Mark Victor Hansen on How Big Thinking Leads to Big Results

As you look over your portfolio remember … the MOST important asset that you manage is your mind. 

Our minds are the source of all our best ideas … our dreams, our plans, our actions, and our results. 

Today we’re talking to the world’s biggest-selling author in history … and he is revealing how and why to train your brain to think BIGGER. 

Because Mark Victor Hansen knows … big thinking leads to big results. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your big thinking host, Robert Helms
  • His pea-brained co-host, Russell Gray
  • Biggest-selling author in history, Mark Victor Hansen

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Your mind matters

Today we’ve got an incredible guest that’s going to challenge you to think big … and if there ever were a time when you needed to empower your amazing mind … it’s right now!

We say it all the time … how you think and what you believe affects what you do. And what you do affects the results you produce. 

Every day, the world is going to give you things to freak out about … and if you let that get inside your heart and mind, then it’s going to affect the decisions you make. 

You’re only going to see doom and gloom. You’re not going to see the flip side of all of that, which is opportunity. 

There have been people who have both failed spectacularly and have been ruined forever and people who have failed spectacularly and have bounced back. 

Then there are the people that have managed to not only survive those things, but thrive through them. 

So, what’s different?

Obviously it wasn’t the circumstances, because we are all being hit with the same situation. The difference is what’s between your ears … and the decisions you make with the resources you have. 

It all starts in your head. 

Dreams don’t have deadlines

Mark Victor Hansen is one of the biggest best-selling authors in the world. He has written hundreds of books and sold millions of copies. He’s the founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul. 

And Mark has things to say to those of us that can be our own worst enemy. 

“You got to hang out with other people that are doing bigger, better, more extraordinary things than you are,” Mark says. 

You can’t control the timing of everything … but luckily we live in a pretty amazing time in terms of technology. 

Technology creates fundamental abundance. You have access to the best and the brightest ideas at your fingertips. 

That means you can fill your head with crisis and despair … or you can listen to positive things that build you up, thrill you, and encourage epic experiences. 

Mark also encourages people to think long term. What is your big goal? Once you set it, your mind will focus in and start to go to work. 

Dreams don’t have deadlines … so find something that you want to do with your whole heart, mind, and soul and go do it!

“If you go for excellence, the money will show up,” Mark says. 

But remember … you don’t get in life what you deserve. You get in life what you ask for. 

Mark shares the story of wanting his own bicycle … so he decided to sell greeting cards to raise the money. 

“I’d go up to a neighbor’s house and say, ‘I’m earning my own bicycle. Would you like to invest in one box of Christmas cards or two?’ And because I was taking the initiative to ask, people would buy,” Mark says. 

Lessons from Chicken Soup for the Soul

You may not think of real estate when you first think of Chicken Soup for the Soul … but the two are definitely connected. 

The connection is your mind. As we’ve said before, what you put into your brain affects the way you behave … and what could be better than stories full of joy?

“The principle here for each and every one listening is that the creator is greater than his or her creation,” Mark says. 

Ever since he was little, Mark says he wanted to talk to people about things that mattered. “I wanted to enthusiastically get inside people’s minds and hearts with stories,” he says. 

Mark took that idea and ran with it … but that doesn’t mean he didn’t face uncertainty like we all do. He was simply able to keep his eyes on his big goal and work on the resources he had. 

“There’s unlimited opportunities in America. You just need to find a way to use your talents. Be the best you can be, and have a passionate purpose,” Mark says. 

Even with all that is going on, the world has never been richer than it is right now … and that goes for both dollars and opportunities. 

So, hang around big thinkers … people who can help you solve big problems and aren’t afraid to take things on. 

The size of your thinking determines the size of your results. 

For more from Mark Victor Hansen … listen to the full episode!


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An economy in triage …

(Here’s a 5-minute money read)

You probably know the global economy caught a virus and suffered a massive heart attack. Cash stopped flowing, creating a cascade of problems …

… including individual cell damage, organizations and systems in danger of failing, and almost certainly … brain damage.

So the monetary doctors at the Federal Reserve are infusing enormous volumes of liquidity … perhaps hoping sheer pressure will force cash to flow.

Concurrently, Uncle Sam is injecting free money right into Main Street bank accounts …

… while local governments are selectively allowing certain chosen industries to provide “essential” products and services.

We’re not criticizing or complimenting. It’s simply an observation of what’s happening.

In recent rants, we suggested that insane, absurd, unsustainable levels of systemic debt is the primary vulnerability …

… the kryptonite of the “super” economy the United States was purportedly enjoying … right up until it wasn’t.

It’s a long, convoluted rabbit trail to explain, but the short of it is simple … when cash stops flowing, debts go bad.

That’s bad enough. But of course, it gets worse …

All that debt is underpinning artificially inflated asset prices (yes, that’s where the inflation ended up … they just call it “the wealth effect”).

As debts go bad, asset prices PLUMMET …

… UNLESS, the Wizards behind the curtain conjure many trillions of new dollars out of thin air to prop up … EVERYTHING … and push asset values back up.

Of course, all those dollars aren’t really free.

But no one in the White House, Congress, the Federal Reserve, or the mainstream financial media will say it, because …

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
– Henry Ford

But YOU should know it.

It’s the reason real estate investing has been arguably the most powerful and reliable builder of real wealth for many decades.

Properly structured income-producing properties allow investors to hedge deflation, ride inflation, and enjoy high after-tax yields on equity along the way.

Of course, there’s risk. And real estate investing is more work and takes more education than “invest and forget” or “buy low/sell high” paper asset investing.

But with ALL forms of investing … when external factors change, your investing strategy and tactics need to change too.

Right now, external factors are changing FAST. But it’s too early to tell if we’re facing an unpleasant cold front … a deadly blizzard … or a new ice age.

However it’s safe to say storm clouds have formed … and inclement economic weather is threatening to engulf the entire world.

This is notable because it usually takes a strong lead dog to pull the pack and sled through the snow … though that sometimes comes at a price.

China took on nearly $33 trillion in new debt to help pull the world out of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. It’s doubtful they’ll do it again.

So contrary to popular myth, this 2020 crisis-in-waiting is probably NOT 2008 all over again.

