2020 Profiles: A Conspectus on Where Things Stand Right Now

By:  Justin Holden

I have previously written articles for my “2020 profiles” series on Richard Ojeda (who has since dropped out of the 2020 presidential race) and Tulsi Gabbard.  Many other candidates are in play at this point and I figured it would behoove me to write another article providing a broader overview on how the 2020 presidential race is shaping up, and things to look for going forward.  Let’s start by discussing the biggest elephant in the room that is not named Donald Trump…that would of course be former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz.

 

Schultz

Since late January of 2019, Howard Schultz has been seriously contemplating running as an independent candidate for POTUS in 2020.  Up to this point, Schultz has been taken more seriously as a candidate by the mainstream media than candidates who are already politicians and have officially announced their decision to run, such as Tulsi Gabbard.  We must explore why this is.  Hmm…could it be that Howard Schultz is a billionaire?  Well, that certainly could be part of it.  In the United States, it’s pretty easy to turn heads when you have a ridiculous amount of money.  You can essentially buy your way into the political conversation.  We saw this in the 1990’s when Ross Perot ran as a third party presidential candidate and ultimately garnered more than 20% of the popular vote.  Perot was eligible to participate in the nationally televised presidential debates, despite being an independent candidate.  That alone goes to show you the power of wealth in politics.

But wealth alone does not explain why the media is giving Schultz so much airtime.  That, in my view, has more to do with his political philosophy aligning with the establishment.  I mean think about it, what does Howard Schultz actually stand for?  He has made it clear that he is very much against progressive reforms such as a single payer healthcare system, green new deal, and tuition free public college.  Schultz has equally made it clear that, in his view, the far-right has gone too far with their agenda and the election of Donald Trump.  Schultz has told us what he is against, but he conveniently has little to say about what he is actually for.  He positions himself as the sensible centrist candidate, and as an outsider that is running as an independent, but most people are seeing through the facade and realize that on policy substance he is nothing more than an establishment insider.  The polls bear this out at the moment, as Schultz has yet to poll higher than single digits.  This is pretty sad considering that he’s been given loads of free media time, including his own CNN Town Hall event.

The scary thing for Democrats when it comes to Howard Schultz is that he could very well help Donald Trump win re-election as things stand right now.  Schultz’s base, as small as it is, is essentially made up of rich elitist Democrats/Independents that prefer a moderate candidate.  The case could be made that in a general election Schultz siphons off just enough votes (that would have went to the Democratic candidate) to help Trump win.  We will have to see if Schultz remains in the presidential race despite his low poll numbers.  As of now, his candidacy appears to be nothing more than a billionaire’s vanity project.

The Democratic Establishment Candidates:

establishmentSo while we are on the subject of “establishment centrists” and “corporatists”, let’s see what the Democrats have to offer in this category for 2020 presidential candidates.  Pictured above, you will notice Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand.  Let’s not forget to include Amy Klobuchar, who also recently announced her candidacy for 2020.  If there’s one thing you need to know about this group of candidates, it’s that they are not real progressives.  Amy Klobuchar is an example of a candidate who doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she’s running as a moderate centrist.  She is for reforming the affordable care act, but has no desire to push for a “medicare for all” or “single-payer” healthcare system.  Klobuchar also hasn’t gotten on board with the idea of a $15 federal minimum wage, which many Democrats at least claim that they have warmed up to at this point.

As for the other above mentioned candidates, they appear to be towing the line on some kind of middle ground between running as moderate centrists and running as progressives.  All of these candidates’ previous record in politics paint a clear picture that time and time again they have sided with the establishment wing of the Democratic party, which as we know has led to the U.S. government giving out corporate welfare, deregulating Wall Street, inflating the military budget, starting pointless offensive wars, etc.  Furthermore, each of these candidates has taken plenty of campaign contributions in the past from wealthy donors, corporations, special interest groups and PACs.  In politics, you should always look at the source of candidates’ campaign funding because this is the best predictor of the action they will take (or decide not to take) while in office.

