I Never Made Any Money on a Property I “Lived-Loved” In

house for sale

There is a difference between “living” in a property and “living-loving” in a property. A property you “live” in serves a purpose; it is a place where you reside, perhaps in a location determined by where you work. A property that you “live-love” in is a real estate purchase, usually near a job, family, or a certain community. “Live-love” properties create a feeling of pride of ownership but do not make money.

Real estate purchases made for personal reasons are not investments. Most often, people purchase a home with the idea that they will live in it for the rest of their lives. This sentiment serves as the justification for investing money in a wish list of improvements and updates for the property.

However, statistics show that homeowners in the United States relocate every seven and a half years. On average, it takes 15 years to pay only the interest portion of a 30-year mortgage. This means that homeowners have the same amount of debt when they purchase a property and when they leave it. Few people reside in a property long enough to pay off the entire mortgage.

When the time comes to sell a property, the appraisal will not reflect the investments that have been made from the homeowner’s wish list. The market value of the property is based on square footage and the comparative market analysis of the selling prices of other properties in the area with similar square footage. All of the updates to the property, inspired by pride of ownership, will not be reflected in the appraisal value.

Renting the property that is your residence avoids this pride of ownership. It is rare that a rental property inspires the renter to spend money on unnecessary updates. As a general rule of thumb, rent a home at 6% or less per year than the current market value of the property. If you are renting, you will be much more frugal with your investments, whether you rent a house or an apartment.

Instead, you should purchase an income-producing property that you can rent or fix up and resell. It is best to purchase a property at a price that is at least 40% below market value. Since you will not live in this property, you are able to expand the area in which you are looking to buy. You will also be more careful in spending money on improvements in the investment property.

In general, I recommend renting the property in which you live to minimize investment and financial waste. Not owning your primary residence also allows you mobility if you need to relocate. Rent out your investment property and use that income to pay the rent at your residence. You may still have pride of ownership, but the key is to switch it from your personal home to investment real estate.


Why Uber Is Not Generating Employment – Contrary To What They Preach

It’s not a surprise that driverless cars will have a significant impact on employment rates, not only in the United States, but also throughout the world. Within the motor vehicle industry, there are hundreds of thousands of employees working within the sector – from manufacturing to driving services. In fact, almost 3% of working Americans are drivers of some sort, whether they are truck drivers or taxi drivers, bus drivers or in parcel delivery service.

Yes, it is true that driverless car technology is expected and predicted to reduce labor costs, fuel costs, and the overall rate of accidents, but it will also be a complete disaster for the entire driving and motor vehicle industry. Automation will have a significant impact on this business.

So, when Uber claims to be helping in generating employment through the addition of more drivers, we are looking at their offering from a very short-term and near sighted perspective. Yes, Uber has stated that they generated 1million jobs in 2015 alone, but what will happen when driverless cars and automation come into play?

This has already begun. Last year, Uber dispatched the first fleet of driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh; although they are currently being supervised by humans in the passenger seat. Just as is the case with Tesla and their driverless technology, driverless cars and trucks are already being released – and it’s happening sooner than most realize.

I have a significant issue with companies like Uber who claim and promote the idea of generating employment, when this is truly not their ultimate objective. In fact, the majority of Uber drivers are currently using their own vehicles to get passengers from point A to point B. This means that the company itself is making money – a great deal of it – off the backs of drivers. Uber drivers are using their own means of transportation with their own fuel at extremely competitive rates, to build Uber’s brand, a business that is very deceitfully trying to convince employees that they are focused on improving their lives and keeping them involved in the company long term.

It is time to open our eyes and be aware of the end goal of companies like Uber. Yes, the concept is simple and straightforward, and yes, the concept of automation in vehicles will be coming to us quicker than we might expect, but we need to be aware of the messages that Uber is spreading and make our own decisions and considerations before believing that the company is actually prioritizing the lives of its employees. Government needs to intervene in creating legislation to save these jobs; in certain sectors and for certain services we are simply better served by fellow humans.

Why Illegal Immigration Poses a Threat to the United States and Europe

With Donald Trump’s immigration ban, there have been many questions and topics of conversations that have started. There are two sides to this argument, as is the case with many points of contention. One side of the argument suggests that the ban is not ethical, and that the United States should be open to anyone and everyone. The other side of the argument states that illegal immigration should be cracked down on – that the lack of proper immigration and government due process will have a negative long-term impact on the United States, and other countries that are at risk of doing the same.

When it comes to illegal immigration, my concern lies in the future of the United States and Europe as it relates to employment and cultural values. Having improper integration into the country that an immigrant is joining could pose long term risk to the employment structure and culture. I will break it down into two different perspectives.

