Saturday, September 27, 2008







Get richer by renting instead of buying!!!!

i forgot where i found this but check it out....

I have something un-American to confess: I rent an apartment, despite having enough money to buy a house. I plan to keep renting for as long as I can. I'm not just holding out for better prices. Renting will make me richer.
I normally write about stocks for, but the boss asked me to explain to readers my reason for renting. Here goes: Businesses are great investments while houses are poor ones, so I'd rather rent the latter and own the former.
Stocks vs. Houses: Returns
Shares of businesses return 7% a year over long time periods. I'm subtracting for inflation, gradual price increases for everything from a can of beer to an ear exam. (After-inflation or "real" returns are the only ones that matter. The point of increasing wealth is to increase buying power, not numbers on an account statement.) Shares have been remarkably consistent over the past two centuries in their 7% real returns. In Jeremy Siegel's book, "Stocks for the Long Term," he finds that real returns averaged 7.0% over nearly seven decades ending 1870, then 6.6% through 1925 and then 6.9% through 2004.
The average real return for houses over long time periods might surprise you. It's zero.
More from Shares return 7% a year after inflation because that's how fast companies tend to increase their profits. Houses have their own version of profits: rents. Tenant-occupied houses generate actual rents while owner-occupied houses generate ones that are implied but no less real: the rents their owners don't have to pay each year. House prices and rents have been closely linked throughout history, with both increasing at the rate of inflation, or about 3% a year since 1900. A house, after all, is an ordinary good. It can't think up ways to drive profits like a company's managers can. Absent artificial boosts to demand, house prices will increase at the rate of inflation over long time periods for a real return of zero.
Robert Shiller, a Yale economist and author of "Irrational Exuberance," which predicted the stock price collapse in 2000, has recently turned his eye to house prices. Between 1890 and 2004 he finds that real house returns would've been zero if not for two brief periods: one immediately following World War II and another since about 2000. (More on them in a moment.) Even if we include these periods houses returned just 0.4% a year, he says.
The average pundit, planner, lender or broker making the case for ownership doesn't look at returns since 1890. Sometimes they reduce the matter to maxims about "building equity" and "paying yourself" instead of "throwing money down the drain." If they do look at returns they focus on recent ones. Those tell a different story.
Between World War II and 2000 house prices beat inflation by about two percentage points a year. (Stocks during that time beat inflation by their usual seven percentage points a year.) Since 2000 houses have outpaced inflation by six percentage points a year. (Stocks have merely matched inflation.)
Stocks vs. Houses: Valuations
But while stock returns have come from increased earnings, house returns have come from ballooning valuations, not increased rents. The ratio of share prices to company earnings (the price/earnings ratio) has remained relatively steady. It's about 16 today, close to both its 1940 value of 17 and to its 130-year average of about 15. Not so, the ratio of house prices to rents. In 1940 the median single-family house price was $2,938, according to the U.S. Census, while the median rent was $27 a month, including utilities. That means the ratio of prices to annual rents was 9. By 2000 the ratio had swelled to 17. In 2005 it hit 20. We can adjust for the size of dwellings, but it doesn't make much difference. The ratio of single-family house prices to three-bedroom apartments is 19. In's home town of Manhattan, where more detailed data is available, the ratio of condo prices per square foot to apartment rents per square foot is 22.
Two main events have caused house valuations to inflate since World War II. First, the government subsidized housing by relaxing borrowing standards. Prior to the creation of the Federal Housing Authority in 1934 house buyers who borrowed typically put up 40% of the purchase price in cash for a five- to 15-year loan. By insuring mortgages, the FHA permitted terms of up to 20 years and down payments of just 20%. It later expanded the repayment periods to 30 years and reduced down payments to 5%. Today down payments for FHA loans are as low as 3%. Aggressive lenders offer loans with no down payments or even negative ones so that house buyers can borrow the full purchase price plus closing costs. Some require little documentation of income, assets or ability to pay.
That means more Americans can win loans for homes, and they can win them for far more expensive (larger) homes than their incomes previously allowed. Two-thirds of American households own homes today, up from 44% in 1940, even though the percentage of Americans living alone has tripled during that time. The ratio of house values to incomes has risen 260% in just under four decades.
A second event helped boost house demand in recent years. Share prices plunged in 2000. The Federal Reserve, fearing that the decline in stock wealth would cause consumers to stop spending, reduced the federal-funds rate, the core interest rate that determines the cost of everything from credit cards to mortgages, to 1% by the summer of 2003 from 6.5% at the start of 2001. Since most of the cost of financing a house over 30 years is interest, monthly house payments shrank and demand for houses soared. In some markets a string of big yearly increases in house prices led to panic buying.
Stocks vs. Houses: Conclusion
For house returns over the next 20 years to match those over the past 20, the government and private lenders would have to "up the ante" by relaxing borrowing standards further. Given the recent attention paid to swelling foreclosures, that seems unlikely. I suspect real returns will turn negative over most of the next two decades, but that house prices won't necessarily dip. Since 1963 they've done so in only two years, vs. 18 for stocks. That's because homeowners mostly just stick it out rather than sell during soft markets. But if house prices remain flat, they produce negative real returns due to the creep of inflation. According to calculations made by The Economist in the summer of 2005, house prices would have to stay flat for 12 years with annual inflation at 2.5% for the ratio of prices to rents to fall from its 2005 perch to merely its 1975 to 2000 average.
So to sum up why I rent: Shares right now cost 16 times earnings and over long time periods return 7% a year after inflation. Houses right now cost 19 times their "earnings" and over long time periods return zero after inflation. And they look likely to return less than that for a while.
On the following page I've tried to anticipate and address questions and objections.

