Thursday, September 15, 2011

foreclosure sales

Investing in Communites launch by Big Lottery Fund

You've no doubt seen them or examine them. Glossy ads or four-color advances in publications and papers promising to instruct you all of the juicy information about successful real estate investing. And all you should do to learn all these real est investing surface encounters chuck russo secrets is to pay a rather high sum for a one-or two-day seminar.

Often these types of slick real estate investing workshops claim that you could make smart, profitable real-estate investments with absolutely no money down (except, of program, the hefty fee you buy the seminar). Now, how appealing is which? Make a benefit from real estate investments you made with no money. Possible? Not most likely.

Successful owning a home requires cash flow. That's the nature of any type of business or perhaps investment, especially real-estate investing. You put your hard earned money into something which you hope and plan is likely to make you more income.

Unfortunately too few newbies to the world of real estate investing believe that it's a magical type of business where standard enterprise rules will not apply. Simply place, if you want to stay in property investing for a lot more than, say, a day or 2, then you're going to have to come up with money to utilize and invest.

While it may be true which buying property with simply no money down is simple, anyone who's even made a basic owning a home (such as buying their particular home) knows there's much more involved in property investing that can cost you money. For instance, what regarding any essential repairs?

So, the number one rule people a new comer to real property investing must remember is always to have accessible cash reserves. Before you decide to actually do any real-estate investing, save some money. Having a little money within the bank when you begin real estate investing surface encounters chuck russo can help you make more profitable real estate investments in rental properties, for example.

When real estate investing inside rental properties, you'll want in order to select just qualified tenants. If you might have no income when property investing in rental qualities, you could be pressured experience a a smaller amount qualified tenant because you need somebody to pay you money so that you can take care of maintenance or attorney fees.

For any type of real estate investing, meaning rental properties or perhaps properties you purchase to resell, having money reserved can allow you to ask to get a higher price. You can require a increased price from the owning a home because you surface encounters chuck russo won't feel financially strapped as you wait for an offer. You won't be backed into a corner and forced to accept just any offer because you desperately need the money.

Another downfall of many new to real estate investing is actually, well, greed. Make the profit, yes, but do not become thus greedy that you simply ask regarding ridiculous leasing or resale rates on any of your real est investments.

Those a new comer to real est investing must see real-estate investing like a business, NOT a hobby. Don't believe real property investing will make you rich overnight. What company does?

It will take about six months to figure out if real-estate investing in for you. If you have decided which, hey I really like this, then offer yourself a few years to actually start making money. It usually takes at least five years to get truly successful in real estate investing.

Persistence is the key to success in property investing. If you might have decided that real estate investing is perfect for you, surface encounters chuck russo keep plugging away at it and the rewards will be greater than you imagined.

Socially responsible investments might be emotionally compelling investments, but do they necessarily have compelling financial returns?

The term "Impact Investing" has taken on many meanings in the past few years. I want to end the confusion and underscore that impact investing must by definition deliver impactful and compelling financial returns.

Impact investing has been labeled as a subset of socially responsible investing (SRI). But, it is not a subset of SRI.

The basic premise of socially responsible investing is to avoid investing in businesses that cause harm to the environment or society. Since SRI's approach to investing is narrow and passive, it is by definition often a niche investing strategy, which in many cases has delivered lukewarm returns.

SRIs don't necessarily impact an industry, impact investments necessarily do. Yet, many organizations still treat SRI and impact investing like synonyms - causing confusion.

For example, here is the definition of SRI from ecolife, a website that is an online guide to green living:

"Socially responsible investing is an investment strategy employed by individuals, corporations, and governments looking for ways to ensure their funds go to support socially responsible firms. The concept goes by names like sustainable investing, impact investing, community investing, ethical investing, and socially-conscious investing; it is a non-financial gauge that is used when selecting various investment options that takes into account factors such as environmental, social, and ethical values."

The reality is that some socially responsible investments can be impact investments, but not all impact investments are socially responsible investments. So, SRIs are really a subset of impact investing. According to the Monitor Institute's new report "impact investors want to move beyond 'socially responsible investment'."

All impact investments have the potential to move towards a new economy - an impact economy, not all SRIs will. In fact, most SRIs won't.

Why? Impact investing is socially responsible and must have compelling returns. Returns that make the professional investor consider it seriously as a critical piece in the portfolio. According to Dr. Arjuna Sittampalam, research associate with EDHEC-Risk Institute, "in other words, the investor makes an active decision to seek a social or developmental return alongside their financial return."

Since impact investments create compelling returns, they have a greater chance of attracting more serious professional investors than SRIs -- a necessity for creating worldwide social change and impact.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines impact investments as those that: "aim to solve social or environmental challenges while generating financial profit. Impact investing includes investments that range from producing a return of principal capital (capital preservation) to offering market-rate or even market-beating financial returns. Although impact investing could be categorized as a type of 'socially responsible investing,' it contrasts with negative screening, which focuses primarily on avoiding investments in 'bad' or 'harmful' companies - impact investors actively seek to place capital in businesses and funds that can harness the positive power of enterprise."

This definition is more on target with the real definition of impact investing, but to revise part of GIIN's definition: Impact investments only include investments that can offer market-rate or even market-beating financial returns.

So, my definition -- impact investing must achieve four significant goals:

1. Make an impact in solving a pressing problem of our time,

2. Generate compelling returns for investors,

3. Generate growth for economies, and

4. Generate prosperity for developed and developing nations.

An example is my own case-in-point. I founded SunEdison that created the power purchase agreement (PPA) model for the solar industry. This business model used net metering, streamlined interconnection standards, ways to connect to the grid, and actually provided a new solar power service to customers.

Investments in PPAs are delivering 7-12% unleveraged after tax returns. In today's financial environment; these are compelling returns given the low risks.

