Capitalizing on the American dumbbell …

Ohhhh … there’s SO many directions we could go with that subject line … but let’s pick something both potentially polarizing and unifying …

Income inequality.  It’s a political cause and an economic reality.

But we’re not here to talk politics.  Because it doesn’t matter if we think it’s fair or not.  We’ll leave that to the politicians and activists.

Income inequality is what it is.  And while our politics might affect our voting habits … the economic reality is what drives our investing decisions.

So what is income inequality … and what does it mean to real estate investors?

Great question … so glad you asked.

In simple terms, income inequality refers to a disproportionate amount of a society’s income concentrated in a small percentage of people at the top …

… with a big gap between the masses at the bottom who average much less income per person.

Sadly, this topic often descends into an argument of accusations between political viewpoints … a blame game.

People at the top look down on the lower income masses with contempt …

They don’t work. They don’t save.  They don’t invest.  They don’t take risks.  They’ve made their own bed.

People at the bottom look up at the rich with envy and jealousy …

The game is rigged.  It takes money to make money.  The rich are greedy selfish exploiters of the little guy.

Ironically, both are probably right … and both are probably wrong.  But again, we’ll let the politicians and activists fight over all that.

Investors are best served to set all that aside … and simply focus on the opportunities inside the economics and demographics of income inequality.

For many years, Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki has been saying the financial system is helping the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer … and the middle-class gets squeezed.

It’s like a dumbbell … where one end is fat with the wealth of the rich … and the other is fat with the poverty of the masses.  The skinny part in between is the middle-class.

But of course, all this has a direct impact on real estate … and should be taken into account when making real estate investing decisions.

John Burns Consulting recently took a look at this very subject …

What the Shrinking Middle Class Means for Housing

“The widening gap in income distribution trends in the US has significant implications for home buying activity and homeownership.” 

More rental demand.  More demand for homes at the highest and lowest price points.  Less demand for median-priced homes.”

If you’ve been following us for a while, this is probably old news.

We’ve been touting the opportunities in affordable housing like apartments and mobile homes …

… as well as higher-end opportunities in resort property and residential assisted living.

That’s working both ends of the dumbbell.

Smart investors should probably also watch migration patterns created by income inequality … and changing government policies.

Obviously, if there’s “more demand for homes at the … lowest price points” … it doesn’t mean people need to live on the streets of high-priced markets like San Francisco or New York.

They can move … to the suburbs of affordable states like Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.  And they are.

But it’s not just middle-class folks looking to lower their costs …

Millionaires Flee California After Tax Hike  – Forbes, July 7, 2018

New Jersey’s Tax Gift to Florida – Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2018

In 2014, Florida passed New York as the third most populous state.  It’s one of the reasons we’ve been high on the Central Florida market for quite some time.

A big part of Florida’s growth is from retired and wealthy boomers heading south for warm weather, affordable housing, and NO state income tax.

Of course, when they move … they bring their incomes and spending with them.  One state loses.  The other wins.

So while affluent retirees might not rent their home from you, they’ll spend money with the local businesses who employ your tenants.

The point is money moves people … and policies moves money.

So whether you love, hate, or even ignore a policy … it affects the movement of money and people … which affects real estate.

Lastly, it’s wise to also consider the systemic causes of income inequality … and put them to work for you.

The global financial system is inherently inflationary.  It’s the stated goal of all central banks … most notably the Federal Reserve … to CREATE inflation.

That means anything denominated in currency (dollars) is destined to rise in dollar price over time.

In other words, as dollars lose value … it takes more of them to buy the samethings.  That’s inflation.

That’s why a typical house in the U.S. which used to cost $20,000 is now $200,000 … even though it’s the SAME house, only older.

So from that standpoint, the system is rigged.   People who own assets pull further ahead of those who don’t.

But people who don’t have assets like real estate, stocks, and commodities on their balance sheets get no paper wealth from inflation.

Relatively speaking, they get poorer.

Over time, the poor get poorer in real terms also … as the costs of housing, energy, food, and products of all types goes UP faster than their incomes.

The financial system is the ROOT cause of income inequality.

It’s also the fastest path to wealth for those who can use long-term debt to acquire long-term income producing assets … like real estate.

Sure, we know there’s cronyism, regulatory barriers that protect big corporations from competition, tax loopholes, insider trading, and all kinds of unfairness helping the rich get richer.

You need to be an insider to play that game successfully.

But real estate is available to almost everyone.  It’s a sacred cow of sorts.  It’s hard to manipulate, and most everyone in power protects it.

