Creating Consistent Cashflow with Retail Real Estate

Most people in the real estate investing world tend to gravitate toward a specialty … a market about which they know ALL the ins and outs.

On our latest show, we’ll talk to someone who has made a particular market his bread and butter … the retail market.

Wait … isn’t retail dead? No!

In this episode we’ll talk with a 30-year veteran of the retail investment industry about WHY the retail market is still completely viable … and HOW you can get started in the wide world of retail.

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

  • Your seasoned host, Robert Helms
  • His senior co-host, Russell Gray
  • Retail investor and developer Michael Flight

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Why retail?

Michael Flight has been involved in shopping center development since 1986. His business, Concordia Realty has been adding value to shopping centers since 1990.

In his 30-year career, Michael has seen the retail industry change a lot. Change is one constant in the industry, he says.

Several decades ago, the Sears catalogue made a big splash and replaced the business of many local merchants. Today, Sears is going downhill quickly … due to the popularity of online shopping sites like Amazon.

But smart investors have found ways to make brick-and-mortar retail thrive.

Retail facilities have evolved from single-purpose buildings to multi-function facilities (think shopping malls with restaurants, entertainment, and a wide variety of stores).

Businesses like Amazon need space to store and fill orders … another place where real estate folks come in.

Michael calls his specialty “de-mall-ing” … that is, taking a struggling mall and changing out the tenants and revitalizing the complex for modern shoppers.

We’ll explore the nitty gritty of how to get into the retail market, but first, a few great reasons investors should consider retail as part of their investment strategy:

  • One of America’s favorite pastimes is shopping … in person. Although online shopping is increasing in popularity, it’s still only 10 percent of the retail market. And customers flock to big-box stores for necessities like clothes and shoes that are harder to buy online.
  • Investors don’t have to deal with two of the major problems of apartment investing … vacancy and turnover. Tenants typically sign long-term leases ranging from 5 to 40 years to very stable tenants. Michael says many tenants will be national brands who offer lots of equity and will advertise FOR you.
  • Low day-to-day involvement … tenants are responsible for their own maintenance and sometimes even build their own stores. With a triple-net lease, tenants are responsible for real estate taxes, insurance (both property and liability, plus the contents of their store), and maintenance, including common-area maintenance like plowing snow and maintaining lighting.

How does the retail market work?

What does it take to purchase a small shopping center? Michael says potential investors must answer a few questions first …

  • What’s the neighborhood like? Is the property located in a good location?
  • Is there an adequate local population to support retail stores?
  • Is there a good travel path? That is, is the center accessible to cars and located near homes and other businesses?

Once you’ve made sure those criteria are satisfied, you have to look at what kind of tenants are already there … and what kind of tenants you need.

Shopping centers should have an anchor tenant … a grocery store or drug store or other big brand that will draw customers to the shopping complex.

When you’re negotiating, anchor tenants often have a lot of power to negotiate terms. But if you have a really great location, that gives YOU more leverage.

And you have to make sure customers are going to come.

The threat from online retail is real, but that doesn’t mean brick-and-mortar retail stores are failing … it just means investors have to get creative.

That might mean integrating omni-channel options … warehouses that provide last-mile delivery and stores that offer online order pick-up, for example.

But the big question investors have to look at is how can we get more people here … and keep them here longer?

For example, don’t build a shopping center without integrating great places to eat and rest … you’ll get more customers who stick around, and a more successful investment.

Michael emphasizes that investors need to know about retail itself, from how retailers do business and which retailers sell what, to merchandising … putting the right tenants in the right spots.

That means making sure tenants are complimentary. Have a couple clothing stores? Make sure you look for a shoe store as well.

The fine details of retail investing

We asked Michael what he looks for when he is figuring out finances.

He said he wants the loan-to-square-foot amount to be $100 or less.

After that part is figured out, he does underwriting based on a 10-year lease.

Lenders range from big lenders to banks or private loans for turnaround situations.

“We really like to play in the 1 to 20 million dollar range,” says Michael. This puts him below big institutional facilities … but above the mom-and-pop shops.

How long does it usually take to rehab a distressed retail asset? Nothing ever goes as planned, Michael says, but three years is typical to execute a solid business plan.

Retail is a LOT different than single-family homes and apartment complexes, so we asked Michael to explain some of the big differences.

In retail, tenants typically get a retail improvement allowance.

Owners will offer a white box … drywall, drop ceilings, concrete floors, and bathrooms. They often offer an allowance to build out the store to the tenant’s specifications.

When tenants have very specific construction specifications, Michael says a good option is offering money or free rent so the tenant can deal with construction on their own.

Why should the investor pay for modifications to the retail space? It’s the standard … and investors want to draw in tenants that will stay for 5 or 10 years, or longer.

Remember, if you’re not ready yet to take on an entire shopping mall, working with a syndicator is always an excellent way to dip your toes into retail.

To dive into ALL the details, listen in for access to Michael’s special report on retail investing. He covers the HOW and WHY of retail real estate in depth.

Listen to experts!

You can’t fake 30 years of expertise.

Our mission is to find subject matter guides who know what they’re talking about and can educate our audience … YOU.

Michael Flight is a great example of someone who walks the talk. He is an expert in this area … and we hope your curiosity about the retail market has been piqued.

For more wisdom from experts, check out our Future of Money and Wealth video series … or meet some of the best minds in the investing world at our annual Summit at Sea™.


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Demographics trumps politics …

We’ve been around long enough to see a lot of things come and go … politicians, economic theory … business, social, and investing fads … movements of all kinds …

And the world continues to spin … people work and consume … innovators create … businesses produce … and life goes on.

That’s because there’s one thing underpinning all of it …

People.

And as long as there are people, there will be an economy … and opportunities to grow and produce wealth by serving their needs.

Sure, when times are tough, it’s harder.  Not every business or industry survives. And it’s never a level playing field, so get over it.

