Can You Invest Your 401(K) Plan Directly Into Real Estate?

Your 401(k) plan (or 403(b) or 457 Plan for that matter) is likely managed by one of the following companies: Ameriprise Financial, Credit Suisse Securities, Deutsche Bank, Edward Jones, Graystone Consulting, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Oppenheimer & Co., Raymond James, RBC Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services, or Wells Fargo Advisors. These companies and their financial advisers control most of the retirement wealth in the United States.Now, ask your financial adviser if you can invest directly in real estate with your current plan. They will probably tell you that you cannot invest directly in real estate, but they have a number of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) you can choose from. Even though a REIT has real estate in its name, it is not an investment in property. REIT is an investment in a fund that obtains its cash flow from investment properties. It is different from a direct investment in real estate.REITs do not typically let you leverage your investment, which is one of the most powerful forces for creating long-term wealth. Even with an investment in a REIT, your retirement portfolio is likely 70 percent or more invested in various mutual funds, all of which experience stock market volatility. That’s neither diversification nor smart asset allocation investing. The Internal Revenue Service will let you invest directly in real estate, but your plan administrator will not. Why? Because they’re not set up to handle the administration nor do they earn a commission by recommending direct investment in real estate.Let me give you an example: Say you have only one asset, $200,000 cash and no liabilities. You decide to invest $100,000 in mutual funds and $100,000 in direct real estate investments, both of which are appreciating at 6 percent per year. The only difference is that you can borrow additional money from a bank to buy more properties. You obtain a 20-year amortizing loan at 5 percent. To be conservative, you borrow only $300,000, so you have a 75 percent loan-to-value ratio. After 20 years, your mutual fund investment has increased to $320,714, while your real estate investment has increased to $1,282,854, an increase of $962,140 over the mutual fund investment. That’s a 300 percent increase in value with the same $100,000.What about the payment of the debt over the 20-year holding period? The mortgage has been paid off by your tenant who operates his business on your property. You get the tax benefits of depreciation and interest write offs, if you’ve invested personally. If you’ve invested your money through a Self-Directed 401(k), that money is growing tax-deferred or tax-free, depending on whether you have a Traditional or Roth account.You think this is unrealistic? The only unrealistic expectation is to think that your mutual fund accounts have appreciated at 6 percent. According to Dalbar, Inc., the average mutual fund investment has gone up on average of 3.27 percent over a 20-year period. The National Association of Realtors, on the other hand, reported that real estate has appreciated in value an average of 6 percent over the past 30 years, even with the downturn in the economy that occurred in 2008.If most financial advisors preclude you from investing directly in real estate, how do you invest in real property with your 401(k) account? The answer is, you don’t with your company 401(k) account. The only money you should be investing in your company 401(k) account is enough to get the full matching funds. For instance, if you are making $100,000 a year and your company offers a 4 percent match, you invest $4,000 in your company 401(k) to get the 4 percent match. They do a 100 percent match up to 4 percent of your income. Then you create a Solo or Individual 401(k) account with an administrator/custodian that handles Self-Directed Accounts and invest the rest of your retirement funds in that account up to the $51,000 contribution limit if you’re under 50 or $56,500 if you are 50 or older.So, if you contributed $4,000 to your company 401(k), and your employer matched it with another $4,000, you can contribute $43,000 to your new Self-Directed Solo 401(k) account. If you’re 50 or older, it would be $48,500. That amount can be invested each year for you and your spouse, if you have it set up properly. There are no income limits.Eligibility for a Solo 401(k) account requires two things: (1) the presence of a self-employment activity; and (2) the absence of full-time employees. So you set up a consulting business either as an S-Corporation or limited liability company (LLC) and pay yourself a salary, 100 percent of which can be contributed to your retirement fund. Then you invest in commercial, income-producing real estate investments. It’s that simple.

