Tips on Being More Efficient in the New Year

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Many of us may have already dropped our New Year’s Resolutions by now, but I personally believe there’s no wrong time to make a positive change in your life. Here are some tips for those looking to be more efficient in 2023. 

Break Tasks Down Into Smaller Pieces 

The urge to procrastinate is hard to resist and I’ve learned that breaking down work into smaller chunks is very helpful when trying to concentrate. When looking at a big project or task, take a step back and zero in on what can be done first. One of the easiest ways to do this is to allocate a manageable amount of time you can dedicate each day to working on the project to make it feel more manageable.  

Figure Out What Needs to Be Done First 

Whether it’s for work or chores at home, look at what you need to do and think to yourself “What could cause a problem if I don’t get it done now?” For work, if a specific task is due that day, you’ll want to make finishing it a priority. At home, if you’re choosing between cleaning up a spill on the living room carpet or cleaning the oven, you’ll want to focus on cleaning up the spill before a stain can set. Prioritizing your tasks each day helps you become more productive on a day-to-day basis. 

Write Down a List of Your Tasks for Reference 

Many of us are leading busy lives with to-do lists we can’t keep straight from day to day. If you’ve got a busy day or week ahead of you, take a few minutes to write down a list of everything you need to get done. It can be easy to lose track of what you should be doing, so it’s handy having a list to refer back to. Plus, if you’re someone like me who loves having a to-do list to check off, you’ll feel even more accomplished when you finish! 

Learn to Say “No”

Sometimes in the name of being efficient, we say “yes” to everything thrown our way. But to be efficient, you can’t take on more than you can handle. Learn to know when your plate is full and be comfortable turning down others so you can prioritize yourself. 

Take Breaks

One of the most crucial parts of being more efficient is taking a break. If you’re operating at full speed 100% of the time, you’re bound to burn out. Your body and mind need time to recuperate if they’re going to be as efficient as you want them to be. If you want recommendations on books to read in your downtime, check out my blog here

When your life gets busy, it’s easy to succumb to the stress and get overwhelmed, but life doesn’t have to be that way. I hope these tips will help guide you so that your life throughout 2023 is more efficient than ever. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 
Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

5 Reasons to Invest In Real Estate

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

As many face financial difficulty in the wake of the pandemic, you may look for ways to boost your income. Real estate provides great benefits for those looking to diversify their portfolio and avoid riskier investments. Here are five reasons why you should invest in real estate:  

Tax Benefits 

When tax season arrives, real estate investors are able to write off fees for managing their properties. The costs of owning and operating can provide some decent tax breaks. If you’re able to sell your property for more than what you bought it for, then it won’t be counted as taxed income. 

Chance to Build Capital 

If you invest in the right properties, you’ll be able to expand your capital by selling it once its value has risen. One of the main goals of investing in real estate is to build out capital, or cash. What’s important is making sure you’re investing in the right properties and knowing the right time to sell. 

Diversification 

In times of economic turmoil, such as the one we’re currently facing, diversification can be key to protecting you from riskier financial investments. If certain stocks are facing a downturn, your real estate could still be increasing in value, protecting you from greater financial harm. 

Stable Cash Flow 

Renting out property to tenants is a good source of additional monthly income. After mortgage payments and any supplemental operating costs, the additional profit leftover is yours to take. Just make sure you’re renting out to reliable tenants. You don’t want to constantly be short of a check by the end of the month and have to cut into your own funds. 

Inflation Protection 

As inflation increases prices, property values also increase. You’ll be able to make more for higher operating expenses in order to compensate where you’re paying more in other areas. 

Figure out what kind of real estate investment is right for you. Do you want to rent out a property to families or business owners? The most important thing when investing in real estate is choosing the property that aligns with you and your goals. You’ll want to choose a property that will ideally move up in value instead of depreciating. Either way, you’ll be able to expand your financial resume and receive several financial benefits. 

If you want to learn about ways to boost the resale value of property you already own, read my blog here about home renovations I recommend. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Travel Tips and Tricks for 2023

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Traveling can be stressful. As a seasoned traveler myself, I know how much effort goes into trip preparation. Today, I wanted to share some tips about aspects of your vacation you may put on the back burner. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your next vacation. 

