The Big Bo $how Ep 3: War, Mortgages, and Cookies...Oh, My!!!!!

Episode Description

In episode #3 of The Big Bo $how, Big Bo (a.k.a. Jason Blumstein, CFA®) provides context on current geopolitical events in Ukraine, and why good news may not be too far out. Additional topics Discussed: 

- Data on prior geopolitical events and it's effects on your wealth over time 

- Controlling your emotions by looking at facts over fear 

- Interview discussing the current state of the mortgage and housing market 

- Results from Big Bo's experience at a Cookie Eating Tournament

Hope you enjoy the $how!

Episode 3 Key Takeaways:

  • 00:00 The importance of "separating facts from fear" when the media is stoking investing-related emotion.
  • 05:38 Market activity during major geopolitical events — and the long-term lessons successful investors learn from them.
  • 10:57 How wars are actually stimulative for the stock market.
  • 15:01 What should investors do when there's market turmoil caused by geopolitical events?
  • 22:13 Shmuel Shayowitz's advice for those looking to buy a home, including a look at the dangers of market timing.
  • 27:09 Two strategies every homeowner should have. 
  • 31:11 The 3 Fs for living a balanced life.
  • 34:44 How to avoid sugar rushes — both in cookie-eating contests and in creating wealth.

Episode Transcript

On episode three of The Big Bo $how, we're gonna look at the current geopolitical events that are taking place, and why good news may not be too far out. We also have my first interview with Shmuel Shayowitz who’s going to be talking to everybody about the current state of the housing and mortgage market. And then we're gonna wrap it up talking about my first experience going to a cookie eating tournament. So sit back, relax, and welcome to The Big Bo $how.

All right, welcome to the third episode of The Big Bo $how. Hope you guys like our new theme song out there. Please feel free to write in to Let us know your thoughts and let us know if you have any questions and topics that you would want us to speak about in the future. Right now, we're sitting here, and S&P 500 is in correction territory. The NASDAQ is in bear market territory where it's corrected more than 20%. We have a war that broke out in Ukraine. And I just turned 40. So seemingly 2022 has gotten off to an inauspicious start. But what are we going to do about these folks, are we going to sit around and mope? From my experience that gets you nowhere. When it comes to life, when it comes to creating wealth, you gotta keep your emotions in check, in my opinion, and when you have a war that breaks out, and markets that are declining, we immediately think about our family and our finances. And that gets us emotional, rightfully so. You're also looking at the TV and financial news, where they're showing you signs of red. Did you know that the color red actually induces emotional feelings of anger, danger, and warning — all things that add to your emotions. 

But as we've discussed before, emotions, and creating wealth typically do not go hand in hand. It's the same thing when it comes to when I played sports. When I played offensive line, I was always trained to be unemotional. Why is that? Well, when you play offensive line, it's bigger than you. You're one of five people on a line, one of 12 people on the offense, one of 24 people on the team, one of 52 people on the roster. And if you let your emotions get to you, you let your entire team down. Which is the same thing with creating wealth, you'll let the people that rely on you down. So when you're playing offensive line, let's put this for example here. When you go to the line, you have to keep your emotions in check because the quarterback could call an audible when you go to the line. Well, if your emotions are out there and you're not thinking clearly you might not understand that audible. Now the play’s called and now, the guy in front of you, that defensive lineman, he might do something that you thought he wouldn't do. So now you have to keep your emotions in check and properly adapt to what this person is doing. Now, let's just say the result of the play didn't go the way that you want it. What are you going to do? You’re going to let your emotions get the best of you? And now let the next play go, and the next play go and the next play go? No, then your team's gonna go nowhere. So it's the same thing. When you're sitting there, and you're trying to create wealth, you have your family counting on you, your team, if you will. And this is why we need to separate the facts from fear. Don't let the facts get in the way of your emotions. 

