Trick, treat or terrific tax break …

Late filers in the U.S. just got finished assessing last year’s tax damages.  For some, it was a pre-Halloween shocker.

Fortunately, there’s still some time left in the current year to make some smart moves and take advantage of some of the most generous tax breaks available to investors

First, consider setting up a Qualified Retirement Plan.  Even if you don’t fund it until next year, you’ll need it in place by end of year or you lose the option.

Be aware that not all retirement plans are created equal.  In fact, there’s one specific plan that can 10x your tax savings! 

Of course, there’s a lot to consider when deciding how a QRP makes sense for you. 

That’s why we asked tax strategist CPA Tom Wheelwright and QRP expert Damion Lupo to get on a video conference with us to talk through the pros and cons. 

One thing we’ll talk about FOR SURE … is how to avoid the most dangerous and expensive mistake many real estate investors make with their retirement accounts. 

That ALONE makes it worth the time.  Plus, it’s free. It’s informative. And nothing’s for sale.  

So click here now to register for The Tax Truth About Real Estate Investing with Retirement Accounts featuring Tom Wheelwright and Damion Lupo. 

But wait, there’s more!  And that’s not hype …

Another great opportunity for a HUGE current-year tax break comes from investing in oil and gas.

We know.  Energy isn’t REALLY real estate … but it comes out of the ground, provides BIG tax breaks and passive income.  So it has a lot to offer real estate investors. 

Robert Kiyosaki first exposed us to the idea of using oil and gas for tax breaks.   

Since then, we’ve invited long-time oilman Bob Burr to join us aboard the Investor Summit at Sea™ to teach us about oil and gas investing. 

Bob’s always a BIG hit.  We learn a lot. And we’re happy to say, Bob will be back for our next Summit.

But you don’t need to wait to have Bob explain oil investing.  You can click here now to listen to our recent interview with Bob Burr. 

Of course, today’s topic is taxes … and while most real estate investors understand depreciation when it comes to buildings, most don’t understand it when it comes to energy.

So we asked Bob and his team put together a short video to help you understand the terrific tax benefits of energy sector investing.  Click here now to request free access.

Last but not least on our list of year-end tax saving opportunities is … buy an investment property!

After all, investment real estate offers some of the best tax breaks available

As CPA Tom Wheelwright explains in this fantastic Investor Summit at Sea™ presentation … the current tax law’s bonus depreciation provides HUGE tax benefits. 

Of course, you should never let the tax-tail wag the investment-dog.  Do your homework and be sure to pick a strong market and a great team.  

But accelerated depreciation schedules can make even a late addition to your property portfolio a big-time contributor to your tax-saving strategy.

So there you go … some great ideas about how YOU might save BIG on your 2019 tax bill.  Sure, it takes some effort, but the return on time could be HUGE!

Keep in mind … we’re The Real Estate Guys™ and NOT the Tax Guys.  So be sure to work with your own qualified tax advisor to figure out what makes sense for you.

And if you need help finding a brilliant CPA who’s well-versed in how to get maximum tax benefits out of your investments click here to connect with Tom Wheelwright

Happy Tax Planning! 

A divergence in the farce …

In our last edition we took a look at this chart for clues to where we’re at in “the cycle” …

Housing Price Index to Production Wage Index
Interesting Image

SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC DATA HTTPS://FRED.STLOUISFED.ORG

(The data came from the Fed, but the chart was put together by The Heritage Foundation here)

You can see a tight correlation between wage growth and property prices from 1991 to 1999.  Then something happened to create a divergence.

That divergence blew into a BIG gap between wages and housing prices … with home prices inflating much faster than wages.  At least until the middle of 2007.

Then something else happened which crashed housing prices … and not just back down to the wage trend line …

… but housing prices dipped well below the trend line (“over-corrected”), hitting bottom in 2011 and starting a new “bull run” in early 2012.

That’s when Warren Buffet famously proclaimed on CNBC 

I’d Buy Up ‘A Couple Hundred Thousand’ Single-Family Homes If I Could

Warren Buffett 2/27/12

Smart guy.  Obviously, when you look at the chart, the timing was perfect.  And most folks who were buyers in 2012 are sitting on piles of equity today.

But now it’s clear the correlation between housing prices and incomes remains broken.  Housing prices are once again stretching the limits of incomes.

No wonder there’s pressure to lower taxes, interest rates, and oil prices!

The only way to keep this party going is to make those relatively anemic household incomes control bigger loans.  And to no surprise …

Average U.S. mortgage size hits record-high $354,500

Reuters, 3/13/19

Does this mean housing prices are about to crash again?  Maybe.

It’s said history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it often rhymes.  That’s a catchy way of saying people often find new ways to make the same mistakes.

Then again, smart people learn from their mistakes so they can avoid making them again.

In this case, go back and look at the chart.  But instead of focusing on housing prices, focus on incomes.

What do you see?

Incomes are slowly, consistently, persistently, steadily … rising.

Of course, if you look at the CPI (inflation) chart below, you can see the cost of living is also rising …

Interesting Image
So just because people are making more money, it doesn’t mean they’re getting ahead.

In fact, folks who don’t own inflating assets which can be sold or borrowed against to supplement their incomes … are falling further and further behind.

So what does it mean, what can we learn, and what can we do to survive and thrive?

These are all topics of a much bigger discussion.  We covered some if it in a recent radio show.

For now, here are a few suggestions to consider:

Focus on investing and underwriting for cash-flow …

Yes, you’ll make more money on equity.  But equity is a by-product of cash-flow.  The more cash-flow, the more equity.

More importantly, conservative cash-flow gives you staying power when asset prices temporarily collapse.

Think of equity as a fun, but fickle lover … and cash-flow as the loyal, predictable partner you can build a life with.

