If you’re thinking about a successful retirement, that means you’ve been blessed with a lot in life.
You’ve worked hard and now you’re in a position where you have money to spare. That’s worth being grateful for.
So what’s the best way to show your gratitude?
One way is to give back to your community and improve the lives of the less fortunate, just like James Allen.
As a baby, James was left on the church doorstep. Now he’s a real estate developer and NFL Hall of Fame board member. He’s done well in life and now he’s giving back any way he can.
In this episode, you’ll discover some unique ways to give back to the community, which brings you closer to God and establishes your legacy.
Show Highlights Include:
- Why sending your kids to college lets them reach achievements worth bragging about (even if they don’t need a degree for their job) ([4:37])
- The 1936 book that transforms shy high school students into outgoing college students, even in the 2020’s ([9:03])
- Why a Texan billionaire says you should hold more cash if you want to make a huge profit ([11:30])
- How teaching a kid how to do a layup can transform lives ([13:27])
Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money?
Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? So welcome to the Retire In Texas Podcast, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all-around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.
([00:29]): So welcome to retire in Texas. My name’s Dar Lyons. I’m the co-founder of PAXs financial group in San Antonio, Texas PAX Financial Group is the sponsor of this program. So visit PAXs financial group.com. And before I get started, I have to share disclosure. This material contains general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment tax or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information, investment advisory services offered through PAX Financial Group. So here today I have my good friend, James Allen, James. Thanks for hanging out with me today.
([01:04]): I’m just glad you said I was good friends. So thank you. Good friends Late today with a capital F. Thank you. So I know you, but I’m gonna learn more about you in the next few minutes. Let’s go. So where did you grow up? You know, without you into long story, I was actually left at a, a church steps and, and, and they rushed me over to late travel Travis county hospital. So technically I was born in Austin, but then I got adopted right then raised in San Antonio. You were adopted, he didn’t know that. I Didn’t know that me a long time. I never knew that. Yeah. I’ve adopted. So your dad, my current dad. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the one who adopted you.
([01:37]): Yeah, my dad, my mom. Okay. My, my dad used to we’ll get on a long story, but that’s kind of funny anecdote. My dad’s very quiet. He’s a real cowboy. His, his father was a Texas ranger and comes for that kind of breed. And when I tell people, my dad finally told me he couldn’t have kids, cuz he was in a bull-riding accident and it kind of went up and yeah, but he always tells me later in life, he said, son, you gotta tell him it works his kids. So yeah, that’s fine. So what did he do growing up? I mean, my dad was a CPA. Okay. And then, and some really big-time businessman were impressed with his business skills. Kinda like a guy like you, who’s more than just a, you know, you’re more than just a financial guy, cliff Morton, you know, who was a big-time builder, big named a building app for him. He ran his company. He ran my and food stores with a me stacky family. And he did stuff for red McCombs for a long time. And then late in life did lots stuff for Mr. Benson, Tom Benson ran a lot of his stuff and then some bad times happened and didn’t work. And then he came to work with me and my mom. They were my first two employees.
([02:37]): No kidding. So I want to go back. I’m gonna stay back in time a little bit. So you were born in Austin? Yeah. And then went to shirt on, is it brought you Longhorns out there? Even though I went to a and M Okay. Yeah. I was gonna say there’s some little, I actually at said its a joke. Mccombs. I have a university of Texas shirt as a baby. I I name, I didn’t know that that could be used against you. So I Love UT don’t get me wrong, but you’re naggy. Yeah. But I was going to eat the last minute. I, I love Longhorns too. So where did you go to high school at? I went to Marshall one year and they had opened up Clark and we could, you know, there was a lot of recruiting going on. So I went over to Clark for sports. And so while you were playing football in high school, did your parents ever teach you out money or would you money? My dad, my dad was big on that. Yeah. Being a CPA. Like what did he talk to about like how did that work?
