Saturday, August 27, 2011

A good time to be a landlord..............

"The apartment sector is experiencing favorable demand-
supply dynamics, with delivery of new supply at record lows.
....Tight underwriting standards on residential mortgage
loans continue to favor renting and impact home-buying
decisions.  In fact, with improved occupancy, landlords are
regaining bargaining power, which is expected to result in
continued rent growth through the remainder of 2011."
-excerpted from Deloitte's Commercial Real Estate Outlook
Top Five Issues in 2011

A formula.............

To be................

Dead Broke:  Don't pay yourself first.  Spend more than you
make.  Borrow money on credit cards  and carry debt you
can't pay off.

Poor:  Think about paying yourself first, but don't actually
do it.  Spend everything you make each month and save
nothing.  Keep telling yourself, "someday..."

Middle Class:  Pay yourself first 5% to 10% of your gross

Upper Middle Class:  Pay yourself  first 10% to 15% of
your gross income.

Rich:  Pay yourself first 15% to 20% of your gross income.

Rich Enough to Retire Early:  Pay yourself first at least
20% of your gross income.

-David Bach,  The Automatic Millionaire


"Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by
showing us subtle reconciliations between all our
apparently contradictory notions.  The notions will all
be knocked from under our feet.  We shall see that there
never was any problem."
-C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

He would have been a great blogger.....

"This is to be a collection without order, taken from many
papers, which I have copied here, hoping afterwards to
arrange them according to the subjects of which they
treat; and I believe that I shall have to repeat the same
thing several times; for which, O reader, blame me not...."

-Leonardo Da Vince, from one of his notebooks

My brother-in-law sent along....... of his really good blog comments yesterday.  To save you
from having to go look for it, I thought it deserved its own post:

"Focusing on jobs is like trying to increase the tomato yield
on a plant by adding tomatoes to it. Make sure the soil is
good, the water is sufficient, and a little fertilizer can help.
The way to have more jobs is to do things to make business
grow. Business only creates jobs when it needs additional
help. Encourage prosperity, don't treat poverty."

Well said.

Plough deep.............

"'Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.'  What
though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation
left you a legacy, 'Diligence is the mother of good luck, and
God gives all things to industry.  Then plough deep, while
sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep.'
Work while it is called today, for you know not how much
you may be hindered tomorrow.  'One today is worth two
tomorrows,' as Poor Richard says..."
-Benjamin Franklin,  The Way to Wealth

What ever happened to....

Copyright issues.  Click through to Youtube.  Please

Friday, August 26, 2011

To buy, or not to buy............?

Our friends at Keeping Current Matters are on a hot streak of
good posts about residential real estate.  I particularly liked this
one.  The comments are interesting as well.

This blog has long maintained that buying a house to create a
home to raise a family is truly the best reason to buy.  Buying
a house for the express purpose of creating a capital gain has
always seemed dicey to us.  Buying more house than you can
afford is gambling not investing, and comes with the attendant

For the first 26 of the 28 years that we have been investing in
real estate, buying a single family house and renting it (without
a significant down payment or capital improvement) didn't
quite work as a cash flow investment.  Except in the bubble
years, when prices got out of hand, it always came close to
working, but the rents were just not quite high enough to cover
all of the expenses of ownership. With a careful purchase, it will
work today.  The opportunities are out there, like never before.
We suspect that when the market recovers here (early 2013?),
the situation will revert back to the norm of not quite working.

So, this blog proposes two excellent reasons for buying a
house today: to comfortably raise a family, or to create
an investment with cash flow.

An 8-point plan to create employment......

...and fix the economy.  Seems unlikely that it will be bi-partisan,
but it is interesting.  Full plan here.  Most likely true excerpts here:

“When business owners are unsure about their future, what
do they do? Nothing,” said Dr. Dotzour. “They just try to
survive until the storm is over.”

“They also hoard cash, like almost $2 trillion at this point.
Our economy is not going to recover until businessmen and
women regain confidence in the future opportunities in our
country,” he said.

Philosophy matters.........

