Guest: Chad Hovind
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Chad Hovind is the Senior Pastor of the Horizon Community Church and author of, “Godonomics: How to Save Our Country – and Protect Your Wallet – Through Biblical Principles of Finance.” Hovind shares some of his Biblical principles to finance in this interview.
He explains God’s requirements for financial success – in personal lives as well as in the affairs of our nation. He also describes how free-market capitalism is upheld in Scripture.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Solomon Success Show, where we explore the timeless wisdom of King Solomon and the Bible, as it relates to business and investing. False prophets and get-rich-quick schemes are everywhere; let’s not be distracted by these. Instead, let’s go to the source: the eternal principles that create a life of peace, power, and prosperity. Here’s our host, Jason Hartman.
JASON HARTMAN: Welcome to the Solomon Success Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, where we talk about Biblical principles applied to business and investing. Learning from King Solomon, of course. And we will be back with a fantastic guest for you in just a moment here. But be sure to visit our website, www.solomonsuccess.org, or www.solomonsuccess.com. Take advantage of our extensive blog library, and our free content. I think you’ll find some fantastic things there. So, be sure to visit us on the web at www.solomonsuccess.com.
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JASON HARTMAN: It’s my pleasure to welcome Chad Hovind to the show! He is senior pastor of Horizon Community Church, and author of Godonomics: How to Save Our Country And Protect Your Wallet Through Biblical Principles of Finance. Chad, welcome. How are you?
CHAD HOVIND: I’m doing great, thanks for having me.
JASON HARTMAN: Good, good. Welcome to the show; it’s great to have you. I always like to give our listeners a sense of geography a little bit. Where are you located?
CHAD HOVIND: I’m in Cincinnati. I’ve been here about 10 years, right here in the heart of the city. And our church is filled with entrepreneurs and business owners and a whole bunch of folks. That’s sort of a unique clientele that we have as a church.
JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. Well, tell us a little bit about Godonomics, and what was the inspiration for it?
CHAD HOVIND: Well, Godonomics teaches that capitalism is not just a good idea, but it’s actually God’s idea. It’s based on something that used to be called common sense. Because we have a lot of unconvinced people who come to our church—like, 50% of our audience, is at their second or third service. Since they’re not completely convinced bout the Bible or Jesus or God, I thought a unique way to introduce them to the God of the Bible, would be to create a series that shows them. One of the things they love the most, entrepreneurship and business, actually finds the building blocks in God’s wisdom. Ideas like property rights and incentive and hard work and the rule of law—these were ideas God put in motion through Moses, when he told the people how to be a free people. Adam Smith picks up on these things, and puts them into motion, and the wave of prosperity that went across Europe and then into the New World was phenomenal. And I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if folks who already love capitalism, if they realize that God was the author of these ideas, they might want to know the God of the Bible, because they’ve already fallen in love with these precepts.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, really a great take on it. And great way to reach people, that’s fantastic, fantastic methodology. So, in the book, the chapters are mostly titled, you know, if God were talking to America’s founders, if God were talking to Adam Smith, if He were talking to John Maynard Keynes, the prime-the-pump Keynesian that is all too revered today, unfortunately, and you know, if he were talking to Roosevelt. I know he’d agree with the founders pretty well, probably. But maybe—and, Adam Smith too. But you know, let’s maybe talk about Keynes, since we don’t have the time to talk about every chapter, I want to get into Keynes, Marx, Greenspan, those types.
