A Kindness Lesson from Investing

February 4, 2024 by  
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All of us can spread kindness and other good stuff around and many people do but where do they usually start? I think they start right at home with family and friends. But if you want to spread good works and good words beyond that, you probably need to use something I learned about in my many, many years of investing in real estate. That thing is compounding.

Let me try to motivate you with numbers showing how a great idea, a good deed, and/or motivating words can spread and become huge. Let’s call it “good message compounding”.

If any one of us passed on a helpful message or did a kind deed and encouraged the recipients of our kindnesses to “pay it forward” to, say, ten other people and then asked that they also request their recipients to keep it going by passing it along to ten more and everyone kept that going, what potentially could be the results?

Shockingly, if everyone in the chain were to do this and that passing it on continued 6 times or through 6 levels of people, your message or deed could affect more than one million people! If it went through 9 levels of people, you could influence or help more than one billion people!

Of course, not all those first 10 people would follow through and pass it on and even if the first ten people did, we can be pretty certain that not everyone down the line would pass it on. But the point I want to make is that it is possible to end up with huge numbers of people getting your message or being impacted by your good deed because of compounding. If you keep that “huge potential” in mind, it can really be such a super motivator for you and for all of us to push ourselves to do and say more to help others.

So, I would encourage you to keep firmly in mind all those people, up through the 9th level, and the potential of over a billion people that you could potentially help. Even though this “good message compounding might not multiply into a billion, it could certainly multiply into hundreds of good messages and deeds and probably even more than that. And that ain’t too bad coming from one little human on this planet of more than 7 billion people.

In my world, that’s pretty exciting, knowing you, as just one person, can have that big of an impact for good in the world. And it all comes back to you in the great feeling brought on by the happiness you see your efforts bring to other people’s lives.

Build Your Wealth with the Help of Inflation

April 1, 2016 by  
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If you’ve been reading the last couple posts, you may be asking, can I get more specifics on this 15% rate of return morphing into a huge 60% return? Well, let’s go over some specific examples.

First of all, let’s have a quick review of what I call natural inflation vs forced inflation. Natural inflation is what our general economy goes through over time. It lifts the price of everything especially assets that are in limited supply, like land and houses. Because of this natural inflation many people, if not most, find that owning their own home has increased their net worth by a huge amount without much effort on their part. The average price of an existing home in America increased in value by $56,200 dollars from 2012 to February 2016 or from a price of $154,600 to $210,800 on average. So, without much effort on the part of the home owner, homes increased in value by 36% over those 4 years or 8% per year compounded. Not a bad investment with so little effort made.

Now let’s take an example to demonstrate what so called ‘forced inflation’ can do even if you don’t count on natural inflation. Let’s say you bought that $154,600 house back in 2012, or even last week for that matter, and put 20 % down or $30,920 and then spent another $7,730 or 5% to fix it up. If you found a house that needed a good bit of fixing up plus you did the kind of improvements that really lifted the curb appeal and the overall value, you most likely would have lifted the value by 15% percent which would raise its market price to $177,900.

If you sell it at that price, you would pull $23,300 out of it plus your personal investment of $38,630 (for down payment and fix ups) as well. That 23,300 is 60% of your personal investment. Where else can you get that kind of return? And remember, if you keep up that kind of investment and return over 20 years you could turn less than $40k into a whopping $459 million! I’m pretty sure that’s well worth your efforts.

If you feel uncertain about what improvements will really increase your investment return, take a look around and see what houses in the area are bringing in top dollar and figure out what they have that the slow and low selling houses don’t Also, pick the brains of those people that are good at seeing what brings in high prices. Do your research to find where your efforts will be most heavily rewarded.

You should also research the home prices in your area before you buy. You can go online and search your city or state and see what the average or median price is for existing homes. Many sites will even tell you what the natural inflation has been in the past. If you get the right deal, that natural inflation might well add on another 8% to the 15% you added to the value of your investment. And let me tell you, those kinds of returns over the years will blow your mind even more!


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!


Steps Towards Confidence

January 25, 2013 by  
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The last few weeks we’ve been focused on creating your fortune through real estate, leverage and compounding. You’ve seen the numbers. You know it could work. But have you taken your first steps?

I know the steps you have to take sound daunting at first but they aren’t that difficult at all. Things we’ve never tried before tend to seem huge and perhaps impossible but it’s only because they are unfamiliar. So try this … go ahead and go through the 2nd and 3rd step–start building capital and making low ball offers on property. Remember, during these steps, you aren’t committed to buying just yet. Putting away money is easy and it’s a great idea no matter what you do in the end. And making low ball offers … well that’s just chatting with someone. The thing is, once you’ve starting talking to property owners and realtors, you’ll realize it’s actually pretty easy. Then when someone does accept your offer, you have only one more step to take.

Just starting the process by putting money aside and making offers will do so much to boost your confidence. By the time you are ready to jump into step four–which is just an inspection and crunching numbers to find out if the property will get you the return you want–you’ll be feeling pretty good because of your successes with the previous steps.

And don’t worry if you go through Step 4 and don’t end up with a property. Just go back and repeat Steps 2 through 4 and do it over and over and over again—don’t stop. Each time you do this, you’ll have learned a lot just by going through the process. Pretty soon, the process will not seem daunting at all. It will be exciting and motivating! So go out there now and knock yourself out!!

