8/8/10: Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You! Peter Schiff Reveals How He Predicted the Crash

WHO KNEW the crash was coming? Lots of people have been reverse engineering the causes of the financial crisis.  It’s easy(er) to be smart when operating from hindsight.  But when someone gets it right for the right reasons BEFORE the event occurs…well, that’s just impressive.

Peter Schiff is one of the few guys who called it way in advance. Not only that, but he put it in writing in his 2006 book Crash Proof (the updated version Crash Proof 2.0 is now on our recommended reading list).

Even more impressive is that Schiff appeared on a whole host of TV shows sounding the warning.  But people literally LAUGHED at him, as you’ll see in the 10 minute video below.  And there are many other videos of Peter aggressively debating all kinds of people – including next week’s guest on The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show, Steve Forbes.

Featured on this week’s episode:

  • Your host, Robert Helms
  • Co-host, Russell Gray
  • Fund manager, economist, author and outspoken commentator, Peter Schiff

Politics aside (Schiff is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Connecticut –  with the endorsement of Steve Forbes!), considering what Peter predicted and what actually happened,  how can you not be at least curious?   It was that curiosity that had us go to Las Vegas for Freedom Fest in July, where we were exposed to many economists who follow the Austrian school of thought.  There isn’t any way in a blog post to explain all we learned, but a recommended homework assignment is to review the major tenets of the Austrian viewpoint versus Keynesian.  We think you’ll find it very interesting, if not highly enlightening!

What we’re really interested in is being able to best anticipate macroeconomic influences that are likely to impact the value of our real estate, the strength of the jobs market, the growth of wages (which fuels growth in rents); and the cost and availability of loans.  We don’t care if you’re Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, fans of rap or a drinker of light beer (okay, we find the last one a little offensive) -if you have something to say that proves true and makes sense, we’re interested.  Peter Schiff is a guy that has proven true and seems to makes sense.

So for this entire show, we ask Peter to tell us to our face how he knew the crisis was coming and what’s going to happen next.  Based on his track record, we think he’s a guy worth listening to.  Check it out and let us know what YOU think!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show provides ideas, perspectives and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

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8/1/10: Economics, Politics and Real Estate – Interviews from Freedom Fest 2010

If you’re one of those who take The Real Estate Guys™ to the gym, make sure you carbo load first! This one’s a whopper!  Our radio audience only got an hour, but the podcast audience gets the whole enchilada.  That way whether you like American or Mexican, there’s something for everyone.

A few weeks back, we went to Las Vegas for the 7th Annual Freedom Fest conference.  This was our first time and we weren’t sure what to expect.  But after our previous interview with event founder, economist Mark Skousen, we thought it would be worthwhile.  It turned out even better than we thought!

After being near the epicenter of the financial earthquake which rocked the real estate portfolios of even the most experienced investors, we’ve put a big emphasis on studying economics.  Who cares if you’re expert at fixing up properties, managing tenants or putting together syndications if property values are crashing, tenants don’t have jobs, loans aren’t available, and people are too scared to act?

So we started looking for people who saw it coming, put their predictions in writing and got it right for the right reasons.  Hindsight’s often 20/20, but seeing the storm coming while there’s still time to shutter the windows is better.  You might not be able to avoid bad economic weather, but with advance notice at least you can prepare!

We looked at the lineup of speakers at Freedom Fest and decided this would surely be an eye-opening experience. We were especially excited about Peter Schiff, author of Crash Proof 2.0 (a highly recommended read!).  Schiff called the crisis for the right reasons – and way ahead of time.  We’re happy to say we got a lengthy interview with Mr. Schiff to see what he’s thinking now – which is the feature of our next show.

While we’re boasting about awesome interviews, we also had a chance to talk with billionaire CEO of Forbes Magazine and former Presidential candidate, Steve Forbes.  That interview is coming up in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!  The best way to be sure you don’t miss any of our exciting episodes is to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes (shameless plug). 😉

Today’s episode is about talking to LOTS of people! It was like one of those speed dating sessions.  Robert sat at the microphone from early morning to late at night, and Russ rounded up a long line of interesting people to interview.

