Where there’s smoke …

In one of his many excellent commentaries, our good friend and multi-time Investor Summit at Sea™ faculty member Simon Black points out the last time this happened the market crashed.

The market he’s referring to is the stock market … and the event is stock brokerage firm Charles Schwab opening new accounts at the highest pace in 17 years.

Simon opens up his piece by asking, “Anyone remember what happened 17 years ago?”

He then reminds us it was 17 years ago the dot-com driven stock market implosion rocked financial markets and investors.

For those too young to remember, the late 90s was the dawn of the internet age.

And by the turn of the century, investors had morphed into rabid speculators … pouring billions of dollars into tech companies … even though the numbers didn’t make sense.

They were betting the stock price would go up in spite of little or no cash flow.

If you’re a young investor, you’d be wise to study some economic history and talk with older, more experienced investors.

Simon’s a relatively young guy (in his 30s), but wise far beyond his years because he’s an avid student of history.  Whether you’re young or old, it’s smart to study history.

Mark Twain famously said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

So Simon’s comments triggered a quick check of housing headlines, and this came up:

Existing-home sales hit a 10-year high in March as homes fly off the market

Hmmmm… that’s interesting.

Channeling Simon Black, we asked, “Anyone remember what happened 10 years ago?”

Of course, 10 years ago was 2007.  And you probably know what happened to the housing market in 2008.

Now just because two things happened in succession doesn’t necessarily mean one caused the other … or even was a symptom of a cause.  But it COULD be.

As the old adage goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.”

When the possibility of disaster exists, it’s wise to have a plan.

When we get aboard the cruise ship for the Investor Summit at Sea™ each year, the FIRST thing we do is a mandatory “boat drill.”

We’re told where to find our life-jackets, how to put them on, and which “muster station” to go to so we can get into our assigned life-boat.

It’s no fun … not for us, not for the crew, and not for the cruise line.

They’d much rather tell us how to find the casino, shopping, and premium restaurants.  After all, that’s where all the fun and profit are.

The LAST thing they want to do is point out the possibility the ship could SINK.  That’s a depressing way to kick off a fun week on a cruise ship.

But responsible people prepare for the possibility of problems.  And when signs of trouble start to appear, denial, obfuscation, and normalcy bias are ill-advised.

The Titanic sunk precisely because no one thought it could.

When it comes to housing, most industry economists are more like industry cheerleaders.

It’s usually easy to confirm sunshine as far as the eye can see … if that’s what you WANT to see … because you can always find “an expert” to affirm your pre-existing bias.

So when we invited Fannie Mae economist Doug Duncan to speak at our recent Summit at Sea, we were ready for some lively debate between him and our pal Peter Schiff.

But what happened surprised us.

Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae economist, put up all kinds of charts and graphs, and gave a very entertaining yet sobering presentation.

Doug essentially said the weakest economic “recovery” in history is on the verge of becoming the LONGEST recovery in history … and the probability of an imminent recession is high.

Hardly happy hype from a government real estate economist.

This REALLY shocked Peter.  In fact, he mentioned it at the top of the first podcast he did after returning from the Summit.

Peter’s been accused of being a chicken-little perma-bear, always seeing what’s wrong and warning of impending doom.  And he’s used to arguing with people like Doug, who try to put a happy face on bad data.

Of course, when you get to know Peter (who accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis both in his 2006 book Crash Proof and in heated debates on national television), you’ll find he actually sees a lot of opportunity in the world.

The same is true for Robert Kiyosaki, who ALSO accurately warned of the 2008 collapse.  You can see the video of one of his national news media appearances here.

So it’s not about the data being bad or the future being gloomy.  “Bad” and “gloomy” are our reactions to the data.

The data is what the data is.

The last time Schwab opened this many new accounts, it preceded the 2000 stock market collapse.

The last time housing sales were this strong, it preceded the 2008 housing market collapse.

Oh, and by the way, the Fed was raising rates heading into 2008 telling everyone the economy was strong.

The question is … how are YOU going to react?

Do YOU know where your life vest is?  Do you know how to put it on?  Do you know where your muster station and lifeboat are?

Those who are ready, are actually EXCITED about the possibility of a downturn.

Downturns flush the dumb money, bring prices back to bargain levels, and allow those who prepared to collect quality assets at fire sale prices.

The key is to be prepared.

Preparation means different things to different people.  There’s no magic formula.

Donald Trump told us, “Always have some cash.”

Summit at Sea™ faculty member Chris Martenson says, “Build social capital.”  That is, a network of friends you trust and can do business with.

Simon Black says, “Plant multiple flags.”  He thinks it’s smart to diversify where you live, work, bank, and invest.

We think it’s smart to listen to wise people, talk with qualified advisors, discuss with other active investors, and set aside time to focus on learning and planning.

We’re not suggesting investors should sit out.  You can’t make any money on properties you don’t own.

Just be smart about the markets, teams, and financing structures you use.  Favor investments which you can stay in through a rough patch.