Sequester some bubble equity for a rainy day …

Rates are low.  Lending guidelines are softening.

This indicates there’s a lot of motivation (desperation?) to get more debt in the system … a sometimes-telltale sign we’re nearing the end of a boom cycle.

Of course, when you harvest equity from properties, it’s important to be smart about using the proceeds.

We think it’s best to create cash-flow (have we mentioned this is important?) … along with liquidity, and safety from volatile markets and financial systems.

We could do an entire series on this one topic … and in fact, we’re working on it.

Something like … “knowing what we know now, this is what we wish we would have done heading into the 2008 financial crisis.”

Yes, we know the title needs a little work.

Watch for signs which signal shifts …

Shift happens.  It’s painful when you’re on the wrong end of it, and that usually happens because you missed the sign … not because it wasn’t there.

In 1999, Uncle Sam pressured then semi-private Fannie and Freddie to lower their lending standards to help marginal borrowers buy homes.

It worked.  Home ownership … and prices … went way up.

In 2001, the Alan Greenspan Fed threw gasoline on the fire by pumping in billions (which was a lot of money back then) into the system to reflate the stock market after the Dot Com crash.

But a lot of the money ended up in bonds … mortgage-backed securities in particular … and ultimately into housing … inflating an equity bubble.

Oops.

In fact, Greenspan tried to jawbone the markets into prudence.  But he’d already spiked the punch bowl … and everyone was in full-blown party mode.

More recently, the Fed tried to take away the current punch bowl by raising rates … and took a lot of criticism.

When you see interest rates and lending standards falling, it’s a sign.

Study history … and talk with smart, experienced people …

 Everything is 20/20 in hindsight. It’s easy to predict the past.

But as it’s been said …

 “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke

That’s why we encourage attendance at live events like the New Orleans Investment Conference and the Investor Summit at Sea™.

These are great places to connect with like-minded folks, have our perspectives broadened, and get into great conversations.

But even if you’re a dedicated homebody, invest in finding a local tribe of similarly interested people to study and talk with.

You’ll learn more faster in conversations with others compared to simply gorging yourself on terabytes of content.

It’s important to use conversation to process what you consume.

Enjoy the sunshine, but pack an umbrella …

We’re not saying a crash is coming.  But no one can say it isn’t.

It seems to us the best plan is to prepare for sunshine or rain.  In practical terms, this means ….

… organize some liquidity and keep it insulated from both market risk and counter-party risk …

… build a solid brand and network with well-capitalized potential investors …

… fortify the cash-flows and financing structures on your keepers …

… jettison assets you think already have their best days behind them …

… study history, watch for clues in the news, and mastermind with smart investors.

Because you’re only better off for doing all these things whether the party continues or comes to an ugly end.

And this is probably not a good time to get too over-extended.

Besides, even if you’re interested in aggressive personal wealth building right now …

… it’s arguably faster and safer to build rapid wealth through syndication rather than getting personally over-extended.

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.


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Live from the 17th Annual Summit at Sea

Ten amazing days … over 200 people … studying, sharing, learning, growing, and partying … that’s the Investor Summit at Sea!

For 17 years, the Summit at Sea has been the highlight of our year … and we’re excited to share a piece of it with YOU.

We’ve gathered some of real estate’s most successful investors, entrepreneurs, niche experts, and thought leaders to share their insights and key takeaways from the 2019 Summit.

Listen in and learn what these pros discovered … and how it could help you make smarter investment decisions.

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

  • Your sailing host, Robert Helms
  • His flailing co-host, Russell Gray
  • Author and seasteading expert, Joe Quirk
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad best-selling author, Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Apartment King, Brad Sumrok
  • Marketing mastermind, Kyle Wilson
  • The Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms
  • And SO MANY MORE!

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This is the Investor Summit at Sea

The annual Investor Summit at Sea is always a highlight of our year.

It’s a concentrated amount of time with some of real estate’s smartest people … all from different walks of life, different perspectives, and even different countries.

Every year, we learn to ask better questions … clarify our thinking … and do things differently.

Opportunities like the Summit at Sea are rare. In a short time frame, investors become friends, work out problems, and do some business.

We’d love EVERY one of our listeners to join us on the high seas … but we’d need a bigger boat!

So, we’ve brought together some of our fabulous faculty members to share their insights and key takeaways from the 2019 Summit at Sea.

A first glimpse at seasteading

Joe Quirk was a last minute addition to our faculty this year … and we’re so glad he came.

Joe’s real estate niche is seasteading … that’s right … homesteading the high seas.

It’s a novel idea. Joe says that … considering nearly half the world’s surface is unclaimed by any existing nation state … the technology is at hand to create startup countries on the ocean.

“It’s sort of a Silicon Valley sensibility brought to the problem of governance,” Joe says.

Instead of trying to change things from the inside, you create startups and do things better.

The first seastead has been floating off the coast of Thailand since early 2019 … and living there costs less than the average American home.

Joe and his team are ready to scale up … and scale up quickly. But he needs partners with real estate smarts to make it happen.

“We have marine engineers, economists, scientists, and medical experts. We have almost everyone we need, but we don’t have people that know how to structure and sell these things,” Joe says.

We view seasteading as a fascinating new frontier in real estate … and we’ll have more with Joe in the coming weeks.

Look at deals through a new lens

It’s Robert Kiyosaki’s sixth Summit at Sea … and we couldn’t be happier to welcome him back.

“I come to learn as well as to teach,” Robert says. “The Summit at Sea is basically immersion learning for real estate.”

Our port excursion this year was Grand Cayman. This area has undergone an interesting transition over the last few years.

Typically, people think of Grand Cayman as the place where rich people want to hide their money … but it is so much more!