Having said all that, we have seen the rhetoric of Booker/Harris/Gillibrand sound increasingly progressive during the beginning phase of the 2020 presidential race.  This may be because polling indicates that more and more of the American people are siding with the progressive solution to issues such as healthcare, climate change, education, minimum wage, etc.  But ultimately, if you are for progressive solutions to political issues, you are better off looking at where candidates get their campaign funding from and how hard the mainstream media networks try to prop certain candidates up.  These are more reliable indicators of where a candidate falls on the political spectrum than their rhetoric.  Also, beware of candidates that avoid discussing policy substance.  This is another red flag that you’ll be looking at the second coming of Hillary Clinton rather than a candidate who is serious about implementing bold solutions to solve America’s problems.

The Progressive Candidates:

sanders-warren

Bernie Sanders is officially in the 2020 presidential race and he shattered the record for most campaign funding on the first day of announcing, hauling in a figure over $3 million comprised of thousands of individual contributions.  Grassroots fundraising at it’s finest!  Clearly, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the front-runners right now on the progressive side of the Democratic Party.  However, we should not overlook Tulsi Gabbard, nor Andrew Yang, with Yang being the first Asian-American man to ever announce his candidacy for POTUS.

But let’s talk policy on these candidates.  It is clear that Bernie Sanders is the candidate who has been unapologetic-ally pushing for progressive policies his entire career.  This of course includes “medicare-for-all”, which now has mainstream support from the American people (although not the American mainstream media).  Tulsi Gabbard has been the loudest voice when it comes to ending offensive regime change wars.  Elizabeth Warren has been a leading voice on anti-corruption (getting the corporate money out of politics) and raising taxes on the ultra wealthy.  Andrew Yang has proposed universal basic income as a solution to a future that forecasts to be increasingly dominated by technology and automation.

These candidates clearly have grassroots support on their side, as well as authenticity, and the ability to side with the majority of the American people on a number of important issues.  What these candidates have going against them is a lack of media coverage (or negative media coverage), and possibly favoritism given to their centrist primary opponents by the DNC, although that remains to be seen for this particular election cycle.  It will be interesting to see how the debates turn out for these candidates, and if Gabbard/Yang even get invited to the debate stage.

As Things Stand Now, My Prediction:

I predict that Bernie Sanders’ campaign contributions will continue to lead the pack amongst Democratic primary candidates in a huge way.  While overlooked by the mainstream media, Sanders has polled as the most popular politician in the country ever since the end of the 2016 presidential election, and it’s not even close.  Sanders now has name recognition, which he didn’t have at the beginning of the 2016 Democratic primary when he challenged Hillary Clinton.  I also believe that Sanders will benefit from a populated field of candidates, which will split the vote more and allow him to emerge as the clear favorite rather than be challenged by a single moderate/centrist candidate as he was in the 2016 primary.

The only way I see Bernie Sanders losing the Democratic primary to another candidate is if he gets relentlessly smeared by the mainstream media (a realistic possibility) OR if the DNC claims that Sanders is not a Democrat and decides to disqualify him from the Democratic primary process.  Should the latter happen, Sanders would have an interesting decision to make on whether he bows out or runs as an independent.  I believe that Sanders would ultimately bow out at that point because the prospect of further splitting the vote to help Trump win would not be something he could stomach.  Then again, let’s wait and see if Trump is even still president by the time primary voting starts.  FBI investigations still loom large.

 

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Introduction to Justin’s Roth IRA Account

By:  Justin Holden

Summary

  • An in-depth view of my Roth IRA holdings with Charles Schwab
  • Long time horizon (more than 30 years from retirement age)
  • An explanation of investing strategy on this particular account

 

My first article in the series included an introduction to my investing philosophy and I listed securities held in my individual brokerage account with TD Ameritrade at the time.  Since that point in time, I have fully fleshed out my Roth IRA account with Charles Schwab.  I’ve found that my approach to investing in a retirement account is quite different from an individual brokerage account.

