The second decade of the last century are known as The Roaring Twenties.
Good times were fueled by abundant currency from the newly formed Federal Reserve … and the resulting debt and speculation which ran rampant.
As you may know, it ended badly.
The Great Depression ensued … an event which ruined lives, fundamentally changed the United States government, and took decades to recover from.
Today, we’re on the threshold of the second decade of this century.
And once again, the United States is “enjoying” a Fed-fueled party of absurd debt and speculation.
Will it end badly this time?
Or will the lessons learned from the 1929 and 2008 debacles provide the necessary wisdom to ride the free money wave without an epic wipe out?
No one knows.
But as we say often, better to be prepared for a crisis and not have one … than to have a crisis and not be prepared.
Last time, we discussed some of the gauges we’re watching on the financial system dashboard such as gold, oil, debt, the Fed’s balance sheet, bonds, and interest rates.
But of course, we can’t control any of these things.
That’s why we think it’s very important to control those things you CAN control … so you’re better positioned to navigate the things you can’t.
Fortunately, real estate is an investment vehicle which is MUCH easier to control than the paper assets trading in the Wall Street casinos.
And if history repeats itself, as Main Street investors who are riding the Wall Street roller coasters get spooked … many will come “home” to the Merry-Go-Round of real estate.
For those of us already there, this migration of money creates both opportunities and problems.
Like any investment, when lots of new money floods in, it lifts asset prices.
While this generates equity, unless you sell or cash-out refinance, your wealth is only on paper. And equity is fickle. Cash flow is resilient wealth.
Meanwhile, when prices rise higher than incomes, finding real deals that cash flow is much harder. We’re already seeing it happen.
The key is to move up to product types and price points where small, inexperienced investors can’t play.
Of course, this takes more money and credit than many individual investors have. That’s a problem, but also an opportunity.
Another strategy is to move to more affordable, but growing markets.
This also takes an investment of time and money into research, exploration, due diligence, and long-distance relationship building … unless you happen to live in such a market.
So once again, this is better done at scale … because the time and expense of long-distance investing is hard to amortize into one or two small deals.
Bigger is better.
It’s for these reasons, and many more, we’re huge fans of syndication.
Syndication allows both active and passive real estate investors to leverage each other to access opportunities and scale neither could achieve on their own.
But whether you decide syndication is a viable strategy for you …
… to take more control going into what history may dub “The Tumultuous Twenties” …
… it’s important to have a game plan for developing both yourself and your portfolio.
So here’s a simple process to take control of your investing life, business and portfolio heading into a new decade …
Step 1: Cultivate positive energy
It takes a lot of energy to change direction and compress time frames.
Building real wealth with control requires learning new things, taking on new responsibilities, and building better relationships.
So it’s important to put good things into your mind and body …
… be diligent to put yourself in positive environments and relationships, while limiting exposure to negative ones …
… and stay intentional about focusing your thoughts and feelings.
That’s because what you think, how you feel, and what you believe all affect your decisions and actions. And what you do directly impacts the results you produce.
Improving results starts with a healthy body, mind, and spirit. More positive energy allows you to pack more productivity into every minute of the day.
Step 2: Establish productive structure
This also takes effort. That’s why we start with cultivating energy. But being effective isn’t just about expending energy.
There’s a big difference between an explosion and propulsion.
Structure helps focus your energy to propel you to and through your goals.
Structure starts with getting control of your schedule. Time is your most precious resource … and you can’t make more of it.
But structure also includes your spaces … your home, office … even your vehicles and devices. They should be organized to keep you focused and efficient at your chosen tasks.
Yes, you can and should delegate to get more done faster.
But even if delegation is your only work (it’s not … learning, monitoring and leading your team, making decisions … those stay on your plate) …
… you’ll need spaces conducive to focus, with access to resources and information, so you can organize and delegate effectively.
Then there’s legal, financial, accounting, and reporting structures.
Once again, all these take time and energy to get together. So start by cultivating energy and taking control of your schedule.
Step 3: Set clear, compelling goals with supporting strategies and tactics.
You might think this comes first, and perhaps it does.
However, you can cultivate energy and establish fundamental structure as a universal foundation for just about any goals.
But whenever you choose to do your goal setting, it’s important to establish a very clear and compelling mission, vision, set of values, and specific goals for yourself, your team, and your portfolio.
This clarity will help you more quickly decide what and who should be in your life and plans … and what and who shouldn’t.
When you have clarity of vision, strategy and tactics become evident.
Step 4: Act relentlessly
We think it’s important to “keep your shoulder to the boulder” … otherwise it rolls you back down the hill that you’re working so hard to climb.
Fortunately, as you use your newfound energy and structure to act relentlessly towards your goals, you’ll eventually enjoy the momentum of good habits.
Lastly, be aware that this is a circular process … not a linear one.
You’ll keep doing it over and over and over. That’s why having an annual goal setting retreat is an important time commitment on your calendar.
We don’t know if the 2020s will be terrible or terrific at the macro level.
But history says those at the micro level who prosper in good times and bad are those who are aware, prepared, decisive, and able to execute as challenges and opportunities unfold.
Those are all things each of us can control.