Facing Shortfalls, Pension Managers Turn to Risky Bets

The graying of the American employee is a math drawback for Farouki Majeed. It’s his job to take a position his means out. Mr. Majeed is the funding chief for an $18 billion Ohio college pension that gives retirement advantages to greater than 80,000 retired librarians, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and different former staff. The issue is that this fund pays out extra in pension checks yearly than its present staff and employers contribute. That hole helps clarify why it’s billions in need of what it must cowl its future retirement guarantees.

“The bucket is leaking,” he mentioned. The answer for Mr. Majeed—in addition to different pension managers throughout the nation—is to tackle extra funding threat. His fund and plenty of different retirement programs are loading up on illiquid belongings resembling personal fairness, personal loans to corporations and actual property.

So-called “various” investments now comprise 24% of public pension fund portfolios, in response to the latest knowledge from the Boston School Middle for Retirement Analysis. That’s up from 8% in 2001. Throughout that point, the quantity invested in additional conventional shares and bonds dropped to 71% from 89%. At Mr. Majeed’s fund, alternate options had been 32% of his portfolio on the finish of July, in contrast with 13% in fiscal 2001.

This technique is paying off in Ohio and throughout the U.S. The median funding return for all public pension programs tracked by the Wilshire Belief Universe Comparability Service surged to almost 27% for the one-year interval ending in June. That was one of the best consequence since 1986. Mr. Majeed’s retirement system posted the identical 27% return, which was its strongest-ever efficiency primarily based on information courting again to 1994. His private-equity belongings jumped almost 46%.

A majority of these blockbuster positive aspects aren’t anticipated to final for lengthy, nevertheless. Analysts anticipate public pension-fund returns to dip over the subsequent decade, which is able to make it tougher to cope with the core drawback dealing with all funds: They don’t have sufficient money to cowl the guarantees they made to retirees. That hole narrowed in recent times however remains to be $740 billion for state retirement programs, in response to a fiscal 2021 estimate from Pew Charitable Trusts.

This public-pension predicament is the results of many years of underfunding, profit overpromises, unrealistic calls for from public-employee unions, authorities austerity measures and three recessions that left many retirement programs with deep funding holes. Not even the 11-year bull market that ended with the pandemic or a fast U.S. restoration in 2021 was sufficient to assist pensions dig out of their funding deficits utterly.

Demographics didn’t assist, both. Prolonged lifespans brought about prices to soar. Wealthy early-retirement preparations and a wave of retirees world-wide additionally left fewer lively staff to contribute, widening the distinction between the quantity owed to retirees and belongings available.

Low rates of interest made the pension-funding drawback much more tough to unravel as a result of they modified long-held assumptions about the place a public system might place its cash. Pension funds pay advantages to retirees via a mixture of funding positive aspects and contributions from employers and staff. To make sure sufficient is saved, plans undertake long-term annual return assumptions to mission how a lot of their prices can be paid from earnings. These assumptions are at present round 7% for many funds.

There was a time when it was potential to hit that concentrate on—or larger—simply by shopping for and holding investment-grade bonds. Not anymore. The extremely low rates of interest imposed by central banks to stimulate development following the 2008-09 monetary disaster made that just about inconceivable, and shedding even just a few share factors of bond yield hindered the purpose of posting regular returns.

Pension officers and authorities leaders had been left with a vexing resolution. They may shut their funding gaps by decreasing advantages for current staff, chopping again public companies and elevating taxes to pay for the bulging obligations. Or, since these are all tough political decisions and courts have a tendency to dam any efforts to chop advantages, they may take extra funding threat. Many are selecting that possibility, including dollops of actual property and private-equity investments to the once-standard guess of bonds and shares.

This shift might repay, because it did in 2021. Beneficial properties from private-equity investments had been an enormous driver of historic returns for a lot of public programs within the 2021 fiscal yr. The efficiency helped enhance the combination funded ratio for state pension plans, or the extent of belongings relative to the quantity wanted to satisfy projected liabilities, to 85.5% for the yr via June, Wilshire mentioned. That was a rise of 15.4 share factors.

These bets, nevertheless, carry potential pitfalls if the market ought to fall. Illiquid belongings resembling personal fairness usually lock up cash for years or many years and are far more tough to promote throughout downturns, heightening the danger of a money emergency. Various belongings have tripped up cities, counties and states prior to now; Orange County famously filed for chapter in 1994 after losses of greater than $1.7 billion on dangerous derivatives that went bitter.

The heightened concentrate on various bets might additionally end in heftier administration charges. Funds pay about two-and-one-half share factors in charges on various belongings, almost 5 occasions what they pay to spend money on public markets, in response to analysis from retired funding marketing consultant Richard Ennis. Some funds, consequently, are avoiding various belongings altogether. One of many nation’s best-performing funds, the Tampa Firefighters and Police Officers Pension Fund, limits its investments to publicly traded shares and bonds. It earned 32% within the yr ending June 30.

It took some convincing for Mr. Majeed, who’s 68 years outdated, to change the funding mixture of the Faculty Workers Retirement System of Ohio after he turned its chief funding officer. When he arrived in 2012, there was a plan below technique to make investments 15% of the fund’s cash in one other kind of other asset: hedge funds. He mentioned he thought such funds produced lackluster returns and had been too costly. Altering that technique would require a feat of public pension diplomacy: Convincing board members to roll again their hedge-fund plan after which promote them on new investments in infrastructure initiatives resembling airports, pipelines and roads—all below the unforgiving highlight of public conferences. “It’s a tricky room to stroll into as a CIO,” mentioned fund trustee James Rossler Jr., an Ohio college system treasurer. It wasn’t Mr. Majeed’s first expertise with politicians and fractious boards.

He grew up in Sri Lanka because the son of a distinguished Sri Lanka Parliament member, and his preliminary funding job there was for the Nationwide Growth Financial institution of Sri Lanka. He needed to consider the feasibility of factories and tourism initiatives. He got here to the U.S. in 1987 along with his spouse, received an M.B.A. from Rutgers College and shortly migrated to the world of public pensions with jobs in Minneapolis, Ohio, California and Abu Dhabi. In Orange County, Calif., Mr. Majeed helped persuade the board of the Orange County Workers Retirement System to cut back its reliance on bonds and put more cash into equities—a problem heightened by the county’s 1994 chapter, which occurred earlier than he arrived.

His 2012 transfer to Ohio wasn’t Mr. Majeed’s first publicity to that state’s pension politics, both; he beforehand was the deputy director of investments for one more of the state’s retirement programs within the early 2000s. This time round, nevertheless, he was in cost. He mentioned he spent a number of months presenting the board with knowledge on how current hedge-fund investments had lagged behind expectations after which tallied up how a lot the fund paid in charges for these bets. “It was not a reasonably image at that time,” he mentioned, “and these paperwork are public.” Trustees listened. They lowered the hedge-fund goal to 10% and moved 5% into the real-estate portfolio the place it might be invested in infrastructure, as Mr. Majeed needed.

What cemented the board’s belief is that portfolio then earned annualized returns of 12.4% over the subsequent 5 years—greater than double the return of hedge funds over that interval. The board in February 2020 signed off on one other request from Mr. Majeed to place 5% of belongings in a brand new kind of other funding: personal loans made to corporations. “Again once I first received on the board, in case you would have instructed me we had been going to have a look at credit score, I might have instructed you there was no means that was going to occur,” Mr. Rossler mentioned. The private-loan guess paid off spectacularly the next month when determined corporations turned to non-public lenders amid market chaos sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Majeed mentioned he added loans to an airline firm, an plane engine producer and an early-childhood schooling firm impacted by the widespread shutdowns. For the yr ended June 30, the newly minted mortgage portfolio returned almost 18%, with greater than 7% of that coming in money the fund might use to pay advantages.