So the sooner Main Street pulls its money out of Wall Street and takes advantage of real estate … the sooner the playing field gets flatter and fairer for Main Streeters.

It’s why we love real estate.  It’s why we teach syndication.

MAYBE someday the politicians will quit arguing with each other and really fix the system.  We’ll keep breathing in and out.

Meanwhile, we encourage YOU to take what the system gives you … and do it in a way that adds a lot of value to Main Street.

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.

Dollar death watch emergency conference call …

We just recorded an emergency conference call

 featuring Peak Prosperity’s Chris Martenson (The Crash Course) and Brien Lundin (Gold Newsletter).

Chris is a big brain PhD who studies economics, eco-politics, and how energy (i.e., oil) affects economics.

Brien is a well-recognized expert in precious metals and mining investing … and spends much of his time studying the gold market.

Both guys are hyper-connected to the smartest economists, investors, and niche experts in the world.  So they’re not just smart, they’re also well-informed.

The conference call centers around China’s recent announcement of plans to back their currency with gold for the purpose of settling oil trade.

This single move could substantially affect oil, gold, the dollar, interest rates, real estate … Uncle Sam’s credit line, budget and influence around the world … and YOUR financial future.

It’s a BIG deal.

China has been advancing … quietly at first, and lately much more overtly … a strategy to UNDERMINE the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

This is HUGE for anyone measuring wealth and income in U.S. dollars.

It’s even more significant for Americans, whose government has been able to use its privileged status to go DEEPLY into debt … seemingly without consequence.

But that could be changing …

Uncle Sam’s unlimited checkbook … as well as his substantial influence around the world … has been largely built on the power of issuing the world’s reserve currency.

That’s because international trade is primarily settled in U.S. dollars, so getting locked out of dollars though U.S. sanctions can choke a nation’s economy …

… just ask Russia, Iran and Venezuela … to name a few who’ve been on the receiving end of this power.

Oil is the biggest component of international trade.

It’s no wonder Russia, who happens to be the world’s largest oil producer, was early to sign on to circumvent the dollar.

Iran (#5 producer) is on the team.  Venezuela (#11 producer), whose economy is 95% oil, also just got on board.

Now the U.S. is talking about kicking CHINA out of the dollar system.

But China’s been preparing to be independent of the dollar

… and has a LONG list of bilateral trade agreements signed with MANY trading partners (as chronicled in this free report on Real Asset Investing).

As the largest oil importer in the world, China has a lot of purchasing power to put pressure on the “petro-dollar” (U.S. dollars used in international trading of oil), as Chris explains in the call.

The petro-dollar has been a major component of the dollar’s power in international trade.  China’s move could be setting the table for a collapse of the petro-dollar.

This isn’t the end of the world …

But it could be a BIG change for dollar denominated investors …  

Those who are aware and prepared can protect themselves and get in a position to win.  Those who aren’t will likely be blind-sided and face potentially horrific losses.

We’ve been watching this develop for years … and now it seems things are picking up speed.

If YOU haven’t been paying attention, it’s time to accelerate YOUR learning and preparation.

Maybe this isn’t as big a deal as we think.  But better to prepared and not have a dollar crisis … than to have one and not be prepared.

The GREAT news is there are lots of smart investors watching this situation very carefully … and there are strategies to hedge … and even profit … from these developments.

So click here now to listen in on the conversation with Chris Martenson and Brien Lundin … as we discuss China, oil, gold, the future of the dollar … and how concerned investors can prepare.

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.

Yet another BRUTAL storm forming …

And the hits just keep on coming …

We know you’d like investing to be simple and drama free.  We do too.

But while real estate investing itself is a simple activity … the economics of real estate investing has become more complex.

There’s a LOT going on in the world.   Some things interconnect by cause, and others by effect … meaning they don’t appear to be related, but then converge.

As Jim Rickards points out repeatedly … economies and ecologies are complex systems.  They are difficult to understand and even more difficult to predict.

But even though no one can say with certainty what will happen, it’s still important to take precautions when it’s clear SOMETHING BIG is coming …

… just as Floridians watched Irma and prepared, not knowing fully what to expect.  Better to be prepared and not have a disaster than vice versa.

So let’s take a look at what’s forming on the horizon …

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

While the total financial and human impact of these back-to-back disasters is yet to be calculated, one thing’s for sure …  it’s going to be expensive.

Short term disruptions to gas prices and orange futures aside, disasters like these redirect HUGE amounts of capital … which has a ripple effect.

For example, money insurance companies might otherwise put into financing NEW multi-family apartments in other markets …

… will now pour into re-building properties damaged and destroyed in Houston and Florida.

