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2/3/13: Searching the Globe for Real Estate, Banking and Privacy

Being homeless isn’t something most investors aspire to.  Then again, it depends on your definition of homeless.

In this episode, we visit with a man who is a self-described “perpetual traveler”.  As such, he doesn’t really identify with any particular country.  He’s what you might call a sovereign man.

What does that have to do with real estate investing?  That’s what we wanted to know!

Planted behind the microphones under The Real Estate Guys™ cone of silence:

  • Your perpetual host, Robert Helms
  • Our special guest and sovereign man, Simon Black

Many investors buy property wherever that happen to live.  It’s a great strategy if you’re in a great market.  But what if you’re not?

We say, “Live where you want to live, but invest where the numbers make sense.”  Then again, there may be more to your investing choices than simply return on investment.  Some markets make sense for other reasons.

Some investors are concerned (and rightly so) about things like privacy, asset protection, personal security and lifestyle.  And in a rapidly changing world, there’s a lot to think about!

Now you may be a raving fan of big government, deficit spending, and ever-increasing regulation.  Or you may think that all of that is a short path to economic and societal collapse.  We’re not here to debate the right or wrong of what’s going on. We just want to understand the possible outcomes and put ourselves in the best position to survive and thrive.

Regardless of your feelings about the the size and scope of government, it seems quite obvious that government is getting bigger and more expensive throughout much of world, and certainly in the United States.

So who in the world is Simon Black?

Simon Black (not his real name) is a kind of mystery man.  He claims to have a background in military intelligence who eventually came to distrust the U.S. government he enlisted to serve.  Interesting….but so what?

As a result of his experiences in government, Simon decided to step back and look at world dynamics from something other than a U.S. centric point of view. To gain this perspective, he began to study, travel, explore, invest and muse.  We discovered him through reading several of his many musings.

We always find conspiracy theories interesting, but they aren’t really easy to invest in. And we’re not saying Simon is a conspiracy theorist, but he certainly does question some of the motives behind ever-growing governments.

Nonetheless, some of Simon’s observations about the economic and political happenings around the world translate directly into things like population growth, demographic shifts and land use.

Land use!  Okay, NOW it starts to get interesting.  After all, we are The Real Estate Guys!

We like real estate because it serves essential human needs.  This means, for the right real estate, people will pay to use it.  Duh, right?

The key then is to identify what makes a chunk of dirt “right” for what and for whom.  Ahhhh…now it gets a little tougher.

Obviously, in a society where people and the economy are growing, real estate investing is easy.  Just buy anything people can live or work in.

But what happens when that wave of prosperity recedes?  Detroit used to be the United States’ wealthiest city.  California used to be a compelling reason to “Go west, young man” because it was a low cost land of opportunity.  Not today.

The point is that things change.  And the pace of change today is greater than at any other time in history.  This means it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on.  You don’t want to get left behind…or worse, trampled.

So we set up a secret meeting with Simon Black to find out what his world travels have taught him.  It may well be a perspective you’ve never heard before.  We think you’re going to be intrigued at the very least.  And who knows, you may just be enlightened into a whole new style of real estate investing!

We’ve long been enamored of diversifying into global markets.  Stock and bond investors have been doing it, so why shouldn’t real estate investors?

And while we know that income property is valued by the income it produces, we’ve also learned that sometime it isn’t what sits on top of the land that makes it valuable.  Sometimes, it’s what comes out of it.  Just ask Jed Clampett (that’s a reference to The Beverly Hillbillies, in case that got by you younger folks).

Simon sees a whole new opportunity, and it isn’t about oil.  But we don’t want to spoil it for you, so take a listen.  And as you do, think about how many people share Simon’s concerns about privacy, private property rights; less dependence on big, easily controlled and disrupted institutions and supply chains.

You may or not look at the world the way Simon Black does.  And banks, governments and multinational corporations may continue to be the dominant economic and political forces they are for many decades to come.  If so, how does it harm you to have a modest Plan B in place?

And if these big institutions struggle, wouldn’t it be nice to have at least a little bit of independence and anonymity?  History tells us that when major institutions that the masses depend on for their essentials falter, the resources of the prudent often come under attack.  You may not be able to avoid that forever, but why be the low hanging fruit?

Since real estate is a fundamental component of human survival and prosperity, doesn’t it make sense to have some of it in a variety of places – perhaps a little off the beaten path?

Think about it as you listen to our interview with international sovereign man of mystery, Simon Black.

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