Get Rich Education

Failed deals. Capital calls. Lost investor money. A dreadful and sobering conversation ensues for many in some commercial real estate sectors.

Residential (1-4 unit) and commercial (5+ unit) real estate fortunes are decoupling. 

Multifamily commercial loans are at the mercy of interest rate resets.

Residential is stable due to low supply and sustained demand.

Neal Bawa from MultifamilyU and I outline the multifamily problem. Values have plummeted 25%. 

The magnitude of the multifamily problem is about 1/80th of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

There are two reasons for the office apocalypse—both declining income and increasing expenses.

Only 3% of office buildings in downtown cores have a floor plan that can be converted to residential. Dreadful. 

There will be possible discounts in the hotel industry due to a lack of funding and loans.

Retail has surprising bright spots.

We discuss the future of rents through 2026.

Will multifamily problems create contagion into 1-4 unit residential? We discuss. 


Multifamily industry changes and challenges [00:00:46]

Discussion on the new difficulties faced in multifamily, such as failed deals, capital calls, and banking industry challenges.

Opportunity arising in the multifamily market [00:01:12]

Exploration of the current opportunity in the multifamily market due to a 25% reduction in prices from the peak, caused by distressed transactions and high interest costs.

Anatomy of the problem with floating rate debt [00:05:57]

Explanation of the issues faced by apartment building owners or syndicators when they have floating rate debt without rate caps, leading to potential deal blow-ups.

The rate cap issue [00:08:29]

Discussion on operators neglecting to buy a rate cap or buying a rate cap set too high, leading to negative cash flow.

Magnitude of the multifamily reset problem [00:09:47]

Comparison of the current multifamily reset problem to the global financial crisis, highlighting the challenges faced by operators.

Challenges in refinancing properties [00:12:10]

Explanation of the challenges faced by properties in refinancing due to decreased net operating income and increased mortgage costs, leading to potential loss of investor money.

The availability of multifamily loans [00:16:50]

Neil discusses the availability of commercial real estate loans, particularly in the multifamily space, and how it differs from other asset classes.

Lending challenges in the commercial real estate space [00:18:03]

Neil talks about the severe lending challenges faced by asset classes like office, retail, and self-storage, while expressing confidence in the stability of multifamily lending.

Contagion and the impact on the 1 to 4 unit space [00:20:56]

Neil discusses the limited level of contagion that could affect the 1 to 4 unit space due to problems in the multifamily market, highlighting the healthiness of the single-family market and institutional interest in it.

The Troubled Office Sector [00:25:35]

The speaker discusses how the office sector is facing a long-term demand crisis due to the decrease in office occupancy and the challenges of converting office buildings into residential units.

The Ten-Year Problem in the Office Sector [00:27:06]

The speaker explains that the office sector is about to face a ten-year problem, with defaults and declining values affecting the downtown core and other assets.

Bright Spots in Retail and Hotels [00:29:21]

The speaker highlights that retail occupancy is higher than multifamily occupancy, and despite the Amazon effect, retail is doing well. They also mention that hotels have seen strong recovery post-pandemic.

Hotels and Multifamily Discounts [00:32:55]

Discussion on the current cash flow opportunities in hotels and multifamily properties, potential discounts in the next 12 months.

Retail Reinvention and Rents in a Recession [00:33:57]

Exploration of how retail can sustain itself through experiential offerings, the resilience of rents in past recessions.

Artificial Recession and Rent Growth [00:35:33]

Analysis of the possibility of a recession and its impact on rents, the strength of the US economy, and the expected short duration of the recession.

The recession and its frequency [00:40:56]

Discussion on the frequency of recessions and how they are a normal part of the business cycle.

Learning opportunities at [00:41:31]

Information on the webinars offered by multifamily ewcom, covering various topics including single-family and multifamily projects.

Appreciation for Neil Bawa's insights [00:42:22]

The host expresses gratitude for Neil Bawa's informative contributions and welcomes him back on the show.

Resources mentioned:

Show Notes:

Neal Bawa: and

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Complete episode transcript:


Speaker 1: Today's guest is well known as the mad Scientist of multifamily. He's a data guru, self-described self-described process freak, and an outsourcing expert. He's a ten figure man with his billion dollar plus multifamily portfolio and his 900 plus investors. He's also the CEO at a multifamily education company because he's a really good teacher. It's been about a year and a half since you were first here. Welcome back to Neal Bawa.


Speaker 1 (00:00:40) - Well, thanks for having me back on. It's it's a delight to be back. Had a fantastic conversation with you last time. So I'm looking forward to this one. We did.


Speaker 2 (00:00:46) - The last one was so fun and spirited. But my gosh, since then, Neal, about a year and a half ago, so much has changed in the multifamily industry. We know that a lot of new difficulties have come into multifamily, like failed deals and capital calls and the need to raise bridge debt and banking industry challenges.


Speaker 2 (00:01:06) - So where would you like to start to help give us some perspective on all that?


Speaker 1 (00:01:12) - Well, think opportunity is finally here. You know, when when we talked a year and a half ago, I was I said things like, well, prices are too high. I said things like, I don't know where the margins are. I don't know how people make deals work. I don't know how they make them pencil out. Right. Um, in some ways, I'm still saying some of those things, but it's certainly not because of pricing anymore. So, you know, the single family market is a perfect sort of benchmark for the world that live in multifamily. As far as I know, in the last 12 months, single family prices have either been flat or up 1% or down 1%, depending upon which analyst you pick. But it's certainly been an extremely, extraordinarily stable market in terms of prices, where it's it's you know, the volume, of course, has cratered. It's down a ridiculous percentage.


Speaker 1 (00:02:00) - Whereas multifamily was an industry that has hurt more because of the portion of multifamily that was purchased or traded in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 time frame. Almost all of those trades happened using bridge loans which were floating, whereas almost all single family transactions were 30 year fixed loans. Right. So so two completely different things have happened. Normally the single family and multifamily market tend to be in lockstep. And that's certainly been the case for ten years. But over the last 18 months, single family and multifamily have separated from each other. And the big reason for that is almost all of the distressed transactions that you're talking about, that you're alluding to all of those cash calls. They are related to bridge loans, which had floating debt. And that floating debt has gone from, you know, 6% to ten, eight, you know, 11%, even for for some of these, these operators making it extremely difficult to make numbers work, making it very difficult to pencil. But on the good side, we've now seen compared to the peak, which was probably about 20, 21 months ago, we've seen a 25% reduction in prices, which is huge because we mean multifamily usually as an asset class, doesn't go down 25% simply because it its value is based on rents, you know, and rents rarely go down.


Speaker 1 (00:03:22) - They hardly went down for 6 or 7 months in 2008, so we didn't see much of a decline there in 2008, simply because, you know, the, the, the income was strong, but this time, the much, much higher cost of interest means that our overall post mortgage income is down. And that's why prices are down 25%. So both opportunity and distress in the multifamily space.


Speaker 2 (00:03:46) - That's such a staggering number. So let's frame that. Multifamily prices down 25% since their peak or year over year. And then just to be clear, we're talking about five plus unit residential apartment buildings with that figure.


Speaker 1 (00:04:01) - Yes, I'm glad you asked the question that way because I do need to qualify a few things. So so first thing is down from peak and depending upon different markets, the peak was either the last quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. And in a couple of markets, even the second quarter of 2022. So it's I'm not saying year over year, it's basically they're down 25% in the last 18 or 20 months.


Speaker 1 (00:04:25) - Um, so the second piece is that the down 25% is predominantly, let's call it hotter markets in the United States. So if we're talking about a steady Midwest market like Kansas City or Indianapolis, then you're probably seeing a decline of half that amount. So maybe 12.5, 13, 14%, where if you're talking about a very fast growing market, you know, all the Texan markets, the Floridian markets, then you might be seeing declines of that 25% level, since a lot of the transactions that did happen in the last two years were in the faster growing markets, that 25% number is still reasonable. And some people listening to this show might say, no, I don't think 25% is right. It's more like 20, it's more like 18. So I'll. Be at that by saying it's a pretty wide range. We're seeing as little as 18% in some of these fast growing markets, you know, hot markets. And we're also seeing markets like Phoenix, where we're seeing 27, 28% declines in price.


Speaker 1 (00:05:23) - Also, the the range is dependent on the number of units. We are seeing smaller declines if you've got less than 100 units. Right. So smaller properties, we're seeing a smaller decline maybe 15%. And then when we are seeing properties that are 300 units or more, just the whoppers, we're seeing 30% declines in those assets. So so a lot of it is really dependent upon, you know, because the bigger the size, the harder it is to finance it these days, the less the banks want to take a risk on it. So the bigger the property, the harder, harder it's hit at this point of time.


Speaker 2 (00:05:57) - The bigger the property, the less liquidity. So maybe, Neil, to help the listener get a full understanding, maybe you can take us through the anatomy of where a common problem is with what happens to an apartment building owner or syndicator when they got this floating rate debt and they didn't get a rate cap and rates spiked? What exactly happens that makes these deals blow up?


Speaker 1 (00:06:24) - Right? First, want to, you know, set the size of the of the problem.


Speaker 1 (00:06:28) - Right. So when you compare it to 2008, it's not comparable in 2008, the total size of distress or you know, potential distress was 8000 billion or $8 trillion. So it was it was a it was an absolutely staggering event. Luckily, not a lot of that distress actually happened. So that was good. But the the total size of distress was in that $8 trillion or $8000 billion range, the total size of distress in the multifamily market appears to be in the $100 billion range, so about 1/80 of the size of the distress in 2008. So keep that in mind. Also, as a percentage of the overall multifamily industry, there's about 100,000 multifamily properties in the United States that are on the bigger size. Let's call them more than 50 units. There's 20 million apartment units total. 100,000 are the bigger properties. Of those 100,000, the distressed portion of the portfolios is about, from what I can tell, about 3000 properties. Maybe it could be as much as 4000, but 3000 is a very common number.


Speaker 1 (00:07:30) - So about 3% of the properties are distressed. And why are they distressed? Multifamily has been doing incredibly well. Rent growth has been phenomenal, especially in 2021 where it was 15%. Just so you know, they the 50 year average is about 2% rent growth. So 15% is you know, champagne time. So so we've certainly had positive trends. And we continue to see positive trends. You know there's there's less and less people can afford a mortgage. So there's basically a you know brand new renters being created every day because of mortgage rates being this high. But the, the the downside was that a portion of those 100,000 properties were purchased in late 2020, 2021 and then, you know, 2022, and they were purchased using floating debt. And the the so we're talking about those 3000 properties. Those 3000 properties either didn't have a rate cap. So when when you you're purchasing using, you know, bridge debt or floating debt, you want to buy a rate cap. So if rates do go up they hit that cap.


Speaker 1 (00:08:29) - And then anything above that cap is something that the rate, you know, cap selling company reimburses to you. So that way you're not affected by but by going above that, well, some of these operators neglected to buy a rate cap, which was a really bad thing to do. But then there were others that other operators that bought a rate cap, but their rate cap was set too high. So, you know, they basically didn't think that rates would go up. So they did put a rate cap in. But instead of buying a rate cap at 6% or 7%, they may be bought a rate cap at 8 or 9. They were basically looking for the worst case scenario, and so they bought the cheapest rate cap that they could find. And now, you know, rates have gone up and they've already hit that rate cap. Maybe it's eight and a half or 9% and it had eight and a half or 9%. That mortgage is still too high for that property to cash flow. So now the property has negative cash flow.


Speaker 1 (00:09:18) - So there's I personally know of a few dozen properties where the negative cash flow is between 20,000 and $200,000 a month. And that negative cash flow means that the syndicators, the the general partners are basically putting that money in themselves, or they're taking short term loans and they are now looking for a solution there and their solutions are limited. I can give you a list of those, but their solutions are limited because the property is is negative cash flow and nobody wants to touch a property that's negative cash flow.


Speaker 2 (00:09:47) - Did we say that he's a data driven guy or what? That was some great perspective that the magnitude here of the multifamily reset problem has been about 1/80 of what the problem was in real estate during the global financial crisis. That was a great way to put things in perspective. Yeah, Neal, you know, it's such an interesting mindset that an operator would have the awareness to buy a rate cap with their floating rate debt, but yet not have the cap be low enough in order to keep them out of trouble.


Speaker 2 (00:10:20) - That's really unusual to me. Do you have any idea what percent of operators have bought a rate cap with their floating rate debt?


Speaker 1 (00:10:30) - I think a majority of them have. So I'd say more than 50% of the properties that were purchased during this time did have caps, but a lot of the caps were set high. So that that was a very common thing, where the caps were set to 8% or higher, as opposed to them being set at, you know, 6 or 6.5%. So it's more of a high cap issue rather than a no cap issue. And I think the bigger the secondary challenges, let's say let's say they had a good rate cap, right? So I bought it. Let's say you bought a property in the, um, let's call it the final quarter of 2020. And you bought a two year rate cap. And the rate cap was good. It was 6.5%. Yeah. Good for you. Right. But that rate cap was a two year rate cap. So now it expired basically last year.


Speaker 1 (00:11:14) - And so since last year you're now up at 10 or 11%. And, you know, a year's gone by. Your property is bleeding. Maybe it was doing well, but now that it's been bleeding for a year and you've been paying all of that bleed out of your operating expenses, now you're in trouble. And maybe you bought it. Three rate cap. Well, if you bought the property in the final quarter of 2020, then in about a month or two months from now, we're in the final quarter of 2023. Well, that rate cap is going to be gone. And then maybe in the next three, 4 or 5, six, seven months, all of your operating budget, all of your operating, you know, fund is going to be, you know, gone because you have this much higher mortgage. So what's happening is that this is one of those situations where there isn't a trigger on any one particular day, and a huge number of properties come to market. There were a lot of properties purchased in the final quarter of 2020, all four quarters of 2021 and the first three quarters of 2022.


Speaker 1 (00:12:10) - Right. So you're looking at a total of eight quarters. So each quarter, a certain percentage of those properties get to the point where either their rate cap is gone. Right. So it's finished because you bought a one year or two year rate cap, or they're they're at the point where even without the rate cap, their loan is expiring. So a lot of these bridge loans were two year loans and three year loans. And so the vast majority of the challenges that the multifamily industry is going to face are going to be in 2024, because that's when a vast majority of either rate caps or mortgages expire. And because because the net operating income of these properties has gone down and the and the mortgage cost has gone up, most of these properties cannot be refinanced. So I'd say out of the 3000 properties, you could probably refinance using some mechanism, a thousand of them, maybe a third of them. And that could be, you know, do a cash call, get, you know, money from your investors.


