Land Banking Lady – Wealthblog

November 5, 2009

Recently appointed with Mcguire-Reid Farmers Insurance Agency

by Gina Lynell Smith

Gina Lynell Smith, writer of “Land Banking Lady” wealthblog has recently been appointed with the Mcguire-Reid Agency on Piedmont Ave in Oakland, Calif. She will specialize in Annuities and Life Insurance for families and small businesses. She also is now director of her own S-corporation which will soon be doing real estate sales, interior design, and online travel agency. Wearing many hats, she said, requires her to expand the call name of her blog from Land Banking Lady to “Wealth Life Lady.” She said, she is looking forward to assisting anyone in California with living happily and wealthy. Gina Lynell Smith’s contact information is gina.kmcguire@farmersagency.comGina Smith, Wealth Life Lady-Land Banking Lady blog writer

August 12, 2009

Let’s Think About Annuities

Filed under: Family,Life,News,Retirement Planning — WealthLifeLady-wealthblog @ 9:44 pm

by Gina Lynell Smith

Did you know that annuities have been around since before the first depression? Did you know that no one ever lost money with a fixed annuity?

Let’s think about annuities for a moment. If you have a 401k, an IRA, a CD or savings account for which you have to pay taxes on the interest or stocks that are currently dwindling your money away, then I suggest rolling it over into a fixed annuity. You could roll it over into an indexed annuity, but if you are my age–you probably want to make sure you are hedging your money against inflation as best as you can. Again, I think fixed annuities are a good way to do that.

I happily just turned age 50, and I am still working. In fact, just moved from the insurance office in Alameda, California to a new highly reputable office in Oakland, California. I will soon be contacting the 617 people on my two lists, and this is what I plan to tell them…

We spend so much time protecting the loss of our car and our house with insurance, especially because we are required by the DMV or the Lenders. Shouldn’t we spend just as much time equally protecting our life and future income?

People often say Life insurance is a waste of money–but actually it protects you and your family income in several ways–It shows your bank and potential lenders that you are a safe risk. In fact, if the lender gives you a loan and you put the lender on your life insurance policy as a contingent beneficiary or the lender attaches your life insurance policy as a lien–the lender gets their money back even if you pass away. More importantly, if the life insurance is enough to cover the balance of the mortgage, the lender gets their money, and your family keeps the house–no foreclosure. The same safety net can be used to protect your business to continue to produce an income for your family when you pass away. Did you know that you can take a separate insurance policy on yourself and put your business as the beneficiary? Yes you can! And again doing so, gives the Business Lenders the safety they need to give you a business loan.

Now, do not worry about the cost of life insurance–instead take out an annuity that pays you enough interest accumulation that is equivalent to or more than your life insurance premiums.

The benefit about annuities is that they can be tax deferred whereas a CD, Treasury Bill or Savings Account is not. If you want to reduce your annual taxes and increase your income at the same time, and get life insurance for free–a fixed annuity is a safe way to do it all. 

Live happily and wealthy!

You can email me at

June 19, 2009

Shave My Boss’s Head!

by Gina Lynell Smith

Keep Track of The Challenge

     Alameda, CA –  In a Mohawk? Or with words in hair-cut letters spelling out “Bosses Suck!”  How shall she do it?

     Her boss who is probably a decent guy in an insurance company in Alameda, Calif. in all other respects, however, in this challenge is–just a boss. He has been yelling, screaming, and foaming at the mouth because their branch compared to four other branches, located closest to the Bay Area, is fifth or last in comparison of these five branch sales for the month. He has now decidedly chosen to initiate this challenge of “Shave the Boss’s Head,” which Gina says makes her thoughts twinkle.

     Gina works at this branch in Alameda, and she has been challenged to bring in enough sales for any one month that would be the most the Alameda branch has ever made in any one month. Her boss, who technically is not her boss, as she is an independent contractor, has agreed to let her shave his head in any kind’ a ‘whacko way’ she wants if she meets the challenge. She has figured out that it would take approximately 215 people to open an account for at least $30 per month. Each one of these people would also get a vote on just how to shave his head. 

     If you want to help, vote, track the challenge via her twitter address, and learn to which company she is contracted, Call 510-521-1521, ext 135 to set an appointment with her. You must be, at least, age 18, be fairly healthy, live in California, and want to see her shave the boss’s head.

     She said she can offer you what the Wall Street Journal called “A risk-free approach to rebuilding your nest egg.”  An annuity, must be opened with at least $100 and add to it monthly with a payroll deduction before taxes—which would save you money on your out-of-pocket income tax costs, or you could roll-over your 401k, IRA, Pension or Bank Certificate of Deposit.

