SEIS the Tax-Free Investment Opportunity for UK Investors

Enterprise Investment Schemes

An EIS is an investment vehicle that provides funds and capital to small businesses that, due to the tightening of the credit market, cannot otherwise get financing from traditional sources. An EIS is an unquoted company that is not on a stock exchange and is most likely managed by a venture capital firm. These firms manage the investment objectives to protect investors and maximize investment returns. A good firm will have been involved in venture capital investing for a number of years and be able to provide a solid track record of protecting principle and securing returns. Firms operate their EISes differently, some offering investments into single companies while others operate EIS funds in which you could invest into a fund of multiple companies, therefore diversifying your risk.

The benefit of tax protection that EISes offer has resulted in an increased demand among wealthier investors, with EIS being utilized as a strategic tool within their portfolios. The UK government increased tax relief from 20% to 30% and the annual investment amount has been increased from £500,000 to £1,000,000. With the added benefit that the investment is exempt from capital gains tax and inheritance tax, EIS is increasingly the perfect vehicle for certain investors. More and more EISes have become essential within many investment portfolios as an integral tax relief tactic.

Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes

Not quite as large as the EIS, the SEIS provides a similar benefit and experience. The main difference being the investment amount allowed annually which currently stands at a maximum of £100,000, but offers an unprecedented 50% tax relief on the investment’s gains and value. However this 50% is only applicable if the SEIS continues to comply with the SEIS rules and providing the investment is left for a minimum of three years. After three years the investor can sell their stake, incurring no capital gains tax against profit realized. Furthermore, loss relief applies to any losses incurred.

As of 2014, the upfront tax relief for the highest tax bracket investors equates to a 64% tax break and, when combined with a loss relief tax break of a further potential of 22.5%, equates to a total of 86.5% tax relief. The downside tax protection of almost 90% is unprecedented amongst all other investment vehicles and provides significant tactical value to certain investors.

Careful Consideration

As with any investment decision, you need to be careful in your consideration when choosing to use EIS or SEIS for your portfolio. You should be considering these tax relief options in your portfolio after you have exhausted other forms of tax mitigation. The first two that should be utilized are your pension and annual Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance. These primary tax savings vehicles provide secure investment vehicles; ISAs offer amazing investment flexibility not available through EIS or SEIS. Another option includes VCTs – Venture Capital Trusts – which have similar strategic benefits to EIS or SEIS but are limited to £200,000 per year.

In deciding on further tax mitigation, you need to consider the portion of your portfolio that these tactical investments would make up. Conventional wisdom dictates that you should not put more than 20% of your holdings into risky opportunities, but that 20% could realistically be surpassed with correct use of the right investment vehicles. If you are hedging your portfolio against a known event that will increase your capital gains taxes or inheritance taxes, EIS and SEIS would be a viable way to mitigate those taxes in a given year. In this way you could max out your contributions to these two tactical strategies in order to mitigate the known tax implications from another portion of your investment portfolio. It is these considerations that you should be aware of before deciding on a specific EIS or SEIS company.

Another concern that you should be aware of is the fact that EISes and SEISes are essentially “locked-in” products. You need to be able to leave the investments locked in for a period of at least three years (and in some cases longer) in order to access the tax relief benefits – managers will generally look for an exit in or around year 4, but an exit could realistically take longer and is subject to market conditions. In this way, many EIS and SEIS companies are illiquid and the secondary market for selling EIS/SEIS shares is therefore small. Taking the long view on these investments should be a natural consideration.

Choosing the Right EIS/SEIS

When deciding on the right company to invest for the purpose of tax mitigation, not all EIS/SEIS companies are the same. Choosing a company should not be done on impulse and requires effective due diligence to ensure that their investment philosophy is in line with your own. At the time of consideration, ask all the same questions of the company as you would when investing in any stock. By ensuring the company has a solid and proven track record of investments, open reporting functions that promote transparency and an investment philosophy you agree with, you can feel comfortable with your investment.

By considering an EIS/SEIS investment you are considering an investment option that has a real potential for investment loss. It can be the right option for those looking for a high risk option with an effective tax mitigation strategy as a small portion of their overall portfolio. EIS and SEIS investments can also be an excellent way for investors to dabble in venture capital investing without having to put up too much capital.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-enterprise-investment-scheme-introduction

https://www.gov.uk/seed-enterprise-investment-scheme-background

Investment and Its Importance

Investment is important from many points of view. Before doing investment, it is essential to understand what is investment and its importance?

