Minnesota Tops AARP List of Best States to Retire In

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for the elderly, has ranked Minnesota first in its list of the best states to live or retire in.

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AARP’s annual long-term services and supports (LTSS) scorecard aims to measure the performance of LTSS in five categories: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and quality of care, support for family caregivers, and effective transitions.

Minnesota was the only state to have scored in the top quartile for all five categories. It also ranked first in two categories: quality of life and care and choice of setting and provider.

Minnesota’s suitability as a retirement location has not gone unnoticed. The state is predicted to experience a sizable shift in demographics from 2020 to 2030. According to the Minnesota Metropolitan Council, in that 10-year period, for every one person of “working age” added to the Twin Cities’ population, there will be 21 people added to the retired group.

Although retirees have traditionally flocked to warmer states like Florida, Minnesota’s friendly citizens, beautiful scenery, and year-round outdoor and cultural activities, as well as the availability of senior services, have made Minnesota a popular retirement destination in recent years. It is also a favorite among investors and private developers eager to address the need for housing before the demand truly sets in.

Image source: states.aarp.org

Headed by Steve Liefschultz, Equity Bank is a locally-owned and managed financial firm that addresses the needs of real estate, agricultural, and business clients in the Minnetonka and Claremont areas. For more local real estate news and updates, follow this Twitter account.


Federal Reserve Bank Of Minneapolis Appoints New Bank Director

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently announced the appointment of Harry Melander, the president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, as a new member of its board of directors.

Selected as a new Class C member under a three-year term, Melander will replace Pentair CEO Randy Hogan, who is retiring from the board this year. Joining him as new Class A and B directors, respectively, are MayKao Y. Hang, the chairwoman of the board and CEO of the Wilder Foundation, and Ken Powell, the deputy chairman and CEO of General Mills.

The Class C group of directors is appointed by the Federal Reserve Bank System’s Board of Governors in Washington while member banks elect the Class A and B directors. Both Class B and C directors shall supervise the hiring of Federal Reserve Bank presidents.

Image source: blogs.mtu.edu

Image source: blogs.mtu.edu

With over 25 years of experience representing unions in the construction industry, Melander, who also serves as vice chair of the Metropolitan Council, is one of only a few union leaders nationwide serving as a Federal Reserve Bank director. As a new board member, his responsibilities range from overseeing the general operations of the Minneapolis Fed to reporting on district economic conditions.

Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis covers the 9th District of the Federal Reserve, including Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Steve Liefschultz is a real estate and banking expert based in Minnesota. For more information, visit this
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Minnesota’s Biggest Banks End 2015 With Solid Revenue

U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, two of Minnesota’s largest banking and financial services companies, finished the year strong with solid revenues. U.S. Bancorp, the fifth-largest bank in the country, reported a full-year profit increase of 2.5 percent, earning $5.21 billion in revenue; while Wells Fargo, the state’s largest bank and the world’s largest bank based on market value, earned a total of $21.6 billion in revenue.

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While both companies attributed their success to growth in loans, deposits, and income, there was a slight difference in the way they achieved profits. Wells Fargo, which surpassed Citygroup Inc. as the country’s third biggest banking company according to assets, focused on asset acquisition. U.S. Bancorp, meanwhile, extended its competitive advantage by reaching positive operating leverage, an indication of the firm’s efficiency in growing its revenue faster than its expenses.

In the wake of the industry’s low-interest rates, modest economic growth and regulations, U.S. Bancorp chief executive Richard Davis noted that the company’s overall performance is remarkable. He also expressed optimism for 2016 saying, “I’m concerned less about the rate itself than the fact that rates moving up will continue to reflect that the Fed believes the economy is stronger.”

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Steve Liefschultz is a banking and real estate expert based in Minnesota. Visit this blog for news about banking and finance.

Speeding Ahead: The Appeal of Minneapolis’ Bike-friendly Status to Homebuyers

History has shown how various factors and events affect the performance of the real estate market. For instance, the 2008 financial crisis saw many homeowners missing defaulting on their mortgage payments and their dream homes seized. Meanwhile, the entry of millennials in the workforce set off the increase in demand for rental properties, as this new generation favors renting than buying homes.

And lately, the growing importance of environmental protection has spilled over to real estate as an increasing number of homebuyers are opting for energy-efficient homes and sustainable communities. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Minneapolis is one of the cities that is attracting eco-conscious homebuyers. The City of Lakes is especially popular among property buyers who would like to bike their way to work to save on gas use and at the same time help conserve the environment.

minneapolisImage source: denisoneverywhere.com

Minneapolis is the perfect home for these “bike-happy” buyers as the city was named the most bikeable city in the U.S., according to a recent survey by residential real estate firm Redfin. The city’s growing network of bike lanes features more than 188 miles of on-street bikeways and 92 miles of off-street trails. It also has a very widely used bike sharing system, Nice Ride Minnesota, which has more than 1,550 bicycles for rent at 170 kiosks in and around the metropolis and its neighboring city of St. Paul. And aside from the Redfin recognition, Minneapolis is also the only U.S. city included on the worldwide bike-friendly list of Danish Design firm, Copenhagenize Design Co.

