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Self Directed Investor Talk: Alternative Asset Investing through Self-Directed IRA's & Solo 401k's

Build Real Wealth Through Real Estate In Self-Directed IRA's and 401(k)'s

Do you INSTINCTIVELY KNOW that Wall Street doesn't have your best interests at heart, and that there's a better way to grow and protect your money to build wealth for generations? Then this is the alternative investments... More
2019-8-1

A Great Idea For Real Estate Flippers... But It Doesn't Work | SDITalk.com/319

Ep. 319

Want to flip real estate in your IRA or 401(k)? Think you won’t owe taxes on your profits? You’ve made a very common error… but so did I in a solution I devised to that problem. Maybe my error will keep you from making any of your own, and I’ll tell you about it right now. I’m Bryan Ellis. This is Episode #319 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.


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Hello, Self-Directed Investors, all across the fruited plane. Welcome to Episode #319 of Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like you, where each day, I help you to find, understand and profit from exceptional alternative investing strategies and opportunities!


I have a great show headed your way right now. If you’d like to get the transcript or links to the resources I share with you today, just send text the word ep319 with no spaces to 833-212-2112. Again, to get a link to the transcript and resource links for this episode, #319, just text the word ep319 with no spaces to 833-212-2112 and we’ll get it right out to you.


Well, I’ll admit it, folks… the brilliant idea I had yesterday isn’t going to pan out. Still, there’s a very helpful lesson in it that you’ll want to know, particularly if you like the idea of flipping real estate in your IRA or 401(k), and I’ll tell you all about it right after this…


So here’s the idea: In the last couple of episodes I’ve shared with you 5 reasons that I’ve reconsidered my formerly 100% negative stance against oil and gas investing. It’s not that I never believed it could work, just that I had a misunderstanding of how risk can be mitigated, so the risk was all I saw. I’m definitely infinitely more open to that asset class now, and one of the big advantages created by many oil & gas investments – which is HUGE tax deductibility – sparked an idea in my mind:


The idea was this: There are a lot of people who like to flip real estate in their IRA or 401(k). Unfortunately, most of those people seem to not be aware of the fact that most such transactions are technically “earned” income rather than “unearned” income, and as such, the IRA or 401(k) will have to pay income taxes on any profits realized from flips.


So here was my thought: If a person does a flip deal that generates a lot of profit, why not just – assuming you have the available capital to do so – just mitigate those taxes by doing a separate oil & gas investment? That would generate a tax deduction which would otherwise be totally irrelevant for a retirement account since oil & gas probably IS unearned income, and therefore shielded from taxes by the IRA or 401(k), so you could take the tax deduction generated by the oil & gas deal and apply it to the income generated on your flip deal and VOILA, problem solved.


Right?


Well… Yes… until recently, that is. During the end of yesterday’s show when I described this idea, I kept hearing a voice in my mind saying… check it out, check it out! It was as if this idea absolutely SHOULD work, but for some reason, it won’t… I just couldn’t remember why.


Well, I did what I always do when I have a question of this nature… I reached out to the Great One, attorney Tim Berry, for clarification. And he filled in the blanks for me. Apparently, before the recent Trump tax cut, it WAS possible for deductions generated by one investment to offset the profits generated by another investment in an IRA or 401(k). But apparently, that went away with the new tax law. That’s unfortunate. That tax bill has been so very good on such a broad basis and so clearly very good for our economy… but the fact is that there are still some somewhat crappy parts to it, and this is one of them.


So… this idea won’t pan out. Not all of them do. That’s ok. Let’s keep thinking creatively together, shall we?


My friends, invest wisely today and live well forever.

2019-7-30

I WAS WRONG About Oil & Gas (Part 1) | SDITalk.com/317

Ep. 317

News flash: I was wrong. There’s one asset class that I’ve never embraced and certainly never invested in because it is, I convinced myself, incredibly risky. Well, I was wrong. I’ll tell you HOW I was wrong… and the upside potential of this asset class RIGHT NOW in Episode #317 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.


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Hello, Self-Directed Investors, all across the fruited plane. Welcome to Episode #317 of Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like you, and today we have an excellent show for you.