    "Let me give you the definition of 'rich' and 'poor'.  Poor
people spend their money and save what's left.  Rich people
save their money and spend what's left.  It is the same
amount of money - just a different philosophy."
-Jim Rohn, 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness

Another way of saying................

....that the office development industry is not currently capable of
its typical behaviour of shooting itself in the foot by overbuilding:

"With limited development activity, the result of low demand
and poor credit conditions, the office sector posted positive
net abosorption of 1.7 million square feet in 1Q11..............
The sector likely will improve in 2011 with a gradual
decline in vacancy, although rent growth likely will remain
subdued, with a more robust recovery expected by 2015.

As excerpted from Deloitte's Commercial Real Estate Outook:
Top Five Issues in 2011


It's time to change our attitudes people......

Thanks Mark


"How much you earn has almost no bearing on
whether or not you can and will build wealth."

"The problem is not how much we earn......
it's how much we spend."

"Pay yourself first"

-David Bach,  The Automatic Millionaire

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A trend line moving the right direction....

Making things again will be our economic salvation.  Go
manufacturing go.  Thanks Mark

Double Trouble..............

WITCHES:   Double, double toil and trouble;
                      Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1

Go here for the Witches' full recipe.  Very imaginative stuff.

Meanwhile, Clapton and Otis Rush........Double Trouble

I'm taking this as an encouragement.............. keep on blogging.  Thanks Seth

On forgiveness......

"I think that if God forgives us we must forgive
ourselves.  Otherwise it is almost like setting up
ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him."
C. S. Lewis,  Letters of C. S. Lewis

We gotta go..............

click through to YouTube

Opening paragraphs.......

    Headlights swept the house as the taxi turned out of the driveway.  David Ponder stood alone on his front lawn looking at the home where he and his wife, Ellen, had lived for more than twenty years.  David lowered himself onto the grass.  Nausea poured over him as he felt panic enter his very soul.  Like a serpent easing up his spine and wrapping around his throat, it wasn't a quick, devastating attack, but a slow, gripping realization that life, as he knew it, was over.  He was forty-six years old.  He had no job.  He had no money.  He had no purpose.
-Andy Andrews, The Traveler's Gift

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pat Benatar..............

A great show at the fabulous Midland Theatre last night.  Pat is
aging she isn't aging.  Her voice and presence are
as powerful as ever.  Husband Neil on the lead guitar is clearly
talented, but he does not belong to the school of thought that
believes music is made by the space between the notes.  Maybe
I'm the one getting old.  Anyway, they have been doing this gig
together for some thirty years.  Their rapport, and their rapport
with the audience, after all these years is inspiring.  It was a house
full of fans and a very enjoyable evening.   Thanks to all who
made it happen.............

What's shaking........?

Our friendly neighborhood insurance salesman asked us last
month if we wanted our property insurance policies to include
earthquake coverage.  Thinking that most of Ohio is on fairly
stable terra firma, the first reaction was.....nope.  The second
reaction was.....well, how much does the coverage cost?  The
final answer was.....let's look at each building and the type of
construction and then decide.   So it was with great interest
that we stumbled across the following maps:

full sized map here

Full sized map here

We probably will not be investing in earthquake insurance
(unless the bank that holds the mortgage reads this and tells
us to).  Wish us luck.

UPDATE:  This blog post was written on Sunday for
posting on Wednesday.  At 1:50 pm on Tuesday, I was
minding my own business sitting at my own desk, our
whole building began to quiver.  A very unique feeling. 
Apparently, we just had some tremors from an
earthquake somewhere.  Spooky.  Maybe we will be
changing our mind about investing in that earthquake

On why reading certain blogs.............. a really good investment of a precious resource - time.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

Get in the habit.

Learn to shrug.................

Full size here.  Thanks Kathy

On minding your own business.....

     A problem with school is that you often become what you study.  So if you study, say, cooking, you become a chef.  If you study law, you become an attorney, and a study of auto mechanics makes you a mechanic.  The mistake in becoming what you study is that too many people forget to mind their own business.  They spend their lives minding someone else's business and making that person rich.
     To become financially secure, a person needs to mind their own business.  Your business revolves around your asset column, as opposed to your income column.....
     Start minding your own business.  Keep your daytime job, but start buying real assets, not liabilities or personal effects that have no real value once you get them home.
-Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Hugh weighs in..............

