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How To Choose Between Cash Flow Or Equity Growth

by | Jun 8, 2021 | 0 comments



It happens to the best of us – we get caught up in economic news, make assumptions about where the market is going, and we can’t help but wonder:


“What’s the best investment strategy in today’s environment?” 


Perhaps there is even a more important question to ask:


“What’s the best investment strategy for the stage of life I am now in?”


Am I just starting my professional career and my income is increasing rapidly?


Am I at or near the peak of my career and looking forward to “retirement”?


I believe investment strategies need to be based on one’s current situation and long term goals.


Once you decide you’re going to invest in a real estate syndication deal, and you resolve questions about risk, rates of return, and how real estate syndications work, your concern naturally pivots toward what investment strategy is best. 


You want to know what to look for, what is a red flag, and what you should or shouldn’t do based on the current market cycle and the most recent economic conditions. This year the market climate is different than any other so your investing strategy should take these conditions into account, right?


Well, the only constant in life is change. The most important thing is that you know what the main two strategies are and why each is important. From there, you can make an informed decision no matter what the economy and the market are doing. It is best to make investment decisions based on your long term goals.


Two Investing Strategies


The two most common and most widely discussed, overarching investment strategies are:


  1. Equity Growth or Appreciation Strategy
  2. Cash Flow Strategy


Both strategies are essential to the bigger picture, and you’ve got to be informed about each one and how it might affect your financial situation in order to strategize appropriately. 


A gains-focused investment strategy is focused on making solid acquisitions in good growth markets where there are reasonable expectations for future appreciation. Cash flow is a secondary consideration, here. The property should pay for itself but will generate little cash flow moving forward.  


In real estate syndication properties, the business plan may give you details such as buying an undervalued property at a low cost basis, executing light renovations, and selling at a much higher market price. This may or may not be a quick turnaround deal and the cashflow might be on the lighter side. 


On the other hand, in cash flow focused strategies, you buy and hold for a long period of time with the expectation of constant distributions month after month. Rental properties with existing, faithful tenants like in large apartment complexes are great examples. There might be some natural appreciation in the deal, but the most attractive quality highlighted in the business plan is the predictable returns. 


The Equity Growth Plan


The equity growth strategy requires that you have sufficient W2 income to support your lifestyle and the asset throughout the time you own it. Assuming the property isn’t providing you any monthly income, you still have your own bills, transportation, and food to pay for, including mortgage, insurance, and any repairs that come up before you sell. 


A focus on investing for equity growth focuses on building one’s nest egg for the future. Income in retirement is primarily a function of how large one’s nest egg is.


If one doesn’t need additional income at the present time, investing for long term capital growth makes sense. Buy good properties in solid growth markets, use leverage property, have sufficient cash reserves and let time, population growth, and inflation win the day for you.


The Cash Flow Plan 


Planning solely for cash flow is about consistent monthly or quarterly distributions over the long term. It’s not about trying to time the market, buy low, or create a big spread. In an ideal cash-flowing investment, there’s enough distributed each month to cover property costs like the mortgage and insurance, plus renovations or repairs needed, and still have some profit left. 


On cash-flowing properties, you always have to assess sustainability over the long term. Meaning, how sustainable is the profit each month? If you’ve got $100 after the mortgage and insurance is paid, awesome, and yes, the property is cash-flowing. But what happens when you have to replace the hot water heater for $800? That means for eight months you have $0 in profit. So you have to assess if the profit made after expenses each month is really sustainable and if the investment property will still be profitable if you have a repair or two. 


Another consideration is, for example, with that same $100 in profit on a residential rental each month, what if the market contracts and you have a hard time finding a tenant? Lowering rental rates to fill the unit might make it so the property is no longer cash flowing. You have to know ahead of time how you’ll handle that and decide the rate of cashflow you require on a property so ownership is sustainable long-term. 


A caveat to an only cashflow-focused investment plan can leave you blind to the long-term wealth-building potential of appreciation, especially if the cash flow is funding your lifestyle instead of being reinvested. 


Why Not Both?


The good news is that the answer to the questions, “What’s the best investment strategy for me in today’s environment?” or “What’s the best investment strategy for me given my current life stage?” is not binary. You can pick both!


You can absolutely earn steady passive cash flow AND enjoy the wealth-building power of appreciation by pursuing real estate investment syndications featuring both benefits at the same time. 


Don’t corner yourself into cash-flowing properties that have little to no long-term expected appreciation.  




Don’t hamper your cash flow by investing in properties that are only focused on gains.


Here at Spark Investment Group, we believe the best way to build wealth and freedom simultaneously is to invest in real estate syndications with cash flow and appreciation built into each deal. 




Deciding Which Plan Is Best For You Right Now


Ultimately your personal situation and your investing goals will determine what features you prefer in an investment opportunity. If you need $0 in cash flow now and are focused on building your retirement account that you won’t touch for another 30 years, then aggressive appreciation-focused (gains) deals might be your focus. 


On the other hand, if cash flow would allow your spouse to ditch the corporate stress and fulfill dreams of being more present with the family, then a reliable, cashflow-focused syndication might bring you joy. 


Before you choose a particular strategy, consider what might be in your life’s near and distant future and then explore how investing in real estate syndications might support that vision. Ask yourself about any significant shifts that might occur within the next five years, like graduations, weddings, daycare, public schools, new cars, moves, additional education, or career changes. 


With a clear plan for where you’re going, it will be much easier to determine which investment strategy is best for you. Only then will you know to invest real estate syndication deals aligned with the gains plan, the cash flow plan, or a mix of both. 


Reach out to Spark Investment Group to learn more!



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