Who Needs a Travel Plan?

There’s only so much time for travel in a year. Some people try to make the most of it by planning every step of the journey. Other people prefer the open road without any schedule at all. When a person travels from place to place, they can either come up with a strict itinerary, or they can just pick a direction and go with it. The question then becomes: which one is the best for you?If you travel without a final destination in mind, you might run into a few obstacles. This type of travelling isn’t for everyone because a lot of things can go wrong while you’re on the road alone. That’s why many people like to have a comfortable itinerary that they can stick to.On the other hand, if you go with a more spontaneous trip you open yourself up to some opportunities for discovery and adventure. When you throw a strict schedule out the window you will open yourself up to new possibilities and memorable experiences.When you do decide to travel without any set plans you need to be able to deal with the various obstacles that might crop up. You could end up driving from hotel to hotel, only to find they are all full. Or you might waste entire days wandering around a city because you can’t find anything interesting. When you only have a certain amount of time for a vacation, many people don’t want to spend a whole day just moving from place to place.However, when you’re not tied down to specific plans, you can take all the time you need. And while you are wandering around a city you might just be able to find something new and unique that you would have never planned for. Some of the most memorable experiences are the ones you didn’t plan for.All you have to do is pick a direction and start going. Something is bound to come up. There are different tourist attractions and landmarks in every state or city, and some are better known than others. The best way to find them is to simply take your time and explore your surroundings until you discover what different areas have to offer. If nothing looks appealing you can simply move on to the next place.This isn’t the kind of travel that will appeal to everyone. And in order to do it right you will have to be able to strictly budget your travel funds. If you get caught halfway through the trip without any money you won’t be able to feed yourself, find lodgings, or make it home. You might think that living off the land sounds fun, but it’s really not.When you travel without plans you can be spontaneous and find some exciting new experiences. If you want to make the most out of your trip, though, you will have to control your spending and know how to look in different places for opportunities you would otherwise miss.

Commercial Real Estate Investing Vs Residential

Is commercial real estate investing a better investment than investing in residential properties? Now, we all know that real estate in general is a great investment vehicle and both residential and commercial properties can be good investments. Either avenue can have a tremendous effect on your net worth, but most people think only of residential property when they think about investing in real estate. While this is certainly the most viable route for most people, commercial property can offer additional benefits the residential model can not offer.Three Reasons Commercial Investments are better than Residential Deals:1.) Commercial Real Estate Gives You More Access to More CapitalIt has been my experience that it is somewhat easier to raise larger amounts of capital (under $3M) for a commercial deal than it is to raise $150,000 for a residential deal. As a residential investor your access to capital is limited primarily to traditional financing, hard money lenders, and private money from individual investors. If you are unable to raise capital from one of these three avenues, then you are forced to acquire property in more of a creative manner with owner financing, subject to strategies, lease options, etc. This in itself is not a bad thing, but unfortunately you will have to walk away from some good deals that can’t be acquired with creative financing techniques.In commercial real estate it is more common for investors to pool their capital together and syndicate deals, you will also find that smaller private equity firms and finance companies are more inclined to do joint venture projects and provide the needed capital to complete the deal if the deal makes sense. So as a commercial investor you have the potential to raise capital for a deal from the same sources as residential projects such as: Traditional Financing and Hard Money, but additionally you could access capital through smaller private equity firms, hedge funds, private REITs, investment groups, and the list goes on.There also seems to be a sense of intrigue and prestige when it comes to investing in commercial deals. Perhaps, due to the state of the current commercial market, it appears investors are trending more toward investing in commercial projects.2.) Commercial Real Estate is Less CompetitiveWhen you think about it from a marketing perspective, most investors target residential property owners, thus making the residential market more competitive. In many arenas, from industry news sources, the World Wide Web, all the “We Buy Houses” signs virtually on every street corner, there are a lot of marketing tactics targeting residential property owners. If you take the same marketing strategies discussed and apply them to commercial real estate, you will probably find you are the ONLY person contacting these commercial property owners in regards to selling their property. Most commercial properties under $5 million tend to be too large for most residential investors, yet too small for most institutional investors.3.) Commercial Real Estate allows for “Forced” AppreciationResidential properties are typically valued based on other comparable properties that have sold in the area and are similar in features. If the “comps” for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house in a particular neighborhood is roughly $100,000, then your property is probably going to be worth $100,000. It doesn’t matter too much if your target property has additional features, or if your house is getting $900 a month in rent as opposed to the house down the street that is only renting for $700 a month. All things considered, your property will still be valued pretty close to the “comps” of the area.However, in commercial real estate, the valuation of a property is based on the revenue that the property generates. Now, commercial properties are still subject to the “comps” of the area as it pertains to “How” that revenue is valued in terms of capitalization rates. But, the overall premise is that, the more revenue a property generates, the more that property is worth.So, in order to “force” the appreciation of your commercial property, you need to find additional ways to increase the revenue that the property generates. A small increase in revenue can increase the value of a property significantly depending on the “Cap Rates” in the area for that type of commercial real estate. Unfortunately, with residential real estate this isn’t an option as you really can’t force appreciation. Your property will be valued in the general range of the market comps.So, as you can now see, commercial real estate offers many benefits over residential investments in addition to higher returns on your investment.Now of course there are disadvantages with any investment vehicle, commercial real estate included. However, consider the following when choosing between residential or commercial investing to create your passive income stream;1) The building qualifies for the loan; Not the borrower2) The building pays back the loan; Not the borrower3) Others are expected to manage the building; Not the borrower4) Income determines the value of the property; Not the comps5) Cap Rate measures demand for the property; Not the comps.To sum it up: a commercial property’s value is eternally tied to the income the property produces and overall demand for the property’s services. Therefore, based on the property’s location and the highest and best utilization, commercial real estate investments can certainly create a larger return on your investment over time verses residential investments. Perhaps, this is even more true in our current market cycle.