Never Underestimate Lines at the Airport

It may seem overkill to get to the airport hours ahead of takeoff but it’s essential to keep in mind. Some international travelers are waiting up to four hours to get through security. Don’t miss out on your dream vacation because the line for TSA is moving too slowly. Better to be early and bored than to miss your flight entirely. If you’re looking for a good read to pass the time waiting in the terminal, check out my blog about some of my favorite mystery novels

Budget Accordingly 

Traveling expenses can add up pretty quickly. Create a travel budget that will account for essentials like food and lodging but remember to take experiences into consideration. Give yourself room to make some pre-planned “impulsive” decisions on your trip. 

Invest in a Quality Suitcase. 

Many travelers fall victim to the overpacking impulse. This can be a pain when you’re trying to consolidate the number of bags you’re checking at the airport. Invest in a suitcase that can compensate for any last-minute additions to your clothes for the trip and anything you decide to purchase while you’re away. 

Study Up. 

It’s always important to know some of the ground rules for where you’re traveling. You should know. What’s a big no-no? Are there any cultural differences? Is there any special clothing you need to pack? Look at the weather forecast and be prepared for different climates depending on the time of year. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of everything but it’s good to have a general knowledge of the area you’re visiting so you can ensure you have the best trip possible. 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Tourist Label 

Tourists tend to get a bad rep. Many people get caught up trying to avoid judgment from locals but as long as you’re being respectful, embrace your status as a traveler. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions or visit the monument already clogged up with other visitors. They’re popular for a reason! 

Preparedness pays off but make sure you don’t get too caught up in the details when you’re traveling. It’s good to have a plan so you can make the most out of your time but don’t sweat it too much if things get knocked a bit off course. Wherever you’re going, enjoy your visit! 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Top-Rated National Charities You Should Donate Toward

Hi everyone, Michael Gortenburg here. 

We all want to make the world a better place but when it comes down to donating, it can be difficult to nail down who you want to help and how. Today, I want to share with you some reputable charities you might want to consider: 

St. Jude’s Hospital 

St. Jude’s Research Hospital works to advance cures for deadly illnesses affecting children through research and treatment. Their mission is “no child should ever die in the dawn of their life.” They provide complete monetary support for families who can’t otherwise pay for their children’s medical bills. Donations to St. Jude are what keep families from ever receiving a bill. Unlike other hospitals, they rely solely on donations to support their mission. St. Jude’s is unique in that you get to see where your money is going. Donations directly support families seeking treatment for their children and provide them relief during an incredibly difficult time in their lives. 

National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the largest and oldest organization led by blind people in the country. They work to let the world know that blindness is not what defines someone and to continually raise expectations for what their community is capable of. Proceeds to the NFB go toward training and education for blind youth, advocacy for the community, and investing in accessible technology. 

Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) works to educate the public on mental health and reduce barriers to diagnosis and treatment. They’re doing the work to reduce the stigma around mental health and provide solutions and resources to those who live with it. MHA has raised over one million dollars to support mental health programs, screened eight million people for mental health conditions, and reached 31 million people through public education programs. Those who suffer from a mental health condition may sometimes suffer in silence and organizations such as MHA are striving to start the conversation on mental illness. 

Helping others in an effort to make the world a better place, or Tikkun Olam is an important part of my Jewish heritage. These are just a few of the many great charities that put in the work to educate the public and aid vulnerable communities. At the end of the day, by contributing to a charity, you make a contribution in someone’s life. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Increase the Resale Value of Your Home with These Top Home Renovations

Hi everyone, it’s Michael Gortenburg. 

Selling your home can be stressful. You want to make sure you’re fully capitalizing on the space you have but might not know where to start. Here are some ways to increase the resale value of your home and take full advantage of what your home has to offer: 

Improve your curb appeal 

You want potential buyers to be drawn in from the moment they see your house. There are many small changes you can make to improve your front porch and yard. Enhance your landscape with trees, flowers, and bushes to help frame your front yard. Expand your front porch with an inviting and comfortable seating area and welcoming light fixtures. Also, easy changes like a fresh coat of paint or new doors can make all the difference. 

