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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to Save Money On SAT/ACT Test Preparation

Welcome!  Another round of financial literacy this fine Wednesday morning begins with a little trip down memory lane…

It was 1993 and I was a junior in high school.  I had made the decision to attend college, carrying a 3.3 G.P.A at the time.  I rode the bus to the main public library (M.L.K) in downtown San Jose several weekends prior to SAT test day, and read several of the free Kaplan workbooks that were available there.  You know, the ones with sample test questions that have the answers at the end.  I must have tried at least 4 or 5 sample tests, and the results were always the same for me.  Mediocre.  I had no idea what it took to score well on the SAT, other than being some sort of genius and knowing all the answers.  "You can't study for it," people would tell me.  "Either you know it or you don't."  Well that was a bunch of b.s.


Pic of me in HS.  Early 1994.

The first time I took the SAT I barely broke 900 (back when 1600 was a perfect score).  I was able to try again months later, but this time I had help preparing for the English component.  My English 11 honors teacher had given us commonly used SAT word lists to memorize.  (Remember, English is my second language so this was very helpful at the time).  I scored 1024 the second time out, and had enough on my resume to get accepted to several universities.  I opted for junior college instead, where the SAT or ACT for that matter, wasn't even needed.

Sometime around the late nineties, the business of test preparation started to become mainstream.  I was hearing about Kaplan Saturday classes, and private SAT tutors to help improve outcomes for teens.  The rich kids were the ones paying for these more so than the inner city ones.  With each subsequent year, the stakes (getting accepted) became more competitive, and the need to learn the tricks of the test was indispensable.  Look at things today.  SAT/ACT test preparation is a multibillion-dollar industry.  The number of test prep centers more than doubled from 1998 to 2012 to over 11,000 today in 2015.  What has not changed is who can afford to get a tutor, or take weekend SAT prep classes...that is still a fixture in American society: the "haves" can; the "have-nots" cannot.


Source: www.theprospect.net


The test preparation industry is a racket!  You know it, I know it.  Even if you can afford to get your teen a private tutor or classes, you are paying for a service that helps someone learn testing tricks at most.  These services aren't helping your teen actually get smarter!  That's what 11+ years of schooling was for.  Here's a quote from a tutor:

 Linsea Mohr. “As a tutor, I see myself more as a puzzle decoder. I just show students how to arrive at the answer the most expediently and then they fly solo.”

Here's a comment left at the Motley Fool's: The SAT Gamble: Are High Prep Costs...

There are tutors in NYC that can correctly answer 99% of the questions on the verbal section of the SAT just by looking at the answers as they know exactly how the College Board creates the test, and they are more than willing to teach you all the tricks. 

As an educator, my take is this:  If your teen wants to go to a top university, and you can afford it, then pay for the test prep service.  It is worth it in my estimation.  I would rather you, however, encourage your teen to do what I will be recommending next.

Source: http://blog.criteriacorp.com


Stop being part of the racket! 

There is an alternative to this decision-making dilemma many folks are burdened by.  It's called a boycott.  There are many great institutions of higher learning where submitting an SAT/ACT is optional.  Many of you may not have known that.  Here is an ongoing list of all of the universities that don't require an SAT/ACT score: Fairtest.org/university/optional.  *Note: Make sure you determine if scholarships require an SAT/ACT score.

Just two days ago, George Washington University, a private university in D.C. became one of the largest and most prestigious schools to ditch admissions tests.  Take that College Board!  This is a huge shake-up, not to mention, it is highly controversial in the world of education.  GWU did not do this to impact the test prep industry, of course, rather, it did so to encourage first-generation college applicants, minorities, students with learning disabilities, and women to apply.  In other words, they are following the latest research that claims a student's G.P.A. is more of a predictor of success, than is a score on a high-stakes test like the SAT.


Source: www.marketwatch.com


Do you agree with this move by GWU?  Do you think other prestigious institutions will soon follow GWU's lead?  What will this mean for the test prep industry?

