IRA real estate investments are booming in 2008 for soon to be retirees who are worried about their future retirement plans. With the economy looking wobbly, the stock market plunging and the big investment banks going under, with us bailing them out, some traditional forms of retirement investing are starting to look a little sick.For these reasons IRA real estate investments are increasing. Increasing? Surely not. Along with an economic meltdown, a stock market collapse and all sorts of economic turmoil, isn’t the real estate market headed for oblivion as well? Who in their right mind would consider investing their IRA in real estate?Surely in 2008 real estate is a one way trip to the poorhouse.No, not quite. Have you ever heard the expression that there is opportunity in adversity? There is plenty of opportunity in real estate right now, if you know where.But lets look at IRA real estate investing first. How can you invest your IRA in real estate? Is it allowed? Is it legal?Traditionally the majority of the population invest their IRAs in investments that are promoted to them by their custodian. In fact some custodians limit allowable investments to their own. So, it’s estimated, over 90%, in fact around 96% of IRA funds are invested this way. Mutual funds, CDs and stocks, and so on.No problem if the markets are pushing ever skyward, but quite a problem right now.But what about IRA real estate investments? Yes it’s entirely allowed to invest your IRA in real estate through a self directed IRA. Although this is not widely recognised, IRA real estate investing is one of the best forms of wealth accumulation for retirement. Real estate is a traditional long term wealth accumulation model, and as such is in fact ideal for IRA investing.If you’re not certain about the details of how to set yourself up for IRA real estate investing consult your CPA, that’s outside the scope of this article. However take my word for it, it’s quite legal, and many canny IRA investors are doing it right now, and have been for a long time. You may need to execute an IRA rollover into a self directed IRA, but the trouble is worth it.And there’s powerful reasons to consider investing your IRA in real estate. Did you know, for example, that it’s estimated that 85% of all wealth in the US was created through real estate?And that through your IRA you can secure up to 70% bank non-recourse financing to invest your IRA retirement funds in income producing real estate?Its food for thought isn’t it?Now back to the real estate market. After all there’s no point in IRA real estate investing if the value of your real estate investment is going down is there?Although we all hear that the real estate investment market is dreadful this isn’t the whole story. PARTS of the real estate market are dreadful, but not ALL of it. It’s perfectly possible to find excellent opportunities for investing in the lower priced end of the market. Simple comfortable homes for the working class who live in those faceless suburbs in cities right across America. There are some fantastic IRA real estate investments available in the right place RIGHT NOW.But if you’re looking to get out there and find them yourself then you may be in for a shock. It’s not something that is realistic for the individual IRA real estate investor. You need professional help.Buy in the wrong place and you’ll probably get burnt, big time.But right now there are some excellent opportunities available for securing a great real estate investment, no cash down, at under market value, with tenants supplied, rental guarantees and even a guarantee that you will double your current investment return.All through a major US public corporation with a reputation for solid real estate investment returns, for both IRA real estate investing and ordinary credit investing in real estate.Yes you can secure your retirement future through a good IRA real estate investment, or more than one. However it’s the time to leave it to those who really know what they’re doing in hard times, and you can relax and leave the hard work to someone else.But which corporation could possibly offer an opportunity like this?