Of course, the how and why won’t be clear until we’re on the other side.

But YES, the sun will come back out … eventually. Right now, it’s cloudy and cooling with very limited visibility.

So rather than delve into tactical details for right now …

(we’re interviewing many of our boots on ground teams and we’ll be talking on the radio show about what they’re seeing and doing right now)

… we think it much more useful to share what we’re watching and why …

Jobs

The MOST important thing is jobs.

When we interviewed then-candidate Donald Trump and asked about his housing agenda, his one-word answer was, “Jobs”.

But jobs are only the start of the financial food chain.

Tenants’ jobs provide your rent, which provides your mortgage payments. Obviously, homeowners’ jobs are the source of their mortgage payments.

Mortgage payments often get made to servicers, who in turn forward the income to investors often via mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

But when enough payments get missed, those MBS lose value. And if they’re leveraged, that loss in value triggers margin calls.

Margin calls then force leveraged paper investors to post cash or face a forced sale of their pledged assets at a loss.

(This is where all the excessive systemic debt is the biggest problem … in that regard this IS 2008 all over again … only bigger)

If you’ve ever been on the wrong end of a leverage stock investment and received a margin call, you know exactly what that’s like.

Sometimes, highly-margined paper traders need to sell anything and everything at ANY price in order to raise cash … or end up bankrupt like Lehman Brothers in 2008.

These fire sales cause paper asset prices to collapse, triggering more margin calls, and a vicious downward cycle of asset price deflation.

That’s financial system contagion and when you see RED flashing across all the financial market indices.

The “patch” is for the “Plunge Protection Team” and/or the Federal Reserve and their proxies to step in and bid up prices … the Fed’s “asset purchase programs“.

Of course, when this happens, markets see a blip up, and cash-starved traders “sell the rally” … which of course, creates more red.

Right now, the Fed is SO active, paper traders default to buying anything the Fed’s buying just to catch a free ride.

We wish real estate underwriting were so simple.

The REAL solution is productivity (jobs), NOT printing currency.

But neither the government nor the Federal Reserve can “create” jobs. The best they can do is foster an environment where private enterprise creates jobs.

Right now, just the OPPOSITE is happening. They’re shutting everything down.

Until that’s fixed and businesses have time to rebuild … economic malaise and financial system (credit markets, banks, currency) instability are likely.

Sorry to burst your bubble … oh wait, something else already did that.

The Dollar

As we’ve been pointing out for some time, the Federal Reserve is using their printing press to “borrow” trillions of new dollars from the purchasing power of ALL dollar holders worldwide.

Read that again. And if you don’t CLEARLY understand it, then make a note to study this topic until you do.

It’s probably the most important financial concept most people don’t understand, but should …

“By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” 
– John Maynard Keynes (look him up)

A fantastic resource for understanding the foundation of all this is The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin.

Creature is a much more useful horror experience while sheltering in place than binge watching The Walking Dead.

And while you’re digging deep into the design of the dollar system, be sure to study its ascendancy to world’s reserve currency status in 1944.

Then go even deeper and consider what YOUR world will look like if the dollar loses that reserve currency status. Most Americans are NOT ready.

However, as we chronicled way back in 2013Russia and China have been on a mission since 2010 to knock King Dollar off the throne.

As pointed out in the opening session of the Future of Money and Wealth program, Russia and China are in a MUCH better position to pull it off today.

Are they? Will they? Maybe. Maybe not.

But it’s no secret they want to … and have been working on it for a long time. They’ve reiterated it in word and deed on many occasions over the last 10 years.

Which brings us to …

Gold

Gold is the oldest and most universal form of money.

“Gold is money. Everything else is credit.”
J.P. Morgan

And apparently, the rest of the world is adding to their gold savings ….

 

 

Again, this has been going on since 2009, when China publicly warned the U.S. about protecting the value of dollar.

But Uncle Sam’s debt swelled nonetheless.

And the Fed’s balance sheet exploded from $800 billion to $4.5 trillion in 2012 … and is now $6.6 trillion and still GROWING. That’s all freshly printed dollars.

No wonder the world went to work on breaking their dependency on the dollar.

You may know gold is at all-time highs against every major paper currency in the world … except the dollar.

Stated inversely, paper currencies have collapsed to their all-time lowest values against gold … and the dollar is getting there … probably soon.

The ultimate currency insiders … central banks … accelerated their gold acquisition over the last two years. Hmmmm ….

What’s in YOUR safe?

Bringing it Home to Main Street

It’s no secret all us outsiders are on the front end of what looks to be a severe economic contraction.

Individuals, businesses, industries, asset classes, and even countries …are going to feel it. Real estate is not immune.

But even as you prepare for the worst, there are bright spots …

U.S. Manufacturing and Agriculture

In the short term, it’s ugly.

But long term, it seems policymakers and John Q. Public realize it’s important to have more manufacturing back in the United States.

Shortages of masks and medicine sent a message. We’re guessing many industries will consider or be coerced into moving.

So we’ll watch for opportunities in currently overlooked geographies where a migration of manufacturing might create a resurgence in real estate.

Energy

Again, energy is depressed right now because of a temporary collapse in demand.

But that also means choice assets are on sale. Meanwhile, less efficient production is going off-line … perhaps permanently.

So unless you think economic activity has ceased forever, then at some point the demand for energy should rebound … even more so if more manufacturing makes its way back to the USA.

Cheap Debt

Stimulus almost always means free money.

While borrowing to spend is stupid, borrowing low and long to invest high and short can be very smart … and profitable.

And right now, credit markets haven’t collapsed … yet.

So, it’s probably still a great time to quickly load up on cheap dollars, some precious metals, and high-yield debt secured by real estate you wouldn’t mind owning.

Distressed Assets

Of course, tough times means wrong-footed investors will need to let go of nice properties in good markets because they’re only structured for sunshine.

They’re selling because they have a problem, and when you buy … even at a discount … you help solve their problem.

And while it’s nice to buy at the very bottom, what really matters is where everything is at 10-20 years from now.

So, don’t be shy to buy if a deal makes sense … even if there’s a chance more air will come out. After all, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

Until next time … good investing!