"You can't live in your stocks" or "Renters throw money down the drain."
Rent is the cost of owning shares with money you would otherwise spend on a house. Houses have ownership costs, too: taxes, insurance and maintenance. Rent costs about 5% of house prices each year if we apply the price/rent ratio of 19. House incidentals often cost around 2%. If you have $300,000 and a choice between spending it on a house or shares, you'll pay $6,000 a year in incidentals if you buy the house or about $15,000 a year ($1,250 a month) in rent if you buy the shares. But the shares will return $21,000 a year after inflation while the house will return zero. (My numbers work out even better than these. I pay a smidgen less than $1,250 a month for rent, while house prices in my neighborhood are far higher than $300,000.)
Note that houses and shares have transaction costs, too. Home buyers pay around 1% in closing costs when they buy and 6% in broker commissions when they sell. Share buyers pay $10 trading commissions, which are negligible for buy-and-hold investors.
"House buyers get tax breaks."
So do share buyers, but both are a bad deal. The interest on loans for houses (mortgages) and shares (margin balances) is tax-deductible. But the rates are almost always too high. A big house loan presently costs 6.1% interest while a big stock loan costs about 9%. For the returns, we can forget about inflation because it helps debtors while hurting investors, making it a wash for those who borrow to invest. Still, nominal returns of 3% for houses and 10% for stocks aren't high enough to justify those rates. The tax breaks aren't really breaks at all. Moreover, a majority of homeowners don't claim them. Their incomes are low enough to make the standard deduction a better deal.
"What about the pride of home ownership?"
It's not for me. I define ownership as no longer having to pay for something and being able to do as I please with it. I own my coffee maker. House owners must pay taxes each year even when their mortgage payments are done. In certain markets they can't even make changes to the houses they've paid for without seeking the approval of others. Personally, I feel the pride of ownership for shares of businesses, and I'm proud to occupy a nice place while leaving the burden of poor returns and maintenance to someone else.
"You seem to knock government housing subsidies, but they've helped many Americans afford homes."
My inner socialist agrees. My other inner socialist worries that the government has effectively raised prices to the point where the middle class can't afford houses, or buries itself in debt to own them. My inner capitalist is too busy watching shares to care about house prices. My inner conspiracy theorist notes that while politicians tout the social benefits of homeownership none mentions its tax benefits to the government. I pay no taxes on the overall value of my stock portfolio, just on my cashed-in gains and collected dividends. But Americans pay taxes on the full $11 trillion worth of housing they own plus the $10 trillion worth of it they're still paying off.
"Houses are bigger than apartments."
True, and both can be rented. A third of renters live in single-family houses. I prefer an apartment for now. I like not having to fill it with stuff. I like using a fifth of the energy of the average American. I like being 20 minutes from work and (this is unique to New Yorkers) not having owned a car in 10 years. I like not stressing over whether to get the marble countertops or the imported tiles or the 52-inch flat screen. I'm not especially frugal; I spend a teacher's salary each year on restaurants and travel. But I guess I'm too busy or lazy right now to bother with a big house and its innards.
"Are you saying I should sell my big house and rent an apartment instead?"
No, unless you have more space than you need and moving wouldn't be disruptive to your family, and you want to cash in on recent housing gains, make more money over the next couple of decades, use less energy while simplifying your life, and you don't mind seeming odd to friends. In which case, yes. But really, I'm not trying to win anyone over. Strong demand for houses keeps my rent cheap.
"Renting is for poor people."
True. But it's for rich people, too. The average renter makes about $34,000 a year, but while the percentage of renters declines after incomes exceed $20,000 and rents exceed $600 a month, it jumps again once incomes top $150,000 and rents top $1,200 a month. In other words, poor people rent modest apartments for lack of choice. Middle-income people buy houses. High-income people, presumably with a dose of financial savvy, often rent nice apartments instead of buying.
"You say houses return zero. But I've made a fortune on my house in recent years."
I'm referring to inflation-adjusted returns over long time periods, absent external boosts to demand. You're referring to gross returns over a short time period that combined lax borrowing standards and ultra-low interest rates. Over the next 20 years I believe houses will return zero or slightly less after inflation and that stocks will return 7%.
"So you're never going to buy a house? What about raising a family?"
I might buy one eventually, but the longer I can put it off the more I'll get out of the shares I'll have to sell to afford it. I'm 34 now with a fiancée and a fish. I'm going to try to rent for at least 10 more years. If I have kids I'll probably move into a big apartment or a house once they reach running-around age. I'll rent, most likely.