Speaker 1 (00:13:07) - Or you could do what is known as a pref lending, where you basically take money from an outside party and that outside that extra money helps you refinance into into perm debt. So those are your options. And the third option, which is likely to be most common, is that you go out and sell your property. But from what I'm seeing, the vast majority of these properties that don't get refinanced. So out of 3000, the 2000 that don't get refinanced are likely to come to market, and the vast majority of them will end up losing all of their investor money or a majority of their investor money. And so you, you know, if it's a $100 billion problem, that's, you know, we're talking about 30 to $40 billion of investor money, and a majority of that 30 to $40 billion could be lost.


Speaker 2 (00:13:48) - Yeah, that is troubling and really concerning as far as those LPs, those limited partners, those investors in someone else's syndication, hopefully that syndicator, that operator is communicating with their investors.


Speaker 2 (00:14:03) - But for investors, is there anything they can do to identify cracks in the arm or where they might be losing their deal, where they might be losing their money, where they might be throwing good money after bad if a capital call is requested?


Speaker 1 (00:14:18) - I think it's a very difficult thing to do for a limited partner because you have, you know, you have more, you have much more exposure to the deal than you would when you invest in the stock market, where you know, there's almost no exposure unless it's a public company. Um, but and these are all private syndications. But I think that a lot of investors simply don't know how to read the, the budgets versus actuals. They don't necessarily know how to read the Performa. So it's it's challenging. So if you're somebody that is. Comfortable doing that. I suggest you dive in and basically ask a lot of the questions of the syndicators. I have one such property, so, you know, I was lucky in that during that time a lot of my colleagues had I have people who I know colleagues that bought 10 to 12 properties during that time frame.


Speaker 1 (00:15:02) - It was very normal. I bought one and a half. So one of those properties was my own property, exited one of my partners. So I call it a half a property because it was already mine. Um, and then I bought purchased one other property in a military metro. So I was able to get it for a lower price because it was a military metro. And usually the prices are lower for, for for military towns and, and that property, you know, I'm having the same challenges that I've described. So, you know, the the rate cap issues and the fact that basically prices have gone down by 25%. And I'm dealing with it by constantly communicating with my investors, giving them, you know, options. You know, here's, you know, how when, when we were when we were all selling these these shares to investors, we gave them a, um, a sensitivity analysis showing them, you know, worst case scenario, best case scenario, you know, in a middle case scenario.


Speaker 1 (00:15:55) - And so now we're basically doing a sensitivity analysis based on what we are seeing in the marketplace today. And and giving them feedback on what our options are and think a lot of it comes down from the the general partners communicating with the limited partners. And if the your general partner is not very communicative, is not giving you information, ask for one on one meetings, ask for you know, more information in their webinar or in their updates. I think this is a time for limited partners to be vocal.


Speaker 2 (00:16:25) - You've learned about the problem in the larger apartment space. You've learned about how operators and apartment syndicators are dealing with the problem. And then, Neil, where do you think that we're going next and think maybe we should ask and look at it through the lens of where do you think we're going next with the availability of multifamily loans, could this help the source of capital dry up?


Speaker 1 (00:16:50) - And so I think the answer is we are going to a very dark place with availability of commercial real, you know, loans.


Speaker 1 (00:16:57) - Multifamily is in a privileged asset class. So, you know, the the term commercial real estate is sometimes meant to include multifamily, sometimes not. So I'll assume that multifamily is part of commercial real estate, but there are many other asset classes. So there's office which is the next biggest asset class. There's retail hotels, there's self-storage, you know, and and a few others like mixed use. And of those commercial real estate asset class, there's only one that's privileged and that's multifamily because there are not one, not two, but three lenders who are government or quasi government organizations whose only job it is to keep lending in the multifamily space liquid, and also the single family space liquid. And they are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and hard. Right. So Housing and Development Authority. So these three lenders right now are extremely, extremely active. And what has happened is that in in good times, call it 20 early 2022. You had life companies. You had all these private, you know, bridge capital, you had all kinds of capital that was lending to the multifamily space.


Speaker 1 (00:18:03) - Now some of that capital has backed off. There's still a huge percentage, I'd say probably 40, 50% of all loans that are being done today are these kinds of private, you know, groups. But think the government or quasi government groups are much more active today and their lending. So I don't think multifamily lending dries up at all. I don't think that that's the case. I think it dries up for the non privileged asset classes, hotel, retail, self-storage, office. These are the classes that are likely to see, you know, near lending dry up especially because on a fundamentals basis there's absolutely nothing wrong with multifamily. In fact as I mentioned I think we're a lot better off than 2019 to 2023 given that home prices have gone up 40%, incomes are only gone up 15%. So there's a very large number of Americans that simply cannot qualify for a single family home anymore. And so those people have to go to apartments. So the the fundamentals are really good for apartments. That is not true of office.


Speaker 1 (00:19:02) - So office is an asset class that is experiencing the worst fundamentals it has seen in its entire history. And so I do think that there's going to be very severe lending challenges in the commercial real estate space. But I haven't really seen that multifamily, and I don't anticipate seeing it in the future as well.


Speaker 2 (00:19:20) - Well, I don't know if any of that could have as much fun as last time. There were rather gloomy subjects to discuss here with Neal and come back. Can this problem in the multifamily space create contagion for the 1 to 4 unit space? And like with what Neil touched on, what about other commercial sectors like office and retail? How troubled are they when we come back? This is get recession. I'm your host, Keith Weinhold. 


Speaker 2 (00:20:14) - Welcome back to Get Rich Education. We're talking with the mad scientist of multifamily, a big brained visionary. He's also an excellent teacher. I'm sure you can tell as you're listening to him here. And if you're listening in the audio only Bawa is spelled b a w a new. Here on this show, we talk an awful lot about investing in the 1 to 4 unit space and the advantage of the 30 year fixed that long term fixed interest rate debt. Do you see any areas for contagion with problems in the multifamily five plus unit space bleeding over into the 1 to 4 unit space?


Speaker 1 (00:20:56) - Yes, but to a limited level, I think that the the 1 to 4 unit space is the healthiest that I've seen in a very long time.


Speaker 1 (00:21:05) - And there's reasons for that. One of the biggest reasons is multifamily, which is the most well sought after asset class for institutional investors who don't typically don't usually like the 1 to 4 unit space. There's a few companies in that space, let's call them half a dozen, but there's several thousand companies that invest in the multifamily space. Some of them are right now looking at single family as a, you know, as a, you know, safe haven to park some of their money. Right? So there's, you know, more institutional level interest in the single family space because of its access to those, you know, those those 30 year fixed loans. So there's and the fact that single family prices basically haven't declined. So I think that there's there's a lot of interest in the single family space. Um, keep in mind that millennials are reaching their peak years of household formation. So they started in 2019. So until 2025. So from 19 to 2025, those are the peak years of household formation for millennials.


Speaker 1 (00:22:01) - And that's also putting a cushion under the single family space there. Contagion is some form of contagion is inevitable. I think that the office market is going to see spectacular levels of contagion, similar to 2008. I think that the other associated markets, like hotel and retail, are going to see some level of contagion, though I certainly don't expect it to be as bad as office. And then multifamily is going to see some contagion, as we mentioned, because of these 2 or 3000 properties that have to be basically sold into the marketplace and prices are down, which always creates contagion. Why? Because think about it. You're a mid-level bank. So a mid-level bank in the US is $250 billion or less in assets. Well, a lot of these assets are these banks are the ones that loaned out money to multifamily and retail and hotel and in office, and now are being forced by the Federal Reserve through a process known as mark to market. They're being forced to write down the value of these assets because these assets, you know, there's still you know, there's still active loans, but maybe they they loan $20 million.


Speaker 1 (00:23:00) - And now basically they're $20 million is only worth 18 or 16 or 15. And so now the fed is saying, hey, you know, you got to mark these assets down in value. And as they mark them down to value, that can lead to the banks becoming or mid-sized banks becoming less stable. I don't think this affects any of the large banks in the US, but the midsize ones are affected. And some of those mid-sized banks do lend to the single family space, but not a lot. I find that the single family space, when I look at their source of lending, not a lot of those mid-sized banks are involved. There's a little bit they do some brokerage work, but then they're selling those loans back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a bunch of other, you know, governmental type organizations. So I don't see a sense of contagion in the single family space. I do see potentials of some price declines because until about two months ago, mortgages were predominantly in the sixes. They, you know, they spiked up once to the sevens and then they pulled back into the sixes.


Speaker 1 (00:23:56) - Now they've gone into the sevens and they may stay in the sevens for a substantial amount of time. When that happens, that can affect the single family market as well, simply because, you know, you can get to the point where supply is higher than, than demand. So I wouldn't be surprised if there's a pullback in single family prices. Let's call it 5%. But I'm not predicting the kind of challenges where the office market think we could see 40% declines in prices from peak, whereas single family you might see 5%. I think that's still an incredible outcome for the single family market compared, you know, just looking at the outrageous increases in prices since Covid don't I don't think that's a even a pullback. I would just say that's a balancing out.


Speaker 2 (00:24:44) - Who know the residential housing market. Really, it's something that's non-discretionary on a human need basis. Everyone needs to live somewhere and they will either own rent or be homeless. And you talked about some of those affordability challenges before. The lower the homeownership rate gets, the more renters you have.


Speaker 2 (00:25:05) - So long term, we will have some demand baseline for both multifamily and properties in the 1 to 4 unit space, of course, but the same thing cannot be said about some of these other commercial sectors, especially the troubled office sector space, where you have more and more abandoned buildings downtown. And a lot of these office buildings cannot be easily converted from offices to residential units. So why don't you talk to us about some of those other troubled commercial sectors, starting with office.


Speaker 1 (00:25:35) - Office is in a apocalypse. I think that this is far, far worse than 2008 and far, far worse than than 2001, because 2008 and 2001, they were liquidity crisis. They were short term, you know, demand crisis. This is a long term demand crisis because, you know, I read very important documents from companies that are in the key swiping business. You know, when you enter an office in a downtown core, you're swiping your card. And so those companies actually have phenomenal day by day data of how many people are actually going into offices today.


Speaker 1 (00:26:11) - It's been more than a year since companies started calling back, you know, people to the office and think that by now every company, whether you know, they're they're forcing five days back to the office or four days or three days or two days, everyone's sort of, you know, put their line in the sand. And we're at the point where, you know, this, this is what offices look like going forward. And if I'm right and this is what it looks like going forward, it is simply catastrophic for the office market in the United States, because we're still seeing key swipes at 50 to 60% of the people that used to swipe in before Covid. And that number is staggeringly, staggeringly low. And if this is what it settles at, you know, some companies are two days, some three, some four. I think we're in for a world of pain for the office market. You also, you know, there's a lot of people that in these podcasts basically will often say something like, no, the office stuff will get converted into residential.


Speaker 1 (00:27:06) - And I have news for you, only 3% of office buildings in office in downtown course have the floor plate, the floor plate necessary for residential conversion. Why? Because residential conversion by law requires that every every single room have a window. So what is happening is most of the time you basically can only convert the buildings on the edge, the, the square footage on the edge of a building, but that's central core but then becomes worthless. And if you don't have a use for it, then you still have to buy that office building to convert and you have to buy it at a reasonable price. The math doesn't work. I mean, you'd you'd need to see office values down 80% for, for, you know, a somebody who's converting to multifamily to say, fine, I'll just leave the 60% in the middle empty and I'll just convert the size. So 80% declines in value are needed for that kind of conversion to happen. So we are about to see a ten year problem in the office sector.


Speaker 1 (00:28:03) - And it's also dragging down all of the other assets in the downtown core. So we are seeing we just saw a $727 million default on two hotels in San Francisco. We saw a $558 million mall default. Also in San Francisco, we're seeing defaults across the board in New York, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, sort of heavy markets where this these challenges are happening. We're seeing a lot of these and it's happening in a very, very slow way. Keith. And the reason for that is the office market, their average lease is, you know, five years long. Some leases are ten years long, and a lot of these companies haven't gone out of business. So if the company is in the lease, they're continuing to pay even though the office is empty. But the moment that lease comes up for renewal, either the company doesn't renew it or they renew maybe half the space. Right. And so we we already know that this is an incredible debacle, but it doesn't seem like it at any given point of time because it's happening in a very slow motion way.


Speaker 2 (00:29:02) - Well, that's such a good point about how there will be this slow drain, this slow leak when these office leases expire over time. What about other areas of the commercial space, any other particularly troubled areas or bright spots that you see going forward?


Speaker 1 (00:29:21) - Ironically bright spots. And this is where I've been proven wrong in the past. You know, I've often maybe 4 or 5 years ago talked about the retail apocalypse, right, where Amazon would basically, you know, lead the retail market to become illiquid. Well, none of those things have happened because of two reasons. One is the retail apocalypse with people like me, you know, being on on 200 podcasts, talking about it, a lot of development of retail that was scheduled to happen simply didn't happen. So the very.


Speaker 2 (00:29:48) - Late podcast, people lost confidence. No. They were invested in retail.


Speaker 1 (00:29:52) - Exactly right. So so, you know, I fulfilled that prophecy. Think. But bottom line is that there's there's been very responsible levels of new construction in retail.


Speaker 1 (00:30:02) - So, you know, they haven't built a lot. Very few models have been built in the United States in the last few years. And even some of the malls that have been repurposed, some of their square footage is being used up for, for multifamily. And so that was one. The second reason is that retail is being very careful with pricing. So, you know, over, over the last 5 or 6 years, the retail market has adjusted to new forms of pricing, where, you know, you go into a mall and you see a gym where before the pricing of that mall never really allowed for a gym to be in a mall. It just gyms, you know, they want, you know, a lower price per square foot. And so malls have adjusted, strip malls have adjusted. And so today we have a surprising event where retail occupancy in the United States is higher than multifamily. This is the first time ever that multifamily is about a little under 95%. Now it's 94% occupied.


Speaker 1 (00:30:52) - Retail is 96 or 97% occupied, which never happens, right? Normal. Normally retail is right around 90%, 88%, something like that. But the high level of occupancy shows that that retail is doing well. Now, having said that. So so on the occupancy side, they're doing really well. There's there's really no pullback in terms of demand. But on the other side, because of the fact that interest rates are so high, retail cap rates are very high, which means prices are low. So prices are very reasonable there for retail. And so I think that real opportunity that I'm seeing I wouldn't invest in office at this point, Keith, because you don't know the end of this process. You don't know how long it takes. I think it takes a decade. So I might get 50% off in office and I don't want it. I just don't want to touch that asset class. It's tainted. Now, if I get 40% off in retail, I think I'm interested because fundamentally I don't see a demand issue if this is the highest occupancy that retail has seen ever.