So let's get to some of these facts. Now, what if I would ask you during prior geopolitical events, let's just say for example, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Tet Offensive, Cuban Missile Crisis, North Korea attacking South Korea, the attack on Pearl Harbor. What if I would ask you what happened to the US stock market is measured by the S&P 500. During these attacks, do you think the market went up or down 12 months later? The fact of the matter is, after all these events 12 months later, the S&P 500 was up. This is according to data that you can look up on the internet. I use Y-Charts. After 12 months, the S&P 500 was up, it was up 4% after the attack on Pearl Harbor 12 months later. The only exception to this rule in recent memory after the market corrected by more than 5% to go up 12 months later during geopolitical attacks was the attacks on 911. But in my opinion, this also took place during the simultaneous time of the tech bubble. So 12 months later, the market after that was down roughly 17%. 

But all these other major events, these major geopolitical events, the market rebounded 12 months later. And this is why we try to tell people to get past the days, days, days cycle, that inevitably, I see many people in, and think about the decades because you're not just investing for today, you should have a longer term mentality and invest for the decades. Even if you're in the older stages of your life, think about it. Well, you're investing for yourself, a portion of your assets, you are if you need to live, but another portion of your assets, maybe you want to pass on assets to your kids. So again, even in that way you're investing for four decades, your kids, your grandkids, maybe there's a charity that you want to leave your money to. Now, the key here is to ask why. Right? A lot of times people understand what, oh, what happened? What happened? What happened? But let's understand why things happen. If you understand why things happen, it's a deeper layer of understanding that helps it sink in better. 

So why after all these seemingly major geopolitical events that have taken place, why after 12 months, was the S&P 500 up in most of these circumstances? In my opinion, there's two main reasons. The first reason is that people think of the quote unquote market, what is that? The market is an intangible being. Ask somebody, what's the market, you'll look at their face and all seem stumped. Because the market isn't anything. What you're actually investing in is businesses, is equity stakes that just happened to be publicly traded in businesses that happen to trade between 9:30 to 4:00 Monday through Friday. It's pieces of businesses, of Jeff Bezos’s business, of Steve Jobs business, of Bill Gates his old business. If you think about it, that way it makes it real and makes it tangible. And when macro events happen, what really gets affected is the micro is these businesses, products, services. competitive advantages. Also, one conflict in another country, as horrible the news has been in watching what's going on in Ukraine, are people in America, are people in other countries going to stop buying food? 

Are we going to stop using our cell phones or are we going to stop buying items for their businesses to help it operate? I just needed a new printer for my business, I still had to go get the printer. I will still go buy a printer or other things that my kids and my family need. Clothing. My kids need clothes for the summer. We just bought clothes. Now, do I still feel bad for what's going on in Ukraine? Of course I do. And what I do is that you can donate money, you can donate some resources, but I'm still going to have to provide for my family and my business. 

Secondly, and in my opinion, this is an area that I don't think people make the connection to, is that if a war breaks out, wars are typically very stimulative in nature. And what do I mean by that? Stimulation in nature means that if a war breaks out, the government's going to have to step in and defend the countries, whether it be the US help sending aid. And when the government spends money, it's stimulative in nature. For example, let's just look at World War Two. In today's dollars, World War Two would have cost the US $4.1 trillion. That is 19.6% over 2020 GDP. Now let's take this into even more perspective. We just got up, we're just getting through COVID, the pandemic, we spent $2.1 trillion on the Cares Act. So the number that every one said, Wow, that was that was a huge number one of the biggest stimulative events in our country's history. But if you look at it from today's dollars, it was actually half of what we spent on World War Two. 

So wars are stimulative in nature, when it comes down to it. Now, the other thing that we have to think about here, folks, and I know, I'm a proud American who loves living in this country. But a lot of people are talking about potential world war three. I'm looking at it from the dollars and cents standpoint, right? From a dollars and cents standpoint, if you look at the data, because again, numbers typically don't lie, people do, people get emotional. Interesting statistics that I looked up and this is all information you can find yourself online. This is according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, you can look it up online. The US spends about 4% of our GDP on defense. That's about $600, sorry, $766 billion. China, on the other hand, spends about 2% of their GDP on military. So half of a percent. The US government in the US GDP is about $6 trillion bigger. So that means the US outspends China on defense by about three times. Now let's look at Russia. Russia as a percentage of GDP outspends the US. They spent about 4.5% in 2020. But their economy is about 14 times smaller than the US so meaning the US outspends Russia by about 11 times. Now, if you combine Russia and China, we outspend those two nations by about two and a half times on defense. And this phenomenon has been going on for 20 years, folks, it's been going on for 20 years. Right? So again, no one has a crystal ball just trying to look at data, trying to look at facts over fear. But the data speaks for itself. The data tells me that for China and Russia to try to collaborate against the US to try to potentially change the world order. It's an uphill battle. And in my opinion, it'd be a tragic mistake for them to try to do that. 

