Mon, 2 February 2015
Inspiration for successful investing is all around us, with lessons from nature about perseverance, dedication and patience offered by migrating birds, meandering streams and just about anything else that’s a part of the natural world. A recent piece on adventurer Alison Levine ppsted to CNN Money reveals how this world traveler applies lessons learned from taking on the challenges of the natural world to make some points about i investing success over the long term.
Levine, who’s skied the North and South Poles and climbed the highest peaks on seven continents as part of the Adventure Grand Slam, shares lessons learned from those experiences in a new book called On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership. As it turns out, investing may have more in common with those pulse pounding endeavors than you might have thought.
Mountain climbers and other adventurers have to face fear — and so do investors taking risks in uncertain markets. But according to Levine, fear isn’t always a bad thing. It keeps you alert, on the watch for pitfalls that can be avoided, and it helps you avoid getting complacent and assuming all’s well. The key, for both wilderness trekkers and the investor who manages income properties forma home office is to understand what fear is for, and to use it to push forward, rather than getting paralyzed.
How much pain can you stand? Under – or over – estimating your tolerance for discomfort and the amount of pain, physical or financial, you can accept in order to keep going is essential in any risk-taking endeavor, whether it’s buying properties or scaling a snow covered peak. Understanding how much discomfort and uncertainty you can tolerate can help you avoid iffy deals and manage money wisely.
It’s also important, according to Levine, to redefine your notion of progress. In real-world adventuring, progress toward the goal may come in tiny steps, or a few steps in an entirely different direction. Or, “progress” may be made by simply stopping and getting enough rest to go on to the next stage of the journey. Thinking of progress as any actions that advance you toward the goal can help an investor, too, to set priorities and accept the setbacks that can stall any investing plan.
Climbing Mt. Everest or trekking across the South Pole may be a more rugged outing than most investors would want to try. But lessons from a life of high adventure in the world’s harshest places echo recommendations Jason Hartman makes on his 10 Commandments for Real Estate Investing – a satisfying adventure in itself.
Mon, 26 January 2015
Energy efficient upgrades are becoming more popular in homes these days, as “going green” continues the attraction of “saving the planet” and saving on utilities. By going green and investing in energy efficient upgrades, you can benefit by cutting costs on several expenses in a home including heating and cooling usage, as well as electric bills and water supply.
As a property manager or owner of a rental property, an increase to your monthly cash flow is always a bonus, and you can start receiving that extra income by cutting utility payments through energy efficient upgrades. Creating Wealth has gathered a list of the top four ways you can cut costs to your rental property by going, and generating, green today.
1. Install energy efficient appliances – Replace old appliances with an updated energy-saving dishwasher, stove or refrigerator. Not only will your interior pop out with a new look, the label of being a “green rental” will offer a new attraction to your property.
2. Install efficient toilets or fill toilet tanks – Try investing in efficient toilets, which does cost hundreds of dollars, or you can try using a 2-liter bottle filled with gravel, costing less than $5. The less costly option is dropped in the tank of an existing toilet, whereas the more costly toilet comes already together and less messy. Do keep in mind if you decide to use your homemade system, clogs are more often to occur.
3. Install LED light bulbs – Going green on lights by using LED light bulbs will save your property manager time to replace burnt bulbs and cut your utility bill to almost half the cost. The costs of LED lights are more expensive up front, but again, you are saving time on replacing these in every room and appliance.
4. Install low-flow showerheads – The amount of water tenants use on showers and in the sink can be wasteful most of the time, but installing a low-flow showerhead can cut up to 40% water consumption in a shower. The consumption will go down, but the tenants will still have strong water pressure to keep clean.
The costs up front to install energy efficient upgrades might be high, but as an investor, you know these decisions will eventually be profitable in the long run.
Mon, 19 January 2015
Jason Hartman says that the beginning stages of wealth building are like a space shuttle take off. You’ve got to stock up on debt—quality, fixed rate, long-term, investment grade debt. Debt that’s attached to hard commodities in universal demand. These are the booster rockets of the space shuttle.
