People think the benefit of wealth is f-u money. The benefit isn’t the ability to be rude with impunity. The benefit of financial independence is the opportunity to say no-thank-you to the ever-present drama around us
The goal, to opt out of BS, doesn’t require much money at all.
In Colorado we have the Ski Safety Act (link to the law) that grants immunity to ski operators from the inherent risks of skiing. This act provides a huge incentive for resort operators to expand their Colorado operations. Colorado skiing is better because of this act, and I like to ski.
If you die in an avalanche in Colorado then the CAIC will do their very best to find out as much as possible about your death. They will publish their findings so the community can learn from the price you paid.
It’s a valuable public service, done on a limited budget ($1.6 million of public money in 2020). The accident reports give us a chance to make individual learning, collective. The reports also enable the public to make informed decisions about how they participate in backcountry skiing.
We have the accident investigation infrastructure, outside the resorts, and it doesn’t cost much. The $1.6 million of public money buys much more than accident investigation.
Investments in Public Safety
When I arrived in Boulder, the junction of North Broadway and Highway 36 was governed by a single stop sign. A cyclist turning left (on to to Hwy 36) needed to cross high speed traffic.
This intersection was the scene of fatal accidents and, eventually, the stop sign was replaced by a traffic light.
Before the light was put in, only the locals knew it was a dangerous location. The highway traffic comes around a corner and would catch unsuspecting cyclists while they tried to clip back into their pedals. I worked at a training camp where an out-of-state participant was killed at this intersection, when he turned back early from a group ride.
Colorado counties have the information they need to make informed investments in their road safety infrastructure.
With our in-bounds terrain, the counties and the public are largely skiing blind.
As a community, we’ve made a choice to accept the inherent risks of skiing.
I support this choice.
By taking personal responsibility for the risks of skiing, we save the ski operators tens of millions of dollars. A large multiple of the value of these savings is enjoyed by the owners of the resorts. The cost of better information would be a tiny fraction of gain in capital value
Improved disclosure, while preserving corporate immunity, would provide a positive incentive for the ski operators to improve their “dangerous intersections.”
Colorado can handle the truth
Here’s a link to the ski safety code – It is common sense stuff. The code fails to nudge skiers away from death and permanent injury.
From reading about fatal accidents, I learned some things I’ve passed to my kids:
Look where you want to go
Hit things with your legs
We don’t know why the rope is there
With better information, we can improve Colorado for those who follow us.
The “no secrets” policy can be inconvenient but it has big benefits.
#1 => it makes it difficult for creeps to enter my life.
#2 => it’s an effective technique to lower stress and anxiety – especially when combined with daily movement in nature.
This openness applies in all areas – phone, email, opinions.
Sitting in a car with a kid – we all do it.
Sitting in a car with a kid, and a culture of openness… that’s different.
So there is the culture my kids were born into – openness and a willingness to hear uncomfortable truths.
Then, before there was much to talk about… we went on short 1-on-1 trips. I started this around the time of our oldest’s 3rd birthday.
There wasn’t a master strategy. I simply wanted to give my wife some relief. Later, I wanted to offer her a chance to get to know our younger kids (our oldest has had a strong personality from the get go).
The trips worked. Not just for kids, by the way – we do Couples Retreats and, as a young man in London, train trips with the partners were GOLD.
I like to connect in my best environment. Do you know yours? Mine is mountain forests.
Some other forums that work:
Driving home in the dark, after exercise
Somewhere disconnected – we did a five-day trip without screens/phones
Looking at a campfire
Floating on water
Phone in airplane mode, turn off the music, expect nothing to happen.
The moments of connection are a tiny piece of the actual time I spend with my family.
I need to be there, and I need to be open to whatever happens.
Wanting to lead from a position of integrity is a motivator. I’ve been setting up the teen years since our oldest turned 8.
It’s helped me make positive changes with regard to my relationship with alcohol, social media, email, bedside phones and anger.
The phrase, “you will need to decide what sort of life you want to lead” is far more powerful when my kids don’t need me to explain my choices in words.
The process of positive change isn’t a whole lot of fun but coaching a winning team is deeply satisfying.
As you undoubtedly saw, ten of my neighbors were murdered last Monday.