 

Doing what you can to weather the storm …

Welcome to Part 2 of our discussion on the root cause of the current coming financial crisis and what you can do to survive and thrive.

We got a lot of positive feedback on Part 1 (thanks for that!) and folks have been anxiously waiting for this Part 2.

Fair warning: This is a whopper … and we didn’t get to everything. This easily could have been a three- or four-part series … or even a book or full day webinar!

(We’re working right now on the webinar … stay tuned!)

For now, we’re guessing most HIP (Hunkering In Place) people have more time these days, so we’re hoping you won’t mind the “bonus” material in this edition.

Last time we highlighted how the world is saturated in absurd, insane, unsustainable amounts of debt.

Debt is the cancer the Coronavirus crisis exposed, but the financial system disease pre-existed the virus. It’s been a concern of alert investors for years.

That’s because even the slightest disruption of payments can trigger downward spiral contagion of margin calls, fire sales, asset price deflation, and a lock down of credit markets.

That’s what happened in 2008 … and this portends to be MUCH bigger.

With global economies operating skeleton crews, commerce has declined precipitously and cash has stopped flowing.

It’s a global economic heart attack.

And with layers and layers of hypothecated debt daisy-chaining balance sheets of governments and financial institutions around the world …

… a wide-spread disruption of payments is an abject financial catastrophe of biblical proportions.

That’s why the PTB (powers that be) are desperately funneling freshly printed money directly to anyone (which is everyone) who has payments to make …

… while concurrently putting a faux bid on critical credit assets to prop up values and balance sheets.

And that’s just what we can see. Who knows what’s happening behind the curtain.

One thing few people are tracking or preparing for is the possibility the dollar might not be strong enough to paper over a global debt implosion.

It’s unnerving … yet important to pay attention because it takes time to react and things are happening big and fast.

So ready or not, the storm is here. However, the worst hasn’t hit yet … and when it’s over (this too shall pass), we expect there will be lots of opportunity.

Your mission is to get in position NOW so you can cash in when the clouds clear.

So if you haven’t read part 1, click here now to catch up.

Remember, there’s nothing you can do about events and circumstances outside your control. So while politics and philosophy are interesting …

… it’s best to focus on the short list of things you CAN control … so you can better react to those things you can’t.

Here are some suggestions …

Get Centered

First and foremost is MINDSET. How you think and what you believe affects your actions … and your actions determine much of what happens to you.

Mindset matters even more when facing adversity and chaos. Times like these can quash your enthusiasm and optimism.

You won’t see opportunities you don’t believe are there. And you won’t work or sacrifice to prepare if you’re convinced your efforts are futile. Hope is powerful.

Hope isn’t an irrational fantasy. In addition to the prescient warnings history gives us about the possible and probable dangers in the future …

… history tells us that tough times don’t last because humans always find a way to both survive and thrive. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be here.

Of course, just because some people thrive … doesn’t mean YOU will. But if some can, then so can you … and it starts with mindset.

Get Smart

Equip yourself with knowledge, wisdom and perspective. It’s important to increase your education in the things that matter most.

If all this financial system, macro-economic, geo-political mumbo-jumbo is new to you, it can be overwhelming. But so was algebra … and most of us figured it out.

Think about how much time, effort, energy, money, and thought you put into earning, spending, saving, and managing “money”.

Then remember that all those activities fit inside a complex system … with powerful people and institutions either influencing or directly controlling critical factors.

Can you afford NOT to take your financial education SERIOUSLY?

Of course, you’re reading this, so we’re preaching to the choir. Your mission is to go evangelize to the world.

Every person you inspire to take effective action to grow and protect their wealth makes the very society YOU live and invest in more prosperous … both for you and everyone else.

We’re all in this together and we need each other to succeed. And speaking of others …

Get Connected

The next thing you can work on is your network … or what our friends Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart at Peak Prosperity call “social capital”.

The old cliché, “It’s not what you know, but WHO you know that’s most important” became cliché for a reason. It’s TRUE.

Your network of fellow investors, mentors, advisors, and boots on the ground teams are essential sources of wisdom, intelligence, deals and capital.

Yes, it’s temporarily harder to get together physically in today’s wild world of compelled isolation …

… but it’s also never been easier to find and connect with other people through technology.

Of course, reconnecting with your party friends from college and complaining about being locked down isn’t what we’re talking about.

Be diligent to build relationships with the RIGHT people … those who are realistically optimistic, studious, thoughtful, connected, and active.

Just go watch It’s a Wonderful Life to remind yourself of the value of social capital.

Okay … we’re guessing by now we’ve already lost some of the left-brained engineers. But if you don’t make mindset, education, and strategic relationships a priority …

… all the tactical training in the world can’t help you because you probably won’t have the emotional, intellectual, or relationship capital to take action.

If money solved all the problems, we wouldn’t be having a crisis.

Now with all that said, let’s take a look at a few things the window of opportunity could be closing on. If you can’t focus on everything, these are worthy of top of list consideration …

(Remember … we don’t give professional legal, tax, or investing advice. We simply share ideas for your consideration as you consult with your own advisors and mastermind group.)

Get Liquid

Cash is like oxygen.

If it stops flowing in from commerce, you need to breathe from your balance sheet … by either liquidating assets or tapping into credit lines.

When you know you’re headed underwater, it’s smart to take a DEEP breath … before it’s too late. History says when you need credit the most, it’s least likely to be there for you … in spite of the marketing slogans.

Look at an experienced player like Ford Motor Company. They borrowed heavily in 2006 ahead of the 2008 crisis … and survived without a bailout (unlike GM).

And Ford just did it again.

They’re not the only ones. MANY seasoned CFOs are drawing down credit lines even as credit markets are tightening.

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to keep credit markets open and backstop everyone, the Fed is printing as many dollars as it takes … and it’s taking a LOT.

We think investors who get liquid while they have equity and access to affordable credit will be happy campers down the road.

After all, in a crisis cash is king. Or is it?

Actually, it’s liquidity that’s king. So while dollars are the life-jacket du jour right now, they may not be the lifeboat you’re looking for.

Get Real

Even though we’re The Real Estate Guys™, we’ve been around long enough to remember when dollars and money were the same thing.

