The 12 best articles from Building Arks to help you win the financial race.

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Fifteen years ago I was a new engineer, recently returned from the Peace Corps with no money in my pocket. I found a good job with a good salary, got married, bought a house, and settled down for what I assumed was the “good life”.

However, the good life didn’t show up. My expenses almost matched my salary, and even though I had been getting raises and promotions, I was struggling to stay ahead financially. I was able to make some contributions to my company 401k, but that was all the progress I was making financially.

11 of the best articles from Building Arks to start you on your wealth-building journey through ownership of public companies.

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For many years, the only thing I knew about investing was that I should sock away money every month in my 401k in low-cost index funds. So that is what I did, and it gave me a great start to building wealth. However, I always knew that there was more to the stock market, but I had no idea of how it worked or what to do. It was something of a black box to me.

I had money set aside to buy the dip in the S&P 500…

Eight of the best articles from Building Arks to start you on your wealth-building journey through ownership of real assets.

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I purchased my first house in 2007 a few years after I started working — it was the cheapest house in a good neighborhood and all that I could afford at the time. When I moved for work a couple of years later, we decided to keep it and rent it out in case we ever moved back to that city. We did the same with the next house on a subsequent. That was my accidental start as a landlord.

We now own a portfolio…

Most popular articles of June and July from Building Arks

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As we start a new month, I wanted to share with you the most popular articles from June and July. I took a nice vacation with my family, including a road trip up to Grand Tetons (pictured above) and Yellowstone, which limited my time to publish, but I still had a few good articles I believe worth your time.

If you are interested in learning more about the stock market, understanding mortgages in real estate, or how to prepare for retirement, read on.

It is generally understood that if you…

And Why Most People Miss It

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When I think back through my path to where I am today, I can’t help but reminisce on the decisions and events that brought me here. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I’ve always tried to learn from them, get better, and move forward.

I became a landlord almost by accident with one seemingly small decision to keep a house after we moved to a new city in 2008. Our first tenant was a disaster that broke the lease and left us with a vacant property for several months during the recession.

The economy has changed, but most people are still following old rules

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It used to be that you could work for one company your entire career and then expect a pension check as you walked out the door at 65.

How many people can expect that today? Not many. In the 1960s, around one-half of all private-sector workers had company-sponsored pension plans in the US. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 12% of all workers in private industry currently have access to defined benefit pension plans.

When I first started working, I naively believed that this is how the world…

Calculate and use this important metric to build wealth.

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I first learned about return on investment (ROI) as a senior in college during a project economics course. Even then, the focus was around investing in major projects from the standpoint of a corporation rather than from the standpoint of an individual investor.

It took many more years before I really understood and used this important concept in my personal life. In the meantime, I made several questionable “investments” based on emotion rather than analysis, including my first house, a car, and contributions to my 401k.

How where you live impacts your wealth.

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I recently had a discussion on Medium with someone about the impacts of rent control on renters, landlords, and development in general. His premise was that, as a renter in Portland, he is in favor of rent control because it provides him and his family stability both in terms of rent paid but also in staying put as he has been displaced several times by owners who want to sell their properties.

My stance is that rent control makes cities more expensive because it reduces development. There is data to support this position, as seen in this article.

But this…

And why you shouldn’t either

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My wife and I became landlords by accident back in 2009 when we moved for my work and decided to keep our townhouse in case we ever moved back. To keep it, we had to rent it out. Fortunately, we got some tenants in quickly paying our asking rent. Unfortunately, the market crashed, they broke the lease and moved out, and it then sat empty for several months until we reduced the price enough to get someone in. Despite this rocky start, we stuck with it and still rent out that same house today.

We also started to learn about…

The benefits of owning assets versus trading them

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One of the oldest arguments around is about the merits of owning assets (investing) versus trading assets (speculating). This dichotomy is found in real estate (owning rentals vs. flipping houses), the stock market (buy and hold vs. trading), crypto (HODL vs. trading), and likely everywhere else where humans try to make money.

I’ll be upfront that I’m an investor that aims to own assets for cash flow and long-term appreciation (both real estate and equities). I’ve tried to trade options and a few other speculative strategies, but I’ve almost always lost money on them.

Building Arks with Jason Clendenen

Self-taught investor helping busy professionals learn how to ignore mainstream advice and build real wealth. Build your ark today!

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