Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building

Learn how you can invest in real estate in a winning style….


It is important that those who plan to invest in real estate know what to expect on the front end–not after purchase when they could have possibly made costly mistakes.


And with rising interest rates and rising property values at this time, it is more important than ever that you purchase your property in the best way possible.


In this discussion will discuss the importance of investing in real estate in a manner that is more beneficial and rewarding for you and your loved ones.


If you are one who have invested in real estate in the past and are curious if you invested in the best way possible–or you desire to invest in real estate at some time in your future–you can now do so in a more confident and assured manner as you move through the various stages of your life.


By learning what you need to know prior to investing–you can achieve results that will show, and you can move at a pace that is not slow.  Although conciseness is the goal–this post may be somewhat longer than most that are created by


Even so, this post will be created with your lasting wealth building success as the guidepost.


Determine if you are in position to invest

Although you can choose to invest in real estate or any other investment on a whim, that is generally not the best approach to take.  It is important that you have your finances in order at a “designated level” so that you can enhance the odds of success in your real estate investing.


By fully grasping your need to have an understanding and effective application of cash flow management, credit management and the overall management of your finances, you put yourself in a much better position for lasting wealth building success.


Do you have a properly funded emergency fund, an understanding of your life stages and the ability to understand investment basics–at a level that allows you to prosper?


Determine that your cash flow before taxes, expected appreciation, principal reduction and income tax position are at an acceptable level on the property you plan to invest in

Prior to purchasing real estate as an investment, it is important to as best you can to know your cash flow before taxes, your anticipated appreciation, your principal reduction and income taxes that you will pay or save on an annual basis, and for at least a 5-year period, if you plan on holding the property for 5 years or longer.  Estimates over 5 years are more likely to be inaccurate as forecasting over 5 years with real estate can be highly unreliable.


Just where would I get the above information and how do I calculate that information for my greater benefit–you ask?


If you are purchasing a single-family home that has not been rented by the seller you will have to research and make more assumptions than if the property was already a rental property.  If the property is currently rented or leased, you have more options.


If it is a rental or leased property that you are purchasing, you can get the Gross Operating Income (annual rent minus vacancy rate of 10%–i.e., $100,000 minus $10,000 equals $90,000) from the seller (possibly on IRS form schedule E) along with the operating expenses and come up with the net operating income.

GOI = $90,000

Operating Expenses $40,000 (you would get from the seller’s schedule E–you may have to make adjustments)

Net Operating Income is Gross Operating Expenses minus Operating Expenses


$90,000 – $40,000 = $50,000 NOI


You would then calculate your annual debt service based on your anticipated offer or purchase price unless you were paying all cash.


$600,000 Purchase Cost

$100,000 Cash Invested


Financing Amount $500,000                       Interest Rate 7%                                     Term 30 years


Monthly Principal and Interest $3,326.51–Assume January closing


If you have an HP 12C financial calculator the keystrokes would be as follows:

$500,000 pv,  7gi, 30gn, PMT = $3,326.51 multiplied by 12 months = $39,918 which is your Annual Debt Service.


Assume that the depreciation that follows was allocated at closing by the seller, you will often see depreciation broke down by only the building and land and that may not be the most beneficial to you from a monetary perspective over the length of your real estate holding period.


Depreciation: Land $100,000 (you cannot depreciate)

1) Building 27.5 years–$400,000 * 3.48% = 13,920   2) Land Improvements 15 years–$40,000 * 5% = 2,000   3) Personal Property 5 years–$60,000 * 20% = 12,000

Total Depreciation (depreciation percentages are from IRS Depreciation Chart) $27,920


NOTE:  Land cannot be depreciated, also note the breakdown for depreciation consists of the potentially more advantageous breakdown into 3 categories–not 1 (building only) –as you normally would see on many tax returns that have rental property.

Inform your accountant, tax professional or other professional (or preferably have the seller break down for you prior to closing the amount allocated for the building, land improvements and personal property–must be reasonable to withstand IRS scrutiny) of the above breakdown if you purchase rental real estate as it could mean more money in your pocket.


Now that you know your gross operating income is $90,000, you then subtract out both the operating expenses (seller’s schedule E–you may have to make adjustments) and the annual debt service (you calculated based on your offer price) from your Gross Operating Income to come up with your Cash flow before taxes.

$90,000 – $40,000  –  $39,918          =              $10,082     Cash flow before taxes


As far as the Appreciation calculation, it is best to do your initial analysis with the assumption of zero percent appreciation.  In addition, you can further analyze the purchase by using the average of appreciation over the past three years in the area you are considering purchase of your property (or some other reasonable benchmark) to gain added insight on the wisdom of investing in the given property.


As calculated above, your first-year debt service would be calculated based on your loan amount, loan term and interest rate and you would then know your interest for the first year and Principal reduction (again you may need a financial calculator or loan chart).

If you have an HP 12C financial calculator handy, the keystrokes would be as follows:


HP 12C       $500,000 pv,      30gn,       7gi,     PMT = $$3,326.51


1n, 12f amort = interest of $34,839.10 for year 1

xy button = principal of $5,079.05 for year 1

Total P & I:  $39,918


Based on the calculations above you know that your Cash Flow before Tax is your gross operating income of $90,000 minus your operating expenses of $40,000 minus annual debt service of 39,918.

$90,000 – $40,000  –  $39,918         =              $10,082    Cash flow before taxes

Total Principal and Interest:                        $39,918    is your Annual Debt Service.

Appreciation: Assume 8% after 1 year of ownership–$600,000 * 8% = $648,000 or $48,000

Principal Reduction would be $5,079 after 1 year


Your Income Tax paid or saved would be calculated by taking your Net Operating Income (gross income minus operating expenses–$90,000 – $40,000 = $50,000) minus the first-year interest minus the total depreciation to come up with your taxable income.  You would then multiply the taxable income by your marginal combined federal and state (if applicable) tax rate to come up with your income tax paid or saved.


NOI $50,000 – Interest $34,839 – Total Depreciation $27,920 (calculated above) = Taxable Income of $12,759 multiplied by tax bracket of 35% equals Income Tax SAVED of $4,466.

$1,082 + $5,079 + $4,466/$100,000       =     10.63%    ROI

Note: If your NOI exceeds your interest and depreciation, you will pay taxes and not save on taxes, however depreciation and expenses would still have the effect of lowering your overall taxes.  In addition, if you purchase real estate and quick turn for a profit you will pay taxes on the gain at your ordinary income tax rate.  If you sell after one year you would pay tax at your capital gains rate.  Your rental paper losses can be used to offset other income on your personal tax return up to a limit, unless you qualify as an “active investor” during the year.

i.e NOI $50,000 minus Interest of $34,839 minus Total Depreciation of $2,161 (hypothetically) = Taxable Income of $13,000 multiplied by tax bracket of 35% equals $4,550 Income Tax PAID on the rental property.  Your other income, deductions and credits would determine whether you owed taxes on your personal return.


$1,082 + $5,079 + ($4,550) / $100,000 = 1.61% Hypothetical  ROI when interest and depreciation does not exceed NOI in this particular example


Determine if the return on investment (ROI), capitalization rate and cash on cash ratios are acceptable to you

You then take the Cash flow before taxes, your first year Principal reduction (unless you were paying all cash) and your Income taxes paid or saved and add together and divide by your cash invested to come up with your Return On Investment or ROI.  If return is acceptable based on your market and what was acceptable to you–you would possibly consider proceeding with your offer.  You can also add your expected appreciation to the equation to gain added insight on whether you want to proceed.

$1,082 + $5,079 + $4,466/$100,000       =      10.63%    ROI

$1,082 + $48,000 + $5,079 + $4,466/$100,000 =  58.6%   ROI with 8% appreciation after 1 year


You also want to calculate your Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate) to gain even more insight as you may be looking for a certain cap rate to determine if investment is worthwhile.  If you are financing some of the purchase price, you want to make sure your interest rate is at least lower than the Cap rate–generally speaking.

The Cap rate is calculated by dividing the Net operating income ($50,000) by the Purchase price.

Gross Operating Income minus Operating Income:  $90,000 – $40,000 = $50,000 NOI

Net Operating Income of $50,000 divided by Purchase Price of $600,000 = 8.33% Cap Rate

The Cap Rate does not take into account financing and is a favorite tool of Individual and Group Investors who pay ALL CASH, Insurance Companies, REIT’s, Institutional Investors and large investors as they are looking for a specific rate of return and they too will often pay ALL CASH–if the Cap rate is satisfactory and the property otherwise meet their criteria!

The Cash-on-Cash ratio can also be used, and it is calculated by simply taking the Cash flow before taxes and dividing by the cash invested.

Cash Flow Before Taxes $1,082 divided by $100,000 = 1.08% Cash-on-Cash ratio


NOTE: The above calculated results will vary by market and investors risk tolerance level and other factors, therefore additional research will be required by you.  Be sure to do your own independent research as this discussion is not intended to be tax or accounting advice.


