People often forget that the world is complex, and outcomes are hard to predict.  Simple explanations for cause-and-effect can be tools in helping us understand the world. But very often

I saw recently that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are exploring potential IPOs — again.  These government backed real estate giants failed spectacularly in the last financial crisis. There is

I’m always watching demographic and economic trends. It’s one way we unearth high value deals from across the US. A very interesting trend that continues to pick up steam is

Nobody wins in a trade war.  For the last few years, I’ve been keeping my eye on the trade situation, looking for signs of how it might affect the economy.

If you take the financial news media too seriously, you might think we were on the edge of economic catastrophe. With unemployment at record lows and consumer confidence high, I’d

Is real estate a simple fixed asset, or can it be something more like a service? That is the fundamental question WeWork is asking with their upcoming IPO. This New

Jack Welch once said that whichever team sees the world more clearly, wins. In today’s rapidly changing environment, our broad, nuanced, and detailed understanding of risk profiles is a key

The recent controversy over Nike’s Betsy Ross-flag sneaker surprised me. Not very long ago, it would have been pretty strange to imagine that an American flag shoe would be withdrawn

  All of today’s amazing technology was supposed to make us all smarter, healthier, and more productive. What happened? Compared to what I grew up with, the tech in our

Culture is super important for building high performing teams. It’s also widely misunderstood. Most organizations try to shape culture through policy. On paper, a company might claim to value feedback

Like pretty much everything these days, views on the economy are polarized. Are we living in an unprecedented economic boom, or a long and painful stagnation? You can cherry pick

How much work do you put into hiring a new team member at work? A typical company might review stacks of resumes, conduct hours of phone screeners, and then invest

It’s not easy to raise and educate a kid these days. The world is getting more complex, and we all have to get more sophisticated just to keep up. Unfortunately,

  Too many people believe in one-size-fits-all solutions to complex problems. With another election cycle spinning up, leaders and pundits are trying to sell us on solutions. I’m looking for

Social engineering in housing is a failure. America’s top tier cities are increasingly unaffordable for middle class renters. Ironically, the problem seems to be worst in the country’s most famously

Oversight is supposed to be the primary purpose of a board of directors, but I don’t know if that’s really what they’re doing. From Boeing’s terrible blunder with their new

These days, it can feel like everybody is trying to sell something. Usually that’s no problem, but a magnetic salesman can tempt people into making bad decisions. Over the years,

I would never want to work as a ‘Regulator’. You oversee companies that you do not work for. Getting only the data and access that the companies agree to share

Long term investing is all about risk assessment. Many companies, particularly public ones, are overlooking something important. Risks of a changing climate may be altering the risk profiles of companies

Berkshire Hathaway is taking a multibillion dollar write-down on Kraft Heinz, a recent major acquisition. This is surprising for fans of Berkshire’s legendary leader, Warren Buffett. Known as the Oracle

I’m concerned that whole generations of Americans aren’t preparing for retirement. Defined contribution plans like 401ks and IRAs provide tax incentives to save, but our national savings rate is still

Alliance has had a lot of success over the years by finding undervalued properties. In my experience, great assets are sometimes underpriced because they have an issue that scares away

Alliance recently closed out another great deal: $2 million profit and 25% IRR for our investors. This deal highlights some of our team’s great strengths, and I am proud to

Over the last few weeks and months, economic anxiety seems to be in fashion. Stock market volatility is up significantly since November. But is short term market volatility really a

At the start of every new year, I like to reflect on the state of the economy and general business climate. Looking back on 2018, and the last several years,

America remains the most productive, innovative, and wealthy country on Earth. We’re home to world leading industries, with global talent and capital. What’s our secret? One simple factor that distinguishes

As a parent with one kid in college and two more approaching college-age, the quality of their education is always on my mind. As an investor, I also see that

As an investor, I’m always looking for new ways to enhance the long-term value of Alliance’s properties. In commercial real estate, that generally means making properties more attractive to  lease,

In the business world, it’s widely accepted that maximizing value for shareholders is the ultimate measure of success. But in recent years, more voices have been calling for emphasis on

Transparency into good deal structures is essential for making smart investments. The alleged crimes of Carlos Ghosn, who led the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, demonstrate the tremendous destructive value that happens when

A lot of people are worried about the US trade deficit recently. The US sends billions of dollars abroad every year to import foreign goods. Intuitively this seems bad. But

Interest rates are expected to continue rising through the end of 2018. This is a classic Fed move in a strong economy, but some worry that it’s premature and threatens

