Could Rental Properties be your Cash Flow Machine?

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After the real estate bubble burst in 2007, and property values in most areas of the country collapsed, many investors soured on real estate. But rental markets remained strong, thanks to all those people who needed places to live after they had given their homes back to the banks. In some areas, you were able to buy solid properties at prices from the 1960s while rents stayed at their modern prices or even went higher.

Most of these properties had strong positive cash flow, which made them solid deals just based on the rent-to-value ratio. Imagine buying homes in the suburbs of Detroit for $35,000 to $50,000 while renting them out for $850 to $1,000 per month. You could also buy homes or condominiums in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Texas for prices not seen in decades. It was a bonanza if you had guts, access to cash and someone local to run the properties.

After several years of decline and stagnation, many areas of the country have experienced double-digit rebounds over the last few years, but there are still some great opportunities in to create your own cash flow machines. According to ABC News, the top five markets to own investment property are Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Boston.

The rent-to-value ratio is king, in my opinion; the prospect of having nice appreciation in your resale value is strictly secondary. Remember, buying a rental property is about cash flow, not speculation about growth. To successfully invest in rental real estate, adhere to these rules:

  • The three most important things in real estate are not location, location, location; they’re cash flow, cash flow and profit. That location mantra? It’s for homeowners raising families, not for investors.
  • Location is still important because quality tenants will gravitate toward quality homes in solid blue-collar areas. Buy where the tenants you want, want to be.
  • Buy properties only in areas where a significant percentage of the homes are owner-occupied.
  • Make sure the property is in good repair and is clean to attract the best tenants. You (or your management company) pick the tenant. Quality tenants will fight over solid homes in nice areas.
  • Complete background checks are mandatory — not just credit checks. Just because someone has had a one-time financial bump that led to a foreclosure doesn’t mean they won’t be a solid tenant. Judge people by their overall background, not just by a credit score.
  • Offer small discounts on the rent for timely payment and enforce late fees. Set the tone early and often. Be fair, but firm.
  • Don’t over-leverage your investments. Doing so puts your empire at risk of crumbling during the next real estate downturn. Many investors are paying cash in the less expensive markets (such as Detroit, Buffalo, Indianapolis) or putting large down payments on their investments in the more expensive markets. Leverage can be a great thing, but has been over-taught and overused. Use leverage wisely or not at all in your next round of investing

A lease with an option to buy can be a very effective strategy if the property is in a solid location. The rent you charge will be more a month, but a portion of it might go toward the credits on the purchase price for the tenant/buyer. In return for an option to buy the home and the credits, the tenant might agree to handle small repairs, thus relieving you (or your management company) of some of the upkeep duties.

There are still big opportunities out there for people who would like to invest in rental properties, but it will take education and a strong team to help you become a successful real estate investor.

COULD SOME DEBT ACTUALLY CREATE WEALTH?

There is a big misconception in the financial world and among consumers today that all interest is the same: that, for example, a 6 percent mortgage is the same as a 6 percent line of credit. That’s not true, because the type of interest you are paying and how it is calculated are just as important.

Most U.S. mortgages are financed with fully amortizing loans. This means that a monthly payment to pay off the loan is based on the interest rate, the amount and the term. For example, if you borrow $200,000 using this kind of loan, your payment based on a 6 percent rate and 30-year amortization schedule is $1,075.

You may have heard that just one extra payment a year toward the principal of such a loan will pay it off about 10 years sooner. Homeowners have many reasons not to do this. They don’t want to tie up that extra $1,075 in their house. They receive no immediate benefit. They would rather keep their $1,075. They want to spend it on something they probably don’t need and won’t want three months after they buy it. They reason that they will sell their home in eight years anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Or they believe interest rates are so low now that they should borrow as much as they can, and invest all of their money rather than paying down debt, because they will come out ahead that way.

That last argument is seriously flawed.

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Reduce the Finance Charge

In home equity lines of credit — also called HELOCs — the interest rate is less important than the finance charge. Finance charges on lines of credit are figured on average daily balance for the month. For example, when the 30-day finance period closes, your bank calculates that you had an average daily balance of $50,000 and the interest was 6 percent, so you will pay $8.22 per day in finance charges. Your interest charges for the month total $247, so your total payment might be around $325 because the bank will also require some money toward the principal. Simple enough, right?

