The final domino fell. My family had been running an entertainment business for quite a while (I don’t mean like strippers but weddings) and decided it was time for them to expand. Like true moguls, they found a local rental company that was for sale. They went through all of the due diligence required and bought the company.
They immediately went to work to grow it and use both companies to influence the other. The only bad thing about this seemingly successful story was timing. It was 2008 and the US economy quickly slid into a financial gutter, waiting for the dust to settle before coming back out to play.
Like most when buying a company, they used leverage. A smart move in most situations and you couldn’t blame them for using that financial strategy, but when a bank calls your $750,000 loan, things become complicated.
They quickly realized we would lose our home and would have to file bankruptcy. Losing your home, at least when you still have an income really isn’t as bad as it sounds. We just went from homeowners to renters and my parents needed to rebuild their lives. Fortunately, we still owned the initial, still profitable but struggling first business.
It was a tough time financially, but we recovered fairly well. I learned a lot from that time. We’ve always moved frequently. Not for any reason other than my parents wanting to try a new place out. Always in the same city and within the same ten-mile radius. With each move, I began to loathe the process. Realizing how much shit (literally providing zero value) I, a then nineteen-year-old owned, was appalling, to say the least. How had I actually had enough life to hoard this amount of useless junk?
Eventually, I found myself removing a lot of my belongings that simply sat in my room and in my closet to avoid having to physically move it and re-clutter my next room. I donated what I could and trashed what wasn’t salvageable. I felt lighter. A weight was lifted that I didn’t even know was there the whole time. In essence, I found minimalism. Not the spiritual minimalism, but the Stoic, Spartan and ultimately practical minimalism.
Over time I became more content with less and my spending habits began to reflect that shift. If I had $100, I found something that I wanted and spent it. It wasn’t until I found a small book in my step father’s office called “The Richest Man In Babylon” that I took things a step further.
In one chapter of the book a rich man sends his heir-to-be son to another city with two things; a bag a gold and a clay tablet holding the “laws of gold”. Foolishly the boy loses the gold quicker than he could imagine. Unable to return to his father, as it would be shameful to do so he remembers the clay tablet. Immediately implementing the gold laws his financial life changes.
At a coming home feast put on for the son, he tells his story. The important lesson I took away from his story was in his return. Not only did he return the amount of gold his father gave him but did so with interest. Instead of the one bag, he gave his father three. He had something to show for his time and effort. After my time, granted a short period, I had nothing to show from my meager earnings. I had truly built nothing from my hard work and could show little of it.
Sure, I had all of this stuff, but what of financial security?
This lesson made me shift my perspective on value. Things can only provide so much value. I’m not a minimalist in a traditional sense, I wear $14,000 watches for god’s sake. I decided a new view on value needed to be created. A new perspective on a modern life. Instead of having a ton of things in our home, what if we were minimalist in the things that provide small amounts of value and invest more in things that provided more value? In essence, only paying the appropriate value in regards to the value we receive from what we own.
My Panerai 213 that I’ll get paid $800 to wear for a month
From this new perspective, I would argue a One Bag lifestyle while also using value to create more value. What the hell does that even mean…..
Instead of raising my expenses to consume, I would spend my money on things that would yield more value in my life in either time, new money or even income. I’ll wear the same thirty pieces of clothing that provide a minimal amount of value to my life, but then briefly own a $14,000 watch because it provides a short period of enjoyment (because I really enjoy horology), but can also sell that watch at a profit. Therefore getting my cake and eating it too.
Everything I took to Paris for a week fit into the small weekender bag above….Including a suit.
This idea had me coin the homeless millionaire idea. The old view of wealthy people held strong the idea of grand estates, closets filled with things you’d wear once a year and sheer wastefulness. The view on money should be that of someone who USES things to get more value instead of consuming them. There’s nothing wrong with owning a home, assuming it provides cash flow or pays for itself (like house-hacking). There’s nothing wrong with driving an Aston Martin, assuming you can enjoy it long enough for the excitement to wear off and then get out for what you put it. This idea would shift your perspective on what you own, turning your liabilities or expenses into actual assets.
You can afford anything you want, as long as it’s profitable.
If any statement in Today’s time could ever change your life, it’s the one above. Changing your perspective on value, ownership, wealth and on HOW you can do something versus IF you can do something is the key to an amazing life.
So could all of your belongings (besides furniture of course) fitting into a single bag, you driving an exotic car, wearing $14,000 watches and even traveling frequently lead to a more financially wealthy life?
Yea, I think so…
I know this isn’t the most clearly laid out podcast and the idea needs some work, but the meat is there. I’ve been working on this “new modern life”, the Four Pillar Equation financial idea for the last year and testing what I can to prove the concept and as time moves forward I’ll share more clearly laid out concepts for you to better understand this awesomeness that is positively plaguing my mind each day.