Understanding Opportunity Cost When Investing In Property

While most investors have got involved in property investing because they understand the opportunities to make money through leverage and capital growth or high yields, I still see and hear of many who do not fully understand opportunity cost.

Remember anyone that gets into property is usually in it to generate money or income – how many deals/properties you own is insignificant.

So what does opportunity cost mean?

Well according to the encyclopedia, “Opportunity cost is a term used in economics, to mean the cost of something in terms of an opportunity foregone (and the benefits that could be received from that opportunity), or the most valuable foregone alternative. For example, if a city decides to build a hospital on vacant land that it owns, the opportunity cost is some other thing that might have been done with the land and construction funds instead. In building the hospital, the city has forgone the opportunity to build a sporting center on that land, or a parking lot, or the ability to sell the land to reduce the city’s debt, and so on.”

So in property investing terms, if an investor decides to invest £50k in a property in for example Wales, the opportunity cost would be what he could have made by investing in Spain, Ireland or Dubai. Or similarly if an investor decides to keep equity of 50k in a property, the opportunity cost is what he/she could alternatively have invested this money in and the resultant value.

Now again this will depend on your specific strategy – and many people are not too concerned about opportunity cost, they are just keen to buy 1-2 properties that can hold onto for 15-25 years to use as a pension. That is fine if that is your strategy – but for me that is too broad a strategy, carries risks and is not maximising the opportunities available.

For me I have always had a philosophy, rightly or wrongly, that I should always be working my money hard. What does this mean? Well as soon as I feel my money has made a significant return and the returns are likely to drop off, compared to other possibilities, then I will look at realising my profits and investing elsewhere ie when I feel the opportunity elsewhere is greater than the current opportunity.

The great thing with property is this does not necessarily mean selling, as you can refinance, and invest money elsewhere.

This is no different to any other type of investing, such as buying stocks and shares – you make/lose your money depending on what price you paid, and what price you sold at – although clearly with property is good opportunity to earn a regular income as well – if hold onto for 15-25 years you should make money, but most likely will be a few scares along the way!

To be a successful investor, must know when to enter the market, and leave the market. And the people that do best buy low, and sell high!

I’ll give an example – while buying off plan has now got a bit of stick in the UK – I have done it successfully over the last few years – but the key is having a clear strategy.

For example, by doing all my due diligence I have managed to buy property at the right price in right location, but then sold on within a year of completion as I felt that was the period I would see the maximum returns in – and opportunities would be greater elsewhere over the next 3 years.

So to go through the numbers, I have just sold one that I bought off plan last year 12 months before completion. I bought at a price that was already £10k below market value based on my research in an area that had little buy to let competition. This was secured with only a £5k deposit. On completion, I put another £28k into deposit – so tied up £33k of my own money. There was no stamp duty in this area.

I then put on market on completion, now even with things slowing down in the area, I have just sold it for a £23k profit. So I tied up £5k for 1 year, and a further £28k for 6 months, to get back £56k.

Why did I sell? Did I consider refinancing?

My first choice would have been to refinance and let out, but the rental would not have stacked up. So while the rental would have stacked up at the price I paid for the property, I would have had 56k in equity sat not doing very much for me. So as I do not forecast huge capital growth in the area over the next 3-5 years, and the yield was not attractive enough for me it was best for me to release this equity and find another investment – ie I felt there were better opportunities for me to spend my £56,000 on, to generate more money.

Now clearly when are looking into the future is element of risk and speculation and are no definite answers – so you are having to forecast as well as you can with the data currently available ie how you forecast interest rates, buying/selling costs, supply and demand, employment, the overall economy and market sentiment over the next time period in the markets/regions you are investing/looking to invest in.

Although opportunity cost can be hard to quantify, its effect is universal and very real on the individual level. The principle behind the economic concept of opportunity cost applies to all decisions, not just economic ones, for example when Steven Gerrard decided to stay with Liverpool last summer, his home club and where he is captain, the opportunity cost was what he could have achieved if he had moved to Chelsea. It will be interesting to see what he decides this summer- he may now feel the opportunity cost is too great to turn down.

Hope this makes sense, and remember to consider opportunity cost when next making an investment decision.

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What You Need To Understand To Invest In Real Estate

Investing in real estate scares some people. Understanding just what will happen when you invest, and even how to do it, can leave most people bewildered. This article’s been assembled to supply you with the some easy, but effective tips on entering the exciting field of real estate investing.

Remember that real estate investing is all about the numbers. When you’re buying a home to live in, you may get emotional about the place, but there’s no room for that in investing. You need to keep your eye on the data and make your decisions with your head, not your heart.

Do not be afraid to spend money on marketing. It is easy to just focus on the numbers and get fixated on how much marketing is costing you. However, it is important to think of the marketing as an investment in and of itself. If done the right way, it will only benefit you in the end.

Keep an accountant on speed dial. You can be aware of tax laws and current taxation; however, there are many variables to keep in mind. A good accountant, that understands and keeps abreast of tax laws, can be an invaluable asset. Your success with investing can be made or broken by your approach to taxes.