Thursday, September 18, 2008



Some of your favorite expressions consist of:
"Anda la mierda"
"Anda el diablo"
"El diache"
"Que Vaina"
"Ta' To"
"Y Es Facil"
"Que lo Que?"
"A Po Ta Bien"
"Que Tripeo"
"Tu si Jode"
"Ta Cool"
"Ta Jevi"
"La creta"
"Tu ta pasa"
"Cojelo suave"
"Que Bufeo"

If you live, or got family livin in Washington Heights (better said Guaachinton Heights)

If people tell you to stop screaming when you're really talking

If you grew up afraid of something called "El Cuco"

If you clap your hands while laughing

If your able to dance without any music

If you learned how to dance merengue and bachata before you could walk

If you point things out with your nose and mouth

If you've ever gotten beat with any of the following:
rubber slippers, extension cord, hanger (plastic or metal), big rice spoon.

If you waste ALL your money in the summer time buying "frio-frio" RED FLAVOR

If you've ever gone outside in rolos and chancletas

If your parents go to a little room in the back of your local bodega
"pa juga lo numero" of DR

If you consider platanos one of the major food groups

If you can smell chuletas cookin in your house from down the block

If while in your country, you hear people on the block yellin "se fue la luz!"

If your house in DR has an oil lamp in every room

If you grew up listening to Fernandito Villalona, Sergio Vargas, and Los
Hermanos Rosario

If your dad or uncle claim to be dead broke, yet rock a cell phone and
is laced wit mad gold around his neck and wrists

If you Drop Liquor on the floor and say "eso e pa lo muerto!"

If you drink Presidente, Brugal, or Mama Juana like WATER

If you've ever gotten whipped by a diablo cojuelo or lechon

If you got 3 elephants in your living room

If your sofas are covered in plastic

If you all the juices you have in your house are the type that come in
powder, and you just mix with water, like Tang

If you eat Mangu on a daily basis

If you ate rice, beans and some type of meat for dinner yesterday,
today and
probably will tomorrow

If you say words like .....
Razor is GILE
Nailpolish is CUTé
Feminine Pads are KOTE
Vapo Rub is Vivaporu
T-Shirts are POLOCHE
Watchman is GUACHIMAN
Garbage is EL Gabish
Cereal is CONFLE (Yea you all know you do it!)

