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Five Ways to Learn Business Management Skills

Many small business owners are experts in their business service or product - whether it’s bookkeeping, designing dog products, or delivering fitness programs. But they’re not experts at business management, and this lack is the reason for at least some of the large number of failures among small businesses.So what can small business owners do to improve business management skills? Here are five of the most convenient ways to upgrade your skills and become more knowledgeable about managing your business.Teleseminars -  There are dozens of free business teleseminars and webinars that you can sign up for. Become a continuous learner and in the space of just a few months you can learn valuable information that will be useful in your business.Networking Events - Keep an eye on business networking events in your town which may feature guest speakers on a variety of business-related topics. These events can include business groups, presentations, workshops, and other gatherings. For the price of a lunch or dinner you can learn more about the featured speaker’s area of expertise. You may even land a new customer by networking with others who are attending the event.Mastermind Group - Napoleon Hill, in “Think and Grow Rich”, described a Mastermind Group as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” Working with other small business owners will help you uncover your existing management skills and learn new ones. You will build on your current level of knowledge and success through the magic of multiple heads creating something much bigger than any one individual.Coaching - Hiring a business coach is another way to learn management skills, as well as to have someone to hold you accountable. You can develop your business quicker by working from your strengths (your product or service) and hiring people to help you with what you’re weak at (business management).Night School -  If you’re committed to learning business management skills, your local school board or college may be of help. Many night schools offer small business education courses that teach entrepreneurs about the management side of their business. For the price of the course and a time investment, you can attend classes filled with other entrepreneurs, and learn from your classmates as well as your instructor. Some instructors will provide additional training as well.These are some of the ways that you can work towards strengthening your business management skills.  Becoming more knowledgeable about managing your venture will greatly improve the chances that your business will succeed.

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Your Guidelines to Opening an Online Business

If you have finished any research at all, you are perhaps familiar with the numerous rewards of starting up an online business. Gains like:• Setting your own hours
• Working for yourself (no more answering to a boss!)
• Mobility-doing the job from your family room, or your backyard, or the beach; working wherever you desire!
• Breaking the “ceiling”; unlimited income opportunity, decided by you!
• Total well being-creating time for crucial events, friends and loved onesThese are generally just a few of the ways that starting a business may help you simplify your life by minimizing the needs traditionally connected with a “conventional” work. These are rewards which, certainly, have appealed to you for some time; have spurred your own curiosity enough to have you studying articles like this one. Now the only question that remains is: How do I get started? These relatively easy techniques will have you on the way to starting an online business in no time!Know Your OptionsThe initial step to starting any kind of business is research. You have already started! You can find about a ba-jillion online business opportunities out there for the choosing-you just need to determine which of these potential uses is the best for you. A handful of concerns to ask yourself throughout this decision making process consists of:Am I internet savvy?When you are, terrific! You’ve got some critical know-how on your side. But if not, there can be quite a few business prospects that provide built in training, instruction, and proved, ready-to-go marketing techniques. They’re great places for beginning online business people to start. As your understanding of internet marketing increases, you may then think of expanding your business to incorporate more challenging pursuits.What do I love?Your chances of accomplishment in any effort are seriously increased if you devote your days associated in something your care about. When selecting a product or service to advertise in your business, be sure to decide on something that interests you-anything that you really feel can make a positive change in the lives of your possible clientele. If you are happy about it, you’ll be more zealous in the day to day functions of your online business, and, as a result, more inspired towards good results!Stay MotivatedAny business pursuit demands meticulous planning and perseverance to follow that plan through. Starting up an online business is no different. The first spot where people fall short in excellently launching their businesses online is that they either fail to plan or they may begin with a solid strategy and fail to follow through. When you start a business, you probably have no one but yourself to answer to, so self motivation is a main factor to success. Stay persistent, whatever it takes!Be ConsistentAmong the list of major benefits afforded by starting any business is the flexibility of picking out your own work schedule. This is unquestionably a wonderful “benefit,” but it’s crucial that you don’t let this freedom make you very lazy. Yes, you may work whenever you want to, but be sure that you’re keeping yourself to a regular timetable, whatever that schedule may be. Consistency in your business practices will help you to stay on track with your goals, and boost your chances of success!By being well-informed, self motivated, and reliable, you, too can start a successful online business. Enjoy!