The coins we’d buy our comic books with were made of silver. And dollars the U.S. printed were simply coupons redeemable for the real money … gold for foreigners and silver for citizens.

Of course, all that changed decades ago. In 1965, the United States stopped minting money and started minting zinc-plated copper tokens.

Gresham’s Law says when bad money is introduced into an economy, the good money goes into hiding. Good luck finding a silver coin in your change at the grocery store.

In 1971, President Nixon told the world their gold-backed dollars were no longer gold-backed. But while the dollar stopped being money, gold didn’t.

That’s why that $35 ounce of gold in 1971 is now worth $1600. The gold didn’t change. It’s still 1 ounce. It just takes a lot more dollars to buy it.

So an ounce of gold in 1971 was a better long-term store of value than 35 dollars.

There’s SO much to say on this one topic. For now, we’ll focus on just a few important points …

Precious metals give you a place to park liquidity outside of counter-party risk where you can pivot into virtually any currency. Those are two nice features in many forms of crises … including a dollar crisis.

Precious metals are real … just like real estate. When currencies fail, anything real is worth more than paper money. Look at toilet paper in Venezuela.

People are confused and confounded by metals because they think of them like a share of stock or a piece of property … just a something to flip for capital gains … in dollars.

Part of getting real is learning to think of wealth and profit in non-dollar terms. It’s not easy … especially for Americans.

So while traders use metals (or more accurately, futures contracts) to flip for dollars … cash flow investors complain precious metals don’t produce a yield, so what good are they to hold?

Yet, Mr. Cash Flow himself, Robert Kiyosaki, is a serious collector of metals. Think about that.

We find it easier to think of precious metals as equity.

And when we have equity in properties and we’re not ready to use to buy more properties, we’d rather have it in metals than in dirt.

As much as we love real estate equity… it’s very fickle, fragile, illiquid, non-private, and accessible to predators.

At the Future of Money and Wealth conference, we explained a simple strategy to convert real estate equity into precious metals …

… while improving cash flow, privacy, asset protection; reducing taxes and counter-party risk;

… and simultaneously hedging equity against both inflation and deflation.

Whew! That’s a lot of output from one simple strategy. And you can’t do it with paper assets.

Folks who were there in 2018 and acted on this idea are likely VERY happy they did. They probably made MANY times what they invested to attend the conference.

Of course, there were also those who “saved” by NOT attending. Remember, how you think affects what you do, which affects your results.

The MAIN point is it’s not too late to take a good look at precious metals as an alternative to cash (especially in the bank) for your liquid reserves.

Get Protected

This is probably the most boring of preps, but still super-important for anyone with a lot to lose. Crises can make people crazy.

Frightened people are buying guns, dogs, and security systems to protect against the possibility of desperate and hungry street thugs from taking their treasures.

But when stuff gets weird, street thugs aren’t the only people who are desperate and hungry.

So are opportunistic tenants, employees, customers, and their lawyers.

If your lawsuit protection and insurance structures aren’t updated and robust, NOW is a great time to evaluate them.

The best time to repair the roof is while the sun is shining. The next best time is when dark clouds are forming, but the deluge hasn’t hit yet. Like NOW.

Get Going … and Going … and Going …

You probably know there’s a WHOLE lot more to riding out this storm.

Here are some closing tips … and we’ll have a lot more in the Crisis Investing webinar we’re putting together.

This is probably a great time to revisit your financing and lock in low rates long term on properties you plan to keep.

It’s a great time to review or develop a serious tax-saving strategy to help pay for your “roof repairs”.

Explore all your options under the various stimulus bills and loan programs.

Consider helping your tenants explore their options for financial help. After all, some of those funds can be used to pay you rent.

Be proactive with your lenders to be sure you understand your options if you do suffer a reduction in rents.

That’s defense. But you can’t score without paying offense.

Even if you’ve restructured and gotten liquid, you might need extra reserves to ensure your own stability through the storm. But it’s hard to play offense without resources.

So if you don’t have enough funds to capture all the opportunities you anticipate, the timing has never been better to learn to raise private capital.

Sure, lots of stock market millionaires may find themselves demoted to the thousandaire club.

But the multi-millionaires … the millions of people with a few million or more left over … even after a nasty bloodletting … are going to be eager to rebuild.

Those folks have capital to invest. And while they may be interested in real estate, they may not want to get their hands dirty.

YOU can help them … for a slice of the pie. When you get a few of those people on your bus … all your little slices add up, so you can play big without taking big risks.

Lastly as we’ve been saying since 2008, markets and teams matter.

Picking the geographies, demographic, product types MOST likely to prosper in the coming economic environment is a more important than ever. And wherever that is you’ll need to have (or be) a great boots on the ground team.

With all this stimulus still rolling out, it’s not yet clear where, when, and how the trillions will make its way to Main Street.

But the Fed and the politicians are DESPERATE to get the cash into circulation.

You can bet we’ll be watching how all this plays out and which markets benefit most … as should you … and all the people in your strategic network.

One thing is certain …

No matter how the world changes, people will still need real estate to live, work, farm, and play on.

So stay tuned because as you can tell, we have a LOT to say on this topic. After all, we’ve been preparing for this time for over a decade.

Until next time … good investing (from a safe distance)!

Clues in the News — Bears, Bailouts and the 3-Headed Monster

The global shutdown from COVID-19 concerns have spun headlines that scream of businesses small and large under EXTREME distress. 

This leads us to ask a question you’ve heard us ask before … is it possible to see the forest for the trees?

We’re trekking into the headlines to discover bears, bailouts … and a 3-headed monster. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your intrepid host, Robert Helms
  • His imaginative co-host, Russell Gray

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Finding Clues in the News during COVID-19

With so much going on today … it’s time for another edition of clues in the news!

When the world changes, investing strategy changes. With COVID-19 disrupting economies, financial systems, and daily life, we’re experiencing something like nothing we’ve seen in modern history. 

Sheltering in place might protect you from the virus … but taking the same wait and see approach to investing is like pulling the sheets over your head while the house burns down. 

Now is not the time to be complacent. 

Even though there are a lot of things to be concerned about in the news right now … there’s also a lot of things to be excited about. 