I purchase stocks and ETF’s with the intention to hold indefinitely and re-invest dividends.  I have no exposure to bonds nor bond funds.  I try not to buy anything that I can’t see myself holding to retirement age.  I try to be fully invested in securities and not carry a significant cash balance on the account.  I chose Charles Schwab because the commissions on buying individual stocks are relatively low ($4.95 per trade) and there’s a solid selection of commission-free ETF’s on Schwab’s select list.  All ETF’s bought for my Roth IRA are from Schwab’s select list and therefore I pay no commissions on the trades.  In addition, expense ratios on the ETF’s I invested in are quite low.  This is all part of the plan.  I don’t want my investments to be cannibalized by high expense ratios.

Analyzing the holdings in my Roth IRA up to this point, one might conclude that I focus too much on value and dividend growth when I should be focused more on picking a solid growth stock given my long time horizon.  This is a valid criticism.  However, I’d prefer to wait until a market crash scenario before researching a good growth stock to add to my Roth IRA.  I simply don’t like paying above 20 P/E multiples for stocks.  It just bugs me for some reason.  Anyway, without further ado, here are my current Roth IRA holdings:

Equities Price (as of 10/24/18) Cost Basis % of account
VTR $56.78 per share $52.36 per share 12.53
BLK $378.66 per share $385.67 per share 12.19
KIM $14.92 per share $14.13 per share 11.94
TAP $59.34 per share $61.09 per share 10.96
PRU $90.82 per share $96.83 per share 10.82
ETF’s Price (as of 10/24/18) Cost Basis % of account
MDYV $48.08 per share $52.18 per share 10.36
SCHF $30.13 per share $33.64 per share 10.35
SLYV $59.75 per share $66.67 per share 10.3
SCHD $49.05 per share $49.79 per share 10.17

I view the ETF’s as a necessary part of this retirement account for the sake of diversifying my investments and to hedge against the risks associated with my own stock picking skills.  The dividend reinvestment strategy on all securities will help to dollar cost average the account over time, and scoop up some shares on the cheap as we head towards a potential bear market.

Over time, I’d definitely like to continue diversifying my investments to the point where an individual stock makes up no more than 5% of the total account value.  I can achieve this by adding more stocks to the Roth IRA portfolio, or by increasing my percentages in the ETF’s.  I consider all ETF’s in this account to be low risk because they each have diversification among hundreds (or thousands in the case of SCHF) of securities.  Furthermore, each ETF has relatively high assets under management and very low expense ratio.  I can definitely sleep well at night with these ETF’s, without a doubt.

But I want to be invested in some individual stocks as well because that helps keep me engaged and also creates the potential of “alpha” returns by hitting a home run on an excellent stock.  The decision to not include bonds nor bond funds is because A) I am less knowledgeable on them B) I have a long time horizon C) It is a well known fact that stocks outperform bonds over the long run.

This concludes the introduction to my Roth IRA.  Please remember that earnings on Roth IRA accounts are tax-free, but cannot be withdrawn without penalty until you reach the requisite retirement age of 59 and a half.  There is also a limit to how much money you can contribute to this type of account per tax year.  For me, that limit is $5,500.

Disclosure: I am long BLK, VTR, KIM, TAP, PRU, MDYV, SCHF, SLYV, SCHD.

Additional disclosure: I am not a registered finance professional of any kind. Please do your own research and due diligence before making investment decisions.  While I only mentioned abbreviated ticker symbols in the article, you can type those ticker symbols into Seeking Alpha or Yahoo Finance to get more information about the actual stocks and ETF’s that I am invested in.

