And now the REAL contagion begins …

Although there may be some debate about the true origin, cause, and date of the COVID-19 virus … there’s no doubt about its presence and impact today.

And just as the health crisis began quietly, before exploding onto the scene, so it may be with the subsequent financial crisis.

After all, if you’re not both an epidemiologist and paying attention … or listening to one … like our friend Chris Martenson at Peak Prosperity …

… you probably didn’t know anything about COVID-19 until there was no toilet paper on the shelves at your local store.

Clearly, there were people who knew and acted sooner than others …

… and we’re guessing most folks would prefer to be in the group who’s aware and prepared.

Fortunately, being late to the toilet paper run didn’t result in being completely wiped out. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

But as the health crisis and resulting lock down has mutated into an economic crisis …

… and is already showing signs of spreading into a financial crisis 

… the consequences of being ignorant and ill-prepared could be a whole lot messier to handle than a toilet paper shortage. (Okay, we’ll stop now.)

Punning aside, our point is there are abundant and alarming clues in the news that a financial contagion has already begun.

But preparing for it is a lot more complicated than simply stocking up on paper products … including cash.

Preparing is also a lot bigger than just looking out for you and yours.

Just as society rallied to “flatten the curve” … slowing the contagion to preempt the number of afflicted from overwhelming the health system …

… we’re “all in this together” and need to flatten the curve of people going broke and overwhelming the financial system.

Because while you might be able to get along in life not exchanging germs with other people …

… it’s impossible to live in a world of free enterprise without trading with others.

We all need each other to be financially healthy if we want to build resilient prosperity.

So, it’s in everyone’s enlightened self-interest to both prepare individually … and help others prepare to prosper through the wild ride looming on the horizon.

That’s why we’re organizing a Crisis Investing webinar … featuring a STELLAR faculty, including …

Richard Duncan – Economist, best-selling author, former consultant to the IMF

Peter Schiff – Money manager, best-selling author, podcaster, financial pundit

Robert Kiyosaki – Mega-millionaire investor, greatest-selling financial author in history, host of the Rich Dad Radio Show

Nomi Prins – Former Wall Street insider, geopolitical financial expert, investigative journalist, best-selling author

Danielle DiMartino-Booth – Former Fed insider, popular market commentator, financial newsletter publisher, best-selling author

Brien Lundin – Gold expert, publisher of Gold Newsletter, New Orleans Investment Conference producer

And that’s not everyone. The Crisis Investing webinar is a big and important project.

We’re working hard to collect the thoughts and perspectives of a large, well-qualified group of thought leaders, insiders, and seasoned investors.

By the way … this isn’t a pitch … because the webinar is totally free.

So, be sure to tell your family, friends, neighbors, associates and total strangers to get on the Advance Notice List ASAP.

Remember, most of the “experts” on mainstream financial media are directly or indirectly underwritten by and beholden to Wall Street and the big banks.

So, most don’t understand or value Main Street investing … especially real estate. Yet that’s where most people live … and where all the fallout lands.

Of course, it’s possible to see danger coming in time to get in position to avoid most problems and capture many opportunities.

Of course, this requires focus and diligence because these are truly unprecedented times …

Fed’s balance sheet tops $7 trillion, shows increasing buying of corporate bond ETFs
MarketWatch, 5/21/20

Not sure what that means to you? You’re not alone … and that’s the point.

The wizards behind the curtain are pulling levers, flashing lights, and using smoke, mirrors, and fancy words to manipulate the currency, credit markets, and interest rates YOU depend on.

Hint: The Fed’s balance sheet represents how many dollars they conjure out of thin air … and it’s nearly doubled since the COVID-19 crisis hit just a few months ago.

But anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of economics knows that no amount of money printing creates products and services.

If it did, then the Fed could just print money and everyone could stay home and watch Netflix.

But like any form of debt, money printing is simply a claim on existing and future products and services.

If you earn, borrow, or measure wealth in dollars, this should concern you.

Meanwhile …

Over 4 million Americans are now skipping their mortgage payments
MarketWatch, 5/24/20

With nearly 40 million jobs lost in the last few weeks … defaults on rent, mortgages, car payments, credit card payments should surprise no one.

Sure, the Fed can print money for Uncle Sam to direct deposit to everyone.

And MAYBE they’ll use it to make debt payments … versus less important things like say … EATING.