If the market stays strong, you’re not really worse off.  And if the bottom falls out, you can ride it out.

Either way, you win.

Until next time … good investing!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Clues in the News – Robots, Housing, and High Rises

In our latest episode, we take you to lively Las Vegas, where we’re at the National Association of Broadcasters Show.

Visiting this city brings back a lot of memories.

You see, we witnessed firsthand the glut of real estate in Las Vegas pre-recession and the freefalling prices that followed when the market crashed in 2008.

In this podcast, we’ll delve into Clues in the News to analyze what’s going on in today’s market. We’ll discuss how headlines today parallel the past … and why emerging market trends should make a difference to YOU.

In this fast-paced episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show (we have a lot of ground to cover!) you’ll hear from:

  • Your super-sleuth host, Robert Helms
  • His clue-cracking co-host, Russell Gray

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Rising home sales

We found clear evidence home sales are rising in many markets. An article in Business Insider, New home sales unexpectedly jump in March, states sales of new single-family homes went up by 5.8% in March, according to the Department of Commerce.

This is a departure from what economists had predicted … the big shots imagined that new home sales would fall by 4% this month.

Notice we’re talking about new homes … this is a subset of the entire housing market.

The article also pointed out the confidence rating of the National Association of Home Builders is at a nearly 11-year high. It hasn’t been on fire like this since around 2005.

The news clearly points to rising confidence in the market … which means more free-flowing money. Catching any similarities between today’s market and the past?

We want to remind you we don’t have a crystal ball (although if you can procure one for us, we’ll happily take it!). The best we can do to predict the future is use our knowledge about the past to gauge where we think things are heading in the present.

Today’s market reminds us of what happens when money starts to flow freely. Too much free flowing money means money is mal-invested and people get sloppy.

Investments that make sense at zero cost often don’t make sense at a higher interest rate. In a market that’s beginning to be flooded with money, real estate investors have to be careful about the ways they consume debt.

New homes aren’t the only market subset currently thriving. In this MarketWatch article we learned the average number of days a house is on the market is 34 days.

That’s a tight market with sturdy demand! And with high demand comes high prices … until there’s a change.

If you’re in the building business, high demand and low supply might seem great … until you’re one of the hundreds of contractors who decided to take advantage of that high demand, inadvertently creating a glut of products.

At first look, rising demand might look good if you’re on the selling or building side of things. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to put all the info you get in the blender … and figure out what kind of soup you’ll really be getting.

The MarketWatch article stated the national median sales price for existing homes is up 6.8% … on average.

The word average is key. Prices were up by almost 10% in the Northeast … and down by 1.8% in the West. All real estate is local.

We thought it was interesting to pair what we know about rising home sales with our knowledge that home ownership is at a 100-year low. So WHO is buying all these houses?

Clearly, real estate investing is trending up. But what’s the big picture?

Skyrocketing home prices

There are a ton of indicators that the market might be heading for another crash. Rising home sales to investors and speculators is one.

Our friend Dr. Doug Duncan, former chief economist for Fannie Mae, told us during the Summit that this has been the longest recovery in U.S. history … and the weakest.

People who’ve been recovering from the crash of 2008 are finally dipping their toes in the market, thinking it’s normal. But if you’re a professional investor, you know most people end up buying high and selling low (to you, we hope!).

If you’ve been waiting for things to go on sale, the current market might be getting ready to serve up a lot of sunshine for you! If you’re prepared, a big pullback from the market could be one of the greatest possible gifts.

We noticed another interesting MarketWatch article. It says that U.S. home prices grew at fastest rate in nearly three years.

That’s more evidence we might be nearing the top of the market. But it’s not time to be scared. It’s time to be smart.

You have to be careful about how and where you’re investing. And you absolutely must have a Plan B.

If the market crashes, you may have to sit on your properties for ten years … and you have to be willing to do so.

Ask yourself: If interest rates go up, will my deals stay stable? If prices go down, will I be in a position to buy?

It’s very dangerous to put your fingers in your ears and ignore what’s happening in the news. After all, the Titanic sunk because nobody thought it could.

The big question is how YOU will respond to what you’re hearing. Take a look at the past … analyze the present … and prepare for the future.

Plunging sales, soaring inventory in one market

Our next article, Condo Flippers in Miami-Dade Left Twisting in the Wind, featured on Wolf Street, could have been published 10 years ago.

If you go to Miami, you’ll see new high rises going up across the city. Yet sales fell 10% year over year.

If you’re a regular subscriber to our events and podcasts, you might remember that we were doing Miami field trips at one time.

It wasn’t that we weren’t plugged in. We examined the data and asked for details. And we let ourselves be persuaded the rapid growth in the Miami market could continue … because it seemed great.

But sure enough, the unthinkable happened.

Although there were people who had a plan and are holding on now, Miami is not a market you want to be in right now. Based on current construction, there’s a 432-year supply of new high-rise condos.

