Mon, 21 August 2023
More homeless people have been created due to the housing supply crisis. Homelessness is up 11% since last year, per the WSJ.
The opioid crisis, consumer inflation, and NIMBYism have contributed too.
California has the most homelessness on both a total and per capita basis.
States with higher housing costs have more homeless people.
I share our poll results: “Should we pay to house the homeless?”
Are you a NIMBY? We find out today.
We can increase housing supply with rezoning, construction training, and lower mortgage rates.
The cycle of investor emotions led to wild investing manias. It was tulip bulbs in the 1600s Netherlands and Beanie Babies in the 1990s United States.
I discuss exactly why “buy low, sell high” is more difficult than it sounds.
The correlation between homelessness and the housing market [00:00:00]
Discusses the relationship between the housing market and the increasing problem of homelessness in America.
Investing manias and lessons from history [00:00:00]
Explores the phenomenon of investing manias and the lessons that can be learned from historical examples.
The tight inventory market conditions and potential solutions [00:04:56]
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, discusses the tight housing market conditions and suggests tax incentives to increase housing supply.
Timestamp 1 [00:10:32]
Affordability of moving to different cities and the proposal of a tax incentive for real estate investors.
Timestamp 2 [00:11:49]
Discussion on the housing supply crisis, mortgage rates, and the homeless population in the US.
Timestamp 3 [00:14:14]
Increase in homelessness in America, reasons behind it, and the correlation between housing prices and homelessness rates.
The impact of high density housing on quality of life and home value [00:21:12]
Discussion on the potential negative effects of building high density housing near single family homes, including reduced home value, increased traffic and noise, and loss of nearby open space.
Alternative solutions to increase housing supply and reduce homelessness [00:23:30]
Exploration of alternative measures to address homelessness, such as trade training for the homeless and relaxing excessive safety requirements in home building.
Giving real change to the homeless [00:25:50]
Encouragement to give directly to homeless shelters or soup kitchens instead of giving small change to individuals on the street, with the concept of "give real change not small change" explained.
Note: The timestamps provided are approximate and may vary slightly depending on the podcast episode.
The Origins of Tulip Mania [00:31:37]
Tulips were introduced to Europe in the 1500s and became a luxury item for the affluent. The cultivation of tulips locally in the Netherlands led to a flourishing business sector.
The Tulip Bubble [00:32:55]
By 1634, tulip mania had swept through the Netherlands, with the demand for tulip bulbs exceeding supply. Prices reached exorbitant levels, and futures contracts were being bought and sold.
Lessons from Tulip Mania [00:37:53]
Tulip mania serves as a model for financial bubbles, with similar cycles observed in other speculative assets like beanie babies, baseball cards, NFTs, and stocks. It highlights the dangers of excess, greed, and speculation without tangible value.
The cycle of investor emotions [00:44:32]
Explanation of the different stages of investor emotions, from optimism to panic, in relation to stock market investing.
The peak of the stock market [00:46:43]
Discussion on the peak of the stock market being the point of maximum financial risk and the difficulty of selling at the right time.
Real estate as a stable investment [00:51:56]
Comparison of real estate investment to speculative bubbles, highlighting the stability and income stream provided by real estate.
Explains how the integration of HOA (Homeowners Association) helps maintain uniformity and cleanliness in the rental property investing world.
Details about the upcoming real estate event [00:38:31]
Promotion of a live event where listeners can learn about new construction fourplexes and have their questions answered in real time.
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Complete episode transcript:
Welcome to Get Rich Education. I’m your host, Keith Weinhold. America’s homeless problem has become FRIGHTENING. I describe how that correlates… with the housing market.
Then, investing MANIAS. What drives people to spend more for one tulip flower bulb than they would for an entire luxury home?
And lessons you can learn that’ll benefit you the rest of your life from other manias throughout history. All today, on Get Rich Education.
Welcome to GRE! From Seaford, DE to Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA and across 188 nations worldwide, you’re listening to one of America’s longest-running and most listened to shows on real estate investing. Along with plenty of ongoing hot takes on wealth mindset and the real estate economy.
I’m your host, Keith Weinhold.
See, the crash in the SUPPLY of available American homes is bad and it isn’t just creating more upward prices, it’s a contributor to homelessness.
Let’s talk about some of the drivers of homelessness, understand the problem a little more, how many homeless people ARE there in America, and then… what can we do about it?