Our telephone number here for you folks that have questions is easy to remember: 833-212-2112. And that’s also our TEXT number, too… because if you’d like a link to the recording of this show or to the transcript – maybe to review for yourself or forward to a friend of yours, it’s very easy to get that and costs nothing other than normal message and data rates. Just text today’s episode number – 317 – to 833-212-2112 and we’ll send those links out to you right away.


The asset class we consider today isn’t a new one, but it’s still a sexy one. Two of the most famous TV shows of the 1980’s – Dallas and Dynasty – were based on the immense wealth created by this asset class, and the frankly, the money involved in this arena has done nothing but get bigger and bigger and bigger.


That asset class is, of course, the oil & gas industry.


Now look… I’ve never invested a single penny in this asset class. I have no experience with it. None. My interest in it is solely because a friend of mine for whom I have great respect, and whose acumen as an investor is absolutely first-rate, and has been so consistently for many years now… well, he reached out to me as he does from time to time for help with raising some capital for a project of his. Given his success, I always take such calls quite seriously, but this time, his latest project stopped me cold: He wants to do a big oil & gas investment, and he wants me to help him raise money for that investment.


Normally, I’d turn down the request just because I think oil & gas is so risky. But I had to give him a fair hearing because of his track record. And I’ve got to say… I think I may have been operating under some faulty assumptions for a long time.


I’m still doing my research, but here’s what I’ve found out so far:


First, risk doesn’t exist in a vacuum in the oil business. I mean that, by and large, it’s relatively simple to know in advance, through the use of modern science, whether a particular high-risk, high-reward new oil well might be a total dud. In other words, if you’re careful, it’s not extremely likely you’ll ever be taken by surprise if you invest in a new well that ends up being unproductive. You’ll know going in about your odds of success, and you can likely mitigate that risk in several different ways, which leads to


The Second point, which is this: Risk mitigation is the key in oil & gas. It appears that the “smart money” in that business mitigates their up-front risk by a combination of careful and aggressive investment in the geological research necessary to make well-informed predictions, and by always spreading risk around by way of investing in not just one and only one oil well, but in MANY oil wells, so that the failure of any one can be overtaken, probably in substantial volume, by the other more successful wells.


Now those first two bits of learning are helpful and useful but not overwhelmingly surprising. But these last two points, I never would have guessed. And I’ll tell you what they are in about 45 seconds from now, when we return from this quick word from our sponsor.


Hey folks, Bryan Ellis here.  An industry that’s really caught my attention lately is oil & gas.  It’s not for everybody… but if you’re looking for the ability to take an income tax deduction for practically EVERY PENNY you invest into your deals…PLUS a method of investing so reliable that banks lend against this kind of income, you should reach out to my friend Aldo over at FlowTex Energy.  I don’t know if they’re funding any investments right now or not… but what I do know is Aldo can help you see whether oil and gas is a good fit for you… and why it’s probably a much better fit than you think.  Learn more now.  Just text the word ALDO – that’s ALDO – to 833-212-2112 right now.  Again, text the world ALDO to 833-212-2112 right now.


So, continuing on with the 5 things I’ve learned about investing in oil & gas that may be changing my mind about that asset class…


The Third thing I’ve learned is this: There’s more than one way to play the oil & gas game. You see, the thing we probably all think of – acquiring land, drilling for oil, hoping for big gushers and selling oil by the thousands of barrels each day – well, that’s certainly one way to play it and it’s a very HIGH DOLLAR kind of way. But it’s not the only way. For example: It’s actually quite common for niche-type companies to do very, very well in the oil and gas business simply by buying wells that are ALREADY PRODUCING and simply to monetize those wells. It turns out that the state of the art in science where oil and gas detection are concerned is sufficiently advanced that many banks will actually lend against the production capabilities of oil wells, so predictable and reliable is the ability of scientists to forecast the productivity level of any particular oil well.


