Category Archives: All Posts

Ventures Update July 2017

695 Riverview Drive

I said I would never live in it. I live in it now. I said I would never manage it myself. I manage it now. So glad. Awesome location, saving money, and making money all at the same time.

Real Estate Agent

What a great deal. I highly recommend becoming an agent. It costs ~$2,000 and a couple evenings a week for 2 months. You learn a ton about something that affects everybody. $2,000 is the commission on a $70,000 house. Worth every penny.

Kineomen

Kineomen has several balls in the air. Each is unique. Success in any single venture would be very good. They are all early stages, but each is going well.

Park City Holdings

Park City Holdings will invest primarily in mortgage instruments, focusing on discounted non-performing mortgages.

Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

Simple Kneads continues to grow into its vision of becoming the national gluten-free brand.

Vino de Coco

I still plan to visit the Philippines.

Other

www.coldcall.tv

www.youtaxi.tv

I started a small art gallery in my apartment:

www.RR34.info/G

Videos

I have decided that videos are the way to communicate on the internet. I tried making a “no more writing” rule and only do video. However, videos take time and I have a minimum quality level that I’m willing to put out there. I am hiring a video producer ASAP, starting with a college student at $12 / hour.

Around the World in Columbus

I want to do a video series of interviews with immigrant restaurant owners in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is often considered the token “boring city,” but we are a melting pot with many interesting stories waiting to be told! I am considering taking a film class to give me the connections required to take on this project.

The Stock Market

I have closed my retirement accounts in favor of actively managing the money and accepting that I will pay taxes.

The Big Five

I recently heard these five companies referred to as “The Big Five.” You have heard of each of these companies. You have done business with at least one of them (or you are in a coma of course).

If you are a person who considers single entities that are too powerful to be a threat, then these collectors of our information would be a threat. How do they compare in size to the US government?

Apple

$220.46 billion = annual revenue

Amazon

$142.57 billion = annual revenue

Google (Alphabet, Inc.)

$94.76 billion = annual revenue

Microsoft

$87.25 billion = annual revenue

Facebook

$30.29 billion = annual revenue

US Government

$3,200 billion = annual tax revenue

Comparison

The total revenue of the five companies combined equals just under 18% of the US government’s tax revenue. Apple’s revenue by itself is 6.9% of the US government’s revenue. They have not passed the government, but they are starting to be in the ballpark.

What They Know, Snapshot

Apple and Microsoft’s operating systems account for most of our computers. Google controls our internet searches, and Android, and YouTube, and many of our e-mails. Amazon knows what we buy. Facebook knows the rest.

What They Don’t Control

ICANN

Others

Delaware to Columbus Bike Ride

1st of July 2017

There is an almost continuous dedicated bicycle path from downtown Delaware that reaches to downtown Columbus. Join me to enjoy this path on Saturday the 20th of May.

Leg 1

7:15 – Depart from Havener Park where there is easy parking, for Murphy Park in Powell. 8.0 miles.

Leg 2

8:15 – Depart Murphy Park for Antrim Park. 8.4 miles.

Leg 3 and Brunch

9:15 – Depart Antrim Park for Jack and Benny’s and the Blue Danube for brunch. 6.0 miles.

10:00 – brunch at Jack and Benny’s and / or the Blue Danube.

Leg 4 and Finish

11:00 – depart brunch for the last leg past Ohio State to downtown. 6.6 miles.

12:00 – finish at Scioto Audobon Metro Park for pick-up and shuttle back to Havener.

Total: 29.2 miles.

If rain, make-up day is Saturday the 8th.

Check back here for updates and ore details!

Comment below to tell me where you’ll be joining, or e-mail me at nate@nathanruffing.com

Ventures Update April 2017

695 Riverview Drive

As I branch out into other sectors of the real estate industry, I first want to take an honest look at my first major investment.

The following P&L is for 1Q 2017. See the adjustments below that convert the Net Income to a realistic monthly cash flow. It shows my vision for the property, and hence my enthusiasm since I purchased. I can finally show it on a P&L.