Featured in this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show:

  • Your host, Robert Helms
  • Co-host and cat herder, Russell Gray

And a long parade of very special guests (in order of appearance):

Jeffrey Verdon, Attorney, talks about estate planning and asset protection strategies utilized by wealthy individuals; including off-shore entities and a very interesting technique for funding life insurance.

Dave Fessler, Energy & Infrastructure Expert for the Oxford Club.  Dave discusses his views on the future of energy and infrastructure and their impact on jobs and the economy.  He also comments on “the paradox of thrift” – how consumer savings is actually fueling the recession.  He tells us how long he thinks it’s going to last, and where he believes America’s best chance for job creation are right now.

Bob Bauman, Attorney, Former U.S. Congressman, Founder of The Sovereign Society; shares his thoughts on offshore investment, asset protection, second citizenship and the growing interest many people have in diversifying globally.

Vernon Jacobs, CPA, is an expert in international taxation.  Vern tells us what to consider when investing or employing asset protection strategies offshore.

Robert Barnes, Attorney, is part one of two back to back interviews with lawyers from a premier tax and investment fraud law firm that went 3 for 3 (that’s pretty good!) in three of the top four high profile tax cases in the U.S. (you’d recognize the names).  Mr. Barnes reveals the worst thing you can do when contacted by the IRS.

Robert Bernhoft, Attorney, is part two of our tax and investment fraud attorney interviews.  Mr. Bernhoft describes what you can do to proactively avoid problems with both your investors and regulators; and shares how his firm uses specialized “non-litigation” techniques to recover misappropriated funds without going to court.

Steve Hochberg, Chief Market Analyst for Elliott Wave, works closely with Robert Prechter.  Prechter’s 2002 NY Times best seller, Conquer the Crash, accurately predicted the current financial crisis.  While everyone is running scared of inflation, Steve says DEFLATION is actually the big near term threat.  He believes we are “on the precipice of the greatest stock market decline of our lifetime.”

Patri Friedman, Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of The Seasteading Institute.  A city on the sea?  Really??? Before you write it off as Looney Tunes, go to their website and look at their management team.  These guys are all brilliant.  We’re talking Stanford, Harvard, Yale.  Wow.  Have you heard of Pay Pal?   Yeah,the founder is on their board.  And why were they at Freedom Fest?  Take a listen!

Leon Louw, Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation, all the way from South Africa!  Why?  To raise money to advance property ownership rights for blacks in South Africa. For what it’s worth, we didn’t see any evidence of racism at Freedom Fest, though it was full of “tea baggers”.  Obviously, Leon felt people at the event would be supportive of his cause. From our observations he was right.  But this isn’t a political interview. any more than our show is political.  We just  want to understand what people are thinking and doing, and how it creates or undermines real estate opportunities.  Think about the ramifications on demand in a market where a large part of the population, formerly locked out, suddenly has access to buy property.  Very interesting stuff.

Terry Coxon, author of Unleash Your IRA, shares a powerful concept for maximizing your Individual Retirement Account.  We thought we knew all about this topic, but Terry shares a strategy we hadn’t considered. Now we’re hyped to read his book.  With the demise of home equity, and a growing number of people predicting a tough stock market (at best); and lending getting even tighter from financial reform, we think IRA’s and rollover 401k’s are one of the BEST sources of private investment capital.  That makes this a topic worth exploring!

Ron Holland, editor of two financial newsletters and 30 year financial industry veteran, has something to say on the topic of IRA’s.  And it’s concerning.  He shares what he thinks is the greatest threat to your retirement account.

Terry Easton, author of Refounding America and contributor to Human Events. Terry is an uber-conservative / Libertarian and has a lot to say on the topics of economics, politics and real estate.  We came to hear a lot of opinions and it just so happens that Terry has a lot of opinions.  But since they come from a long history of study and involvement, we think they’re worth listening to.

All in all, Freedom Fest was a great experience and we’re very likely to attend next year’s event.  We met great people, got valuable insights, and had our paradigms stretched (we’ve been icing them since we got back).  Most of all, we see the economy and real estate from a much broader perspective.  As we continue to seek out markets, opportunities and product niches to invest in, we are convinced a bigger perspective will pay huge dividends.

Remember – our next two episodes feature our interviews with Peter Schiff and Steve Forbes!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show provides ideas, perspectives and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Maverick or Mouse?

