HUGE Equifax Data Breach

Last week, Equifax announced that their network had been hacked, revealing the Social Security Numbers, drivers’ license numbers, email addresses, and other personal information of their customer database.

143 million.

That’s how many people were affected.

That’s a big number.

And this breach will follow you around until you die.

It’s not like you can go get a new SSN. And even if you did, there’s a database table somewhere that would refer back to your old SSN…

The thing that really bugs me about the credit bureaus is that we are not the customers. We didn’t directly sign up for these schmucks to house our most private financial and personal data. Sure, you can point to the fine print and say every credit agreement says you’re giving them the right to do this.

But you’re not getting credit from them. I’d love to see Congress and the President pass a law that holds the banks giving the credit direct liability for data breaches. After all, that’s who you’re doing business with.

The banks and other lending institutions are the customers of the credit bureaus. And they don’t really care if the credit bureaus don’t keep your data safe; there’s nothing for them to lose.

The only way to combat this shit, IMHO, is to stop applying for credit. And that ain’t every going to happen.

How Consumers Can Clean Up After Equifax Disaster

Now’s a good time to subscribe to LifeLock. It’s cheap insurance.

Sign up for Lifelock today to protect your identity from data breaches.

MORE about the Equifax Data Breach

How did the Equifax breach happen? Here are some answers and some questions.
Equifax data breach: Identity-theft hackers exploited flaw experts flagged in March.

Banks Cannot Fulfill Capital Needs for Many Construction and Development Projects

CONCORD, Calif., April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — New, more stringent banking regulations and strong demand from developers for construction projects are preventing banks from funding capital requests.

There is a strong need for capital for many projects that banks cannot fulfill,” says John W. Simonse, President of LHJS Investments LLC, and one of the Managing Members of Lodgepole Fund No. 1 LLC. Simonse went on further to explain, “Banks have very stringent guidelines and reams of paperwork to be filled out. Due to the overregulation of banks today many great projects cannot get funded by a bank.” Mr. Simonse, who has been a successful real estate lender, investor, and developer for nearly 40 years, goes on to say, “Lodgepole Fund fills an important niche that allows these good projects, that banks can’t lend on, to be built by using private money real estate loans.”

About Lodgepole Fund #1 LLC and LHJS Investments LLC

Lodgepole Fund No. 1, LLC has been providing construction and development loans to builders and developers in California since 2010. Lodgepole specializes in providing construction loans for high-end residential homes. LHJS Investments LLC has been in the real estate advisory and fund management business since 1999.

Why Lodgepole Fund is a win-win for everyone involved

Lodgepole Fund is a win-win for everyone involved,” Mr. Simonse states, “the Builders and Developers get much needed capital and the investors in the Fund make a very secure return of 10+ percent on their investment. The borrowers can also get their money fairly quickly.  Although the loans are strictly underwritten, there is not a lot of red tape, like at a bank.”

Mr. Simonse continues, “I personally don’t think there is a better investment than this. Making a net return of 10% on your money, that is also secured by a deed of trust on real estate, is the best investment there is. I don’t think there is any other investment available where your money is as secure and makes that high of a return. If there is, then I would like to know what it is.”

What makes Lodgepole Fund loans safe

When asked what happens when real estate values go down, Mr. Simonse states, “When LHJS Investments LLC underwrites a loan, we make sure that the loan-to-value is safe for the type of loan we are funding, which is usually about 65% LTV for a one year term loan.

By keeping loan LTV’s low and loan terms short, we are able to follow the market fluctuations up, as well as down, eliminating long term market risk. Also, with appraisal and loan underwriting as strict as they are now, it would be highly unlikely to experience the level of foreclosures that occurred in the past, which would make a market drop of 35% in one year highly unlikely. ” As an extra precaution, Mr. Simonse adds, when LHJS Investments LLC underwrites a loan, it will only approve loans in areas that have historically strong property values.  “We do not approve loans in areas that have historically exhibited large value fluctuations, such as cities that have a high concentration of vacation homes.”

How do you apply for a loan or invest in Lodgepole fund?

To apply for a loan you can call Ashley Nelson, our construction loan supervisor,” says Mr.  Simonse. “Ashley has been with the company for 10 years now and is very well-versed in all aspects of construction lending.”

Asked how an individual could invest in Lodgepole Fund, Mr. Simonse stated, “Right now the Fund is closed to new Members. However, we will be looking at raising new capital this summer.