The system’s whole annualized return over 10 years rose to 9.15%, effectively above its 7% goal. These positive aspects closed the yawning hole between belongings available and guarantees made to retirees, however not utterly. Mr. Majeed estimates the fund has 74% of what it wants to satisfy future pension obligations, up from 63% when he arrived. Mr. Majeed is now eligible to attract a pension himself, however he mentioned he finds his job too absorbing to think about retirement simply but. What he is aware of is that the pressures forcing a cutthroat seek for larger returns will make his job—and that of whoever comes subsequent—exponentially tougher. “I believe it’s going to be very robust.”

By: Heather Gillers

Heather Gillers is a reporter on The Wall Street Journal’s investing team. She writes about pensions, municipal bonds and other public finance issues. She previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Indianapolis Star, and the (Aurora, Ill.) Beacon-News. She can be reached at (929) 384 3212 or heather.gillers@wsj.com.

Source: https://www.wsj.com/

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“Location Selector”. Willis Towers Watson. “Asset Management 2020 – A Brave New World” (PDF). Retrieved March 3, 2021. OECD For examples, see “Local Government Law Library”. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2011. “The 20 largest pension funds of the globe”. http://www.consultancy.uk. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-11. [1] Top 100 Largest Public Pension Rankings by Total Assets Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020 Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Superannuation Statistics, March 2021. Value as of June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2021 2020年度第3四半期運用状況 GPIF “Annual Survey of Large Pension Funds and Public Pension Reserve Funds” (PDF). OECD. 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-10-28. Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Budget of the United States Government, FY2022, published May 28, 2021. Value as of September 30, 2020. Office of Management and Budget Retrieved June 13, 2021 Financial Statements of the Thrift Savings Fund December 31, 2020 and 2019. As of December 31, 2020. Thrift Savings Fund. Retrieved May 14, 2021 “Default”. Retrieved 2020-07-04. “CPP Fund Totals $317 Billion at 2017 Fiscal Year-End”. http://www.cppib.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24. “Page d’accueil”. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec | Investisseur institutionnel de long terme | Gestionnaire d’actif. “CalPERS Reports Preliminary 4.7% Investment Return for Fiscal Year 2019-20”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. “The world’s 300 largest pension funds – year end 2014”. Willis Towers Watson. “Performance – Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan”. http://www.otpp.com. “Current Investment Portfolio – CalSTRS.com”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. https://www.pfzw.nl/over-ons/pers/paginas/kwartaalberichten.aspxhttp://www.emol.com/noticias/economia/2015/01/23/700604/donde-estan-invertidas-las-platas-de-los-trabajadores-en-chile.html Asher, Mukul (22 January 2021). “How the EPFO can improve as India’s largest social security provider”. Moneycontrol. “Annual Announcement of Financial Statements 2020”. “OMERS – 2020 Annual Report Highlights”. Retrieved 2021-03-03. Official WebSite of PREVI – English Version“STRS Ohio’s Impact”. “Assets Under Management & No.of Subscribers | NPS Trust”. “FRR 2012 Annual Report” (PDF). “NPRF”. Archived from the original on 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2020-05-03. “Choose an Industry SuperFund”. Industry Super. http://www.previ.com.br Official Website of PREVI “ΜΕΤΟΧΙΚΟ ΤΑΜΕΙΟ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΩΝ ΥΠΑΛΛΗΛΩΝ | Μ.Τ.Π.Υ.”“Official website of Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority”. EPFPFRDA[2]Archived November 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machinehttp://www.csspp.rohttp://pio.rs/eng/“Armed Forces Pension Fund”. 29 USC § 1002 – Definitions | Title 29 – Labor | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute. Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2013-07-18. Federal Reserve Statistical Release, Financial Accounts of the United States, Fourth Quarter 2016Archived 2018-01-04 at the Wayback Machine, see pp.94-99. Values as of December 31, 2016. Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Reported March 9, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017

Beyond Evergrande, China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning

As many economists say China enters what is now the final phase of one of the biggest real-estate booms in history, it is facing a staggering bill: According to economists at Nomura, $ 5 trillion plus loans that developers had taken at a good time. Holdings Inc.

The debt is almost double that at the end of 2016 and last year exceeded the overall economic output of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy.

With warning signs on the debt of nearly two-fifths of growth companies borrowed from international bond investors, global markets are poised for a potential wave of defaults.

Chinese leaders are getting serious about addressing debt by taking a series of steps to curb excessive borrowing. But doing so without hurting the property market, crippling more developers and derailing the country’s economy is turning into one of the biggest economic challenges for Chinese leaders, and one that resonates globally when mismanaged. could.

Luxury Developer Fantasia Holdings Group Co. It failed to pay $206 million in dollar bonds that matured on October 4. In late September, Evergrande, which has more than $300 billion in liabilities, missed two interest-paying deadlines for the bond.

A wave of sell-offs hit Asian junk-bond markets last week. On Friday, bonds of 24 of 59 Chinese growth companies on the ICE BofA Index of Asian Corporate Dollar Bonds were trading at over 20% yields, indicating a high risk of default.

Some potential home buyers are leaning, forcing companies to cut prices to raise cash, and could potentially accelerate their slide if the trend continues.

According to data from CRIC, a research arm of property services firm e-House (China) Enterprise Holdings, overall sales among China’s 100 largest developers were down 36 per cent in September from a year earlier. Ltd.

It revealed that the 10 largest developers, including China Evergrande, Country Garden Holdings Co. and china wenke Co., saw a decline of 44% in sales compared to a year ago.

Economists say most Chinese developers remain relatively healthy. Beijing has the firepower and tighter control of the financial system needed to prevent the so-called Lehman moment, in which a corporate financial crisis snowballs, he says.

In late September, Businesshala reported that China had asked local governments to be prepared for potentially intensifying problems in Evergrande.

But many economists, investors and analysts agree that even for healthy enterprises, the underlying business model—in which developers use credit to fund steady churn of new construction despite the demographic less favorable for new housing—is likely to change. Chances are. Some developers can’t survive the transition, he says.

Of particular concern is some developers’ practice of relying heavily on “presales”, in which buyers pay upfront for still-unfinished apartments.

The practice, more common in China than in the US, means developers are borrowing interest-free from millions of homes, making it easier to continue expanding but potentially leaving buyers without ready-made apartments for developers to fail. needed.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, pre-sales and similar deals were the region’s biggest funding sources since August this year.

“There is no return to the previous growth model for China’s real-estate market,” said Hous Song, a research fellow at the Paulson Institute, a Chicago think tank focused on US-China relations. China is likely to put a set of limits on corporate lending, known as the “three red lines” imposed last year, which helped trigger the recent crisis on some developers, he added. That China can ease some other restrictions.

While Beijing has avoided explicit public statements on its plans to deal with the most indebted developers, many economists believe leaders have no choice but to keep the pressure on them.

Policymakers are determined to reform a model fueled by debt and speculation as part of President Xi Jinping’s broader efforts to mitigate the hidden risks that could destabilize society, especially at key Communist Party meetings next year. before. Mr. Xi is widely expected to break the precedent and extend his rule to a third term.

Economists say Beijing is concerned that after years of rapid home price gains, some may be unable to climb the housing ladder, potentially fueling social discontent, as economists say. The cost of young couples is starting to drop in large cities, making it difficult for them to start a family. According to JPMorgan Asset Management, the median apartment in Beijing or Shenzhen now accounts for more than 40 times the average family’s annual disposable income.

Officials have said they are concerned about the risk posed by the asset market to the financial system. Reinforcing developers’ business models and limiting debt, however, is almost certain to slow investment and cause at least some slowdown in the property market, one of the biggest drivers of China’s growth.