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Seller Financing is the First Choice When Buy Rental Properties

Banks consider financing investment properties a riskier loan and will charge a higher interest rate or more points than for a traditional mortgage. If money gets tight and a person has to choose between paying his own mortgage and making the monthly payment on his investment property, he/she is going to keep the roof over his own head every time.Buying real estate for investment is different from getting a mortgage for your own home. Depending on how much you put down and your personal credit rating, expect to pay from 1.5% to 2.5% more than the going rate for owner-occupied mortgages. You should also be prepared to make a much larger down payment than was required for your own home. As a rule, banks will be looking for at least 20% down. That is why the bank is the third choice for financing investment properties. Seller financing is the first choice for Rental PropertiesThe seller financing is for the 10% part of down-payment, when the deal is structured 80% bank mortgage and 10% buyer’ own money. This is a deal I would accept as seller myself.The seller financing will always be cheaper, because the seller will not charge points, PMI or loan origination fees. Seller will be thrilled to get 6% or 7% on a first mortgage. That is lower than you get from the bank.Seller will let me make interest-only payments and a balloon payment in 60 months. You can always prepay the principal with a seller financing.This is an example:When you offer a balloon note with the full payment within 60 months, you have got five years for your investment to appreciate. There is enough time to make sense for a refinance for cash out with a bank before balloon is due. You pay the balloon and make payments for just one commercial mortgage after that.The private lenders are the second choice. These are the people with cash who are losing money in the stock market or making 1% to 2% in certificates of deposit. An investment that returns 7% to 8% with a house as collateral is a better alternative.How to prepare for your loan’ applicationRegardless of who is providing the financing, you will need to put together a loan package that outlines the viability of the investment. “The investment will pay for itself” is what the lender wants to hear.The bank will provide 80% for a good credit applicant. The appraisal of the property will include information on comparable sales in the neighborhood and a rent survey of the area.Application should includes a photograph of the property, a rent survey for a quarter-mile radius, projected income and expenses, and a projected vacancy factor based on the area’ vacancy rate. All the estimates are conservative, because that is how bankers asses risks.That is especially important if you are going to the traditional lending market because the requirements have tightened for banks that sell their mortgages to secondary market Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The good news is: Lenders appreciate management skills.The more experience you have in managing rental property, the stronger your application for an investment loan will be. Your level of management experience also determines how much of the rental income they include as your income for the loan application.Get first hand info on this subjects from my “Invest and Manage Properties Successfully” e-book at “Investing Ideas” page.

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There Are Two Kinds of People in the US – Those Who View Health As Static and Those Who Don’t

