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Getting Into Good Debt

January 26, 2018 by  
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Last June, I shared 9 key items, found in Paul J. Meyer’s great booklet “Being Smart with Your Money”, that will help you attain a healthy financial life. Number 6 was “Get out of debt”.  This is, of course, great advice but the real key is knowing what kind of debt to get out of and what kind to go after.

One of the biggest keys to making a fortune–and this was a huge key for myself—is to take on the right kind of debt, the kind that has others paying that debt down. Paul’s advice was about credit card debt. Back then, in 2004, the average person in the U.S.A. had between $5,000 and $6,000 in credit card debt with the average for couples seeking a divorce having $37,000 in debt. As most people know (or should know) the interest rates on credit card debt is huge—as high as 29.99%.

Paul goes on to note that debt does more than ruin marriages. It also:

  • Saps your creative thinking.
  • Drains you physically and mentally.
  • Burdens you with pressure.
  • Limits your investing opportunities.

The good kind of debt, however, that helps make you big money is mortgage debt on income producing properties. That debt could be on a small rental house or, as it was in my case when I was in the first few years of my investing career, many, many rental houses and later, apartment buildings. I loved it. Every month, when my tenants would pay their rent, I paid down my debt and the more of this kind of debt I took on, the more the debt was paid down.

Just look at the numbers. I’m using small numbers for this example but if you double the number or add a zero, the rate of return will still be the same. If you bought a rental property for say $110,000 with $20,000 down, in the first year alone the pay down of a 4.5% loan would total $2,841 or a 14.2% rate of return to you.

So, a person’s net worth can grow at a good rate even without that other factor called inflation. But if you have, let’s say, only 2% inflation a year, ten years later that property would be worth over 10% more and your debt would be substantially paid down.  If you put in some fix up money on a property that needs it, you can often push your rate of return much, much higher, even to 100% as I’ve done many times.

Bottom line here is, yes, Paul Meyer is right to get out of the “wrong kind” of debt but you will greatly profit if you get into the “right kind” of debt—mortgage debt on rental properties.

There can be a big double bonus when taking on the right kind of debt too. You can greatly increase your rate of return by using that thing called leverage. If you were able to buy property with only a 10% down payment and had that same 2% inflation, that would push your return to 20% in the first year alone. But then if you had bought what I call a “dirt bag” property that needed an inexpensive cleaning and fix up, using mainly elbow grease and just a small investment of money, you might be able to push that rate of return to over 100%. I’ve done this many, many times. For example, a $100,000 property with a $10,000 down payment plus say $5000 in fix up costs could push up the value to $130,000–your return would now be a whopping 100% of your initial investment of the down payment and the fix up costs!

So, I encourage you to pass this advice onto your friends, kids, and anyone you want to help, especially those that you see getting into the wrong kind of debt, and then push yourself to get out of the bad debt and into the good debt and watch your fortune grow.

 

Raise Your AOG and Everyone Benefits

September 2, 2017 by  
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Last week I briefly mentioned the great importance of the “Attitude of Gratitude” or AOG. I’ve noticed how my own life gets better and better as I become more and more grateful to, and for, other human beings.

When I look back at my life I see so many people that helped me. Some were mentors while others were very helpful friends and relatives and I gained so much and am so very, very grateful to them and to so many books that lifted my life. And now as I get older I am even more grateful and want to give back or pay it forward to the max.

I’ve tried to give back for a number of years through my speeches and books, but I must admit, a lot of that was selfish and I did profit greatly, both from the great ‘feel good’ reward but also financially. Now I am more interested in just purely giving back and helping people improve all parts of their lives–from health to wealth to that great feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness.

I try to do that through this blog and am determined to do a better job and reach out and help more and more people and the only pay I want is the huge payment of finding out and knowing that I’ve touched and helped improved other people’s lives. With this blog, I am going to reach out to many others from my list of friends and relatives and I’d like to ask you to help me, if you kindly would, by forwarding this post to people that you think it would help.