The shooting happened at the supermarket where I purchase my pancake mix.
The crime scene is about as close to home as close to home can be.
How do you deal with something like that?
#1 => Keep living, a very British solution to terror.
#2 => With our oldest, we spent the last week repeating simple phrases (Boulder is safe) and answering her questions with simple answers (don’t answer the door, call 911).
#3 => Keep the dialogue open and the answers simple.
What about my internal life? What kind of questions arise when horror makes a visit?
One of the victims, Kevin Mahoney, reminded me of my future self. His daughter shared a tribute, which was a reminder to live so my kids remember me with beautiful thoughts.
While avoidance is an effective coping strategy, any one of us might end up dead for no good reason.
In my senior year at McGill University, 14 women were murdered at another college in Montreal. Canadians made changes that reduced the frequency, and lethality, of their mass shooting events. The Montreal shooting happened seven months after Columbine.
It sounds like Kevin got a chance to say what he wanted to say to his daughter. I’d want my kids to know that a senseless death doesn’t imply a senseless life.
Don’t focus on my death, I want you to live your best life.
What to do?
Big picture, nothing to do with guns, but everything to do with how to act in society…
Ghost the sociopaths.
If I think you are the sort of person who might hurt me, or if this is a situation with a stranger who might have a .357 magnum under his seat, then seek an exit, quietly.
I drive mellow because cars can be dangerous weapons.
I extend my driving habits to all situations.
My first thought, when I heard about Officer Eric Talley’s death, was gratitude that I live in a place where people are willing to walk into gunfire to protect their community. Selfless valor did not happen in Montreal and additional women died as a result.
When it comes to death (and it will come to death for all of us)… saving others is as good as it gets.
I want to thank Eric Talley’s family for supporting his choice to be a police officer.
When my daughter asked me what I thought, I advised her that it’s better to be effective than right. Specifically, my adult life has been about moving towards better.
To my wife, I pointed out that we inherit our opinions from our parents, then our opinions are reinforced by our peers and, as adults, our opinions are strengthened year-after-year by confirmation bias.
What does this mean in practice?
Don’t engage opinion – it’s just an opinion and didn’t belong to the owner to begin with!
Because it is near impossible to change an adult’s opinion, the wise work with children.
If you want to change reality then start with agreement.
We might decide it is a good idea to keep guns away from criminals and the mentally ill. Similar to being in favor of “tax simplification,” I have never met a person who took the other side.
I also note the success of Colorado’s marijuana lobby – they used a simple slogan “treat it like alcohol”. A simple slogan that reached beyond the issue.
Like alcohol, cars kill a lot of people. Cars, alcohol and cigarettes – we’ve been able to move towards better on many issues.
Making my life completely safe isn’t available to me. What I get to choose is where I focus and what I do. Lifetime risk of death is a useful way to reset your emotional state. Daily movement, more veggies, don’t speed and don’t smoke. Click the link to see why.
With violence, address it in myself, so I don’t enhance it in my son.
My son, like most folks, has a bias towards ownership. This runs deep – the only relationship he sees with assets is own vs want.
Now, as any yachtsman will tell you, when it comes to assets… the person getting the greatest benefit isn’t always the person paying the bills.
Two questions that are fundamental to how you organize your affairs:
Who gets the benefit of the asset(s)?
Who gets the benefit of your time?
From Thursday’s example…
The direct benefit of the renal property goes to the tenant.
The cash flow goes towards my cost of living.
Not having to earn that cash flow, gives me time to spend educating my kids.
The person, or entity, that owns the rental property doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.
What matters is who uses, who controls and who gets the benefit of… the asset.
The mismatch, between ownership and benefit, is a key source of friction within family systems. To mitigate, each generation should have an opportunity to create and affirm their own values.
Short version: we each agree to pay our own way.
The mismatch is also why our political class does a poor job of picking winners, setting preferences and allocating resources.
So, are you a balance sheet builder? Are you someone who enjoys using assets? Do you seek power through the ability to control budgets? Does giving to others bring you happiness? Do you love the thrill of the deal, or is it more about the novelty of a new purchase?
As a young person, these questions can be difficult to answer. Even when you think you’ve answered them… you might think differently later.
