When One Dollar Costs You Ten

My kids won’t fully appreciate my choices until after I’m gone.

My #1 financial goal for my kids is debt-free education in a field that enables them to get paid.

With the very best of intentions, the US Government has completely screwed up both (a) the cost of college education and (b) the financial lives of the students they were seeking to help.

Debt isn’t free.

Every market juiced with easy money gets screwed up.

Explanation below – my life mirrors the blue line – graduate early, debt free, start saving

I googled up average debt at graduation and average graduation age.

$40,000 and 23 yo.

So let’s make three simple scenarios:

  1. Debt free early graduation (21 yo) => McGill 1990 finance grad
  2. Debt free at 25 yo
  3. Debt free at 30 yo

Let’s run it forward assuming:

  • Investment return of 5%, prior year close
  • $20,000 per annum savings

The late-start saver

  • who saves at the same annual rate
  • who earns the same return

ends up ~$1 million behind at 60 yo.

This is not the whole story, not even close!

In my demographic, families can burn ~$250,000 of capital to help a kid “get started” => 529 accounts and parental support. Even more if you roll private from Kindergarten.

What’s the 30-year cost of this choice?

$250,000 * (1.05)^30 = $1,080,000

Million bucks gone, you never see it.

  1. You burned the capital
  2. The kid figures life out by 30, and spends most of their 20s pissed at you (for tapering their support) 😉

$2 million opportunity cost, spread between two generations.

You assume it was what you were supposed to do and are grateful you finally got them off the payroll.

A possible alternative…

Our default position is in-state education and I’ll buy whatever’s left of your 529, at $2 on the dollar, once you save $100,000 of your own money.

What do we want to have happen?

  1. conserve family capital
  2. use debt sparingly
  3. build a habit of saving

Everyone pays their own way.

Optimized Training for Pilots and Aircrew

I’ve coached pilots to agegroup championships and Kona starting lines.

The #1 thing we learned was to take advantage of schedule flexibility by minimizing the cost, in fatigue, of their work schedule.

The goal is a rapid return to training.

  1. Resist the urge to frontload fatigue => have yourself heading “up” as you start a work block
  2. No zeros – on the road => train easy, near dawn

Load when, and where, you are most able to recover => at home

Stay out of the restaurants – nutrition is where you can make progress


Because a little weight gain, each trip, adds up.

Nutrition also ties into getting yourself back to loading as fast as possible.

  • Sliced peppers
  • Lightly boiled, quartered mini carrots
  • Nuts
  • Sumo Orange (easy to peel)
  • Boiled eggs or sliced chicken breast
  • Mini Hummus
  • Pita Chips
  • Giant nalgene water bottle

All you need to do is open a bag, or pop the lid.

Remove as much friction as possible between yourself and better food choices.

Every replaced restaurant meal is a WIN.

Rack those wins up.

Stay in your sleep schedule – use seniority to select routes that let you move and sleep well.

When you’re on the road: eye shades, earplugs, cold room and backup ear protection in case there’s a rave happening outside your window.

Consistent progress is about the return, not what you manage while working.

So you can execute when you’re tired, keep it simple and remove friction.

  • Go into work on the upswing
  • Focus on nutrition – win by staying out of the restaurants
  • Train easy, near dawn
  • Sleep cold, quiet and dark

Pilot’s Paradox => if big goals nudge you to make better chocies at work, you can be healthier, and happier, with significant training load.

Sunday Summary 27 March 2022

Getting a much clearer idea about the topics that engage y’all.

Thank you for the likes, RTs and replies.

Athletic Performance

High-Performance Strategies

Wealth Topics

The #1 Mistake Financial Professionals Make

…is not leaving


Let’s start with the best money advice I’ve seen in 2022:

Don’t build a plan that requires your death to succeed.


Rather, create a life that supports how you want to live.

How are we going to do that?

Get some money off the table.

How much?

5x “last year’s cost of living”

This is Core Capital – it is a function of your spending as well as your savings.

Once you have Core Capital, protect it.

