Which is better? This (our latest real estate investment), or…
this. www.finance.yahoo.com chart of US dollar to Japanese yen since December 2012.
A reader recently asked this question: You pay cash for real estate but advocate the use of leverage in currency investments. Why not leverage your real estate investments?
Kyle Bass, Dallas TX Hedge Fund manager, was recently quoted as saying the best thing one can do now to overcome the coming inflation is to buy an apartment complex and put long term, low interest debt on it…in so many words. He also said short Japan, buy gold and go to sleep…everything will be fine when you wake up in ten years…again probably not a quote but you get the point.
My reply to this reader can help understand more about leveraged investments and when, how and why to borrow to invest.
I wrote: The differences between borrowing to buy real estate and leveraging an investment account include management, risk protection and cost.
Let’s look first at management. My report Borrow Low-Deposit High outlines that borrowing low and investing the loan high is mainly about earning positive carry. For example you borrow at 3% and earn 7%. You make 4% extra for taking the currency risk. This can be managed very inexpensively.
Ideally the currencies do not fluctuate for extended periods so you maximize your income. In a perfect scenario in the end after years the borrowed currency falls and one exits the position with a nice profit.
A good example was the yen in the 1980s when it was 111 yen per dollar and could be borrowed for 4%. Dollar bonds at that time were paying 8% and even more.
The yen continued to strengthen and over several years rose all the way to 79 yen per dollar. The losses on paper were terrible…. but all this time the borrowed yen was earning an extra 4% and 5% per annum. Finally the yen collapsed and fell all the way to yen 145 per dollar. I exited and enjoyed a nice forex gain after having earned the positive carry for years.
I had earned income even though I showed a loss on paper. In real estate during times of loss, income flow is more easily cut off leaving an investors with a negative income.
Next is risk protection. The Borrow Low-Deposit High report has a schedule so investors can pre calculate forex profits and losses before taking a position.
The report recommends that before taking a position an investor set a stop loss and immediately clear the position if they earn a certain profit or suffer a certain loss. The highly liquid nature of the multi currency sandwich allows an almost instant end to the speculation whenever one’s position moves into a loss position.
Plus leverage in the borrow low deposit high recommendation is quite low… a maximum of four to one, but more normally two to one. Invest $100,000 and borrow $100,000 or $200,000 at maximum.
In real estate the leverage can at times reach 19 to one (5% down) and the value of the asset is imprecise and liquidity often low.
The idea of leveraging real estate is a great one. I have a number of friends who have made huge fortunes doing exactly that.
However I have also known many people who borrowed heavily on real estate and in the 1970s, the 1980s and mid 2000s went bankrupt.
We have recommended buying rental real estate in Smalltown USA for several years but there is far higher management costs to the real estate than currencies. Jyske for example charges between 3/4% and 2% to manage a position. Real estate managers typically charge 10% to 15%. Real estate is not as fungible nor as liquid as currencies.
Any one dollar or yen or euro is the same anywhere and is worth at any moment the same almost any place and can be sold almost immediately 24 hours a day. This is not so for real estate.
The costs of entering and exiting real estate is also very high compared to currencies. A currency turn can bu around 3/10s of 1%. Buying and selling a piece of real estate can be 12% or more.
Currently it looks like the real estate we have been buying will do very well if the economy continues to recover as expected.
Yet in downturns there are multiple real estate carrying costs… insurance, taxes, maintenance, plus a vacancy rate.
Real estate sales prices can vary depending on multiple circumstances and the huge number of foreclosures and short sales that remain in the market speak of this problem.
My nephew was one of the biggest house builders in Oregon and had huge real estate loans when everyone went south in 2007. He saw the problem and auctioned off every property he could. Yet he still suffered great losses.
Buying real estate is a good business. There are many ways to do this and many use leverage. We prefer to buy real estate with cash and find that most readers we meet would be better off thinking this way.
In the end this boils down to whether one wants to make an investment or have a business.