The real estate and construction industries account for a large portion of China’s economy. Researchers Kenneth S. A 2020 paper by Rogoff and Yuanchen Yang estimated that industries, roughly, account for 29% of China’s economic activity, far more than in many other countries. Slow housing growth could spread to other parts of the economy, affecting consumer spending and employment.

Government figures show that about 1.6 million acres of residential floor space were under construction at the end of last year. This was roughly equivalent to 21,000 towers with the floor area of ​​the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.

Housing construction fell by 13.6% in August below its pre-pandemic level, as restrictions on borrowing were imposed last year, calculations by Oxford Economics show.

Local governments’ income from selling land to developers declined by 17.5% in August from a year earlier. Local governments, which are heavily indebted, rely on the sale of land for most of their revenue.

Another slowdown will also risk exposing banks to more bad loans. According to Moody’s Analytics, outstanding property loans—mainly mortgages, but also loans to developers—accounted for 27% of China’s total of $28.8 trillion in bank loans at the end of June.

As pressure on housing mounts, many research houses and banks have cut China’s growth outlook. Oxford Economics on Wednesday lowered its forecast for China’s third-quarter year-on-year GDP growth from 5% to 3.6%. It lowered its 2022 growth forecast for China from 5.8% to 5.4%.

As recently as the 1990s, most city residents in China lived in monotonous residences provided by state-owned employers. When market reforms began to transform the country and more people moved to cities, China needed a massive supply of high-quality apartments. Private developers stepped in.

Over the years, he added millions of new units to modern, streamlined high-rise buildings. In 2019, new homes made up more than three-quarters of home sales in China, less than 12% in the US, according to data cited by Chinese property broker Kei Holdings Inc. in a listing prospectus last year.

In the process, developers grew to be much bigger than anything seen in the US, the largest US home builder by revenue, DR Horton. Inc.,

Reported assets of $21.8 billion at the end of June. Evergrande had about $369 billion. Its assets included vast land reserves and 345,000 unsold parking spaces.

For most of the boom, developers were filling a need. In recent years, policymakers and economists began to worry that much of the market was driven by speculation.

Chinese households are prohibited from investing abroad, and domestic bank deposits provide low returns. Many people are wary of the country’s booming stock markets. So some have poured money into housing, in some cases buying three or four units without the intention of buying or renting them out.

As developers bought more places to build, land sales boosted the national growth figures. Dozens of entrepreneurs who founded growth companies are featured on the list of Chinese billionaires. Ten of the 16 soccer clubs of the Chinese Super League are wholly or partially owned by the developers.

Real-estate giants borrow not only from banks but also from shadow-banking organizations known as trust companies and individuals who invest their savings in investments called wealth-management products. Overseas, they became a mainstay of international junk-bond markets, offering juicy produce to snag deals.

A builder, Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. , defaulted on its debt in 2015, was still able to borrow and later expand. Two years later it spent the equivalent of $2.1 billion to buy 25 land parcels, and $7.3 billion for land in 2020. This summer, Cassa sold $200 million of short-term bonds with a yield of 8.65%.

By: Quentin Webb & Stella Yifan Xie 

Source: Beyond Evergrande, China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning – WSJ

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The Global Housing Market is Broken, and It’s Dividing Entire Countries

Soaring property prices are forcing people all over the world to abandon all hope of owning a home. The fallout is shaking governments of all political persuasions.

It’s a phenomenon given wings by the pandemic. And it’s not just buyers — rents are also soaring in many cities. The upshot is the perennial issue of housing costs has become one of acute housing inequality, and an entire generation is at risk of being left behind.

“We’re witnessing sections of society being shut out of parts of our city because they can no longer afford apartments,” Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller says. “That’s the case in London, in Paris, in Rome, and now unfortunately increasingly in Berlin.”

That exclusion is rapidly making housing a new fault line in politics, one with unpredictable repercussions. The leader of Germany’s Ver.di union called rent the 21st century equivalent of the bread price, the historic trigger for social unrest.

Politicians are throwing all sorts of ideas at the problem, from rent caps to special taxes on landlords, nationalizing private property, or turning vacant offices into housing. Nowhere is there evidence of an easy or sustainable fix.

In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in’s party took a drubbing in mayoral elections this year after failing to tackle a 90% rise in the average price of an apartment in Seoul since he took office in May 2017. The leading opposition candidate for next year’s presidential vote has warned of a potential housing market collapse as interest rates rise.

China has stepped up restrictions on the real-estate sector this year and speculation is mounting of a property tax to bring down prices. The cost of an apartment in Shenzhen, China’s answer to Silicon Valley, was equal to 43.5 times a resident’s average salary as of July, a disparity that helps explain President Xi Jinping’s drive for “common prosperity.”

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised a two-year ban on foreign buyers if re-elected.

The pandemic has stoked the global housing market to fresh records over the past 18 months through a confluence of ultralow interest rates, a dearth of house production, shifts in family spending and fewer homes being put up for sale. While that’s a boon for existing owners, prospective buyers are finding it ever harder to gain entry.

What we’re witnessing is “a major event that should not be shrugged off or ignored,” Don Layton, the former CEO of U.S. mortgage giant Freddie Mac, wrote in a commentary for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

In the U.S., where nominal home prices are more than 30% above their previous peaks in the mid-2000s, government policies aimed at improving affordability and promoting home ownership risk stoking prices, leaving first-time buyers further adrift, Layton said.

The result, in America as elsewhere, is a widening generational gap between baby boomers, who are statistically more likely to own a home, and millennials and Generation Z — who are watching their dreams of buying one go up in smoke.

Existing housing debt may be sowing the seeds of the next economic crunch if borrowing costs start to rise. Niraj Shah of Bloomberg Economics compiled a dashboard of countries most at threat of a real-estate bubble, and says risk gauges are “flashing warnings” at an intensity not seen since the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

In the search for solutions, governments must try and avoid penalizing either renters or homeowners. It’s an unenviable task.

Sweden’s government collapsed in June after it proposed changes that would have abandoned traditional controls and allowed more rents to be set by the market.

In Berlin, an attempt to tame rent increases was overturned by a court. Campaigners have collected enough signatures to force a referendum on seizing property from large private landlords. The motion goes to a vote on Sept. 26. The city government on Friday announced it would buy nearly 15,000 apartments from two large corporate landlords for €2.46 billion ($2.9 billion) to expand supply.

Anthony Breach at the Center for Cities think tank has even made the case for a link between housing and Britain’s 2016 vote to quit the European Union. Housing inequality, he concluded, is “scrambling our politics.”

As these stories from around the world show, that’s a recipe for upheaval.

Argentina

With annual inflation running around 50%, Argentines are no strangers to price increases. But for Buenos Aires residents like Lucia Cholakian, rent hikes are adding economic pressure, and with that political disaffection.

Like many during the pandemic, the 28-year-old writer and college professor moved with her partner from a downtown apartment to a residential neighborhood in search of more space. In the year since, her rent has more than tripled; together with bills it chews through about 40% of her income. That rules out saving for a home.

“We’re not going to be able to plan for the future like our parents did, with the dream of your own house,” she says. The upshot is “renting, buying and property in general” is becoming “much more present for our generation politically.”

Legislation passed by President Alberto Fernandez’s coalition aims to give greater rights to tenants like Cholakian. Under the new rules, contracts that were traditionally two years are now extended to three. And rather than landlords setting prices, the central bank created an index that determines how much rent goes up in the second and third year.

It’s proved hugely controversial, with evidence of some property owners raising prices excessively early on to counter the uncertainty of regulated increases later. Others are simply taking properties off the market. A government-decreed pandemic rent freeze exacerbated the squeeze.

Rental apartment listings in Buenos Aires city are down 12% this year compared to the average in 2019, and in the surrounding metro area they’re down 36%, according to real estate website ZonaProp.

