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SUPER MONEY MIRACLE

March 25, 2016 by  
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Ever wonder why many smart, hard working people end up making only $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000 a year while others who don’t seem to be any smarter or work any harder, make millions and even billions?  Years ago when I was advertising my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, I used as a tag line, “Millionaires are not 100 times smarter than you, they just know the wealth formula.” So, if you are making $50,000 dollars a year, that very rich person, who is no smarter and is not working any harder than you, could be making $5 million.

On last week’s blog, I just touched on the basics of this formula. So if you read it, you may remember that I told you if you go out and buy a property that needs fixing up with a 20% down payment, putting another 5% into the fix up, you could improve the value of that property by 15%. That 15% would equal a 60% return on your actual invested dollars. But just how does that happen?

The million-dollar miracle part of that simple example, which I and others have done may times over, is a matter of leverage. You see, you leveraged your 25% (your 20% down plus that 5% to fix the place up) which allowed you to borrow 75% of the money so you could acquire the property. But your return is on the total value of the house. In other words the 15% increase in value of the property would equal a 60% return on your down plus fix up cost. Then by doing basically the same thing again on another property, you would be doing what is known as ‘compounding your return’.

Now here is the shocking and exciting part of this thing called compounding. Are you sitting down? If you keep getting a leveraged return of 60% on your investments, you can start with just $4,000 and build that into $48 million dollars in just 20 years! Now that’s what I believe is a super money miracle.

It really is that simple. Mind you, I didn’t say easy, I said “simple”. You really have to work your buns off to first find the deals and then fix them up to a point that increases their value. I’ve made a 60% return on many, many properties. I have also received thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from people who have told me that by following what I have been doing for years, they have seen, not just 60% returns, but even 100%, 200% and more.

However, you will no doubt find, as I did, that it usually is easier to get those fat returns on smaller properties.  As you move into larger and larger properties it does become more difficult but it is not impossible to get high returns on your dollar there either. I had one $2 million deal that made me more than a 100% return and even a new $27 million deal that returned more that 60% on my invested dollar.

I hope that this kind of huge potential will motivate you to keep working on deals, even the small ones you’ll have in the beginning. Remember those baby steps are necessary and very important. They show you what you can do. Those huge numbers I spoke of don’t happen overnight and that can be discouraging. Just focus on your success and build on it as you go and just like compounded money, your compounded efforts will also build into huge returns for you!

Control Your Wealth

March 18, 2016 by  
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Last week I ended my blog by talking about the huge importance of saving a minimum of 10% of your income as the first step to achieving total financial freedom and making that savings plan an absolute habit so you do it automatically every time.

But now what to do with that money? Where do you invest it for the best possible return with a reasonable low risk?

One rule that I’ve kept for life in investing is to never turn over total control of my money to someone else. As a stockbroker many years ago, I played in the market and usually lost money or just broke even. Part of the reason was that not only did I have no say or control over the company I bought into but I also had absolutely no control over the stock market and the direction it went.

But then I met a guy who became my wonderful and brilliant coach, Larry Rosenberg. He convinced me that improved rental real estate was the safest and most consistent way to build a fortune. Why? Because if you buy right and buy a property that needs improvement, you can reap huge returns and much of what happens with your investment is in your control.

First of all, you have the power of leverage you can apply when you have the right assets. In other words, if you fix up a property and raise its value by, say, 15% then that 15% improvement in value can turn your investment into a fat 60% on your money! That huge return is based on your choices. In this case, you would put a 20% down payment on it and keep fix up costs at about 5%. These are your decisions to make and therefore you have some control over how well you make out on the investment.

Even today, after 40 years of experience, I still say the best investment that allows you the most control, especially in today’s market with these very low interest rates, is real estate. I started with a small house on the wrong side of town and after I fixed if it didn’t sell right away I usually could rent it out so I had a tenant whose rent I was able to set so that it was paying off the mortgage, usually with a little left over for me. Then I moved on to larger and larger properties which I was able to work pretty much the same way and I still use this strategy today.

The other thing I do to keep control besides investing in the right property and making smart decisions to keep money flowing in, is to be careful with how I set up any partnerships. When I do deals and have a partner or two they always have their name on the deed showing the percentage interest they have in the property with everything spelled out clearly. If all investors insisted on doing it this way, it certainly would cut down dramatically on all the scams and Ponzi schemes. But it also means all the partners know what to expect and there are no out of control surprises later on.