The rewards go to the people who are best informed, best connected, and most willing to trust their own judgment and act when others hesitate.

One of the keys to success is anticipating what large sub-groups of people are going to want and need … and getting in position early to meet those needs.

Some uber-smart people like Steve Jobs have a nearly superhuman ability to anticipate future needs, create cutting edge products, and literally invent entirely new industries.

We’re nowhere near that smart.

That’s why we’re just real estate guys and not tech guys.  We’re more like Forrest Gump than Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos.

But the right real estate is the perfect wealth building vehicle for average people like us.  It’s much more common sense than genius vision.

And real estate investing is primarily based on a very basic understanding of demographics … with a dash or two of economics.

Anyone with even a cursory interest in economics has heard of the baby boomers.  This is the ginormous group of people born between 1946 and 1964.

As the boomers moved through the cycles of life, the businesses which served their needs also BOOMED.  And it’s not over yet.

But as you can tell from their birthdates, the boomers are a little long in the tooth.  It’s no longer rock n’ roll, muscle cars, starter-homes, or mini-vans.

Today, boomers are driving wealth management, healthcare, and leisure industries, to name a few.

So naturally, there’s a lot of opportunity in understanding the boomer demographic … and positioning yourself to profit from meeting their current and coming needs.

So here are some ideas for investors who want to ride what’s left of the boomer wave for the next couple of decades … 

Senior Housing

Obviously, people need places to live.  But as people age, their needs for housing change.  And even in the senior housing niche, there are different sub-sectors to consider.

Long-time listeners know one of our favorite sub-niches in senior housing is residential assisted living.  It’s a space that’s gaining attention, but still has a LOT of opportunity ahead.

In fact, we’re excited to see commercial real estate consulting firm Jones, Lang and LaSalle (JLL) just launched a semi-annual report on senior housing.

They’re responding to growing investor interest in this asset class.

One of the conclusions of their inaugural survey is “the most desirable sub-sector is … independent and assisted living …”

One of our favorite features of this niche is it’s not a fad or discretionary expense.  No matter what happens, people will make caring for the elderly a top priority … which means cash flowing your way.

Thanks to our good friend (and Summit at Sea™ faculty member) Gene Guarino for introducing us to this exciting and profitable niche.

Vacation and Leisure

To no surprise, each year at our annual goal setting workshop we find many people have dreams of traveling and vacationing in their retirement.

Boomers are no different … except they’re retiring right NOW.  AARP’s 2018 Travel Trends report says …

“The percentage of boomers saying they travel to relax and rejuvenate jumped from 38% to 49%.”

“Forty-seven percent plan to travel domestically and internationally.  Top choices for going abroad: the Caribbean/Latin America and Europe.”

“Sixty-two percent of boomers stay in hotels or motels … over staying in private homes … they prefer the amenities, like concierge and room service, offered at a hotel.”

Perhaps obviously, resort properties are another effective way to earn rents from affluent tenants … and a great way to have renters pay for YOUR vacation home.

Best of all, because the tenants aren’t in long-term leases, you can enjoy your beautiful property when it isn’t rented out.  You’ve probably never thought that about your C-class apartment building. 😉

Of course, you need to get the market right, especially when talking about Latin America and the Caribbean.

It’s no secret we’ve been … and continue to be … enamored of Belize, and the island of Ambergris Caye in particular.

There are lots of reasons why we love Belize, which we discuss on our field trips, but important factors in picking any resort property market are …

  • supply and demand dynamic
  • price to rental income ratios
  • friendliness to foreign ownership (if non-domestic)
  • great property management
  • ease of access (plane flights)
  • safety

When you get the market and property right, resort property is a really fun and profitable niche.

Syndication

Another of our favorite topics is syndication … for good reason.

More than $30 TRILLION in wealth controlled by boomers.  And there’s a HUGE opportunity to help them manage it.

And one of the the biggest need for boomers is to protect their wealth while generating income to live on.

But even with recent increases in interest rates, yields on bank deposits are pathetically low.

And in a rising rate world, bonds can be tricky … because each increase in rates tomorrow means the bonds you buy today lose principal value.

The obvious answer is income property.

The yields are better.  Real estate hedges against inflation. Even prudent use of debt creates very attractive equity growth rates.

The problem is real estate investing is work most boomers don’t want to do.  But that’s where YOU can help … and create a profitable business for yourself

Demographics Trumps Politics and Financial Engineering

While there are certainly some VERY significant dynamics occurring which may dramatically impact the future of money and wealth (things you should absolutely be paying attention to) …

Ultimately, the basic needs and desires of people drive economic activity and opportunity much more profoundly than anything politicians and bankers do.

The bottom line is we think investors who own properties and businesses which serve basic human needs will be best positioned to survive and thrive in virtually any economic environment.

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.

Expert Tips for Navigating Uncertain Times

In uncertain times, we all need a little wisdom to guide us to the right path.

So today, we bring you the words of the wise.

Property prices are continuing to inch upward in many markets. And the stock market is starting to tumble down. How should investors navigate the turmoil?

Listen in to hear from some of the smartest folks we know on their predictions for what the future holds … and their best tips for staying smart and focused in the midst of the storm.

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

    • Your expert host, Robert Helms
    • His amateur co-host, Russell Gray
    • Brien Lundin, author of the Gold Newsletter
    • Economist Peter Schiff
    • Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart, authors of Prosper!
    • Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki

 


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Brien Lundin on metals and money supply

Brien Lundin is our go-to expert on precious metals. He writes the Gold Newsletter and directs the New Orleans Investment Conference.

His predictions about the metals market have been spot on. We asked him how he keeps his thumb on the pulse. The short answer? “Experience,” says Brien.

Three decades of reading, researching, and making connections have given Brien enough information to come to the conclusion that, “Metals have settled into a fairly reliable long-term pattern.”

In fact, he says the future for metals is as close to inevitable as possible in the investing world.