I have two very good friends that have been immensely successful–one is a huge worldwide, bestselling author and the other is one of the best comedian’s in the USA. Both these great guys write blogs and I mentioned to each that I love what they write but many times I forget to log on to their blog sites. Both of them began emailing me their new blogs each week, which makes it so easy to keep up on their posts and I never forget to read them. You can do that with my blog as well just by clicking here or going to the links in the upper right of this post’s page.

So, to your friends and relatives who may receive this email, here’s what my blog’s mostly cover. How a person can make big bucks–as in millions and multi-millions of dollars–in today’s world, hints on living a more healthy and longer life, ways to get be more fulfilled, content and happy, keys and hints for more loving relationships of family and friends, how to get and stay motivated, methods to improved mental and physical energy, more info on the great power that writing goals down and, of course, me always pushing my readers to set great, big goals but being satisfied taking baby steps to reach those goals.

I sure hope you will help me out and forward this post on to others and maybe they will also want to help other people and pass it on! And I do sincerely hope you and others will share my great AOG. You just give this a try and see how it makes you feel as well as the other person. Tell 5 people in the next few days how much you appreciate them and that you have a huge amount of gratitude for all that they do and all that they are as a human being. It sure makes you, plus a lot of other people, feel so very good!

 

Finding Focus Through Our Natural Talents

August 26, 2017 by  
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To continue with the theme of these past couple weeks, here are some more key traits of super successful people. And when I say successful, I mean in any part of a person’s life as well as financially.

A big part of being successful is being focused and staying focused. That is a super vital trait that all millionaires and multi-millionaires seem to possess. Finding Focus Through Our Natural Talents in his book, Outliers, makes the claim that anyone who spends 10,000 hours focused on one thing will be become the best or one of the best in the world.  I agree in part, but I also believe a person needs to look at themselves and determine what their natural abilities and strengths actually are. You can’t be great at everything, so it’s wise to look at ourselves and ask the question.  “What is it that I really want to do and become very successful at?”

Also, it’s important to ask yourself, “What do I love to do?”, because if you hate what you are doing there is a very strong possibility that you can’t and won’t stay focused on that thing that you would otherwise become super successful doing.

So, if you want to become highly successful in a chosen endeavor, you must first take a look at yourself and determine what you’re naturally good at and what you really love to do before you start setting goals to rise to the top.  I have noticed that all the millionaires and billionaires I’ve known have been very focused on making their business or investment work, becoming and staying profitable on their way to making millions of dollars. Granted, once they have arrived at the goals that they set for themselves their focus is usually diminished or starts to focus on something else.

In my own life and experience, I set a goal to make a million dollars by age 30. I had noticed that I was really good with numbers and had read how important this was in making a fortune. I also had a passion for negotiating and making deals. Those two natural talents gave me a great advantage, especially when, after researching different methods of making millions, I discovered that many millions have been made, starting from scratch, by the use of leverage on assets that can be fixed up and improved. That, combined with meeting my first of many mentors, led me to that first million dollars.

Wow. Did I ever stay focused! That’s all I thought about and all that I did and I kept that focus because I loved what I was doing. Yes, my focus has changed now and it’s more on tennis and helping others including trying to give back because so many people helped me along the way and I felt a need to pay it forward. I have so much gratitude. I’m working hard to have more of that great thing called “An Attitude of Gratitude”.

If you want super success or just want to add more to your current success, take a hard look at yourself to determine your natural talents and what you are or can become passionate about, then set some goals and get started! And don’t forget to pass it on to your kids, grandkids, friends and anyone you want to help.

 

A Darling Little House

July 15, 2017 by  
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Many years ago, I wrote a book called The Courage to be Rich. This week, I re-read some of that book and, in particular, a chapter entitled “How Yuks Can Create Big Bucks”. It reminded me again that making money by acquiring beat up, old, dirt bag properties and adding your own sweat equity can make a person rich today in the exact same way it did 30 and 40 years ago. In fact, right now, with many properties selling for top dollar, it makes even more sense to lower your financial risk by investing in these kinds of properties. Here is an excerpt from that section of the book.

