Readers looking for easy money may be discouraged by Sutton’s demonstration of just how complex real estate money can be,...

Loopholes of Real Estate

SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL REAL ESTATE INVESTING

Investing in real estate is as easy as understanding the tax code and personal-injury law, according to this informative but daunting primer, part of the Rich Dad Advisors series.

Sutton (Run Your Own Corporation, 2012, etc.), an attorney, expert in business law and one of real estate–investment guru Robert T. Kiyosaki’s stable of Rich Dad Advisors, offers clever, if complicated, new ploys to grow and safeguard a fortune. He begins with a motivational sketch of the cash-flow investment doctrine popularized in Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad—buy rental properties with borrowed money; rake in cash from tenants; leverage the equity to buy new properties; repeat until rich—but focuses on the labyrinthine “loopholes” that make the formula tenable. The first kind involves subtle tax dodges that add greatly to the profitability of property investments—everything from “cost segregation” depreciation to “passive loss” allowances to the “1031 exchange.” The flip side of amassing real estate wealth, the author continues, is protecting it against lawsuits, especially those filed by tenants. Sutton therefore explores another suite of legal loopholes for sheltering assets from court judgments, including insurance, limited liability corporations that distance owners from their wealth, and the tactic of loading properties with debt so they are less tempting targets for plaintiffs. There is plenty of arcane tax, legal and corporate-structuring lore here, but Sutton explains it in admirably lucid, straightforward prose supplemented with entertaining fictional case studies, including a picaresque involving an alpaca ranch, a moonshine still and whiplash payouts. Readers will learn a lot from the book, though not quite enough to master the subject; Sutton stresses that a team of expert “advisors”—a lawyer, broker, accountant, insurer, property manager—is indispensable for guiding investors profitably through the legal/financial minefield. The book cuts against the grain of Kiyosaki’s cash-flow populism, his credo that real estate investment, not earned income, is the little guy’s road to riches. Here, the investor is the almost vestigial figurehead for the army of business-service professionals who do the legwork. Still, novice investors will find it an excellent road map for getting started.

Readers looking for easy money may be discouraged by Sutton’s demonstration of just how complex real estate money can be, but others will find helpful guidelines, tips and tricks presented in a clear, engaging style.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1937832223

Page Count: 352

Publisher: RDA Press, LLC.

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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