Analyze whether other real estate and non-real estate investment options are better for you based on your risk profile

You have the option of refinancing (cash-out or make improvements to property) or borrowing against your equity and pulling out cash at a later date after purchase, sell your property for a profit immediately or at a later date (taxes would be due unless an exception applied) or if done wisely–utilize a 1031 exchange to avoid or delay taxation and get a better return on your investment while doing so–if done properly.


You also have the option of investing in real estate by investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts, Exchange Traded Funds and/or Mutual Funds that hold real estate investments.  You could also decide after reading this post and doing additional research that you would not like to invest in real estate at all but would like to invest outside of real estate or invest in your retirement accounts in some other manner.


In the same manner that some people have no desire to be a homeowner–you may have no desire to invest in real estate–however if you do, you at least have a reference point of what it may entail.


In the operating expenses on schedule E, you will normally find property taxes, insurance, management fees, maintenance fees, repairs (improvements or additions may not qualify as expenses) and other expenses related to the property.


Investing in real estate provides you the opportunity to attain a ROI and gain from the appreciation (equity) at a future date–if done wisely.   If you can get a 15% return for 5 years and later sell after 5 years and get $100,000 in sales proceeds after the payoff of the loan and the payment of closing costs–that is cherry on the cake!


However, more work by you will be involved in real estate investing as compared to other investments.


Are you up to it, or would you rather not have that additional investment responsibility as you must be an active investor to maximize your investment in real estate–generally speaking–as there may be depreciation limits (you can only use rental losses up to a limit against your other active and portfolio income) if you are not an active investor?





Whether you desire to invest in single family homes, multi-family homes, apartments, shopping centers,  office buildings or anything else real estate related, there are certain fundamentals that you must be aware of on the front end.


You must ask yourself if you are truly ready to invest and furthermore determine proactively if you are in position to handle the responsibilities that lie ahead.


Also realize that your personal home purchase can be an investment if done right–and don’t forget to consider your tax position and timing of your sale prior to purchase–as well.


As the current law now stands in the United States, you can purchase your home and cash in on the appreciation and principal reduction by selling your home and excluding the gain from taxation on up to $250,000 if you are single and up to $500,000 if you are married and you meet certain requirements.   Therefore, it is important to purchase your home with these and other tax advantages in mind when you decide to purchase–and eventually sell.


If you can’t meet the 2 out of 5-year rule for your home and qualify for the tax exclusion, you may still qualify for a 1031 exchange where you can defer your taxes by exchanging your rental property for another like-kind property (be sure you are aware of the timelines) that provided a better return and/or appreciation potential.


IRAs can also be used to hold your real estate assets and may be worth looking into further by you.  If you were to purchase a property and decided to do repairs and quick turn for a profit you would do a similar analysis as mentioned above–with some changes including proactively determining the costs and adjustments (particularly repairs and upgrades) that would be needed to get the best price when you re-sell.


Be sure to do all of the necessary analysis prior to purchase–not after!


For those who have invested in real estate in the past and still hold rental property who did not take advantage of the more advantageous (pun intended) depreciation options–it is still not too late as you can use form (actually your tax professional or accountant) 3115 to adjust your depreciation categories and amend your prior year returns if it makes good financial sense to do so.  You can send me the check in the mail later, just kidding!


It is normally not worth the hassle of doing so unless it makes real financial sense to do so as dividing your rental property by building, land improvements and personal property can normally increase your depreciation amount and reduce your taxes or increase your refund amount.  Many tax professionals (including the creator of find changing the depreciation in the manner mentioned above to be cumbersome, and should preferably be done on the front end (when you first purchase your rental property).


Even those tax and accounting firms who do the “depreciation separation” generally only do so for their high net worth clients.


In all seriousness–all the best to your real estate and wealth building success as you are now in a better position to put your real estate investing fears to rest…


Learn how you can achieve more–by getting more income, cutting your expenses or doing a combination of the two–if you sincerely desire to make your dreams come true!


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Investments & Wealth Building

 Learn why it is important to invest in a wise manner as you build wealth…

In the current economy consumers are bombarded with investment options on a daily if not hourly basis.  


Many have no approach or a wrong approach when it comes to investing and this discussion is designed to clear up some misconceptions that you and possibly others may have about investing and building wealth in the current economy—or any economy.


It is important that you do all you can during your working years to invest in a wise manner and in a manner that is more beneficial for you and your family.  You must have a basic understanding of how investments work so that you can build wealth more efficiently.


In the following paragraphs will discuss investment options and what you need to be aware of investment wise–at the various stages in your life.



An annuity is a stream of income that you receive throughout your life based on your contributions–in a lump sum or over time.


There are immediate annuities (you contribute a lump sum and begin to receive payments immediately) and the type where you invest at set intervals and receive payments later.


Social Security is a form of an annuity (although not in the traditional sense) and will be discussed later.


Bond Investments

Investing in bonds and bond funds may be an important component of your wealth building efforts.  I-bonds, municipal bonds, treasury securities, corporate bonds and the like can play an important role in your portfolio.


Certificates of Deposit

CD’s and savings accounts can be used for investing and are particularly effective inside of an emergency fund or short-term savings plan.  Many super conservative investors will even use CD’s (laddering approach) for long-term investing due to its relative safety and their low tolerance for risk.


Crypto Currency

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency, which is an alternative form of payment created using encryption algorithms and they don’t need banks or any other third party to regulate them and they are normally uninsured and can be hard to convert into a form of tangible currency (such as US dollars or euros).


  • A cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset based on a network that is distributed across a large number of computers. This decentralized structure allows them to exist outside the control of governments and central authorities.


  • The word “cryptocurrency” is derived from the encryption techniques which are used to secure the network.


  • Blockchains, which are organizational methods for ensuring the integrity of transactional data, are an essential component of many cryptocurrencies.


  • Many experts believe that blockchain and related technology will disrupt many industries, including finance and law.


  • Cryptocurrencies face criticism for a number of reasons, including their use for illegal activities, exchange rate volatility, and vulnerabilities of the infrastructure underlying them. However, they also have been praised for their portability, divisibility, inflation resistance, and transparency.


Cryptocurrencies are systems that allow for secure payments online which are denominated in terms of virtual “tokens,” which are represented by ledger entries internal to the system. “Crypto” refers to the various encryption algorithms and cryptographic techniques that safeguard these entries, such as elliptical curve encryption, public-private key pairs, and hashing functions.



Currency investing is somewhat more advanced investing and should be entered into with caution.  Those who are skilled normally have good returns.  There are many foreign exchange companies that offer services for the novice to advanced investors.



An Exchange Traded Fund often called ETF’s is a group of securities that track an index.


A well-known example would be the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), which tracks the S&P 500 Index.


ETFs can contain many types of investments, including stocks, commodities, bonds, or a mixture of investment types.  An ETF is a marketable security, meaning it has an associated price that allows it to be easily bought and sold and is considered more liquid than a mutual fund.


Gold and Other Commodities

If you wanted to invest in gold and other precious metals you could do so through mutual funds, individual gold stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), buying stock in gold mines and associated companies, and the buying of a physical gold or other precious metal product.


Most gold investors have a high net worth and see gold as a diversifying investment!


Gold has historically served as an investment that can add a diversifying component to your portfolio, regardless of whether you are worried about inflation, a declining U.S. dollar, or even protecting your wealth.


If your focus is simply diversification, gold is not correlated to stocks, bonds, and real estate and could be what you are looking for if you are properly prepared to invest successfully at this time.



Many consumers invest through various whole life insurance products.  Whether it is wise or the best thing to do is a personal decision and has been up for debate for years.


It is the opinion of that insurance products primarily should be used for insurance purposes! 


Use caution if you are using insurance products for investment purposes.


Money Market Accounts and Money Market Mutual Funds

Normally provides a better rate of return than a savings account and could be more beneficial inside of a properly funded emergency fund than a regular savings account.


Money Market accounts could also be a great place to “park” your money during volatile market activity or as a transfer portal when you transfer funds from your retirement accounts.


Mutual Funds

Mutual funds pool money from the investing public and use that money to buy other securities, usually stocks and bonds. The value of the mutual fund company depends on the performance of the securities it decides to buy, therefore effective management is key.


When you buy a unit or share of a mutual fund realize that it is not the same as investing in shares of stock, you are buying the performance of its portfolio or, more precisely, a part of the portfolio’s value and as a holder you “would not” have any voting rights.


A share of a mutual fund represents investments in many different stocks (or other securities) instead of just one holding.  That’s why the price of a mutual fund share is referred to as the net asset value (NAV) per share, sometimes expressed as NAVPS.


A fund’s NAV is derived by dividing the total value of the securities in the portfolio by the total amount of shares outstanding. Outstanding shares are those held by all shareholders, institutional investors, and company officers or insiders at the company.


If you buy 10 shares in a Mutual Fund with a NAV of $111.00 for $1110.00 on Monday November 21st and the NAV goes to $141.00 per share on December 1st of the following year–you would have a long-term gain of  $300.00 and would be taxed at your capital gains rate if held outside of your retirement accounts.


