How I bought my brand new Tesla for under $35,000.

First, let’s start with why I got a Tesla.  My family literally drives about 850 miles a week to activities.  Mostly hockey games and practices, a lot of Disneyland trips.  We are probably awake in a car more than we are awake at home.  We wanted to lower our over $600 a month gasoline bill while getting a car that is comfortable to ride in.  We have a Mini Cooper that gets great gas mileage, but it’s not the most comfortable car.  For the Tesla to go 930 miles would cost us about $60 in electricity a week, so $240 a month for a pretty great savings.  The more you drive, the bigger the benefit of going to electric.

I wasn’t sure about the price though.  I’ve gone back and forth over and over on the price.  A Tesla is an expensive car, to be sure, and if it wasn’t for the way I purchased it, I wouldn’t have bought it.  Throwing $57,581 at a car is nothing to sneeze at, even if it’s not a large percentage of your net worth.  It’s twice what I’ve ever paid for a car before.  But, compared to something like a Prius, it’s bigger, it’s the safest car on the planet, has more storage (we have lots of hockey bags and sticks to lug around) and it has auto-pilot which will really, really improve our travels through the Los Angeles traffic.

So, I got the long range rear-wheel drive Tesla in black and added the Auto-Pilot feature.  I did not get the autonomous driving package yet.  I figured I didn’t want to pay $3000 for something that I might never get to use.  

I pulled the trigger yesterday (October 11, 2018) because I wanted to get in on the $10,000 government tax rebate before it was gone so that I could take out a lot of my capital gains this year.  I’ll just sell enough shares of Apple and WWE to get myself a $7,500 tax bill and I’ll use the $2,500 California rebate check to pay for superchargers or something.  I believe the last day to get these rebates is October 15th.  After that it drops way down to $3750?  Something around there.  I’ll take a few thousand dollars for free, thank you.

So, originally I was just going to pay cash for the car and be done, but then I got to thinking.  If I was going to buy a house that would be a horrendously bad idea to pay cash for it, so why do that with this car?  Every car I’ve ever  owned I’ve paid cash for before now btw, and I’ve never spent more than $20k on a car.  I decided the best path was to do what I do for a living, make my cash work for me.

So, I got to work.  What if I created a brokerage account with 100% of what I owed on the car and invested it in 10% dividend REITs, taking out a years worth of my payments at a time.  Yes, there are REITs that pay 10% or more in dividends.  You have to do some work to look for them.  I’d suggest making sure that the company carries no debt before you buy them.  I’m not going to share what I found here, but if I can find them, you can find them.  I don’t want to get in trouble for market manipulation or anything.

Note: I took out a years worth of payments ahead of time in this example just to make the math easier, I’d actually just take out my monthly payment each month AND reinvest the dividends monthly rather than yearly, so I’d actually make a lot more than is in the spreadsheet, but I didn’t want to go through all that coding.  This also doesn’t include any gains the REITs will make over the course of 72 months.

So, the amount to finance on my car was $56,304 at 3.85% and I chose over 72 months because you will make a better return.  Again, this is a LOW end estimate.  If you reinvested dividends as you went along and only took out one month of the payments at a time you’d make more.

Here’s the spreadsheet I made.  As you can see, by not paying off the car in full and investing the cash instead, I’m making quite a bit in dividends each year.  (Again, I’d be making more than listed in this spreadsheet, but this is a general return calendar.)  

At the end of the 72 months I’d have the car paid off in full and have $20,102.36 left in cash.  The government would give me $10,000 to buy the car on top of that.  That would more than cover all the charging that I would have done in the 72 months with a ton left over.  After my dividend income and the government tax credits, I’ll have paid only $31,201.64 for the car (plus tax and license, which I would have paid had I paid cash or financed.)  

So, that made the Tesla affordable to me.  Go test drive one.  It’s mind blowing how futuristic they are.  It’s like driving a car from the Jetsons.

BTW, I just want to point out, this entire exercise is essentially how FIRE (early retirement) people live.  You take your cash, invest it in dividend paying assets and live off the dividends.  It’s pretty simple once you build up enough cash.  Let the power of compounding work for you.

Invest in peace…

How I lower my tax rate when trading….

So, today I needed to free up $10,000 cash, so I decided to trade some of my WWE stock.  My cost basis for WWE is $13.46 and the current price at the time was $88.44, so I had a capital gain of $74.98 a share.