Federal money which might have been focused on infrastructure spending or tax cuts will also be redirected to damage recovery.

And it’s likely the demand for construction labor and supplies will rise, driving up total construction costs in many markets … not just those affected by the storms.

That’s because just as demand for concrete in China creates price increases in the U.S. … the demand for reconstruction resources will probably be felt throughout the United States.

Distressed inventory

Just like the financial disaster of 2008, there may be many problem properties coming out of all this … because many weren’t insured for flood damage.

Federal aid may help some of those homeowners.  It’s less likely such relief is offered to investors who were under-insured.

While it’s no fun to profit from someone else’s loss, there’s a role for profit-seeking capital to play in repairing damaged communities.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see tax breaks, loan subsidies or other incentives offered to entice investment capital to flow into affected markets … like when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The Debt Ceiling  

In other news, President Trump and Congress managed to get the debt ceiling temporarily increased … while raising the prospect of simply eliminating it all together.

Talk about calling a spade a spade.  The ceiling hasn’t capped spending … ever.

Now billions of dollars are ear-marked for hurricane relief, and everyone can take a short break from “worrying” Uncle Sam might default on his debt.

So it looks like it’s back to over-spending as usual. Not surprisingly, the dollar’s year-long fall has resumed velocity.  

Then again … maybe the dollar’s fall (and gold’s rise) is part of a bigger story which has nothing to do with U.S. business-as-usual deficit spending …

Gold-backed yuan already finding friends

As we recently noted, China announced plans to settle its oil trade in yuan.

And to entice sellers to accept yuan, the Chinese are backing it with that “barbarous relic” … gold.

Days later, oil-rich Venezuela announced they’d start using yuan … and other currencies … to “free us from the dollar.”

It’s no surprise Venezuela would jump at this.  After all, just two weeks earlier President Trump signed an executive order sanctioning Venezuela … whose economy is 95% oil.

But as we note in our Real Asset Investing report, China began its plan to supplant the dollar way back in 2010.  So none of this is new.

And the first country to sign a bilateral trade agreement to “renounce the U.S. dollar” was … wait for it … Russia … followed by Brazil, Australia, and a LONG list of others.

We think this is a HUGE story that few in mainstream financial media are covering.  But we are.

In fact, we’re putting together an emergency conference call with Brien Lundin and Chris Martenson to discuss the ramifications … so stay tuned for that!

Is the U.S. dollar doomed?

This is the big WHY IT MATTERS … especially for Americans and everyone denominating wealth in American dollars.

Like Hurricane Irma, no one can say exactly if, when, or how disaster will strike.  And it’s possible the winds will change and the storm will miss your portfolio.

But what if it doesn’t?  Right now, the winds appear to be headed your way.

Are YOU ready?  Are you getting ready?  Many people don’t even know what ready looks like.  That was us 10 years ago.

It’s a complex problem so there’s no simple solution.  If there was, it probably wouldn’t be a problem.

Peter Schiff has been warning about this for years. As has Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Duncan, Simon Black, Chris Martenson, Jim Rickards, David Stockman … and the list goes on and on.

Each has their own ideas about when … and how to prepare.

There’s no one-size-fits all answer because everyone’s situation, portfolio, investing IQ, advisory network, access to deals, and investment objectives are different.

MISSION: POSSIBLE

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get informed, educated, connected and activated … as quickly as possible.

And if you think getting educated is time consuming and expensive … it’s nothing compared to being ignorant and apathetic.

When storm clouds form on the horizon, some decide to pay attention and take pre-emptive steps.  There’s no guarantee of safety, but their odds are better.

Others only hope for the best, but don’t prepare for the worst.  Yet the higher the stakes, the more important it is to be preemptively cautious.

The storm warnings are loud and clear … for everyone paying attention.

But storms often approach slowly … and because most blow over … it’s easy (yet dangerous) to assume every storm will.

Slowly at first … then all at once

Longtime listeners know we’ve been watching this whole story unfold for years.

We talked about the very real possibility of China making a run at reserve currency status almost two years ago.  We said then we’d keep you informed and so we are.

Now things are picking up speed.  So if you’re new or haven’t been all that interested … NOW is the time to accelerate your understanding.

If you’ve read this far, we trust you’re interested and concerned … as you should be.

So we STRONGLY encourage you to SERIOUSLY consider attending BOTH Brien Lundin’s New Orleans Investment Conference (coming up FAST!) and The Real Estate Guys™ 2018 Investor Summit at Sea™.

