February 28th, 2014
Well it’s time for my annual ski trip with my buddy; this will be our 43rd year. It is so great to keep this tradition on going. I checked the weather forecast this morning and Heavenly Valley in South Lake Tahoe, just recently received 14 inches of new snow. The rain is definitely a welcome sight here in Sonoma County as every bit helps to alleviate the water shortage our agriculture will most likely experience.
I am pleased to report that we have sold another commercial property in which we had to foreclose upon last year. We are currently receiving offers on several of our REO properties, both land and commercial. This is great news as it leads me to believe that our real estate economy at least in Northern California is moving forward.
If you are interested in investing in to our BaySierra Capital Fund, which is a mutual fund of first deeds of trusts secured by real estate earning an average of 6% interest, please give us a call. We would be happy to send you a portfolio Fact Sheet of its characteristics.
Stay safe this weekend as I understand there is more rain & wind on its way. If you do venture out, the 36th Annual Barrel Tasting-Wine Road is happening in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek & Russian River Valley in the Healdsburg area starting on Friday with over 100 wineries participating. For additional information call (707) 433-4335
February 20th, 2014
Income inequality and wealth (the gap between high & low income earners) seems to be in the news a lot lately. Yes, raising the minimum wage makes sense but this probably won’t slow down or make much difference to the inequality of income. When there is an accumulation of wealth amongst the very fortunate few, things begin to happen in the political process which allows those at the top to accumulate more wealth. Maybe if we removed special perks and abused loopholes in the tax code we could make progress. Perhaps the ultimate real solution is tax reform.
Just a reminder if you don’t already have a Revocable Living Trust you may want to think about establishing one. If you do already have one, when was the last time you reviewed or updated it? If it is has been more than 10 years, make for sure that you wouldn’t change anything.
This Saturday February 22nd at Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM you can hear the Piano Club’s first concert of piano recitals. For additional information call (707) 938-5216
February 12th, 2014
Lots of good news! The rainfall levels are currently much more than a few drops and the 2013 North Coast grape crops have set records in its size and value with an estimated increase in value of 2.2% and crush total of 4.23 million tons up from 4.01 million tons in 2012. Oh, happy day! Let’s just hope that growers who have been put on notice that water for irrigation and frost protection might be in a short supply this year won’t have to experience too many hardships. The life of a farmer regardless of the crop is very dependent on Mother Nature.
According to Beacon Economics, California’s merchandise export trade for 2013 was 4% higher than the figures from 2012. California has even started to add back some manufacturing jobs. It’s trends like these which leads us to be very hopeful that 2014 will be a very good year.
Looking for something to do? The annual Citrus Fair in Cloverdale starts this Friday February 14th through to Monday February 17th. Or you may want to experience The VinOlivo Ticket to Sonoma Valley weekend from this Saturday February 15th to Monday February 17th where you can receive special offers at participating Sonoma Valley Wineries. For more information visit: http://sonomavalleywine.com/
Just remember you might need an umbrella for either event.
February 5th, 2014
All though we received a little rain on Sunday a water shortage is still on a lot of peoples minds. I am a little concerned that even though there is no “mandatory” conservation, as of yet and we are being asked to conserve. So, when it is mandatory you need to cut your water usage back by 20%; when does your 20% usage mark start? Probably not when you did start to conserve and are not penalized if you don’t reduce usage by 20%. When we conserved last time we were penalized and punished with higher rates because we did such a good job. I am actually on a well & septic and not hooked into any one else’s water system, therefore I am always concerned with our water usage. However, a lot of my friends are not happy with the talk of penalties for not conserving which they are already doing.
Effective February 1st Janet Yellen became the Federal Reserve’s new Chairwoman. Ms. Yellen seems to be willing to allow a measure of inflation to achieve economic growth. Time will only tell how the economy fares under her guidance.
The Super Bowl this year was a little boring, but the commercial with the young puppy and the Clydesdale Horse was outstanding!
January 24th, 2014
If you have a retirement account, is it a self-directed IRA account? If not, you may want to consider transferring it to a custodian such as IRA Services Trust Co. or Pensco Trust Services which handles self-directed accounts. Self-directed means that you can invest your retirement funds in a wider variation of investments including real estate and deeds of trust. Some of our recently funded loans have been “netting” to the lenders rates of 8.0% to 10.5%. When the payments are received into your retirement account, the balance of your account increases nicely— better than earning less than 1.0% on bank interest.
Another investment you might want to consider is our own BaySierra Capital Fund, LLC which is a mutual fund of first deeds of trust mortgages. If interested, please call our office and ask for Bobby Ritter for additional information. It is always smart to have diversity in your savings, asset portfolio and even in retirement accounts.