Changing a Tacky Dump into a Swiss Chalet

I really couldn’t believe what I saw. A few years ago, while driving down a street in Salt Lake City, I glanced over at a little white house, maybe a thousand square feet at the most, and I just about drove off the road. The formerly grungy house had been completely transformed. Instead of a tacky little house complete with cluttered yard, worn grass, and garbage cans by the porch, I saw a cute, Swiss chalet cottage. The change was so stunning that I pulled over to stop and stare.

At first glance, it seemed that someone had spent a ton of dough making the property shine. Upon closer inspection, I found that the changes made on the outside of the property were quite inexpensive. The dirty sides of the house had been covered up by a fresh coat of paint, and Swiss style shutters with decorative patterns had been placed on either side of the windows. The garbage cans had been moved from the front yard to the back. For extra frosting, a white picket fence had been put along the front of the yard. One other conspicuous difference was a FOR SALE sign prominently displayed.

I was totally amazed at the change, but even more amazed at my reaction to the changes! I had, for years, been in the business of buying properties that needed fixing up and, after some work, would resell or refinance them at substantial profits.

Prior to stopping at this house, I considered myself very smart and successful at what I did. But here is the huge shocking part of this experience. My first reaction was: “What a cute little house! It’s absolutely darling. I should buy it!”

Talk about dumb–really dumb. Here I am in the business of buying dirt bag properties, fixing them up and making big money selling them and this little house almost fooled me into buying it. But now as I think about it, that experience is teaching me a big lesson.

Almost everybody would rather buy a property that looks nice and new and pretty. That’s just normal in us human beings. That’s why people are making money by fixing and fancying up beat up houses and apartments. And now in today’s market where a lot of properties are at top prices, these types of properties are the safer investment. You can greatly increase your chance of making money by doing the simple fixes that stand out and grab people’s attention!

That darling Swiss looking house certainly did it for me and needs to be duplicated. Or should I say, “Hey, here is another way showing how you can make big bucks from yuks.”

Bigger Rewards Than Money

July 8, 2017 by  
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It’s tons of fun making big money and it can help your life in so many ways. It not only allows you to live in a wonderful home, or even a mansion, but it gives you a chance to see the wonders of this great world of ours. On top of that, you can easily be a great giver to others including charities, struggling students, homeless people, and the sick.

Even with all these advantages, there are still other great rewards that supercharge your brain and give you big feelings of satisfaction, inner peace and happiness. And what would that be? Read the text message I recently received and I think you will see what reward I am talking about.

“Dear Mark: To me–now hold on big fella–you are a celebrity. It was such a privilege to have finally met you recently. I’ve wanted to do this for the 41 years that I’ve applied your basic fundamentals of real estate investment (coupled with my father’s teachings and influence with his rental property as a young boy) and learned and implemented from my first real estate book, HOW TO WAKE UP THE FINANCIAL GENIUS INSIDE YOU, in my year of marriage. It instilled confidence and was easy to understand. I’ve had “Fire in the Belly” ever since.

“That picture of you standing next to a Mercedes hood ornament screamed with success, at the time, in the advertisement of your book. I’ve had business mentors in my life, all unaware of the far and wide ripple of influence they’ve had in my life, unless I tell or have told them. And all of which were many years after the fact. You are one of those mentors that I’ve not had the opportunity to personally acknowledge and thank.

“So, thanks a million or better said, a few hundred million and even most likely, a billion times over. 🙂 How many millionaires/billionaires you created? I can’t imagine! Hopefully this created wealth has been used to parlay, edify and lift others in doing good things. It has for me. This is all I hope to do, as I attempt to keep all things in proper balance and perspective. You have blessed my family, me, and many other lives. Thank you most sincerely,

Scott C. Keller, CEO/President of Keller Investment Properties (KIP)”

I’m told that Scott’s net worth is well into the 9 digits and has been there for many years! So, I think you can probably guess how receiving this text made me feel and I sincerely hope you, the reader, are super financially successful and coach, help out, and teach others along the way! The feeling you get from doing so is as big a reward as the money, if not bigger.

