Lessons Learned Along the Way
For those that value my advise, pass it on .. Loving others is common to all religions, and even those that are atheists. It doesn't cost anything to help, but it can cost you and yours lots by not helping. So, be happy and best wishes always. Now, on with my thoughts ...
This isn't original, but I now believe them because of life .. not realizing these along the way.
- You have to make your own way, let family and friends offer advice and any assistance, but you need to create your own life. My mom (and family) had to make their own way after my grandfather passed in '36. And, boy did they! Once interesting family story was my mom's sister and her husband who made and lost $100 million as well as most of their celebrity friends who moved on.
- Help others, including and especially family, and don't expect to be repaid. As you may have observed, we have always hosted family and friends, and tried to share our blessings. Yet, I can count on one hand those that ever even tried to share with us, I most certainly want to acknowledge Peter Farkas, Jack Carlson, as well as our family and friends (Eve, Juniora & Eddie, Kathy and Wayne). Pay it forward, most likely those that help you don't need to be repaid and their are so many real needs to be fulfilled. Give to charity, but do good on a more immediate basis. As a Christian, we see Jesus leaving his then family to go into the world and to show/tell it like it is. While we have certainly done both, it's only when you do good (praying is nice) that we can fulfill our destiny. Truly, it's harder for a rich man to gain access to heaven (lol). All those distractions and greedy needs to be met!
- Create a Life Worth Living, set your goals and work towards fulfilling them. Now, in our Golden Years, with business behind us and basically "empty nesters" Paulina and I want to lead a simple, but enjoyable life. Despite our successes and wealth, we now see just how easy and better life is without all the trimmings. Today, our goal is to enjoy nature, eat healthy and love our family (and Mr Lucky, of course). Frankly, we have the means and will live beyond the basics as well as leave our legacy to son John.
- Setup a Trust, else plan on sharing your legacy with the state (lol). My dad and uncle didn't bother with setting up a trust. So, the government got 46% of a fortune? You decide, just a thought. Think of your kids and future heirs too.
- Invest in Bonds/Real Estate. While both the stock market and bonds have basically done about the same (market wise). It's only bonds that yield a return while your money is invested. All of our bonds and real estate earn between 6-7.5%, and we've changed direction now to invest in rehabs the rate of return is astounding, but so is the work. Son John is working on our bonds, real estate investments as well as his own endeavors (together with his associates). Despite it all, we've increased our net worth since Dad passed by 2/5th (40%), but the work, strains and need now have caused us to retiree. WE also realized we were spending a fortune in time, effort an money just to work. Incidentally, real estate allows you to earn "tax free" while your working it and moving forward. I can do the full explain, but the basic rule is that your investment is considered a contribution (with depreciation as the cherry on the cake), and your income isn't considered income .. it's considered a withdrawal for tax purposes. Ask me for more details if you need to, else think about it. I always give the example of someone buying a 3 bedroom/2 bath property for $150,000 (with $30k or 20% down). The rental income is $500/month per bedroom or $1,5oo/month x 12 months or $18k/yr. Then, they rent it out (deducting the expenses. Even with a monty mortgage of $800/month, with the net profit being $$8,400/yr or a ROI of about 25%. ... The trick is picking a good location near the University. Despite my ultra progressive views politically, I know that the Republicans will take care of business for themselves as well as us investors.
- Do What You Do Best and Enjoy for Income/Work. Think about what makes you happy and do it. My family, out of necessity, worked in plumbing for many years, and then invested/redirected their efforts towards real estate. Today, son John is 5th generation real estate and even my daughters Vicki and Nikki are doing it too. I have been fortunate with both real estate and my 25 year career and earnings/pension/social security in Information Technology (IT) as well. While I still believe it's better with your own business, there are many opportunities in the world for corporate employees. Think, shop and just do it.
- Establish your Financial Goals Around Needs, not wants. It's interesting to see just how simply one can live. Whether you're newly on the job market, doing well in life, or now retired, the financial needs are minimum and can be met by everyone (excepting possibly the handicapped and elderly). Our pension/social security provides $36,000/yr. Now, with our home in Warrensburg ($220k), we can pay our annual taxes ($8k/yr) and use the rest to live with our basic needs. Net of our taxes, we have $28k for food and necessities (especially considering we're covered by Medicare for our health issues). The point is you don't need a lot, just enough to cover your needs.
Learning, the Hard Way
So, when I was very young, I thought I knew it all (sound familiar?). Being a child of 1, my first goal was to have a "family, a home and the means to pay for it all".
I really believed I could create life (a family) that would love and support us all for our lifetime. So, I got married early (at 22), then I bought my 1st home (putting down my 20% on a then $50k house) and had 2 daughters by age 32. I loved it all, but spent my time on the "paying for it all". Then, I discovered my life (marriage) ended. It now seems we were both seeking different goals. But, that's another story. Despite having loved it all, it ended in 1981.
For many years, life was good. But, for the last 7 years of my marriage, it wan't so good. Although I thought back then staying for the sake of the kids was a must, but I couldn't make it work.
Incidentally, I was determined (despite being heir to a fortune) to do it on my own. Now, realize my dad believed that each of us had to carry our own way. Dad always thought that you did what you could (all the time) for the family, and you earned your own living. So, I being determined to live up to his expectations, always worked. Before I was in my teens, I earned money from odd jobs and some shows as an entertainer. Then, I got my first full-time job at 22, and believed I was on my way. I was earning $6,500/yr even after graduating with my MBA and an IT certification.
My passion for business and IT would allow me to earn $63k/yr by 1985 in the corporate world. During one chat, I was advised to "settle down" as I was being paid in the top 2%. So, I settled down, but also did work on a consulting basis and worked with my dad's real estate. This would supplement our income and allow life to evolve again.
Lessons Learned, The Hard Way
First, blood is thicker than water .. but not real friendships. Family believed and more important were firm in that I make my own way. This is not to say they didn't provide when I was young and growing up, but later (when I needed help during hard times, they looked the other way). I know this is hard to believe, and they did periodically help in certain ways, but frankly I had to make it on my own.
My dad, being wise and having learned the hard way (divorce) advised me to get my life setup before trying to make a family and pick up all the hardships. But, I didn't follow his advice, paying for it for many years .. financially and worse, emotionally. I now see it completely his way. Marriage is great, but you need to be set before you invite trouble (lol). If you get set, and have a prenup in place, then parting of the ways can be made easier .. considering the high rate of failure today.
Both Paulina and I worked, earning and spending (us, ex-family, etc) about $10k/month .. and, we only had son John when Paulina was 40. This is not to say we had it easy, but looking back we did what we had to do, and paid for it all.
Considering it all, I was lucky, and thank God and Paulina for our "Happy Days".
Love is Lovelier the 2nd Time Around
Both Paulina and I had been married, and after a 2 year living together situation, got married, had son John and were working harder than ever. Hopefully, many will survive and thrive, but this doesn't happen without making it happen .. and can fail over and over.
My life, and my family's life has been an open book. And, I'm still excited about today and even more about tomorrow. Thanks for viewing, and being part of our world.