolute desire to serve this country to make it better.
Ric Edelman: We're talking with Bernie Moreno. He's the Chairman of Champ Titles. Bernie, if people want to learn more about Champ Titles and more about you, how can they do that?
Ric Edelman: And we'll have all of that information in our show notes for you so you can reach Bernie and Champ Titles. Bernie Moreno thank you so much for joining us and explaining a real-world use case for blockchain technology.
Bernie Moreno: Well thank you Ric And you have a lot of great fans here in Ohio. You've built an amazing business and thank you for doing what you're doing and really educating Americans on a very important things.
Ric Edelman: You know, people used to tell me that their favorite part of this podcast was the visit by my wife, Jean. Well, her podcast has gotten so popular, she now has her own website, Self-Care with Jean.com. Every Thursday she launches her new podcast and video cast. You can get this week's right now at Self-care with jean.com and you can sign up for her free email updates You can subscribe to her social media channels link in the show notes that way you'll be the first to know about everything that Jean is doing.