Mutual fund shares can typically be purchased or redeemed as needed at the fund’s current NAV, which—unlike a stock price—doesn’t fluctuate during market hours, but it is settled (updated) at the end of each trading day.


There are funds for nearly every type of investor or investment approach and common types of mutual funds include money market funds, sector funds, alternative funds, smart-beta funds, target-date funds, socially conscious funds, growth funds, aggressive growth funds, growth and income funds, income funds, international funds and even mutual funds that buy shares of other mutual funds–among others.


Options & Futures

Options and futures investing is somewhat more advanced investing and should be entered into with caution.


Options trading is the trading of instruments that give you the right to buy or sell a specific security on a specific date at a specific price.


An option is a contract that’s linked to an underlying asset, e.g., a stock or another security and you have the right to exercise your option or you can choose to not exercise your option.

Real Estate Investments

When it comes to investing in real estate there are many options.  You can invest in single family homes, multi-family homes, apartments, commercial, industrial, REIT’s, land and other areas as well.


Your risk tolerance level, real estate knowledge base and financial position at this time is the key to successful real estate investing!


Whether you desire to purchase and hold to refinance or sell later, rent out for income or purchase and quick turn for a profit–real estate investing can potentially provide good returns if done right.


Real Estate Investment Trusts could allow you to take a “hands off approach” to real estate investing as you do not have to directly own and manage the property.


The REIT’s that are now on the market come in several varieties including publicly traded, public and non-traded, private and Exchange Traded Funds–giving you ample options to invest in various real estate sectors if you desire to avoid the headaches of directly owning and managing real estate.


Retirement Investing

Retirement investing consists of investing for your future during your working years so that your retirement years are more enjoyable and rewarding.  Retirement investing is so important that it deserves a discussion in great depth and will be covered in detail in a future discussion.


For now, realize that you must invest in a wise manner with the goal to live comfortably during your retirement years as your primary focus.  In addition, the avoidance and/or reduction of your taxes during your retirement years are also a major concern and that too will be discussed in great depth in a future discussion.

Social Security & Medicare

If you live and work in the United States you would pay into a social network plan called social security and during your retirement years you would be entitled to a monthly stipend–with the amount determined by your work history.


Each pay period during your working years a portion of your earnings would go towards Social Security and Medicare.  In a real sense by contributing to social security and Medicare during your working years–you are investing in your future and you would receive annuity payments once you reached a certain age and elected to receive the benefits.


Stock Investments

A stock (also known as equity) is a security that represents the ownership of a fraction of a corporation.


This would entitle you if you were the owner of the stock to a proportion of the corporation’s assets and profits equal to how much stock you own.


Units of stock are called “shares” and are bought and sold predominantly on stock exchanges, though there can be private sales as well, and effective stock purchases are the foundation of many individual investors’ portfolios.


Stock transactions have to conform to “government regulations” which are meant to protect investors from fraudulent practices.  Stocks have historically outperformed most other investments over the long run  and can be purchased from most online stock brokers–including many that you may already be familiar with.



Many other commodities and investment vehicles are available and being created each year that allows you to invest.  Many are novel and unusual such as sneaker investment, cryptocurrency, oil and gas exploration and mining among others.  Be sure you understand your financial position and how you handle risk and always remember that generally speaking:


Less Risk Less RewardMore Risk More Reward

1    – –       2      —        3          – –       4      —    5


Selling real estate (including your personal home)–particularly can bring you a financial windfall.   If done properly you can sell and avoid taxation on all or a  portion of the gain.


Be sure to keep all records in regard to your home purchase, including improvements that you make to your home as that could be beneficial when you sell your home.


At this time limited housing is pushing home prices up and now may be a great time to sell.


Refinancing, a home equity loan or a home line of credit (HELOC) could be right for you as interest rates are at historical lows (around 3% at this time) and if you wanted to pay off other debt, improve your home prior to selling or retiring and pursue other goals that you may have–now may be the time to do so.


If you sell your home, always realize that you will need a place to stay.  Be sure you know the costs associated with your move and the age, location, area, taxes, closing costs, utility costs, transportation costs etcetera in the area of the home or apartment you plan on moving into.


You definitely want to know the cost of your new home, your intended down payment, monthly payment and a rough estimate of your utility payments.   You can then put an interim plan (now until retirement) and post retirement plan in place so that you don’t have any unwanted surprises down the road.



When it comes to investing you want to minimize your risks, minimize unpleasant surprises and maximize your ability to succeed so that you can achieve more.


By gaining a basic understanding of investing you can put yourself and your family on a more prosperous path toward wealth building in any economic environment.


Investing must be balanced against your current cash flow and plans for your and your family’s future.


You must know your risk tolerance level, diversify appropriately, invest intelligently and have a comprehensive overview of your finances so that you know how to invest in a winning style.


By doing so you can avoid being in an adverse position that makes your life more challenging–and not rewarding!


Furthermore, you must know the Goals that you seek, know your Risk tolerance level, know your Income level and know your Personal situation at this time.  Or another way of looking at it is–you must get a real GRIP on your wealth building activities at this time so that you can reach your highest potential.


Proper wealth building and investing for those who are “in tune” is like music of the mind transmitted from your brain–and if done right is one of a kind–that has the real potential to roll like a train.


Your goals are unique and so is the success that you now seek.


Make the choice today to do your wealth building in a better way!


When it comes to investing you want to minimize your risks, minimize unpleasant surprises and maximize good decisions so your net worth rises!


By doing so you can sincerely get on a continuous path–that ensures that your net worth rises–because you have done the math.


You must have an unstoppable feeling on the inside–along with a view of what you plan to do–to make your wealth building dreams come true!


Now is the time that you invest at a level that allows you to past any test.


All the best toward your investment and wealth building success…


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Investments & Wealth Building

Learn how to invest in a way that will DRIVE you toward the success that you desire as you avoid turbulence and reach higher…

More on Investments…

If you are new to investing or you desire to re-evaluate your current portfolio and find ways that you can invest more effectively you can do so with the right approach.


In this discussion will provide information to assist those who are new to investing or those who desire to invest more effectively, 5 ways or 5 steps that can lead to more investment success.  It is important that you invest in your future in a manner that is more favorable  for your success.  You must at this time show the desire and determination–and you must be willing to give it your best–as you build wealth and improve your financial health.


It is important that you have D R I V E on the inside as you prepare for investing in your and your family’s future and this discussion is designed to assist you as you drive in the direction where success lives as you pursue investing at a higher level of commitment.


You must have the drive to reach your investment goals and the following five factors that you have the opportunity to learn on the front end (prior to your investment journey) can help you achieve more throughout your lifetime.


D iversify or Spread Out Your Investments

R eBalance so Your Investments are Allocated Appropriately

I nvestment Risk Analysis Must be Performed

V alue the Usage of Leverage

E ase into Investing


D iversify or Spread Out Your Investments


It is important that you have investments in a number of sectors or asset classes such as stocks and bonds.  Other more exotic investment choices (gold, cryptocurrency, forex, REIT’s etcetera) should be considered only after you have workable and practical understanding and application of the basics in real world investments.


Always remember that stocks are generally for growth and bonds are generally for preservation of capital!


Your challenge is to create a portfolio that has a mix so that one stock won’t overwhelm or have an unwanted effect on your portfolio.  A portfolio of 15 stocks are better than a portfolio of five as you can spread the risk more assuming they are invested in different industries.


Mutual Funds, Exchange Traded Funds, and other grouping of stocks and bonds by a third party may also be worth consideration if you are new to investing as it allows you to use dollar cost averaging and other relatively painless measures (from a financial standpoint) to ease into investing while you continue to learn about investments and how you can utilize them more effectively in your financial future.


R eBalance so Your Investments are Allocated Appropriately


Did you know that the growth of your portfolio is a good thing, however it will require that you re-balance your portfolio occasionally?


Even losses from your investments can create the need for you to re-balance your portfolio!


Market activity will determine how frequent you should re-balance, however a good rule of thumb is to analyze at least annually and re-balance if necessary to bring your allocations in line with your prior allocations or your current risk tolerance level and future goals.


I nvestment Risk Analysis Must be Performed


You must align your risk tolerance level with your intended goals whether it be a down-payment on your new home, retirement, education funding, a dream trip or anything else.


It is important that you realize that investments allow you the opportunity to make money—and lose money!


Your time horizon and risk tolerance must be analyzed appropriately and you must prepare properly for a successful investing career by having an appropriate emergency fund and an understanding of where you are currently at in your life stage.


V alue the Usage of Leverage


You can possibly use leverage to increase your potential investment returns.


You can use leveraged ETF’s, futures contracts and margin loans to amp up your returns—but they are also riskier than using your own money to invest!


You must value the use of leverage by knowing that it can be dangerous for the novice investor and you must learn all about leverage prior to your leveraged investment activity.  By using leverage appropriately and learning how to properly utilize leverage in the best way possible based on your unique financial position, you can possibly avoid the pitfalls that have affected many in a negative way.


