For the last year or more, I kept hearing and reading the word “de-leveraging”. Companies and individuals are all busy de-leveraging. So, basically, people are saving more money, paying off their debts and spending less. Overall, it gives an impression that leveraging is undesirable and should be done away with.
Marc Faber famously said that, in Asia, the family run businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore have very little debt. Many rich families in Singapore do not have any mortgages. He thinks that Asian real estate will continue to do well. This gels with what Jim Rogers thinks about how we should own some real estate and he, in a recent interview in New York, actually said that he would buy some US real estate now if he were staying there.
We should also buy other tangible assets which would keep pace with or grow faster than inflation and protect or grow our wealth in the process. However, most of us are not in the same league as Marc Faber or the rich families he mentioned.
So, what are we to do if we want a piece of the action and own some Asian real estate? Do we work very hard to save money before we buy that piece of real estate? 100% cash upfront and without a housing loan? Or do we put down 20% and borrow 80%?
Quite simply, like any other investment, the answer lies in timing. Buy when the market is depressed or just turning up and hold for the long term. If you believe that the world is going to see extraordinary inflation in future, this is one thing we should do if we have the means. If we have the money, pay 100% cash upfront. If we only have 20% to