Thursday, October 6, 2011

ANC Youth League once again disrupting SA

OK, its been a long quiet spell from me, with my last post dating back to June.
I have been too Gatvol to blog here... despondency has been the game of the day.

However, this inspired me to make a fresh post:

The ANC Youth League is planning mass action around the country for 27 & 28 October 2011 which is likely to once again cause widespread disruption of the economy, the very economy that feeds the masses. This is not rumour or heresay, this is taken from their own website at:

When will these idiots learn, this is not the way to bring about change.
There is a right way to go about things properly. Such matters cannot be changed overnight without totally destroying the very foundations they need to build up this country for the benefit of all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Affirmative Action, in action in SA today

Published widely throughout the world during April & May 2011 :

South Africa is the only country in the world where affirmative action is in the favour of the majority who has complete political control. The fact that the political majority requires affirmative action to protect them against a 9% minority group is testament to a complete failure on their part to build their own wealth making structures, such that their only solution is to take it from others.

… ’nuff said ?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Haiti and the blacks!

The following is an article that appeared in The Sunday Standard (Botswana) of 24 January 2010

"Loose Canon" is a black journalist who contributes regularly to newspapers.
Haiti and the blacks!
by Loose Canon

24 January 2010

I hope black people will learn a lesson from the earthquake that hit Haiti.

If they don't learn anything from it, then I throw up my hands in despair and give up.

Let's start with a few basic facts. Until the earthquake, I never knew there was a place called Haiti. I was taught geography at school but I cannot remember a time when the mistress told us about Haiti. It must have been one of those insignificant countries that we had no reason to know about.

I was fairly good at geography because I knew which country was on which continent. I also knew many capital cities. But as for Haiti I was clueless.

Now the whole world, including myself, knows about Haiti. I heard news of the earthquake on the radio. I wondered where Haiti was and what sort of people lived there.

Finally, when I switched on the television, I was informed that Haiti is an island out in the Caribbean. Television pictures revealed a place populated by black people.

From the non-stop television coverage of the earthquake, I got to learn about the history of Haiti. It was not a good history lesson. It would seem throughout its existence Haiti has suffered a series of natural calamities. In the process it has sunk even deeper into poverty and deprivation.

Like all places populated by black people, Haiti is poor. As I watched the television images, I felt very sorry for that forsaken place.

Then I was hit by a thunderbolt.

I wondered what if there were no white people. You see, when the earthquake hit Haiti somebody had to come to its assistance. There had to be a rescue effort. The Haitians who survived of course did their fair bit by digging out their families from the collapsed ramshackle buildings.

But such was the scale of the devastation and the loss of human life that a bigger effort was needed. For that sort of work, you need heavy lifting gear and other sophisticated rescue equipment. I have been following the story of the earthquake keenly. I can attest to the fact that the first people to arrive with sniffer dogs were white crews from all over the world.

The aeroplanes that set off carrying water and food were from white countries. Not only that, the teams of volunteer doctors that I saw on television comprised white people from across the world. As the sniffer dogs went into action, the organized rescue teams that carried the stretchers were made up of white people.

It was announced that a mobile hospital was on the way. It was coming from a white country. For all intents and purposes in the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti was literally swarming with white people. They had all arrived to save the poor blacks. And the locals were so happy to see them.

Granted there were teams from the Orient such as the Chinese and Japanese. They too had quickly left their homes and families to go and assist the stricken people of Haiti.

It is obvious to everyone that this was a devastating earthquake and the work to repair Haiti and return it to a modicum of normalcy will take many years. Somebody had to commit funds to this effort. Most of the countries that have committed funds to aid the recovery are white. In fact, it would seem the whites are running the show in Haiti.

What is my point?

My point is that ever since Haiti was hit by the earthquake I have not seen any of my folks from Africa.

Unless the television cameras deliberately ignored them, I never saw a rescue team from my motherland. Nor did I see any sniffer dogs from down here.