CHAD HOVIND: Yeah. Well, one of the building blocks of Godonomics, or free enterprise, is the idea of acting your own wage. In Proverbs, it says that there’s oil and there’s treasure in the dwelling of the rich man and the wise man. And the idea in the contrast of that is that the fool squanders everything he has. And the idea that when you’re in financial trouble, that all of a sudden you should spend more—overspending doesn’t lead you to prosperity, it leads you to slavery. The borrower truly is servant to the lender. And such is true of individuals, such is true of couples in a marriage, it’s also true of nations. You know, the Bible gives us a pretty clear macro of principles for nations. For example, in Deuteronomy it says, do not borrow from other nations, lest they become the head and you become the tail. You lose your national sovereignty. And you know, Keynes said this idea that when an economy is doing poorly, that you should get the government involved to boost what he called aggregate demand. Well, what happens is, you build your economic system based on consumption rather than production. Now, certainly America is still a production powerhouse in comparison, but we have slowly, over the last hundred years, moved from being savers who invested in and loaned based on our savings, to we’ve become the tail that’s beginning to have $16.9 trillion in debt, and at some point, you gotta pay the piper, and we’re passing on the receipts, rather than the inheritance of that, on to our children’s children.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah. It seems like the Keynes and Obama approach to the crisis is, there’s a fire, we’ve got a problem, let’s throw some gasoline on it, make it worse.
CHAD HOVIND: Well, it reminds me a little bit of how George Washington died. Don’t know if you ever did some history on him, but his doctors believed in bloodletting. And he was getting sick. So what they did is they took a pint of blood out of him, and it basically made him got sicker. And of course they jumped in there and said, what we gotta do is take another pint out. So ultimately, George Washington’s doctors killed him by bleeding him to death. And that’s what Keynesianism does, is that it misdiagnoses the problem, it misdiagnoses the solution. You can just imagine the doctors sitting around George Washington’s corpse, saying to themselves, if only we bled him out quicker. They never questioned their original assumptions. I think today we have a bunch of Keynesians who are—it’s like being in Weekend at Bernie’s. They walk around with Bernie between them pretending that Bernie’s healthy because they’re bleeding him out. Instead we need to get back to another paradigm. And the paradigm for Godonomics came directly out of Proverbs, and Proverbs 31, it just offers a better more common sense alternative that can apply to you as an individual as well as a nation.
JASON HARTMAN: So I gotta ask though, in case there are some Keynesian believers listening. Is there ever a time for Keynesian ideologies, where the government goes and spends to stimulate things? I almost want to agree on rare occasion with them, that if it were temporary, which it can never be, because government, once they start spending, they never stop. It only gets worse, you know. But if it were possible to pull in the spending, and act responsibly, would Keynesianism work in that case?
CHAD HOVIND: I do think it’s plausible. But it is built on an assumption that I think’s impossible to implement, which is, it’s almost like saying, can you have a square circle? If you could have a square circle, whereby the government would stop spending at some point in the future, but I’ve never seen that in history. Certainly didn’t see that in Rome, and never see that in America.
JASON HARTMAN: Well, I was just gonna say, the reason it never works, is because as soon as the government starts spending, you develop a whole segment of the population that has an entrenched interest in seeing that spending continue or grow. And you get these iron triangles of constituents, organized special interest groups like unions, or whatever—government employees, it doesn’t matter who; defense contractors, it could be anybody—and it becomes this self-perpetuating cycle, and it just has to grow, that’s the problem.
CHAD HOVIND: Well that’s exactly—my favorite mental picture of this is, I grew up watching Little Shop of Horrors with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. It’s got the man-eating plant in there. You know, little plant, and it just—feed me, Seymour, feed me! You give him a little drop of blood and you think, okay, he’ll be satisfied. Well, then he wants two drops. And of course he gets bigger and bigger, and the bigger he gets, the more blood he needs. And so, by the end of the movie, his—he’s singing a song. Feed me, Seymour, feed me! And that’s, I think, what happens. I think that’s why our founders had a very biblical understanding of restraints, checks and balances when it came to government—because Christians should have a very healthy skepticism towards organized power. The book Revelations shows some real dangers that occur with centralized power. Certainly Hitler and Nazis, and 90-120 million people have been killed through socialism. So, Christians have a very honest look at history, and so we would much rather be on the side of restraint when it comes to government, than otherwise.