     You can also open any one of several life insurance policies her branch offers for as little as $30 per month depending on your age. She suggests opening one for yourself, your spouse or significant other, each of your children, and for each of your parents who are circling around the age of 65—above or below you can open a Medicare Supplement or Long-Term care policy.

     Gina is licensed to sell Medicare supplements and soon both regular Long-Term Care Insurance as well as California Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance, which will help transfer the risk of paying an average of $6,000 – $7,000 monthly to the insurance company instead of from your own family’s budget. Gina said she learned in her California Partnership Senior Insurance Training Course that a semi-private room in a nursing home will cost an average of $220 per day, which is approximately $73,000 annually.

     Who is expected to pay for those costs if not the insurance company? It is Gina’s guess that more than likely, it will be a financial burden of the adult children who may be trying to save for their own children’s college expenses or trying to protect their families’ legacy. Gina insured her own mother with a Medicare Supplement policy. She said it will help to pay for the deductibles, co-pays and recovery care that Medicare does not cover including some preventative care that she and her sisters might have had to pay for their mother. It will help alleviate some of the long-term care burden, but eventually she and her sisters will have to gather together to invest in another policy to both cover other costs and protect their families assets.

     Yes, shaving the boss’s head is a great revenge, but the greatest revenge in life, Gina says, is to prepare for the future.  We shouldn’t have to work well into our 60’s and 70’s (as Gina’s mother did.) if we have already been productive citizens for more than 25-years.

      Gina believes that if you put 20% of your income per month for 25 years, (no matter how little/or lot you make) you should be able to live off of the annual interest alone (if inflation stays the same). Your children could use the principle, after you ‘kick that great bucket in the sky’, to keep your family’s legacy going or your chosen charity could also benefit. 

     According to Gina you will also reduce your income taxes as certain annuities defer taxes, and you could use some of the interest from the annuities to effectively reduce the cost of life insurance that could build cash value or like long-term care premiums from certain policies that are tax deductible. Gina believes that if you put away 20% of your monthly income every year in a tax-qualified annuity with a fixed rate for 25 years and cover both yourself and your parents for medical expenses and long-term care your families will be better off and you won’t have to suffer working for ‘a boss’ until you keel over. What’s the good in that?


     Gina is a fairly new independent contractor with this insurance company in Alameda, Calif. She has been a hard worker all of her life. She worked 12-hours per day Monday through Friday in her own home daycare in Sunnyvale for five years in the 1990’s. Sometimes she worked a second job to make sure her daughter had nice clothes, ballet lessons, gymnastic lessons, synchronized swimming lessons, and horseback riding lessons.

     She closed her daycare and moved to the city of Los Banos, Calif. where, she said, you could get more home for your money at that time, and she worked for less pay as a newspaper reporter. The low-pay finally was not enough for family expenses. She decided to finish her college degree requirements while working at several Employment Agencies close to Stanford University and De Anza College where she finished the last requirements to be transferred to Santa Clara University to get her Bachelors of Science in Commerce-Economics.

     Going to school and working was difficult. Gina had to leave her daughter with friends whose children attended the same school as her daughter in Los Banos. It made for a difficult family life, so she let her daughter’s father and his new wife take custody of their daughter from the age her daughter was 14 through 18, and Gina continued to work 12-hours per day as a security dispatch officer while finishing school.

     It was a difficult decision hoping her daughter would have a better life for those four years, and everyday since that decision, Gina has been second guessing herself. Her daughter is now an adult and working on her own.

     Work has been off and on for Gina after College. She did receive her degree and a debt of several thousands of dollars in student loans. She is working to pay the loans back and still trying to better her financial situation. She recently received her real estate broker’s license, and license to sell annuities-life insurance-Medicare Supplements and soon, long term care insurance including California Partnership. She has recently written a revised version of her self-published book, and hopes to start her own business that combines real estate, insurance, and interior design.

October 19, 2008

Safe Investments, Alternatives to Stock Market

Many have predicted the stock market volatility, but not many are offering alternatives until the stock market comes back. The “Land Banking Lady” offers a few suggestions to keep your money for safe. 

The most important criteria for keeping our money safe is to protect the principal. Right now the stock market is very volatile and too dependent on emotions and fears. If your money should be in the low-risk category, you need to put it in a place where your principal has less chance to disappear, and where it can possibly appreciate in value well above inflation. Wealth building is also crucial if you do not expect to have an income in the near future. 