When negotiating, you should limit the amount of talking you do. You will be surprised at how often someone will do all the work for you just by letting them speak. Also, because you are listening, you will catch the right moment to strike for the price you seek.

As you look for investment properties, seek those that are likely to grow in value. Purchasing anything near water or close to other businesses will be beneficial to you later on. Think about the big picture and the chances its value will increase.

Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. Choosing a property to invest in should be a business decision, not an emotional one. It can be easy to get attached to a house or really fall in love with a location. Try to always look at things objectively. Shop around for the best deal without getting attached to one of the first few places you look at.

Find a contractor to work with that you can get along with. There’s no reason to get someone to help you with fixing up the real estate you invest in if you don’t like how they operate. You can save yourself a lot of frustration if you just find someone that you know will work well with you.

Stay away from deals that are too good to be true, especially with investors that you cannot trust or do not have a good reputation. It is important to stick with those who have a good reputation because getting ripped off in this business can cost you a lot of money.

Build your real estate investment buyers list with online ads. For example, you could use social media, online ad sites such as CraigsList and/or the local newspaper to draw attention to the properties you have on offer. Be sure to retain contact information for every person who shows and interest so you will have a well-rounded contact list as you accrue new properties.

Know the value of your time. You may enjoy renovating properties, but is the time you’re spending on it time well spent? Consider if you could better spend your time by searching for the next opportunity. If you are able to outsource certain jobs, then you should do so. It’s worth freeing up your time for the more important aspects of your business.

Don’t buy property in a bad neighbourhood. Pay close attention to where a property you are interested in is located. Make sure you are very thorough when looking at the area. Homes in bad neighbourhoods are often low-priced. The property could be at risk for being vandalized and may be hard to sell.

If you are thinking about purchasing rental properties, consider hiring a property manager who can help you screen qualified tenants. Because rental payments are likely to be the source of your mortgage payment, your tenants need to be reliable. Otherwise, you may end up losing money.

Before you buy investment property in a neighbourhood, find out if the city has anything planned for the areas surrounding this neighbourhood. For example, you would not want to buy in an area if the city proposed to turn an area into a landfill. If there are positive improvements on the horizon, this may be a good investment.

Don’t let a real estate investment deplete your emergency reserve or cash fund. When you invest in real estate, you’ll often not be able to access the money for a while. Don’t let this situation destroy your ability to live from one day to the next.

Know what you should be looking for in a property based on current trends in the market. For example, if you’re going to rent out the properties you buy, then it’s best to have units that are for single people, which is a current trend. Another example is to ensure any home you buy has three or more bedrooms because it will be easier for you to sell or rent to families.

As you see, there is a lot of information to learn regarding real estate investments. This article has provided you with the proper foundation concerning real estate investing. So, remember what you have learned, keep learning and get into real estate investing today.

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The Central Theme of Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – Look For Assets Not Liabilities

Rich Dad Poor Dad has been reviewed by many writers. The book, written in 1997 by Robert Kiyosaki, immediately became a success. The concepts expressed therein are the foundation of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad book series.

Rich Dad Poor Dad expresses a number of concepts that seem contrary to the established norms of accounting and finance. Robert Kiyosaki defines an asset as anything that puts money in your pocket and a liability as something that takes money away from your pocket.

In Rich Dad Poor Dad and indeed the entire Rich Dad series, Robert Kiyosaki encourages his readers to look for assets and avoid liabilities. This is the key message to those who want to become wealthy and prosper financially.

Based on the definition of assets and liabilities is the concept of making money work for you instead working hard for money. Money works consistently and diligently for a wise owner multiplying beyond expectations. You cannot become rich by working for money.

You earn passive income when you get your money to work for you, a concept explored exhaustively in Rich Dad Poor Dad. Passive income is the foundation of wealth as it gives leverage to your efforts. After setting up an income stream, it continues to make you money while you sleep.

The Rich Dad Corporation has three main shareholders: Robert Kiyosaki, his wife Kim Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. The three of them are co-founders of the RDPD Corporation under which they have produced a range of RDPD books.

Kim Kiyosaki has written her own line of Rich Women, Poor Women which is based on the same basic principles expressed in Rich Dad Poor Dad but is directed to a different audience altogether. Riding on the back of her husband, Kim Kiyasaki’s books have also been very successful, drawing millions of satisfied readers.

Robert Kiyosaki has influenced the lives of millions around the world through his books, helping many to become aware and get rid of doodads, thus eliminating liabilities from their financial life. He has conducted millions of seminars and training programs. He is dedicated to educating humanity in business principles and handling of personal finances, thus helping them to escape poverty.

The Rich Dad Series gives many practical examples of how to grow money using real estate, the stock market and business. The books confirm Robert Kiyosaki’s qualities as educator and motivator, and his understanding of economics and money concepts. Employing skills as educator and his knowledge of money matters, Robert Kiyosaki has been able to build an empire on the concepts expressed in Rich Dad Poor Dad.