Miami demonstrates what can happen when there’s a temporary spike in demand. Now, we’re not saying temporary spikes in demand are always bad. In fact, they can be a good thing!

But you HAVE to be prepared for the worst to happen.

Are robots taking over the world?

Our last article discusses a very different phenomenon. We were fascinated when we read an article in Nikkei Asian Review. They share robots can handle a high percentage of our work tasks.

What do robots have to do with you? Well, that’s EXACTLY the question we want you to be asking!

The study the article cites found that 75% of 77 sample tasks could be handled by machines. So think … how does this affect the fast-food worker? The factor employee? The Lyft driver?

And what if those people are your tenants?

As landlords, we have to think about how every change will affect us, good and bad.

There are so many factors that affect the real estate “ecosystem” … blowing winds, undercurrents, waves, and sudden storms.

It’s essential to keep a sharp lookout as you navigate your portfolio through both sunshine and swells. As the saying goes, “A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.”

Successfully navigating through rough seas can only make you a better sailor. As veteran real estate investors, we’ve learned to be grateful for devastating events like 2008 … because they forced us to become sharper students. Now we see downturns as opportunities!

We urge you to watch what’s going on the market and evaluate how each new factor makes an impact on you. The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. Now is the time to be proactive … before you have a leak in your dining room.

Like the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared!”


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Real estate still makes sense in uncertain times …

The world is full of alarming headlines which should concern any alert investor:

Pension Crisis Too Big for Markets to Ignore

The Federal Reserve Could Reduce Its Monstrous Balance Sheet Soon – That Should Terrify Everyone

The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America

We could have pulled up more, but you get the idea.  Scary stuff.

Of course, we’re still on a high after our recent Summit at Sea™ with Robert Kiyosaki, Peter Schiff, G. Edward Griffin, Simon Black, Chris Martenson, and many other really smart people.

If you’re familiar with any of these guys, you may wonder why we’re still excited.  After all, these guys are notorious for decrying the many problems facing the global economy.

But their concerns are only half the story.

There’s also lots of opportunities available … many of which are unique to real estate

So while it may be bad timing to buy an over-priced property hoping to flip it to the greater fool for fast cash, high-priced properties create opportunities too.

If you’re the proud owner of a highly-appreciated property, you have the gift of equity.

Your equity can be repositioned from an over-priced market to a growth market through a cash-out refinance or 1031 tax-deferred exchange.

Consider this headline from the LA Times

Leaving coastal California is a ‘no-brainer’ for some as housing costs rise

The article highlights a couple who are leaving Huntington Beach for Phoenix.

There’s a lot of that going on right now.  People and businesses move around in order to survive and thrive.

The key is to get on the right side of the flow.

Of course, not everyone leaving high-priced areas will want or be able to buy.  And until they do, we’d love them to rent … from us!

So record-low home ownership rates might reflect weakness in the overall economy, but they actually create demand and opportunity for landlords in affordable markets.

There’s ALWAYS an opportunity.

Now this isn’t to say that all real estate anywhere is a good deal.  Or that maximum leverage on every property is the ideal portfolio structure.

But don’t let the doom and gloom of mainstream news dissuade you from developing your real estate investing opportunities.

Real estate is not a fad.  As long as individuals are permitted to own properties, those who do will be wealthier than those who don’t.

Real estate is real.  It’s considered by the world’s wealthy to be a safe haven asset.

So when bombs are dropping, financial markets are volatile, geopolitical tensions are high … capital seeks shelter in the dollar, Treasuries, gold and real estate.

But consider that the dollar is under attack by two very formidable forces … China and Russia. If they succeed, it could cause problems for the dollar.

Besides, the dollar is only a temporary hiding place for frightened capital.

What about U.S. Treasuries?

Debt denominated in the world’s reserve currency, and backed by the world’s biggest economy and military, tends to attract flight capital.  It’s safer than other debt.

But the U.S. is also the world’s largest debtor … with no apparent plan to stem the hemorrhaging of red ink.

And if anyone eventually creates a strong alternative to the dollar for global trade, especially in oil, then Treasuries could be in real trouble.

A weaker dollar means debt holders will want higher interest rates to compensate for the lost purchasing power.

Hopefully, that makes sense.  If not, think of it this way …

There was a time when you could buy 100 pieces of bubble gum for one dollar.  A penny a piece.

If you loaned someone a dollar, it’s worth 100 pieces of gum.  But if the dollar loses purchasing power, it might only buy 50 pieces of gum … now two cents each.

If you thought that might happen, you’d need the borrower to pay you back two dollars just to be EVEN.  And you’d probably want a little more for your risk.

That extra dollar is “interest.”  And when the currency is losing purchasing power, you need MORE interest to compensate.

Make sense?

The problem is if interest rates rise, bond values drop.  In the interest of time, we won’t explain this now, but grab a calculator and play with numbers until you get it.

So rising interest rates mean a loss of principal for capital placed in bonds.

This makes bonds a scary place to park long-term capital for wealth preservation.