([03:25]): First thing he taught me was about folded money in a wallet. Always put the low money on the outside. That goes, I dunno why I remember that. The second thing is, you know, he always talks about, you need to have dreams and goals, but you need to understand that debt is a tool, but not something you should live on on. And he was big on that and he was big on buying stuff. Used, don’t buy the latest trends. He was always just kind the stuff you hear from even you or Warren buffet, same old stuff, you know, don’t follow, you know, don’t do what everybody else is doing. Wait until it all settles down and then settled in. He was always big on that. Well, he was big on dreams and goals like yeah. Yeah. So did that help? His dad died when he was four. Okay. He was shot. His dad was killed my grandfather. And so he grew up with no dad. And so what he did is which he taught me, which was the biggest lesson I think was kinda what you’ve done. I’ve known you for a long time. You know, you go talk to a David Rob, right. When you alert about stuff like that or you I’ve known you, you’ve talked to a lot of people and we’ve shared stories Together. Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve told you, I’ve gone to people like red McCombs or people like that, bang on their door and say, man, I need help. And dad was always big into that. And that’s how dad, as a father wanted to be a better father. He would talk to people. He didn’t know how to be a dad. So did he encourage you to go to college after or had, what was his?
([04:40]): He basically said college was not a choice. It, it was, you had to do it, but where you went is fine. He just said, you just need to have that. He said, son, some of the best people I know don’t have a college education. And fortunately it’s a piece of paper that gets you through the back door. But it doesn’t make you a better man. He always said that doesn’t make you smarter. It’s just a piece of paper that you need to have. And after that you can do whatever you want. My dad said, you know, I wanna be a force ranger. He said, well, you need to have a college. You know, you need to be do that. So that’s all beyond that. It was basically, you know, go do your free will go do what you wanna Do. And after you graduated high school, what’d you do? Well, I looked at different schools. I was going to UT at Austin at the last minute I switched to a and M. And what’d you do at a and M what I do as far as sports. Oh, well, you know, I don’t really big. I’ll tell you what, I’m more famous for. I tell my kids, I’m really proud of two things at a and M I was president of my class, the senior class. And I didn’t know that. Yeah. And then me and about 20 guys, 30 guys that formed Aggie men’s club.
([05:42]): Now this was before texting and phones and there was kind of a movement of all the leaders to do something. The fraternities were coming. They were not billion. A and M they were starting to come on. It’s a very traditional school, nothing wrong fraternities. I mean, you need to have a gathering of something. So a bunch of guys got together and formed a Christian non-denominational fraternity. That if you go, I’m a little frustrated now because it’s like, it’s the hardest thing to get into at a and M I mean, it’s, they’re almost too hard, but they brought us back recently, all the regional founders. And I’m really proud of, of that. And, you know, I did a lot of stuff at a and M other thing my kids tell me is I have a, a menu item named after me at FAOs, which is the real popular place in cons station. It’s beyond college station now, right? It is they’ve expand. They got one. They have one opened U TSA here in San Antonio. Yeah. I dunno if it’s open yet. They did one in San Marco. They franchised only one time in Waco. And I don’t know where else I that’s where I’ve seen is in Waco, Waco was number two. Sam Marco was number three. And then now in David’s coming to San Antonio. So when you were in that, that high school, that those formidable years, were there any low points, were there any blow points that made you demand who you are today? I was
([06:51]): Not a social, but guy, I didn’t go the dances. I was also really big in martial arts. I was always training. I didn’t talk about it now, but I went to the karate Olympics. I mean, I met Chuck Norris and all those guys back then went to the, and was very high up in it. And but that’s a lonely sport, not a team sport. And I was not, I was the people that knew me in high school. I mean, I had a handful of people, but I was really kind of a, you know, I’m not a very social guy and it, it wasn’t until I, I read a book and in college I said, I’m gonna reinvent myself. And I did, but I was, you know, even though I was a big guy and athletic and martial arts, I kind of hung out with the nerds and the quiet people. I didn’t hang out with the, the big crowd. And so what did that teach you? You know, I’m kind of glad I’m, I’m not trying to be disingenuous to the popular cloud in high school, but there are very few people you can get lost in that. And then I, I gave a speech in college one time at a and M I said, listen, you’re the big man or big woman on campus in your high school. But when you go to a or UT or any big school, you’re literally nobody. And it causes psychological problems. Plus the schools are hard, you know, it’s hard to get in. And all of a sudden the academic pressure, my middle daughter was prom queen. She was on the swim team. She was an anomaly. And even as disciplined as she was with grades or everything else, I mean, she was going to UT went to and M last minute after visiting. And she, I think the first six weeks she was ready to, to come out and I said, listen, I gave her a lot long story.