In the early stages of wealth creation, get in as much good debt as you can because debt is an asset. Stop thinking about it as a liability—remember that soon you’ll be increasing rents, watching your property appreciate, saving on taxes over the years, and embodying Jason’s Refi Till Ya Die philosophy. Now, you’re in orbit. You’re financially free—but don’t forget to keep extracting equity.
Remember that you’re in a unique place as an investor. Low interest rates that you can do anything with. In a variety of seminars, Jason Hartman has estimated that a house can hold up for about 60 years before it will require a major remodel. This means that you can lock in the cost of construction for six decades. That’s a long time!
You lock in the cost of borrowing for three decades too, and those who come after you will have to pay more. It’s an unbelievable equation—everyone on Earth needs what you have! And what you have will become more expensive to build. And the dollar will become worth less and less money. The debt that you’ve got attached to your fixed rate asset will become easier to repay as years pass.
To provide an example—Jason Hartman’s mother purchased a house in 1976 for $62,500 and often stressed about making the $416 per month mortgage payment. After living there for several years, they moved to Long Beach and began renting the first house out. In the 2000s, she’s renting it out for $2,300 per month. $416 was a lot to make then, but she’s so happy she stuck with it!
Inflation does interesting (and ultimately beneficial to the investor) things to the dollar over time, which makes real estate a great choice (easily the best choice) for building wealth. While you may feel the fluctuations of the rocket ship, a safe landing will be just what you need to demonstrate the incredible value of money well spent.
So grab some freeze-dried ice cream, strap your safety belt tightly to your chest, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!
Mon, 12 January 2015
It sounds like something from a science fiction movie: a shadow world that exists alongside the one we know. But “shadow banking” – an unregulated, opaque world of financial dealings that functions alongside usual commercial banking practices – is very real. And the transactions these institutions conduct have the potential to affect the affairs of investors and bank users throughout the country.
Shadow banking hit the news recently because of concerns about the scope of unregulated financial dealings in China. But it turns out that the United States is the home of the most shadow institutions in the world. And although shadow banks are legal, their very nature makes them vulnerable to crashing – and their involvement with the home mortgage industry means that homebuyers of all kinds could be affected.
The Financial Stability Board, a supervisory board of financial experts that oversees banking practices, defines shadow banking as unregulated banking activity that falls outside the definition of a commercial bank. According to the FSB, if an institution performs the core functions of a bank – taking the deposits of savers and using them to make long term loans to others, but isn’t subject to banking regulations and oversight, it’s a shadow institution.
Shadow banking isn’t illegal, and because these institutions operate largely on the level of investing and the buying and selling of securities, it might appear that the average bank customer would be unaffected by any of their activities. But shadow institutors played a role in the great housing collapse of 2008 and the massive number of transactions involving mortgage loans hat followed – and the fact that home mortgage loans that have been bought and sold numerous times may pass through the hands of shadow bankers means that mortgage applicants around the country could be affected by this kind of transaction.
The Federal Reserve’s newsmaking stimulus plan put the term “mortgage backed security” into the news. And that “securitization chain’ is how home mortgage loans become trapped in the shadow banking system. Those home loans that have been sold and resold eventually end up as part of a loan package used to back the value of securities that are then purchased by investors or government entities.
But if those loans go bad or loan holders fall victim to unethical lending practices, there’s little recourse. Because shadow banking is unregulated, it falls outside the scope of financial legislation and banking oversight that followed the crash. Shadow banking is a world of secrecy too, as these institutions aren’t bound to release information about their practices. And, if one of these institutions falls into crisis, it won’t be able to turn to the Federal Reserve or other government mandated fail safes for help. And that means little recourse for those involved in the transaction.
The FSB and other bank regulators are attempting to collect data on the scope and practices of shadow banking in the US, but true to it nature, little is known. But income property investors may want to follow Jason Hartman’s advice to stay aware and informed – and keep their transactions out of the shadows.