And with next to no yield, safety of principal is really the primary purpose of parking cash in bonds.  No wonder foreigners have been dumping Treasuries.

How about gold?

We like gold.  It’s shiny.  There’s no counter-party risk.  It’s easily convertible into any currency.  It’s been used as money for thousands of years.  It’s survived the rise and fall of empires, currencies and cultures.

BUT … gold pays no yield.  It just sits there like a stack of cash.  And tax law can make it difficult to move in and out of.

Which brings us (finally) to real estate

We’re admittedly homers for real estate.  After all, we’re The Real EstateGuys™.

Still, we think there’s a LOT to like about real estate in uncertain times … like right now.

First, real estate is a tangible, physical asset.  Stock in a company that goes out of business isn’t worth the paper the shares are printed on.

Real estate doesn’t have counter-party risk.  If you park cash in real estate, no one else needs to do anything for the property to have value.  Your asset isn’t someone else’s liability … like an insurance contract, a bank deposit, or a bond.

Of course, if the tenant pays rent, the property becomes MORE valuable.

But what if the tenant doesn’t pay?

With real estate, you can evict a non-paying tenant and replace them with one who does.  Try to do that with a bond.

If a bond issuer owes you money and fails to pay, you can’t just replace them with someone who will.

The debt just goes bad … and you lose.

We could go on.  But you get the idea.

Real estate was valuable a thousand years ago, and it’s probably going to be even more valuable a thousand years from now … especially as more people compete over less land.

So the question isn’t really about real estate.  It’s about how much YOU will own.

Until next time … good investing!


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

The BEST investment you can make …

We’re back from what Robert Kiyosaki described as our BEST Summit at Sea™ so far.  It’s hard to disagree.  And no, this isn’t a pitch for the Summit.

In fact, alumni already grabbed about 40% of the available spots … before we even got off the ship!

While there’s no way to describe the magic of the Summit, there are a few valuable ideas worthy of mention.

Developing social capital

New Summit faculty members Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart (The Crash Course and Peak Prosperity podcast) shared the importance of “social capital.”

After a compelling presentation about the inevitable collision between exponential growth and finite resources (a fascinating topic!), Martenson and Taggart suggested your prospects for prospering will rely heavily on your network of relationships.

That’s true whether a crisis strikes tomorrow or 100 years from now.

And it’s not just knowing a large quantity of people … it’s who those people are and how well you know them.

But even if a crisis NEVER hits, it’s wise to invest in quality relationships.

Surprise faculty member, Ken McElroy often says, “If you want to change your life, change the people you hang around with.”

This year, we had several young people take advantage of our Young Adult Program.  It allows a limited number of young adults ages 18-25 to get into the Summit for only $2,500.

More importantly, it gave these young people close personal access to many highly successful investors and thought leaders.

Our other surprise faculty member, Simon Black of SovereignMan.com joined Kiyosaki and McElroy for a one-hour private session with these young adults.

Simon said it was the most powerful experience in his four years of being a part of the Summit.

Going forward, we’re dedicating up to 30 seats on next year’s Summit to our Young Adult Program.

We believe investing in young people is one of the BEST investment we can make.  And we’re thrilled our super-star faculty agrees!

But whether you’re young or not-so-young, if you’re interested in taking your education, business and investing to the next level, it’s wise to put concerted effort into developing good relationships with great people.

Summit faculty member and legendary sales trainer Tom Hopkins (How to Master the Art of Selling) reminded us the key is being of service to others.

So it’s not what you GET that matters most … it’s what you GIVE.

That’s easy to say, but often hard to do when our own urgent needs are clamoring for attention.

Tom says always remember, “Use money and serve people.  Don’t use people and serve money.”

A billion-dollar boo-boo

Consider the recent flap over United Airlines handling of an overbooked flight.
It’s a case study in forgetting the MAIN thing.

Unless you’ve been off-planet for the last few days, you know a ticketed customer was forcibly removed … literally dragged … from a plane because the airline wanted his seat to reposition their own staff.

The details are all over the news, but the bottom line is the airline decided to “save” money by not raising the bid to buy people off the plane, or making other (presumably more expensive) arrangements to get their staff where they needed them.

In short, they served money and used people.  Oops.

Of course, the horrific decision and resulting disastrous PR resulted in a nearly BILLION dollar loss of market value.

And that’s probably just the beginning of losses which will include customers, employees … plus money spent on public relations, training, and let’s not forget … LEGAL.

It’s shocking a mature business could be so short-sighted.

Relationships are the REAL asset

The beauty and danger of real estate is it’s not traded in impersonal, highly automated exchanges.  It’s a very PERSONAL business.

If you’ve got a good reputation and great relationships, real estate is actually pretty easy.

If your reputation is poor and your relationships are weak, you’re almost always looking at leftovers.

But it’s not just about deal flow … or even raising money.

Relationships provide access to ideas, perspectives, wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration.

Relationships change who you are, how you see yourself, what you reach for, and what you believe you can achieve.