Speaker 1 (00:31:53) - And at the same time, I'm getting a 40 or 50% discount simply because of lack of lending. Well, that is to me a classic opportunity to look at because once again, fundamentally, nothing is wrong with demand. And I realize that the Amazon effect is extremely real. But what I'm seeing is that that people want that experience of shopping. And so even amongst the young people, sure, each year Amazon, you know, goes up a little bit. But now Amazon's growth is no longer a hockey puck. Amazon's growth is sort of like this. You know they're growing by 10%, 15% a year, which is still great for Amazon. But I think when you when you project that across a 300 million person market that the US is retail no longer has to fear for an apocalypse. So this is actually a pretty good time to take advantage of the 40% discounts that I think will happen in 2024 for retail. Same thing. Everything I just said also applies to hotels. Hotels came out of the pandemic very strong, with huge increases in ADR or average daily rates and huge, huge increases in occupancy.


Speaker 1 (00:32:55) - So hotels right now are a very robust cash flowing business. If you've got good hotels and good locations, you're making a lot of money. They're cash flowing like crazy because their orders have gone up and their occupancy has gone up. So they've taken two positive hits. But once again, I expect there to be discounts simply because of a lack of funding, a lack of loans. And you can you might we might easily see 30%, maybe not 40, but 30% discounts in hotels in the next 12 months. So think both of those are really good opportunities, along with multifamily discounts at 25%. So this is an opportunity. This is a case of distress creating unusual levels of opportunity. I don't think we're quite there yet, Keith. We're beginning to see some distress in multifamily. We're certainly seeing distress in office. We haven't heard anything about the distress in retail or hotels yet. That's because a lot of their their loans don't don't trigger until 2024. Right. So that's we'll see what happens next year when these loans start to trigger and you can't really refinance them.


Speaker 2 (00:33:57) - I completely believe that inflation has thoroughly soaked in to hotels. You talk about their ADR, their average daily rate. I've recently stayed at hotels in Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Toledo and Boston, so I've gotten a pretty good sample size and sure feel the hit there. And interestingly, the last time I shopped at a mall, it was the biggest mall in this city, and I noticed a bowling alley that I had not noticed there before. And I went bowling and noticed an ice skating rink was there. So I just wonder how much retail can reinvent itself if it tilts enough into the experiential part, rather than just buying items off a shelf at a store, maybe that can help sustain that retail sector, to your point. Well, Neil, maybe we should wrap up really on what supports an awful lot of values in multifamily, and that is rents and the direction of rents, especially if we have almost hate to say this. R-word, a different R-word, a recession, because it seems like this thing has been around the corner forever.


Speaker 2 (00:35:03) - I know historically that rents are quite resilient in a recession, something that you touched on earlier back even during the 2008 global financial crisis, when I was a landlord, I owned fourplex buildings. Then I noticed that I had a pretty good steady stream of renters. My rents didn't really go up much, but they were really resilient. They didn't go down, and that's because people couldn't get a loan. So that was an affordability problem. Then we have another affordability problem now. But if we do tilt into recession, what do you think that is going to do to rents?


Speaker 1 (00:35:33) - I think we are going to see a decline in rents if a recession happens. Now, that's a question. By the way, six months ago, if you told me, you know, a recession wasn't going to happen, I'd say, no, that's not possible. We are going to go into a recession. However, I must admit that the US economy has truly, truly, truly outperformed beyond anyone else, beyond anyone's imagination.


Speaker 1 (00:35:54) - So today, the chances of a recession are certainly not 100%. Might be 50%. But let's assume that it happens and a recession happens. I think what is very, very likely is that this recession will be very short. So once again, if you're not paying attention to to to what's happening in the marketplace, this is a time that, you know, I was born in India and this is my adopted country. I feel very proud of the US economy today. If I compare the US economy to the Canadian, the eurozone, the Germans, the Japanese, we are outperforming every one of those economies. We're at the point where we're outperforming China, which almost never happens, by the way. And so we have an extraordinarily resilient and strong economy at this point. So if it falls into a recession just because the fed keeps hitting it over the head with this interest rate hammer, I think that recession will be fairly short, because as soon as the economy does go into a recession, the fed usually figures that out within a few months.


Speaker 1 (00:36:47) - Then they can stop hitting us with a hammer. I'm not saying that they'll just cut interest rates back to zero, but they certainly will provide some cushion. Maybe they cut rates by one one time, two times, just to make the market breathe a little bit easier. Because this is an artificial recession, there is no shortage of demand in the US economy. There's an incredible number of open jobs. There were as many as 11 million jobs now. Now there's about 9 million open. So there's there's a and wage growth has been so strong. Right. Because we have so many people retiring that at this point, for the first time since the early 60s, I believe, or late 60s, we actually have pricing power. So anyone who wants to be employed can ask for more money and get it. And so wage growth has been about four, 4.5%, which is really good for rents, by the way. It's phenomenal news because we needed wage growth for future rent growth. So we have a artificial recession if it does happen.


Speaker 1 (00:37:38) - And that artificial recession is being caused by the fed because they want that wage growth to come closer to 2% from the 4% that it's at, because everything else has come down. Right. So commodities have come down with the exception of oil, and so has, you know, so have the supply chain issues are gone, rents are down. So in the US the last 12 months, rents were flat and in some markets they might be down 1% or 2%. Austin I think was the only market that was down a lot. But most other markets were down very, very small amounts. So rents have been flat, which is, I think, really credible because if you look at rents over the last two years, they're up 16%. So in 2022 they were up 16%. In 2023 they were up basically zero. So if you average that out now you're looking at 8% rent growth, which is phenomenal compared to the long term average of 2.5%. So we've been outperforming on rent and we needed to take a breather in the last 12 months have been that breather.


Speaker 1 (00:38:32) - Now, if the recession happens, I do expect rents to go down, but not normally they don't. So in a in a in a six month, three month or six month average recession, you know, the average US recession is two quarters. So six months normally you don't get rent drops. You might get, you know, the rents plateau out. Or maybe their rent growth drops from 3% to 1%. That's that's much more common this time. We might see rent growth in a short recession drop by maybe 1% or 2%. And the biggest reason for that is supply. The largest supply of apartments in the history of the country is delivering, starting basically the beginning of 2023 until the end of 2024. So these two years, 2023 and 2024 are massive apartment supply years. And obviously, as you supply 500,000 apartments into an economy that overall is not outperforming, is is doing okay, but and it starts to go into a recession, then you're going to see some concessions. And that concession drives down the price of multifamily, which then drives down the price of single family rentals.


Speaker 1 (00:39:36) - So we could see a decline in rents. I'd say probably 1% to 2% is is possible, but that decline is likely to be short. So I think let's assume that the recession starts in the final quarter of 2023, which might not happen. I think it's more of a Q1 and Q2 of next year. If the recession does happen, those are the two most likely quarters. As soon as the economy rebounds and becomes positive, we should see very strong and stable rent growth. Well, I would say stable rent growth for the rest of 2024 by 2025, a lot of that incoming supply is done. So now supply supply and demand are in balance. So in 2025 I expect strong rent growth as much as 4 or 5%. And in 2026 I expect very, very strong rent growth. We might we might see 6% rent growth in 2026. So 2024 is that year where rent growth is a little bit shaky because of this. Word, the recession word. And, you know, whether it happens or not is we don't know.


Speaker 1 (00:40:37) - And when it happens, we don't know how long it lasts. But I think because it's an artificially induced recession, it's likely to be the vanilla US six month recession, which basically drives wages closer to that 2% target for the fed, and gives the fed the room to start easing up on interest rates.


Speaker 2 (00:40:56) - Recessions are not good. Perhaps the one positive about a recession is that then we can all stop talking about and speculating upon when does eventually happen, because on average, it does happen every five years. It's just a normal part of the business cycle. Well, Neal, this has been very informative around the multifamily world and beyond, including projections for the future. You've always got such great insight in stats on the pulse of the market. If someone wants to learn more about you and your resources, what's the best way for them to do that?


Speaker 1 (00:41:31) - Come join us at multifamily. That's multifamily, followed by the letter we get about 20,000 registrations in our webinars. We do about a dozen webinars each year.


Speaker 1 (00:41:41) - We do them on single family multifamily. We do them on other asset classes like office. We just did one on on on the office apocalypse and people like that because there's no education fee, there's no subscription, there's no upsell. People come join us. They learn a lot. And occasionally during one of these webinars, if you have a multifamily project that we are doing, we mention it for about 30s. And if that sounds like it's interesting, you can, you know, jump in and you know and participate. But otherwise, you know, there's a lot of tens of thousands of people that have never participated with us in any of our projects that come and join us at this ecosystem of learning called multifamily


Speaker 2 (00:42:22) - Neal Bawa, Gro Capital and multifamily It's been informative, just like it was the last time you were here. It's been great having you back on the show.


Speaker 1 (00:42:32) - Thanks for having me on, Keith.



Direct download: GREepisode473_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Before our PA Governor-appointed public official guest joins us, I discuss how autonomous cars expect to change real estate.

Richard Vague, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Banking and Securities from 2020-2023 joins us. We’re in the state capital of Harrisburg, PA.

We discuss America’s beginnings in real estate and banking from around 1800.

He tells us about the health of banks in the wake of recent failures due to higher interest rates.

I ask Richard about full reserve banks vs. fractional lending banks.

Great Britain prohibited colonists from owning land west of the Appalachians. 

The basis of early land wealth were crops grown on the land—wheat, corn, tobacco, indigo, and rice.

Mortgages around 1800 were often 50% LTV and 6% interest rates.

Here in the 2020s, Richard believes that private sector debt is a larger problem than public debt.

Wherever debt growth is most rapid are where the economic cracks exist.

Inflation benefits the Top 10% of the economic strata.

Private debt becomes unsustainable around 225% of GDP. In the US, it’s currently 160%.

You become insolvent when you cannot make interest-only payments. That’s true for you as an individual, or a nation.

If these topics interest you, check out Richard’s new book, “The Paradox of Debt” at


America's beginnings with banking, real estate, and debt [00:00:01]

Discussion on the historical influence of Pennsylvania banking on the formation of US banking, including figures like Robert Morris and Alexander Hamilton.

The impact of autonomous vehicles on real estate [00:02:54]

Exploration of the potential effects of autonomous vehicles on real estate, including reduced need for parking and changes in commuting patterns.

The role of the Secretary of Banking and Securities in Pennsylvania [00:09:20]

Insight into the responsibilities of the Secretary of Banking and Securities in Pennsylvania, including oversight of banks and consumer protections.

The fractional reserve lending system [00:10:44]

Explanation of how banks operate through fractional reserve lending and the possibility of full reserve banks.

The origins of the US banking system and the role of Thomas Willing [00:12:06]

Discussion on the founding of the US banking system and the involvement of Thomas Willing, the first banker in the United States.

The land crisis of 1796-1797 and its impact on Robert Morris [00:14:14]

Exploration of the financial crisis caused by land speculation and how it led to Robert Morris, a prominent figure in credit ratings, ending up in debtor's prison.

The formation of the nation and its intersection with banking [00:21:50]

Discussion on the short-term loans and interest rates during the formation of the United States and the role of debt in the westward expansion.

Private sector debt and its growth [00:25:30]

Exploration of the significant increase in private sector debt since World War II and the focus on the potential issues associated with it.

Debt growth as an indicator of economic crises [00:28:23]

Insight into how rapid debt growth, particularly in the private sector, can serve as a predictor of economic crises and the shortcomings of economic models that exclude debt as a factor.

The paradox of debt [00:31:47]

Debt creates wealth, using leverage and appreciation to generate wealth.

The end game of private debt [00:33:29]

When the requirement to service debt slows the economy down to near zero.

Inflation profiting with real estate [00:37:42]

Real estate is not just an inflation hedging vehicle, but an inflation profiting vehicle due to fixed interest rate debt and rising rents.

Resources mentioned:

Show Notes:

Richard Vague’s new book:

For access to properties or free help with a

GRE’s Investment Coach, start here:

Get mortgage loans for investment property: or call 855-74-RIDGE 

or e-mail:

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Complete episode transcript:


Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Welcome to. I'm your host, Keith Weinhold. I'm sitting down in Pennsylvania with the governor's appointed state secretary of banking and securities. What were America's beginnings with banking, real estate and debt? Learn how this affects you as an investor today. And what does America's day of debt reckoning look like today on Get Rich Education?


Speaker 2 (00:00:28) - You're listening to the show that has created more financial freedom than nearly any show in the world. This is Get rich education.


Speaker 1 (00:00:44) - Welcome from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and across 188 nations worldwide. I'm Keith Weinhold and you're listening to Get Rich. Education has been the Keystone state of Pennsylvania this week. In just a few minutes, you'll hear my sit down with secretary of banking and Securities for this great state of Pennsylvania from 2020 to 2023. The rather distinguished guest also sits on the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees. And before we're done, I'll be sure he understands at least one core principle here and get his opinion on that. Yeah, I visited seven US states so far here in the past month and I'll continue to visit so much of the United States.


Speaker 1 (00:01:28) - In fact, I might have done more driving this past month than at any time in my life. Now. Some people are really car people. We have this kind of car culture in the United States for some evidence that younger people aren't as interested in that is older people. I mean, some people, they get really excited about new car features or new dashboard interfaces or hybrids or EVs and charging stations. You know, none of that is really that interesting to me. However, you know, the one new car feature that I actually really care about and I'm waiting to go more mainstream. Any idea the one game changing car feature that I really can't wait to get here because it's really going to improve your quality of life. And mine and I talked about this way back in Get Rich Education Episode 13 in the year 2015 is something that is still expected to have substantial ramifications for real estate, and that feature is autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars. I mean, as much of the world that's automated these days and digitize, it feels like something is out of whack to have all of this technology that you have in your car today.


Speaker 1 (00:02:54) - Yet even if you're on cruise control out on Interstate 80, like I have been a lot lately, you've mostly got to keep your eyes glued to the car bumper in front of you. Yes. And the car that reliably drives itself. That's the new feature that I really want. I mean, imagine for you to be able to get some sleep or scroll your phone or I know that it sounds funny, even exercise while your car drives itself. And of course this still pretends to have a real impact on real estate. Cars will really need to be owned. It's just the subscription service that you order. A car comes to pick you up and then it drops you off where you need to go. So these cars just continue to stay in motion out there. You don't need a garage so much. And this means that cities won't need nearly as much parking. So parking lots are less important, parking garages are less important. And since you can be more productive while you're a passenger in the car drives itself, well, therefore, those neighborhoods that are say no one hour outside of the center or metro area, well, those areas won't have as much of a price discount because autonomous cars lower your time expense in commuting.