The return on Core Capital doesn’t matter. Keeping it does!

It’s the most valuable money you will ever have, there are rapidly diminishing returns beyond this point.

Core capital doesn’t free you from the ability to stop working.

That’s OK.

You don’t want to stop, ever.

That’s another mistake the financial services industry makes => selling you a dream that you won’t enjoy.

You want the freedom to choose, to take chances with your time, to stay in the game.

You want this freedom to choose as soon as possible. Not late in life.

INVERT: You want the freedom to choose “not to.”

Not to deal with:

  • other people’s BS
  • fast money schemes
  • worry
  • golden handcuffs
  • creeps & crooks

Two weeks ago, in asking five questions, I gave you a nudge to start thinking about life.

  • Learning & Peers
  • Travel & Exploration
  • Values

That article introduced the concept of Lifestyle Sustainable => a low-cost base of operations where, ideally, you can live for free. The idea is to remove cost-of-housing from your financial concerns.

That’s the core financial asset for your portfolio. It cost me US$110,000 in 2000.

This is a great place to park your Core Capital.

Removing housing from your list of concerns gives you more than a financial return.

Alongside your key financial asset, I hope you have a loving, lifelong partner. This person is the most important decision, financial or otherwise, you’ll be making.

The highest return investments I made in my 30s & 40s, were not financial in nature. With a low-cost base of operations, & marketable skills, I was in a good place.

Many high-earners fail to see the value of what I just pointed out.

  • Low-cost base of operations
  • Marketable skills

Beyond that, most everything is lifestyle enhancement and ego.

Thankfully, I had a major setback in my early-30s (divorce) which gave me pause.

In 2000, I saw my future in front of me… lifestyle enhancement and ego… and I made a change.

A big one.

I became a world-class athlete. With (athletic) success came the realization that something was lacking.

So much success, still lacking!

  • If you’re good at making money…
  • If you’re good at playing the game of “career”…
  • If you are nearing the top of your field…

…then you’ll be tempted to keep doing what you are good at.

I’d encourage you to establish that low-cost base of operations, then try something really challenging…

The highest return investments I made were improving my suitability for marriage and learning how to parent. Most of my learning happened after I was married and my kids were born.

It is never too late to invest in the human capital of your family.

If you get these investments right then you might not notice the benefits. Honestly, a big driver in my life has been a fear of getting divorced again (not-divorced, winning)

Fear that drives positive action is useful.

I’ve been paid by less drama, and less problems (we don’t see all our wins).

I’ve also de-risked some of the challenges my future self will face (companionship, engagement, dementia). Study (the problems of) who you are likely to become.

You’ll notice my portfolio advice (still) doesn’t talk about asset allocation.

This is deliberate!

Asset selection is not the differentiating factor for a life well lived.

  • Marketable skills
  • Low-cost base of operations
  • Fixed-rate mortgage, if you like
  • Target date fund for your future self

Then focus on living your life and creating the friends/family with whom you’d like to share it.

First Female Athlete

We’ve been having this debate for years, it simply took me a while to notice

First clean athlete – remember that person in the Euro Peloton?

Not just Europe, my wife and I been that athlete

…and had to figure out how to deal with it.

I’ve been dealing with cheats and scoundrels for 30 years.

Not just in sport.

This moment, it’s not about cheating, but look deeper.

Pay attention.

I’m not sure if banning “them” from “our sport” has ever achieved the result we were truly seeking.

Even if it did, very temporarily, our children need to learn how to operate in a world where we don’t dictate the rules of engagement.

Tolerance is an effective strategy for a world that rarely delivers my personal definition of fairness.

Choose the role of sport with deliberate intent…

  • personal excellence
  • overcoming one’s self
  • crowding out negative habits/influences
  • a lifelong habit of exercise

Free your mind from the choices of others.

Sunday Summary 20 March 2022

Mood Management

Athletic Performance

The Body You Want

True Wealth

World War Three Portfolios

One of my favorite things is skiing with my wife.
I’ve made a decision to keep living.
Reality is going to catch up with me at some point, I know.