But you may recall …

Alarming number of Americans don’t have enough savings for unexpected expenses

New York Post, 1/30/20

“One in four Americans do not have enough money saved to cover more than two months of expenses, according to a recent poll.”

Many of those folks are your tenants. But it’s not just the little guys who are struggling as the economic contagion spreads …

Default Notices Are Piling Up for Retailers Unable to Pay Rent
Bloomberg, 5/22/20

Hertz, slammed by coronavirus, to continue under bankruptcy protection
Chicago Tribune, 5/26/20

‘No business is built for zero revenue.’

NO business is built for zero revenue. Neither is any city, state, or nation.

No society can survive long without production AND commerce.

So, while it’s good that the world is coming out of its COVID-19 induced economic coma …

… the extent of the damage … and what’s temporary vs what’s permanent … will not be known for some time.

But with so much uncertainty remaining about whether the health crisis at the front end of this chain of calamity is past its peak …

… there’s no rational reason to think the subsequent economic crisis is even close to over.

And even if it was, all those missed payments and printed money is likely to create a financial system crisis … and perhaps even a currency crisis … down the road.

So our bet is things get MUCH choppier before they get better.

BUT … that’s not all bad news. In fact, there’s likely a lot of opportunity in all this mess.

So rather than go full-fetal freak out … or waste a bunch of time blaming (pick a perp or scapegoat) … or philosophizing about what the people in charge should or shouldn’t do …

… we think you’re better served to stay focused on what YOU can do NOW.

We’re sorry if this is a little repetitive …

… but if you were on the deck of the Titanic, would you want the crew to stop boring you with repeated directions to the lifeboats?

Of course, no one knows exactly the “best” way to mitigate risks and capture opportunities … there’s still too much unknown.

But as we often say, focus on being diligent to control what you can so you’re in the best position to respond to what you can’t.

And listen to as many smart people as you can who are also diligently preparing and paying attention. That’s what the Crisis Investing webinar is all about.

The follow up to the webinar will be to take all these expert perspectives and then come up with the best ideas and action plans.

But be patient. With MANY hours of interviews, the project won’t be ready for a few more weeks. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, we still think it’s wise to get as liquid as you can while you can … especially with respect to equity and taking advantage of the cheapest mortgage money you may ever see.

Take a good look at your portfolio … and think about how it would respond to rising rates, a banking crisis, a credit market collapse, or a substantial decline in rents.

Remember, “no business is built for zero revenue”.

Sometimes you simply can’t save everything from a worst-case scenario. So it’s also important to know when to retreat and preserve capital … so you can live to invest another day.

But if you’re liquid, conservatively structured, well-educated, and connected … you’ll probably hold onto most of what matters …

… and easily make up any losses by grabbing the bargains likely to be littered across the landscape as this all unfolds.

And if this turns out not to be as big a deal as it seems … how are you worse off for being prepared?

Podcast: What Unprecedented Stimulus Means for Real Estate

The Fed created over $85 billion per month of new dollars … and Uncle Sam spent over $800 billion … to “save” the economy from the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

To take on the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, the Fed has been creating over $80 billion PER DAY … and Uncle Sam has already pledged to spend nearly $4 TRILLION … and they’re not done.

Will it work? Can the system handle it? What happens next? And what happens to real estate?


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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Ask The Guys — Scaling Up, Credit Lines, and Pandemic Prepping

It’s time for Ask The Guys … the episode where you ask and we answer!

This edition we are tackling topics from how to use credit lines strategically BEFORE they disappear to how to prepare NOW for the investment problems … and opportunities likely to emerge from COVID-19 … and more!

But remember … we offer commentary, education, and resources … not advice. 

Always consult with tax or legal professionals before making any investment decisions. 

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

  • Your know-it-all host, Robert Helms
  • His know-nothing co-host, Russell Gray

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Where to get liquidity from your balance sheet

Our first question comes from Alicia in Woodstock, Georgia. 

She says, “Hey guys, I want to have liquidity to buy real estate, but I’m not sure where to pull the money from.”

Alicia says she has a homestead and a rental that are both paid off. She also has a 401K. She wants to know if she should convert the 401K into a self-directed account and take money from there. 

First, Alicia is thinking the right way. If you want to acquire more real estate, you have to have more money. 

The good news is that someone like Alicia already has idle equity sitting around waiting to be worked with. 