E ase into Investing


If you are new to investing or you desire to invest more effectively, it is important that you are relaxed and don’t rush into it.  You may want to start with dollar cost averaging, mutual funds or contributing to your retirement plan at work or start a traditional or ROTH IRA making consistent contributions.


You may also be eligible for a “saver’s credit” that can help you at tax time (and provide an additional investment incentive) if you meet certain income thresholds!


If your employer offers a retirement plan and there is a “match” provision, be especially alert and plan to contribute up to the match at a minimum as by doing so it can lead to you reaching your goals more efficiently!


Always be aware of the effects of investing inside and outside of your retirement accounts as the approach that you take with the selection can work for or against you and your ultimate goals.


You can learn investment success principles along the way and make adjustments to your investment activity as you learn more.




It is important that you know the importance of your need to:


D iversify or Spread Out Your Investments

     R eBalance so Your Investments are Allocated Appropriately

          I nvestment Risk Analysis Must be Performed

               V alue the Usage of Leverage

                     E ase into Investing


With the advent and progression of technology (fintech) you now have access to robo and micro advisors, easier access to the markets, lower trading costs, access to fractional share purchase at some brokerage houses and you can now invest in a more convenient way from many of your electronic devices.


In a real sense you can now DRIVE toward the investment success that you desire in a more convenient way–starting today!


Even so, you must still have an awareness of “investment fundamentals” so that you can diversify appropriately based on your risk tolerance and goals, re-balance and manage investment risk on a consistent basis, use leverage wisely and ease into investing in a relaxed manner as you build your net worth more efficiently.


There is no need to panic as you can invest and learn along the way and more effectively manage the turbulence in your life from day to day.


All the best as you drive with more acceleration toward lasting investment success…


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Life Stages & Wealth Building

Learn why it is important to invest in your future early in your life stage so that you can build wealth more efficiently…


Investing for your future can be a way to reach many of your goals.


However, it is important that you know your money management personality and what stage you are now at in your life so that you can choose the type of portfolio that allows you the opportunity to reach your intended wealth building goals.


In this discussion will (hopefully) help you come to a clearer decision on your investment portfolio selection based on where you now are in your life stage and your intended goal(s).


Regardless of your life stage you must begin your wealth building journey by knowing what you are building wealth for.  Or another way of looking at it is what are your goal(s) for utilizing the funds that you plan on investing and what is the timeline when you will need those funds?


If you are saving for your retirement and you are age 30 you can use a more aggressive portfolio than if you were saving for college for your 9 year old son.  If you were age 70 and was seeking steady income during your retirement years you would want to take a more conservative approach with your portfolio selection.


If you are uncomfortable in the selection of portfolios you can use financial advisors, however it is important that you choose your financial professional(s) wisely.


Below we will analyze three savings scenarios to help give you an overview of how you can put together an investment portfolio that could possibly help you build wealth more effectively and more efficiently depending on your life stage.


Saving for Retirement

If you are age 30 and you plan on retiring at age 62 you want to “save aggressively” due to the long time horizon as it gives you time to absorb the ups and downs of the market.  If you wanted to achieve financial independence and retire early you would be at a point in your life stage where you would have a need to invest even more aggressively.  Under either scenario you would want to put up to 85 percent of your portfolio in stocks and 15 percent in bonds.


Saving for College for your Children

If you are age 30 and you plan on saving for your 9 year old sons college tuition you want to save less aggressively or at a “moderate” level, therefore your investment portfolio might consist of 60 percent in stocks and 40 percent in bonds based on your time horizon of 9 years.


Saving for Income During Your Retirement Years

If you are age 70 and you are retired you would be at a point in your life stage where you invest more conservatively.  You would take a “conservative” approach because you are at a point in your life where you can’t afford to take losses–therefore a consistent blend of 65 percent bonds and 35 percent stocks might be appropriate for your situation.




It is important that you have a conceptual overview of where you are now at in your life stage as that knowledge has the potential to provide you more clarity about where you are now at and where you can possibly go.


The above scenarios are to be used as a guide only and you may have to tweak the investment percentages to meet your intended goals based on your particular age and time span for use of the funds.  However, it can be used as a starting point to get you in the frame of mind to invest in a way that will help you build wealth.


By determining at the earliest time possible the goals that you want to pursue and determining the type of portfolio that is needed you can move about your life in a manner that reduces anxiety and provide a road map that is realistic and achieve goals that are more likely to occur.


Keep in mind that market downturns can occur and on occasion at the time that you want to utilize (cash in) the funds for your intended goals.


By getting a real jump on your investments by knowing where you now are and where you want to goyou are showing great faith and belief in yourself and there is great favor–in your horizon by doing so!


All the best to your life stage and wealth building success–regardless of your age or life stage…


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REITs & Wealth Building

Learn what Real Estate Investment Trusts are and how you can use them to build wealth…


In the current economy there are many investment choices.


An often overlooked but potentially rewarding investment choice is a REIT, however they are not as popular as many other investment choices but could possibly offer you a better rate of return than many popular investment options.


In this discussion will detail how you can make REITs a part of your portfolio and how you can use them to help build wealth more efficiently.


A “Real Estate Investment Trust” or REIT (pronounced REET) is an investment option that became available to investors many years ago (1960’s) and there popularity has grown over the years, however they are not as popular an option among many.  As an investor you have many investment choices–such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities and options (no pun intended) among others.


REITs are now offered around the world and is seen as an economical way to get into real estate without incurring the actual cost and expense of actually owning real estate.


The acceptance of investing in global real estate securities has grown over the years but there remains room for growth as developing markets continue to rise.


The REIT industry struggled beginning in 2007 as the global financial crisis kicked in. In response to the global credit crisis, listed REITs responded by paying off debt and re-equitizing (selling stock to get cash) their balance sheets.


At this time (October 2019), REITs are worth consideration as a part of your portfolio as they have in many years outperformed the S&P and other market indices when it comes to rate of return.


real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns, and in most cases operates, income-producing real estate.


REITs own many types of commercial real estate, ranging from office and apartment buildings to warehouseshospitalsshopping centershotels and timberlands.  Many REITs engage in financing real estate in an effort to increase their returns.


REITs can be publicly traded on major exchanges, publicly registered but non-listed, or private. 


The two main types of REITs are equity REITs and mortgage REITs and this discussion will primarily focus on equity REITS.


A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) gives investors of all sizes access to income producing commercial real estate without the hassle of actually owning commercial real estate.


REITs have been increasing in popularity and they are designed to hold a range of real estate assets that are primarily commercial that provide investors the opportunity to invest in real estate with limited risk exposure.


For many investors, investing in this way represent the simplest, most cost-effective way to add real estate to their investment portfolio—without having to identify, manage  and sell properties themselves.


But not all REITs are created equal!


Your earning potential varies based on several factors, such as your investment sector, costs, fees, whether your REIT is inside or outside of your retirement account(s) and how you decide to participate in general.


REITs, or real estate investment trusts, are companies that own or finance income-producing real estate across a range of property sectors.  These real estate companies have to meet a number of requirements to qualify as REITs.  Most REITs trade on major stock exchanges, and they offer a number of benefits to investors.


REIT-owned real estate can be found in many countries, in every state in the United States–including local communities–and is an important economic engine for spurring growth in the world economy.


By purchasing real estate using a REIT you benefit through the properties they own, finance and operate.


REITs are real estate working for you without the hassle of locating, managing and selling!


Again, a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) is a company that provides you the opportunity to choose an investment vehicle which owns, operates or finances income-producing real estate–so that you won’t have too!


REITs provide “all” investors the chance to own valuable real estate, present the opportunity to access dividend-based income and total returns, and help many areas around the world move forward economically in a more efficient manner.


REITs “allow anyone” who is willing to invest–the  same opportunity” to invest as they have to invest in other industries.


You can purchase a REIT through the purchase of individual company stock or through a mutual fund or exchange traded fund (ETF).


The stockholders of a REIT earn a share of the income produced through real estate investment – without actually having to go out and buy, manage or finance property.


Over 80 million Americans alone invest in REIT stocks through their 401(k) and other retirement plans.


Assets that REITs  can own


In total, REITs of all types collectively own  trillions in gross assets across the U.S. alone, with stock-exchange (publicly owned)  listed REITs owning over $2 trillion in assets, representing more than 500,000 properties. U.S. listed REITs have an equity market capitalization of more than $1 trillion.


You can go to the following links to learn more about REITs



Always realize that REITs can invest in a wide variety of real estate property types, including offices, apartment buildings, warehouses, retail centers, medical facilities, data centers, cell towers, infrastructure and hotels among others.


Many REITs have limited focus or focus on a particular property type, but some hold multiples types of properties in their portfolios as well.


