Good stuff as of 07-OCT-2012

I have noticed that lately I’ve focused more on the things that don’t go well in my life, and almost always ignore the things that do go well. So tonight I’ve made a commitment to call out the good things that happen. So from now on, I will do my best to find time to write about the good things two to three times a week, whether it be about work, family, friends, relationships, or anything that makes me feel proud.

Yesterday I had the honor of attending a friend and old coworker’s baby shower. He and his wife recently bought a house sitting on a 1 acre plot of land. Tons of family and friends attended their event to celebrate the start of a new family. I couldn’t be more happy for him. He’s a good guy that works hard for his money and also spends wisely. I’m not jealous at all – I am so happy and encouraged to see that he found a way to buy a great piece of property to start off his family on the right track. As a gift, I bought a him a Target gift card – I’ve known him long enough to know that he’s too practical. Money works better because he has more control. We were fed lots of food which included Indian and Vietnamese cuisines. Needless to say, I was enjoying myself with the food and great company. Sharing in someone’s happiness is a one of the best joys in life.

Until next time!

How I View My Investments

Investors are not evil. I know sometimes we get a bad rep on the media for being hungry vultures feeding on the less fortunate. For instance, it’s natural for a person to get mad at an investor that makes a low ball offer on a house they bought during a boom. I don’t blame them. If I bought a house for $500,000, but then could only get $250,000 from an investor, I’d be just as frustrated as anyone else.

But there’s another side that gives a better picture. As an investor, if I buy a house and rent it out, in the long run it does much more good than bad. The way I see it, our economy functions based on the flow of cash from one hand to multiple hands. If money doesn’t move, we’re in trouble, and that’s exactly what happened when Americans were strapped for cash starting in 2008.

When I buy a house and before it is rented out, multiple people get paid before I make any cash:

  • Broker on the selling and buying side
  • Bank or seller that can get rid of the troubling asset if it is a foreclosure or short sale
  • Escrow company
  • Title company
  • Mortgage company and/or broker
  • Home Warranty company
  • General contractor
  • Cleaning crew
  • Painters
  • Property Inspector
  • County
  • Insurance
  • plus a few more I might have forgotten

Behind each of these bullet points is a person or multiple people. Some may have a family or kids. When I pay them money, they can in turn spend money or pay their employees, thus shifting the cash from their hands to another hand, and so forth and so on with the next person.

By the time it is rented out, these people get paid on a regular basis when I collect the rent check:

  • Property Manager
  • Any sort of maintenance person (when needed)
  • County
  • Bank
  • Homeowner Association (when applicable)
  • Home Warranty
  • Insurance

When you look at it this way, quite a bit happens just on one property purchase. Money moves from one hand to multiple hands on the initial purchase and at an on-going basis afterwards. If the investment purchase doesn’t happen, none of the bullet points above will happen.

When we have more people that think this way about their investments, my feeling is we can do a lot for the country to bring our economy back to prosperity. Keep it simple – it doesn’t take much except for a bit of courage and conviction to make a difference and also grow our assets. Granted not all investors are like this, but I am. I strongly believe that my actions, combined with others with the same mindset, will contribute to making our economy more competitive in this global environment.

Good Luck My Friend!

Last night a well respected friend left the states to return back to his hometown in China. Several of his classmates/friends and me, his former landlord, went to see him off at the airport. Tenant departures in the past have never been so dramatic, as generally I choose not to have a close relationship to those that I do business with, no matter how much money is involved, and likewise vice versa.

But inevitably it was difficult to do. During the 1.5 years that he lived with me, he never gave me any reason to keep a distance. Before I knew it, we had meaningful conversations at night – ones that truly reflect the way we live and view the importance of our lives. We spoke of relationships, business, jobs, friendships, romantic relationships (including introducing me to one), and whatever relevant topic made sense at the time. His background gave me a different perspective on how the wealthy perceived living life, yet he never lived a life that looked wealthy (from a materialistic point of view).

At first, I actually didn’t want to go to the airport. I knew that seeing his departure would make it difficult for me, but once he made his way through airport security, I was glad I went. Buddhist meditation teaches students not to cling on hard to anything, as it would create a craving which will bring us misery if it is not fulfilled. Avoiding it is not the solution – the solution is to embrace it knowing that it will come and go. During the time span between when it comes and goes, no matter how long, we are taught to live in the moment, enjoy what we are experiencing, and be grateful that it happened. Life is too short and precious to constantly cling onto the past, and worry too much about the future. Life is the here and now.