Woodland Hills CA CPA Shares Views That Equity in Your Home Will Not Satisfy Your Retirement Needs
by larry71 on Monday, November 14th, 2011
"Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better." - Jim Rohn
Note: Very recently, I've seen a continuing increase in IRS Audits. Particularly, of personal tax returns that include a Schedule C, Sole Proprietorship. Often, these individuals try and represent themselves until they receive a bill for several thousand dollars from the IRS (a preliminary Revenue Agent's Report). Then, they find and call me and I get them focused and guide them in attempting to get their bill reduced. Business is brisk as a result. If you have any friends or relatives facing an IRS Audit, have them watch my recently created You Tube Videos from the link on my website at www.cpaformerirsagent.com an call me if they need my IRS Audit Representation expertise.
I've recently created two YouTube videos so far that are now online for your viewing. The Topics are IRS Audit Part 1 - Income and IRS Audit Part 2- Proving Expenses, Simply go to my website at www.cpaformerirsagent.com and click the You Tube link to watch them. Other topics for planned future videos include The IRS Collection Process, Offers In Compromise, Removal of An IRS Tax Lien and a few others. These are full of useful tips, very informative, and worthy of your viewing. Stay tuned for further announcements.
First off, I hope you've had the chance to respond to last week's email -- and thanks to the many who took the time to help ME help YOU before tax season strikes. (If you would like another copy of the email, let me know, and I'll send it your way!)
But secondly, I'm here to challenge your thinking a little today. This email might get a little math-y ... but hey, I get paid the big bucks to do math. :)
If you've followed my writing for a while, you know that I like to challenge conventional wisdom. And, though I'm not a financial planner, per se (see the important disclaimer at the bottom of all of my emails!), I do face a bunch of questions which simply must be considered from a financial planning perspective.
Many of my clients and their friends are scrambling for ways to think about how to save for retirement. And, as I hope you know, we can help think through all of the tax implications for various accounts, deductions, etc. But one of the "lazy man's" methods for saving for retirement, for too many people, is to rely on the equity in their primary residence.
In short, this won't be enough, for most people.
The long, more fully-explained version is laid out here in my Note. I hope you see how it demonstrates the sort of thinking which we bring to ALL of the decisions I can help you make. After all ... I can be so much more than form filler-outers, if you let me!
Lawrence J. Danny's
"Real World" Personal Strategy
Your House May Not Be The Investment You Thought It Was
Just because something costs a lot doesn't mean it is an investment. An investment is something that pays you money.
Therefore the house you and your family live in is not an investment. Neither is the vacation home you rent occasionally. Nor that piece of land next to your house you bought to preserve your view. It is human nature to justify a purchase by calling it an "investment," but if it doesn't pay you money, it shouldn't be treated as an investment in financial planning.
Historically, equities appreciate at a rate of about 6.5% above inflation. If inflation has historically been 4.5%, equities average about 11%. Equities include stocks, stock mutual funds and stock exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Your portfolio should be invested mostly in equity investments to appreciate at a rate greater than inflation.
Fixed income is more stable, but averages interest payments of 3% over inflation. If inflation averages 4.5%, fixed-income investments average 7.5%. Fixed income includes bonds, bond mutual funds and bond ETFs.
Real estate as an investment falls somewhere between stocks and bonds. On average commercial real estate produces a real return of about 4.9% over inflation. If inflation averages 4.5%, commercial real estate averages 9.4%.
Commercial real estate as property with no income does not appreciate at the rate of inflation. It actually depreciates against inflation by about 1% a year. Fortunately, it should produce 5.9% in profit to overcome this depreciation and produce a real return of about 4.9% over inflation.
Handling commercial real estate privately requires more work. If your commercial real estate isn't generating a lot more income than it costs to maintain it--including depreciation--it isn't pulling its weight. Only if it can produce significant income and grow at a real return of 4.9% over inflation will a $100,000 investment in real estate grow to $331,000 after 25 years.
Similar equations can be used for residential real estate. On average it produces slightly less income, giving a real return of 4.1% and growing to have a buying power of $273,000. Obviously all real estate is subject to the increasing desirability of the area where it is located. Some excellent school districts have experienced appreciation significantly greater than inflation. But many rural communities have barely kept up.
These historical averages provide benchmarks as a way to judge the investment worthiness of a particular piece of property. If you own a $300,000 rental home, you should expect to average at least $3,000 each year in repairs and upkeep. One year it might be lower only to have major bills the next. Your benchmark is a real return of 4.1%. After repairs and all other expenses, you should have a profit of $12,300, or 4.1% of your investment. That means you have to have a profit of at least $15,300 (5.1%) or more for your investment to pay you the appropriate amount.
Real estate that pays you appropriately can be considered an investment for the purposes of wealth management. But you need to run it like an investment and track your return after all of your expenses.
This analysis helps explain why property that you do not rent is not an investment. Every $100,000 of equity put into property that lies fallow costs you $1,000 in expenses just to keep up with inflation. And although keeping up with inflation is good, without the 4.1% income there is no way your $100,000 investment will grow to have the increased purchasing power of $273,000.
A family's home, however, does not, typically, keep up with inflation. Some couples sell a large expensive home, purchase a smaller house and invest the difference. Many believe they will, but when the time comes, their downsized house is so much nicer that little is left over to invest.
Additionally, for many couples the value in their home is used as equity toward an assisted living arrangement. The larger their home, the more expensive the retirement community they buy into. For these and other reasons, it's helpful to not assume that the equity in a family's home will be available during retirement.
To reiterate, just because something costs a lot doesn't mean it is an investment. Investments should appreciate at a rate that grows faster than inflation and gains purchasing power. And spending your money on non-investments can jeopardize a plan to reach your goals of financial freedom. As a rule, investments should work FOR you, paying you money that you can spend or reinvest elsewhere.
I do hope this helps -- and I realize there's a lot to consider here. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help, or if you'd simply like to discuss this further. As you can see, both with taxes and family finances, I make it our mission to think ahead on your behalf!
Lawrence J. Danny, CPA
POSTED BY: larry71
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