In the following paragraphs you can learn about many of the more popular “property sectors” that REITs invest in:


Office REITs

Office REITs own and manage office real estate and rent space in those properties to tenants and they can range from skyscrapers in large cities to small offices in rural and suburban areas.  They may focus on certain areas such as central business districts or suburban areas or rural areas. They may even focus on  specific classes of tenants, such as government agencies, technology, medical etcetera.


Industrial REITs

Industrial REITs own and manage industrial space such as warehouses and distribution centers and are particularly popular at  this time with the explosion of ecommerce and the demand for same day and next day delivery in many areas.


Retail REITs

Retail REITs own and manage retail real estate and rent space to tenants at large regional malls, outlet centers, grocery-anchored shopping centers, strip malls that are anchored by big box retailers and other similar developments of a retail nature.  Most retail REITs are structured in a way that the tenants pay both rent and the majority of operating expenses for the property.


Hotel REITs

Hotel REITs own and manage hotels and resorts and rent space in those properties at varying levels of service and amenities.  They serve the casual traveler to business customers and all those in between.


Residential REITs

Residential REITs own and manage  residences and rent space in those properties.   REITs that specialize in apartment buildings, student housing, manufactured homes and single-family homes among others are very popular at this time.  Many focus on geographical or “hot” areas of growth or certain classes of residential properties.


Health Care REITs

Health Care REITs own and manage health care-related real estate and collect rent from tenants in senior living facilities, hospice care facilities, medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities and the like.


Self-storage REITs

Self-storage REITs own and manage self storage facilities and collect rent from customers and are seeing a boon in many areas. Self-storage REITs rent space to both individuals and businesses and are very popular at this time in many areas of the United States.


Infrastructure REITs

Infrastructure REITs own and manage infrastructure and collect rent from tenants and include fiber cable investments, wireless infrastructure investments, telecommunications towers and energy pipelines among others.


Data Center REITs

Data Center REITs own and manage facilities that customers use to safely store data and help keep servers and data safe, including providing uninterruptable power supplies, air-cooled chillers and physical security for companies large and small.


Diversified REITs

Diversified REITs own and manage a mix of property types and collect rent from tenants. They may include a combination of the REITs mentioned above including others such as timber REITS.


Specialty REITs

Specialty REITs own and manage a unique mix of property types and collect rent from tenants such as  movie theaters, casinos, farmland and outdoor advertising sites.


Throughout history real estate has generally proven to be an above average long-term investment!


When you purchase property it often comes with a large down-payment, therefore investing in REITs may be a great alternative to you owning real estate directly and help you build your wealth in a less painful way.


Keep in mind that if you own REITs you cannot:


*Deduct depreciation as Rental or Business expense

*Deduct other expenses associated with the properties in the portfolio

*Directly own property (you hold no title to real estate directly)

*Generally deduct dividends at the more favorable capital gains rate (must use ordinary income rate)


Most REITs will deduct those expenses associated with the properties and they are required by the IRS to return a minimum of 90% of its taxable income back to shareholders each year, therefore REITs pay dividends and also have the potential for growth.  Most investors think of REITs as slow growth vehicles that pay big dividends. However in 2019, the REITs, as an industry, have outperformed and may be worth considering as part of your portfolio.


If you invest in a 401k or other retirement plan you probably already invest in REITs in an indirect way.  However, directly investing with REITs may be worth considering as part of your asset allocation.  They can be of real importance if they are inside of your retirement account as they have the potential to provide you solid returns along with a delay or avoidance of tax payments for a period of time.


To reiterate, REITs generate income, and 90 percent of that “taxable income” must be distributed to the shareholders on a regular basis.  REITs make money from the properties they purchase by renting, leasing and/or selling them.





Investing in income-generating real estate can be a great way to increase your net worth and may be worth considering.


Because directly investing in real estate, particularly commercial real estate, is simply out of reach financially for many–a REIT which allows you to pool your resources with other small investors and invest in large-scale commercial real estate as a group may be a better option.


REITs (pronounced like “treats”) allow you to get into commercial real estate and benefit from the returns in a more cost efficient and less riskier manner.


In this discussion you learned that REIT stands for real estate investment trust and is thought of  by many as  a “real estate stock.”


Essentially, REITs are corporations that own and manage a portfolio of real estate properties and mortgages.  Anyone can buy shares in a “publicly traded” REIT.


They offer the benefits of real estate ownership without the headaches or expense of property management!


Keep in mind that not all REITs are created or managed equally.  Investing in some types of REITs also provides the important advantages of liquidity and diversity.  You can sell shares quickly and they are normally easily sold.  And because you’re investing in a portfolio of properties rather than a single building, you face less financial or investment risk.


­REITs­ came about in the 1960’s, when Congress decided that smaller investors should also be able to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate.  Congress determined that the best way to do this was to follow the model of investing that was already in existence in other industries that traded on the exchanges.


Remember, a company must distribute at least 90 percent of its “taxable income” to its shareholders each year to qualify as a REIT.


Most REITs pay out 100 percent of their taxable income.  In order to maintain its status as a pass-through entity, a REIT deducts these dividends from its corporate taxable income.  A pass-through entity does not have to pay corporate federal or state income tax–it passes the responsibility of paying these taxes onto its shareholders (i.e. you if you owned shares in a REIT).


REITs cannot pass tax losses through to investors, however!


Because of the high demand for real estate funds, President Eisenhower in 1960 signed the real estate investment trust tax provision qualifying REITs as pass-through entities.


A corporation must meet several other requirements to qualify as a REIT and gain pass-through entity status such as:


  • Be structured as corporation, business trust, or similar association
  • Be managed by a board of directors or trustees
  • Offer fully transferable shares
  • Have at least 100 shareholders
  • Pay dividends of at least 90 percent of the REIT’s taxable income
  • Have no more than 50 percent of its shares held by five or fewer individuals during the last half of each taxable year
  • Hold at least 75 percent of total investment assets in real estate
  • Have no more than 20 percent of its assets consist of stocks in taxable REIT subsidiaries
  • Derive at least 75 percent of gross income from rents or mortgage interest


­At least 95 percent of a REIT’s gross income must come from financial investments (in other words, it must pass the 95-percent income test).  These include rents, dividends, interest and capital gains.  In addition, at least 75 percent of its income must come from certain real estate sources (the 75-percent income test), including rents from real property, gains from the sale or other disposition of real property, and income and gain derived from foreclosure of property.


Tax Reporting


You would receive a schedule 1099-DIV from your REIT and you would include that income on your tax return.  By providing the tax reporting documents to your tax professional they would include the dividends on your tax return and you would pay taxes at the appropriate rate depending on your filing status and income level.


The Dividends from REITs are almost always “ordinary income” as opposed to “qualified dividends” that would be taxed at the lower capital gains rate.


Box 1 of the 1099-DIV is where a REIT reports such dividends!


Payments from REITs are referred to as “dividends,” but they are not the same as the dividends that you are probably familiar with when you buy stock.


A REIT generates income in different ways than stocks, REIT dividends include the following:


  1. Ordinary income: Money made from collecting rent or mortgage payments.
  2. Capital gains: Money made from selling property for more than the REIT paid for it.
  3. Return of capital: This is essentially the REIT giving you some of your own money back.


In general, “what happens in the REIT” dictates the tax treatment.


Capital gains distributions, for example, are subject to capital gains taxes.  If no properties in the portfolio of the REIT was sold during the year you would only have ordinary income and/or return of capital on your 1099-DIV.


As a practical matter you will normally receive a 1099-DIV that will have a portion of the Dividends designated as:


  • Return of Capital–dependent on how much you invest in the REIT and how much has been already designated as return of capital on prior year 1099-DIV forms
  • Ordinary Income–will almost always receive on 1099-DIV unless REIT had a loss for the tax year, and
  • Capital Gains–dependent on the type of REIT and the sectors the REIT invests in and if properties in the sectors were sold for a gain during the tax year


In closing, a real estate investment trust (REIT) allows you to:


* have ownership interest,  but not manage income-generating real estate or related assets

*invest in the collection of properties that a REIT would manage, and you would benefit from the dividends earned and capital gains

*be part of a group that would also bear the cost of taxes and any other losses incurred

*be able to build up your financial portfolio without directly buying real estate

*potentially have a lower up front cost and an ownership interest in commercial real estate


The main difference between a REIT and a real estate company is that a real estate company develops properties to resell them, while REITs acquire and develop properties to own, hold and manage–but may sell at a future date.


They can be looked at from a different angle by envisioning a REIT as a “mutual fund” for real estate” that contain property sectors and/or mortgage backed securities that are aggregated and contain all of the requirements discussed above that must be met–so that the REIT can maintain their pass-through tax advantage status–according to IRS guidelines.


Always be aware of the difference between an Equity REIT and a Mortgage REIT that are now on the market.


In this discussion we have primarily discussed equity REITs, however always keep in mind that mortgage REITs that invest in mortgage backed securities are also available.