“Investment is an act of investing money to earn the profit. It is the first step towards the future security of your money.”

Need of Investment

The investment can help you in the future if invested wisely and properly. As per human nature, we plan for a few days or think to plan for investment, but do not put the plan into action. Every individual must plan for investment and keep aside some amount of money for the future. No doubt, the future is uncertain and it is required to invest smartly with some certain plan of actions that can avoid financial crisis at point of time. It can help you to bring a bright and secure future. It not only gives you secure future, but also controls your spending pattern.

Important Factors of Investments

Planning for Financial investment – Planning plays a pivotal role in all fields. For the financial investment, one must have a pertinent plan by taking all rise and fall situations of the market. You should have a good knowledge of investment before planning for financial investment. Keen observation and focused approach are the basic needs for successful financial investment.

Invest according to your Needs and Capability- The purpose behind the investment should be clear by which you can fulfil your needs from the investment. In investment, financial ability is also a component that can bring you satisfaction and whatever results you want. You can start investment from a small amount as per your capability. You should care about your income and stability to choose the best plan for you.

Explore the market for available investment options – The investment market is full of opportunities, you can explore the market by applying proper approach. You can take help from financial planners, managers who have thorough knowledge about investment in the market. Explore the possibility of investment markets and touch the sublime height of success by the sensible investment decisions.

By taking help from an experienced, proficient financial planner and traders can also give you confidence to do well in the field of investment. Now the question strikes the mind that what are the types of investments?

Types of Investments

Mutual Funds- Basically the mutual fund is a managed investment fund in which money is pulled from the investors to buy the securities.

Commodity Market- In India, it is a popular place of traders to invest their money. The commodity market comprises of MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange) and NCDEX (National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange) both. In Multi Commodity Exchange market, you can invest in crude oil, precious metals as gold, silver and base metals as copper, aluminium, nickel, zinc and many more. While in National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange market, you can invest in all agricultural commodities as guar, soya bean, cotton, sugar cane and many more.

Stock Market- It is the place where various people trade globally and earn the maximum return on investment. However, it is essential to know the bull and bear of the stock market for investing in it. The Stock market for investment also includes the equity market and nifty market. You can invest in equities and nifty market and get good amount profit by focused approach and keen analysis of market trend.

Bonds – It is the best ways to gain interest on your principal amount. The interest and period of time depends on the agreement. In this, a holder lends a particular amount to the issuer (borrower) for a fixed period of time. At this time, you will get the interest from the borrower and after completing that fixed period of time borrower will return back your money. A long term tool for financial investment.

Fixed Deposits – The Fixed Deposit (FD) service is provided by various banks that offers investors a higher rate of interest on their deposits as compared to a regular savings account. Fixed deposits have the maturity date to gain the return on investment.

Real Estate- One can also invest in the real estate and deal with the residential and commercial property. This is also a trending way to earn a good return on investment.

There are various financial planners, financial managers, trading tips provider who can give you numerous options for investment in the market. But it is essential to choose the options wisely.

AIDS – What Really is AIDS and How Can it Be Prevented?

AIDS is a disease of the immune system which is caused by HIV which is otherwise known as “human immunodeficiency virus” a diagnosis of HIV can be devastating news for anyone. The condition is prolonged and takes time to weaken the immune system leaving sufferers of the illness susceptible to other illnesses such as the common cold, which due to the weakened immune system of AIDS sufferers can be deadly. An individual suffering from AIDS or HIV is also more susceptible to tumors meaning routine checkups are needed after a diagnosis, leading to a life of hospital appointments.

HIV can be transmitted through full on contact of the mucus membrane, such as mouths, lips and genitals and can also be transmitted through full on contact with an infected bodily fluid. These fluids can be blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk meaning that HIV and AIDS can be passed through to a child throughout pregnancy and throughout breast feeding. The contact of these fluids can happen throughout different activities including anal, vaginal or oral sex, a blood transfusion or the exchange of infected needles, which would commonly be more associated with drug use.

AIDS symptoms often lie dormant until the disease is in its more advanced stages meaning that a diagnosis of AIDS can be even more devastating when the time left is short. Sufferers from AIDS have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer in female sufferers and cancers of the immune system such as Lymphoma. AIDS in its more advanced stage with come with symptoms such as fevers, sweats, swollen glands and weakness. Weight loss is also a common symptom of an AIDS sufferer. AIDS sufferers are also more susceptible to pneumonia as well due to the weakened immune system. AIDS is truly a life wrecking illness for everybody involved.