Heck, I never saw a single traditional doctor busy divining where to find people buried under the rubble.

Haiti is a land of black people. I would have expected the place to be swarming with black people helping their own. They were nowhere to be seen. I never saw any ships from black countries pulling into the harbour.

As the air traffic circled above the small airport, none of the planes was reported as coming from Africa. The blacks were nowhere to be found. They issued tepid statements of condolence to the people of Haiti and a few of the African countries donated small amounts of cash.

Granted that was better than nothing. But I must say I was disappointed. I was sad because the blacks did not behave as I had expected.

You see, for far too long black countries have been insolent to the point of being abusive. They have a tendency of insulting the white man and telling him to keep out of their countries.

In Fact, black people have the temerity to tell white people they can perfectly survive on their own.

So I had expected the black countries to be consistent and behave true to form. Why didn't black countries tell white countries to stay away from Haiti because we were quite capable of leading the rescue effort?  We should have insulted them as we often do at international forums.

There, our countries insult white countries and accuse them of imperialism and neo colonialism. I was extremely disappointed when our countries failed to accuse white people of practicing imperialism and neo colonialism by coming to rescue the blacks of Haiti.

We should have told them we have better sniffer dogs that have been taught only to rescue black people. We should have told their ships to stay away and their planes not to overfly Haiti because we were up to the job with our own ships and aeroplanes.

We should have brought in our traditional food instead of the strange rations the Haitians are not accustomed to.

I am so disappointed by the black leaders that I hope never to hear them again bleating about how bad white people are. The earthquake in Haiti was the most opportune time to show the whites, once and for all, that we don't need them.

From now onwards, I want black leaders to shut up and never accuse ever again, white people of being bad. I am sick and tired of big words such as imperialism and neo colonialism which are unable to rescue victims of the earthquake.

I hope this is not the last earthquake that hits a black country. I want the next one to specifically hit the residence of The Evil Self-centred Old Man in Harare, Zimbabwe who does nothing for his people. Then we will see if he will abuse the white crew coming to rescue him and his wife Ghastly Grace!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Read this and weep

I don't know who the original author of this is, and have not verified all the facts, however this is just another very typical story of what is happening in the "new" South Africa.

The public bus service in Durban has closed down, leaving thousands of daily commuters with no way to get to work or home again. It has closed because it is insolvent. How on earth did that happen?

The public bus service was run and operated by the city municipality from 1912 until 2007. It did receive subsidies from the City, but these were recovered from the Government and not from the ratepayers. In essence the public transport system ran at a profit sufficient for it to replace its own vehicles as needed.

In 2007 the City Council decided that it was illegal for them to operate the public transport under the new Constitution - it had to be Run and operated privately by someone from the previously disadvantaged community. The City Manager, Dr Mike Sutcliffe, then sold the public transport operation to a private company named Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd for R70 million. This sum also included the route operating licenses and all the vehicles, equipment and buildings in Alice Street where the buses were garaged, serviced and repaired. So far so good,

Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd immediately sold off the buses, (mostly new vehicles), one by one, to independent "owner-operators" contracted to
Remnant Alton, An owner-operator would drive their bus over allocated routes, collect the fares and use the bus garage in Alice Street as a facility for maintaining the bus. They would also buy their spares and diesel from Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd.

By the end of 2008 most of the buses were in such poor condition they were unsafe. Broken down buses were the order of the day, and the service to commuters was a shambles. Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd approached the City Council for help, and the City Council lent them R40 million at a very low interest rate to restore the bus service. This was in March 2009.

At the beginning of April 2009 Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd went into liquidation and ceased all operations. The R40 million was "gone", so the City Council seized the company. The 1500 "owner-operators" then took the Council - as the new owners of the business - to the labour court, and won their case.
The Council was ordered to compensate them with the same income they would have received had the service continued operating until the end of their contracts. Naturally the R40 million "loan" plus the award to the owner-operators comes out of Council revenue, paid by the ratepayers of Durban .