Take Solomon, for example. I mean, if Solomon had applied his own wisdom, he would have done great. But if you think about his son Rehoboam, his son Rehoboam inherited an absolute mess from Solomon, because he got away from the principles he laid out. Rehoboam, if you remember, there’s a civil war. Jeroboam came to him and said hey, we’d like to reunite the country, but in order to do that, we need to stop the spending, we need you to stop the taxation, and we’d like you to lighten the load. Rehoboam goes back to his dad’s advisors, Solomon’s advisors, and says hey, what do you think we should do? And Solomon’s advisors say hey, we didn’t have the guts to tell your dad, but he did become a tyrant, he did get out of control, he has overspent, and he has overtaxed. So, tell the people that we’ll lighten the load, we’ll give you your taxation back, and let’s change the paradigm. Of course, the younger administration—the ones that were about to go on the payroll—they’re the ones that said no no no, dad whipped you with whips, and I’ll whip you with scorpions, and my little finger’s bigger than my dad’s inner thigh. And so, that speech he gives, and as you can imagine, it doesn’t go over well. And it keeps a civil war in place, the whole back half of the Old Testament, with Jeroboam taking one kingdom and Rehoboam the other. So that’s what happens. Even Solomon, the wisest man who God has spoke to directly—when he began to get outside of the parameters of God’s wisdom, ultimately it was just a train wreck, even though it took several kings before it finally hit the skids.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, very good points. What about more modern stuff, like let’s talk about FDR, and let’s talk about Greenspan. I think maybe actually FDR you maybe covered, you know, in the last points that you made about socialism and big government and organized power, but if you have anything more to say about FDR, who is looked at, I think, unfairly, as some kind of hero. I think he really created a lot of harm to America that is still with us today.
CHAD HOVIND: Sure. Well, there are two chapters in the book Godonomics. What we’ve got on FDR, we’ve got two chapters—there’s one on unintended consequences. And you know, I don’t doubt necessarily the heart of those who want to help those who are in danger. But you know, I actually sort of revisit the history, combination of the Forgotten Man and the Heritage Foundation—
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, I had Amity Shlaes on the show, the Forgotten Man.
CHAD HOVIND: Okay. Well again, I just think it shows—the unintended consequences is that, the assumption I heard, maybe you heard in school was, things were bad, we had a capitalistic system under Hoover, FDR came in, saved the day, and spent our way out of the Great Depression. Well, the reality is, all of the world had a depression, but America had a Great Depression. Now, why is that? Because of all the bureaucracy, and because of all the overspending, and when you move from first New Deal to second New Deal, that actually was not helping the economy; it became a burden on the economy. And when you begin to think that you can overspend your way to prosperity, well, how backward is that? Let’s just assume that was true. Well, why don’t we not borrow ten trillion—why don’t we borrow $100 trillion? Why don’t we send a rebate check—you know, George Bush always sent those rebate checks—
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, giving us back our own money, yeah.
CHAD HOVIND: Yeah, well, if consumption and spending’s such a great idea, why doesn’t the government send us all a check for a million dollars? I’ll take it, I’ll cash it, I’ll spend it. If you really want me to spend money, I’d be delighted to get a check for a million dollars! As far as the absurdity of the idea when you play it out—it’s just ridiculous.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, of course it is. Yeah. It goes without saying. I mean—what I was gonna say is, remember Nancy Pelosi actually alluding to something about how Food Stamps help the economy [LAUGHTER]. Where do these—where do these—
CHAD HOVIND: Well, when you think of FDR, you think of, the war got us out of the Depression. You think, well really? Then, why don’t we—look what Detroit’s doing! Apparently when you bulldoze an entire city, it actually makes things better! Why don’t we just bulldoze half the Midwest? Apparently that’s gonna be great for posterity.
JASON HARTMAN: Just bulldoze the whole country. It’ll be great. It’s just crazy.