Madden 19 Wish List

By:  Justin Holden

 

Introduction

Madden 19 will be released on August 10, 2018.  If you purchase the more expensive Hall Of Fame edition, you can get your hands on the game as early as August 7, 2018.  So we have roughly two months to go before the next Madden game comes out.  My purpose in writing this piece is to discuss what I would like to see in future Madden games, given that EA Sports has a history of going one step forward one step back with each Madden release.  What I mean by this, is there are features from old Madden titles that were desirable, yet got discarded anyway in the newer games.  It may be a bit late in the game for EA Sports to take notice of my article and adjust Madden 19 appropriately, but you never know.  So let’s see if we can get this article trending and get the fans demands in front of EA Sports!

Owner Mode – Relocating Your Team

Yes, in recent titles such as Madden 17 and Madden 18 you still have the ability to play as an owner in connected franchise and re-locate your team.  The problem is, the re-location process has been dumbed down compared to earlier Madden titles.  I mean think about it, all you’re really doing is picking from pre-set options on everything.  City, team name, jerseys, stadium, etc.  There is no customization any more!  I shouldn’t have to pick between 3 pre-set team names and 3 pre-set jersey options for each city.  That’s lame as all hell and makes me not want to bother re-locating my team.

Now think back to earlier Madden titles such as 2005 and 2006.  Yes, you had a limited number of cities to pick from.  However, once you picked a city and got approved for funding, you were able to do some serious customization for your new team.  Complete control of team name, logo, jerseys, stadium details, the works!  Re-locating your team in franchise mode was so much better back in the day.  And that process could be fine tuned even further!  I’d suggest EA Sports to offer maximum customization in this process for Madden 19.  They should make it so you can move to ANY city in the United States, plus give you several city options on the international stage.  So, if I wanted to move to Annapolis and call my team “Maryland Blue Crabs” to give the Ravens and Redskins some competition for fan base, I should be able to do that!  Or hell let me move the team to Burkitsville, MD and call my team “Blair Witchdoctors”.

Like seriously, if I own an NFL franchise, I should be able to move it virtually anywhere!  Of course if you move the team to some random ass location with a population under 10,000 you should have a hard time making money and attracting fans as well.  I’m all for making the financial aspect of things realistic.  In addition to offering a wide array of city choices and customizable options for your new team, another interesting idea would be choosing a “culture” for your franchise.  For example, a “smashmouth” franchise could get certain boosts when following a scheme of power run offense combined with a highly rated defense.  And you reward owners for sticking with options that fit their team culture on and off the field.  Stray from that culture by hiring coaches and players that aren’t a fit, and you lose your boosts.

Owner Mode – Hiring Coaches

We need to go back to the old Madden days on this one too.  Remember back in Madden 2005 and 2006 when you could have players retire and then a few years later they show up as coaches?  This was awesome!  I used to always pick up guys like Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Doug Flutie, or Jerry Rice to be my HC/OC.  And you just can’t do that anymore!  In Madden 18, you find out in connected franchise mode that random ass computer generated coaches will show up as the years pass by in your franchise.  This is honestly lame as shit.  We already have to deal with fake college players in the draft, so please don’t throw fake coaches into the mix as well.  I’m advocating for going back to the old system where players retire and then become coaches.  Or, at the very least, come up with a list of NCAA head coaches and put them into the franchise over time.  Enough of this computer generated coach nonsense.

Connected Franchise Mode – Why Does It Need An End Date?

So this is a really simple concept to grasp.  We don’t know when the NFL will come to an end.  It may survive forever, but then again it may go out of business by 2030.  We really don’t know what’s going to happen in the future because we don’t have a crystal ball.  However, why are we leaving it up to EA Sports to guess this for us?  In Madden 18, they made it so that connected franchise mode ends in the year 2047.  At that point, you have to retire your character and quit out of the franchise.  My suggestion here is one of two things.  Either A) let connected franchise mode run on forever.  You can always delete your save file if you get bored and want to start a new one.  Or B) let the players decide which year the connected franchise mode will end when first setting it up.  That way, when I play my friends online, we can set a year to stop and the see who did the best.  Either way, the current system of trying to guess what random year the developers have the connected franchise mode end does not make sense.