What happens if on the first day you pay $5,000 on the principal? Your balance is now $45,000, so your 6 percent rate now produces a finance charge of $7.40 per day or $222 for the month. You consider that $5,000 as a pay-down, but your bank considers that $5,000 as your payment for the month.

Where do we get the $5,000? How about if you used your paycheck? Too many Americans let their pay sit in checking accounts until they pay bills. Why let that money sit there earning zero (or very little) interest? Let that income sit in your revolving line of credit to reduce or cancel finance charges.

If the line of credit is properly set up, would you be able to access your funds by writing a check? Absolutely! Would you have immediate access to any extra loan pay-downs, such as the $5,000 in the example above? Absolutely! Would the time that your money sat inside the line of credit affect your finance charge to your favor? Absolutely!

Make Every Penny Count

Let’s go back to that example. You pay down $5,000 on your line of credit — but only for 20 days, until you need most of the money to pay bills. The money then gets withdrawn (borrowed again). Your average daily balance and finance charge have been reduced. This is making every penny count by earning or canceling interest every day.

The next step is to leave some discretionary income in the line of credit. Over time, your line of credit will fall dramatically and seemingly without effort. When you balance goes down to $40,000 and all the bills are paid for the month, you can borrow $10,000 from the line of credit and send it to your first mortgage as loan pay-down? You should and do it as often as possible.

You are systematically transferring your debt from front-end-loaded amortized debt to average daily balance debt. Every time you do this, your will increase the port of your regular mortgage payment that goes towards the principal and reduce how much goes toward interest. In this was, you can use the principles of interest cancellation (and some of your discretionary income) to pay off mortgages, cars and any other amortized loan in a fraction of the scheduled time. I’ve had many clients take almost-new 30-year mortgages, and using this program, put themselves on pace to pay them off in six to 12 years without it affecting their lifestyle.

Many Australians open big lines of credit to buy their homes and pay their mortgages off in a fraction of the time it takes most Americans.

WILL END OF LIFE EXPENSES DEVOUR YOUR ESTATE?

For aging baby boomers, long-term care and home health care are huge concerns, and these concerns form the last part in a series of articles covering what I call the “six circles of wealth.” These six circles break down your personal finance and wealth creation efforts. The goal is to have all of the circles spin at the same time, creating synergy and powerful momentum for your money.

Very few of my clients have all the circles covered, which means your wealth will take longer to grow and be open to much more risk than is necessary. So far, I have covered the first four: income and cash flow, investments, guaranteed income and cash and liquidity. This article discusses the last two: long-term care and your estate.

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The only circle that can cannibalize the others is long-term care. It is also the circle that is most neglected, and most people’s plan for dealing with it is hope and prayer. Most people say “I won’t get that bad where I need a facility or a nurse to come in and help me” or “my family will help me with all of my needs” and even “if I get that bad, just pull the plug or shoot me and put me out of my misery.” Do any of these sound familiar?

Long-term care facilities average $7,200 a month, and according to Genworth Financial, costs are increasing more than 4 percent a year. How long could your nest egg last paying out more than $80,000 per year in today’s dollars? Many people might consider buying a long-term care insurance policy. The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance says a policy for a 55-year-old costs $723 to $1,590 a year, depending upon benefits — and these figures are from 2009. As with most insurance, if you never need it, your family will not get your premiums back after you pass away.

Asset Reduction Via Estate Planning

One alternative is estate planning, which needs to be done with a quality legal firm that specializes in estate planning and elder law. There are ways to structure your estate that will lessen any blow that you might incur from the cost of long-term care. These usually involve getting rid of assets via gifts and trusts — years before you need long-term care — so when you have to sell off assets before Medicare kicks in its contribution for long-term care, you don’t have many assets left to sell.

This type of planning is controversial because it is seen as pushing the tab on the government even if you have the ability to pay for yourself. So unless you were smart enough to have a quality life insurance product that you bought many years ago, you could be leave nothing behind for your family. Since the traditional financial world tells us to buy term insurance and not whole life, most people will stop paying for expensive term policies as they age because the cost becomes prohibitive. Thus when they are faced with long-term care issues, they must cannibalize their estate or reduce the estate before they have need long-term care. My job isn’t to pass judgment but to pass along the information and let your conscience be your guide.