The cost of attending college begins to accrue in high school, not college, as many parents with good intentions shell out money for their kids to get SAT prep.  We are at the perfect place in time to stop being complicit in the crime of paying for expensive test prep services that do nothing more than help our children become test "gamers."  It begins with You!

Until next time!  C-los...out!  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Make Your Child's Hobby A Financial Literacy Opportunity

What's happening everyone!  Today I'm here to tell you how you could be possibly shortchanging your child's financial literacy development.

Interests.  We want our children to take something up, a hobby for example, because we know focusing on an activity is great for their brain's analytical development.  Whereas some children get absorbed by some things on their own, i.e., they don't need much in the form of parental motivation, other children need prodding.  We take them to specialty toy stores, science museums, the zoo, and in general, places we think would interest our children.  Eventually, these kids do find something they like and want more of.

I've seen kids that are Lego geniuses, capable of building the Star Wars Death Star with one hand tied behind their backs.




I've been impressed by children on YouTube video who play instruments (guitar, piano, etc.) like professionals.  No doubt these children started "playing" with their instrument of choice as toddlers.  Some kids like spending time in the garden with their green thumb mom or dad.

In the same way adults are asked to consider taking a "hobby" to the next level, so should children.  For example, I have a retired friend who has been building bicycles, like literally taking a bike frame and adding parts one by one until creating a masterpiece, for over twenty years.  He loves bicycles.  He rides them, and custom builds them for his family and friends.  Recently, he has started building custom bikes for people in his central coast CA community.  They are paying him for his skill and eye in finding great deals (on frames, parts, etc.) on Craigslist.  He has taken his hobby and turned it into a way to make extra money on the side.


One of my friend's custom built bike.

We give each other this advice all the time, right?  "Hey, you're really good at Salsa dancing...why don't you charge for personal lessons?"  Well, what about our children?  Why aren't we pushing them to dabble in business?  Secret Millionaires Club Learn and Earn is a site that treats children as fully capable people, giving parents the tools they need to take a child from hobbyist to entrepreneur.

There is so much more in terms of learning that could be happening within a child and his or her love of a certain activity.  It all begins with financial literacy conscious parents, however.  If you just let your kids play and entertain themselves with their hobby, they are missing a good half of all the learning that can take place.  Questions are the key.  Here are some questions that will get the cogs and sprockets moving in your child's brain:

1) Can you think of a way to turn your love of raising rabbits, building Lego structures, growing tomatoes, caring for your dog/cat, e.g., into a business?   Meaning, as a way to make money?

2) How could you sell what you know how to do with your crafts, your baking, e.g., to others?

Have them do a brainstorm.  If they don't know what brainstorming is, teach this thinking exercise to them.  Make sure you tell them that there are no wrong answers in a brainstorm.  It's simply throwing ideas out there.  Who knows, they may actually come up with a viable idea for a business that with your help, can turn into a business plan.

Why did the majority of us wait until we were adults to start our first business?  Because we were never challenged to think about making money at a young age!  Our parents, though wonderful at providing, may have never encouraged the natural entrepreneurial spirit many children have.  And instead of having tried and failed at multiple businesses by the time we became adults, most of us had nothing in the tool belt of life experience to get underway in the world of business and money.



Being a serial entrepreneur begins at a young age.  The successful entrepreneurs of today started as children with a lemonade stand or a cookie sheet, you get the picture.  If this seems foreign to you, then use the great resource I've provided here today, smckids.com, as a guide.  Don't shortchange your kids.  Expose them to business concepts at a young age!

Thanks for reading.  If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe and keep getting more like them in your inbox so you never miss out.  C-los, out!       

Friday, July 24, 2015

Make Your Kid's Allowance A Financial Literacy Opportunity

Welcome to another installment of CCM blog!  I am here today to talk allowances, the dough you give to your kid(s) for...

Doing nothing OR
Doing their chores.


Source: Can-giving-an-allowance-ruin-your-child-Huff Post

There are well-intentioned wealthy folk out there that give their kids spending money because it is tradition to do so.  Their wealthy parents gave them "pocket money," and now they want to do the same with their own kids.  I'm talking people like the Hilton's, and the credit cards, plus spending cash they undoubtedly gave a young Paris as soon as she knew what money was for.  Because money is abundant, many wealthy kids grow up getting an allowance for doing nothing.  They ask, they get.  They're entitled.