So if you are smart and want to make those big bucks you’ll get out there, take and keep control of your investments, and keep focused on the great power of compounding and leveraging. Next week we’ll go into those subjects a bit more to keep you focused on your goal!

 

Supporting Roles in Your Success

February 19, 2016 by  
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Last week, I shared with you some great advice from an old publication of mine, The Financial Freedom Report. I quoted from an article published in the Summer of 1995 entitled “Ask Your Barber How to Cut Hair, Not How to Make Money” which was simply saying that people who aren’t a super success as making money are not the people you want to talk to. However, there are some people you will need on the sidelines, but like knowing who to go to for advice on money, know who to go for advice on the other things you’ll need along the way, and when to bring them in.

Generally speaking, I find from experience, attorneys are deal breakers, not deal makers. Knowing that, I usually structure the whole deal before I have an attorney get involved at all. Yes, I want him or her involved. When? Just before I sign the papers. I want the attorney to read the contract to a make sure that everything is legal.

Problems can arise when the attorney steps into a management role. When going to an attorney for legal advice, you should always be sure that you ask very precise questions and not let the attorney overstep his bounds. He will if you let him. He has to play the devil’s advocate, and that is good. The same applies to your CPA, your business managers, and your bankers.

A man by the name of Owen Feltham said, “The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed up in these two words “common sense.”

So what is the bottom line from these words written so long ago? Use common sense when choosing who to go to for advice as well as what advice you take from people, even if they are “professionals” because if the advice doesn’t have anything to do with their profession, your common sense meter should be telling you to set that advice aside and have a word or two with someone that really knows what they are talking about in those matters.

Next week, just a bit more from my old publication but this time we’ll talk about common sense deals and how to avoid getting taken by fast talkers and their so-called ‘advice’.

Real Estate Investing: The Advantages Never Change

September 12, 2015 by  
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Yesterday I was going through a bunch of old files and I came across a large envelope that my good friend Joe Sugarman sent me. Joe is the founder of the company that introduced the Blueblocker sunglasses that sold millions, making Joe a very, very rich man. In the package was a few of my old ads that Joe had kept.  On the old yellowed paper I re-read one of my first half page ads printed in the Wall Street Journal on January 25, 1977. The headline read “How to Achieve Total Financial Freedom”.  I am totally convinced that the reason the ad sold so many copies of my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, had less to do with the semi-catchy headline than the sub-header that read, “Millionaires Are Not 100 Times Smarter Than You, They Just Know The Wealth Formula”. I’m sure that most people read that and it rang true to them. Because it is true.

In the body of the ad I went on to say, “Millionaires are not 100 or even 10 times smarter than you , but it is a fact that millionaires are making 10 to 50 or even 100 times more than you.” Additionally, I should consider that millionaires are not working 100 or even 20 times harder or longer than you either. There are not enough hours in the day to work 20 times longer than your average worker! And now, 38 years later, I can clearly see that the formula to making big money and accumulating great wealth is basically the same today as it was way back then.

I can tell you for sure that if I were just starting out now as a young man without any money to speak of, just like I was years ago, I would pursue the same path as I did back then.  The only difference would be that I might be a little more aggressive today than I was then. Today’s market is ripe for the picking!  For the most part the only push back that I have had in recent years from readers of the Financial Genius book is that buying properties at the prices given in the book are just not possible in today’s market.  And those critics are absolutely correct, but the ratios are still pretty much the same.  In other words today you can’t find “dirt bag” properties for prices like $40,000 or $50,000 in most markets. And that’s correct.  But the ratios for what you can make on your investment are still the same.

In many cases, you can gain a 33% value increase on a dirt bag property you fix up. On a $50,000 property, that would be a little more than $66,000. But today, you may have to pay $120,000 or $200,000 dollars for a beat up property but after fixing it up, you could sell the $120,000 purchase for at least $159,000 and the $200,000 investment for $266,000 or more. Yes, these numbers don’t take into account the money you spent on fixing it up, but if you leveraged the deal with a mortgage–using someone else’s money to make money–you will find that the return on your investment goes up a ton and will usually more than make up for your fix up expenses.  So bottom line here is don’t get hung up on the lower price examples in the book, invest and pay attention to the percentages you can gain.

To help with that, I have recently updated my Financial Genius book. It will be going to the printer before too long and I will let you know here when it’s ready for ordering.

