Luck is not a business strategy.
Remember growing up, and being told that if you studied hard and worked hard, you could 'do anything?' Remember your mother telling you, 'nothing is for free' and 'you get what you pay for?' Common sense things like that?
All my reading about gambling (I have been working on a book set in Las Vegas for several years now) make it very clear that no gambler stays ahead forever. They always end up losing what they won. If you came across them when they're on a winning streak and flush with funds, well, that life would look pretty attractive. But the same behavior that brought them money -- risky behavior -- will almost always mean they'll lose it in the end.
To me, buying homes for any other purpose than to live in them, is speculation. (I suppose buying them for investment/rental purposes could also be a business decision, using historical standards.)
Here's the thing I always tell myself. You can make money by working hard, being in a profession that pays well, by saving diligently and investing wisely, by inventing a better mousetrap.
But no matter how you try to make money, you should never forget the risk/reward ratio. The higher the possible payoff --- the higher the risk of failure.
So to take the above examples: working hard? The risk is burnout, losing a fresh perspective, making mistakes. Being in a profession that pays well? The risk is an expensive and time-consuming education. Saving diligently and investing wisely? The millionaire next door route, that might pretty much take your entire work life to get there, if nothing goes wrong.
Inventing a better mousetrap? Most people are incapable of thinking for themselves, much less inventing a better mousetrap. Almost every single person I've seen go into business follows the same exact path as everyone else in that industry; so the only thing they have to distinguish their efforts is, work or luck (getting a great employee, finding a hot product, snagging a good location.) (I hate to bring it up, but there is another route -- cheating and scheming and screwing the other guy, but for most of us, I'd like to believe, the personal and spiritual cost is too high.)
I think it's only once in a blue moon a person comes along with a truly radical and innovative idea, and then everyone else piles on and a whole new thing is created.
I get asked all the time: "WHY DON'T YOU........."
And the answer is, I can't escape the risk/reward ratio. Everything has a cost, in labor, or money, or space, or time, or energy, and so on. Nothing is free.
What brought all this to mind, is the article in the Bulletin about the home owners from California who's property management company did a Houdini. Well, there you go, the risk of being an absentee owner, of owning more than one home. You just always have to take that risk into account.
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