Asset-Based Long-Term Care

Another alternative is to allocate some of your funds into products that are built to help you with the cost of long-term care. Asset-based long-term care might be as simple as putting some of your money inside of a properly structured annuity. Let’s say you spend $150,000 on a long-term care annuity where you were credited with a 3-1 benefit ratio. Your $150,000 buys you $450,000 of long-term care protection if and when you need the coverage.

What if you never need the coverage and pass away at home in your bed? Then the $150,000 in that account will be part of your estate and given to your family, plus a small rate of growth. Maybe only 3 percent growth, but remember you are not doing this for growth. You have other circles of wealth that are concerned with growth and returns. This is a long-term care and estate planning strategy. You sleep well at night and maintain control of your cash, and if you never need the benefit, your family receives the money plus growth.

Whole Life Insurance

Many of our clients in their 40s, 50s and even into their 60s also set up a high-quality whole life insurance policy. This provides the estate guarantee they want for their kids and grand-kids so if they need to sell off assets to pay for care, they still leave behind their legacy for their family.

One of my favorite books is by Harvey Mackay is called “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” These words are even truer when dealing with long term care and your legacy.

Check out The Perpetual Wealth System to learn more!

Foreclosure Investing

Currently, over 928,000 properties in the country are in some form of foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, and there lie opportunities for the savvy investor.

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The fact that a property is a foreclosure doesn’t make it a good or bad deal. A foreclosure is just a legal process that transfers title from the owner back to the lender due to non-payment of the debt obligation. There are four main stages:

  1. The pre-foreclosure stage usually begins when the first payment is missed from the borrower to the lender. That official clock starts with the notice of default. During this stage, you would buy from the owner and not the bank.
  2. The foreclosure auction stage is also called the sheriff sale or trustee sale, depending on if you live in a mortgage state or a trust deed state. The process is usually four to six months along and the property goes tot he highest bidder at a public auction, usually for all cash.
  3. Many states have a redemption stage, where the borrower can pay off the balance on the mortgage (or an amount agreed to by the lender) and get the property back out of foreclosure. This stage requires you to buy from the owner and not the lender.
  4. The bank-owned stage is also known as “real-estate owned” or REO.  Nobody won the bid at the auction (usually nobody bid), so the property reverts back to the lender, which can sell it to a private owner; either as an owner occupant or an investor.

Each stage offers a chance to buy a bargain property—and a different strategy. Let’s assume you find an opportunity to buy a property that is worth $100,000 for $70,000. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is always risk when you invest in anything, and the way to lessen the risk is to be educated. Many quality books and seminars are available. Unfortunately, there are also overpriced packages sold by some people who have never really done much foreclosure investing.
  • Verify the after-repaired value of the property. This is done with comparable sales from the multiple listing service, online services such as Zillow or a list of recent sold comparable sales from a broker or title company. One of my earliest mentors told me “until you know value, you know nothing.”
  • Have a good idea of the cost of your funds, closing costs, repair costs, maintenance, utilities and selling or leasing costs. If you don’t account for those, you are in for a poor investment decision.
  • Understand your exit strategy (a lease or sale) and rehabilitate accordingly. A home kept for rental should not be as heavily repaired as a flip house.
  • Understand that you will rehab for profit, not for a “flip this house” series.
  • Understand the timetable of your state foreclosure process.
  • Decide which stage of the foreclosure process you will focus on. Generally, to save time and leverage other people’s assets, that will be the real estate owned, or bank-owned stage. In this stage, you will almost always deal with the REO agent who is generally a real estate agent with a niche business in dealing with banks to sell their foreclosure inventory. Develop a great relationship with the REO agent because they can be a constant source of good deals for your investment portfolio.