High debt in the U.S. and other countries means their currencies will be depreciated, at least to some extent, and that means higher gold prices in the long term, says Brien.

With a predicted three or four rate hikes coming from the Fed in the next year, Brien predicts we’ll continue to have a weaker dollar for several years.

Why should real estate investors be interested in metals? Alternative investments like precious metals allow you to divorce yourself from the levers the government pulls to adjust the economy, says Brien.

Confused about the options? “Roll up your sleeves,” and dive in, says Brien.

Brien also had some words of advice … “Look around you to get the best investment advice.”

One way to do that? Attend the New Orleans Investment Conference. The conference is packed with people looking to learn. Off-mic conversations are part of the package!

Peter Schiff on the global economy and Puerto Rico

“It’s easier than people think to predict the future. The hard part is predicting the ‘when,’” says Peter.

Economists have been predicting a dollar crisis for a while, and Peter thinks we are in the beginning of that crisis … “The dollar is dropping like a stone against the Chinese yuan,” he says.

Why? According to Peter, it’s payback for monetary policy mistakes from the Fed that led to the major economic crises of the past few decades, including the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble.

“As the dollar is falling, prices are rising,” says Peter. Oil prices are up. Bond yields are rising, and that means interest rates are rising too. Peter predicts the combination of rising prices and high interest rates will be too much for the market to bear.

Crisis is coming, he says.

“What’s going to kill us is the government’s cure,” Peter adds. After the real estate bubble collapsed, the government attempted to pump up the market by slashing interest rates … and succeeding in completely re-inflating the bubble. That bubble will make the crisis worse, he says.

Peter has started his own investment fund through Euro Pacific Capital. He aims to help investors diversify out of the U.S. dollar.

Gold stocks have moved up, says Peter. “We are really poised now for major gain.”

And what about Puerto Rico? If you’ve been listening to the show, you’ll know Peter not only invests in Puerto Rico, but lives there too.

“It’s green again,” says Peter. There are some problems due to service providers who have left the island. But overall, “People think it’s worse than it is,” he says.

In fact, Peter thinks there’s more opportunity in Puerto Rico than before Hurricane Maria. Abandoned properties and foreclosures could be the perfect opportunity for investors to step in.

Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart on social capital and the Summit at Sea™

Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart, co-authors of the invaluable book Prosper!, chatted with us about some tangible steps to help YOU prosper.

Key among them is social capital.

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” asks Adam. “Find people who have complementary skills and can fill in your weaknesses.”

“No one can really have a handle on everything,” Chris adds. In our rapidly changing world, he says it’s wonderful when you can recognize people as kindred spirits … and learn from many points of view.

One way to get around some kindred spirits is to attend our annual Investor Summit at Sea™. In fact, all of the guests in this episode will attend the Summit.

It’s more about context than content, Chris and Adam agree … and we’re sure the context of the Summit will be the environment of your investor dreams.

Robert Kiyosaki on humility and getting around smart folks

Robert Kiyosaki doesn’t believe in school. “The trouble with going to school is that you have to be an expert by yourself, and that keeps you small,” he says.

More important than money or school smarts? “A very smart team” that operates on the basis of mutual respect and trust.

Robert recommends hanging around people who DON’T think they’re the smartest people in the room. Humility is a great tool, he says.

“All coins have three sides. Most people think there’s only one side … theirs,” says Robert. “It’s impossible for a coin to only have one side. Intelligence equals standing on the edge and looking at both sides.”

Like F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Robert recommends getting around other investors so you can get around a variety of ideas. He recommends the Summit … and you’ll be able to meet him if you come!

Plus, Robert’s wife Kim Kiyosaki will hold a special ladies-only session at the Summit. Robert encourages female investors and partners of investors to attend and learn about why they don’t need a man to get ahead.

Meet and mingle with smart people

No one knows where the future is headed with certainty … but there’s one thing all our smart investor friends are certain about, and that’s the importance of getting around the right people and assembling your team.

Want to reach out? The Investor Summit at Sea™ is the perfect first step.

Unable to attend the entire Summit? Consider joining us on land for the first two days. We’re holding a brand-new event, a conference we’re calling The Future of Money and Wealth.

Hoping to see you there!


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.

Trickle down Trump-style …

In a financialized economy, it’s easy to obsess over the dollar, Bitcoin, gold, forex, the Fed, interest rates, stock indexes, etc.

Financialization is when an economy emphasizes making money from money … as opposed to making money from making things.

Think of it as the difference between Wall Street and Main Street.

But there’s currently a subtle shift taking place we think is noteworthy.  We call it …

Trump-style Trickle-down

It’s said Donald Trump got elected by working-class people … those who aren’t at the financialization party.

These are folks whose manufacturing jobs trickled overseas for the last three decades.

When you’re underemployed with no savings, you can’t play financialization.  Your balance sheet is missing all those paper assets being pumped full of air from cheap money.

Wall Street’s trickle-down has been Main Street’s “bleed out.”

Does 3-D printing trump paper printing?

When we first asked then-candidate Trump about his plan for the American real estate dream, he simply answered, “Jobs.”

Since then, Trump has been emphasizing manufacturing jobs.  We think the distinction is important.

Manufacturing jobs … or the lack thereof … is something multi-time Summit at Sea™ faculty member Peter Schiff has railed about for years.

Peter insists no economy can print its way to prosperity.

Peter contends a prosperous economy MUST produce things …  and not just blow up paper asset bubbles.

Simply making money from money isn’t enough to keep Main Street off the welfare rolls. There’s no role for them in play in a financialized economy.

Main Street needs good-paying jobs … the kind that come from production and not just consumption.

For residential real estate investors, it’s more than just a philosophical discussion.

It’s central to strategically selecting the right geographic markets, demographics, and product-types.

After all, real estate is about the local economy … and the flow of cash from productivity into rents.  In short, the best tenants have jobs.

Not all jobs are created equal.