The Failing of Stock Market Investments: Human Nature

September 5, 2015 by  
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In last week’s blog I talked about the wild stock market moves and the huge sell off, which was followed quickly by a rebound of prices. Since then we’ve had another pull back of prices once again erasing some of the gains. Some people would point to the big spring back of prices and make the argument against my conclusion that for most people investing in ‘real estate’ is a much better place for their money.

It is true that, in most cases, the market does rebound and in the long run you can make some money there as long as you buy good growing companies. The key here, as Warren Buffett has preached for years, is to buy the right stocks and hold them for the very long term. The big problem, however, is most people don’t do that. Why? It seems to be connected to our human nature. You see, when many, if not most, people buy a stock and they see it gain, say 50%, they sell it because, as I heard hundreds of times when I was a stock broker, “Hey, you can’t go broke taking a profit!” But the thing is, that stock may end up being the next Microsoft or Apple Computer company, subsequently moving up another 50% or 100% or 1000% or more over time.

On the other side, there’s the typical part time stock investor who buys a stock at $20 only to watch it drop to $10 a share, says to themselves, “I am not going to take a loss on this so I won’t sell it now.” So they hold on and wait. Over time I think you can guess what will happen. Yep, those kind of investors end up with a portfolio full of crummy, terrible, loser stocks. They kept the ones that went down and sold the ones that went up.

A big part of the problem with stocks is anyone can quickly and easily buy or sell with very little effort and that can lead to impulsive decisions. Greed and fear can cause that quick buying and selling of stock reaction–usually not a good idea. However with income producing real estate, impulse buying or selling doesn’t usually happen since it all takes more time and, of course, more effort.

But because of that ‘time and effort’ factor, most people that buy income producing properties buy and hold for the long term and if they’ve done it even half right they are collecting enough income in rents to more than cover their expenses which gives them the great benefit of being able to wait–sometimes for a very long time–until they can sell the property for a sizable gain! That’s why I love real estate.  It is also what primarily got me to leave the stock business and move into the real estate investing business. I do hope if you are not already investing in real estate, you’ll start very soon.

Sweet Sweat Equity

May 2, 2015 by  
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When I first learned, from my mentor and friend Larry Rosenberg, how I could actually make a 50%, 60%, 70% and even 100% return on my money, I was blown away because I knew exactly what those kind of returns could do to a small amount of money over time. And believe me back then, a small amount of money was all I had.

I remember vividly the first dirt bag property I bought.  It was a little house that was ugly on the outside and a mess on the inside. But this little ugly and messy house didn’t really need anything more than a major clean up, new carpet and a fresh coat of paint inside and out. The problem was I used almost all of my cash for the down payment.  So, I knew I couldn’t afford what contractors wanted to charge for the work and the materials that were needed to turn this dirt bag property into a beautiful cottage.

So what did that leave me? Sure, I probably could have borrowed enough to cover the contractor’s bids from relatives, friends or a bank but that would cut into my overall profits on the deal. So what did I do?  I just rolled up my sleeves and went to work.  Yes, it was some dirty, hard work but wow did it ever pay off!

I’m not a professional painter and I really didn’t have experience laying carpet but I quickly figured it out.  I can’t say that it was fun but when the project was done and I looked at that dolled up house it gave me quite a bit of satisfaction and a huge a sense of accomplishment.  But I also must say that my satisfaction soared to new heights when I sold the doll house for a big fat return on my investment and that, my friends, is what your own sweat efforts, or ‘sweat equity’, is all about. Wow. Can it ever pay some very handsome returns! And don’t ever forget how those returns of 50, 60 and even 100% can turn a small amount of money into millions over time.

I will admit that a bit later in my investing career, as things were speeding up, I finally got to the point when I figured that my time spent doing all that physical work was robbing me of time that could be much better spent with much larger rewards.  What I mean is that I realized at that point I could make more money by spending more time finding good deals and getting others to do the physical work, than doing the work myself. I could put in more time to make more offers, negotiate more deals and do the paper work needed to figure out what deals to buy and how to finance them. I traded sweat effort for brain effort.

This mental part really is also sweat equity. It’s actually the brain sweat that will give you the biggest returns on your money.  Both physical and mental sweat equity are critical and necessary and you can do both. You need to get to the right point in your growth so you can delegate the physical jobs to speed up your efforts and really grow those returns!

