Just Smile

Some have compared the excitement of watching a baseball game to watching paint dry (and to others, that’s a tad offensive to paint), but the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians certainly gave it their all and took it not only to the last of seven games for the World Series to be decided but into extra innings. It seemed to be a fitting dramatic build up for the Cubs to end their 108-year drought of winning a World Series – the Curse of the Billy Goat has been broken.

Oddly enough, a high school kid from Mission Viejo, CA, wrote this as his senior quote beneath his photograph in his 1993 year book: “Chicago Cubs. 2016 World Champions. You heard it here first.” I’m not making that up. The kid’s name is Michael Lee – Google it. Media outlets have since interviewed Mr. Lee – now a grown man – and he claims he had a dream about this when he was a young kid, and it’s always stayed vivid in his mind. I’m sure, like you, that there wasn’t even a trace of trying to be a smart aleck because we all know how serious high school students take the writing of their senior quotes. If I remember correctly, mine included the words “blah blah blah.”

I’m sure when the young Mr. Lee’s classmates cracked open their yearbooks to write messages of “have a great summer” and “don’t ever change”, they read his quote, laughed uproariously (because the Cubs of the ‘90s were no great shakes), and focused on more important things like whose party they were going to crash that weekend. To that same end, I’m confident Mr. Bircham the shop teacher didn’t say to himself, “The world should keep an eye on Michael Lee. He’s got something there about the Cubs.”

While I honestly find the whole “prediction” fun – it’s great fodder for an article like this – there are some things that are happening today that would have seemed just as outrageous not very many years prior. For example, three years ago, Amsterdam’s mayor asked a roomful of pension fund managers if they’d be willing to invest in the regeneration of his city’s notorious red light district. Two lonely hands went up. The two funds whose managers raised their hands, as a result of taking the mayor up on his offer, are seeing an annual rate of return between 10 and 15 percent. The other funds stuck with “normal” investments like government bonds, which are yielding about . . . zero percent. Another investment firm representing the British Medical Association decided to look farther afield for growth opportunities and purchased 52 bingo parlors – they’re offering a net yield of 8.4% currently.

Single-family residences are the “regular” or “vanilla” home purchases these days – to the conventional way of thinking, such a home is the first property one acquires before doing anything else in the real estate world. But a case can certainly be made – not as a wild prediction but one that can be proved with numbers – to step outside the “norm” and make your first purchase a duplex or a fourplex. With it as your primary residence, you can get a lot of great products with much lower down-payment requirements, and you can get the other tenants to pay your mortgage. Plus, you only need to live there for a year – then you can move on and purchase that dream house while you keep the original property as a great investment. People may laugh a bit like you just told them a joke when you tell them that this is your plan – they might fail to see into the future like you can. Just smile and think of all that passive income.

And speaking of strange jokes: If you had told me two or three years ago that my two major choices for President of the United States came down to Donald and Hillary, a case possibly could have been made for voting for the Billy Goat. With that said, be a solid citizen and vote this Tuesday!

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