The rest of us are giving kids an allowance for completing chores they've been assigned all week long.

Both of these reasons for giving kids money are not only wrong, but also bad for kids/teens.

Let me ask you this:  Are you paying yourself for doing chores?  When you, the parent, does the dishes or mops the floor, are you getting paid?  No!  So why should you pay your kids for doing chores?  Your children live in the home with you.  They are using dishes, producing garbage, stepping on the floors and carpets with their dirty shoes, just as much as you are.  Tell them:  "The chores we assign each other every week is about family cooperation.  These chores (doing the dishes, vacuuming, throwing out the garbage, putting the garbage cans on the curb, etc.) are so that we can live in a clean environment.  Failure to complete a chore will result in a loss of a privilege."



You decide what privilege your child will lose on account of forgetting or neglecting to do their chores.  Younger children will not want to lose their time on their tablet or computer(games).  Adolescents and teens will hate having their video game consoles put on ice or their smart phones taken away from them for a set period of time.

Why is it better to tie chores with privileges?  Simple.  When your kids begin to save their money from all of the allowance you have been giving them over time, they will not have the same motivation to continue to do chores.  They may think: Oh, I have enough money saved right now, I don't need to do my chores this week.

Money for chores is a bad tradition.  When your kids grow up and get a place of their own, will someone be paying them to do what's needed around the house?  No!  They will have relied for years on mom and dad to reward them for doing housekeeping essentials.  Some of these twenty-somethings have the audacity to call mom to come over and clean!  All because they never learned that chores are every household member's responsibility, without compensation.

You Want Your Kids to Experience Working for A Living

I can see why tying chores to money is easy to do.  Many parents want their kids to have the experience of getting a set weekly wage for a given amount of work.  Example: Vacuum once a week, throw out the garbage each time it's full, and do the dishes Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I will pay you $10/week.  Again, this is not how you want to do allowance nor how you should teach your kids about working for a wage.  No chores = loss of privileges.



Source

Instead, tell your kids they have the ability to pitch a job to you.  Business owners depend on pitching their goods or services to new clients.  Consider your home a business, and your children freelancers who understand your business enough to pitch their services to you.  Encourage them to make detailed observations of what "your business" could use.  Could it use a window cleaning service?  How about a baseboard clean and paint touch-up service?  Does your backyard fence need to be sanded and repainted?  Encourage your child/teen to survey the backyard for potential areas that need servicing.

Then this is what I want you to do:

Have your child/teen write-up a quote.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  Tell them to:

1) Title their Quote.  Ex: "Quote for Cleaning Baseboards"
2)  Give you an estimation of how long they will take to complete the service they are proposing you need.  Ex: 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, etc.
3) Give you a brief description of the service.  Ex: I will use a cloth, water, and some wood spray to clean all of the baseboards.
4) Give you a set fee (ex: $15, $20, $25, etc.) for their time.  Note: Do not let them quote you a per hour fee...as kids/teens will soon learn to procrastinate to charge more).  If you have more than one child/teen willing to offer you a quote of their own, ask if they would be willing to agree to work together and split the same amount of money.  Or you could make it a competitive setting and tell your kids you will select the quote that best works for your budget.  This way they know that in life, you can lose a job to a company that bids below your own bid.  Finally, be clear about quality of work.  Tell them that their bid is a contract of sorts and you will honor it; however, if they do a crappy job, make sure you tell them you will not be hiring them again in the future.  In other words, they create a reputation for themselves with each completed job. 


Source

So now working has meaning.  It is not about a task that needs to get done every week (chores), but rather about going out and solving other people's problems for pay.  This may encourage some of them to go out around the neighborhood and see if lawns need mowing, or if Mrs. Jefferson, the retired widow across the street needs to have someone roll her garbage cans down the driveway for a couple bucks a week.  You see?  Another benefit of making freelancers out of your kids is that they'll think twice about blowing their hard earned money.  The best part is that any time they need money, you can now tell them to work for it! 