As you’ll soon see, one prominent real estate industry influencer actually suggests that you actually SELL your rental single family homes in order to help serve the homeless. More on that shortly.
Also, I have the results from a GRE Instagram Poll. The poll question is: “Should we pay to HOUSE the homeless?”
And the answers that you - the GRE listeners gave… actually surprised me. I’ll give you those super-interesting poll results later, because I have more to explain there.
But first, what IS a homeless person? Let’s define it. I think most anyone knows that since it’s a person without a home, it’s thought of as living on the street.
Really, then, that person might not be homeless but “houseless” in a literal sense. Even if they live in a tent under a bridge, that is then, their home. Though it might be INADEQUATE housing.
More accurately, the unsheltered or undersheltered population could be more apropos.
So vagrants are PART of the homeless population then. This all helps DEFINE what we’re discussing.
Now, the lack of available American housing supply - especially the affordable segment - is OBVIOUSLY a big contributor to homelessness.
For example, anymore, how many builders even construct a new-build entry-level home for $200 or 250K? Practically nobody… anywhere.
And just how bad is the supply problem now? Well, the NAR has been tracking housing supply since 1982 and it just hit its lowest level ever this summer - EVER - and that’s in 40+ years of tracking.
That’s one reason why just last week, it was announced that Warren Buffett is making a big bet on housing by investing in homebuilders.
Now to keep consistent with the same stats I’ve been reporting to you for you, to update that, again 1-and-a-half million available homes is the baseline supply. That’s the long-term “normal” per the FRED Active listing count.
And through last month, it’s still under 650,000. That is STILL a housing SUPPLY crash of 57% from its peak of 1 ½ million.
I want you & I to listen to this upcoming piece together. This recent interview with NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun is from the 8th of this month.
Yes, HE is the one that basically wants you to sell your SF rental properties. And he makes his case for an inducement to get you to do this. (Ha!)
He’s not proposing anything COMPLETELY ludicrous. It’s REALLY interesting. Listen closely for that.
This about 5 minutes in length and there’s a lot of material here within this clip - a nutrient dense piece, so I’ve got SO much to say about this when I come back to comment.
Yeah, the NAR Chief Economist there talking about how, much like I have for years, great opportunity is in the Midwest and Southeastern parts of the US.
With this greater ability for people to work from anywhere, when people move in from the pricy coasts, it’s sooo affordable to them.
Moving from Manhattan to Cincinnati feels incredibly affordable.
Moving from San Francisco to St. Louis feels like you’ve upgraded from serfdom to a kingdom.
Moving from Boston to Jacksonville feels like a total life makeover.
That’s why, here at GRE, we’re focused on properties in those INbound destinations.
Before I continue, especially for those outside the US, I know that it seems a little odd that Ohio and Indiana are in what we call the Midwest when they’re actually in the northeastern quadrant of the nation.
But the fact that they ARE midwestern states is rooted in history and in cultural tradition.
So, getting back some new angles on the housing supply crisis.
Lawrence Yun proposed that a tax incentive be introduced to unleash the inventory of SF rentals from individual REIs.
And says that there are over 20 million single-family housing units that are rented out.
If we reduced or canceled the capital gains tax & just got 1% of that inventory on the market, he states that that would help.
Well, yeah, but even that then would only put about 200,000 units of the market - and they’d get snatched up so fast.
Now, if mortgage rates come down to say, 5%, it would unleash both housing demand AND supply.
Both - like Lawrence Yun says. So it’s not apparent that that would help this shortage, if both demand and supply go up.
In a nation of about one-third of a BILLION people now - that’s how I like to express it this year - America now has one-third of a billion people… also known as 333 million - how many do you think are classified as homeless?
As you think about that - as you think about how many of America’s 333 million Americans are homeless, this homeless population figure that I’m about to share with you is from HUD and it’s through last year, so it’s their latest year-end figure.
And I’ll tell ya, it’s hard to believe this number. The Department of Housing and Urban Development states that about 582,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness.
Now, how HUD does this is that their number is a snapshot of the homeless population as of a single night at the end of January each year.
The total number of people who experience homelessness for SOME PERIOD each year will be higher than that.
I just did the math and then that means that just 1 in every 572 Americans are homeless. C’mon. Do you believe that? Only one in every 572 Americans are homeless?