Long-term tangibles are the key if you want to build wealth. Many invested in gold, but now it is a little too late because all those who rushed to invest in gold have caused the price of gold to increase up to $797 per ounce. Sadly, when the stock market comes back gold prices will soon go down drastically. 

Right now the best place to invest your money is in California Land that has been carefully selected and priced at 10 percent to 20 percent below current market value. For information on how to buy undeveloped land see my article in the “Nuwire Investor” at History has shown that over time land appreciates faster than homes. For example, over 30 years ago, land in San Jose, California cost approximately $8,000 per acre. Homes, at that same time, cost $24,000. Now that land costs over $1 million, and the home cost just above $650,000.

Be prepared to hold it until the demand for land increases, possibly five to ten years. Make sure to purchase the land yourself or with your self-directed IRA. You will receive a grant deed, which can be sold, inherited, or leased. Such ownerhship rights are protected even during bank failures. Make sure that you do not invest in real estate in such a way that you receive stocks rather than a deed. These stocks can be effected by volatile stock market activities, and costly business expenses. 

Also consider investing in a “Tenants-in-Common” (TIC) or shared ownership. A TIC is different from a timeshare in that you actually have full rights to ownership interests and again you hold an actual grant deed. A TIC allows you to invest in carefully chosen real estate with less overall investments. For instance, if you have only $72,460 that you want to pull out of the stock market, then Pleasanton, Calif. has been holding its property values above many other areas in California. I know of a Private Winery Estate Home with views of the newly popular vineyards in Pleasanton and Livermore. It has 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a pool, a bonus room with a bar, and is fully furnished. You can enjoy staying there part of the year, then sell it later. Again your principal would be protected with possible increase in value.

Gina Lynell Smith is a Land Banking Specialist, Contact her

August 27, 2008

How to Put Divorce in Retirement Planning

By Gina Lynell Smith


None of us want to plan for divorce, but should divorce happen; it could drastically reduce your retirement income.


I often read the “Retirement Debate” of the Wall Street Journal, and one woman posted a comment that said she divorced after 25 years of marriage. She had only worked part-time and volunteered during marriage. She returned to college, and got her degree after her divorce. Now starting out in the full-time job market later in life, she is making the same salary as a young college graduate, less than $40,000 annually, and must pay her student loan. In addition to only receiving half of her husband’s retirement funds, she lost half of her personal 403b in the stock market.


 Starting out later in life to do your retirement planning or to try and recoup losses is very difficult.


Here is a concept called “The Cost of Waiting.”  First, look to see how much you need per month to pay all your current monthly expenses when you retire. Remember to include medical expenses.  Next, look to see how many years you have left before retiring, and the corresponding amount in the chart is how much you are losing every day by not investing now. This amount should be multiplied by one and one half times for married couples to plan for divorce.


Whomever is the stay-at-home parent should be compensated for the loss of retirement they would have received as benefits had they worked full-time. An average divorce will result in the stay-at-home person receiving half the retirement funds, but if they are expecting monthly expenses to be approximately $5,000—a divorce will result in only $2,500 for each. Unless you are willing to live with a roommate in retirement, this amount may not be enough.


Men often remarry after a divorce. Let’s hope that his new wife has saved for retirement, otherwise they both will have to live on only $2,500 per month in retirement. Most women do not remarry, so they will not have an additional retirement income from an expected new husband. In either case, half is not enough.


If we take the original $5,000 and multiply it by one and one half times, the result is $7,500. This amount if divided in half due to a divorce, would be $3,750, which is an amount that is much better than $2,500.


Now looking at the chart, $1,096 to save per day if retiring in five years may seem quite impossible unless you have a great investment with very high returns. This amount is more like $1,644 if you are including the possibility of for divorce.


Again, my suggestion is to diversify your investment assets. Do not put all of it in stocks and mutual funds. Do not put all of it into your family home. Put a healthy amount of your investments into a self-directed IRA and buy pre-developed land.  A healthy amount used for the self-directed IRA to buy land could easily give you an appreciation value that would bring you to $2 million or $3 million in five years. I find that such investments also help recoup stock market losses.


The grant deed that your IRA will hold cannot be lost in the stock market, and well-chosen land will always appreciate over the long-term well above the stock market.


Next week, I will show you why land appreciates better than a home and why it may be better to self-direct your real estate IRA rather than have an IRA that includes stock in real estate.


Always live happy and wealthy!


You can contact me by email


August 3, 2008

Ten Criteria Needed to Purchase Land for an IRA

by Gina Lynell Smith


The key to any successful investment for an IRA is to have an appreciation in value that effectively reaches a retirement goal.


