Do You Agree With My Controversial Statement?
Today, I’ve got a very controversial statement to make.
And you should know, this is very uncomfortable for me. Because I hate controversy!
Sure, I’m competitive and I push myself to do my very best every day. But I don’t like to step on anyone’s toes. And I certainly don’t want to offend you.
But I can’t keep quiet any more.
This week, I hit a tipping point. I’m not sure if it happened overhearing a conversation at Starbucks, when listening to an interview on CNBC, or if I’m reacting to an email I received from one of your fellow Daily Edge readers (more on that in a minute).
This tipping point has to do with your money, your future, and the way we think about wealth here in the United States.
I hope what I have to say today doesn’t offend you. But even if it does, I hope we can still be friends.
The Formative Years: Learning and Talking About Wealth
Growing up, my family didn’t talk much about wealth.
Sure, my dad taught me how to balance a checkbook. My mom taught me how to find the best deals at the store. And I’ll always be thankful to my parents for teaching me to be responsible with money.
But there’s a big difference between learning to pay bills, and learning how to think about wealth. And in my childhood home, we just didn’t talk about wealth.
I’m not sure if it was a stoic issue of privacy, or just because our big family didn’t have much in the way of material wealth to think about. But my childhood takeaway was that we just didn’t talk about money unless it was completely necessary.
Fast-forward to my early years as a hedge fund manager…
I’ve got a distinct memory of taking my mom to lunch about a year after I started managing other people’s investments.
We were making small talk, and my mom asked me how my week was going. I was proud of some of the investments I had picked and told her that it was a great week because I had made my clients about $50,000.
I’ll never forget the look on her face.
She was disappointed.
Not because I had made money for my clients… But because the money was what I was really excited about that week.
In her mind, I was becoming more materialistic and I’m sure she worried that I was losing sight of the more important things in life like family, relationships, and generosity.
Perhaps she was right.
Maybe my hedge fund job had started to pull me away from my roots and the important values that really matter…
So What’s the Right Perspective on Wealth?
Today, there’s a giant political debate on wealth. And frankly, the popular opinion is that if you’re wealthy, you’re a villain.
And here’s where my controversial statement comes in to play. It’s not politically correct, and it may offend some people. But I believe it wholeheartedly.
Are you ready?
There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy… or even SUPER wealthy!
Yes I know… Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be appalled. And maybe you’re a little shocked too.
What do you think? Is being super-wealthy an evil thing? Or something people should be ashamed of? (Send me your thoughts via EdgeFeedback@StPaulResearch.com)
Here’s my quick and dirty thoughts on accumulating wealth. And I’d love to discuss your feedback on this debate over the weeks and months to come.
Wealth is a tool — not a goal unto itself.
In other words, I love the idea of growing my family’s wealth… But not just so we can be “wealthy.”
I want to grow my family’s wealth so I can pay for my children’s education. I look forward to family vacations and my daughters’ weddings. I also want to teach my children about generosity, and using the wealth we’ve been blessed with to help other people in need.
Here at The Daily Edge we talk a lot about investment opportunities and growing your wealth. But we don’t always talk about how our wealth can benefit others, or the responsibilities that come with the wealth you’ve worked so hard to accumulate.
Perhaps that’s why I received this message from Linda, one of your fellow Daily Edge readers:
Zach, you should be teaching your kids about GIVING during this holiday season, not just about accumulating things for themselves. How else will they learn generosity?
Linda, thank you for your candid email. I really appreciate the reminder to focus on the things that are truly important — especially during this holiday season.
This gets to the core of what I believe about wealth. And hopefully in 2020, I’ll do a better job of explaining this!
You see, I believe that creating and growing your wealth should actually enable you to focus on the things that really matter in life.
Because if we’re successful in generating wealth, we’ll have the means to be generous with family members. We’ll be able to make memories with the people who matter most to us.
And we’ll also have the resources to help those who are in need!
That’s what I think anyway. And I’m looking forward to hearing your perspective.
So this coming year as the presidential race picks up, and we start to hear about how evil it is to accumulate wealth, let’s keep the conversation going. I’ll bet we could learn a lot from each other’s perspective!
Again, please send me your thoughts on this important topic to EdgeFeedback@StPaulResearch.com
And here’s to growing and protecting — and even talking about — your wealth!