When it comes to unemployment, the US is currently at a rate of 4.9%. This means that the US government needs to have a proper integration system for newcomers. If there is not a proper system in place, unemployment rate will increase significantly as will the underground economy of the labor market, also affecting the safety in the workplace. Immigrants need to be aware of employment opportunities available, receive proper formation through vocational schools, so they may integrate easily into the new country systems.

When it comes to cultural values, it is extremely important to introduce new immigrants to a country’s cultural system. Whether it is best practices for navigating cities, different religions within various cities, how politics come into play, and more; it is integral to the success of new-comers to know how various systems work. Without this education, immigrants will be overwhelmed, will find it difficult to integrate, and create ethnic hamlets causing havoc for existing residents.

It is clear that illegal immigration poses a threat to countries like the United States and Europe. The European Union is currently in the middle of a migration crisis. We know that migration is influenced by a combination of economic, political and social factors, yet countries need to be aware of the impact that such illegal migration could pose on their countries. From employment risks to culture, it is important to be aware of the impact that illegal immigration has on various countries, the loss of safety and security that it causes.

How The Cruise Industry Is Skipping on Taxes

There are two things in life that are certain – death, and paying taxes. Whether you are a large corporation or a citizen living in a small town that you know and love, we all pay taxes each and every year. Yet, there is one industry that has question marks surrounding their financials and end of year books, and the United States government isn’t doing much about it.

This industry is the maritime – or cruise – industry. When it was uncovered that Carnival Corporation was avoiding the payment of taxes in the United States, it raised concerns. You see, Carnival Corporation is headquartered in Florida, yet the company is legally incorporated in Panama. By incorporating in Panama and registering its ships in this third world country, the company avoids paying taxes and wages in the USA. Yet, Carnival benefits from a plethora of resources from their headquartered state of Florida and other States and Cities that their cruise ship docks in. The company uses the resources of the USA Coast Guard, Customs, Border Protection, the FBI and more.

If this raises question marks above your head, too, you’re certainly not alone. Attorney Jim Walker of Cruise Law News has been seeking an answer to this question for quite some time, wondering whether companies like Carnival pays its fair share of taxes. Similarly, the New York Times took aim at Carnival back in 2011.

Surprisingly, next to nothing has come of it. Though this seeming act of tax evasion has struck a cord with such Attorneys and large news publications, as above, the government is turning a blind eye at this act. The argument is that companies working in the maritime or cruise industries are global in nature, meaning that they could potentially be paying taxes around the world, or so their CEO Micky Arison says. Yet, those who take cruises for leisure are primarily from the USA, and since the company is headquartered in the State of Florida, this argument has little to no support.

It is clear that the United State Government needs to pay attention to what is taking place in the maritime and cruise industries. With the primary mode of business being in the USA, it is unfair for tax payers and other businesses within the United States being tax paying, law abiding citizens or corporations, while companies like Carnival reaps the benefits of questionable business behavior year over year.

How Donald Trump Is Running The Country Like a Business Person

When Donald Trump was inaugurated as the President of the United States, the country seemed divided in feedback and acceptance; however, there were a plethora of American citizens who were excited about the move. Not only has President Trump made great promises as the Leader of the United States, he has hopes, dreams and passion to make great change for the country.

President Trump is a Leader who will bring business acumen and a great deal of knowledge to the United States. As a successful businessperson, President Trump and his experience with the business community will help the USA in returning to one of success.

In addition, President Trump has already proven that he is and will continue to be quick to take action. He has already taken the very first step and ordered a freeze on all new regulations coming out of federal agencies. He has also promised to begin reviewing and potentially make sweeping changes to Obamacare, a major point of communication and policy promises while he was on the path to becoming President. Additionally, and perhaps the most popular change, he placed a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office on his very first day on the job.

The sweeping changes already made in the first months of Presidency is unlike anything we have ever seen with past Presidents. With Presidents who have taken a seat in the oval office, it has taken months – if not years – to make policy changes and updates.

These changes are being made primarily because of President Trump’s vast experience in business and negotiation. As someone who has had a great deal of success in the business realm, President Trump is a confident individual who is keen to negotiate at the table of any leader within the Free World. It is clear that he has made these changes from the seat of a CEO, with a perspective that we have not seen from any other past sitting President.

As an individual who is successful in negotiation tactics, President Trump is certain to make great, sweeping changes in the USA over the next four years. It was time for a fresh perspective and a new change. While President Trump was met with uncertainty since November, the time since his inauguration has made the country feel positive and excited at the prospect of what is to come, especially when it comes to the future of the United States of America.

