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   Throughout my time working at a New York based Private Equity firm, the angriest my boss (one of the Managing Partners at the firm) ever got at me had nothing to do with my job performance. Instead, he was disappointed with the steep rent price I was paying for my NYC studio. I explained to him it was the cheapest option within walking distance of the office. He immediately questioned me, "Did you negotiate the price?" I shook my head no. He responded with three words that have forever changed my perception, "Everything is negotiable", then walked away.
   I know he did not invent this quote, I had heard it before. However, I always attached "Everything is negotiable" to a used car salesman or Antique Roadshow, thinking it was just a corny sales line more than anything else. It was not until my Managing Partner, someone who I deeply respect, recited this quote to me that I took it heart, and began to really analyze why "Everything is negotiable".

Why is "Everything is negotiable"
   The main reason "everything is negotiable" is because marketplaces are inherently inefficient. In a marketplace where a product is priced to maximize profits, a company forgoes potential profits on customers who are only willing to buy the product for a cheaper price. For example, picture the following conditions for a T-shirt company:

Cost of T-Shirt Production: $9.00
Number of Customers if T-Shirt Price is $20.00= 20 customers
Number of Customers if T-Shirt price is $10.00= 30 customers.

In this scenario, the T-shirt company company will make a larger profit listing its T-shirts for $20.00 ($220.00 profit), than $10.00 ($30.00 profit), and thus list the shirt for $20.00.

However, if the T-shirt company could price discriminate (charge different prices to different people based on their demand for the product), they would sell their T-shirts for $20.00 to the 20 customers ($11.00 profit per customer), then sell 10 shirts for $10.00 to the customers who are only willing to pay $10.00 for the shirt ($1.00 profit per customer). When price discriminating, as long as the company is making a profit (total revenue> total cost), it always makes sense to sell a t-shirt at the price.

Use Negotiation to Allow Price Discrimination:
   Two examples of price discrimination are age-based discounts (Senior Citizen or Children discounts) and time of week price cuts (gas stations will cut prices on specific week days, where only price sensitive customers will realize the discount). However, as you can likely tell, the problem with price discrimination is it's almost impossible to market. Both these examples capture some price discrimination, but do not come close to fully realizing potential discrimination. Thus, most companies will not price discriminate their products, and will find a single price that optimizes their profits.
   The moral of the story is that companies want to price discriminate, but they are unable to. However, through effective negotiation, we (the customer) are able to expose the minimum price a company will be able to sell a product at. While in reality it is likely impossible to try to negotiate "everything" (I do not think you are going to be able to negotiate the price of a bag of Cheetos at a Walmart), there are many products you can negotiate which you may not have known are possible.

A few examples:
Hotel/ AirBnB prices: If a hotel is in off-season, or simply has excess rooms, they will likely be able to give you a discount. This is especially apparent during COVID, where the hospitality industry has been struggling. At the very least, you may be able to get some added benefit or a better room for the same price.

Media Subscriptions: Subscription based media companies (Netflix, Xfinity etc.) often charge a monthly postpay. However, they would prefer their users to prepay an annual subscription, as it guarantees customer retention and increases their cash flow immediately (to reinvest into the company). Thus, media providers will often provide a significant discount if you are willing to commit to an annual prepayment. The best part: you do NOT even have to negotiate. Third party platforms like Ubund will negotiate a 30%+ discount to your media subscription for you if you commit to a 1 or 2 year prepayment.

Furniture: Furniture showroom price is often much higher than its manufactured price. It is always worth attempting to negotiate on furniture before you purchase.