Since there is no cure for AIDS, the best way to decrease the spread of it and stop others contracting it is with prevention methods. Some of these methods include safe sex, being responsible and using a condom. Sexual relations are one of the main causes of AIDS transmission and a condom could save lives. It is proven that unprotected sex is responsible for the AIDS pandemic all over the world. A male or female condom would suffice.

People working in the health care industry also can do their bit in stopping the transmission of AIDS and HIV by following precautions and using the appropriate safety equipment to keep the illness from spreading. Also, it has now been said that mothers who are suffering from HIV or AIDS should avoid breast feeding their child as to prevent the child from contracting the illness as well. This is what any reasonable parent would do for their child if they knew it could save their life.

Overall, AIDS is a life wrecking disease and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet the prevention of it is so simple that people don’t need to be dying every day from this disease. AIDS doesn’t only affect one person; it spreads like a fire and can affect thousands. So think, and use precautions so you don’t become a sufferer too.

Hansens Lepresy

Since the beginning of time, Hansen’s disease has been recognized as a problem. Reported in Egypt in as early as 1350 BC, Lepresy is the oldest disease known to man; this is according to the Guinness World Records. Frequently, Lepers have lived outside of society. This is partly due to the fact that for a long time the disease was believed to have been caused by a divine, often times associated with demons, curse or punishment. This idea changed in the middle ages, when people started to believe that lepers are loved by God, and that it is humans that have cursed them

Another reason for secluding the Lepers what that in the past it was believed that leprosy was highly contagious. If was even taken to the extent that leprosy could be spread by the glance of a leper or an unseen leper standing upwind of healthy people. Today we know that the disease is much less contagious than we once believed in the past. Lepresy is caused by a mycobacterium that will multiply at a very slow rate. The disease mainly affects the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. The organism has never been grown in cell culture, because of the difficulty that is involved with doing so. This difficulty is as a result of the fact that the organism is an obligate intra-cellular parasite. This means that it lacks many necessary genes for independent survival. This is also evident and provides proof for it having such a slow rate of replication.

Uncertain today, is the method of   transmission  of Hansen’s disease. Many people believe that it is spread person to person in respiratory droplets. What we do know though, is that most of the population is naturally immune to the disease. The disease is chronic, and often times patients are classified as having paucibacillary, which is a form of multibacillary Hansen’s disease.

Degree Training Available Online

With the continual advancement of technology everything has become easier from reading the news to communicating with friends. One of the more recent advancements is the ability to earn an education online. Interested individuals can enter degree training online to make their desire of earning an education possible. Numerous accredited online colleges and universities offer degree distinctions in almost every job and career across the country.

Let’s talk first about the beneficial factors of earning a degree online. Prospective students will be able to earn their degree solely online. This removes the hassle of commuting to a campus, finding parking, etc. The ability to train online is a benefit to individuals who can’t stop working to earn a degree at a traditional college. With people having numerous avenues of responsibilities gaining an education will make it possible for them to raise their knowledge and career options from home. Most online degree programs let students choose their schedule and study pace, meaning if one course is particularly hard for an individual they are allotted more time to complete the course before moving on to another course.

Training methods will differ depending on the subject and course. Typically students complete work online and communicate with their professor and other classmates via e-mail and classroom databases. Students may have phone meeting times or video   transmission  courses. In a phone meeting students will check in with their professor and other classmates to go over course material and findings. A video  transmission  course will have the professor teaching while students watch him through a video  transmission . These type of courses are not usually integrated into a normal degree program. Most students will not have to communicate with people in this manner.

Online colleges offer training programs from certificates to PhD’s to qualified students. Let’s look briefly at what each level of education is offered to students, to gain a better understanding of what a degree program online looks like. Certificate programs are offered online in a variety of fields. Length will vary depending on the subject. In general certificate programs will take around three to six months to complete. Students who enroll in these programs are usually industry professionals brushing up on new techniques or technology.

As associate’s degree program will have students working through a one to two year program, depending on the field. An associate’s degree program provides students with coursework that establishes a foundation in their field. This foundation can be used to enter a profession as an assistant or use it as a base to gain higher education later after a few years of work experience. Gaining a bachelor’s degree is the most popular form of degree because almost every profession lists this degree level as a requirement prior to being hired. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes a student four years to complete. Knowledge gained at this level of schooling provides numerous career options and a foundation to enter graduate programs. Online programs allow students to continue education and earn a master’s degree and/or a PhD in their chosen field. These programs can last from two to four years and typically are pursued by individuals who want to enter managerial or supervisory positions within their respected field.

