First-Time Real Estate Investors

Real estate can be a tremendous investment opportunity. And for those who are in for the long run, rental properties really can’t be beat.  But when it comes to taking that crucial first step, most people aren’t sure where to start. If you are thinking about investing in real estate, here are 10 considerations to help you to get off to a great start.

1.Get Your Finances In Order

Before you take the plunge, take stock of your financial situation. Is there anything that you can do to put yourself in a stronger position to invest? Things such as paying down or consolidating debt, along with working on improving your credit score, can help you to qualify for a better loan. You’ll also want to save up for a down payment. A larger down payment is ideal for reducing your monthly payments, your insurance and even your risk.

2. Do Your Research

Next, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about real estate investing and rental property management. Brush up on the basics of landlording, and get some good books that offer sound investment advice. There is a lot more involved with becoming a landlord than meets the eye, and being prepared will help you sidestep many common pitfalls along the way.

3. Start Small

While you may feel pressured into “going big” when it comes to your first investment, there’s nothing wrong with starting small. In fact, it’s how many successful investors get started. Starting small offers a number of benefits; namely, it’ll give you a chance to gain an understanding of how investing works before there’s a lot more at stake.

4. Know The Numbers  

Before you commit to a property, it’s important to know exactly what type of returns you’re looking for. Start by establishing your investing criteria, and resolve to only invest in properties that meet your standards. So be sure to have an idea about cap rate and cash-on-cash returns, along with net yield and cash flow.

5. Scout Out A Location

As a new or first-time investor, you might be looking at property that’s close to home. However, be careful that you’re not limiting yourself. When you open yourself to the possibility of an investment property outside your local area, you’ll be able to take advantage of up-and-coming markets that may have better opportunities. With the property management options and resources available today, investing in out-of-town property is easier than ever.

6. Adopt A Business-Owner Mindset

Investing is a business, and you should treat it like one. Just as you’d have a solid business plan in place for a company, along with clear and actionable plans, key milestones and systems, you’ll want to do the same for your investments. Remember: Your goal is to generate a profit, so make sure you lay the groundwork necessary to do so. Don’t simply invest in the first property that catches your eye. Just as you would in a business, make sure every opportunity checks out. __Full Article Forbes

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If Donald Trump Becomes President

Here Are the Stocks to Buy…

Companies in these four industries would benefit.

by  Simon Constable 

Big change in the land’s highest office can mean big changes in the economy. In general, promises are broken or only half kept. Still, we get clues on which areas of the economy will be favored, and which will not. Health care got a boost under President Obama, and defense did well under George W. Bush. With any politician running for office it’s hard to know exactly how things will turn out if they’re elected. What if Donald Trump were to become the next U.S. President, which sectors would benefit then? Here’s what some experts had to say on the matter:

Defense

US-NORWAY-LOCKHEED MARTIN F-35A LIGHTNING II JET FIGHTER
First Norwegian Armed Forces Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, known as AM-1 Joint Strike Jet Fighter, is unveiled during the rollout celebration at Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth, TX, on Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2015. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions. AFP PHOTO/LAURA bUCKMAN (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Military strength has long been the Republican party mantra. Trump might be even more aggressive.

“In terms of going after terrorists from the air, you’d see an expansion of that,” says Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group. Compared to Obama, Trump is not risk averse and is much more likely to take action that is “narrowly unilateral and doing it without an awful lot of discussion.”

Who wins? High-tech defense and aerospace manufacturers like Lockheed Martin  LMT -1.47% , Raytheon  RTN -0.73% , Boeing  BA -0.56% and Northrop Grumman  NOC -0.39% .

Infrastructure

infrastructure-projects

It should be clear to anyone with a car that the nation’s roads need an upgrade. And Trump has said he would like to do something about it. In a debate in December, Trump said the nation would benefit from spending billions fixing roads, bridges, airports.

“Mr. Trump is Mr. infrastructure,” says Peter Tanous, chairman of Washington D.C.-based Lynx Investment Advisory. “He has more experience building than any president in history.”

On top of that, Trump’s biggest campaign promise—building a 50-foot wall on the boarder of Mexico—would be a huge infrastructure project. Estimates range from $15 billion to $25 billion to build the wall, which would have to stretch some 2,000 miles to cover the entire board. Maintenance could run another $750 million annually.

Tanous points to Jacobs Engineering  JEC -0.89%  as a likely benefactor of such a makeover. Likewise, the Fluor  FLR -0.07% , which competes with Jacobs, will pick up business. As with all things that involve earth moving Caterpillar  CAT 2.19%  should benefit as well.

Small stocks over large

“He has a fairly protectionist message,” says Jason Pride, director of investment strategy. Protectionism, whether it be through tariffs or quotas on imported goods will be bad for multinationals because they are directly involved in international trade.

