Investment Opportunity of a Lifetime
If you were presented with the investment opportunity of a lifetime, could you raise enough money quickly to take advantage of it? Let’s take a hypothetical example of needing a $25,000 down payment to purchase your aunt’s property. Your aunt is willing to sell you a property she owns for $250,000. You need $25,000 down and she will carry the remaining $225,000 with no closing costs. The $250,000 price is $50,000 below the true market value of $300,000, but you have to have the down payment within 7 days.
Or maybe you work for a private company that is just about to go public, and you can buy shares at a locked-in low stock option price that is expiring and requires you to act immediately.
Or you were the winning bidder of some below-market asset (like a sports car, collectibles, or mineral rights) at a bankruptcy auction and have 7 days to come up with the funds, or lose your deposit and the potential profits from selling that asset at market value.
Or maybe you just need the money for some type of emergency.
You Only Have 7 Days to Raise the Money
Is it realistic to raise $25,000 in 7 days? It’s not easy but it’s certainly possible. With just 7 days to raise the money, the possibility of earning the money by taking on an extra job or working overtime is probably unrealistic. You’d have to find a job or gig, get hired, complete the work, and get paid within 7 days. The reality is that you are going to need to liquidate assets or borrow funds, then take on extra work over a longer period of time to pay it back. Or if you are flipping an asset, use the proceeds of that sale to repay the $25,000 you borrowed.
Keep in mind that the interest rates and fees on many types of quick borrowing options are typically quite high. You don’t want to borrow any money in this fashion to turn around and spend on something stupid like an expensive vacation or investing in penny stocks. It needs to be limited to a unique investment opportunity where you are confident that substantial gains are locked in.
You Have Many Loan Options
Here are the borrowing options to consider:
1.) Personal Loans – this is one of the easier options effort-wise, as many companies offer personal loans online and say they can fund with 1-2 days. The terms are generally 3 to 7 years, but they carry high interest rates, similar to borrowing against your credit card. Some of the companies offering personal loans include Discover, SoFi, LightStream, Upgrade, and OneMain.
2.) Paycheck Advances – some companies offer a formal paycheck advance program, but even if your company does not, you might be able to ask your boss or the HR department if they are willing to do it. In some cases the fee for getting paid a few days early is small. If you live paycheck to paycheck, however, keep in mind just because you get the money ahead of time, does not mean your rent/mortgage and bills won’t still be due.
3.) P2P Loans – these are personal loan companies although it’s a slightly different format as they parcel out your loan to investors. They include names like Prosper and LendingClub and have a similar application process to the personal loan companies.
4.) Margin Loans – if you have stock with any major brokerage (Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, etc.), you can typically borrow against your shares without having to sell them and incur taxable gains. If the stocks are blue chips like Exxon, Microsoft, etc. or widely traded index funds, you might be able to borrow as much as 70% of the value of your holdings. Depending on the brokerage, there may be a minimum first draw amount when the loan opens.
5.) Car Title Loans – if you own your car free and clear but don’t want to sell it, you can quickly obtain a car title loan either at a storefront location or online. The funding happens quickly but the rates are generally high. The loan amounts are generally small, like a few thousand dollars. You can also take out a regular car loan, but those typically take longer than 7 days.
6.) Pawn Shops – pawn shops offer one of the oldest forms of borrowing on Earth. You leave your item such as a gun, PlayStation console, or Cartier watch with the pawnbroker, and they will loan you money against the collateral. You generally have a set amount of time, such as 90 days, to pay them back or else they will sell your collateral.
7.) Loans from Family Members – taking a loan from a family member can be risky, as you don’t want to lose the love and affection of that family member if you can’t repay it in a timely fashion. However, it is a very common form of borrowing money.
8.) Paying with your Credit Card and Getting Cash – you may have seen a movie where someone stands by the gas pumps and pays for other people’s gas with her credit card while she collects cash. They’ll want a discount for doing this so you are basically borrowing money by putting more money on your credit card than you are getting in cash. This probably wouldn’t work well today at a gas station, but maybe you could collect cash and pay with your credit card for a friend buying an expensive TV at Costco. Again, your friend would probably want a discount otherwise why fool with this arrangement?
9.) Commission Advance – this technique is most commonly used by real estate agents that have a large commission that is a month or more away from being paid. The commission advance company fronts you the money minus their fee, and you owe them the commission once it is due.
10.) Hard Money Loans – you can get a hard money loan on a real estate purchase in 7 days, but typically it requires a large down payment of around 35%. So it might not be relevant to a scenario where you have no down payment and are trying to raise money for the down payment on an investment opportunity. That being said, if you have other real estate you own, you could use a hard money loan to quickly borrow against it.