1st Quarter 2017 Actual

Adjustments to Net Income:
+$2500: taxes. This Q’erly P&L includes an entire half year payment.
-$1500: principle payments are not cash flow, just equity.
-$1000: one quarter of insurance paid at once in July.
-$525: 27 rent payments instead of the 28 shown.
= -$525: total adjustments to Net Income.
= $3,945 of actual realistic cash flow for the quarter.

= $1,315 of cash flow per month.

With $102,280 of total cash invested, that is a ~12.8% annual return. That is not a “home run,” that is a “single.”

So why am I happy with this “single”? In the sense that I want to do better in the future, I am not happy with it, but here are some mitigating factors:

  • I have been absent for much of the ownership of the property, and have solved many of the problems with cash, not with my own time. It has truly been passive.
  • I learned to hire a good manager. Much of that $102,280 cash is bumbling around with poor management. I have learned from my professional manager, Panzera Realty, about landlording and management since hiring them in Nov 2015.
  • The property continues to improve. The condition is better every year
  • We continue to cut expenses and raise rents with the market. This year we will sub-meter the water, and new units will rent without wall air conditioning units included. Even with these changes combined, we expect the same rent from the new tenants.
  • My original goal was to learn.
  • 9% matches the market.
  • We are well positioned for an economic downturn with a quality property at reasonable rental rates.

Columbus, Ohio Occupation

Real Estate Agent

I love it so far. It puts you on the inside. A must for full-time real estate career. New website! …

Uber Driver

Fun. More than pays for gas, but a waste of time. I drive a couple times a month still. I hope I always do. I do enjoy it.

Handyman

I will probably always do some handyman work. I enjoy it.

Kineomen

The holding company in North Carolina is positioning to invest in some sector of the real estate industry. Probably non-performing mortgage loans (NPLs).

Click here for info on NPLs. More details in a future post.

Simple-Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

We have a shareholder meeting at the end of this month. There is investment opportunity currently. Your only commitment is to sign an NDA. I do recommend.

Vino de Coco

I still plan on going there in person as soon as possible.

The Stock Market

I’m still out of the stock market.

Real Estate Office

Next week, renovations will be complete on apartment A3 of 695 Riverview Drive. I will live there from 1 May until I find a great deal on a house. Until then, it will serve as an office from which I plan to find this great deal on a house.

I am seeking people who want to work out of this office doing real estate in the listed fields. The fields do not compete with each other. Rather, each one strengthens the others. This can be part-time or full-time and you will use the skills and experience you already have to succeed.

Payment will be negotiated on a deal-by-deal basis, beneficial to all parties. There are industry standards from which to start negotiations.

I provide the place to work and gather.

1. Choose the Right Market Location

Right now, Columbus is the market that I know. Therefore it is the right market for me.

2. Wholesaling

We need sources of good deals on properties.

A real estate agent cannot ethically or legally broker a deal with a large profit without work like with typical wholesaling. However, I can seek a good deal on a property to live in, which is what I intend to do to start out.

3. Real Estate Agent

I am an agent now with Signature Real Estate. That doesn’t stop others from working in this office.

4. Retailing

This includes renovating and selling great deals. (flipping)

5. Landlording

We can’t legally manage properties for pay without a broker, but you can get support in managing your own.

6. Lease-Option, Rent-to-Own

One of the more creative segments. It has its place. (Linden?)

7. Be the Bank, Invest

All deals need funding, and the guy with the money deserves to be paid. Non-performing loans coming soon.

Ready
to
Expand

Nate’s Numbers Hub January 2017

Markets

$2,269 = S&P 500 close 10 Jan 2017 (Yahoo Finance)

28.09 = S&P 500 P/E Ratio on 10 Jan 2017 based on previous 10 years of earnings, AKA “Shiller Ratio,” “CAPE Ratio,” or “PE 10.” (www.multpl.com)

$29.8 trillion = total US market capitalization = $20.2 trillion NYSE + $9.6 trillion NASDAQ

$18.9 trillion = US annual GNP estimate (www.BEA.gov, GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables, Table 1.7.5)

131.2% = “Buffett Indicator” current as of 10 Jan 2017. This number is a variation* on [Total Market Capitalization] / GNP**.