But why would an oil company sell an oil well that they already own, that is producing reliably, and that has a predictable value in the future? Well, it has to do with the fourth issue I learned about, and that one – along with issue #5, which is the most important one of them all, the one that actually makes it HARD TO LOSE as an oil & gas investor, we’ll have to reserve for tomorrow, since we’re out of time for today.


I really hope this has gotten you thinking about the potential of oil & gas investing. I’ll be straight with you: I’m not yet 100% sold. But every day, the pendulum swing is getting closer and closer to a big, fat YES.


So join me tomorrow to hear about the final two HUGE things I’ve learned… more substantial even than the first 3. If you’d like to hear this episode again or read the transcript – or even forward it to a friend of yours you know is interested in oil & gas investing – then just text today’s episode # - which is 317, 317 – to me at 833-212-2112 and we’ll get those links to you right away.


In the mean time, my friends: Invest wisely today and live well forever!

2019-7-29

3 Disturbing Signs For AirBnb Investor "Hosts"

Ep. 316

Is the big-time AirBnb boom opportunity winding to a close? There are three totally anecdotal, but eerily accurate, indicators I’m seeing, each of which gives an unambiguous answer to that question. I’m Bryan Ellis. I’ll tell you what those 3 indicators are RIGHT NOW in Episode #316 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.


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Hello, Self-Directed Investors, all across the fruited plane. Welcome to Episode #316 of Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like you, and today we have an excellent show for you.


To ask question, just call 833-212-2112. Or if you’d like to receive a link to this show you can listen again at your leisure or possibly share it with a friend, just text today’s episode number – 316 – to 833-212-2112 and I’ll get that link to you right away. Again, that’s text today’s episode number – 316 – to 833-212-2112 right now.


Today we jump into a topic that I bring up with some concern. I want the answer to this question to be different than I fear it might be. The question we’re considering is this: Is the big-time boom opportunity in AirBnb drawing to a close? 


I’ll give you my answer, along with the 3 pieces of evidence I’ll cite to support that opinion. But first, a quick word from a sponsor I know you’ll enjoy hearing from:


Hey folks, Bryan Ellis here.  An industry that’s really caught my attention lately is oil & gas.  It’s not for everybody… but if you’re looking for the ability to take an income tax deduction for practically EVERY PENNY you invest into your deals…PLUS a method of investing so reliable that banks lend against this kind of income, you should reach out to my friend Aldo over at FlowTex Energy.  I don’t know if they’re funding any investments right now or not… but what I do know is Aldo can help you see whether oil and gas is a good fit for you… and why it’s probably a much better fit than you think.  Learn more now.  Just text the word ALDO – that’s ALDO – to 833-212-2112 right now.  Again, text the world ALDO to 833-212-2112 right now.


Ok, AirBnb… Very cool concept, I’ve really respected the creative thinking of this company since the beginning. The idea is simple: You have a property. You let AirBnb list your property for short-term – as little as a single night – rentals, and the two of you share revenue from that rental. And it turns out that that concept has been so popular that many people who otherwise would have tried to monetize their real estate by doing conventional year-long or month-to-month rentals have instead been making money, and frequently MUCH more money, by doing short-term rentals through AirBnb than by using the more conventional approach to generating rental income.


But all gravy trains slow down, and this one will too at some point.


Are we there yet?


I don’t think so. But I think we’re getting pretty close… close enough that making money on AirBnb is no longer easy as “shooting fish in a barrel”, so to speak. I’ll share 3 pieces of evidence that leads me to this thinking, but I’ll go ahead and readily admit:


Each of these 3 reasons are anecdotal, not statistical. You probably know that my formal education is in engineering and computer science, so I don’t typically have a lot of use for anecdote. But I have noticed that anecdotal evidence is frequently a leading indicator for the more empirical form of evidence I prefer, so I can’t ignore it and neither should you.


So without further adieu, here are my 3 anecdotal indicators that suggest the AirBnb gravy train is slowing down:


Reason #1: Anytime there’s a cable TV show about an investing strategy, you’ve got to wonder if that strategy might be spent… or at least that there’s more competition than makes sense. And guess what? There’s now a TV show on the cable TV station CNBC called CashPad… and that show is about NOTHING BUT people turning their houses into AirBnb properties for profit.