If you would like to invest in the Fund please contact me and I can put you on our list of potential investors. We can only accept accredited investors though,” advises Mr. Simonse.


John W. Simonse
Lodgepole Fund #1 LLC
Phone: 925-603-0433

Ashley Nelson
LHJS Investments LLC
Phone: 925-603-0433



3 Investing Myths That Can Ruin Your Retirement

A good friend of mine loves to cite this quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “It’s not what you know for sure that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Retirement saving and investing are similar. It’s easy to fall into retirement strategy beliefs that “seem” to be true. Be sure not to fall victim to the following myths about retirement.

Myth #1: When it comes to investing for retirement, investment choice is more important than how much money you invest. 

A whopping 66% of 1,000 people recently surveyed believe that what you are invested in (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) is more important than how much you invest.

While investment choices are very important, the amount you’re able to save has the greatest impact on your retirement success.

A diversified portfolio with an asset allocation appropriate for your risk tolerance and time horizon does matter. But if you’re not saving enough, even the best investment won’t help you achieve a successful retirement.

The chart below shows how saving more adds up over time. The portfolios with higher deferral rates can result in a larger balance, even when the asset allocation is more conservative.

 When does the investment choice make a significant difference? When it’s extreme. For example, a young investor may think he’s playing it safe by investing primarily in cash. Or a retiree, who is spending from her portfolio, may be invested too aggressively without shock absorbers.

Myth #2: A 50 year old shouldn’t put any of his or her retirement money in stocks, because stocks can lose money.

Sure, stocks can lose value, but they also generate the highest growth potential over the long term. Having all your investments in cash (or under your mattress) won’t keep pace with inflation. Bonds play an important part in your portfolio and tend to be the least understood by investors.

It’s important to have a balance of stock and bond investments that can address different risks and, at the same time, provide growth potential and help sustain a retirement that could last decades. While bonds help to dampen the short-term swings in a portfolio, stocks provide the long-term growth potential needed to keep pace with inflation and help your money last throughout retirement.

Myth #3: Saving 6% of your income toward retirement each year will give you enough money to retire at age 65.

That’s probably not enough.

For most of us, retirement will be funded by Social Security benefits and our personal savings. We recommend saving at least 15% of your salary (including any employer contributions) in order for those savings to carry you through a retirement that could last decades.

Source: on – 24 Mar, 2017 By Judith Ward

How To Win Big Investing In The Space 2.0 Boom

Space 2.0 is upon us! But how should we think about operating and investing in it?

Back in January 2016, space research institution, The Tauri Group, illustrated the recent surge of funding into Space 2.0 ventures. “Venture capital investment totals $2.9 billion with 80% being invested in the last five years.” Some of the largest venture rounds occurred in 2015: SpaceX’s $1.0 billion Series E and OneWeb’s $500 million Series A.

Yet early in 2017, Softbank announced that it would invest $1.7 billion into OneWeb as the company merges with legacy satellite company, Intelsat, for a combined valuation in the tens of billions should regulations and debt holders comply.  This is immediately after OneWeb raised $1.2 billion from Softbank this past December 2016.  

Through my experience in the venture business investing with DFJ, Rothenberg Ventures, and as an angel investor, I have been fortunate to invest in a broad range of space companies including SpaceX, Planet, Ursa, Worldview, Boom, and RBC Signals.  I’m also a consultant with CASIS, which was chosen by NASA in 2011 to manage, promote, and broker research on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory capable of benefitting life on Earth. Their mission to maximize utilization of the ISS National Lab (CASIS receives not less than 50% of the U.S. research allocation for the ISS, with NASA receiving the remainder) combined with the opportunity to meet a myriad of entrepreneurs active in Space 2.0 has provided me with a unique perspective into this emerging investment opportunity.   

As investors, how should we think about the opportunities in space?  This question is particularly timely in the wake of the OneWeb deal and Google selling their satellite company Terra Bella to Planet earlier this year.  Planet also made history by launching the largest microsat payload of 88 micro satellites this past Valentine’s Day.  Their constellation of 149 satellites is the largest ever operated by a commercial entity.  The earth observation market consolidated even further this past February with the $2.4 billion acquisition of DigitalGlobe by Canadian space company MDA.  These events among others have catalyzed interest in space by the VC community. 

With these recent developments, what opportunities lurk ahead?

Let’s begin with a commonly understood investment architecture.  The dynamic enterprise technology framework of today reflects the same investment dynamics available in Space 2.0.  By studying the evolution of enterprise technology, we can extrapolate how the Space 2.0 ecosystem will likely create value for VC investors.