I might believe that it’s something like more than 1 in 200. What are your thoughts?
Even HUD would probably concede that there are shortcomings in that stat and that it’s only a starting point.
And over the last decade, according to HUD, the homeless population is little changed… apparently until just this past year.
Homelessness is surging in America. The number of people experiencing homelessness in the US has increased 11% so far this year over 2022. That would be the biggest jump by far in equivalent government records beginning in 2007.
Now this 11% homeless jump is according to a WSJ analysis of hundreds of smaller & local agencies.
Most agencies say the alarming rise is because of the lack of affordable housing and rental units, and the ongoing opioid crisis.
Inflation is part of that affordable housing problem. Inflation widens the disparity between the haves and have-nots.
To cut some slack to census-type of surveying, homelessness can be hard to measure. Some live on skid row, some live in the woods, some homeless people live in their cars.
Some aren’t interested in being counted. Others are essentially invisible.
I mean, if someone’s between jobs and needs to couch surf at their aunt and uncle's place for three months, are they homeless or not? So, to be sure, there’s a lot of leeway in those numbers.
One in 572 as homeless - that should just be a minimum - a starting point in my opinion.
Now, homelessness broken down by STATE is really interesting.
California at 171,000, has the most of any state, more than double of next-most New York, and then Florida is third.
But let’s break that down by rate - on a per capita basis. So… think of this as the highest CONCENTRATION of homeless:
Washington DC has 65 homeless per 10,000 people. That’s not really a state though, so…
#1 on a per capita basis is STILL California, with 44 per 10,000. So California leads in the nation in homeless on both bases then - both absolute and relative.
The second highest rate is Vermont.
Fifth is New York
And then numbers 6 through 10 on the most homeless per capita are Washington, Maine, Alaska, Nevada, and Delaware.
Now, strictly anecdotally. You’ve probably seen just what I’ve seen in the last year-plus - more visible homeless people in your city and other cities.
The state with the FEWEST homeless of all 50 states is Mississippi - and see, housing is quite affordable there. MS is one of the most affordable states for housing.
There is at least SOME correlation between your cost of housing and homelessness.
Recently on our Instagram page, and the handle there is easy to remember - it’s @getricheducation - if you want to participate in future polls, we ran a poll on homelessness.
Here is the poll question that we ran - and I’d like you to think about your answer to this too.
“Should we pay to house the homeless?”
That’s the question.
And in polling, the way that the question is phrased, of course, can skew your answer.
See, if instead, we phrased it as, “Should the government house the homeless?” you might have more ‘yes’ answers - even though it’s the same question - because you FUND the government.
But the question as we phrased it: “Should we pay to house the homeless?” - it also showed a photo of vagrants on a street curb under the question.
Here we the results, which surprised me, to:
Should we pay to house the homeless?
Those answering “Yes” were just 6%
The no’s were 45%
But we also had a third option: “It’s complicated”. 48% answered with that option.
So again, just 6% of you said we should pay to house the homeless and 45% said “no”. “48% said it’s complicated”.
In a way, that makes sense to me since we have a largely entrepreneurial, self-made type of audience. I thought that might have happened.
But what surprised me is in how emphatic it was. It was a landslide. 7 to 8 TIMES as many of you said we should not pay for the homeless as those that said we should.
Well, the reason that I added - and I’m the one that ran the poll myself - they’re quick to do. I added the paying to house the homeless “It’s complicated” option because it IS complicated… that WAS the most popular answer.
I mean, why should you go to work and pay to house a stranger that has no income because he or she doesn’t want to work?
But what if they’re disabled and they can kinda work but not really work… or a zillion other complications.
Substance abuse is obviously a big problem that keeps homeless people homeless… and there’s a substantial thought paradigm that says, if they’re an abuser, then why would I pay for THEIR housing?
Substance abuse is just one reason that there is a population that’s VOLUNTARILY homeless. They don’t want to have to comply with a group home’s ban on substances.
I wanted to address the homeless problem somewhat today, because here we are on Episode 463 of a real estate show and this is the most that we’ve even discussed it.
I think the perspective it gives you is that it helps you be grateful for what you’ve got.
But it’s abundance mentality here. You can be grateful for what you have and at the same time, grow your means.
What else would help with more housing supply which would also move us toward mitigating the homeless problem?