Does this mean disaster is imminent? No, but it does mean it’s becoming so well know that it’s looking like a “good idea” to John Q. Public… and that’s historically not a good sign for anything.


Reason #2 the AirBnb gravy train might be slowing: The government. Look, the government is really only good at a few things, and the thing they do best is to destroy great business opportunities. That’s what is happening now in a number of jurisdictions where local governments are trying to flex their muscles and put rather onerous restrictions on AirBnb property owners. Some of these restrictions are reasonable, because AirBnb hosts and their guests aren’t always particularly respectful of the neighborhoods where they stay. But it’s bigger than that. Local governments see an opportunity here to generate more revenue, and frankly, I suspect this will, in many places, increase the effective cost of renting AirBnb properties enough to make serious, frequent travelers – the backbone of the hospitality industry – return exclusively to the big hotel chains.


And finally, reason #3: This is most anecdotal of all and I’ll admit it’s a little condescending, though I don’t mean that to be the case. Here’s the deal: Have you noticed that some of the people doing well with AirBnb’s don’t seem to be the sharpest knives in the drawer, if you know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong: I know that there’s not an actual connection between high intelligence and the ability to be successful as an investor. But it appears to me that the money has been so easy in that game that up until now, it’s been pretty easy for everybody – whether they’re more of the “wheat” or the “chaff” variety – to make a lot of money from it. And when something is too good to be true, there’s inevitably a market adjustment.


Now as I said, all of these reasons are “soft” reasons without data to back any of them up. They’re all observations, and they’re such soft observations that I’m certainly not suggesting anyone change their plans on the basis of what I’ve shared with you. But maybe, just maybe, it might be a good idea for you to keep an eye on this stuff.


After all, job #1 of the self-directed investor is to RESPECT YOUR OWN CAPITAL.


My friends, invest wisely today and live well forever!

2019-6-27

Can RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS Use A Self-Directed 401(k)? | SDITalk.com/315

Ep. 315

Have rental properties and want to set up a company and an associated self-directed 401(k)? Good idea… but the IRS might stand in your way. I’m Bryan Ellis. I’ll tell you all about it RIGHT NOW in Episode #315 of Self-Directed Investor Talk


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Hello, Self-Directed Investors, all across the fruited plane. Welcome to another action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride into the fantastic world of tax-free alternative asset investing. This is Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like you, and today we have an excellent show for you


This is Episode #315, so to get the transcript and other resources for today’s show, visit SDITalk.com/315, that’s SDITalk.com/315 for all of those resources, provided to you with our compliments.


So…


I regularly hear from rental property investors who want to use a self-directed 401(k). The idea is that they want to form a company connected to their rental properties since one must have a business in order to establish a self-directed 401(k). On the face of it, this isn’t a bad idea.


My regular listeners will, of course, know that I am a huge proponent of self-directed 401(k)’s as being the absolute crème-de-la-crème of self-directed retirement accounts versus any type of IRA in Every Single Way…


…Except one.


“Well Bryan, what is that one exception?” I can practically hear you asking right now? It is this:


Far fewer people actually QUALIFY to set up a self-directed 401(k) in the first place. The qualifications aren’t complicated – really, all you have to have is a business that you own which has no full time employees other than you and maybe also your spouse, and your business has to have earned income. That’s really about the size of it.


But therein, there’s a pretty big GOTCHYA for rental property owners who want a self-directed 401(k). What is it? Well, it’s that caveat of having EARNED INCOME.


Earned income, as you may know, is the type of income that results whenever an employer gives you a paycheck or, if we’re talking about a business rather than a person, it’s the type of income that results whenever a business is paid for the purchase of a product or a service. It’s income that’s earned on the basis of active effort.


You’ll note that that definition doesn’t directly apply to rental income. Rental income is, under the tax code, what’s known as UNEARNED income. Not unearned in the sense that you’re unworthy of receiving the income, but unearned in the sense that rent is payment for the use of an asset rather than for the purchase of a product or service. From a tax perspective, there’s no active effort involved in receiving rental income.