So what do you do? What do you do with this information? What do you do when markets are going against you? What do you do when there's war? What do you do when you turn 40 and you get emotional and things are going off to an inauspicious start? What you do in my opinion, you stay calm and you invest. You stay in the financial course. You don't overreact. You don't let your emotions cloud your judgment. If you're working on building an emergency fund, continue to do so. If you're working on saving for retirement, continue to do so. If you're sitting on excess cash, cash you don't think you need for 5-10 plus years and inflation is close to 8%, well, what are you going to do, lose 8% against inflation? Sitting on cash letting fears get you aside or let the cash work for you, let your money work for you versus you working for your money. So just like when it came to me playing sports, before every single play, people will tell me whether I'd be stepping up to the plate and baseball or in football, before the play — take a deep breath. Take a deep breath. If you take a deep breath, it helps clear your mind and helps lower your emotions. Right. So take a deep breath and continue to maintain that disciplined long-term focus on your financial plans.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

All right, welcome back to the $how. I'm excited to welcome my first guest to The Big Bo $how and Shmuel Shayowitz. Shmuel is the President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding. It's a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. This company has been in his family for over three decades. I figured he's a great person to discuss the current state of the housing and mortgage market. Before we get into the interview with Shmuel, I wanted to go and say that Shmuel represents the three core values that I look for in people. Number one is integrity. I've personally never heard Shmeul curse ever in my life or say a bad thing about anybody. Knowledge, extremely knowledgeable about real estate, the mortgage market, and overall personal finances, and passion. Shmuel is a very passionate person for his family, religion, and his business. So welcome, Shmuel.

Shmuel Shayowitz

Thank you. Thank you very much, Jason. That's quite an introduction. Greatly appreciate that. Love what you're doing and happy and honored to be joining you today.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

All right, perfect. Thank you very much. So the first thing I want to do is just have you give a brief introduction of yourself and your business.

Shmuel Shayowitz

So my name is Shmuel Shayowitz, as you said, and I've been the President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding for about 25 years. I started doing this literally right out of college and started to do real estate, started to do appraisals, got into mortgages from the ground up, literally just doing data entry. And it's been a very interesting and unique experience having seen many different sides of the business of the industry and what's been going on in the market. So I've learned a lot and am very excited to be here to share with everybody.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

All right, perfect. So I thought you would be a great person to have on The Big Bo $how mainly because there's a lot going on the current state of the housing market and the mortgage market. Last year, national home prices were up 16%. I've seen forecasts for additional rises again this year. There supply demand imbalances in markets. There's also supply shortages, which is leading to input costs rising for construction. So just give us your brief overall thoughts on the current state of the housing and mortgage market.

Shmuel Shayowitz

Yeah, so you're spot on with all those analytics and points of the market. There's, we're in a very interesting and unique market. You mentioned supplying supply and shortage inventory. So we were in what I believe and many in the industry believe a shortage of housing well before COVID COVID, only exacerbated and amplified it. So we've been here. I think things have somewhat calmed down back to we still are not back to the robust housing that we've seen pre COVID. But we still have a lot of people who are looking to buy. We're not seeing the excess of people that are overbid on the homes that we've seen, maybe 6-12 months ago, but you still have more homes, more people than homes that are available. So there's definitely an imbalance. And with interest rates starting to rise because of the fears of inflation, you would think normally, historically, you would see that when rates rise, home prices start to slow down. And because of the lack of homes on the market, we're actually not seeing that. So that's something that's very unique. So now we're in a unique situation where you still have home prices that are going up, you mentioned 16%, there’s actually forecasts, Goldman Sachs projected 15 to 18% of home appreciation to rise this year and 2022. I don't think it'll be as drastic as that it'll be in the high single digits, in my opinion, and the people that I've been following. So it's quite a market for people who are trying to buy a home, obviously, the people own a home, they're enjoying a tremendous amount of appreciation that they've gained, I believe Black Knight, which is a real estate analytics company came out and they said that equity is now at historical highs. We're seeing about $180,000 average equity that the average homeowner has in America.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