I agree by the way with Kyle Bass on the yen. This site posted a recommendation to borrow (short) yen in December.
This site often recommends buying rental real estate. This site often recommends borrowing low and depositing high. This site also often recommends having a micro business.
Real estate can form the basis of a good investment or of a micro business. The difference is the amount of management you plan to put in. If you are going to leverage real estate… be sure you have a a good base of renters and the ability to manage or a good management company because if the market turns the wrong way you cannot quickly get out.
Should you borrow or not? If you have enough money to do what you wish without leverage… and the extra profit won’t really make a difference to your lifestyle, don’t borrow. Investing with leverage increases risk and you should never borrow more than you can afford to lose.
Get the “Borrow Low – Deposit High” report free when you order our “Embracing Change: How to Invest in Changing Times” This report is about Managing Risk.
The Secret Science of WealthHere is a ratio that can make us rich….1.6 to 1. Leverage in this amount has helped build one of the greatest fortunes in history. This ratio is one of three secrets in the science of everlasting wealth. See how Yale University’s research on Warren Buffet’s investing strategy shows the actual science of how to borrow low and invest high.
I began thinking about the secrets of good investing over 30 years ago. Well, actually I had thought about these secrets many times before that. “Why do some people make money again and again? What is their secret?”
However, this thinking was super charged about 3 decades ago. I was a speaker at an investment seminar in the Cayman Islands. Another speaker was one of the world’s great investors, John Templeton. Chance put us in the same room waiting to speak. Then after we spoke chance brought us together, alone in the small departure lounge at the airport. This was my golden chance, to speak alone, one on one, with this investing genius. I took it. “What’s the secret that sets you aside from the rest“, I asked.
Mr. Templeton (he was not Sir John then) explained that he just did the same as every good investor to stay on top of trends. But then, he added, his secret was to review everything with a black box… a form of thinking beyond logic.
Then his flight departure was called. He flew away and I was left, more puzzled than before. “Hmpf?” I wondered. “Knowing that secret doesn’t help. What’s the science behind the black box? That’s what I need to know.”
I remained mystified. Later the mystery deepened. I was conducting a book signing for my novel “The 65th Octave”.
I was speaking at a (now defunct) Borders Bookstore about how the core of the novel was the Golden Words. They helped reveal little known secrets for a more fulfilled life. One attendee, burst out crying. That was very puzzling so after the signing I asked her, “Why the tears?“
She explained that she had been Warren Buffett’s personal assistant. Buffett and Charlie Munger had used these same secrets and had encouraged her to use them. She said those ideas had sounded too esoteric. She had ignored them and left Buffett’s employment.
“That’s a clue, I thought. “The same secrets in my novel can be applied to investing”.
This is when I realized how many secrets of everlasting wealth, may seem mystic but are simply well known mathematics of nature. They have not been commonly applied in the science of investing. Only a few investors have learned to apply the science of nature to finance. This rarity has made these few investors almost unimaginably rich.
One secret that research has now proven, is a most interesting proportion of universal math called the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio. The Golden Mean is the ratio of approximately 1.6 to 1 (1.6180339887498948482 to be more accurate, but 1 to 1.6 is usually accurate enough). This rate of expansion is found everywhere-throughout nature. The Golden Mean controls the growth of most natural things; trees, the shape of leaves, the spiral of shells, as well as the way economies and societies grow.
Good businesses and investments grow along the Golden Mean. If they grow too fast or to slow beyond this rate, they face increased risk of loss.
The Golden Mean for example is regularly used in architecture. Our house in North Carolina was built on the Golden Mean.
It has a base of 50 feet by 30 feet… a 1 to 1.6 dimension on purpose.
The Greeks were aware of the pleasing impact of the Golden Ratio and used it as the core of many structures, such as the Parthenon.
In fact the symbol for the Golden Ratio, the Greek letter phi, is derived from the name of Phidias, one of the three architects, who designed this amazing monument. Iktinus and Callicrates were the other two architects. These three used Phi beginning with the exterior of the Parthenon. The dimensions of the façade represent the perfect golden ratio. Then the ratio is used in many ways within.