Now, I could have sold all of my shares and I would have paid a ton of taxes.    I was up a lot of money, but you don’t want to sell all your shares.  That hits you with a large tax bill that you want to avoid, so what I did was sold $10,000 worth and lowered my taxes by doing that.  Here’s what I did.

I needed $10k, so I just took $10k and divided by the current price, which was $88.44 and that gave me the number of shares I needed to sell to give me (roughly) $10k in cash.  I sold 113 shares.  Now, $13.46 of each of those shares is not taxable because it’s my original investment, so that lowers my taxable gain by $1520.98.  That leaves me with $8479.02 (roughly) as a taxable Capital Gain.

Now, I’ve had WWE for over a year, so it’s a longterm Capital Gain, so that sets the tax rate to 0% if I can keep my ‘earnings’ under $77,400 for the year and only 15% if I make between $77,400k and $480,050!  And remember, I took out $10,000, but to the government I only made $8479.  

So, even if I get hit by the 15% taxes this year, I’d pay a total of $1271.85 in taxes on my $10,000 or 12% tax.  If you earned $10,000 at work you’d pay over $3,000 in taxes.

So, a key way to keep your tax bill low when trading is to not sell your entire holding in your stocks.  Just sell to get the amount of cash you need.  It will spread the tax bill across years and years and you’re essentially borrowing money from the government at 0% as long as you want.  The ultimate leverage.

Invest in peace…

All of the articles about how long your money will last are wrong…

There’s an article over at CNBC that supposedly tells you how long your $1,000,000 will last in retirement, you can read it here:  https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/06/how-long-1-million-lasts-in-retirement.html

The problem with this article is it’s making assumptions.  The answer should be forever if you invest in smarter ways.

First, you could take your $1,000,000 and spread it across 4 or 5 REITs that all pay 10% or more dividends and make yourself $100,000 a year.  You could put half the money into said REITs and make $50,000 a year.

If you are retired and can’t live off of $100k a year, something is going wrong.  And you aren’t even touching your capital and it’s gains.

The key to retirement is quite easy, pay off all your debt and invest your money in investments that pay dividends then live off the dividends.  You could even sell your home, take that equity and add it to your investment money and rent or airBNB yourself great homes for less than the dividends you are pulling in, especially if you live in California.  Sell your $500,000 home and invest that in 10% dividend REITs to make $50k a year and then you could rent a $3000 a month home and still pocket $4k after taxes.

Bottom line is, all of these, “You will only have money for 10 years!” doom articles are assuming you are selling your capital investment to pay your bills and you seriously don’t need to do that and shouldn’t be doing that.

Invest in peace…

How I use Twitter

A lot of people ask me why I don’t follow them on Twitter, but I do follow them, just not in the standard way.

I HATE Twitters algorithm that decides what it thinks you want to read and rearranges your timeline.  Hate it.  And I follow a lot of people for different reasons, so it gets to be overwhelming looking at my timeline, so instead I use the hidden gem of Twitter, which is lists.

I have a bunch of lists: Always, Investing, Comedians, Friends, etc…

I simply add the people I want to follow to the list that corresponds to why I want to follow them and then I only look at my lists, never at the timeline.  It keeps all the tweets in chronological order and it narrows down the amount of people in the timeline for each list so it’s not overwhelming.

Give it a try, I think you’ll see it makes Twitter a better experience.

Invest in peace…

Why the Trump Tariffs are a bad thing…

I’m going to make this extremely easy to understand, but first I’m going to throw out the Trump argument.

China is taking our jobs with their lower cost goods and it’s killing America and it’s not fair.

Well, if China didn’t do it, Mexico would do it, or India or Canada or whomever else.  China is GOOD for America and you can see it rather easily by simply going to a mall.

Go to your local mall and look at two things.  First, look at the cars in the parking lot.  What make are they?  I would bet you a majority of them come from Asia.  Toyota mostly.  Why are they the most owned car in the parking lot?  Because they are affordable.  They cost less.  Go price similar cars and you’ll see the Toyota is literally thousands of dollars cheaper than a comparable Ford.  By putting Tariffs on everything, this is going to raise car prices.