There are also several important “Don’ts”

  • Don’t take any broker’s or seller’s word for the condition, comparable homes or clear title; get pro’s to help you. As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust, but verify.”
  • Don’t get emotionally attached to any real estate investment, even if it is a foreclosure. Investing successfully in real estate is about numbers and nothing more.
  • Don’t spend all your time on one prospect. Make several offers at once and word your agreements with an easy out clause if you get more than one accepted (or be prepared to buy more than one).
  • Don’t forget you must know more than the other professionals involved to be successful. I know how to finance a property dozens of ways, so many times I can see a deal where many others don’t because they only know one or two ways.

Real estate investing, and more specifically, foreclosure investing, is a unique opportunity to acquire hard assets for deep discounts picking up instant equity that has the chance to grow or you could choose to covert to cash as fast as possible.

Learn a valuable lesson from the last real estate crash and don’t over-leverage properties. If you get stuck in another market crash, you could be on the hook with over-leveraged properties sucking you dry. Cash is king, but right behind that in real estate is “equity position.”

With some good education, foreclosure investing might be a great add0on to your wealth building efforts. Not everyone is wired to be a real estate investor but if you thing you are, move forward with education and action.

*If you are interested in working with John or are a real estate investor; check out Perpetual Real Estate Machine.

**John has a special training for those interested in foreclosure investing. Check out his Foreclosure Course and take advantage of John’s many years of experience in real estate sales, investing, flipping and more…

 

Cash is King

This is part four in a series on the Six Circles of Wealth. The first three circles are income, investments and guaranteed income. The next is cash, also known as liquidity.

Cash is an essential part of a solid financial fortress. Even the sound of the word evokes an all-over body tingling to most people. The adage that “cash is king” is true, and this is especially true if that cash is used to buy distressed assets at a huge discount. The longer the sales cycle for an asset, the more valuable cash becomes. When you sell stocks, the money usually clears the next day. There is no costly waiting time, as there is when you sell a property or even a business.

When you sell long-saMoney runles-cycle assets, then cash can become an invaluable negotiating tool, depending on the sales situation of the seller. Many people will tell you not to keep much money in cash because you will make no money on the cash (or at least very little). This is a shortsighted view. Having cash in a bank, in cash-value life insurance and even a safe deposit box is invaluable because you can access the money immediately without having to sell an asset at a loss.

A $200,000 House for $100,000 — Today Only

Let’s say you receive a call from your neighbor, who must sell his house immediately. You are familiar with the house and are very confident that it would sell for $200,000 on the open market given time. Your neighbor is pressed for time, due a new job, a new life or whatever. He tells you that he needs to close in three days, and if you can make that happen, he will sell the property to you for $100,000, which represents a 50 percent discount. (I have bought many properties at 20 to 50 percent discounts — as have many people all over the country.) Could you make that happen if you received that call today? If you had the cash, you could write up a purchase agreement and send it to a title company with a rush close. You then wire your funds to the title company and sign some documents and presto you own a $200,000 house for $100,000, which means you have a $100,000 equity profit. Equity profit is not cash profit, but it is real wealth that you can convert back to cash if you so choose.

That money in the bank or your insurance policy — earning .05 percent to 5 percent — has the chance to close to double in 60 to 90 days when you resell the property. Any real estate investor will tell you that to convert that house back to cash will require some holding expenses, a little fix up and selling expenses. When the home resells, you might net $80,000 of profit. The original $100,000 of seed capital goes back into the bank or your cash value life insurance policy along with some interest that you should pay yourself for the loan. Now you are free to do as you wish with the $80,000. Depending on what funds you used to close on the property, you will probably owe short-term capital gains taxes. You could also choose to hold the property and possibly obtain a mortgage from a bank or private lender to pull back out much of your cash. Then you could rent, rent to own, or equity share that property and sell out later for hopefully more money and at a more beneficial tax rate.

Fast access to cash — combined with some education on how to buy distressed assets — can pay off handsomely. If you had all your money tied up in the market or fixed-income assets, then you could not take advantage of that unique opportunity that came knocking on your door.

Waiting for the Opportunity

That $100,000 of cash will buy every $100,000 or less asset on the market (property or business for sale) and it will buy most $110,000 assets, some $125,000 assets, a few $150,000 assets and the occasional $200,000 asset because you can solve problems quickly with that fast cash. Rates of return are not always figured out inside of the product you are in but rather what can you do with that cash when the right opportunity presents itself.

