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Archive for May, 2007

Interesting Numbers On New York Real Estate

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Found some interesting numbers quoted on the Pos, regarding the cost of doing business in New York. The headline they went with was, GO FIGURE! ARE NYC PRICES GOING CRAZY? YOU BETTER BELIZE IT!

All this, with the latest forcast for overall housing prices to drop in late 2007 across the United States. I suppose there are some areas where real estate is somewhat immune from fluctuation, and New York is one of those places. 

Some of the numbers below are not directly related to NYC real estate, but they either show the trend, or add a little humor into the fray. Interesting number on how much real estate work you can do when you’re serving 33 1/3 years in jail.

Enjoy! 

$7.25 million =

Going price for the most expensive of One Brooklyn Bridge Park’s 26 penthouse units, making it Brooklyn’s all-time priciest condo

$3.8 million =

The borough’s previous record, paid this past January for a penthouse in Williamsburg’s Aurora building

45 =

Stories slated for Donald Trump’s planned condo-hotel in SoHo

12 =

Months it took for The Donald’s controversial project to finally get approval

$1,550 =

Rent for a one-bedroom loft in Bushwick advertised – without apparent irony – as “punk rock heaven”

$1 =

Amount residents at the former punk squat C-Spot paid to purchase their East Village building five years ago

40,000 =

Square feet in Brownsville and East New York set aside by the city to be used as community farms

33 1/3 =

Minimum number of years drug dealer Alejandro Lopez-Guevara was sentenced to serve in prison following his 1988 conviction

$1.775 million =

Sum of the real-estate deals Lopez-Guevara has pulled off from behind bars

7 1/2 =

Percentage a rent-stabilized apartment could increase on a two-year lease

$1.2 billion =

Entire 2006 gross domestic product of Belize

$2.4 billion =

Value of residential listings held by Prudential Douglas Elliman, according to a survey by The Real Deal

$940 million =

Price that Urban American Management and the City Investment Fund paid for nearly 4,000 units in former Mitchell-Lama buildings in Harlem, making it the second-biggest real-estate deal in NYC history

34 =

Percentage of Mitchell-Lama’s original 105,000 apartments that were moved out of the program between 1990 and 2005

750 =

Number of calculators Halstead Property is donating to Harlem public schools

[Source NY Post

New York City real estate is a little on the expensive side, you might say. Therefore, real estate in New York NY, is prime for those desiring a solid financial investment.

Practical Guide To Total Financial Freedom – Volumes 1,2,3,4,5

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Samuel Blankson’s “Practical Guide To Total Financial Freedom, Volumes 1,2,3,4,5“, can be had for a price online, or in your local book stores. The popularity of PGTTFF has spurned on many-a-clones, and though there never has been a shortage of the “get rich, and get richer” content, Sam’s work has set the bar up yet another notch.

Here are couple of reviews on the volumes:

  • Four of us at the office have started this ecourse basically we are reading the whole of these 5 book series and applying it exactly as the author advises. I am near the end of volume 1 and have set up a will, got BUPA medical cover (I am a consultant), Set up my Cash ISA and already saved $750 in it. Set up and am contributing to life insurance much to my wife and families surprise. I am working my way through this. It’s great. Excellent series!
  • This is a great book. It is part of the 5 books in the series. You cant just buy one of them, you have to buy all five as they all work together like a course or training manual to becoming financially free. I like the direct approach. As a real estate developer I particular found volume 3 most instrumental as it covered real estate investing. Taught me things about real estate investing I never even heard of, and I thought I was well versed in the subject matter. Excellent book, excellent series. For the content its real great value.

The advice is sound, and of course “practical”, so it hits home for most average, hard-working Americans. You don’t need to be a financial expert to apply Samuel’s common-sense methods. Highly recommended reading.

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Practical Guide To Total Financial Freedom, Volumes 1,2,3,4,5 have become hot items in the financial education arena of late. Samuel Blankson wrote the so-called,  “practical guide to total financial freedom volume sets” and he hit it out of the park on this one.
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Fear Used By Organizations

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Corporations, governments, and religions, can play positive roles in our society. However, depending on the organization’s leadership, they all utilize fear in some form – either with the subtlety of their whip, or with the violence in their tone of voice.