So that’s a problem. If the only income you are receiving comes from rental income, then all you’re receiving is UNEARNED income rather than EARNED income. And it really doesn’t matter whether those rents are being paid to you personally or to a company you form to own the properties. Either way, the nature of the income itself is still UNEARNED.


And if that’s the only kind of income you’re receiving, that’s not sufficient basis to establish a self-directed 401(k), I am sorry to say.


But NEVER FEAR, my friends. As always, I have a solution, which Self-Directed Investor Society clients have been using quite productively for years now, and it is this:


While RENTAL INCOME won’t qualify you to set up a self-directed 401(k), what COULD qualify you to do so is to establish a PROPERTY MANAGEMENT company which serves your rental properties. In other words, let’s imagine you have one or ten or a thousand rental properties… you could very realistically and legitimately establish a company that provides property management services to your rental properties, for which it receives payment, usually in the form of a percentage of rents collected.


And in your quest to set up a self-directed 401(k), that will go along way. Because while RENTAL income is UNEARNED and doesn’t qualify you to establish a self-directed 401(k), PROPERTY MANAGEMENT income is distinctly of the EARNED variety… and thus is a legitimate qualifier for the “earned income” requirement to set up a self-directed 401(k).


Capiche? The idea is simply to segment a small portion of your income and do something to convert it, in a legal and legitimate sense, to the form of income that will allow you to qualify to establish a self-directed 401(k).


But even this solution has a rather serious drawback. Two of them, actually. Did your investing guru – who isn’t an expert in self-directed retirement accounts – mention these drawbacks to you? I didn’t think so. But I, your exceptionally well-informed, highly opinionated, always lovable and deadly accurate host won’t hold back the goods from you.


But you’re going to have to listen in tomorrow to get THE GOODS because I’m out of time for today.


And that reminds me… if you haven’t SUBSCRIBED to Self-Directed Investor Talk, please do that now so you get a notice when we publish new episodes! As I suspect you can tell, this isn’t information you can afford to miss, and it’s not information you’ll get anywhere else.


And second… if you like this show… and hey… YOU KNOW YOU DO! Hehehehe. Seriously, if you like this show, please consider giving us a nice 5-star rating and review in Apple Podcasts… that really, really helps to get the word out and brings in more listeners, which motivates me to make this show better and better with each passing day.


That’s all I’ve got for you today my friends, except for this one parting thought:


Invest wisely today, and live well forever!

2019-6-13

Self-Directed IRA vs Self-Directed 401(k), Part 2 | SDITalk.com/314

Ep. 314

Which is better for you: A self-directed IRA or a self-directed 401(k)? Today, you learn the first big distinction to help you answer that question in the best possible way for you. I am Bryan Ellis. This is episode #314 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.


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Hello, self-directed investors, all across the fruited plane! Welcome to Episode #314 of Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like YOU where each day, I help you to find, understand and PROFIT from exceptional alternative investment opportunities and strategies.


I, of course, am your sometimes opinionated, always accurate and consistently lovable host, Bryan Ellis. This episode – for which you can find all of the links and resources at SDITalk.com/314 – is the second installment of our “Choosing the Right Tool” series, where we’re looking at whether an IRA or a 401(k) is the right answer for you as a self-directed investor.


Now in the last episode I did share with you some circumstances under which you need not have EITHER type of self-directed account. I won’t rehash those other than to say that you MUST have one or both of earned income from a job/employer and/or you’ve got to have money in an existing IRA or 401(k) to transfer into the account. In other words, you’ve got to have an allowable way to get money into the account. The details are in installment #1 of this series, to which I’ve linked on today’s show page at SDITalk.com/314.


If you’ve been a long time listener of SDI Talk, first of all – THANK YOU for being a long time listener! – but if that describes you, you probably already know that I have a very, very, very strong preference for using a 401(k) over an IRA whenever possible.


To be clear, both tools have their place. But to my way of thinking, and for some reasons I’ll share with you now, if you’re investing in non-Wall Street assets, you should have a bias towards using a 401(k) rather than an IRA if that’s an option for you.