Speaker 1 (00:04:16) - But autonomous car adoption has been slower to develop than a lot of people, including me, expected. I mean, there have been a lot of experiments, But see, what happens is an experimental autonomous car crash that just makes more news than a human created car crash. And that has really slowed adoption. So yeah, I'm not so into cars. The only feature that's on the horizon that really gets me interested is winning back some of my time with autonomous cars. Hey, we have a ton of great podcast episodes lined up here at some of the most brilliant minds in the real estate and money world. Continue to join me coming up soon. Here on the show is the return of a really dynamic guest. He goes by the nickname the mad scientist of multifamily in the industry. Some call the amount of multifamily, mobile home parks self in other commercial real estate investors that have these floating interest rates, the amount of those people, it's almost insane. Higher rates are going to bring those deals down and investors will keep losing money in those deals.


Speaker 1 (00:05:27) - That's what the mad scientist of multifamily and I are going to focus on them. Yes, these people that learn how to perhaps do syndications through TikTok videos, they are losing their deals. Isn't that really is too bad because that reputation seriously that. The good operator, so we're going to sort that out for you. Then on a later episode here, one of the sharpest economic minds in the entire world joins us to discuss why the recession didn't happen as soon as he and a lot of others thought and what that means for the future of stocks and real estate and commodity prices. All of that is in the near future here on the show. But today I'm visiting my home state of Pennsylvania, where I've lived most of my life. It is the fifth most populous state, despite not being that large by area and despite the fact there are still a ton of rural areas in Pennsylvania, and of the five biggest states, Pennsylvania may very well have the deepest history. So we'll dig into some real history today.


Speaker 1 (00:06:31) - Pennsylvania banking was influential on the formation of United States banking, including that of Robert Morris. He's a pretty well known name, but he was succeeded by a better no name. Right after Robert Morse, we had Alexander Hamilton in that banking role. But yeah, Pennsylvania Robert Morris, he is known as the very financier of the American Revolutionary War. As we're about to discuss the nation's beginnings, America's formative years in land and real estate hundreds of years ago. Look, if a hundred years ago, a colonist or an early American, if he or she said this, I'm going to buy a piece of property and develop it. Okay. What do you think that meant when they said that today? If you said, I'm going to buy a piece of property and develop it, well, most people would think that you're going to build a housing development. But back then it probably meant that you were going to clear your land of trees and planted for agriculture and you're going to grow wheat or corn or tobacco.


Speaker 1 (00:07:37) - That was the discussion you were having then. What crop are you developing on your real estate? It sure wasn't. Are you going to develop apartments or condos or single family homes? That's how it might sound today. In fact, the 1790 census that shows that roughly 90% of the American population was employed in agriculture. 90%. So your real estate income was largely derived on your crop yield, which you might use to pay your debt on your land. Let's start this interview that I expect to be wide ranging as we'll take it from yesteryear up to the present day. This week's guest has served as secretary of banking and securities for the great state of Pennsylvania from 2020 to 2023. It is a cabinet level agency here in the state capital of Harrisburg. He was appointed to that position by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today. He is managing partner of Gabriel Investments as well based in Philadelphia. And today he's the author of an interesting new book. It's titled The Paradox of Debt A New Path to Prosperity Without Crisis. Welcome to Richard Vague.


Speaker 3 (00:08:53) - Thank you so much for having me.


Speaker 1 (00:08:55) - It's good to have you. For those of you listening in, the audio only vague is spelled vague. You and Richard, as Pennsylvania's secretary of banking and Securities, I know that you have various deputy secretaries that assist you. Tell me. I'm going to venture to guess that that role includes acts like the oversight of banks and various consumer protections. Are they important parts of that role?


Speaker 3 (00:09:20) - Without question. The fundamental job is looking to the safety and soundness of the banks chartered here in Pennsylvania to make sure they don't fail. And we all saw the importance of that recently. Silicon Valley bank failed in California. And I think if we'd had the caliber of examiners out in California that the folks here in Pennsylvania or that might not have happened.


Speaker 1 (00:09:44) - That's a nice compliment to those that have that oversight here in state, Richard. It sure has been interesting with interest rates actually not being historically high, but at the rate that they change and the rate that they spiked, making some things break everything else to tell us about that role with the oversight that you had of banks and consumer protections in Pennsylvania and really what everyday depositors are concerned with.


Speaker 3 (00:10:10) - Everyday depositors are concerned with getting the highest yield they can. Sure. And certainly they've been rewarded more lately than they have been over the last, let's say, ten years prior to that. But they also should be concerned about the safety and soundness of the bank they deposit with. And I think a lot of folks forgot that lesson. You know, a few years passed from a crisis and folks aren't worried about whether their bank's going to be around so much anymore. I'm really pleased to report the banks here in Pennsylvania are in really good shape.


Speaker 1 (00:10:44) - Richard, I don't even think that everyday depositors understand the fractional reserve lending institution system, which is really how most banks operate, and that is when a depositor gives the bank money or the money goes ahead and lends that out, that difference, that spread being their arbitrage, which is how they stay in business. I've got a rather interesting question, perhaps are full oil reserve banks feasible as the norm? And what I'm talking about there is banks that can't lend depositors money out and instead that bank needs to profit by charging fees to depositors.


Speaker 1 (00:11:23) - Now, I know everyone likes to get something for free, but would that be a more responsible system? Are full reserve banks feasible at all?


Speaker 3 (00:11:31) - If you did that. You know, that's something I've studied quite a bit, and that was a very active question, by the way. Yeah. In the founding of our banking system here in Pennsylvania in 1781, it's a question that's been around forever. Any economy needs to have money created in order to grow, and the banking system is what does that now. But if you banned that in the banking system, it would just have to happen somewhere else.


Speaker 1 (00:11:58) - Were there any prominent names that were involved with the setup of banking in Pennsylvania?


Speaker 3 (00:12:06) - The name that you hear the most is the guy named Robert Morris, who was the head of it was in effect, the secretary of the Treasury during the Revolutionary War. But his senior partner was the original banker in the United States, and his name was Thomas Willing in history has more or less forgotten him. And that's, by the way, the subject of my next book.


Speaker 3 (00:12:30) - I'm in the Middle of writing a biography of the origins of the US banking system and our first banker, Thomas Wells.


Speaker 1 (00:12:38) - There is a Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, of course, and we're talking about history here, Richard. And I know that you have an excellent sense of history about the nation's beginnings in land and in real estate. Can you speak to that?


Speaker 3 (00:12:55) - The United States was all about land from the very beginning. You had massive land grants like to William Penn to found the state in the first place. But almost immediately after the founding of the country, you know, one of the reasons we had the American Revolution is because Great Britain prohibited colonists for owning land west of the Appalachian Mountains. And that was very frustrating to people like George Washington and others who had surveyed really lush pieces of land in the Ohio Valley. Immediately after the success of the revolution, the wealthy investors in America began buying millions and millions of acres towards the west, in the Ohio Valley, in Kentucky, in New York, in western Pennsylvania and the like, and got into trouble and brought the first financial crisis in US history, the land crisis of 1796 and 1797, because they were buying all that land on credit, either from the landholder, the private landholder or the the state or commonwealth that the land was in.


Speaker 3 (00:14:14) - They bought this under the presumption that the value of real estate would always go up and of course it just didn't go up fast enough. And Robert Morris to speak of someone actually ended up in debtor's prison because he overextended himself, which is somewhat ironic since he's something of a icon for credit ratings and credit prudence. And yet he was very much of a wild speculator and ended up in prison destitute.


Speaker 1 (00:14:45) - This is really interesting. Okay. And nefarious character early on in America's private real estate development, when the Appalachian mountain range in the late 1700s was deemed as the frontier to a lot of people.


Speaker 3 (00:14:59) - Absolutely. Everybody was looking west of there for the big games and the big opportunities.


Speaker 1 (00:15:06) - I mean, this is part of Manifest Destiny and the American Dream. So can you tell us more about a lot of that land in the early days west of the Appalachian Mountains? How much did the government claim is theirs and sell to private landowners on credit? And then how much were private landowners taking and were they allowed to make land claims and then sell it to someone else? Or tell us more about those early beginnings of that real estate setup?


Speaker 3 (00:15:34) - Well, that's exactly right.


Speaker 3 (00:15:35) - Most of that land was owned by the colonies, which in 1776 became states. The states own that land. The states all incurred massive debts in prosecuting the revolution itself. So by the time you get to 1783, 1787 states are deeply in debt and bondholders of state debt are not getting paid interest. And one way to alleviate that crisis was to sell land and selling it an acre here, an acre. There wasn't going to do you any good. So the states were selling land of 100,000 acre parcel a year, a million acre parcel there. Now, the guys that bought that, at first they were thinking, we'll do it, we'll develop towns, will lay out the towns, will survey them, will sell them, will attract settlers into this realm, will sell it plot buy plot to these settlers. But it was pretty clear that was a pretty slow way to make your money back. So they started looking to the wealthy in Europe and started sending brochures and agents to Europe to in essence, be able to flip their land in Early on, they were very successful at that.


Speaker 3 (00:16:54) - Guys like William Bingham, who was the richest man in America, and Robert Morris, who was one of the richest, would make, you know, 100,000 here and 100,000 there, which is tantamount to making tens of millions. Now that ended. They started doing bigger speculations. There weren't the settlers to buy it. The Europeans got a little bit smarter. You had a major national financial crisis, including, by the way, it wasn't just those Western lands. One of the biggest parts of the financial calamity was in the new town of Washington, DC, where they were moving the government, and people came in, including Robert Morris, thinking it's the seat of government where this is going to be a boomtown. And a lot of folks got into deep trouble speculating on plots in Washington DC.


Speaker 1 (00:17:42) - And if you're the listener, think that this sounds rather unorganized and free wheeling. Of course, we just need to think back a little bit earlier as to what happened when we as colonists went ahead and wrested the land away from the natives as well, of course.


Speaker 1 (00:17:57) - But yeah, Richard, you talked about some of the draw and the appeal to some of the land around Washington, D.C. there along the Potomac River. But just generally overall, in a lot of cases, this new American government, who were the land sellers trying to attract or were they trying to attract them to do, for example, was it to only and to set up a farm for agriculture or was it for trapping or what attracted people to this new land grab, if you will?


Speaker 3 (00:18:24) - The basis of wealth early on in the United States was the crops that we grew. And that obviously, first and foremost was wheat and the biggest supplier of wheat, not just in the United States, but to Europe was Pennsylvania. That's why Philadelphia became the largest city in the United States. Then just south of US and Maryland and Virginia. You had tobacco, which was our number one crop, but it was our number one export. South of that, you had indigo and rice. The further north you got, there really wasn't a lot of arable land.


Speaker 3 (00:19:03) - And that's why, you know, places like Massachusetts had to turn the manufacturing so heavily. It was really that. And fishing for cod were the only thing they could do. So, yeah, absolutely. We were a breadbasket for not just the country, but the world almost from the beginning.


Speaker 1 (00:19:21) - You talk early on about the extension of credit and how that enabled settlers to go ahead and own some of this new land? Is this sort of the early formation of long term mortgages? When did that.


Speaker 4 (00:19:35) - Occur?


Speaker 3 (00:19:36) - Well, absolutely. You know, really from well before independence. One of the problems you had is that there wasn't enough currency to really facilitate economic growth. So they began issuing paper currency in various forms. And a lot of these were very successful. This was done at the state level. And what they would do is they would create land banks. And so you would go in and take your land as a farmer. You would take it to the land bank and you could get currency up to half the value of your land and you'd pay interest on it.


Speaker 3 (00:20:14) - So it was really was a de facto mortgage, a.


Speaker 1 (00:20:18) - 50% mortgage, a.


Speaker 3 (00:20:19) - 50% mortgage, and you could spend that currency. They were well managed early on. Most of these didn't work, failed. And the first real commercial bank was Thomas Williams Bank in 1781 and Philadelphia.


Speaker 1 (00:20:35) - What were interest rates like at this time in these formative years of our nation.


Speaker 3 (00:20:40) - For bigger transactions, the range was really just 5 to 6%. It might get down to four, might get up to seven. Interest rates in the U.K. were closer to five and us, they were closer to six. There were breakdowns by a slice of an interest rate, so there wasn't an interest of 5.1% or 5.2%. And for high risk transactions, you could easily get into the same interest rate realm that some of our usurious lenders do today. Yeah, you see situations where folks in dire straits would borrow for an interest rate of 5% a month. A lot of loans in those days were very, very short term. There were the land loans that were long term.


Speaker 3 (00:21:28) - Most commercial banks made loans for 30 to 90 days, and they really were meant to bridge the period from when you, as a merchandiser bought your wholesale supplies to when you sold them as goods to the folks in your town. You could roll those loans over. But they were very short term back in those days.


Speaker 1 (00:21:50) - That is interesting. Those are really short term loans. And this is pretty parallel with what I've read around that time, that interest rates seem to be about 5%, something like that. We're talking about the formation of this nation, its beginnings in land, in real estate, and how that intersects with banking and the mortgage market and really part of the manifest destiny in the westward expansion of the United States. Yes, we are talking about a popular four letter word debt, and that word debt has only become more popular in America with consumerism here in past decades. So when Richard and I come back, we're going to talk more about debt today in the United States. In his new book, The Paradox of Debt, you can get that at Paradox of Debt.


Speaker 1 (00:22:35) - More we come back with Richard. I'm your host Keith Wayne hold you're listening to Get Rich Education. Jerry listeners can't stop talking about their service from Ridge Lending Group and MLS 42056. They have provided our tribe with more loans than anyone there truly a top lender for beginners and veterans. It's where I go to get my own loans for single family rental property up to four plex. So start your prequalification and you can chat with President Charlie Ridge personally, though even deliver your custom plan for growing your real estate portfolio. Start at Ridge Lending Group. You know, I'll just tell you for the most passive part of my real estate investing personally, I put my own dollars with Freedom family Investments because their funds pay me a stream of regular cash flow in. Returns are better than a bank savings account up to 12%. Their minimums are as low as 25 K. You don't even need to be accredited. For some of them. It's all backed by real estate. And I kind of love how the tax benefit of doing this can offset capital gains in your W-2, jobs, income.