Well, we’ve already discussed a number of them so I’ll only go in depth with some fresh angles here.
Obviously, more homebuilding. We’ve done episodes on how 3D printed homes and shipping container homes are not quick, easy answers. Tiny homes might be but then you could get into a zoning density problem again.
Just last week, my assistant brought me this Marketwatch article that reported that the average American home size is shrinking just a little & that often times, new-build houses tend to be a little closer together.
That’s what gets us into relaxing zoning requirements. But you know something, OK, this is going to be interesting.
This plays into NIMBYism. Not In My Backyard: communities saying that they don’t want high-density housing built next to them.
Now, I think that there are a lot of critics of NIMBYism. But the criticism comes from people that live far out of that area and aren’t affected.
Let me just play a fun little experiment with you here. Let me paint a picture of a fictitious life for you and just… place yourself there.
Say that you live in a nice single-family home, with a quarter acre lot. It’s not a sprawling estate but you’ve got a good measure of privacy that way.
You’re in a SFH, quarter-acre lot and two car garage. That is classic suburbia.
And… just a hundred yards away from your home there’s a big, wide-open field where you walk your dog and use as a little makeshift golf driving range or whatever. Nice open space nearby.
Say you’ve got a fairly idyllic life here. It’s always been this way since you bought the home years ago.
Suddenly, in your neighborhood of all SFHs, you learn that they want to build a bunch of fourplexes in the nearby lot where you used to throw tennis balls to your dog.
What can that do to your quality of life & your home’s value, now that a bunch of new fourplexes and eightplexes were built nearby?
It reduces your home’s value because there are less valuable, high density properties nearby.
It also increases the amount of traffic & even noise in your neighborhood. Now you can’t use that nearby park anymore - it’s been all-built up with these higher-density apartments.
So, let me go back and ask - point blank - did you really want all those new high-density developments near your home?
If that made you uncomfortable, that’s NIMBYism. So it’s quite natural to evoke that feeling type. You’re just a human being.
How else can we increase housing supply to help reduce homelessness?
NOT with rent control. Over time, capping the amount of rent that a LL can charge gives property owners no incentive to improve their property and neighborhoods end up dilapidated.
We need more training for tradesman and laborers. How about training the homeless for that? But then someone’s got to pay for that training.
Another measure that’s become ridiculous is that we’ve gotta relax these excessive safety requirements in homebuilding. Now, some safety is good.
But when every single home - entry-level and all needs to have fire-rated shingles and fired-rated doors and GFCI outlets and smoke detectors in every room and carbon monoxide detectors all over the place, sheesh! Well, that raises the cost of housing for everyone.
In some earthquake-prone areas, you’ve got to have seismic restraining straps on your water heater or you can’t even sell your home. Do you know how big of an earthquake it would take to damage your water heater like that?
And an excessive safety PROPONENT might say, yeah, but did you hear about that one family that died ten years ago that would have lived if they had carbon monoxide detectors?
Well, the counterargument to that is, yeah, but what about all the homeless people that were exposed to the elements and died in the cold because they couldn’t AFFORD the more basic housing, the prices of which have escalated for all this excessive safety stuff.
Are you saying a middle class person’s life is worth more than a poor, homeless person’s life? That’s the counterargument.
Again, some safety is good. But we’ve gone overboard in too many places - in housing & beyond.
Rising housing costs keep people homeless. A few weeks ago, I did that episode about escalating insurance costs.
I now own some properties that have extremely low mortgage rates and the insurance has gone up to the point where I pay more in monthly escrow expenses than I do principal & interest.
But, hey. I’m not homeless, and if you’re listening to this, neither are you.
So when it comes to helping the homeless in the short-term, that campaign called, “Give real change, not small change.” - that really resonates with me.
Don’t give 5 bucks to a vagrant on the corner. That just keeps them showing up at that corner, plus they’re going to spend your 5 bucks on a cheap bottle of Monarch vodka.
Instead, if you’re going to give, give to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
That’s what’s meant by “Give real change, not small change.” And that’s something actionable.
Coming up next, investing MANIAS. How wild it gets - paying more for a tulip flower than a SFH, shooting and killing someone over a Beanie Baby toy… and then I’m going to wrap it all up with what all this has to do with the cycle of your investor emotions.
Around here, we don’t run ads for the Swiffer. This week’s sponsors that support the show are people that I’ve personally done real estate business with myself and have benefited from.
