The future of interest rates …

Interest rates are a big deal for real estate investors … for many reasons.

The first and most obvious reason is because interest rates are the price of the money you borrow to invest with.  Higher rates mean higher payments and less cash flow.

Of course, even when you pay cash for your properties, your tenants probably carry consumer debt … car loans, credit card, and installment debt …

Higher rates mean higher debt payments for your tenants, so less of their monthly budget is available to pay you rent or absorb rent increases.

Also, your property values, exit options, and liquidity are all affected by interest rates.

Higher rates mean buyers have less capacity to bid up comparable properties … and fewer buyers can afford to buy your property when you’re ready to sell.

For these reasons and others, most real estate investors and their mortgage advisors pay very close attention to interest rates …  especially when financing or re-financing.

But there are other very important reasons for real estate investors to care about the future of interest rates …

Interest rates are a barometer for the health of both the currency and the overall economy.

Last time we looked, most real estate investors transact and denominate wealth in currency (dollars for Americans) … and your rental properties, tenants’ incomes, and overall prosperity all exist inside of the broader economy.

So the potential for big changes to either the currency or the overall economy matter to real estate investors just like they do to paper asset investors.

In fact, based on the amount of debt most real estate investors use, interest rates are arguably even MORE important to real estate investors.

We’re just a couple of days away from our Future of Money and Wealth conference … with nearly 400 people coming … and right now we’re thinking a lot about the dollar and interest rates.

Peter Schiff is speaking.  Peter wrote Crash Proof in 2006 and released it in 2007.  Back then, he loudly warned of an impending financial crisis whose roots would be in the mortgage market.

Sadly, back then we didn’t know Peter, and we didn’t read his book.  Then 2008 happened, and we were blindsided by the financial crisis.

So now we read more … a LOT more.

We make time to listen to people like Peter Schiff, Robert Kiyosaki, and Chris Martenson.  And we work hard to share them with our audiences.

A very interesting book we just finished is Exorbitant Privilege by Barry Eichengreen.  He’s Professor of Political Science and Economics at Cal Berkeley.

Eichengreen published Exorbitant Privilege in 2011, which means he probably wrote it in 2010.

Keep this in mind as we share these prophetic excerpts from Chapter 7, “Dollar Crisis”…

“What if foreigners dump their holdings and abandon the currency [dollar]?  What, if anything, could U.S. policymakers do about it?”

“It would be nice were this kind of scenario planning undertaken by the Federal Reserve and CIA … it would have to start with what precipitated the crash and caused foreigners to abandon the dollar.”

Note:  Eichengreen probably didn’t know at the time that James Rickards, former attorney for Long Term Capital Management (the hedge fund at the center of the near financial meltdown of 1998), was participating in precisely this kind of planning, which Rickards describes in his book Currency Wars, published a year after Exorbitant Privilege.

Back to Eichengreen’s prophetic 2011 commentary …

“One trigger could be political conflict between the United States and China.  The simmering dispute over trade and exchange rates could break into the open …

“… American politicians … could impose an across-the-board tariff on imports from [China].”

WOW … Eichengreen wrote that at least 7 years before this March 22, 2018 headline from CNBC:

Trump slaps China with tariffs on up to $60 billion in imports: ‘This is the first of many’

Back to Eichengreen in 2011 …

“Beijing would not take this lying down.”

CNN Money on April 3, 2018:

China to US: We’ll match your tariffs in ‘scale’ and ‘intensity’

Eichengreen in 2011:

“Or the United States and China could come into conflict over policy toward rogue states like North Korea and Iran.”

If you’ve been following the North Korea drama, you probably know this one’s been back and forth.

Last summer, China seemed to side with North Korea.  Then they tried to take a neutral position.

But recently Kim Jong Un paid a secret visit to China.  Of course, no one really knows what that was about.

But based on recent trade policy it seems the U.S. isn’t sucking up to China for help with North Korea.  So maybe the U.S. and China disagree on North Korea?

Now STAY WITH US … because the point of all this is … according to Eichengreen …

China’s relationship with the United States and the U.S. dollar has a DIRECT impact on the future of YOUR money, interest rates, and wealth.

And if you’re like most Main Streeters, you may not completely understand the connection …

… just like we didn’t understand what Credit Default Swaps had to do with our real estate investing in 2008 … until everything suddenly imploded …

… despite reassurances from the wise and powerful man then behind the curtain of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke.

And the point here isn’t Iran, or North Korea, or tariffs, or trade wars … it’s about whether China gets upset enough with the U.S. and opts for the nuclear option …

Eichengreen in 2011:

“… China [could] vent its anger and exert leverage … by … dumping [Treasuries] … would send the bond markets into a tizzy … interest rates in the United States would spike.  The dollar would crater … could cause exporters, importers, and investors to abandon the dollar permanently.”

Obviously, there’s a LOT more to this topic than we can cover today.

Our point for now is that way back in 2010-11, Eichengreen envisioned a scenario in which conflict with China could create a dollar crisis.

As you can see, today’s headlines are living out his concerns.

When you read Eichengreen, like Jim Rickards, he talks about things reaching a tipping point … where everything happens fast.

We lived that in 2008 and it was NO FUN.  But that was only because we were on the wrong end of it.  While we got slammed, others made fortunes. They were informed and prepared.  We weren’t.

So be cautious of normalcy bias and complacency when it comes to contemplating the possibility of a dollar crisis.

Better to be prepared and not have a crisis … than to have a crisis and not be prepared.

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.

Tax Reform Ramifications for Real Estate Investors

It’s tax time!

For most people, the month before April 15 is the only time they think about taxes. Today, we’ll chat with Tom Wheelwright, CPA, about why you should change your mindset.

