A story was emailed to me that appears on yahoo.com about a family that had it all in 1998 - $10 million from the sell of a family owned business - and today have lost it all. The husband admits that they spent foolishly. His thing was cars and too much house, and his wife's was horses. It's hard to imagine but the family exhausted $10 million in 12 years, and at age 59 the man is working for $51,000 per year. His attitude is good in that he is thankful for employment, and family. They all seem to be holding it together - husband, wife and three daughters.
Reading this story made me think about real estate and financial stewardship. As I look over listings in the MLS, I cannot help but to notice how many of the foreclosures and short sales are investors. Investors who took out lines of credit on their principle residence to purchase rental properties or to flip houses.
I remember attending one of those real estate investment seminars a few years back where the teacher, a man with two decades of experience in real estate, said if you do one of the deals, work through it for at least a year to see if you like being a landlord enough to do a second deal. That was good advice if it was followed. With credit flowing so freely back then, it was easy to do two or three deals and be in debt up to your a@@ while making a modest return or breakeven or lose on those investment properties.
Something else I remembered after reading the story that my mom used to say to us frequently when we remarked of pay increases, extra bonuses, and such. And her words did not have the price of the real estate investment guru. She would say, 'it's not how much you make, son, but it's what you do with what you make.' The advice seems so simple yet it is so very powerful. You can make a million dollars, but if you do not have the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to properly handle those funds, you are subject to lose it.
As I look back in 2010 and forward into 2011, I am confident about the income I can generate and cautious about the manner in which I spend it. Happy Holidays!
copyright 2010 by Jordon Wheeler
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