The law “had good intentions but worsened the issue, as much for property owners as for tenants,” said Maria Eugenia Vidal, the former governor of Buenos Aires province and one of the main opposition figures in the city. She is contesting the November midterm elections on a ticket with economist Martin Tetaz with a pledge to repeal the legislation.

“Argentina is a country of uncertainty,” Tetaz said by phone, but with the housing rules it’s “even more uncertain now than before.”

Cholakian, who voted for Fernandez in 2019, acknowledges the rental reform is flawed, but also supports handing more power to tenants after an extended recession that wiped out incomes. If anything, she says greater regulation is needed to strike a balance between reassuring landlords and making rent affordable.

“If they don’t do something to control this in the city of Buenos Aires, only the rich will be left,” she says.

Australia

As the son of first-generation migrants from Romania, Alex Fagarasan should be living the Australian dream. Instead, he’s questioning his long-term prospects.

Fagarasan, a 28-year-old junior doctor at a major metropolitan hospital, would prefer to stay in Melbourne, close to his parents. But he’s being priced out of his city. He’s now facing the reality that he’ll have to move to a regional town to get a foothold in the property market. Then, all going well, in another eight years he’ll be a specialist and able to buy a house in Melbourne.

Even so, he knows he’s one of the lucky ones. His friends who aren’t doctors “have no chance” of ever owning a home. “My generation will be the first one in Australia that will be renting for the rest of their lives,” he says.

He currently rents a modern two-bedroom townhouse with two others in the inner suburb of Northcote — a study nook has been turned into a make-shift bedroom to keep down costs. About 30% of his salary is spent on rent; he calls it “exorbitant.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government announced a “comprehensive housing affordability plan” as part of the 2017-2018 budget, including 1 billion Australian dollars ($728 million) to boost supply. It hasn’t tamed prices.

The opposition Labour Party hasn’t fared much better. It proposed closing a lucrative tax loophole for residential investment at the last election in 2019, a policy that would likely have brought down home prices. But it sparked an exodus back to the ruling Liberals of voters who owned their home, and probably contributed to Labor’s election loss.

The political lessons have been learned: Fagarasan doesn’t see much help on housing coming from whoever wins next year’s federal election. After all, Labor already rules the state of Victoria whose capital is Melbourne.

“I feel like neither of the main parties represents the voice of the younger generation,” he says.

It’s a sentiment shared by Ben Matthews, a 33-year-old project manager at a university in Sydney. He’s moving back in with his parents after the landlord of the house he shared with three others ordered them out, an experience he says he found disappointing and stressful, especially during the pandemic.

Staying with his parents will at least help him save for a deposit on a one-bedroom flat. But even that’s a downgrade from his original plan of a two-bedroom house so he could rent the other room out. The increases, he says, are “just insane.”

“It might not be until something breaks that we’ll get the political impetus to make changes,” he says. -Jason Scott

Canada

Days after calling an election, Justin Trudeau announced plans for a two-year ban on foreigners buying houses. If it was meant as a dramatic intervention to blind-side his rivals, it failed: they broadly agree.

The prime minister thought he was going to fight the election — set for Monday — on the back of his handling of the pandemic, but instead housing costs are a dominant theme for all parties.

Trudeau’s Liberals are promising a review of “escalating” prices in markets including Vancouver and Toronto to clamp down on speculation; Conservative challenger Erin O’Toole pledges to build a million homes in three years to tackle the “housing crisis”; New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh wants a 20% tax on foreign buyers to combat a crisis he calls “out of hand.”

Facing a surprisingly tight race, Trudeau needs to attract young urban voters if he is to have any chance of regaining his majority. He chose Hamilton, outside Toronto, to launch his housing policy. Once considered an affordable place in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s faced rising pressure as people leave Canada’s biggest city in search of cheaper homes. The average single family home cost 932,700 Canadian dollars ($730,700) in June, a 30% increase from a year earlier, according to the Realtors Association of Hamilton and Burlington.

The City of Hamilton cites housing affordability among its priorities for the federal election, but that’s little comfort to Sarah Wardroper, a 32-year-old single mother of two young girls, who works part time and rents in the downtown east side. Hamilton, she says, represents “one of the worst housing crises in Canada.”

While she applauds promises to make it harder for foreigners to buy investment properties she’s skeptical of measures that might discourage homeowners from renting out their properties. That includes Trudeau’s bid to tax those who sell within 12 months of a house purchase. Neither is she convinced by plans for more affordable housing, seeing them as worthy but essentially a short-term fix when the real issue is “the economy is just so out of control the cost of living in general has skyrocketed.”

Wardroper says her traditionally lower-income community has become a luxury Toronto neighborhood.

“I don’t have the kind of job to buy a house, but I have the ambition and the drive to do that,” she says. “I want to build a future for my kids. I want them to be able to buy homes, but the way things are going right now, I don’t think that’s going to be possible.”

Singapore

Back in 2011, a public uproar over the city-state’s surging home prices contributed to what was at the time the ruling party’s worst parliamentary election result in more than five decades in power. While the People’s Action Party retained the vast majority of the seats in parliament, it was a wake-up call — and there are signs the pressure is building again.

Private home prices have risen the most in two years, and in the first half of 2021 buyers including ultra-rich foreigners splurged 32.9 billion Singapore dollars ($24 billion), according to Singapore-based ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd. That’s double the amount recorded in Manhattan over the same period.

However, close to 80% of Singapore’s citizens live in public housing, which the government has long promoted as an asset they can sell to move up in life.

It’s a model that has attracted attention from countries including China, but one that is under pressure amid a frenzy in the resale market. Singapore’s government-built homes bear little resemblance to low-income urban concentrations elsewhere: In the first five months of the year, a record 87 public apartments were resold for at least SG$1 million. That’s stirring concerns about affordability even among the relatively affluent.

Junior banker Alex Ting, 25, is forgoing newly built public housing as it typically means a three-to-four-year wait. And under government rules for singles, Ting can only buy a public apartment when he turns 35 anyway.

His dream home is a resale flat near his parents. But even there a mismatch between supply and demand could push his dream out of reach.

While the government has imposed curbs on second-home owners and foreign buyers, younger people like Ting have grown resigned to the limits of what can be done.

Most Singaporeans aspire to own their own property, and the housing scarcity and surge in prices presents another hurdle to them realizing their goal, says Nydia Ngiow, Singapore-based senior director at BowerGroupAsia, a strategic policy advisory firm. If unaddressed, that challenge “may in turn build long-term resentment towards the ruling party,” she warns.

That’s an uncomfortable prospect for the PAP, even as the opposition faces barriers to winning parliamentary seats. The ruling party is already under scrutiny for a disrupted leadership succession plan, and housing costs may add to the pressure.

Younger voters may express their discontent by moving away from the PAP, according to Ting. “In Singapore, the only form of protest we can do is to vote for the opposition,” he says.

Ireland

Claire Kerrane is open about the role of housing in her winning a seat in Ireland’s parliament, the Dail.

Kerrane, 29, was one of a slew of Sinn Fein lawmakers to enter the Dail last year after the party unexpectedly won the largest number of first preference votes at the expense of Ireland’s dominant political forces, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

While the two main parties went on to form a coalition government, the outcome was a political earthquake. Sinn Fein was formerly the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, yet it’s been winning followers more for its housing policy than its push for a united Ireland.

“Housing was definitely a key issue in the election and I think our policies and ambition for housing played a role in our election success,” says Kerrane, who represents the parliamentary district of Roscommon-Galway.

Ireland still bears the scars of a crash triggered by a housing bubble that burst during the financial crisis. A shortage of affordable homes means prices are again marching higher.

Sinn Fein has proposed building 100,000 social and affordable homes, the reintroduction of a pandemic ban on evictions and rent increases, and legislation to limit the rate banks can charge for mortgages.