We spoke on the Summit about Roger Bannister, the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes.

Until he did it, it was commonly believed it wasn’t physically possible.

But once he did it, others soon followed … because he broke the mental barrier holding so many people back.

If this can be done in the world of athletics, where a certain level of physical skill is required … imagine what can be done in a less demanding arena like real estate investing.

During the course of the Summit, we heard from investors who started with next to nothing … and grew portfolios of THOUSANDS of rental units in just a few years.

Until you’re around them, it SEEMS impossible.  But when you meet them and hear their stories, it opens your mind to the possibilities.  It EXPANDS your dreams and beliefs.

An epic experience

There were so many GREAT sessions including Peter Schiff on navigating the Trump economy, G. Edward Griffin on how the Fed affects everyone, Fannie Mae’s chief economist Doug Duncan on the state of the U.S. economy and housing … and MANY more.

We had nearly 25 faculty members … our biggest ever!

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Summit were the eight expert panels featuring some of the biggest brains on banking, precious metals, marketing, real estate niches, the next crash, and more.

In the information age, panels are really powerful.

It’s one thing to HEAR a great mind share big ideas.  But you can do that online.

It takes you to a whole new level when you watch several great minds DISCUSS big ideas. And to be a part of the conversation yourself?  Priceless!

With limited space on each year’s Summit, we realize it’s not possible for everyone to be there.  Hopefully someday, YOU can join us!

But in the meantime, we encourage you to seek out the smartest, most accomplished people you can … and find a way to get into high quality, win-win relationships.

They’ll expand your thinking, show you possibilities you didn’t know existed, open doors and make introductions to people and places you might otherwise take months or years to get to.

There’s nothing we know of that can help you accelerate your success faster than smart investments in building social capital.

Until next time … good investing!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Live from the 15th Annual Investor Summit at Sea – Part Two

Bzzzzz …. Can you hear the cross-pollination with some of the best and brightest brains in real estate?

Just like bees, we’ve been busy spreading ideas, making connections, and getting our minds blown AGAIN and AGAIN.

In this second installment, live from the 15th Investor Summit at Sea™, we share more insights of our stellar faculty members. We hope some of the ideas they share will pollinate your mind, too!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from our friends and mentors:

  • Your psyched-at-sea host, Robert Helms
  • His slightly psycho (about the Summit, of course!) co-host, Russell Gray
  • Debt and equity expert, Michael Becker
  • Brand and marketing strategist, Kyle Wilson
  • The foremost expert in residential assisted living investing, Gene Guarino
  • Entrepreneur and sustainability champion, David Sewell
  • Sales legend and international sales trainer, Tom Hopkins
  • Best-selling personal finance author and guru, Robert Kiyosaki
  • Active investor and syndication expert, Victor Menasce
  • Financial strategist and life insurance expert, Patrick Donohoe
  • Real estate investment expert, Kathy Fettke
  • Nationally recognized apartment investor, Brad Sumrok
  • Precious metals expert and host of the New Orleans Investment Conference, Brien Lundin
  • The “gold guy,” rare coins and precious metals expert, Dana Samuelson
  • Last but not least, the Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms

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Last man standing: Michael Becker

We call Michael Becker the “last man standing” because he’s usually the last man standing … at the bar.

All the rubbing shoulders Michael did gave him a good insight … he remarked that people attend the Summit for its content, but leave with conTEXT. Like many other attendees, Michael felt he came with acquaintances and left with friends.

Although Michael noted that Summit attendees did hear a lot of (truthful) doom and gloom, there’s still strategic opportunity out there.

“Everything’s local,” he told us. If you buy in the right markets and structure your deals properly, you may find the market still holds great potential.

It just takes foresight.

Attending with an open mind: Kyle Wilson

Second-time attendee and faculty member, Kyle Wilson has impresses us with his marketing know-how. Sales and marketing, he told us, is all about seeing what people need and adding value.

Kyle remarked on the pricelessness of the community and relationships he found at the Summit and the information presented.

“I took so many notes,” he commented. “You’re really smart if you’re inquisitive and you want to learn; you’re not so smart if you just want to defend your ideas.”

Kyle recommends open-mindedness … asking questions and being genuinely curious about how other investors think and work.

The biggest kick: Gene Guarino

Gene is our resident expert in residential assisted living investment.

We think Gene’s field is fascinating. It’s clear the way the numbers are trending in terms of aging … the elderly constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

Clearly Gene’s in a field with potential. But he’s not in it solely for the money.

“The biggest kick I get is teaching people how to do this themselves,” says Gene. He’s proud he’s taught people all over the country how to provide comfortable, affordable in-home care for the elderly.

Like his company motto says, he’s in this to “do good and do well.”

Gene shared a remarkable anecdote about his son, who came to his first investor Summit “ready to quit, curl up in a ball, and do nothing.”

The Summit, Gene says, changed his life … he went home, read 50 books, and now he’s a successful real estate agent.