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Speaker 4 (00:24:22) - Listen to Get Rich Education with Keith Reinhold and Don't Quit Your Day Dream.


Speaker 1 (00:24:37) - Welcome back to Get Rich Education. We're talking with the guest that served as the secretary of banking and securities for the great state of Pennsylvania since 2020. Today, he's the author of an interesting new book. It's titled The Paradox of Debt A New Path to Prosperity Without Crisis. His name is Richard Vig. He's joining us from here in Pennsylvania, where we are together today. And Richard, I know that you have a lot of commentary about modern debt and what we can do about today's debt and how debt really seems to have expanded a lot since Nixon pegged us from the last vestige of the gold standard back in 1971.


Speaker 1 (00:25:14) - I guess really the preeminent question, Richard, is should debt be a concern? We read all these stories about unrelatable numbers, about how the United States has $33 trillion of stated public debt. What's problematic?


Speaker 3 (00:25:30) - There's a lot more private sector debt than public debt. And I think private sector debt is the area where we need to focus and where our concern needs to be. Private debt has increased since World War two from 35% of GDP to 160% of GDP. Wow. So it's almost quintupled. There's about $41 trillion worth of private sector debt. That's a bigger number than the government debt number, and that's globally as well. There's about a $150 trillion worth of private sector debt and only about $90 trillion worth of government debt.


Speaker 1 (00:26:09) - And what is private sector debt? Are we talking about automobile loans, credit card loans, student loans?


Speaker 3 (00:26:14) - It's roughly divided between business and household debt. So if we've got 40 trillion in debt, it's about 20 business and 20 households. And within both of those categories, the single biggest type of debt is real estate by far.


Speaker 3 (00:26:31) - So within household debt, it's about 20 trillion. Almost 14 trillion of that is mortgage debt. On the business side, it's about 20 trillion. About 6 trillion of that is commercial real estate debt. So there's never been a time where real estate debt, household and commercial has not been really kind of the driving force of the economy.


Speaker 1 (00:26:57) - You got public sector debt and you got private sector debt. And, you know, it's kind of funny, Richard, if someone asked me what the difference between those two is, there's a few different directions you could go. What I like to tell some people is, well, the government can just print dollars, okay? Everyday consumers in businesses, they don't have that handle. So the government can print dollars and they can call that whatever name they want to quantitative easing. Maybe they want to call it currency creation. But over here, if the individual tries to do something like that, it's called counterfeiting. So, yes, it can be more problematic. Individuals cannot print their own dollars at home.


Speaker 3 (00:27:32) - That's exactly right. And that's why private debt is the area that we should focus more on. If you think about the great financial crisis of 2008, mortgage debt in 2002 was $5 trillion. By 2007, it was $10 trillion. It had doubled in less than five years. And we all now know that was millions of mortgages that it should never have been made. That was mortgages where the individuals had no income, no job, no assets. Those were homes that stood empty for years. And in many cases, they had to get torn down.


Speaker 4 (00:28:10) - Yeah.


Speaker 3 (00:28:11) - If you want to look out for trouble, the place to look is in the private sector debt. And the way to detect it is wherever it's growing very, very rapidly, that's where you're going to have a problem.


Speaker 1 (00:28:23) - So that's therefore a way to help predict economic crises. It's debt growth or I guess you could really call it credit growth as well, right? I mean, both credit and debt are basically the same terms for the different side of a transaction wherever the growth in that is most rapid is really where the economic cracks are.


Speaker 3 (00:28:43) - That's exactly right. And the fact that the Federal Reserve did not spot that in 2005 and six is one of the great stories of our time. They build economic models that don't even include debt as a factor whatsoever. Everybody finds that very surprising. It's called the DSG model, and it models the future of the economy without taking into consideration anything about debt.


Speaker 1 (00:29:12) - Why is that excluded? Mean, I'm a bit taken aback by what you just told me. Think you can tell.


Speaker 3 (00:29:18) - It's the fact. And economists got so theoretical going back a couple of decades that they started separating out financial economy from what they call the real economy. And they just stopped studying the financial economy as kind of a secondary matter to the real economy. The real economy would be, you know, the wheat and the automobile that gets manufactured and so forth and so on. My argument is those two things are inseparable. You shouldn't and cannot consider one without the other. And that's a huge blind spot in our Orthodox economics profession.


Speaker 1 (00:30:01) - Tell us more about how what we've discussed ties in to the thesis of your book.


Speaker 1 (00:30:06) - Richard The Paradox of Debt. What's the paradox?


Speaker 3 (00:30:10) - Paradox is that debt creates wealth, but it also creates calamity. So, for example, in the pandemic, 20 through 22, government debt alone increased by $8 trillion. Household wealth increased by $30 trillion. So the money the government spends does not disappear. It actually goes into the checking accounts of households. So at the end of that three year period, households had 8 trillion more in deposits in their checking accounts. And the flood of new money had pushed up real estate and stock values. So cash in bank accounts increased by 8 trillion, and the value of real estate and stocks increased by 20 something trillion. So households were $30 trillion better off at the end of 22 than they had been at the end of 19. However, most of that, like 80% of that benefit, went to the top 10% of the population. And that's for the very simple reason that most assets, most stocks and real estate are held by the top 10%, like 65% of all the stock in real estate in the country is held by the top 10%.


Speaker 3 (00:31:32) - The bottom 60%, six 0%, only hold about 14% of the stocks in real estate. So for real estate and stock values go up, it's the most well-to-do that get the benefit.


Speaker 1 (00:31:47) - That's right. And it's really the listeners on this show that we want to help take from poor or middle class and help them understand something you said in just a couple of minutes ago, that debt creates wealth, which is a paradox to many. The title of your book is The Paradox of Debt. So here what we often do is get 75 to 80% loans on an income producing property where the rent income meets or exceeds all of the expenses. And this is creating wealth. How is that wealth generated debt? A 75 to 80% loan debt is leverage and leverage appreciation actually makes compound interest look pretty slow. So a very concrete example in a sense of the paradox of debt that we're using right here at Get Rich education. Richard.


Speaker 3 (00:32:31) - You have described something that is not just true about real estate transactions, but it's true about the economy as a whole.


Speaker 3 (00:32:40) - That's the essential analysis. Yeah. And to put some macro numbers on it, in 1980, total debt in the economy, government plus household was 125% of GDP. Today it's 260% of GDP. Yeah. Yeah. And that exact same time span, household wealth, net of debt went from 352% of GDP to 600% of GDP. Debt created. Well.


Speaker 1 (00:33:12) - Yes, those are some astonishing figures. I guess as we're winding down here, Richard, one might wonder, well, where is the ceiling? When is the day of reckoning? When do we reach a calamity? How do we know that there's too much private debt and how does that actually look?


Speaker 3 (00:33:29) - We have a chapter on that very subject in the book there. It's pretty easy to see that there's an end game on the private sector side. And right now we're at about 160% of GDP. We think that that's probably somewhere in the 225% of GDP range here in the United States when there's so much debt that the requirement to service that debt slows the economy down to near zero.


Speaker 3 (00:34:00) - On the government debt, for the very reason you suggested that limitation doesn't really exist, the government could refinance its debt in perpetuity. As we said a moment ago, that ends up in the bank accounts of households anyway. So the thing I look to and I'm concerned about is private debt. Even though if you go flip on the cable news channels, you would think the world's about to end because of our government debt.


Speaker 1 (00:34:26) - Now tell me, am I oversimplifying things here, at least with private debtors, everyday Americans, when an interest only payment on your debt exceeds your ability to service it each month? Is that the path to bankruptcy right there?


Speaker 3 (00:34:42) - You got it. And whatever you say about an individual, you can say about the economy as a whole, because GDP is really just the sum of the individuals and businesses in the US. So if all the individuals and businesses are approaching this, the circumstance you just described, economy is not going to grow well there.


Speaker 1 (00:35:03) - Any last things that you would like to tell us about you very well received book because again, it's called The Paradox of Debt in the subtitle is A New Path to Prosperity Without Crisis.


Speaker 3 (00:35:14) - We cover the same material for the other six largest countries in the world. So if you read the book, you're not just going to learn about the US, you're going to learn about China, Japan, Germany, France, England and India. And I think it gives you the kind of fulsome grounding you need to better understand the news stories that we get such a barrage of every day.


Speaker 1 (00:35:38) - That's right. We need a frame of reference and putting our own more domestic debt into perspective here. Well, Richard, if someone wants to get a hold of the book, remind them of how they can best do that.


Speaker 3 (00:35:49) - Thank you so much. Go to Paradox of Debt or go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and just search for that and it'll be right there.


Speaker 1 (00:35:58) - Oh, Richard, you've helped expand our debt mindset somewhat here on the show today. It's been great having you here.


Speaker 3 (00:36:05) - It's been such a privilege. Thank you for having me.


Speaker 1 (00:36:14) - A lot of interesting history with Richard Vig today, this great state of Pennsylvania's secretary of banking and securities.


Speaker 1 (00:36:20) - One concept that really hasn't changed throughout history that we discussed there is that inflation mostly benefits those at the top. Again, check out Richard's book at Paradox of But yes, real estate, it is still known as an inflation hedge. You still hear that term thrown around a lot but I really try to use a different term not hedge I don't like hedge. Okay. In the investing world, the word hedge means something that you do to offset risks. I don't like that word used with real estate. So therefore, the word hedge that really correlates with a defensive strategy. I mean, hedge, that's probably a better term for gold. Gold is a hedge against inflation. That makes sense to me. But where I draw the distinction is that investment property bought with a loan is not merely a hedge against inflation. That's why when I coined the real estate pays five ways back in 2015, the fifth benefit, it's not called inflation hedging. It is called inflation profiting. Now, if you're only looking at the overall capital price of your real estate, even your own home, well then it's dollar denominated price alone.


Speaker 1 (00:37:42) - Well, that could be a hedge against inflation. But that's only the beginning, because when you get the fixed interest rate debt with it, now you're profiting because inflation debases your debt while the tenant makes all of the payments. And then as your rents rise with inflation, the reason that your monthly profit, your cash flow rises faster than inflation is, of course, due to the fact that your principal and interest payment stays fixed and feels really low over time. That's the inflation Triple Crown that I just described right there. And that's why when you buy investment property, REIT real estate is not just an inflation hedging vehicle, it is an inflation profiting vehicle. And today real estate isn't just scarce. It is still about 60% below the needed supply. And then amidst that, within that, single family homes are even more scarce. And then entry level homes that make the best rentals are even more scarce than that. But here on the show, we connect you with those builders and providers that are making the most in-demand properties available.


Speaker 1 (00:38:59) - Oftentimes these single family homes that are entry level. So therefore, in this environment, if you can get a hold of those, you are going to own a scarce asset that everyone wants. That's what we help you do here. But mortgage rates have been a hindrance for adding investments. But with our referral network here, we have largely solved that problem for you. We have providers that offer 5.75% mortgage rates because they buy down your rate for you less. We're going to show you've heard how a Marketplace income property provider is offering an astounding 4.75% mortgage rate. And although it has some shortcomings, there are also 2.99% seller financed investment properties that you can tie up. Yes. Today. So profit from a scarce asset that everyone wants and benefits from higher inflation. And today it really tilts toward you, often giving more consideration to new build properties because builders, they're the ones that are aggressively buying down your rate for you today. And new builds also have lower insurance rates last year. To make it easier for you, we started our free investment coaching service so contact your investment coach to help get you started.


Speaker 1 (00:40:19) - Some of our more popular markets lately are in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia in summer. So whether you like to connect with the provider on your own, if that's what you like to do or if you don't, you can then just utilize our service free of charge investment coaching. You can do all of that at thanks to Richard Vague today until next week I'm your host Keith Weinhold. Don't quit your daydream!


Speaker 5 (00:40:57) - Nothing on this show should be considered specific, personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, financial or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own information is not guaranteed. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. The host is operating on behalf of Get Rich Education LLC exclusively.


Speaker 1 (00:41:25) - The preceding program was brought to you by your home for wealth building. Get rich education.



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At age 20, you’re actually happy to trade your time for money. 

At 30, many have realized that they don’t want to work at their job for the rest of their lives. 

At 40, if you have collected things that pay you to own them, you’re financially-free.

Instead, by age 50, corporate ladder-climbers often realize that their ladder was leaning up against the wrong building.

Most people play the wrong financial game all their life. You want to get financially-free first. You can get debt-free later.

“The Debt Decamillionaire” concept is revisited.

Learn how to get 4.75% mortgage rates for Florida income property with what is known as a “builder-forward commitment”. Start here

What about hotly spiking Florida property insurance? We discuss how premiums have been kept in-check with post-2004 built property and more.

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Monologue transcript:


Welcome to GRE! I’m your host, Keith Weinhold. Financially, you need to play a game worth winning. It’s not about being debt-free. Instead, I discuss how at each age-when you’re 20, 30, 40, 50 and beyond, it’s about being financially-free.


Then, in an era where mortgage rates are 7 to 8%, we go straight to the source, in Florida, on how to get 4¾% mortgage rates on new-build property. Today, on Get Rich Education.



Welcome to GRE! From Framingham, MA to Dillingham, AK and across 188 nations worldwide, yeah, you & I are back together here on Episode 471 of Get Rich Education. I’m your host, Keith Weinhold. 


You’ve got to play a game worth winning - with your personal finances. Most play the wrong game. 


Now, you’re already initiated on this. Debt-free just means that you don’t owe anyone anything. FF means that you’ve got enough passive income that you can do what you want to do, when you want to do it. FF is the flex.


Now, when you’re around age 20 - you might be new to full-time employment. 

And you know what, it actually can feel kinda good when you’re in your early twenties are you’re being paid what feels like a respectable income for the first time in your life.


Now, ten years go by, and by the time that you’re 30, you know, I think that a lot of work-a-day job types - you might tell yourself, ya know, making money is alright at this point. But I really don't want to do this for the rest of life.


Maybe around age 30, you pursue alternative avenues of more RESIDUAL income. 


But some people just keep plowing ahead hating big chunks of their life and devoting energy at a full-time job, because somehow, you feel like you HAVE to.


Others, though it’s a minority, it’s you. Because, instead, maybe around age 30, you tell yourself that you’d rather start building things that pay you to own them.


The mindset supersedes the grindset.


And by age 40, you’re out. You’re out of that soul-sucking job and you’re living that life that you’ve always dreamed of living already. It sure could happen earlier.


And by age 50, you’re so glad that you chose the financially free financial track in life - rather than the debt-free track.