To succeed in business, strong teams are essential. There is no recipe for building a common culture and shared sense of purpose. Companies try all kinds of strategies. When running

In today’s world, we’re bombarded with information from every direction. With more books, articles, studies, and datasets that ever, we should be getting wiser. Unfortunately, things don’t really work that

Amazon is hunting for a new headquarters site and offering a huge boost to their eventual host. Wherever they go, Amazon would immediately become one of the top local employers,

Tens years past the crisis, asset prices and the economy have recovered, but fear of Wall Street innovation has been more persistent. Yes, we want to avoid repeating the errors

Last week marked ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the height of panic during the financial crisis. With those dark days behind us, it’s a good time

Years in business have taught me that few things are as critical to success as building a great team. High performing organizations have some common traits. Everybody needs to have

My years in business have taught me that relationships pay. To reap those dividends, you first need to find the right people and invest in making connections. Daily life is

Alliance focuses on investing in properties with strong fundamentals and then adding value to the properties we manage. But it’s impossible to eliminate all risks or surprises in an investment.

The economic outlook in America looks good right now. The stock market is soaring, employment is strong, and our economy is diversified and resilient. It’s hard to fault people for

People who know me know that I appreciate risk takers and entrepreneurs. Their willingness to dream big and go all-in on their beliefs drives us all forward. Elon Musk, CEO

Nobody likes thinking about bad scenarios. Illness, death, property destroyed by flooding — these are uncomfortable subjects. Many avoid planning for trouble because it seems remote. But my grandfather liked

Negotiation is at the heart of the real estate investing. Doing it well requires sound analysis and and an understanding of your counterparty’s motivations. Together, these elements bring out a

Governments around the world are intervening in the economy more than at any time in recent memory. It’s happening through tariffs, tax codes changes  and even Twitter. The more government

I hate saying it, but Americans are financially illiterate, and that’s a real problem. Up and down the education and income scale, people don’t save enough to retire securely. They

Should we be worried that this latest Italian bond crisis is going to have a major economic impact here in the US? In my opinion, no. For the umpteenth time,

When it comes to “investing” in Bitcoin, I say buyer beware. In just the last 5 years, we’ve seen Bitcoin rise from a few hundred dollars per coin, up to

A new breed of technology investors is rising in the modern economy. Rather than aiming for short or medium term profits, these techno utopians are chasing after radical technological improvements

We’ve now seen a full decade of very low interest rates, thanks to the financial crisis and the great recession that followed. That inexpensive money has fueled a boom across

Severe floods are happening more often and real estate investors need to pay attention. The United States has a heck of a lot of heavily populated coastline that is exposed

In the world of net lease real estate, tenant quality can be the difference between mediocre and high-performing investments. Great tenants offer stable occupancy, high credit worthiness, and cash flow

Anybody who has worked with me knows how much I care about Alliance’s brand. I’m proud of building a business that earns consistent returns for our investors, treats everybody with

The business world is buzzing since the White House imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum last week. I’m not sure what this means for America as a whole —

My long-time readers already know that single tenant net-lease medical facilities are our bread-and-butter. Here’s the story of one of my favorite deals. In 2011, we found a specialty medical

Successful people are used to being in control and taking care of business. Like the old saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself. There’s truth in

The NBA trade deadline just passed. The hot takes on who “won” and “lost” have me thinking about the parallels between building a winning basketball team and a winning business.

There’s an old saying in economics, a rising tide lifts all boats. Stocks, bonds, homes, commercial real estate — all are way up since the financial crisis. To make money,

The recent government shutdown inspired a lot of hyperventilating. While it ended quickly, the underlying political fight has not been resolved, so we could see another government closure soon. But

I’m always on the lookout for new risks to Alliance’s business. Usually, they’re deal-specific, but recently I’ve been looking at something bigger. An important piece of the financial world is

Commercial real estate investing isn’t hard to understand. Find a property; pay an agreeable price; manage it competently. But to beat the market, it takes something more. See the unmet

Anybody can buy market exposure and rise with the tide. But the best investors make a heck of a lot more money, and they do it by being consistent over

  When I was a kid, my uncle joked that there are only two certain things in life. Death and taxes. He wasn’t wrong, but now that I have my

  Good investors are also storytellers. An investment is a bet that we see potential others have missed (or undervalued). We buy when we have a theory of how and

  How much should you save? The retirement planning advice industry will give you precise answers, based on your age, earning power, lifestyle, etc. More generally, conventional wisdom says you