Let’s Talk About The Soundtrack…

For the life of me, I can’t understand why the FIFA and NHL games (also made by EA Sports) always seem to have better soundtracks than the Madden games.  I’ve talked to numerous people who thought the past few Madden titles had piss poor soundtracks, and I’d have to agree with them!  It’s getting so bad that I wouldn’t be surprised if they put Bangarang by Skrillex and Chicken Noodle Soup by DJ Webstar on the next soundtrack!

Meanwhile, FIFA features quality artists on their soundtrack year after year.  You’ll get to hear songs from Foals, Saint Motel, Kasabian, The War On Drugs, DMA’s, and many other high quality groups!  And even the artists that aren’t as good on FIFA, they’ll do a good job of selecting one hit wonder songs.  Madden just hasn’t lived up to this standard in recent years.  Stop focusing so much on country and hip hop songs in Madden.  Give us more of a global blend of quality tunes like you get in the FIFA game.

Gameplay – Running The Football

Admittedly, EA Sports has made great strides in gameplay when you compare to the blockheadedness of older generation Madden titles.  There is no more fuzzing off of tackles and blockers, which is good.  But there is still a long way to go in making the gameplay feel like a real football game.  One thing EA Sports could try doing is implementing different running styles.  For example, your running back could have a style similar to Le’Veon Bell where he tries to be patient and hide behind his blockers until he sees a hole opens up.  Or, you could have a bruiser running style where the guy tends to only run north-south, with a focus on running to contact and breaking tackles.  But even more important than offering running styles is to just generally make the motions of running the ball, blocking, and tackling more fluid.  Offer more animation possibilities so that no two plays feel the same.  Again, some progress has been made here, but not enough given that EA Sports has had decades to work on this.

Scouting College Players

I actually like the way scouting has been in recent titles such as Madden 17 and Madden 18.  The process has been simplified a lot and you get a pretty decent idea how guys will turn out by scouting them.  Most importantly, you can avoid complete busts by taking the time to scout.  However, the number one thing I look for in young players when I build my franchise is their development trait.  You have no way of scouting this anymore.  And honestly I’d much rather draft a guy in the 2nd or 3rd round with a lower overall rating but quick/superstar development compared to taking a guy in the early 1st round who has a high overall rating but slow/normal development.

I’d suggest making the scouting two-fold with basic scouting points and advanced scouting points.  Your basic scouting points reveal players’ highest rated attributes and let’s you know whether they’re a 1st round talent, 2nd round talent, 3rd round talent, etc.  Then you get advanced scouting points to spend on finding out very specific traits, such as development.  And by the way, I actually love the player progression system in recent Madden titles.  By having a system with development trait (player potential) plus earning experience points through training and on-field production, you give the most realistic system of progression.  Much better compared to older titles where you could have a running back with “C” potential, rush for 3000 yards in a season, and he doesn’t improve his overall rating whatsoever.  So kudos to EA Sports on this and please don’t make any major changes on the player progression model.

 

That concludes the points I have to make in this article.  Please subscribe to LitTube Channel on YouTube and follow us on social media.  Also, let us know what features you’d like to see on future Madden games.  As a fan base, we need to make noise on this so that EA Sports won’t disappoint us in the future.

Introducing Justin’s Stock Portfolio

By:  Justin Holden

 

  • This article covers my assets that are being held in an individual brokerage account through TD Ameritrade.  I have a separate Roth IRA account through Charles Schwab as well.
  • A brief background is provided on each company I have a long position in.
  • I discuss my ever-evolving investing philosophy.

 

I first got interested in investing when I was a junior in high school.  I took an honors economics class where they had us do a stock trading simulator competition.  Even though my partner and I didn’t win the competition, I was fascinated by the project and learned some valuable lessons from that initial experience alone.