(The calculation is explained here. Numerator obtained from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, current value obtained by extrapolating with the Wilshire 5000 Index. The denominator is obtained from the BEA’s GNP from above. Calculations and chart in this Excel spreadsheet).

*Instead of using actual market cap value, I used “Nonfinancial corporate business; corporate equities; liability, Level” from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis because the data is available since 1945. That number is only reported quarterly, so the Wilshire 5000 index is used to extrapolate to find the current value.

**The GDP is used by some reports instead of GNP, but Buffett uses the GNP. GDP and GNP are very similar, within about 1% of each other, and don’t fluctuate like total market cap does.

I have to pick an economist. My pick is John P. Hussman. He posts straightforward charts showing strong correlation between current indicators and future results. He uses the S&P 500 to measure performance and he has consistently posted weekly since 2003. All of his posts are available for quick reference: Hussman Funds Weekly Market Comment.

241 = current Consumer Price Index. This number is adjusted so that it averages 100 from 1982-1984. For the first year this number was calculated, 1913, the value was 9.9 (BLS)

1/2-3/4 = target range for the federal funds rate. (www.federalreserve.gov, 14 Dec 2016 FOMC Statement, and bankrate.com)

“Yield Curve” at stockcharts.com

6.93 = Chinese Yuan Renminbi for 1 US dollar (x-rates.com)

My Market Tools, Long-Term to Specific

  1. Buffett Indicator from above
  2. My economist pick: John P. Hussman, referenced above.
  3. Investor’s Business Daily Big Picture
  4. CANSLIM checklist for picking individual stocks

Energy

All energy data here is in petajoules = 1 quadrillion joules = “1-with-fifteen-zeros” joules, which can quickly be converted to other units of energy for comparison:

1 petajoule =

  • 163,456 barrels of oil, energy from (BOE)
  • 277.8 gigawatt-hours = 277,800,000 kilowatt-hours
  • 0.02388 million tonnes of oil equivalents (MTOE)
  • 0.0009478 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTU)
  • 0.0009202 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, energy from (based on 1,030 BTU / cubic foot, IEA website)

395,000 petajoules = 2014 global energy consumption estimate (International Energy Agency, Key World Statistics 2016)

102,704 petajoules = 2015 US energy consumption estimate, 26.0% of global total (US Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Review, Table 1.1)

See also the US energy flow graph, Section 1.0, for a visualization of energy use.

9,911,000 petajoules = energy contained in the 1,620 billion barrels of proved world petroleum reserves (US Energy Information Administration), using the above conversion as an estimate of the energy equivalent.

7,153,000 petajoules = energy contained in the 6,582 trillion cubic feet of proved world natural gas reserves (US Energy Information Administration). This is probably a very rough estimate because of variance in the energy contained in different natural gas.

$50.82 / barrel = current price of WTI crude oil (US EIA) = $8,307,000 / petajoule of energy

$3.41 / million BTU = Henry Hub spot price of energy from natural gas (US EIA) = $3,232,000 / petajoule from natural gas

8.307 / 3.232 = 2.6: oil energy currently costs 3.4 times as much as natural gas energy.

Commodities

$1,188 = price of one ounce of gold (goldprice.org)

$16.74 = price of one ounce of silver (goldprice.org)

1,188 / 16.74 = 71, current gold-silver ratio, historical range of 14 – 100 since 1975 (goldprice.org charts)

Jobs

324 million = total US population (US Census Bureau Population Clock)

251 million = US civilian noninstitutional population

59.0% = employment-population ratio, which is the percentage of civilian noninstitutional population who are employed. Total employed is 148 million people. This is 45.7% of the total population.

5.3% = “unemployment rate” the most-often-reported percentage that does not include people who are not seeking employment, whether receiving unemployment benefits, welfare, or otherwise.