Don’t let the opportunity to earn a degree pass you by. Use the available technology to gain an accredited online education in a field of your choice. Enter a fulfilling career by enrolling in an online degree program today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Building A Custom Chopper Motorcycle, Where Do You Start?

So you want to build a custom chopper? I do too, so the first question I asked myself, is where do I start. Should I make a business plan, a schedule, a financial statement, or should I just buy my wife some flowers and blindly proceed? I guess I should do all of the above but not necessarily in that order.

I will start by trying to justify this purchase and or endeavor, to do this I will make a list of my reasons for building a Chopper. 1) I want to ride a custom chopper, a totally cool stretched out, fire breathing, gas eating, pavement pounding, old lady scaring, 2 wheel monster. 2) I want to be able to say “I built that” when someone asks me where I got that totally sick bike. 3) I want to be able to customize the bike beyond the standard add on parts I can get for my current bike a Harley Davidson Fatboy. 4) I want to be able to make this dream come true, meaning I need to be able to pay for it. A $35,000 chopper is out of my current budget. 5) I have been talking about this for 5 years so why don’t I get to it and stop doing all the talking and start doing some building.

Now I have a few reasons on paper a will look at my options, then make a plan, a schedule, and find some extra money.

Let’s start with a my build options, and plan on a slow and steady approach. I realize I will need to do a lot of research before I start. I have 4 basic options, a kit bike, a rolling chassis, a start from zero build, or an extreme makeover of a current motorcycle.

Option 1) If I start with a motorcycle kit I maybe the farthest ahead from a mechanical perspective, and farthest behind from a financial point of view. What do I mean by this, well a kit bike has all the parts it just needs paint, labor, gas, oil and some love. The problem a complete kit bike will cost me $12,000 dollars right up front. This is a bit out of my spend a ton of money now then not be able to ride a bike for a year or two thinking. If I get a kit, I maybe able to get it together faster, as I will be motivated and have all the parts ready to go. As a first bike I think this is a very good option, when you consider all the expensive mistakes I may make along that way. One drawback to this option is the amount of customization I can do to the bike as it is put together. Because all the parts are in the kit, I may resist the urge to get new bars or different sheet metal, or other parts.

Option 2) Start with a Rolling chassis, this is the middle of the road option, spend a lump sum of money, about 1/2 of what the overall bike will cost and get a basic setup that all works together.

A Rolling chassis kit consists of a Frame, 2 wheels, the forks, and triple clamps and bars, all build and configured to work together. Add a motor and a transmission and all the major workings of the bike are in place. This setup helps avoid some of the major work needed to mix match and fit these items together. This option also allows for a ton of customization in the parts that people see and the parts that give a bike it’s personality. For me this is a very serious option to consider. I would only have 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the parts sitting around and gathering dust until I get time to get it together.

Option 3) Find each and every part one at a time and build a completely custom motorcycle. I know I could do this, but I also know I will encounter more unexpected and possibly expensive issues with this type of build. This option would give me a bike that no one would ever duplicate. This could be very good or this could be very bad. What if some possible combination of frame, motor, forks, or wheels didn’t work together? It would not be discovered until the motorcycle was all together. I think this option is better left to the serious professional who build bike all night long, as the are working on other peoples bikes, and running businesses during the day. I may consider this for my second custom chopper.

Option 4) Take an existing bike and start cutting and changing it. This is maybe as involved as chopping and re-welding the frame to create a new rake and angles. Or it could mean just getting a new frame and using the engine, transmission, and various other part to build a new machine. I like this idea, and I think it would be a lower cost alternative to all new custom parts. With this option you are also able to keep the current registration and title if the frame is not replaced. This is also a lower cost option because a lot of the miscellaneous parts can be reused.

I know that in one page all the possible combinations of Custom Chopper build can’t be completely explained, I just hope this information give you something to start with and build on. It has help steer me in the direction of a rolling chassis, so I better get shopping.

Motorcycle Components

In our daily life, motorcycles are also catch people’s attention except for cars and bicycles. They are important transportation mode that we can not ignore. Motorcycles have been developed a lot through these years. Modern types are quite different from the earlier ones for that they can include high-tech components.

It is common that every product should depend on various parts to achieve the expected function, so do the motorcycles. They also need specific parts to function properly. Different components work together to keep the motorcycles in a good condition.

One of the most obvious and important parts is the wheel. Generally, there are two wheels on a motorcycle which featured steel spokes traditionally. But through the development, many other types can be found now such as the cast aluminum wheels and other alloy models. Usually, rear wheels may be larger and wider than front wheels because of their drive configuration.

