Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves

The progression of wealth begins with a Builder, transferring down to a Janitor, and finally disappearing from the clutches of a Debtor. There is a better way to leave an inheritance for our Children.

One of the greatest burdens on children is the inheritance of wealth. Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive. Yet, with 35+ years of experience working with three generations of families, I can attest to the validity of the premise.

Each culture has its phraseology:

  • Old English: “there’s nobbut three generations atween a clog and clog.”
  • Italy: “from the stable to the stars and back again.”
  • Japan: “rice paddies to rice paddies in three generations.”
  • China: “from peasant shoes to peasant shoes in three generations.”
  • Scotland: “father buys, son builds, grandchild sells, and his son begs.”
  • America: “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

Why is this true? Answer: “We want what we don’t have.

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Dynamic Carousel

Life is like a carousel — it only goes in one direction: Forward. There’s no going back to undo, redo, or otherwise change anything in the Past.

And, on that Carousel, we have a choice: Sit on the benches near the center, move to the stationary animals to the right of the benches, or climb on a horse moving up and down — while we reach for the brass ring.

Obtaining a brass ring involves three components: Fate + Choice + Skill.

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Time & Money

Every decision we make involves the dimensions of Time and Money. Furthermore, for every decision, we have a choice to Spend or Invest.

Right about now, the contrarians among us are busily thinking of an example that doesn’t involve both Time and Money.

While I wait for them to exhaust the possibilities, I’ll continue with the thoughts about — and facets of — Time and Money. Because, after all — and between the two — Time is the most precious.

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Think Know Do

I was sitting at the desk with a salesman and behind him, tacked to the wall was a piece of plain white 8½” x 11″ size paper with these letters: TKD. Thoroughly impressed, I commended his belief in “Think Know Do.”

He grinned sheepishly and confessed that his manager had pinned the sign as a reminder “Time Kills Deals.” My antennas shot straight up. After a tour of their factory, conversations with upper echelons, and a discovery of inferior processes and unethical people, sure enough, “Time Kills Deals.”

So, TKD is a two-edged sword — it can represent success, or defeat.

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Leverage or Lifestyle

Notorious for bragging about their lifestyle are the Montana ranchers — while they use the leverage of debt as a crutch to hobble down to oblivion.

There is a better way.

Million or Penny a Day?

What would you rather have — a million dollars, today, or a penny doubled for a month?

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Free Advice

Through the years, I’ve given lots of free advice. I’m beginning to realize that’s been a very bad character trait.

» Advice — the wise don’t need it and the fools won’t heed it.
» Free — the perception of something worth nothing.

So, this week, when I said “No, thanks,” to an opportunity of continuing in my tradition of offering free advice, the response was enlightening. Well, I was enlightened. The person making the request was shocked. They were shocked that I would, could, should, and did say, “No.”

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