([08:21]): I had a, there’s a guy on campus. They named a building after him. He did give any money. And he taught kids at UTA and M how to manage it. And I still have the note card. I read it to her, tried this out and she’s made a four oh at the maze business school every semester. Except she made a one B I think she’s a 3 99. And that’s amazing. Yeah, it’s crazy. So, you know, if you got kids out there, a high school like that, stay in touch with them, it’s gonna be a, if your kid is quiet, don’t worry about it. College is a great equalizer. Yeah. That’s great. That’s good advice. And, and I’m sure that’s also something that you’ve refined as being able to identify some individuals that may be on the fringes, just cuz they’re kind of quiet, but have a lot of talent and you’ve been able to kind of pull them in and mentor them over the years. I know you’ve done some of that. Yeah. One of my dad, I can’t remember the bold man. I was going there in college and he said I know Jim Bmore, who was a legendary builder here. And a legendary Aggie had told me, read a book called how to win friends, to influence people. And I read that going into college and I, and I reinvented myself. Next thing you know, I’m the vice president of freshman class. I missed this. I missed that. So yeah,
([09:24]): We’ll put a link in the show notes for people to reference that classic book, classic book. So I know there was football in your life and we’re really not gonna digest that, but I wanna jump over to your career, which was in commercial real estate development and you and I have sort of on the board together. And that’s really where we got to know each other. But you had success in that space and you officially retired didn’t you several times. Yeah. So tell me about those decisions to retire. And then unretire I had a lot of mentors. I, I always check with people, not people I did business with. Like I, red McCombs was one of my mentors. We did business late in life, like 20 years later, but he would sit down with an Aggie and he is, in my opinion, one of the biggest Longhorns there is, and I would spend an hour with him over at Chinese re over there off IH 10 and just take notes. Was that Dean Hal don’t remember I now it doesn’t sound well, I dunno. It’s right down from his dealership. Okay. Yeah. Yep. That’s well, I’m guessing it is. We ate lunch there every week and I went to guys like him and by retiring. And the biggest thing that everybody said is you get one chance with your kids. That’s it. And I watched kids dads that started later, this is red McComb saying that to you. Yeah. And all these other rich guys said, if they had to do it over now, red of course this kids travel with him. But you know, people listen to this podcast all over the world. So can you tell people who red McCombs is? Yeah,
([10:47]): He’s a, he was a, a guy that started to use car business. The Corpus Christi saved his money and there was a guy who’s his boss, the old guy that owned the dealership, Corpus and moved to San Antonio was doing terrible. And he went to the guy and said, I think I could turn it around and I wanna be your partner. And he said, red, your car salesman. He goes, I’ve been selling car insurance, everything on the side, I have money saved up, bought his way into his own bosses deal in San Antonio. It was called Haffield McCombs. And because he had saved money like a bane and all of a sudden he turned into, you know, clear channel communications. He owns the Vikings. He and he’s created several billionaires. He gives away, he could be worth seven, 8 billion, but he created people. Actually some of those partners are wealthier in him cuz he gave him bigger pieces of the pie. So let me understand this correctly. So this billionaire red McCombs, who’s been a staple in Texas and really in a lot of communities, including Minnesota, his advice to you was to focus on family. Yeah. And so you took that advice to heart and saved money and saved money.