Please bear with me as I go through a brief history of basic online advertising. The evolution of targeted online advertising is interesting, because I believe the perceived harmlessness of early advertising technology and targeting tactics lulled many people into a sense of complacency or perhaps even false security.In the beginning of targeted online advertising, there were banner ads. As many people recall, these were supposed to drive the Internet marketing industry in its infancy. Scads of publishers paid scads of money based on a CPI (cost per impression) model or simply paid huge dollars for banner ads and other targeted online advertising on well-trafficked sites.Then something crazy happened – nothing. It turns out that the banner advertising technology on the Internet was not the magic bullet it was purported to be. The old way of making money based on providing content (the way magazines and newspapers ran advertising) just didn’t seem to work in this context.This new advertising technology was part of the reason for the collapse of the dot-bomb era. All the talk was about “eyeballs,” “stickiness,” “bleeding edge,” “cradle to grave,” and several other terms that, in retrospect, would have sounded more at home in a Wes Craven movie than in an emerging industry. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of business models depended on a traditional marketing strategy working more or less the same as it always had when introduced into a non-traditional setting.All the while, one company, originally called GoTo, then Overture, and finally bought by Yahoo!, actually formulated a targeted online advertising system that worked – keyword advertising. Companies could bid on a per-click basis for certain key terms, which sent valuable traffic to its website.Obviously, the improvement in advertising technology had to do with the model itself, which was perpetuated on relevance. By only bidding on keyphrases that you wanted, you could only pay for visitors who had already shown an interest in your products or services. This targeted online advertising model was soon copied by Google, who tweaked it and made it better.There were not many raised eyebrows at this time, in terms of privacy. After all, the user was the one entering the query, and nobody suspected at the time that search engines might one day actually create individual profiles on users. We were all just really enjoying “having the information at our fingertips” without the potential hazards of ink stains and paper cuts that traditional research required.Google then took a similar idea a step further. Instead of just serving up targeted online advertising on its home page, the company created a content distribution network called AdSense. In this program, owners of websites could sign up to have the ads placed on their sites. Google would then use a “contextual” logic to determine which ads to place where. In other words, Google would “read” the content on a page and then serve up targeted online advertising in the area provided by the site owner that was relevant to the content.There were a few missteps with this new advertising technology (one classic example was when the online version of the NY Post ran a story in 2004 about a murder victim whose body parts had been packed into a suitcase. Running alongside the story was an ad that Google served up for Samsonite Luggage). Yet this targeted online advertising service also caught on, with nary a cry from privacy people. After all, you don’t have to visit the sites. And the site owners don’t have to sign you up for the service, right?Suddenly, Gmail was offered and that raised some eyebrows. Gmail, of course, is Google’s free email-based platform. Gmail gave people an (at that time) unprecedented 1 gigabyte of email space (Yahoo!, if memory serves, offered 4 megs for free email accounts and charged people for more memory). The only caveat – Gmail would use a similar advertising technology platform as AdSense, but it would decide which ads to serve up by reading through your emails.Well, this new approach to advertising technology creeped some people out, and privacy advocates were a bit more vocal about using targeted online advertising by parsing through people’s emails. A California lawmaker tried to introduce some legislation preventing the practice. International privacy groups chimed in with their own concerns. In the end, however, the fact remained that one had to sign up for a Gmail account and everyone that did was (presumably) aware of how the service worked before they did sign up. So it was an opt-in system – If you didn’t want Google parsing through your email and serving up relevant, targeted online advertising, you didn’t have to use the service.So there we all were, happily surfing away, not a care in the world. What most of us didn’t realize was that enough free cookies were being distributed to each of us to turn the otherwise docile Keebler elves into tree-dwelling Mafioso erroneously plotting a turf war.These cookies, of course, are the ones that websites place on your computer when you visit – little packets of information that record your visit, and sometimes, your activity there. Certainly, there’s a legitimate reason for this. When you return to a website, it can help if it remembers your last visit and you can pick up where you left off. Assume, for example, that you were making multiple purchases from an e-commerce site and had a bunch of stuff in your shopping cart but were forced to abandon the site before completion. It’s nice to go back and pick up where you left off without having to do it all over again.Digital advertisers, however, saw another opportunity for targeted online advertising. They invented advertising technology that would scour through the cookies on your personal machine, figure out what you liked and disliked by looking at the types of sites you went to, and then feed up highly targeted online advertising based upon your browsing history. These companies included aQuantive, DoubleClick, ValueClick, and others. Of the companies I mentioned, only ValueClick is still independent. Google snapped up DoubleClick, while Microsoft snapped up aQuantive. Clearly, these companies believe in the future of Internet advertising technology and also believe in the long-term legality of this technology.Now some real red flags were raised. I’ve written about this advertising technology before, so I’m not going to go over it all again here. Suffice to say that some government regulators were pretty skeptical about this new form of advertising technology and there have been numerous suggestions for regulation. The lack of uproar from the public, however, has not really created any backlash for the companies in question. It could be because there is widespread ignorance about Internet advertising technology (and I believe there is, based on conversations with people of average Internet experience). Perhaps a part of it is also that privacy has been eroding on the Internet one incremental step at a time.To be continued in part two…(C) Medium Blue 2008