These events each feature lots of big brains … with critical perspectives every serious investor needs to have to help understand and navigate these stormy times.

Sure, these events are capitalist ventures … we each make some money producing them.

But we’re not after your money … we simply use to it for event costs and to pay some bills along the way.  Your support makes these events possible.

We organize events so we can get brilliant minds in one place at one time.  And the only way to make it affordable for us … and you … is to share the cost with hundreds of others.

So yes, we need your help.  And in exchange YOU get access too!

With that said, these events are happening with or without you. Your absence or presence, while nice for us, could be LIFE-CHANGING for YOU … and that’s true of most important ideas, opportunities and relationships.

So with the winds of sea change blowing fiercely on the horizon, it’s a good time to consider carefully whether or not investing in preparation is a good idea.

We think it is.

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.

China, gold, oil, the dollar and YOU …

There’s a BIG story developing … something we’ve been tracking for years …

… which might be about to create a SEA CHANGE for investors all over the world … including YOU.

Here’s a headline you SHOULD be aware of but might have missed …

China sees new world order with oil benchmark backed by gold – Nikkei Asian Review, September 1, 2017 

There’s SO much to say here, it’s hard to know where to start.

We’ll hit some highlights … and refer you back to some of our previous coverage of this VERY important topic.

First, let’s quickly consider …

WHY this matters to real estate investors … 

If you denominate your net worth, assets, debt, or income in U.S. dollars, then you should care VERY MUCH about the future and health of the dollar.

Ditto if you utilize debt or care about the impact of interest rates (and you should) … on your mortgages, the stock and bond markets, as well as the overall economy.

And if you’re an American or invest solely in the U.S., the health of the U.S. dollar and economy should be of even GREATER interest to you.

So yes, what China is doing with gold and oil matters a LOT to real estate investors … especially in the United States.

What’s the big deal?

First, this recent move by China is the latest in a long series of moves they’ve been making to undermine the role of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

This is something we’ve been tracking since 2009, when we first read about China’s concerns about U.S. debt and interest rate policy.

We continued to track China’s actions and made this the focus of our remarks in our 2013 presentation at the New Orleans Investment Conference.

Shortly thereafter, we expanded on the situation in our special report on Real Asset Investing.

We’ve also talked about it on our radio show and in our blog.

So if you’re new to this whole subject, we recommend you go back and review those reports, broadcasts and blogs.

For now, just understand China has been overtly, aggressively and systematically working to undermine the U.S. dollar’s uniquely powerful role in global finance.

This latest move is a HUGE next step in unseating the dollar’s dominance.

The rise and (potential) fall of the U.S. dollar …

If you’re unfamiliar with U.S. dollar history, schedule some time to study it.  It’s too big a topic to unpack here.

For now, we’ll simply point out that the U.S. dollar was originally backed by gold from its inception and when it ascended into its role as the world’s reserve currency at Bretton Woods in 1944.

The gold backing was broken in August 1971 when then-U.S. president Richard Nixon defaulted on Bretton Woods.  Gold soared and the dollar crashed.

The U.S. quickly cut a deal with Saudi Arabia … where the Saudis would use their influence to force oil shipments to be settled in U.S. dollars.

This “petro-dollar” deal created a huge and persistent demand for dollars …

… and protecting the petro-dollar has been a focus of U.S. foreign and trade policy ever since.

To further bolster the dollar, then-Fed chair Paul Volcker jacked-up interest rates to over 20%, which had a profound impact on the U.S. economy … and real estate.

All this to say … gold, oil, the dollar, and interest rates all impact each other … and have been VERY important to maintaining U.S. dominance around the world.

So it’s no surprise other countries looking to increase their influence in the world are interested in all those things … and you probably should be as well.

Chinese currency to be backed by gold …

So let’s take a look at some of the notable statements in the news article …

“Yuan-denominated contact will let exporters circumvent US dollar
“Yuan-denominated gold futures have been traded on the Shanghai Gold exchange as part of the country’s effort to reduce the pricing power of the U.S. dollar

“China is expected shortly to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold … could be a game-changer for the industry.”

“… will allow exporters such as Russia and Iran to circumvent U.S. sanctions …”

“… China says the yuan will be fully convertible into gold in exchanges in Shanghai and Honk Kong.”

Think about this …

When oil exporters … like Iran, Russia and Venezuela… can circumvent the U.S. dollar in oil trade … and get GOLD instead of U.S. paper which can be printed out of thin air …

…which do YOU think they’ll choose?

And how influential will U.S. sanctions be (i.e., getting locked out of the U.S. dollar and banking system) when countries can do business without the dollar?