Build or convert space 

The next best way to guarantee an increase in the value of your home is to add square footage. However, if an addition isn’t in your timeframe or budget, consider converting some unused space. Do your kids have an old playroom they’ve outgrown? Consider converting it into a home office space. With such a large portion of the workforce working from home, having an area devoted specifically to work could be a major selling point for homebuyers.

Make your home more energy efficient 

More and more buyers are looking for ways to be energy efficient in their day-to-day lives. By incorporating energy efficiency into your home, you’ll be doing the work for them, making your home all the more enticing. If you’re curious about which green tech to incorporate into your home, check out my blog about the best green tech here

Enhance your backyard 

Upgrading your backyard can offer new recreational benefits. With so many people now working from home, and so many others still concerned about shared spaces, many have incorporated the outdoors as an expansion of their everyday space. A deck or pool can transform a backyard into a place in which potential buyers can easily imagine spending long stretches of their time. 

These renovations can make all the difference in upping the value of your home. When making these changes, it’s important to keep in mind what sellers are looking for. Whether it’s planting more flowers or building a fire pit, figure out what changes make the most sense for your home, and more importantly, for your buyers. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg Honor Workers on Labor Day

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg, founding Principals of 18 Capital Group (18CP), a Kansas City-based private equity firm with a focus on real estate, celebrate Labor Day this year by honoring the hard work of their employees. 

First proposed by Matthew Maguire, a secretary for the Central Labor Union, Labor Day is a national holiday that began as a way of celebrating the strides of the Labor movement in America. This day honors the daily efforts and achievements of the working class that keep our country running. 

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg wish to do their part in uplifting workers by highlighting the 226 employees that keep 18 Capital Group going. Their staff works every day to provide upstanding management to the highest quality housing units. 

This Labor Day is a way to reflect on how their employees’ daily hard work has contributed to 18 Capital Group’s strategic success. With their efforts, 18CP has provided over 6000 units to people spanning 33 communities in 11 states. 

“It’s important that we take the time to appreciate our in-house employees and property management teams who provide the necessary support for our customers day in and day out,” said Scott Asner, “If not for their dedication to 18 Capital Group, our business would not be where it is today.” 

Asner and Gortenburg created 18 Capital Group out of shared care for their communities, wanting to reposition the real estate landscape through better management. 18 Capital Group set high standards for customers and every day, their staff continues to not only meet but exceed expectations. 

“We try our best to create a positive working environment that rewards employees for their accomplishments. That’s why we want to make sure they know how appreciated they are this Labor Day,” stated Gortenburg. 

About Scott Asner

Scott Asner is a longstanding Kansas City, MO investment manager and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG). Having earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Stanford University, Scott practiced law for two decades before turning to the investment management profession. As a Principal of 18CG, Scott specializes in diverse real estate investments and leads a core team of 25 employees from 18CG’s corporate headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. Scott oversees the private equity-financed acquisition of properties nationwide –more than 7,000 apartment units at 33 properties in 15 states. He is a long-term holder of most of these properties. For more information about Scott Asner, please visit www.scottasner.com.

About Michael Gortenburg

Michael Gortenburg is a Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) and owner of more than 100 investment entities–a diverse portfolio focusing primarily on multifamily housing units. In addition to overseeing all corporate and individual property functions for 18CG, Michael is involved in a number of other operational businesses, such as digital media and software companies. For more information about Michael Gortenburg, please visit https://michaelgortenburg.com.

Originally published at https://www.prweb.com on September 5, 2022.

Best Mystery and Thriller Novels in the 2010s

Hello, everyone, Michael Gortenburg here! 

Finding the right book can be a tricky process. No one wants to spend hours of their time reading something only to end up hating the final chapter. As an avid reader and fan of the mystery genre, I wanted to share with you all some of my personal favorites from the last decade or so: 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (2014)

Mr. Mercedes is the first book of a trilogy by renowned horror and sci-fi author, Stephen King. The book follows former police detective, Bill Hodges, as he tries to hunt down a local serial killer before he can strike again. The killer’s point of view was a chilling and effective addition to the story. Mr. Mercedes is a classic cat-and-mouse tale with engaging characters and a thrilling mystery that keeps up the suspense. If you’re a fan of King’s previous work, or looking to explore more of his work, Mr. Mercedes is a great start. 

Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012)

Defending Jacob is a crime drama that follows district attorney and family man, Andy Barber, as a shocking murder unfolds with his son at the center. Where once Andy felt welcomed and appreciated in his community, he’s now ostracized as he’s forced to examine his own son’s innocence. Both gripping and clever, Defending Jacob forces readers to examine the difficult reality of facing your family’s mistakes and the impacts of nature versus nurture. Once you’ve finished reading, you can experience the story all over again by watching the adaptation on Apple TV. 

Command Authority by Tom Clancy (2013)

The last outing from Tom Clancy before his death, Command Authority is the explosive final book of the “Ryanverse.” Command Authority follows President Jack Ryan and the covert members of The Campus, a covert intelligence organization, as they try to thwart a Russian dictator’s plans. The central conflict is one that’s been built up for 30 years, starting back in Jack Ryan’s days as a young CIA analyst until his final confrontation with the assassin he could never catch. 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (2019)

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a more recent hit, following criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber and his obsession with uncovering a woman’s motive for the brutal murder of her husband. What’s exciting about The Silent Patient is the added layer of intrigue surrounding Alicia’s sudden silence. We watch as Theo maps out her motive while also uncovering chilling parallels between the two of them. The Silent Patient offers a page-turning examination of love, betrayal and how tragedy impacts us all. 

A good mystery novel should toe the line between intrigue and confusion. I hope some of these will give you the edge-of-your-seat thrill you’re seeking. If you’d like more suggestions on page turners, check out Book Riot. Aside from mystery novels, I also greatly enjoy business books. Here are some of my top picks for business success.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Best Sights to See in Kansas City

Hello everyone! Michael Gortenburg here. 

As a lifelong Kansas City native, I’m always eager to show off the sights that make this city special. Though the Midwest can sometimes be overlooked for its vacation appeal, there’s plenty of hidden treasure to explore, especially here in Missouri. Here are some of the best sights Kansas City has to offer. 

Arabia Steamboat Museum 

The Arabia Steamboat Museum offers an in-depth look at the historic sinking of the Arabia in 1856, as well as its recovery in 1988. The Missouri River claimed hundreds of steamboats along its 2,500-mile route throughout the 1800s. When the Steamboat Arabia originally sank in 1856, it brought down 200 tons of unknown cargo. Over a century later, the recovery of the ship brought with it a modern-day treasure-hunting story. Visitors get a glimpse into the past through the Arabia’s uniquely preserved materials. From clothing to fine china to children’s toys, this museum will capture the attention of all ages. The Arabia’s preservation is still in progress, so you always have more to look forward to in future visits. 

Kansas City Zoo 

Founded in 1909, the Kansas City Zoo has reigned the wild into the city for locals and tourists alike. The Kansas City Zoo is home to over 1,700 animals. They even have cameras for a live look at the animals after zoo hours. Their website offers a sneak peek at the more than 200 species represented at the zoo so that visitors can familiarize themselves before getting to meet them in person. From Allen’s Swamp Monkey to the American alligator, the Kansas City Zoo has everything an animal lover could want.

Kauffman Stadium 

Another must-see, especially for any baseball fan, is the Kauffman Stadium. Originally opened as the Royals Stadium in 1973, Kauffman is the sixth oldest stadium in the country. It gained its new name in 1993, in honor of the team’s former owner, Ewing M. Kauffman, and his contributions to the team. I recommend taking the chance to watch the Kansas City Royals play at home during their 50th season. Kauffman Stadium has seats that can accommodate any price range and guarantee an exciting ballgame experience for everyone. View the Royals Hall of Fame or book a stadium tour. 

The Money Museum 

If you’re looking for the “billion-dollar experience” at no cost, visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Money Museum shows visitors how millions of dollars are processed through the Federal Reserve Bank each day. Guests can view Harry S. Truman’s coin collection, lift a genuine gold bar, and interact with numerous digital exhibits. The Money Museum is a fun and free way to learn more about the U.S. economy. 

Kansas City has something to offer for all ages and interests. 