If you believe Vivaporu is the cure for EVERYTHING

If you in a 4-passenger car, u got 7 people in it, and someone yellin

If you've ever been in a carro publico ;)

If you use an old t-shirt, towel, or anything as a mop, and use your
feet to

If you've ever let some one throw AGUA FLORIDA on you for good luck

If your house on the island has broken pieces of glass to keep away robbers

If you refer to every cat as MISHU

If your childhood games were called: EL ESCONDIDO, POLLITO PLEIBI,
APARA Y BATEA, EL GALLO, or that game with a stick and a wheel

IF your parents dressed you up for Halloween as a VAQUERO, CAMPESINA,

If your refridgerator has about 85 magnets on it

If all your pots and pans are inside the oven

If your local bodega does lay-a-away/credit plans (fiao)

If a frosted beer to you is VESTIDA DE NOVIA or UNA FRIA

If since you were little BALAGUER has been dying

If you parents ever gave you ACEITE DE BACALAO when you were sick

If you've ever gone to QUISQUEYA PAR

If either ya father or one of ya uncles has more kids than fingers on
his left hand, all with different women

PASS this on to show your DOMINICAN PRIDE

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My homie 'Jus Cool' emailed me this and hit many points. Check it out!!!!

25 Things That Killed (and are Still Killing) Urban Music

1. The End of the "Event" Album: There was a time when albums encompassed an era that included a look, a feel, and a style that informed an artist's videos and live performances for as long as they (or the label) could squeeze revenue from a project by releasing singles. The "event" album can chiefly be credited to Jacksons Michael and Janet, who have entire timelines built around the idea of a "Thriller Era" or a "Rhythm Nation Era". Nowadays, instead of treating albums as what they are (a collection of songs with one unifying theme) artists are more likely to seek out the most ubiquitous Hip Hop beatmakers of the moment and record over a hundred songs from which to "pick" singles. Also, when you have artists that are too scared to release music with a healthy 3-5 year gap in between, the lines to between albums begin to blur, and the eras become indistinguishable, rendering them null.

2. Big Name Hip Hop Producers: With respect due to the beatmakers that introduce a track with the name of their production imprint, ad-lib all over it, and insert themselves as guest rappers 50% of the time, they overshadow the actual vocalist of a song. We certainly don't begrudge any of them the right to employment, but when an artist has to do an inventory of who produced her project to qualifiy it instead of telling us what the album is about, we have to take exception. Reality check: If you're trying to goad me into a purchasing your album because you have a Pharrell beat on it and I'm a Pharrell fan, then that's the only song I'm buying. Your album has to have legs of its own.

3. Deaths of The Notorious B.I.G. & 2Pac: You can probably draw a direct line from the deaths of Biggie and 'Pac to the current state of Hip Hop. The two of them cultivated a style that even a decade later is re- and misappropriated to the nth. Perhaps if they were still alive, they'd have pushed the genre forward. Or maybe they'd be wack and irrelevant. Hey, at least they died while they were still good.

4. "Neo-Soul": We understand the emergence of the "neo-soul" genre as a response to the growing commercialization of modern R&B. But even the artists lumped into this category began to the see that the term was as much a marketing ploy as the very things they eschewed. The language used to describe these artists ranged from "organic" to "avant garde" and any press materials would claim that he/she looks up to Stevie, Marvin and Donnie. And don't stand too close to the stage lest you get burned by the candles and frankencense! Before long, the audience would be fooled and we would either grow to love or loathe this music, defending the art of its purveyors and loudly wondering why they couldn't move as many units as their mainstream counterparts. Simply put, "neo-soul" has become a term used by people to describe music they respect but would never buy.

5. Reality TV: Aside from the manufactured Pop idols that are struggling to stay signed within their prize contracts, we have to question the motives of Sean Combs, Robin Antin and Missy Elliott, who have all aped the reality television format to generate acts for their own stable of artists. To be sure, reality TV has replaced proper Artist Development as a means for these entrepreneurs to cash in, stroke their egos and embarrass people who, 9 times out of 10, deserve it. Speaking of which, what's O'so Krispie doing?

6. Lazy A&R Departments: Did you know that A&R people are also responsible for Artist Development? Probably not, since these days a newly-signed artist is more likely to be stripped of their identity and given one that falls in step with what's popular or, even worse, none at all. Take Cheri Dennis for example. While her album has a respectable amount of solid R&B tracks, we still don't know who Cheri Dennis is, what sets her apart from everyone else or even what she sounds like. But, she has earned the distinction of being signed to her label for nearly a decade with no album to speak of. Did the A&R department utilize that time by playing Spades? Probably.

