Leaving A Legacy With Commercial Real Estate

Watching my two children open the many gifts they were blessed with from friends, family and their parents, over the holidays raised a question for me. What can I give my children that they can enjoy when I’m no longer around? What can I give them that they can share with their Children’s, Children’s Children? The answer for me is Commercial or Income Producing Property. Namely small to mid-sized Commercial Real Estate. By small to mid-sized I mean assets whose value is in excess of $1 Million. I understand that Commercial assets is not as exciting to my children as the new leap pad games they received for Christmas but it’s certainly the gift that will keep giving. In this article to we will explore three advantages to building a legacy with Commercial Property.

Income producing Real Estate in general is a great long term investment because of the high demand. As an investor in Apartment Buildings, I need only point to the basic needs of life, food, shelter and clothing, to justify that there will always be a need for shelter. Of those three needs, the need for shelter is, in my opinion, most important to the average individual. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011 Consumer Expenditures News Release reports that the average American spends 26% of their income, before taxes, on housing. As we examine our own economic spend plan housing is undoubtedly the largest bill for most of us. This further supports the claim that real estate is in large demand.

Next, Income producing assets are great long term investment because of the principal of leverage. One of my mentors used to say “You make money in real estate when you buy not when you sell… you must Buy Right!” Quoting him here is not as impressive without the Southern accent over the word ‘Right.’ What he meant is that buying a property must be done strategically with the goal of making money in the forefront. You must be able to leverage the money you use in a deal. Leverage occurs when money is borrowed at a certain interest rate that is less than the rate of return of the property. Leverage enables a commercial asset to pay for itself. What better asset to have than an asset that not only produces income but produces income in excess of its expense. Leaving such an asset for the generations that follow you is powerful.

Lastly, Commercial Property, namely property whose value is in excess of $1 Million, can more often than not support itself. The income produced from the monthly rents can be used to pay the mortgage and hire a staff of professionals to maintain the asset. Of course you can do everything yourself (Not Recommended) but if the property makes enough income to hire a professional lawyer, accountant, landscaper, property manager etc. why wouldn’t you? More importantly, if your Children or your Children’s Children are passionate about something else and don’t want to be full time real estate investors they can hire professionals to manage the asset that funds your legacy.

The Life and Legacy of John Denver

When I hear the name John Denver, I always think of Colorado. John Denver is a talented American singer, musician, and song maker. John Denver is famous all over the world. His music is known to have been inspired by his home state and the beautiful Rocky Mountain landscape. When Denver was born, he was named Henry John Deutscendorf. The singer/songwriter began his career as a folk rock singer in the early 60s.

Soon after that, Denver joined The Mitchell Trio and become their vocalist. He managed to become a real celebrity when Peter, Paul, and Mary recorded his song “Leaving On A Jet Plane”. This song was their first and only Number One single ever.

John Denver stayed with the Mitchell Trio as their vocalist for four years. After the members of the group are separated, John Denver realized that he had got to the top of the Pop charts and he is one of the best selling artists. “Rocky Mountain High”, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy”, “Back Home Again”, and “Annie’s Song” are just some of his most popular songs.

Denver had not only been a talented musician but also an environmental and humanitarian activist. In his lyrics, John Denver used to support people to get closer to the earth and nature. The artist freely expressed his views in his songs in a peaceful but compassionate manner. His lyrics were inspired by the beauties he had seen living in the Rocky Mountains near Aspen, Colorado.

John Denver had enjoyed watching the snow, the sunshine, the beauty of all of nature. If John Denver had never seen the beauties of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, probably he would have never written his songs.

John Denver had often worked together with Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. Denver even recorded many songs with the cast of the Muppets. He even played a role in a movie – the film was “Oh God!” with George Burns. During the twentieth century, John Denver has continued to be one of the most famous singers.

John Denver passed away suddenly and tragically while he was piloting for the first time his new plane. The aircraft was caused by low fuel.

All his life had been spent close to nature. John Denver had devoted himself to his work, spending all his time singing and songwriting. John Denver had contributed a lot to many environmental and humanitarian organizations. John Denver will last in the hearts of his fans forever although he is not yet among us. Everyone who is interested can learn more about John Denver at http://www.johndenver.com, or http://www.john-denver.org.

Extraordinary Landscapes

In the summer of 2007, a curatorial team from George Eastman House invited twelve photographers to photograph the sites designated by The Cultural Landscape Foundation as their 2007 Landslide landscapes. The photographs focus on culturally significant landscapes at risk of alteration or destruction, and include trees and other plantings that have witnessed or withstood major cultural or natural events.

In this exhibition of work the focus is on celebrated botanical heroes that have withstood the test of time Ranging from Charleston’s angel southern live oak, a majestic living legacy from the antebellum South to the dew-drenched petals of a rare tree peony from Pavilion, New York, these photographs lovingly document heritage landscapes that are threatened by development, disease and the ravages of time.