Once I got to college, I opened an individual brokerage account with Sogotrade and made my first investments in the stock market.  Back then I had no idea what I was doing, and basically just bought stocks that were at 52 week lows hoping they would rebound for a profit.  Needless to say, I got burned a few times by taking this approach.  I closed my Sogotrade account once they changed management and were trying to get me to re-send my financial information through the mail.  Overall, I lost a small amount of money on that account, but I learned more lessons about what not to do when investing in the market.

My approach to investing now centers heavily around value, fundamentals, and a preference for companies that control assets people either need or have a proven historical demand for (i.e. water, consumer staples, alcohol, cigarrettes, etc.).  When I fully flesh out my Roth IRA, I expect a lot of those investments to revolve around companies that control fresh water resources.  But today, I want to introduce my long positions in my individual brokerage account.  I haven’t set any official rules for myself as far as what I will and won’t allow myself to do with this account.  I’m viewing it as my “play money” at the moment.  But having said that, I seem to be using it right now for practice in value investing.

My Positions:

China Mobile (CHL) is my most recent stock purchase.  I’m going long on this company because it is China’s largest telecommunications company and highly profitable.  I also believe it trades at a value and have no concerns over the balance sheet.  I’m getting good foreign exposure through this company.  The biggest risk seems to be the high Chinese government ownership within the company.  You never know what foreign governments might do with the assets they own.

Crown Crafts (CRWS) is a US micro-cap stock that I purchased shares in roughly one year ago.  This company focuses on manufacturing baby products.  I invested in this company because of the strong balance sheet, reasonable valuation, and competent management team.  I am currently underwater a bit on my investment here, but because the company has little to no debt on it’s balance sheet, I am not overly concerned and willing to wait things out.

Kimco Realty (KIM) was another recent purchase of mine.  This company is classified as a REIT.  The company owns real estate and leases their properties out to retailers in order to generate revenues.  I invested in this company because of a low P/FFO ratio and an opportunity to make a contrarian play on the “retail-apocalypse” market overreaction.  I am not expecting a quick turnaround here in terms of rising share price, but the company fundamentals are strong and I’m getting paid a solid dividend to wait.

Mind C.T.I. (MNDO) is a foreign micro-cap stock.  The company is headquartered in Israel.  Mind C.T.I. is part of the technology sector and trades at an attractive P/E ratio.  Strong balance sheet with little to no long-term debt.  I also invested in this company for a stable double-digit dividend yield.  It has been a core holding in my brokerage account for a few years now.

Sturm Ruger (RGR) is a US small-cap stock.  The company focuses on manufacturing firearms.  I consider Sturm Ruger to be the most ill-timed purchase of all stocks currently held in my individual brokerage account.  The current political climate has drastically reduced demand for guns when compared to the Barack Obama years.  Still, there is potential upside in this name should any gun control measures be implemented in the future (because fear of gun control spikes demand for the company’s products).  I’m getting paid to wait with a modest dividend and I don’t expect much further downside given that Sturm Ruger is a debt-free company.

Disclosure:  Justin owns shares in the following –  CRWS, CHL, KIM, MNDO, RGR.

Additional disclosure:  Justin is not a registered finance professional of any kind. Readers are expected to do their own research and due diligence before making any investment decisions.

REITS: Time For Investors To Take Notice

By:  Justin Holden

 

While the S&P 500 continues to be grossly overvalued as we get towards the back-end of this 9+ year bull run, investors are finding it increasingly difficult to find value and buy securities at an adequate margin of safety.  However, real estate investment trusts (or REITS for short) are currently being beaten down in price due to multiple factors.  For long-term investors, now is the time to take notice and monitor the sector’s highest quality companies.  In the event of further price declines for this sector, which would be a likely event for the remainder of 2018, we could see blue-chip REITS at bargain prices.