One last tip:

Start giving your kids chores as soon as possible.  By four they should have at least one chore.  Increase the number of chores as they age obviously.  Children can do a lot, so don't be afraid to pile the chores on.  Think about them farm kids milking the cows, driving tractors, etc.  They do chores before and after school.  You'd be surprised what a child can do without knowing any different.  The key is to start them young.

Thanks for being here and make sure to come back for our next episode!  C-los...out! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Make Back to School Shopping A Financial Literacy Opportunity

There's only a few weeks of summer vacation left!  If you're a parent with school-age children, you probably can't wait for school to re-open.  For one, you'll stop having to pay for childcare or supervision not normally an expense when school is in session.  If you stay home with a small child, the older ones have probably overwhelmed you to the point of insanity by now.  I'm on vacation, but not really, as I have both my children to parent daily, and this is hard work when the two of them are only 19 months apart.


Rehani (front) and Ajani (back).  They are digging for treasure.  The activity killed a good hour, but the immediate bath time that was necessary was a painful chore.

Today's post is not about the whining that parents often get into, especially with other parents.  Rather, it is about using this time to prepare your 5th grade to HS child for a financial literacy lesson on budgeting.

Think back at the times when you went on back-to-school shopping trips to the store/shopping mall with your mom or dad.  Who got to decide what would be purchased 85-100% of the time?  Not you!  Yeah...it was your parents, the ones with the money.  You may have asked them for a particular trendy item, and only gotten a killer's look instead.  Back in my time, every kid in middle school wanted Guess overalls and Z. Cavaricci wear.  In high school at the start of the 90's, teens wanted anything Starter brand.  Expensive threads, let me tell ya.

Source. Z. Cavaricci.

The problem with parents being parents, controlling their finances by shopping for their kids each year they are in primary and middle school, albeit loosening their grip as kids become teens, is that this takes away an excellent teachable moment.  Kids and teens have something in common...they really get into back-to-school shopping.  Believe it or not, for some of them, this is the highlight of their summer vacation.  The excitement builds in them understandably.  They get to see their friends again and socialize en masse once more, and they want to look rockin' while doing it.



Budgeting can be introduced to children, adolescents, and teens without complaint of being "taught" something while on vacation.  By using your child's natural desire to want to be in the driver's seat come shopping time, you will seamlessly be able to impart a very valuable lesson about money to them.  Now let me share with you how you go about doing this.

Grades 4-5

When your child expresses an interest in wanting to select their shoes or clothes, etc., tell them that this year you have a finite amount of money to spend on all B2School stuff.  Teach them the definition of the word, finite.  Then tell them what total amount ($X) is and that this total amount is called, a budget.  Explain that you cannot go over this amount to them; it would be like losing in a game.

Then tell them that you will give them a portion of this budgeted amount ($Y) to make "buying decisions."  They get to decide what they will buy with their allotment.  Make sure they understand that that is all the money they get to make "buying decisions" with.  Do not give them any tips, like itemizing what they need prior to going to the store.  The learning will be maximized if they reach conclusions on their own.  Take them to the shopping mall, store, etc., and see what they do.  Do they buy one expensive item and then realize they have run out of funds too quickly?  Do they scrutinize each potential purchase?  Do they ask you for a calculator?  When all is done, have a conversation with them about the experience.  Ask them: 1) How did it feel being in control of the money?  2) What was the hardest part about sticking to a budget?  3) What could you do differently next time to make the experience less challenging for you?

One other suggestion: For kids grades 4-5, I would suggest you give them no more than $50 to control.  After all, you have to come to the rescue if they make mistakes and still get the things they need to be ready for school.



Middle School

Depending on their vocabulary, you can either mirror the suggestions for students in grade 4-5 above, or skip ahead to telling them they will get a $Y amount to make purchasing decisions out of the total B2School budget you have for this school year.  Tell them that you will buy whatever they didn't buy with their allocation, but with the caveat that you will not spend more than what remains of the total budget.  No bail outs.  For example, if they spent all their money on Nike shoes and didn't buy the pair of pants, shirts, and gym clothes they needed, now it will be up to you to do so, but with only the remaining portion of the budget.  So, in order for you to re-stock your child's wardrobe, you will need to go to discount or consignment stores now.  This may or may not embarrass them.  It's a toss-up depending on your economic situation.