The cheapest money out there is mortgage money. It’s very inexpensive and long-term … so the payment and the cash flow is really easy to manage. 

Someone like Alicia could potentially borrow against her paid off rental property … and the 401K is also an option. 

But, if you roll that 401K over into a self-directed account, you’ll want to talk to your tax professional first to see if you will end up facing some type of a penalty. 

Then, the only other way to go about getting money that gives income from your own balance sheet is to think about raising money from someone else’s balance sheet. 

There are people out there who have money … but they don’t have access to deals, and they don’t have the hustle. 

When to buy a house

Don is looking to buy a house and wants to know when he should be buying. 

“Prices are still high,” he says, “and judging from past market crashes, should we wait maybe two months to buy at a lower price?”

When you’re buying a residence to live in, market timing means very little. If you’re looking for an investment property, you make different decisions than you would for a home you want to live in. 

Your first priority should be finding a home that is safe, clean, affordable, and in a good neighborhood. If you’re patient, some good deals will come. 

Finding off-market deals

DC from Edinburg, Texas, says, “Due to the pandemic, people are going to be selling their homes at discounted prices. How do I find these deals? I want to get some off-market deals.”

The premise that there will be deals to find is fairly sound … and the answer as to how to find them is simple … relationships. 

You won’t find much success cold-calling or knocking doors. Instead, find someone who already has the pulse on that part of the market and form a relationship with them. 

Build a brand of someone who people want to do business with. Don’t just throw lowball offers out there and see what happens. That will become your reputation. 

And don’t jump at the very first thing you see unless it happens to be fantastic. If you build the right relationships, you’re going to find some amazing deals. 

Scaling up your investments

John in Round Lake, Illinois, is a fledgling investor looking to scale up. 

“I can’t help but have some apprehension about jumping from small things to a big thing,” John says. “How can I make sure I don’t mess up?”

Many folks make this same shift that John is looking at … and they do it for different reasons. 

Often, it’s because they get to the point where the economics of scale efficiencies, headaches, and management of single-family houses becomes a lot for them. So, many make the jump over to multifamily. 

There are many benefits to this approach. One is that once your portfolio reaches a certain size, you can get into non-recourse financing. 

This means your lender has recourse against the property, but not you personally. 

And, with bigger properties, you typically don’t buy all by yourself. You do it with partners or syndication … and those people bring support and power to the deal. 

If things were to get dicey, these factors combine to make apartment investing actually less risky than going it alone in single-family homes. 

And, one of the beautiful things about syndication is that anything you’re lacking … including experience … you can go aggregate by finding other people who need what you bring to the table. 

A query on credit lines

Mark in Ohio has a question about credit lines. 

“I have two large lines of credit, and I’m currently not using either,” he says. “Should I draw the entire amount out now, or should I wait a bit longer?”

On the one hand, John thinks it would be a shame to pay interest on money he doesn’t need at the moment. But … he is concerned that those lines of credit could freeze up in the near future. 

Short answer … we would draw them out completely. 

You see a lot of big corporations doing this right now. Ford Motor Company famously did that going into the 2008 crisis … and unlike GM, Ford didn’t need a bailout. 

Banks are nervous. The Fed is acting pretty nervous. So, if you have access to credit lines and equity … we would put the two together and get liquid. 

Having liquidity is good insurance. 

More Ask The Guys

Listen to the full episode for more questions and answers. 

Have a real estate investing question? Let us know! Your question could be featured in our next Ask The Guys episode. 


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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Real estate and the economic pandemic ahead …

Here’s another installment in the continuing saga of Crisis Watch 2020 …

Last time, we discussed the scope and sequence for the mutation of the current health crisis into a potential dollar crisis.

If you haven’t read it, try to fit it into your hectic sheltering-in-place schedule.

We think it’s important to have context for the deluge of data, news, and opinions overwhelming your senses. Without context, it’s just a lot of scary noise.

Today we’re considering the future of real estate in a perpetual and post-pandemic world. After all, we are The Real Estate Guys™.

And last time we looked, none of the talking heads on mainstream financial media are talking to real estate investors. So, we will.

Of course, real estate is a vast topic with a multitude of sub-sectors. Each is affected by both micro and macro factors.

All that is obviously WAY too much for a deep dive in a weekly muse.

But with only a few exceptions, when it comes to real estate, it’s really ALL about jobs and incomes.