Drivetrain is just like the heart of the motorcycle. It is powered by the drivetrain which includes the engine. Motorcycle engines are usually centrally mounted below the driver’s seat. It conveys power to the rear drive wheel through its   transmission . The  transmission  itself is attached to the engine, and operated by a shift lever and a clutch. And the system connecting the  transmission  to the rear wheel (the final drive) varies on different types of motorcycles, and may be a chain or belt, or a solid shaft.

Brakes are also necessary components on a motorcycle. They are controlled by a hydraulic system that is activated by handlebar or foot levers. Typically, disc brakes are offered on high end models or heavier motorcycles that require more powerful brakes.

Electrical system is an indispensable part. Sometimes, it is very complex. Some of the most basic electrical components are the lights, which include the headlights, tail lights, directional signals and brake lights. In addition, the instrumentation which includes the speedometer, tachometer and odometer is also an important part of this system.

Of course, there are still many other parts which also have significance to the motorcycles. They may be added to distinguish one model from another, or to prepare a motorcycle for a certain type of driving. All in all, all of the motorcycle parts are important for the proper function of the whole machine.

Who Will Become Wealthy in the Information Age?

As you know, we’re now well and truly in the
Information Age. It began about 10 years ago. In fact,
many economists say it began in 1989, with the Fall of
the Berlin Wall (and the start of the World Wide Web).

To understand who will become wealthy in the
Information Age, first we need to understand how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age (born
about 1860, died about 1989).

In fact, let’s get a complete overview and go back to
the Agrarian Age.

In the Agrarian Age, society was basically divided
into two classes: the landowners and the people who
worked on the land (the serfs). If you were a serf,
there wasn’t much you could do about it:
land-ownership passed down through families and you
were stuck with the status you were born into.

When the Industrial Age arrived, everything changed:
it was no longer agriculture that generated most of
the wealth, but manufacturing. Suddenly, land was no
longer the key to wealth. A factory occupied far less
land than a sheep farm or a wheat farm.

With the Industrial Age came a new kind of wealthy
person: the self-made businessman. Wealth no longer
depended on land-ownership and the family you were
born into. Business acumen and factories were creating
a new class of wealthy person. But it still required
enormous capital to build a factory and start a
business.

Then came the World Wide Web (in about 1989) and
globalization. Suddenly, everything changed again.

Factories (or real estate) were no longer necessary to
run a business. Anyone with a website could start a
business. The barriers to wealth that existed in the
Agrarian Age and the Industrial Age were completely
gone. People who could never have dreamed of owning
their own business were making millions from their
kitchen table.

Of course, the Information Revolution didn’t begin
in 1989.

It began in 1444 when Gutenberg invented the printing
press in Mainz, Germany.

But the printing press (newspapers, magazines,
paperbacks) belonged to the Industrial Age, not the
Information Age.

The printing press is a ‘one-to-many’ technology. The
Internet is a ‘many-to-many’ technology. And that was
what changed in 1989.

The Industrial Age was about centralization and
control. The Information Age is about
de-centralization and no control. No government and no
media magnate controls the Internet. This is the
crucial thing to understand about the Information Age.

As we moved from the Agrarian Age through the
Industrial Age to the Information Age, there’s been a
steady collapse of the barriers that kept one section of
society wealthy and the other section poor.

In the Information Age, literally anyone can become
wealthy.

So now that we have a clearer picture of how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age, let’s
ask that question again: ‘Who will become wealthy in
the Information Age?’:

(1) People Who are Self-Taught

To explain this better, let’s go back to the Agrarian
Age and the Industrial Age, and the   Transmission  of
Skills.

In the Agrarian Age, skills were passed on from father
to son. If you wanted to learn how to be a blacksmith
you had to be a blacksmith’s son. If you wanted to
learn to be a stone-mason, you had to be the son of a
stone-mason.

With the coming of the Industrial Age, all this
changed. You could go to University and learn whatever
skills you wanted. Knowledge was freely available.

But in the Information Age, the  Transmission  of Skills
is changing once again.

The skills necessary to succeed in the Information Age
are not being learnt from our parents (as in the
Agrarian Age), nor are they being learnt in schools
and colleges (as in the Industrial Age). Children are
teaching their parents computer skills. And many of
the entrepreneurs who start hi-tech Internet companies
have never been to college.

The millionaires (and billionaires) of tomorrow
probably won’t have a college education. They will be
high-school drop-outs, self-taught people.