Now way back in the beginning of this show, Episode #3 – literally five years ago – I did a whole show that showcases rather clearly 7 big reasons that a properly structured 401(k) is vastly superior to a self-directed IRA. You’d do well to check that out, and I’ve linked to it from today’s show page at SDITalk.com/314.


But a quick recap of just SOME of the reasons – there are far more than just 7 – that you should use a 401(k) if you can are as follows:


1.     You can contribute FAR MORE MONEY to a 401(k) than to an IRA

2.     You and your spouse can contribute money to the same plan, thus POOLING your capital and making it easier to do bigger deals.

3.     401ks’ offer SUBSTANTIALLY better protection against creditors and lawsuits than IRA’s

4.     Checkbook-like control of your investment capital is built into properly structured 401(k)’s. For IRA’s, on the other hand, that level of control is expensive, tedious and risky to establish.

5.     If you’re using an IRA and you break the IRS rules about handling your account, you’re out of luck. It’s going to be very painful and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. Not so with 401k’s, that provide a clear path to correcting errors.

6.     You can’t BORROW money from your own IRA, but you can from your own 401k!

7.     A 401k includes BOTH Traditional and Roth subaccounts… you get both types in one 401k plan, which creates astounding flexibility not available in an IRA.


Again, there are MANY more reasons that I firmly endorse the use of a 401(k) over an IRA for any self-directed investor who qualifies for both. Issue #5 – the one about committing prohibited transactions – if that was the only difference, that would be more than enough. But the reasons are far more extensive than that.


But that caveat I mentioned: That you should use a 401(k) over an IRA if you qualify for both… it’s the question of qualification that’s our first determining factor, and that leads to the one, and I believe only, way in which IRA’s are superior to 401k’s.


That way is that nearly anybody who has a job or an existing retirement account can qualify to set up a self-directed IRA. There’s just not a lot required beyond having a source of earned income.


Not so with 401(k)’s. The requirements aren’t huge, but they’re notable. Here they are:


First, you have to be owner or partial owner of a business.


Second, that business have to make real income. It doesn’t have to be a lot of income, and it doesn’t even have to be profitable, but it does have to earn income.


Third, if your business has any full-time employees other than you, your partners and your spouses, then you’ll need to use a normal self-directed 401(k). But if the only full-time employees of your business are the owners and their spouses, then you can use the solo 401(k), which is the same thing but intended for smaller businesses.


So that’s it. You’ve got to own a business that makes money, even if it isn’t profitable. That’s basically what it takes to qualify to set up a self-directed 401(k) plan.


Again, my strongest advice to you is this: If you qualify to use a self-directed 401(k) plan, you almost certainly should do that rather than using a self-directed IRA plan. Again, check out Episode #3 of this show – which is linked on today’s show page at SDITalk.com/314 – for more information that compares 401k’s to IRA’s.


Here’s the good news and the bad news about 401k’s:  They can be relatively simple and inexpensive to set up, but they are NOT all the same… and sometimes, the differences are REALLY severe. I’ll do an episode sometime in the future to help you see how stark those differences can be. But in the mean time, if you’d like to set up a self-directed 401k and want a referral to someone who can do that for you and do it exactly right the first time, just drop an email to me at feedback@sditalk.com and I’ll be happy to get you connected.


Now, having clarified the general superiority of 401k’s over IRA’s, that still leaves us with a big question: If you only qualify for an IRA and not a 401k, which TYPE of IRA should you use? Because it turns out there are a LOT of variation with HUGE differences! We’ll dig into that question in the NEXT episode of our Making The Right Choice series here on SDI Talk, so stay tuned!


My friends… invest wisely today, and live well forever!

2019-6-12

Mark Cuban said WHAT? | SDITalk.com/313

Ep. 313

Mark Cuban said WHAT? Political correctness rears its ugly, stupid head again. Today, we take a brief break from our “Choosing the Right Tool” series to address some utterly foolish comments made by a normally reasonable and thoughtful person. I’m Bryan Ellis. This is episode #313 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.