Would you rather be aggressively conservative or conservatively aggressive? Many investors who are still in the game through the mortgage meltdown and the Great Recession are facing this question – whether they realize it or not.

In a recent show (Old School Real Estate – Debt Free Investing) we talk about the pros and cons of the old school approach of investing for cash.   However, the discussion raised another consideration that we didn’t talk about: how has the Great Recession affected your inner investor? Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re probably forming new paradigms as you observe and experience the current real estate market.  We suggest that you form your new paradigms thoughtfully and purposefully, rather than simply absorbing the attitudes of whatever group of people you happen to associate with today.

So again:  would you rather be aggressively conservative or conservatively aggressive?

Some people will respond to the pain of unforeseen setbacks by elevating risk avoidance above profit generation.  If you’re old enough to remember the Tom Cruise film Top Gun, Cruise’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was a reckless, but very talented fighter pilot.  After Maverick’s beloved flying mate “Goose” (played by Anthony Edwards) was killed during a practice session that Maverick piloted,  Maverick became hyper-conservative.  He lost all of the swag that contributed to making him a great fighter pilot.  Though he remained talented and capable, he became ineffective when it mattered most.

Later in the movie, the now timid Maverick is pressed into live combat, but actually endangers his team because he is too conservative to engage the enemy.  The safety of his own plane had become his paramount priority.  He was more interested in risk avoidance than winning the battle.  His paradigm shift had changed his priorities.

Thankfully, in the middle of the battle, he snaps out of it and re-engages.  The irony is that the formerly reckless, undisciplined Maverick doggedly follows procedure, placing his own plane in jeopardy by refusing to “leave his wingman”.  But all the skills and instincts that made him great when he was reckless still remained, and he was able to outflank and outsmart the enemy.  He saves the day with his now conservative aggression.

So Maverick started out highly skilled, but arrogant and reckless.  Then he experienced a tremendous setback and withdrew into an aggressive conservativeness which neutralized his amazing skill.  When he applied the lesson of his setback to his aggression rather than to his fear of failure, he became conservatively aggressive and highly effective – perhaps even more so than before his failure.  In other words, his failure actually made him stronger when he got the right lesson from it.

If you’re just starting out, try to look at the pain some of the old timers are facing (we know it’s hard) and ask yourself what lessons you should apply to your ambition.

If you’re among the walking wounded, look at your attitude towards investing today. Are you looking for reasons to engage – or for reasons to disengage? Have you become aggressively conservative?  If so, did you do it purposefully – or have you simply absorbed negativity from the naysayers in your life?

The great news is that you don’t have to have lightening fast reflexes, eagle sharp vision or marathon runner stamina to be successful as real estate investor.  But like Maverick, you have to manage your inner fighter pilot and make sure you can effectively engage when the battles of investing call you into action.  You may be safe sitting in the hangar watching, but you won’t win any medals.  This economy needs heroes right now.

But not everyone has what it takes to be an investor in the real world.  It’s hard work, it can be scary at times; and if you engage early and often, there is a high probability you will get shot at – and perhaps even shot down.  But if you keep your wits about you, pack your chute, and follow procedures developed through the trials and errors of those who have come before you, you have a legitimate chance to win.

Is it worth the risk?  That’s up to you.  But financial freedom, like any other kind of freedom, isn’t free. It comes at a price.  If you do nothing, then not winning is a certainty.  You may be safe, but you won’t be victorious.  You have to decide if you want to soar like Maverick in an iron eagle or be safe like a church mouse hiding in a hole in the wall hoping to live your life unnoticed.

You know where we’ll be: right here on the radio and our website bringing you news, views, information, inspiration and resources to help the fighters succeed.  When one of our listeners succeeds, they become another contributor to a successful society.  That’s good for them, it’s good for us – and it’s good for the church mice, too.

Historic election stunner in Massachusetts! What does it mean? Why should you care?

If you’re a die hard, true blue Democrat, you’re bummed.  And if you’re a progressive liberal with a groupie crush on Barack Obama, you’re borderline suicidal.

On the other hand, if you’re a dyed in the wool, gun-toting Republican, you’re thrilled. And if you’re an ultra-conservative, Obama demonizing, big government conspiracy theorist, you’re euphoric – and possibly hung over.