While any rent is good, to really understand your real estate investing, it’s a good idea to look further up the food chain … to see what’s trickling down and from where.

People who pour coffee, clean clothes, mow lawns, cut hair … activities we call tertiary employment … usually do so for folks with primary or secondary employment.

So if Acme Manufacturing sub-contracts to Dan’s Welding … and Reuben the welder is buying coffee from Bonnie the barista (your tenant) …

… where does YOUR rent REALLY come from?

And what’s the core economic strength of the local economy … the coffee shop, the welding shop, or the manufacturing company?

What happens to the local economy if Acme moves away?  Who does Reuben weld for so he can buy coffee from Bonnie?

Sure, Acme might not be the only primary employer in the market …

… but if the reasons Acme moved also motivate others to leave … the market loses eventually its anchors and starts to bleed out.

Financialization vs Industrialization

“Trickle down” can be a polarizing term.  But it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

President Trump has the White House, so whether we like or agree with him or not, he’s pulling the levers and we aren’t.

After a year of observing, it seems like Trump’s got his own version of trickle-down and is pushing it forward.

Trickle-down Reagan-style was running up the debt and military spending, which pumped lots of cash into the economy and created a boom.

Yes, tax reform was involved … which blew up real estate and the savings and loan business.  But that’s a discussion for a different day.

Reaganomics “worked” because starting out, the US had a good balance sheet, lots of manufacturing capacity, and high interest rates.

Just like a household with very little debt, lots of income, and adjustable rate loans in a falling rate environment …  you can rack up a LOT of debt for a long time before it starts hurting.

Trickle-down Greenspan / Bernanke / Yellen style was financialization.  De-regulation opened the door, but cheap money from the Fed fueled it … and continues to.

Advocates of trickle-down financialization say pumping up paper assets will make uber-rich people uber-richer … on paper.

Then, the theory goes … the uber-rich will lend to Main Street, who will then spend on Main Street … and eventually the cheap money ends up with Bonnie the barista.

Sounds a little like leftovers to us, but you can decide for yourself if it’s working.  We think Trump’s shocking win says Main Street didn’t think so.

Trickle-down industrialization appears to be Trump’s game plan.

The idea is to create an environment attractive to Acme Manufacturing to start, return, and expand … on Main Street.

It’s a mix of Reagan-style tax cuts and military spending, more Greenspan / Bernanke / Yellen-style cheap money pumping the stock market …

… but it’s all strategically aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing.

If Trump can get his agenda implemented, only time and math will tell if it works.

Oh, and about that math …

How do YOU measure success?

Now that we’ve got you jazzed about… okay, moderately interested in … paying attention to the direction of domestic manufacturing …

… we’re going to complicate things ever so slightly. But for good reason!

We live in a world of perverted units of measure.  It’s something Steve Forbes warned us about the very first time we talked to him.

Most reports we read measure productivity in dollars.  But a fluctuating dollar can give false readings.

Think about it …

If your business produces 1,000 widgets per month at $100 each, you have a $100,000 per month business.  Good job.

If inflation (a falling dollar) causes your widgets to go “up” to $120, you’re a $120,000 per month business … BUT, your production is the SAME.

Have you grown?  Not in terms of real production.

THIS is why it matters to real estate investors …

If at the $120 price, 10% of your customers can no longer afford your widgets, your production falls by 10% to only 900 widgets per month.

At $120 each, 900 widgets sold is $108,000 per month.

Hmmmm …

Measuring in dollars, your business is UP by 8% … from $100k/mo to $108k/mo.  Your look good on paper (there’s a lot of that going around) …

But by production, you’re DOWN by 10% …  so you need 10% less labor, supplies, space, sub-contractors, etc.

It’s like reverse-trickle down, but not really.  Money isn’t flowing up.  It’s really more like bleeding out.  This is why some folks don’t like inflation.

Here’s the point … and thanks for sticking with us …

The U.S. economy looks good … measured in dollars.  But some say there’s still a LOT of work to get real productivity up.

Still, the November jobs report had a ray of sunshine with a spike in manufacturing jobs …  and this article says U.S. manufacturing executives see growth in 2018.  Good.

But if those indicate this is the front-end of trickle-down industrialization that brings prosperity to Main Street, it could be a fun ride for real estate investors.

We’ll keep watching … and so should you.

Until next time … good investing!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Lessons from Puerto Rico for real estate investors …

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

   – George Santayana


This is one of our favorite quotes.  It’s simple yet powerful wisdom … useful for individuals, businesses, governments … and certainly for investors!

We could take this theme in a thousand different directions, but this CNBC headline caught our attention this week …

Here’s how an obscure tax change sank Puerto Rico’s economy

With tax reform in today’s financial headlines … and our memories of what happened to real estate after the 1986 tax reform …

… we think it’s a good time to consider the impact of tax policy on the economy, jobs, and real estate.

As for Puerto Rico … it’s a huge mess after Hurricane Maria.  Lots of infrastructure and real estate have been destroyed.

Of course, the financial mess in Puerto Rico was in the news long before Maria showed up.  The natural disaster just made the financial disaster a whole lot worse.

Let’s dig in and look for lessons for real estate investors …

The CNBC article points out, “Even before a devastating hurricane … the government was struggling with an economy in shambles …”

And, “That fiscal mess has its roots in the repeal of a controversial corporate tax break that helped spark an exodus from the island that sent its economy into reverse.”

Yikes.  Will people and businesses really move just because of some “tiny” tax law?

Yes.  Yes, they will.  It turns out taxes (and avoiding them) are kind of a big deal to people and businesses.

In this case, a tax break, “enacted in 1976, allowed U.S. manufacturing companies to avoid corporate income taxes on profits made in U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico. Manufacturers … flocked to the island.”

This lead to an economic and employment boom in Puerto Rico.

Of course, when politicians see money they just can’t help themselves.  The Puerto Rican politicians started spending, and borrowing to spend even more.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the CNBC article says …

But by the early 1990s, the provision faced growing opposition from critics who attacked the tax break as a form of corporate welfare.”

