Begin with the End in Mind

November 5, 2013

Guest article by Jerry Ross:

In Steven Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” chapter two is entitled, “Begin with the End in Mind.” Since reading the book, I’ve tried to apply that principle in my business and investment decisions, but also in many simple ways too. I might picture a successful trip to the grocery store or the hardware store envisioning what I need to return home carrying. I may even begin a home repair endeavor by first imagining the beautiful result that will emerge from the project at hand. Unfortunately, many times these simple tasks don’t turn out how I envisioned them, even when I began with the end in mind! Most times, I encounter obstacles, challenges, or distractions that I didn’t see when I began. There are distractions along the way to the grocery store, like a super garage sale, or maybe it is wallpaper that just will not come un-stuck from the wall that I am trying to paint. It seems there is always something unexpected even in the simplest of tasks. You envision how you would like things to turn out, but you can’t predict what you will encounter that directly affects how you end up… especially at the beginning. It seems so simple, but things are not always as simple as they seem.

Running a business and investing are much more complex than running simple errands or taking on a home repair project. The consequences of an unanticipated obstacle can be devastating to a business or an investment portfolio. While it is good practice to always “begin with the end in mind,” every business decision (or investment decision) will require monitoring and adjustments along the way. Identifying your destination prior to setting sail is a critical first step, however it is essential that you constantly adjust your sails to accommodate changes in the wind along the way, rather than trying to predict or overpower the wind.

Monitoring progress and making adjustments in pursuit of your goal is good common sense, but it is a critical business and investment practice. Those who can anticipate potential challenges in advance and include flexibility in their plans can quickly adjust to opportunities along the way, and don’t become overwhelmed by unforeseen obstacles. When I project a realistic time frame, allow adequate time for decision making, and seek knowledgeable input along the way, my “end result” is usually closer to my original vision of success…which brings me back to chapter two of Mr. Covey’s book…the action part of achieving your goals.

Visualizing your result and setting a goal is just the initial part of the equation. Action is required to achieve any goal you set. True success in investing, managing a business or even going to the hardware store won’t happen unless you take action, and adjust your course as needed along the way. Being successful in any endeavor will require an investment of your time and attention. Goals and plans without taking action are merely wishes, yet action without planning is just activity, which will very seldom lead you to the success you desire. So, as we approach the end of 2013, now is a great time to re-assess your goals, make adjustments as needed, develop your plans, and then take action to make 2014 a great year…but remember to begin with the end in mind!

 

Jerry is a life-long entrepreneur and currently holds the position of Executive Director at the National Entrepreneur Center located in Central Florida. He is also on the advisory board of NuView IRA, helping to guide best practices for the self-directed IRA administrator as well as enhance its customer experience. You can follow Jerry on Twitter at @JerryRossOnline.

6 Steps to Turn a $12,000 Investment into a $30,000 Profit

October 17, 2013

Guest article by Sandra Edmond:

Is your money sitting at the bank making less than 2%? Meanwhile people are making 18-50% in government backed Tax Certificates. Certificates represent a first position lien on real estate for delinquent taxes. If those taxes are not paid the property can go to a tax deed auction. The tax deed sale is my favorite, and it’s what I’ve been doing since 2004. Both are great investment vehicles for your self-directed IRA. Here are some steps that helped me net a FANTASTIC return on my very first tax deed:

STEP 1: Are you in a Tax Deed or Tax Lien State? Tax Deed states auction off the real estate when property owners become delinquent. A Tax Lien state sells tax certificates to investors when homeowners become delinquent. Once the homeowner pays the taxes the investor is paid off their investment plus interest. Florida is a Tax Deed and a Tax Lien state. I purchased my first Tax Deed in Florida on a vacant commercial lot valued at $60,000 for $12,000. The money came from my mother’s 401k account.

STEP 2: Contact the person in charge of Tax Deed sales. In Florida, it’s the County’s Clerk or Comptroller. Ask how they conduct their tax sales and what happens if nobody bids on the tax deed. That’s what happened to my first tax deed. It then went on a list of properties you can buy over the counter for the back taxes. You should always do your due diligence before purchasing.