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Constraints on Participating in Leisure

In “Constraints to Leisure,” Edgar L. Jackson and David Scott provide an overview of the field of leisure constraints research as of the late 1990s. They point out that originally researchers in the field studies what was then called “barriers to recreation participation,” but the word “barriers” refers to what is now considered only one type of constraint – something that intervenes or prevents one from participating in an activity. But now other kinds of constraints are recognized, including one’s interpersonal and intrapersonal influences, which lead one not to take part in leisure. In additional, Jackson and Scott explain that the word “leisure” is used rather than just recreation, since it is a more inclusive term, and the word “participation” was also dropped, since leisure research doesn’t only involve whether a persona participates, but what they prefer to do, where, and what a particular type of leisure means to them.

Jackson and Scott also discuss the three major ways of looking at leisure that have evolved since the leisure constraints approach began in the 19th century. It began with considerations of “barriers to recreation participation and leisure enjoyment” based on the assumption that the main issue to address was service delivery, so that people would participate more if there were more services provided.

Then, starting in the 1960s, the focus shifted to looking at how particular barriers might affect the participation by individuals with different economic and social characteristics. Later, in the 1980s, the notion of constraints emerged, and the researchers realized that these constraints might not only be external, such as in the form of a facility or service, but could be internal, such as a constraint due to psychological and economic factors, or to social or interpersonal factors, such as a person’s relationships with his or her spouse or family.

Since the late 1980s, it would seem that three major concepts about the constraints affecting involvement in leisure activities have emerged, as described in a model proposed by Crawford and Godbey in 1987.

1) The structural or intervening constraint is one which affects someone from participating in some type of leisure, once the person already has indicated a preference for or desire to participate. As conceptualized by Crawford and Godbey, these structural or intervening constraints are “those factors that intervene between leisure preference and participation.” (p. 307). Research based on this conception of a constraint generally involves doing a survey to identify the particular items standing in the way of participation, such as time, costs, facilities, knowledge of the service or facility, lack of a partner for participation (such as a partner to participate in a doubles tennis match), and a lack of skills or a disability. The assumption underlying this approach is that a person would participate in any activity if not for these constraints, which seem much like the barriers conceived of when that term was in use. In looking for patterns and commonalities, using various quantitative methods such as factor analysis and cluster analysis, researchers found support for certain common structural and intervening constraints, most notably: “time commitments, costs, facilities and opportunities, skills and abilities, and transportation and access.” Additionally, the researchers sought to look at how different groups in society were constrained in different ways, such as women, or groups based on age and income, eventually leading researchers to recognize that most constraints are experienced to a greater or lesser degree depending on personal and situational factors.

2) An intrapersonal constraint is a psychological state or characteristic which affects leisure preferences, rather than acting as a barrier to participation once a person has already developed those preferences. For example, intrapersonal constraints which might lead a person not to develop particular leisure preferences might be that person’s “abilities, personality needs, prior socialization, and perceived reference group attitudes.”

3) An interpersonal constraint is one which occurs due to one’s interaction with one’s peers, family members, and others, leading one to think of certain leisure activities, places, or services as relevant or not relevant leisure activities to participate in. For instance, based on one’s understandings from interacting with others one might consider certain types of leisure to be inappropriate, uninteresting, or unavailable.

Although a hierarchical model was proposed by D.W. Crawford, E. L. Jackson, an G. Godbey to combine these three concepts into a single model, based on one first forming leisure preferences on the intrapersonal level, then encountering constraints on the interpersonal level, and finally encountering structural or intervening constraints, it would seem there is no such sequential ordering of these constraints. Rather they seem to act together in varying ways and orders, though Henderson and other researchers have sought to combine intrapersonal and interpersonal constraints together to become antecedent constraints.

Whether such antecedents constraints exist or not, another way to look at whether people participate in a leisure experience based on the way they respond to a perceived constraint. If they participate and want to participate, that would be described as a “successful proactive response.” If they don’t participate though they would like to do so, that would be considered a “reactive response.” Finally, if they participate but in a different way, that would be called a “partly successful proactive response.”

A good illustration of this response to a constraint approach might be a mountain climber who suffers a disability. The climber who gets a prosthetic and climbs the mountain himself might be considered to be showing a “successful proactive response.” The climber who decides to abandon the sport might be considered to be showing a “reactive response.” Finally the climber who is helped to climb the mountain by a team of other climbers might be considered to be engaging in a “partly successful proactive response.”

These ideas about constraints might be applied to how individuals get involved with some of the activities I have organized through several Meetup groups I run. These include an occasional Video Potluck Night, where people come to my house to see videos which I get at Blockbuster; feedback/discussion groups for indie film producers and directors, which might be considered a form of leisure, since most attendees are producing and directing films during their leisure time, often for free, and they have other paying jobs; and several teleseminars on writing, publishing, and promoting books, which is also more of a hobby for participants, since they hope to get books published, but have other jobs.

Structurally, some individuals who might attend these Meetup groups may be constrained because of the common structural problems that have been identified, including time commitments, costs, facilities and opportunities, skills and abilities, and transportation and access. Some people can’t attend any of these activities, because they have another event to go to at that time or they may have extra work to do, so they can’t spare the time to attend. Though there is no cost for the meetings, some people may be constrained by the cost of getting to my house, including the gas and toll from San Francisco, Marin, or the Peninsula, and the cost of contributing something to the potluck (which many people have to buy because they don’t have the time to make something).