Rent and unintended consequences

The big question on everyone’s minds is what happens when the rent comes due. When $81 billion in rent payments come due … and many Americans can’t pay … what do landlords and tenants do?

Several governors have put moratoriums on evictions of any kind for a month or several months. 

But that leaves many real estate investors and property managers thinking, “Is that just giving everyone license not to pay rent?”

We can’t say what’s going to happen … but we know that this situation is going to change things. 

What we can say is that a theme that we are going to see throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond is going to be … unintended consequences. 

At the end of the day, everyone is under intense scrutiny and under tremendous pressure. Sometimes, this can cause what we call an “icy road” reaction. 

If you’ve ever lost control on an icy road … then you know that humans tend to overreact. Then that overreaction creates another reaction that you overreact to again. 

The result … you’re fishtailing out of control. 

One of the biggest lessons YOU can take as an investor is to stay calm, divorce yourself from your feelings politically, and look at what is really happening. 

Only then can see what choices you are going to have to make and what aspects are in your control that you can respond to. 

As this first month comes and goes, it may be a good idea to take a look at your rental portfolio, see the effects … and make plans and predictions based on the clues you see. 

Mortgages and the Fed

Many of the same lessons apply to the folks who can’t make their mortgage. But some unique considerations and clues lie here, too. 

The mortgage industry is seeking billions in federal help as homeowners stop paying their loans. 

Here’s an industry that was at the epicenter of the last downturn … and the perfect example of those unintended consequences. 

If the tenant can’t work, they can’t pay. And if they can’t pay you, you can’t pay the mortgage. 

The challenge is in the Fed’s zeal to keep interest rates down and to keep people borrowing to prop up real estate prices, they’ve stepped into the market as an artificial player. 

They’ve purchased around $183 billion of mortgage-backed securities … which means they bid up the price of securities to push interest rates down. 

That act, which the Mortgage Banking Association seems to have not anticipated, now means they are getting margin calls … having to come up with lots of cash. 

We don’t think the Fed went in planning to blow up the mortgage banking business … but the unintended consequences mean they might. 

Keeping an eye on the Fed and on bonds can yield valuable clues as we move forward. 

The goings on in oil   

What about what’s happening in oil?

When oil prices are lower … then there’s less incentive for producers to pull the oil out of the ground and send it anywhere. At these prices, it’s difficult to make money. 

But when oil prices are low, it can be a boon to your tenants. 

The reason oil is low and available is because no one is consuming it. We’re not going to work. Airlines aren’t flying. Demand is down. 

But Russia, by refusing to participate in OPEC has driven the price down, too. 

That’s going to hurt the U.S. … which just achieved energy independence in terms of being a net oil exporter on the backbone of shale. 

But here’s the dirty little secret … most of that was driven by debt. The shale industry is horribly in debt … and that debt is all potentially in danger of going bad. 

We’ve been very concerned about the level of debt in the oil industry and whether or not the industry would actually become profitable enough to be able to service it without being able to roll it over. 

This is one that you should be paying attention to … not just for the oil jobs and not just for the cost of production and cost of living for your tenants. 

The industry hasn’t broken yet, but it’s definitely showing signs of weakness. 

Now, the backside of doom and gloom is opportunity. And if you can secure cash flow and be on the right side of events as they happen, opportunity can be found. 

For more clues in the news … listen to our full episode!

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.


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Crisis Investing Lessons — Navigating Uncharted Waters

Crisis is part of the investment game … and while the COVID-19 virus crisis is unlike any we’ve seen in modern memory, it’s not the first … or the last … crisis you’ll face as an investor. 

The good news is that history shows us two things. 

One … the human race will survive. And two … the backside of all busts is a big boom. 

Until the crisis passes, we all need to find a way to survive … physically and financially. 

Today, we’re talking about how lessons learned from the 2008 crisis can be applied to what we face today. We are focusing on how you can not only survive … but also thrive!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your thriving host, Robert Helms
  • His surviving co-host, Russell Gray

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Think and do

With so much going on in the world today, it is easy to get overwhelmed. 

Today, we’re talking about how to manage life when you find yourself in uncharted waters AND what lessons learned from previous crises can do for us in our current situation. 

We’re not here to tell you what is right and what is wrong. We’re here to talk about the facts and our own experiences. 

We haven’t seen everything … but we’ve seen a ton. We don’t know all the answers … but we have gotten pretty good at asking the right questions. 

One of our favorite sayings is, “Think and do is better than wait and see.” 

When there’s a crisis, the tendency is often to hunker down and wait to see what happens. But waiting and seeing has economic consequences. 

The big question now is …  what should we be thinking about?

Understanding what is happening in the market

Calmer heads always prevail. 

As real estate investors, we have a huge advantage. Markets like the stock market … or even the metals market … move instantly. That’s not true with the real estate market. 

If you look at what has happened in the stock market, with equity prices, and in bonds compared to what has happened in real estate … you’ll see a drastic difference. 

People who invest in stocks are seeing a market drop that appears already worse than the Great Depression. But your mortgage or your rent haven’t changed. 

That means that the person on the other end … the landlord or mortgage holder … their income hasn’t changed either. 

Now, that doesn’t mean it won’t. But the difference between now and 2008 is that in 2008, lenders were not ready to negotiate. They couldn’t see the ripple effect that would go through the financial system. 

But today, the Fed clearly sees it. Their reaction tells you they are bringing out the big guns early … and lenders are already beginning to contact people about ways to work things out. 

Even with all this intervention, there is still a chance that real estate investors will run into a cash flow problem … but the advantage is that real estate moves slower. You have more time to react now to future possibilities. 

Remember, the stock market doesn’t really reflect what’s going on in the economy. Stock prices are reacting to an anticipated slow down of corporate profits. 

There is plenty of cash out there. That’s not the problem. The problem is that it isn’t flowing. 

We’re basically watching an economic heart attack take place. It doesn’t matter what the blood volume is. The concern is that the blood isn’t flowing. 

So, you have to look at what is happening right now and make adjustments. Now isn’t the time to be a deer in the headlights investor. Now is the time to think and do. 

