Home-Flipping Profits Just Hit An All Time High: These 10 States Offer The Highest Return Potential

That most distinct remnant of the 2006 housing bubble – home flipping – is not only back, it is more profitable than ever.

According to a new report by ATTOM Data Solutions and RealtyTrac,193,009 single family homes and condos were flipped — defined as sold in an arms-length transfer for the second time within a 12-month period — in 2016, up 3.1% from 2015 to the highest level since 2006, when 276,067 single family homes and condos were flipped.

Home flips in 2016 accounted for 5.7% of all single family home and condos sales during the year, up from 5.5 percent in 2015 to a three-year high but still well below the peak in 2005, when 338,207 single family homes and condos were flipped representing 8.2% of all sales.

Finally, for those who may be looking to get in the game, even at this late stage, the following infographic lays out the 10 states that have the highest “flipping” gross return on investment.

Excerpts of article form Zerohedge.com

Largest New Discovery of Oil in USA Puts USA in Top Ten

Oil Platform

Another major discovery of oil has been made in Alaska of 1.2 billion barrels. It is the largest find of conventional oil for 30 years on US territory. The discovery was made by the Spanish oil company Repsol on Thursday with its US partner Armstrong Energy. According to a report from the company, the production potential is up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day, and production is scheduled to start in four years. This will probably increase the US standing to overtake Nigeria entering the list of top ten.

Article by ArmstrongEconomics.com

Rank Country Barrels (bbl)
1 Venezuela 298,400,000,000
2 Saudi Arabia 268,300,000,000
3 Canada 171,000,000,000
4 Iran 157,800,000,000
5 Iraq 144,200,000,000
6 Kuwait 104,000,000,000
7 Russia 103,200,000,000
8 United Arab Emirates 97,800,000,000
9 Libya 48,360,000,000
10 Nigeria 37,070,000,000
11 United States 36,520,000,000
12 Kazakhstan 30,000,000,000
13 Qatar 25,240,000,000
14 China 24,650,000,000
15 Brazil 15,310,000,000
16 Algeria 12,200,000,000
17 Mexico 9,812,000,000
18 Angola 9,011,000,000
19 Ecuador 8,832,000,000
20 Azerbaijan 7,000,000,000

This is why you shouldn’t lie to a future employer about your salary

This week, participants on Quora — a site where users can post questions about life’s most vexing dilemmas — tried to help someone who said, “I lied about my current salary during an interview by 7%. Now they want pay stubs. What do I do?” Answers included “lie again” (“Say you don’t have any pay stubs”), explain that benefits and other perks make up the 7% discrepancy, say the interviewee was misinformed by a mentor to fib as a negotiating tactic or just come clean and say he or she wanted to earn more money and exaggerating a previous salary seemed harmless.

Avoiding this stressful situation is unfortunately complicated, since asking about a prospective employee’s current salary puts him or her in a tough spot to start out a salary negotiation. But career experts never suggest lying. Luckily for prospective employees, there has been a recent movement that could eliminate this negotiation question altogether.

How to respond

If a prospective private sector employer who is allowed to ask does inquire about your current salary, whether you’re a man or a woman, what should you do? Practice answering the question, before the interview. Next: Ask why the employer needs to know that information and how they plan to use it, Raghu said. “That will put it on the employer to come up with a relevant reason,” she said.

Of course, that could backfire, if the employer says the information is necessary in order to move forward in the hiring process, she said. In that case, a job applicant could decline to answer the question, and ask instead what the employer is prepared to offer, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert for the job-finding company Monster.

Many times, recruiters are attempting to find out if a job applicant is too expensive for the employer. “You could say something like, ‘I’m focusing more on the salary for this job, versus my current salary, and I wanted to know, what does this job pay?’” she suggested. “You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.”

No matter what, it doesn’t pay off to lie about current salary, and that should never be an applicant’s strategy, experts said. Besides the ethical implications, for one thing, the lie could come out if your future employer does a background check with the human resources department, which the future employer may conduct after the applicant has accepted a position and resigned from a former company. If the old employer did give salary details (not that he or she should), that employee could be terminated from the new job, and as a result, end up jobless, Salemi said.

And keeping track of the lie could also prove difficult when applying to multiple jobs and speaking with multiple hiring managers, Bardaro added.

You don’t want to find yourself asking strangers how to cover up a lie on Quora.