I’ll probably still be watching the Super Bowl on Feb. 2nd, and hoping that the Denver Broncos will win. My wife will be watching for the commercials which I must admit are some of the best.
January 16th, 2014
If the FCC lifts its ban on cellular service on US flights do you really want to sit next to someone who is having a personal conversation? Or would you think I’d rather be talking to someone that I know on my own phone other than listen to someone else’s conversation? Airlines will still be able to set their own policies on this issue, I know that I will opt to fly those airlines which do not allow cell phone calls.
At the end of this month I will be attending our quarterly CMA Private Money Lending conference in Los Angeles. On the agenda are sessions that will be covering title insurance, legal review, prevention of deed scams and false signings, which are all such great topics; in addition we always have a legal regulatory review.
This Sunday, I will be watching football on TV, to see who will be competing in Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m sure hoping that the SF 49er’s will overtake the Seattle Seahawks and have yet another chance at becoming Super Bowl winners.
January 8th, 2014
Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions, besides dieting & excercise? You might think about making a Financial New Year’s Resolutions; i.e. 1.) If you buy something on sale, don’t count it as saving money – you still have spent money; 2.) Cancel some of your subscriptions to magazines – especially those that you don’t read; 3.) Do you really need to belong to those “wine clubs”? This year switch it up a bit and make some commitments that will help you in the long run. This year is a good time to tackle those credit card bills. Interest rates are still low, so start to hammer away and eliminate and minimize those monthly payments.
The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, is going to get a 14,580 sq. foot new home on campus thanks to Gary Heck of Korbel Winery. He has given a $1 Million gift which will provide seed money for the renovation; once it’s completed will house three classrooms, a common area for students, offices for faculty and industry professionals who teach courses.
There are always events in Sonoma County to see and participate in, however, I’ll be watching the playoff game this weekend between our San Francisco 49er’s and the Carolina Panthers. With only eight teams left fighting for the last two positions to compete in the Super Bowl. I sure hope our 49er’s get another chance at the trophy
December 31st, 2013
Since 2013 is now in our rear view mirror have you put together a Fiscal Fitness Checklist? Do a little something each month such as: toss old paperwork, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if you have too much or too little coverage, check auto insurance for proper coverage & deductibles and most of all respect your current financial situation. Don’t spend money you don’t have.
Now that we’ve mentioned evaluating some financial items, what about your mental health? A strong sense of self is a great place to start. If you define yourself by what someone else thinks, you’ve already lost the battle. Successful people take action toward a known outcome. You can’t think about it— you have to do it and not for a week or month, but until you get the results you want. The major difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline for progress coupled with accountability.
If you are planning on going out this New Years Eve, be safe. I’ll see you in 2014
December 11th, 2013
During this time of the year there are several new gadgets that are available such as Digital Wallets, Mobile Payment Solutions, i.e. checks deposited via your Smartphone and etc. There is an app called Square Wallet which allows you to link your credit card, upload a photo of yourself, all while you visit a local business, browse, mention your name at the checkout to pay and your credit card will automatically be charged. So will good old-fashioned cash just soon be a thing of the past? Remember when Casinos dispensed coins (when you won)? They’ve been using “ticket vouchers” for years. Yikes! There is also a new start-up company called Coin, which is a digital credit card which can add all of your bank and credit cards into one that it is being pre-sold now and will be shipped in July of 2014.
When your kids are grown and married or engaged, how does the family divvy up the Holidays? You learn to share. Which is a trait you probably had taught your kids when they were little.
This Saturday December 14, from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, there will be a Vendor Fair. For additional information call (707) 396-9823.
December 4th, 2013
Now that Thanksgiving is over and the Holiday Season is upon us, maybe we should rethink what gifts we purchase for others. A few years ago, my son gave his nieces and nephews “silly” socks– they were so thrilled; each year the socks were different. Last year he changed it up and decided to give them toys and games except they were a little disappointed because they looked forward to what kinds of socks they were going to get from their cousin/uncle Jeff. Maybe a telephone call or two (not a text or email) should be on your list of gifts to give this year. It would only take a few minutes and could mean a lot to those on the receiving end of your call.
This year the Small Business Administration (SBA) set a lending record in the Bay Area for loans, up 7% from the previous fiscal year in 2012. Of the 234 loans in the North Bay, Sonoma County SBA lenders funded 105 loans totaling over $46 Million. The SBA’s mission: To get capital into the hands of small businesses, has not changed. It’s good to see that small business’s have another option for financing.
This Thursday December 5th, from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM Windsor will have a Holiday Celebration on the Town Green with snow fall beginning at 5:30 PM — “You can catch a snowflake on your tongue.” For additional information call (707) 838-1252