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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE

A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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