When stressed, you are going to be tempted to shuffle your asset allocation.

Churning your portfolio isn’t the answer.

Geography, Citizenship & Right of Abode

I’m parked in the middle of the American Empire => by choice.

I naturalized to the US and don’t need anyone’s permission to stay here.

Being born Canadian, I have the option to live in Canada. It’s a valuable option to a wonderful country (with a different political system).

I also have the right of abode in New Zealand (a third political system). I like to think of it as a smaller Canada, on the other side of the world.

My Kiwi visa doesn’t expire. Unfortunately, I can’t pass the visa to my kids. However, each of my kids has a Canadian Citizenship certificate.

Three political systems, two hemispheres, all English speaking.

Hemispheres, continents, countries and political systems.

The location to start from scratch.

Monetary Environments

Who regulates the custodian for your financial assets?

Unsure what I mean?

Who has the ability to lock your money inside a political regime?

Where can you send money, with a single instruction, that’s outside of your home regulatory environment?

The capital to start from scratch.

Income Streams

  • Do you have an alternative source of income?
  • How long might it take to develop one?
  • Are your skills marketable internationally?
  • Might you be able to develop a set of marketable skills?

The skill set to start from scratch.

Look at the above on an individual, generational and family-wide basis.

The unimaginable happens once a decade.

Getting Past Athletic Depression

Every night, my son likes me to have a stuffy to keep me company.
The love of children is a special gift.

For medical-grade depression, best to see your doc.

My condition, for most of 2021, is better described as “the blahs.” I was fully functional, grinding away, often angry and rarely engaged.

I wrote about what we were going to do in our marriage HERE. 20 weeks later, it worked far better than I expected – schedule time with those you love.

I have proven judgement about what it’s going to take to make things better. Just need to get off my butt and follow my own advice!

This piece is about three small changes I made in my life. The payback was in a strange currency => I’ve been repaid by feeling better.

I’m feeling better because I’m not fixated on the negative.

Happier is the absence of…. [whatever was bothering us, I guess].

HRV is the addition I wish I made earlier

Tracking my heart rate variability has proven to be a game changer.

I’m giving HRV a lot of credit but before y’all head out and buy another gizmo, I want to share something Scott Molina once told me

G-Man, sometimes you simply need someone else to tell you the same thing.

We were talking elite ironman training protocols but, like everything, it applies to everything.

Once I heard HRVs “message”, I was able to see it elsewhere.

What I perceived as a problem with my life situation was, mostly, a recovery issue. My emotional state was being screwed up by excessive fatigue.

HRV, and periodic misery, got me to change.

The change is what nudged me towards better.

I wasted a lot of time thinking I needed to change _everything_ when the solution was a bit more sleep and not making myself “more tired when tired.”

Turned my watch alarm off, and shifted load as I wrote about two weeks ago.

Remove time in your worst environment

The cherry on top was spending $75 a week to retire from driving my kids.

Driving, itself, wasn’t the issue.

I noticed my worst moments were happening in my car.

Change the environment, change the result.

I stopped hanging out in my car, I felt better.

Over 20 years, I’ve redirected my environment => one choice at a time.

Mount Crested Butte – this ski season saw a simple game. Try to hit ten resorts.

Simple project, visible feedback

I have a habit of rejecting the part of my personality that craves external feedback. I pretend I am above external approval, I’m not.

I brought back external feedback by way of my return to Twitter.

Playing a low-stakes game where you get random, positive feedback => surprisingly useful.

I am going to repeat that… if you have the blahs then you should try…

  • A low-stakes game
  • That pays out randomly
  • With positive emotional feedback

I shouldn’t be surprised! Before I left Private Equity in 2000, I had a message board (pre-Facebook) where we used to shoot the breeze just like Twitter. Loved it, met some great people.

My Twitter Game => seek to help a stranger daily.

Huge leverage, near-infinite niche opportunities.

Previous simple games: improve aerobic run performance, and log daily training minutes. These two games kept me engaged for over a decade!