Ancient Egyptians used the Golden Mean in the Great Pyramids of Giza. The length of the base of the pyramid is approximately the Golden Mean. The height is approximately Pi.
The Golden Mean ratio is in the design of Notre Dame in Paris, the headquarters for the United Nations built under the supervision of Wallace K. Harrison and French architect, Charles E. Jeannere, reflects the Golden Ratio in several ways. The windows have the ratio and also when looking at the width of the entire building and comparing it to the height of every ten floors.
“Great”, I asked myself again and again. “The Golden Mean can be found in the human body, nature, solar systems, DNA, the stock market, the Bible, theology, music, artwork, design, and architecture. That all well and good, but what is the exact science for applying this ratio to investing?
Finally, research about Warren Buffet’s investing strategy published at Yale University’s website shows the actual science of how to use the Golden Ratio to become and remain rich.
A research paper published on the website of Yale University’s Department of Economics pinpoints this truth. The paper shows the methods used by Warren Buffett to amass his $50 billion dollar fortune. The researchers found that the returns from Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, far outweighed those achieved by any rival that has operated for 30 years or more. The research shows that neither luck nor magic are involved. Instead, the paper shows that Buffet’s success hinges on using leverage at the Golden Ratio to make large purchases of “cheap, safe, quality stocks”.
Buffett has amassed an amazing fortune by leveraging a good strategy for very long periods of time, surviving rough periods where others might have been forced into a fire sale or a career shift.
The study found that Buffett applies a leverage of about 1.6 to 1, boosting both his risk and excess return in that proportion. He uses the Golden Mean in his borrowing, not too little, not too much.
Thus his many accomplishments include having the conviction, wherewithal, and skill to operate with leverage and significant risk over many decades.
The research paper shows these general features of Buffet’s portfolio: Stocks that are safe (with low beta and low volatility), cheap (value stocks with low price – to – book ratios), and high quality (stocks of companies that are profitable, stable, growing, and with high payout ratios). Even so at times his portfolio has fallen, but Buffett waits long periods for prices to recover.
This leaves the key question: What capability allows Buffett to hang on when his leveraged investments are losing value?
For example, from June 30, 1998 to February 29, 2000, Berkshire lost 44% of its market value while the overall stock market gained 32%. Most fund managers would have trouble surviving a shortfall of 76%. Buffett’s reputation and structure as a corporation helped him stay the course and rebound when the internet bubble burst. Having not leveraged too much because of the Golden Mean is a crucial part of his tenacity.
Another part of his portfolio science is keeping finance costs low. His company benefited from a AAA credit rating and was able to borrow funds at such low rates that Berkshire was able to issue the first ever negative interest loan in 2002. In addition Buffet bought up insurance companies that could provide low cost finance. Insurance float loans cost only 2.2%, three full percentage points below the average T-bill rate.
Buffet’s staying power also comes from his belief in how he invests and the companies he invests in. Plus Buffett gets smarter by spending much of his time reading every day.
“Warren Buffet treats knowledge like daily compound interest that builds up as the hours tick away.”
He combines this knowledge with fulfillment. He says, “I pretty much don’t do anything I don’t like to do. I’m very fortunate in that… I’m pretty much in command of my own time, but I have a lot of fun doing it.” He remains mostly disconnected from the busy investing world. His success is the freedom to wake up every morning and work on something he is passionate about and that leaves him fulfilled.
These scientific facts that many consider secrets are one foundation of value investing course “The Purposeful investing Course” (Pi).
Another foundation of the Pi course was laid decades ago when I read one sentence in a book review of “The Wealthy 100″.
This book, shows the fallacy of working just for cash. “The Wealthy 100″ is about the wealthiest people in the world (comparing their wealth at the time of their death in relation to the GDP of the USA). John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest man in these terms as his wealth equaled 1/65th of the U.S. GDP.