Gems of Wisdom

June 9, 2017 by  
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Last week I shared bits of wisdom with you from the great Paul J. Meyer. Many of these were principles that ensure long term success in handling your money.  Let me share some more gems with you. And remember these gems come from a man who started with nothing but accumulated a half a billion dollar net worth by successfully helping and motivating other people.

These quotes are from a great 30 page booklet that Paul gave me years ago, entitled “Being Smart with Your Money” with my thoughts in parentheses.

  1. Set goals.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Get on a budget and stay there.
  4. Pay yourself first. Just remember that a part of everything you earn is for you to keep.
  5. Put your money to work. (Invest it wisely–so it works for you 24 hours a day.)
  6. Get out of debt. (As in credit card debt. I would add that mortgage debt on income property is okay and can be a good thing.)
  7. Have realistic expectations. (Building a financial fortune takes time)
  8. Get wise counsel. (Find a good mentor that’s been successful with their money)
  9. Never spend what you have saved.

Alright, now let me give you a few thoughts of mine that have helped me in my financial life and life in general.

  1. Pay careful attention to your self-talk or your chatterbox inside your brain. When you catch yourself with negative chatter going on inside your head, push it out and replace it with positive self-talk.
  2. Don’t beat up on yourself when you stumble, fall or make mistakes, or fall short of your goals.
  3. Set big goals then be sure to write them down with a deadline. Just remember it’s okay, even very good, to take baby steps toward those big goals.
  4. Physically keep moving no matter what age you are. Walk, run, or otherwise workout. Using a Fit Bit can help you with this one.

Here’s some other wonderful little tidbits from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now that can help a life to be better:

  1. Make the living in the now the primary focus of your life.
  2. Stop judging self and partner.
  3. The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is.
  4. See if you can catch yourself complaining in speech or thought– if so, you are playing the victim.
  5. Let go of the past-only refer to it when it has relevance to the present.

 

 

Losing Out to Fear

May 5, 2017 by  
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I am totally convinced that most people don’t end up making big money–especially when you are talking millions of dollars—not because they aren’t smart enough but because of their fears. It is a fear of failing and/or the fear of losing what little money they may have. Believe me, I totally understand those fears because that is exactly what held me back for a long time.  But that’s when my wonderful friend and mentor, Larry Rosenberg stepped in and gave me the courage to overcome my fears or at least reduce my level of fear. At the same time, he showed me exactly how to do the big deals and reduce the risks which, of course, reduced the amount of fear I had.

Don’t get me wrong there are always risks but even so, Larry convinced me that if I wanted to hit it really big, I would have to take some bigger risks. At that point, I reasoned with myself and agreed with that old saying, “Better to try and fail than never to try at all.”  I never forgot being told repeatedly when I was young, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

There is no question that when you use financial leverage on a purchase that you increase the risk to yourself.  Like that old example I’ve used over and over—if you put 10% down on a $500,000 dollar property, you could lose all your money if that property dropped in value by 10% and you had to sell it. That’s $50k gone just like that.

That kind of risk is scary but on the other hand, if that property increases in value by 10% then you’ve just doubled your money or made a 100% return. Remember what huge numbers 100% returns do to your money over time–just one penny compounded at 100% a year grows to well over $10 million in just 30 years! That’s the great power of compounding. Of course, you can reduce your risks, big time, by using your brain and your brawn to fix up a property which greatly increases the chance of raising its value and greatly reduces your risk.