More and more individuals are turning to self-directed IRAs to assist them in reaching their retirement goals. One simple investment, which is now allowable by the IRS, can be purchased with a self-directed IRA—Land.


Purchasing land and ensuring that it appreciates is risky without locking-in ten criteria before you buy.


1.  The first requirement is a master plan for the community surrounding the land must be in place. The master plan should cover a radius of 40 to 60 miles around the land you want to purchase, and it should include detailed planning for streets, sewers, electric and gas services.


2.   The next requirement is a large population growth projection that is from a reliable source such as the Census Bureau. Finding out the reason for the expected population growth is also significant. You should make sure that the reason for the growth is not dependent on something that is expected to change in the near future. For example, if the growth is dependent on an airport that is expected to close soon or has been refused expansionary permits and zoning is not a good sign.


3.   Another determining factor is the existence of commercial and residential development. Most residential developers who have already begun residential development have also already completed authoritative studies, which support the population growth needed for them to sell homes, condos, and apartment buildings to make a profit. They will need land in that area as they continue to build.


4.   Next, is the existence of industry and commerce with a zoning plan in place for both industry and commerce. Check with the local zoning department to see the proximity of allowable zoning for business and/or industrial buildings.


5.   Another key factor is the proximity of a large metropolis. Check to see how close the nearest big city is to the land you want to purchase, and I mean big city like Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. It should be within 40 to 60 miles from the land you want to purchase.


6.   People and families in the big city will eventually need to find affordable places to live outside of those big cities; therefore, schools play a major role in choosing the land for an IRA. Make sure the educational system in the area is developed from primary through college.


7.   In addition to factor number one, make sure that those utilities and services in the master plan are prepared or are in the process of preparing to be available for massive population growth.


8.   Accessibility by train, freeway, and air is also key. Population growth cannot happen without people and businesses being able to easily reach the area. All three of these transportation systems should already be in place.


9.   Man cannot live by bread alone—which means available water supply for massive growth should also be in place.


10.  Lastly, the land must be level and usable. If the land has toxic waste, businesses or residential developers cannot use it. Other factors affect land usability, and an informed appraiser and real estate broker should be sought.


I work with a group that has a professional acquisitions team. The team has located land parcels that fulfill these criteria, and the parcels have appreciated well beyond the returns of the stock market. 

July 25, 2008

Alternative to Social Security, a long-term strategy

by Gina Lynell Smith

Our retirement was to be a combination of Social Security, Pension Plans, and Personal Savings, but today all three are in jeopardy and an alternative is needed.


Social Security is billions of dollars in debt-essentially now defunct. Personal savings are in danger of bank failures like IndyMac. Pension plans are either being discontinued by our companies for lack of money, or they are under performing in the volatile stock market and mutual funds or they are at risk like the Enron disaster.


What is the Solution? One suggestion is that youth now need to make more than $60,000 in order to save for retirement and continue to pay down the debt of (or be taxed for) Social Security. But, what if you do not have a college degree or even a high school diploma, how will you make an income of $60,000 or more? And during these turbulent times – bank failures, where do you keep your personal savings in order that it will be safe and available when you need it at retirement?


Some economists have suggested a government 401k started at birth for low-income kids, but the same problems that we are facing with Social Security today could also become the problems of the 401k. Also two threats to the 401ks are volatile stock market losses and bank failures.


In my opinion, carefully chosen land purchased by a self-directed IRA is the answer.


In fact, if the banks fail, such a purchase would not be initially effected. The deed of trust or grant deed that was received for the purchase is still good! It is easily transferable and easily inherited. The retiree can sell it to another person in the U.S. or to a foreign investor once it has appreciated in value, or the retiree can lease out the land and live off of the rental income.


A low-income(below poverty) child or any child given a valuable piece of land at birth might receive the best protection against retirement our government or parents could give.


Imagine, how land ownership would make below-poverty people or any person more productive and more actively involved in the community. The land will increase in value over a time period of 30 – 40 years and many things would then occur.


One Scenario would be for the retiree to sell the land and live off of the interest (assuming the banks did not fail.) This one transaction per child would lift several generations out of poverty. The family would no longer have to live off of the government assistance and low wages. The government would also be alleviated, over time, of its trillions of dollars in debt.


A $5,000 to $25,000 investment in an acre of land purchased with an IRA results in deferred taxes and could be worth $1.5 million after the 30 – 40 year period. (The government actually spends $25,000 or more in the first five years of a below-poverty child’s life.) The child could actually retire at 40 years of age instead of 67 or 71 expected by the Social Security Department, and he or she would still be able to effectively be trained to work/volunteer in hospitals or senior assisted care programs.