Excerpts of article by Marketwatch.com

Cuba: The Most Explosive Property Speculation For The Next Decade

By Doug Casey
I’m pretty familiar with the Caribbean, and I’ll give you the bottom line. There are a few bright spots that are friendly, pretty, progressive, and upmarket, but on the whole the place is very expensive, racially charged, and regressing economically. Very little merits consideration for a vacation, much less an investment. Cuba, however, is a special situation. Prices are extremely low. The place is completely undeveloped and in dire need of capital. The population has been isolated from the rest of the world for more than 55 years, and even around Havana it’s going to be years before they learn to resent tourists. But things will really explode when, and this is absolutely inevitable, the place becomes legal for Americans. At that point millions of gringos will pour in annually. Why would anyone go to Florida when Cuba is only 90 miles offshore? The US government itself estimates 12 million visits from Americans the first year the embargo comes down. But that’s an impossible number, since only a fraction of them could be accommodated with facilities that are even in the planning stages.

I look at businesses and real estate from an investment perspective all over the world, and I can tell you that Cuba is all you need to know about how to make an absolute killing for at least the next generation. There are various places in Africa, Asia, and South America, many of which I’ve discussed, that may have more of some desirable things and less of some undesirable things. But there’s no place that has the mix that Cuba does, plus one overwhelmingly huge factor: It’s right on the doorstep of the US.

The good news is that Cuba is all an intelligent property speculator needs to know for the next generation. The bad news is that the Cuban government is only allowing commercial investment, where it acts as a joint venture partner. The standard deal is that a foreigner puts up 100% of the capital for his 50% interest; the Cubans put up the property for theirs. The investor is exempt on import duties and pays no income tax until he’s received 100% of his capital back. This is a fair deal, but it precludes passive investment. A real pity in a country with over 2,000 miles of pristine seacoast; priced, when it trades, at a pittance.

The fact is that around a third of the land in Cuba is still privately owned and theoretically can be transferred. The problem is finding out what there is, and who owns it. And even if you can jump those hurdles, it will be a real problem getting permission to buy and transfer title. In other words, it’s completely impractical to try buying land. Too bad, because some beachfront will be a 100-1 shot over the next decade.

Overseas Cubans with relatives on the island should get those relatives working on the problem; there could hardly be a more productive way for them to spend their time. A word to the wise.

Excerpts of article from globalvanguard.com

How to Live with Risks

The researchers identify three best practices for assessing and managing risk:

Strike the right balance between risk and reward.

“Risk management” is often synonymous with “risk prevention.” But as any portfolio manager knows, lower risk often means lower returns. Today’s risk managers see their role as helping firms determine and clarify their appetite for risk and communicate it across the company to guide decision making. In some cases this means helping line managers reduce their risk aversion. For example, one large company decided to terminate the policy of a client it had insured for 35 years. The client wasn’t very risky, so profits on its policy were negligible.

Many employees associate risk management with compliance-driven busywork, such as annual IT security quizzes. Although cybersecurity is certainly important, such exercises might not reduce risk. In addition to relying on paperwork or process, risk managers are turning to tools (such as dashboards that show risks in real time) and training that help employees assess risk. They are also helping companies factor a better understanding of risk into their decision making. At Lego, for instance, the senior director of strategic risk management is included in all decisions involving capital above a certain amount. He helps colleagues spot potential problems and managers see how their projects fit into the company’s overall portfolio of projects, each with its own set of risks. “This is less about listing risks from a backward-looking perspective and more about picking the right portfolio of risky projects,” Shinkman says.

Make employees the first line of defense.

Decisions don’t make themselves—people make them, and there isn’t always a chief risk officer present when they do. So smart companies work to improve employees’ ability to incorporate appropriate levels of risk when making choices. This might begin during the hiring process: Some firms now use “risk screens” or other types of assessments to gauge candidates’ appetite for risk. By bringing in people with an aptitude for risk assessment, they reduce the need for training or remediation later. Companies are also trying to identify which types of jobs or departments face a disproportionate share of high-risk decisions so that they can aim their training at the right people. They’re focusing that training less on risk awareness and more on simulations or scenarios that let employees practice decision making in risky situations. Finally, risk managers are becoming more involved in employee exit interviews, because people leaving an organization often identify risks that others aren’t able or willing to discuss.

To direct risk managers to the right activities, many firms are changing their organizational structure. For instance, some now have risk managers report to the strategy officer or the chief operating officer instead of to the general counsel or the compliance officer. Other firms, which have historically spread responsibility for risk management across multiple departments—security, compliance, legal, audit, safety, quality, and so on—are establishing enterprise risk management functions to provide coordination.

The goal is to transform risk management from a peripheral function to one with a voice integrated into day-to-day management. “Leading companies view every decision they make as a risk decision [and] choose their risks with great calculation,” according to the CEB white paper outlining this research. “They [use] risk management as a protection shield, not an action stopper.” The paper notes that the English word “risk” shares roots with the Italian word rischiare, meaning “to dare.” Keeping the latter sense in mind may help companies counter old-school tendencies to simply run in the opposite direction when encountering risk.

Excerpts of article from hbr.org