Sounds like him, but it's not.....

Spengler sees two economies......

One recovering and one submerging.

Full post here.  Fun excerpt here:

Given the magnitude of the bubble that had to be popped, the outcome actually is encouraging. Most Americans with a college degree barely can add and subtract and compose a business letter, and most of them rode the bubble in various capacities. Yet despite the collapse of many white-collar professions, the unemployment rate of college-educated Americans remained around 5%. That testifies to the flexibility of the American economy and the resourcefulness of American job-seekers.

Several thoughts come to mind when reading that second sentence.  The first is that the decision to stop feeding the insatiable beast that is my alma mater's development and fund raising department was a good one.  The second is that while my young son, as a college junior, probably cannot write a decent business letter, his math and chemistry skills long ago surpassed my understanding.

Conclusion, and proposed solution, here:

For the moment, investors will not buy an 8% earnings yield on the S&P 500 even while 10-year Treasury yields trade around 2%. They are all the more reluctant to take risks on startups, which in the past 40 years have accounted for more than two-thirds of job growth. The right combination of economic policies could revive the startup engine, albeit slowly and fitfully. Lower taxes on corporations and capital income and less oppressive regulation (especially US President Barack Obama's health care mandates for businesses) would help. So would a rational immigration policy that favored entrepreneurs and highly skilled professionals.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did I tell you that we...................

...are going to enjoy Pat Benatar at the fabulous Midland Theatre
tonight?   Newark, Ohio is blessed to have such a vibrant venue.

Why 1,000,000 housing starts a year would be a very good thing......

It would be twice what we are building now.  It would certainly
seem to be a sustainable number.  Employment numbers would
climb nicely.  And most importantly, we have quite a few
fabulous building lots available.

double click to enlarge, or go here.  Thanks Bill

It is a spending problem.......

"Why are so few people in America affluent?  Even most
households with six-figure incomes are not affluent......They
believe in spending tomorrow's cash today.  They are debt-
prone and on earn-and-consume treadmills."
-The Millionaire Next Door,  Stanley and Danko

Just a pilgrim on a path..............

"To that very moment I’d been unsure of what it was or
what I’d say.  A week of contemplation and daily lectures on
the topic notwithstanding, I hadn’t found the words. Yet the
instant the gong sounded, I knew: To be of service.  As 
simple as that.  Coming from deep inside and beyond, it
became my mission statement. It has served me well ever
since, through thick and thin, grief and joy, bouts of
depressions and days filled with sunshine."
-Peter Renner, excerpted from here 


Breakthrough #38:  Read to your children.  It helps you
connect.  They love stories and the great stories distill
the wisdom of the ages so effortlessly for them.  Once
upon a time, there lived............

(for a personal note on why #38 resonated with me, go here)

Thanks Nicholas



Me neither.............

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keep on knocking.....

Keep on knocking
’til the joy inside
opens a window
look to see who’s there.

Thanks Peter

Buffett on housing and funkiness.....

Warren Buffet talks recovery with Forbes.  Two excerpts:

Buffett says he thinks the housing market could work off its
excess inventory before mid-2013. The broad impact of the
housing market, which impacts not only homebuilders but
other industries (carpet companies are one example), is
what’s needed to make a big dent in the unemployment rate,
he says. When the U.S. gets back up to a million housing
starts a month, Buffett says the unemployment rate will fall
below 7%.

Personally, I'm hoping that "housing starts a month" line is a typo
and that what he really said is "housing starts a year."  Just hoping.

He reiterates his belief that the country won’t go into a 
double-dip recession, unless one of two things occurs: 
Confidence in the country’s leaders is eroded to such a point
that people talk themselves into a “huge funk,” or the
European debt troubles spill over to the U.S., both of
which he says are unlikely.

Seems to me that a real leader would cause the people to
have confidence in their own ability to provide for themselves.
Be a good start anyway.

Monday's poem...........