Ridge Lending Group specializes in INVESTMENT property loans in nearly all 50 states. Start your prequalification at: RidgeLendingGroup.com
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I’m Keith Weinhold. You’re listening to Get Rich Education.
Welcome back to the GRE Podcast. I’m your host and my name is Keith Weinhold.
If you’ve got a friend or family member that you think would benefit from the knowledge drops here on the show, you can simply tell them to grab the free Get Rich Education mobile app.
That’s a convenient option for listening every week for both iOS and Android.
Today’s topics of homelessness and investing manias could very well bring a new audience here, so…
A little more about my backstory. I’m from PA but got my real estate comeuppance in Anchorage, Alaska of all places & grew out nationally & internationally from there. I had humble beginnings and wasn’t born anywhere near wealthy. I had to figure out how to build it myself.
But see, if I were born wealthy, I wouldn’t have learned how to build it, and then I wouldn’t be of much help to you. Likewise, if you’re building it yourself, you’ll be able to help others too.
BTW, I was born in the same PA town as Taylor Swift.
Though she & I don’t have much ELSE in common, I guess that she & I are both best-known for using a microphone.
Though I think that I’m about as likely to start using this microphone to sing into your ears like Taylor Swift does… as Taylor is to launch a real estate investing show.
For hundreds of years, the tulip has been one of the most-loved flowers in the Netherlands. It’s an enduring icon - as synonymous with the country as clogs, windmills, bicycles, and cheese. The tulip has a long and storied history - including the infamous shortage in the 1600s known as “tulip mania”. If you’re someone that has even a fleeting interest in investing, you should at least know what this is.
Tulips first appeared in Europe in the 1500s, arriving from the spice trading routes… and that lent this sense of exoticism to these imported flowers that looked like no other flower native to the continent.
It’s no surprise, then, that tulips became a luxury item destined for the gardens of the affluent.
According to The Library of Economics and Liberty, “it was deemed a proof of bad taste in any man of fortune to be without a collection of [tulips].” Hmmm.
Well, following the affluent, the merchant MIDDLE classes of Dutch society sought to emulate their wealthier neighbors and also demanded tulips.
So to start out with, it was purchased as a status symbol for the sole reason that it was expensive.
But at the same time, tulips were known to be notoriously fragile, and would die without careful cultivation. In the early 1600s, professional cultivators of tulips began to refine techniques to grow and produce the flowers locally in the Netherlands. They established a flourishing business sector that persists to this day.
By 1634, tulipmania swept through the Netherlands. The Library of Economics and Liberty writes, “The rage among the Dutch to possess tulip bulbs was so great that the ORDINARY INDUSTRY of the country was neglected, and the population, even to its lowest dregs, embarked in the tulip trade. Now, everyone’s in - rich to poor.
It’s a little hard to say for sure how much people paid for tulips.
But Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, wrote an extremely popular 1841 book - you’ve probably heard of this book - it’s called the Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds…
It does give us some points of reference such that the best of tulips cost upwards of $1 million in today’s money (but a lot of bulbs traded in the $50,000–$150,000 range).
By 1636, the demand for the tulip trade was so large that regular markets for their sale - like a little Dow Jones Industrial Average - got established on the Stock Exchange of Amsterdam, in Rotterdam, Haarlem, and other towns.
It was at that time that PROFESSIONAL TRADERS got in on the action - that’s all that some people do now - is trade tulips… and everybody appeared to be making money simply by possessing some of these rare bulbs.
Dutch speculators at the time spent incredible amounts of money on bulbs that only produced flowers for a Week—many companies were formed with the SOLE PURPOSE of trading tulips.
To everyone, at the time, it seemed that the price could only go up forever.
Pretty soon, demand for tulips EXCEEDED THE AVAILABLE SUPPLY of tulips by so much that people were into buying futures contracts, basically saying, I’ll pay you this much money TODAY for a tulip that you provide to me in 3 years.
By the last 1630s, these futures contracts were like a crack that appeared in the price runup. Demand began to wane when people were just buying a token for a future tulip that hadn’t even started growing yet.
People felt like they weren’t buying anything tangible anymore. That’s one factor that helped create an oversupply of tulips in the market and started depressing the prices. Supply caught up with - and exceeded - demand.