Gym Memberships


Medical Bills

Tip for Negotiation: Increase Your Bargaining Power
   Before you negotiate, always do your research to figure out how you can incentivize the seller to sell to you for less. Bullet 2 above is a great example of using research to increase bargaining power. These third party negotiation platforms understand that media companies prefer being paid upfront for a longer commitment, so they leverage the preference for an added discount for their customers. You can apply a similar negotiation tactic to anything you want a discount on. If you want a discount on a long-term stay on an Airbnb, explain to the Airbnb owner the benefits of your long term commitment (increased customer retention), then tell the owner you will only stay for an additional discount. Even if you do not have a bargaining angle, use the power of time. Tell the furniture salesperson that a couch you want is slightly over budget, but you are willing to purchase it immediately if provided a reasonable discount. Even if a negotiation attempt does not work, you will see over time that "negotiating everything" will consistently save you money.

Comment below where you like to negotiate or any other negotiation tips you may have!
I am creating a new investment plan for our assets but, I have one sticking point: assessing the relative risk of syndications versus traditional investments.   

I have not been able to find any meaningful information or discussion on this topic within the interwebs.  Strangely, despite glowing reviews of the many benefits of real estate investing (namely on platforms like CrowdStreet), it seems many investors still lean heavily on stocks versus alternative investments within their overall asset portfolio, and I can't determine why.  Perhaps they don't understand the relative risk of stocks versus real estate?  Perhaps they desire liquidity?  Or maybe they can't create a diversified portfolio of syndicated deals, as one can with stock index funds that would greatly mitigate one's overall risk? 

Being able to have a reasonably accurate assessment of relative risk of various investments is key (at least for me) to confidently determine how I want my resulting overall asset allocations to look today, and in the future.  While one's choice of allocations will differ with age and financial considerations, the relative risk of any given asset should be relatively stable over time.  The exception being long versus short term volatility and recovery of stocks and inflation (ie risk over a 5-year versus 25-year timeline).

To clarify, risk for me means the likelihood and severity of irrevocable capital loss over any given 5-year period. 

Where would you place investing in a reputable, vetted, and diversified real-estate based syndication fund (both growth/value-add and income type funds) along the overall spectrum of risk?   At this point in time, I am excluding distressed market classes like retail and hospitality from the umbrella group of "real estate".

I have placed asset groups as follows from lowest to greatest risk relative to each other (at this point in time, and according to my definition of risk.  Clearly relative risk will be different for different people and/or time periods). This is better in graphic form, but I don't see how to insert that...

  • Index Bond Fund (Least risk)
  • Cash
  • Syndicated Notes & Income Funds
  • Self-Owned Real Estate (this is based on my personal experience and performance, not the general public)
  • US Stocks Index Fund
  • International Stocks Index Fund
  • Syndicated Growth Funds
  • Any Individual stock/company/project (Highest Risk)
Appreciate folks' thoughts on this one!
Stocks And Index Funds / Re: Motley Fool
Last post by Jbinjville - November 28, 2020, 11:06:41 AM
It seems like there is a lot of interest in MF  so i'll give anther quick update. i've only added a little position bringing my stock purchase cost up to $330,284 in the MF picks with a current value of $509,138 for an after expense PM of 51%.  MF is going to provide some new picks after year end and i've got $50K budgeted for them so I'll  update again in a few months. Good luck in your investing everybody.
Real Estate Crowdfunding / Fundrise:Direct Investment Str...
Last post by jimmoney - November 26, 2020, 12:34:16 PM
Hello Folks,

Is there anyone out there investing directly into specific Fundrise eREITs as opposed to letting one of the three Fundrise plans (Supplemental, Balance, Growth) do it for you automatically?

I believe there is a post somewhere on this forum explaining what I mean by "investing directly." So, I won't spend much time explaining it, but I do want to provide some quick context. For those of you unaware, Fundrise allows investors who have an account level of at least advanced ($10,000 min account balance), to directly invest in their funds rather than adding funds and letting Fundrise decide where to allocate them. You can do so by going to and clicking on "view details" where you may see a link to make a direct investment. I say may because only a subset of all their funds will be available for this. When I questioned Fundrise about this their response was:
QuotePursuant to SEC regulations, our funds are limited to raising $50 million per 12-month rolling period. To comply with regulations, we may periodically suspend investing in funds that are nearing their limit.