What if it took two years for that opportunity to present itself? Would it still be OK to keep that safe money parked and available at a low rate of return? Of course it would! Never make the mistake of thinking that all your money needs to be invested or in fixed-income assets such as bonds or annuities. Maybe you could educate yourself on how the distressed real estate and note markets work and spend a little time and effort on taking advantage of that market.

Cash parked in a safe, easy-access place would also allow you to take advantage of the next stock market downturn. If you had cash and guts in 2007 and ’08 and decided to take that cash and invest in great companies that are way down due to more of the market than anything internal to the company, you would have made a killing. So when is the next market downturn? Nobody knows, but it is just a matter of time and those with cash and those who are willing to buy when blood is in the streets always create fortunes.

John Jamieson is the best selling author of “The Perpetual Wealth System.” Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

BYOB – Become Your Own Bank

Life is not just about knowledge but requires action as well. Please complete this life changing exercise before you read any further. Add up all the payments you have ever made in your life to a bank or finance company on every debt you have ever had during your life. This is on cars, real estate, business loans, business equipment, student loans, boats; anything motorized, etc. Now whatever that figure is for you (it will be largely a figure of age and income) double that number. So if your figure is $1,000,000 in total payments your number would be $2,000,000. Why do we double that figure? By giving up control of all your money in the form of monthly payments for all those years you turned over the growing power of that money to the bank. Depending on your age, even if you had kept that money and received even a modest interest rate of 4% to 6% your money would have easily doubled once and for many of you doubled a couple of times. Now that we have your “money lost” figure you need to add up your “money kept and invested”. To get that figure simply add up all the money you have saved up in your IRA’s, 401k and other retirement accounts. Grab your most recent statements and add them up quickly.

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This entire exercise can be done in 10 minutes and I challenge you to do it before you read one more word or at least immediately after you’re done. How much have you saved and invested for retirement? Now which of those two totals is bigger, the money paid to the bank figure or the money for your retirement figure?   Now ask yourself who is getting rich with that personal finance model. The answer is very apparent and that is the banks and Wall Street who love this business model. You borrow money your whole life and don’t care as long as the interest is low. This keeps you in financial bondage to the banks. Then whatever money you are able to put away is put inside of qualified plans and then given to Wall Street. Wall Street is flat out drunk with money and has been for many decades.

When I do this exercise in front of a room it produces laughter from the crowd because they are realizing that the monthly payments have deprived us of most of the wealth in our lives. My average participant might tell me $2,000,000 given in payments and lost growth and $70,000 saved for retirement.   Which figure would you prefer to have for yourself? This is math that any fifth grader can do and makes sense to anyone who has an open mind.

Now to be fair very few people could afford to self finance their first car or house so the numbers get skewed because you most likely would not have the option of self financing those early items. However, that is not an excuse for not moving toward that goal of being self financed. Think of your life as a giant income wheel. Income comes into the wheel and most of it gets spit right back out the other side of the wheel. Your goal is to keep as much money as possible coming in on the wheel for your accounts and to stop the 4 massive wealth drains we all have during our lives. Yes, there are more than 4 wealth drains but these 4 are the biggest and must be stopped so you can grow wealth regardless of what happens to any market. We will be discussing these wealth drains in depth in future articles.

It’s important to understand that I am not advocating just paying cash for items like many gurus incessantly preach.   I am talking about using your capital just like a major bank would use their capital. If you took out a loan from the bank would they be alright with you borrowing the money and not paying it back? Would they be happy with no interest paid to them? (Don’t get fooled by those 0% loan pitches because there is always a cost of money but sometimes it is hidden in the actual price and not the finance charges) The answer to both of those is, of course it wouldn’t be acceptable to not pay them back or not give them interest. Then it stands to reason that if you are acting as your own bank, why would it be acceptable to not pay yourself back or without interest? It is never acceptable just to pay cash (especially for anything over $10,000) and not pay the bank back even if you own the bank.

Guaranteed Income (Part 3)

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Last week, we talked about investing, the second circle of wealth in my series of “Six Absolute Necessities for Acquiring Long-Term Wealth.” The third is guaranteed income. When I study people with successful retirements, filled with abundance and options, almost all have things in common:

  • They carry very little, if any, personal debt.
  • They have stable, secure income from multiple sources that they can set their watch by every month
  • Starting about 10 years before they retire, they begin shifting their assets from riskier investments to low- or no-risk income assets.