Wow. But that's interesting. I mean, I guess, with all the supply demand imbalances, and people that are trying to either buy their first home or get into the market, I guess, what are some of the lessons that you've seen from the mortgage market? I know you've been in this business since you know, the last housing crisis. And maybe you've seen people make mistakes, or really, I always like to tell people a mistake is more of an opportunity. So what are some of the mistakes and lessons or opportunities that you see for people in this challenged housing market?

Shmuel Shayowitz

So it's a great question. So actually, what I'm finding is that there are a lot of people who are hesitant to buy a house right now. And three months ago, and six months ago, and eight, nine, twelve months ago, there hasn't been because they think that we're in a bubble, they think that the housing markets are going to crash. And they're either, especially now over the last couple of weeks, they're hoping that rates will go down, they're hoping that home prices will go down. And it's almost impossible to really predict and forecast what will happen. So for those that are on the sidelines, waiting for things to drop, I think it's actually a big mistake. Because if you are in need of a house, if you're renting today, and you're obviously paying for, you know, rental expense, and nobody's looking at how much rent they've thrown away by not having a home, I was actually looking somebody yesterday, and she kept trying to get me to convince her that if she were to buy a house today and sell the house in two years from now, that she wouldn't be at a loss, and she'd be able to sell it for at least what you paid for it. And I said, I really can't tell you that. I said, absent a real catastrophe in the marketplace, we expect home prices to continue to rise. It will obviously, you know, stabilize and stop with the excessive growth that we've seen. But really, it would be a mistake for somebody to try to time the market perfectly. It's like trying to catch a falling knife. It's really difficult. And my suggestion to anybody is really figure out where you are and what you need. And if you need to buy a house today, and you've outgrown the current living conditions, try to find the best house, the best house to suit your needs for today and the immediate future and try to get the best interest rate. If you're going to try to predict what's going to happen. You're really going to be sitting on the sidelines because as they say about trees the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is today and I say the same thing about real estate. The best time to buy real estate was about a decade ago. The second best time to buy real estate is today. So it's really something that people should do the analysis, figure out what the rent versus buy options are, and figure out the current payment on a new home today, and try to anticipate what it would be. If you were to wait, the cost of waiting, we do a great job giving people a little analysis on, if you were to wait six months, this is what it will potentially cost you. And I do this a lot with people. And they see that by waiting six months ago, they could have bought a house for a lot cheaper, and the interest rate would have been a lot cheaper. Today, if they want to do the same thing. I can give them an analysis to show if they don't buy today, and they wait six months. What would that look like if home prices continue to appreciate? Not 18%? Like Goldman Sachs says, but even 3% or 5%? What would that look like? What would they be losing out? And how much less they can afford? Or buy? Because they waited?

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

Great answers. Yeah, I mean, you said a couple of things there. That is great advice that I tried to preach to clients or I even obviously did it for myself, because obviously whatever I try to preach to other people, I take myself the first thing was the equation of rent versus buy, right? What does it look like, between how much you're going to spend on your rent, versus what you're totally what your total expenses are going to be for your home? I remember for myself, it got to a point where I think it was in the like the 2008 to 14 time period, it could be a little mistaken with the dates, where the equation was actually the opposite, right? Where it actually was a lot cheaper to rent versus buy. These days, that equation, when I've looked at it's more equal weighted, but you don't really get a you don't really get any potential price increase. When you rent, right. The other thing that you said, which I thought was great, was a decade. Do you think you should have bought it now or a decade ago? Right? And I think a lot of times when people go to a house and buy a house, they will Okay, what if I own this for like two years? Well, who could really forecast what's going to happen in two years? Right. And it's the same thing, when I talk to people about investing, try to get out of the day to day, think about the decades. So I thought those are two, two helpful pieces of advice that you provided any other pieces of advice that you have.