Robert says he learned that how you look at a deal can really change the opportunities you see.

In the case of Grand Cayman, Robert had always looked at the market from the point of view of an investor … but he learned that sometimes it pays to try looking at a market from a developer’s point of view instead.

Through this lens, he could see that Grand Cayman is becoming a target for families. As the economic gap between rich and poor widens on other islands … crime rates are rising.

But Grand Cayman has the lowest crime rate in the Caribbean.

That fact coupled with high standards of living make it attractive to a new housing demographic … not just people looking for a tax shelter.

“There’s a deal of a lifetime every minute if you can see it,” Robert says.

Expand your team, increase your success

The Apartment King, Brad Sumrok, joins us for his third Summit at Sea.

Brad has made apartments his bread and butter … but that doesn’t mean he is done learning and growing.

“I keep expanding my team every time I’m here,” Brad says.

There’s no better way to grow your team than by spending a week and a half on a ship with 200 other people who specialize in a variety of asset classes.

So much of investment success is leveraging other people’s experience.

Last year, Brad says he connected with our good friend CPA Tom Wheelwright … and this year Tom saved Brad seven figures in taxes!

That’s a take away Brad took directly to the bank … and by surrounding yourself with smart people, you can do the same.

Master your marketing one step at a time

We’ve known Kyle Wilson for many years. He is a familiar face on the Summit at Sea … and always has great ideas for how to better market your real estate business.

“So many people are in the real estate business. They’re good at real estate. They’re good at finding markets and putting together teams, but not always solid in their marketing position,” Kyle says.

It’s easy to overcomplicate marketing. At the end of the day, marketing is simply connecting the dots for your customers.

Kyle says the key for real estate investors is to act in a strategic way. Don’t just throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope it sticks.

And remember that so much of real estate investing is built on relationships. Never let what seems like a good tactic get in the way of a good relationship.

Kyle is leaving the Summit with a list of ideas and action items … but cautions investors to take things one step at a time.

“You can’t do it all. Pick the one thing that’s screaming at you that will make the biggest difference and start there,” Kyle says.

A wealth of amazing opportunities

If anyone understands the benefits of an opportunity like the Investor Summit at Sea, it’s the Godfather of Real Estate himself … Bob Helms!

We’ve been hosting these cruise ship conferences for 17 years … and Bob has been with us every time.

With 40 years of real estate experience, Bob has seen amazing changes in the way investors make money and grow their opportunities.

“As I look at the group that is here with us today and the diversity of things they are involved in, I can’t help but have a big grin on my face,” Bob says. “The opportunities out there are amazing.”

Bob says his advice to investors is to educate themselves on different locations and asset classes. Find the niche that is right for you … and start building a winning team!

Get on the advance notice list for next year’s Summit at Sea by visiting our website … and listen in to the full episode to hear from even more experts and ideas from our week on the waves.


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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What this legendary real estate investor is buying NOW …

Even though most of us will never become billionaires, it’s sure fun trying.

But if we want to have a chance of making it BIG, it’s probably smart to watch and listen to those who’ve actually done it.

After all, as Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.”

To which the Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms, adds … “You don’t need to give natural childbirth to a good idea … you can adopt!”

So when multi-billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell has something to say, we pay attention and take notes.

In a recent appearance on Bloomberg News, Zell reveals what he’s doing right now and why.  It’s a short clip, and you can watch it here.

There are some great pearls of wisdom to glean … and if you’ve been followingThe Real Estate Guys™ for a while, some of them will sound familiar.

But that’s not because we’re super smart.  It’s more because we’re well- informed from spending quality time with lots of really smart people.

Sam Zell is buying gold … for the first time in his life.

We think that’s REALLY interesting.

Of course, we’ve been following gold for quite some time … for a lot of reasons.

So while it’s interesting that Zell is buying gold for the very first time in his long and uber-successful investing career … what’s even MORE intriguing is WHY.

In the interview, Zell offers up two reasons.  One is obvious.  The other is more subtle … and leads to some even more subtle lessons.

All this from a guy who wrote a book titled Am I Being Too Subtle?

First, Zell says he’s buying gold because of the supply and demand dynamic.  He overtly states he sees gold supply constrained going forward.

It’s obvious from Zell’s comments that it’s important to understand supply and demand when investing in anything, because …

When supply is low relative to demand, there’s opportunity.

Yes, we realize that’s Investing 101.  But it’s also a GREAT reminder that even at the billionaire level, successful investing is based on basic, timeless concepts.

However, there’s MORE to be gleaned from Zell’s comments about gold …

While he openly explains that he sees the supply being constrained, he onlyimplies his confidence in persistent demand for gold.

 After all, if supply drops … but demand drops too … there’s no imbalance, and therefore, no opportunity.  Zell’s too smart to miss that.

So Zell must see gold demand holding … or increasing.

That means the supply and demand dynamic in gold is SO compelling that billionaire Sam Zell is buying gold for the FIRST time in his EPIC career.

That’s telling in and of itself.  But wait!  There’s more …

In addition to constrained supply combined with persistent and growing demand going forward … Zell must think the opportunity in gold is quite good right now relative to other investment options.

Which begs the question …

What’s different in TODAY’s world to push the prospects for gold so high up Sam Zell’s priority ladder?

After all, he’s been around a LONG time … through stock market crashes, recessions, financial crises.  What’s different NOW that makes gold alluring? 

That’s a topic too big for this commentary … and our limited brains …

… but it will be a hot topic of discussion with gold experts Brien Lundin, Dana Samuelson and Peter Schiff aboard the upcoming Investor Summit at Sea™.

We’re guessing part of the answer is wrapped up in Sam Zell’s second subtle comment …

Sam Zell is buying gold as a “hedge.”