Additionally the exhibit, “Heroes of Horticulture” documents the sole surviving witnesses to some of the nation’s greatest people and most significant moments. Some are hundreds of years old: the horse chestnut tree that shaded suffragist Susan B. Anthony in the late 19th century to the live oak tree allĂ©e in Houston.
These photographic collaborations with artists, now a traveling exhibit, have yielded compelling interpretations of extraordinary places. And, for most of us, this is the only way we may ever experience the subjects and places depicted.

The exhibition includes twenty-four images by photographers Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Eli Reed, Louviere+Vanessa, John Divola, Eric Baden, Jodean Bifoss, George Blakely, Roger Bruce, Matthew Keefe, Fredrik Marsh, and James Via. The twelve sites, located across the nation, are currently featured on TCLF’s website (www.tclf.org) and appears in the January 2008 edition of Garden Design magazine. For a schedule of this amazing traveling exhibit visit http://www.eastmanhouse.org/Main/exhibitions/on_the_road.php.

A Legacy for the Future: The Moroccan Argan Oil Industry

“I’ve found that some of my best projects have been started, not on the basis of rigorous prior analysis and planning but simply from an impulse that says, “Here is a chance to do something good.” “

Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty
The industry of the Moroccan Argan oil production bears a striking resemblance to the humble beginning of Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank, a microcredit organization that brought financial services to the poor who wanted to start little businesses of their own. As with Yunus’s vision of providing a stable source of income for the impoverished, especially the women of Bangladesh, the production of Moroccan Argan oil is also seen to involve the ultimate goal of providing livelihood and eventual empowerment to the women of the traditionally male-dominated society of Morocco. It has given the women employment that assures them of continuous income for it involves a form of labor which at the moment had been proven to be only possible with the arduous work of human hands.

Growing Independence for Women
The primary and most apparent benefit of the increasing popularity of Moroccan Argan oil as a product is the increasing demand for the labor that would be necessary to supplement the growth in the production, which would inevitably follow as supply, must adequately meet the growing demand for the oil as a commodity. This is the most basic of market conditions; an increase in demand must be met with an increase in supply. There would be an increase in the number of women given employment and this would naturally lead to the development of women’s independence and give them a greater sense of self-esteem as they find themselves equipped with the means to earn their own incomes. They now have the option to spend on acquiring a higher education, on getting better nourishment for their families, or on saving to invest for the future. Any of these options would help them in fighting poverty, one simple step at a time.

Carrying on with tradition
With more women necessary for greater production, the uniquely Moroccan tradition of the Argan oil extraction is now certain to be passed on to more members of the next generation. As it has been proven that it is a stable source of income, it is highly likely that mothers would encourage their daughters to continue the practice. And even if one is not introduced to it as part of the family business, the increasing popularity of the Agran oil as a valuable exported product would still attract more to join the ranks of those employed for its production and the attention given this tradition would only increase with time as the Argan oil production becomes more integral in the livelihood of the women.

Environmental Implications
Closely following the increasing role of the oil production in the lives of the people of Morocco, there would be the recognition that the Argan trees are a significant and valuable resource which would have to be conserved in order for it to continue its role in various people’s subsistence. Just like any other natural resources, the Argan trees could be damaged with excessive harvesting. An example is that there would be an increase in the people trying to get the Argan nuts, which contain the oil-rich kernels. They would then use the traditional way of harvesting the nuts, which is to bring spry goats to eat fruits from the trees, and then collecting the nuts from the goat’s dung. With more people bringing more goats, unintentional damage could be done to the branches of the trees which would in turn lead to less fruits being borne by the trees. And thus actions to increase awareness of these implications must be taken.

Pre-emptive actions to keep the Argan tree population at a healthy number is also necessary as protecting the trees from getting cut down will lead an improvement in the local environment because the trees have always been of great importance to the local ecosystem. Being an endemic species in the harsh Moroccan deserts, these trees’ structure is uniquely adapted to have the best chance of survival in the dry, arid region. The deep roots of the trees help prevent desert encroachment while also ensuring landscape stability as they prevent soil erosion. The tree’s canopy provides shade for other agricultural produce. The leaves and fruits are naturally food sources of various animals. Lastly, the trees help in replenishing the aquifers, the underground layer of permeable rock from which groundwater is usually extracted from. For such a dry region like Morocco, this is of utmost importance.

A Triumph and Nature’s gift
Acknowledging the potential of the Moroccan Argan oil industry has been the first step of many in traversing the road to alleviating poverty in the region. The conspicuous success of the oil production which is being frequently carried out by women’s cooperatives encourages other agricultural producers to take a closer look into the cooperative model, where people voluntarily cooperate for a mutual social, economic or cultural benefit. It has also brought to the surface the urgency of taking care of our limited resources and their impact to the environment. The fact that the Moroccan women have proven their competence in handling the production of Argan oil had also shed some light to their growing role in their local communities as independent earners and decision-makers. With the Moroccan Argan oil industry flourishing, we are once again reminded of Nature’s generosity as it gives us the chance to learn to harness its resources to secure our future and we are impressed by the ingenuity unearthed in our age-old traditions as the seeds for progress are finally brought to life with the simple idea that we must leave behind something good for the future generations. The future must be something worth looking forward to.