And right now, it’s no secret the jobs market is imploding in unprecedented fashion. The Atlanta Fed is projecting a STUNNING 42% decline in Q2 GDP.

Imagine if your blood pressure, paycheck, or rents declined 42%. Ouch.

The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government (not the same thing) are frantically trying to stave off depression with both monetary policy (lower interest rates) and fiscal stimulus (government spending).

But at the end of the day, it takes real jobs to produce real income to make real rent and mortgage payments on real estate. Really.

It’s productivity that creates products and gives money its value. Money from nothing doesn’t create goods and services to consume.

More money and less production usually leads to shortages and high prices. That’s hard on everyone, but especially tenants.

So, policymakers are like Han Solo flying into the asteroid belt in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back … attempting to successfully navigate a VERY dangerous landscape.

The plan seems to be for the Fed to use EXTREME dollar printing to fund ginormous government spending, suppress interest rates, and buy almost everything from local bonds to ETFs … maybe even stocks.

Ostensibly, the goal is to prevent a collapse of asset prices and the financial system (banks and bond markets) they support.

This presumably buys time for the economy to be re-ignited, so businesses, jobs, and incomes are restored. But at what price? And will it work … fast enough?

Maybe. But it’s probably smart to be prepared in case things don’t go as planned. This crisis is unprecedented. No one really knows what will happen.

In practical terms, we think increasing liquid reserves, tightly managing cash flow, dumping marginal properties in marginal markets, and staying tight with your mortgage professional are all things that make a LOT of sense right now.

We’re guessing free cash flow, liquidity, and access to capital will all be very valuable in the very near future.

For active and aspiring syndicators, NOW is a GREAT time to expand and educate your network of prospective investors …

… preparing them to join you in taking advantage of the bargains likely coming to a neighborhood near you.

Meanwhile, some investors are choosing to sit on the sidelines until AFTER the crisis passes and things stabilize.

Waiting for things to stabilize could be a BIG mistake …

First, things don’t “stabilize” on their own. Things stabilize because intrepid investors step into the chaos and go bargain shopping.

Think about it. It’s the very act of grabbing the best deals while others sit out which puts in a price bottom and stabilizes a market.

So a stabilized market is one that’s already been picked over. If you want the best bargains, you need to be among the brave and bold.

This isn’t to suggest throwing caution to the wind and buying anything anywhere for any price. That’s dumb any time, but especially when a storm is clearly on the horizon.

But if you’re in it for the long haul, which is what true real estate investing is all about …

… then the best “price” is a whole lot less important than great long-term financing.

That’s because when the best price is available, it’s often because financing is limited, expensive, or not available at all.

So, go back and think about where we’re at in the pandemic …

A health crisis leads to a lock down which crushes commerce … taking revenue, jobs, and paychecks with it.

Real estate values start to fall because buyers are either unable or unwilling to buy … and demand slows. Of course, that usually proves to be TEMPORARY.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis means missed payments and debts going bad. Lenders get nervous and credit starts to tighten. It’s already happening.

Of course, bad debt in a debt-based system is its own next-level nightmare.

IF the economic crisis continues, the bad debt contagion spreads … collapsing credit markets and threatening the banking system.

Think 2008 … only WORSE.

When this happens, credit’s not just tight. It’s nearly non-existent.

So yes, bargains are everywhere, but you better have CASH.

That’s why we think it’s smart to convert equity to liquid reserves while both equity and great financing are still available.

Of course, when you find the right deal in the right market with the right cash flow and you’re able to obtain great LONG-TERM financing …

… then you can ride the price train down and back up again on the backside.

Remember, what happens from the time you buy until you sell doesn’t matter much as long as cash is flowing positively in between.

Plus, with the updates to the tax law, rental real estate got an additional boost to the already awesome tax reform accelerated depreciation credits.

These tax breaks reduce taxes in the future, but can now also help you reclaim taxes paid in the past. This all really helps with your cash flow early in your ownership when you need it the most.

Lastly, consider how much pressure is being put on the U.S. dollar to prop up the entire world’s collapsing asset prices and credit markets.

Gold is signaling concerns about long term inflation. Smart investors are paying attention. We hope you are too.

Will the dollar soften, crash, or collapse … causing the dollar price of real assets like real estate and gold to soar?

No one knows. But it’s certainly possible. We’ll be digging deeper into this hot topic in our upcoming Crisis Investing webinar.