Now the Council, who suddenly decide that it is NOT illegal to operate the bus company, spends a fortune on buying new buses and restoring the transport service to its former state. Nobody yet knows what this has cost - the bills are still coming in. But suddenly there is a "whoops".
The Council can't run the buses, because it sold the licenses to operate over the routes to Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd. No problem. Just buy them back. Remnant Alton was willing to sell them back to the council, and the council was willing to buy them back. The only teensy weeny problem is that Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd had sold them to its Managing Director and he wanted slightly more for them than what Remnant Alton had originally paid. After tough negotiations the council beat him down to a lower price and bought the route licenses back for R45 million. Yes, that's right. R45 million

OK. On the income side, the ratepayers scored R70 million when the bus company was originally sold.

Now, on the debit side, they have an unrecoverable loan of R40 million, written off Plus the cost of restoring the company to a good operating standard - say another R100 million Plus the cost of buying the route licenses back - R45 million Plus the cost of recompensing the
Owner-operators - 1500 of them, for four months at R8000 per month each = R48 million (note: more than a doctor earns)

So the total cost to ratepayers is R233 million less R70 million = R163 million.

Well, its a lot of money, but at least we will have a working bus service back.

Now here is the real kicker. The Council says it doesn't have the capacity to operate the bus company, so it will be looking for a private company to operate it in the future - and they have found the perfect candidate.

Yep. You guessed it. They are GIVING it away, lock, stock and barrel, completely FREE, to.....

Wait for it......

Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd

I kid you not.

Now, the Durban (Etekwini) Metro Council is overwhelmingly ANC, and they got VERY upset when a Democratic Alliance Councillor asked if they knew that the Managing Director of Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd had at some stage in the past been found guilty of fraud, and served time for that offence?

The response No, we didn't know that. After more questions - Well, actually, the City Manager did know, but was some time ago, and the "gentleman" concerned had served his time and paid his debt to society, so we didn't think it was important....

Meanwhile, the buses haven't begun running yet. Nobody has a clue when they will operate again.

But the citizens of Durban can take solace in learning the new and unpronounceable street names as they walk to and from work, hoping they won't step in the turds and filth, or get mugged. They may even see our City Manager sweep by in his fancy luxury car, with a cavalcade of body guards, as he makes his way to his new luxury penthouse, valued at several million, at the Point Waterfront - smiling as he goes because the area has been declared, BY HIM, as a rates-free zone until 2014. Effectively he is totally unaffected by this huge cock-up. He doesn't even have to pay his share in his rates bill.

Isn't Africa wonderful? Why does everyone not rush back here.....?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rand vs Euro

What's up with the Rand? Looks like the Rand itself is on the up and up!
Let's compare it to the new super-currency, the Euro-Dollar:
Today (29 June 2009) the Rand strengthened from R11.21 per Euro, to R10.98

To see this in perspective, let's review the Rand over longer time periods:
Here we see the Rand against the Euro over the last 10 days

... and over the last month

...and over the last year

Interesting, but where are we in the grand scheme of things?
The 3-year chart shows:

So, where will the Rand go over the next few months, or the next few years?

What aspects (both good and bad) will come into play to influence our currency?
What effect will the 2010 soccer world cup offer our currency?
What about the global credit crises?

These are interesting questions with many different viewpoints.
I would like to hear YOUR viewpoint on this.
Click on "Comments" below to add your own comment on this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A day in the life of Table Bay

I created this short time-lapse video, capturing images from the webcam at which updates every 90 seconds. Here, a full day is played back in under 2 minutes.

I love how the clouds march across the skies, how the shadows rotate counter-clockwise around objects and how the ships at anchor weather-cock in to the changing winds.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bad news and market sentiment

The strength of the Rand has been riding on positive sentiment for South
Africa, however public and investor sentiment is fickle and can change in an

Today, exceptionally bad new was released, which just might swing sentiment
against the Rand and cause all our recent gains to be wiped out in record

You know it goes... bad news travels fast and it travels far...

