Technology Investor

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM ET, Thursday, December 24, 2009: The Christmas present that keeps on giving:

How to build your 2010 portfolio, Useful articles to read:

+ Constructing a Cautious Portfolio for 2010 by Amit Chokshi in Seeking Alpha.

+ Money Lessons of a Lost Decade by Brett Arends of the Wall Street Journal.

+ Yesterday's column by yours truly (in case you missed it). Click InSearchOfThePerfectInvesment.

Real estate bargains are finally emerging. Rules (at least my rules):

+ Only buy what you can rent.

+ You must earn a minimum of 12% -- cash on cash. That means the net profit (before taxes and before leverage) should be 12% on the total price.

+ Bargain your heart out as if you don't care whether you win or lose the property. Be thoroughly content to walk. There are plenty of fish in the ocean. You should buy something today at less than half what it sold for three years ago.

+ Don't fantasize. Don't figure in turning a rental into a condo. Don't fantasize about flossying up the lobby and upping the rents. You get what you get.

+ Don't borrow short-term, believing you'll refinance in two years. The banks might be just as bad then. We don't know. And then, you could lose it all.

+ Don't figure on any appreciation on your building. That's not just conservative. That reflects the fact you could bulldoze a third of America's retail and office space and probably not make one penny difference to rents.

+ And don't buy a building whose design is dysfunctional.

Your Christmas present to me. I've spent a lot of time in 2009 telling my investing mistakes and begging you not to follow my idiocy. It's your turn to throw your best investing ideas my way. Please send me an email. It may be my best Christmas present. . I'll share the best ideas. Please send me that email.

I'll see everyone on Monday after I've kissed the family and made good cheer.

Chanukah Stamps.
A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Chanukah cards. She says to the clerk "May I have 50 Chanukah stamps please."

"What denomination?" says the clerk.

The woman says "Oy vay, my God, has it come to this? Okay, give me 6 orthodox, 12 conservative and 32 reform."

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.