STEP 3: Study the property’s file. You will sometimes find a title search in the tax deed file where you may also find information on any other outstanding liens. A mortgage would get wiped out at the auction, but liens, like code enforcement, can stick to the property. You should always visit the property as well.

STEP 4: Once you feel comfortable with the information you have, you can move forward. The county will give you a final payoff amount to purchase it. Often times you are buying at 20-50% of market value. Let’s say you’d also like to go to the auction as well as buy from the list.

Step 5: Find out when the next auction is, get a list of properties being auctioned and do the same due diligence as above. You should find out the auction rules. Most auctions require payment within 24 hours in certified funds.

Step 6: Market your property. If you want to get title insurance, you’ll have to go through a legal process called a quiet title. We waited until we had a buyer before we started our quiet title. We sold the lot for $49,000 making about $30,000 in profit.

Now that you’ve learned a little more about one of the alternative assets you can invest in through a self-directed IRA, you’re one step closer to making a better return on your money.

 

Sandra, aka the “Queen of Tax Deeds,” has been recognized in the Orlando Business Journal as a tax deed expert. She is a licensed real estate agent, graduated from the University of Central Florida and is currently President of Central Florida Realty Investors. Her website has links to her very informative YouTube channel. You can reach her at ardnasinc@gmail.com or 407-310-4007.

Webinar – Intro to Real Estate in IRAs

September 24, 2013

This introductory course will walk you through what a self-directed IRA is, what role NuView IRA serves, and, most importantly, how to hold real estate in your retirement account. While NuView IRA is based in Orlando, Florida, the self-directed IRA specialists help their clients scattered across the nation by serving education as frequently as possible in the form of webinars. Real estate offers clients the ability to diversify in real property. NuView is not a fiduciary and does not give clients investment advice or products. Instead, clients make their own choices to invest in almost anything. Learn more about IRS rules from the webinar, or you can read about it here.

Saving Versus Doing in Retirement

September 17, 2013

At some point or another your mind will wander and dream about the future. Where will I live? Where will I vacation? What will my career look like in 5, 10, 15 years? Eventually, you will reach the end – retirement – and you will consider the lifestyle you want to live once there. But how will you get there?

“Ideally, you’d start saving in your 20s, when you first leave school and begin earning paychecks,” says CNN Money’s Ultimate Guide to Retirement.

Thinking about saving for your retirement is one thing, actually socking the money away each week, month, etc., is another. Even if you make it into the savings finals, where you’re able to put aside a regular enough amount of money, you still have to figure out how to make it grow. Like most of the population, you will consider the most popular options: stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. But there is an entirely different approach that allows you to take that savings and invest it in something you can actually learn about or are already an expert in. You can self-direct your retirement account into any investment not prohibited by IRS code (which is, in fact, a very short list that basically just says “Collectibles”).

A self-directed IRA allows you to manage your retirement account and invest where you see fit instead of having someone, or just your employer, do it for you. Are you a self-proclaimed real estate mogul? A thoroughbred racehorse breeder? An agriculture enthusiast? All of those investments are options within a self-directed IRA. Self-direction allows you the peace of mind to know where your money is going and how it is growing at all times. Don’t trust the stock market? Don’t worry, just trust yourself.

With a self-directed IRA through NuView, your investment options are virtually limitless: You will have the freedom to get creative with your investment choices. A self-directed IRA opens up a whole range of alternative assets that can be purchased inside an IRA. Call 407-367-3472 today to learn more! And, check out our upcoming educational seminars and webinars to expand your knowledge.

Getting a Rest from the News

September 5, 2013

Article by Glen Mather, President of NuView IRA:

My family and I are off the grid. Well, partially. Just the entertainment part. That means no football, American Idol, Disney, cartoon, and cable news.

It was a combination of the monthly bill and the mountain of unfinished homework that flipped the switch for me. Goodbye, Direct TV.

I expected my four children to march with pickets, to pout and to otherwise act out – but nothing happened. It has been a few weeks, and some very unusual activity has been brewing: books have appeared and a family game night is in the works.