Mon, 5 January 2015
Break-ins, burglaries and vandalism plague cities both large and small,and new statistics show that one in four home invasions happens when someone is at home. Keeping rental properties secure concerns both renters and landlords – and keeping those issues clear can save money, time and even legal problems.
Certain kinds of basic home security fall under a landlord/investor’s legal responsibilities. It’s a landlord’s duty to provide doors with working locks and appropriate indoor and outdoor lighting. The landlord/tenant rules in all states require landlords to provide a working smoke detector, too, and in some states, even a carbon monoxide detector. And security in common areas such as sidewalks and laundry facilities is always a landlord’s responsibility
Although homeowners are flooded with advertising for the latest in home security technology, landlords are under no obligation to provide advanced security systems, alarms or surveillance hardware. If landlords do install these things, though, it’s their responsibility to maintain them in good working order, or they could be held liable if an incident occurs.
Tenants can – and do – install their own security devices, and that’s an area that requires clear guidelines, preferably in the lease or rental agreement, to prevent major problems. Generally, tenants need to get a landlord’s permission before installing any kind of security system or making changes to existing ones, and landlords aren’t obligated to maintain these kinds of systems. If a tenant signs a contract with an alarm system provider, for example, and then moves away before the contract term is up, the landlord isn’t responsible for carrying that contract.
A thornier area, though, is the question of access to the property. Landlords can legally enter properties under certain circumstances, and that can cause problems unless the issue is clearly addressed in the lease. Both tenants and landlords must have keys to the property, and if a landlord has installed other security, both parties need to have the security codes at other means of accessing it.
If a tenant installs an alarm system that requires a code, the landlord has a right to ask for the code in order to exercise the legal right of access to the property, which includes emergencies, scheduled repairs and showing to prospective tenants.
If you ‘re building wealth through investment property as Jason Hartman recommends, keeping that property secure is the job of both you and your tenants. Clarifying those responsibilities from the outset in writing protects both parties – and your property.
Mon, 29 December 2014
Many people find themselves in trouble with debt because they’re getting into debt for the wrong reasons—vacations, clothing, cars, and gadgets that all create the illusion of wealth. Many of us overspend and over consume to the point of financial hardship. It isn’t a pretty situation.
But, as you may have learned, Jason Hartman loves debt. The IRS and our system of banking rewards the person in debt by providing loan modifications, allowing short sales, letting us deduct interest. But all of this for good debt.
To begin your life of financial freedom, start by looking objectively at your portfolio. Four percent of its value should be in reserves to cover income property vacancies or unforeseen problems. Never put yourself in a position where you’re forced to sell because you didn’t plan ahead.
Follow Jason Hartman’s Ten Commandments, beginning with educating yourself and buying properties that make sense (no speculating!). Set money aside for problems, and stay in touch with the professionals assisting you.
If you work with Jason Hartman and his team, this is especially easy. You’ve got free rental coordination for life, free of charge—which means that you’ll have a property manager who finds and manages tenants for you. Your rental coordinator will also place ads for your property, ensuring that your property is rented and your property manager is on it.
Additionally, you can call the team if you’ve got any trouble, no matter how long you’ve owned the property. In traditional real estate, there’s a heavy commission. Selling one property results in a lot of income, but Jason’s team depends upon repeat business. It’s fine if you buy just one property—expect the same level of service and dedication, as well as access to awesome software designed to make investment easier for you.
Best of all, income property investing allows you to be your own boss. And, unlike other types of investments, you aren’t losing money to crooked CEOs and fund managers. Everyone needs a place to live, and your portfolio is benefiting from it.
Love being a borrower. Makeover your portfolio by owning properties in different cities (diversify!) and buy in areas that make sense. Hang on to your properties and Refi Till Ya Die!
Mon, 22 December 2014
It’s well documented that income property is the most tax favored asset, and taxes make up the single largest expense for many people. Between 40 and 60 percent of most people’s income goes toward some form of taxes, and those numbers appear to be on the rise.
