Monday, February 25, 2008
Real estate investment managers have become quite popular in the last years, specially with the real estate bubble. These companies have become the new investment fad in the
market. They aren't the only source of investment, though. There are other choices, like the stock market. But the important thing is that you feel comfortable with the investment fund manager of your choice.
So, which is going to be? Securities or asset investment managers? The US market provides hundreds of investment management companies, and all of them will tell you that they are the best ones. Of course, that can't be true, so it is you, the potential client, the one who has to take that decision. And, in order to do that, you need a bit of additional information.
What Is An Investment Manager?
An investment manager is an organization who is specialized in placing money in determined values in order to accomplish a pre-accorded goal. For example, a bond manager will look for bonds, domestic or international, that can provide the best return over investment to their clients. The goal can be a minimum of 5% in a period of 5 years.
There are two types of investment managers. The f irst one are institutions, such as insurance companies, pension funds or corporations, among others. Remember that all of these organizations have huge amounts of money that need to be invested in something until it is required.
For example, let's say that you are the investment manager of Google. You company has, right now, $1 billion of capital, deposited in a bank. Are you going to leave it there, accumulating low interests, or are you going to invest a part of it in a more profitable, 12 month bond? The trick is to make an adequate balance on the future needs of the company and the best destiny that you can give to the money.
The second type of investment managers are private investors, companies that look for people who don't know how to invest in the market, and require an intermediary that can do the work for them. All for a fee, of course. In this scenario, the individual tells the company for how long they wish to invest their money and the company will determine the best choices.
For example, they may mix a low risk security like US Treasury bonds with shares in a new gold mine in Ecuador. These kind of companies are also known as fund managers, investment advisors or real estate investment managers.
The investment manager services industry moves, in the whole world, trillions of dollars per year. This is due to the fact that every company is a fund manager in it's own way. The good thing about this is that it provides dynamism to the economy of the whole planet, benefiting millions of people in hundreds of countries.
Active or passive investment strategies, both of them entail determined decisions and responsibilities. On one hand, you can dedicate
a lot of your time determining which are the best choices. On the other hand, you can simply delegate that responsibility to a company that is specialized in international investment strategy plans.
There are many of them, who specialize in stock investment strategy, property investment strategy, retirement investment strategy, among many others. Either way, it is important to know more about international investment, so let's find out what is it exactly.
What Is International Investment?
International investment is the act of putting your money in assets that are located outside the United States. This branch of investment has generated a great deal of interest among investors since it permit's them to place their capital at locations that may generate higher profits for them.
An additional advantage is that, since the American market for determined goods is already overexploited, it provides a new "route of escape" for all those investors who aren't willing to invest their money in markets with too many barriers. For example, consumer products or telecommunications.
Objectives Of International Investment
Once you have decided to leave behind the domestic market and incursionate in other continents, you need to determine your objectives. It isn't as simple as saying "I want to invest in China". There are three variables that need to be considered before doing this. These variables are growth, safety and income.
In investment, the objective of growth is capital gain. For example, let's say that you are interested in making your capital grow, but do not need the money right now. So, you may buy shares from a Fortune 500 company and wait some years until you have reached your objective. Only when you reach it, you will sell your stock, and, ergo, your investment plus gains.
Another objective is safety. Many people see international investment as an excellent way of providing them a constant flux of income. As a matter of fact, millions of people around the world use it as their main source of revenue. What's the purpose of killing yourself at work when you can earn enough money through your investments? That way you can dedicate to things that may not provide you with a lot of money, but that can be more satisfying.
So, let's say that your passive investment strategies includes companies that put your money in relatively safe international investments. One interesting option is provided by governments. As in the case of the US Government who issues bonds for financing determined projects, other democracies in the world do the same thing. Countries like Germany, France and England emit government bonds for their own use. The same thing happens with corporations. Transnationals like EADS, Philips or Nestle are very interesting options.
Finally, there is the issue of income. In the case of income, your prime interest is to obtain the biggest amount of money, without taking into consideration the risk that may entail. In order to do that, individuals need to look for opportunities with a low investing rating, but with a great potential for monetary gain.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
There is a lot of information out there about real estate investing. This information can be sometimes confusing, because it is never really clear what the best investment strategies are. This article focuses more on the best strategies that will work in the current real estate market. This is a biased market skewed more towards buyers. There are many homes for sale out there, however, they have very few people currently looking for a home to buy. Therefore, every investor in the market today needs to use those strategies that are most likely going to succeed in this market. He or she needs to focus more on strategies that are most likely to attract buyers or renters to their properties. Here are the 3 best options.