Shmuel Shayowitz

Yeah, so I would say very switching gears to current homeowners, I think that a lot of homeowners are not taking advantage of their house the way they could and the way that they should. A lot of people are so aggressive about paying off their mortgage, and they’re pre-paying principal very aggressively, because they have the old timers and the old mentality of, you know, you don't want to have mortgage debt, which is fine. I think people shouldn't have any debt if they can otherwise avoid it. But it's a mistake for people who've heard from their parents or grandparents who say, Yeah, you don't want to have a mortgage, pay off your house as quickly as possible. It's a great, admirable goal. But you should not be doing that when you have $15,000, $20,000, $25,000, $30,000 in credit card debt, that you're not paying down and you're paying the minimum on. So a home is a vehicle that a tool that people should be using. And a mortgage is something that people should be utilizing to the best of their abilities. For example, even with rates hovering around 4%. Today, you know, early March 2022. People who I'm not telling people, I would never suggest to somebody to leverage and over burden themselves with a mortgage. But people should try to do the financial analysis. And this is what we do to both people that are trying to buy a home and people that already have a home when we do our mortgage and annual financial reviews. We ask them have you optimized your mortgage financing, to build as much wealth as you can, and to maximize the equity in your home. 

And those are two strategies that I would suggest that every buyer and certainly every homeowner has, which is to optimize your mortgage to build wealth, and to maximize equity. And doing so I'll give you a perfect example. Like we've said, we were discussing how one of the things that Jason does very well is helping people, let's say business owners who have a lot of you know, equity and net worth in their business. But that's not money. That's not cash. That's not diversity. What happens if God forbid something happens to the business? What happens if God forbid something happens to your house, let's say the market does crash, which everybody's afraid of, if you would have pulled out the money if you have zero mortgage balance on your own, which is great. And now your house is worth $500,000 Let's say that value goes and drops to $350 or $400,000. If you would have pulled out some money, whether you have a $300,000 balance or you take on an extra $100,000. You take that money, you invest it with somebody who's going to be investing prudently who's going to be diversifying that. That's money that will compound just like real estate does compound. That's something that you will benefit from that can help you diversify if you take the money out of your home again wisely with the help of Jason without somebody like myself to deploy that money into other avenues to be able to bring you maximum financial benefit and net worth for your short term and long term perspective.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

Great points. And we did touch on this. I did touch on this on a blog that I wrote saying, Are you not mortgaging away your future? Right. And I think not only for small business owners. But I see this a lot because I work with a lot of 35 to 45 year olds that have good income, but really haven't gotten on the path to saving and investing for their future. And they're dumping a lot of their cash into their home. And they want to pay down their mortgage. I'm like, well, timeout here. For simple math, let's just say you have a 3% interest rate. 3% is normalized inflation. Now it's closer to seven 8%. But even with the tax deductibility, you're talking about an after tax hurdle rate or a rate you need a return on another investment of closer to 2%. Right. So it's really thinking about the entire structure of your balance sheet and the way to create longer term sustainable wealth in multiple vehicles, as Shmuel. Smartly pointed out. So the one other thing you know, I always like to ask guests and this show is about people and their passion. So outside of your business, I touched on a couple other passions and your family and religion. Talk to me about your biggest passion in life. And why. 