Hmmmm … that’s interesting.   A hedge against what?

Investopedia defines a hedge this way …

“A hedge is an investment to reduce the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Normally, a hedge consists of taking an offsetting position in a related security.”

Well, THAT’S interesting.

So Zell is using gold to “reduce the risk of adverse price movement in an asset.”

And he apparently considers gold to be highly useful as “an offsetting position in a related security.”

Which begs yet another question …

What asset / related security is Zell worried about … for the first time in his long and illustrious career?

Our guess is it’s the U.S. dollar.  In fact, we’d bet a beer on it.

And there’s one more clue we think bolsters the argument Zell is hedging the dollar …

Zell is bullish on oil.

 Wow.  What a coincidence …  our recent episode on precious metals was immediately followed with an episode on oil and gas.

Maybe Zell’s been listening to The Real Estate Guys™ radio show???

Um, probably not.

More likely, we’re learning a lot from all the smart folks we hang out with and listen to … and we’re starting to think like billionaires.  We hope so.

So why oil?

Also coincidentally … just a week before the Sam Zell interview was published, we published our weekly newsletter and talked about … oil.

So we won’t take time here to explain why we think oil could be a big story going forward.  You can read our thoughts here.

But this Zell interview affirms what we and many of our big-brained pals have been monitoring carefully for several years …

The dollar is under attack … from both internal and external forces.

So anyone who earns, invests, borrows, lends, or denominates net worth in dollars … most likely YOU … should probably take steps to become more aware and better prepared.

After all, if multi-billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell is hedging against the dollar … it’s smart to pay attention and consider doing the same.

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.


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Social Security, Inflation and Real Estate …

If you’re relatively young, Social Security is probably just an abstract concept and another bite out of your paycheck.

But before you tune out,  consider that the U.S. Social Security program creates both problems and opportunities for real estate investors of ALL ages … including YOU.

Big picture …

Social Security and Medicare make up about 42% of federal program expenditures.  They’re a BIG chunk of Uncle Sam’s spending.

According to this Congressional Research Service report on Medicare and this Social Security Administration Trustees’ Report … both are headed towards insolvency in the not-too-distant future.

That’s bad.

Worse … both are “pay as you go” programs.  That’s not our description.  That’s exactly the way the U.S. government describes them.

The programs don’t really have any money.

The only “assets” these programs have are YOUR taxes … and IOUs from Uncle Sam.  The CRS report explains it on page 5.

Of course, IOUs from Uncle Sam are also backed by taxes … and the Federal Reserve’s printing press (which means inflation).

According to recommendations by the SSA Trustees in their report, the answers are … wait for it …

… raise payroll taxes and reduce benefit payments.  

Shocker.

You probably know payroll taxes are paid by working people (your tenants) and their employers.

Higher payroll tax obviously means less take-home pay to live on … including paying their rent to YOU.  So you may want to pay attention to the direction of payroll taxes.

But what about benefit reduction?  How does that matter to real estate investors?

There’s the obvious impact on tenants who rely heavily on Social Security, disability benefits or Medicare to help them with their routine living expenses.

Reduction in subsidies means those tenants have less money to pay rent … and less flexibility to absorb increases to rent or other costs of living.

But there’s a less obvious angle to consider … one we pay close attention to … and that’s the Fed’s printing press.

We trust at this stage of your financial awareness, you’ve heard of John Maynard Keynes, the father of the “Keynesian economics” you hear about.

Here’s a long, but powerful statement made by Keynes in his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace …

“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflationgovernments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.  By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.

Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers,’ who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat.  As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.

Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

There’s SO much we could say about that quote … but read it and re-read it a few times.   You’ll view the news in a whole different light.

For now, let’s get back to Social Security, inflation … and YOUR real estate investing …

As you can guess, cutting benefits overtly is not a politically popular solution.

Neither is raising taxes.

Yet according to the people in charge of these programs, that’s EXACTLY what needs to happen.

And it is happening … but “in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

That is … cutting benefits and raising taxes are both cleverly hidden inside how Uncle Sam and the Fed handle inflation.

When most people think of “inflation,” they think of Uncle Sam’s official gauge of inflation … the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

It’s well known that the Fed has a stated goal of 2% per year inflation … every year … year in and year out.

That doesn’t sound like much. And whether it’s good or bad depends on which side of the coin you’re on.

If you own real assets, you get richer in nominal terms.

If you use long-term debt, like mortgages, you get richer in real terms.

That’s too big a concept for today, but one EVERY real estate investor should know like their name.  In fact, it’s a big part of what Robert Kiyosaki will be talking about at our next Investor Summit at Sea™.

But just because you own properties doesn’t mean you’re home free (punny, we we know) because …

… for folks who don’t have assets (like your tenants) … inflation means it costs more to live.  To see it in dollar terms, use Uncle Sam’s inflation calculator.

Based on the CPI, a tenant in October 2018 would need $1,542 to purchase items that cost only $1,000 in October 1998.

That’s means they need more than a 50% increase in take-home pay over 20 years … just to keep the SAME standard of living.

Similarly, for programs like Social Security … with  built in cost of living adjustments (COLAs) … a $1000 benefit in 1998 now costs Uncle Sam $1542.

No wonder the debt is swelling.

Of course, it didn’t take Uncle Sam long to figure out keeping the CPI lower than real-world rate of inflation, would effectively cut benefits without political fallout.

In other words, as Peter Schiff often points out, the CPI probably UNDER-reports the ACTUAL rate of inflation … which means the reality is even harder for the working class than the CPI indicates.

So it’s important for investors of all types to get the best measure of real-world inflation possible.  And the CPI is arguably not it.