Back on the slow, scarce debt-free track - the people that mistakenly think that debt-free is the game worth winning - they’re still losing their zero-sum, non-replenishable resource of time in their 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s and maybe 70s. 


Perhaps somewhere around 30, abundantly-minded, aware people like you developed your divergent, not-running-with-the-herd FF path instead. 


You believe that money is an abundant resource - because you start having it all around you. 


You built a financial windfall for yourself with simultaneous RE cash flow, leverage, and arbitrage while you’re young enough to enjoy it.


Instead, the “work at a soulless job” type tries to get debt-free, climb the corporate ladder, and believes that money is a scarce resource (which is why they think they need to be debt-free). They defer their life and get eaten up by inflation and zero passive cash flow.


THAT person, by age 50, is asking themselves where all the time went. It went to a job that you’re not passionate about - and you can’t change history. All those time chapters of your life… are… gone. 


And you begin to realize that the corporate ladder that you climbed… was leaning up against the wronggggg building for decades.


Those are two paths of those in their productive working years - the “there’s never enough” debt-free world vs. the “money is abundant” FF world.


If you retire debt, like paying off a mortgage early, all those dollars are gone, when they could have been leveraging, say, 5 properties at once.


Now, if you’re late to realize this, like you didn’t have the FF epiphany by 30 or whatever. It’s not too late.


You’ll remember that in recent months here, we had two GRE listeners come on the show for two different episodes - Scott Saunders and then Shawn Finnegan. 


Shawn - you might remember that was the inventor of a home gym system - he didn’t hear this show & start until he was 52 and he’s gotten to his first $2,000 of passive cash flow fairly quickly. 


FF beats DF. And FF is the game worth winning.


Retiring debt early means your dollars can't be employed in true wealth-building activities. 


Now, look. You might call me old-fashioned on this. But I like the integrity of doing what I say that I’m going to do, following through, and following up.


We check back at the end of the year to see how GRE’s housing price appreciation forecast from the previous year actually went.


Back in January, we had the return of an agricultural RE principal where the cash flows DIDN’T hit what were targeteded, so we followed through and discussed why THAT happened.


And now…


You might remember that a few years ago, here on the show, I introduced you to the novel concept of being the Debt Decamillionaire. 


That means that you’ve achieved $10M in debt - which doesn’t sound like an achievement to most people. That’s the Debt Decamillionaire. I recommended this as a desirable path for you - though many could deem it iconoclastic or even heretical. 


If the only thing that I knew about you is that, say, you had $10M in real estate debt, I’d know that the chances are good that you’re a financial WINNER. 


Yep, it’s actually unlikely that $10M in debt would make you a loser.


Not only would you have to be creditworthy to even get $10M of debt… just think about if you would have tied up that much debt, say, five years ago.


Well, how has it actually gone for the person with $10M in income property debt over the past 5 years? 


We've had perhaps… 25% cumulative inflation since then - with higher wages, prices, salaries, and rents.


So then, your $10M debt is whittled down to just $7½M of inflation-adjusted debt. 


So inflation passively beat down your debt for you, plus your tenants would have paid it down to somewhere below $7M.


So now, you’d be $3M wealthier, just off the debt debasement alone. 


Meanwhile, over on the asset side, your property value that you borrowed against might have gone from something like $12M up to $18M… and all


While it created ALL that leverage plus some cash flow and tax benefit for you at the same time.


If you only managed to tie up $1M in investment property debt, then just take 10% of all those numbers. 


And pat yourself on the back for being a debt MILLIONAIRE. Ha! Not Debt Decamillionaire.


Instead, high inflation made the debt-free approach hurt - really sting over the last five years. The opportunity lost!


DF is playing small ball, saying money is a scarce resource, and it even correlates more with people being addicted to a paycheck. 


There’s a benefit to a paycheck. But is the trade-off worse? Paycheck dependence is like you being addicted to a TIME thief. 


That is, unless you get an unusually extraordinary amount of meaning from your work. In that case, great. 


Now, a high interest rate environment could narrow the gap between how much better FF is than DF. But we’re not in one of those. We’re in a historically average interest rate environment.


But in just a few minutes here, we’ll bring in a prominent American homebuilder of BTR homes that’ll tell you how to still get mortgage rates as low as 4¾%. 


In fact, the time in the market cycle is really right for talking about this. You’ll remember that last month, Housing Intelligence Analyst Rick Sharga & I discussed why today’s market is a good opportunity for residential REIs.


It’s a bad market for primary residence HBs

It’s a bad market for flippers


It’s a bad market for real estate agents - with lower sales volume.


And it’s a… decent market for many homebuilders. 


I am in Chicago today. 


Next week, I’ll be in - my home state - the Keystone State of PA. I’ll Sit down with Richard Vague, the Secretary of Banking and Securities for the great Commonwealth of PA from 2020 to 2023, there in the state capital, Harrisburg. 


It is a cabinet-level agency.


He was appointed to that position by PA’s Governor.

He also sits on the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees.


I’ll be sure he understands some core GRE principles here and get HIS opinion on those. That should be a really interesting episode next week. I don’t know what kind of turn that’s going to take.


To review what you’re learned so far, I think you already know that FF beats DF. 


Rushing to be debt-free exacts an opportunity cost on you. It postpones what you really want - Financial Freedom… and once you get FF, if you do desire to be debt-free then, hey, great! 


Let’s discuss how to get lower Florida insurance premiums, 4¾% mortgage rates and a free year of property management. 


A lot of our listeners have acted on this. And I don’t want you to miss out because I don’t know how long it can last.



Usually, you see fewer investors that want to exchange their properties in a higher interest rate environment, because you’re trading in a lower rate property for a higher rate property. 


But here, 1031s look more attractive because we’ve bent that back with rates down to 4.75% + lower insurance premiums on post-2004-built Florida property plus 1 year of free PM.


So many of you have been acting here on this - either by yourself at GRE Marketplace, or working through one of our free Investment Coaches. So, if it can help you, don’t miss out. This won’t last forever.


You can get started at:


Until next week, I’m your host, Keith Weinhold. DQYD!

Direct download: GREepisode471_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Crime, homelessness, poverty, immorality, theft and urban decay. What are US cities turning into?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has said that 100,000 new migrants will destroy his city.

With business and residents moving out of many urban cores, property tax revenues decline. 

San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood has been especially hard hit. 60,000 people left SF county from 2020 to 2022. There’s homelessness, crime, higher housing costs and more remote work. There are now shuttered storefronts. Nordstrom and Whole Foods closed there.

Vacant office buildings often can’t be turned into residential housing. This accelerates decay and urban stagnation.

Author Doug Casey joins the discussion.

We discuss the “Defund the Police” movement.

The fall of Rome and Babylon are compared.

Learn what other nations think about America today. If America is so bad, why are migrants attracted to it?

We need to be mindful that nations, states, and cities all vary substantially by crime and demographics within them.

Resources mentioned:

Show Notes:

Doug Casey’s website:

Doug Casey’s YouTube:

Doug Casey’s Take

If you’d like help with one of 

GRE’s Investment Coaches (free), start here:

Get mortgage loans for investment property: or call 855-74-RIDGE 

or e-mail:

Invest with Freedom Family Investments. You get paid first: Text ‘FAMILY’ to 66866

Will you please leave a review for the show? I’d be grateful. Search “how to leave an Apple Podcasts review” 

Top Properties & Providers:

GRE Free Investment Coaching:

Best Financial Education:

Get our wealth-building newsletter free—

text ‘GRE’ to 66866

Our YouTube Channel:

Follow us on Instagram:


Keith’s personal Instagram:


Direct download: GREepisode470_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Learn how to permanently reduce your tax burden. The greatest tax breaks for real estate investors are revealed.

But first, home prices are permanently elevated because they’re larger and with more amenities than they had in the 1970s. 

Today’s homes have vaulted ceilings, multiple fireplaces, granite countertops and more square footage. I describe.

John Hyre, the Tax Reduction Lawyer, joins us for the first time.

The top federal income tax rate is 37%. Learn where it’s headed next.

On your short-term rentals (like Airbnbs), sometimes you can reduce your taxes by legally stating that it’s a “hotel”.

Your rent income is taxed at less than your day job (W-2) income. Rent income is not burdened with social security and self-employment tax.

Learn exactly how tax depreciation lowers taxable income for real estate investors.

You’ll legally never pay any capital gains tax with a 1031 Exchange. We review how.

Will the 1031 Exchange go away?

John tells us how to get $100K tax-free out of your property—without doing an exchange.


The direction of the marginal income tax rate [00:08:19]

Discussion about the current marginal income tax rate and the potential for changes in the future.

Tax changes under the Trump administration [00:09:22]

Explanation of the Trump tax changes and the potential impact of those changes on real estate investors.

Taxation of rental income [00:10:08]

Explanation of how rental income is taxed differently from regular job income, specifically regarding self-employment and social security taxes.

Opportunity and traps of Airbnb rentals [00:10:25]

Discussion on the potential to convert Airbnb income into losses and the tax implications of Airbnb rentals.

Making an Airbnb an active trade or business [00:11:41]

Exploring the distinction between treating an Airbnb as rental income or hotel income for self-employment purposes.

Accelerating depreciation with cost segregation study [00:14:17]

Explanation of cost segregation study and how it can help real estate investors lower their taxable income by depreciating certain assets more aggressively.

Tax Depreciation and its Benefits [00:21:34]

Explanation of how tax depreciation works in real estate investing and its value in reducing taxable income.

The Basics of 1031 Exchange [00:26:13]

Overview of the 1031 exchange, a tax-deferred exchange that allows real estate investors to swap properties without paying capital gains tax.

The Long-Term Benefits of 1031 Exchange [00:28:37]

Discussion on the strategy of using 1031 exchanges until death to maximize tax deferral and potentially convert it into tax-free gains for heirs.

The 1031 Exchange Trick [00:30:36]

Speaker 3 explains a trick to maximize the benefits of a 1031 exchange by utilizing passive activity losses.

The Pass-Through Deduction [00:33:21]

Speaker 3 discusses the concept of the pass-through deduction and its application to rentals, providing insights on how to maximize the deduction.

Future Tax Policies [00:36:15]

The potential tax policies of Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are discussed, with an emphasis on their stance towards real estate and taxes.

The 1031 tax deferred exchange [00:40:03]

Explanation of the 1031 tax deferred exchange and its potential benefits for real estate investors.

Disclaimer and advice [00:40:36]

Disclaimer about the show not providing specific personal or professional advice, and the need to consult appropriate professionals for individualized advice.

Sponsorship message [00:41:04]

Acknowledgment of the show's sponsor,, as a platform for wealth building.

Resources mentioned:

Show Notes:

Learn more about John Hyre:

If you’d like help with one of 

GRE’s Investment Coaches (free), start here:

Get mortgage loans for investment property: or call 855-74-RIDGE 

or e-mail:

Invest with Freedom Family Investments. You get paid first: Text ‘FAMILY’ to 66866

Will you please leave a review for the show? I’d be grateful. Search “how to leave an Apple Podcasts review” 

Top Properties & Providers:

GRE Free Investment Coaching:

Best Financial Education:

Get our wealth-building newsletter free—

text ‘GRE’ to 66866

Our YouTube Channel:

Follow us on Instagram:


Keith’s personal Instagram:



Complete episode transcript:


Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Welcome to. I'm your host, Keith Weinhold. Real estate investors get tax breaks like you'll find absolutely nowhere else in the entire tax code that can help you legally work the tax system like you're a billionaire and actually work your way toward becoming a billionaire. Today on Get Rich Education.


Speaker 2 (00:00:22) - You're listening to the show that has created more financial freedom than nearly any show in the world. This is Get rich education.


Speaker 1 (00:00:38) - Welcome from Belgrade, Serbia, to Bellingham, Washington, and across 188 nations worldwide with 5.2 million listener downloads. I'm your host Keith Weinhold and this is Get Rich education. Yeah, you're back at that abundant place and you gotta be because the scarcity mentality is abundant in the abundance mentality is scarce so be frugal with your time, not your money. You can afford to be because you live by the mantra that financially free beats debt free. Throughout our nine years of weekly shows here, Waiting in the Wings is just the third ever expert tax guest we've had on the show. The other two are Tom Wheelwright and Kristen Tate.


Speaker 1 (00:01:18) - You meet the third one in a few minutes. Here I am sitting the first half of this month in Denver, Omaha and then Chicago checking out real estate markets and more. Before we talk taxes. All prices have risen this year, just like they do most years, and they expect to stay elevated. I've talked before about all those reasons why demographic and supply demand and all of that, but why else are houses permanently more expensive today than they were decades ago, even when adjusted for inflation in some cases? Well, it's not all the dollars given to people during Covid or anything like that. It's just the fact that houses are bigger and more complicated than they were in the 1970s and 1980s. I mean, they used to build houses that were just 1000 or 1500 square feet. I mean, often it would be like a three bed, one bath house with a one car garage that used to be sort of the suburban staple. Well, today it'll often be four bed, three bath, three car garage with things that didn't exist in yesteryear.


Speaker 1 (00:02:26) - I mean, today you have things like multiple fireplaces and vaulted ceilings and more overall size and more amenities that would have just been considered a luxury home like 50 years ago. So the home quality is better and you also have more strict building codes that leads to things like more insulation or egress windows or different roofs or wiring or Hvac and plumbing in that courts are going to countertops, even in rentals. That was an unthinkable luxury 50 plus years ago. And also today, it's just more expensive to develop land. It takes years to get approvals for drainage and utilities and roads and environmental requirements. And after all that, all those factors that make us real estate more expensive. The US still has some of the most affordable property prices in the entire world. Now those changes that I talked about aren't bad. It just makes real estate more expensive. And a lot of times those changes are actually good. It means we have a higher and better standard of living now and now seemingly everyone from Warren Buffett, with his big investment in home builders to shark tanks, Barbara Corcoran's bullishness, I mean, all these people have made either bullish bets or bullish remarks on real estate, all these prominent figures.


Speaker 1 (00:03:52) - And we are to, in future episodes of the show here, someone who admits that he's a gloomier guest. He and I are going to produce a fascinating episode on the collapse of American cities, what's happening in some of our inner cities, How bad is it and how bad will it get? Yeah, we're talking about the collapse of American cities in that episode. And also in a few weeks, I will be in the Keystone state of Pennsylvania for a different, fascinating episode. That's what I'm going to sit down with. The Honorable Secretary of Banking and Securities for the great state of Pennsylvania. He's in that role from 2020 to 2023. That's a cabinet level agency there in the state capital of Harrisburg. And my guest for that show there, yes, he was appointed to that position by Pennsylvania's governor. And he also sits on the board of trustees for an Ivy League university. That is Penn there in Philadelphia. And I'll be sure that the secretary of banking and securities for Pennsylvania that he understands some core principles here and get his opinion on those.