Until recently, I let Fundrise allocate my funds. After seeing where funds were being allocated for a while, and after feeling for too long that they were putting too much into funds that were "ramping up," I pulled the plug on automatic monthly investments. Their "ramping up" funds produce little to no growth or dividends and who wants that? So, last month I made direct investments into available funds I felt would produce more growth/dividends. At that time the funds available were Income eREITs 1 & 2, Growth eREITs 1, 2, & 2019, West Coast eREIT, and eREIT XIV. I think that remains true today but haven't checked again so it could have changed. Based on my purpose for investing with Fundrise (grow my recurring passive income) I chose to invest as follows:

  • 40%: Income eREIT
  • 30%: Growth eREIT
  • 20%: Income II eREIT
  • 10%: Growth II eREIT
I have three questions for anyone interested in responding:

  • If you regularly invest with Fundrise, are you letting them allocate your funds or do you directly invest?
  • What is your rationale for doing whatever your answer to the first question is?
  • If you do invest directly or just have an opinion based on your sage wisdom :D, what do you or would you invest in and why?
Through reading Sam's blog and forum posts I know he is keen on the Heartland. I agree that is a good place to invest and would have liked to include their Heartland eREIT but unfortunately, right now they don't allow direct investment into that fund. The limitation on available funds gave me pause on taking this approach but obviously I decided it was worth it anyway and pulled the trigger.

I hope it has been worth your time reading this post and I look forward to hearing from all the savvy investors I know take part in this forum!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving for those of you out there celebrating it!

Stocks And Index Funds / COVID 19 vaccine released for ...
Last post by SteveGood - November 24, 2020, 11:33:24 PM

After the 10+ months of COVID 19 impact, finally the vaccine ready for public use. It is impacting on international share market and gold price. Last few days the share market goes up and gold price also goes down. It's positive changes in international trading and investment. Economic stability goes well.
3% after paying 4.5k on a 250k loan. Haven't seen investment property rates below 4% before, so pulled the trigger and did it.
Real Estate Crowdfunding / 1031 Exchange when investment ...
Last post by oilybear - November 09, 2020, 08:40:39 PM
I have only ever invested in individual single family homes, yet interested in learning more about Crowdfunding investments.   When I sell an individual house, I need to do a 1031 exchange into a like-kind property to avoid the capital gains.   Is a 1031 possible or needed when a Crowdfunded investment sells?  Thanks in advance for your help.
Real Estate Crowdfunding / Re: Thoughts On RealtyShares C...
Last post by twinvestigations - November 09, 2020, 06:58:15 PM
Edited for privacy!
Real Estate Crowdfunding / Re: Thoughts On RealtyShares C...
Last post by Chicago81 - November 09, 2020, 11:57:30 AM
I am not sure if FG investors should have filed a "proof of claim" in the Realtyshares bankruptcy, but it looks like the deadline to submit claims may have passed.  In any event, if investors believe their money was stolen, as FG admits it was during their presentation, then they should consider requesting that the bankruptcy judge and/or U.S. Trustee (the government representative in the bankruptcy case) consider making a referral for a criminal investigation.  Basically, the bankruptcy judge and U.S. Trustee may not know that our investments were not (in many of our opinions) a simple real estate investment gone bad, or even a matter of misrepresenting the risks involved.  The borrower admits our money was actually stolen. The only question is who stole it.  If someone provides the slide deck where FG stated the money (i.e., the funds for numerous independent FG investments) was "stolen," I think the bankruptcy judge would take that seriously.

Also note that the plaintiff's attorneys who filed a lawsuit or two may not have our interest in mind.  They are incentivized to settle for their own clients and to exclude everyone else to avoid sharing any proceeds.

Just my opinion.
Stocks And Index Funds / Re: How US Presidential Electi...
Last post by SteveGood - November 08, 2020, 11:27:29 PM
The democratic party wins the presidential election in the USA. We expected lots of change in the world from trading, investment, and the economy. I think everything goes up in the future.