Making smart choices for your portfolio

We think that everybody listening in is going to want to own more real estate 10 years from now than they own today. 

Some of you may see opportunities … but you don’t have enough resources to take advantage. 

You can see bargains … quality assets going on sale. What do you do?

That’s why we are big proponents of syndication. 

We’re hearing on the street already that lenders are beginning to back off on their lending. If that is the case, it’s going to be a resurrection of private equity. 

When money goes looking for a safe haven after a nauseating ride on the Wall Street roller coaster … it often ends up in real estate. 

These investors are either on the equity side buying into real estate deals or on the debt side buying private mortgages and getting the yields. 

You have to be smart … but there is going to be a lot of money coming into real estate because of what’s happening. 

If you’re well-positioned and you underwrote your property correctly and you have a good lending partner, you’ll probably be ok. 

If you didn’t … well, there are going to be people who have to give up some real estate. 

If you’re in a good position, syndication can be a great way to get you ready to buy when those who need to sell make their move. 

And don’t forget that this doesn’t apply to just real estate. Real assets like metals and oil will have good deals, too. 

One of the biggest lessons we gleaned from 2008 is to keep your finger on the pulse of your markets and niches. 

Wherever you are in the world, whatever niche you’re in, whatever market you’re in … lean on your tribe. Enhance your participation in whatever forums or virtual meetups you have the opportunity to be part of. 

The closer you get to the front lines … the more real-time your information is … and the better you will be able to make decisions. 

For more lessons learned on investing during a crisis … listen in to the full episode!

More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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What the Coronavirus Means for Real Estate Investors

The COVID-19 pandemic and panic is well on its way to eclipsing the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and the Great Depression of 1929 as the most devastating economic event in modern human history. 

But humanity has a way of surviving even the greatest calamities … odds are we’ll survive this one too. 

So, we’re taking a look at the current crisis through the lens of things we’ve learned from the past. 

We’re discussing where future opportunities might be and ideas for what investors like YOU can do when facing uncertainty. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your keeping calm host, Robert Helms
  • His carrying on co-host, Russell Gray

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Economic issues and COVID-19

There’s so much going on in the world. COVID-19. The Fed lowering interest rates to zero. Social distancing. Sheltering in place. 

Today, we’re going to be discussing one of the biggest questions our listeners have been pelting us with … what does coronavirus mean for real estate investors?

Let’s start with this truth … it doesn’t matter what we think. All that matters at the end of the day is what you think. We’ll just share some food for thought. 

Remember, we don’t give advice. We give ideas and information. 

What we have is our own perspective … and that doesn’t mean we are right. Right now, some of our very good friends have polar opposite opinions and positions on this topic. 

But that’s why we can talk about it! We can all respectfully disagree and share ideas so you can make your own decisions. 

We’re going to focus mostly on the economic issues surrounding COVID-19. 

From an economic perspective, this situation is what we call a Black Swan … something nobody saw coming. 

The first thing we have to do is accept that we can’t do anything about the coronavirus. It is out of our control. But we can control how we respond. 

There can still be opportunity

The fact of the matter is that when certain parts of society go away … even temporarily … it has a lasting impact. Those things don’t come back quickly. 

It slows the velocity of the economy. Even the Fed can’t speed that up. All they can do is try to increase the volume and hope the volume compensates for the velocity. 

We saw a bunch of money run from the stock market … which tanked … and that has an impact on people, especially retirees. 

That money moved into bonds, which drove interest rates way down … which actually created a huge opportunity for real estate investors to lock in mortgages at record lows once the crisis abates. 

But the flip side is that the Fed is printing a lot of money. The government is going into debt … and that changes the already frail economic system. 

The flip side of chaos, of course, is opportunity. There’s always opportunity to help the situation, because making money is a byproduct of providing solutions in the marketplace. 

SWOT analysis, potential outcomes, and diversity 

With a situation like this, there are short-term, mid-term, and long-term effects. 

Short-term there is a demand shift for certain types of real estate. Most month-to-month tenants aren’t moving over the virus. 

In fact … big picture … those tenants are probably staying put, provided they have income. If they were thinking about making a move, they are probably staying put. 

Now is a good time to do a SWOT analysis … strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats … of your portfolio. 

Look at each individual property and ask yourself, “Where does the money come from? Where do the tenants work? What drives the local economy?”

Looking at the answers to these questions, you can make an educated prediction for what is going to happen in that sector in the future. 

You may even be able to make some moves now to reduce your risk or exposure … like refinancing debt, lowering costs, or tightening up expenses. 

Now, the challenge is that everybody is instinctively cutting back. That’s part of how we go into recession. 

If we cut way, way back and everybody withdraws … we’re going into depression. 

Then the question is, does the Fed and the government have enough firepower left to prevent that from happening … or are we about to go through a gigantic economic reset?

For those who have all their investment in stocks … it’s a scary time. The nice thing about real estate is that it’s stable. Stock investors might think it is boring, but it’s stable.

More of those investors are going to be looking to go into real estate … which means a huge opportunity for syndicators. 

If you’re thinking of making the move to real estate, you need to undertake that same SWOT analysis for the various real estate niches. 

And we can’t preach diversity enough. Diversity of income. Diversity of markets. Diversity of real estate niche. Diversity helps you weather the storm. 

Real estate for the long haul

At the end of the day, YOU are the only person who can decide what is best for you and your family. Do the work to get educated, analyze your deals, and do what you feel is right. 

The reality is that 10 years from now, this crisis is probably going to be in the history books. It’s going to be like 2008 … something that happened and changed the world quite a bit. 

But the long-term fact is that people will always be out there. They will need places to live. They will need places to gather. They’ll still need medical care and to eat. 

Real estate will always fulfill a potential need. In the long term, smart investments remain smart investments. 

Real estate is about buying and committing and being in for the long haul. 

For more on what the coronavirus means for real estate investors … listen to the full episode!

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.


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Podcast: Crisis Investing Lessons – Navigating Unchartered Waters

While the COVID-19 virus crisis is unlike anything the world has seen in modern history, it’s certainly not the first … or last … crisis investors will face.

History says not only will the human race survive, but the backside of virtually all busts is a big boom.

