Currently, the rental market is very strong here. I own a few rentals and they don't stay vacant long. Here's the numbers that I ran from a purchase in 2013:
House purchase price: $275,000-
20 % down - total cash at closing: $ 55,700-
Total cost of updates & repairs: $ 7,200-
Annual rental income: $20,340-
Budgeted maintenance and vacancy: $1,250-
Annual positive cash flow: $6,150-
Initial Annual ROI: 10%
Rental Income remains the same for 10 years
Value of the house stays flat for 10 years
Extra monthly cash flow goes towards principal reduction
It takes a bit more work than just putting money into a 401K but you have much more control over your investments. It's not for everyone but I enjoy working on the houses and, unlike my mutual funds, I can drive by them and actually see my asset! If big inflation ever hits I will be leveraged into some huge gains.
Go to your bank and tell them you want a loan to buy mutual funds. After they stop laughing change that to investment real estate. So, which one does the bank think is a better, safer investment?