 

 

 

 

 

The Discipline Hurdle

April 24, 2015 by  
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If you truly want to be wealthy then it’s virtually a must for us average humans to do it through wise investing. But you might say, “Hey, what about the person who doesn’t have any money to invest, even in the smallest property?”  So the question becomes, how can you begin without a dime to your name?  Well, you build a nest egg. Of course, that begs the question, how do you get that beginning nest egg to start your investment program?

Most of us know that the traditional way to build a nest egg is through savings.  For many people that’s a big fat “ouch!” When you take a close look at the average American family, you see that the rate of savings has been in a steady downtrend the last few years.  When someone is asked why they don’t have any savings they usually respond with something like “I can’t afford to put any money aside. I barely break even. By the end of the month, nothing is left over.”

The people that say this are usually the same ones that, even after they get a raise, nothing changes. They are forever stuck at breaking even at the end of the month or, worse, going into debt.

So what’s the real problem here?  In a word it’s usually discipline, or more accurately, the lack of discipline.  When you are saying to yourself, “I just had to buy that new coat (or dress, suit, latest and greatest cell phone, computer, new car, etc.)”, or “We’ve been scrimping so long we deserve to treat ourselves to a very nice night out on the town or a vacation,” you are also saying that you’ll never be wealthy and are likely to be a ‘wage slave’ your entire life.

In order to be able to start an investment program, you must be tough on yourself and fully realize there is a huge difference in what you ‘need’ verses what you ‘want’. Once you have arrived at the point of understanding that, then you may well be on your way to great riches and maybe even wealth beyond your wildest dreams. That is what happened to me.  Unfortunately I can’t remember who or what book taught me the big difference between need and want, but once I learned that lesson and applied the needed discipline, I was able to save thousands of dollars in one year and that launched my investment program.

Of course, once you’ve built up that “nest egg” you must be wise and put it to work with great care.  When I began my investments, I was in a big hurry so I used a lot of OPM (Other People’s Money) as well as sweat equity which propelled my return on investment by leaps and bounds. I’ll talk more about just what worked for me in next week’s blog but in the meantime, consider the fact that your biggest hurdle to the wealth and financial security you are craving is one less vacation a year, one less shopping spree a month, one less night eating out each week and one less fancy coffee each day. When you think about it, that really isn’t too much to ask of yourself. Not for the chance to make a fortune.

After 37 years the same FINANCIAL FORMULA STILL WORKS

April 17, 2015 by  
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I was going through a bunch of old documents, notes, and papers the other day and came across the very first article ever written about me in the local newspaper.  The headline read “So Here’s How to Go About Making that First Million”. That was in the Salt Lake Tribune clear back on January 18, 1978

They quoted me as saying “…the best way to get rich with someone else’s money is through loans–mortgage and real estate loans.”

Now we fast forward 37 years and guess what?, That old method of getting rich, for most people, is still the best and most reliable way to make your first or second or fifth million. I did however get a big kick out of reading my example and some of the numbers of how you make a 100% return on a simple investment, such as a small house.  It was the small numbers that made me smile.  I had been quoted as saying:

“If you have $5,000 to put down on a $50,000 house and you borrow the other $45,000 to purchase the house, you can compound your investment by 100% if that house increases in value by $5,000 over one year”.

Most casual readers would quickly say or think, “Wait a minute, where can you find a house that you can buy for 50k?  They don’t exist anymore.” If you say that, of course you are right about finding a 50k house but that doesn’t mean the same formula used back then won’t work today.

That financial formula for great wealth is still the same today, but you do need to add something–simply a zero to each of the dollar numbers.  It’s the ratios that give you the 100% return on your money.  You are right if you are thinking that 10% increase in value won’t just happen by itself though. That is unless you are really lucky and we have 10% inflation in one year. But don’t count on that. However, you might be able to buy a house at a real bargain price then make cosmetic improvements which costs money and or your time and efforts but that may well increase the value by 10%.  Of course with the additional money you put to fix it, it may reduce your overall return to 50% or 75%.  But still, those kinds of returns will almost certainly make you a million or multi-millions over time.

Go ahead and google “compound table calculator” and see how quickly 50% or 75% returns increases $5,000 dollars into a million dollars! You may be shocked; especially what it turns into in 15 or 20 years.