The Benefits of Personalized Adventure Travel Planning

What type of adventures appeal to you? The kind where you push your body or your mind? Adventure travel is not one thing to all people. Some people would be thrilled and exhilarated to raft down a river in Colorado. For other people, that’s a regular weekend activity. Not too adventuresome at all. Those people might love to try hang gliding or sky diving, while for the former person, this is tantamount to committing suicide. Obviously, these people’s definitions of adventure travel vary greatly.That’s what’s so great about it, though. You can tailor-make a vacation to fit your wants and needs. You just have to know what you want, and where you want to go. Write up a list of the top ten or so things you want to experience in your life and that will get you started as you look through all the fabulous opportunities out there for adventure travel.If you want to really get outside your personal comfort zone, there are any number of adventure trips you can take that will do that. You can try bicycling along the Tour de France route or hiking fourteen miles in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. How about zipping at 30 miles per hour on a wire line strung between two trees in the jungle, catching air on your snowboard in a Super pipe or white water rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon? Parasailing, riding in a bi-plane or piloting a fighter plane, and rock climbing up a sheer canyon side each provide different thrills too. If you’re out for thrills, think carefully about the extent of adventure you’ll really enjoy.Does this sound like too much adrenalin for you? Floating overhead in a hot air balloon while watching lions stalk prey on the plains below or walking through Cambodia’s Angkor Thom, where temple ruins nearly smothered by giant trees, are gentler styles of adventure travel. So is walking on trails through the Amazon jungle looking at parrots or catching sight of caimans (types of alligators) sleeping on the river banks at night. To the more laid-back person, this is about adventuresome as you can get.Adventurous trips are not necessarily something that puts your life at risk. They are travels that change you, enchant you and ensure memories for a lifetime. Some travelers go for the physical thrills and the opportunities that stretch a body’s physical capabilities to the utmost degree. Other travelers would rather use their minds, eyes, hearing and cameras to enhance their experiences.Each person’s definition of adventure travel is unique. What’s yours? Just don’t go on a trip that has activities that you would never participate in. Remember, what is adventuresome to you, might not be to someone else. If you’re still deciding, call up a few travel agents for ideas, or visit your local library for exotic places to visit and things to do. Scour the web for packages and deals, and before you know it, you’ll be having the time of your life, doing what you’ve always wanted to do.

Managing Health Care

A major theme throughout this text is that you can control many factors that influence your health. An outgrowth of this attitude is the self-care movement, which is the trend toward individuals taking increased responsibility for prevention or management of certain health conditions. Armed with correct information, you can manage many aspects of your health care that were once thought possible only with the help of a physician.Answers to the following questions provide clues to the use of health-care services, providers, and products and facilitate the self-care approach to wellness:When should you seek health care?What can you expect from a stay in the hospital?How can you select a health-care professional?When To Seek Health CareMany people tend to fall into two extreme groups regarding health care: those who seek health care for every ache and pain and those who avoid health care unless experiencing extreme pain. Both groups unwisely use the health-care establishment. Those in the first group fail to understand that too much health care can be ineffective or even harmful. They also fail to recognize the powerful recuperative powers of the body. An estimated 80% of patients who seek medical care are unaffected by treatment, 10% get better, and 9% experience an nitrogen condition in which they get worse because of the medical treatment. Those in the latter group fail to recognize the value of early diagnosis and detection of disease. This is especially true for men; 30% of men have not been to a doctor in a year or more, one-third have never had their cholesterol checked, and three fourths have not been checked for prostate cancer during the previous year.Perhaps the best way to find a balance between too much and too little health care is to establish a physician-patient relationship with a general practitioner. The general practitioner may be a family practice physician or an internist who specializes in internal medicine.It is important to visit your doctor while in good health. This permits your doctor to serve as a facilitator of wellness and provides a benchmark for interpreting symptoms when they occur.A second important way to balance health care is to trust your instincts. Nobody knows when some thing is wrong with your body better than you do. Health and illness are subject to a wide variation in interpretation. If you are attuned to your body, you are your own best expert for recognizing signs and symptoms of illness.Several signs and symptoms warrant medical attention without question. Internal bleeding, such as blood in urine, bowel movement, sputum, or vomit, or blood from any of the body’s openings requires immediate attention. Abdominal pain, especially when it is associated with nausea, may indicate a wide range of problems from appendicitis to pelvic inflammatory disease and requires the diagnostic expertise of a physician. A stiff neck when accompanied by a fever may suggest meningitis and justifies immediate medical intervention. Injuries, many first aid emergencies, and severe disabling symptoms require prompt medical care.There is debate as to when medical care is needed in the case of fever. An elevated temperature may be a sign that the body’s immune system is responding to an infection and working to destroy pathogens, or disease-producing organisms. On the other hand, if left untreated for an extended time, a fever may cause harm to sensitive tissues in the body, such as connective tissue found in joints and tissues in the valves of the heart.The normal body temperature of 98.6° F was studied at the University of Maryland. Findings involving 700 temperature readings of 148 adults over a 3-day period suggest that the normal body temperature is 98.9° F. The study attributed the difference to less accurate techniques when the earlier standard of 98.6° F was established. Body temperature varies with exercise, rest, climate, and gender. Fever means a reading over 99° F. It is not usually necessary for an adult to seek medical care for a fever. Home treatment in the form of aspirin, acetaminophen, and sponge baths usually lowers fever. You should consult your physician if fever remains above 102 0 F despite your actions or, in the case of a low-grade fever (99 0 to 100 0 F), if there is no improvement in 72 hours. You should consult a physician if fever lasts more than 5 days, regardless of improvement. Symptoms, such as sore throat, ear pain, diarrhea, urinary problems, and skin rash, may be the cause of the fever and should be treated as such. Fever in young children should be discussed with a physician.