For novice investors who are completely unfamiliar with REITS, these companies essentially make money through real-estate related investments.  There are actually two primary classifications for REITS.  Equity REITS own and operate physical real estate, often times renting out their facilities to commercial and/or residential tenants and generating revenues off the rent that they charge those tenants.  Mortgage REITS (mREITS) tend to be a bit more complex in their operations since they primarily generate income by collecting interest on mortgage backed securities and related investments.  My preference between the two categories is for equity REITS.  To me, equity REITS are easier to understand and also safer because you’re investing in companies that own a portfolio of physical real estate properties, as opposed to investing in companies that deal with debt and paper assets.

I’ll also point out that there are some key distinctions to be made between REITS and common stocks.  In order for a company to qualify for being listed as a publicly traded REIT, it must, among other things, pay out at least 90% of it’s taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends.  Another key distinction is in how you figure out valuations.  For common stocks, investors often look to the price earnings (P/E) ratio to determine if the security is overvalued, undervalued, or fairly priced.  But because REITS are allowed under the current tax laws to claim depreciation on properties that in reality are actually appreciating in value, this non-cash depreciation expense will artificially deflate the company’s earnings or net income on paper.  Because of this, we should use a price to funds from operations (P/FFO) ratio when discussing REIT valuations.

Now that we have covered some of the basics on REITS, let me explain to you some of the factors that are currently driving down valuations for this sector.  The market seems to be bracing itself for increased interest rates, which makes borrowing money more costly.  This will impact all companies to a certain degree, but REITS in particular seem sensitive to interest rate changes.  Perhaps this is because some of them rely heavily on the ability to take on debt in order to purchase more properties and thus fuel growth.  But another huge factor in the REIT sector selloff has been the perceived downfall of brick and mortar retail stores.  There are a number of REITS that lease properties to commercial tenants.  When those commercial tenants see their business fall on hard times, the risk is being unable to pay rent and closing stores.  The more stores that close, the more empty properties a REIT has in it’s portfolio generating zero in rent revenue until a replacement tenant is found.  The retail sector is really hurting right now due to powerful online competitors such as Amazon.  The most recent example is Toys R Us, which is closing stores all across the country and appears to be headed for bankruptcy.

But as with any market selloff, the fears tend to be overblown.  When we take a long-term perspective, it’s hard to see a future without brick and mortar retail stores.  There will be enough people that want to try on clothing before making a purchase, or enjoy the experience of going out to do their shopping.  It is difficult to envision that totally going away.  So unless you’re projecting that Amazon’s long-term outlook is taking over the world, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the downturn in retail.  As for the REIT sector selloff, we are seeing those equity REITS with high exposure to brick and mortar retail tenants getting hit hardest.  But even other classifications of REITS are going down in price.  This truly is the time to be greedy while others are fearful, and consider buying REITS on the dip.

Now sure, you could just buy a diverse fund focused on the sector like Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ), but then you’ll be buying into some crap securities to go along with the truly high quality REITS, not to mention paying management fees for the fund via an expense ratio.  My recommendation would be to monitor the following list of individual REITS.  I have hand picked them because they are, in my view, the highest quality large-cap REITS for the entire sector and have a great chance to outperform over the long-term while allowing you to sleep well at night.  Just make sure that if you buy any of these securities, you do your own due diligence beforehand and buy on the dip, thus locking in a reasonable margin of safety.  Because as with any other type of securities investing, the goal is to buy low and sell high.

Justin’s REIT Watch List:

  • American Campus Communities, Inc. (ACC)
  • Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR)
  • Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)
  • Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (HASI)
  • Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM)
  • LTC Properties, Inc. (LTC)
  • Realty Income Corporation (O)
  • Regency Centers Corporation (REG)
  • Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (ROIC)
  • Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (SKT)
  • Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG)
  • STORE Capital (STOR)
  • Ventas, Inc. (VTR)
  • W.P. Carey, Inc. (WPC)

 

Disclosure Statement:  Justin currently owns shares in Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM).  Justin is not a licensed financial analyst or financial planner.  Please do your own due diligence and research before making investment decisions.   