Here’s something I’ve noticed about myself. The more I notice others, the more I need to step back, relax and recharge. When I’m getting enough timeto recharge then the noise of the world flows by.
At the end of the last year, I marked my calendar for a vibe check on February 14th.
As we rolled into Feb, the mess of The Other Guy’s administration was still playing out. So I pushed things to March 1st.
How you doing?
I’m really proud of my family. Lots of personal growth for us.
Current best guess is I’ll get my first shot of the vaccine before Easter. Our governor shuffled the eligibility and, as a 50+, I’m going to get green lighted before they declare open season to the entire population.
That’s one year after we battened down the hatches. We’ve scheduled a COVID birthday party for March 13th. Cake will be served.
American life-science tech is absolutely amazing. Getting back to a somewhat normal life this summer will be a payoff for relocating myself to the USA.
Take time to notice good judgement.
Who were the least reliable sources of information over the last year?
I’m always fine-dining my filters. Now would be a good time to dial some folks down, and others up.
Our bad sources of information are obvious. Let them go.
What generates feelings of gratitude?
This surprised me.
I get more benefit from good science fiction than the legacy media.
Over the pandemic I read Dune (1-8), Three-Body Problem (1-3) and Foundation (1-7). Science fiction generates feeling of gratitude in me – gratitude for my routine life, gratitude for my wonderful marriage and gratitude for the opportunity to educate my kids.
An unexpected bonus, from venturing outside my typical reading genres.
What areas of your life uncovered blindspots?
I do a little public service work in our local community.
It can be frustrating because I’m not very good at interacting with groups of live people! Zoom was a blessing – especially as my default is submitting written comments, in the chat.
I stick with it because people respect tell me I’m helpful, despite my limitations.
If you don’t step up then someone else will, and they might be clueless.
You can see this effect in the major US cities where a large chunk of the smartest parents have opted out of the public school system, and their school boards appear to be losing their minds.
Second, and third, order effects.
What’s on your must-keep list?
I’m reading No Rules Rules about Netflix’s corporate culture. I’m reinterpreting for ideas about leading multigenerational families.
One of their rules for employees is you need to be on the must-keep list to stick around. Good enough is not good enough.
What habits are holding me back from excellence? Still anger management.
What’s on my pandemic must-keep list? Pick one thing. I’ll go with “challenging strength training 2x per week.” It’s the one thing, where its absence, will make a big difference when I’m 60.
What are you doing when you feel serene? Spending time with my wife – she has a heavenly vibe that calms my soul.
1,000 days from now, the pandemic will have faded from collective memory.
If you feel like you lost a year then be sure to keep the lessons.
Over the last six years, our discretionary budget has been simplified to vehicles, skiing and vacations.
Let’s start with vacations.
Most families with kids, place their vacations before considering Childcare and the size of their mortgage/rent payment. I recommend you reconsider your priorities. Earlier I explained why, I sold assets so the grown ups could maintain their health and relationship.
When I was living with a 4, 2 and 1 year old – my favorite kind of discretionary spending wasn’t a vacation, it was “more childcare”.
Always, more childcare.
To be a good investor, you need to know your opportunity cost.
Same deal for being a good spouse!
The Bora Bora vacation (above, still on my fridge) is the equivalent of 150 date nights.
When I was working through a decade of bedtime dramas… I priced my life in date nights (time with my wife, time without a kid melting down).
Date nights where someone else can put the little ones to sleep, and you can alternate the following morning with your spouse.
Alternate the routine so each spouse gets a slot where they are “off” from 5pm to 10am.
“Sweetie, I just need two nights a week where nobody is yelling at me.“
I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve a nervous system reset 2x per week.
Still want to head out of town? These were my rules for luxury spending:
make it “fridge-worthy” (re-live the vibe over-and-over)
book it way in advance (create anticipation)
take a lot of pictures
The trips were a good bang for the buck, we spread them out, got stuff done and had something to look forward to.
We found shorter trips were better – if we left for more than a few days, our Alpha Pup would try to take over the household!
We left the kids at home, in their normal routine – never risk the sleep schedule!
Take a look at your budget, are you making time to enjoy each other?