Unemployment figures were released a few hours ago.

Take note of the following facts released today:

1) Global unemployment is at record high levels.

2) South Africa has the third-highest unemployment percentage in the world!

3) Of all the unemployed people in the world, 5.3% off them live in our

Now let's see how the markets re-act to this news...

On top of this, the US$ is making a strong rally, attempting to recover
recent losses against other major currencies, including the Rand.

We need to watch this carefully over the next few days...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How far will property prices fall in SA? Part II

On 16 February this year I predicted (in my blog), an 80% drop in SA property values, from peak to trough... and some people thought I was crazy.

Well, from the peak in August 2007, property values have already fallen over 30% and we still have a looooong way to go...

During this same period, property prices have already dropped 85% in the UK, 76% in Australia, and 70% in North America, so I guess South Africa is not doing too bad, but we have not reached the bottom yet.

How far will we go? I still stand by my original forecast.

Is this a bad thing?

For homeowners who can continue to live in their own homes for another 10 years or more, the actual value of the property is irrelevant if they do not need to sell (unless they wish to re-finance, but no-one would be foolish enough to do that now).

Those with homes that are actually saleable in this market, can use this opportunity to "upgrade" to a fancier home for minimal expense if they shop around and negotiate a good deal. Even if they sell their home for 25% below current market value, they might be able to pickup a nice deal at 45% below current market value, which are not difficult at all to find today. (I am buying at 50% BMV or better).

For investors with cash or credit, now is the time to start shopping for bargains.
Rental yields are good and when the market turns, the growing demand will escalate these bargain purchases rapidly, for good capital gains.

Its a mad trolley dash for property bargains!

The table above is compliments of

Friday, March 27, 2009

Does any Stock Exchange REALLY work?

Some months back, an idea struck me which I wish to share with you for your comment.

There is something inherently wrong with the JSE and all other major stock exchange systems worldwide, which needs to be corrected within our lifetime in order for them to remain sustainable...

First, to recap basics (Thanks to Ed Kinsey for helping to clarify my thoughts with his response to my first attempt to verbalise this idea).

The very purpose of stock markets is for companies to raise capital for expansion, by selling "shares" in their company to the investing public.

There exists two basic markets:
1) A Primary Market: Where a company sells shares to the investing public in an Initial Public Offering (IPO)to raise capital and,
2) A Secondary Market: where sellers and buyers of these shares come together to trade their shares. i.e the guts of the JSE

The Secondary Market is where the vast majority of trading takes place and accounts for huge volumes of money changing hands.

Think about this...  When a company lists and sells the initial shares, they receive lots of cash...

However, here is the problem. After the initial sale by the original company, these shares now change hands many times on the Secondary Market, without any benefit to the actual company whose shares are being traded.  The buyers pay the sellers, and the brokers make a bit every time any shares change hands, whether at a profit or a loss. And of course the exchange itself must rake off a small slice from every transaction to remain operating. 

So, we have lots of cash flowing between investors on the secondary market, however none of it flows towards the companies whose shares are being traded (except for the very first initial offering, or when they decide to sell MORE shares in their company).

Not only are they reaping no benefit after the initial release of shares to the public, but on top of that, they must constantly pay dividends to whoever holds their shares!

Of course, they can buy their shares back and reduce the dividends they must pay out, but that's not the point.

When there exists high demand for a particular company's shares and everyone wants to buy in, does that company enjoy any real benefit from this enviable situation? Absolutely none at all...

The exchanges need to go back to grass roots and review the INTENT of the exchange... and figure out some way to generate cashflow TOWARDS the company whenever someone wishes to purchase some shares in that company, not just on the initial offering, but on EVERY transaction! Due to the very high volumes traded, this could be a tiny percentage.