You’ve gotta love the transformative power of real estate!

Serious about sustainability: David Sewell

David Sewell runs specialty cacao and coffee farms and is our go-to expert on agricultural investing.

His business philosophy has three pillars:

  1. Economic sustainability. “If you don’t make money, you can’t stick around to do your thing.”
  2. Environmental sustainability. “It’s about more than just thinking green … it’s leaving nature better than you found it.”
  3. Social sustainability. “Get yourself a team.”

David shared more insights about his social sustainability model during the Summit. Working with teams of local experts is what allows him to relax on a cruise ship for a couple of days … he relies on his team to keep his business functioning.

Why everyone is in sales: Tom Hopkins

“I truly believe,” Tom Hopkins told us, “that if I got out of a plane in a city where I knew no one and started knocking on doors, making calls, and building business, that within 90 days I would have a profit center.”

“How?!” You might ask.

Because of the 80/20 rule, Tom would tell you. Which is 80% of people will make 20% of the wealth, and 20% will make the other 80%.

And then there’s the super special 5% who put themselves in the right place and accomplish a high degree of wealth because they are superstars and champion salespeople.

“Everyone is in sales,” Tom says.

Why? Because sales is simply the ability to communicate and persuade effectively.

And if you doubt you have what it takes, look at Tom. He started with 90 days of college and little knowledge of sales, and within three years he had sold 365 homes in one year.

Tom credits his success to his own hard work … and the mentors he was blessed to find.

“Every person has greatness inside him (or her),” Tom told us. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge from someone else to let that greatness out.

Sales is not a four-letter word: Robert Kiyosaki

We really look up to Robert Kiyosaki, so when he says sales is an essential skill, we listen!

If you’ve read Robert’s books, you probably know his experience. Robert grew up in a home where “sales” was a dirty word and salespeople were seen as the scum of the earth.

When he came back from Vietnam in 1973 and told his mentor he wanted to be an entrepreneur, his rich dad told him he needed to know how to sell.

Robert was reluctant at first … but he came around (eventually). Listen in for his moment of reckoning!

Robert no longer thinks sales = #!?%. Sales = income! And if you don’t have income? Well, it’s probably because you can’t sell.

Successful startups: Victor Menasce

Victor’s a Canadian investor and author of Magnetic Capital.

He gave us some wisdom from his newest book, Startupology, which discusses how to transform a startup into a big business overnight.

Sound impossible? It might be, if you go the traditional route. Only about 10% of startups succeed, and even then, it takes on average seven years to reach profitability.

“My advice, if you want to start a startup: Don’t do it,” Victor told us.

We can hear you saying it now: “Wait! I thought Victor was going to give me the key to success!”

Here’s the key … “If you have an idea that could transform the industry, it’s better to find an adjacent business that already has revenue and customers. Your chances of success go up by a factor of eight. It’s that simple.” Bam.

Bringing the kids on board: Patrick Donohoe

“It’s your environment and network that shape a lot of who you are,” Patrick told us.

That’s why this year, he brought his daughter to the Summit. “There’s a dynamic that exists when you’re confined to one area with the same people for a week.” Believe it or not, that dynamic is packed with motivation and stimulation, said Patrick.

Patrick’s daughter Megan first read a tiny version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad when she was six … and now she’s got a great head start on becoming a successful real estate investor. Just like dad!

Make very, very wise decisions: Kathy Fettke

Kathy Fettke has been educating folks for a very long time about real estate investing. She runs the Real Wealth Network and has been an investor for years.

So we can say she’s seen a lot.

If you weren’t investing before 2009, “You need to know there’s a lot you don’t know,” Kathy said.

How do you get that knowledge? Talk to people who’ve been through down cycles!

These days, Kathy looks for guests to feature on her podcast, The Real Wealth Show, who’ve been investing for a while … at least thirty or forty years, ideally.

Interested in investing now? Kathy offered some advice. In much of the market, she said, we’re in the ninth inning … but not all. You have to know which markets are strong.

And you need to be prepared. “It’s a very different game when things turn around, and they always do,” said Kathy.

“Now is the time to make very, very wise decisions. The market could be very different next year this time.”

A good year for apartments: Brad Sumrok

We asked Brad, a guru on multi-family investments, about market cycles right now. He echoed some of the themes we’ve been hearing from our other faculty.

“If you’re looking at the right markets,” Brad told us, “there are still opportunities to be found.”

It’s those secondary and tertiary markets that folks should really be exploring right now, he added.

Precious info on precious metals: Brien Lundin

Brien runs the longest running investment conference in the U.S., the New Orleans Investment Conference. He’s also a precious metals expert.

What do precious metals have to do with real estate? There’s actually a lot of crossover between both of these tangible assets.

Long-term depreciation of the dollar and other currencies corresponds with long-term increases in precious metal prices (and values of other assets).

We asked Brien about metal market cycles. He told us that buyers interested in using precious metals as their savings plan should look to buy at interim low points, but true investors really have to watch the cycles carefully.