When Will Passwords & Pins Disappear?

Will Pins and Passwords Die?

When Apple first introduced the touch ID security, there was a lot of skepticism about the new process. Who has access to these finger prints? What was wrong with typing in a password? Who came up with this? Will this be secure? Can this be used against me?

Some individuals still have these sentiments, but almost three years later, most of us don’t even give a second thought about unlocking our phones with our fingerprint. Apple didn’t invent biometrics, but they certainly aided in the mass acceptance of it.

A bill was drafted three years ago that proposed a new federal government-issued ID card. It would contain biometric information such as fingerprints.

“At the most basic, biometrics can be best explained by breaking down the word: bio, as in biological; and metric, as in measurement. That is to say, biometrics are biological measurements. Thanks to the unique nature of many of these measurements, biometrics are particularly suited for identification. Fingerprints, facial measurements, the patterns that your veins make and even the way you walk — all of these characteristics and more are unique to you and you only.”

The card would be needed to authenticate the user’s identity and have their working status and history. Drafters ultimately decided to drop the bill, possibly because there are about 8 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. workforce.

Fingerprint ID’s are just a fraction of the possibilities of biometric technology. I used to believe face recognition was only for James Bond characters, but who knew we would have the same technology illustrated in the 1980’s A View to Kill at our 9–5’s. Many businesses have transitioned from old school paper time keeping and have adopted automated biometric timekeeping systems like Clockwise. There is so much more behind this science then IPhones and secret spies. Biometric technology has capabilities ranging from voiceprint biometrics to invisible biometrics that can measure and track the way you type and use your mouse.

“Apple is reportedly working on sophisticated facial biometrics, and Canada is testing facial recognition technology at its border patrol stations.”

I predict that in 2016 the use of passwords and pins will drastically decrease. As biometric technology advances, the public perception continues to accept the changes it brings. Biometrics has claimed their stance in our every day lives. In 2015, biometric technology made nearly $15 billion in the global market and is estimated to reach $41.5 billion by 2020. The health care industry has begun to integrate this technology in their practices. It eliminates security problems and human error possibilities such as “overlays” (when someone’s records are placed in another’s file).

It may take more time before passwords and pins are completely eradicated, but we are moving closer to them being used interchangeably. The general public isn’t as skeptical to log in to a device with a fingerprint as they were three years ago. Many would actually prefer it because it saves time, it adds another level of protection, and for its accuracy. Biometrics isn’t a trend, it’s the new way of security in this digital age.

How Long Will the Visa & MasterCard Domination Last?


Visa and Mastercard have dominated the payments industry for decades. In a 2015 Nilson Report, Visa and Mastercard represented more than 82% of the global market share for transactions worldwide. Visa and Mastercard charge a transaction fee on each transaction taking place through their cards. They also partner financial institutions and charge sizeable foreign exchange fees on global transactions.

The first credit card was issued by New York’s Franklin National Bank for loan customers way back in 1951. It was issued as a symbol of trust for credit worthy customers. Today the card industry has become more cut throat. Trust became a secondary issue compared with profit. After all, credit card loans are revolving industries with high profit margins for consumer banking. Financial institutions and payment systems have worked together and charged the consumers interests rates and a host of other fees.

For decades, payment system firms enjoyed an undisturbed market free from disruptive forces. Unlike the short messaging system (sms) industry which was disrupted by data messaging applciations, payment system firms have endured the onslught of payment applications such as Square and Paypal. The rise of mobile payments startups may well challenge the traditional card payment system. Indeed some startups offer card-less convenience as well as attractive data analytics for merchants.

And yet, Visa and Mastercard continue to grow their topline revenue. Given both new and traditional forms of payment are growing, perhaps there may be a complementary relationship between the two. Unlike the Uber versus black cabs in London, mobile payment applications are not necessarily disruptive to the payment ecosystem.

Online applications such as Paypal allow users to add credit cards as well as top up an e-wallet directly from banks. Many users continue to use credit cards as a complementary service to the new wave of payment applications online. After all, a standalone system is another form of security for suers. Users can always cancel the card once they feel that Paypal or another payment application has initiated an unauthorised transaction. For many of these users, convenience is the winning factor. With mobile applications, payment becomes a quicker and more enjoyable process. The 30 second wait for the POS terminal to dail up to the network is long compared to the Visa paywave transaction which can take mere seconds. When users add these cards into a new application such as Apple Pay or Liquid Pay, the transaction can be done in a matter of seconds.