A large part of this rapid decline was driven by the fact that people had purchased bulbs on credit, hoping to repay their loans when they sold their bulbs for a profit. But once prices started to drop, holders were forced to sell their bulbs at any price and to declare bankruptcy in the process.
So people had begun buying tulips with leverage, using margined derivatives contracts to buy more than they could afford. But as quickly as the run-up began, confidence was dashed. By the end of 1637 is when prices began to fall and never recovered.
And the bubble burst.
Buyers announced that they could not pay the high price previously agreed upon for bulbs, and that made the market fall apart.
While it wasn’t actually a devastating occurrence for the entire nation’s economy, it did undermine social expectations. The event destroyed relationships built on trust and people’s willingness and ability to pay.
It’s been said that “the wealthiest merchants to the poorest chimney sweeps jumped into the tulip fray, buying bulbs at high prices and selling them for even more.”
Well, this is what can happen - today it happens with financialization and nothing real backing up purchases.
Tulipmania is a model for the general cycle of a financial bubble. That’s what happened with Dutch tulips.
Now, here in more recent times, similar cycles have been observed in the price of Beanie Babies, baseball cards - I got caught up in the baseball cards as a kid, owning more than 100,000 baseball cards at one time, also non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and shipping stocks.
So, when you hear someone likening an investment to a Dutch tulip bulb, now you’ll know what they’re talking about. It’s a symbol of excess, greed, and FOMO.
But there has been a good bit of more modern scholarship that tells you that tulip mania did indeed occur in the 1600s Netherlands. But that the tale has been exaggerated and it’s something that the upper classes of society were mostly involved in.
Now, that’s the Dutch tulip bubble. But for a more modern-day parable about an investing mania, there’s a new movie about the rise & fall of BEANIE BABIES that’s on Apple TV+.
These were little stuffed, plush toy animals that became more popular among adults than children.
The rise and fall of Beanie Babies—toys that people mistakenly thought would make them rich. The movie is called “The Beanie Bubble”.
It’s a MOSTLY TRUE account of the lovable toys’ boom and bust in the ’90s - comparable to the meme stock frenzies that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These $5 pellet-stuffed plush toys had astronomical appreciation estimates: Stripes the Tiger, released in 1996, was predicted by collectors to surge from $5 to $1,000 by 2008.
Forecasts like these were so enticing that one dad invested his kids’ college funds in Beanie Babies, thinking he’d resell them later for a hefty profit.
At the height of the frenzy, people were ruining relationships and committing felonies to get their hands on some of these sacks of fuzz.
How did that all happen?
Barely anyone cared about Beanie Babies when a company called Ty Inc. launched them in 1994. Stores only got lines out the door once the toy’s creator, now-billionaire Ty Warner, began pulling strings to juice demand. Here’s what Warner did. OK, so here’s how you induce people into a speculative bubble.
This, combined with Warner’s decision to start “retiring” certain animals in 1995, created artificial scarcity and a mass panic to stock up on Beanie Babies.
Soon, an aggressive resale market was born, replete with magazines and blogs and even trade shows for these Beanie Babies.
One woman’s guide to the secondary Beanie Babies market got so popular that she was selling 650,000 copies per month and, on many days, she did two or three radio interviews before her kids woke up for school. Ty Inc. later gave her an award for boosting sales.
At Peak Beanie mania, Ty Inc. and legions of speculators actually made hordes of money:
But most regular people didn’t sell their Beanie Babies at their peak price. And unfortunately for them, the hype subsided. Anticipating a drop in interest as more kids reached for Pokémon and Furbies, Ty Inc. announced it would stop making Beanie Babies at the end of 1999, and that poked a hole in collectors’ this-will-never-not-be-popular mentality and that sent demand plummeting.
There were no underlying fundamentals to Beanie Babies’ value. That’s all that I’ve got on that speculative craze.
So let’s review how this happened with both speculative crazes - Dutch tulips and Beanie Babies:
Now, much stock market investing is based off of buy low and sell high mentality. And stock investors can get caught up in similar crazes.
But because many stocks are tied to productive companies, the stock investor deals with smaller bubbles. A lot of times, the stock price can double, triple, or even 10X even though that company is not even profitable.
Buy low & sell high. Well, that sounds easy. But why is this harder to do than it sounds? It's called the cycle of investor emotions.
It starts here with… optimism. Because you HEAR about 10% stock returns or people making money with Dutch tulips or Beanie babies.