He also gave us the lowdown on getting involved in the early stages with precious metals … by investing in actual mining companies.

This move can give investors “tremendous leverage,” Brien says … just don’t forget that with great potential rewards comes great potential risks, too.

Politics and precious metals: Dana Samuelson

Dana also specializes in precious metals, particularly coins.

His current take on the metal space? “People buy all the time, but some people are smart and buy the dips.”

For his own part, Dana’s waiting to see how the new administration will translate. “Things could be choppy right now,” he told us.

Dana also explained his enthusiasm for coin collecting. Coins are little pieces of history. As a collector, “the coin you’ve held in your hands may have been held by Alexander Hamilton, founder of our monetary system.” How cool is that?

15 Summits: Bob Helms

We’re proud that the godfather of real estate has joined us for every single summit from the very beginning.

Speaking to the Summiteers, he said, “Hopefully the things you’ve learned have made it worthwhile.”

And he gave all of us some words of wisdom … “Invest in yourselves.”

Sowing in fertile ground: Russell Gray

Last but not least, Russ recapped his experience for us. The thing he’s most proud of? The Summit’s young adult program.

We can’t think of a better investment than investing in the next generation.

The environment we’ve been blessed to create as The Real Estate Guys™ is very nurturing, accepting, and open.

We believe sowing the fertile ground of a young mind can really change the course of a young person’s life. Now imagine that influence magnified across all the lives each young person will touch!

Every investor who participated in the Summit this year has had a similar chance to make a profound impact … simply by being willing to learn from each other.

We don’t know what seeds will germinate from this Summit, but we do know it’ll be good.

We have the most amazing Summiteers, faculty and attendees alike. If you didn’t attend this year, the only thing missing was you!

Live from the 15th Investor Summit at Sea™ – Part One

Ever had a life-changing week that left you reeling? That was us, after our 15th Annual Investor Summit at Sea™. It was one of those weeks we could relive over and over, and we’d like to take you aboard.

Our speakers are providing the BEST insights on real estate, economics, business and even life tips. Hear, also, why there’s always room to be optimistic.

Listen in as we sail with the specialists. In this informative episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your captain on the economic seas host, Robert Helms
  • His (calm and collected?) skipper co-host, Russell Gray
  • Faculty member, and author of mega-bestselling Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
  • Faculty member, multi-family Investor and Rich Dad Advisor, Ken McElroy
  • Faculty member, investment broker, and respected economist, Peter Schiff
  • Faculty member, investor and founder of Sovereign Man, Simon Black
  • Economic researcher, and co-founder of Peak Posterity, Chris Martenson, PhD
  • Silicon Valley internet executive, and co-founder of Peak Posterity, Adam Taggart
  • Author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin

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Preparing for the future…

 

Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki, continues the conversation … letting us know how he looks into the future.

“It really is possible to look into the future because there are parts of history that do repeat. The number one thing repeating is the ability to print money.”

The government continues printing more and more money.

Some would say it’s one of the biggest scams in history.

Robert explains that the biggest culprit of this salacious scam is the lack of education.

Due to the lack of financial literacy and excessive money printing, Robert suggests we may already be in a depression.

Robert’s reasons for writing the book Rich Dad Poor Dad was to prepare people for these types of crises today.

But no matter the crisis, there is still reason to be optimistic.

Robert’s best advice in these economically uncertain times is to have a plan B.

In fact … Robert started with his plan B.

He didn’t get a job … but instead started his own business, invested in real estate, and invested in financial education.

Robert’s plan B was better than any plan A.

Much of his success had to do with his mission … his devoutness to duty, honor, and respect and in staying in line with his moral and ethical compass.

Lessons to be learned … seek financial education … have a plan B … and have a moral mission.

 

Debt … is a good thing?

 

Debt … a four-letter word despised by many. But there ARE good times to go in debt.

Debt is overwhelming and often causes financial hardship. But real estate investor, Ken McElroy, gives his positive spin on the benefits of debt.

“I believe it’s good to be in debt right now because obviously the way the dollar is being printed. That’s going to drive inflation.

His simple reasoning behind this is if you are in debt now … you can pay it off with cheaper dollars later.

But don’t start racking up your credit cards now. There is a BIG difference between good debt and bad debt.

Bad debt is when you invest in things that depreciate quickly after purchase.

Many people’s credit card purchases fall into the bad debt category … those items simply lose value rapidly.

Good debt as Ken suggests, “is the kind of debt your tenants pay off.”

In other words, it’s investing in things that appreciate over time with a result in cash flow.

 

Essentially, “investing” in good debt is well … GOOD!

 

You borrow from the bank to invest in real estate (good debt) while tenants pay off that debt … and voilà you put money RIGHT back into YOUR bank account.

In Ken’s experience, “Good debt is a good way to get massively rich.”

Get into good debt … get more money in the bank.

Seems like an oxymoron, but the reasoning is sound.

