Solano Real Estate Scene: Planners recommend a diversified portfolio

Many of the financially independent senior citizens I have met over my 40-year career own investment real estate. This is real estate that pays a monthly income from rents. I started my career in finance when I was 19 and one of the huge benefits of underwriting and reviewing 20,000 loan applications and financial statements is the education I have obtained from both the successful folks and the financially challenged people. I have witnessed blue-collar, hard-working people become millionaires from scratch. Most certified financial planners suggest diversification for retirement funds and suggest things such as 65 percent in stocks, 25 percent in bonds and maybe 10 percent in cash or in gold. Back in the 1980s I remember meeting senior citizen clients who experienced the Great Depression and saw their parents struggle after the stock market crash of 1929. I also met older folks that immigrated here in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s with nothing but the clothes on their back to escape poverty or communism for the American Dream. Many of these old-timers I met in San Francisco during the first 10 years of my career, prior to moving to Vacaville in 1988. Some were clients and others were the parents of my friends that I grew up with in the city. My inspiration to make sure a good percent of my retirement funds are in real estate came from these conservative rich people who started with nothing and built slowly but surely a positive cash flow from real estate over their 30 to 50 years of hard work. Many of these multimillionaires were plumbers, construction workers and city workers. Some had stocks, but most did not because there were no 401ks when they were coming up as adults and many did not trust Wall Street. Like gold bricks, real estate is something you can see and touch. One of my favorite stories is about Mr. Popov. He was our very kind and considerate 68-year-old landlord from 1962 until my parents finally bought a house in 1969 and moved me and my four brothers and sisters out of our two-bedroom one-bath flat at 1290 41st Ave. in the city. Mr. Popov started with nothing and was a plumber for 35 years and over the years purchased and paid off a few sets of flats in the Richmond and Sunset districts of San Francisco. After retiring as a plumber he simply managed his property and collected rents to supplement his retirement. I think he died about 30 years ago and left his heirs millions in real estate and no debt. “Buy land, they aren’t making it anymore.” — Mark Twain