If you’ve filed for and were granted a six-month extension for filing your personal income taxes, you’re seeing that important date of Oct. 15 rapidly approaching on your calendar. That’s the date by which, each year, you must file your extended taxes with the Internal Revenue Service—and, actually, it’s Oct. 16 this year, because the 15th falls on a Sunday.
As an investor who’s racing the clock and owns income-producing rental properties, you may be sifting through reams and reams of paperwork to get your taxes prepared in time to meet your Oct. 16 date with the IRS.
However, if you’re an investor who belongs to the Platinum Properties Investors Network, founded by Jason Hartman, you’re resting assured. That’s because you’re using the network’s newly updated Property Tracker Software, and you have all of your organizational duties under control.
Platinum’s newly designed Property Tracker Software was explained during a recent airing of the “Creating Wealth” podcast, when Hartman, the show’s host, was joined by two Platinum colleagues who helped design the “2.0” software update, Zack and Fernando.
The three men didn’t talk all software and taxes, though—they also talked about Hurricane Irma and insurance issues that might arise from that disaster, as well as crypto currencies and how their luster most likely is to fade away soon because they’re disliked by big governments and central banks.
Property Tracker Software: A Tool for the Self-Managing, Real-Estate Investor
As a real-estate investor who follows Jason Hartman and listens to the “Creating Wealth” podcast, you’re already familiar with his third commandment of real estate investing: “Thou shalt maintain control.” Whether you self-manage the properties in your portfolio or you rely upon a property manager, there are certain organizational practices you should follow and use.
And you can do all of those with Platinum’s Property Tracker Software.
Hartman explains in his recent podcast:
“There are some sort of fundamental things that a good, organized investor needs to do. Let’s call them ‘the organized investor.’
“They evaluate cash flow, return on investment and even internal rate of return, IRR, which is a sort of holy grail of metrics, if you will. They track income and expenses. They analyze their portfolio on an ongoing basis. They use software to help produce tax forms, which saves them money on accounting and CPA bills and so forth. They research and keep tabs on appreciation, although they don’t stay up at night about it—again, as we’ve always said, that’s the icing on the cake, it’s not the cake. The fundamental investment is not about speculation and appreciation.”
The “organized investor” isn’t done quite yet. Here’s more of what you and other investors with rental properties should do:
“They use calendars to keep track of their lease renewal dates, their property management contract renewal dates with their managers if they’re not self-managing, their insurance policy renewal dates.”
“If they don’t pay association fees on a monthly basis, then they use a calendar to remind them when to pay HOA dues. They file their contracts in the cloud, and they have that filing cabinet. If they’re smart, they always keep a backup themselves. They keep a correspondence log, in terms of who they’ve talked to, what they talked about, just a little couple of words to jog their memory kind of thing.”
“These are some of the things I think the organized investor engages in.”
Fernando, one of Hartman’s colleagues who helped launch the updated Property Tracker Software, is a retired Apple software expert and Platinum Properties investment counselor. He also has found self-management of his real estate portfolio, which consists of about 50 properties with 70 “doors,” much more to his liking than hiring property managers. He does use the services of property managers with some of his investment properties, though.
“I think automation to keep track of all of these things is obviously the key,” Fernando says when Hartman asks him if there’s more that an “organized investor” must do.
“How easy it is to enter that information, to grab that information, to somehow compile it if you have several properties, to get that information easily in a format that can be distributed to you?” All are easy, of course, with Property Tracker Software.
“You mentioned calendars, for example,” Fernando tells Hartman.
“One thing I do to organize my properties is that I remind property managers about and check on leases that are expiring—through looking at the calendar feature. If you are showing your property manager that you’re on top of things, you will be treated differently, because when they talk to you, they know that you’re paying attention and that makes a difference.”
“They give you a whole new level of respect,” concurs Hartman.
Adds Zack, the other Platinum colleague who helped with the Property Tracker Software redesign:
“And our software makes it so easy to be that person who’s constantly on time, constantly up to date with an aggregate account. It takes a lot less effort now than ever before to track your assets.”
Fernando particularly likes the Property Tracker Software at tax time. He traditionally files for an extension and faces a deadline of Oct. 15 (albeit Oct. 16 this year).
“We’ve heard from CPAs and attorneys that have been to our (Platinum investors’) events that you have a lesser chance of being audited if you file your taxes by Oct 15,” Fernando says in the podcast. “I certainly have taken that advice to heart and have filed by Oct. 15 every year.”
Fernando stresses that it’s important to keep track of the different income and expenses for your property. He creates a Schedule E for Form 1040, in effect, from Property Tracker Software “for every one of my properties,” plus a PDF for each of those schedule Es, and transfers those to his CPA’s office for review.