Another constraint is that some people may be uncomfortable about going to an event in a private house. Some may not attend the discussion groups or teleseminars, because they feel their skills are not yet up to par, although they hope someday to become a produce and director or finish their book. Some may not attend because they have problems with access, since they have trouble getting to my house if they don’t have a car, because they have problems getting there by bus or BART (which are 1-3 miles from my house respectively), and they can’t get a ride. And if someone has a serious disability, they will have trouble getting into my house, which is not wheelchair accessible.

The intrapersonal constraint may come into play when some people decide not to come because they feel uncomfortable in large groups or meeting new people, such as to the Video Potlucks, since these not only involve socializing before the film over dinner but then sharing during introductions and in a discussion of the film after the showing. Others may not come because they fear opening up and showing the work they have done since they fear criticism.

The interpersonal constraint may occur when some people decide not to come because their friends or family may be doing something else or their peers may put down going to the activity. For example, their peers may be interesting in attending and discussing first run films in theaters, whereas my video potluck nights feature films on DVD from Blockbuster that come out about three months later than a theatrical release. Or their peers may discourage them from attending a director or producer discussion group, since they will be discussing their work with others who are similarly trying to break into the industry or producing and directing small films as a hobby. Their peers may claim they should only go to programs where they will meet people who are already established in the industry or convince them they don’t need any more feedback, since their project is already very good.

In short, these three concepts can be readily applied to understanding participation in the leisure activities I organize.

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The Oath of a Kundalini Yoga Teacher

“The Oath of a Kundalini Teacher: “I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am not a person. I am not myself. I am a teacher.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

I have a confession to make. I struggled with The Teacher’s Oath when I started my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. When I first heard it, I rebelled. What do you mean I’m not a woman? If I’m not a person than what am I? And if I am not myself, then who is me? I didn’t get it and it confused me immensely. Who was this guy to tell me that I’m not me? Can you say “resistance?” How about that for a great start?

In this article, I’ll explain about The Teacher’s Oath and what it means to me now compared to my first impression. I’ll also touch on the key ethical responsibilities a KY teacher has in terms of service to students, personal conduct, and roles. And finally I’ll bring in my relationship to the teachings and to the source of the teachings.

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, of Golden Bridge in Los Angeles, says that, “as Kundalini yoga teachers, [we] take this [Teacher’s] Oath. It sets the precedent as to why we are there and what we are to deliver: these sacred teachings. Our purpose is to deliver the student to himself-not to the teacher. We are there to inspire the students.”

How do I feel about The Teacher’s Oath now? It is about uplifting humanity! Yogi Bhajan gave the Teacher’s Oath as a reminder to keep our ego out of our teaching and to always respond with what is in the best interest of the student. He is trying to teach us to “shine the soul of the student,” not to shine our own egos. It is about being a messenger of the teachings; being a vehicle and letting it flow. The Teachers Oath reminds us to be the teacher and to uplift the soul of each student.

Hand-in-hand with the Teachers Oath are the ethical responsibilities a KY teacher has. These responsibilities are three-fold. First, is ethical responsibility in terms of service. As a KY teacher it is essential to keep the purity of the teachings and to teach them in a way that is selfless. It is the teacher’s responsibility to connect students to the flow of the teachings and to elevate the student to the awareness of the Infinite within them.

Second, is ethical responsibility in terms of personal conduct. This is about walking the talk and teaching by example. It is also about relating to the spirit, soul, and essence of a person, not their ego. Additionally, the teacher-student relationships are to remain professional. Personal conduct is to be of the highest caliber and always from a place of deep care, respect, and concern for others.

The third and final piece is ethical responsibility in terms of role. As a KY teacher you need to let go of your identification with your own success or failure. In this role, a KY teacher needs to identify with “being a teacher” as an infinite task. It is about being mindful of the students (ability levels, never being harassive, honoring all belief systems, and keeping confidences). In terms of the role as a KY teacher, choose right over wrong, ethics over convenience…these are the choices that measure your life (not just your teaching experiences). Travel the path of integrity…for there is never the wrong time to do the right thing.

To close off this discussion, it is important to bring in what my relationship is to the teachings and the source of the teachings.

My relationship to the teachings is one of respect, consideration, love, appreciation, gratitude, and service, always, at all times, regardless of my particular momentary feelings and opinions, because that is the attitude I need to have toward my very Essence.

As for my relationship to the source of the teachings, it was difficult in the beginning. As a pure Sagittarian, I am often desperately unhappy in regimented situations as I tend to become bored and restless, and I also resent authority. So, to come to this type of spiritual teaching that is based on the tradition of a guru transmitting the wisdom was an interesting choice. I know that, typically, people surrender to the guru to lead the way until you have the discipline of the pure teachings. It all shifted into greatness once I started to trust my teacher and surrender to the experiences. Now, KY is a proven step-by-step system to walk my own path. It is all LOVE…pure LOVE. I surrender my ego to my soul. I came to explore the knowledge and didn’t know that the knowledge would start to explore me. It was about the wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.