The last sentence of this paragraph that shook me to my roots was (see underlined below): “The stories of the Astors, Vanderbilts and Morgans have been fascinating. They were not always the smartest, or best educated, but possessed a single minded discipline. If there were a common denominator it was a passion they brought to business whether inspired by greed or desire to be the best.
The backlash; many lived unhappily.
How would you feel if in the last 30 seconds of your life you realized you were the richest person in the world and yet had lived an unhappy life?
That simple question led me to years of soul searching and research for that foundation of Pi. This is why I decided to create a course based my 50 years of of writing and speaking about multi currency investing.
Pi combines my experience with wisdom gained from some of the world’s best investment managers and economic mathematical scientists I have met and worked with.
Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing
Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies. These are major foundations of the Behavior Gap, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose. The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear. The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress. More about the gap in a moment.
Learn how to create profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal goals.
Learn the Golden Rules. Pi contains “50 Golden Rules of Investing” that have been picked up over 50 years. These rules help you avoid the pitfalls that create the behavior gap. For example, The first golden rule is: There is always something we do not know. No investment story contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Every investment is based on some approximation. This fact means some investments we make will rise in value and some will fall, at least temporarily. It’s human nature to avoid loss. When investments fall, pride and fear create irrational, unscientific action. Thus most investors earn less than the rise of the markets they invest in. The shortage is the behavior gap.
Part of Pi’s mission is to help overcome this Behavior Gap.
Spanning the Behavior Gap
Behavior gaps are among the biggest reasons why so many investors fail. Human evolution makes fear the second most powerful motivator. (Greed is the third.) Fear creates investment losses due to behavior gaps. Fear motivates us more strongly than desire. By nature investors are risk adverse, when they should embrace risk.
Warren Buffett highlighted that fighting fear is easier said than done when he said, “There is no comparison between fear and greed. Fear is instant, pervasive and intense. Greed is slower. Fear hits.”
Pi is based on an investing reality that very few investment advisers ever cover. Most investments fail because they lack comfort.
The course syllabus includes learning how to create investments we are comfortable with.
Pi helps us examine what type of investor we are. Learn how to create strategies, choose tactics and decide how much delegation to use.
Start with unique personalized strategies that are individual, unique and are based on:
#1: Our interests.
#2: Our knowledge.
#3: Our income, capital and needs.
#4: Our age.
#5: Our performance requirements, (accumulation, income production or inflation protection).
#6: Our liquidity potential.
#7: Our volatility capability.
Pi examines each of these investing foundations through the examination of a primary Pifolio.
Combine our needs and capabilities with the secrets and the math.
Pifolio – The Pi Model Portfolio
Lessons from Pi are based on the creation and management of a Primary Pi Model Portfolio, called the Pifolio. There are no secrets about this portfolio except that it is based entirely on good math.
The Pifolio is a theoretical portfolio of MSCI Country Benchmark Index ETFs that cover all the good value markets using my (almost) 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of four mathematical investing geniuses (and friends): Michael Keppler, Eric Roseman, Thomas Fischer (for currency positions) and Richard Smith, PhD (for trailing stop alerts).
The Pifolio analysis begins with Keppler who continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return. He compares each major stock market’s history.
Michael is a brilliant mathematician. We have tracked his analysis for over 20 years. He continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return. He compares each stock market’s history. From this, he develops his Good Value Stock Market Strategy. His analysis is rational, mathematical and does not cause worry about short term ups and downs.
In my opinion, Keppler is one of the best market statisticians in the world. Numerous very large fund managers, such as State Street Global Advisers, use his analysis to manage over $2.5 billion of funds.
To invest according to the Country Selection Strategy, it is necessary to construct diversified, risk-controlled, representative country portfolios in every BUY rated country, weighting each country approximately equally in the overall portfolio. It is not appropriate or enough to instruct a stockbroker to simply select stocks in the BUY rated countries.