A mortgage is generally the biggest debt most of us have. Many argue that you should never pay off your house because the equity you put into it is tied up and not making you money. They might recommend borrowing as much as you can now because interest rates are low.

I say you can have the best of both worlds. First, pay off your mortgage before you retire. By adding small amounts directed to your principle every month, you will take months, even years off your payoff date. When your house is paid off, get the biggest equity line of credit you can. This way, if you see an attractive investment opportunity, you can put your equity to use, and if you don’t, you have removed the pressure of a big mortgage payment in retirement.

If you can pay off your mortgage while you are working, why not now shift that payment over to a solid savings or income product? This could work out to tens of thousands of extra dollars producing monthly income for when you retire.

An abundant retirement is about strong positive cash flow that you can count on for years to come. Do you have any idea how much money you need to retire every month? Do you know where you can get that income from? Do you have enough money for home health care or long-term care? Are you protected from big market downturns during your retirement years? How much will inflation eat into that monthly income needed?

Can You Answer These Questions?question mark

All these questions must be part of an income plan. We calculate these for clients all over the country. First, know how much income you and your spouse will receive from Social Security when you retire. You can get an estimate from the Social Security Administration. If you believe that number is at risk because of issues with Social Security, you better start putting more away and growing it safely.

If you need $5,000 per month to retire and the Social Security for you and your spouse is only $3,500, then you have a $1,500 shortfall. Do you have a pension? How much will that be when you begin to draw it? Do you have a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account? How long could that account last if you need to draw $1,500 a month — $18,000 in a year? Will you have to pay taxes on what you take out? If you have a 401(k) or traditional IRA, the answer is yes. If you lose 50 percent of your capital to a bear market, how long will you be able to get $18,000 per year?

As you get to be in what we call the “retirement danger zone,” which is 10 years before your projected retirement, you need to start shifting assets away from market risk and over to guaranteed products. A solid fixed indexed annuity with a long-term income rider might be a very good call. I wrote an article about the different types of annuities and how to purchase one that fits your needs.

A lifetime income rider (state and product variations exist) will guarantee that you have a certain amount of income (depending on how much you have in your annuity and at what age you start withdrawing) for you and your spouse’s life. If you live to be very old, your normal retirement funds might run out, but a lifetime income rider guarantees that income stream regardless of what happens to the underlying cash in the account. Also if you have five to 10 years, you have time for that income rider to grow. Many income riders offer 6 percent and more guaranteed growth every year.

When you purchase a $200,000 annuity, many companies might offer a 10 percent bonus on your initial purchase price so your starting amount would be $220,000. When you add compound growth at 6 percent over 10 years, your income rider would top $400,000. Then you would start to draw your lifetime income at 6 percent of the $400,000, giving you $24,000 a year income for you and your spouse’s life. Presto! You have filled your income gap. If you have the resources to purchase another annuity, you might get one with a cost of living clause to hedge against inflation.

John Jamieson is the best-selling author of “The Perpetual Wealth System.” Check out this week’s featured video.

The Myth of “Average Rate of Return”

We are told that stocks are the way to wealth and that the market has averaged (pick a figure) over the last (pick a time frame) and so it will continue to do the same. It is important for you to understand that “average rates of return” can be easily manipulated and that whatever figure you get from Wall Street does not mean that your money will average that growth rate. (Dow Jones Industrial Average Stock Market Historical Graph)

Remember this example well: over 4 years, how is it possible to invest $100,000 on year one and average a 25% rate of return for four years and have less than $100,000 after year four and have never taken a dime out of the account during that time? The answer is so easy once you understand how this works. Invest $100,000 into the account and it grows at 100% (doubles) in year one so now it is worth $200,000. Year two, the account falls by 50% (half) putting the value back down at $100,000. Year three, the account grows by another 100% and the money is back up to $200,000. Year four, the account dips back down another 50% and our money is now back to $100,000. Now you take out taxes you made on the good years (the way mutual fund taxes work is you can owe tax even though you have not sold the asset) and fees, and time value of money and your account is worth quite a bit less than the $100,000 you started your investment plan out with four years before.