I get it now…just as Mark Ciaburri claims, “My whole being moves toward these teachings. I love what I am learning, and unlearning.”

©Copyright 2010 Kundalini Yoga With Sharlene Starr. All Rights Reserved.

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Importance of Interior Design And Event Management

Birthday parties, success parties, inaugurations, etc. don’t matter what the occasion is… People are fond of decorating their places. Years back, people weren’t that interested in decorating their homes, but now even if there is no specific occasion also, people generally renovate their homes for their satisfaction and happiness. Everyone wants a home that matches today’s trends and class.

Event Management Companies

People usually decorate their houses on their own, but for high budget parties, or events, event managers are hired. Different budget event management companies are now available in the market, one can choose an affordable one, or a costly one according to the need. Event managing companies are ones who manage all kinds of events like festivals, parties, marriages, concerts etc. you just have to hire them and they will do fulfill all the needs of the occasion, right from booking caterers to the arrangements of flowers and their decorating style.

Theme Parties: The New Trend

Now-a-days, a new trend of themed parties is on a roll. People decorate their houses in accordance with the theme of the party, there could be cake dummies flying all over the roof, or barbies and vampire dummies coming out of doors and cabards. For general decoration also, a variety of things are available in the market to decorate homes, different products attracts people of different mentalities as some are fond of antique paintings and objects while others are interested in high-tech new products that are in trend.

Interior Design And Event Management

Interior designing is the art of designing interiors, sometimes including exteriors to give a pleasant, gratifying environment to end user. It includes conceptual development, space planning, programming, research, construction management and many more. On the other hand, event management is the application of project management that includes visualizing concepts, budgeting, planning and creation plus development of large scale events like talent-hunt competitions, convocation ceremonies, exhibitions, fashion shows etc. It basically is the process of organizing professional and socialized events, for targeted audience focusing their interests.

Now-a-days there are number of companies organizing and hosting events on a regular basis on national as well as international level. Today’s generation is highly talented and creative, and for them these companies prove to be a great opportunity to showcase their talent. Event management is a great career option and does not require much investment, it provides you with independence and flexibility, only the thing it requires is passion, hard work, dedication and great creative skills.

Qualities That Makes You Ideal For These Fields

A person to be successful in interior designing and Event management should host or develop some qualities like:

1. Analytical thinking and problem solving approach.

2. Planning and co-ordination

3. Teamwork

4. Co-operative and good networking skills

5. Good negotiation skills.

6. Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines

A person having above qualities can satisfy his customer by organizing a perfect and near to client’s dream event irrespective to the conditions around him.

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Ingrown Toenail Removal Coding Confusions? 11750 Answers Them

In a particular case, a patient presents for a follow-up of an ingrown toe nail. The podiatrist finds that the patient now has two ingrown toenails – one on each foot. He removes both from each toe and also did a silver nitrate cauterization. How should I report this? Should I report 99212-25?

Well, the answer is yes. Besides coding 99212-25, you should bill 11750 (Excision of nail and nail matrix, partial or complete [example, ingrown or deformed nail], for permanent removal) appended by modifier 50 (Bilateral procedure).

Logic for evaluation & management: Since the diagnosis is new to one toe, you could justify 99212 (Office or other outpatient visit for the E/M of an established patient which requires at least two of these three key components: a problem focused history; a problem focused examination, and straightforward medical decision making; Significant, separately identifiable E/M service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service). The patient presents for follow-up of one ingrown toenail. However, the podiatrist has not examined the other (new) ingrown toenail earlier.

Adding modifier 25 (Significant, separately identifiable E&M service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure or other service) to 99212 indicates the podiatrist carries out a significant, separate service from the ingrown toenail removal.

Logic for incision: You should report each toenail removal: 11750 for the first complete removal and 11750 for the second removal. Using modifier 50 to the second removal tells the insurer that the podiatrist carries out the toe removal as bilateral procedure.

For more specialty-specific articles to help your podiatry coding, stay tuned to a medical coding resource like Coding Institute.

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Social Entrepreneurship – Now is the Time

Social entrepreneurship is a major area of interest in many social and civic organizations and has a significant impact on many areas of society. During the past decade economic resources have become more difficult to acquire and society has continued to exhibit economic and cultural decline. Concurrently, communities are in need of initiatives that will enhance their financial viability and programs that will enhance the overall viability of the population.

Social entrepreneurship initiatives are ventures that can serve as a method of increasing the social value of a community, organization or cause while enhancing the financial viability of a not-for-profit organization. With this being stated, social entrepreneurship has been defined in different ways by many different theorists. Gary McPherson, Executive Administrator of the Canada Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, states that social entrepreneurship involves various individuals working toward meeting social and economic goals simultaneously; while Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, defines social entrepreneurship as a term coined to describe “individuals who combine the pragmatic and results oriented methods of a business entrepreneur with the goals of social reform.”