CHAD HOVIND: I think, it’s a lot like the next door neighbor who doesn’t have a job; you’ve talked to him, your heart goes out to him, because he’s so broke and in difficult situations, and then you pop your head out the window and you see him walking in the front door with a brand new plasma TV. You assume to yourself, oh my goodness! Good times are back again! And you walk over and you say hey, I heard you got a new job! Well, no, I just got another one of those credit cards, and I decided to use the new credit card to pay off—you know, to buy myself a new plasma TV. Okay, sure, in the short term, there’s a sugar high. There’s a benefit. But ultimately, that principle and interest you have to pay back. And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize, is that—if you’re investing in something that’s gonna produce income, well, that’s a great idea. There’s some wisdom there. But if ultimately you can’t even pay for your own bills, it’s time to do the hard work of budgeting and cutting back, and the bottom line is, the government—they don’t even know how to define a cut. A cut means we’re going to spend less than we thought we would, but we actually spend more—
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, exactly. I know. And then, and then that cut never really happens in real life anyway. It’s just—it’s just crazy.
CHAD HOVIND: It’s always two years from now, ten years from now. Then you show up and no one—
JASON HARTMAN: Long after my tenure in office, is basically what they all say.
CHAD HOVIND: Exactly.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, exactly.
CHAD HOVIND: Well, that’s one of the reasons I wrote Godonomics, is because ultimately politics can never satisfy. Because they’re always working on short term solutions to get themselves reelected. And you know, God’s not a republican, God’s not an elephant, God’s not a donkey. But you know, He is a lion, and he roars these timeless principles that are common sense that you can root yourself into and say, okay, these are not dependent upon a culture or particular philosophy. These are timeless truths that apply to all people at all times, and that’s where wisdom comes from.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, no question about it. Greenspan.
CHAD HOVIND: There are two chapters on what we’ve got on Greenspan, and you know, certainly one of my premises is that governments have no money. And you know, they’re a through-put for money. So, every time somebody says, well the government ought to do this—just say it’s the most amazing program ever. The question is, where’s that money gonna come from? Governments can only get their money in three ways. Either tax the producer, inflate the currency, or they enslave themselves to debt by borrowing from other nations. So when it comes to inflating the currency, what happens is, when you print more money, each of those dollars is worthless. And it creates bubbles. Take the housing, for example. The premise was, everyone should have a house. Therefore, let’s make it easier and easier to increase the supply of buyers. So, we’ve brought the interest rates down. My grandma’s a real estate agent, so, she was, during the 70s and 80s, when interest rates were 12 or 13%. So you know, we got our interest rates down—
JASON HARTMAN: Oh, they got higher than that. They got up to 18, and 20, in some cases.
CHAD HOVIND: Oh it did, okay, well that was, again, I’m only 40. So again, that was a little bit before me. But grandma told me—I remember when I got my first real estate. My insurance was at 8.5, and my grandma was jumping up and down the nursing home, she said that was wonderful.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, right.
CHAD HOVIND: So the good news is, your payments are lower. The down side is, it increases a huge amount of unmitigated risk, where you have all these additional buyers. Well, the good news is, if you’re selling your house, that’s great, because your house value goes up. Unfortunately, when the house value goes up, you know, because of it, there can be a crash. Because now you’re messing with the systems in such a way that it’s hard to figure what the house is really worth, because ultimately the house is worth whatever somebody’s willing to pay for it. And ultimately, central control presumes that they can know all the factors. And you know, life’s just too complicated for you—doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but ultimately the housing bust I believe was created through inflation, and then when it came crashing down, a lot of middle class and poor folks were hurt. So, again, the Bible talks about unjust weights. You know, God hates unjust weights, and it’s not easy, there’s a lot of economic theories as to how to have sound money. But whatever solution that we move toward, I think sound money, ultimately helps the poor the most, because they’re the ones that have the least of it.
JASON HARTMAN: Well, of course it helps the poor the most. But the elite class that’s in control of the system, it helps them the most to have fiat money, and create inflation, and create bubbles where they can buy up assets cheaply when they crash, and everybody’s credit is ruined, and then on the next cycle they can charge them higher interest rates, making them feel guilty that their credit is bad by [unintelligible] responsible, but they set up the whole thing from a macro perspective to start with.
