Reduce, and redirect, resentmentraising young kids is tough! We’ve had to “fire” different childcare people… but the marriage endures. Better to “fire” the babysitter, than me!
Kind, athletic spouse – create space so your spouse can be the person you’d like to build a life alongside. Never let anyone sacrifice their life for the “benefit” of the family/marriage.
Stay well back from the edge – there were times when I disliked being a father. Create space so you don’t act on negative feelings. ALL feelings are temporary! My marriage, and my family, needs me to not-act on temporary feelings. It is never OK for me to blow my family up.
Create happy memories – I’ve spent the equivalent of a very nice SUV on trips with my wife. Bora Bora, Napali Coast, Paris, London… these are some of the happiest memories of her life.
Over long time horizons, these shared experiences have continued to pay dividends. Much more than I expected.
Lesson: my spouse is likely to connect, and find meaning, in ways I don’t fully understand.
Some nuts & bolts about removing friction…
My body looks better when I eat salad => I spend $2,500 a year on prepared salads – I don’t care if I throw a bit of food out. I want it easily available, always.
Related, a luxury good is the ability to not price check the person doing the shopping. If quality & availability matter then provide an incentive for what you want to have happen.
I’m a better person when I train in the morning => At replacement value, there’s $28,000 worth of fitness equipment located where I live.
Weights and cardio… ZERO friction between me and what I need to do for health.
Many of my best friends, now, have kids => make it very easy for them to visit me, or visit them (with a kid).
Mantra: Spend money and time seeing good people
Who to vist? Simple filter…
Do they make me laugh?
Do they help me think better?
Do they set an example for the type of man I want to be?
Some do all three – recruit them!
Remove as many micro-triggers as possible => Twice a year I write a large check to my wife. From that check all the small stuff comes out of our family. My job is to make sure that check gets funded. Her job is to take the pain of those micro-payments.
Do not micromanage my spouse! Agree the master budget and trust your partner to run their slice-of-the-pie. I get one number a month from my wife, net cash out. That’s all I need.
Drop my worst environment – when I was younger, it was commuting. I paid a premium to live close to work. These days… driving. The goal for my family is to get my driving down to ZERO.
Anyhow, know your worst environment and throw some money at it to reduce your exposure. This is a luxury good with a good payoff… your family gets a better version of you.
Beware… you might be hooked on the drama of suffering through for the “benefit of the family” – I’m calling BS on that. Just like your health, you need to own the outcome. Your family needs the best version of yourself. You need it too!
Human Capital over long time horizons. Supported by:
None of them make me appear rich, all of them contribute towards True Wealth.
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
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.
One of my 2020 goals was to establish “ski week” as a family tradition. I booked a week in Telluride for each of February and March.
Feb 2020 : Ski Week 1.0 => Everything was going according to plan. The night before we drove through a storm and arrived ready to shred.
Two hours into our powder day, after dropping a double black in style (!), my daughter slipped on a catwalk and fractured her wrist.
We drove home that afternoon.
March 2020 : Ski Week 2.0 => Our trip was blown out by COVID.
I’m not the sort of guy to be put off by setbacks.
I’m patient with execution.
We checked out JHMR last summer.
Feb 2022 : Ski Week 3.0 => Vail, Beaver Creek, Steamboat Springs then Jackson.
We currently have two family traditions, matching Christmas PJs and Christmas in Mexico. Adding Jackson fits with my medium-term goals.
It gives me a forum to relate with my kids in my best environment. I should be able to rip until our youngest is done with high school.
It gives me a forum to expose them to my mentors, Doc J was there.
It gives me a forum to introduce them to younger, role models of outstanding character. Justin Daerr, Ironman Boulder Champ, all around good bro, was along for the week. I’d like to get his wife out for Ski Week 4.0.
As an athlete, I learned “the first time you go somewhere is usually a hassle.”
This was a reminder to stay put and train… as well as a warning against thinking life is better somewhere else.
The first step is making it work, where you are.
The next step, once it’s working, don’t mess with a streak.
Jackson worked great, eventually.
When we arrived, we were greeted by an AirBnB that smelled like stale cigarettes and dog!
My wife and daughter were flying in the next morning.
My son kept asking me… “Are you OK, Daddy?”
I was not OK.
I couldn’t fall asleep.
I got up.
Rather than spending energy assigning blame, I jumped on a travel app and made the problem go away.
I booked a very nice room, slope side.
The bill was large. However, just like I recommend with taxes, I compared the bill to my family net worth… it was manageable. I will remember the lesson, and not miss the money.
My thirst for blame and revenge was replaced by gratitude that I had the insight to make the problem go away.
I slept great, despite the staleness!
Doc J has an athletic wife, kids both older / younger than mine and a family tree where elders live a very long time.
He faces many of the same challenges/concerns as me. Plus, he actually went to med school… 😉
He also has a proven track record of giving me advice that nudges positive change.
He’s a better listener than me.
The list goes on and on…
The good doctor is helping me with a project and we are talking about compensation…
You could pay me, but I’m good at earning my own money. What would be better is if you could teach my family in an area where I’m not an expert => finance, money, forms of wealth.
A strategic family relationship, combined with a family tradition, combined with the kids not noticing we are teaching them while they’re having fun.
Similar to bible camp, but we shred.
A thought on kids.
You don’t need to be a parent to have a child reflect your inner goodness back to you.
Teaching kids has proven to be a surprising source of strength, and quiet pride, within my life.
It was really nice to spend time with old friends.
Spending time, and money, in a way that meets the family’s strategic goals of building its human capital.
Exposing young family members to various lifestyle options, of friends with strong character.
Providing a forum for young people to speak with young adult role models.
Listening to the advice of friends who know me well.
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