How do you invest during times of war? Do you change investing strategy during periods of heightened geopolitical tensions? These and similar questions need to be asked by wealthy people and those wishing to become wealthy.
Recently a post card came in the mail inviting me to attend my 35-year class reunion. The years certainly got behind me fast. My only excuse is that I am having too much fun.
Between the office and home is my gym. Three days a week I lift weights (normally Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Outside the gym I hike, jog, work on the farm, et cetera to keep myself in shape.
A few months ago a high school classmate, Doug Zastrow, joined my gym. It has been a long time since we saw each other and talk fairly regular now, catching up on life in our humble community.
Doug mentioned receiving the class reunion postcard, stating he had no intention of going. I nodded agreement. My argument was I didn’t want to pay $60 for a meal and a few drinks at a country tavern. Doug had a different reason.
Normally when a parent leaves a letter to his children the doors and windows are closed. However, when your dad is a business owner and somewhat known due to decades of publishing, the public will want to look in the window. Regardless, this letter is for you girls and no one else.
My fondest hope is you will print and carry this letter with you. There are many things I want to share with you about life. I know it looks daunting and impossible at times, but it isn’t that bad. During those darkest hours, hours when you doubt your own judgment, you can reference this letter and know that your father has felt this way many times in his life. Watching me over the years you probably think it comes easy for me. It doesn’t. I fight as hard as or harder than the next guy to achieve goals.
The same applies for those moments of excessive glee. Honing the highs and lows is an important part of living a joyful life. Always keep an optimistic attitude. Regardless the situation, it helps. Things are never as bad as they seem and rarely perfect either. Life is lived in the middle.
You did everything right: maxed out your retirement accounts, invested in index funds, paid off all debt, saved half your gross income, and did every home project and car repair yourself to save money. If you are like me this describes you to a T. I save a massive amount of my income in tax advantaged retirement plans and stuff non-qualified accounts, too. Very few jobs are off-limits to me. The roof is bad; I go up there and spank on another set of shingles after tearing off the old ones. A bad light switch is an easy fix after a short visit to the hardware store. I clip my own lawn at home and the office; I grow most of the food I consume; I bike to work even though it is a 30 miles round-trip; change the oil in the car; and I have no problem with a paint brush.
A thought experiment: Why do you want money? What drives you to attain financial independence? Why is retirement such a powerful draw? Think about these questions before you read on. I want you to really understand why you do the things you do when it comes to money. Think about what money does for you.
Readers here already understand they don’t want the headline. Money, in and of itself, is worthless. It is paper with inked pictures of deceased individuals. So what. But money also symbolizes something. Money is how we trade value when we are not bartering. Because money is a store of value until needed, we can do things with money impossible with barter. Money can earn a profit. I guess you could barter for seeds. Then you could create some of the characteristics of money if you farm. Still, money is a tool, nothing more.