Of course, we all need to survive both physically and financially until the crisis passes.

In this episode, we discuss how lessons learned in the 2008 crisis can be applied to today’s trial … and how investors can position themselves to not just survive, but thrive.


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.


Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

Podcast: What the Coronavirus Means for Real Estate Investors

The COVID-19 pandemic and panic is well on its way to eclipsing the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and the Great Depression of 1929 as the most devastating economic event in modern human history.

Of course, humanity survived all those past calamities … and the odds are probably good that humanity will survive this one.

In this episode, we take a look at the current crisis through the lens of lessons learned from past crises and discuss where the future opportunities might be … along with ideas about what investors can do in the midst of uncertainty to position themselves to react quickly as the brave new investing landscape unfolds.

So tune in as we talk about what the Coronavirus means for real estate investors.


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.


Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

Harvard study reveals surprising trends in rental housing …

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University recently released a special report on America’s Rental Housing 2020.

There are lots of reasons to pay attention to housing … rental or otherwise … even if it isn’t your primary real estate investing niche.

Housing is much less a driver of economic health than it is a gauge of it.

When people are doing well, they buy homes or pay their rent. When people are struggling, it shows up in housing.

Sure, employment and wages can be up … but if rising wages aren’t providing REAL purchasing power, they’re deceptive.

When housing costs rise faster than wages for an extended period of time, it’s a clue that society is headed towards a problem.

This report reveals some of this is happening right now.

No society can be considered economically sound if its people can’t afford a place to live.

And no matter what niche you’re in, as an alert investor, it’s wise to consider how the overall economic environment affects you directly or indirectly.

Of course, there are ALWAYS reasons to be concerned … and there are ALWAYS opportunities. So no indicator is inherently good or bad … it’s just a clue to guide better investing decisions.

The report is 44 pages, but worth the read. You can download our marked-up copy here.

For now, here are some of our more notable takeaways …

“After more than a decade-long run up, renter household growth seems to have plateaued.”

ANY time a long-term trend shifts, it can be hard for nose-to-the-grindstone investors to see it … until it’s too late to adjust. That’s why we read studies like this.

And while the cause of the shift is yet to be disclosed …

(it could be more renters are becoming homeowners … or … more renters are becoming homeless … or something else altogether …)

… the important thing is demand for rental housing and apartments is declining for the first time in over 10 years.

Economics 101 says when demand declines, prices will probably follow. So landlords counting on growing demand for their properties should pay attention.

Of course, the flip side of demand is supply, and the report says …

“… continued strength of new construction …”

“…constraints in new supply …”

Hmmm … at first glance, this seems contradictory. Are more units coming or not?

The concern is a glut of new supply hitting the market just as demand is declining …

… because this would drive rents down and potentially negatively impact a landlord’s incomes and occupancy rates.

As an aside, remember what we call the “production lag”. This lag is often the cause of little booms and busts.

What happens is demand temporarily overwhelms supply and prices rise.

Then suppliers (builders) see those higher prices and high demand as an opportunity to feed supply to the market a profit.

So they ramp up production. But it takes time to build. There’s a lag.

And if too many builders all jump into the market with new construction …

… when all those units eventually hit the market, they can suddenly reverse the supply and demand dynamic … causing prices to retreat.

So tight supply triggers a price boom followed by a construction boom leading to over-supply … which triggers a bust. And it’s easy to get lost in the lag.

This is a normal ebb and flow every investor should pay attention to.

But this report talks mentions strength of construction at the same time it describes constraints in new supply. Weird.

Or maybe not …

The reason is found in market segmentation.

As we find in the report …

“New rental construction remains near its highest level in three decades … with a growing share in larger buildings intended for the high end of the market.”

Meanwhile, there’s a …

Dwindling supply of low-cost rentals …”

So there’s growing abundance in one segment… and constriction in another segment. But this still isn’t the whole story.

The report points out …

“… rising costs of housing development are a … key factor … particularly the soaring price of commercial land which doubled between 2012 and mid-2019.”

Another reason builders are focusing on the high income renter is …

“… the cost of labor, materials, contractor fees, and local taxes, also jumped by 39 percent over this period, or three times the rise in overall consumer prices.”

You may have heard policy makers proclaim there’s no inflation … or not enough.

But when it comes to housing, which is a significant and important personal expense …

… there appears to be LOTS of inflation … and it’s not just a supply and demand problem.

When it takes more dollars to buy land, labor, and materials … important components of cost … you have higher prices in spite of declining demand.

In fact, you have declining demand because of rising prices.

That’s inflation.

Of course, gold has been signaling inflation.

Gold was “up” nearly 19% in 2019 … which really means the dollar fell. So now it takes more dollars to buy the same stuff … and it’s showing up in real estate.

The important thing to remember is inflation doesn’t make anyone richer. In fact, as this report is pointing out, inflation makes most of society poorer.

This is probably the real reason why there’s an affordability crisis in housing.

But policy makers either don’t understand this, or they deny it, or they aren’t willing to fix the root cause (a failing monetary monopoly) … so they attempt to legislate away the symptoms.

“In the last few years, states and localities have increasingly turned to rent control as a means to protect households from larger rent hikes.”

But rent control doesn’t address the components of cost.

All rent control does is discourage builders and investors from putting capital into affordable housing in rent-controlled areas … making the problem worse.

Another “solution” revealed in the report … one which property owners of all stripes should pay attention to … are zoning changes allowing more density.

In other words, if land is too expensive, cram more units onto each parcel. As the report points out, local cities and states are changing laws to …

“… allow construction of duplexes and triplexes on lots zoned for single-family housing.”

Of course, these changes affect property values and communities where homeowners and investors already own properties.

This is another thing to watch for in areas where you already own residential properties … especially single-family homes.

It could be an opportunity to build a little infill project… scrape an SFR and build a multi-unit … or dump an SFR and get out before values fall.

There’s a LOT more in the report … including remarkable data showing the fastest growing demographic of renters is age 65 and up.

One of the challenges of rentals for seniors is that much existing inventory isn’t properly configured to meet their unique needs.

Of course, challenges create opportunities for real estate entrepreneurs.

The bottom line is the rental housing market is changing for economic, demographic, and political reasons.

