As the title implies, there are two major categories of role playing game. While these two classifications can sometimes intermingle within a single experience, in general they separate entities which are largely independent of one another.On the one hand you have numerical role playing. This consists of leveling up, acquiring gold, and basically performing tasks to increase the numerical statistics of a character. This is probably the most popular form of role-playing game today, due largely to technical inadequacies found in many modern role playing video games.The problem with a video game RPG is that your character is limited in growth and action, to whatever the programmers thought of when they designed the game. If all they were able to do is give your character the ability to move in two dimensions, then that is all they will be able to do. Even if they thought ahead of time, and programmed your character to be able to do a dance, they couldn’t possibly program in every single dance ever invented, and so you will be stuck doing a jig when what you really wanted to do was a line dance.This is limiting to more than just your own character, it actually makes it difficult for two different characters to interact in any meaningful way. In the old days this was fine, as the only interactions you really had were with dim witted pre-programmed non player characters. Today however a role playing video game can consist of hundreds of characters powered by real live people from around the world. However, the limits of character interaction make it very difficult for two people to interact in any meaningful way.The other type of rpg consists of social role playing. This is actually the oldest, and most natural form of RP because it is something we all do as children, we play make believe. In these games, the numbers do not matter, and all that is important is a good story, interesting characters, and the amount of fun being had.In its most potent form social role-playing is a face to face phenomenon. This can take place either in the context of a game, such as when playing dungeons and dragons, or it can occur in the context of a specific event, such as a Renaissance Faire.It can even be argued that many people engage in role-playing every day, without even realizing it. Whenever you put on clothes to look a certain way, that is a costume, whenever you behave according to a specific set of societal rules, that is an act; these things are inherent to the nature of being human.The problem with modern role playing games is that the technology limits the humanity of the experience. Even in multiplayer experiences, people are cut off from one another by the limits of the programmers.This is not a problem which is going to be resolved easily. In fact, it is probably impossible for current technologies to evolve to the point where we will have total control over an avatar. This does not mean that it will never happen; it is just that controlling a tiny symbolic representation of your character is limited inherently. One day virtual representations of one self will probably make this point obsolete.Until then, people are forced to connect in limited ways, using relative numbers and levels to compare situations, more than personalities and creativity.The one alternative to this seems to be role playing communities, which have sprung up to some, extent as an extended arm of traditional dungeon and dragon style board games. These communities began as simple chat and board style back and forth role-playing, but have evolved with the advent of the social web revolution, to include some rather complex web entities.
You’ve got a Roth IRA and you’re thinking a lot lately about returns on your IRA when times get tough, like now. One of the best investments for any IRA, including a Roth IRA, is in real estate.Believe it or not Roth IRA investments in real estate are STILL the single best investment you can make right now in 2008, when the economy is terrible and the real estate market in turmoil.But surely you wouldn’t make a Roth IRA real estate investment in the current market? The real estate market is in meltdown. Why would you invest your retirement plan in a real estate market that looks a little like the Titanic, going down.Real estate as an investment is alive in well in 2008, whether you’ve got a Roth IRA or any sort of employer sponsored retirement plan.Of course you always need to examine your plan and see what investments are allowed. With many plans you have a limited or non existent right to invest your own retirement funds yourself, or if you do you can only invest in a limited range of investments.For example many IRAs are with custodians that allow only traditional stocks and bonds and CDs as investments, and usually they try and direct your retirement funds into investments in their own products.So the first thing you need to do before investigating investing your retirement plan is to make sure you’re allowed to invest in real estate, yourself. So you may need to do a rollover if you’ve got, say, a traditional IRA or perhaps an employer sponsored retirement plan or even a 401(k). Rollover into a fund that allows you to invest yourself, into real estate, and you’re way ahead preparing for your retirement.Of course you should get some solid financial advice from your financial advisor before you undertake any rollover to make sure you do it right, and there are various Roth IRA websites you can use to educate yourself on rollovers and Roth IRA rules.If you’ve got a self directed Roth IRA right now you should be able to invest in real estate now, but check with your financial advisor first.So, back to Roth IRA investments in real estate in 2008. Why would you?Firstly, real estate investments have created, it is estimated, around 80% of the wealth in the US today. Real estate offers a better long term opportunity for a good return on investment, both from rental returns and capital growth, than any other form of investment. Real estate allows you to borrow larger amounts more safely, and if you’re investing through a Roth IRA it also allows you to invest tax free due to the significant tax advantages afforded to formal retirement funds like IRAs and 401(k)s. Even on a marginal tax rate there are significant tax advantages to investing for your retirement through a formal retirement fund.And real estate offers excellent returns even in 2008. Because, although the real estate market is in general decline, there are pockets of the real estate market that still offer significant opportunities for an excellent rate of return from an investment, income tax free.But be warned, unless you’re an extremely experienced investor you’re likely to get burned. Professional real estate investors know where to look and how to buy to make significant gains in a market like this, but unless you’re a professional real estate investor you’re playing with fire.One professional real estate investment company is hitting some solid home runs right now. Investing in simple middle class housing and refurbishing each home, adding value to the neighborhood by building parks and playgrounds and making homes more attractive to prospective tenants and buyers, this company is creating it’s own capital gains. Investors, including Roth IRA investors, are securing no money down properties with immediate equity of 15% – 20%, guaranteed returns and the backing of a respected, solid, listed US public company that has an envied record in real estate.So if you’re wondering about your retirement, and concerned about current financial conditions, there are options. Roth IRA investments in real estate are a solid, long term stable investment strategy, even in current economic conditions.But unless you’re an experienced professional real estate investor don’t start making any Roth IRA investments in real estate yourself. Let the professionals who know how to create value in the current market do it for you.Don’t get your fingers burnt. Let the professionals do your real estate investing for you.