So in 1996, a ten-year phasing out of the tax break began and “plant closures and job losses followed.

Which bring us to tax policy and real estate investors …

The law had nothing to do with real estate or investors … but then again, it had EVERYTHING to do with real estate investing …

… because real estate investments are highly dependent on JOBS.

And whether you think it’s fair or not, corporations make decisions about where to do business (or not) based partially on tax policy.

In this case, tax breaks attracted corporations to set up shop and were good for jobs and real estate.  The removal of those breaks had the opposite effect.

Of course, the law in question was passed and repealed at the federal level.  It wasn’t under Puerto Rico’s control.

But Puerto Rico got the lesson.

So in 2012, Puerto Rico passed Act 20 and 22 … effectively becoming an attractive tax haven for both businesses and individuals.

We first heard about this from Summit at Sea™ faculty member Peter Schiff … who moved his asset management company and himself to Puerto Rico to save taxes.

He’s not the only one.  We have several other friends who’ve done the same thing.

Right now, the tax law still exists … though much of Puerto Rico doesn’t.

We think there’s probably a way to combine those two circumstances to create an opportunity for real estate investors.

Of course, back in the U.S., tax reform is in the air again …and corporate tax breaks are in the mix.

Will corporate tax breaks bring businesses to the U.S. and create an employment boom? If so, where?  And will the breaks be permanent or temporary?

It’s too soon to tell, but it’s something we’ll be watching closely.

Meanwhile, there’s another lesson from the Puerto Rico story …

We know a tax break brought in a tide of corporate investment, and the removal of the tax break decades later took the tide back out.

But there was a lot of opportunity in between.

Of course, to catch a wave, you need to be watching the horizon.  And when you see the wave forming, you need to paddle quickly into position.

In Puerto Rico, as in Florida, Houston, and the several Caribbean islands all decimated in varying degrees by the back to back hurricanes …

… there’s going to be a big tide of capital flowing in to repair everything.

And because of the scope of the problems, the season of rebuilding could last quite a while.

Recently, we talked with our boots-on-the-ground turnkey property provider in Orlando, and he says he sees a lot of opportunity in his market right now …

Problem properties are popping up with pricing that leaves some meat on the bone for investors.

That’s good news … not just for investors, but for the community at large … because investment capital is needed to help with the recovery process.

The same is true in Houston, Puerto Rico and other areas ravaged by the storms.

Of course, conditions in each market are different.  Orlando is in far better shape than Houston which is far better shape than Puerto Rico.

All that to say there are different levels of distress, bargains, risk and reward in each market.

Unfortunately for the average individual part-time investor, the gap between seeing opportunity and being able to take advantage can be too big to bridge.

For most U.S. citizens, their “investment” into these disaster zones will be a de facto donation through their taxes, as federal relief funds pour into each area.

Of course, many kind-hearted individuals will make modest personal donations, which is admirable.

But to get LARGE amounts of private capital into each area to help rebuild, it’s going to take an investment opportunity.

And we think private syndicators have a role to play.

Motivated real estate entrepreneurs with skills and availability have an opportunity to start a private investment fund to aggegate private capital and make profitable investments in each of these areas.

Busy qualified investors who don’t have the time or skills, but see the opportunity, can make an investment in these private funds and earn a profit while helping heal ravaged markets.

This is the kind of capitalism that makes a positive difference in the world …  people helping themselves by helping others.

Or as our good friend Gene Guarino often says, “Do well, by doing good.”

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.

Kiyosaki, Griffin and Black on Paying Attention and Choosing Wisely

Our latest show was recorded with you in mind – it’s a special one, unlike anything we’ve ever shared before! It takes place while cruising the open seas during our 15th annual Summit at Sea™.

You get to be a fly on the wall during an organic, non-scripted conversation with three of the world’s smartest experts in real estate and investing. (Lucky you!)

The way we see it, life is a buffet. And it’s up to you to choose wisely about what to put on your metaphorical plate. Our guests are here to help you choose the right portions. They will be dishing out juicy tips about how to get ahead of the game … and stay ahead.

In our latest show you will hear from:

  • Your bold Master and Commander, Robert Helms
  • His co-captain, Russell Gray
  • Mega bestselling author and investing expert, Robert Kiyosaki
  • Legendary author and film producer, Edward Griffin
  • International entrepreneur and founder of “Sovereign Man,” Simon Black

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The buffet is open

Every year at the Summit at Sea™, we witness an interesting paradox. Some of the brightest people gather onboard a beautiful cruise ship and we spend our time sharing wisdom and learning from each other.

But when we come out of our classes and go on deck, we see the other side of the coin. We see people lined up at the buffets and bars who are just waiting for things to happen to them.

“I call these people the victims,” Simon Black says. “The world is changing so fast. Demographics are changing. We have to make decisions on a daily basis about how to create capital. When you have uncertain times, there is something to be said about getting together with the tribe at an event like Summit.”

That’s is something we can all agree on: property sharing at its finest. Intellectual property, that is.

“The truth of the matter is all the great shifts in history have been driven by 1-2% of the population,” G. Edward Griffin says. “The rest were just followers.”

Look who’s talking

We all want to affect real change. Events like Summit at Sea™ are a catalyst for change. The power is palpable.

Ed, Simon, and Robert are three of our outstanding faculty members who use their life experiences to engage the minds of millions by creating valuable educational tools.

Ed’s work is astounding. His books, such as The Creature from Jekyll Island and The Fearful Master have changed how we think about the world around us.

Simon’s international entrepreneurship training teaches others how to make more money and keep that money, which ultimately increases personal freedom.

Robert is best known for his little purple book that continues to cause a financial revolution. Rich Dad, Poor Dad has been motivating people around the world to reshape their financial goals for 20 years.

