🌞 Sharks don’t like phish – February 28 2020



Friday in the house. That’s what all the cool kids say when they walk into work. Try it today and see how people respond. Don’t blame us if you get punched.

Worst ever. The stock market had its worst one day drop in history on Thursday. You read that right. Reminder to rejoice that you’re a real estate investor and not a paper asset investor. We try not to waste too much time on the stock market, if you want to read more you can subscribe to the WSJ for $59 a year. No thanks.

This is amazing. Earth has more than one moon. Scientists, aka smart people, discovered another moon orbiting Earth. It entered orbit three years ago and never left. Neil Armstrong won’t be landing on this one though, it’s only six feet long. Also Armstrong died a few years ago. So it’s a total wash.

In Today’s Newsletter

  • The IRS is not fooling around anymore
  • A shark gets phished
  • Panera Bread cures cancer, well close


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.81% 0.17% 3.87% 0.17%
15 year 3.36% 0.08% 3.48% 0.09%

The Lead

credit: getty

Shark Tank Wire Fraud

Here is why you should always personally verify wiring information: Phishing scams are on the rise with real estate purchases where criminals fake an email with wiring information to those they know are involved in a transaction. The buyer realizes too late that they have sent their money to a fake account controlled by a hacker, rather than the intended recipient. We have seen this happen one too many times. It is a real thing, friends. Always verify wiring instructions on the phone with a real person that you have done business with!

This happened recently to veteran real estate investor Barbara Corcoran, of Shark Tank fame. Someone sent an invoice for a property renovation to her bookkeeper. The bookkeeper wired the money to the tune of $388,700 to a scammed account.

This money is near impossible to recover once it is sent. It is a heartbreak best avoided by being extra careful when sending money. Phisihing is lucrative because there is always someone moving a little too fast through their day, missing critical clues. Don’t take the bait!

New Day at the IRS

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In case you were considering cheating on your taxes this year, here is your official warning not to. The IRS has issued a clear warning that they are cracking down on high net worth individuals and their tax filings through the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig spoke in California this week about the agency’s efforts to crack down on non-compliant taxpayers, particularly those of high net worth. The commission has also stepped up its home visits, which is the kind of popularity best avoided!

The IRS budget for more auditors has plummeted. In 2019, the agency audited just 0.45 percent of individual returns, lower than the 0.59 percent audited the year before in 2018. They are hoping to beef these numbers up with scanning technology that looks for key indicators of tax dodging.

What exactly the software is scanning for is still unclear but Rettig has admitted that it will be more aimed at higher-net worth people.

So what is one to do? Well, some experts estimate that making your investments in an LLC significantly decreases your risk of an audit so good estate planning is key. Another way to be prepared is to be organized. Play by the rules and if you are playing a game that could be challenged, keep your paperwork in order so that you can prove you are on the up and up.

Oh, and actually be on the up and up.

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More Saving, Less Browsing

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Be honest, you were going to buy something on Lowe’s website but the experience was so terrible you went to Home Depot’s website instead. Lowes is not happy with you. But they’re taking your constructive criticism and rebuilding it from the ground up.

Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison says their website is old and busted. He said customers go to the website but don’t checkout. That’s like going to the grocery store and leaving your cart at the checkout aisle out of frustration. Someone has to put that stuff back.

Sales Boost

Ellison took the helm in 2018 in an turnaround effort aimed at shaving customers off cross town rival Home Depot. Lowe’s said Wednesday that Lowes.com sales will have “high single-digit growth” in the second half of the year after the site overhaul.

With the new website, customers will be able to check out with one click. Items that tend to go in the same room or same part of the house will be listed on a single webpage.

I love Lowe’s self awareness here. They even pulled back on coupons because in their words, “driving traffic to an inferior experience” didn’t make sense.

Home Depot saw a 21% increase in online sales growth for the fourth quarter. Wrap your head around that.

Eat Your Greens

4778d3fb-17ce-486f-82d2-a0c4f1d34127.jpg credit: romolotavani

Unless you live in one of those tiny houses in the forest, chances are the buildings you live and work in were not build with much sustainability in mind. World leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum discussed the need to change that last month.

Commercial buildings are made to last about 100 years but they are piggish consumers of building materials, many of them not sustainable at all. They consume energy with wild abandon. But that obviously cannot last forever.

Sustainability in home life, up until now, has just been something people can choose inside of their homes. But for sustainability to be, well, sustainable, the commercial industry has to get on board and that can be costly. Thankfully there is an appetite for this change.

According to the International Finance Corporation, green buildings represent “one of the biggest investment opportunities of the next decade — $24.7 trillion across emerging market cities by 2030.”

This is big talk but until we actually see it put into construction practice, it is just a pipe dream for good-deed-doers. I for one am hoping that the industry puts its money where it’s mouth is.

News By The Numbers

$8.99. That’s what it’ll cost you for Panera’s new monthly coffee subscription. I’m going out on a limb here to say this might be the greatest idea since Apple invented the iPhone. I can sit at a Panera all day, which I do already, and drink all the Hazlenut coffee I can for 8 bucks? Get ready for a lot of copy cats.

1st. For the first time Steven Spielberg won’t direct the next Indiana Jones movie. If you’ve seen the remarkable ‘Ford vs. Ferrari’ film you’ll be happy to know the director Jerry Mangold will take over the fedora for fifth film in the franchise.

Zero. That’s how much cryptocurrency Warren Buffet owns and how much he will ever own. “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value and they don’t produce anything,” Buffet told CNBC in an interview.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger has called it a “turd,” and said that trading cryptocurrencies is “just dementia.”

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