  • Equity REIT companies procure business properties such as shopping malls, hotels, office buildings and commercial buildings, then rent out the spaces.  After deducting all operational costs, equity REITs pay dividends in the form of return of capital and ordinary dividends to their shareholders annually.  The dividends also include any appreciation of the property(s) and gain from sale (capital gains)Equity REITs have been discussed in this article quite extensively.


  • A mortgage REIT or mREIT, provides mortgage financing or obtains mortgage-backed securities and earns income from the interest from such properties. Mortgage REITs can either be on residential or commercial properties. In fact, some REIT companies deal with both (hybrid). Due to their high potential for leverage, mortgage REITs are a rather risky investment, as they gain profits from interest, which is something that can change.  Mortgage REITs have not been discussed in great detail in this article–however you must be aware of their existence as they too may be worth considering and adding to your asset portfolio.


NOTE: A HYBRID REIT which includes equity and mortgage backed securities are also offered by some REITs


As a potential investor you must also determine if the REIT you are considering to invest in is private (a private REIT does not need to disclose as much information as public REITs do) or public (a public REIT is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and trades on national stock exchanges).


By not having to publicly disclose information to the public a private REIT could lead to management making the wrong investment decision and you not knowing about those decisions. Public REITs offer investors more exposure to properties across the world than do private REITs and more information about investment activity would normally be publicly available for those who are considering investing in a Public REIT.


And an even greater incentive for you to seriously consider adding REITS to your asset allocation at this time is the fact that you can now under the new tax law enacted in 2017 possibly deduct 20% of MLP or REIT income as qualified business income,  thereby lowering your taxable income.


All the best toward your REIT and Wealth Building success…



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Be sure to do additional research as the links below are provided for convenience but does not represent an endorsement by


Public REITs:


Sure Dividend


Private REITs:

Non-traded REITs 101 Investor Junkie

Fundrise is a private REIT that offer reasonable fees and low initial investment.

  • Diverse portfolio of private real estate deals
  • Minimum investment of $500 to $1,000
  • Management and advisory fees add up to about 1%, but be aware of other fees

Fundrise’s proprietary eREITs® the next evolution in REITs, combining innovative technology and direct access to private market real estate, all at lower costs

5 Top REIT Stocks–TheMotleyFool

How to Set Up a Self-Directed IRA…


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Investment Choices & Wealth Building

Learn why knowing how to choose your “Investments” in a wise manner is critical for your “Wealth Building” success…


In today’s economy there are a number of choices or investment options for you to choose from after you have determined your cash flow position, maximized your credit position and looked into the future of your finances in a comprehensive manner.


In this discussion will discuss several investment options—along with the tax angle that you can use to build wealth more efficiently in the economy that we are now in.


You can invest in stocks, mutual funds, bonds, MLP’s, real estate, futures, precious metals and many others—and it is important that you understand your potential tax position going in.


Although the creator of has been quite busy this tax season, the inspiration to create this page occurred as many of my clients over the past few weeks made investment choices and had capital gains and an increase in their net worth in the 2018 tax year.




First and foremost you must understand the difference between short-term and long-term gains and you must know the tax treatment of investments when they are “inside” or “outside” of your retirement account.


In addition you want to be aware of when and if you can carry losses forward and from what type of investment.


If your investments are outside of your retirement accounts your purchase price, sale price and how long you hold the investment is key! 


If your investments are inside of your retirement accounts you may avoid or defer taxation until a future date–normally retirement or at the time of withdrawal!


If your investment is held for less than a year outside of your retirement account(s)–you will have a short-term gain and you will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate (if you have your 2018 tax return get it out and look at line 10 of form 1040 page 2 to see where you fall as far as taxation) that could range from 0% (lower end of spectrum) to 40.8% (higher end of spectrum).


If you hold your investment for one year and one day you will get the more favorable rate that is determined by your taxable income (long term capital gains rate that could range from 0% to a maximum of 23.8%).  If your brokerage or mutual fund company sell during the year and “they don’t specify a date” or if they state “various” on the 1099–your gain will be taxed as “ordinary income” unless you can prove that the stock or mutual fund was held for one year and one day.


If you have a combination of short and long-term capital gains and capital losses you can offset the gains against the losses.


However, you must offset short term losses against your short term gains and long-term losses against your long-term gains —you then aggregate your losses and if they exceed your gains you can use the losses to offset your taxes.  If the losses exceed $3,000 you can carry them forward up to a maximum of $3,000 per tax year until it is used up.


Qualified stock dividends (stock held 60 days before or after the ex-dividend date) are also taxed at capital gain rates and if the stock dividend is unqualified it would be taxed at your “ordinary income” rate (which is usually a higher rate) and would be entered on your tax return as “ordinary dividends” on line 3b of your 2018 tax return.


If you invest in a mutual fund or your investments are handled by a brokerage they will normally spell out the differences on their 1099’s that you get around tax time.


They will also normally provide you your cost basis (the purchase price adjusted for tax purposes).


Always remember that it is important to adjust your cost basis for re-invested dividends.


You pay tax on re-invested dividends in the same manner as if you received cash.  The good news is you won’t be taxed twice because your cost basis will be adjusted upward as a result of the dividend re-investment and again most brokerage companies will do this for you.


When you decide to sell your stocks or mutual funds you have four options to choose from:


  • FIFO or first in-first out
  • LIFO or last in-first out
  • Use the average cost per share
  • Specify certain shares


Be aware that there are caveats and regulations that apply when categorizing for tax purpose so be sure you use competent tax professionals.


If you own stocks or mutual funds you may have to pay tax on the capital gains even if you don’t physically utilize the gain!


If you have a desire to avoid capital gains consider an index fund that only pays dividends or a tax efficient fund that avoids both capital gains and dividends.


Also if your fund has foreign holdings they will withhold taxes paid on dividends and if box 7 on 1099-DIV has an entry that means foreign taxes were paid.


You can use the foreign tax credit (U.S. residents) to reduce some or all of those taxes or you can choose the deduction (reduces your taxable income—use form 1116).




There are a number of bonds and the taxation depends on what type you own:


  • Corporate–taxed at ordinary income rates


  • Treasury–income is subject to federal but not state


  • Municipal–income is not subject to Federal and if issued and purchased in your home state may avoid state and local


  • Series I and EE bonds—taxation depends on how you use the proceeds at maturity or cashing in of bond


In most cases Master Limited Partnership‘s and Real Estate Investment Trust‘s are taxed at ordinary income tax rates.  Under the new tax law enacted in 2017 you may be able to deduct 20% of MLP or REIT income as qualified business income.


If you buy and sell real estate such as a personal residence and you meet the 2 out of 5 year rule—you have a tax free gain up to $250,000 if single and $500,000 if married filing joint.


If you sell rental property that property will be subject to recapture of depreciation (the depreciation that you took or had the option to take will be added back thus reducing your overall gain) and will be taxed at your ordinary income rate if held for less than one year and your “capital gains rate” if held for one year or more (see capital gain rates below).


1031 exchange may allow you to avoid or delay taxes and is an effective tool that is utilized by serious seasoned real estate investors and may be worth considering–depending on your goals.


Long-Term Capital Gains Rate:


0% if you are single and your taxable income is $38,599 or less or if you are married $77,199 or less


15% if you are single and your taxable income is between $77,200 and $425,800 or if you are married and your taxable income is between $77,200 and $479,000


20% if you are single and your taxable income is above $425,800 and married above $479,000


Note: If your modified adjusted gross income is above $200,000 if you are a single filer and $250,000 if you are married filing jointly you have to pay a 3.8% net investment income tax, potentially bumping your capital gains rate to 18.8% or 23.8% respectively.


If on your K-1 (if you have holdings in a trust, partnership or S-corporation) some portion is a return of capital—you may not owe taxes on that amount—your tax professional should be aware of whether you will owe taxes based on the data on your K-1.




Profits from futures trading are generally taxed at 60% long-term capital gains and 40% short-term gains no matter how long you held the contract.


When you buy or sell option contracts on an exchange, the tax rules are the same as for stocks that was mentioned earlier in this discussion.


The taxation of options can be tricky and is beyond the scope of this discussion, however it is worth mentioning that you will need a tax professional who is familiar with option taxation.


Precious metals are often classified by the IRS as a collectible—rather than an investment and they would be taxed at 28% (long-term).


ETF’s or exchange traded funds that invest in precious metals are also taxed at the 28% rate.  Funds and ETF’s that invest in mining stocks of precious metals generally get the same capital gains rate as any stock fund!




With the advent of  cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, block chains and other more complex investments, the taxation is not clear in some instances at this time as regulations are underway or the tax treatment is not clearly defined.


Most investments will normally be taxed in the U.S. if a gain is going in your pocket or it is traceable and it is important that you have a tax professional who has experience in handling the type of investments you now invest in—or you anticipate investing in during your lifetime.




You have a vast number of investment choices available and it is important that you have mastered your credit, you understand your life stage, you have an emergency fund that will add an additional layer of protection in case your investments don’t materialize as you planned, you are on track with your retirement income and you review your finances on a consistent basis.