But whether it’s only the 2 percent per year inflation the Fed targets … or a much higher rate which could result if the Fed loses control and the dollar collapses …

… the key to profiting from inflation is DEBT.

And the best debt on earth is real estate debt because you enjoy very low interest rates and payments which can be locked in for the long term …

… with no margin calls …

… plus you get control of a real asset that produces income for servicing the debt …

… plus you only need to put in a fraction of the price … 30% or less down payment in many cases… which means you don’t have much capital at risk if you get long term deflation …

… plus you get fantastic tax breaks to further enhance your after-tax cash flow.

Meanwhile, you earn inflated dollars which might be worth less against today’s products and services … but worth a lot when paying off that old debt.

So the key is to acquire cash flowing assets with debt. This is real estate 101, but what makes it work is INFLATION.

And right now many pundits believe (and gold is confirming) the stage is being set for accelerated inflation.

The danger, as any seasoned investor will tell you, is lack of liquidity.

But with dollars losing value and banks paying zero interest, who wants to hold cash?

This is where gold comes in … not as an investment, but as liquid reserves that can insulate you from long term inflation.

In a world where massive printing of dollars (inflation) is the singular “vaccine” being administered to prevent economic contagion …

… it’s arguably urgent to start taking precautions to prepare for the potential decline of the real value of the dollar.

The main ingredients are income property, debt, and gold.

When you mix them properly, you insulate yourself from the negative effects of inflation while positioning yourself to create real profits.

We’ll be talking more about this timely and important subject in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!

Golden Opportunity with a Silver Lining — Crisis Hedging with Precious Metals

We’re living in a time when the U.S. dollar is under pressure to support a struggling global economy. 

So, investors are joining central banks and turning to precious metals to hedge up their portfolios. 

Gold and silver are solid forms of liquid reserves. As the COVID-19 health crisis evolves into an economic pandemic … real estate investors should consider these malleable assets. 

Our good friend Dana Samuelson is here to talk about precious metals and investors like YOU. 

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

  • Your shiny gold host, Robert Helms
  • His tarnished co-host, Russell Gray
  • Precious metals expert, Dana Samuelson

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Hedging strategies for your portfolio

Today we’re talking about the safety and hedging strategies real estate investors can employ with precious metals. 

Real estate investors tend to look at life … and investing … transactionally. But traditional investing is really about building a portfolio. 

A portfolio consists of different components. When you apply portfolio theory to your real estate investing, you can use some of the same financial strategies that paper asset investors enjoy using the real assets you prefer. 

What are real assets? Real assets are things that are physical and tangible. They don’t really rely upon a counterparty risk. 

Building a portfolio of diverse real assets is important … and today we’re talking about a component that can be an important part of your portfolio mix. 

There’s the possibility that because of this economic shutdown, the Federal Reserve is going to print so many dollars that it will begin to damage currency. How do you hedge against that?

One way is to invest in assets that don’t have counterparty risk … like precious metals. 

Dollars haven’t existed forever … but gold and silver have. 

Why gold and silver?

Our guest today knows a lot about these precious metals … Dana Samuelson. Dana is one of the best resources out there on gold and silver investing. 

“Gold and silver are malleable, so they have been used as money and currency since ancient times,” Dana says. 

Unlike paper money, gold doesn’t really change its value. It is the same today as it was a hundred years ago in terms of purchasing power … in fact, it has actually gained value against printed currencies over the hundred years. 

Gold is up over $300 an ounce in the last 12 months relative to the dollar. 

One thing investors do need to understand is that when you buy an ounce of gold, it doesn’t have an ROI. It doesn’t earn interest. 

What it does is preserve its value at whatever time, place, and currency you want to compare it to going forward. 

So, we don’t all think of gold and silver as investments as much as we do a hedge against inflation and a way to keep money safe. 

Gold and silver have always been fantastic as far as preserving purchasing power, and there are multiple ways to invest in metals. 

Ways to invest in precious metals

You can of course buy precious metals outright by the ounce. But you can also invest in funds. You can invest in ETFs. You can even invest in mining companies. 

But, many of the alternatives to buying gold and silver outright do come with some counterparty risk. That’s why buying metals outright is so popular. 

When people think of gold bullion, they think of gold bars. These bars are minted privately. Most major mints have since replaced bars with round bullion pieces in the United States. 

The U.S. mint has been making one-ounce gold and silver Eagles since 1986. Other countries … like Canada, South Africa, China, Australia, and Austria … also make round coins as alternatives to bars. 