(2) People with New Ideas.

Again, it’s the people who are able to think outside
of the existing structures who will become wealthy in
the Information Age. Often, it’s just a Simple Idea
that launches people to success in the Information
Age.

Take Sabhir Bhatia, for example – the man who invented
Hotmail. Bhatia was a computer engineer working in
Silicon Valley. He had no previous business
experience, whatsoever.

But one day, while he was driving back from work, a
friend called him on his cell phone and said that he
had an idea: What about starting a free, web-based
email service? Bhatia knew this was the idea he’d been
waiting for. He told his friend to hang up immediately
and ring him at home on a secure line.

Three years later he sold Hotmail to Microsoft for
$400 million.

(3) Writers

The third group who will become wealthy in the
Information Age are Writers.

In the Industrial Age, Writers depended on large
publishing Houses to get published (remember that the
printing press is an Industrial Age technology – it is
centralized and controlled). And the Publishing Houses
took the lion’s share of the profits.

In the Information Age, Writers are doing their own
publishing – and keeping most of the profits
themselves. Indeed, Writers are flourishing on the
Web – mainly through eBooks and Ezine Articles.
But even if you don’t write eBooks or Ezine Articles,
if you own a website, you are a Writer.

Why?

Because the Internet is basically a written medium. It
favors writers, people who are able to communicate
effectively through the written word. Remember, it’s
not the graphics on your website that sell, it’s the
words you use.

In the Information Age, we’re all Writers!

The Top 5 Key Benefits of Purchasing and Owning Investment Real Estate

So… You may ask yourself, why should you buy or invest in real estate in the First Place? Because it’s the IDEAL investment! Let’s take a moment to address the reasons why people should have investment real estate in the first place. The easiest answer is a well-known acronym that addresses the key benefits for all investment real estate. Put simply, Investment Real Estate is an IDEAL investment. The IDEAL stands for:

• I – Income
• D – Depreciation
• E – Expenses
• A – Appreciation
• L – Leverage

Real estate is the IDEAL investment compared to all others. I’ll explain each benefit in depth.

The “I” in IDEAL stands for Income. (a.k.a. positive cash flow) Does it even generate income? Your investment property should be generating income from rents received each month. Of course, there will be months where you may experience a vacancy, but for the most part your investment will be producing an income. Be careful because many times beginning investors exaggerate their assumptions and don’t take into account all potential costs. The investor should know going into the purchase that the property will COST money each month (otherwise known as negative cash flow). This scenario, although not ideal, may be OK, only in specific instances that we will discuss later. It boils down to the risk tolerance and ability for the owner to fund and pay for a negative producing asset. In the boom years of real estate, prices were sky high and the rents didn’t increase proportionately with many residential real estate investment properties. Many naïve investors purchased properties with the assumption that the appreciation in prices would more than compensate for the fact that the high balance mortgage would be a significant negative impact on the funds each month. Be aware of this and do your best to forecast a positive cash flow scenario, so that you can actually realize the INCOME part of the IDEAL equation.

Often times, it may require a higher down payment (therefore lesser amount being mortgaged) so that your cash flow is acceptable each month. Ideally, you eventually pay off the mortgage so there is no question that cash flow will be coming in each month, and substantially so. This ought to be a vital component to one’s retirement plan. Do this a few times and you won’t have to worry about money later on down the road, which is the main goal as well as the reward for taking the risk in purchasing investment property in the first place.

The “D” in IDEAL Stands for Depreciation. With investment real estate, you are able to utilize its depreciation for your own tax benefit. What is depreciation anyway? It’s a non-cost accounting method to take into account the overall financial burden incurred through real estate investment. Look at this another way, when you buy a brand new car, the minute you drive off the lot, that car has depreciated in value. When it comes to your investment real estate property, the IRS allows you to deduct this amount yearly against your taxes. Please note: I am not a tax professional, so this is not meant to be a lesson in taxation policy or to be construed as tax advice.

With that said, the depreciation of a real estate investment property is determined by the overall value of the structure of the property and the length of time (recovery period based on the property type-either residential or commercial). If you have ever gotten a property tax bill, they usually break your property’s assessed value into two categories: one for the value of the land, and the other for the value of the structure. Both of these values added up equals your total “basis” for property taxation. When it comes to depreciation, you can deduct against your taxes on the original base value of the structure only; the IRS doesn’t allow you to depreciate land value (because land is typically only APPRECIATING). Just like your new car driving off the lot, it’s the structure on the property that is getting less and less valuable every year as its effective age gets older and older. And you can use this to your tax advantage.