Introduction: We’re Not #1I believe Americans need a new way of thinking about health. Look where our current perspectives on the subject have gotten us – we are last among the world’s 17 most industrialized nations in all the key indicators of health. It’s hard to believe but true: we’re last in life expectancy; we have the highest rates of obesity, infant mortality, low birth weights, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, homicide rates, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.The lead author of the Institute of Medicine, NIH sponsored study that revealed this situation remarked that “Americans get sicker, die sooner and sustain more injuries than people in all other high-income countries.” (That’s a quote from the report.) Then he added this coup de grace: “We were stunned by the propensity of findings all on the negative side – the scope of the disadvantage covers all ages, from babies to seniors, both sexes, all classes of society. If we fail to act, life spans will continue to shorten and children will face greater rates of illness than those in other nations.”Two Ways to Think of HealthI believe Americans are overly passive about their health. Good health can only be attained and maintained by conscious deeds. These deeds require planning and disciple. Examples include exercising regularly and vigorously, dining in ways that nourish the body without causing problems and otherwise behaving in positive, active ways.The level of health you will enjoy is clearly affected by your lifestyle choices. Your health status depends to a great extent on whether you invest in your well being or not. If you make little or no such investments, your health will depend on chance, genetics, the aging process and the timeliness of the quality of medical care you receive.If, on the other hand, you do invest, if you seek, protect and defend an advanced state of well being, the nature of the health status you will have will be dramatically different – and better.Therefore, we need to distinguish these two kinds of health situations – one passive, one active.The Institute of Health report that places America last reflects that segment of America that is passive. If the quite small segment of the American population that practices active health were separated, if their health data were compiled and compared, I’m sure we would be #1.For these and related reasons, I propose we view health in two different ways – by making a distinction between static health – which is how most view and approach their health, and earned health. The latter is what you get when you invest wisely in your own well being.It’s a way of life I call REAL wellness.Health As Currently PerceivedThe WHO definition of health is unrealistic (nobody, not even the most devout wellite, enjoys “complete physical, mental and social well-being,” at least not every day). Most think of health in far less exalted ways. Most think they are well if they are not sick. This is pathetic. It equates with not needing immediate medical attention. For the vast majority, this is a “good enough” view of health. Thinking that way is a self-fulfilling prophesy. It means that not healthy is the best you can hope for. This is the static definition of health and it must be reformed and at least accompanied by another, comparison perspective for those Americans willing to do their part. That would be earned health.I think we need ideas about health that remind people of a key fact, namely, that a passive situation is not as effective, desirable, protective or rewarding as a dynamic earned state of health. We should all be aware that static health, the default setting you get for just existing and doing nothing special to enhance health, can and must be reinforced and boosted.Employing a term like earned health might remind people that health can be much more than non-illness. The term earned health can signal the availability of a richer level of well being. It can remind everyone that health at its best is more than a static condition. Health is a dynamic state; it gets better with effort, worse if ignored.Earned health represents a higher health standard. Earned health is more ambitious and more consistent with a REAL wellness mindset and lifestyle than the current norm of health as non-sickness.The Static/Earned Health ContinuumThis continuum is another way of expressing Dr. John Travis’ original, simple line drawing model of health along a continuum, with “premature death” on the far left side of his continuum) and an ever-changing dynamic of “high level wellness” at the other, right side extreme. The “0″ in the middle represents a neutral point, which could be simple non-sickness.The Static/Earned Health Continuum-10 ______________ 0 ______________ +10Earned health is what happens from the neutral point to the +10 indicator. Everyone moves along an imaginary continuum of this kind every day, because health is dynamic, under constant change. By living wisely with the right behaviors, we fuel a state of health that is better than if we allow health status to be determined by the passage of time (i.e., the aging process, chance, medical interventions, circumstances and events.This continuum is a simple way of depicting the basic fact that earned health evolves largely due to our own efforts to improve and protect our well being; static health, on the other side is affected by what happens to you.By the way, Dr. Travis made regular expansions to his original model. You can view the latest edition and read more the continuum here. A related construct that will interest wellness enthusiasts is Dr. Travis Wellness Energy System.Earned health is not determined or advanced by medical interventions. Static health, that is, health along the continuum from the center to the left of the of the continuum, is so influenced.The Path to REAL WellnessTo become healthier in an earned sense, it’s up to us to act so as to move along the right side of the continuum.The failure to appreciate the different nature of health, earned from static, partly accounts for why America can have so much medical care and yet not enjoy the best quality of health status. After all, modern medicine is a wonderful thing but there are two problems: people expect too much of it and too little of themselves.Understanding the difference between static and earned health might encourage people to be less passive – to realize the need for and value of REAL wellness lifestyles.A Fable Here is a fable to express the limits of medicine to boost health status versus the power of our own behaviors.Imagine a country where everyone owns high powered luxury cars – they cost next to nothing and are easily replaced. In this mythical country, everyone gets unlimited free medical care of the highest quality, plus all the medications they need plus there are highly skilled trauma teams set up at every intersection. The thing is, the people in this mythical country can do whatever they like – there are no laws governing auto safety. Everyone drives way over the speed limits, nobody wears seat belts, there are no air bags and no stop signs, traffic signals or rules of the road. One more thing – brakes haven’t been invented yet.Interpretation of the FableThe greatest advances in the mythical society would not follow from introducing more doctors, hospitals, drugs or trauma teams. Changes in customs and driver behaviors would, on the other hand, go a long way to promote a healthier society.Changes in lifestyles are also the key to better health outcomes in the real world, our country in particular. We have a great health care system – now we need sensible people making wise lifestyle choices that make life not just healthier but more rewarding, more fulfilling and more attractive. We need to help people understand that health is not only a static phenomenon: Earned health offers so much more.The philosopher Epicurus (c. 341-270 BCE) offered this bit of wisdom long ago: “It is impossible to live pleasurably without living prudently, honorably, and justly; or to live prudently, honorably, and justly, without living pleasurably.”We all want to live pleasurably. Let’s recognize and act on the other qualities that enable us to earn active positive health. Let’s embrace REAL wellness lifestyles.

