Friday, August 31, 2007

Calling those on the real estate market sidelines

The San Jose Mercury News has heard rumors of a housing crisis. They need a little help. Perhaps some readerrs are feeling the holiday spirit and might help them out:
Sue McAllister 10:17 AM on Thu, August 30, 2007
I'm looking for a couple of the "not right now, thanks" potential home buyers to talk to about their perspectives on the market. If you are one of these and would be willing to talk to me for help with an article, let me know! You can email me at, or call me at (408) 920-5833. Or - if one of your friends/relatives/work-mates is in this category and you think they might chat with me, send 'em along. Seeking input. Thanks!
I don't know where to start.

Section 8,000,000,000

Bush: FBs, I hear ya.

Dawg: The moral hazard unintended consequences are gonna be huge.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Efficient Markets

Flippers Fuel Foreclosures
As of June 30, in Nevada, 32 percent of all prime mortgage in default and 24 percent of subprime defaults were on non-owner occupied properties, according to the MBA. The numbers for Arizona were 26 percent prime and 18 percent subprime. In California, they were 21 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The default rates in Florida for non-owner occupied homes were 25 percent for prime loans and 14 percent for subprime ones.

In the rest of the nation, non-owners accounted for just 13 percent of prime loan defaults and 11 percent of subprime.


There is an awful lot of excess housing out there. Some of these are undoubtably second or investment purchases of boomers that are being backed out quickly. Some are flips and some are Crisp/Serin specials. Robert's growth pick: rental management for banks. Robert's short: rent prices in zoomburgs.

Thorny Borrowing

This from, appropriately enough, Bloomberg:

Thornburg Plans $500 Million of Preferred Stock Sale (Update2)
By Erik Schatzker

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the jumbo- mortgage specialist that was forced to stop making new loans, plans to help relieve a cash crunch by selling $500 million of convertible preferred stock.

The decision follows Countrywide Financial Corp.'s sale last week of $2 billion of similar securities to Bank of America Corp. Mortgage lenders such as Countrywide and Thornburg are turning to costlier financing after being shut out of the short-term debt market.

What's the problem? Their business model depended upon lending money dear and borrowing cheap. That doesn't work anymore. So close up shop already. Anyone want some of Thornburg prefered stock yeilding 10%? There's a way to fix a problem caused by being unable to borrow at 5.25%.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It is about time. Sorry, inside joke. Two German physicists claim to have done the impossible and broken the speed of light.
If their claims are confirmed, they will have proved wrong Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity, which requires an infinite amount of energy to propel an object at more than 299,792,458 metres per second.
"This is the only violation of special relativity that I know of."
Well not really. Special Relativity has been a crock for a long time. One supposed aspect was that a gravity field and acelleration field were indistinguishable. There are at least three immediately obvious contradictions to that bit. Still, tunneling photon packets has promise for going back in time and stopping the housing bubble.

Answer: $450,383,005.00

Question: How much has Angelo Mozilo realized in stock options since 20 Jun '04?

The puts and shorts are so juicy. I can't wait to hear the positions we are taking.

Kulture Time Here on EN

Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner - The Mariner, with
the albatross around his neck, watches the dead
crew hoist the sails and pilot the ship.

Do we know anyone else who in their hubris find themselves with an albatross around their neck? For those of us who haven't revisited the entire poem the moral was that ultimately the the mariner was forgiven after suffering the consequenses and learning to accept his fate, not before. Feel free to add similes about a dead crew still toiling to sell houses... err sail a doomed ship and such.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It Won't Get That Bad

Prices won't revert all the way to 4x income because house prices don't update via sale anywhere near as fast as incomes which update biweekly. The median income is not buying the median house this year. While there may be dozens of houses that meet the buyer's needs there is only that one buyer for those dozens of houses. All the houses that don't sell are effective not being marked to market. Right now the RE sales market is in turmoil. Don't expect any rational data from an environment with twice as many agents and houses for sale than can be supported by the market.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The REX Agreement

The REX Agreement enables qualifying home-owners and homebuyers to convert home equity into as much as $300,000 cash with absolutely no interest charges and no monthly payments. And the cash can be used to realize any of life’s possibilities. Right now.

