How to earn an extra $500 a month: Part 2

house-under-constructionIn part 1 of this article on how to make an additional $500 per month, FPO explored some rather capital intense methods for bringing in some extra income.  These methods are reasonably low risk, but they are also low return.  There are times, when tying up such a high amount of funds in not feasible.  In those cases, there is the opportunity to exercise some leverage by using the bank’s money.

Are there risks in this? Absolutely.  But there is in everything, including “risk free” savings accounts.  Preservation of principal is guaranteed, but so is loss due to inflation.  the risk of your money dropping in value is ever growing in this case.

The fundamental concept is to borrow at a rate less than your rate of return.  The classic example would be buying an investment property to rent out.  Using the $70,000 example from earlier, this same house can be bought with a loan at a current market rate of 4% with 25% down.  Now the initial investment is $17500 and the monthly loan payment for a 30-year loan is $250.  The net rent collected will be the same $500 as in the previous case, however the net amount after the mortgage payment is $250 extra per month.  In order to get the extra $500 per month, two houses of this type must be bought, or one house of approximately twice the cost.  Going with a single house would result in house that’s a little more than twice the cost as the rent amount versus the purchase price ratio decreases as home price increases.  It’s not a linear relationship.

The above example employs a reasonable 3:1 leverage.  More can be achieved.  In this example for the single $70,000 house, an additional $10000 is borrowed using a business loan at 10% for 30-years.  This rate is higher, but since it’s only $10000 of the total cost, the weighted average cost of debt is still favorable.  This 10:1 leverage scenario carries more risk, but only $7500 per house is needed.  The total income would be $500 per month, and the new payment would be $316 per month, leaving a net income of $184.  This is less than the last example since another $10k is borrowed.  In this case 2.7 houses would be needed to reach that $500 per month.  The total amount that the investor would need to bring to the table under such a scenario would be a little over $20000 to get the $500 per month extra income.  The added benefit is that the houses are also being paid off by rents collected over time.

There is a caution here. 10:1 leverage is very leveraged.  The above examples were done with rental properties, however this will work for most any asset class, including stocks.  In the Case of stocks, this is referred to as a margin account.

Part 3 will discuss some ways that an extra $500 a month of income can be created by making opportunities for yourself, both within your current job and various side jobs.

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Gold vs. S&P 500

Is it better to buy gold or the S&P 500?  The answer is both.  It’s the timing between the two that’s crucial.  To understand why, it’s best to take a practical look at the two asset classes.  Gold is commonly referred to as a “store of value”.  It is what it is.  Gold has a high value due to its anti-corrosive properties, its density, malleability, luster, and ductility.  However, it does not work or generate any cash flow or grow itself additionally.  This is where stocks come in.  Stocks are a product of ownership of production.  A company brings in revenues, pays fixed and variable costs, taxes, and corporate debt.  The remaining amount of earnings, positive or negative passes to the shareholder in a mix of dividends and reinvestment into the company.  The present value (discounted at the required/market rate of return) of the sum of these earnings establish the stock price of the company, which fluctuates on a daily basis.

The chart below is a graph of the ratio of the S&P 500/Gold Price with respect to time.  This chart does not take dividends into account.

Gold vs SP500

Using this chart it is easy to see which asset outperformed the other over any period of time. Over a given time period if the end ratio is higher than the start ratio, the S&P 500 outperformed gold. If the end ratio is lower than the start ratio, gold outperformed the S&P 500.

For example, take a starting point of 1970 and an point of 2000.  The ratios are 2 and 5, respectively. Over this 30 year period stocks outperformed gold.  The ratio for 1930 is 1.5 and the ratio for 1950 is 0.4.  In this period gold outperformed the S&P 500.
There are a lot of factors that will determine price movements and based on trading activities, politics, and the economy.

Any chart theory is not definitive, and should be used only as part of a complete investment approach.  This method is based on a best value trading of the Gold / S&P 500 pair.  Stocks represent the productivity, but a commodity can become increasingly scarce.  A possible approach would be to trade based on the historic ratio bounds.  In this case rebalancing would occur based on the ratio.  At 0.2, an investor would hold 5 parts stock to 1 part gold (0.2/1:1).  At 5, an investor would hold 5 parts gold to 1 part stock.

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