Another key point worth mentioning is you “must know” how the taxation of your investment income will occur in the state that you now reside in–and/or anticipate moving to in your future!


By doing all of the above you will put yourself on a serious path toward wealth building and you will enjoy life along the way.


You can build wealth in a worry-free way and win throughout your financial life because you took the time (when others chose not to) to look at investments on the front end and knew ahead of time the tax ramifications that lied ahead in your future.


All the best toward your investment choices and future success…


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Bond Frequently Asked Questions


Bond Frequently Asked Questions

 Learn more about bonds and bond funds by reviewing common questions that many have asked about bonds…


Q: What can I do to position myself for successful bond investing?

A: It is important that you “have all your bases covered” prior to starting on your bond investing or any investing as it is important that you have reduced or eliminated your debt to an acceptable level, you have a properly funded emergency fund (or you are working toward that goal), you understand credit—and you have looked at your finances in a comprehensive way.

By doing the above you put yourself in position for lasting success and you make your bond investing (or any investing) more likely to succeed—and even if you are unsuccessful your living conditions won’t be adversely affected.


Q: What is a bond?

A: a bond is a debt instrument used by corporations (and government entities) to help fund their growth.  Bonds are issued in increments of $1,000 and are sold at either a discount (below $1,000) or at a premium (above $1,000) and yield and yield to maturity is used to determine rates of return.

Interest rate movement will play a large factor in determining the actual yield or yield to maturity.  Bonds come in all durations with short, intermediate, and long-term available on the markets.

Governments also issue bonds (i.e. series EE and Series I) directly to individuals as well and they also issue municipal bonds  and treasuries among others.


Q: What is a bond fund?

A: a bond fund is a collection of bonds and can be mixed in any number of ways such as corporate and government, long-term only, short, intermediate and long-term, national and international and many other ways that a bond fund manager sees fit to create.


Q: What is the difference among corporate, municipal, government, international, series EE, series I and junk bonds?


  • Corporate bonds are a debt security issued by a corporation and sold to investors. The backing for the bond is usually the payment ability of the company, which is typically money to be earned from future operations. In some cases, the company’s physical assets may be used as collateral for bonds.


  • Municipal bonds (or “munis” for short) are debt securities issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities to fund day-to-day obligations and to finance capital projects such as building schools, highways or sewer systems etcetera. Generally, the interest on municipal bonds is exempt from federal income tax, however some municipalities issue both taxable and non-taxable munis.   Pension funds and foreign investors normally don’t get the tax break.


  • Government bonds are a debt security issued by a government to support government spending. Before investing in government bonds, investors need to assess several risks associated with the country, such as country risk, political risk, inflation risk and interest rate risk, although the government usually has low credit risk. Federal government bonds in the United States include savings bonds, Treasury bonds and Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS).


  • International bonds are a debt investment that is issued in a country by a non-domestic entity.  International bonds are issued in your country but are purchased outside of the country in which you reside and are purchased in your  country’s currency.  They pay interest at specific intervals, and pay the principal amount back to the bond’s buyer (you) at maturity in the same manner as domestic bonds.


  • Series EE bonds are a “non-marketable”, interest-bearing U.S. government savings bond that is guaranteed to at least double in value over the initial term of the bond, typically 20 years. Most Series EE bonds have a total interest-paying life that extends beyond the original maturity date, up to 30 years from issuance.


  • Series I bonds are a non-marketable, interest-bearing U.S. government savings bond that earns a combined: 1) fixed interest rate; and. 2) variable inflation rate (adjusted semiannually).  Series I bonds are meant to give investors a return plus protection on their purchasing power.  Series EE and I bonds are considered “non-marketable” savings bonds meaning they can’t be bought and sold in the marketplace.  The can be redeemed at many banks and financial institutions.


  • Junk bonds are a fixed-income instrument that refers to a high-yield or non-investment grade bond. Junk bonds carry a credit rating of BB or lower by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), or Ba or below by Moody’s Investors Service. Junk bonds are so called because of their higher default risk in relation to investment-grade bonds.


They do well when the economy is growing rapidly and stocks are rising.


Q: What are bond rating agencies and how do they operate?

A: There are a number of bond rating agencies and they include Weiss, S & P’s, Moody’s, Fitch and several others and they rate corporations, cities, counties, states and national government’s based on their ability or perceived ability to repay their debt.

In a sense it is based on the financial strength that they bring forward based on their past, present and projected ability to repay their debt obligations.


Q: What is the bond rating of the United States?

A: With the United States being the strongest economy in the world in the minds of many it is a big surprise for many when they learn that the United States does not have the highest bond rating.

The United States was recently downgraded from AAA to AA by Moody’s and Standard & Poors (several credit rating agencies around the world have downgraded their credit ratings of the U.S. federal government, including Standard & Poor’s (S&P) which reduced the country’s rating from AAA (outstanding) to AA+ (excellent) on August 5, 2011.


Q: If the interest rate rises what will happen to bond prices?

A: The bond price “will fall” as there is an inverse relationship (opposite relationship) to bond prices–meaning if interest rates fall bond prices will rise.


Q: What is YTM or Yield to Maturity and how do I determine what my YTM is prior to purchasing a bond?

A: Yield to Maturity takes into consideration the interest (coupon payments) during the period of bond ownership up until the bond is sold at its maturity date—thus YTM.

Yield on the other hand only includes the coupon payments that you will receive on an annual basis.

You can possibly get the YTM or projected YTM from your broker or other published financial publications.


Q: What is duration as it relates to bonds?

A: Duration is a measure of a bonds interest rate sensitivity.  You can use a bonds duration to make a better decision as to whether the bond will rise or fall based on interest rate movement.


Q: How are bonds taxed?

A: Many are taxed depending on whether they are inside or outside of a retirement account and the taxation is based on the interest received during the year.

If they are inside of your retirement account they may avoid taxation until withdrawals or retirement distributions begin to occur.  Some bonds (depends on the type) are taxed on an annual basis and some are taxed at maturity and those that are used for certain purposes may avoid taxation altogether.


Q: What is the biggest risk that I will normally face if I invest in bonds?

A: Market activity is the real key especially as it relates to rising inflation.  If inflation is stable or not moving upward much, interest rate movement will normally be stable as well and bond investments will remain a good play.

When a large number of bondholders move over to stocks for varying reasons that too can be a cause for concern.

However, rising inflation is something you must be aware of and if you are a bond owner you want to be aware of that movement so that you can countermove and limit your losses or protect your gains—in a timelier manner.


Q: What is bond laddering and how can I ladder my portfolio to increase my returns?

A: You can ladder your portfolio by purchasing bonds at different times and purchasing bonds with differing durations.

For example you can purchase short, intermediate and long-term bonds at differing intervals such as every 6 months, every year or every other year for a specified period of time—and that will help protect your gains or limit your losses.


Q: What is my number 1 concern if I decide to invest in bonds?

A: Depending on the type of bond you invest in inflation is normally the major concern as it will devalue the real worth of future interest payments and usually results in higher interest rates that will bring down the bond’s current market value.


Q: What is an inverted yield curve and how will it affect my bond investments?

A: It usually means the economy is slowing and moving into a recession.  Investors may forecast lower interest rates and pull money out of bonds and put into cash, stocks or mutual funds.


Q: How are bonds typically sold?

A: Usually in multiples of $1,000 if you purchase from a broker. Bond funds and mutual funds may offer investment of a lower amount.  Series EE and I bonds can be purchased for as little as $50.


Q: If a company liquidates where do I as a bondholder fall in claiming whatever cash becomes available as a result of the liquidation (bankruptcy)?


A: The good news is that bondholders are first in line to be paid during bankruptcy proceedings.  You would be considered a general creditor, along with employees, contractors and suppliers–stockholders would be the last in line.


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Cash Flow & Investing in Your Future

Learn how you can invest and build wealth more efficiently in the current economy by knowing where your money goes on a monthly basis…


It is important that you have a workable understanding of how your monthly cash flow will affect your future outcomes.


In this discussion will look at ways that you can effectively manage your cash flow in the current economy, as you age–and during your retirement years.


By knowing this information at this time (right now) you can more effectively plan your and your family’s future so that you can take the vacations that you desire, do more on a monthly basis with your kids and grand-kids, donate time and money to your favorite charitable organization(s), enjoy entertainment in a way that makes your life more meaningful and pursue other goals that are dear to you and your family.


There is nothing that you can do to change certain things in your life that may have happened to you in the past.


However, if you make the decision at this time to look at your finances and your future in a more intelligent, consistent and proactive manner you CAN change the outcome of your investments and live the type of retirement that you desire.


You Must Know Your Current Cash Flow


It is imperative that you at this time take a serious look at your monthly inflows and outflows of income and expenses from all sources.


Does your income exceed your expenses on a monthly basis or is there a shortfall? 


This is something that you must know so that you can build wealth and invest in your future in a way that will ensure that you will attain realistic results.