History repeats itself

The best way to prepare for the future, whatever that may be, is to look to the past for answers to today’s economic and geopolitical questions.

“Everything that is happening has happened before to some extent,” explains Simon. “If we think about the Ottoman Empire, we see that the people existed to support the Empire rather than the other way around. I hope this isn’t our future, but we have seen similar instances in our own lives.”

Civilizations have come and gone. Ancient Rome. Babylon. Greece. Once thriving metropolises left in shambles because people weren’t willing to read the signs.

What are the signs to look for?

“We need to watch for the corruption of money,” says Robert.

As a kid, Robert would collect dimes, quarters, and half dollars because he had a suspicion money wasn’t exactly as it once was. Turns out, he was right.

“In Roman times they would steal silver by filing it off coins,” Robert says. “In 1964, the U.S. did a similar thing by using cheaper metals to plate the coins. And as a kid, I knew what was happening just by the looking at my money.”

Like Robert, we know human beings are intuitively smart about their money. Sometimes their education just needs a little fine-tuning.

“We are smart enough to read the signs,” Robert adds. “We know that when bad money comes into circulation, good money goes into hiding.”

Taxation without representation

What about the new hot-button topic? Taxes.

We want people to start thinking differently about taxes and their income in general. Once people can see innovative answers to basic questions about taxes, debt, capital gain, and investing, we’ll have a nation armed with the keys to success.

“Tax is one of my favorite topics,” says Simon. “Many people still believe the idea of paying taxes is moral. That we are somehow morally obligated to pay. But if we look, we’ll see an overwhelming level of waste and fraud.”

Robert has also been thinking unconventionally about taxes for years. And his financial journey ultimately turned his investments, savings, and other capital — maybe even the coins he collected as a kid — into millions of dollars.

“My whole game is to make millions of dollars while not paying taxes — legally, of course,” Robert says. “The reason the rich are getting richer is because they have no debt and they don’t pay taxes.”

Outsourcing our problems

Ultimately, what we want our listeners to gain from hearing these experts is they have the power to choose. With education and proactivity, they can earn millions, find true success, and make the world a better place.

Today’s problems might reflect our past, but they don’t have to be our future. We CAN’T sit back and let the changes just happen. We CAN’T outsource. We have to be it all — the manager, CEO, and owner of our destiny.

We have to think differently. Past generations may have faced similar issues to our current wealth gaps, stock inflation, and housing bubble, but it’s our job to discover new answers.

At the end of the day, we’d say humanity is something you can always bet on …

… and take straight to the bank.

“I think all the trends point out that we are on the verge of a financial emergency,” Ed explains. “But the root word of emergency is emerge … and those who plan and think will emerge from the rubble better than before.”

The sweetest reward

The buffet of life is spread across the table and you get to choose your reward. So will you take the Jell-O or go for the crème brûlée? There is no better time than now to take control of your life. And there is no better way than joining us and other field experts at our next annual Summit at Sea™ event.

To learn more about upcoming registration, please visit our website for information about the advance notice list.


 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.

Could taxing times be ahead for real estate …

President Trump has put his tax plan on the table for the world to see.  The big question is … what does it REALLY mean?

But rather than speculate on the future possibilities, let’s take a look at the last time big-time tax reform went from rhetoric to reality.

Way back in 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan signed a tax reform act that was hailed as one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed … and cleverly titled … The Tax Reform Act of 1986. 

Now we’re not saying Trump’s tax plan is anything like Reagan’s.  And who knows if Trump’s plan will pass, or what it will look like in its final form.

But they’re both considered “sweeping” in terms of radically changing the tax system.  

And when you consider how much time and effort businesses and investors put into navigating the incredibly confusing and cryptic U.S. tax code, it’s a safe bet ANY substantial changes will result in equally substantial changes in the strategy and behavior of market participants. 

Does that sound boring and wonky?

It is.  BUT … it’s probably worth the effort because of something called the Law of Unintended Consequences.

In this example, prior to 1986, lots of high income earners were buying up real estate for the LOSSES.

Seems weird.  But as Robert Kiyosaki pounded into our heads on the Summit at Sea™, wealthy people have different problems than those still working to become wealthy.

Wealthy people have TAX problems.  And prior to 1986, real estate offered an attractive tax shelter which many high earners invested in.

But The Tax Reform Act of 1986 removed this valuable benefit, and in perhaps what should have been obvious fashion, those wealthy investors started to DUMP those no longer useful investments.

Of course, when you have a glut of sellers, the result is falling prices. 

Those who were proactive and got out EARLY fared far better than those who waited.  As we like to say, “Plan and Do is better than Wait and See.

But there’s more to the story …

Because real estate is such a GREAT asset, lenders LOVE to loan against it.  It’s true today, and it was true back then.

Now even if you’re younger, you know what a bank and a credit union are.  But you may never have heard of a Savings and Loan.

An S&L felt just like a bank. 

You could use S&Ls to hold deposits, get loans, and they were backed up by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC).  The FSLIC was to S&Ls what the FDIC is to banks today.

Prior to 1990, S&Ls were among the most popular places to get loans for real estate. 

But something happened which drove the FSLIC into insolvency (yes, that can happen) and sent S&Ls the way of the dodo bird.  Extinct. 

It was The Tax Reform Act of 1986.  And we’re pretty sure that’s NOT what Ronald Reagan had in mind when he signed it.

That’s the way unintended consequences work.

We won’t bore you with all the details because that’s not the point of our comments.

The short of it is the S&Ls borrowed short to lend long against assets they thought had good price stability and liquidity. 

But the demand was largely driven by tax benefits and not by true underlying value. 

And when the tax code changed radically, so did the value-supporting demand of wealthy people seeking tax shelters.  No tax shelter, no demand.

In other words, the investments didn’t make sense without the tax benefits.

So with a new tax plan on the table, it might be a really good time to take a deeper look at your portfolio. 

How dependent are you on the current tax benefits to make the investment make sense?

