It didn’t matter how many times I ran the numbers, it just didn’t pencil out. There was no way we could sell our commercial building and make a good profit on it. Why not? Well, this story will make more sense if I begin at the beginning.
When my husband Dave was a graduate student he built his own research equipment to save money. As a college professor he used some of that equipment in his teaching. When he published the first paper based on his research, scientists across the country called and asked him to build similar equipment for them. Ultimately, he and colleague started a small business to do just that.
A few years later he gave up his teaching career to run the business full time. We thought it would be just the two of us and perhaps one or two part-time employees, but we were wrong. By the time we had eight full-time employees coming to our home to work every day, we knew we had to find a building to rent. But we couldn’t locate any that fit our needs.
A friend told us that when his father retired he made more money renting the commercial building that he constructed for his company than he did from the sale of the company itself. That sounded good to us, so we designed and built our own facility with the help of low-cost loans from the Small Business Administration and Oregon’s Economic Development Department.
That really helped for a few years, but the business kept growing and by the time we had somewhere between 15 and 20 people coming to work every day, we were once again out of room. So we put the building up for sale, as well as simultaneously looking for a long-term renter, and then we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited for a renter or a buyer that never came. That’s when we discovered the truth of the statement that in real estate location is everything. By the time our building had been on the market for close to two years, we were getting desperate for space and for financial relief.
That desperation was fueled by my financial calculations. There was no way our building had appreciated in value enough for us to make much profit off it, and taxes would eat most of what we did make. One day, after a long-term rental we hoped for fell through, I startled myself by saying, “Well if we can’t sell it, let’s give it away.”
That comment was an answer to our prayers, though our response was, “You’ve got to be kidding, Lord.” I know I never would have said that or entertained an idea like that if I hadn’t attended a Ministry of Money* workshop that expanded my understanding of and appreciation for the power of giving. After we got over the shock of my suggestion and adjusted to the idea, we met with our financial advisor and discussed who might want our building when it still had a mortgage on it.
Within a few weeks he found a medical school foundation that was happy to accept it and give us a lifetime annuity in return. Not only did it work out very well for us financially, it was personally satisfying for us as both Dave’s father and uncle had taught there.
How we dealt with the financial crisis created by our need to dispose of that building is only one of the ways that workshop has impacted our lives. Perhaps we could help you too.
- If money discussions make you feel uncomfortable . . .
- If you’ve inherited or been awarded money you feel guilty about having . . .
- If you don’t know how much to leave your children and how much to give away . . .
- If you’d like to give more away but don’t feel there is any extra in your budget . . .
- If you’re in debt and struggling with feeling there is never enough . . .
- If you would like to have someone to discuss financial issues with . . .
. . . then we invite you to take advantage of the assistance we can offer through our CDs on money issues, to join us for a workshop, to check our website regularly for new ideas, and if it fits your needs, to work through your personal issues with one of our Money Mentors.
By Judy Osgood
*Ministry of Money is the former name of The Faith and Money Network.