Just Keep…

By: Gerald Royster

I usually don’t delve into super personal and spiritual matters on this blog, usually i save that for my other one, but i think honestly who cares!

This morning i was in an accident on 95 south going past Baltimore city on the way to work. Usually I’m very aggravated with slow traffic as I’m just trying to get to work but this morning, i was grateful. I was grateful because my accident could’ve been ten times worse. This morning i was hit by a driver merging into my lane. I wasn’t hurt… my car that’s a different story. But Myself, and the other driver were not hurt.

I called my soon to be wife at that exact moment, i just needed to hear her voice. I then called my parents. All three of them said “cars can be replaced but you can’t”. That stuck in my head, because it could’ve been a lot worse. Truly i feel blessed.

Later at work i was listening to music at my desk and “Remain” by a band named Mute Math came on and the lyrics just hit me like a ton of bricks. The second bridge of the song goes

“Just keep on trying

Just keep fighting

Just keep going

Just keep surviving

Just keep walking

Just keep breathing

Just keep holding

Just keep believing”

Now over the last two years I’ve honestly been in a bit of spiritual turmoil. Trying to find my way, going through the trials of life and letting stuff get me down. Even walking away from one church… when my grandmother died nearly two years ago it shook me like an earthquake deep down to my soul. There were moments i felt alone, and terribly hurt, and still do til this day.

Jump forward to this morning. She was in my passenger seat. I easily could’ve swerved into the other lane and flipped over the guard rail into the water honestly. But that didn’t happen. I think there are times like this morning where i was so pissed as i got hit. Hitting my steering wheel, and shouting before collecting myself to deal with what happened. But i heard the words of my loved ones, and remembered the truest fact I’m okay, there’s nothing to be mad about.

So whatever you’re dealing with today, just remember don’t give up, and keep faith! Everything is going to work out he way God intended it! Focus on what’s a given and most important, that family, friends, and your dreams. Those are constant. If you focus on those three things, everything else will fall into place.

While the whole right side of my car is a mess, I’m alive and that’s a miracle in itself, because 5-10 miles faster and this article may not have been written. I learned a lesson today, and I’m grateful for it!

I’m so grateful for my friends and family! I’m so grateful for the love of a Heavenly Father who protects and loves me and a Savior who died on the cross for me! And I’m totally grateful for lessons in our most frustrating and stressful times!

Fantasy Basketball: Add Dewayne Dedmon Before it’s Too Late

Written By:  Justin Holden

As I write this article, my ESPN fantasy basketball team currently sits at a record of 10-2, which makes me tied for first place.  I’m ranked second in my league for total points scored and have made the most FA moves out of anybody.  Therefore, you can take it to the bank that I know a thing or two about free agent adds.

Dewayne Dedmon (Center, Atlanta Hawks) was a staple utility player for my team prior to suffering a stress fracture in his leg, which caused him to miss several weeks of action.  Prior to injury, Dewayne Dedmon was a highly efficient fantasy basketball asset, posting double digit fantasy points on a consistent basis despite averaging under 30 minutes of playing time per game.  He also carried the upside of posting 20+, 30+, and even 40+ fantasy point games on occasion…without the downside of any negative fantasy point outings that one might see from an inefficient guard that misses a lot of shots.

Dewayne Dedmon has officially returned from injury and is still only owned in 16.1% of ESPN fantasy basketball leagues.  This is ludicrous.  Dedmon should be owned in every league that has 12 or more teams, and I’d even go as far to say all 10 team leagues that have an increased amount of bench spots.

Dedmon has posted 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and 15 points through two games since returning from injury.  He’s not quite at full health yet and is logging limited minutes, but Dedmon will soon overtake Miles Plumlee for the starting center position in the Atlanta Hawks lineup.  It’s really just a matter of time for him to get back to dominant and efficient play, with an increased number of minutes on the court to boot.  Consider this my official tout of Dewayne Dedmon.  Pick him up now before he goes on another hot streak and it’s too late!Atlanta Hawks Media Day