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May 2019
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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Your reading for September by Susan Keefe

One Sip at a Time:Learning to Live in Provence

by Keith Van Sickle

Can a two-career couple really pick up stakes and move to Provence? 

When Californian Keith Van Sickle accepted an overseas work post to the French speaking Neuchatel in Switzerland, he and his wife could have believed that this event would be the stimulus which would change their lives forever.

You see, they loved their time abroad so much that on their return to America they decided to become self-employed as consultants. This decision gave them the flexibility and freedom to follow their dream of living in Provence France for periods of time.

So, together with their dog Lucca, they headed for Provence, and in springtime, for three years they stayed in three different locations, Mollégès in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Ventabren in Aix-en-Provence, and Le Thor in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

They were keen to learn the language, make new friends, and immerse themselves in the culture and customs of this beautiful region of France.

Keith’s wonderfully descriptive writing brings alive for his reader the amazing scenery, majestic mountains, incredible chateaux, beautiful villages and culinary delights which they sampled on their visits, and gives a real feel for living there.

As an expat his experiences made me smile as he so eloquently describes the so very unique ways of the French people. There are many examples of how in many different ways they differ so much from the English, some make you smile and some are downright frustrating, but all are interesting to observe, unless of course you are waiting for something or someone to arrive, when their manana sense of time isn’t funny at all.

Reading this book you get a true sense of how important time spent with family, and friends is in France. They are very patriotic and loyal to their country and region, indeed each department has its own culinary specialities, and festivals to celebrate the harvesting of the local produce.

Who could not be amazed at the incredible range of breads, pastries and gateaux which are offered in the boulangeries, and the wide range of produce which can be bought at the markets which are in all the villages however large or small. These markets really are wonderful to investigate, there you can find everything you need from fruit, and fresh goats cheeses direct from the farm, to chickens ready to lay your breakfast eggs.

I highly recommend this fascinating and entertaining book. Whether you love reading about other people’s lives, want to know more about ‘real’ France, or would like to live or holiday there, this very interesting book will captivate and amuse you.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon


Modern Real Estate Investing: The Delaware Statutory Trust

by Mbt John Harvey Cpa, Trawnegan Gall, and David Kangas

The authors of this book have over a decades experience in the real estate private placement industry, and they have also asked several trusted colleagues from real estate sponsors and attorneys to qualified intermediaries to contribute in various ways. In doing this they hope to achieve their goal of not only introducing the DST concept for real estate investing to all, but also to provide for the reader a balanced view from the whole industry.

So what is DST?

DST (Delaware Statutory Trust) is a trust formed under Delaware statutory law which allows a person to own a fraction of a piece of real estate as an investment. This is made possible through a securities private placement offering, and it gives the individual the opportunity to join with other accredited investors in owning a real estate that they would not individually have been able to afford.

This book provides an extensive guide for everyone, from the beginner to the more experienced investor, and the information is divided into four section. The first gives a comprehensive introduction to alternative real estate investing using DST, with the aim of encouraging private investors to consider private placement investing.

Then in the second section, DST is looked at in more detail for those who are unfamiliar with the concept, and this section also provides the reader with insider information on how to choose trusted business partners, whether they be qualified intermediaries, sponsors or brokerages. The authors hope that this information will give private real estate investors the confidence to utilize the effectiveness of § 1031 exchange tax deferral and expand their personal portfolio of institutional grade real estate.

For the experienced investor DST is analysed and greater insight is given as the book progresses. This should aid the more seasoned investor in their selection of properties with a view to minimising risk and meeting their investment aims. Examples are given of real investment portfolios, and explanations of each provided to enable the reader to see the real potential of this type of investing.

At the end of the book in order to provide a balanced viewpoint, the authors have provided information on the alternatives to DST, and discuss their individual pros and cons. Because this is a high risk industry, throughout, the authors have tried to provide fair and balanced information and there is a separate chapter committed to potential risks.

This book is essential reading for anyone who is considering DST. The wealth of experience provided by the authors and contributors, provides invaluable information, presented in a way which is easy to read and understand. A very useful guide which enables the reader to make informed decisions on whether or not this type of real estate investing is for them.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon

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