Let’s say that you aren't fully invested in the stock market. But some friends are, and they're achieving small gains.
Then comes excitement. The market is now up some more. Hey, what’s in motion tends to stay in motion.
More friends are telling you how much money they're "making".
You're soon experiencing a full-blown case of FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out.
The next stage is the Thrill you feel. So you jump into the stock market fully, rationalizing with something like, "Hey, I'm a momentum investor". Sounds pretty good, I guess.
Now that you’re in, it actually feels fantastic to you for a short time. You figure that some days, you're making more from stocks than your job. Winning activates dopamine.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that’s known as the “feel-good” hormone. It gives you a sense of pleasure. It also gives you the motivation to DO SOMETHING when you're feeling the pleasure.
So then, you add MORE shares… at an elevated price until you are FULLY invested. Now everyone is "making money", even your Uber driver.
The next stage is Euphoria - The peak! As you can see, this is the Point of Maximum Financial Risk.
OK, now, remember the simplicity of “buy low, sell high”?
Well then, savvy stock investors should now be SELLING here in my example - at the HEIGHT.
Now be “selling”? Leaving the party at its crescendo? Stopping the dopamine flow? Yes, exactly… and THAT’S why it’s so difficult.
What happens after the stock market peak? Overbought, with bloated price-to-earnings ratios, the market soon drops 10% from its recent high.
That’s what’s known as a correction - a drop of 10% or more. Now you feel a little ANXIETY. Your dopamine flow is stifled.
Next, you tell yourself, "I shouldn't be worried because I'm a long-term investor." It's down 15%. You're experiencing DENIAL & FEAR.
Now you're checking the Robinhood app almost hourly to see if it will recover.
Next, comes Desperation & Panic - Stocks are down 20%, that’s the definition of a bear market. You're devoting more mindshare to this each day than what's healthy.
Then there’s Capitulation - Down 30%, you finally surrender to a FEAR of FURTHER LOSS. You’re getting so sick of months of losing. You finally do it and cash out your stocks into a safe money market fund. Now you’re out.
And you rationalize and justify doing this because you tell yourself, "You know, at least when I wake up tomorrow, I'll know that I haven't lost money AGAIN. And THAT gives me certainty.”
The next stage in the Cycle of Investor Emotions is Despondency - You realize that what you've done is the polar opposite of successful investing. It’s complete. You’ve now bought high… and then sold low.
Next, stocks completely bottom out. But this is actually the Point of Maximum Financial Opportunity. Instead, you should be buying.
But you can’t. Because you’re experiencing the next investor stage - Depression. You're so full of contempt for the situation that the idea of actually buying at bargain-basement levels again is simply inconceivable. You've been burnt badly.
Then, there’s Hope & Relief - The market has begun ticking up after the crash. It soon should be clear that share prices are FAIRLY VALUED again.
But you don't buy the recovery story. You wait until enough price growth occurs that the confidence and Optimism stage is felt again before you’ll even consider getting back in and buying.
And the entire pattern repeats.
That's the “cycle of investor emotions”. There's an average of 3-and-a-half years between each stock bear market, BTW.
Of course, we've been kind to call this all “investing”. It's more like speculating.
But here's the real problem—most investors THINK they're better than average stock pickers, so they keep playing this game. This effect has a name. It’s called illusory superiority.
It's like how at least 70% of people think they're better than average drivers, despite the statistical impossibility.
Even professional money managers fall prey to this! Fewer than 10% of active U.S. stock funds manage to beat THEIR benchmarks.
The renowned British economist and value investor Benjamin Graham once said: "The investor's chief problem—even his worst enemy—is likely to be HIMSELF."
Well, as real estate investors, we largely SIDESTEP the cycle of investor emotions for two main reasons.
Returns are more stable.
Real estate, we sidestep this emotional roller coaster. Not only do we have stable prices, but appreciation is one of just 5 ways that you’re simultaneously paid.
RE also has monthly income. Dutch tulips or Beanie Babies don’t pay you a durable monthly income stream. They don’t provide an income stream at all.
And finally, RE is a REAL asset that fulfills a REAL human need.
I hope that you enjoyed this journey through speculative bubbles today and how they play into human psychology and investor emotions.
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My name’s Keith Weinhold and I’ll be back with you right here… next week. Don’t Quit Your Daydream!