With biking central to its identity, Minneapolis can look forward to a healthy housing market as homebuyers who are looking to save on gas and at the same time want to help preserve the environment choose homes in the city rather than in the suburbs.

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Minnesota-based executive Steve Liefschultz is a real estate and banking expert. For more news and updates about the Minneapolis real estate scene, follow this Twitter account.

Job growth improves rent strength in the Twin Cities

Image Source: minnpost.com

Rent in the Twin Cities seems to be surging and overtaking the national average. Experts say that the high demand for apartments is due to the improvement of the economy and the good quality of life it offers to area workers.

According to this report by Apartment List, Minneapolis is the 18th most expensive major US city, with an average bedroom price 21 percent above the national average rate. This shows that renters are more than willing to pay a small premium to live closer to the city or within city boundaries.

With new job opportunities in the area, Twin Cities residents are now considering relocation to be closer to work and city life. Young urban professionals and empty nesters are renting out apartments near shopping districts, public transit, and other amenities.

Image Source: startribune.com

Despite current real market strengths, however, there is still growing concern that a bubble is looming.

A building boom might saturate the market with apartments. Too many vacancies could depress rental rates at the expense of property owners. But with so many new products entering the market, real estate professionals and apartment owners can only calculate their moves, wait for the right opportunity, and adapt to the changing bill of health of the market.

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Steve Liefschultz, CEO of Equity Bank, believes in the power of valuable investments. Learn more about real estate investing by following this Twitter account.

Twin Cities apartment market expected to remain strong

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Amid the rise of new apartment towers in Minneapolis come fears from observers that developers might have been overzealous with their projects. In January, the new builds have helped the city become one of only two cities in the country that saw the price of rent go down. According to real estate company Zillow, rent prices in Minneapolis fell to about $1,500 in January, which was 0.3 percent lower from the same period in 2014. Meanwhile, across the nation, rent prices increased a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent.

Key players in Minneapolis real estate, meanwhile, have communicated that there is no cause for alarm. Investing in commercial real estate property in the city remains hot and the health of the apartment market in the Twin Cities is expected to keep for at least the rest of the year. Demand from baby boomers is expected to match the new builds and prop up the industry.

Image Source: startribune.com

Despite many announced or approved downtown Minneapolis large-scale apartment projects, real estate experts in the city are confident that the developers have not overbuilt. There is still a lot of capital that wants to enter the Minneapolis real estate market and the lack of properties up for sale is expected to drive prices up again.

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Steve Liefschultz is the chairman of the board of a real estate company in Minnesota. For more updates about the Minnesota real estate market, follow this Facebook page.

Minnesota: A favorable location for business owners

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The consensus is clear: Minnesota is one of the strongest and steadiest places for commerce in the United States.

In a business and career analysis by Forbes, the Midwestern state—hailed as the “Star of the North”—places 9th among the best places for business based on a robust economic climate and quality of life.

A home to 5.4 million people, the state’s Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is considered a lucrative hub for multibillion-dollar companies such as Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, 3M, and Medtronic. The state’s economy, which was once reliant on the production of raw materials, has now transformed into a diverse producer of finished products and services in various industries.

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Business opportunities in Minnesota, however, is not limited to its metropolitan areas. In Minnetonka, for example, numerous corporations from various industries continue to thrive. One notable company is the food processing giant, Cargill Inc., which today holds the distinction as the largest privately held corporation in the country in terms of revenue.

With the state’s economy shifting into high gear, rural counties are now also recovering from the last recession. News reports note that nine Minnesota counties—Clay, Jackson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Stevens, and Wilkin—are rapidly progressing in terms of economic output, median home prices, jobs, and unemployment rates.

With these economic activities, Minnesota is indeed a favorable option for investors. With a strong workforce and a healthy mix of companies, the state has emerged as one of the vigorous communities for businesses.

Steve Liefschultz of Equity Bank is a seasoned real estate investor and banker. Subscribe to this blog for more insights on business and investment.

The pros and cons of a home downsize

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Retirees, empty-nesters with children away at college, and people who want to live a simple, clutter-free life often go the downsizing route. Downsizing a home entails selling one’s existing residence and using spare equity to purchase a smaller house or apartment.

There are pros and cons to doing this, broken down in the following:


Mortgage reduction. People who have downsized homes benefit from smaller mortgage repayments. The money saved could go towards other financial obligations, such as debt reduction and boosting a retirement fund. It can even be used to fund new hobbies or vacations.