CHAD HOVIND: That’s exactly right. I was in Israel last October, and you know, you often hear people say, would Jesus threw the business owners out of the Sanhedrin, this idea of the anti-business comes from this idea that Jesus threw out the money changers. Well, the reality is that the money changers were a group of the Sanhedrin, the elite, elite religious political class, who had got in bed with the government, and they set up a monopoly where the only sheep that would qualify for the sacrifice were Bethlehem sheep, and they happened to own them all. So if you would show up with your sheep, which was your commodity, your money, and you’d go to the inspection, and they always said that your sheep didn’t count! So they devalued your currency, and then they’d buy it from you pennies on the dollar, then the Sanhedrin would sell you one of their overpriced sheep that was four times the price, but you couldn’t go back to your homeland and get one, and then you would go in and make the sacrifice. Well, what happened was, then they’d come, the next guy shows up, they devalue his sheep, and they sell him your sheep that supposedly wasn’t worth anything. Well, this is why Jesus was so mad. He’s not throwing out the business owners—he’s throwing out the money devaluers. Because he saw that as so corrupt, and it was specifically corrupt not only because it was the powerful exploiting the powerless, but even more than that, it was many of the gentiles who were traveling for many distances who wanted to get to know the God of the Bible, who had this horrible taste in their mouth because of the way the power brokers were using their power to exploit those who didn’t have power. So, I’m pretty hard on Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, because I think ultimately, what’s going on is not about helping the poor. That’s just the veneer they put on.
JASON HARTMAN: It’s always the veneer. It’s always for our own good. All they’re doing is debasing the currency and impoverishing the poor, and the rich are benefiting in huge, huge ways. In fact, that’s a major part of my real estate investment strategy. I call it inflation-induced debt destruction, since the system is so messed up, and so dishonest, frankly. And we can complain about it, but we can’t change it. At least, not easily. And so, what I say is, just get as much high quality investment grade debt against income properties as possible, and as long as those properties make sense, and they’re not in places like California that don’t make sense, you know, they’re in—
CHAD HOVIND: That’s right.
JASON HARTMAN: They have sensible cash flow, and so forth—that debt is actually reduced through inflation. Inflation pays off your debt for you. Think about it. If you owe a million dollars on real estate loans, and the real—and the debt is being paid by tenants, essentially, inflation, if the true inflation rate is say 10%, at the end of year one, you only owe in real dollars $900,000! So, it’s a phenomenal opportunity. And this is what the rich are doing. And it’s so unfair to the poor, because do you think the poor, the working poor and the lower middle class have the opportunity to play that game? Of course not. They can’t participate.
CHAD HOVIND: Yeah. Well, and I think the Bible—I think again that’s why these are timeless principles. Because though God is not an elephant or a donkey, and like I said, He’s a lion, I think it does warn us about pigs. I mean, think about Animal Farm. Animal Farm is the idea that socialism shows up and says that all are equal but some are more equal than others. So, the pigs find ways to manipulate the system so that they’re above the rules, or they have different rules. When God laid out his principles with Moses, that was one of the key principles. Milton Friedman says, even if you have property rights in a society, if you don’t have the rule of law, ultimately it falls apart. The rule of law means that everyone is under the same standards. Whether you’re the king, though that wasn’t God’s ideal—whether you’re the king, or whether you’re a citizen, everyone has the same rules applied. We are so far from the rule of law. We have bureaucrat laws versus citizen laws, and if you don’t pay your tax, you get thrown in jail, but the guy who’s in charge of the IRS doesn’t pay his taxes, he can just say sorry.
JASON HARTMAN: Or the treasury. Remember, Tim TurboTax? Tim Geithner?