Up until 1933, people had a choice on the street between a $20 gold coin or a $20 paper bill. 

That means that there are a lot of older, classic coins that survive today and are many times scarcer than modern bullion pieces. These coins have collector value that is above and beyond their intrinsic metal value. 

Just like in real estate, there are typically additional fees when you buy or sell coins, but those are fairly nominal. 

In the past few months, Dana has seen a strong demand for the physical product of gold and silver coins. 

Getting into the game

What advice does Dana have for new investors to the precious metals game?

“I would try and determine what your overall strategy is and how much you really want to put into this market over, say, the next six months,” Dana says. “I would definitely get started sooner rather than later.”

Dana recommends cost averaging your purchases over the next two to four months since precious metals tend to sell off with stocks as people rush to liquidity. 

Cost averaging is a great way to get in and keep your prices low. 

You can also look at the gold to silver ratio to see how many parts of silver it takes to equal one part of gold. Simply divide the gold price by the silver price. 

Historically that ratio has been anywhere from 20:1 to 40:1. In the past several weeks, that ratio has moved all the way up to as high as 125:1 … which means silver is dirt cheap. 

One reason silver is lagging behind gold is that gold represents true portable wealth. “You can carry $150K to $200K worth of gold in your hands. It’s about the size of a paperback novel,” Dana says. 

Silver, Dana says, is more spending money to use on the street if there is a problem with currency. 

“I would advise listeners to think about allocating 40% of their funds to gold and maybe 60% to silver right now,” Dana says. 

For more about investing in precious metals … listen to the full episode!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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Podcast: Ask The Guys – Scaling Up, Credit Lines, and Pandemic Prepping

Another exhilarating edition of Ask The Guys … your great questions and our questionable answers.

This time, we tackle topics about going from tiny to mighty … how to use credit lines strategically BEFORE they disappear …. how to prepare NOW for the investment problems and opportunities likely to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic … and MORE!


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!

The next stop in the coronavirus cascading crisis tour …

If you’re tired of hearing about the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis … get over it.

We’re on the front end of a series of cascading crises that will likely affect every investor on the planet … including YOU.

Pretending it’s not happening … or blindly trusting the great and powerful wizards behind the curtains … or pulling the covers over your head and hoping for the best …

… will NOT make any of it go away.

Of course, HOW it affects you could depend on how well you pay attention, understand what’s happening, and take effective action.

There will be WINNERS … and LOSERS.

We’re far from experts, but we’re fortunate to have access to some of the smartest folks on the planet. And they’re ALL monitoring the crisis VERY closely. Seems like a good idea.

As you may know, we’re organizing an EPIC mega-webinar featuring discussions with MANY of our big brained friends to find out what they’re seeing, thinking, and doing.

We realize you’re being bombarded with information … we all are … so rather than just pile more on, let’s focus on creating some context to process all the info better.

It’s important to think about how the crisis is likely to spread …

What started out as a health crisis quickly mutated into an economic crisis as cities, states and nations worldwide virtually shut down in unison.

These lock-downs have suppressed both the supply and demand for all kinds of good and services.

Because the decreases in production and demand aren’t perfectly synced, there have been both shortages (toilet paper) and gluts (oil) … the effects of which range from inconvenient to devastating (no toilet paper?!?).

But that’s just the beginning …

Lock-downs stop revenue, profits and paychecks … which stops debt service.

This is where the economic crisis mutates into a financial system crisis. 

But unlike toilet paper and oil, the signs of stress in the financial system are harder to see. That’s why financial system failures blind-side many Main Streeters.

Yet there are many clues in the news IF you know what to watch for.

It starts with obvious headlines …

Coronavirus-caused spike of homeowners in forbearance surges on
– Fox Business via Yahoo Finance, 5/4/20

Of course, this surprises no one.

When people don’t have jobs and incomes, they can’t make mortgage payments. For those old enough, this elicits flashbacks to 2008.

Except now, it’s not just mortgages. It’s corporate debtconsumer debtmunicipal debt, public and private pensions, and much more.

Basically, virtually all IOU’s everywhere are in danger of going bad.

This is counter-party risk … when your asset is someone else’s liability … if they fail to perform, your asset loses some or all of its value.

Even your bank account (your asset) is your bank’s liability (they owe you). If the bank fails and you have more than the insured amount, YOU could have a problem.

