Where the Heck is Easy Street?
On the Business News Network (BNN) the other day I heard a stat that made me stop dead in my tracks for a moment.
BNN surveyed their viewers about their retirement investments and asked them what the returns were on their investment portfolio and only 43% had any idea at all!
Arguably their audience is more investment savvy than the viewers of say, the Outdoor Life Network, so I was shocked! Only 43% could even mumble out an answer which means probably less than half of those 43% probably really knew!!
I was horrified yet it shouldn’t surprise me. As we speak to family and friends about investing in real estate and putting their RRSP’s into real estate mortgages we find that very few people really know the kind of return they are getting. And often when they actually go and check they find out its a lot worse than they thought it was!
Even some people I know from MBA school don’t have any idea what their money is doing for them. The husband of someone I know from school said to Dave “Honestly I have no idea what our return is but if you asked my wife she wouldn’t even know how much we have in the account so I am better than that at least.” Dave has heard many other horrifying stories about what is happening to our friends, families, JV Partners, and associates investments. He continues to be shocked by what these people are telling him. Have a watch of his video blog as he explains what you can and should… no NEED to do, about your investments.
These people work hard – I am talking 70 hours a week hard – and then they just hand their money over to an adviser and never look at it what it’s doing.
Why would you work SO HARD to make a ton of money and then not care what happens to that money?!
That doesn’t mean you have to always be the active investor … When you’re busy with work, kids, family and having a life, then it’s not easy to spend a bunch of time investing your money.
So you don’t have to take on a part time job to invest your money, you can find great financial advisers to help you, or you can find investors like Dave and me who will do all the work and invest your money in a great real estate investment, or you can find some other business to invest in. But whatever you do, please do not hand somebody your money and then never check on it.
If something happens and you lose money you have nobody to blame but yourself. There is no such place as easy street.
Before you give your money to anyone I would ask:
- What are you investing in and why?
- Can I speak to other people who have invested with you?
- What are the estimated returns?
- If things are not going well do you have alternative plans for this investment?
- Do you earn fees even if I don’t? That is, if the market goes down, do you still make money from managing my money?
And if you’re specifically looking at partnering on a real estate deal I would also ask for:
- Credit report (and possibly a criminal report),
- Proof of ownership of any properties they say they own,
- What a good deal looks like to them.
And then, once I have decided to turn my money over to them, I would check on it every 3 months or so, and ask how things are going. Ask for proof of what they say and if things aren’t going the way you expected, dig into it to understand why and what is being done about it.
There is no easy street when it comes to loving and caring for your money. Even when somebody else is taking care of the details for you, you still have to be proactive. Always remember that NOBODY loves your money as much as you do. And if you don’t love your money, then you shouldn’t be so surprised if it doesn’t all return to you at the end of an investment.
Published on April 29th, 2010