That’s why many investors turn to Shadow Stats or the Chapwood Index.

The Chapwood Index is handy for real estate investors because it breaks inflation down by city.  That’s important because unlike stocks, bonds, and commodities … real estate is a LOCAL investment.

Here’s where it all comes together …

Even though Uncle Sam is motivated to keep inflation LOW for CPI purposes, they have no choice but to print gobs of dollars to fund the huge and growing debt and deficit.

Meanwhile …

Income producing, leveraged real estate is arguably (and by far) the safest, most powerful hedge against long-term inflation.

But again, rental property investors must stay alert to the pressure inflation puts on their tenants.

Remember … just because nominal GDP is growing, it doesn’t mean your tenants are getting more purchasing power.

So be careful to select markets, product types, and tenant demographics that fit well into what’s happening in the big picture.

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.


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Is THIS what China and Russia are REALLY doing …

It’s no secret the United States has been at odds with both China and Russia lately.

So what?  What does it mean to Main Street entrepreneurs and investors?

Maybe nothing. Or maybe a lot more than you think.

Just a few months ago, Russia dumped a majority of the Treasury holdings.

Three out of the last four months, China has reduced its Treasury holdings.

And now Market Watch reports … 10-year Treasury yield hits 4-month high as bond market sells off …

“ … investors fear China … could sell its Treasury holdings to push the U.S.’s borrowings costs higher.”

Not TWO days later, Market Watch reports … Mortgage rates jump to four-month high as housing hits a bump. 

That’s because, as any credible mortgage professional will tell you, mortgage rates track VERY tightly with 10-year Treasury yields.

So you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to see …

… there’s a direct connection between what Russia and China are doing and YOUR Main Street real estate investing.

But it’s bigger than interest rates.  Interest rates are more a reflection of currency and bond markets.

The United States has enjoyed … and some might say abused … a privileged status because of the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

China and Russia have both publicly proclaimed their upset over how the U.S. the dollar system … and they’re working to dethrone it.

Some people who are well-qualified to have opinions think …

… there’s a HUGE danger to dollar-denominated investors if the dollar LOSES reserve status.

According to Bloomberg, famed billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio spells out America’s worst nightmare … warning the U.S. “not to take its reserve currency for granted.”

“The idea that the U.S. dollar would lose its status as the world’s reserve currency is an existential threat unlike just about any other to the U.S. government and financial markets as a whole.”

“ … for just about everyone’s sake, we should hope that he’s wrong.”

Last time we looked, hope is not a strategy.

We don’t make this stuff up.  We pull it right from the headlines.  In fact, we’ve been covering it closely for more than five years.

The good news is these things move S-L-O-W-L-Y.  The bad news is these things move S-L-O-W-L-Y.  It’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel.

It’s also easy to ignore or dismiss the people who keep sounding the alarm.

But if you earn dollars, borrow dollars, measure asset values in dollars, or use credit markets in any way … the future of the dollar impacts YOU.

Most Main Street investors aren’t paying any attention at all … 

They don’t study history.  They don’t recognize the warning signs … even though there are clues in the news every day.

They won’t see a dollar crisis coming and won’t know what to do if it happens.  It will strike them like a thief in the night.

But it doesn’t have to happen.  In fact, the more people who are aware and prepared, the less likely it will happen.  And the less severe it will be if it does.

Of course, warnings are only useful if understood and heeded.

Otherwise, you wake up one day and credit markets seize up … asset prices collapse … and all those TRILLIONS in paper wealth everyone is celebrating is WIPED OUT.

Think about how hard you work and study to create profits in your business and investing.

How much time do you invest in studying how to avoid LOSING it all?

If you’re like most investors, it’s not very much.

Riding an uptrend is an easy way to FEEL like a genius … but TRUE investing genius is revealed in the BAD times.

Warren Buffet’s famous quote sums it up …

“Rule #1:  Don’t lose money.  Rule #2:  Remember rule #1.” 

Okay, so you’ve read this far.  Now what?

Well, you probably know we can’t possibly give you a useful answer in just a few hundred words.

If you REALLY want to know, you’ll need to dig in … and invest some time and money in getting up to speed.

It starts with getting your mind around the situation.

If guys like Ray Dalio are paying attention to the future of the dollar … maybe YOU should too.

When it comes to China and Russias attack in the dollar, we created a VERY affordable 48-minute video and two downloadable PDFs which many people have found helpful …

Click here for info about The Dollar Under Attack video and two related special reports.

The video features the opening presentation from our 2018 Investor Summit at Sea™ … which kicked off with two full days focused on the Future of Money and Wealth.

Not only has nothing changed since the original presentation, but the news continues to indicate things are picking up speed.

So it’s not surprising savvy investors like Ray Dalio are concerned and making contingency plans.

Perhaps you should too.  After all, better to be prepared and not have a dollar crisis than to have a dollar crisis and not be prepared.

Until next time … good investing!


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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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Investor Summit at Sea 2018 – Part Two

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we bring the Summit at Sea™ to you! In part two of our Summit recap, listen to expert investors discuss the topics they know best, including:

  • Why moving to Puerto Rico can save you big bucks
  • What kind of capital you need to prepare for the future
  • The benefits of investing in real assets

And more! Our faculty will give you a taste of life at sea on the Summit cruise ship.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your smooth-sailing host, Robert Helms
  • His seasick (just kidding!) co-host, Russell Gray
  • Economist Peter Schiff
  • Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart, co-authors of Prosper!
  • The apartment king, Brad Sumrok
  • David Sewell, agricultural farmland broker and syndicator
  • Brand-building consultant Kyle Wilson
  • Syndicator Michael Becker
  • Author of the Gold Newsletter, Brien Lundin
  • Precious metals dealer Dana Sanderson
  • Real estate guru Kathy Fetke
  • And finally … the godfather of real estate, Bob Helms

 


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Tax free in sunny Puerto Rico

The Summit at Sea™ is more than just a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity … it’s also a cruise around the Caribbean.