Counter-party risk is EVERYWHERE in today’s debt-based system.

Yet while bad debt is one level of awful, it gets worse when gamblers in the Wall Street casinos use derivatives to magnify their gains.

Of course, the extreme leverage created through derivatives cuts TWO ways.

Sure, extreme leverage turns tiny gains into massive profits … but it can also turn bad bets into a systemic crisis.

We’ve gotten into the weeds of how all that works in the past, so we won’t rehash it now.

But the first clue in the news indicating stress in the financial system is when asset prices are falling and cash is running low …

… as everyone is madly selling everything and the kitchen sink to raise cash to cover margin calls on their bad bets.

Of course, that’s also when quality assets get caught in the downdraft, so if you’re aware and prepared (i.e., liquid), you can step in and snap up bargains.

Which leads to another clue in the news … savvy investors sitting on huge war chests of cash.

According to a recent Bloomberg article …

“assets in money-market funds have soared to a record $4.77 trillion amid a flight to safety by investors this year.”

Business Insider reports Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway has a record $137 billion cash pile.

Yet as Buffet explains …

“Berkshire’s cash pile isn’t overkill given the cataclysmic risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic.”

(Buffet is the same guy who called derivatives “weapons of mass financial destruction.“)

Now, with all these demands for cash, it isn’t surprising to see headlines hinting that there’s not enough to go around.

Interestingly, as you may recall, the current cash crunch didn’t grow out of the coronavirus crisis. It preceded it.

We noticed this back in September when the Federal Reserve started pumping billions of dollars per day into the repo market.

(The repo market is like a pawn shop for banks to hock T-Bills for dollars.)

Since then, the Fed has injected trillions of dollars directly and through Uncle Sam … driving interest rates down to zero … and perhaps negative …

… and stepping in to buy debt no one else can or will, including U.S. Treasuries, and now for the first time ever, corporate debt.

This is very similar to how the Fed put in a bottom to the free-falling mortgage-backed securities market back in 2008 … except WAY bigger.

All this suggests the financial system could be far more stressed than the wizards behind the curtain let on.

Which brings us to the final stop in our progression of dominoes from health crisis to economic crisis to financial crisis …

… a dollar crisis.

As we’ve been pointing out, the financial bondo the Fed is slathering all over the dents in the economy and financial system are dollars.

ALL the pressure is on the dollar, which should concern EVERYONE who earns, owes, spends, and denominates wealth in dollars.

The coronavirus health scare alerted the American politicians and public to a sick dependency on China for critical supplies like masks and medicines.

Naturally, Americans are uncomfortable with this dependency and lawmakers are preparing bills to bring the medical supply chain back to the USA.

Of course, as real estate investors, this interests us because it could mean the creation of new jobs in whatever regions land these factories.

But our point today is that just as Americans realize they don’t want to depend on an adversary for something as critical as life-saving medicines …

… Chinese (and Russians and others) similarly don’t want to depend on the U.S. for something as essential to commerce and prosperity as currency.

So as we first pointed out way back in 2013 in our Real Asset Investing Report, and later updated in our Future of Money and Wealth presentation, The Dollar Under Attack …

… the calls continue for a global alternative to the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

And with the Fed conjuring trillions of new dollars out of thin air to prop up sagging asset prices, hold together collapsing credit markets, backstop virtually all insolvent corporations, states, plus the federal government, and suppress interest rates …

… the final stop on this cascading coronavirus crisis tour could be a dollar crisis.

So don’t get tired or bored of watching a slow-motion train wreck. Slow means you have time to get out of the way.

If you’ve been asleep up until now, it’s time to wake up. Because things are picking up speed.

Are you aware and prepared? Stay tuned …

Podcast: Golden Opportunity with a Silver Lining – Crisis Hedging with Precious Metals

With so much pressure on the U.S. dollar to support the collapsing global economy, alert investors are joining central banks and turning to precious metals to hedge.

Gold and silver are forms of liquid reserves even Main Street real estate investors should consider as the COVID-19 health crisis mutates into an economic pandemic. So tune in as we talk precious metals with our good friend and gold expert, Dana Samuelson.


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!

Real Growth, Resiliency, and Diversification through Agriculture

Everyone needs a place to live and EVERYONE needs to eat. 

In good times and bad, we all need food. For centuries, agriculture has been synonymous with wealth and productivity. 