But what if you’re just a regular American, who goes to work everyday, pays your bills, and are busy trying to navigate all this change while you’re building toward financial security – and maybe even financial independence?  In that case, it seems, you’re in the majority.

You see, this isn’t about which team won.  The talking heads, though they feign “objectivity”, all really have a team they’re pulling for.  But when things get really tough, most Americans don’t care about political parties.  They don’t care WHO is right.  They want to work and enjoy the fruits of their labor.  And right now, it seems, they want more balance.

“Healthy tension” is a more accurate word to describe “balance” or a move to the middle.  Massachusetts, like it or not, was a move to the middle.  This is the place where Americans seem to be the most comfortable.

Back in the old days, people would have antennas on their house to capture the television broadcast signals.  These antennas were up on poles that could be 10 feet or taller!  To hold them up, the homeowner would attach wire cables high up the antenna pole and then to 3 or more corners of the roof.  Then they’d cinch those cables up real tight so they pulled against each other with the antenna stuck securely in the middle, where it stood tall and strong against the gusts of winds and storms that would blow against it.

Of course, if one cable snapped – or even stretched and lost its resiliency – the antenna became unbalanced.  In this weakened state, even a modest storm could easily knock it down.  When this occurred, the homeowner would get up there and tighten up (or replace) the loose one and restore healthy tension.

The American people, in their wisdom, using their rights of free speech and to vote, have jumped up on the roof of the house and are attempting to restore healthy tension.  If you’re on one side or the other, you don’t like it because you have to work so much harder and wait so much longer to advance your agenda.   To which the people in the middle, say, “Good.”

When things get too extreme one way or the other, or if things change so fast that people can’t keep up (whether that’s in understanding the change or adapting to it), then Americans want to move to the middle.  That’s where they are comfortable. That’s where they feel safe.  That’s where they have confidence.

Now there’s an interesting word. Confidence.  Don’t they say that consumer confidence is the key to economic recovery?

Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were opposite in many ways, yet America thrived under both.  The reasons can be debated, but one worthy of consideration is that both were great communicators held in check by an opposite party Congress (just as their respective Congresses were held in check by them).  People felt like they knew what was going on and it wasn’t too much too fast.

So, as we often ask, what does this have to do with you and your real estate investing?

Well, in our (not always so humble) opinion, quite a lot actually.  Here’s why (and it’s pretty simple):

When things are changing too fast, it demands too much of our attention.  When people are uncertain and uncomfortable, they don’t act until the dust settles.  Without the American people taking action, nothing happens.  You can’t legislate motivation or confidence.  And we’re finding out, you can’t stimulate it either.  It’s the product of an environment.

Conversely, when things are chugging along at a comfortable pace, people can make plans.  They can assess risks and take action.  Americans are not the kind of people who like to be taken for a ride – no matter who’s driving.  We like to be in our own driver’s seat.  This is especially true of entrepreneurs and small business owners.  When people are confident they start businesses, they hire people, they make investments, they spend money.  In case you hadn’t guessed, this is all very good for the economy and for your real estate.

Your personal satisfaction with the election results is really just a function of which side you’re “pulling” for.  Whichever side that is really doesn’t matter (for purposes of this discussion). What’s important is that everyone is pulling and that the tension pulls us into the middle.  That’s good, not because of the policies or the gridlock, but because it makes the majority comfortable and eventually confident.  We know it’s hard to get excited when your team “loses”.  But this recent election isn’t the big win or big loss so many want to make it out to be.  It’s a glimmer of hope for one group and a reality check for another.  It’s tense, which is what makes it good long term for the economy and for your real estate.

Even more good news:  it will take time for a renewed healthy tension to restore confidence.  And even more time for that confidence to actually show up in the economy – because most people take a Wait and See approach.

This is where YOU have opportunity.  Because when the swells of recovery are rising on the horizon and the average person isn’t moving until it’s upon them, there’s still a lot of time for you to get in position to ride the next wave.  Keeping with the surfing analogy, not every swell will turn into a wave you can ride.  But some will.  So, proceed carefully, but proceed.  As we like to say, Think and Do is better than Wait and See.  Surf’s up!

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