Those policies have struck a chord. The most recent Irish Times Ipsos MRBI poll, in June, showed Sinn Fein leading all other parties, with 21% of respondents citing house prices as the issue most likely to influence their vote in the next general election, the same proportion that cited the economy. Only health care trumped housing as a concern.

Other parties are taking note. On Sept. 2, the coalition launched a housing plan as the pillar of its agenda for this parliamentary term, committing over €4 billion ($4.7 billion) a year to increase supply, the highest-ever level of government investment in social and affordable housing.

Whether it’s enough to blunt Sinn Fein’s popularity remains to be seen. North of the border, meanwhile, Sinn Fein holds a consistent poll lead ahead of elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly due by May, putting it on course to nominate the region’s First Minister for the first time since the legislature was established as part of the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998.

For all the many hurdles that remain to reunification, Sinn Fein is arguably closer than it has ever been to achieving its founding goal by championing efforts to widen access to housing.

As Kerrane says: “Few, if any households aren’t affected in some way by the housing crisis.”

By Alan Crawford

Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/

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3 Issues To Consider Before You Introduce Recurring Revenue Streams Into Your Business

All business owners understand and appreciate the importance of revenue to the success of their businesses. At the outset, revenue is critical to the ability of a business to pay its expenses and satisfy any payroll obligations. Investors will examine the history of revenue of a business as a benchmark to evaluate the future profitability and potential growth of the company. Revenue is also an important criteria that lenders use when assessing whether to extend credit to a business  the lifeblood of every business.

With revenue being so important to the success of a business, it is often a surprise how little time most business owners spend on exploring how their businesses can meet  if not exceed  their revenue-generating potential.

The reality is most business owners are so focused on the day-to-day realities of running their businesses that they simply do not have the time to consider if their businesses are generating as much income as they should or if there are other opportunities to increase revenue-generating potential.

Related: 17 Passive Income Ideas for Increasing Your Cash Flow

What is a recurring revenue stream?

A recurring revenue stream is simply a way of conducting business that results in customers paying the business on a regular basis in exchange for some value. This value can either be the right to receive goods or services from a business or the right to access or use the property of the business for a given time.

This is very different from non-recurring revenue-generation business models, such as the sale of a product or the provision of a service, where a business has no expectation that a current customer will be a customer in the future. Recurring revenue streams enable business owners to better predict how much revenue their businesses will generate in the future. Savvy business owners use these recurring revenue streams to attract investors, obtain credit and grow their companies.

It is no wonder that the foundation of many successful modern businesses today often relies on recurring revenue streams.

Related: Why You Should Use a Subscription Business Model

What are some examples of recurring revenue streams?

You may be intimidated by the idea of a recurring revenue stream. You have no reason to be: Recurring-revenue business models are all around us. Here are three common examples of recurring revenue streams that you may be familiar with and ought to consider implementing in your business.

  1. Renting or leasing. If you have ever leased a car or rented a home, you are familiar with this business model. Leasing is a form of generating revenue where a business collects money from a customer in exchange for giving a customer the right to use a physical asset for a specified time.
  2. Licensing. Do you pay for any online services? Do you use any form of social media? Your relationship with those online services is often governed by a license agreement, which sets out terms for how intellectual property of one party can be used by the other. If one party is required to pay for the rights to use the intellectual property of the other party, those payments are often calculated based on how often that customer uses that intellectual property or on the amount of money the customer generates using the intellectual property of the business.
  3. Subscription. This is the model you are most likely familiar with. Whether it be your account to the latest video-streaming platform, your fresh coffee subscription or even your subscription to a pizza service, subscription-based business models are everywhere. The success of most subscription-based business models relies on providing ongoing value to customers in exchange for recurring payments for as long as possible.

What to ask before integrating a recurring revenue stream

While introducing a new revenue stream for your business is certainly attractive, recognize that not every recurring-revenue business model is the same. The reality is that each type of recurring revenue stream needs to be tailored to the capabilities of each business and the needs of each customer. Here are some questions to ask when considering the opportunities to integrate a recurring revenue stream into your business:

What value from your business are your customers willing to pay for on a regular basis? What price will customers pay for that value on a regular basis? What changes in your business operations need to happen to make these revenue streams a reality?

Related: 3 Simple But Effective Strategies to Create Consistent Income Online

Don’t go it alone

While I hope this article illustrates some of the benefits of integrating recurring revenue streams into your business, I must emphasize that this is simply an introduction to the concept. Don’t underestimate the amount of time, money and energy that may be required to create a new revenue stream for your business.

I would encourage you to find lawyers, accountants and other advisors to guide both your assessment of the suitability of a recurring-revenue business model for your business and the implementation of your strategic decisions. After all, a little time and energy invested in preparation often pays dividends in the long term.

Romesh Hettiarachchi

By: Romesh Hettiarachchi  – Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Source: 3 Issues to Consider Before You Introduce Recurring Revenue Streams Into Your Business

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Haven’t Checked On That Bitcoin Account In A While? Your State Could Have It Liquidated

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If you know you have an old bitcoin or dogecoin account somewhere but haven’t gotten around the digging up your login information, you may have a nasty surprise waiting for you. With the rise of cryptocurrency, nine states have now adopted rules that include it as a form of unclaimed property and several more are requiring or recommending that companies report their unclaimed virtual currency.

That means that this fall, when banks, insurers, retailers and state government agencies are required to annually report and remit any unclaimed funds, your old cryptocurrency account could be liquidated and turned in to the state’s unclaimed property office.

There are a lot of concerns about this possibility, not the least of which is the fact that liquidating a cryptocurrency account prevents the owner from realizing any future gains. But there’s also a larger economic issue, says Kristine Butterbaugh a solution principal, at the tax firm Sovos.

“Some of our clients don’t want to liquidate these accounts because it could have an impact on the market as a whole,” she says. “We’re talking millions of accounts, potentially, across the country.”

What’s muddling things is a lack of clarity on the rules around cryptocurrency. Unclaimed property law is written for traditional property but now it’s being enforced for non-traditional property.

Here’s how unclaimed property law usually works: Every fall, businesses are required to remit any unclaimed property to the state. For accounts and other financial instruments to be considered unclaimed, they have to be dormant for three to five years, depending on the state. That means the account holder hasn’t accessed the account or responded to any communications. Once the account is deemed unclaimed, it gets transferred to the state’s general fund.

That’s all well and good when we’re talking about a traditional bank account that is sitting around earning minimal — if any — interest. But states aren’t equipped to hold cryptocurrency, so they’re telling firms to turn those accounts into cash before handing them over.

Now let’s say you watched the meteoric rise of dogecoin this past spring and decided to go hunting for those coins you invested in on a whim a few years ago. And when you finally tracked them down you discovered your account was liquidated back in November, robbing you of thousands of dollars in potential earnings? You’d probably be pretty angry.

“Companies are in a really uncomfortable position because they’re unsure whether or not they should be liquidating for fear of owner retribution down the road,” says Butterbaugh. “And then you have the state saying, ‘You have to,’ even if it’s not explicitly in the statute.”

States are also motivated to enforce unclaimed property laws because it’s a revenue gain for them. Although the state keeps track of the amount due and the rightful owner can still eventually claim the money at any time, states in the meantime can use the money for their general operations. This may seem like a gamble, but only about 2% of unclaimed property ever gets returned to the true owner, according to Accounting Today.

Delaware — home to more than a million companies — is one of the most aggressive states when it comes to auditing companies on unclaimed property law compliance and has secured hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade in unclaimed property and fines.

So, companies are stuck between not wanting to get dinged for noncompliance and being afraid to liquidate a cryptocurrency account. They want more clarity on what to do and Butterbaugh says two places — New York and Washington, D.C. — are working on a solution.

But in the meantime, she advises companies dealing in cryptocurrency to start addressing their dormant accounts now.