CHAD HOVIND: Yeah. And I think that’s why even when they went to a king-sized government, which God had warned about in 1 Samuel 8, he said, I want the king every day to read the law, and let himself know he’s under the law. Well, that is much more like a republic than it is a monarchy. Because in a monarchy, the king can do whatever he wants. In a republic, the king—everyone is under the law. And the law ultimately determines where rights come from, and what’s right and wrong. If I was going to do one thing today with Godonomics to save America, like the title suggests, I’d say a Constitutional amendment that says that all laws must apply equally to everybody. Then you wouldn’t have big corporations having buyouts, you wouldn’t have unions bribing one group to find a loophole so they don’t have to be in this system or that. But to make laws that we all have to be under, and if we don’t like the laws, let’s change them. But instead we create bad laws, and then we find ways to bribe somebody to get us out from underneath the bad law.
JASON HARTMAN: This is the problem. If we all can agree, both liberals and conservatives, that government is corrupt, it’s inefficient, I think even the left will agree with that. And so, then, here’s the next logical question. If that’s true, the best thing we could possibly do, is to just keep it as small as possible. Because if it’s smaller, there will be less corruption, and less inefficiency! That’s the one for sure thing we can do, is just shrink the size of government, and then we’ll shrink the size of all the problems.
CHAD HOVIND: Yeah, you’d think so. But again, I think you’re talking common sense again, and I think you’re presuming that people want to use that. But theoretically that’s true. But my favorite mental picture of government inefficiency comes from Dr. Seuss. It tells the story of a little village called Hawtch-Hawtch. And in Hawtch-Hawtch they have a bee who’s not working very hard. And least not notch. And so, what they do is they hire a bee watcher, and because a bee that’s watched will work harder, you see, well, so this bee watcher’s watching the bee, and it turns out he doesn’t work much harder. So they presume that the problem’s not the bee, it’s the bee watcher. So they hire a bee watcher watcher, and that doesn’t work, so they get a bee watcher watcher watcher. At the end of this little three-page story, you’ve got this whole line of people staring down the back of somebody else, and at the end of the day, you don’t have any more work, any more production going on, you have all this inefficiency and waste. And that’s what happens. Everyone diagnoses a problem, but the solution is always more regulation, more oversight. At the end of the day, the government should be involved in prosecuting fraud, enforcing contracts. But instead of doing that, they keep putting in more and more oversight. It’s just more and more surplus and pork for the politicians to end up taking to their own projects or key ideas.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, no question about it. Well, let’s kind of wrap up here and talk a little bit about the micro aspect of Godonomics. And you know, we’ve talked about some of the macro issues in society and government and so forth. But your last chapter is, if God were talking to you and me, what is some of the advice there?
CHAD HOVIND: I think God would say, well, act your own wage. Whether you make four figures, five figures, or six, we need to act our own wage. Two, focus on production, profiting, and hard work, and realize that even your Monday through Friday, it’s just as spiritual God as your Saturday and Sunday. I would say it’s about savings, having margin. Margin is good, because things break down. But margin is also good because it creates space to give. When God brings opportunities into your life, you want to have that money ready to mobilize. For us it was adoption. For others it might be other kingdom priorities. But when you have money in place, it’s a way to mobilize and impact other people.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, yeah. Fantastic. Very good advice. Well, the book is available on Amazon, it’s got five star reviews, so, congratulations on that.
CHAD HOVIND: Well, thank you!
JASON HARTMAN: And give out your website, if you would, Chad.
CHAD HOVIND: Sure. For all my information about the book, you can get it really anywhere books are sold. But if you go to Godonomics.com, that’s Godonomics.com, or you can get it wherever books are sold. The advantage of going to Godonomics.com though is you can get the DVD, where I teach through the whole series, as well as the hardback. And some people are doing both. And ultimately it will help you make wise decisions. It will give you a biblical response to socialism, and a tool to teach people in your church or home.
JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. Well, good stuff. Keep up the good work out there, Chad, and thank you so much for joining us today!
CHAD HOVIND: I appreciate it. Thanks so much!
ANNOUNCER: This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company. All rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com, or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, or business professional for any individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own, and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively.
Transcribed by David