To achieve this goal of diversification the Pifolio consists of Country Index ETFs.
Country Index ETFs are similar to an index mutual fund but are shares normally traded on a major stock exchange that tracks an index of shares in a specific country. ETFs do not try to beat the index they represent. The management is passive and tries to emulate the performance of the index.
A country ETF provides diversification into a basket of equities in the country covered. The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.
This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required. You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices. A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares. You can invest in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index. All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.
Second, each month Pi reviews modified portfolios with specific good value, income producing equities selected by Eric Roseman of ENR Asset Management based on the mathematical good value income criteria such as:
#1: Are the shares traded in a good value market?
#2: Does the share trade at fair Price to Earnings and Price to Cash Flow ratios?
#3: Does the share pay a good value dividend?
#4: Does the share have a good value relative to its previous price?
#5: Does the company have rising earnings?
#6: Has the share price been rising?
#7: Is the company’s management good and is their product or service line in a wave of the future?
Finally, we continually look at the Pifolio with a unique trailing stop system created by our friend, Dr. Richard Smith. His Smart Trailing Stops 2.0 system alerts us to any of the shares which deviate from their good value status.
Richard Smith received a PhD in Mathematical Systems Theory from New York State University, Binghamton, after completing his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. He has spent the last 10 years researching and developing algorithms and services that give individual investors the tools they need to remain in their personal investing comfort zone, and to succeed!
The original Primary Pifolio began with 70% diversified into Keppler’s January 2015, good value developed markets: Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
30% of the Pifolio was invested in Keppler’s January 2015, Good Value Emerging Markets: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia and Taiwan.
The Pifolio consists of iShares ETF that invested in each of the MSCI indicies of these markets.
For example the iShares MSCI Australia (symbol EWA) is a Country Index ETF that tracks the investment results the Morgan Stanley Capital Index MSCI Australia Index which is composed mainly of large cap and small cap stocks traded primarily on the Australian Stock Exchange mainly of companies in consumer staples, financials and materials. This ETF is non-diversified outside of Australia.
The roots of the iShares ETFs dates back to the year 2000 when the British based Barclays Bank made a major contribution to the ETF market and launched over 40 new funds with an extensive education and marketing effort behind them, branding them iShares.
2016 is the count down year of my 50th anniversary of talking and writing about savings and investments, so the course uses the “50 Golden Rules of Investing”. The rules are the 50 best investing lessons I have accumulated from five decades of global travel, investing and business. The stories mostly come from mistakes made, plus some decisions that reaped really rich rewards.
For example in the 1980s, a remarkable set of two economic circumstances helped anyone who spotted them become remarkably rich. Some of my readers made enough to retire. Others picked up 50% currency gains. Then the cycle ended. Warren Buffett explained the importance of this ending in a 1999 Fortune magazine interview. He said: Let me summarize what I’ve been saying about the stock market: I think it’s very hard to come up with a persuasive case that equities will over the next 17 years perform anything like—anything like—they’ve performed in the past 17!
I did well then, but always thought, “I should have invested more!” Now those circumstances have come together and I am investing in them again.
The circumstances that created fortunes 30 years ago were an overvalued US market (compared to global markets) and an overvalued US dollar.
The two conditions are in place again! There are currently ten good value non US developed markets, plus 10 good value emerging markets.
Pi shows how to easily create a diversified, worry free portfolio that includes each or all of these countries with Country Index ETFs.
The current strength of the US dollar is a second remarkable similarity to 30 years ago. The dollar rose along with Wall Street. Profits came quickly over three years. Then the dollar dropped like a stone, by 51% in just two years. A repeat of this pattern is growing and could create up to 50% extra profit if we start using strong dollars to accumulate good value stock market ETFs in other currencies.
This is the most exciting opportunity I have seen since we started sending our reports on international investing ideas more than three decades ago. There is so much more to write and the trends are so clear that I have created a short, but powerful report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More.” This report shows how to earn an extra 50% from currency shifts with even small investments. I kept the report short and simple, but included links to 153 pages of Keppler Asset Stock Market and Asset Allocation Analysis so you can keep this as simple or as complex as you desire.