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How to Start an Online Business Step by Step

To start an online business is not an easy task to perform. There are so many things to prioritize in its whole process to make sure that it will bring great results in the end. It needs to be provided with a sufficient and excellent set of investments to make sure that it will be very exciting and really satisfying. But always remember the fact that money is not enough to provide a business with an amazing startup.1. How to Write and Sell your own eBooksAn online business must always be supported with several eBooks that are containing unique contents and useful information for the consumers. Such items can help a businessman to enhance the reputation of an online business more effectively. The best way to write an eBook is to rely on excellent references and to ask for the assistance of a reliable SEO company. Selling eBooks will become much easier to accomplish when conducted in a trusted online store like Amazon.2. Promoting the Business with Social Media Such As Facebook, TwitterA business will never be so popular in the market and trustworthy for consumers if it was not provided with a set of high quality advertisements that are showcasing its set of products and services. Businessmen should always try their best to advertise their businesses more effectively to achieve increased traffic and revenue. One of the most convenient and effective ways to do that is to utilize the power of social media. Create interesting sales pages and fan pages in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote a business more effectively without spending a lot of money.3. Part-time or Full-time Online Income StreamOne of the most effective ways to fund a business as the time passes by is to rely on the advantages of part-time and full-time online income streams. It’s easy to create a set of special accounts for these online income streams. Such things can really help businessmen to allocate their reserved financial assets more efficiently on the daily needs of their businesses.4. How to Sell eBooks on Your Own WordPress WebsiteAll types of WordPress Websites can be used by businessmen to sell their unique eBooks online without spending a lot of effort. But what is the most effective way to perform this process while aiming to gain higher rate of income? Well, the best answer to that question is to add a PayPal account in a very responsive WordPress website which has an excellent amount of traffic every day.5. Guide To Selling eBooks on Google, eBay and FiverrGoogle, eBay and Fiverr are examples of the most reliable search engines in the internet nowadays. The most effective way to sell eBooks on the stated search engines is to rely on the performance and features of the dependable online stores and sales pages that are available in its search results pages. Mastery of the idea of online marketing and creating several accounts in search engines are included in the list of best strategies that businessmen can use to sell eBooks faster in Google, eBay and Fiverr.6. ClickBank Success GuideClickBank success starts with the process of mastering the uses and advantages of ClickBank in online marketing as an affiliate. It becomes more useful in the process of promoting a business when used to prove to online consumers that the online payment process for the products of a business is totally safe and secured at all times.7. How to Success in Internet MarketingSuccess will never be impossible to achieve in the field of internet marketing if a businessman has a very responsive website to use in the promotion of an online business. A responsive website can provide an online business with a very high rate of traffic every day which can be converted into a huge number of real buyers through a perfect traffic conversion process.

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Online Travel Agent – What Does That Mean?

Once upon a time, in a place not far away, but in an era long since forgotten, there was a magical thing called a full service gas station. Do you remember? People would actually come out and pump your gas for you! It may sound like just a fairy tale, but it’s true, it really did happen!Now days, our travel agents are going the way of the full service gas station. People just don’t have time anymore, time to go in and meet with a travel agent, time to go over options, basically – they don’t have time for full service. Online travel agents are all around us now, on the internet. They are convenient, but not quite the full service “station” we are used to when making our travel plans.What is an online travel agent? An online travel agent is more like an online booking resource. It is any website that you can go to make travel arrangements. I am sure most of you have visited a site like this. You can log in, do multiple searches for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals etc. and place your order online – very convenient!Online travel agent bookings sites are helpful in many ways; people can explore all of their different options for travel right in one spot. If you are looking for a flight to Europe, for example, and your route is flexible, users can map out different itineraries online. Then, the user can pick which works best for them and make a decision about what they want to do. Also, the user gets exposed to options that they may not have thought of before; therefore broadening their horizons of what type of travel arrangements are available to them.Another pro for using an online travel agent website is the wide variety of products that they offer. Not only can a customer browse airfare, car rental, and hotel options. Travel insurance, airport shuttles, and tour tickets are also available for purchase. This is very helpful to an online travel planner, as they can cover most of their travel planning needs in one visit to a website.After booking a confirmation on a travel website, the customer will receive an email with confirmations and contact information. The information that is provided to the customer usually includes information about any E-tickets, car rental policies (or where to go to look for the policies), and provides information on what to do if the travel plans change. All of this information right at the fingertips of the travel planning consumer.Many people wonder if booking these types of travel arrangements online is safe. Yes – it is. Websites spend a lot of time and productivity making sure that their payment systems, whether outsourced or not, are safe. It is important for their reputation to provide reliable payment systems and to maintain secure sights. Bad news travels fast, and if a website wasn’t taking care of their customers, it wouldn’t take long for the world to notice.Taking from personal experience I have never had a problem with booking with an online travel agent. I have been booking travel online for over ten years and I can’t say that I have had one problem! I have even found that after booking my super cheap airfare on a we site, after I received my reservation information via email, it was s easy to tweak my reservation details with the actual airline after the fact. I have never had a situation where I have paid for my booking online, and had it not be legitimate when I showed up for the reservation, either. Basically, booking online with an online travel agent website is an easy, affordable, and safe way to book your travel.Online travel agents may seem scary to some. With news about security breaches and privacy issues, I can’t blame people for being shy about booking travel plans online. I have to say though, give it a try! You are bound to have a great and educational travel planning experience. And who knows, it might even be fun!