Ask them post-shopping trip questions 1, 2, and 3 from above.  Middle school kids can be given a larger allotment, such as $100-$150, or no more than half of what you have budgeted in all for B2School expenses.

High School:

Teens claim they don't need you anymore, but of course they do.  They're not entirely wrong, however.  They do need full decision-making power when it comes to back-to-school shopping.  No teen wants their parent picking out their clothes, accessories, and shoes.  And you shouldn't be doing this, mom or dad!  You're hampering your teen's ability to transition into adulthood.  If they need a ride to the store/mall then fine; drop them off with their friends taking part so they are not alone.  Pick them up later.  Give them all of the budgeted amount for shopping.  Instruct them that they are to get whatever they need for school, their car, etc. and that there will be no bail outs!  If they forget to purchase a full tank of gasoline for their car, oh well...they get to take the bus the first two weeks of school.  If they didn't buy new gym clothes, then they get to wear the worn out ones from the previous year or get loaners from the school.  No bail out means no bail outs!


Teens won't need for you to ask them questions about their mistakes.  You can try, and maybe they will humor you.  The experience of being at the helm, and the consequence of their errors, will be enough pie in their face to reconsider the approach when tasked with shopping on a budget again.  

Don't give a teen more than $300 for back-to-school...they need to buy what they need using sales, and places like Ross/TJ Max.  This will help them become better consumers.  If they go to the premium store and blow their money on one or two things, again, no bail outs!     

Well, that about raps it up.  Thanks for being here today.  Don't forget to subscribe to CCM and get posts like this in your inbox 2-3 times a week.  C-los, out!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Keeping A "Side Chick" Is Both Wrong And Expensive

Before I get underway, let me first apologize to the women reading this for using the urban word for mistress, Side Chick, in this post's headline and the rest of this article.  It is not meant to be demeaning to women, I assure you.  Now onto some real talk here at CCM blog...the only financial literacy blog around that touches on societal issues tearing down urban communities.

Hip-hop and rap do no justice to the loyal man, the one who has been faithful to his girlfriend or wife throughout their relationship as a couple.  Lyrics instead glorify the player, the man with multiple women sex partners.  I have to admit, Def Jam's How to Be A Player (1997) made me want to be just like Bill Bellamy's character, Drayton Jackson.  I was in college at the time.  Smart, but stupid.

Infidelity has been around forever, obviously, but in our modern era, being unfaithful to a lover has about as much negative stigma as stomping on a spider in public.  It seems as if people are more concerned with helping friends keep their extra-relationship affairs on hush, or as we'd say in the hood, the "down-low."  It's sad to see also that there are women out there willing to be a side-chick, almost as if they were competing for medals or something.  Take a look at this infographic: How to be a Side Chick.  There are actual steps!  This other article here helps women out: 10 Signs You're A Side Chick.

For eons, many (but not all) religions have attempted to keep men's desires at bay with moral penalty for violating the sanctity of couple-hood and marriage.  It works for God-fearing people, sometimes.  What about people who are not religious?  They couldn't care any less about being immoral.  They may consider sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and/or the "drama" that comes with the territory, as the only reasons to stay away from venturing out of their current love relationship with another person.  And yet this is still not enough.



I'm here to provide you men with a strong case for staying loyal: money.  Back in college, like most college males, I had a few, "hit and runs," so to speak.  These left me physically satisfied, but not spiritually.  They also left me damn near unable to pay my bills.  I had fun, but I also spent a lot of money, taking girls on dates.  With a steady girlfriend, you can actually discuss your finances, and determine how to both save money while in a relationship.


There are a ton of memes like this, ridiculing women mostly for being a side chick.  Makes a joke out of a serious issue.