Speaker 1 (00:04:58) - So, again, that's the secretary of banking and securities for the great state of Pennsylvania appointed by the governor. Coming up here on Gray. Now, when we look down the road into the more distant future here on the show in, well, I guess, 31 weeks on Monday, May 6th, 2024, do you have any idea what that day is? That day is episode 500 of the Get Rich Education podcast, and I'm going to take you on an abundance mindset journey then that I hope you'll never forget for episode 500. That's on May 6th of next year. So many other great episodes are in the works here for the show. The housing market has momentum. I have a lot of great material that I want to share directly with you, and we really have some of the top guests in the industry. And I guess they're attracted here because they know that they'll reach a large, passionate, actionable audience and that's what you are. So if you're new here to the podcast, I invite you come along with me.


Speaker 1 (00:06:01) - I think you'll find it valuable. If you immerse yourself, you'll find it life changing and everything that we do and offer here is free. This show reliably recurs in your life every single week without any exceptions, just like it has since 2014. And we have never replayed an old show. I am here for you. I'm inviting you. Be sure to subscribe or follow in your favorite pod catcher. And the reason that I tell you about the Get Rich Education mobile app is that if you have someone in your life whose life would like to be changed by real estate investing or could be changed by real estate investing but doesn't know about podcasts that way. For iOS and Android, you can just have them grab the Get Rich Education mobile app. We are in Q4 and it is time to think about your taxes before the year ends. Today's expert tax guest is brilliant and understands nuances about the tax code that I sure don't. This centers on the US tax code. But you know what? If you're outside the United States, many nations provide similar incentives to the United States.


Speaker 1 (00:07:08) - Now, I don't know about you, but in my opinion, tax talk, you know, if one isn't careful, it can quickly feel like an abstraction which can make it hard to understand. We are get rich education. I'm here to help you understand things. So what I'd like to do to help aid in your comprehension is jump in and use concrete examples during our interview here. And then after the interview, I'm also going to review what you learned. Hey, today's guest is making his debut. He's a tax reduction professional. He caters real estate investors and small businesses. In fact, he is pretty well known as the tax reduction lawyer. Hey, welcome on to John Hiatt. Thanks for having me.


Speaker 3 (00:07:57) - Glad to be here from Argentina.


Speaker 1 (00:08:00) - Yeah, you're joining me from a most interesting place today, a place with high inflation and tasty steaks and a lot of other things going on in Argentina today. But back here in the United States, where so much of our listenership is, I want to get into the real estate part and how real estate investors can lower their tax burden shortly.


Speaker 1 (00:08:19) - But first of all, just in general, John, every one of us that has an income pays an income tax. Now, Obama had the highest marginal income tax rate of 39.6% under the Trump administration. That was soon lowered from 39.6 down to 37 when the Biden administration came into power. A lot of people felt like that 37% rate was going to be raised back up to 39.6, but it was not, and it's still at 37%. So with that context, can you talk to us more about the direction of the marginal income tax rate?


Speaker 3 (00:08:55) - Gridlock, glorious, wonderful gridlock, when those people in DC are unable to, quote unquote do anything mean? I'm happy in one sense. I get a lot of opportunities to make content when the law changes. But in terms of the good of the country, when very little is changing in DC, yeah, usually I'm a happy camper and right now with the gridlock and they're not agreeing on things, I would say the most that's likely to happen, I don't think marginal tax rates will change.


Speaker 3 (00:09:22) - There is some negotiation on some of the Trump tax changes, which were almost all very positive, are fading out. For example, bonus depreciation is dropping by 20% per year. Right? So the Republicans are trying to keep it at 100%. The Democrats want more spending. That's the polite term. Let's leave it at spending. And so there is some discussion going. We'll see if they can agree or not. But I don't see any massive changes coming given the gridlock.


Speaker 1 (00:09:51) - Now as real estate investors and we think about the income tax, one often wonders, even when someone's been a real estate investor for a little while, John, I don't quite think they understand how the rent income is taxed differently than their daily job income. Can you tell us about that?


Speaker 3 (00:10:08) - Yeah, really important in two contexts. I'm going to give you the straight rentals on straight rentals. The rental income had schedule E instead of schedule C or some other schedule. So like W-2 income, the extent it's tax, there's no self-employment or Social Security.


Speaker 3 (00:10:25) - So that is a positive. Also, with things like depreciation, you have a lot greater opportunity to zero out the income or even convert it into losses. Now, if you manage to convert it into losses, we have a separate struggle which is making those losses useful. In other words, they're not being passive losses which we can have a discussion on. Another up and coming area is short term rentals. I'll just call it Airbnbs generically, even though there are a lot of other systems, it's really important to understand there's opportunity here, but there also traps. Airbnbs can be taxed as rental income or hotel income. And which one do you want? Well, the lawyer answer, of course, is always it depends. Usually we want it taxed as rental income for self-employment purposes. In other words, your Airbnb normally belongs on schedule E, not schedule C, which is good because you avoid self-employment tax. Most CPAs don't understand that. Second, from a passive loss standpoint, in other words, converting these passive bad losses into good losses that might offset your W-2.


Speaker 3 (00:11:36) - You want the Airbnb treated from that standpoint as a hotel.


Speaker 1 (00:11:41) - And when John's using the word hotel, he's using his fingers to make little, quote, signs around the word hotel.


Speaker 3 (00:11:48) - Yes, because hotels are considered not rentals. It's an active trade or business. And the definition is different. So we have the code might take the same word and define it 15 different ways depending on which part of the code you're playing with here. That helps us real brief one your audience, A lot of them have a day job. A lot of them would have a hard time becoming real estate professionals, which would allow them to take passive losses on rentals. Right. Well, for those who happen to be in Airbnbs or even just temporarily want to get into Airbnbs to get a loss, here's a classic strategy for people who have a W-2 job or otherwise have too much work time outside of real estate. They cannot ever be a real estate professional. It's just not going to happen. And again, the impact of that means passive rental losses stay passive.


Speaker 3 (00:12:40) - They. On the return. They don't help you in the present. A way to wake up those losses and make them active is the first year you have a rental for passive loss purposes. Make it an Airbnb and be personally involved with it. So let's talk about that. How do you make it an Airbnb for passive loss purposes? There are a number of ways because I can talk for hours and you don't want that. The most common way to make something into an Airbnb for passive loss purposes is on average rented for seven days or less. If you rent it for seven days or less, it still goes on schedule. E No social security tax. But instead of rental passive loss rules, you deal with the normal ones. What does that mean If you spend 100 hours or more and by the way, you means you and your spouse, if you're filing married, filing jointly, your hours both count so you can split the burden. If your hands on renting the Airbnb, let's say you buy it late in the year so you don't have to run it all year and you spend 100 or more hours on it between the two of you and no other human spends more time than you, then it is considered active.


Speaker 3 (00:13:51) - People will want to rewind and listen to that because it's a great strategy for in the first year you own something going to be a rental, maybe buy it towards the end of the year, run it as an Airbnb for the end of the year. Not a big time commitment. 100 plus hours. Take the cost segregation study, write that all off and use it. It's actually will lower your W-2 income. It's useful. And then in year two, if you want to go back to it being a normal rent.


Speaker 1 (00:14:17) - So we're talking about accelerating your depreciation and therefore decreasing the amount of your taxable income with this strategy.


Speaker 3 (00:14:27) - Yep. So the cost segregation study where the basics of cost segregation, when you hear the term, first of all, you only use it if you can use the loss. But if the loss is going to be passive, don't add cost, it's going to cost you money and get you not. But if you can use the law, what is cost? Segregation? We depreciate more aggressively.


Speaker 3 (00:14:46) - A very brief description. Everything outdoors that God did not put there. Fences, sidewalks, decks, landscaping. It was put there by builders like the oak tree that the squirrel put there. We give God credit for that one. But if the builder actually planted a row of trees, they get the credit. All these things that God did not put outdoors can be depreciated very rapidly and get you a much larger write off. And then all personal property which we define as anything a tenant can steal without using power tools. So furniture, some of the carpeting, maybe some of the cupboards, window treatments, etcetera. That's a cost seg study that will draw your income. Usually it produces a loss. And then we have to ask, can you use the loss?


Speaker 1 (00:15:33) - We hit on a very specific and valuable strategy there for reducing you, the real estate investors, taxable income. But just pulling back to something more basic, you said something important in the beginning there when asked about how rental income is taxed differently than the bank.


Speaker 1 (00:15:50) - You did let us know that rental income is not subject to self-employment tax and Social Security tax. And I know it's difficult to do 1 to 1 because certainly it depends. But oh, if one is in the 24% tax bracket, so therefore they're $1 from their job, that really only resulted in them getting $0.76 if they get $1 from rental income, just roughly or perhaps give us a range as to how much after tax income they get from that dollar of rent income.


Speaker 3 (00:16:19) - Classic Lawyer Answer It depends. Here's a rough rule of thumb. So self-employment and Social Security tax are pretty much the same thing.


Speaker 1 (00:16:26) - And how much percentage are they alone?


Speaker 3 (00:16:28) - So here's how the bracket work. That's the reverse of the normal bracket. It gets lower. The more you make. Roughly speaking, I'm just rounding here. If you have 150 gram of Social Security or self-employment taxable income, for example, your W-2, this is per person, not per couple. If you have 150 up to 150, your Social Security tax bracket is roughly 15%.


Speaker 3 (00:16:52) - Then it drops after that 150 grand to right around 3 to 5%, depending on factors you don't want to know. So it depends on your total income. For example, if you have a $200,000 W-2 and you run out and have a side business that generates self-employment tax, your self-employment tax is probably only 3 to 5%. So it depends on how much you're making that is self-employment taxable.


Speaker 1 (00:17:18) - Right. So we're talking about how you will have a chance to keep more of your $1 of rent income than you would from your $1 of day job income. And that's interesting with the Social Security tax, I actually didn't realize that, therefore, Social Security tax is a regressive tax policy. With increasing income, you pay a lower tax rate where generally overall in the United States, we would have with the income tax what's called a progressive tax policy, where you pay a higher tax rate with increasing income.


Speaker 3 (00:17:47) - Correct. And here's the theory to make it pass politically. Back when they did this in the 30s, they had to sell it as it's insurance and we're going to cap out your insurance, but we're also going to cap out your benefits.


Speaker 3 (00:17:59) - And so if you look in that regard, it's not really regressive because your benefits are also capped out. Now, what's one of the proposals? Let's make it flat so that people who make more subsidizing, those who make less, making it functionally progressive because you don't get any more benefits past a certain level.


Speaker 1 (00:18:17) - You're listening to get raises occasionally. We're talking with the tax reduction lawyer, John. Here we come back, we're going to talk about some more of those real estate tax advantages and get into the nuances of some things that people don't understand that well, like tax depreciation and the 1031 exchange. More with John. I'm your host, Keith Reinhold. Jerry listeners can't stop talking about their service from Ridge Lending Group and MLS 42056. They have provided our tribe with more loans than anyone there truly a top lender for beginners and veterans. It's where I go to get my own loans for single family rental property up to four Plex's. So start your pre-qualification and you can chat with President Charlie Ridge personally, though, even deliver your custom plan for growing your real estate portfolio.


Speaker 1 (00:19:04) - Start at Ridge Lending Group. You know, I'll just tell you for the most passive part of my real estate investing personally, I put my own dollars with Freedom family Investments because their funds pay me a stream of regular cash flow in. Returns are better than a bank savings account up to 12%. Their minimums are as low as 25. K. You don't even need to be accredited. For some of them, it's all backed by real estate and I kind of love how the tax benefit of doing this can offset capital gains in your W-2, jobs, income. And they've always given me exactly their stated return paid on time. So it's steady income, no surprises while I'm sleeping or just doing the things I love. For a little insider tip, I've invested in their power fund to get going on that text family to 668660. And this isn't a solicitation If you want to invest where I do, just go ahead and text family to 66866.


Speaker 4 (00:20:15) - This is author Kristen Tait. Listen to Get Rich Education with Keith Reinhold and don't Quit Your Day dream.


Speaker 1 (00:20:32) - Welcome back to Get Rich. Okay. So we're talking with John here. The tax reduction lawyer is how he's known. You can learn more about him at tax reduction, lawyer John's real estate investors. We get some of the very best tax breaks anywhere. In fact, they're so generous that I consider it to be a profit source. And I don't know that you can really say that about taxes in all contexts. I talk about how real estate actually pays you five way simultaneously appreciation cash flow, loan pay down made by the tenant. Fourthly, is that generous basket of tax benefits that we'll discuss. And then fifthly, is the inflation profiting benefit that you get on the long term fixed interest rate debt? But coming back to the fourth one, the tax advantages, really the two big ones that I predominantly think of, the quickly come to mind for a lot of us are tax depreciation, which is a deduction that reduces the investor's taxable income and the 1031 exchange, meaning that we can defer all of our capital gains tax all of our lives, which is incredible.


Speaker 1 (00:21:34) - But do you want to touch on the tax depreciation portion first, John, and tell us why that's so integral and valuable to real estate investors? Sure. When you buy stock.


Speaker 3 (00:21:43) - For example, on the market, it does not produce any paper deductions. Basically, you get the stock, whatever you paid for, it is your tax cost, your basis, and when you sell it, you just look, what did I sell it for, minus the tax cost. That's my gain. There are no benefits in the intervening time. You just sit and hold it. Nothing really happens. Real estate is different and that you get a paper deduction. Why Congress said so. You get something called depreciation and it's formulaic. You take the cost that you have in the property, what you have invested, and you multiply it by some number. Now that's where the cost segregation gets interesting because we debate which number. But for the moment, let's just pick a number. The most typical one is 3.6%. Multiply the building by 0.036 of what you have invested in it.


Speaker 3 (00:22:33) - And annually that's a deduction you get because and so that goes a long way when you add it to other expenses to reducing your income to zero. So the so if you have the income tax rate is much lower.


Speaker 1 (00:22:45) - So if you have a $1 million building, we're not talking about the value of the land with the building, just a $1 million building. Therefore you'd have about $36,000 each year that you do not get taxed on. That $36,000 is deducted from your rent income.