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Now take a look at your “average rate of return” and you will notice that if you add up 100% return years twice and subtract out your 50% years twice, that leaves you with 100%. You must divide that by the 4-year cycle and what do you get? Of course, I am a high school failure and college dropout but it looks like a 25% “average rate of return.” Did your money grow by 25% a year? Not hardly! If your money would have grown at 25% a year compounded annually your $100,000 would now be over $269,000. This is a far cry from the $80,000 your probably have left in your account when you “averaged” 25% per year for four years. Most of your 401k’s are earning an average rate of return.

Be very careful to focus on growth, not rates of return. If I am selling some kind of financial product and don’t like the last 4 year average I might try to show you the 8 year average. If that still stinks maybe the 15 year average will work? I have seen people in this day and age pull out 100 year averages to attempt to prove their point. The only problem is the economy of today doesn’t even vaguely resemble the economy of last century. This means that a 100 year average is probably a lousy way to try and predict the growth for the next 10 or 20 years of any particular product.

Instead of average rate of return focus on cash flow in and cash flow out of your accounts. Don’t get sucked into the age-old trap of just thinking about rates of return. Many times they are put in place so you will take your eye off the ball of what’s really happening. What’s really happening is that while we are all focusing on rates of return and the rise and fall of the stock market, we are happily pouring our wealth out month after month to the banks and other places with no real plan to stop the insanity. Wealth without Stocks will give you that plan.

Visit us at Perpetual Wealth Systems to learn more.

Why Only Investing Is A Suckers Bet

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Last week, I introduced my concept of the six circles of wealth, and discussed the first circle, cash flow. The second circle is investing. Simply defined, an investment is an asset whose value can grow or shrink. Some of the most common investments are:

  • Stocks and bonds.
  • Mutual funds from many different asset classes, including stocks and bonds.
  • Gold and other precious metals.
  • Real estate.
  • Commodities, such as oil, frozen orange juice and wheat.
  • Annuities.

Some are less commonly used:

  • Businesses.
  • Private placements (money is pooled and invested in properties, venture capital, inventions or other assets).
  • Limited partnerships (money is pooled to invest in something a general partner usually has expertise in).
  • Notes and income streams (this includes payments on a note, private contract or annuity).
  • Tax deeds and tax liens (a form of real estate with different rules).

Passive Investments

In passive investments, you have no say in what is done with your money once you invest it. You are relying on other people’s expertise. Examples from above would be:

  • Stocks held for long term (stock trading is more of a business venture).
  • Mutual funds.
  • Gold
  • Annuities.
  • Private placements (assuming you are just a cash investor and not the principle).
  • Limited partnerships

Active Investments

Active investments require more of your time and expertise to make them successful. As a rule, the more effort and specialized knowledge required to make an investment successful, the bigger its potential returns. Examples from the above:

  • Real estate will require you to study values, rents, acquisition techniques, liquidation strategies and other factors. To be a successful real estate investor, you must think build a team of professionals.
  • Business investing will require you to understand the business and the industry and to have a team of professionals and maybe even joint venture partners. There is potential for huge returns and a loss of your entire investment.
  • As the general partner in a limited partnership investment, you are the one with the expertise and time. Many times you will not invest money (although every arrangement is different). You will need a power team and the ability to raise private capital.
  • Discounted notes and income streams will require knowledge of collateral, cash flow, figuring rates of return on discounts and the ability to find private notes for sale.
  • Tax deeds and liens cover parcels (mostly unimproved land) that are auctioned off for back taxes. Great deals are possible, but you need to know the rules (every state and most counties in the state are different), the values, possibilities for land and guarantees offered by the local government.

Maybe splitting your investments between hands-off and hands-on programs makes the most sense. You might need to spend some time educating yourself to make hands-on investments succeed. Simply book time in your schedule to read, listen to CD’s, and attend workshops that will help your eventual goal of solid hands on investing returns.

More Than Just Investing

Many people might think I have left out certificates of deposit, savings accounts and life policies as investments. These are important parts of your wealth plan, but since they are guaranteed, risk-free products — you can’t lose money in them — they fall into other circles.