The report shows 20 good value investments and a really powerful tactic that allows you to accumulate these bargains now in large or even very small amounts (less than $5,000). There is extra profit potential of at least 50% so the report is worth a lot.
Research shows that most people worry about having enough money if they live long enough. This powerful profit wave can eliminate that concern. My experience of the 17 years in the 1980s and 90s combined with the science shared by my four friends (Keppler, Roseman, Fischer and Smith) can make the next 17 years so rich, you’ll always be rich.
You can order this report Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” for $29.95. Order the report here $29.95
Or you can have the report free when you subscribe to Pi.
The 50 years of experience the Pi course shares also explains when leverage provides extra potential. For example in 1986 I issued a report called The Silver Dip that showed how to borrow 12,000 British pounds (at almost 1.6 to 1 dollars per pound the loan created US$18,600) and use the loan to buy 3835 ounces of silver at around US$4.85 an ounce.
Imagine investing in a spike like this… with leverage!
Silver had crashed, I mean really crashed from $48 per ounce. As prices decreased from early 1983 into 1986, total supply had fallen to 449.7 million ounces in 1986. Mine production was restricted by the low prices at this time, with silver reaching a low for this period of $4.85 in May 1986. Secondary recovery also was constricted by these low prices.
Then silver’s price skyrocketed to over $11 an ounce within a year. The $18,600 loan was now worth $42,185.
The loan was in pounds and in May 1986 the dollar pound rate was 1.55 dollars per pound. So the 12,000 pound loan purchased $18,600 of silver. The pound then crashed to 1.40 dollars per silver. The loan could be paid off for $13,285 immediately creating an extra $5,314 profit. The profit grew to $47,499 in just a year.
Conditions for the silver dip have returned. The availability of low cost loans and silver are at an all time low.
With investors watching global stock markets bounce up and down, many missed two really important profit generating events.
The price of silver has crashed all the way from nearly $50 an ounce to below $14 an ounce as did shares of the iShares Silver ETF (SLV). (Click on chart from Google.com (1) to enlarge.)
At the same time the silver gold ratio hit 80, a strong sign to invest in precious metals.
I prepared a special report “Silver Dip 2015” about a leveraged silver speculation that can increase the returns in a safe portfolio by as much as eight times. The purpose of the report is to share long term lessons gained through 30 years of speculating and investing in precious metals. While working on the report, when the gold silver ratio slipped to 80 and the price of silver dropped below $14 an ounce, I knew I needed to share this immediately.
I released a new report “Silver Dip 2015” so readers can take advantage of these conditions and leverage 1.6 times as a speculation.
The speculation is so time sensitive with such fast profit (but also loss) potential that I will only offer it shortly.
Order now by clicking here. Email me The Silver Dip $27.
Or you can have The Silver Dip 2015 FREE when you subscribe to Pi.
Subscribe to the first year of The Personal investing Course (Pi). The annual fee is $299, but to introduce you to this online, course that is based on real time investing, I am knocking $102 off the subscription. Plus you receive the $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and the $27 report “The Silver Dip 2015” free for a total savings of $158.95.
Enroll in Pi. Get the first monthly issue of Pi, the first five “Golden Rules of Investing” and the report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and “The Silver Dip 2015” right away.
#1: I guarantee you’ll learn ideas about investing that are unique and can reduce stress as they help you enhance your profits through slow, worry free purposeful investing.
If you are not totally happy, simply let me know.
#2: I guarantee to cancel your subscription and refund your subscription fee in full, no questions asked.
#3: I guarantee you can keep the golden rules of investing and “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and “The Silver Dip 2105” report as my thanks for trying.
You have nothing to lose except the fear. You have the ultimate form of financial security to gain.
Save $158.95. Subscribe to the Pi for $197.