Simple games work because they offer a focus different from my negative fixations. They are most powerful when attached to a system of daily rewards.

Another game was inside my advice to the Big Units… breakfast after one positive step.

The purpose of the game is neither to win nor to finish.

The purpose of the game is to keep me from getting fixated on something with the potential to ruin my life.

Sunday Summary 13 March 2022

High-Performance Strategies

Getting The Body You Want

  • I contributed to Brady’s thread about eating on easy days
  • More information isn’t the answer for Big Guys Losing Weight => thread and article link. Think in terms of 1,000 day pacing and remember “not eating” is a losing strategy.
  • Jumps & Plyos are prehab for life – don’t accept the common experience as your personal baseline!

Family Money

Personal Real Estate can be a high-hassle asset but it has benefits, some hidden

Life Lessons

Athletic Performance

Five Questions Every Coach Needs To Ask Themselves

Let’s cast our minds back to my 30-something self.

He’s bought a house in Christchurch, covered his taxes/utilities by giving a room to his property manager and has the ability to live free by renting out additional rooms.

Create a base of operations where you can live for free


Next up, he needs to figure out what sort of work to do and how to cover his cost of living.

A dozen triathlon coaching relationships (US$250) per month was what it took to cover basics. Those relationships were worth more than money. The relationships made his lifestyle sustainable.


Basic client filtering over time.

Which relationships to strengthen and retain? Green light client rating – immediate response, has all personal contact details. Travel to them.

Invert, which relationships are a source of distraction and drain energy? Red light client rating – still high service level, hand-off to a better fit at a natural breakpoint (end of season, end of project).

Move on to…

Next level client selection because => there is a limited number of close relationships we can sustain

What do I want to learn about?

  • Pro cycling
  • Lifestyles of the rich and famous
  • Olympic level triathlon
  • Sports medicine, orthopedics, biomechanics, kidney function, cardiology
  • Exercise physiology, metabolic health, blood markers
  • Financial planning
  • Military aviation
  • Theology and ministry
  • Addiction, Al-Anon, AA, recovery
  • Trust, estate and family law

These are areas I was able to study, from world-class experts, while covering my core cost of living.

Put another way, there are millions of interesting people out there. A consultant needs 5-12 relationships for a viable business. Craft those relationships with intent because your time is worth more than someone’s ability to pay.

Wise client selection is a game of getting paid to learn.

…but you gotta be lifestyle sustainable. So get that first!

Where do I want to visit?

Back in 2000, Christchurch NZ was cheap for a reason. It was far off the beaten path!

A material slice of my cost of living was international travel (airfares & hotels). I really enjoyed this aspect of my life.

I’m not alone. A key form of marketing is the ability to offer clients/investors the ability to travel to nice places. Most large companies have advisory boards, with a membership consisting of their key relationships. The advisory board has the perks of being a director, with none of the fiduciary risk.

I’ve had gigs in: Aspen, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Scotland, LA, Italy, London, Dubai, Paris, Cannes, Hawaii…

So, where do YOU want to go? Find that client, help them achieve their goals and undercharge them.

Rich folks love random acts of financial kindness. They’re always expected to pick up the tab, so paying for coffee/breakfast is a high-return investment.

A long term value added relationship with someone in a place you enjoy visiting – it’s worth more than whatever your financial deal is.

Invert (again) => don’t take work from a location you don’t want to visit. At any price.

One of my gigs came with an around-the-world ticket every six months. With a bit of planning, that covered an entire year’s worth of air travel. Another slice of my budget, covered.

What demographic am I curious about?

Tim’s blog on fame shares the Bill Murray quote, “trying being rich first.”

Actually, being rich is tough. It takes a lot of time and striving. Living rich is even worse, not for me.

Before you try to “be something” => get to know it. See what it’s like when nobody’s watching.

Coaching the rich, the fast, the famous, the savage, the beautiful… and paying attention, helped me look under-the-hood with regard to my values.

Be careful, desire is contagious.