When we talk about real estate, it is important to consider it as two separate components. There’s both property and house sitting on it, which is important because the IRS says that houses aren’t worth much because they’re temporary—someday, they will fall to the ground. Land does last forever though, so we look at land versus improvement value.
Jason Hartman refers to the sticks and bricks sitting on the land as packaged commodities, which hare globally in demand. The house shouldn’t be considered in its entirety, but viewed as individual pieces and parts that make up something larger. Think about houses as concrete, copper wire, petroleum products, steel, insulation, lumber, labor. A series of commodities.
A house will last a certain amount of years that varies based on where you live and who you’re renting to. The IRS has decided that you can depreciate your income property over 27 and a half years. As a tax benefit, this is great because it’s a non cash write-off you can get year after year. This write-off, if you qualify, is worth a significant amount of money. A certified CPA can help you see if you qualify—or help you qualify if you don’t.
Making money through income properties depends upon the government making bad decisions—and that is never going to change. When opportunity knocks, we know you’ll be there to answer.
Mon, 15 December 2014
It is important to first recognize that, when referring to ROI, we’re talking about Return on Inflation. Return on Inflation is not considered in terms of inflation, or what Jason Hartman calls “inflation induced debt destruction.” When you see a return on investment, it is actually higher than that, given inflation.
In the world of income property, return on investment is driven by four major things. Because it is a multidimensional asset class, it isn’t as simple as buy low, sell high. The first pillar driving ROI is appreciation. Appreciation is amplified with leverage, which has made people a fortune in real estate. Debt in real estate is a great thing because you aren’t the one paying your debt—that’s what tenants are for! So, borrowing for the sake of a real estate investment is a great thing.
The second pillar driving ROI is cash flow, specifically positive cash flow.
The next pillar is principle reduction. If you own a property, your tenants pay down your loan for you. Tenants pay your mortgage, and that’s a great thing. But it is perhaps overly simplified. What’s actually happening is a bit more complicated. People think that they’ve created wealth because of appreciation, but real wealth is being created because debts are declining in value—inflation benefiting us. Inflation reduces loan balances.
The final pillar is, of course, tax benefits, as real estate is the most tax-favored asset class in the United States. When looking at past investments returns for comparison, it is clear—investing in Wall Street is little more than gambling. The real way to build wealth is real estate.
If you lose money in the stock market, you can only deduct $3,000. If you sell your stocks and actually make money, you pay capital gains. There isn’t a 1031 Exchange for stocks either.
Income property allows you to defer the gain and keep exchanging. It appreciates by 6.4 percent, and it has for many years.
Sure, income property may lack the appeal of a weekend in Vegas, which is essentially all investing in the stock market is. But it is a different kind of (more reliable) fun. And it works to build long lasting, reliable, tangible wealth.
Mon, 8 December 2014
The economy is still tanking, people are out of work everywhere, and foreclosure signs continue popping up at a fearful rate. How can this be a good climate to start any business? What you”re forgetting is that public speaking engagements are all about solving problems for people, and you can bet a large percentage of them have a heap of distress on their plate right now. If your topic already addresses how to solve some of the specific problems facing Americans today (jobs, debt, and foreclosure to name a few) you”re on the money train. If your topic doesn”t address these issues directly, figure out a way to massage the material so that it does.
Seriously. People are hurting and they want it to stop. The sad truth is that most people will dig deep into an already decimated personal budget to cough up the money it takes to hear a speaker or read a book that promises to help them with their overwhelming problem. Most often, the solution is within us but self-analysis and motivation aren”t qualities always evident when we”re needy.
The concept you should keep in mind while going about building a public speaking business is “THE economy” versus “YOUR economy.” To paraphrase a line from a Jimmy Buffett song, just because there”s a recession doesn”t mean you have to Gambling participate. Instead of whining about the economy, kick your marketing plan into high gear, recognize there is no such thing as job security anymore but that doesn”t mean you can”t make a heck of a lot of money this year. Right now!
