Many accountants will not work with doctors. Doctors as a group can be difficult in the best of times, demanding an instant response to their every whim. I disagree completely.
My firm has serviced accounts for doctors nearly from day one. The value doctors provide society is vital and I have always felt they deserve extra latitude. The stress level doctors face daily supersedes anything I deal with. If I make a mistake, money is at risk; when a doctor makes a decision, lives are at risk.
My personality meshed well with the mindset doctors have. As a result, I have been a value added service to my doctor clients. Many hair-raising situations were resolved successfully because I understood the doctor’s situation and was able to integrate their issue into the problem solving formulas of my firm. It also allowed my doctor clients to get very rich.
Whether you like it or not You are a brand. Everything you say and do either adds or subtracts from your brand. Ignore You and your brand starts to turn stale.
You, Inc. is your brand. It will take you wherever you want to go. But do you know what You, Inc. is all about?
It is simple to see You, Inc. in action when compared to a business. Take this blog for example. I can speak at conferences or just attend to build contacts. Guest blogging brings more visibility to my work. Or I can spend money to promote my brand. How I act and interact with people around me reflect on my brand. Treat the brand well and it will take good care of me; ignore it or treat it badly and the brand will kamikaze faster than you can snap your fingers.
Building You, Inc. takes time and effort; destroying You, Inc. can happen fast. Your income and net worth are directly related to the brand of You, Inc. Arming yourself with knowledge is the surest way to supercharge your brand. But knowledge is not enough. Knowledge without action is worthless. Creating a large net worth in a relatively short time is possible. Increasing income to retire debt and grow investments is the only road to financial independence.
You can’t sit down with Bill Gates for more than 10 minutes before he starts telling you about a recent book he read. If you’re not lucky enough to chew the fat with Bill you can get an update on his reading recommendations anytime you want on his blog: Gates Notes.
Ryan Holiday actually has a free subscription service to inform his followers monthly of great books he has read and recommends. Over the years I have found many inspiring and mentally stimulating books from Holiday’s list.
Books are the foundation of knowledge. I read a lot because you will be hard pressed to find a successful individual who doesn’t read on a regular basis and because it is fun. Books have a special feel. Some people enjoy Kindle versions; I still prefer holding a book in my hands. I might get my news digitally, but when I dive deep into a subject I want paper in my hands even if I have to lug it through an airport. It’s just me.
Outside family, books have provided my greatest pleasures in life. I have traveled the world and through time; I have seen great societies and dined with the greatest minds of history. I did it all through the eyes of those who were there. Books have given me all that and more. You are free as long as you can crack a book and disappear into another realm.
There are advantages to writing a personal finance blog that go beyond the love of writing and meeting new people. Few things in life bring as much pleasure as sharing knowledge gleaned over decades of experience. Stories are the best. Sharing stories with friends is a time honored pleasure handed down to us through countless generations.
The old adage about the teacher learning more than the student applies in blog writing as well as in formalized education settings. Additional research and looking at a situation considering perspectives wider than just your own is an eye opening experience.
The constant search for a story idea and angle is hard, yet rewarding, work. Topics I would never think of digging deeper into eventually reach the front burner. Unexpected paths are taken. I always have a plan. It never ends up the way I anticipate. Stories have a habit of taking on a life of their own. (At least I started with good intentions.)
Residential investment property is forgiving for the most part. Professional managers exist in most markets and except for the very worst of conditions it is possible to fill most apartments even if it is not at a profitable rate.
The number of residential properties available is large and unloading a single family home or duplex is fairly quick and simple. Many economists consider a six month supply of homes on the market a healthy balanced market.
Things get slightly less forgiving when you graduate to multi-unit apartment complexes. There are fewer to select from, they cost significantly more, there are more tenants to manage and it usually takes longer to sell the more expensive buildings. Not as many investors can swing a multi-million dollar deal or even finance one.
It might not be intuitive, but the more expensive the property the more likely it will be purchased as a cash deal. Big buildings carry big responsibilities and risks, but also are coupled with larger rewards.
Generally the rules are straightforward with residential rental properties. Lease contracts are generally standardized in most states and the landlord/tenant rules are clearly defined. The laws tend to protect the tenant more than the landlord. Still, the landlord, if she bought right, should turn a tidy profit.
Real estate investors usually start small, a single family rental or duplex, moving up to multi-unit buildings later. Most landlords stop at the duplex level with maybe a 4-plex or so tossed in for good measure.
The next leap takes courage. Financing a large deal is more difficult. Only a select number of banks are willing to fund a seven figure project. You need good credit, experience and a documented plan. At the end of the day the multi-unit complex is still a forgiving animal in the real estate world.
Then there is the commercial property.
The year was 1996, I was 32 years old and the bank needed a personal financial statement for an investment property purchase. The real estate partnership I had with my dad and brother was in full swing, but I wanted to add a few additional properties to my personal portfolio.
The bank asked for a personal financial statement. It had been a while since I filled one out so I was interested in where I would end up.
Don’t get me wrong. I track my finances closely. Each individual investment gets reviewed annually or semi-annually. I don’t always add up all the numbers to see where my net worth is, however.
As I gathered each asset and wrote its value down I could see this was going to be higher than I originally anticipated. My liquid investments had advanced a lot over the years and the real estate in my portfolio was adding a serious number to my net worth.
Once I had the assets added I knew I had crosses the million dollar mark before tallying the liabilities. Debt was low, even with all those rental properties.
One moment please. I need to wipe a tear from my left eye. <sniff>
There, I am better now.
Regular readers probably were wondering what happened to me yesterday. I normally publish on Friday and there wasn’t a whisper of evidence a certain accountant was anywhere to be found. I have a good excuse for my behavior: my oldest daughter bought her first car.
The process of buying her first car took time. She was working at it for 6 – 8 months. Dad didn’t do it for her either. I only gave advice; so like dad. She did all the work searching for a car and my job was to shoot down the idea. In the past I bought all my cars from the bank or credit union. Unfortunately, most financial institutions no longer mess around with selling their repossessed vehicles anymore, electing to move the assets at auction.
Unless you have a dealer’s license you can’t buy cars at auction. The effort to get and keep such a license is not worth it if you only buy a vehicle every 10-15 years.
The biggest problem most people have with credit card bonus programs is meeting the spending requirements for the bonus. Business owners have an advantage. Landlords do too. Meeting a $3,000 spending requirement in 90 days is a snap of the finger for even a relatively small business or side gig.
But not every side gig has enough spending that can go on a credit card and if you only own a few rental properties and maintenance is not currently required you will need another source of spending to earn a bonus.
Readers of this blog tend toward the frugal side. Spending for the sake of spending for a bonus is crazy and you guys know it. Your personal spending is probably too low to earn many bonus cash awards or miles. Travel hacking gets harder when you save most of your income.
Manufactured spending is the solution bandied around the blogosphere. It sounds so simple at first. Find a source where you can recycle fake spending into cash and miles rewards. Well, how do you do that?