Click here for historical employment numbers. For more detail in easy-to-read charts, see “Charting the Labor Market.” The data is also broken down regionally and by state.

(US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey, November 2015)

Movie Review: The Big Short

I just watched the movie The Big Short. It portrays itself as exposing the truth. It exposes the truth about the actions at the very top of the “housing crisis” problem, but it fails to really drive home the scope of the problem. Yes, people at the banks were apathetic, irresponsible, and crooked, and their actions ultimately resulted in taxpayers footing the bill. However, it portrays the other participants in the problem as victims, and I believe this is an injustice.

One statement in the movie in particular clearly emphasizes my point and I want to bring it up because it is so pervasive in our language. They quote a statistic about people being evicted from homes they lived in that banks bought for them by saying, “X million people lost their homes.” No. Those X million people never owned homes in the first place. The first people to be evicted in such a situation are those who took low-money-down, teaser-rate mortgages. That means they never paid a dime for “their” home. That’s the nature of such loans. The bank took a huge chance trying to give them something they never earned in the first place. They were irresponsible and undisciplined enough to take it and not pay. Maybe you could say they were naive enough to take it. Maybe even the loan sharks practically forced it on them. Regardless, they were part of the problem and nothing was taken from them that they actually earned. X million other people weren’t greedy enough to fall for such obvious gimmick loans, remained living right where they were, and happily waited out the crisis watching it on network TV over a new digital antenna.

Is the problem behind us? No. I don’t know what the next “crisis” is, but I know how to survive it. Avoid the following irresponsible, undisciplined decisions: cable TV (yes, that’s right, you will not know what to do with your spare time, see suggestions below), car loans (yes, save up then drive a used car), smoking pot (it makes you dumb and lazy I’ve seen it personally), credit card debt (pay it off by all means necessary especially by quitting the other items on this list), excessive alcohol (quit entirely if you have to).

I’m going to add to the list: ridiculously expensive but worthless college degrees. Students are the latest fad hapless debtor voters  for the government to victimize and force taxpayers to bail out. Oh, but certainly education is important! Getting drunk and high for 4 years and talking about your feelings is not an education, even if you pay $35K per year to do it.

Do: read. Information is out there.

Do: exercise. Bad health is expensive.

Of note, they show a guy with a family in the movie who is evicted even though he paid his rent because the owner defaulted. That is truly unfortunate. However, I personally work hard to ensure that those who pay their rent, as is reflected by their credit score, have a safe and stable place to live and pay their rent on time!

Ventures Update January 2017

Columbus, Ohio Occupation

It is time for me to get a job. My credit card monthly balance is now roughly equal to my checking account balance. I need income.

Uber Driver

I have driven for Uber about 5 different occasions now over the last 2 weeks here in Columbus. The bad news is, you can be online for hours at a time sometimes without getting a single trip. The good news is, it is great fun, you talk to a lot of different people, during peak times there are plenty of trips to be had, and you can know exactly when those peak times are, they’re obvious. The peak times I’ve identified are 1. weekend nights when the bars close, 2. after sporting events like after Ohio State football and Blue Jackets hockey games.

I have averaged only about $10/hour so far, but a lot of the online hours that Uber counts include sitting at my house waiting and not getting a call. I made $75 in the 3 hours after midnight on New Year’s Day. Last night, I made $20 in the 1 hour following the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game by making 4 Uber trips from the Arena District.

I would now not say, “I drive for Uber,” but rather, “I use the Uber app to get paid to drive people home from specific local events.”

Handyman

I helped my uncle build his shed!

 

Real Estate Agent

I signed up for the real estate course at Hondros Business College. I am scheduled to finish the course on 18 February.

I also joined the Central Ohio Real Estate Entrepreneurs, COREE, yesterday. It’s a really great group of about 320 members.

Business Consultant

I am seeking to help lawyers implement accounting software and take a directed look at the business side of their practice in order to more effectively self-manage and consciously make business decisions.

695 Riverview Drive

Still running smoothly and fully occupied. We are saving money for a remodel in a few years depending on the market and situation. In October, I replaced the steps.