What are you waiting for? You already have everything you need to turn your public speaking business into a highly profitable endeavor. You don”t need to buy product or rent a space. All you need to do is get the news out that you”re the cat”s meow when it comes to speaking engagements. Once again, what exactly is it you”re waiting for? The starter pistol?
Keep this in mind and you can”t fail – you”re not selling speeches, you”re solving problems. No matter the form your message takes, DVD”s, CD”s, books, reports, digital downloads, podcasts, the strategy is the same. Fix people”s problems and you can”t go wrong.
Mon, 1 December 2014
What profit strategies should you employ for your public speaking career? There are way too many variables to offer a one size fits all answer but here are some mental nuggets to ruminate upon. First of all, if you’re famous, you probably won’t have to do any marketing at all to stay busy. Former President Bill Clinton regularly gets a few hundred thousand dollars to show up and speak for an hour. One event paid him over half a million. Charging fees like that, we’re guessing he doesn’t have to do much marketing for his services. Word is already out there that if you’ve got the money, he’s got the time.
But what profit strategies work for the opposite end of the spectrum, for the newbie public speaker trying to get a toe in the door to this potentially lucrative career? To give you an idea of what others have done, you can probably charge $200 for your first few engagements. If you’re good at it, and word of mouth builds, you could be charging $500 to $1,000 per talk by the end of your first year. Some speakers have a sliding fee scale depending upon the organization. Extras like travel and eating expenses are normally paid for. Whether or not you negotiate your fee is up to you. Some speakers do and some don’t.
These days the internet should absolutely be at the center of your profit strategies to get the word out. That you need a website goes without saying but we’ll do it anyway. You need a website! Article marketing is a great low-cost way to not only drum up business but establish yourself further as an expert on the topic. Two great article directory sites are Ezine Articles and Articles Base. Depending upon your motivation to be productive with your writing, these two sites alone could generate a steady stream of traffic to your website within a few months…or sooner.
Remember, provided you have some skill at speaking, the level of economic success you find primarily depends upon your work ethic. Now go for it!
Mon, 24 November 2014
The era of lifetime employment is over.
There are a few government/corporate holdouts that might fool you into thinking your job is secure, or might even offer some sort of a pension if their around long enough to pay it out. The question is can you rely on it? At Speaking of Wealth we wouldn’t take that bet. It’s obvious to us that the era of self employment is upon us. Everywhere you look people are turning certain knowledge into comfortable lifestyles. While the internet marketing industry is huge (marketers marketing to marketers), it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Ordinary people, unemployed professionals, housewives, and college students are figuring out how to turn what they know into cash flow. A few recent examples we’ve come across:
1.Hardcore college football fan starts a website where he picks games that becomes massively popular.
2.Business man who raises tropical fish as a hobby begins a newsletter and soon is selling books on the topic to his rabid followers.
3.Fitness instructor blogs about weight loss and earns thousands monthly.
The lesson here is that what you know is worth something. Don’t be too quick to dismiss your knowledge as inconsequential and worthless. Niche markets are huge. Yes, there may only be a handful of people who collect antique John Deere toy tractors in your hometown, but what about in your state, country, or in the whole world? Think about it like this and the niche suddenly becomes huge and the internet allows you to seek them out and market to them.
It’s a brave, exciting new world.
Mon, 17 November 2014
The new publishing for profit model can hinge on something as plain and boring as an email list. In the days of yore before recorded history (prior to 2000) direct marketers/publishers knew that the power of the almighty dollar resided in the list. Back then a list was something you paid a list broker for or, as time went on, cultivated your own snail mail contacts. Today the mailing list has been transformed into an email list but the age old tried and proven techniques remain.
Your best prospective customer is one who has already purchased something from you. Despite the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter, people are still people and the motivations that have always inspired them to buy remain the same and high on the list is trust. If they trust you, you’re golden. The only thing that has changed about the publishing for profit model is the delivery method.