I am a fiscal policy expert, national journalist and public speaker who has spent more than 15 years writing about the many ways state and local governments collect and spend taxpayer money. I sift through that complicated information then break it down in quick ways that everyone can understand. I’m most known by policy wonks for my work at Governing magazine and for my fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute of Government where I write about the intersection of government and the future of work. My work is also in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CityLab and other national publications. Frequent and enthusiastic radio and podcast guest.

Source: Haven’t Checked On That Bitcoin Account In A While? Your State Could Have It Liquidated

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Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Follow these tax tips to get the biggest tax savings when making charitable contributions of cash or checks, household goods, cars or appreciated property.

Choose the right organization

In order for your donation to be deductible, it must go to a nonprofit group that is approved by the IRS. Most often, these are charitable, religious or educational organizations, though they can also be everything from your local volunteer fire company to a group for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

  • If you’re not sure whether the group you want to help is approved by the IRS to receive tax-deductible donations, check online at IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check.
  • This site allows you to enter an organization’s name and location to instantly find out if it qualifies.

Make sure it counts

To write off any cash contributions, no matter how small, you need a canceled check, bank record or a receipt with the charity’s name and donation amount. That means that putting cash in the church collection plate or the Salvation Army bucket is a no-no if you want to be able to take a deduction for it.Your resource on tax filingTax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.Go Now

As with all deductions, timing is everything. You can take the deduction for your contribution in the year that you make it.

  • For example, if you mailed a check to your favorite charity on December 31, you can write it off on that year’s tax return.
  • If you charge the donation on a credit card, the write-off is claimed in the year the charge is made, even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until the following year.
  • But a pledge to make a donation is different: Because it’s only a promise to make a future donation, there’s no deduction until you actually follow through.

Donations are limited

There’s also a limit on how much you can deduct. The basic rule is that your contributions to qualified public charities, colleges and religious groups can’t exceed 60 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) (100% of AGI in 2020 for qualified charities).

  • The caps are a bit lower for gifts to other types of nonprofits. When it comes to gifts of appreciated property, the limit drops to 30 percent of AGI.
  • If these restrictions limit your write-off in the year of the gift, the excess deduction carries over to the next year.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t write off a contribution to the extent that you get something in return.

For example:

  • If you buy a $50 ticket to a fundraising dinner at a church, but the cost of the dinner is $20, you can deduct $30.
    • $50 donation – $20 return = $30 deduction
  • For donations of more than $75, the nonprofit must give you a written statement telling you the value of what you received in return and reminding you that you can’t deduct that portion of your contribution.

There’s also a special rule for folks who donate to colleges and universities and receive the right to buy tickets to school athletic events: They can deduct 80 percent of their donation.

Appreciated property

Cash may be king, but if you want a really big tax saver, your best bet may be a donation of appreciated property—securities, real estate, art, jewelry or antiques.

  • If you have owned the property more than a year, you can deduct its full fair market value and escape income tax on the appreciation.
  • For property held one year or less, IRS only allows you to claim a deduction on the price you paid for it.

Let’s say you own stock that you bought many years ago for $1,000 that is now worth $10,000, and that you intend to make a $10,000 gift to a major fundraiser for your alma mater. If you write a check for $10,000, the college gets $10,000, and you get to deduct $10,000.

If instead, you give the $10,000 worth of stock,

  • The college still gets $10,000 (it won’t owe any tax on the profit when it sells the stock.)
  • You still get to deduct $10,000.
  • You eliminate the tax you’d owe if you sold the stock for $10,000: Such a sale would trigger a capital gains tax on the $9,000 of profit, and that would cost you $1,350. Making your gift with stock instead of cash saves you that $1,350.

If you don’t really want to part with the stock because you think it’s still a good investment, give it away anyway. Then use your $10,000 of cash to buy the shares back in the open market. That way you’ll only be taxed on future appreciation.

How a gift is used affects donor value

If you’re donating tangible personal property, what the charity does with the item affects how much you can deduct.

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  • If you donate land so the local homeless shelter can build a new facility to house more people, you can write off the full market value.
  • If you donate a work of art to the shelter for its fundraising auction, you only get a deduction for the price you paid for the artwork.
  • What if you donated the piece of art to a museum that will display it as part of its collection? In that case, you get to deduct the full market value.

For property worth more than $5,000 ($10,000 for stock in closely-held firms), you’ll need to get a formal appraisal. You’ll also have to make sure the appraiser is a member of a recognized professional group or meets minimum education and experience guidelines. If you don’t, the IRS can disallow your deduction.

Contributing household items

Donating used goods such as clothing, linens, electronics, appliances and furniture gets you a write-off for the item’s fair market value at the time you donated it, which may be considerably less than what you originally paid.

The IRS has a helpful booklet on this subject, Publication 561: Determining the Value of Donated Property.

For items valued at more than $500, you’ll need to fill out Form 8283 and attach it to your return. On this form you have to

  • describe each item over $500 that you donated,
  • identify the recipient, and
  • provide information about the value of the item, including your cost or adjusted basis.

Congress has clamped down on donations of household goods to make sure folks aren’t inflating the value of their used stuff.

  • No tax deduction is allowed unless an item is in good condition or better.
  • If an item in less-than-good condition is valued at more than $500, you can take a deduction only if you get the item appraised and attach the appraisal to your return.
  • Congress also gave the IRS broad authority to deny deductions for low-value items such as used socks and underwear.

When preparing your taxes with TurboTax, you can use ItsDeductible Online to help you value and track your donations. This free program gives guidance on prices for commonly donated items and is designed to transfer your donation information to your tax return. ItsDeductible is a built-in feature on TurboTax Deluxe and above.

Donating vehicles

If the claimed value of your donated vehicle is more than $500, in most cases your deduction is limited to the amount the car brings when it’s sold at auction.

  • The charity has 30 days after it sells your vehicle to issue you a Form 1098-C that shows the sale price.
  • You must attach that form to your tax return or the IRS will disallow the deduction.

There are, however, some situations where you’re permitted to claim the car’s estimated market value:

  • If the charity significantly improves the vehicle,
  • makes significant use of it, or
  • gives the vehicle (or sells it at a discount) to a poor person who needs transportation.

For more information, check the IRS article: IRS Guidance Explains Rules for Vehicle Donations.

Volunteer services

Don’t overlook the volunteer work you perform, which may also generate a deduction. You can write off many out-of-pocket expenses you incur to do good work, such as costs for:

  • materials
  • supplies
  • uniforms
  • stationery
  • stamps
  • parking
  • tolls

You can also deduct the cost of driving to and from your volunteer work, at a rate of 14 cents per mile. If you take public transportation, that bus or rail fare is deductible, too.

But here’s the bad news: The value of services you provide as a volunteer don’t merit a write-off. For instance, if you’re a carpenter and you help a nonprofit group build a home for the poor, you can deduct travel costs and building supplies you buy, but not the value of the work you do. (That’s not as hard-hearted as it may seem. If you were paid to do the work, you’d have to report the pay as income, which would drive up your tax bill.)

For more tax tips in 5 minutes or less, subscribe to the Turbo Tips podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeartRadio

Brought to you by TurboTax.comTags

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Retirement Planning Demystified

What you need to know about taking tax deductions for charitable donations. Links in this video: Retirement Planning Insights – https://www.tenonfinancial.com/newsle… Taxes in Retirement – https://www.facebook.com/groups/taxes…#RetirementPlanning#TaxPlanning#CharitableDonations

Retiring During A Bull Market: What’s A Safe Withdrawal Rate?

Lucky you, to be retiring today, when your retirement assets are so richly valued. But not as lucky as you think. Rich stock and bond prices help only so much.