The Health Care Evolution – Ten Trends That Can Revitalize Nursing

Nurses are at the forefront of an evolutionary wave in health care. Whether we take leadership or not will determine nursing’s future.These ten trends can revitalize nursing if nurses break free from the confines of the medical model and use their education and skills to become wave riders.1. Aging Boomers
Boomers are living longer. Quantity of life is driving a desire for better quality of life. This generation wants to learn how to stay vital, mobile, healthy and productive. They are looking for guidance in health promotion and wellness, not only disease prevention and treatment.2. A 2nd Boom
Boomers Grandchildren are driving a huge demand for family health information and support for new and working moms. From birthing to family health education and sick child care, family systems need and want professional advice and innovative strategies to raise a brighter, stronger next generation.3. Information explosion
Internet access provides health consumers with tons of information, but not the knowledge or wisdom to know how to use it without getting confused. They need knowledgeable health professionals as gatekeepers, trusted advisors, or health system navigators.4. Holism
People are increasingly spending out of pocket dollars for alternative and complementary health care. Nursing education focuses on systems, whole person, life cycle perspectives that can guide in selecting appropriate options along a continuum of care.5. Consumer driven health care
As consumers rely less on employer health coverage and more on personal health spending, they are seeking innovative and home based solutions for care including advanced home monitoring, telephone consultation, personalized care, and individualized treatment.6. High Tech – High Touch
The need for personal connection, listening, and caring has never been higher. Nurses consistently rank first in every consumer poll for most trusted professional.7. Shortages and Cost Containment
Professional shortages and a drive to contain costs, creates a push to use mid-level and low-level providers for technical care. Nurses will continue to be driven away from the institutional bed side. With decreasing numbers of people in institutional care, face to face professional health care will be delivered in the home and community.8. Accessibility
Health information and care will be delivered on a global, mobile, remote, phone and internet basis. Nursing phone advice lines are increasingly popular with consumers.9. Back to Basics
With increased interest in information and coaching on proper food and nutrition, supplements, stretching, meditation, simplicity, life balance, joy in work, and relationships wellness and health coaching is a growing field.10. Self-Care/Self-Responsibility
People are realizing that doctors, medication and illness care are not going to keep them well. Employers, third party payers and common sense are driving consumers to take health care into their own hands. This trend will continue to drive an increase in self care information and reduction in in-patient and long term care.Tomorrow’s nurses are not working under a doctor’s direction, or in an institution. To remain viable, nursing will have to think beyond the institutional medical care box.Consumers are desperate for professional nurses to fill the need for proactive community
and home based health care.Tomorrow’s nurses will be innovative community health leaders, who develop and deliver services directly meeting the changing needs of health consumers.Progressive, professional nurses will form cooperatives, and creative health delivery systems that support families throughout the life span. They will provide continuity of health information and care while supporting people to navigate an ever more specialized and complex techno-medical system.Grab A Board – Surfs Up!© Aila Accad, RN

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