7. Scarface and The Untouchables: Okay, rapper, we get it, Scarface and The Untouchables are the greatest movies ever made; your life in celluloid, even. But, if you look close enough, you'll come to learn that you are neither Pacino or De Niro and should stop emulating them by using audio clips from the films in your interludes and the script in your lyrics. Too many of you are still doing this after all these years. Also, tell members of your crew to stop calling themselves "Ness" and "Nitti". Just, please, cut it out. Thank you.

8. Thugs: Not only do we have "Studio Thugs" that use de Palma films to inform their image (see above) but there's the "Corporate Thug" (robs an artist of his publishing and signs him to a hellified contract he could never fulfill) and the questionable "R&B Thug", which happened somewhere between R. Kelly and Jodeci and continues to this day. Along the way, labels got the bright idea that the way to a woman's heart was by selling drugs and beating up people. Sexy! This trend has also given rise to something else we'll never understand: "R&B Beef", in which two singers talk trash about each other to the media. Unfortunately, this doesn't result in a "sing-off" but pretty much makes everyone involved look kind of retarded.

9. Crime: Between violating probation, not paying child support, being pulled over and caught with an ounce of weed or cocaine, assaulting nail technicians, shooting people, tossing concertgoers off the stage, committing perjury, tax evasion, and urinating on minors, we have to wonder if being a good artist means being a bad citizen.

10. Ringtones: "Real Music Ringtones" were created as a way to distinguish your ringing cellular from someone else's while also bringing you closer to your favorite artist. Unfortunately, the labels realized this was the only way to generate revenue and started making music for the sole purpose of selling ringtones. Now, we have stripped-down keyboard beats and grunts and "yaahhs" instead of lyrics. Is that my cellphone ringing or yours? We'll never know, because we both downloaded Soulja Boy.

11. Lack of Music Programs in Schools: Programs like Garage Band have not only made producers lazy, but undercut the importance of immersing young would-be musicians in music history as well as basic composition. Unless a popular musician was trained in the church, they probably lucked into a contract without knowing how to write, play an instrument, or worse, sing a note.

12. BET (and by extension its corporate owner) is on a mission to not only destroy urban music, but poison the perception of Black people in the process. If we were to use this network as a guide (and people unfortunately do), we would believe that "drug dealer > rapper > pimp" is a logical career path, alcoholic beverages can be used as bodysplash, women of exotic or indeterminate race are the standard of beauty, darker-skinned women are only valuable if they have a big ass and a tiny waist, a person's worth can only be determined by what they drive and what they wear, you ain't sh*t if you're over 30, and a week's worth of debauchery and decadence can be undone with a Sunday marathon of religious programming. It's funny because it's true.

13. The Radio: Used to be, you would turn on the radio and hear a variety of artists with a variety of sounds. But due to the "Clear Channeling" of Urban Radio, you'll hear a T-Pain song followed by 15 minutes of commercials, followed by a song featuring T-Pain, some shucking and jiving by unbearable radio personalities for five minutes, then something that resembles a T-Pain song, but isn't because just about everyone sounds like T-Pain now. And it's probably a commercial.

14. Spineless Club DJs: If you're going out to a club, you might as well sit in the house and blast the radio instead of paying the inflated cover charge. Once upon a time, DJs were tastemakers, but now so many of them are afraid they'll clear the floor by spinning something new that they just play album versions of songs people are tired of but are too drunk to notice. Then, they add insult to injury by showing off their "skills" with poorly-timed scratches, blends that don't line up and screaming over the music. And consider yourself lucky if you happen upon a DJ with ACTUAL! VINYL! RECORDS!

15. Mainstream Hip Hop Publications: Back in the 90's, holding one of these rags in your hands was like holding a monthly Bible to all things Hip Hop and R&B. Now, they've all been relegated to chasing blogs and reiterating things we already knew weeks ahead instead of properly utilizing the print medium to do something unique. Changes in personnel and ownership aside, they were already marching towards irrelevance. Even the covers suck now, but you probably won't get the damn thing delivered on time in order to find out.