([11:46]): Yeah, because he said there’s gonna be a time. There’s gonna be a great investment and then you gotta go. And that’s what happened with him with the car dealer. I mean, he was, he told me when I was at UT I barely got out of there. The reason I got in a car business, I was playing pool with all the guys that had the money. Were the car back then car. Yeah. Back. They made a lot of money back then. And then he found out the used car dealers made even more money. And that’s what he became. I mean, used car salesman. In fact, the running joke is he sold more ETSS than anybody else in the country. True story. His daughters would like that story and yeah, but his big thing was that. And he talked about how he used to take the family, kids on trips and business trips. And so when he was giving you advice on your career, if I’m connecting the dots correctly, you retired because he encouraged you to spend time with family. Absolutely. I took a couple years off where I just coached my kids. Okay. I didn’t do anything. And it, it, you know, was that scary? I mean, how did you feel? Yeah. All the money stops. I didn’t, I wanted a paycheck for out a couple years, you know, with anything in life. I don’t care if you work for Valero’s this or your own company, when you walk away, people forget about you, you know, I’ve met actors and athletes, you know, you, if you get away from spotlight, you’re done and that’s true in business actually. You know, my phone’s not ringing when I came back. So, but you know what I, I really enjoyed that. Did, was there something that was missing in your family that you needed to step in that kind of motivated you to, to take that
([13:05]): Time away? You know, I went through a, I had a, a really, not a very good marriage for a long time. And I had a pasture that, you know, told me to get out of it for a long time and I didn’t, but I have to give credit to my kid’s mom. My ex-wife is, she actually encouraged that. And I was kind of concerned because the money stops. And so she was kind of used to, we were doing well. And, but we had paid the houses cars off way ahead of time. And I just, and she actually, to her credit said, you know, you should coach these teams. And I will tell you, I would send the kids messages by email. I was coaching several teams every after every game and calling them. And to this day, when I see them, it made a huge impression. Yeah. As you know, I’ve coached Y M C a kids and it’s a treasure. It really is. It’s a treasure. I had one kid tell me his dad pulled me aside and he said I just want you to know that you’ve changed my son’s life.
([13:53]): Well, I don’t wanna get to your eye cuz I, I could tell the that happened a lot. There was one kid I took any, you know, there’s a lot of recruiting going on, especially even Y M C a, especially Y M C a MAs up here and especially in basketball. And we were doing really well. And I took on this one kid that was one year younger, had a little bit of a learning discipline and he’s really chunky. And I saw him at a and M just last summer up, surprised me. And he made me cry. And he said, you changed my life cuz I was an loner. Of course, you’re this big man and you’re this and you’re that. And you’d called me. And he laughed about the one thing, cuz he was really tenacious on defense and he would guard, we were laughing. I’ll tell you this one quick story. I would change the life. I said, listen. He said, coach, I can’t shoot. I can’t dribble. Like can’t do anything I said, but you play defense. And I said, I’m gonna put you on the stud player. And we were playing some intense teams and he would shut ’em down. The funny story is we’d be on offense and he would still guard them. And I never said a word to him and his parents. And I told his parents, no, which is frustrating.
([14:53]): That is funny. And he said, coach, everybody says, no you, I said, if that kid goes to the bathroom, I want you to follow him at half time. He started doing, I said, no, not literally literally those stories. I can sit here for five hours and I’m telling if you’re out there listening, I don’t care if you’re retired or where you’re at. Get reengage and change people. Yeah. So you disengaged from all the business success and all the money. And it sounds like your father’s influence rang true. And Hey, don’t overextend yourself financially. Right. And take, you know, love on your family. Red McCombs told you that. And, and it sounds like those two things, those two pieces of advice really guided you into those transitionary years. And then you came back to the business. Yeah, I did. You were kind of ready to come back and you’re in the business, you’re in the game now. Now you let me get this correct. You retired unretired, retired unretired. And I think you’re back at it again,
([15:43]): Little bit only because, and to confess to a, a, a mistake I made real quick Darrell a long time. All my mentors said, don’t do something that you don’t know what you’re doing. Especially later in life. It’s the death you’ll have all this money. You think you can’t do anything. As you know, I got the high tech business and TikTok came along. The idea was, yeah, I TikTok. And you remember that your, your kids were off show on the program on the deal. And it was going well, we knew it was aying site. Trump was gonna ban them. And my daughter was, the founder was a billionaire and they swore, so I dumped in a lot of my cash in that deal. And then Trump let TikTok back in and then wiped us out. And the point is between that and COVID, you know, it was tight. I mean, I would not kick any of my tenants out. I just couldn’t do it. What kind of commercial real estate? Most of my stuff now is, is office buildings. Okay. But what about the storage building? That’s what got me started. I was kind of the guy for storages for a long time here. Which is to me kind of a nice business. It’s great. Very diversified to get, you know, late in life. I was my own investor, but all my investors that were real wealthy, which they hadn’t sold them. Yeah. No offered credible money. It’s unbelievable business. But right now majority is office.