           A Psalm of Life

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
       Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
      And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
      And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
      Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
       Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
      Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
      And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
      Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
      In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
      Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
      Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
     Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
      We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
      Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
      Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
      Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
      With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
      Learn to labor and to wait.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

photo courtesy of

The 10% solution.........

If we want a more prosperous nation, we need to have a more
prosperous populace.  The bad new is that nobody can do it
for us.  The good news is that we can do it for ourselves. The
shame is that nobody ever teaches us how.  But.....that doesn't
mean we can't learn it by ourselves.  For starters, read this 
The same lesson is found here.  An excerpt:

"Pay yourself first.  I can't tell you what those three little
words have meant to me,"  Roy reflected.  "After agreeing
that the ad hoc approach to saving doesn't work, and
after explaining to me why the budgeting approach seldom
works, Mr. White announced that the only way to save is
to pay yourself first.  Although he was talking about
saving the ten percent, the axiom hold true for all savings.
Whether you are saving for a down payment, a car, a trip,
whatever, the most effective thing is to have the money
come right off your paycheck, or right out of your bank -
before you have a chance to spend it."
-David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber

It isn't easy, but it is simple.  It isn't quick, but it is sure.
Learn it, do it, teach it.

Opening paragraphs..........

I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years.  Ten of those years
were spent learning, four years were spend refining, and four
were spent in wild success.   My most persistent memory of
stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind
being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body
delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing,
analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and
what to say next.  Enjoyment while performing was rare -
enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that
comedy cannot afford.  After the shows, however, I
experience long hours of elation or misery depending on how
the show went, because doing comedy alone on stage is the
ego's last stand.
-Steve Martin, Born Standing Up

Speaking of Steve Martin...........

As Danny said, "he cracks my head up."

Liar, Liar, pants on fire..............

Checking in with The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys........

He never disappoints...................... I was amazed at the trick
at 1:12.   Love the music too.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Verse for Sunday

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and
delivered Himself up for me.

Galatians 2:20
The Open Bible
New American Standard


On waking after the accident
I was presented with the "whole picture"
as they say, magnificently detailed,
a child's diorama of what life appears to be:
staring at the picture I became drowsy
with relief when I noticed a yellow
dot of light in the lower right-hand corner.
I unhooked the machines and tubes and crawled
to the picture, with an eyeball to the dot
of light which turned out to be a miniature
tunnel at the end of which I could see
mountains and stars whirling and tumbling,
sheets of emotions, vertical rivers, upside
down lakes, herds of unknown mammals, birds
shedding feathers and regrowing them instantly,
snakes with feathered heads eating their own
shed skins, fish swimming straight up,
the bottom of Isaiah's robe, live whales
on dry ground, lions drinking from a golden
bowl of milk, the rush of night,
and somewhere in this the murmur of gods - 
a tree-rubbing-tree music, a sweet howl
of water and rock-grating-rock, fire
hissing from fissures, the moon settled
comfortably on the ground, beginning to roll.

-Jim Harrison
From The Theory and Practice of Rivers


Each moment is fragile and fleeting.
The moment of the past cannot be kept, however
The moment of the present cannot be held, however 
The moment of the future cannot be caught, however

But the mind is desperate to fix the river in place:
Possessed by the ideas of the past, preoccupied with
     images of the future, it overlooks the plain truth of
     the moment.

The one who can dissolve her mind will suddenly
     discover the Tao at her feet, and clarity at hand.

Verse Twenty-one
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Walker


Man is spirit - this is all man needs to know; and spirit is
triumphant over matter.

Just surrender, and love God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind; never doubt His
wisdom. Then miracles will happen not only in your
physical body but in your life and in your work.

Your personal contribution towards the great plan for
the evolution of man is to dwell continually upon the love
of God; to look always into the light and so train yourself
to recognize God's goodness through everyone else.

-White Eagle

Two for Tuesday got rescheduled.......


"It is the old, sad paradox - those who denounce the 'illusions' of others, are victims of their own kind of illusions, and those who offer all sorts of solutions and cures to patients, never mind entire nations, manage to exhibit, often enough  unwittingly, the feet of clay which millions of ordinary men and women have never pretended to lack."
-Robert Coles,  Harvard Diary

Thanks Doug