If the tax benefit goes away, could you (and would you want to) stay in the deal?  If not, is there a way to restructure it so you could?

How vulnerable are you to interest rate changes?  Right now, stable financing structures might make better sense because of an unstable economic climate.

We’re not saying Trump’s tax plan is good or bad.  We’re not that smart. 

We only know it’s radical.  And the last time radical tax reform actually happened, it had unintended consequences … which created both problems and opportunities, depending on how one was positioned and paying attention as events unfolded.

Personally, we think it’s exciting.  Lots of change.  Lots of uncertainty.  Lots of opportunity to move boldly while others are hesitating.

It’s why we study, why we network with smart people, why we watch the macro and micro events so carefully.

There’s ALWAYS opportunity because there’s always danger.  They go together … and it’s your skill in navigating the changes that dictates which side YOU end up on.

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.

Real estate still makes sense in uncertain times …

The world is full of alarming headlines which should concern any alert investor:

Pension Crisis Too Big for Markets to Ignore

The Federal Reserve Could Reduce Its Monstrous Balance Sheet Soon – That Should Terrify Everyone

The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America

We could have pulled up more, but you get the idea.  Scary stuff.

Of course, we’re still on a high after our recent Summit at Sea™ with Robert Kiyosaki, Peter Schiff, G. Edward Griffin, Simon Black, Chris Martenson, and many other really smart people.

If you’re familiar with any of these guys, you may wonder why we’re still excited.  After all, these guys are notorious for decrying the many problems facing the global economy.

But their concerns are only half the story.

There’s also lots of opportunities available … many of which are unique to real estate

So while it may be bad timing to buy an over-priced property hoping to flip it to the greater fool for fast cash, high-priced properties create opportunities too.

If you’re the proud owner of a highly-appreciated property, you have the gift of equity.

Your equity can be repositioned from an over-priced market to a growth market through a cash-out refinance or 1031 tax-deferred exchange.

Consider this headline from the LA Times

Leaving coastal California is a ‘no-brainer’ for some as housing costs rise

The article highlights a couple who are leaving Huntington Beach for Phoenix.

There’s a lot of that going on right now.  People and businesses move around in order to survive and thrive.

The key is to get on the right side of the flow.

Of course, not everyone leaving high-priced areas will want or be able to buy.  And until they do, we’d love them to rent … from us!

So record-low home ownership rates might reflect weakness in the overall economy, but they actually create demand and opportunity for landlords in affordable markets.

There’s ALWAYS an opportunity.

Now this isn’t to say that all real estate anywhere is a good deal.  Or that maximum leverage on every property is the ideal portfolio structure.

But don’t let the doom and gloom of mainstream news dissuade you from developing your real estate investing opportunities.

Real estate is not a fad.  As long as individuals are permitted to own properties, those who do will be wealthier than those who don’t.

Real estate is real.  It’s considered by the world’s wealthy to be a safe haven asset.

So when bombs are dropping, financial markets are volatile, geopolitical tensions are high … capital seeks shelter in the dollar, Treasuries, gold and real estate.

But consider that the dollar is under attack by two very formidable forces … China and Russia. If they succeed, it could cause problems for the dollar.

Besides, the dollar is only a temporary hiding place for frightened capital.

What about U.S. Treasuries?

Debt denominated in the world’s reserve currency, and backed by the world’s biggest economy and military, tends to attract flight capital.  It’s safer than other debt.

But the U.S. is also the world’s largest debtor … with no apparent plan to stem the hemorrhaging of red ink.

And if anyone eventually creates a strong alternative to the dollar for global trade, especially in oil, then Treasuries could be in real trouble.

A weaker dollar means debt holders will want higher interest rates to compensate for the lost purchasing power.

Hopefully, that makes sense.  If not, think of it this way …

There was a time when you could buy 100 pieces of bubble gum for one dollar.  A penny a piece.

If you loaned someone a dollar, it’s worth 100 pieces of gum.  But if the dollar loses purchasing power, it might only buy 50 pieces of gum … now two cents each.

If you thought that might happen, you’d need the borrower to pay you back two dollars just to be EVEN.  And you’d probably want a little more for your risk.

That extra dollar is “interest.”  And when the currency is losing purchasing power, you need MORE interest to compensate.

Make sense?

The problem is if interest rates rise, bond values drop.  In the interest of time, we won’t explain this now, but grab a calculator and play with numbers until you get it.

So rising interest rates mean a loss of principal for capital placed in bonds.

This makes bonds a scary place to park long-term capital for wealth preservation.

And with next to no yield, safety of principal is really the primary purpose of parking cash in bonds.  No wonder foreigners have been dumping Treasuries.

How about gold?

We like gold.  It’s shiny.  There’s no counter-party risk.  It’s easily convertible into any currency.  It’s been used as money for thousands of years.  It’s survived the rise and fall of empires, currencies and cultures.

BUT … gold pays no yield.  It just sits there like a stack of cash.  And tax law can make it difficult to move in and out of.

Which brings us (finally) to real estate

We’re admittedly homers for real estate.  After all, we’re The Real EstateGuys™.

Still, we think there’s a LOT to like about real estate in uncertain times … like right now.

First, real estate is a tangible, physical asset.  Stock in a company that goes out of business isn’t worth the paper the shares are printed on.

Real estate doesn’t have counter-party risk.  If you park cash in real estate, no one else needs to do anything for the property to have value.  Your asset isn’t someone else’s liability … like an insurance contract, a bank deposit, or a bond.

Of course, if the tenant pays rent, the property becomes MORE valuable.

But what if the tenant doesn’t pay?

With real estate, you can evict a non-paying tenant and replace them with one who does.  Try to do that with a bond.

If a bond issuer owes you money and fails to pay, you can’t just replace them with someone who will.

The debt just goes bad … and you lose.

We could go on.  But you get the idea.

Real estate was valuable a thousand years ago, and it’s probably going to be even more valuable a thousand years from now … especially as more people compete over less land.