Another unexpected side effect has occurred: I’m no longer plugged into the seemingly clueless news corporation slavishly covering all the mindless goings-on and petty bickering in Washington. I’ve always considered myself a bit of news junkie, so now I have to read to be informed, which seems to be working out much better. Now my wife is talking to me more than ever, which is good most of the time, and the dogs are even benefiting with longer walks.

Based on the last few weeks, I would heartily recommend detaching from your satellite or cable provider. Besides, you will likely have a friend to visit when a really good show is on, but the rest of the time will be yours.

A Difference of Opinions – JOBS Act Updates

August 7, 2013

In this edition of A Difference of Opinions, two attorneys sound off about the SEC adoption of a mandate in the JOBS Act of 2012 that permits general solicitation in private securities offerings. We reached out to two attorneys with different backgrounds just to get a better idea of what this update might hold for the future of promotional activities among investors and those wishing to raise money.

And You Thought Law Firm Advertising Was Bad?
By: Wayne Patton, Esq, an asset protection, business, finance and estate planning attorney. Wayne’s firm is based in Miami, Florida, and he can be contacted through his website.

In March of 2012 the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”) became law. The purpose of the legislation simplifies the process of business fundraising. The law specifically touches investment firms like hedge funds and private equity funds, which have traditionally struggled to “get the word out” under the previous stifling rules that prohibit “general solicitation” under the Securities Act of 1933.

Though it took more than a year for the SEC to approve rules implementing the JOBS Act, we now officially have a framework on which to rely. There are a few things you should know before you start urging clients to advertise openly.

First, while general advertising and solicitation is permitted under the new rules, the “accredited investor” rules regarding unregistered security offerings are still in place.

Also, with the permission to generally solicit comes more responsibility. Specifically, the burden of proving “accredited investor” status has shifted. Under the new rules, investment firms need to ensure that investors are actually accredited.

The next logical question is “Just how inundated will we be with fund advertising?” You thought lawyers were bad. Just wait…

Adoption of New Rule 506(c): General Solicitation in Regulation D Offerings
By: Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field.

On July 10 the SEC complied with a mandate in the JOBS Act of 2012 to permit “general solicitation” in private securities offerings. In doing so, the SEC created an entirely new type of securities offering not required to be registered under the Securities Act of 1933.

The SEC adopted amendments to Regulation D under the Securities Act to add new Rule 506(c). Rule 506(c) offerings are technically private placements, made only to “accredited” (rich) investors. In the past this has meant not just that accredited investors only could buy the securities, but also that the issuer could offer them to accredited investors only.

Under the new rule, small companies and private investment funds and their intermediaries will be able to use “general solicitation” to reach accredited investors, which means they may advertise or publicize an offering on television, in newspapers, and most importantly over the internet. They may talk about the offering on talk shows and webinars, and they may promote the offering on social media.

This is a big change. But companies planning to take advantage of the ability to make public solicitations (and their advisers) should bear in mind that something that hasn’t changed is the application of the securities anti-fraud laws to all statements made in connection with the sale of securities. And for that reason, this new type of offering might not be as game-changing as some think.

Proponents of the new rule believe that it will increase transparency, make it easier for small companies to raise capital and decrease companies’ administrative costs. Opponents worry that, in the words of SEC Commissioner Aguilar, removal of the prohibition on general solicitation would be “a boon to boiler room operators, Ponzi schemers, bucket shops, and garden variety fraudsters, by enabling them to cast a wider net, and making securities law enforcement much more difficult.”

Awareness of fraudulent promotional activities means that prospective issuers and their advisers will have to be very careful about the accuracy and completeness of any statements they make. Will the rule change mean that we see hedge funds advertising on late-night TV or Twitter campaigns for investments in startups? The impact of the new rule is likely to be more limited in that respect than some have predicted. Public registered mutual funds do advertise, but those advertisements tend to be staid and contain lots of “fine print” disclaimers prescribed by law; private funds will likely be just as constrained. Broker-dealers putting together Regulation D deals are already subject to FINRA rules with respect to their advertising and social media use, and these requirements have not changed. The anti-fraud laws discussed above should have a tempering effect on any overly-exuberant publicity attempts in either paid or social media.