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The Technology of Nations

In 1776, Scottish economist and philosopher, Adam Smith wrote the masterpiece, ‘The Wealth of Nations’- actually ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. By coincidence, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted the same year, making the American colonies independent and thus no longer a part of the British Empire.America has since evolved to dominate the old British Empire in virtually every aspect of human endeavors, except perhaps, social welfare. The Yankees figuratively were discipled by Dr. Smith who believed in free market and made his argument that ‘capitalism’ will benefit mankind than any other economic structure. He laid this foundation at the onset of industrial revolution and provided the basics for modern economics.Smith made his case about the ‘invisible hand’ and why monopoly and undue and unfettered government regulations or interference in market and industry must be discouraged. He was of the opinion that prudent allocation of resources cannot happen when states dominate and over interfere.In that old time, America farmers could grow cotton, but would not process it. It has to be sent to England where it would later be imported into U.S as a finished product. Understanding that this decision was not due to lack of processing ability, you will appreciate Smith’s argument that market must be free.His theses were clear and were very influential; they provided the same level of fulcrum to Economics as Isaac Newton’s Mathematica Prinicipia to Physics. Or in modern times, Bill Gates’ Windows to the information economy.While reading Smith’s book and understanding the time frame it was written, one cannot but appreciate the intellectual rigor in that piece. Before technology was penetrated in en mass across the regions of the world, he noted that all nations could compete at par in agricultural productivity. The reason was absence of division of labor in any subsistence farming system in the world. A farmer does everything in the farm and is not an expert in most.Discounting fertile land, rain and other factors that could help farmers, all the farmers, from Africa to plantations in Alabama, the level of productivity was similar. Why? No specialization was employed in farming business at the time.Fast track forward when the industrial revolution set forth. The British Empire became an engine of wealth creation through automation. It was a quintessential period of unrivalled human productivity which resulted to enormous wealth created in the empire. Technology not only helped speed process execution, it helped in division of labor.Interestingly, Dr Smith had noted that except agriculture where productivity was flat because of lack of division of labor, other industries were doing just fine. And in those industries, there were organized structures which enabled division of labor. For instance in the construction industry, there were bricklayers, carpenters, painters, and so on; but a farmer was a farmer.As you read through Wealth of Nations and observe the 21st century, it becomes evident that technology was so influential in the last few centuries. It has changed our structures and created a new business adaptation rules like outsourcing which is indeed a new breed of division of labor.From accumulation of stock and pricing, as explained by Dr. Smith, we see today a world where technology is shaping everything in very fundamental ways for wealth creation. In this era, it has become technology as technology translates to wealth. So, nations that focus on creating, diffusing and penetrating technology will do well.Why? It is about national technology DNA. The more passionate and innovative nations are triumphing at the global business scene. Give me Japan and I will give you electronics. Talk about United States, I will share biotechnology and pharmaceutical technologies, and indeed every major technology. Give me China, and I will give you green technologies.So, as nations continue to compete on the technology paradigm, we see at the highest level of success measurement an embodiment captured by technology capability. When nations are understood from the lens of their Technology Readiness Index, Knowledge Economic Index, we see that countries have become technology competing nodes. In some really poor countries with no (effectual) technology, they do not have a node and are unplugged in the sphere of global wealth creation.Simply, it will be difficult to separate the health of any modern economy from its technology. It goes beyond the wealth of that nation to its survivability. The most advanced nations are the technology juggernauts while the least developing economics barely record any technology penetration impact. For the latter, it is like still living in the pre-industrial age Dr. Smith discussed on agriculture and division of labor where processes were inefficient.Perhaps, this explains the efficiency in developed world in both the public and private arenas. The more technologies they diffuse, the more productive they become. In other words, show me the technology and I will tell you where the nation stands in the league of countries. Interestingly, the invention of steam engine changed the world and powered the industrial revolution. The invention of transistor transformed the 20th century and is fuelling the new innovation century.It seems that major scientific breakthroughs bring major great countries. Let me emphasize here that some old kingdoms that ruled the world such as the old Babylon, Roman Empire, and Pharaoh’s Egypt; there have been associated knowledge base that put them ahead. You cannot disassociate good crop production in River Nile to the mastery of Egyptians in inventing some sections of geometry for farming. Some of the old wars had been won by developing constructs that enabled efficient transportation of soldiers to battleground. There was science and nations were winning by using that knowledge.In conclusion, the world has been living on technology and it is indeed defining our competitive space. As nations compete, it is technology that shapes the world with wealth as the major byproducts, in some cases. I make this case because some of the best technologies had been invented for non-wealth reasons (yes, directly). Examples include Internet and radar technologies which have created wealth and spurred commercial innovations but have military origins.There could not be any more powerful way of examining national competitiveness than understanding the technology of nations. Yes, wealth has since morphed to technology and all competitions and wealth creation could as well be seen from technology viewpoint. And in this piece, I aptly replace Dr. Smith’s ‘wealth’ with ‘technology’ to have The Technology of Nations.