Mike was the first tenant on the steps. He’s giving them a quick inspection.

Kineomen

Kineomen is a holding company based in North Carolina. The president of Kineomen is also the CFO of Simple Kneads, the bread company . Kineomen holds a stake in Simple Kneads and owns 707 Brookgreen Terrace in Graham, North Carolina.

707 Brookgreen Terrace, Graham, NC

I lived at “The Terrace” for about 6 weeks in October and November doing upgrade work. It was like camping indoors. I really enjoyed it and I am now looking to do the same thing in Columbus, Ohio. Removing the vines from the side was one day out of many projects.

“The Terrace”

Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread

Continuing to build the brand and expand sales. Exciting advancements each month.

Vino de Coco

I still plan on going there in person as soon as possible.

The Stock Market

I’m still out of the stock market.

America’s Energy Infrastructure

Dear Mr. Trump,

I was a US Marine from 2007 to 2015. I flew CH-53E helicopters in the Marine Corps and completed two tours to Afghanistan. I completed my service as a Captain. I graduated from Ohio State with an electrical engineering degree in 2006. I am a civilian now, and I am happy that I will be starting a business in Columbus, Ohio in your de-regulated America.

I am a life-time Republican and I still find myself cheering for Republicans like I cheer for Cleveland sports teams. I just do. It’s in my blood. I especially relished your victory because of the brash exposure of phony politicians, and insidious media bias. Unlike a cheering fan, however, I no longer align with Republicans on every issue.

I read your two-page 100-day action plan as well as The Art of the Deal. I agree with almost everything on the action plan and I am encouraged that it will be executed by the competent team that you are assembling.

The one item that sticks out like a sore thumb, however, is your energy policy. Putting Americans to work producing $50 trillion worth of domestic energy reserves like shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal would be like spending millions of dollars to refurbish the brick façade of the Commodore Hotel. It is uninspiring, unimaginitive, and small-thinking. This stated initiative is especially disappointing because of the contrast with what could be. A state-of-the-art energy infrastructure that favors renewable sources and efficiency is the modern-day equivalent of having the world’s tallest building, which as I’m sure you are painfully aware, we no longer possess.

We could build the world’s tallest building, but we don’t because it is not worth doing. Creating an energy infrastructure in America that wins in measures like efficiency, per-capita consumption, and reduced reliance on limited natural resources, especially foreign sources, is worth doing. Energy acquisition and production is not just an environmental issue. It is an important economic, national defense, and national security issue. We spend trillions, and commit forces around the world to secure trade routes to attain energy from countries with whom we would otherwise rather not deal at all. Energy is an issue that every country in the world faces, and it is not going away.

This would require challenging the very American voters who elected you as president. Some of the policies would be controversial and potentially unpopular. However, to your credit in my opinion, this has never stopped you. Leading the world with the truly best energy infrastructure would require cultural buy-in at the most basic level. Such a cultural shift would have to be led by an independent initiator with a grass-roots following and credibility on the issue. Politicians quoting scientists telling us that melting ice and arguably-measurable increases in storm intensity will never assign the imporance that it deserves. The various other reasons to undertake these projects are more directly visible and more important anyway.

This would require innovation. I hardly have to say that America is great and always has been because of our ability to innovate. We are up to it if anybody is up to it.

This would be difficult. We fought a civil war to save the union and end the evils of slavery—difficult, but the right thing to do. We were the deciding factor in both world wars—difficult, but the right thing to do. President Kennedy challenged America in 1961 to reach the moon by the end of the decade—difficult, but we got there first, and on time. Opening the floodgates to easy energy would be predictable, boring, and easy. All three of those things are un-Trump and un-American.

We need new energy infrastructure projects, but we shouldn’t be dusting off the old brick façades from 1970. Our infrastructure is already big. It should be innovative, efficient, shiny, and new. It should win in every category and by every measure. It can and should be built by competent American private businesses with leaders like yourself, incentivized by natural market forces. We can. It is worth doing, and it is the right thing to do.

Nathan Ruffing