A more basic definition of social entrepreneurship states that it is “the process of using entrepreneurial and business skills to create innovative approaches to social problems.” Therefore, it is a methodology that is presently being used to resolve community and societal concerns globally. Social entrepreneurship as an area of specialized entrepreneurship is not defined by the same titling in every culture. For example, in Latin America countries social entrepreneurship initiatives are referred to as “Micro Enterprise.” In India the same program would be identified as a “Social Mission.” Though termed differently in various regions, social entrepreneurship initiatives are being implemented to solve specific societal and community concerns by focusing on the needs and resource availability within specific geographic regions.

Social Entrepreneurship in Education Throughout the United States, many top tertiary level academic institutions are enhancing their business programs by including a curriculum that caters to the study of social entrepreneurship. In 2003, the Center for Responsible Business was launched on the University of California Berkley Campus. This subsidiary of the Haas School of Business was implemented with the intent of training students to be more principled and socially responsible members of society through attending “the preeminent educational institution in area of Corporate Social Responsibility.” Stanford University also has established a Center for Social Innovation as a part of its graduate school of business. This center was founded with the mission to “build and strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems for a more just, sustainable and healthy world.”

In 1993, Harvard Business School started its social enterprise program with its mission of “generating and sharing knowledge to help individuals and organizations to create social value in the not-for-profit, private and public sectors,” and the University of Miami has refocused its business school curriculum to include coursework in the areas of ethical-decision making, social entrepreneurship and community engagement with the primary focus being to expose students to various areas of civic engagement while concurrently teaching them leadership and team building skills.

Tertiary level institutions, including Duke, which has established a Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship as part of its Fuqua School of Business, and Columbia University where the research initiative on social entrepreneurship is embedded in its school of business, have also made strides to enhance the study and education of those seeking to venture into areas of social entrepreneurship and social venture implementation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB – International) has identified over twenty-four tertiary level institutions that have included social entrepreneurship as a part of their business college and or business curriculums.

With social entrepreneurship being perceived by many as a new way of stimulating social change, Idee Winfield believes that the implementation of community-focused service learning projects is the first step in exposing youth to the various attributes associated with social entrepreneurship. Through community involvement, youth will begin to visualize and experience the various social issues within their community and envision ways to solve these problems. Winfield states that social entrepreneurship should be promoted in primary and secondary education, and coursework should be adjusted to allow students to “see how abstract socially focused concepts can have real world applicability.” Jeffrey Soderborg, a member of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Clearinghouse on Entrepreneurship Education, is also an ardent proponent of social venture education who believes that social entrepreneurship would be more readily accepted if youth were exposed to information expounding the laurels of these initiatives during their primary and secondary academic years.

As youth expand their horizons through the establishment of entrepreneurial efforts, knowledge and exposure to information about the process involved in the establishment of entrepreneurial business effectively plays a major role in the rate at which business entities are established. A study focusing on entrepreneurial interests among black youth ages 14 to 19 identified that 75% of the youth surveyed had interest in becoming entrepreneur. The study also found that these minority youth believed that more information about entrepreneurship should be presented through their schools. They also believed that entrepreneurs have a responsibility to reinvest in their community.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Personal values often serve as the justification for entrepreneurs to focus organizational efforts on socially focused ventures. The organizational decision to forgo pursuing financial gain with the intent of using the corporations’ profit resources to enhance a community is often referred to corporate social entrepreneurship. Corporate Social Entrepreneur (CSE) is a term used to describe corporate initiatives whose primary focus is to enhance a social concern and whose secondary focus is financial gain. The corporate social entrepreneur differs from the financial profit seeking entrepreneur in the area of decisions made that affect the community and environment in which their organization functions. Research identified that in corporate social entrepreneurship business acumen serves as a factor in the success or failure of social venture initiative implementation. Research identifies that success factors associated with the implementation of social responsibility initiatives were linked to whether the entrepreneur exhibits behavior that is moral, amoral or immoral.

The amoral entrepreneur would pursue initiatives only if they were deemed acceptable by the organization as a whole. The immoral entrepreneur implements initiatives based on what can be potentially gained for self as well as for the stakeholders, while the moral entrepreneur would pursue social responsibility initiatives based on what was in the best interest of the organization. Individuals identified as corporate social entrepreneurs are individuals who are more active in community activities and are actively involved in social responsibility efforts. Corporate social entrepreneurs also are more likely to implement social responsibility initiatives based on an organization’s long term objectives.

While many corporations are looking for ways to increase their social responsibility efforts, in some regions corporate responsibility efforts are not progressing. A policy paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean,” documented that corporate social responsibility activity in this region has “stalled.” The reason for stagnation in this region is “minimal government involvement” and the lack of “private sector involvement.” It was also identified that initiatives to implement programs focusing on social responsibility are often initiated outside of the market, and then subsequently not embraced by stakeholders who reside within this geographic region.