So the question isn’t really about real estate.  It’s about how much YOU will own.

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.

The BEST investment you can make …

We’re back from what Robert Kiyosaki described as our BEST Summit at Sea™ so far.  It’s hard to disagree.  And no, this isn’t a pitch for the Summit.

In fact, alumni already grabbed about 40% of the available spots … before we even got off the ship!

While there’s no way to describe the magic of the Summit, there are a few valuable ideas worthy of mention.

Developing social capital

New Summit faculty members Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart (The Crash Course and Peak Prosperity podcast) shared the importance of “social capital.”

After a compelling presentation about the inevitable collision between exponential growth and finite resources (a fascinating topic!), Martenson and Taggart suggested your prospects for prospering will rely heavily on your network of relationships.

That’s true whether a crisis strikes tomorrow or 100 years from now.

And it’s not just knowing a large quantity of people … it’s who those people are and how well you know them.

But even if a crisis NEVER hits, it’s wise to invest in quality relationships.

Surprise faculty member, Ken McElroy often says, “If you want to change your life, change the people you hang around with.”

This year, we had several young people take advantage of our Young Adult Program.  It allows a limited number of young adults ages 18-25 to get into the Summit for only $2,500.

More importantly, it gave these young people close personal access to many highly successful investors and thought leaders.

Our other surprise faculty member, Simon Black of SovereignMan.com joined Kiyosaki and McElroy for a one-hour private session with these young adults.

Simon said it was the most powerful experience in his four years of being a part of the Summit.

Going forward, we’re dedicating up to 30 seats on next year’s Summit to our Young Adult Program.

We believe investing in young people is one of the BEST investment we can make.  And we’re thrilled our super-star faculty agrees!

But whether you’re young or not-so-young, if you’re interested in taking your education, business and investing to the next level, it’s wise to put concerted effort into developing good relationships with great people.

Summit faculty member and legendary sales trainer Tom Hopkins (How to Master the Art of Selling) reminded us the key is being of service to others.

So it’s not what you GET that matters most … it’s what you GIVE.

That’s easy to say, but often hard to do when our own urgent needs are clamoring for attention.

Tom says always remember, “Use money and serve people.  Don’t use people and serve money.”

A billion-dollar boo-boo

Consider the recent flap over United Airlines handling of an overbooked flight.
It’s a case study in forgetting the MAIN thing.

Unless you’ve been off-planet for the last few days, you know a ticketed customer was forcibly removed … literally dragged … from a plane because the airline wanted his seat to reposition their own staff.

The details are all over the news, but the bottom line is the airline decided to “save” money by not raising the bid to buy people off the plane, or making other (presumably more expensive) arrangements to get their staff where they needed them.

In short, they served money and used people.  Oops.

Of course, the horrific decision and resulting disastrous PR resulted in a nearly BILLION dollar loss of market value.

And that’s probably just the beginning of losses which will include customers, employees … plus money spent on public relations, training, and let’s not forget … LEGAL.

It’s shocking a mature business could be so short-sighted.

Relationships are the REAL asset

The beauty and danger of real estate is it’s not traded in impersonal, highly automated exchanges.  It’s a very PERSONAL business.

If you’ve got a good reputation and great relationships, real estate is actually pretty easy.

If your reputation is poor and your relationships are weak, you’re almost always looking at leftovers.

But it’s not just about deal flow … or even raising money.

Relationships provide access to ideas, perspectives, wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration.

Relationships change who you are, how you see yourself, what you reach for, and what you believe you can achieve.

We spoke on the Summit about Roger Bannister, the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes.

Until he did it, it was commonly believed it wasn’t physically possible.

But once he did it, others soon followed … because he broke the mental barrier holding so many people back.

If this can be done in the world of athletics, where a certain level of physical skill is required … imagine what can be done in a less demanding arena like real estate investing.

During the course of the Summit, we heard from investors who started with next to nothing … and grew portfolios of THOUSANDS of rental units in just a few years.

Until you’re around them, it SEEMS impossible.  But when you meet them and hear their stories, it opens your mind to the possibilities.  It EXPANDS your dreams and beliefs.

An epic experience

There were so many GREAT sessions including Peter Schiff on navigating the Trump economy, G. Edward Griffin on how the Fed affects everyone, Fannie Mae’s chief economist Doug Duncan on the state of the U.S. economy and housing … and MANY more.

We had nearly 25 faculty members … our biggest ever!

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Summit were the eight expert panels featuring some of the biggest brains on banking, precious metals, marketing, real estate niches, the next crash, and more.

In the information age, panels are really powerful.

It’s one thing to HEAR a great mind share big ideas.  But you can do that online.

It takes you to a whole new level when you watch several great minds DISCUSS big ideas. And to be a part of the conversation yourself?  Priceless!

With limited space on each year’s Summit, we realize it’s not possible for everyone to be there.  Hopefully someday, YOU can join us!

But in the meantime, we encourage you to seek out the smartest, most accomplished people you can … and find a way to get into high quality, win-win relationships.

They’ll expand your thinking, show you possibilities you didn’t know existed, open doors and make introductions to people and places you might otherwise take months or years to get to.

There’s nothing we know of that can help you accelerate your success faster than smart investments in building social capital.

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.

Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki is invited back again for yet another Investor Summit at Sea

Faculty | Itinerary | Pricing & Registration | Young Adult Program | Testimonials | Help

 

Robert Kiyosaki was with us in 2018 for his 5th Investor Summit at Sea™

 

Is Robert Kiyosaki coming back in 2019???

We invited him!  Now we’re just waiting for the answer … but rumor has it he wants to!

 

Why would the best-selling personal finance author in the history of the world spend several days on a cruise ship with a couple of radio talk show hosts and 200 of our closest friends?

(Hint:  It’s not the money.  We can’t afford to pay him what he’s worth, so we don’t)

In his own words…

 

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