Smaller companies, particularly those that predominantly operate in the United States, will be dramatically less affected. As a result small cap stocks should outperform the shares of large companies. A good investment then could be Vanguard’s Russell 2000 ETF, which tracks 2000 small-cap and mid-sized companies.

Still, Pride warns, because Trump is an outsider to the globalization establishment there will likely be a lot of uncertainty about how things will turn out if he becomes president. Already, Trump has back peddled on getting rid of a visa program for skilled workers. So look for some softening on his stance against free trade as well.

Restaurants

the-restaurant

A protectionist policy to trade combined with a crack down on illegal immigration could have an interesting impact.

First, if companies started to manufacture in the U.S. again then we would likely see wages for skilled factory workers jump.

More and better wages for workers would likely benefit those industries not affected too much by international trade, like restaurants. That’s something that could benefit the dining business, says Peter Morici, professor of economics at the University of Maryland University School of Business.

That said, the back bone of the food service industry depends on at least some illegal labor. If the “mass deportation” ever materialized, which is doubtful, then wages and other costs in the restaurant business could rise as well.

Still, there could be a case for investing in primarily domestic chains, particularly those with clients that are less price sensitive if the restaurant industry does have to shell out more money for workers.Take a look at Del Frisco’s Restaurant  DFRG -1.12% , and primarily domestic Ruth’s Hospitality  RUTH 0.00% , which owns Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

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Do you need Insurance against the U.S. Dollar?

The world’s financial landscape is changing…
And it could soon cause a lot of money to move out of the U.S. dollar.
So how do you protect yourself? By following China’s lead.
Let me explain…
On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) announced that China’s currency – the yuan – will join its reserve currency basket.
This basket includes the currencies of the world’s financial superpowers – the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, and the euro.
The yuan being added to this basket will give China a new global status. And  Steve Sjuggerud says it will cause hundreds of billions of dollars to move into the yuan… and potentially out of the U.S. dollar. Here’s what he wrote in a May DailyWealth essay:
Billions of dollars will move into [the yuan] when it achieves reserve currency status. The likely loser in this will be the U.S. dollar – as governments diversify a percentage of their currency reserves out of the dollar and into this currency.
You see, the U.S. is facing an enormous $59 trillion debt problem. The only way for the U.S. government to pay its incredible debt is to print more and more dollars… and debase an already devalued currency. (Every time the Fed prints a new dollar, the value of every dollar in circulation declines just a little bit.) This doesn’t make the dollar all that appealing to investors.
Printing-money
But soon, investors will have a new, more appealing reserve currency to invest in. China is the world’s second-largest economy. In a few years it could be the world’s largest economy. And China has a huge hoard of gold. From January to September, the country added around 1,171 metric tons of gold to its hoard. That’s more than the Swiss government has in its vaults. And in October, China bought another 14 metric tons of gold. China has spent about $70 million buying gold over the past two years.
While it’s probably impossible for China to have a completely “gold-backed” currency, this gold allows the yuan to offer a guarantee more substantial than the dollar, which is only backed by the “full faith and credit of the U.S. government.”
That’s why investors are soon likely to diversify out of the dollar and into the yuan.
So how do you protect yourself from a decline in the U.S. dollar? Follow China’s lead and buy gold…
China-Gold
In November,  China has secretly been buying massive amounts of gold as insurance against the U.S. dollar.
In short, thanks to its exports, China’s foreign-currency reserves have swollen from $2.5 billion in 1980 to $3.7 trillion today… So China has had to figure out what to do with all that cash.
Initially, China bought U.S. government bonds. It holds $1.3 trillion in U.S. bonds… the most U.S. debt in the world. But with a dollar crisis likely on the way, China faces a huge problem…
So it has been “safeguarding” the value of its currency reserves. That means one thing… buying gold. Because gold is a real store of value, the price of gold goes up if something bad happens to the U.S. stock market or dollar.
I recommend safeguarding your own wealth against the dollar by buying and holding gold bullion. And with the price of gold down more than 40% since its 2011 peak, there hasn’t been a better time to buy in the past five years.
Take a page from China’s playbook… stock up on some gold bullion. It’s a smart insurance policy as the world’s financial landscape changes.
If paper currencies like the U.S. dollar collapse, gold will still hold value. That’s why Doug Casey, one of the world’s top experts on gold and resource investing, views gold as “cash in its most basic form.” 
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Fed May Take Rates Negative, Bond And Stock Markets Crash Warning, GOP and DNC Fear Trump

The Federal Reserve is not raising interest rates, but now there are hints by Fed Head Janet Yellen that it might consider negative interest rates if the economy gets bad enough. The economy is already bad, and the Fed decision to keep a key rate near 0% says it all. I have been telling you for a couple of years that there is no real recovery on Main Street. The only real recovery is on Wall Street. Data point after data point shows the economy is not good. This is why the Fed is not raising interest rates.