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The Other Path Reveals to Investors Lucrative Alternatives to Traditional Investments

In The Other Path, Robert J. Klosterman’s follow-up to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the author once again offers his astute financial and investment advice. The book’s subtitle, “Illuminating the Path Toward Volatility While Achieving Equity-Type Returns,” is apt, as that is just what Klosterman advocates that investors do to achieve optimal monetary gains with their investment portfolios. Klosterman gets his title from Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which he quotes at the beginning of The Other Path, a highly interesting book that offers investors insights into a different sort of investment approach than they might be used to, though a very effective one that is designed to aid investors to earn equity-type returns while reducing the volatility that many other investors experience who only try more traditional approaches when it comes to planning their portfolios.Klosterman’s book, The Other Path, is relatively short, coming in at just 60 pages, not counting the Appendices at the conclusion of it, but his approach to investing which he details in it is one which is very informative. The book is sure to interest and be beneficial to anyone who would like to lower his/her investment risks while maximizing his/her potential monetary returns.The very title of Klosterman’s book, The Other Path, alludes to an investment strategy, or road, that most people have traditionally followed, which is investing their money entirely in stocks, bonds and cash. Such an approach is a tried-and-true one that has proven beneficial to many investors, but it has also proven to be a sometimes volatile path for others. Investing in stocks, bonds and cash, Klosterman argues, is an important part of an overall investment strategy, though there are other opportunities for diversifying one’s investments and reducing the volatility many portfolios unfortunately undergo, a volatility which can cause the monetary value of one’s portfolio to experience a disastrous nosedive.Still, the main leg of the milk stool, that is, investing in stocks, bonds and cash, is a vital component in a wise investment strategy, according to Klosterman’s assessment in The Other Path. He calls it the core leg of a metaphorical three-legged milk stool, with each leg in the metaphor referring to a different but complimentary strategy when it comes to investing. If an investor diversifies his/her portfolio and does not solely focus on the main leg of stocks, bonds and cash, but also invests his/her money in nontraditional ways, Klosterman argues, using a series of useful and informative charts and graphs, that one’s portfolio is much less liable to experience a disastrous financial loss and the volatility of one’s portfolio will be reduced.The second of the three legs of the milk stool is “Diversifiers,” and the third leg is “Absolute Returns.” Klosterman argues that “Diversifiers,” or alternative or nontraditional Investments, help reduce the volatility of an overall investment portfolio. Some examples that the author gives of nontraditional investments include real estate, private equity, “developed and emerging international equities,” distressed debt, and managed futures. These sorts of nontraditional investments can reduce volatility by either having a “very low correlation with traditional markets,” as Klosterman writes, or by delivering “consistent returns year after year, with little or no volatility.”The third leg of the milk stool, “Absolute Returns,” is also the name of Chapter Four of The Other Path. Absolute returns are investments, according to Klosterman, which “demonstrate the same qualities of a bond with the assurance of return of principle and consistent payment of interest.” The author writes that they are similar to ten-year treasury bonds but “they are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.” Despite this, Klosterman states that aspect of absolute return vehicles can be considered to be an advantage. That is because strategies involving absolute return vehicles, as the author writes, “can invest in sound ideas and not have to fit restrictions that other institutions have.”One example is investing in companies that lend money to small businesses and house flippers. These companies can work fast and close loans faster than banks. These companies have the ability to provide quick access to loans for money to people like real estate developers or house flippers, in comparison to banks.In The Other Path, author Robert J. Klosterman writes about a no-nonsense approach to nontraditional investing and how it can benefit one’s investment portfolio and help reduce volatility. The book also examines and identifies “trouble signs” besides volatility when planning one’s portfolio, like groupthink, market disruptions and inflation. While Klosterman recommends that investors follow the advice of professionals who are experts in planning investment portfolios and have proven track records over at least a decade, The Other Path is an interesting and insightful look at adding nontraditional investments to an individual’s portfolio. Whether investors want and like to plan their investment strategies on their own, or with the advice of professionals, The Other Path is an eye-opening Must Read designed to inform investors of types of alternative investments that can balance out their portfolios and reduce the negative effects of market volatility. It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who has ever considered expanding their investment portfolios and adding nontraditional investments to them.