1. Buying for long-term hold: this involves buying a property with the intention of renting it out for several years prior to selling the property. They real estate investor in the situation looks for homes that have been deeply discounted, buys these homes, and then turns around and rents them out with positive cash flow. Their goal here is to make at least $200 a month after paying all of the expenses, which include the mortgage payment on the home, taxes, insurance and any other expenses related to maintaining the property. The advantage of using this strategy is that the tenants end up paying down the mortgage for the landlord. The home builds equity with time and is eventually owned free and clear by the landlord after several years of renting the property. The key here is to buy the property at a discounted price and rent it out with positive cash flow.
2. Buying for short-term flip: this involves buying a property at a great discount with the intention of selling it right away for a quick profit. The investor here buys the property with at least a 30% equity. He or she then turns around and sells the property to another investor leaving a 10 to 20% equity for the new owner. This is called wholesaling. This strategy used to be very popular a few years ago. It is still being used today but it's not as popular as before. The key here is to buy the property only after you have already located a buyer. The best way to do this is to build an e-mail list of potential buyers. Another option is to borrow a list from someone else. Here is the step-by-step process: you build an e-mail list or you locate the list owner, now you locate a property with significant equity, you collect details about the property and send out an e-mail to your list, you now close on the deal and then turn around and sell it to the end buyer for a profit.
3. Using the lease purchase as an exit strategy: in this situation, you are buying a property with the intention of renting it out for one or two years prior to selling it. The first step here is to buy a property at a discount. You then locate a buy/renter who signs to agreements: the first is a lease agreement for about two years, the second agreement is an option agreement. The buyer has the option to actually close on the deal within one or two we years. The investor cashes out at the end of the option agreement. The advantage of using this strategy is that you get very good tenants who actually take care of the property while paying a higher than usual rent. Thus you get positive cash flow and you serve the property at a huge profit within one to two years. This is one of the best options in the current market conditions.
Planning for your future and retirement relies on planning the right kinds of long term investments. There are many different types of long term financing investments, and everyone needs to have some sort of investments for their future.
Planning your retirement and long term investments go hand in hand.
Let's face it. You will not be able to work forever. No matter how healthy you are, there will come a time when you will not be able to work, due to health problems or simply aging. What will you do for an income when the time comes to retire? This is why planning your long term investments carefully is so important. Maybe you think you will be able to rely on Medicare and social security to take care of you during your retirement. Well, if that is your plan, it is first time buyers to look at the news. Social security is in trouble.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Have you ever wondered why investors behave the way they do? For example, why do people invest in bonds or stocks or not at all? Since I am an advocate of stock investing, let me make the case for stock investing.
So, why invest in stocks? No, I won't just invest in any kind of stocks. There are goals associated with investing in stocks. For starter, stock investors would want to be compensated more than if they put their money in the bank. Anything else? Yes. Stock investors would want to be compensated more than the risk free interest rate which currently yield around 4.7%. For your information, risk free interest rate here is the 10 year Treasury bond which is backed by the United States Government. These bonds are deemed to be free from the risk of default.
Therefore, when we invest in stocks, we would want a return in excess of 4.7%. How much more? That varies within individuals. Some wants a 5% return. Others are satisfied with 6% return. Personally, I would want at least 7% return for my stock investment. There are reasons for this. Stock investing is relatively volatile and full of uncertainty. Interest rate goes up and down which will hamper our return as stock investors. For example if interest rate rises to 8%, would aiming a 7% return for your stock investment worth the risk? Probably not. In this case, most people prefer to put their money in the bank and enjoy the higher return.
Having said that, we need to know how much stocks have given investors historically. For the US stock market, the return for the last century has been in the neighborhood of 10%. That, my friend, is the sole reason to invest in stocks. Not because you want to own a piece of corporate America. You invest in stocks because historically it gives you a better return that other investing alternatives. No other investments boast that high of a return over the last century, not even real estate.