The best example of the benefit regarding this concept is through depreciation, you can actually turn a property that creates a positive cash flow into one that shows a loss (on paper) when dealing with taxes and the IRS. And by doing so, that (paper) loss is deductible against your income for tax purposes. Therefore, it’s a great benefit for people that are specifically looking for a “tax-shelter” of sorts for their real estate investments.

For example, and without getting too technical, assume that you are able to depreciate $15,000 a year from a $500,000 residential investment property that you own. Let’s say that you are cash-flowing $1,000 a month (meaning that after all expenses, you are net-positive $1000 each month), so you have $12,000 total annual income for the year from this property’s rental income. Although you took in $12,000, you can show through your accountancy with the depreciation of the investment real estate that you actually lost $3,000 on paper, which is used against any income taxes that you may owe. From the standpoint of IRS, this property realized a loss of $3,000 after the “expense” of the $15,000 depreciation amount was taken into account. Not only are there no taxes due on that rental income, you can utilize the paper loss of $3,000 against your other regular taxable income from your day-job. Investment property at higher price points will have proportionally higher tax-shelter qualities. Investors use this to their benefit in being able to deduct as much against their taxable amount owed each year through the benefit of depreciation with their underlying real estate investment.

Although this is a vastly important benefit to owning investment real estate, the subject is not well understood. Because depreciation is a somewhat complicated tax subject, the above explanation was meant to be cursory in nature. When it comes to issues involving taxes and depreciation, make sure you have a tax professional that can advise you appropriately so you know where you stand.

The “E” in IDEAL is for Expenses – Generally, all expenses incurred relating to the property are deductible when it comes to your investment property. The cost for utilities, the cost for insurance, the mortgage, and the interest and property taxes you pay. If you use a property manager or if you’re repairing or improving the property itself, all of this is deductible. Real estate investment comes with a lot of expenses, duties, and responsibilities to ensure the investment property itself performs to its highest capability. Because of this, contemporary tax law generally allows that all of these related expenses are deductible to the benefit of the investment real estate landowner. If you were to ever take a loss, or purposefully took a loss on a business investment or investment property, that loss (expense) can carry over for multiple years against your income taxes. For some people, this is an aggressive and technical strategy. Yet it’s another potential benefit of investment real estate.

The “A” in IDEAL is for Appreciation – Appreciation means the growth of value of the underlying investment. It’s one of the main reasons that we invest in the first place, and it’s a powerful way to grow your net worth. Many homes in the city of San Francisco are several million dollars in today’s market, but back in the 1960s, the same property was worth about the cost of the car you are currently driving (probably even less!). Throughout the years, the area became more popular and the demand that ensued caused the real estate prices in the city to grow exponentially compared to where they were a few decades ago. People that were lucky enough to recognize this, or who were just in the right place at the right time and continued to live in their home have realized an investment return in the 1000’s of percent. Now that’s what appreciation is all about. What other investment can make you this kind of return without drastically increased risk? The best part about investment real estate is that someone is paying you to live in your property, paying off your mortgage, and creating an income (positive cash flow) to you each month along the way throughout your course of ownership.

The “L” in IDEAL stands for Leverage – A lot of people refer to this as “OPM” (other people’s money). This is when you are using a small amount of your money to control a much more expensive asset. You are essentially leveraging your down payment and gaining control of an asset that you would normally not be able to purchase without the loan itself. Leverage is much more acceptable in the real estate world and inherently less risky than leverage in the stock world (where this is done through means of options or buying “on Margin”). Leverage is common in real estate. Otherwise, people would only buy property when they had 100% of the cash to do so. Over a third of all purchase transactions are all-cash transactions as our recovery continues. Still, about 2/3 of all purchases are done with some level of financing, so the majority of buyers in the market enjoy the power that leverage can offer when it comes to investment real estate.

For example, if a real estate investor was to buy a house that costs $100,000 with 10% down payment, they are leveraging the remaining 90% through the use of the associated mortgage. Let’s say the local market improves by 20% over the next year, and therefore the actual property is now worth $120,000. When it comes to leverage, from the standpoint of this property, its value increased by 20%. But compared to the investor’s actual down payment (the “skin in the game”) of $10,000- this increase in property value of 20% really means the investor doubled their return on the investment actually made-also known as the “cash on cash” return. In this case, that is 200%-because the $10,000 is now responsible and entitled to a $20,000 increase in overall value and the overall potential profit.

