They say, Home is where the heart is. We say, home is where the money is.

Investing in the stock market is the classic way to invest. You buy a stock, then wait for it to make you money. You don't have to get your hands dirty. But going classic is not always the best way to go, especially when you have the potential to make even more by trying another investment strategy.

Two words: Real Estate. We know what you're thinking. Maybe you won't be like the cast of Million Dollar Listing, who scours Los Angeles for the most dazzling homes and receives commissions that could buy several bungalows in the Galapagos. But you could use real estate to your advantage with a little research and a little heavy-lifting. It may just be worth it in the end.

So you want to become a landlord? If you decide to go on this path, you'll have to buy the property, pay the mortgage, and the tax and maintenance costs. You'll be responsible for renting out rooms to tenants and vetting them so they won't drive you crazy knocking on your door at 3am. But after all is said and done, you get the mortgage out of the way, and break even, you'll get the chance to raise your rent and collect positive cash flow.

What's that you said about cash flow? Not just positive, but it could actually be tax-free, depending on if you're classified as an active investor, a real estate professional, and of course, depending on your income. To find out more on if you're qualified, check this out.

The other thing about investing in property is that it forces you to make a commitment. Afraid of the C-word? Here's why you shouldn't be. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, "Rental real estate is a forced retirement plan. Americans are terrible savers. We lack the self-discipline to put a monthly deposit into our IRA, SEP or 401k as small-business owners. However, buying a rental property is a significant commitment that you are required to commit to and maintain. You will always be grateful in the long-run when you don't give up on it and build future cash flow and wealth."

If you're not interested in being a landlord, consider an REIT. It stands for Real Estate Investment Trust, and it means you can invest in a portfolio of properties by purchasing stock. You'll get paid dividends which will act as consistent income. For more on the different types of REITs, and to see what's right for you, click here.

The real estate market may also be a more stable option than the stock market, depending on the season. Investopedia cites the example of the "Flash Crash" of May 2010 as a moment when the stock market was highly volatile, therefore lauding the "more stable pricing" of real estate.

Investor Peter Koulizos agrees:

"When you factor in the return and risk associated with buying property and shares, property wins hands down, shares have [marginally] higher capital growth, but the difference in risk is huge. The risk is measured in variation in returns and capital growth (or loss) on shares can range from +40% in a year to -40% in a week! You don't get that sort of variation in property, hence it is considered a safer investment."

Investing in property is a great option that can lead to impressive profit. Anyone can throw money at the stock market, but some of us should go back to the nest.

Here's how to get started.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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