Crunching Numbers

January 18, 2013 by  
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Okay, so we’ve gone over the first 3 big steps you need to take towards creating your fortune. I did want to reset the order a bit so if you are just starting, start with writing out your goals. These will keep you energized and motivated. Step #2 will be building and acquiring your beginning capital; Step #3, start making low ball offers on ‘dirt bag’ properties and get one legally tied down.

So now we come to Big Step No. 4 …

Let’s say that after you’ve made about 2 dozen very low offers, you get one back that is accepted. So now what do you do? Well, there are three things …

1. Conduct a very thorough inspection

2. Do your calculations as to the cost of the fix up or face lift.

3. Calculate your overall investment and potential profit to see if it will give you the return that you need.

Let’s say there’s a small house that was listed at $187,500. You offered $144,000 but received a counter offer of $160,000 which you are happy to conditionally accept. (Hey … they were motivated sellers since the house had been on the market for over a year.) After inspection you’ve been able to determine that $16,000 plus your hard labor over about 6 months will complete the face lift and the bank has agreed to finance it with 20% down ($32,000). You check for comparable properties in the vicinity that are in really good shape (go to to do this) and estimate you can sell it for, say, a net of $204,000 dollars.

Now you crunch the numbers to see if going through with this deal meets your “rate of return” goal.

$204k less your purchase price of $160k and less the money you put in to fix it would give you a profit of $28,000 dollars. Here’s where the magic of leverage comes in—you used $32k as a down payment and the $16k to improve it for an out of pocket investment of $48k. Even though you improved the property value by 27.5%, the return on your money, the money you used to invest in this, would actually be 58.3%. And if you borrowed the $16k your return on your money would be even higher.

So does a 58.3% rate of return in 6 months or so give you enough compounding? Go check a compounding table and see what would happen to that 58.3% in a few years if you keep doing this! Are you getting excited? If so, read my book “The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You” to really get you on track. In fact, I will give the first 10 motivated readers the book for free! I’ll even pay the shipping. Just write to me at with your shipping address so I can help get you moving towards creating your fortune.

The Power of Leverage and Compounding

January 11, 2013 by  
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So now that we’ve gone over the first 3 big steps to building your fortune, it’s time to get to the very important Big Step No. 4. But before I lay that out, I thought we ought to talk about the power behind what you are about to do, the power of leverage and compounding.

My first introduction to leverage and compounding was as a stockbroker in the 70’s. I wanted in the worst way to make a fortune and do it quickly. I knew that there were seemingly ordinary people making millions of dollars in a matter of a few short years. What I didn’t understand was how that was possible. My thinking was stuck in the mindset of trading my hours for dollars and with only 168 hours in a week even with a decent hourly rate of $25 it would take 20 years to hit a million and that’s with the ridiculous assumption that I would not spend a dime or pay taxes!

Then I was introduced to leverage and compounding by Larry Rosenberg, a new brokerage client of mine and soon to be mentor. At that point I was becoming quite adept at bond trading and was shocked early on when I figured out I could make 100% return in a matter of weeks. I could buy $100,000 worth of bonds with only $5,000 or my own money, borrowing the rest from the brokerage firm. That’s using leverage. So if the bond price moved up just 5% the bonds would be worth $105,000 turning my 5k to 10k! Eureka! I had just discovered a money machine! But the bad news is that I could just as easily lose all my money if the bonds dropped 5%.

Larry Rosenberg introduced me to a safer, more consistent and more controllable asset: improved real estate. With this you could make a 100% return in 6 months to a year and do it with consistency and very little risk. But what Larry made me see that got me super motivated was what a 100% return per year will do to even a very small amount of money. $1,000 dollars at 100% compounded return will grow to the incredible sum of more than a third of a billion dollars in just 35 years! Although a consistent 100% may be hard to sustain, I did it for a while and reached my first million net worth in 47 months with only a couple thousand dollars to start.

This may all just sound like numbers now but in the next few weeks I will go into more detail with specific examples of improved real estate deals you can make so you can put these powerful concepts to work.

Compounding Generosity

December 7, 2012 by  
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If you’ve read either of my books, How to wake up the-Financial Genius Inside You  or How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you know how big I am on the concept of compounding. Compounding your investments has to do with keeping the income you make off your investment in the game so that you make new income off the previously created income allowing your revenue to grow exponentially. This concept can actually be applied to many things. If you saw the movie, Pay it Forward, you saw a good deed and the gratitude that came from it compounded. Instead of the one good act being the only good act and the thanks only being returned once, the idea was passed onto multiple people who passed the generosity onto several people each and soon the world was “paying it forward”.

This is the concept behind viral and word of mouth marketing. Tell someone or a group of people and encourage them to share their enthusiasm for your product or service and hopefully the news will continue to spread and grow your market.  We’ve all seen this happen with viral videos. A few people see it, pass it onto a group of friend who pass it onto a group of friends and next thing you know a million people have seen it!

When you give of yourself this season–be it money, time, knowledge or just a kind word–ask yourself if there is any way to compound the gesture. If you give money, it will compound if you give it to a charity that helps poor communities build commerce which will increase the community’s wealth and ability to financially sustain it. If you teach a young person a new skill, like how to invest (see the wonderful email I received and shared in the post last week), encourage them to share what they learned and ask those they teach to share it as well. Then your time with this one person will end up helping maybe dozens or hundreds of people or more.

Of course, if all you can do is give a few more people encouragement and a kind word, the good intentions and good cheer will usually get spread simply because you made someone feel better and that feeling tends to make others want to do the same. Generosity is self-perpetuating. And that, in a nutshell, is true compounding!