11.) Credit Card Advances – many credit card companies offer you the ability to take a cash advance against your credit card borrowing limit. They typically charge a 3-4% transaction fee and then the regular interest rate your card carries. However, they might have promotions where you pay the transaction fee but then no payments are due and no interest accrues for 6-9 months. If you haven’t received an offer in the mail, then call and ask them if one is available.
12.) Pay for Everything with a Credit Card – you can raise cash by simply not spending any cash from your paycheck or other income sources. You can charge everything such as groceries, gas, and sometimes even your rent, on a credit card, then pay it off (plus interest) in the future. Again, this needs to be an amazing investment opportunity that will pay off quickly or else you’ve just fallen into the debt trap like many Americans.
13.) Retirement Account Loans – some 401(k)’s and other accounts offer the ability to borrow from the account and pay it back later (plus interest). Ask your brokerage or plan custodian.
14.) Life Insurance Loans – you can often borrow from a whole or universal life policy. You typically cannot borrow from a term life policy because there is no cash value building over time, it just has a death benefit.
15.) Bring on Equity Partners – this could be the most expensive source of funds out there, but you could find someone else to put up the entire $25,000, and then offer pay them back their entire investment plus 50% or more of the profits. It’s still a good deal for you because you might make an infinite return by not having to invest any money whatsoever, but you’d still be missing out on some profit potential. For instance if your $25,000 investment yielded $75,000 when the asset was flipped, they’d get their $25,000 investment back plus half the $50,000 profit (=$25,000). So $50,000 total. You’d get $25,000. Had you been able to do the deal by yourself, you would have made $50,000.
16.) Factoring Receivables – if you are self-employed and have receivables, you may be able to sell them to a factoring company in order to raise money right away. For instance, let’s say you have a contract with a school district to provide I.T. services. They always pay but not until 60-90 days after a project is completed. If you’ve completed a project, but are still awaiting payment, you may be able to factor that receivable to a factoring company and receive as much as 90-95% of what you are owed right away.
17.) Asking for a Retainer – retainers are most commonly associated with attorneys, but people working in other fields can certainly require or attempt to require them before providing services (subject to state and local laws). I’ve heard of a real estate agent requiring a $500 deposit ahead of time to work with buyers. The $500 would be refunded at closing. They did it to stop wasting their time with buyers who weren’t serious; you could also use it to raise money now. If you are only refunding them back the money they already paid, you are basically borrowing from future earnings at 0% interest. And in this case actually creating a new revenue stream from people that never ended up buying and thus generated no income.
18.) Offering a Pre-Pay Discount – you could offer a pre-pay discount in order to receive money right now that would not have been received until the future. For instance, a physical therapist or massage therapist could offer a package where you could 10 sessions for $1000 paid in advance, instead of their normal rate of $129 per session. You are essentially borrowing from your future earnings, but maybe not if it causes them to schedule more sessions that they otherwise would have.
Now that you’ve seen some of the many sources of borrowing the money, let’s talk about raising money by selling things.
When it comes to assets, focus on the high value, easy to re-sell items. You only have 7 days so you aren’t in position to waste a lot of time for pennies. The items that sell quickly and for the most money include: jewelry and gold, newer tech items like cell phones, game consoles, laptops and smart speakers, sports equipment, tools, musical instruments, furs, silverware, golf clubs, guns and ammo, watches, collectible stamps and coins, cameras, fishing rods, designer clothing and handbags, and higher end bicycles. You can also add cars, boats, motorcycles and ATVs to the list as higher value items that always have a market.
Raise Money Quickly by Selling Things
Here are the asset sale options to consider:
1.) Garage Sales – this is one of the easiest ways to liquidate a lot of items quickly — both high value items like game consoles and handbags, and low value items like cartons of books or old t-shirts. If you feel like you don’t have enough items to do a standalone sale or if you receive very little traffic on your street, consider partnering with a friend or neighbor to hold a joint garage sale.
2.) Pawn Shops – pawn shops appears in both lists because you can choose to just sell items to the pawnbroker rather than borrow against your items. They like easily marketable items like jewelry and guns, but their are some pawn shops like Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas that buy unique historical artifacts and collectibles.
3.) Sell items on eBay – a lot of things that sell at a garage sale, also sell well on eBay. At the same time, with a global marketplace, you are going to attract a much broader base of buyers and collectors. This site lists some things that sell well on eBay that you would not expect, like old handheld games, vintage magazines, missing board game pieces, car parts, and anything Disney.