And the SEC will be watching. The SEC has established a “Rule 506(c) Work Plan” involving staff from all across the SEC, who will monitor the new Rule 506(c) market for fraud and compliance and to coordinate with state regulators.

The effective date for the new rule is September 23, 2013. Rule 506(c) offerings will only be legal after that effective date.

Weighing Long-Term Capital Gains Against Ordinary Income

August 6, 2013

Article by Glen Mather:

Why would anyone want to trade a 15% capital gain tax rate for a 22% marginal income tax rate?

During a recent presentation to a group of CPAs, I was asked this rather obvious question. We were in the process of discussing the relative merits of investing an IRA into rental housing.

For the investor that purchases with after tax money outside an IRA, certain tax advantages accrue largely based on the income and tax situation of the individual. If passive losses are able to offset ordinary income, an additional benefit can arise. However, the assumed disadvantage of the IRA investment in a similar real estate asset may not be accurate, based on the individual facts of the case.

Important variables to consider:

  • The age of the investor
  • The anticipated number of years until the investment will start to be distributed
  • Estimated cash flow of earnings, if any
  • Estimated profits upon sale of the asset
  • How long each asset will be held
  • How the proceeds from the sale of the investment will be re-invested
  • The marginal tax rate of the investor at the time investment revenue is received
  • The estimated marginal tax rate of the individual when the funds are to be distributed

Unless investments are in a fixed-return instrument, predicting investment results is a difficult task, and certainly forecasting individual tax rates in future periods is next to impossible. For the real estate investor using non-IRA funds, a 1031 exchange process may be a great choice if the timing of the sale and purchase permits. It will ensure that all of the proceeds of a sale can be rolled into the basis of the new property while forestalling capital gains until the sale of the final property.

The capital gain rates for those with federal marginal tax rates of 35% and 39.6% have been raised to 18.8% and 23.8% due to 2013 tax law changes and the affordable health care surcharge. Avoiding or deferring these higher charges for those in the upper brackets are now more necessary than ever for those outside IRAs. Indeed, these new LTCG brackets tilt the advantages more heavily to the benefit of using IRA monies for investments.

With an IRA, as long as the real estate investment is not leveraged, all gains are deferred until distribution, and then it’s taxed as ordinary income. Should tax rates stay constant (which they never do), generally the majority of retirees will enjoy a lower rate due to diminished earnings.

Roth IRAs change the landscape considerably. Roths are attractive for those who believe their investment performance will be able to recoup the tax costs of conversion or contribution, and for those willing to bet that future tax rates will be equal or higher in retirement than their current rates.


Glen Mather is President of NuView IRA, Inc., a leading self-directed IRA administrator in Orlando, Florida. He can be contacted at 407-367-3472 or gmather@nuviewira.com.

Wheelchair Distribution Trip to El Salvador

August 5, 2013

Last Saturday I was surrounded by the happiest people in the world. Five-year-old polio patients, legless landmine victims, amputees, and those with other infirmities shuffled on crutches or were carried by family members into the courtyard. Although most were from the poorest of backgrounds, on this day they all wore their best clothes and held their heads high.

This was the day that their life would be changed.

They were about to receive their first wheelchair.

The line outside the art museum in San Salvador stretched around the block – the queue lengthening after each diesel-belching bus unloaded. Inside the museum’s courtyard, more than 280 gleaming red wheelchairs were unpacked, awaiting new owners. A local Rotarian called each name from a clipboard into the megaphone causing a chain reaction among fellow workers to assist the recipient up a steep ramp to the official wheelchair distribution area.

After brief introductions in fragmented Spanglish, NuView IRA volunteers, together with other Rotary Club members, gently lowered our new friends into their gift of mobility. The emotions in that moment seemed to erase the challenge of language as tears of gladness and appreciation led to smiles and hugs.

Five-year-old Maria said she heard that you can dance once finally in a wheelchair, which she then proceeded to happily try. Edwin, an eight-year-old with legs that will never be able to carry him, exclaimed he want to be a soldier now that he has his chair. Antonio, a man at the young age of 101, received his first chair alongside his wife, Maria, a feisty 79-year-old, and he plans to live a much more active life back in his village. Hundreds of other stories have been stitched together in the fabric of our minds after participating in this distribution last week in El Salvador.