My days of being Casanova ended right after college.  I got married.  I've shared on this blog about my getting divorced on multiple occasions.  What I haven't shared is how bad things were toward the latter months of my marriage.

I was considering cheating on my wife, getting on websites I shouldn't have been on, looking at profiles...you get what I mean.  This was a low-point in my life.  Thankfully, I never actually began an extra-marital affair with a woman, choosing instead to file for divorce.  I look back at this time period in my life with pride.  I was able to keep my integrity as a man, and do what was best for me without compromising my (older, wiser man) ethical and moral standards.  If you're in a situation that is similar, friend, I suggest you stay strong.  Give couples' counseling a go.  If this doesn't work, then don't prolong the agony and don't try to make lemonade out of lemons in this case.



After my divorce I went back on the prowl, so to speak.  I took to bad dating habits, courting more than one girl at a time.  I had a nice $100K income, working as a school administrator, and thought...I can afford to be a player this time around.  Indeed, I could easily afford courting multiple women at a time.  I had rented out rooms in my home to fill-in the income stream left vacant by my ex-wife, and I had modified my home loan.  Truth be told, I was simply compensating.  I was unleashing the inner pain from this set-back (my divorce) onto the world, in a misguided attempt to heal the wound.  I was also spending too much.



Drinks are expensive at the club!  Filling-up on gas constantly is another expense.  Restaurant outings as a means of getting into a girl's pants also add up.  I know what you're thinking...Carlos, you gotta find the ones that pay for you, my man.  No thanks!  I'm not attracted to women with low self-esteem.
Used Car Values

Now my committed gentlemen...I have a question for you?  Why do you need a side chick?  A) Is it because your main girl isn't fulfilling your needs?  Or is it B) Because you are truly non-committal, enjoy the feminine body, and made a mistake hooking up?
Shop Nike




If you answered A and have a side chick, how is keeping one going for you?  Are you hiding your credit card and bank statements from your partner so she can't trace the money?  It's hard these days to keep money on the d.l.  Women can be like forensic accountants!  They can pick up your smart phone when you're not in the room and click on your banking apps.  Not to mention, your email inbox is also a tap away.  Having password protection is a dead giveaway, partner.  Stop your playing around.  Redeem and stop diminishing yourself, if not for your morality, do it for your wallet at least.

If you answered B, have the courage to break-up with your main girl.  Find women from here on out that are like you, non-committal, and don't play with feelings.  Prepare for a life of always courting, spending money as needed to score the next touchdown.  Making impressions on multiple first dates throughout your solo adventure will cost you a pretty penny.  I sincerely hope you are a multi-millionaire.


Shop Style



Men...the two most frequent things on our mind are sex and money.  So next time you think about the prospect of having sex with someone not your main, quickly flip the script and think about your money.  How much will it cost you monetarily to engage in these affairs?  I may not be able to sway you with morality and ethics, but perhaps will have better luck doing so painting a picture of the greenback in your mind when the illusion of another conquest hits ya.  Think with your money, not your...

C-los out!  Thanks for reading.  Don't forget to subscribe if you enjoyed this post and want more financial literacy my way.           

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rich Uncles.com Declares 2nd Quarter 2015 Dividend & Provides Business Update

Hey everyone!  I don't normally post on back-to-back days, but today marks a special situation.  You see, me and thousands of other Richuncles.com investors are about to get paid here in CA.  It's second quarter dividend distribution time!  I didn't want to wait too long to share with you the email release RU investors received yesterday, telling us all about our dividend and company performance.




I've been an investor for 5 quarters, and I still can't believe how quickly the company (and my investment) has grown.  I've shared articles periodically on this investment since March of 2014.  Back then, this Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) was barely getting the attention it deserved, despite having names like Ray WirtaHarold Hofer, and Howard Makler as Founders.  My, how things have changed:


RichUncles.com 
Rich Uncles Real Estate Investment Trust I

$157,000 Distribution
2nd Quarter Dividend Declared
RichUncles.com is proud to be distributing $157,000 in dividend income to Shareholders for the second quarter of 2015:

A cash Dividend equal to $.1875 per $10.00 Share will be paid on July 20, 2015 to interest holders of record as of June 30, 2015.  