([16:50]): I do, I’m doing something as a tangent it to, I’ve never done it before, but there’s, there’s a lot of reasons that ties into my foundation. It’s I’m gonna build probably one of the largest daycare centers here. OK. I know it doesn’t matter to, unless you’re local 2 81 at Redland. Yep. And it’s gonna be a big castle and then we’re setting aside stuff for single moms that people can’t afford daycare. It’s a huge need. So gosh, I don’t know how you’re juggling all of it right now because there’s one other thing that you’re doing quite a bit of. And that’s serving on the NFL hall of fame board. Right. And so tell me why you decided to do that. Well, I was at Ahman when I got put on the advisory board and just real quick, I got called outta the blue. They didn’t tell me how I got on the, the list we got down to the top 40 and they said, okay, well, that’s great. And you made top 10, I’m going okay. And they show you the list. And I saw con Lisa rise the shot family, which is like the Zach, they own the reds. They own all this. I mean, they’re, you know? Oh yeah, yeah. I met him. I met him before met Steve shot. Yeah. I mean his company represents the, the Catholic church all over the world. Yeah. He meets with the Pope. No, he’s very successful.
([17:55]): I know who Steve shot is and I’m still going. I have no chance in double Hockeys H E double hockey sticks. Well, Steve gets the first slot. There’s only two and I got the second one and I it’s kind of gone from there. You know, they recently a the fourth person ever named a room after named to me, actually we’re all the guys, they have all the meetings. And then I got put on the selection committee, which I’m the first, your buddy, Don Jake. And my on the board from Ohio said, you’re the first non Ohio person to be on the selection committee. That’s for the selection for the pro football hall of fame board. Yeah. So you’re now responsible for selecting. I was, that’s a little gratuitous, but yeah, I’m on, on the board and so hall of Famers come up every year and you’ve got to participate in. Well, I just got on it. Yeah. We just started and we have another meeting in January that at super bowl and February we pick, but yeah, that’s a great organization. They do a lot behind the scenes outside of football. They do, you know, I know they’re important in the community of Canton and they’re also they also give back to some athletes who’ve played that, you know, didn’t get paid like the ones today.
([18:56]): Yeah. Well they weren’t, you know, lot, I forgot when the collective bargaining agreement was whatever, 1989 or whatever else. But the collective bargain agreement basically said, if you played the NFL for five years, you get a retirement pension for the rest of your life. It’s hard to play five years. It is average life expectancy. The NFL is 2.9 years, but that’s in place. But so I wanna, the hall of fame did that actually, Don Jake, your buddy and mine on the board is the one that spearheaded that long time ago out of Ohio. But more importantly, commissioner Goodell, commissioner, Goodell, most people don’t know only commissioner I’m aware of it. Any sports worked his way from the bottom to the top. Everybody else points him. Right. You know the baseball, it’s all political.
([19:33]): And most people, you know, people, I always laugh. People booing commission Goodell. I said, really, he’s the guy that came up with the child. We’re gonna put it on every network instead of one network. So everybody can watch football. He does all this stuff. He’s the one. Without any credit, he won’t take any credit. He’s the one that funds through the hall of fame, all the money for all the old players for concussion protocols, we even have a deal for free legal service for widows funeral services, everything. So kind of come full circle here, dropped off at a fire station. No a church fire station. Sounds better though.
([20:06]): Yeah. I don’t know. Church kinda funny. I spun that I don’t in my mind, I had this fire station and all these steal that. Yeah. And so you’re dropped off at a church and raised by parents who are loving parents and taught you some life lessons, obviously about how to be a dad, how to manage money, how to fold your money, how to not overextend yourself. And then, then you bumped into some other father figures like red McCombs who taught you how, how to take care of your family and make them a priority. And there’s a bunch of other guys besides red. A lot of people in your life. Yeah. You retired to take care of your family. You unretired retired unretired and here you are serving the community and what’s important to you going forward. What legacy do you wanna leave? Now? This is what I’m lead. There’s an old show, right before your time called Kung Fu where a guy kinda walks the earth and kinda gets been led to where he is supposed to be. I kind of feel like that right now. I’ve gotta get untethered from a couple things. However, I don’t know. I mean, I have a foundation called wishers and prayers had it for a long time.