I also don’t include options on stocks or commodities in the investing circle. Most of the time, options are very short-term cash-flow plays. They require the stock or commodity you’ve bought options on to move a certain way fast if they’re going to pay off (up for call options, and down for put plays). They’re more a quick cash-flow generator rather than a longer-term investment strategy.

Far too many people make the mistake of just focusing on their investment circle while letting other circles fall into disrepair. Picture the six circles of wealth operating in a balanced way. When one circle gets too heavy or out of control, all the other circles suffer. When you understand this (and so few people ever do) you can take steps to balance out the circles and create a financial fortress.

John Jamieson is the best-selling author of “The Perpetual Wealth System.” Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Wealth Without Stocks! Why haven’t I heard of this before?

The indoctrination of the stock market is most powerful

Turn on your television, your phone, your computer, and any other device you care to name and you will almost certainly be greeted by the day’s stock averages such as the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P 500, among others. You will be instantly updated as to the direction of the market. There are entire television channels that are on 24 hours a day and 7 days a week that do nothing but report on the stock market; such as CNBC. How boring to have to follow those for hours every day.

When that kind of media blitz has been happening now for generations it is small wonder why people are unaware that they can, in fact, create much wealth even without stocks or mutual funds. This philosophy is NOT about being anti-stock market; there is certainly a place in every wealth plan for stocks or funds somewhere along an individual’s stages of wealth. The problem is that the vast majority of people have no idea of the many other ways that are available to grow and protect wealth. When me or my teammates and staff work with our clients from all over the country they are always fascinated when we start to discuss many of the alternative options to grow and protect wealth.

bags of money
Most of the topics we will cover in future posts are not only virtually unknown to most of the world but when used properly they can be extremely powerful. I am so excited to put all these wealth vehicles in one place that I can’t wait to begin to put this powerful information in your hands. We are going to cover debt reduction strategies, creative real estate strategies, private pension and self-directed IRA strategies, just to name a few.

We talked earlier a little bit about why the stock market is such a major force in almost every investor’s life but there is also the fact that you don’t need any knowledge to put your money into the market. Most Americans simply select what kind of investor they are; which will include aggressive, moderate, and conservative (Translation is how much money you can afford to lose). Just like that, they are signed up for their employers 401k, which will be their main retirement savings and investing plan for the rest of their lives. More than 80% admit to really having no clue what they signed up for to any great degree and certainly no knowledge of how their money was being invested. They just get their investing amount taken out of every check and let it ride!

The good news with that philosophy is that you don’t need any extra knowledge; the bad news is that you are making one of the biggest financial decisions in your life blind. You are investing (not saving, in most cases) money and just blowing all of your income. Although this is far from perfect, it is better than not doing anything at all. It’s fast, easy, and painless to get started funding your future. So you don’t have to be a financial expert to begin to accumulate wealth. That system is hands off from you and will allow you to focus on other things that are important in your life. The money is given to Wall Street (most of the time) and invested through mutual funds into many different kinds of stocks. However, that system also comes with enormous costs in the form of market losses and huge opportunity costs that we will talk about more in an upcoming articles.

The wealth without stocks philosophy is not that simple (it is pretty easy but not that simple) and will require you to obtain some niche knowledge to take advantage of the markets that are available to you in your quest to build wealth. If you are reading this than I am going to assume that you are the kind of person who is willing to shut off the television to further their own education for even one hour per night. You are willing to sacrifice time on Facebook® and every other social media time suck that are available to us. If that is a true statement than you will have the opportunity to grow and protect wealth at an accelerated rate that should far outpace your colleagues who have bought into the old financial plan described earlier. I want to congratulate you for being one of the few that actually will take the time to design their finances and secure an abundant future.

You are about to be launched into a secretive world (in comparison to the stock market and mutual fund world) that will make simple sense to you. Think of these articles like your own personal wealth buffet and you are free to choose whatever is to your liking and leave the other strategies on the table untouched. However, what will happen for many of you is that you will implement one of two of the strategies and then come back to the well of knowledge to see what else might be a fit for your goals. Just because it is not a fit for you today doesn’t mean it won’t be a fit for you tomorrow.

Just be open-minded and ready to learn!

All the best to you,
John Jamieson