For many mobile applications, payment is the first step. Alipay started with payments then moved into investment products, microfinance and trade. Payments bring in the critical mass. Today, users do far more including trading stocks. If they could top up their stock brokerage account, pay interst and commissions, select robo-advisors all within the same application, might more defect to such applications? Mobile payment applications might just be the start of a smarter financial ecosystem.

The victims of the disruption may emerge only in later phases of this growing market in mobile payments.

Pokémon Go Exposes the Friction Between Virtual Worlds and Reality

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play game for Android & iOS from Niantic. It’s an update of the massively popular and long-running Pokémon franchise, where players roam around a whimsical world collecting and training wildlife they force into lives of brutal combat. Except now, using GPS-enabled mobile phones, Pokémon Go replaces the fictional world with our own, sending nostalgia-heavy young adults rushing out to parks, shopping centers and other landmarks in search of virtual creatures.

Although the game has only been released in Australia, New Zealand and the US, developers are “pausing” release in other regions until the inevitable launch issues are resolved. However, players have found ways to enable and play the game in other regions, and popularity has skyrocketed.


Mixed-Reality Games

Although it is primarily identified as an “Augmented Reality game,” Pokémon Go is actually an example of a “Mixed-Reality Game.” The key is the interweaving of a virtual game world. Real places develop additional meaning, so now your local lake may be a breeding ground for both real carp and virtual Squirtles.

Mixed-reality games are compelling because they give this new and exciting narrative layered over the mundane and everyday. Several Pokémon Go players have taken to Twitter to say how the game has had a positive impact on their mental health, by giving them a reason to get outside and get some exercise.

Back to Reality

However, mixed-reality does bring some issues, especially in games such as Pokémon Go that have a global scale. Obviously, Niantic has not visited every place that appears in the game to ensure its suitability and safety. It relies on data drawn from a third party, such as Google Maps, to identify landmarks and other physical attributes of the players’ vicinity. The reliability of such data sources is not perfect, and this leads to mix-ups and confusion.

For example, in the US, someone living in an old converted church has found his home routinely visited by Pokémon trainers since his home has been incorrectly tagged as a gym.

Position in Not Location

There is an issue for mixed-reality that these events highlight. Position is not location. Places have complex social and historical associations that are difficult for computers to understand beyond their latitude and longitude. In this way, we end up with Pokemon at war memorials across the world, including a holocaust museum in Florida and the 9/11 memorial in New York. These, and other missteps from the game are collected in the “Pokemorbid” Tumblr.

In 2002, while studying the mixed-reality game Botfighters, scholar Olli Sotamaa predicted that such games would run into trouble over the flat way technology understands locations in contrast to the rich way we experience them in the real world. Pointedly, he notes out that this is problematic where “in some cities the territorial organization can produce virtual no-go areas for certain groups of people depending on for example race, class or gender”. Sure enough, a Pokémon Go player has this week pointed out that the game could get them killed, as a black person “looking suspicious,” given the current political situation in the US.

While there is no doubt that Pokémon Go is a great game, and lots of fun, we should be prepared for more friction as the demands of the virtual world rub against the realities of the complex and socio-politically rich environment on which the game uncomfortably rests.

Ending the ISIS Ideology


“Our thoughts and prayers are with them” is a line generally repeated by both Democrats and Republicans in the face of mass shootings, which have unfortunately become more or less routine in the U.S. The problem is, are thoughts and prayers enough as a reaction to mass shootings, suicide bombings, incidents of terror? Are we simply going to devote our thoughts and prayers, profile pictures and trending hashtags to the victims? Or are we actually going to do something concrete about it?

We need to tackle terrorism — not just militarily, but ideologically. I can guarantee that ordering all the fighter jets in the world to strike ISIS-held territory will not defeat ISIS. It may subdue ISIS temporarily, but it will not put a definitive end to the threat posed by ISIS. ISIS is a rouge organization that derives a lot of its support from painting a black-and-white worldview. It draws a lot of strength by promoting a takfiri ideology, an ideology in which they depict themselves to be rightly guided, and everyone else misguided and worthy of a death sentence.

ISIS will target anyone (and I mean anyone) who does not subscribe to their ideologies of spreading fear, hate, violence, and bloodshed. As an outlet of terror, ISIS depicts within its ranks something on the lines of “everyone is out to get us.” Ordering airstrikes on ISIS is the equivalent of adding fuel to the already-strong fire.