Plus, PPAs have lowered the use of fossil fuels to deliver electric energy; created thousands of jobs worldwide and are growing. They have impactful financial returns and impact a big problem.

According to the Monitor Institute's new report Investing for social and environmental impact: a design for catalyzing an emerging industry "it is certainly plausible that in the next five to 10 years investing for impact could grow to represent about 1 percent of estimated professionally managed global assets in 2008. That would create a market of approximately $500 billion. A market that size would create an important supplement to philanthropy, nearly doubling the amount given away in the U.S. alone today."

But that is only a start, a start to an "Impact Economy." To really make a difference - to leverage impact investing to create an impact economy, it must be larger. Some estimate that we need to invest over $1 trillion to combat issues like climate change, poverty, and lacking global health, to put the world back onto a stable more equitable footing.

So, let's put our money where the impact is. Stop selling impact investors short.

Jigar Shah is CEO of the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change and create a post-carbon economy.

The manic depressive market wildly swings up and down on each new news story: The Fed is meeting at Jackson Hole on August 27 possibly to discuss QE3 (or not), and that news may pump up the stock market. But China's banks seem to be using Enron's accounting manual, Europe's banks need liquidity and are loaded with bad debt, and U.S. banks only temporarily TARPed over trouble. Gaddafi's regime in Libya appears over, but Libya's oil output may not fully recover for years. Venezuela wants banks to open their vaults and send back its gold, but Wells Fargo says gold is a bubble. Pundits say gold is a barbarous relic, but exchanges and banks are now using gold as money. The U.S. is headed for hyperinflation with skyrocketing stock prices, but on the other hand, we seem to be deflating like Japan and doomed to a deflating stock market for another decade. Whom do you trust and what should you do?

No one knows where the stock market or U.S. Treasury bonds are headed tomorrow, but in my opinion, here are some fundamentals to consider.

The Bad News Isn't Going Away

Until we have real global financial reform and restrain the banks, we won't have sustained growth. The stock market hasn't hit bottom. There's a crisis of confidence in banks and all currencies. We haven't taken effective steps to tackle the U.S. deficit through productivity. We haven't examined spending to eliminate fraud and waste, and we haven't addressed our need for more tax revenues by eliminating the Bush tax cuts (for starters).

Savers are punished by "stranguflation:" negative real returns on "safe" assets, declining housing prices, and rising costs of food, energy and health care. The Fed touts the falling cost of I-Pads, but how often do you buy one of those, and how often do you eat?

Good News (for Now)

The USD is still the world's reserve currency. Even though we devalued the USD, there has been a global flight to U.S. Treasuries pushing down our borrowing costs (yields). No one in the global financial community feels the U.S. has done its best to correct our problems, but severe problems in Europe, China's inflation, and Middle East unrest has money running to the U.S. Since we've devalued the dollar, we appear to be a bargain for foreign investors, even though they are terrified by our money printing presses and the potential for inflating commodity prices in the long run.

How did I play this? My own portfolio is currently more than 20% gold with some silver, and I bought out-of-the-money call options on the VIX when it was in the teens with maturities of 4-6 months. This is "short" stock market strategy, one could have also done well buying puts on the S&P a few months ago. In the first big stock market downdraft in August, I sold the options when the VIX hit the high 30's, and I'll buy more options again if the VIX falls again. Many investors are not comfortable with options, and this strategy isn't appropriate for everyone. The rest of my portfolio is chiefly in cash or deep value opportunities.

What Happens Next?

No one knows for sure, and anyone who tells you he or she does is selling snake oil. The situation is fluid. We tried to reflate our deflating economy. Our massive dollar devaluation may encourage investment, because it's protectionist. It reduces our cost of labor, among a few other "benefits." The problem is that the Fed has printed money, and we haven't done anything to position the U.S. for greater productivity. We're trying to inflate our way out of a problem without investing in productivity. This is a very dangerous way of attacking this problem. Even more "stimulus" would just be an attempt to inflate our way out of our long-standing deep recession. That's the foolish and unsuccessful strategy we've adopted so far. That could lead to runaway budget deficits (our deficit already looks intractable) and bring us to double-digit inflation. Even the European flight to US Treasuries may not save us from a deeper recession in that scenario.

If we don't overreact -- and we may have already overreacted -- our dollar devaluation results in our foreign trade situation first getting worse (as it has now) before it gets better. Now is the time (actually, we should have started years ago) to spend capital to increase U.S. productivity. The dollar's plunge relative to other currencies will eventually make us more competitive. This will be good for blue chip companies, in particular those that own real assets and manufacture items. The Fed and Washington may do anything, however, so one must watch the news.

What does this mean for the U.S. stock market? In my opinion, it is currently not good value and feels like the 1970s when we experienced a recession followed by inflation. One should consider staying mostly in cash and expect stocks become cheaper. One might miss an interim rally, especially if the Fed announces QE3 (more "stimulus" and money printing) or more bank bailouts, but that is like using Kleenex laced with sneezing powder. We will see stock prices even lower than they are today. The old paradigm dictated that stocks were a buy when P/E ratios were 13 or less (and many are well above that), dividends at 4%, and book values at 1.3 or less. (This excludes oil companies, which tend to trade at lower P/E ratios in general.) I believe we'll see much better deals in coming months. In 1978/79 P/E ratios sank below 7 for blue chip companies.

Should one buy U.S. Treasuries with long maturities? The long end of the bond market doesn't reward investors due to the potential of rising interest rates. If interest rates spike to double digits, then one can reassess the situation.

Long term investors should consider buying commodities or companies that own physical commodities. We're running out of key commodities especially related to agriculture and fertilizer. Washington's brand of the latter isn't the type we need.

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