One of our stops was lovely Puerto Rico (PR), where some Summit attendees were lucky enough to be hosted by faculty member Peter Schiff. Peter moved his family and business to Puerto Rico about five years ago.

“It was not a sacrifice,” says Peter. He sees great benefits to living in PR. It’s very family friendly and has beautiful weather and beaches and great communities.

But the biggest benefit … and the reason Peter relocated to this island territory … is the tax breaks. Puerto Rico has a four percent corporate tax, and residents can receive dividends tax free.

Living and working in PR is the best way to maximize tax benefits … although you only need to be in the area 183 days a year. But since Peter is “trapped by the school year,” he chooses to enjoy this island paradise year round.

“It’s not as onerous as it seems,” he says of getting and maintaining Puerto Rico residency. We can vouch for that!

Ways to build your capital

Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart joined us on stage to chat about the value of attending the Summit … and the importance of building the eight types of capital they outline in their book, Prosper!

Their key takeaway from the Summit? The number of millennials interested in finding ways to build capital and prepare for the future. “There is a critical mass of young investors who are keenly interested in our message,” says Chris.

During a breakout with millennials, Chris and Adam witnessed young investors getting the chance to learn from experienced investors.

They were impressed by millennials’ command of pressing issues, including, Adam says, resource depletion, species extinction, and the fact that lifestyle costs are quickly outpacing wages.

“Younger generations have nothing to gain if the status quo continues as it is, but older generations have everything to lose,” notes Adam. The big question is how to resolve this tension.

Younger generations will be the ones to come up with solutions … so it’s important they realize that the other side of challenge is always opportunity.

Folks who are intelligent and aware will have a chance to make an awful lot of money … but they can’t do it with financial capital alone.

“If all you have is financial capital, you’ve basically just painted a big target on yourself,” Adam says. He says emotional capital is probably the most important form of capital to have.

That means being able to handle crisis without falling apart … and coming back stronger. It’s the willingness to be vulnerable … and make meaningful connections with other people.

“It’s hard to find places where you can drop your guard,” says Adam, but that’s why the Summit is so extraordinary … it allows attendees to be real and experience true connection with a diverse group of people.

Turning dollars into precious metals

We had two faculty members speak to our attendees about precious metals investing. Brien Lundin is the author of the Gold Newsletter, and Dana Samuelson is a precious metals and rare coins dealer.

We invited these men to join us as faculty members because even though our focus is real estate investing, we believe investors should be looking at the bigger picture of all real assets … including precious metals.

“I was really blown away at the quality of the speakers, the audience interactions, and the audience itself,” Brien says. Dana agrees, “I’ve never met a more unassuming group of over-achievers in my life.”

Both men had similar advice for investors.

According to Brien, “Some level of dollar depreciation is inevitable.” And, he adds, “Every developed economy is in the same boat.”

Gold provides a hedge against appreciation because it’s the standard of wealth … and has been since currency was first created. “We are seeing a U.S. fiscal situation where debt is going to increase, which will naturally push gold higher,” says Dana.

For investors unsure of where to start, Dana offers reassurance. “Buying and selling gold is pretty easy these days,” he says. Investors have the option of buying physical metals or coins, buying in paper form through ETFs, or buying by proxy through mining shares.

If that’s not a sign to go for the gold, we don’t know what is!

The Summit experience

We spoke to six other Summit faculty to get their takes on this year’s Summit.

Multi-family investor and syndicator Brad Sumrok says, “I thought I knew what to expect, but I was blown away. The Summit is a mind-expanding experience.”

A common thread was the value of connecting with other investors … even outside of formal sessions. “Dinners and hanging out were the most valuable part of the cruise,” says syndicator Michael Becker.

A third-year faculty member, Kyle Wilson, says, “The network and connections are unbelievable. We come to get good ideas and bounce ideas off of each other.”

David Sewell agrees that the Summit is a center for unbelievable growth and learning. “I learn something new every time I’m here.”

Like our gold-loving friends, David believes in the value of investing in real assets to gain protection from the volatile dollar. His chosen asset is agricultural real estate, specifically coffee and cacao farms in Latin America.

Because of high, steady demand, getting into the coffee and chocolate business is “almost a no-brainer,” David says.

His goal is to monetize his business away from U.S. dollars into gold … and he’s learned how to do that, he says, by attending the Summit and learning from the stellar faculty.

Both David and real estate expert Kathy Fetke, along with many other Summit attendees and faculty, know big changes are coming to the U.S. dollar and to resource availability around the world.

But, says Kathy, “The right advice can change everything.” It can be scary to realize the reality of things … but you can’t prepare for the future if you don’t know what’s coming.

The Summit is invaluable for Kathy because it provides a chance to hear about massive upcoming changes … and discover ways to prepare.

For example, Costa Rica and Ohio are both wonderful places for growing food and accessing clean water, two things Kathy says will be incredibly important to have in an uncertain future.

Kathy was also impressed by the young people at the Summit. “They give me confidence in the future,” she says.

Our long-time contributor Bob Helms, the grandfather of real estate, agrees. “I was very impressed with the information, energy, and knowledge of the young people,” he says.

Want to get on the boat next year? Get on our advanced notice list! We’ll send you updates as soon as they’re available.


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Is this the end of easy money …

We’re just back from another incredible Investor Summit at Sea™ … and it was EPIC!

With 234 people, 2018 was our biggest ever … and many have already reserved their place for next year.  Click here to get YOUR name on the Advance Notice List.