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What the Heck Are Commercial Bridge Loans and Why the Heck Would You Ever Need Them?

As the term implies, commercial bridge loans are temporary financing secured by commercial real estate that bridge gaps for you as the borrower that muscle their way in between you and your next deal. This type of commercial funding allows you to surmount any liquidity constraints and make the most of time-sensitive opportunities in a relatively timely and efficient manner.Commercial bridge loans enable you to access temporary funds that bridge cash flow timing gaps allowing you or your Firm to complete some form of interim task. For example, if you have a balloon payment that’s coming due on an existing loan, you could handle that payment until you obtain permanent financing. Or if there is an extremely limited time-frame during which a particular piece of commercial real estate is available, you could use bridge financing to purchase that asset, then pay off your bridge loan with part of the proceeds from your permanent financing. So, basically, commercial bridge loans are temporary funding that you can use until you sell, refinance, make improvements on, complete, or sell your property.As a way to compensate for their short-term characteristic and their greater risk factor, bridge loans are apt to have greater rates of interest than permanent loans. Typically, commercial bridge loans have terms which range from 6-12 months. Lots of commercial lenders allow you as the borrower to extend your bridge financing for an additional 6 months to 1 year for an additional fee that commonly ranges from a half-point to 2 points on a basis.This sort of financing is ordinarily paid off when the borrower places permanent financing on the subject property, after the actual improvements are finished and new tenants move in. On account of their short-term attribute, commercial bridge loans usually will not have any prepayment penalties.Here’s a typical scenario: Let’s suppose you have a 250-unit run-down apartment complex operating at 60% occupancy in a really nice location under contract for $10 million. Your in depth due diligence has shown that the property will likely be worth $22 million after just $3 million in renovation work that can take 7 months to do, after which you are likely to be able to increase the rents to justify the higher post-renovation valuation. Then, you collateralize your apartment complex to secure a $13 million commercial bridge loan to handle the purchase plus renovations, carry out the work, lease-up the apartment complex to over a 90% occupancy rate, then 7 months later, you refinance it with $22 million permanent financing usually as a conventional commercial mortgage loan based upon the greater after renovation valuation from which you repay your original bridge loan in full.Therefore, commercial bridge loans provide you with short-term funding when you need to have time to fill gaps with regard to your cash flow from operations while you complete such tasks as doing improvements, finding new tenants, selling, purchasing, or refinancing real estate, then simultaneously pay off your commercial bridge lender utilizing a portion of the proceeds from permanent financing that you manage to obtain.

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