If you want to reduce your risk even more, you may want to do what one of my long time students did early on in his acquisition of property. I’m talking about Dell Loy Hansen who now owns properties valued in the billions. He started from scratch after he read my first book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. How did he reduce his risk?  He went out and found partners which allowed him to buy property with much bigger down payments, so they went into these investments with a lot more equity and hence less risk. That, of course, reduces the possible return on the amount invested but, for Mr. Hansen, it greatly increased his leverage and allowed him to buy bigger and bigger properties, hence his multibillion-dollar portfolio.

So remember, if you want to hit it big, be prepared to take some risks and if you want to cut those risks a bit, go find some good partners to share in the initial down payment. Just be sure to take good care of those partners.

 

 

Habits in Saving and Investing for the Future

January 6, 2017 by  
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For the average person, the key to wealth is summed up in that simple little thing called ‘savings’. Saving can also be the key to peace of mind such as in that old phrase “Saving for a rainy day,” which means setting money aside in case of an emergency. Saving up money is just a very smart thing to do and the new year is a great time to really get serious about that and your financial life.

Your financial future begins and depends on the idea of savings. Even those with small incomes that are living hand to mouth, thinking “we are just barely breaking even,” will need to save. Yes, it can be tough to save a little money from each pay check but with good planning, some self-discipline, and giving up on things that you thought you couldn’t live without, setting a little money aside is very possible. Yes, you may have to come up with a very tight budget and forego eating out at your favorite cafe and not buy that shirt or dress that you want so badly, but the rewards are so very worth it. In the long run, a little savings can amass a very large net worth and even a fortune, plus a good deal of peace of mind.

But saving money is just part of the big picture. As you are building up your financial nest egg it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for real estate deals that look to have great potential, even when know your savings is not near enough yet for a down payment. And yes, I am talking about and recommending those fixer uppers and dirt bag houses or apartments that need work but whose value can be greatly increased. Keeping your eye out for those bargains is a great habit to get into. You can even make offers when you don’t have the down payment.

But why, you may ask, would you do that when you don’t have the down payment? Well, first of all, it’s a great way to work on your offer writing and negotiating skills and, second, if you really do find and tie up a great bargain there is always the real possibility that you can go find a partner to put up most or, sometimes, all the money with you still owning a percentage of that bargain.

When I first started my saving and investing plan, I very quickly saw the advantage of making offers with that good old “subject to” clause which allowed me to back out if I couldn’t get the down payment or finance it. This gave me a lot of practice and, yes, I even landed a couple great bargains and brought in a partner.

So, if you don’t have much money but want to get started, begin by saving as much as you can and get in the habit of looking for those bargains. Also, you might want to pass this kind of information and strategy onto your kids, grand kids, or friends that you know are struggling financially. This kind of thing may be just what they need to get focused and find their way to financial freedom.

It’s also smart to take the time to really study and fully understand the incredible power of financial leverage and then what compounding your money can do, even when you start with just small amounts of your money. When I saw what leverage and compound could do, it turned me on and motivated me to a super high level and pushed me to save even more money and cut back on most everything.  Anyone can do the same thing.

So, as we start this new year, consider saving more and looking into bargain real estate as one of your great new year’s resolutions!

Lifting our Lives in 2017

December 30, 2016 by  
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As you look at or contemplate what you will be doing in 2017 and beyond, be sure to take a very hard look at the financial category. Life is certainly much more than just money but with plenty of money your options and success with many of your other goals in life can be greatly expanded.

For example, I just discovered that before the great actor and governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was famous, he became a millionaire from … yep, you guessed it … investing in good ole real estate! So even if you’ve not yet started an investment program you can do so now with savings and investing goals for 2017. It may take some time to build your fortune and you may feel you have so little to contribute right now, but try never to forget the huge power of compounding your money. Compounding can multiply even a very small amount of money into millions of dollars. Certainly Arnold knows that from his experience and so do I.

Eight years ago, when I starting writing my weekly blog it was almost exclusively about taking a small amount of money and wisely investing it, mainly in real estate, to build a fortune for yourself or at least for you to make enough to live very comfortably and retire without ever diminishing your lifestyle. But I’ve also written about health and well-being, relationships and friends, and traveling to broaden one’s perspectives on living, along with many other subjects. But I’m thinking now that as we face another year it would be wise to refocus our attention and goal setting back to that money thing that can lift so many parts of our lives including the lives of those around us.