Why should the brokers enjoy the only failsafe, risk-free financial benefit of every transaction? They cannot lose, whether the purchaser is making a wise decision or not, or whether the seller is making a profit or loss on the sale!  (This does not ignore the fact that __if__ their advice is usually sound, they are likely to gain a solid reputation leading to increased custom, increased volumes and increased revenue).

The number of speculators and the sheer volume of automated trading being done by hardware and software on the secondary market, plus the recent development of several levels of derivatives, has bastardised the system and is abusing the basic concept. The original intent of the stock exchange is almost lost.

The companies whose shares are being traded should benefit intrinsically by high transaction volumes in their own shares, and not only the brokers.

This percentage could be as low as 1% or even lower for those with high volumes of shares in the market.

There must exist a reasonable percentage that will not scare buyers away, will not affect the profitability of good shares, and will benefit the company whose shares are being traded.

That would add further incentive for listed companies to perform, as increased trading volumes on their shares would increase their own revenue stream.

A small "entry cost" of perhaps as little as 1% is not going to turn investors away from a good share, especially if it is applied across the board.

An alternate solution would for the exchange to force the brokers to pay a tiny fraction of their cut (amounting again to perhaps 0.5% to 1% of the share price) and to route that to the company on a quarterly basis.

I believe this could lead to a new type of stock exchange that would offer companies an added incentive to list and sell shares to the investing public.

This is just an idea to overcome the biggest shortfall of the system that everyone has been using to their advantage, often at the expense of the company that issued the shares.  High trading volumes tend drive the price up, so that the company battles to buy back their own shares later.

There could be no real resistance to this concept in the long run... and, it helps to finance development and growth of industry, a prerequisite of prosperity for all.

Any thoughts on this concept? 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Have you all lost your minds? by skepticdetective

Can you see Jesus?

High ranking members of the ruling party declare that judges who find against the honorable Jacob Zuma in court are counter-revolutionaries and drunkards.


The uncontested Free State chairperson of the ANC, Ace Magashule, urged us this weekend to follow Jacob Zuma like Jesus! WTF? Have we completely lost the plot?

I cannot put this any better... so herewith, straight to the original article by "Skepticdetective".

Click on the picture to read the original article.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Constitutional Conflict?

How can anyone support a government that always seems to side on the wrong side of every conflict? ... and makes the most insane decisions?

Our crazed government openly supported Gadaffi, and sided with Hammas in the recent conflict in Israel. See more info in my blog titled, "South Africa V2.009".

Now comes the latest crazed decision that only a moronic mindset could have made... the Dalai Lama has been barred from entering our country to participate in a peace conference! Is that not just insane?

Our constitution guarantees the freedom of religion for all, yet the worldwide leader of the Bhuddist religion is not permitted to visit our country? How can this be?

The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate! He wishes to attend a peace conference in South Africa... and the government forbids his visit? What are they smoking? They sure know how to destroy all credibility in themselves.

The Dalai Lama was invited to participate in the conference by fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates Desmond Tutu, former SA Presidents FW De Klerk and Nelson Mandela.

Why the decision to bar the Dalai Lama from our country? Apparently moronic government officials have given in to a request from the Chinese government who are still engaged in conflict with Tibet after invading that country.

Our government makes a mockery of the intentions of the peace conference.

This self-destructive action can bring no good to our country... and they do this in an election year? Wow! That is pretty short-sighted.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Zebra? Ag, nee, sies man!

The Big Five have been imortalised on our local currency but with inflation, carrying a wad of R200.00 notes does not buy much these days.

I was wondering when we were going to see larger local currency notes and today I found a "preview" of a R500.00 note. See picture below.

But a Zebra? FTW?

I am guessing this is a hoax. Anyone have any reliable info on this?

Why a R500.00 and not a R1000.00 note?
It must be hoax... If you disagree, then prove me wrong.

For real? A Zebra? No way! OK, it's probably a Qwagga and not a Zebra... but still...?

So what's next? A R1000.00 with a Vlakvark?
Followed by a R2000.00 with an Aardvark?

