“Business? It’s quite simple. It’s other people’s money.”
—ALEXANDRE DUMAS THE YOUNGER
“Money is the seed of money, and the first guinea is sometimes more difficult to acquire than the second million.”
—JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU
We like to believe we have appreciation for the greater things in life, that we don’t take things for granted—like a good home, a successful business, loyal employees or a supportive partner—that we take time to “stop and smell the roses,” that we are—in essence—more enlightened and less vacuous, more human than not. But T.S. Eliot once reminded us: Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the Shadow (“The Hollow Men,” 1925).
It is all too easy for the trappings of what we like to call “real life” to interfere in our ability to see the proverbial Big Picture and follow through on good intentions. We often fail to relish the true wonder of...well, everything. And time passes us like a firefly through a warm summer sky, spilling its way through the indigo night. Sometimes we don’t even notice it.
Why all this pontificating and poesy? This issue focuses on finance: Where to get money, what it’s worth, how to convince people to give you more. And when it comes to real estate, finance takes on a vaguely surreal quality, as people deal in what I like to call “virtual cash.” Having just come down off the purchase of a new home, I am keenly aware of the effect excessive attention to money matters has on the psyche. It’s made me a bit melancholy—perhaps even averse to such topics.
But, alas, the world spins on. Business deals are in the making even as I type (and you, dear reader, read). So, as much as I might prefer to encourage you to dust off your copy of Leaves of Grass and curl up safe from the brisk fall chill that must surely linger outside your door, I must instead arm you with what fiscal knowledge I can. I give you this, our annual finance issue. Perhaps, between talk of Treasury, Prime and LIBOR rates, amid words of advice and mind-boggling calculations, there is some poetry after all.
The financial environment of this country is changing as the economy achieves recovery. Business owners of all industries, including self-storage, watch tentatively as rates begin to climb. What will the New Year do for development? Will buyers continue to buy? Will sellers continue to sell? And what sort of capital will be available? These are the questions that trouble the (business)man’s soul.
In the upcoming year, as you contemplate your refinance, purchase or sale, as you sit with furrowed brow, wading through loan documents—don’t be so quick to swat the first insect that buzzes by. It might be a firefly, harking back, not to the Shadow that falls between reality and good intent, but to that cerulean summer night. It is good to be prosperous; but it is never too late to be grateful.
Teri L. Lanza