To sell books today, first concentrate on developing your email list. Think of it like this. You have 10,000 loyal subscribers to your newsletter developed over the course of a few years. They have explicitly given you permission to contact them by email. They like what you do and think you hung the moon. Is there a better audience to appeal to when it comes time to sell your next book? We think not. Send a special mailing to the list advertising when and where your newest is available. A certain percentage will buy on the strength of one announcement, which just might be enough to vault you to the top of your category at Amazon for a day.
Careers can be made by hitting the top of Amazon. Building a responsive email list is powerful stuff in the new world of publishing for profit. And the ivory-towered NYC publishing moguls? You don’t need them a bit.
Wed, 12 November 2014
Selling your brand to consumers is not a bad idea, it’s actually wise if you want to be known for who you are and remain at the top in your industry. By selling your brand we’re not advising you to list it on the market or put a price tag on yourself, but sell who you are and what you represent to your target audience. The connection you will make with consumers will be far more than if you sat still and held back on information or value others might see in your brand. So begin today and sell your brand, but don’t sell out using our four ideas to maintain that reputation and hold true to your company and self-beliefs.
Several successful entrepreneurs underestimate this technique, but selling is what will get your brand out there and recognized. Let’s straighten things out by first explaining the difference between selling your brand and selling out. Selling your brand means to strategically market your talent and showcase who you are and what you stand for as a company or organization. Selling out means you are trading your true self and beliefs, like your mission statement, for a gain (money, reputation).
By not selling your brand you are closing off several consumers that know nothing about you, leaving word-of-mouth as your lead advertisement. With that rate, hopefully your brand will be heard on local radio stations by the year 2034. Avoid waiting another twenty years for your brand to be known, instead use the following marketing tips to sell your brand today.
Keep in mind your personal mission statement. As long as you stick to these words, your name and brand will stay true and you won’t sell out.
We have provided four ways to ensure that sell out will not happen.
1. Every week keep a report of what you do.
Write down everything good the company has accomplished or achieved throughout the week. Even the smallest actions can go the furthest when it comes to connecting with consumers. Include the picture of you and your staff visiting a pumpkin patch or share a positive experience you encountered with a customer this week. Those connections are what consumers can relate with and draw them in to become a dedicated and life-long customer.
2. Go into the public eye.
Get your brand out there, inform the world who you are and what you stand for by sharing information on social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc.). Be one of the top in your industry by again, connecting with your audience. Build your profile to highlight your success and ongoing developments to consumers, listeners and fans.
3. Get involved with your community.
Join organizations around your community. Go to the committee meetings, public hearings, become a member on the non-profit board or visit your local Chamber of Commerce. See how you can speak at these clubs and events around the community so your name, and business, is familiar and well-known to the locals.
4. Take necessary risks.
If you want to on top, then you’ll have to take the necessary risks others are too afraid to make. According to Inc., “Those who do stupid things without first getting permission can get fired. However, people who achieve brilliant things without getting permission get praised.” That doesn’t mean you have all rights to go out and do what you want, but rather to go out and be loud, stand tall and sell your dream, not beliefs.
The next time you’re contemplating an advertisement or marking plan, remember these four tips to sell your brand, but don’t sell out or you could jeopardize all you worked hard for and dreamed to achieve.
Thu, 11 February 2010
Sun, 20 December 2009
Thu, 5 November 2009
Wed, 1 October 2008
Witnessing the instability of the stock market and a safer way to invest your money.
Tue, 23 September 2008
The three major problems when relinquishing control to someone else.
Tue, 16 September 2008
Why the stock market is such risky business.
Mon, 8 September 2008
More on the concept of Packaged Commodities Investing.
Tue, 2 September 2008
An introduction of Jason Hartman's Packaged Commodities Investingâ„¢ methodology.
Tue, 26 August 2008
An analysis of which types of investments work well in acquiring good debt assets.
Tue, 19 August 2008
A demonstration of how inflation destroys the value of your assets.