Corporations are continually looking for ways to increase corporate advantage through their social responsibility efforts. While proponents of corporate social responsibility believe that corporations are obligated morally to engage in efforts to enhance social, community and environmental concerns, many stakeholders believe that social involvement should only be initiated if the efforts are going to strengthen the organization’s image, brand, moral or stock value. With this in mind, corporations have separated social issues into specific categories.

These categories are social concerns that are general, social concerns that are value chain based and concerns that focus on social dimensions of competitive contrast. Generic social issues are identified as social concerns that do not directly affect the company’s operation and do not have an effect on a company’s competitive advantage. Corporations are least likely to get involved or invest in projects that focus in these areas because they will not receive a high value of return on their involvement. Value Chain Social Impact issues can significantly affect a company’s operation and can have an impact on the way a company conducts business. Corporations are more likely to be involved in value chain concerns, but only after conducting due diligence studies to ensure that a return on investment will be achieved over time.

Social issues that affect a company’s financial profitability or serve to enhance or increase a company’s competitive edge are likely to be areas that a company will invest in because of the direct impact that these initiatives will have on the company’s overall viability and stability. An example of a social dimension projects is General Electric’s investment in under-performing high schools throughout the country. General Electric believes that through investing financial and professional resources in under-performing high schools in areas where they have substantial financial investment, they are investing in enhancing a community, as well as directly increasing their future employment prospects.

Whole Foods Market is an organization that has taken control of its social value position through purchasing products from local farmers. Also, Whole Foods maintains strict controls over all of the products produced and sold in all of its locations. They even have extended their social and ecological efforts through offsetting the use of in-store electricity with the installation of wind conversion generators, converting their trucks to operate on bio-fuel and trucking spoiled produce to regionally located compost sites. Though the investments in these technologies may be costly at the onset, the long term financial, civic and market exposure benefits far exceed any initial costs incurred.

In the area of corporate philanthropy many corporations are at a loss. They continue to be involved in the conflict between philanthropic giving and investor requests for increased profits. For this reason many corporations engage in context-giving programs. Context-giving programs are programs that are defined as allotting resources to specific projects that will enhance the community while simultaneously enhancing the corporation.

Examples of context-giving initiatives include the Cisco System Networking Academy, which trains computer network administrators and provides job opportunities to those who complete the program; the DreamWorks SKG film production program that trains low-income individuals in occupations that are needed in the film and entertainment industry; and American Express Travel and Tourism Academy which trains high school youth for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry. Corporations that invest in corporate-giving social venture programs are concurrently gaining positive return on their social investment, improving the economic climate of the communities where they are located and gaining positive exposure for their organizations.

At times social ventures do not have the intended impact on the community. A study focusing on the impact of community focused business ventures found that businesses started with the intent of enhancing a community often lose focus by becoming focused on profitability and competition. Competition and self-focused motivators were identified to be factors that played an additional role in the impact and economic role that entrepreneurial ventures have in community settings.

While many foundations, trusts and philanthropic organizations, accumulate and distribute resources with the intent of providing services to enhance specific community or social causes, many of these organizations are looking for ways to gain public exposure for their efforts. Organizations also attempt to leverage their gifting efforts through seeking not-for-profit organizations that are willing match the funding received. The success of funded programs is evaluated through performance outcomes and indicators, and through promoting the organization’s work through success stories provided by program clients. These methods are viable ways for funding agencies to acquire value and exposure through their philanthropic efforts and simultaneously continue their efforts to enhance the communities in which they invest.

With the social philanthropic efforts of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates gaining a high degree of attention, and many leaders engaging in activities to promote social advocacy, corporations are seeking ways to also gain exposure with social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship from the corporate perspective can be defined as corporate social initiatives used by a corporate entity as vehicle to show support for social causes. In recent years, many Fortune 500 companies have implemented social ventures with the intent of enhancing their corporate image through providing funding for various social causes.

McDonald’s is one such company that has funded social causes for many years. McDonald’s primary social venture is the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Ronald McDonald House provides lodging for the families of adolescents, ranging in age from birth to 18, who are receiving critical care for illness in communities that are away from their community of residence. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to reside in these temporary living facilities throughout the child’s period of treatment at no charge.

The Federal Express Corporation also funds programs focused on the implementation of socially responsible programs. FedEx is a supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and has been acknowledged by Reader’s Digest as one of “Americas Best Charity Minded Corporation.” Federal Express has also been recognized for providing funding for numerous community and civic organizations, including March of Dimes, Heart to Heart organization, an organization that focuses on delivering food and health resources globally, the United Way and the National Civil Rights Museum. These are just a few of the charitable initiatives that allow Federal Express to present itself as a socially conscious organization.

Virgin Mobile has partnered with Youth Noise, a not-for-profit organization that brings youth together for networking and brainstorming opportunities, and Stand Up for Kids, the largest all volunteer not-for-profit organizations in the United States, to implement an initiative to expand its corporate social responsibility activities. The project involves recording artists donating ring tones to Virgin Mobile and through partnership agreements, 5% of the proceeds received through ring tone sales are donated to various “Virgin Mobile Charity Partners.” This initiative, established in June 2006, is being positioned to raise over $250,000 annually.