The Dividend equals an annualized 7.5% investment return. 


Business Update. 
CEO, Harold Hofer, with investors in 2014

Rich Uncles continued its accelerated pace of REIT share sales during the second quarter, more than doubling the size of the REIT during this time frame.

"We are on track to sell out the REIT during the third quarter," stated CEO Harold Hofer. "Including properties under contract which we fully expect to purchase after due diligence completion, our overall asset base is approaching $25 million. We are fulfilling our mission of delivering quality commercial real estate investment opportunities to investors large and small."


A recent acquisition was a Chevron service station and Chevron-branded "ExtraMile" convenience store located in the heart of Silicon Valley, close to the famed "Santana Row" shopping complex in San Jose. This property is subject to a new, 10-year triple net (NNN) lease.

"This purchase dovetails perfectly with our investment strategy" continued Hofer. "Great real estate, great tenant committed to long-term leases, all we do is convert monthly rent checks into Shareholder dividends."


Investment Update.

Our investment properties remain 100% leased with all scheduled rents received on a timely basis.


Dividend. 

RichUncles.com is proud to be distributing $157,000 in dividend income to Shareholders.

A cash Dividend for the second quarter of 2015 equal to $.1875 per $10 Share will be paid on July 20, 2015 to Shareholders of record as of June 30, 2015. This Dividend equals an annualized 7.5% investment return.   

Shareholders who purchased Shares during the second quarter of 2015 will have their Dividend payment pro-rated based upon a 91 day calendar quarter, as measured from the date shown on each Shareholder’s Share Certificate.

Shareholders who purchased Shares on more than one occasion will receive one check representing all of the Dividends owed to them; and those who own their Shares in a custodial retirement account will have their Dividend paid directly to the account custodian.

Shareholders who have elected to participate in the Company’s Dividend Reinvestment Program will receive notification via email of their current Share account balances, including the reinvested Dividends, on July 20, 2015.

Questions, Comments or Concerns.  Please send any questions, comments or concerns to info@RichUncles.com.  We would love to hear from you.


Howard Makler, President
(855) 742-4862 
howard@RichUncles.com


There is still time to put your money to work, buying shares of this Commercial Real Estate public, non-traded REIT, better known as RichUncles.com.  Can't hurt to call and get some answers to your questions, or leave a comment below and I'll respond.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Why Minorities Need to Stop Pimpin' Their Rides!

The worst "investment" I ever made was purchasing a modified 1966 Corvair Monza for my 30th birthday.  I wanted a classic car something pretty bad back then.  And when I saw this bad boy on eBay, I fell in love.  It came just as you see it in the picture, with a molded spoiler and non-stock wheels/rims.  I paid $5,500 for the car and another $500 to have it shipped from Las Vegas to Oceanside.




I didn't have it inspected.  I didn't travel to Vegas to look at it.  I went off entirely on what the private seller stated in his eBay description.  I was very fortunate.  The car ran great.  The steering was horrible, however.  The car needed lower control arm and bushing work.  Once, one of the wheels fell off because the lugnuts holding it were not the right kind.  Luckily I was turning right, going very slow, so there was no damage.  I had to pay $300 to get it towed and fitted with the appropriate lugnuts on all four wheels to avoid another instance of this.




Of course, as soon as I received my "package," I wanted to make additional modifications.  I spent another $1,000 on a kick-ass stereo and sound system.  The trunk (front of the car) would open, and inside you'd see a subwoofer with cables leading to the interior and the 6-inch (front) and 12-inch (back) speakers.  After my divorce in 2007, I used the car to impress a few ladies, riding shotgun, on dates.  I kept the car until 2010.  My wife, Jessica, was the last "chic" who got a chance to ride my pimp mobile.
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At the height of the Great Recession (2010), I had to raise cash for an engagement ring.  The Monza had to be sold.  I easily spent around $10K total on the car, and ended-up selling it for $3,500 to a private buyer from San Diego.  Unloading it was incredibly hard to do.
Compare Prices on Local Used Cars