Enterprise Stack

Numerous enterprise investors have done an exceptional job articulating this new cloud enterprise stack.  Billion dollar companies have been, and will continue to be created at all layers of this stack.  This succinct framework, comprised of infrastructure and application layers, goes something like this, bottom to top:

  1.  Cloud Infrastructure (distributed computing, databases)
  1.  Data creation and connectivity (connected sensors to unlock data)
  1.  Machine intelligence (insights gleaned from proprietary datasets across verticals/industries)

With 90% of the world’s data created in the last two years, according to IBM, this enterprise framework plays a critical role in harnessing, understanding, and commercializing this data.  Copious “pixels and bits” come online as more photos and videos are created and widely-shared.  

It’s these pixels that contribute to the burgeoning opportunities in space for investors.  Let’s look at how.

Space 2.0 Stack

Moore’s Law and cloud computing advances have engendered a revolution for space – referred to as Space 2.0 or “newspace.”

We now have a proliferation of inexpensive, feature-rich microsats that have unleashed multitudes of proprietary data that is used for a variety of applications, with earth observation being the key structural theme.  Microsats represent a disruptive force in the space industry as they have faster innovation and deployment cycles in addition to much lower cost structures (below $100,000 to build vs tens to hundreds of millions depending on payload).  Small satellites have sub classifications ranging from <0.1kg (called “femtosats”) up to 500kg (called “minisats”), according to Keysight Technologies.  The early success and exciting future ahead for these microsats in part drives the space opportunity.   In terms of magnitude, SpaceWorks estimates that over 3,000 microsats will be launched between 2016 and 2022.  Only roughly 130 were launched in 2015.

First, what does this investment opportunity look like vis a vis the enterprise stack?

  1. Enabling infrastructure and support services for microsats

Similar to the enterprise infrastructure layer to support new applications, novel enabling technologies have emerged to support the space 2.0 ecosystem.  

From high accuracy debris tracking to communications and launch providers, an ecosystem of support for Space 2.0 has emerged dedicated to helping build the space economy. Launch providers are innovating to bring down the cost per kg ($/kg) to bring assets to space. Rocket Lab, for example, recently raised a $75m Series D led by Data Collective elevating the business to over a $1 billion valuation.  With a robust backlog of customers, they are building a rocket called the “Electron” to carry payloads of microsats into orbit.  

Additionally, RBC Signals provides “infrastructure as a service” to the space economy by aggregating ground stations enabling communications for satellite operators.


On – 04 Apr, 2017 By Valley Voices

DEBT – A Four Letter Word That Could Ruin Your Life

We all know that too much of a good thing isn’t good for you. Too much debt isn’t good for you either – but neither is too little debt. When you’re in debt to the point that you can’t make payments on time and your credit score tanks, it can make your life miserable.

Some necessities, such as a home in which to live or a car to drive to work and back, may not be available if your credit score is low. If you have no credit at all, these things could also be beyond your grasp.

The best path to follow when it comes to debt is to build your credit so your score is high, but always have the ability to pay cash for anything you might purchase – except for high-dollar items such as a house or car.

Creditors look at credit card debt as bad debt because you’re only required to make a minimum monthly payment on what you owe. You can keep using your card until the balance is maxed out and that looks bad on your credit report.

Think again if you consider credit card debt as good debt because you don’t have to pay for your purchases right away. You could end up spending more than you have the ability to pay back as interest charges are incurred and you get in trouble fast.

When you begin to have trouble paying your bills, you’ll also begin to get notices from creditors for the balances you owe or they might be turned over to debt collectors. You may even become rightly concerned about losing your house or car if you can’t make the payments on time and penalties and interest keep climbing.

Losing your job or meeting a financial crisis such as health problems can turn your financial situation upside down and you may find it an overwhelming task to dig your way out.

Rather than ignoring your situation and letting the debt problems become worse, take steps to get yourself out of the mess by being realistic. Help yourself by cutting unnecessary spending, creating a budget and sticking to it. You may also want to consider debt consolidation or debt relief such as debt settlement or credit counseling.

Bankruptcy may become an option when you’ve tried everything, but still are mired in debt. If you’re experiencing a level of debt and other problems such as loss of a job or medical situation which requires immediate payment, bankruptcy may be the best option.

When you are finally free of debt, it’s time to rebuild your credit. For this, you have to have discipline and never again let yourself be swayed by credit card and loan offers that will simply put you back in debt and keep your life in chaos.

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