On top of that bad news, people like Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Robert Shiller continue to warn that the stock market looks like it is in a bubble. There are also reports of the biggest double top in stock market history that was recently made, and when that happens, it is downhill for the markets. This includes the global debt market that dwarfs the stock market by orders of magnitude. I just interviewed former Reagan White House Budget Director David Stockman, and he says the “financial system is booby trapped with debt bombs.” This is not if the bond market will blow up, but only a matter of when the bond market will blow up.

CNN was the only real loser in the second GOP debate. The debate started out looking like CNN just wanted the candidates to trash Trump. It looked juvenile and petty, and even NJ Governor Chris Christie called BS on the BS when he directed the discussion back to how the GOP was going to help the struggling middle class. Trump won the debate by virtue of the fact CNN centered it on him and tried to get the other candidates to tear him down. Sure, there were candidates that had their moments, and some will move up and down in the polls, but Trump still emerges as the front-runner. Let’s make this perfectly clear, Donald trump could win it all.

Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up. usawatchdog.com

Medicare fraud

This is the two major problems of capitalism. 

Ignorance & Greed

loretta-lynch-medicare-fraud
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Fed’s biggest Medicare fraud takedown this week

The FBI arrested 46 doctors and nurses across the country this week in the largest Medicare fraud bust ever. 

243 people were arrested in 17 cities for allegedly billing Medicare for $712 million worth of patient care that was never given or unnecessary. Learn more at Medicare Fraud CNNMoney

My question is, what is the difference between uneducated people and this medical sector?

Neither, it is just a lack of financial education that gives this result. This is what the self employed sector doesn’t understand; the difference between wealth and making a lot of money.

Medicaid_fraud

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Blame the government, not Wall Street

Billionaire Steve Schwarzman warns of next financial crisis

That’s what billionaire private equity boss Steve Schwarzman argues in an op-ed he authored in The Wall Street Journal that was posted Tuesday night.

Schwarzman is the latest financial CEO to warn that new laws put in place after the Great Recession are likely to cause a liquidity crisis that could tank the economy again.

“A liquidity drought can exacerbate, or even trigger, the next financial crisis. Sellers will offer securities, but there will be no buyers,” wrote Schwarzman, founder of Blackstone (BX), one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

blackstone-ceo-schwarzman-private-equity

Problematic regulation: He acknowledged that the Dodd-Frank law has made the banking system stronger by requiring banks to hold more liquid assets on hand (translation: cash or assets that can be easily sold in times of duress). However, there are unintended consequences.

Since banks are holding on to more assets, there simply aren’t as many buyers and sellers of stocks, bonds and other investments. He cites a Deutsche Bank (DB) report that said corporate bond inventories are down 90% since 2001.

“Taken together, these regulatory changes may well fuel the next financial crisis as well as slow U.S. economic growth,” he warns. Investors got a small preview in October of what could be coming when the bond market got spooked and experienced a massive swing.

More red flags: Economist Nouriel Roubini, who correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis, recently made similar comments.

Roubini warned of the existence of a “liquidity time bomb” that he fears will eventually “trigger a bust and a collapse” in the market.

While Roubini believes increased regulation is a factor, he also says the rise of lightening-fast computer trading contributes to the problem and that the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented efforts to stimulate economic growth have also likely created asset bubbles.

JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon has gone as far as to say that Wall Street is “under assault” now from regulators. The Dodd-Frank regulations have made it harder for banks to make as much money as they did in the past, especially from trading.

There’s an ongoing debate in Washington about what’s a good amount of regulation for banks. Some politicians — most notably Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren — have called for big banks like JPMorgan Chase to break up so they won’t be as big of a threat to financial markets if something goes wrong.

Schwarzman argues that small and medium-sized banks have been hurt even more by Dodd-Frank and that no bank — big or small — will want to lend or trade much in the next big crisis.

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Source: Wall Street Journal / CNNMoney

Are you middle class?

Everyone’s talking about saving America’s middle class. But just who exactly falls into this group?

That’s actually a much more difficult question to answer than it seems. While some experts define the middle class by income, others define it by lifestyle. Still others say it’s a state of mind.

Here are five different ways that economists, federal agencies and even the White House measure and characterize the middle class.

family of four on grass with hands up and dream

What is middle class, anyway? Click HERE to learn more

Are you middle class? Are you considered middle class where you live? Use this calculator to find out CNNMoney/calculator