Corporations and Fear

Some corporations use fear as a tool for keeping productivity up, losses down, and order within the ranks. Many unions, who are supposed to represent employees, use fear to keep workers grateful for the status quo.

Many companies tell their employees that the company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and can’t afford to improve working conditions. The same companies will threaten layoffs, and base closures, in an effort to frighten employees into accepting the wages and benefits they currently have.

In most cases, the information given to the employees is factual, but unscrupulous management teams still exist in America. They “bend the facts”, and use adversarial management tactics to keep their employees in a constant state of unrest. Some corporations actually run classes to teach their managers how to keep employees on their toes.

The result is the same. The employees, and their families, are kept in a constant state of concern.

If you work for a company that uses these fear tactics, you are best to completely ignore the rumor mill, and the water

cooler sessions. Worrying won’t do you any good. Remember – it’s just a job, and you are not your job. You can find another one.

Government and Fear

Governments will use fear to garner support for their policies and agendas. One of the oldest recorded governments on earth is the Althingi (established in Iceland around 930 by Viking-era settlers). The Althingi used fear as a way to control the people they were supposed to serve, and this practice is still used today.

When it comes to communist, totalitarian, and fascist regimes, fear is the basis on which society is managed and controlled. From the top levels of power, down to the peddlers in the street, fear is a tangible reality you can almost taste. In other words, you better to step around it, or you’ll get hurt.

“Fear is the foundation of most governments.”
– John Adams

The use of fear by democratic governments is usually subtle, but if you look close enough, it’s transparent. People living in free nations still succumb to fear tactics, and vote accordingly, but the fear mongering is often disguised as “news of the day”.

At the risk of sounding like a paranoid, conspiracy nut, here is a clear example: Early in the 21 century, President George Bush Jr., and his advisers, used fear tactics to convince Americans (and their allies) that invading Iraq was paramount. George Bush Jr., via the United States intelligence community, told the world Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs), and that the free world was at serious risk.

Using flawed (possibly manipulated) information, over zealous officials spread the word of fear to the American public. The voters in the United States responded by supporting the invasion of Iraq. There was never any weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Not even evidence of WMDs being made, stored, or destroyed.

It’s important not to let the rhetoric of governments disturb your practical peace. Read the section below called, “The fear merchants”, to understand how the free press is often manipulated by governments to spread a fearful message. If you stop watching, listening, and reading the news, you’ll reduce the stress in your life. I guarantee it. Start by turning off your televisions for a couple of days. You can also try watching light comedy.

Overcoming Fear & Anxiety – Fear of Our Fathers

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

The Fearful Example

There have been many studies conducted on what molds the mind of a child growing up. Most of these studies conclude that the vast majority of a child’s learning experience is based on the example the parents or guardians set — not so much on what the the parents say.

If the people that raised you reacted with nervous urgency every time the smallest problem came up, you would, most likely, develop futile fears. If you were lucky, the people that raised you never over-reacted every time milk was spilt.

However, even if your guardians were well adjusted, as in the latter example, you would have been effected by your peers, siblings, teachers, community, country, and what I call, electronic intrusion. Dispensing with futile fear is a challenge, no matter what your family background is, but it can be done.

Verbally Induced Fear

Then there is the direct effect of what your guardians tell you. The people that raised you may have been told by their parent’s, and their parent’s parents, that they need to straighten up and fly right. Your parents may have been promised failure, if they didn’t tow the line. Furthermore, they would most likely try to impose similar beliefs on you.

For an example on how guardians can affect a child, lets look at this hypothetical scenario. Picture a child trying to avoid their homework. I have included three different ways a parent might apply pressure:

The mother or father – “Get your homework finished.”

The child does not respond, and the parent tries to inspire the youngster to finish their studies.

RESPONSE 1 – “Get your homework done, or you won’t have time to join your friends for baseball this afternoon.” 

Good one. The child has a legitimate concern about making it to their baseball game. The parent(s) can guarantee the outcome will be as they suggest.

RESPONSE 2 – “Get your homework done, or you will fall behind the other kids in the class.” 

Not so good. The child has now been compared to other children. This ushers in the futile fear of shame, and suggests an outcome that is not necessarily true.