Socially Responsible Investing

Values based investing
What is value- based investing?
It is investing in companies which line up with your values.
A value-based investment portfolio can be based on environmental factors, moral factors, or your faith.
Investments based on a set of values is usually called, “Ethical Investments,” but it really all depends on your code of ethics when deciding on what constitutes ethical investing. It is more commonly known as “Socially Responsible Investing,” but I prefer to call it “Values Based Investing,” because not everyone shares the same values.
What may be ethical for one person may not be so for another, therefore, it is up to each one of us to do our homework and read the information provided by the fund’s website. It is important to know what is ethical to you when choosing a fund to invest in.
A prudent investor after he or she has done their homework will discern between what is fact and fiction and whether a company actually lives up to their claims.
Green washing is when a company uses marketing to make claims of being a socially responsible company but in reality they do not practice what they preach.
A company may make donations to charities but that does not necessarily make them green, ethical, or socially responsible.
One company I know has stopped selling coal yet sells imported clothing from third world companies where the working conditions in the clothing factories are unknown.
There are several variations of value-based investments and they come under different names; here are the ones I know of:
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENTS
These are investments which follow socially acceptable guidelines. They invest in companies whose activities are not damaging to the environment. You can be sure that these kinds of investments do not have funds invested in companies which are involved in fossil fuels.
ETHICAL BASED INVESTMENTS
An investment fund based on ethics may not invest in companies involved in the gambling, alcohol, and cigarette industry. Any investment related to the meat industry may also be off limits if you are a vegetarian.
FAITH BASED INVESTMENTS
Some churches have their own investments which are used to fund various church activities. For many investors in church funds the return on their money is a secondary consideration to the work carried out by the church with investor’s money.
GREEN INVESTMENTS
This is basically concerned with climate change and the environment. It is another name for socially responsible investing.
IMPACT INVESTMENTS
Another name for socially responsible investments.
It is important to follow the basic rules of investing and to diversify your investments and invest according to your age and life goals. Investing in mutual funds is an excellent way to reduce your risk as your money is spread over different companies. Diversification as it is commonly known is a good strategy to have particularly when you are older and have less time to recover from financial setbacks. The young ones are able to take more risks.
Balancing risk and reward is an art and to become really good at it requires experience.