How important will GOLD become as more and more international trade settles in gold-backed yuan instead of nothing-backed dollars?

How unimportant will dollars become?  Where will the bid move?

Is THIS why gold has been moving up lately?  Is this why the dollar has been falling?

Why did U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pay “a rare official visit” to Fort Knox and subsequently tweet, “Glad gold is safe!”?  All of the sudden gold is interesting to the Treasury?

Meanwhile, Germany recently completed a repatriation of a big chunk of their gold … ahead of schedule.  Maybe the rush is to pacify voters in the upcoming election … or maybe there’s another reason?

Of course, way back when China began publicly expressing concerns about the U.S. dollar … and taking steps to mitigate its own exposure to dollar denominated assets …

… several countries joined Germany in taking steps to repatriate their gold from foreign hands.  That feels a lot like a “run” on the bank … and it began long before any of the current elections.

Besides, if gold is really just a barbarous relic with no role in modern finance as some claim … then why all the fuss?

As you can see, this all raises a LOT of questions. 

What’s an investor to do?

First, simply understand the fate of the dollar has a PROFOUND impact on anyone who earns, saves, invests or borrows in dollars.

If that’s you, then this is an IMPORTANT topic for YOU to pay attention to.

Next, be encouraged there are investment strategies which you can use to mitigate risk and generate profits … even in the face of a falling dollar.

We discuss some of these in our special report on Real Asset Investing.

Get and stay connected and informed.  That’s why we attend the New Orleans Investment Conference and produce the Investor Summit at Sea.

Right now, it’s more important than EVER to attend events like these.

It’s where you hear from thought leaders, focus deeply on important topics, get into great conversations with like-minded people and subject matter experts …

… and form valuable relationships with people who can help you implement useful strategies.

The WORST thing you can do is ignore it all and hope nothing’s going to change. The world is changing whether you know it, like it, or understand it.

How you choose to respond will determine how it changes for you.

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.

8/15/10: How Capitalism Will Save Us – An Interview with Steve Forbes

The Real Estate Guys™ sit down and talk with Steve Forbes about jobs, the economy and real estate.

We don’t know about you, but any time a billionaire, a CEO of a major company, a best selling author or a legit presidential candidate is willing to sit down and chat, our response is always, “Yes!”.   In this case, our special guest for this episode, Steve Forbes, is ALL of those things wrapped into one.  So we’re super jazzed to bring this exclusive interview to you.

In the broadcast booth at the Freedom Fest conference in Las Vegas:

  • Your Host and interviewer extraordinaire, Robert Helms
  • The just-happy-to-be-here Co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, Forbes Magazine CEO, Steve Forbes

 

 
Mr. Forbes was the keynote speaker at the Freedom Fest conference and remained in attendance for the entire event.  In spite of a recent neck surgery, he was very accommodating and so Robert was able to sit down with Mr. Forbes for an impromptu interview.

Steve Forbes with Russ and Robert at Freedom Fest. Russ wrestled Steve into doing the interview, which broke Russ’ glasses and injured Steve’s neck. But the interview went well and we were all smiles afterwards.

We decided to ask him about his latest book, Why Capitalism Will Save Us – Why Free People and Free Markets are the Best Answer in Today’s Economy. Mr. Forbes’ thesis is that too much government is bad for business because it increases costs, diminishes productivity and takes too many resources away from creating jobs for an ever-growing population.  He calls for “sensible rules of the road” to provide a basic framework in which free people can conduct business.  Of course, the great debate is over what’s “sensible”.  His position is that less is more.

What we’re really interested in is jobs. Jobs are where our tenants get their rent money.  It’s where home buyers get the income stream to make the mortgage payments that prop up the property values that create passive equity.  Jobs are near the top of our due diligence check list when evaluating a market to invest in.  It’s one of the reasons we like Dallas right now.  Among U.S. markets, it’s doing pretty well.  Ironically, another great job market is Washington DC, but if there’s a changing of the guard over the next couple of elections, that could change.  But we digress…

So Mr. Forbes shares his thoughts on the economy, job creation and the role of government in real estate, specifically Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  In his position as the CEO and editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, he gets to talk with many of people who shape, interpret and respond to public policy.  We really enjoyed our time with him and hope you will too!

On a side note, Steve Forbes is the nicest billionaire we’ve ever interviewed.  Actually, he’s the only billionaire we’ve ever interviewed.  But he’s still a very nice guy.  So, if you’re a billionaire and want to come on the show and be nice to us, just give us a call.  Our door is always open. 🙂
 

 
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