 

 

 

 

It’s About Controllable Assets

April 3, 2015 by  
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I have a few more insights to share with you, hatched from Jeff’s “book report” on my book. On Addendum B–“When a Billionaire Speaks, I Listen” he commented on Curt Carlson’s advice. Jeff said, “Interesting that Fortune Magazine would say over 30 years ago that we’ve seen the last of the billionaires. But, that may be the typical thought of someone with limited thinking or a small world view.  While the oft-quoted statement by the commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899 said ‘everything that can be invented has been invented’ may not be correctly attributed to him, it tells the same story. Carlson’s advice to get good people, then delegate is certainly right. The big wealth comes from spreading yourself around or at least by using ‘Other People’s Money’.  I always remember Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate who married Jackie Kennedy, saying ‘borrow as much money as you can and always pay it back on time.’”

Hey Jeff, that’s some good stuff from your book report!  I think I will have to give you an A+.  I would add to Onassis’s comment about borrowing money with a very critical qualifier.  Yes, borrow as much money as you can but borrow it to purchase the “right kind of stuff” and by the right stuff I mean use it to purchase assets that appreciate in value and ideally assets that also provide you with cash flow returns as you watch and wait for their value to increase.

Yes, many stocks fit those parameters but for my money the assets that have worked by far the best for me have been income producing real estate (and that’s coming from a former successful stock broker.)  Why real estate rather than stocks?  The biggest reason is because with stocks you cannot control the company or the ups and downs and whims of the stock market. With the right kind of real estate you can at least have some degree of control over the property plus all that money you borrowed will, in the long run, be paid back by your tenants and if you have done it right, you will be collecting cash flow along the way.

So the take away here is that Onassis was partially right when he said borrow all the bucks that you can and always pay it back. But I say borrow all the money you can to buy appreciating assets that you have at least some control over, collect cash flow along the way and let your tenants pay off the money that you borrowed! I bet you can see just how smart that is!

 

 

The Story of a Millionaire Goal

February 6, 2015 by  
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Last week I posted the front page story that was written about me and my plight when I was a poor 21 year old and how that wonderful couple Phil and Addie DiBenedetto took me into their house and let me sleep in their basement even though they had just met me.  This all happened when I was working construction in Rockford Illinois back in 1965.  I was very lucky to meet the DiBenedettos not only because they gave me a place to stay and feed me for free as well but maybe even more importantly, they seemed to really believe in me.
Re-reading that article reminded me that even as a very young man I had set my sights on becoming a millionaire.  I must admit that I had a tough time staying focused on that huge million dollar number when I was physically working myself to the bone at a measly $4.50 an hour. I do remember that I tried very hard to make every single day count by continuing to search, in what little spare time I had, for the “million dollar secret”.

I don’t think the DiBenedettos, even though they believed in me, ever really thought I could reach the “millionaire status or level”.  In fact years later as quoted in the newspaper story when they visited me in Denver, Phil and Addie said they “still remember Haroldsen and his wife lived in a broken down house. Finally, the young man ended up in Salt Lake City, where he was eventually fired from his job and on his way to making his first million.”

I loved the next part of the newspaper story. “When Addie and Phil visited Haroldsen for the first time in Salt Lake City, they had no idea he had fulfilled his dream of becoming a wealthy man.” In fact they were even worried that I couldn’t afford the long distance calls that I had been making to them prior to their arrival.  The best part was how blown away they both were when I drove them through the gate and into the long driveway of my home. It wasn’t a huge mansion but it was close, with over three tree-lined acres surrounding it.  They were so very proud of me and I had always been so very grateful to them for their willingness to reach out and help a young man who needed a place to stay but even more so for their very kind, loving and friendly support of his dream.

Those 5,840 days (16 years) between my meeting the DiBenedettos and the publishing of that article, were used to search out and discover the financial formula that can lift an ordinary person from being a meager wage earner to being a millionaire and, yes, even a multi-millionaire.  What is the secret?

Well, first it’s setting your mind firmly on your goal and never giving up on your objective and then working your tail off–or I should say, working your brain off since physical work and an hourly wage will never get you to the big numbers.  Hitting millions and multi millions is done by using financial leverage and people leverage. If you are not sure what that is, you should go back and read some of my earlier blogs that address that specifically and in detail. The secrets are all here:

http://ignitemylifenow.com/2013/01/11/the-power-of-leverage-and-compounding/

http://ignitemylifenow.com/2014/06/14/the-final-step-to-wealth/

http://ignitemylifenow.com/2014/07/25/the-simple-wealth-formula/

http://ignitemylifenow.com/2014/11/07/leverage-to-lift-your-profits/

 

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