16. Bloggers: Guilty as charged! Trifle few of us are qualified to be writing about music with any authority, especially since most of the people behind blogs haven't been alive long enough to have a healthy perspective on the subject. Although it can be argued that record companies rely on blogs for buzz, most of the music championed by popular websites is the same music that would've gotten attention anyway. Also, we have to point out that the commenting system has turned discussions about music into an unholy war of "haters" versus "stans", where everyone is an expert on what they hate or love, but have no concept of anything else including real life. Oh, and providing your readers with the URL to full album leaks doesn't "help" the artist.

17. Youtube & Myspace: On the Internet, everyone is a star (thank you, thank you). But while sites like Myspace and Youtube can provide mainstream and indie musicians with a means of cultivating and connecting with an audience, it becomes a chore to sort through the muck of people with a webcam and a login classifying themselves as "artists". And damn you all to Hell for having the crap you made in Grandma's basement on auto-play.

18. Singing Rappers, Acting Rappers & Rapping Athletes: We'll keep this short. Every now and then you'll happen upon someone that has been able to organically transition from one career to another. Will and Latifah come to mind. To everyone else (coughCurtiscough), stay in your lane. Again, we don't begrudge anyone the chance to make some extra ends; it just shouldn't be at the expense of the audience.

19. The End of Real Singing Groups: Once upon a time, you not only had singing groups that weren't put together by a reality show, but wherein each member contributed a distinct voice or purpose to the group. Sometimes they had members that barely sang a note, but who actually produced or wrote the song. Point is, throwing a bunch of strangers in a house with one phone and giving them makeovers doesn't create synergy. Also, name a recent singing group that wasn't created for a television show or for the purpose of launching someone's solo career. Exactly.

20. "Kanyitis" is a temporary, yet frequent, illness that afflicts singers and rappers alike, wherein an artist waits until the precise moment they are in front of a camera, microphone or reporter to say something shocking and stupid, which will then be quoted by bloggers and searched on Youtube ad nauseum. Then the artist has to explain what they "really" meant, but by that time everyone already thinks they're nuts and doesn't care about a retraction.

21. Death of Aaliyah: Not that Aaliyah took an entire genre of music with her to the grave, but it can be argued that her passing made way for a wave of young, pretty dancers with okay voices and no personality. Only difference between them and Aaliyah is, Aaliyah had personality along with talent, ideas and a willingness to experiment. Also, she wasn't so full of herself.

22. Money: Even worse than artists releasing garbage because they know it sells is the audience's obsession with how much an artist makes. Unfortunately, we've given lack of artistry a pass because someone's "making that paper", which totally undermines the hard work of true creative talents that are constantly writing, recording, and performing. When I buy an album I don't want to hear an entrepreneur, which brings us to--

23. Products & Brands: Whether rappers and singers are inserting the names of designer alcoholic beverages into their lyrics or cable companies are inserting rappers and singers in their ad campaigns, things come to a point where we need to start realizing how owned these artists are. There's a thin line between businessperson and corporate slave. We'd also like to reiterate a fact that has been pointed out time and time again over the past 10 years: If you can't pronounce it, why should we care that you're wearing it, driving it, or drinking it?

24. People That Aren't in Any Way Associated with Music: Opportunities in the industry are built on connections and there's almost never been a time when someone didn't rise to stardom on someone else's coattails. But now, things have gotten way out of hand. Why be an actual artist when you can be someone that danced in videos, screwed a bunch of rappers and got a book deal? Or, you can be a butler or Executive In Charge of Umbrella-Carrying? Or, worse, be the "Fifth Mic" guy on stage and reliable instigator? Who needs a recording studio?

25. Teenagers: Young people have always had the power to determine trends in all genres of music, which is why corporations defer to them. However, today's teenagers seem to be slightly more insipid than they were in previous generations and definitely have a shorter attention span. Whether it's the teens themselves driving the garbage labels are releasing, or the labels that are leading teens down a path of ignorance, is totally up for debate. It's the chicken/egg question in its purest form.

Jus Cool
A change is coming.....

About Me

We're both broke but yet we have a nice collection of kicks, we get into all the parties and find the way to support our drinking habits.... lol! We're both young but we love everything about the 80's.