([21:02]): What does that foundation do? And primarily single moms. Then we have a halfway house which is over there by the, where I work. Rolling Oak mall. Yeah, yeah. area a halfway house. We just sold some land to a church that we were using for another organization, but they had a better need and they got a great deal anyway. So that’s what we’re doing. I really want and tie that into the daycare. And I want to kind of see, because I, you know, I’m violating my own advice. Don’t get into something, you know, don’t know, I know offices, I know retail. I know that the daycare thing is really kind of a, a spiritual thing for me and then tie it in. And I researched the heck out up for years. So I’m gonna see where that goes. And this next year, hopefully by July, August, I’m gonna be open to just seeing where I need to be and where I wanna be.
([21:48]): So when I think about you at this stage of life, I think of the phrase and inheritance is what you leave to someone, but a legacy is what you leave in someone. Right? And I know that you’re leaving a legacy in a lot of single moms lives. Those that need your help on the NFL board and even your family and friends and people that you mentor even like myself. So I really all that you’ve done for the community. All that you’ll continue to do. I know you take care of your body, so you’re gonna stay in good shape and be around for a while. I must have called you. But thank you, Derek throwing that in there. She’ll pay me later. Yeah. She’ll but the most important question out of all of this, and it’s been a great conversation I can go for an hour is what’s your favorite kind of salsal eft by saying what’s your favorite chocolate cake, right? It’s awesome. Salsa. I brother, I’m with you, you knows do you want the green one, the brown one or this one or that? Or I’m going, Hey man, it’s kinda like, like chocolate. Do you want double chocolate cake? Do you want this kind of chocolate? It’s chocolate.
([22:43]): Do you like it? Hot? I used to candidly because I used to eat obnoxious amount of hot food and I working out I’m doing CrossFit called acid, reflow. I’m with you. It happens with aids, right? I’m not play the macho. Yeah. Cowboy like it hot. Those days are over. I’m with you. A mild to medium guy. Well, thank you so much. We’re here with James Allen. There’s a lot to describe James Allen. You have to listen to the entire show to really get, you know, I could say, okay. Allen, commercial developer, James Allen ministry partner in a lot of ways in a lot of different ministries, we didn’t even talk about your time in post-graduate education work that you did in seminary. The seminary. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s all kinds of stuff to describe you, but just an all around good guy. That’s retired a couple times. Appreciate having you here. This has been, fun’s a big fan of your,
([23:28]): Yeah. Thank you, James means a lot for those that are listening you can go to our website, PAC financial group.com. There’s an ebook on there. Retire in Texas. You can grab that ebook. And I have conviction for those that are listening that it’s helpful to have a guide that can help transition and navigate you through this retirement maze. And so you can click on a link on our website it’s for a 15 minute consultation and no obligation on your part. Just really easy, friendly people, heart of a teacher. So if you wanna do that, you can do that. I Say so to that end. Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead. I know a lot of people in your business and no BS, you know, I tell it like it is. Yeah. You do. You serve a, on the board with me, right? Yeah. I’m nice. Not everyone likes you. They don’t. Yeah, no. They don’t like, you know, the board, I even had the, a certain mate ticket to me, two bears actually. Cause, but what I was right. But I like you. Yeah. I like,
([24:18]): I will tell you, I have not met more integrity when it comes to financial and I’m telling people no commercial, I’m not paid to do this. We didn’t talk about this ahead of time. If you don’t have somebody advising you, you’re crazy. I told you, I went to a bunch of people and you don’t need the money Darrell. And I know, and, and he won’t say that and you don’t need more people or anything else, but you, I know for a fact you treat people cuz I sent you a couple people quietly and they said he acted, like I said, well, I don’t have that much. Your money. You treat everybody. If they had 3 million or they’re trying to figure out how to do five, 10 grand. And I’m telling you if there’s somebody else out there and I’m, and I don’t mean to be, there’s a couple guys that know me, but you are hands on and I love your job. Yeah. Well that means a lot. I really appreciate that. Thank you. Yeah. Thanks for listening today. This means a lot. Thanks for hanging out with me, James. It’s been great fam. I hope this y’all come out to ranch sometime. Yeah, we will. Hey and remember those that are listening. Remember you think different when you think long term have a great day. All right, bye.
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