So keep in mind … shying away from debt might actually lose you more money in the end.

 

A Strong Dollar … Relatively Speaking

 

Economist Peter Schiff joins our show once again with his expertise on the American dollar.

Peter and many others here agree that we are headed toward an economic downturn.

Generally speaking, in a strong economy and productive growth, prices don’t increase because you’re producing goods with a high supply.

But with decreased productivity and a shortage in supply … the economy slows down.

In many cases, the Federal Reserve resorts to printing more money causing inflation to accelerate.

We constantly hear in the news “The dollar is strong. The dollar is strong.”

Is this really true?

Peter recognizes the media’s common fallacy … exposing the strong dollar façade.

He explains the dollar is strong … relative to other currency falling at a slower rate.

But “it’s not real strength,” he explains.

Simply because the euro or the yen are weaker than the dollar doesn’t equate to strength.

According to Peter, gold is only up by 8% this year … which isn’t very strong compared to earlier years.

The constant increase in living costs … often more than 2% of inflation … only emphasis the weak dollar.

Peter asserts, “If the dollar really were strong, the cost of living would be falling.”

Perhaps the media should redefine their use of “strong dollar.”

 

An Opportunity for Optimism

 

Investor Simon Black of the popular Sovereign Man joins The Real Estate Guysonce again at our annual sailing summit.

Just like in any investment, there are many risks or potential problems to be weary of.

Simon identifies some of these problems including “unprecedented levels of debt” and the central bank that appears to be “actively engineering it’s own insolvency.”

But even as the bank inflates our money away, Simon joins other experts in remaining optimistic.

There may be a number of problems, but as Simon so brilliantly pointed out “Anytime there are problems, those are just opportunities. “

These problems present us with infinite opportunities to learn, innovate, adapt, and improve our circumstance.

These opportunities are a gateway to knowledge and learning … in hopes we can establish a healthy and sustainable marketplace.

We completely agree with Simon … at the end of the day we are intelligent people and “we are going to be okay.”

 

A Framework for Success

 

The Real Estate Guyswelcomes … for the first time on the show … authors of Prosper, Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart.

Chris’ curiosity led him to create a book and video series entitled The Crash Course.

After a series of events, Chris discovers that our entire entitlements system in the US is completely insolvent and unsustainable.

Intrigued by Chris’ insights, Adam continued the conversation with Chris … forming a complementary (and impressive) partnership.

Using their unique skills, data, and wealth of knowledge, they co-wrote Prosper in hopes for seeking real solutions.

Both teach the principles of The Three E’s. Which are:

  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Environment

The economy, as Chris suggests, is the most important E to pay attention to.

Without a functioning economy, we are vastly limited in possibilities.

The relationship between energy and the economy is also key to understand.

Just pay attention to oil prices.

Lastly, we need to understand the environment … what we take out of it and what we put back in.

Chris asserts, “We can’t keep going as we have. It’s time to have a whole new approach for living on this planet.”

We can’t continue to have a constant increase of growth year after year.

Yet so many companies and countries place their projections on this data.

Next year is always going to be better.

While this is a positive perspective, Chris and Adam’s research shows … it is NOT actually POSSIBLE.

“Infinite growth is not possible in a finite space,” Chris says.

Instead of projecting eternal growth, Chris and Adam advise investing in differing capital.

In their definition, wealth is a whole lot MORE than just the number in your bank account.

You preserve your wealth through various capitals including emotional capital, financial capital, or social capital.

You gain MORE resources by expanding your capital outside of mere money.

Developing these types of capital along with an increased resiliency … will set your path for success.

 

Money on the Mind

 

Our last interview for today is the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin.

The main question on our minds today is why people always want more money?

Edward’s simple response says it all.

“Money is a measure of the extent of which you can ask for and receive the services of other people.”

In expanding wealth, some believe money is for the greedy or evil.

However, money isn’t inheritably evil.

It can provide enlightening education, take us abroad, and create tremendous opportunity.

But also, unfortunately, money can be used in unsavory ways. “The fact of the matter is that evil people have captured control of the system by which money is created,” Edward states.

He is referencing the Federal Reserve.

Or what he also refers to as “the engine of inflation.”

The Federal Reserve controls the creation and elimination of money.

The controversy with this agency is their excessive fiscal printing with no tangible thing to back it up.

They produce money out of thin air … and then collect borrowed interest on it.

It’s a difficult concept to wrap your mind around … perhaps if the government had a little more moral in their mission like Robert, inflation wouldn’t be as big of a problem.

 

The Insightful Summit Ensues

 

Many of us are floating in a sea of investment opportunity.

There are so many factors. There’s the undercurrent, the winds, the weather, and the waves jostling us around.

But with every problem, there in turn is another opportunity … a chance to unify with our peers and come up with solutions.

This Summit gives us so much to digest … but don’t tune out just yet.

We have a lot more thought-provoking ideas heading your way as we continue our ocean sailing.

Until next time … make some equity happen!


 

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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.