Other countries use pictures of heads of state... so where is our Baboon banknote being launched?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Economic Cycle

I cannot remember where I found this image, but it speaks for itself...
So where do you think we find ourself right now, and where are we going from here?

Click on the image to see the full size version

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Property House prices fall even faster than expected!

Click for original report

From Realestateweb: Your home is worth 7% less than this time last year, with looming recession expected to wipe out more of its value – latest stats.

An interest rate cut and expectations that rates will fall further this year have failed to put the brakes on falling house prices.

Latest figures released by FNB suggest that house prices were on average 7% lower in February than same time last year.

What's more, this is believed to be the result of a decline in demand going back to 2007. A looming recession could wipe out even more of your property's value.

The FNB House Price Index, released on Monday, shows house price deflation"continued to gather momentum in February, from a January revised rate of -4,7% to -6,9% last moth", said FNB home loans property strategist John Loos. Taking inflation into account, the decline is not far off 12%.

"This is the fourth consecutive month of average year-on-year house price deflation, and it continues to appear likely that this situation of national house price decline will continue for most of 2009," he said.

Clock HERE to read the full report

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What exactly is a Property Bubble, and are we in the midst of one?

A number of new visitors to my blog have asked me the above question, so I started doing some research on the topic. Just then, an annonomous email arrived in my inbox with the following two videos. Thanks Annonoumous, you saved me a lot of research and writing, its easier to just watch these two excellent videos:

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2

Scary? And how! It makes me cringe...

If you enjoyed these videos, see the rest in the series at:

I am keen to hear your comments on these two videos and how they relate to the South African property bubble, especially with reference to my blog of 15Feb09 titled, How far will property prices fall in SA?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tracking local property price movements.

Wondering how the property market is doing in terms of pricing?
Here is a great resource, tracking real local property prices.

Would you believe, one property dropped in asking price by 6.5 Million Rand in Five months since September 2008? From R26m to R19.5m, is a drop of 25%. That is an average rate of 5% per month, or an average 60% per annum!
See: Leopard Rock

Or how about this one...
... a drop in asking price of 68.57% in only 3.5 months!
Extrapolate that to an annual rate and it seems they will pay you to take this place off their hands! OK, that's a bit cheeky, but REALLY... a drop of almost 70% in under 4 months?
Details: One-Third share in 18 kloof gardens, Lelieskloof dropped from R199,500.00 on 31 October 2008 to its current price of R62,700.00, a saving of R136.800.00

Here's the site: (Click to open in new window)
Have fun!

How far will property prices fall in SA?

Would you believe that property prices in South Africa might fall by as much as 63% to 80% in value or perhaps further?

That's a scary concept to even contemplate, however SA had the biggest property bubble worldwide in the recent boom and the bigger the bubble, the louder the pop, the bigger the collapse afterwards...

Ireland, who had the second biggest property bubble, is facing a dramatic drop in property prices of 80% which indicates that South Africa might suffer an even larger blow...

Well, at least according to:

CapeTownBubble Blog (Click to read in new window)

I particularly appreciate this comment:
... monthly rental costs are only 30% of the monthly costs it would take to buy. It is obvious that houses are way over-priced.
Rentals reflect what people can afford,
buying reflects what people can borrow.

Read the comments posted below that blog, they are just as interesting as the main blog itself...

Anyone care to Comment on this? Please click on COMMENTS below to add yours.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why buy real estate now? In a down cycle? Yes!

Why is it that so many people are running from the local SA property market?

Why is it that when friends and family hear I am looking for investment properties to buy, they think I am crazy? I hear comments like, "The property market has crashed!" or "Property prices are still going DOWN!".

Well, of course I know that...

The Golden Rule in all business is, "Buy low and sell high".

Well, after a crash, the prices are low... therefore, it is now the time to buy!