“It makes their job a lot easier because they can see all of the numbers that I have for the year for each property,” Fernando says of his accounting firm. “And this includes, of course, depreciation as well, and it includes all of the generic expenses I have for my entire portfolio.
“I have so much confidence that the numbers are correct that when I give that to the CPA, there’s relatively few differences from what CPA has in their software compared to what I give them for my schedule Es. Without that tool in Property Tracker, I don’t know how anyone can do that properly.”
Also spewing from Fernando’s deft Property Tracker Software touch are such creations as tables of depreciation and rent-to-value comparisons.
Hartman says the software helps you as an investor not to worry about the little things too much.
“We are funny as humans, we have a funny nature,” he says.
“We’ve got to make sure we keep our own funny oddities of our psychology in check. I know, I’m this way, too. I will spend a couple of hours trying to save $105 on an airfare, and then I wonder, ‘why do I do that?’ I can make $5,000 in that time if I apply myself productively. I do these weird things, and I try to overcome them. A big part of life is overcoming ourselves.”
“There’s a great quote, I think Jack Paar said it: ‘Looking back, my life seems like one long obstacle course, with me as the chief obstacle.’ I think that’s true for all of us.”
Some Good News From Florida Concerning Hurricane Irma
While discussing some issues of the day in the podcast, Fernando tells Hartman and Zack one piece of good news he had just heard.
“I just read today in the Wall Street Journal that there is quite a bit of money for the insurance companies—essentially, the ‘reinsurance’ companies are the ones who are going to be backing a lot of claims in Florida. They’ve been building up quite a bit of reserve since there hasn’t been a hurricane of this magnitude sine 2005, I think. They’ve been building up cash, so hopefully, they’ll be OK to pay the claims and we’ll know how bad the devastation is in a few days.”
“But there’s some good news there.”
Hartman thinks the media seemed to be disappointed that Irma had weakened considerably by the time it hit the lower Florida peninsula—though it did a good job of trying to flatten the Florida Keys.
“I couldn’t help but thinking as I was watching CNN with the hurricane coverage as the power of irma was downgraded from Category Five down to Category Three … that like CNN seemed legitimately bummed out that it wasn’t worse,” says Hartman. “I’m going to pick on them a little bit, because that’s sick, that’s pathetic, but I couldn’t help but feel that way as I was watching the coverage.”
Fernando, who owns properties in the Naples, Florida, area, said he was glued to the news with his iPhone, trying to figure out the storm’s path and how severe it would be once it hit southwest Florida.
“Of course, I have both property and people, both friends and relatives, who live there, which is the most concerning piece of it all,” he says.
“But it sounds as though there are no issues there with the people that I know, and I don’t know about one of my properties. I’m really curious to know if there’s any major damage there, and if CNN had anything to do with it.”
Fernando notes that CNN is one outlet that President Trump has called “fake news.”
“Of course, they sell news … I think they’re not alone in this,” Fernando adds. “They want us to be glued to that TV and monitors. The worse the tragedy, the better for their ratings. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in.”
“As the old saying goes in the news media, ‘If it bleeds, it leads,’” Hartman replies.
“And Don Henley (of Eagles fame) has that great song, you know: “‘The bubble-headed bleached blonde comes on at five; she can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye; it’s interesting when people die, give us dirty laundry.’”
Crypto Currencies Losing a Bit of Their Sheen
Hartman comments on another recent news report: China withdrawing from Bitcoin and other cyber-currency trading by the end of September.
“Folks, I have predicted this for a long time,” Hartman tells his podcast listeners. “I told you that crypto currencies are competition for the most powerful forces that the human race has ever known—governments and central banks. One of the main products that they have, the widgets they produce, if you will, is currency.”
“In the U.S. case, it’s the dollar produced by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve and their holy alliance. In Europe, it’s the euro and the European central bank. In Japan, it’s the Japan central bank or whatever and their government, and it’s the yen.
“Anywhere around the world, the most powerful forces the human race has ever known are the governments and central banks. They have standing armies. And the old saying that you’d better follow is ‘don’t bet against the Fed, don’t ever bet against the Fed,’ and a crypto-currency investment is a speculation and a bet against the Fed.”
“They are still the ones with the guns at the end of the day,” Zack says, “so it’s all a power game when it comes to currency. If you look at the colonial currencies prior to the start of the country, and after the Revolutionary War, we had a lot of different currencies.”
Those currencies were called “protest coins” at the time. Zack asks Hartman if cyber currencies might be a modern-day form of protest coins and if, in the future, there might be some sort of market based on them, centering on “what’s hot at the time.”
“Ultimately,” concludes Hartman, “I think the blockchain and all of this technology of cyber currencies is going to be used by governments and central banks. They’re going to create their own. And that’s going to be the one that wins the day, because, at the end of the day, Zack, like you said, they have the guns.”