Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Financial Mess

Today, the world's banks -- in an unprecedented emergency global move -- lowered interest rates by 1/2 percent.

Markets are still jittery, and only time will tell if this effort helps ease uncertainty and fear.

In the meantime, Opinio Juris has a stellar analysis of the global financial problem. What started as an American problem is now worldwide. It is a no-holes-barred look at how it started, where it is going, and what may be around the corner.

A must read.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Retirement Stocks Down $2 Trillion

News outlets are reporting that retirement assets -- at least those invested in the stock and commodity markets -- are down some $2 trillion during the past 15 months.

And guess what, some guy will be sitting across the table from people thinking about retirement down the road and telling them . . . "buy stocks, they do great!" He will call himself an investment adviser, but in reality he will be a stockbroker. With only one investment to peddle.

Have you ever heard the term "sheeple?"

I will say it just one more time. Commercial/investment real estate makes money, it makes money reliably. And there has never been a better time to jump in. The people who are getting out are those who are trading up, or who are so over-leveraged in the stock market they need to raise cash fast. And are liquidating their real estate. In hindsight, I would be if you asked every one of them where they would rather be -- real estate or stocks -- they will say real estate every time.

Sigh . . .

Monday, October 6, 2008

Don't Panic...Markets Are Correcting

Don't panic!

The markets are cyclical. The bailout that passed the U.S. Congress, in my opinion, probably wasn't necessary from a fiscal standpoint (it was necessary from a public relations/feel-good standpoint for the world markets). But its done.

There is a lot of wealth being lost in the markets, sadly, but someone is buying stocks up. Warren Buffet bought a ton of General Electric stock. He hasn't been on a buying binge for a few years, but he buys when things are undervalued. Buy more if you can.

But if you want something more steady, something more reliable, seriously consider looking at investment real etate. There are a lot of great office, multifamily that make financial sense. A strong real estate agent who understands commercial/investment properties can show you on paper how they will benefit an investor each year, both in terms of income, as well as tax advantages. Single family homes as an investment can also work if you have an agent who understands "investment" properties -- not just understands "rental houses." There is far more to it than that...

But most of all. With the turmoil in the market, it is a time to be concerned. But don't panic. The credit markets, at least in the United States, were not allowed to police themselves. I wrote about this weeks ago, knowing it was politically incorrect, but lenders were forced to make loans they knew were dangerous. Risky. The PC term is "sub-prime." Then greed took over, and some lenders (some, not all) realized they could get away with fiscal murder and no one cared or would do anything about it. And they cleaned up. And the house of cards is now collapsing, and the problem that some in Congress and in this industry (myself in the latter category) have been warning for years would occur...did.

Markets were not allowed to correct themselves out of political considerations. It is correcting now.