(Maybe that’s why they call it “produce!”) 

Agriculture relies on real estate. It also provides investors with an opportunity to create cash flow from cash crops. 

So, we’re revisiting the opportunities in agriculture … even in the midst of a rapidly changing world. 

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

  • Your high-growth host, Robert Helms
  • His fruity co-host, Russell Gray
  • Agricultural investing expert, David Smith

Listen


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Opportunities in agriculture

We love all kinds of real estate investing, and we’re spending a few weeks talking about what you might consider to be alternative investments. 

Today, we’re talking about a real estate investment that can make a ton of sense if you’ll just open your mind … agricultural real estate. 

Agriculture was THE original use of land. People have been investing in agriculture for thousands of years. 

Agriculture produces something of high value … food and commodities for textiles! 

The population is increasing. Everyone born needs calories … and yet the resources to produce calories across the globe are either diminishing or the costs are increasing. 

So, today we see lots of opportunity in the agricultural space. 

If you will, your tenants are trees … so things like tenant and landlord law go out the window. 

And you don’t have to get the geographic market as exactly right as you do when you’re buying an apartment building.  

Agriculture also offers an opportunity to diversify some of the risks that are present in other assets during changing times. 

What does agriculture investing look like today?

David Smith is an agricultural investing expert. Why does he think people should consider agriculture?

“First and foremost is the diversification of your investment portfolio,” David says. “Also, agriculture in general creates generational wealth.”

Agriculture is a long-term investment in many cases. You’re looking at 10, 20, or even 25 years of producing … while most tenants typically stay a year or two. 

When you think about agriculture, you may envision fields with corn or wheat or rice. But a lot of commercial produce grows better in a greenhouse. 

“You just have to open your mind to see that agriculture doesn’t mean just rows out on a highway. There’s lots of different kinds of agriculture,” David says. 

So, part of agriculture is picking the right market and product for you. 

Paraguay

Let’s talk about markets. There are areas of the world that are just more prone to agriculture. 

“It’s just as important to pick the right product and the right country,” David says. 

David’s team focuses, for example, on Paraguay. Paraguay exports produce all around the world. But David and his team work with the internal market within the country. 

Paraguay has more freshwater than any country in the world by way of aquifers and rivers. It also has very small changes in climate. 

There are about six weeks of winter that take place between August and September. Then, it goes right back to warm weather … making it conducive to growing year round. 

The land in Paraguay is also very fertile. “You can grow anything,” David says. 

In farmland, the composition of the soil is critical. You need to know the nutrients, the density, and what is going to grow well there. It can also help you determine the best tactics for pest control. 

David’s team uses a unique strategy in Paraguay. Instead of exporting to other countries, they focus on selling in the local markets. 

Paraguay currently imports large amounts of food. But by growing locally, David and his team can sell their produce locally for a lower price than the imported products and carve out a solid piece of the market for themselves. 

Getting started in agriculture investing

So, how does investing with an organization like David’s work? 

There are currently two investments … oranges and greenhouses. And there are two main components. 

The first component is simply a real estate transaction. 

“You have a  purchase contract for buying land. Then, the land is dismembered from the main master plan of the plantation. A new title is created in your name or the legal entity that you prefer to use,” David says. 

The second component is the farm service agreement … an agreement between the investor and the farming company to operate the plantation and care for your land and your crops, harvest the produce, and take it to market. 

From that point on, it becomes a completely passive, hands-off investment. 

“The only exception is in the case of greenhouses where after 10 years, an additional amount has to be paid for refurbishing and renovation,” David says.  

The greenhouses aren’t the small backyard version you are familiar with … each is 6/10 of an acre!

In the greenhouses, David’s team is growing vegetables that are used in almost every meal in Paraguay … tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. These can grow year-round and offer year-round cashflow.

The oranges on the other hand are a once a year crop with a large once a year payout.  

Essentially, these are a hard asset, passive turnkey investment.

To learn more about agriculture investing … 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.


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

Podcast: Real Growth, Resiliency and Diversification through Agriculture

There are few things more essential to human existence than food. People need it in good times and bad.

For centuries, agriculture has been synonymous with wealth and productivity. That’s why they call it “produce.”

Of course, agriculture relies upon real estate … and provides investors an opportunity to create cash flow from crops.

In this episode we revisit the opportunities in agriculture in a rapidly changing world.


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!

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