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Eleventh Commandment

The Eleventh Commandment – Corporate Ownership of Real Estate

Many people are familiar with the story in Hebrew Scripture of how God gave the Law to Moses.  I am finding in talking with people, however, that many more are not familiar with the story.  For those whose memory needs to be refreshed, and for those who do not know the story, here is Brad’s abridged and slightly modified, but not too sacrilegious, version.

As Moses was leading the children of Israel on their forty year journey out of their bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land, Moses encountered God at Mt. Sinai.  Moses followed God’s call and went up on the mountain so that God could give him the Law.  God carved the Law into stone tablets for Moses to take to the Children of Israel.  The process took forty days.

The Children of Israel were an impatient bunch, and when Moses was gone more than a fortnight, they began to rebel.  They convinced Moses’ brother Aaron to make them a “real” god, so Aaron cast a golden calf for the Children of Israel to worship.  The Children of Israel were now happy—for a while.

When Moses finally came down off the mountain (he must have been tired after carrying those stone tablets), he was anxious to share with the Children of Israel the Law that God had given.  When Moses saw the golden calf, however, he was angry.  In the language of today, he was P***** Off.  Rather than give the Law to the people, he smashed the stone tablets that contained the Law, and went off in a corner to pout.  Moses was finally fed up with this rebellious people.

At the urging of God, who loved the Children of Israel much more than Moses did, and the pleading of the people who had come to their senses, Moses went back on the mountain and repeated the drill.  This time Moses was welcomed when he returned and gave the Law to the Children of Israel—what we have come to know as the Ten Commandments.

What is not recorded in Scripture, however, but what we have come to learn, is that the first time Moses came down the mountain with the Law, there were eleven commandments.  The eleventh commandment is this:

Thou shalt not put real estate into a corporation.

The point of the story is to emphasize the importance of the concept.  One can almost always put assets into a corporation without tax, but one will almost always incur a tax in removing assets from a corporation—often without generating the cash with which to pay the tax.  Real estate is an asset that is almost guaranteed to appreciate over time—God made only a finite quantity of it on this Earth.

Take the eleventh commandment to heart, and expand its concept to other rapidly appreciating assets, such as portfolio securities.  You will be financially better for it in the long term.