  The more things change, the more they stay the same. From the dawn of humanity, we have been social creatures who achieve great things through collective effort. Whether the

  I want to continue the story we started last week about the property we just sold at a whopping 34% IRR. We didn’t just buy a great property at

  After receiving a great response to earlier stories about real Alliance deals, I’d like to share another high level picture of one of Alliance’s great recent investments. Background For

  Alliance invests heavily in the South — areas that have just been battered by back-to-back major hurricanes. As the affected communities work to put their lives back together, they’re

  There has never been a better time for getting things done. With new tools, a savvy businessman can do more work, better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. In

  There’s no avoiding it — we’ve live in a volatile time in American politics. Despite the polarization and frustration, there is still at least one key area where Americans

  I recently discussed how Alliance seals some great deals by acting quickly and decisively. As the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. But it’s not enough

  Whether it’s legal issues, zoning surprises, lease negotiations, tax surprises or something else, real estate deals always come with unexpected challenges. The endless problems can cause endless headaches, but

  In the real estate game as in life, the spoils go to those who move on an opportunity quickly and decisively. A friend from my youth dated the same

  Thank you to all the readers who wrote in last week after we published our story about the hospital investment that turned into a big win. Since we received

  Recently, I’ve received messages from our readers asking for more details on how our ideas translate into real returns for investors. To illustrate how Alliance converts expertise into profits,

  When I was young, my brother taught me that you get what you pay for. Whether it’s a sofa, a suit, a bottle of Scotch, or an attorney, there’s

  Everybody knows the old saying in real estate: location location location. In my deal-making part of the industry, there’s another version: reputation reputation reputation.   Being known for good

  We’ve all heard the saying – A good team is greater than the sum of its parts. I totally agree — teamwork is indispensable. Not all teams work well

  As a real estate professional, younger friends and acquaintances often ask me for advice on home buying. When is the right time to buy? Am I making a good

  When I hear friends talking up the wonders of index funds, I have conflicted feelings. On one hand, it’s great that they want to invest. On the other hand,

  College is supposed to educate our kids and make them ready for a competitive world, but is the system working? I’m shocked by the lack of basic skills in

  I love the saying no risk, no reward. It’s equally true for investing and for a life well lived. If you’re not in the game, you can’t win anything,

  There are many paths to a great investment. The key is finding a place where you understand the upside and risks better than your competition. At Alliance, our specialty

  When you’re ready to make a real estate investment, there are a lot of bases you need to cover, but none is more important than financing. You can get

  There’s an old saying that says trust is earned in drops and lost in buckets. In life and in business, every single encounter or transaction is an opportunity to

  One of the fundamental errors in real estate investing is to ignore the risk of long term vacancy. Everybody knows to look at zoning, property prices, rents per square

  Business today is more demanding than ever. Information is king, and everybody wants quick responses. Long hours, instant responsiveness, and lots of coffee can help close more deals, but

I’m excited that some environmental deregulation seems to be on the way. Lighter regulation means easier development, greater deal flow, and higher profit. As a real estate investor, I’m optimistic

One of the things I love most about America is that people are rewarded for solving problems. Finding unmet needs before the rest of the world catches on isn’t easy.

People talk a lot about government spending, and it’s easy to understand why. Too little spending and government can’t function, and too much spending is like a sugar high that’s

The intelligent investor is prepared for problems. We don’t know when disaster might strike, but eventually, the world will sling bad news in our direction. It’s doubly important to be

It’s official, we have a new president in the United States. I want to take a high-level look at where the economy might be headed for the next four years.

We live in a time of great uncertainty, and smart people are wondering where they should put their money to weather any coming storms. More on that later. First, interest

Never have I seen this country so divided. You’re probably already aware of the many ways that Americans disagree, so I’ll spare you a recitation of the issues. What concerns

Over the course of your career, you’ll have to work for some bad bosses, because, well, human nature. Some people are selfish or shortsighted, and others just aren’t aware of

For all of human history, there have been scum who make their living by scamming, extorting, and robbing more industrious people. The criminals who want to take your stuff can’t just

What Everybody Gets Wrong About Retirement Saving A friend recently mentioned he was not yet saving for retirement, and I promptly gave him a kick in the ass. The tax

Take Control of Your Legal Costs I know I’m not the only one who has choked on my coffee when I opened a lawyer’s invoice. Simple services should not be

It is time again for our monthly Q & A Q:  Ben, I respect what you do and admire you as a principal. I had a bad partnership experience in the past. While I continue to move forward with my business, how do I make sure to choose better partners that will help bring success?