Real estate investors are well-served to pay attention … and look past their recent experience or current market conditions in looking forward.

These trends are often subtle, but powerful.

When you can see them forming early, you have more time to make moves to capture opportunities and mitigate risks.

But you MUST be paying attention … and talking with other alert investors to help you interpret the data and hash out viable strategies.

The pension problem is about to get REAL …

Our good friend, multi-time Investor Summit at Sea™ faculty member (who’s back again for 2020!) … and greatest-selling financial author in history …

Robert Kiyosaki thinks pensions are the greatest threat facing the financial world today.

Of course, it’s not like pension problems are breaking news. The whole crisis has been unfolding for a decade as more of a slow-motion train wreck.

But over the last few years, the looming disaster is getting hard to ignore …

America’s utterly predictable tsunami of pension problems
– The Washington Post, 2/22/17

Pension Fund Problems Worsen in 43 States
– Bloomberg, 6/30/17

States have a $1.4 trillion pension problem
– CNN Money, 4/12/2018

The Pension Hole for U.S. Cities and States is the Size of Germany’s Economy
– The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2018

“Many retirement funds could face insolvency unless governments increase taxes, divert funds, or persuade workers to relinquish money they are owed.”

And it’s not just government pensions. Some of the biggest corporations are also struggling under the weight of their pension burdens …

GE’s $31 billion pension nightmare
– CNN Business, January 19, 2018

Here Are 14 Companies Getting Crushed By Pension Costs
– Business Insider, 8/15/2012

You get the idea. Huge storm clouds have been forming for quite a while … in both the public and private sectors.

In an election year, you’d expect to hear some chatter about it. But we’re guessing you won’t because there’s no politically palatable solution.

Of course, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

That’s why Kiyosaki is shining light on it. You can’t prepare for or profit from a problem you don’t or won’t see.

So this is a situation we’ve been watching more closely of late. And clues in the news tell us pension problems pose a threat to real estate investors.

Desperate politicians have already proposed funding their shortfalls with property taxes and cuts to benefits for pensioners … some of whom could be YOUR tenants.

Meanwhile, major corporations like General Electric and United Airlines have already cut their pension benefits.

Of course, the flip side of bad news is GOOD NEWS …

Pension problems also create opportunities for real estate investors.

We think pension managers will eventually concede that for a chance to save their funds from the Federal Reserve’s war on yields …

… they’re going to need to get REAL … real fast.

Pension fund managers will need to funnel more money away from Wall Street and into Main Street.

Think of all the reasons Main Street investors LOVE real estate …

… reasonably consistently achievable double-digit total returns 

… inflation-hedged yields much higher than bonds and without the counter-party-risk …

… assets which aren’t practical as gambling tokens in the Wall Street casinos, and therefore much less volatile in terms of yields and principal value.

We know. You’re already convinced real estate is awesome. And you may be wondering why everyone doesn’t invest in real estate.

But don’t under-estimate the seductive allure of Wall Street marketing and the pervasive political pressure to promote paper assets.

Remember, an argument can be made that government and Wall Street sometimes work together to the detriment of Main Street.

But when Main Street gets mad … it’s every politician and pension manager for himself.

So when poking around the crevices of the internet looking for credible clues …

… and being mindful that things NOT being talked about in well-publicized political discourse is probably more worth paying attention to …

… and we came across a couple of interesting articles …

CalPERS gets candid about ‘critical’ decade ahead
– Capitol Weekly, 8/27/19

Yes, we realize this article isn’t “fresh” … but it’s still relevant today. After all, they’re talking about the “decade ahead” … and again, this is a slow-motion train wreck.

Here’s a notable excerpt …

Quoting a letter written to CalPERS by a third-party consulting company brought in to help figure out what to do …

“ ‘The financial world is changing, and we must change with it,’ said the letter. ‘What we’ve done over the last 20 years won’t take us where we need to go in the future. New thinking and innovation are in order.’ ”

Of course, who knows what they mean by that. “Change”, “new thinking”, and “innovation” are all buzz words that lack meaning apart from a suggestion or context.

But one thing is perhaps becoming clear to the pension managers … Wall Street’s not the answer …

“ Meanwhile, a line [the] letter is a reminder that CalPERS remains at the mercy of the market, as when the stock market crash and recession struck a decade ago: ‘The value of the CalPERS fund fell 24 percent in a single fiscal year, to about $180 billion.’ ”

So it’s against this backdrop that we found the second, more recent, article noteworthy …

Sacramento County launches tender for alternative assets consultant
– Institutional Real Estate, 2/11/20

“The $10 billion Sacramento County (Calif.) Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) is seeking a consultant for its alternative assets portfolio …”

“The alternative assets consultant works with the pension fund’s investment staff to help develop and maintain strategic plans for the system’s absolute return, private equity, private credit, real assets, and real estate investments.”

Pension problems are rampant in governments … from nations to states to counties and municipalities, as well as corporations all around the world.

As pension managers realize there’s opportunity to grow absolute returns through private placement and real estate 

… it opens up a potential floodgate of money into Main Street opportunities.

Of course, if you’re just a Mom & Pop Main Street investor … or even a fairly successful real estate syndicator doing multi-million-dollar deals …

… you may wonder how YOU can get in on the action.

Like Opportunity Zones, pensions pointing their portfolios at specific markets and niches have the potential to provide a tailwind to EVERYONE already there … or going along for the ride.

So pay attention to pensions … not just for their potential to torpedo the financial system …

… but for the opportunities created as they act out on “new thinking and innovation”.

Lastly, keep in mind that like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2008, and the FDIC today …

… the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation is a horribly underfunded quasi-government enterprise backing TRILLIONS in potentially failing pensions.

If a substantial number of pensions fail (a VERY real possibility) …

… it’s all but certain the Federal Reserve will need to step in to paper over the mess with trillions in freshly printed dollars.

This weakens the dollar and among the biggest winners are borrowers and owners of real assets.

This makes real estate investors who use mortgages double winners.

So while you may not be able to calm the stormy seas …

… you can choose a boat that’s seaworthy and equipped to sail faster when the winds of change (and a falling dollar) blowhard.

Until next time … good investing!

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