Now look at cell phones.  I would argue that the less affluent people have Samsung’s toy of a phone running Android.  Why is this?  Because Samsung literally gives hundreds of thousands of these phones away for free (Because they are stealing your information off that phone and selling it, but Americans are kinda dumb and don’t realize that’s where their money is coming from, same with Google and Facebook)  In any event, if you Tariff the pieces to make this phone, those BOGO’s are going away and the poorer of the population won’t be able to afford $1000 cell phones.

The tariffs on Canada will increase the cost of building homes, raising housing costs.

The bottom line is, while it could create some uneducated manufacturing jobs in the US (which I assure you we do not want going forward because they will simply be done by robots soon) the real result will be a huge increase of the cost of goods for the American public, so even if you get a $20/hr manufacturing job, the costs of everything will rise and you will still feel like you are making $10/hr, but you will also have the added benefit of the medical bills from your repetitive stress injury.

We are in a global economy.  Having that global economy keeps prices down for everything.  The answer is not to try to go back to 1940’s US where all of the jobs were in manufacturing, those days are gone.  We should be looking towards the future and creating businesses and jobs for the 21st century, not angering the entire world against the US so that some uneducated people can put phones together in middle America.

Invest in peace…

#livingwage and why it won’t solve any problems and will make things worse

Let’s talk about the poverty situation in the U.S.  Yep, lots of people are poor.  People keep saying it’s because minimum wage is too low.  “We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour!  Give people a living wage!”  Or they say we need a Universal Income.  While these ideas sound good on paper, they will actually make things worse.  Way worse.  Here’s why…

  1. If you raise the minimum wage, EVERYONE will need raises.

A common business has job tiers.  Starting pay is $10 we’ll say, $15 for assistant manager and $20 for manager.  If you raise the starting pay to $15, the assistant isn’t going to keep accepting $15, they will want $20.  And the manager will not accept $20, he will want $25 or $30.  On top of this, what most workers don’t know, is that the business must match the amount of taxes you pay on your paycheck.  So that $10 worker is paying $3 to taxes per hour (roughly) and the business is also paying $3 to taxes for them per hour.  Raise everyone’s pay like this and you really, really increase the costs for a business.  This will cause layoffs because of ….2. Owners will not allow their income to shrink when raising the minimum wage.Let’s say you own a mom and pop and you bring in $100/hr.  $10 + $3 goes to your cashier $15+$5 goes to your assistant manager and $20+$6 goes to your manager.  That leaves you with $59 an hour to pay your rent, electricity, cost of goods, insurance, gas, water, sewer and take your profit.  The owner of the business, who is taking all the risks, will not accept a $20 profit and make the same amount as the manager who is taking no risks, so the owner of the store takes $40 profit out of his $100 we’ll say.  Now let’s give raises we stated above and all of a sudden his employee cost is now $85/hr if his manager demands $30/hr.  His profit is gone.  He doesn’t even have enough to pay his bills!  So where is he going to get the money to pay them….3. All of this extra money to cover employee wages is pushed to the consumer in the form of raised costs for all goods and services – IE: inflation.So now the cost went up by 40% for the owner so, guess what?  Your $10 hamburger will go up 40% to $14.  And so on and so on and so on and now, while everyone is paid more, everything will cost more and you are in the same exact situation.  And the owners of the rental properties will KNOW you just got a raise from $10/hr to $15/hr and will raise rents accordingly.  And food prices will rise because the market is having to pay their employees so much more money as well.  Nothing will change except everything will be more expensive and the poor will remain poor and those without jobs or with just part time jobs will have an even harder time paying for things.The true problem isn’t the wages, though that’s the story you are being given, it’s that people are staying at entry level, non-educated jobs and expecting them to be careers that pay career wages.  Guess what?  McDonalds, unless you are a manager, is not a career.  Neither is Walmart or Disneyland or CVS or a Gas Station or anything else you can do with no education.  These are jobs for high school kids.  They are low paying for a reason.  They are not $60,000 a year jobs.  Just think, if a cashier at McDonalds made $60,000 a year, what would you make at your job that you went to college for 4 years or 8 years for?  $100k?  Do you see the snowball that occurs?  Will you accept $60,000 at your job with your $60,000 in student loan debt when Jimmy the high school dropout makes that much typing in Big Mac orders at McDonalds?  No fucking way.And things are only going to become worse.  In my lifetime I see these things occurring:

  1. No more cashier jobs.  Almost everything will go self checkout and you’ll have to pay with a credit card, no more cash.  This stops stealing and allows companies to hire 1 or 2 uneducated employees rather than 10 to man cash registers.  This is already happening at super markets and Target and McDonalds has even begun this.  It’s coming sooner than you think.  A lot of the fast food and coffee shops are even opening drive through only shops where they have one cashier to pay for.
  2. Manufacturing jobs in the United States will be 90% gone.  This is a huge one because these jobs usually pay a lot.  Most of these jobs will be done by robots or will be outsourced to other countries where it costs less to do them.  These jobs can’t be relied on in the future.
  3. Gas station jobs.  While the United States government right now has their heads up their asses and are trying to keep coal and gas alive, the rest of the world is leaving us in the dust going to solar and batteries and car manufacturers will follow that money.  All cars will be electric sooner than later and you won’t even own a car.
  4. Car salesmen.  Think of how many car salesmen are in your area.  Hundreds.  All uneducated jobs.  All will disappear soon as self driving cars become standard.  You won’t buy a car, you’ll hail a car when you need it and a random car will come and pick you up and take you where you need to go and then drop you off and go get the next person.  Most major cities are now having a massive influx of bicycle and scooter sharing stations as well.
  5. Any job that needs a driver.  Taxi’s, Ubers, Lyft’s, deliveries, UPS, FedEx, Mail, whatever, these are all in big trouble.  Uber’s entire business plan is to survive until there are autonomous cars and then fire all the drivers and get rid of that cost and instantly become profitable.  Amazon, the only thing keeping the USPS afloat, is working on drones to deliver your packages to your door.  No people involved in that process.
  6. Parking lot attendants. If you don’t own a car, you don’t need to park it.
  7. Waitresses.  Restaurants are already starting putting iPads on the table where you order what you want and then a server just brings it to you when it’s ready and you click when you need a drink refill.  A huge restaurant could get by with a couple servers and no wait staff at all.

As you can see from this tiny sample off the top of my head, uneducated jobs are going to disappear from the United States for the most part.  If you can’t see that coming, I’m worried for you.  You MUST have a specialty in something and you are far better off if you choose a career that is hands on or you must do face to face.  A computer programmer is a great position if you are lucky enough to get hired at one of the bigger companies, but for most people, outsourcing to Russia or India is SOOOO much cheaper than hiring an American.  That’s insanely easy to outsource.  A pharmacist, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to outsource.  Or a scientist.  A doctor.  A financial expert.  A mechanic.  A plumber.  A contractor.  An electrician.  All these jobs take skill, are hands on and need to be done in person.The state of California alone has raised the minimum wage 17 times since 1978 and it hasn’t made a single fuck of difference in the state as far as poverty is concerned, but it has completely run the cost of goods into crazy costs.Quickly, let’s look at the ‘bad guys’, the CEOs making millions of dollars and not passing along the money to their uneducated workers.  This is a horrible way to look at this.  Risk = Reward.  That is capitalism.  If you aren’t willing to risk what you have, you will not be paid highly.  These CEO’s are risking their entire business and all of the jobs within it with the decisions they are forced to make on a daily basis.  When Disney decides to spend $1 billion dollars to make Star Wars land, that is an incredible decision to make.  That’s more pressure than you will ever fathom.  If they are successful, the CEO will make a lot of money.  If it fails, he will lose his job and lots and lots of people will also lose their jobs.  People who take risks in starting businesses deserve to make the lions share of profits.So, the answer to the question of how do we get people out of poverty isn’t to raise their wages or to punish the people who take all the risk in an attempt to make a profit, it is to educate people.  Make college free.  Make trade schools free.  Educate people on how to deal with their money properly.When you get a raise you don’t buy a fucking boat, you save it.  You invest it.  The rich get richer due to compounding interest and if the middle class would plow their money into investments instead of big screen tv’s and motorhomes, they would end up millionaires quite easily.  If they realized they are getting screwed by being told to pay off their homes, they’d be millionaires quite easily.  The American people have been tricked into thinking ‘stuff’ is what you want, but the true secret is ‘cash’ is what you want and that cash compounds and that compounding is the answer to poverty.Until we teach the American people that uneducated jobs are not careers and we give them a way out of these ‘any monkey can do it’ jobs and into real careers that increase their income and they learn what to do with their money when the income increases, we will stay where we are.Invest in peace…