I know that a lot of property investors are in serious trouble at the moment, but they broke that golden rule.. they bought late towards the end of the recent property boom, just before the peak... and then the bubble burst, now their properties are worth LESS than they owe the banks on their mortgage bonds...

What about the fact that property prices will probably drop even lower than they are now? Well, I say, "So what?"

Do we really care what the potential selling price of a property is, if the intent is not to sell it? The only time the value of a property matters, is when you wish to sell the property. The market moves in cycles... yes, its going down now, but it will turn around and go up again... and property bought to hold, (i.e. buy to Let) should never be sold.

Furthermore, once a tenant is paying the rent, and assuming the rent covers the expenses (i.e. the property is cashflow positive, which is quite possible to achieve at the moment), then what does the actual value of the property matter? It can go up or down or sideways or nowhere, none of that affects the cashflow!

Lastly, if we wait for the very bottom of the market before buying, how will we know we have reached the actual bottom? Once we see prices start to rise again, then we will realise we have just passed the turnpoint, but then its almost too late to start buying (unless you want to grab a last bargain or two). So start buying now, continue right through the bottom of the market until prices rise to the point that achieving cashflow positive deals becomes difficult, then sit back and enjoy the capital appreciation and benefit from accruing equity by refinancing carefully to obtain cash lumpsums for purchasing in the next crash in 6 to 8 years time.

One final comment... this is the best buyer's market that South Africa has seen in two decades! We are seeing properties available from seriously desperate sellers, at well below market value. If we buy at least 20% below market value, then the property market must drop another 20% before the value of that property falls below the price paid. That has never happened in the past and is highly unlikely to happen in this cycle (or any other).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Baby steps...

I have recently taken my first small steps towards a bright new future.

After many years of doing what I love doing (a hobby turned in a business) and not worrying too much about the future, the time came to make some drastic changes.

Financial Independence is defined as being able to stop working and still have enough income to maintain a good lifestyle. Most people save all their lives towards a date they can "retire" on their savings, policies, pension or a combination of these.

I realised that my savings, policies and investments, though they soaked up a hefty portion of my income, would be hopelessly inadequate to ever retire and I would be forced to keep working until into my old age, unless I made some drastic changes.

My research covered many different options. Many books were read, seminars attended, educational DVD's and CD's bought and, I spoke to many successful people including those who retired early (some in their thirties without any inheritance nor lottery winfalls).

A clear pattern emerged... none of the successful people relied on traditional retirement systems (policies, pension, etc). All took their own future into their own hands and made it happen themselves.

It became clear to me that the "secret" to financial independence, is in fact no secret at all. Forget the Quick-Rich schemes.

The secret is acquiring assets which generate passive income. "Passive" means they are earning money for you, no matter what you are doing, and they keep earning money, every day, even after you retire.

The most attractive income-producing assets to own, and the easiest to acquire, is real estate, commonly known in SA as buying property. Specifically, buying property to keep for their rental income, the Buy To Let principle (BTL).

Buying and selling property (i.e. flipping property), is not very productive from a wealth creation perspective. The entry costs and exit costs are too high, plus inflation and taxes erode your profits.

With BTL property, you enjoy capital appreciation of the asset, plus you enjoy ongoing rental income which is keyed to inflation, as rental escalations increase your income far faster than the expenses increase.

To really make this worthwhile, one needs to purchase these BTL properties in a trust, which has huge advantages both in terms of taxes and asset protection. A trust costs less than R5000 to set up, but make sure you do it properly, through property trusts experts.

The best thing about buying property, it is the only investment you can buy using the bank's money. Imagine asking your banker for a loan to buy gold, or shares, or unit trusts... however every bank has an established Mortgage Loans section, as immovable property is sound surety for the bank, in other words the property you purchase acts as collateral for the bank, hence their willingness to loan hundreds of thousands (or millions) to us. This is the second "secret" to gaining financial independance, using Other People's Money (or OPM as it is known).

However, I digress... my next post will cover more detail about what to do and how to do it.