We kicked off the 2018 Summit with a two-day land conference based on our theme, The Future of Money and Wealth.  Our speakers hit it out of the park!

Fortunately, we videotaped the whole thing.  Watch for more details … or if you already know you want it, click here to pre-order the entire two-day series.

Meanwhile, it seems the world continued to spin while we were gone.  So as much fun as it might be to keep cogitating on currency, bonds, gold, oil and interest rates …

… we decided to dig into our real estate news feed and see what’s happening with our favorite investment sector.

But a funny thing happened …

A couple of related headlines jumped out as particularly interesting after a week of contemplating the future of money and wealth.

First …

CRE Valuations Are Trending Down – NREI Online, April 6, 2018

For the uninitiated, CRE is short for Commercial Real Estate.  And when the industry talks CRE, it includes large multi-family.

But even if you’re a Mom & Pop single-family home investor, you can still learn a lot from following CRE trends.

So this first article opens with …

“… real estate investors can expect that property prices will trend downward in the near future …”

“‘Value appreciation has practically stopped …”’

“However, there are variations among sectors.  Industrial … has seen rising values … malls have seen big losses …”

“Cap rates have been inching up … for all sectors except industrial …”

After two days at Future of Money and Wealth, then another seven days at the Investor Summit at Sea™, these comments make a whole lot more sense to us.

First, interest rates are rising.  But the impact on real estate is much deeper than just mortgages getting more expensive.  If only it were that simple.

So without getting lost in the weeds, consider the impact of rising rates on the overall economy …

With record levels of consumer, corporate, and government debt … rising rates put a pinch on budgets at every level.

This means it’s harder for consumers to spend more, for businesses to sell more, and for landlords to raise rents on those consumers and businesses.

And when you realize income property values are driven by income, it’s easy to understand why stagnant rent growth means stagnant equity growth.

But this article also reminds us why we LOVE real estate … “there are variations among sectors” … so while retail (malls) are losing value, industrial is gaining.

We discussed this trend in our February 14 newsletter, so we won’t revisit it here.  The point is …. when things shift, pain and profit are NOT equally distributed throughout the economy.

So if you’re alert and proactive, you can get in front of an opportunity … or out of the way of a problem … faster than investors on cruise control.

Meanwhile, while rising cap rates can come from income rising faster than prices, most of the time it’s from prices falling.

(Again … no investor left behind … cap rate is income divided by price.  Just grab a calculator and play with numbers until you understand. It’s an essential investor skill.)

So why might cap rates be “inching up” … that is, why would buyers be offering less for the income?

Conversely, why would sellers be offering more income for less price?

(That’s two different ways of saying the same thing … go back and play with the numbers until you get it.)

One likely reason is investors aren’t willing to overpay today (bid up) expecting income to grow in the future.  The numbers need to make sense TODAY.

So cap rates are like a barometer of sentiment.  Rising cap rates are an indicator of a less bullish, more bearish outlook.

If rents rise (creating more income) and/or interest rates decline (reducing expenses), then cash flows improve.

If the rents don’t rise (stagnant income) and/or interest rates climb (expenses increase), then cash flows stagnate or decrease.

So investors are saying the think either rents won’t rise, or interest rates won’t decrease (or even increase), or both.  That is, they don’t expect market forces to improve cash flows going forward.

Make sense?

Which leads to the next headline …

Competition Intensifies for Value-Add Assets, NREI Online, April 17, 2018

“… competition is becoming increasingly stiff as the industry faces the likely end of the cycle and rent growth has moderated for core assets.”

“As yields get lower and lower … two strategies have emerged … speculative building and value-add …” 

Quoting a research director at a commercial research firm …

“‘Value-add has become quite attractive … people are less afraid to take on vacancy risk and reposition buildings.’”

So let’s break this down real quick, then you can go get a snack …

When you hear “the likely end of the cycle”, it’s code for “the party’s nearly over.”

Real estate, like the rest of the economy, has been partying on easy money since 2009.

At Future of Money and Wealth, Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan reminded us we’ve been in one of the longest (and weakest) recoveries in modern history.

In other words, we’re nearing “the likely end of the cycle.”  Duncan thinks the U.S. will be in full-fledged recession in 18-24 months.

So now instead of just buying a property and riding a wave, you actually have to buy smart and do some real work to improve the income … like “take on vacancy risk and reposition buildings.” 

And if you’re like our pal, the apartment king Brad Sumrok, and you’ve already been doing value-add and achieving spectacular results … be prepared to settle for “only” solid results.

Here’s the bottom line …

Rising interest rates are moderating the economy, so it’s important to focus your growth plans on things you have more control over.

This is probably not the environment to bet big on rising rents, falling rates, and lots of passive equity growth.  You’ll need to buy smart, have a good plan, and work hard.  We call it “force the equity.”

Pick your sectors, markets, properties, and financing structures for the long haul.

And remember … real estate is a highly inefficient investment vehicle with lots of nooks and crannies for good deals to hide.

So when you’re well-connected, diligently searching, and properly prepared with a solid team and resources so you can act quickly and carefully, you improve your odds of landing profitable opportunities.

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.

Investor Summit at Sea 2018 – Part One

This is our 16th year hosting our annual educational event … the Investor Summit at Sea™. Guests and faculty have all disembarked from a wonderful week learning about the future of money and wealth.