The big question for someone living off savings is how much can be safely pulled out every year. The old rule of thumb was 4%: If you had $1 million in your IRA, you could spend $40,000 the first year and kick up the annual withdrawal just enough to match inflation. At that rate you probably wouldn’t outlive your assets. Such a conclusion could be reached by looking back at stock and bond returns over the past century.

But now, with asset prices high? When prices are high, it’s easier for them to fall and harder for them to keep up with the cost of living. That changes everything.

We are living in strange times. Yields on bonds are abnormally low—indeed, for safe Treasury bonds, yields scarcely top the rate of inflation. Earnings yields are stocks are abnormally low, too. That is the same as saying that price/earnings ratios are high.

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Who knows why this is. It could be that investors are irrationally exuberant, or that the globe is awash in savings, or that the Federal Reserve is tossing dollars out of helicopters. Whatever the cause, it complicates the matter of safe withdrawal rates.

Stock prices have doubled in the last seven years. That helps, since you will be selling stocks as you age. But it doesn’t leave you in a position to double your spending.

To see why, imagine that your sole investment asset is a nice rental property. The real estate generates, say, $30,000 a year of rent after expenses. Suppose that last year the building was worth $500,000 but that now, amidst real estate euphoria, it’s worth $1 million, even though the rental income is no higher. Are you better off? MORE FOR YOUThe Best Places To Retire In 20209 Defenses Against The Biden Tax IncreasesThe Funds With The Smartest Investors, And The Funds With The Dumbest

Yes and no. If you are about to sell the building and use the proceeds to acquire a sailboat, you are better off by a factor of two. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to hold onto the real estate and cover living expenses with the income from it, you are no better off at all.

A new retiree sitting on a pile of stocks and bonds is midway between those extremes. If your assets need to last you 30 years, but not forever, you are half landlord and half sailor. Like a landlord you are earning a current return on your assets, and that current return drives a lot of your spending power. But you are also, like the sailor, selling off a little of the property every year, and property prices matter for that.

In November 2013 the S&P 500 index hovered around 1,800, and index earnings came to $100 for the year. The index has climbed to 3,600 but earnings are down, to an estimated $94 for 2020. That equates to a current earnings yield of 2.6%, down from 5.6% in 2013. The earning power of equity capital is meager, and that makes for meager future returns in the stock market.

Yes, earnings will rebound a bit with the arrival of vaccines and the resumption of a normal economy. But they won’t double next year. They will remain small in relation to today’s stock prices.

The story is the same in fixed income. Yields on long-term Treasuries (1.6%) are a bit less than half as high as they were seven years ago (3.8%). If you bought some of those bonds in 2013 you’re looking at a handsome gain in their value, but this gain does nothing for the interest coupons on the bonds. If you are trying to live on the interest without dipping into principal, you are no better off.

Your IRA statement probably says that you are twice as rich as you were in 2013. Nice, but don’t get carried away. The percentage of the account you can spend annually has gone down. That is the consequence of low bond yields and low stock earnings yields.  

What’s a safe withdrawal rate now? That’s a matter of debate. A 3% draw seems defensible; at this level, I think, you can afford to give yourself raises to keep up with the CPI. It’s appropriate for a newly retired 67-year-old who might live to 97, or whose spouse might live until 2050.

That is, a $1 million account, somewhat conservatively invested 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds, is good for $2,500 a month to start. If inflation comes to 2%, you can step up to $2,550 a month the second year.

You could go higher than 3% if you knew there wouldn’t be any stock market crash early in your retirement, and if you also knew there wouldn’t be any burst of inflation between now and 2050. But you can’t know either of these things.

You could also go higher if you were emotionally equipped to cut your spending during a crash in stock or bond prices. Belt-tightening would protect more of your principal from the irrecoverable damage of selling in a down market. Not everyone is so equipped.

Related: Expected Returns 2020-2040 Follow me on Twitter

William Baldwin

William Baldwin

I aim to help you save on taxes and money management costs. I graduated from Harvard in 1973, have been a journalist for 45 years, and was editor of Forbes magazine from 1999 to 2010. Tax law is a frequent subject in my articles. I have been an Enrolled Agent since 1979. Email me at williambaldwinfinance — at — gmail — dot — com.

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Rob Berger

The Coronavirus has plunged us into the first bear market in more than a decade. Here’s how those in or nearing retirement can handle their investments to navigate the market crash with confidence. RESOURCES Vanguard Advisory Services: https://investor.vanguard.com/financi… Fee-only Advisors: —https://planvisionmn.com/https://rickferri.com/ Personal Capital: http://bit.ly/2IXHuFr Morningstar: http://bit.ly/3dgN1VI 4% Rule–William Bengen’s original 1994 article: http://www.retailinvestor.org/pdf/Ben… ABOUT ME While still working as a trial attorney in the securities field, I started writing about personal finance and investing In 2007. In 2013 I started the Doughroller Money Podcast, which has been downloaded millions of times. Today I’m the Deputy Editor of Forbes Advisor, managing a growing team of editors and writers that produce content to help readers make the most of their money. I’m also the author of Retire Before Mom and Dad–The Simple Numbers Behind a Lifetime of Financial Freedom (https://www.retirebeforemomanddad.com/) LET’S CONNECT Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9C1… Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/financialfre… Twitter: https://twitter.com/Robert_A_Berger DISCLAIMER: I am not a financial adviser. These videos are for educational purposes only. Investing of any kind involves risk. Your investment and other financial decisions are solely your responsibility. It is imperative that you conduct your own research and seek professional advice as necessary. I am merely sharing my opinions.

A Real Estate Investor Who Retires At Age of 37 Breaks Down How He Makes $15,000 a Month

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On a recent episode of the podcast “The Side Hustle Show,” hosted by Nick Loper, real estate investor Dustin Heiner explained how he was able to retire at the age of 37 by investing in rental properties.

Heiner breaks down the steps investors should take before buying a new property, and how those rental properties can make them money. He stressed picking the right city and state, assembling the right team, and the importance of the $250 monthly passive income benchmark.

Related: How to start a real estate business by investing of only 500$

Dustin Heiner is a seasoned real estate investor who retired at the age of 37 and makes roughly $15,ooo a month in passive income from his rental properties.

On a recent episode of the podcast “The Side Hustle Show,” hosted by Nick Loper, Heiner revealed how he went from working in a local government office to working for himself, and laid out the steps investors should take before deciding where to buy property.

Back in 2006, Heiner bought his first rental property in Ohio for $17,000 in cash. He explained on the podcast that in his first month of renting out a home, he made around $350 after expenses. That number would prove significant as Heiner began investing more and more.

In order to turn the side hustle into a full-time gig, he explained, he had to invest in more properties that gave him the same type of monthly cash flow.

“If I were to multiply that out, one property is $300, 10 properties, oh my goodness, that’s $3,000 a month. That is $36,000 a year.”

In 2016, he had around 26 properties, so he quit his day job and focused full-time on rental property investments. He said that today, he owns over 30 properties.

Heiner admitted he was lucky with that first deal he found in Ohio. “I did everything wrong,” he explained. However, over 10 years and many properties later, he said he had developed a system of steps he suggests everyone takes before making a new purchase.

First, pick the state you want to invest in

Once the state is decided, Heiner uses Zillow to do research on the cities within that state. He looks at highly populated cities with a lot of available properties, he explained. Then, once the city is narrowed down, he looks at all the properties within that city to see if they meet his criteria. This means looking for a property that matches up with the amount of money set aside for the investment and high rental income rates.

“Here’s a principle for everybody listening, you want to buy for $250 or more in passive income [a month] after every single expense,” he said on the podcast……

Read more:Business Insider

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Mortgage Rates Have Reached Historic Lows Learn How to Invest in Real Estate Now

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Mortgage rates in the U.S. continue to sink to historic lows yet home buying is still slow. People who once overleveraged their property assets by trying to build Airbnb empires were greatly hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and Americans seem a bit wary of investing in real estate these days. But with rates at record lows, now is one of the best times to start investing in real estate. If you’re not sure where to start, check out The Fundamentals of Real Estate Investment Bundle.