You must at this time define your monthly income, gather your monthly expenses and determine if you have discretionary income that you can use to save more efficiently or pursue other goals that you may have.


With your knowledge and understanding of just this information you will put yourself well ahead of those in the general population and you will be showing a serious intent to improve your living condition for yourself and your family.


You Must Know Your Cash Flow at the Various Stages in Your Life


Now that you have a handle on your current financial condition as it relates to your monthly cash flow, you can now plan for your future.


Will you make a serious commitment to know where your monthly income and expenses are at this time–or will you procrastinate?


You can now pay off or pay down your debt, make the decision to get more income, increase your retirement contributions, and make other adjustments based on your lifestyle and where you want to go in your future.


You Must Know Your Cash Flow During Your Retirement Years


After you have invested in your future in a way that would take you toward your retirement number you must know your income from all sources along with your monthly expenses during your retirement years.


Did you plan appropriately and in a manner that allows your monthly income from all sources to pay your monthly expenses for the next 20 to 30 years (your remaining life expectancy) or is it likely there will be a shortfall that would force you to continue working?


Will you have a substantial excess that will allow you to leave a legacy for your heirs?


Those and other probing type questions are what you must ask yourself and answer appropriately during this time so that you won’t have to look back in regret during your retirement time.




It is imperative that you have an overview of your life stages at this time so that you can invest in a wise manner at the various stages in your life.


It is also important that you measure the success that you achieve at the various stages in your life on your ability to pay your monthly expenses during your retirement years in a manner that allows you to do just that—and have money left over for the enjoyment of life that you desire during your retirement years.


Will you have the monthly income from all sources (social security, 401k, pension income, investments and other sources) that will allow you to live at a comfortable level after the payment of all of your mandatory monthly expenses?


If you don’t see it happening after sincerely analyzing your finances at this time—NOW is the time to alter your planning to make it happen!


In addition to aiming for your “retirement number” be sure to also aim for your “ability to pay your monthly bills” and have cash left over for the enjoyment of life on a monthly basis.


Your “retirement number” is a lofty goal, however it may not bring you the monthly income that you need to pay your expenses and live at the level that you desire during your retirement years or your remaining years on earth based on your life expectancy.


Be sure to look at your finances in a comprehensive manner at this time so that you will minimize or reduce any future surprise as it relates to your inflow and outflow of cash on a monthly basis.


If your monthly income does not look like it will cover your monthly expenses based on your analysis at this time, it is your responsibility to come up with more income or pay off or pay down your debt so that you can get your debt to a level that allows you to get the numbers on a monthly basis—as far as your income and expenses—to turn in your favor.


Will you need 60%, 75% or 85% of your current income to live at the level that you desire?


It is up to you at this time to determine the path that you will take as far as making your retirement years a more pleasurable experience as you complete your journey on planet earth.


Always remember that joy and confusion cannot live in the same house!  Make the decision now to see your retirement years with clarity by investing the time NOW to achieve and live the way that you desire LATER (during your retirement years).


Now is the time that you go after what you desire with real zest.

Now is the time that you give it your best.


You must at this time know–your cash flow!

You must at this time decide to pursue results that will show!

It is up to you to aim high or low!

Now is the time that you reap what you sow by planting (planning) in advance so “you” will know!


All the best to your cash flow and retirement success as you pursue your future with more zest…


Go to to calculate your current monthly cash flow number…

Go to T Rowe Price for free 30 second retirement projection calculator…

Go to for your retirement number calculator…

Go to 100 money saving tips that can help improve your cash flow…

Go to Net Worth & Wealth Building page on this site to learn about your Net Worth and how it relates to your Cash Flow…


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Net Worth & Wealth Building

Learn why it is imperative that you know your net worth as you pursue your wealth building efforts…


In the current economic environment there are many who are trying to get ahead financially.


Although that is a lofty goal, many have no clue or are totally unaware of where they now stand financially as it relates to their finances and particularly their net worth as they attempt to build wealth.


In this discussion will integrate your understanding of how you can manage your finances on a daily basis with the knowledge that you need to know that can help you  “increase of your net worth” and ultimately your wealth–so that you can live in a manner that will bring you the joy that you desire on a continuous basis!


It is very important that you have a real understanding of what you own (your current assets) and what you owe (your current liabilities) as that is a critical factor as you move forward in your financial life.  It is also very important that you at this time come to the full realization that your “Self Worth” is far more important than your “Net Worth” as you build wealth!


In simple form, theory and practice you can determine your net worth by creating a personal balance sheet so that you will know what you own and what you owe (assets minus liabilities equal net worth) and create a level of comfort or discomfort within your mind–depending on the “outcome of the number that you come up with”–as it relates to your net worth at this time.


However, even if the number that you come up with is not of your liking, you can change all of that by making the decision to do so and then putting an action plan in place that will take you to where you need or desire to be.


If your net worth is not at an acceptable level, you can take real steps that can assure that you will get your finances to an acceptable level or to the level that will make life more meaningful and enjoyable for you and your family!


If your net worth is at an acceptable level you can continue to make good decisions as it relates to your finances and build the type of wealth that will take you toward the net worth that you desire or toward  the net worth that will make life “more enjoyable” for you and your family.


You can start on a journey of improving your net worth so that you can do what you really desire to do during your lifetime by taking several important steps:


1)      Know how to use personal financial statements to your advantage

If you approach your finances with the creation and understanding of a personal budget or cash flow statement you can put yourself in position to make the right–or at a minimum a good decision as it relates to your financial future.


You also need to create a personal income statement if you desire even more clarity about where you are headed as far as your finances are concerned.  You can look at your personal income statement in the same manner as your cash flow statement—however it is on a 12 month or annual basis, whereas your cash flow statement or budget is on a monthly basis.


In addition, a personal balance sheet will provide you the knowledge of where you stand financially as far as your net worth is concerned.


The higher your net worth, the better off you are doing financially.  You can purchase Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this Millennium and learn about ways that you can attack your net worth before and after you retire in ways you may have never imagined.


You can go to, right now to see where you now stand as far as your net worth is concerned.  Be sure you have accurate numbers as it relates to your assets and liabilities.


By doing so you can put yourself in better position to achieve the goals that you desire to attain during your lifetime.


2)      Know how to manage your credit effectively throughout your lifetime

It is important that you skillfully manage your credit affairs and you don’t let creditor’s skillfully manage you where you operate from a disadvantage.


Why should you operate from a vantage point of disadvantage when you can have creditor’s operate from a point of disadvantage—if you gain and utilize the right knowledge.


By mastering what it takes to manage your credit effectively throughout your lifetime you put yourself in position to achieve at an optimal level throughout your lifetime and at the same time put yourself in position to use credit wisely or in a manner where you come out ahead!


3)      Know all areas of your finances that you must address—and then address those areas appropriately

By knowing and understanding your personal financial statements, knowing how to skillfully manage your credit and having a real understanding of where you want to take your future you are now ready to look at your finances in a comprehensive manner and make moves based on that analysis that will help further increase your net worth as you build wealth.


By knowing all areas of your finances that you must address and acting in a positive way on that knowledge you can put yourself in position to attain many of the goals that you may have thought about—but never thought you would achieve during your lifetime.


At this stage you would put together written plans that would lead you toward reaching your goals in a realistic manner.




By using financial statements to your advantage by reviewing your current cash flow and making improvements where needed, cutting your expenses and getting more income (if you need to do so) you are getting on a real path toward increasing your net worth.


However, you can’t stop there!


You must know what you own (your assets) and what you owe (your liabilities) so that you can readily determine your net worth.


Your goal on an annual basis is to always increase your net worth!


In reality, there may be setbacks along the way and that is why you must also properly establish an emergency fund if you have not already done so.


In addition,  you must manage your credit optimally and not let your credit manage you (pull you in directions that are not of “your” choosing).  You must further look at ways that you can manage your insurance, investments, taxes, education funding, estate planning/wills and retirement planning in a way that will take you toward your goals in a more effective and efficient manner.


It is in your best short and long term interest to know your net worth at the earliest stage possible and to make plans to improve your net worth at the earliest time possible.


It is your responsibility to know where you stand financially and it is your responsibility to put in place a plan that will reduce or eliminate your debt so that you can start on a serious journey to building wealth and increasing your net worth.


Your sincere approach to eliminating debt, increasing your income and building wealth in a manner that truly serves your best interest is a major factor in helping you get on a fast track path to making life more enjoyable for you, your loved ones—and others as you navigate through life on planet earth.


Always remember that the more focused you are toward improving your net worththe more mental energy you can pull up from inside your mind  that can take you toward your goals more efficiently.


Be sure to put your goals in writing to help clarify your intent so that you can focus your resources (financial and non-financial) on things that really matter in your life.  By doing so you will increase your net worth and build your wealth more efficiently over the coming years.


All the best to your new net worth success…


Calculate your net worth now at net worth page…

Learn how to invest in a wiser manner so that you can get the returns that you desire…

Learn why your “Self Worth” is far more important than your “Net Worth” as you build wealth…


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