The problem is that most of the international community treats ISIS as a military nemesis, and not as an ideological foe. ISIS is not confined to any set borders — ISIS has been able to strike thousands of kilometers outside its territorial areas of control. Look at Paris. Look at Sinai. Look at Dhaka. Look at Orlando. All of them hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers away from the ISIS-controlled areas in Iraq and Syria. How has ISIS, a terrorist organization running a self-proclaimed state “caliphate” that is almost completely bankrupt and is severely underdeveloped managed to conduct terror attacks of such scale so far away from Raqqa?

The answer to that lies in the skillful use of modern technology to spread venomous propaganda dripping with hate into the minds of teenagers and young adults. I have yet to hear of the terrorists in terror attacks claimed by ISIS receiving funding and arms from ISIS. ISIS does not need to dole out funding or arms to anyone when they have inspired a whole bunch of mercenaries to conduct acts of terror in the name of their perverted version of Islam.

At this point, I believe that while the use of military action cannot be overruled (even if only to prevent ISIS making territorial advances), the need to counter ISIS ideologically is far greater than the need to counter ISIS militarily. For even if we magically manage to erase every trace of ISIS from the soil of Iraq and Syria, there will remain potentially thousands of lone-wolf terrorists/mercenaries across the globe, prepared to shed blood in the name of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s warped ideologies, at any time, at any place.

In 10 Years, We’ll Be Mining Asteroids for Minerals


According to NASA, the mineral wealth found in the asteroid belt equals out to the equivalent of just about 100 billion dollars for every person on Earth today. That’s a lot of wealth, but more importantly, that’s a lot of resources .

If you aren’t aware, getting materials from planet Earth to outer space takes an extravagant amount of fuel, and that means an extravagant amount of money. To that end, by acquiring raw materials from space itself, we could develop a host of space structures (such as colonies or space stations) and even generate rocket fuel, which will ultimately be needed if we ever hope to explore and colonize our solar system in a way that is economically viable.

As Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki asserts, “Whether it’s the air we breathe, the water we drink, the materials that we build things with, or ultimately, of course, the food that we eat…all of these things are available to us on this planet, but when we head into space, we have to bring all of it with us. That of course, isn’t very scalable.”

And to that end, NASA states that, in the 21st century, space exploration will be reliant upon what we can mine in the cosmos, “The metals and minerals found on asteroids will provide the raw materials for space structures, and comets will become the watering holes and gas stations for interplanetary spacecraft.”

A host of governments and private companies are already working on asteroid mining projects. Luxembourg recently established a €220 million fund for space mining projects; the United States signed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law, which recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources. Private companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries have a number of technologies in production to help humanity mine the cosmos.

“People think that this is something that will be a century away, or maybe something that their grandkids might see,” Lewicki asserts, “but people already doing this. We already have two spacecrafts in orbit around asteroids, and in the first half of the 2020s, we anticipate that we will Planetary Resources will be touching on the surface of the nearest asteroid and extracting the first really demonstrable amount of asteroid resources on site.”

That’s 10 years until we’re mining our first asteroid. Of course, there are a lot of things that need to happen in order for this ten-year timeframe to be met, but we are well on our way.

The first concern is establishing clear regulations regarding asteroid mining. For example, who really owns asteroids, anyways? Can anyone just venture space with a flag and stake a claim?

Lewicki notes that, while such regulations will take some time to fully flesh out, we are already taking steps to cement laws regarding commercial operations in space: “The United States government has taken up this matter for the last couple of years, seeing how this industry was developing very rapidly. They created the first framework that identifies how we will deal with property rights, regulation, and ownership of things that are developed and obtained in space.”

This is the Commercial Space Competitiveness Launch Act, and other nations are already launching similar initiatives. The United States has led this, and now we’re seeing other countries, and other space programs, follow suit. Earlier this spring, the United Arab Emirates and their newly established space program described their intent to establish some policy related to space resources and space mining, and just last week, the deputy prime minister and the prime minister of Luxembourg announced a very large initiative that the country there is starting, and we’re collaborating with them in that activity, and they are going to form a new space policy which helps create a framework that supports the development of the industry.

Another concern with asteroid mining is getting to the asteroids. A great number of the asteroids in our solar system exist in a belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. That’s about 204 million miles. For comparison, the Moon is 238,000 miles away from Earth. Fortunately, we may not have to go quite that far in order to get to find viable asteroids for mining.

“Asteroids are actually the most accessible destinations once you go out of low-Earth orbit, and a lot of people aren’t aware of that. They think of asteroids as something between Mars and Jupiter, and that’s very, very far away. But that’s the great benefit of the near-Earth asteroids. There are now 14,000 that have already been discovered, and a few thousand of those actually are far easier to make the journey to-and-from.”

What do you think, would you invest in asteroid mining?