10 Things I'd Love to Tell Myself At Twenty-One

10 Things I'd Love to Tell Myself At Twenty-One

My girlfriend asked me, “What advice would you give my niece about investing in real estate?”

It was a loaded question that lead to several of follow-up queries.

What does she want to invest in?  Where does she want to invest?  How much money does she have?  What are her long-term goals?

My girlfriend rolled her eyes (she does this a lot) and quickly re-framed the question, “What advice would you give a twenty-one-year-old version of yourself?”

That gave me pause. 

“Good question,” I said, the wheels turning. 

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You Don't Buy Things With Money

You Don't Buy Things With Money

I was recently talking with a colleague who said he was close to retiring.  Gil (not his real name) is in his early fifties and slightly quirky.  He’s the type of guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer.  Although he works for a large, corporate-think company, he sports a long beard and tattoos.  He’ll freely talk about politics and other matters that most folks would shy away from.  With his wife, he lives in the country – far away from the hustle and bustle of society.

It had been a while since I talked with Gil so his mention of retirement was exciting.  I told him congratulations.  He said he was more than ten years ahead of what society had scheduled for his retirement, mostly because he’d been debt free, including his home, for many years.  He’s got a rental house which has some debt on it, but that payment is being covered by someone else.

I loved hearing he was free of consumer debt and asked him what led him to that point.  Almost everyone who is debt-free has a story about a moment of awakening to the soul crushing weight of financial liability.  Gil said he got himself into a position to retire, based upon some advice he was given when he was young.  Gil said once he fully grasped that concept, his life changed.

Being on a quest for knowledge that can help me grow, I immediately asked, “What was it?”

The advice, he said, was, “You don’t buy things with money, you buy them with time.”

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We Lead Interesting Lives

We Lead Interesting Lives

Recently, we were having dinner with my friend, Keith.  He had returned the day before from China where he had spent the previous three weeks training a group how to use a new piece of industrial equipment.  Keith works for an aluminum casting system manufacturer and he travels the world teaching people how to use the equipment. 

Whenever he returns from his journeys, he often has tales of something exotic he’s experienced, tasted or observed.  I’m often enthralled by his stories.  

Keith, however, doesn’t realize he’s leading an interesting life.  Quite frankly, he finds it rather normal.  He’s traveled the globe several times now.  He’s been to Russia, China, Korea, Dubai, India, etc.  He’s been throughout the U.S.  Keith can share tales of local customs that leave will you shaking your head in wonderment.

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Tomorrow, you’ll be 44 …

Tomorrow, you’ll be 44 …

I met my daughter, Sarah, for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Manito Tap House.  Occasionally, we meet for a meal or coffee to catch up on the latest in her life.  Sarah is young and busy so getting time with her is precious.

She’s learned to accept that whenever we’re together I’m going to impart some wisdom on her.  The topics range from finances to education to general life advice.

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