The REX Agreement is not a loan, but a real estate investment agreement in the form of a purchase option. It gives homeowners a portion of their home’s equity in cash today—in exchange for the right of REX & Co. to share in a specified percentage of the future increase or decrease in the home’s value.

For the right to share in an agreed upon percentage of the future change in value of the home, REX & Co. pays the homeowner what is called an Option Exercise Price—equal to the current value of the home multiplied by the percentage of the future change in value granted to REX & Co. If the home increases in value, REX & Co. shares in the gain. If the home declines in value, REX & Co. shares in the loss. Simply stated, there is nothing like the REX Agreement in home finance.
I wish I had thought of this like ten years ago. Too bad it is only an option and not pure profit sharing. Then I'd jump at joining.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hail Mary

Talk about desperate. One of my favorite Realtors® has been "blogging" for quite some time. Everything you might expect from a NAR true believer. Good news goes bold, bad news goes under the fold. Well, he's run out of good news so we have to resort to manufacturing rumors. And is this one ever a doozie!

I heard a bit of a rumor that Intel is asking more of their workers to move out of locations in the Bay Area to their location in Folsom. ...and if AMD follows suit as he expects it to, that’s great news for our economy out here. Link.

I don't imagine he'll actually let you post your opinion on either the rumor or this irresponsible action but it is worth a try. Just remember to reproduce your post here for the record.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday Rock Blogging

Frankly I'm getting tired of getting up early to see if the Asian markets have imploded and/or gone nova. Instead I'll retreat into the ultimate refuge, rock music. Enjoy. Pay attention.

Resolved Mortgage Mods Are Evil

Isn't the pic just... I don't know, it makes feel all Akubi with chocolate sauce inside. The idea of helping the distressed borrower for the benefit of both borrower and lender is just so appealing. The problems however as not just the devil in the details or even the traditional definition of moral hazzard but the externalities that are being ignored. Without these bad loans going bad the poor neighbors will continue to be saddled with unduly high tax assesments but for one example.

No, when mods affect me by distorting markets I have no hesitancy in speaking up to protect my position.

OMG The Inmates Are Testifying

The San Diego UT reports:
Put moratorium on foreclosures, state consumer coalition advises
SACRAMENTO – Consumer advocates yesterday called for a moratorium on home foreclosures, warning that California is facing a tidal wave of foreclosures over the next year as more homeowners are hit with payment increases brought on by subprime loans and risky mortgages.
He told the state Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee that a six-month moratorium would give officials time “to figure out how to keep people in their homes.”

More than 46,000 California homes were in foreclosure in March and 76,732 more mortgage loans were seriously delinquent, the Mortgage Bankers Association estimates.
Fisher and Leonard called for the creation of a fund to assist strapped homeowners in certain situations and for increased state oversight of mortgage lenders.
Companies representing lenders said they try to work with borrowers to rearrange their loans to avoid foreclosures but often have trouble reaching borrowers to discuss new terms.
She said financial support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development covered “less than two months of activity.”

“We've reached out to the lender community (for funding) but have received a lukewarm response,” she said.
Asked about state funding to aid embattled homeowners, he said money might be available in some regulatory agency budgets that could be used to help fund homeowner counseling groups.

As for a moratorium on foreclosures, Machado said he thought a homeowner's complaint to the state against a foreclosing lender would trigger an investigation that would have the same effect as a moratorium.
Do I really need to comment?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

410 Avocado Place 93010 Inside Edition

Ahhh the "estate" life. More pics of the Countrywide asset basis.

410 Avocado Place 93010 Koi Edition

Picpalooza. Crappy houses happen. Foreclosures happen. Poor market judgements happen. Bad timing happens. Realtors happen. REOs happen. Countrywide just managed to put the entire housing bubble into one understandable package for us to oogle.