4.) Sell items on Facebook – Facebook’s marketplace is a good place to list all kinds of different items. By default people search on items within 40 miles of their location. Appliances that people can come and pick up, cars, tools, weightlifting equipment, and video games are some of the more popular things to sell on Facebook. It’s a good place to post a heavier item that is hard to ship. Also just posting something on your own page to all your friends might generate a sale.
5.) Sell items on Instagram – Instagram seems to be a particularly good place to sell jewelry, home decor, health and beauty products, sunglasses, watches, and services. One person that makes charcuterie boards uses Instagram as her de facto business website to generate sales. It’s also a good way to sell services to your followers like offering to bake a cake or offer a massage.
6.) Cell Phone/ Used Electronics Sites – there are several sites like Gazelle, Glyde, and Backmarket that give you a quick cash offer for your old cell phones and other electronics like iPads. They offer you a shipping label and pay you quickly once you mail it in, or have an ATM like drop off station.
7.) Gun Buyback Programs – if you can’t get a good offer for your gun from a pawn shop or gun store because it is broken or cheap, you might be able to make more money by selling it to the state or local government as part of a government gun buyback program.
8.) Lawn Mower and Leaf Blower Buyback Programs – another type of government buy back program that is offered from time-to-time is buying your old gas-powered lawn mower or leaf blower for cash or a large store credit to be applied to the purchase of an electric one. You can pocket the cash and in the case of the store credit, sell it online (just like a gift card) to someone who is buying an electric mower and wants to save money on their purchase.
9.) Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, and ATVs – while you may be able to get more money by placing an ad in something like Autotrader and selling privately, the time constraint of 7 days may lead you to take a little less money and a sure thing offer from a local dealership or a national website like Carvana or Vroom.
10.) Baseball Card Shops – you can take your baseball card collection to a baseball card shop (yes, some still exist) and see what they will offer you for your cards. You’ll need to decide if it makes sense to take the offer, or try to sell online or through an auction. Keep in mind that the vast majority of baseball cards are worthless.
11.) Comic Book Stores – yes, some of these also exist. Again, they can tell you which of your comics (if any) have value and then give you a cash offer.
12.) Selling Gift Cards – there are a number of online sites that will buy your unused gift cards for cash. Some of the more popular ones include Raise, Gift Card Granny, Gift Cash, and Card Cash. You’ll get a discount to face value, but in the case of some popular brands like Amazon, Starbucks, and Walmart, the discount is probably less than you think.
13.) Selling Coupons or Store Credit – eBay and Craigslist are popular places to sell coupons or store credit. For instance, some banks only target particular zip codes with offers of $100 or more if you open an account. It’s literally a piece of paper that you spent nothing on, and you might be able to turn around and sell it for a few bucks to someone who never received and was planning on opening an account at that bank.
14.) Selling Designer Clothing – consignment shops are one route to try, although dropping off the item, getting it sold, and then having the consignment store pay you in 7 days or less is not going to happen in most cases. Craigslist is one route to go, and online there are a few sites to consider: The RealReal, eBay, Depop, and Vestiaire Collective, to name a few.
15.) Sell Collectible Coins – pawn shops, coin stores, and coin dealers all can give you an offer for collectible coins, and eBay and Facebook marketplace are always an option. Some dedicated coin marketplaces include GreatCollections.com, Stack’s Bowers, and CoinWorld classified.
16.) Trade in Coins – if you have normal coins in your seat cushions and car like regular nickels, dimes, and pennies, you can always either roll and deposit them at the bank, or take them to a CoinStar machine at the grocery store. CoinStar will generally give you a discount for cash, or if you accept gift cards, you’ll get the full value. If it is something like an Amazon gift card and you were planning on buying necessary items on Amazon anyway, then you are basically getting full value.
17.) Trade in Foreign Currency – oftentimes people have old currency from a foreign trip that is just sitting around doing nothing. Many big banks will allow you to trade in foreign currency for US dollars, and many airports have currency kiosks.
For some, a $25,000 loan from one source may be all they need. Others will need a combination of many of these different loan and sales options.
Keep in mind that if you borrowed the money (or sold something that you’d like to buy back or replace), you don’t want to put off paying it back or buying a replacement item. This means if you can’t take advantage of flipping the investment for a quick profit, it’s time to earn the money back.
Whether it is working overtime or earning more commission in your current job, finding a new job, taking on side hustles like rideshare driving, tutoring, babysitting, etc., renting out an extra bedroom, garage or parking space, or even donating plasma or getting paid for a medical trial, there are a lot of ways to earn the money back quickly.
At the same time, you’ll want to reduce expenses wherever you can by cutting back on discretionary spending like eating out, upgrading your wardrobe, or subscribing to an upgraded movie or sports package. As quickly possible, you want to position yourself financially and otherwise to take advantage of future opportunities.