For social ventures to gain global acceptance, corporations need to become involved in ventures that allow employees and consumers to see the social, community and external benefit of these ventures. This process is identified in countries south of the United States, where the concept of social responsibility is one that has been embraced by many but implemented by few. Many government organizations expect non-government, or private organizations to take responsibility for ensuring the stability and longevity of the resources throughout this region while the private sector is looking toward government agencies for intervention.

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Economic Considerations Of Purchasing Smaller Investment Properties

While most larger, real estate developers, consider the Return on Investment, or ROI , before committing to a specific project, in many cases, those purchasing smaller, investment properties, often, seem, to fail, to do so, with the same degree of attention and focus. For the purposes of this article, this will refer to properties, with 1 – 6 units, and residential use. Many, instead of following this process, look at these buildings, and property, in a similar way, they perceive, buying their personal home! It is, however, important to realize, wise investors, recognize and understand, an economic, Return on Investment, mindset, to determine, whether it is a wise investment, or not. The same rules apply, basically, whether, the rentals, will be, stand – alone, houses, or up, to 6 units. With that in mind, this article will attempt to consider, examine, review, and discuss, some basic steps, to consider, before closing, on any deal.

1. How much to spend for the property: A conservative approach, to considering, the right price, to spend, must be, considering the total price, as it relates, to the net, rent – rolls. For example, an investment property, purchased for $ 500,000 must generate a net income, of, at least 6%, per year, or $ 30,000. The net, is derived, by considering total rent rolls, minus 20% to provide, a reserve for vacancies and turnover. Then, reduce this by the expenses, including the fixed ones, such as taxes, mortgage interest, landlord – paid utilities, and a reserve for repairs, renovations and upgrades. Therefore, if taxes on that property are, for example, $ 8,000, and utilities, $ 500, and mortgage interest, another $ 6,000, and you put away, 1% a year, for reserves ($ 5,000), then, you must add, $ 19,500, to the equation. Therefore, you will need a total rent – roll, after the 20% deduction, of $ 49,500 per year (or slightly over $ 4,100 per month). Therefore, the total rent collected, each month, should be approximately $ 5,166 (because you'll need to budget, based on approximately, $ 62,000, to create a safety – net, to protect against vacancies, etc).

2. Cash flow: Seek a positive cash flow, so, owning these types of properties, are, as stress – free, as possible. Compare the combination of your mortgage payments (including interest and principal), plus real estate taxes, and maintenance / repairs / renovations / up – keep, costs, to whether you are staying within the 80% of rents, limitations.

3. Competitive approach: What is the prevailing / typical rent charged, in the specific area? Rather than focusing on being on the high – end of the market, the better approach, often, is being in the middle, to bottom range, and seeking lesser turnover.

4. Turnover: The best scenario, is meeting revenue needs and projections, while controlling expenses. The lower the turnover of tenants, the lower a landlord's costs.

Investing in real estate, when done carefully, is a tried, and proven, approach, which makes sense, and usually, provides many benefits, including appreciation of the value of the asset. Will you be a wise real estate investor?

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Best Homeowners Insurance Companies: What Perks and Benefits Do They Offer?

There are so many good things about owning a home: you can fix it up and sell it for profit, rent it out to someone else to earn income, or simply live in it yourself and never have to worry about rent. The downside is that there is insurance to consider. There is a variety of coverage options depending on where you live and what kind of house you own. What is it that the best homeowners insurance companies offer?

When shopping around for house insurance quotes, you need to know exactly what needs to be insured and what is included in the policy.

Some of the things you might need insurance for include:

• Protection for the dwelling itself, as well as any other buildings on the property like a storage shed or detached garage.

• Protection for the contents INSIDE the dwellings, like electronics, jewelry, furniture, appliances, etc…

• Protection from any possible hazard that can cause harm to your property and contents, such as fire, flooding, hurricane, mudslides, and so forth.

• Liability insurance in the event that someone gets injured on your property.

If you live in an area that is prone to hazardous weather, it might be a good idea to get insurance to cover additional living expenses should you have to move out and stay some place else while damages are getting repaired.

The best homeowners insurance companies will allow you to view a summary of your coverage and even provide you with a sample of a policy when you sign up, before making your final decision. You should be given the opportunity to edit your coverage and policy settings such as the start date and deductible.

Canceling Your Policy at the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies

You should also be able to cancel your policy at any time. Some companies will even issue you a refund for the remaining period you have paid for.

While some homeowners are inadequately insured, other homeowners make the mistake of paying for more coverage than they actually need. Make sure you get just the right amount of coverage you need by going through a policy section by section to determine whether each type of coverage adequately protects your investment. There is such a thing as “OVER-protecting”.

What about other people who live on you property? If it’s a roommate or tenant, you will need a different type of policy. If it’s blood relatives, however, then the best homeowners insurance policy will automatically cover all of the residents in the household who are related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption.

You can learn more about house insurance by looking into services by Lemonade. It’s definitely among the best homeowners insurance companies. Lemonade has a unique “Giveback” policy to its clients, which is one of the many perks of choosing this company for your homeowners insurance.

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