And this isn't about a good house gone bad or even the neighborhood that is still holding price. This is about an industry on ythe cusp of wrenching dislocation. Realtors are about to become the travel agents of the new century. Lenders are about to get a conservative backlash that'll leave "innovators" like CFC drying in the warm sun by thr koi pond. And yes we have koi sighting! Well, kio are a type of fish and mosquito eaters are a type of fish so close enough. PICS:

Designer kitchen
Step in, step up, step down, steps eberywhere
Comfortable accomodations
Pets with drinking problems okay
Recent plumbing
Skate of swim, your choice

More pics in the next post.

Don't Ask A Sane Person

This is the last 5 days trading the Hang Seng Index. Friday afternoon 19,500 minus. Tuesday morning 22,600 plus. Overnight gaps of more than 600, 700 and 700 points (3% +/-). Including all together a 10% point rise in 1 1/2 sessions. I don't need to tell anyone reading that this is not rational. It is certainly not investing and probably isn't even trading. What it is can best be described as desperation. Whether rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic or fighting for the last few chairs when the music stops remains to be seen. I think I'll go do a little investigative reporting and come back with the pictures I promised.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

410 Avocado Place 93010

Realtor dot com listing here. Looks fairly typical for the area. Big yard, lots of bedrooms, priced comparably. Alright, a slow market but price is price. The Zillow tells more of the story.
Nice pool. Trees. Good schools.
Even held value and apparently widened against the competition.
Sale History
05/01/2007: $929,250
09/13/1999: $520,000

Well Mrs. Dawg and I were yard sailing on Saturday and stopped in. Hey no problem without an appointment; Vaccant. Wide open. Not to worry about the danger, the pool was walkable across the mosquito larvae. The crunch of the broken glasstop cooking surface on the kitchen floor made a great burglar alarm. The recent short term tenants obviously perfered Jim Beam and generic brand condoms to the usual Chardonnay and french tickler crowd. And who owns this sweet piece of the American Dream? Countrywide. Real pictures and more on Tuesday. In the mean time ponder that the last market sales price was $520k and Countrywide was owed $929k and as a REO they value it ON THEIR BOOKS at $1.2m. Now why would they, Countrywide, with access to $187b in credit wish to inflate the value of some piddling little asset only a dozen miles from the corporate HQ? Surely an oversight. Don't you think?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bueller? Bueller?

For the rest of us, the stock market is cheap on a price-earnings basis, profits are fabulous, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani are far from being socialists and in the long run, both here and abroad, stocks are a lovely place to be.

Even the gods get one wrong from time to time.

Update: Wierd truncation. Here is the linky thingy:

Hunting License

A week of butchering bulls has left the hunters craving a change of diet. And geee. all the free ammo they want. These whipsaws are just more evidence that a bunch of people have forgotten just what their jobs are supposed to be.

Why do I feel like the responsible son whose little brother with a gambling and substance abuse problem? He is running to mommy who is more than willing to spend all her assets and our potential inhieritance to enable his behavior.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Housing Math


Reply to:
Date: 2007-08-09, 6:38PM PDT

If you have real estate that appraises today for $90,000 to $105,000. You give me your real estate straight out withOUT me owing you or anyone any cash at anytime. Your Deed would be an even exchange for my Deed.
IN TRADE My house:
The current assumable loan on my home is $298,000 and it is a neg am. loan @ 7%. It's appraised value today according to the county tax assessor is $280,000. This house appraised at $383,000.00 when I bought it brand new 2 years ago this month. Plus, There is a 2nd on this house for $36,000. not assumable. Or you could negoiate a short sale with my lender. This house will easliy be a million dollar home in 20 years! In 7 years it should come back at $450 $500 when they complete building the stores gas stations and freeway access! I lost my job a year into it and can't make the payments ...... TRADE NOW! See pics of home below.

992 LAKEPORT WAY at Hyway 70 google map yahoo map
Location: 992 lakeport way 95961 plumas lake ca
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 393348572

Insane. To think this idjit spent the time to make the add. He'll trade his $280k house for $105k if you assume his $298k loan and pay off his $36k loan. That's $141,000 upfront and $298,000 in debt, $439,000 for something worth maybe $220,000 and eventually $160,000.
Thanks to Prop Flop for the story.