Although leverage is considered a benefit, like everything else, there can always be too much of a good thing. In 2007, when the real estate market took a turn for the worst, many investors were over-leveraged and fared the worst. They could not weather the storm of a correcting economy. Exercising caution with every investment made will help to ensure that you can purchase, retain, pay-off debt, and grow your wealth from the investment decisions made as opposed to being at the mercy and whim of the overall market fluctuations. Surely there will be future booms and busts as the past would dictate as we continue to move forward. More planning and preparing while building net worth will help prevent getting bruised and battered by the side effects of whatever market we find ourselves in.

Many people think that investment real estate is only about cash flow and appreciation, but it’s so much more than that. As mentioned above, you can realize several benefits through each real estate investment property you purchase. The challenge is to maximize the benefits through every investment.

Furthermore, the IDEAL acronym is not just a reminder of the benefits of investment real estate; it’s also here to serve as a guide for every investment property you will consider purchasing in the future. Any property you purchase should conform to all of the letters that represent the IDEAL acronym. The underlying property should have a good reason for not fitting all the guidelines. And in almost every case, if there is an investment you are considering that doesn’t hit all the guidelines, by most accounts you should probably PASS on it!

Take for example a story of my own, regarding a property that I purchased early on in my real estate career. To this day, it’s the biggest investment mistake that I’ve made, and it’s precisely because I didn’t follow the IDEAL guidelines that you are reading and learning about now. I was naïve and my experience was not yet fully developed. The property I purchased was a vacant lot in a gated community development. The property already had an HOA (a monthly maintenance fee) because of the nice amenity facilities that were built for it, and in anticipation of would-be-built homes. There were high expectations for the future appreciation potential-but then the market turned for the worse as we headed into the great recession that lasted from 2007-2012. Can you see what parts of the IDEAL guidelines I missed on completely?

Let’s start with “I”. The vacant lot made no income! Sometimes this can be acceptable, if the deal is something that cannot be missed. But for the most part this deal was nothing special. In all honesty, I’ve considered selling the trees that are currently on the vacant lot to the local wood mill for some actual income, or putting up a camping spot ad on the local Craigslist; but unfortunately the lumber isn’t worth enough and there are better spots to camp! My expectations and desire for price appreciation blocked the rational and logical questions that needed to be asked. So, when it came to the income aspect of the IDEAL guidelines for a real estate investment, I paid no attention to it. And I paid the price for my hubris. Furthermore, this investment failed to realize the benefit of depreciation as you cannot depreciate land! So, we are zero for two so far, with the IDEAL guideline to real estate investing. All I can do is hope the land appreciates to a point where it can be sold one day. Let’s call it an expensive learning lesson. You too will have these “learning lessons”; just try to have as few of them as possible and you will be better off.

When it comes to making the most of your real estate investments, ALWAYS keep the IDEAL guideline in mind to make certain you are making a good decision and a solid investment.

Using Serialization

A common problem in programming is moving the program data to another spot, such as a file on disk or another computer. For example, suppose a video game needs to store a saved file on the hard drive. Normally, the developer would have to write a method that takes all the game information and puts it into a format that can be placed on disk. Another method needs to be written to reverse this. The concept of serialization, used in some programming languages, bypasses this.

If a language has serialization libraries, this means that these functions are built in. You can input an object and have built-in language libraries convert the object to data. And of course, you can do the reverse. Instead of having to write code and create your own format for storing program information, you can just have the language do it. This has a wide variety of uses besides the video game save file mentioned in the intro. Suppose you want any program to store user-inputted data. You can simply put that data into a serializable object, that write it to disk. When the program starts up again, use the deserialization methods.

This can also be used for network communications. Consider the problem of writing client and server programs that can communicate with each other. Instead of having to process data, you can just serialize the object and transmit its data over the network. As long as the client and server know what class is being used, this works.

However, not all programming languages can be serialized. Generally, this is only a feature of higher-level languages. .NET has it with the Serializable attribute for a class. For Java, the java.io.Serializable interface is used. Classes that implement this interface can be serialized. Even low-level languages such as C++ have the ability, albeit not in the standard library. The popular Boost C++ library has functions that provide the serialization ability.

However, there are also problems caused by serialization. Many languages do not have backwards compatibility. So if you write a new version of the program and try to use it with existing serialized data, it can fail. Fortunately, some languages do have backwards compatibility features that avoid this drawback.

Serialization is a useful tool that all programmers should know about. It provides an easy way to store program data permanently and transmit it between multiple computers. For languages where serialization libraries are built-in, this is generally very easy.