We didn’t want our wonderful listeners to miss out entirely on the treasure trove that is the Summit … so we hosted a live recording session on board the ship!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we chat with some of our illustrious faculty members. Listen in to hear their reflections and insights on our week at sea.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your adventurous host, Robert Helms
  • His seasick co-host, Russell Gray
  • Robert and Kim Kiyosaki, the brains behind Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • G. Edward Griffin, author of The Creature from Jekyll Island
  • Securities law attorney Mauricio Rauld
  • Victor Menasce, author of Magnetic Capital
  • Glen Mather, president of NuView IRA

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Lessons from Robert and Kim Kiyosaki

It was a pleasure to have the always inspiring Robert Kiyosaki and his wife, Kim, on board for the Summit. “It’s more important than ever before to come on Summit at Sea because so much has changed,” Robert says.

The duo enjoyed hearing from experts with many different points of view. “The conversations happening behind the scenes are the most important part,” Robert adds.

Lucky attendees were able to hear from Robert … and female attendees joined Kim in a women-only breakout session about finding financial freedom.

We asked Robert and Kim about their opinions on educating younger people … and why it’s important to have youth at the Summit.

“It’s important we teach the younger generation,” says Robert. “We need to teach kids to look at the world from a different point of view. Most kids haven’t been trained to see a problem as an opportunity.”

Kim adds, “What they teach you in school is the opposite of what it takes to be successful.” According to Kim, school teaches you there’s only one right answer … and you should never make a mistake.

But investors need to learn there are many right answers … and mistakes are the best way to learn. Plus, says Robert, “Student loan debt will never amortize on you.”

Robert and Kim recently celebrated the 21st birthday of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. “The message remains the same,” says Kim. Lessons like “your house is not an asset” and “savers are losers” still ring true, Robert says.

A red pill from G. Edward Griffin

G. Edward Griffin gives this review of the Summit: “I’m amazed at what I learned and that so many people learned so much!”

Edward walked us through the process of writing his book, The Creature from Jekyll Island. He almost gave up twice because he thought he couldn’t do the content justice … but he persisted. Today the book is on its 48th printing!

What about the young people? “Young folks can buy into the idea that the banking system is stealing from them in a legalized fashion,” Edward says. “We’re at a huge tipping point.”

Edward created the Red Pill Expo to get the word out to people that things aren’t always as they seem in the world of money and banking. “You have to be aware before you can do something about the problem,” he says.

The Expo aims to help people “take the red pill, break out of the matrix, and see reality.”

Edward had some great words of wisdom for everybody listening … “We have within all of us the power to understand that most of the great barriers in life are not the barriers we think they are.”

Three experts on the power of community

The author of Magnetic Capital, Victor Menasce, reports, “When you break bread with people, the level of connection and the environment is amazing.”

Attorney Mauricio Rauld agrees. The Summit provides attendees with the opportunity to “absorb knowledge like a sponge,” he says. “It’s an amazing environment.”

Faculty member Glen Mather believed in the power of the Summit so much he brought his first-time property buyer daughter so she could learn too.

Glen has seen the Summit work its wonders firsthand … on himself. “I can’t listen to these guys without thinking, ‘There is so much we have to change,’” he says.

We think getting together to learn is incredibly valuable … if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have created the Summit at Sea™. We offer materials like our podcast and educational reports as the start of a relationship … with the hope that listeners will take that relationship to the human level.

Gathering as a community is a powerful experience … and experiences like the Summit allow both fledgling investors and experts alike to learn new information, open their minds to ideas, and form life-long connections.


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.

When worlds collide …

Real estate investing is a VERY different approach to wealth building than paper asset investing.  You could say they’re two different worlds.

But the paper world has far more impact on real estate investing than many real estate investors realize.

And when those worlds collide, it’s often a painful shock to real estate investors.

The 2008 financial crisis is a perfect case in point.

When the paper world started securitizing mortgages on Main Street real estate, and then created derivatives from those securities in order to place HUGE paper bets in Wall Street’s casinos …

… when the bets went bad it decimated Main Street real estate.  MANY surprised real estate investors were CRUSHED.

Of course, central banks around the world fired up printing presses and papered over the whole mess … reflating stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Those who got in the game AFTER the crash … or got in position BEFORE the crash … have ridden that reflation wave to build big fat balance sheets.

So it’s all good … right?

But there’s been some tremors in financial markers which make us think it’s a good time to check our financial earthquake preparedness.

And those early warning signs are in the PAPER world …

You’ve probably noticed the stock market’s been jittery.  Which is actually great for real estate … because more people are interested in it, and rightfully so.

But the stock market’s gyrations have baffled many financial TV talking heads.

Earnings are up, they say.  Jobs are up.  Hourly wages are up. Unemployment is down.  Taxes are down.  It’s all good … they say.

And YES … all those things are good.  Good for stocks.  Good for real estate.

But … the dollar has been falling … against gold, against the yen, and certainly against Bitcoin.

What might that mean?

It could that a weak dollar (in spite of a strong economy) means … for whatever reason … big dollar holders are selling.

Our friend Simon Black recently wrote an interesting piece on this topic.

But understanding the causes and opportunities is a BIG discussion … so we’re dedicating two full days with top experts to dig into it.

We realize compared to shopping for properties, negotiating deals, arranging financing, and getting properties prepped for sale or rent … all this financial jabber isn’t very exciting for real estate investors.

We get it.

We spend most of our time chasing opportunities as well.  Offense is fun.  And most of the events we promote focus on building wealth through real estate.

But twice a year, at our annual Investor Summit at Sea™ in the spring, and the New Orleans Investment Conference in the fall …

… we bring the worlds of real estate, paper, and commodities all together to compare notes, and get outside our real estate paradigm.

At the very least, we learn new things, meet new people, discover other interesting investment opportunities … and have a good time.

That’s a good investment right there.

Of course, if we pick up just one great idea, relationship, or insight that helps us avoid a problem or grab an opportunity sooner … it’s a GREAT investment.

We found the BEST real estate deal of our lives … at a conference.  Just sayin’…

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.

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