We’ll discuss the implications of the recent tax reform bill and how YOU can plan strategically to bring down your taxes — and increase your wealth.

Taxes are the price you pay for making an income … but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage your tax liability and get smart about how much you’re paying.

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

  • Your tax-talking host, Robert Helms
  • His taxing co-host, Russell Gray
  • Tax advisor for real estate investors Tom Wheelwright, CPA

Listen



Subscribe

Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4

 

 


Review

When you give us a positive review on iTunes you help us continue to bring you high caliber guests and attract new listeners. It’s easy and takes just a minute! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions).

Thanks!


How does the tax reform bill affect you?

Tom Wheelwright is a personal tax advisor for The Real Estate Guys™ and Robert Kiyosaki. His goal is to help real estate investors build wealth … without losing it all to taxes. He even wrote a book on the subject, Tax-Free Wealth.

Tom has read the new tax law not once, but twice! We’re comfortable calling him an expert on the subject.

Is the tax law out to get you? Absolutely not.

Tom says the first few pages of the tax law cover ways to raise revenue. The rest is a series of incentives … and that’s true in EVERY country.

If you want to know what your government wants you to do, look at the tax law. Take a closer look, and you’ll see built-in real estate incentives.

That’s because real estate is the preferred investment vehicle for many governments. Why? Because it provides necessary housing.

The tax law gives you a ROAD MAP to reduce your taxes.

So, instead of complaining about how the government is taking all your money and then doing nothing about it, PARTNER with the government. Figure out what incentives are available … then take advantage of them.

What about the 2018 tax reform? Tom says to remember that some parts of the bill are effective retroactively. For example, if you bought a car between October and the end of the year, you may have a big tax break coming.

By using the home office deduction, you can double your car purchase deduction. A big key for April 15, says Tom, is to make sure you take ALL the deductions you’re entitled to.

And don’t get worried about the impacts of the new tax bill. Tax changes move slowly. Realize that your tax strategy and your investment strategy impact each other … and recruit an accountant to help you fine-tune your plan.

Start thinking about next year’s taxes NOW

We asked Tom how to approach next year’s taxes in light of this year’s reform.

“There are so many big changes,” says Tom.

For example, Section 179 now applies to residential real estate. This allows you to deduct equipment … including roofs, HVAC systems, security systems, and more.

So when you’re improving your properties, an important factor to take into consideration is the tax impact and potential deductions.

Another huge change is that bonus depreciation now applies to used property. So, you could get a huge deduction in year one.

Another change that affects you is the 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses. That deduction absolutely applies to real estate investors … if you have a positive net income.

To make sure you’re getting maximum benefits, sit down with your tax provider and lay out your plans for the next year. The right tax professional will help you figure where there is the most permanent tax benefit … instead of pushing options that will be lucrative in the long term but counterproductive in the short term.

To do depreciation recapture, Tom says you need to get your tax advisor involved. If you’re doing it right, ultimately there should be very little recapture … and thus very little taxable income. To avoid paying taxes on properties, you can do a 1031 tax exchange.

And as every real estate investor knows, borrowing does not create taxable income.

How to choose the right tax advisor

When speaking at conferences, Tom likes to ask whether attendees’ accountants have told them NOT to take the home office deduction.

If the answer is yes, that’s a sign you’re ready for a new accountant. “You don’t want an accountant who is afraid of the IRS,” says Tom.

HOW you pick a tax advisor depends on WHAT you want one for. If you want someone to record historical information, any accountant will do.

But if you want someone to reduce your taxes going forward, you should look for someone who asks you questions about what is happening now and what will happen in the future.

It’s essential that you’re paying attention to the future … because your tax picture WILL change. According to Tom, “Most people have really good business strategy, but almost no investment strategy.”

A good tax advisor will help you project what will happen 5-10 years down the road. Why? Because you can’t change the past … but you can change the future.

The right tax professional will also reach out to you with updates on a regular basis. You shouldn’t have to bug him or her to get information.

Outside of your spouse, your tax advisor will have more impact on yourself, your future, and your financial situation than any other person. So build a relationship with an excellent tax professional.

And if your current accountant doesn’t sound like the professional we’ve described above … you may have outgrown them.  

Want to know more about how to choose the right tax professional? In his book, Tax-Free Wealth, Tom describes 10 questions you should ask your accountant … and 10 questions your accountant should ask you! He’s making this chapter free to listeners of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show. Listen in to the show to find out how to get your complimentary copy!

More about our favorite wealth strategist

We also asked Tom about his new platform, WealthAbility. The site is a collection of tools and educational resources to help people like YOU earn more … and pay less in taxes.

The platform is paired with a global network of accountants and firms that understand tax-free wealth strategies.

If you want to hear more from Tom, check out WealthAbility or his wealth strategy firm, ProVision. Also consider coming to our brand-new Future of Money and Wealth conference, where Tom will be a speaker.

Some final words of wisdom

Remember that different investments have different tax ramifications. Gold and silver is very different from real estate. A couple single-family investments will be very different than a dozen multifamily properties.

And residential real estate is a world away from commercial. Whatever investment class you choose, don’t forget … there’s always a tax advantage.

One thing we know about taxes … “Experts predict tax laws will always change OR stay the same in the future,” says Robert. Pretty hard to argue with, right?

People in and outside of the government will always try to manipulate markets to get certain incomes. It’s your job to set your prejudices aside and focus on the best outcome.

There will be losses … so make sure you’re not the one eating them. And there will be winners … make sure you’re one of them!

It all starts by getting connected with the right ideas, the right people, and the right environment. That includes that right tax advisor!


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.