Today's Top Story


Any Guesses?

I'm not being lazy. We all know what we have to talk about and a clever picture isn't it.
Update: Clever picture by demand.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Leg of the Stool

Amgen just announced restructuring and 2200 layoffs. THe CNBC breaking news guy couldn't help but mention that Amgen is HQ'd just a few miles from Countrywide.

Flip Flop Flip Flop

There's an old saying "Fool Me once..."

Let's see if it rings true. This is "Sterling Hills" aka Las Posas Adjacent. Just a local joke. According to Redfin the sales history for this Diamond on the Rough is:
Sales History
Date Price Appreciation
04/05/2007 $919,449 -21.2%/yr
04/14/2006 $1,160,000 29.5%/yr
10/31/2001 $367,273 -37.6%/yr
02/23/2001 $507,000 --

And what are they wishing for now? $987,000. These idiots want to be paid $67,000 for holding this turd for 3 freakin' months. Heck it sold for $1.16m just 15 months ago so why not? This one doesn't smell right.

839 DIAMOND DR Camarillo, CA 93010
Beds: 3 Baths: 3.5
Sq. Ft.: 2,690 $/Sq. Ft.: $367
Lot Size: 8,407 sq. ft.
Year Built: 2000 Stories: 1
County: Ventura Neighborhood: Las Posas Estates
MLS#: 70011688 Status: Active
On Redfin: 12 days
Sterling Hills; One story home with golf course view. Tile entry. 3 bedrooms, additional room could be sewing room or computer room. Granite counters in kitchen. Large master bedroom with beautiful bathroom and walk-in closet.

Countrywide Invests Wisely

The sinister plot reveals itself. Here we were worried about the burgeoning inventory of REOs of Countrywide's books. I guess this is why Angelo Mozilo gets the big bucks while your host begs for fishy treats and scooby snacks. As it turns out this streategy of Countrywide owning 2400 houses in California alone is not some consequence of loose lending practices but rather a very profitable investment strategy in that safest of all asset classes, SoCal luxury housing.

Check this Moorpark sweet deal:

That wily Mozilo scooped this little beauty into their portfolio on 06/01/2007 for a paltry $1,311,316 and look, already zillows for $400,000 more. And what a deal, Countrywide will let you have it for a mere $1,499,000. Win-win-win.

And just around the corner from the Dawg Pound™ World Headquarters:

410 Avocado Place, 93010
* Zestimate: $1,175,852
* 30-day change: -$65,869
* Value Range: $1,081,784 - $1,352,230
At first blush it may look like "the smartest guy in the room" took it up the pinstripes on this deal but wait, there's more. CFC on 05/01/2007 paid only $929,250. Even the zillow zestimate of a $65k drop barely dents the fat cushion of instant equity. And don't cry for the previous housemoaner. On 09/13/1999 they paid $520,000. So they've pulled $400k of high on the hog lifestyle out of the very same house. $50k/yr buys a lot of lifestyle. When you run with the big dawgs you gotta pay for your kibble.

So. Is Aneglo "Tan Man" Mozilo the smartest guy in the room or what?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Riverpark FSBO

The home builders are full tilt to construct all the new neighborhodds in Riverpark our favorite California Central Coast canary in the coalmine. The recently annouced "Whole Foods" sign is up. Everything seems just fine at Riverpark. Time to collect the profits and move on. And here it is. ForSaleByOwner. This is too new to be zillowed and does not appear to be in the MLS. There is a nice hand lettered sign with a San Fernando phone number if you are interested at only $789,000. I guess the $137k in improvements justifies the $200k premium over builder models who are offering equal or better upgrades. Hurry, it has already been on the market for a month, no telling how long it will last.

Decision Matrix

It may well turn out that proposed cure will be worse than the disease. Thus I have ressurected my decision matrix for those of us who are still on the fence abouit the whole climate thingy.

Robert's Rules for Environmental [In]action:

Important, you may not skip questions. Feel free to substitute the eco-emergency of the moment for "global warming" as all are equal in the eyes of science.