In the foreword of the book Tools of Titans, the author Tim Ferris quotes Schwarzenegger’s thoughts not only about real estate making Arnold a millionaire but about his many other accomplishments. “I am not a self-made man,” Schwarzenegger says. “I got a lot of help … I stood on the shoulders of giants,” which was his way of giving credit to his parents, coaches, and teachers.

We all need to realize and give so much credit to others that have helped us along the way and then step up and let others climb on our shoulders to lift them up. For me I give tons of credit for my success to my wonderful parents and to the great Bill Nickerson and what his book, How I Turned $1,000 into a Million in My Spare Time, did for me. I also need to credit the great Denver real estate guru, – who took me under his wing and showed me exactly how he turned a few thousand dollars into multi-millions over the years. You can read more about that great story on my June 24th, 2016 blog.

I’ve tried to help others through my investing advice, directions, books, lectures and conversations. I have received rewards of great appreciation and many thank-you’s which are worth so much more than money. One of my resolutions for 2017 is to be more helpful to others. To accomplish this, I need to go to work right now and write down the details and specific steps or actions that I am going to take to accomplish that very goal. What are your goals and do you have them written down yet? If not, let’s do it. There is no time to waste.

Following the Rules of Law and Honesty

August 19, 2016 by  
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As I mentioned last week, if you really want a fast rise to the top of your financial mountain, you may want to consider bringing on partners. Partners can give you so much more leverage. Sounds simple, right? Well, there is a bit more to it because there are laws that govern when you seek or solicit other people’s money, rules that were put in place to keep investors and their large investments safe.  That’s the first big key item to be aware of when bringing on partners. The second is that you will benefit tremendously from being completely honest as well as understating earnings expectations but I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

What the law says about soliciting other people’s money for your investments varies according to the type of investment. For complex and higher-risk investments, US law requires that the people that you approach must be so-called ‘accredited investors’ or ‘qualified investors’.  They need to have a minimum of a million dollars’ net worth (excluding their residence) or have at least $200,000 dollars in annual income (or $300,000 of joint income) each year in the last couple years to qualify. This law helps to insure these investors are in a position to make large investments as well as being people who should have the knowledge to wisely handling their finances.

You are not required to audit your partners to prove their financial standing but if it’s obvious that a potential investor is fudging their numbers, then you need to use common sense and back away from that investor. There are some lower requirements if you raise money by alternative finance means such as crowdfunding (collecting funds in small amounts from a large number of people) but the total amount of money that you can accept is limited.  Bottom line here is when you are looking for partners you should only approach those people that you are pretty certain qualify under the rules for your country and state. So know the laws that would govern your dealings with investors.

Now, onto the second key item for super success. This is a pretty simple concept but it’s one that far too many people miss out on.  A primary reason this next key item is so important is because it can bring in additional investors without hardly any effort on your part.  And all you have to do is be totally upfront and honest with your partners and never over estimate what the financial return to the investor is going to be.  If anything, under estimate and try to over deliver.  No one minds being surprised that they made more money than they were led to expect they would.

Not long ago, I was looking for a partner to invest in a very secure property that I had found. I was pretty sure I could deliver an 8% annual return on it but I told the investor that I thought the return would be around 7%. So, when I later on delivered an 8% return the investor was so pleased that he told other potential investors about his experience. That is how you get a lot of new investors. It is also the best way to advertise or market your products, if you have any.  The thing to remember is that people will more readily trust someone or be ready to buy from them because someone they know and trust referred them.

So if you are in a hurry to make a lot of money, consider the partner option but follow the rules and take good care of you partners.  The extra bonus to you is that as you help your partners improve their financial status and situation you will receive many thanks and appreciative comments. It is such a great feeling to know that you are helping other people as you help yourself too!

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