Thanks to many of our friends, colleagues and clients, and to all of those that participated in the 2013 Hero Games to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation, hundreds of lives have been changed forever. It is said it is far more blessed to give than to receive, and this past week was an awesome reminder of the power of sharing just a small portion that which we so frequently take for granted.

Stay tuned for our second annual Hero Games event coming next spring so that you may be part of the next chapter in this wonderful adventure.

God Bless,

Glen

3 Simple Ways to Worry Less about Retirement

July 24, 2013

The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey broke down the percentages of American confidence in being able to afford a comfortable retirement. While more than half of Americans express some level of confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement, (13% are very confident and 38% are somewhat confident), 21% are not too confident, and 28% are not at all confident. In addition, the percentage of those “not at all confident” is at the highest level it has ever been in the 23 years this survey has been administered.

Despite a brighter economic outlook this year than last, experts believe that one of the main reasons retirement confidence remains low is that people are beginning to realize just how much they need to save for their retirement. While it’s best to start saving for retirement as early as possible, what about those who reach their 40s before they start saving? Here are a few simple things you can do to make saving for retirement a little easier:

Cut back your spending: An easy way to worry less about retirement is to decrease your spending. Try cutting back on small purchases first and see how much you miss them, (or maybe don’t miss them at all). You may need to ask yourself – “Would I rather spend $60 on coffee a month or use that money for retirement?”

Stay healthy: Health care is a big expense during retirement. Even though a large part of your health is genetic, there are still many good habits you can practice in order to maintain a good weight and good overall health. Eating right, exercising often, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep at night are just a few things you can do to stay healthy.

Make a plan to pay off your mortgage: A mortgage is one of the biggest monthly household expenses. If you pay off your mortgage before retirement, it will then be much easier to make ends meet. You can even use one of the various online mortgage calculators to time your mortgage payoff to your retirement date.

Let’s face it, retiring comfortably can be expensive. If you’re looking to take control of your retirement and start building a healthy retirement nest egg, call our experienced self-directed IRA administrative staff at 407-367-3472 to discuss your investment options within a self-directed IRA.

Rebounding Real Estate and IRAs

June 26, 2013

Imagine taking advantage of the continual rebounds the U.S. real estate market is experiencing, all from the comfort of your retirement account.

“We have a continued, gradual recovery,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist for New York’s Societe Generale in a recent Bloomberg story. The article went on to detail specific data on property values, but stated home prices overall rose by the most in seven years as the recovery in residential real estate continues to gain momentum.

Shortly after that news, Yahoo! Homes quoted a RealtyTrac report that listed the top 25 U.S. markets for flipping homes — including some that offer more than 50% gross returns. Luckily for our local Floridians, Orlando and its neighbor Tampa made it to the top of the heap.

What exactly does this mean for you and your self-directed IRA? It means it’s time to earn some returns.

For years now people have been waiting to dive back into the realm of real estate investing out of fear of another housing bubble burst. In reality, we are far from it. According to Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac, Orlando had one of the worst foreclosure rates in America throughout the past five years, but its average home price rebounded at a 12% annual rate during the beginning of this year. Now seems a better time than any to invest your self-directed IRA funds into something malleable like the recuperating housing market.

“There is a 2.68 month supply as of May left. That is if no new houses list and none expire or are withdrawn, we will sell through our inventory in 2.68 months,” said Andy Tolbert, a short sale specialist and the director of programing and membership for the Investors Resource Center chapter in Central Florida. Tolbert went on to explain that the numbers are proof of a strengthening market.

Here at NuView, we offer countless educational classes on how easy it is to introduce the booming real estate market to your self-directed IRA. Even if you are familiar with holding alternative assets and you just want to know more, our team is willing and able to help you understand every aspect of your self-directed IRA. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about the real estate market gives you an advantage that could help make investments more profitable. To learn more about your options, give our expert self-directed IRA administrators a call today at 407-367-3472.