RESPONSE 3 – “Get your homework done, or you will fall behind the other kids in the class, fail this semester, fail to graduate, and collect pop bottles the rest of your life.”

You may chuckle at this response, and you should, because the notion is ridiculous. But unfortunately,  some parents actually blurt out comments like this with reddened faces, white knuckle fingers, and bellowing voices. This is futile fear at it’s worst. The child learns fear of what others think of them, fear of shame, fear of poverty, and fear of failing to thrive. All of which, will create toxic perception in the mind the of child. Furthermore, if your parents were extremely competitive people, they may have set the bar quite high for you. Failure would be easier to come by, and your failure would result in shame. When a child is constantly ashamed, they begin to develop toxic perception.

Your inherited fear may be the reason you have days of anxiety, disturbed sleep, mild or extreme depression, angry outbursts, or simply constant frustration. The fears that are causing your anxiety can be multiple. Common fears are: Poverty, loneliness, death, shame, change, and of course, the big ugly…..fear of of fear. There’s an unlimited list of fears that humans waste valuable time inventing.

You need to take a good look at the historical fear in your family, and break the chain. Remember that it’s good to have “legitimate concerns” regarding the basics of life, such as shelter, food, and survival — but any other fear needs to be eradicated. Or, at the very least, GREATLY reduced.

When elderly people are asked what they would have done differently in their life, they often say they would have lived their lives with less fear — they would have taken more chances.

I hope the process of removing fear is something you work hard on. If you learn to master your fear, many of life’s challenges will be easier to deal with, and maybe even FUN! The good news is, you can break the chain of fear without a miracle. You can choose to adjust your perception.

You can begin by dealing with your fear and stress now, and pass along a different legacy to the people you influence during your flesh existence on earth.

Does Google Adwords Make You Cranky?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Google AdWords can be your best friend, or it can bite you in the butt big time. I don’t claim to be an AdWords expert by any means, but I can speak a little from experience from playing the game.

During my first experience with AdWords, I decided that the best strategy was to get massive traffic pouring into my website (PlayKillerGuitar.com) and let the numbers generate the sales.

After all, it’s a numbers game right? I thought even with a conversion rate of around 1%, I could average about 10 sales per thousand visitors. Hmmmmm, such easy money!

I set up my campaigns and waited for the tidal wave of sales to come pouring in. Well, my sales did increase. I sold 10 tutorials and at 20 dollars a piece I made a sweet 200 big ones. I was a king! AdWords was a piece of cake!

Then came the email notification of deduction from my bank account from Google. Yep, you guessed it, I never bothered to check my daily costs! 250 bucks for the month! YIKES!

I didn’t make any money, I lost 50 bucks! From there I tried lowering my bids,  using different keywords, changing my ad content, and studying my competitor’s ad copy just to try and get a clue on what they were doing. I tried it all and still I was paying through the nose and and ending up in the hole every time.

I was totally clueless as to what the heck I was doing wrong. So I took the next logical step.

I told myself that AdWords stinks and turned off all my campaigns. Deep inside I knew that other marketers were actually making a profit, simply because I noticed the same ads running every week. Then I came across a book by Perry Marshall called “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords”. It was a new version so I had to get on a waiting list to get it.

I was worth the wait and when it arrived it was hot off the press. I have to admit that it was the best 17 bucks I ever invested in.

Every page seemed to point out all the things I was doing wrong and illustrated the right way that it should be done. For one thing, I wasn’t setting up my campaigns properly and my keywords were way too generalized. Your keywords need to be very targeted. Man was I green! I thought I was pretty savvy, but Perry Marshall showed me just how green I was.

I learned other important things as well, such as CTR (click through ratio) and how to keep it optimized by getting rid of the non-producing keywords. The idea is to attract target visitors, not bulk visitors. Once I understood this, I started making a profit, with my 20
dollar tutorials.

AdWords still isn’t my favorite form of traffic generation. I much prefer the free methods such as article writing, blogging, SEO, etc., but at least I can now say that I’ve tamed the beast, somewhat. PPC is a great way to get a brand new website rolling for your product until the free techniques start kicking in.

That’s what works for me anyway. I’m still on my way up, so who knows, maybe next
year I’ll look back and think I was crazy. This is what works for me so far, and when something works, why not keep going, right?