Lower costs. Utilities for a smaller home cost much less than those for a large home. People who live in more compact homes don’t have to spend as much on maintenance and repairs, not to mention landscaping and housekeeping fees.

In addition, moving into a smaller home is an easy way to lower real estate taxes.

Less stress. Moving to a smaller home means a welcome respite from the tedious burden of looking after a large yard and performing repairs and household chores that come with owning a large property.

Greater flexibility. Fewer responsibilities and a lighter workload provide more opportunities to take vacations, start new hobbies,and do other activities homeowners didn’t have time for when they still had to worry about looking after a large house.


Emotional attachment. Switching from a larger to a smaller one can be jarring at first. There’s a lot one has to get accustomed to, and it can be painful to say goodbye to old friends and neighbors.

Less space. Some people might enjoy not having to deal with a lot of furniture or bric-a-brac, while some might have a hard time letting go of belongings that hold sentimental value. There’s also the concern that the new home might not have enough space for guests, and that furniture from the old house won’t fit.

Downsizing is not for everyone. Some do it and are happy in their smaller homes, while some regret it. It’s best for homeowners to take the time to consider whether the benefits outweigh the pitfalls and discuss their options with their financial adviser or a trusted real estate professional.

Follow this Steve Liefschultz of Equity Bank Twitter account for more discussions on the pros and cons of downsizing to a smaller home.

The advantages of adding real estate to an investment portfolio

Investing in real estate is steadily growing in popularity. Investors who traditionally focused on the three main asset classes are gradually introducing real estate investment into their portfolios. The following are some of the reasons:


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The old saying “Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket” still holds true when it comes to maintaining a healthy, well-rounded investment portfolio.

Most investors understand the need to balance and spread out investments from various asset classes to minimize risk and increase returns. Diversification reduces the chances of losing all assets in a market crash. Real estate has little correlation with and are typically minimally affected by the highs and lows of stocks and bonds. Simply put, real estate value can go up even if stocks go down.


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Image Source: realtor.com

Rent derived from a commercial property translates to a regular source of income, with the potential to become even greater if property values rise.

In addition, purchasing property at a low price can result in significant profits if sold when the property has appreciated, as it invariably does after a certain amount of time.

Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) also offer a source of income, as REIT investment instruments are mandated by law to pay out 90 percent of its taxable profits as dividends to its shareholders.

Hedge against inflation

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Image Source: economictimes.com

When inflation occurs, both housing values and rents go up.

Real estate returns are directly linked to the rents paid by a property’s tenants. Rent increases are generally fixed into the long-term leases of tenants, particularly in industrial and commercial properties. Rents of multifamily properties can be adjusted when leases expire, usually on a yearly basis.

The real estate market can be volatile, but adding it to an investment portfolio mitigates risk while providing opportunities for greater returns. Those considering investing in real estate, however, should consult an expert, such as a real estate portfolio and asset manager, for assistance and advice on exploring real estate investment opportunities.

Steve Liefschultz, Equity Bank‘s chairman and CEO, has more than three decades of experience in the real estate industry. Subscribe to this blog for more in-depth articles and news on real estate investments.

What sets exceptional leaders apart from the ordinary ones?

Effective leadership is not built on mere power and authority. It is also rooted on certain traits and qualities that separate the ordinary and the remarkable leader. What then sets them apart? Forbes attributes the ability to communicate and delegate, a sense of humor, and commitment to great leadership. Inc.com adds optimism, empathy, and altruism as qualities that true leaders possess.

Steve Liefschultz takes these qualities home to his firm, Equity Bank. With years in leadership positions in various industries, Mr. Liefschultz is proof that having the above qualities leads to a legacy deserving commendation.

As a lawyer, Mr. Liefschultz’ profession spanned for more than a decade representing clients in three law firms, namely Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ceresi, Liefschultz & Dunn, and Liefschultz Law Firm. He specialized in commercial real estate and contract negotiations representing management and commercial litigation.

As a real estate investor, he has worked in a number of projects since 1976. To date, he is the chairman and CEO of The Remada Company where he purchased, managed, developed, and sold of approximately 3500 multifamily units in Minnesota. Moreover, his commercial real estate holdings are in varied locations across the state.

As a banker, Mr. Liefschultz’ acuity is impressed on his work as a founding member of First Bank of Florida in Naples and his purchase of Equity Bank, among others.

Even with the vast industry experience of Mr. Liefschultz, leading is never easy, especially when it involves unchartered waters, uncertainties, and high risks, all of which do not spare the most stable of organizations. But as natural leadership qualities kick in, exceptional leaders face challenges with confidence.

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For more articles on leadership and business, follow this Steve Liefschultz Twitter account.