Buying this car was easily the worst money decision I ever made in my life.  I'm here to warn all of you today, but especially minorities, that buying classic cars doesn't always turn-up profits, and that modifying cars, i.e., pimpin' them out, is a terrible waste of money!  How, When, and Why to Modify Your Car is an excellent article written in 2014 that provides the only four reasons why you should even consider modifying your car:

1.  You don't care about money
2.  You're not going to sell your car
3.  Your car was a lost cause to begin with
4.  You know what you're doing

" Don't expect to make money on a modification. This is probably the most important piece of advice that I can give you. Figure out exactly why you want to modify your car and act accordingly, but don't tell yourself the lie that you're making a good investment. Sure, it's possible that a new set of upgraded Bilstein coilovers are going to increase the price of your BMW, but it won't be comparable to what you actually paid for them. If you want to modify your car, go ahead, but don't delude yourself with dreams of raking in the profit because you bought some parts on eBay."    

I took things a bit further and searched: "Should I pimp my ride" on Google and got Should I Pimp Out My Car from Yahoo!Answers.  This was what I considered the best response:

"I've "pimped" out a few rides in my day and it always turns out to be a pointless waisted investment. I would advise highly against spending any more money on a vehicle than you have to. Besides, all of the money you spend pimping it out you could put a down payment on a nicer, more respectable car like a BMW or Benz. (which would be more appealing and confortable to the opposite sex and any pimped out car) 

I bought a Scion when they first came out and Immediately dropped like $15K on pimping it out and put $4K down ride on top of that. So here I am with a low rider Scion with a ridiculous stereo set up that get's me a lot of attention when I could have put that $19K as a down payment on a brand new Nissan 350Z or BMW 330ci and had the same payment! "

Exactly!  With the money you shell out swapping parts, you could have easily purchased a better ride, homie!  Like a Benz or Beamer.

Advice for young minority men:
http://www.driftingstreet.com/mazda-drift-cars.html

Okay my young Black, Latino, and Asian homies...I know you love the Fast and the Furious series, Lowriders, making videos of yourself "ghost riding your whip" for YouTube, drifting around corners with your lowered Mazda, and being able to get that tail with your pimped out ride, but...


Source.  This or having enough money for retirement?

1.  You're wasting time (working on your ride) and money that could be put to better use such as taking college courses at the local junior college and getting a trade or career.  You could be putting that income into a investment Brokerage account so you don't have to live with your moms for the rest of your life.  There are so many options!
R.I.P. Paul Walker

2.  You could buy a better car if you don't want to do #1, and attract classy ladies instead of the groupies.  No self-respecting professional woman will ever want to marry a man who spends all of his money on cars.  Unless the man happens to be the owner of a dealership!

3.  You could avoid being profiled by the Po-po if you didn't tint all of your windows, blast your stereo, or look like cast members of the Fast and Furious on the road.  Ever hear of probable cause?  Just think, you being of color, and on the road with a modified (fast or slow) vehicle is an invitation for the boys in blue to stop and harass you.  Maybe even search your ride and catch you ridin' dirty!  Don't believe me?  Check the article below out:

http://jalopnik.com/Ten-cars-that-are-likely-to-get-you-pulled-over

4.  You could save your own life.  Having a modified fast car makes drivers more willing to speed or race.  Many young men die each year doing illegal street racing.


Source
The economics of owning a car are awful.  A car depreciates as soon as you drive off with it.  The Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle is hardly what you'll end-up getting from a buyer, private or dealership.  Why?  Everyone is out there attempting to get a deal.

Minorities, do yourself a favor and do not be swayed by your partners or friends into getting into the car modification hobby.  Make your communities proud and strive for economic prosperity instead.  Save your hard earned money and put it to work on something that is constructive for you, learning a skill or getting an education.  I am by no means perfect, and made a mistake buying a classic car in 2010 that I still regret to this day, for I could have increased my net worth even more buying more stock at the start of the bull market.  Instead of three rental properties, who knows?--maybe I'd have four?

 Thanks for reading!  Share this article with your homies, cousins, whoever you feel needs this advice.  C-los out!