If you start to get a little hungry along the way, check out my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Best Energy-Saving Tech For Your Home

Hi everyone! Michael Gortenburg here! Over the course of my career, I have always put focus on how to make housing more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

In 2022, it is easier to make environmentally-friendly changes to your home that will save energy and money. If you dread getting your electric or gas invoice every month, here are a few upgrades you can make to help shrink your bill.

Solar Panels

If you are looking for a new way to power your home, consider installing solar panels on the roof of your house. Solar panels convert sunlight and heat into energy and reduce your reliance on the more traditional power grid. You can use the energy directly or store it for later use. While this option can be a bit costly, it is a long-term investment in using a renewable and sustainable resource that will save you considerable money down the line.

LED Lights

LED lights are the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market, so you can have incandescent lighting without the environmental impact. Unlike halogen or CFL bulbs, LED bulbs don’t radiate as much heat. They don’t emit UV rays or contain any toxic materials like mercury. LEDs are also incredibly durable, some even lasting up to 20 years without going out, saving you money every year.  

Smart Thermostat

Another must-have piece of green tech for your home is a smart thermostat. As summers get hotter and winters get colder, you may find yourself adjusting your thermostat more and more just to stay comfortable at home.  Smart thermostats control the temperature for you, making sure that your home stays the perfect temperature regardless of if you need heat to keep warm or air conditioning to cool off.

Smart Power Strips

We are all familiar with the traditional power strip. You know, the ones that plug all of your cords into a single outlet? If you keep those strips on even when you aren’t using your devices, you might not be thinking about how much energy you’re still using by keeping them plugged in. If this sounds like you, consider switching to a smart power strip. This piece of tech uses a remote to turn off the device and save energy, money, and the environment.

 Making your home environmentally friendly is an investment that shouldn’t break the bank. Adding green tech to your house is a simple way to live a more sustainable and energy-efficient life. Do you have any green tech in your home already? Let me know on social media!

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Also follow Michael Gortenburg on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Travel Notes: Greece

View of town and port at the island Skopelos, northern Sporades, Greece

Hello! Michael Gortenburg here and greetings from Kansas City!

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world to visit some of the most spectacular countries and their noteworthy attractions. From the bustling streets of Tel Aviv to the beaches of Cuba, I’ve seen a lot beyond the borders of Kansas City.

One of my favorite trips was the one I took to Greece. Not only does the country have beautiful views, but Greece is rich in culture and history. If you find yourself going there anytime soon, here are a few places you should consider going to on your visit.

Cities and Islands

If you love seeing the remains of history and incredible art, Athens should be a no-brainer on your itinerary. Visit the Acropolis to see the most important landmark in the country and the New Acropolis Museum, which is the largest modern structure built so close to an ancient spot. The Acropolis is home to the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon, the Old Temple of Athena, and the Theatre of Dionysus Eleutherius.

If you’re looking to let loose on vacation, look no further than Mykonos. Mykonos is a Greek Island known for its vibrant nightlife. You probably hear “Mykonos” and think of white buildings with beautiful blue accents, but it’s so much more than that. Whether you’re looking for wine tasting, a boat ride around the island, or nightclubs, you won’t be disappointed with what you can find there.

From ruins to islands, the sightseeing in Greece is second to none. The country has so many beautiful views that you can’t find here in the United States.

Food

Greece has a rich culture, history, and most importantly, cuisine. Using wheat, olive oil, and wine, in combination with other specialty vegetables and proteins, cheeses and herbs, Greek culinary traditions will blow you away. I would definitely recommend trying Greek Baklava, a layered dessert made from filo dough and filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey. The dish has taken a variety of forms throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but there’s nothing quite like it in Greece, where they make it with 33 layers of dough.

If you like wine or olive oil, Greece is the perfect place to try both. Look for bountiful vineyards and groves for distinctly Greek wines and olive oil made from freshly picked olives. Did you know that Greek olive oil is considered to be a superfood? Studies have shown that it can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, fight cancer, and so much more.

These are just a few things to enjoy on your next trip to Greece. It is so important for us to experience and immerse ourselves in other cultures, and expand what we know about history, food, and people. Travelling is good for the soul and I wish you the best of luck as you explore the world.

Do you have any travel tips for Greece? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time!

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principle of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

Follow Michael on Twitter, Xing, and Medium.