Shmuel Shayowitz

Biggest passion in life? So it's a loaded question, I spend a lot of time working and focusing on building a business, which I've been doing for so long. And even though most people will tell you if you're self-employed, and you have a business, that is going to be a big priority. But you know, as you've said, it's something that I do find that I like to live a balanced life. So for me, my faith, my family, and fitness, and fun, these are all things that are very important to me, I think that if somebody has a disconnect, and it's funny, just as an aside, I think when when I tell people, you need to live a balanced life, they think it's like, alright, well, if I'm working for eight hours, and I'm sleeping for eight hours, and I want to be, you know, physically fit, then I need to be in the gym for eight hours, you actually don't need to be in the gym for eight hours a day, you need to put in the amount that's necessary for you, to to you for you to accomplish your objective and your physical fitness. Same thing with family, you don't have to spend necessarily eight hours with your family. But you do need to designate and really be present, and put in the time to be able to optimize again, that to me, that's my, that's my, my goal for anything that I do. I want to optimize and I want to really be intentional with what I do. So for me family, faith, finances and doing podcasts like this.

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

That’s funny Shmuel. If you're actually taking a step from me, by mine, I always tell people, that's what this show is about: food, football, and finance. Those are my three if you have your own three F's, that's funny, and just on the working out thing. For me, that's a great point that Shmuel brought up. And that's something I personally struggled with myself is growing up playing football and sports, I would go and I worked out two to four hours a day, hour and a half, two hours at a minimum and then once I stopped playing and have a family and a business and a career, I'd be like alright, I can't work out for two hours so I'm not going to work out and then someone finally hit me and said Jason, like if you just work out for 20 minutes, it's better than not working out. So I think that's a great thing and a great point and you know living a life of balance. So with that said I want to wrap up the first ever interview. I want to thank Shmuel for his time and his knowledge and his wisdom and hope you guys enjoyed the interview.

Shmuel Shayowitz

Thank you so much for having me really appreciate you being on and I love what you're doing and your insights and your passion and your knowledge are really things that help discern you which is why I was happy to do this and and help your viewers and audience 

Jason Blumstein, CFA®

Alright, thanks a lot. All the best.

Hope you liked a clip from Little Shop of Horror, a personal favorite movie of mine growing up. In our final segment here, I wanted to bring some levity to the show.

I have been talking about a lot of heavy items in war markets, correcting housing markets. So I wanted to talk about my experience recently back on Presidents Day at a cookie eating tournament my neighbor of mine, Greg guy has his own podcast called 32 fans, you can go check it out 32 fans, he invited me to a cookie eating tournament that he puts on. Every year he puts on a different type of tournament for his podcast and this one was a cookie eating one that he said, Oh, you can bring your kid with you. Well, I thought it'd be a great idea. What can go wrong? You got a bunch of kids and a bunch of cookies seems like a great time. And of course, I like cookies. But boy, was I wrong. There are so many different cookies that I didn't even know existed. I mean, I don't even when I was a kid growing up Oreo had you had Oreo you had double stuff. And then as I got older, they introduced the vanilla or golden Oreo, but Oreo these days. They have like 20-something different varieties. That all made the tournament. So much cookies, so much sugar. And ironically, the kids didn't outlast the adults, the kids drop down the tournament before all the adults. And let me tell you folks, after this, I was sick for days. All that sugar going through my system. It did not agree with me when you're 40 I guess when you're younger. Maybe it's a little easier on your system. But I was sick for four days that night when I came home and fell asleep. Didn't feel good. And the worst part about it was that in my opinion, one of the worst cookies in the tournament was an oatmeal raisin Pepperidge Farm cookie. And I like oatmeal raisin cookies. A lot of people don't like oatmeal raisin cookies and honestly, I can tell these people did not know oatmeal raisin cookies, because that cookie from Pepperidge Farm that oatmeal raisin cookie was not good. So these are definitely not cookie kind of soars. Maybe you don't want to go that far. But definitely not oatmeal raisin connoisseurs.

And what's the lesson here, folks? The lesson that we can tie it back to creating wealth is to avoid the Sugar Rush. You might feel great eating cookies. One cookie, two cookies get a lot of sugar in your system. But it will make you feel sick in the long run.

So with that said, I hope you enjoyed the show. Geopolitical events, the housing and mortgage market, controlling your emotions, not getting a sugar rush. So enjoy your time. Live a life of integrity. Try to gain as much knowledge. Do things you're passionate about. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Julius Wealth Advisors 201-289-9181, All your best. Until next time. Thank you for tuning into The Big Bo $how. 


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