Also $1.5 million invested in a T-bill at 4% is $60,000 per year income before taxes. Two years of paying taxes on $60,000 would pay the government back to original $5,000 to $25,000 investment.


Even after paying taxes on $60,000, the income is not bad, especially when you are healthy and when healthcare costs have been reduced by the results of mandatory training and volunteer requirements of those receiving the land IRA. Such volunteer work would reduce the salary expense and overall costs of healthcare.


The $1.5 million is still available, after death, to be passed on to his or her child, thus reducing the government’s obligation to invest in another $5,000 to $25,000 per acre at birth, but also it reduces the government assistance needed for welfare or AFDC to raise this new child. This new child can grow up with self-esteem knowing that the interest from $1.5 million is available to him or her for college, a business venture or real estate.


Another scenario would be to sell the land and lease a portion of it back, use only $500,000 to improve the leased land with real estate income property. The retiree could live on the income of the interest from the remaining $1 million and from the income of the rental property minus the land lease. This scenario is risky, but now the retiree is a productive developer who has created jobs and hopefully is building more wealth to invest in the community.


Both of these scenarios rely on the banks not failing. Should the banks fail, the last scenario would be to simply lease the land out for more than $60,000 per year, and the retiree could live on the rental income until death, and such land and income can be passed onto his/her child. Regardless of bank failures, this plan could work.


Some considerations need to be in place—how to distribute the land to whom, and which land to buy (most land should be in the U.S., but as land availability decreases, it can be purchased outside the U.S.); Ten criteria must be considered to ensure the land value appreciation needed to reach at least $1.5 million per acre.


Read my next week’s post to see “The Ten Criteria Needed for Purchasing Land with an IRA.”


Live happy and wealthy!


July 16, 2008

When to Retire?

Land Banking Lady Improving Your Wealth

by Gina Lynell Smith


When Should We Retire?

Welcome smart investors, financial savvy, and baby-boomers!

We are all watching the economy today looking for an opportunity to improve our wealth. Our goal, at my corporation is to bring the most updated information to our community. Knowledge about our options is the best way to increase our wealth. We look forward to assisting you in living a better lifestyle, building your children’s or grandchildren’s college fund, or setting up a retirement plan that won’t leave you as a burden on your adult children.


I have stumbled upon a great long-term appreciation strategy that is safe and gives us the freedom of self-directing our funds without any penalties or loss of benefits. Sadly, the stock market and money market funds, even with a financial advisor, are not giving us enough money to pay the advisor’s fees and advance us ahead of inflation to create abundant wealth. 


Most people do not know that they can rollover their IRA/401k, 403b or other retirement plan into Real Estate. The defined benefits plans do have restrictions of movement, but they can be set up to include a SEP or other IRA, and they can be rolled over into a self-directing IRA if done properly. The following excerpt is just a generalization of what can be done. It is my posted response to “The Wall Street Journal – Retirement Debate,” article “Keeping Retirement Plans on Track When Stocks Fall.” It was about a man in his 60’s who had $400,000 in several assets, and he was concerned about when to retire without incurring a loss. Here is my response:


Land Banking Lady

06/12/2008, 01:25 pm

My suggestion to John or any of us baby boomers is to first consolidate all funds and retirement plans into a self-directing IRA. This eliminates most of the difficulties of having such diversified assets. Next, sadly $400,000 is not enough to retire–Most care facilities cost an average of $5000 per month, which means you will need a savings of $2,000,000 in a T-bill or similar that will give you 4% interest earned. This amount will net after taxes $5000 per month. Thirdly, in order to quickly change that $400,000 to $2,000,000, John will have to live off his low-social security for five to seven years or continue to work while John’s self-directing IRA does some safe Land Banking that will appreciate at 38% or higher, and then he can live the good life! He can trade his self-directed IRA for a 4% t-bill or similar, live off the $5000 per month net interest, and leave a legacy of $2,000,000 to his children to use for their retirement.

Obviously, there are some things to consider in the wake of the bank failure of IndyMac, but one benefit is that real estate owned has a Deed of Trust, which can be sold. The answer to the question, “When should we retire?” is when we have enough saved so that the monthly interests is enough to pay taxes and live the same or better standard of living as we have now.

I give workshops on “How to Rollover Your IRA/401k into Real Estate,” and I have a matrix on how to consolidate your retirement assets. Call me at 925-426-1120 or Email me.

Thanks! and Happy Living Wealthy!

Blog at