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Hello, Self-Directed Investors, all across the fruited plane! Welcome to Episode #313 of Self-Directed Investor Talk, the SHOW OF RECORD for savvy self-directed investors like you, where each day, I help you to find, understand and profit from exceptional investments and strategies.


Today’s show notes, transcript and resources are available to you, at no cost and with my complements, over at SDITalk.com/313.


Yesterday we began to focus on the question of determining which type of self-directed account is better for you: the self-directed IRA or solo 401(k). We’re going to return to that tomorrow and likely for a couple of additional episodes as well, but something came up today in my news feed that I thought I’d address with you.


Mark Cuban – the businessman who famously became a billionaire when he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo in 1999 – is someone to whom I pay attention and whose words are generally surprisingly grounded given that he is, after all, a billionaire. I respect that.


Furthermore, I know a lot of you respect him and his work, too. And you and I as self-directed investors are obligated to pay attention to smart people since we make our own investment decisions. Unfortunately, it looks like Mark Cuban’s thinking may now be muddled and more politically-oriented than business-oriented.


Case in point: A new article on Yahoo Finance called “Mark Cuban describes the best way to reduce wealth inequality”. I’ve linked to it today from SDITalk.com/313, be sure to check it out.


Now right away, whenever you see the words “wealth inequality”, you know someone is speaking to a political audience and not an investor- or business-oriented audience, because wealth inequality is a totally contrived problem.


On the surface, the words “wealth inequality” seem to mean that some people have more wealth than some other people. Yep, that’s true. And thank God for it. Those who do better than I do provide great inspiration, motivation and examples for me to up my game. Hopefully I provide a good example for those not at my level. That’s what “wealth inequality” really is: The scorecard of capitalism and the financial representation of dogged determination.


That’s capitalism at the core, and capitalism is a good thing. My model of wealth building and your model of wealth building – self-directed investing – depend on capitalism. Always remember that.


Now “wealth inequality” might represent an actual real problem, rather than a totally contrived one, but only if our economy was a zero-sum game. If, in other words, it was the case that every dollar I make means that you can’t make that dollar… well, in that case, the scarce supply of wealth might change the game. But that’s not reality. When another oil well is found, new wealth is discovered. When a new software program is developed that has commercial appeal, new wealth is created. Wealth in a capitalist economy like ours is not a zero-sum issue, but is simply a representation of the value of resources and ideas. There are zero circumstances under which it can be said that the fabulous wealth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos or Mark Cuban has hurt my ability or your ability to become wealthy in any way. In fact, it’s likely that every one of them have IMPROVED your odds in some way.


That’s why Cuban’s promotion of this issue is disappointing to me, and also quite illogical. In the Yahoo Finance interview, he’s suggesting, for example, that to really change the wealth inequality situation, that people on the lower end need to begin accumulating assets. I totally agree with this, by the way. But then he goes on to suggest that one of the provisions of the new Federal Tax law – the provision whereby a cap is placed on the amount of federal income tax deductions one can take for the STATE and LOCAL taxes they’ve already paid – Cuban suggests that this provision makes it harder for lower-income people to actually buy houses or other assets in order to get themselves above the lower-end of the financial spectrum.


That sounds good to people of a certain political persuasion, but here’s the problem: It’s wrong. Low-income people are, almost by definition, unaffected by the tax code provision he cites. As in, an effect of zero, zilch, nada. It just doesn’t make any sense what Cuban is saying here.

Of course, some of the other things in the interview he says DO make rational sense, so I’m not saying that this guy is a fool or is absolutely misleading. What I am saying to you is this:


Mark Cuban is now definitely endorsing some ideas that only make sense in a political world, not in the real world. Not all of them, but definitely some of his ideas can be described that way. So if you’re like me, you’re a self-directed investor and you’ve taken Mark Cuban’s advice to be the kind of advice which is inherently always worth considering seriously, well… maybe it’s time we rethink the degree to which we take his opinions seriously.


Because at the end of the day, folks, this is true: When it comes time to pay for your retirement, you’re not a Republican and you’re not a Democrat. You’ve got expenses to cover and bills to pay… and nothing said by a politician or aspiring politician will help you with that.


My friends, invest wisely today and live well forever.