Speaker 3 (00:23:03) - Exactly. Try that with stock or mean you can. So that was a hypothetical non suggestion. Yeah, but that's one of the big benefits of depreciation. Now what's the downside? Because there's always strings attached. It drops your tax calls. So if I bought for a million, I took 36,000. Now my tax cost is 964,000. And so when I sell, if I sell will get into that, I have a larger gain. So there's a trade off. Now, in fairness, one of the other benefits of rental real estate is if you do sell for cash and you choose to pay taxes, we're going to talk about an alternative.


Speaker 3 (00:23:39) - If you choose to pay taxes, the tax rate on selling real estate are almost always 98% of the time lower than your normal tax bracket. So even if you sell after getting this depreciation benefit, the bracket is almost always considerably lower than your normal income, which is nice.


Speaker 1 (00:23:59) - I don't want this point to be lost on people. With that example I give of the $1 million building that you buy and the fact that say you get $100,000 of rent income from that, you'd only be taxed on $64,000 worth because you're able to deduct 3.6% of the value of the million dollar building against your rent income. And that $36,000 deduction typically with a lot of other investments, in order to get that deduction, you would have to make a $36,000 expense, like, for example, buying a new heating system for the building. But no, you don't have to buy a new $36,000 heating system for the building where you might qualify for that deduction. It's just the magic of appreciation. You can just take this $36,000 deduction out of thin air because the tax code says that you can.


Speaker 3 (00:24:47) - Yep, it's pretty much automatic. In fact, the code says you have to take it.


Speaker 1 (00:24:51) - That's right. I have learned that the tax code actually says you must take this benefit. And who wouldn't want to do that? Would there be any situation in which someone would not want to do that job?


Speaker 3 (00:25:02) - Yes. If they're going to sell later on or if they're going to sell in the comparatively near future, let's say they're going to buy and hold rent for three years and they're going to sell after three years taking the depreciation if it did not help them, let's say, created a passive loss, raises their bracket a little bit when they sell in three years. Now it's still lower than your normal bracket. It's just not as. Much lower as you would like. So yeah, there are a few spots where people resisting depreciation. It's pretty rare, but it happens.


Speaker 1 (00:25:32) - So you must take that depreciation, which is going to be a benefit to most investors in most cases down the road when it comes time to sell this million dollar building, oh, say ten years later, you wanted to sell this million dollar building for $2 million.


Speaker 1 (00:25:47) - Oh, I'm certainly oversimplifying here, but say that gave you $1 million gain because you bought it for 1 million and you're selling it for $2 million down the road. We have something known as the 1031 exchange. It's called the light kind exchange. It's also known as a tax deferred exchange. Tell us more about the 1031 exchange when it comes to selling this example, building ten years down the road for $1 million more than what you bought it for.


Speaker 3 (00:26:13) - You want to avoid paying tax. Here's the basics and then we'll get into a little bit of the process. The basics are you're swapping one house for another, but you don't have to direct swap. It's not barter. You don't have to go find someone who wants your house and you happen to want their house. That's just not practical. Rather, you sell your house, the money goes into the hands. This is really important of what's called a qualified intermediary. There are tons of them and that's pretty much a commodity at this point. So they're not that expensive.


Speaker 3 (00:26:39) - The money has to go in their hands. If you touch the money with your hands, it becomes dirty money and it's taxable, which sells. It goes straight from closing to the qualified intermediary. And you have certain deadlines, 45 days to find properties that you want and 180 days total from the sale date close, which kind of can help you time, especially if you have a cooperative buyer helps you. You need a time. For example, maybe I want to find the property I want sooner and then get out and sell the one I've got and you can do it in reverse order. You can go buy a property and then sell something afterwards and say to the government, Listen, I want the funds from this later sale to apply to this prior purchase. A reverse reverse fixture. Yeah, reverse exchange. And there are some creative games we can play with reverse exchanges. They're looser rule wise than the normal ones. I enjoy those 1031 exchange.


Speaker 1 (00:27:36) - Such a benefit where you can defer your capital gains tax.


Speaker 1 (00:27:40) - Hey, in this example you had $1 million then that would be subject to the capital gains tax, which is going to be a rate of 15% or more. And if you don't do a 1031 exchange, you have to pay back to the government all at once that tax depreciation that we discussed earlier. So there are actually consequences. It's going to feel like there are consequences to not doing a 1031 exchange. So you kind of get your money trapped in this real estate game. It might be the best place to have it, but that's something that I think investors need to understand for the long term.


Speaker 3 (00:28:12) - And it's the classic strategy. 1031 Until you die. Now, what typically occurs with investors and then life cycle, they want a little more time, so they start 1030, letting in some more passive type investments, whether it's with a management company or a property that by its nature tends to be a little bit more passive, but the object is to die and not sell. I'm not suggesting everyone go out and die right away.


Speaker 3 (00:28:37) - That's great tax planning. But in terms of reality, it's not so great. But if you. 1031 let's give an example. You bought for a million, many years later it's worth 10 million. Your basis in the property is 100,000. You've depreciated it. So if you sell, there's a huge gain, you die. Whoever inherits is going to love you. At least we hope they will, because when they inherit the property that's worth 10 million, their tax cost, their basis at law is 10 million. They can sell the next day with no gain. That's the infamous step up in basis. And the object is to convert the deferral into tax free. If you defer long enough, it becomes tax free. That's the goal.


Speaker 1 (00:29:18) - And John touched on it. There is no limit to the number of times that you can do the 1031 tax deferred exchange. As a real estate investor, you can trade up from a $1 million property to a $2 million property. Ten more years go by to a $4 million property.


Speaker 1 (00:29:33) - Ten more years go by to an $8 million property. Now I'm certainly oversimplifying this, but at each step you don't owe any capital gains tax. So because you can defer it endlessly, you really never have to pay it and effectively becomes tax free with that step up and basis to your heirs like John just described. John, I'd like to know your thoughts. You know, it seems a few different presidents lately. I know Biden, at least he threatened to do away with the 1031 exchange. I just wonder if the 1031 exchange is ever going to get precarious. I think some people, though, don't understand that the 1031 tax deferred exchange has been around for more than a hundred years.


Speaker 3 (00:30:12) - They've been talking about getting rid of the 1031 since the 1930, and Democratic administrations have threatened to do it since the 1930. They've never had the supermajority they need to actually get away with it. And even then they've come close to it. And even then, some of the lobbyists on the Democratic side said, listen, this is not a good idea, freezes up capital.


Speaker 3 (00:30:36) - We want people to be able to buy and sell and not be frozen into a property because of tax reasons. So, look, could it happen? Sure. We live in a crazy world, but the probability of the 1031 going away I think is pretty darn low. Let me give one real quick trick that's going to help. Some people won't help very many, but the ones that helps it help big time for you. 1031 A property. Ask your accountant. Do I have any passive losses tied up in the property? They're going to know there's going to be a form on your larger tax return. There are different versions of your return. The big thick one is not. The one that goes to the government. Ask them how much passive activity loss you have in the building. Whatever that is in a 1031. Take out the cash. It's tax free and in fact, it's tax arbitrage. To give you an example. We are selling a property. You had a million and you're selling for 2 million.


Speaker 3 (00:31:29) - Let's say you had 100,000 of passive losses tied up in it. Go ahead and take out 100,000 cash from the exchange. Go ahead, ask double check with the 1031 intermediary because they know the rules. But go ahead and take out the 100,000. What happens? You get the 100,000 tax free because your passive losses that were hibernating on the return are now activated and wipe out. Normally when you pull cash out of a 1031, there's gains. Normally we don't do that. But here the losses are activated. They not only offset the 100 you pulled out, they drop your tax bracket because you're getting a capital gains tax bracket offset by a normal loss that was now brought out of hibernation. So just a little trick for those of you always before 1031, always ask your CPA, what's my passive activity loss? And think about taking out exactly that amount of cash, tax rate, tax arbitrage.


Speaker 1 (00:32:28) - I just learned something as well. I've got a number of 1031 exchanges in my life and that's one tip that I sure didn't know about.


Speaker 1 (00:32:35) - So thanks for that. And if you, the listener, if you want to learn the nuances of the 1031 exchange, which John and I aren't going to do here, because that really goes a mile deep with the three properties rule and the 200% rule and all of that. You can listen to episode 143 where that entire episode is dedicated to the 1031 tax deferred exchange and just how you can best pull it off for maximum tax efficiency so that you can then go ahead and re leverage those dollars into a larger property later. Well, John, that was very helpful on both tax depreciation and the 1031 exchange. Do you have any last things to share with us? Any last strategies so that a real estate investor can pay less in tax or anything that's particularly helpful?


Speaker 3 (00:33:21) - Yes. There's this concept of the Trump tax law called the pass through deduction or qualified business income tax code, Section 199 Capital A First of all, it applies to all rentals. Unless they're triple net least. A lot of accountants still don't get that.


Speaker 3 (00:33:38) - You have to have a trade or business that's tax term trade or business rentals that are not triple net leased are a trade or business, which is a good thing under the code. So there's this deduction. It's large. If you're showing that income even after depreciation and everything you buy is typically 20% of the net income. So if I'm showing 100 grand of net income, I get a $20,000 deduction because Congress said so. Protect that. In particular, if you make roughly I'm rounding here 164 grand total taxable income on your 1040 single and roughly 370 filing joint, there are special things you need to do to maximize the QBI and you need to do it before the end of the year. Nothing pains me more than to see high income people who benefit the most from this deduction because of their high bracket and they're in these high brackets. And if they would have done a little bit of talking to their CPA, hey, I think I'm going to make married filing jointly 370 or more for the year. It's going to cut my QBI based on the mechanical rules.


Speaker 3 (00:34:41) - What can I do to preserve my qualified business? Income tax deduction might pass their tax deduction. To do that, you need a really good set of books and returns. You have to have good books in the knowledge of your income so your accountant can look and say, Hey, here's how much we think you're going to make. B Here's what we can do to preserve this deduction. That is the number one easy pick up by C in tax returns. I review for planning purposes that people missed in prior years and we tell them going forward, please, please towards the end of the year, start thinking about if you're going to show gain. Doesn't matter if you're showing a loss, but if you're going to show gain in any business, not just rentals, please look at the deduction. Please make sure you're getting the full 20%.


Speaker 1 (00:35:25) - John is an expert at looking at your recent tax returns and pointing it to one area and saying, hey, there's a quick ROI for you if we change this. And right over there is another quick ROI for you if we change this.


Speaker 1 (00:35:37) - Well, John, that's been great with what we can do with the existing tax code to help optimize our situation. But wrapping up here, a lot of people are interested in what's coming down the road in the future. It can be a little bit speculative, but it also can be a proxy for how people and politicians are thinking. And that's. Is there anything that the presidential candidates are offering tax wise? It's very interesting whether that be an RFK Jr or a Ron DeSantis or a Vivek Ramaswamy or Nikki Haley or anyone else with this potential future direction of where an influential candidate wants to take taxes.


Speaker 3 (00:36:15) - I think the parties are pretty consistent regardless of candidate. Now they each have their subgenre of flavor, right? Do you like your chocolate? Dark or milk chocolate or with or without salt, but it's still milk chocolate. So likewise, the Democratic presidential candidates are going to be looking to increase taxes, get rid of what they view as loopholes, and they are aware of real estate having a lot of special benefits and they don't care for it.


Speaker 3 (00:36:41) - The Republicans, by contrast, are going to be more for lowering taxes. They are not hostile to real estate. They're generally pro-business, especially pro small business. And I think that's consistent across the board. I don't think there's a lot of deviation there with either party. The specific proposals will vary. For example, the Kennedy candidate strikes me as less hardcore left wing and a little more common sensical than maybe some of the more progressive sorts and might not be as harsh in that regard.


Speaker 1 (00:37:13) - Well, that's helpful in knowing what future policy might be and that might affect the way that you want to vote. This has been really helpful, particularly to real estate investors and small business owners. You are the tax reduction lawyer, so if our audience wants to connect with you and learn more about what you can do for them, what's the best way for them to do that?


Speaker 3 (00:37:33) - Not coincidentally, tax reduction and I put out a ton of content. I take a few clients but it's really getting more and more content based.


Speaker 3 (00:37:43) - So if you like what you heard, you might hear more.


Speaker 1 (00:37:47) - Sometimes in the video, hear you and the audio only might not be able to see that. For example, when John was using the word loopholes, he was using his fingers as air quotes. He understands that these are intentional incentives that help direct behavior because the government knows that society is generally better off when the private sector and the mom and pop investor are the ones providing good housing for society. A lot of public housing projects really haven't fared so well. So that's what John is here to help you do provide clean, safe, affordable, functional housing for others and get all the tax benefits that come along with that. Hey, John. Hi. It's been great having you here on the show.


Speaker 3 (00:38:26) - It has been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.


Speaker 1 (00:38:35) - Oh, yeah. Nice clear breakdowns from the tax reduction lawyer John Heyer. I was talking with John Moore outside of our show. He read the entire some 1000 page long inflation reduction act that was passed last year.


Speaker 1 (00:38:51) - He did that to try to help understand its tax implications for his clients and was kind of impressed that he had the endurance, I suppose, to read all of it. And I asked him how many members of Congress he thinks read it and we both answer the question at the same time. Zero To achieve one looks like the top 1%. You must act like the top 1% does. And that might include tapping the expertise of a pro like John to review what you've learned today with our expert guest John. No changes to federal income tax rates are expected. There are ways to lighten the tax burden on your short term rentals, which you might not be aware of. Your dollar of day job income that's taxed at a higher rate than your dollar of rent income. Because on your day job income, you must pay Social Security and self-employment tax. You don't pay those tax types on your rent income. Real estate tax depreciation is kind of like magic. It means that you can write off a portion of your rent income each year, meaning that you can make it non-taxable even if you don't have a real expense associated with doing that.


Speaker 1 (00:40:03) - You learn more about the 1031 tax deferred exchange and the fact that it will persist as a benefit for real estate investors is highly likely. Again, if you like what you learn each week on the Gerry podcast, I invite you to subscribe or follow within your favorite podcasting device. For those non podcast listener friends you might have, they can try the Get Rich Education mobile app. Everything that we do is free until next week. We'll all be back to help you build your wealth. I'm your host, Keith Wild. Don't quit your day dream.


Speaker 5 (00:40:36) - Nothing on this show should be considered specific, personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, financial or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own information is not guaranteed. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. The host is operating on behalf of Get Rich Education LLC exclusively.


Speaker 1 (00:41:04) - The preceding program was brought to you by your home for wealth building Get rich

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