Symon He leads this five-course, 11-hour bundle covering everything you need to know about investing in real estate. He is a real estate investor and business consultant in Los Angeles who helps private real estate investors with acquisitions and deal structuring. He’s also a co-founder of Learn Airbnb, a boutique consultancy and education blog specializing in the home-sharing economy. He has considerable experience in real estate investing, and in these courses, he’ll take you from an absolute beginner to a certified shark.

Here, you’ll learn what you need to do before investing, exploring the key concepts you must know before making your first investment. You’ll learn investment analysis fundamentals to confidently evaluate the return potential of any real estate investment opportunity so you don’t make a costly mistake. Additionally, he will teach you how to invest with partners, how to analyze wholesale deals, and even give you an introduction to commercial real estate if you’re interested in taking your real estate investment to new heights.

If you’ve considered investing in real estate, now’s the time. The Fundamentals of Real Estate Investment Bundle is on sale now for just $25.

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Bad News For U.K. House Prices As Banks Withdraw Mortgage Products

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Amidst the pandemic the housing market has ridden turbulent waves as we bluster through varying stages of uncertainty, but since restrictions were lifted on May 13 there have been strong indicators of rapid recovery in the market as pent-up demand and returning consumer confidence look to feed the horse that drives the British economy.

Nevertheless, there is a concern that this recovery may be short-lived as the released demand plateaus and the challenges facing the economy and incomes of Britain’s myriad savers come to the forefront.

A Reuters poll of property market analysts published yesterday reported that house prices are anticipated to fall by 5% this year as elevated unemployment levels due to coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown diminish demand. The fall in house prices as projected through the Reuters poll is anticipated to be relatively short-lived, with prices to increase 1.5% next year and 3.5% in 2022. But a worst-case scenario from the 21 polled analysts concerns an 11% fall in the house prices this year.

This potential issue is overshadowed by the greater issue that is the decimation of almost 90% of the first-time buyer mortgage market, as many lenders withdraw their 90-95% loan-to-value (LTV) products – the biggest casualty of which was last week’s announcement from Nationwide, the nation’s biggest lender, which reduced the home value it was willing to lend against from 95% to 85%. Meaning that savers would need a deposit three times greater than before to afford a mortgage.

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Mortgages in remission

I have discussed before my concerns over some of the doomsaying surround house price falls this year, as I do not believe that the damage will be as severe as many are anticipating. There is no doubt pain to come, as from the ashes of this pandemic, and the government response, there will be winners and losers. However, I have stood by my assessment that any damage to the housing market will be minimalised and short-lived as the country and the economy recovers.

Sadly, the withdrawal of mortgage products at this level might set in motion a domino effect with far reaching impact. I understand the basis behind it – banks wish to avoid the risk of negative equity befalling homeowners if the payments of their mortgage exceed the value of their home due to a drop in house prices. Nevertheless, I take this as a relatively short-sighted view, if we consider that the value on one’s home should be perceived as a long-term investment. Prices will go back to normal, even the most depressing of price fall depictions are open about that.

The withdrawal of most 90% and 95% mortgage products means that first-time buyers face a steep hurdle at a time when savings are already dampened due to historic low interest and savings rates. If the government intended to reinvigorate the economy by loosening lockdown restrictions on the property market, then this action is clearly counter-intuitive. And what good will the Bank of England’s key interest rate at a mere 0.1% do for the economy, if mortgages remain firmly out of reach for first-time buyers?

Consider also that if first-time buyers now struggle to get on the ladder, homeowners the next rung up will have difficulty selling their own properties; in turn perhaps forcing them to lower prices to entice a buyer, which will fuel the banks’ concerns of negative equity spilling over.

The withdrawal of mortgage products has already led to confusion and difficulty in the marketplace. A survey conducted by Butterfield Mortgages between May 29 and June 02 of more than 1,300 homeowners and prospective buyers found that approximately half of buyers had been denied a mortgage this year as a result of coronavirus, despite having a mortgage in principle. This has had a damaging effect on property transactions, and only serves to fuel uncertainty the recovery of the housing market.

Where banks fear to tread

Lenders have argued that with many of their staff still on furlough, they lack the resources in place to adequately process the high volume of mortgage applications that have hit their desks. But this is also because they anticipate a rise in unemployment when the government withdraws support schemes in the autumn.

There are significant financial concerns over the state of the employment market and personal savings in the months to come as the threat of redundancy and business collapse remains. And with the government looking to ask businesses to take on a greater share of furlough contributions from August, there is a risk of more workers facing redundancy if their employer cannot support their position. If this were to lead to a wider sell-off in property it will only serve to drive down house prices further and add further challenges to the housing market as the banks’ fears of negative equity grow in stature. The withdrawal of these mortgage products would then cease to be a short-term measure as the U.K. would likely be facing a more prolonged economic recession before recovery.

Can the lenders find the courage to lead?

When the government relaxed restrictions on the housing market last month, they did so because they recognised that property is the apple cart of the U.K. economy. The health of the former supports the health of the latter, and so doing acts as a barometer of the health of the country in house prices–if people are not buying, then there is a problem.

This starts at the bottom of the ladder, and in one of my previous Forbes.com pieces I set out why first-time buyers need more help, and some possible solutions through which the government can step in to address. These included an extension of the Help-to-Buy scheme, both by reopening it to new first-time buyers and to the resell market as well. The other major suggestion I continue to support is a temporary reduction to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which would spare up some additional cash for buyers up the chain to put towards a larger deposit share on a mortgage. But as first-time buyers are entitled to relief on SDLT up to the first £300,000, this would have little to no benefit for most purchasers.

But the onus is not just on the government to support the housing market, banks too have a responsibility to support the health and growth the economy. Yet banks on this occasion have taken a very cautious approach to risk where their confidence in the recovery of the market holds forbearance.

Perhaps this comes from the overemphasis on house prices; the most recent Nationwide House Price Index noted a 1.7% fall in house prices during May, likely precipitating the withdrawal of many of their mortgage products as further declines are feared.

In my antithesis to Nationwide’s stats however, I argued using data from Reapit – going back to before the lockdown commenced – that the housing market’s quick recovery in the weeks since restrictions were lifted showed that consumer demand is still on a moving treadmill that won’t stop running now that the market is open again. There may be dips in the months ahead, and a W-shaped recovery is the most likely outcome for the time being, but the market will keep moving forwards. Which is why additional support from the banks would go some way to boost the home-owning chances of the country’s savers.

I am not here making a fevered pitch for lenders to throw caution to the wind and issue out mortgages to anyone who asks for them – caution should remain paramount. But I am suggesting that the banks can do more to help, to bet on the British economy’s long-term recovery rather than its short-term losses.

We bailed out the banks in 2008 after the financial crisis. Perhaps now is the time for the banks to return the favor.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am the CEO of Reapit and responsible for driving its vision, overall direction and strategy. As a member of the Reapit management team, I have helped the business become the market-leading platform that it is today. Previously, I was with Countrywide where I held various senior roles in both Finance and IT.

Source: http://www.forbes.com

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Will the housing market crash or will it recover quickly as we come out of lock-down and the current Covid-19 epidemic? Many people are claiming to know exactly what will happen to the UK property market, but the truth is we are in a unique situation and each of the factors that drive property prices will have its part to play. In this video, we look at the factors behind what influences house prices in the UK and where we are at the moment so that you can form your own opinion view about what you think will happen to house prices over the months and years to come. We rely on your support, to see the exclusive benefits of supporting us and becoming part of our community click here: https://patreon.com/pensioncraft
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