Is there local climate change? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is there global climate change? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is global climate change bad? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is global climate change going to continue? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is global climate change controllable? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is global climate change influencable by human action? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

Is global climate change worse than the actions required? Yes/No
No: end Don't Know: pause Yes: continue

If you have reached this point on the decision tree you may now proceed to the public plebescite process to determine which radical actions are most popular/acceptable. Somehow the advocates for first world social upheaval seemed to have skipped all these steps.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Random Thought

What do the US residential housing markets look like in Euros instead of dollars?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Math Is Hard

Global warming suffered a fatal margin call this week and its investors are in the process of liquidating their position but hope to reopen soon under a new banner of global climate change. Due to a black swan event (Y2K) the quant model used to rank temperature performance failed to accurately measure events of extreme conditions. Thus 1934 was actually the warmest year in the continental US for the 20th century and 5 of the ten warmest were prior to WW-II in contrast to the old warmist assertions that 1998 was warmest and 8 of the 10 warmest years were all in the 1990s.

Bad models, bad assumptions, black boxes, no independent verification. The global warming hoax only gost us a few trillions in misguided public policy. The broken financial models are likely to be far more dangerous.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dawg Homework Trouble

From The Charlotte Observer:
The Atlanta homebuilder blamed its former chief accounting officer, saying he may have "caused" the wrong numbers to be reported.
Beazer shares closed at $15.19 in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, down 9.37 percent on the day and 68 percent this year.

The shares hit a five-year low of $8.10 on Aug. 1 amid rumors the company might file for bankruptcy. Beazer has denounced such speculation as "scurrilous and unfounded."

Even The Street dot com had something negative to say:
Shares of Beazer lost 4.5% after hours to $14.50, after closing the regular session down 9.4%.

Any questions? It was all an innocent mistake. And a former employer at that. Nothing to see, move along.

America's Greatest Export

The Australian this morning:

Banks act on stock rout

David Uren, Economics correspondent | August 11, 2007

WORLD central banks have poured almost $200 billion into financial markets in less than 24 hours in a bid to stem a global financial panic.

The Reserve Bank of Australia had to pump almost $5billion into the local market, about double the normal daily injection, to ensure that the cash interest rate did not spiral higher than the new 6.5per cent set only on Wednesday.

The fear of a financial meltdown stripped 3.9per cent, or about $58billion, from the value of the top 200 shares listed on the Australian sharemarket, with theAll Ordinaries index closing at 5965.2points.

It was the biggest plunge in markets, both in Australia and around the world, since the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
Hat tip wagga for keeping up with the news back home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What Did the Fed Do?

Putting out fires with gasoline.


NINJA is slang for no income, no job, no assets. The problem is that there is no rational process to assess risk for assets and borrowers where both have blanks on their data sheets. One datum that seems to have been overlooked. Did anyone notice that the subprime market started deteriorating at the same time the FBI instituted automated income reporting procedures? What are those called again? Oh yes. 4506-T requests that started the first week of October 2006.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Open Stock Market Thread

Earthquake in Northridge. Financials getting hammered. I know what I think. I don't want to hear it anymore. I'm okay and I'm not interested in seeing naked neighbors as the tide goes out. I do know the person not to be:

A BMW/Mercedes Dealer at the Thousand Oaks Auto Mall catering to Realtors™ and paying for your Las Vegas luxury Condotel investment unit with a LIBOR indexed HELOC on your primary luxury home purchased in 2006 with a 5/1 100% I/O.

I think I may have some sweet 10year futures that probably look pretty good. I'll check tonight. DJIA down 380? Not even enough digits to wake up the somnolent. For those interested in the picture; I'm the second triangle to the left of the star. Countrywide and Amgen are the triangle immediately to the left of the epicenter.

"It is a scary time to be at Amgen"

The LATimes has finally broken the MSM silence. This blog and others have been warning about this for a very long time. Now that EN is but a shadow of its former self I hope all the remaining readers are either old enough or smart enough to read the ten foot tall letters spray painted on the side of the Conejo Valley.
Although plans have not been finalized, the company is expected to announce it is reducing its workforce by as much as 15% in the next several weeks, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The company, however, says layoff talk is premature.

"We have made no announcements regarding staff reductions," Amgen spokesman David Polk said.

Amgen has already delayed plans for a new $1-billion plant in Ireland and has slowed manufacturing operations elsewhere. Many contractors and temporary workers have left the company in recent months and employee overtime has been curtailed, those familiar with the matter say.

Mark Shoenenbaum, a biotech analyst at Bear Stearns Cos., said that if pressure on Amgen continued to mount, it might have few choices but to cut expenses further. "There's likely fat in places they can find," he said.

Last week, Chief Executive Kevin Sharer left a general message to employees on the company's voicemail system indicating there may be upcoming changes. Some workers said privately that they considered the message ominous.

Anonymous postings by nervous Amgen employees on websites such as and are filled with workers searching for clues. One message left July 30 said, "Does anyone have more recent information regarding the departments that will be impacted by the layoffs? I know it has started and it is a scary time to be at Amgen."

Anyone who's seen this before care to handle any questions from people who haven't lived long enough to have experience with this type of corporate denial? Short answer: Amgen is moving to Longmont, Colorado.

Relative Value

The flat brown line is the S&P 500. Anyone have an explanation why housing stocks are worth 5x what they were in 2000?
Fool with the Yahoo Charts if it amuses you.

Update: PVisionary suggests a 10 yer chart rather than starting in 2000. The second chart refects this. With the exception of Lennar the trend remains the same.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Feces and Rotary Impellers

Countrywide May Shift to 'More Reliable' Funding, Analyst Says
Bloomberg-- Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, may need to shift to `more reliable' sources of funding if turmoil continues in the subprime market, according to a report from CreditSights Inc.

The lender has drawn $52.7 billion from sources that may be restricted if worries about subprime mortgage defaults persist, New York-based CreditSights analyst David Hendler wrote in an Aug. 6 report. Countrywide has capacity to shift that funding into more certain sources estimated at $54.4 billion, he wrote.
Translation: CFCs lending lines are drying up. This is very, very bad.

Healthy Start

Our children are our future. This from the Ventura County Star.
The Rio School District plans to open an Office of Student and Family Services to help families looking for assistance or an advocate for their child. Rio officials said they hope it will help the district become more responsive to community needs.
While the health and social services assistance will be available to anyone in the district, the Healthy Start program will particularly focus on Rio's Mixteco community.

Rio's migrant student population totals about 1,000 students, and Kelly estimated 20 to 25 percent likely are Mixteco, an indigenous group from the Mexico states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla. Migrant students often change schools during the year as their families follow work in industries such as agriculture.

Many in Ventura County's Mixteco population don't speak Spanish or English and are isolated by language and culture. Families are centered in Hueneme, Oxnard and El Rio, said Susan Haverland, executive director of the local Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project. It's a population that largely falls under the radar and needs more services, she said.

And in a shocking but unrelated issue this same district is one of the worst performing in the region.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nouveau Riche in the Spotlight

Granted, it is only the LATimes but Nouveau Riche is at it again. Not content with their successes with their most famous graduate Casey Serin, NRU has decided to double down on their own pyramid scheme. Hey, don't all investment training institues have tubing rivers running through campus?
Nouveau Riche teaches that working for a salary is a fool's game; the road to riches requires leveraging debt to amass a portfolio of income-generating properties. Yet investing in rental properties, like all entrepreneurial endeavors, is hard work. A successful landlord has to know the market, maintain his properties, and retain paying tenants.

That doesn't seem to bother Nouveau Riche students, many of whom have seen their neighbors get rich flipping houses or renting them out during the boom. Judging from the callused hands and well-worn work boots spotted at a recent Nouveau Riche event, it attracts a blue-collar crowd for whom the promise of riches from real estate rings true at a gut level that stocks and bonds don't reach. "I know I'm not going to get wealthy working for the fire department," says Hector Magallanes, a firefighter from Los Angeles. "I'm working up the courage to take the risks I need to take to be financially independent."

Ahhh the sweeet smellll of passssive incommmmmme.