We found that millionaires who do not experience happiness are the ones who we say fall on the dark side of being a millionaire. They tend to struggle with relationships, and we’re using relationships as the big overarching sense. This may be intimate relationships, co-worker relationships, friendships, family relationships. Relationships are not something that those who have achieved a certain level of success and are unhappy have figured out how to master. One of the things that I thought was interesting when we started researching the show is that being wealthy and successful can be isolating. I already gave one anecdote. It’s not scientific, but the builder who built my house called me about a new neighborhood, we went and looked at it, and we found out none of the neighbors talked. That’s because they live on bigger tracks of property. It was three-acre minimum property versus ours, which were all around half an acre. So, you can’t help but walk outside to get your mail and talk to two or three neighbors. That’s actually created a sense of community, whereas I know in these nicer communities, I don’t know if it’s because people don’t want to know their neighbors, but it just is a natural thing. I think they’re more isolated. You’re like, “Oh, that’s a horrible, that’s first world problems,” but it’s a reality. If you’re lonely and isolated, I think we are herd animals. Humans like to be around other humans. I know there’s going to be a group of you, I have some that are introverts, but still, at some point, we want to be loved, we want to feel connected, have a sense of community, and, in a lot of ways, success can make you isolated.
Yeah, there’s an interesting study done by Vox. It found that low-income Americans spend more time with people overall and spend more time with family, six extra days per year, and neighbors, four more days per year than high-income Americans. So, something happens as our socioeconomic status increases, as our income increases, as our wealth increases. We actually find ourselves spending less time with people. When I think about those two stats, less time with family, the people that we love, and less time with friends, the neighbors, the people that we love. So, it’s something we ought to be mindful of. Are we becoming all consumed in our pursuit of wealth and our pursuit of success and our pursuit of making more money, having more money that we’re losing sight of the reason why we’re doing that? So that we can do life with the people around us, it’s something to be aware of and not allow to be some of the stranger relationships.
Well, I just got back from doing spring training with my high school buddies. I hadn’t seen these guys in years, and then you get together, and it’s like old times because you don’t have any of the pretenses. I think sometimes wealthy people struggle because they also wonder what people’s motivations are, what is going on. But it’s led to if you look at the data points, this is always sad to me too, entrepreneurs because I take entrepreneurs because as we all know, that’s a successful group of the population. They’re two times more likely to be depressed. They’re three times the general population to be addicted to some type of substance. It’s not sad to me because this is supposed to be you’re supposed to be living your best life, having the best relationships, and it seems like this shows me money, wealth, success does not necessarily correlate to fulfillment and happiness. You gotta have some purpose. You gotta actually put a plan to it, and I think here’s how you can do this better.
Number one, when it comes to relationships, make time for those you love. Now, I’ll be honest, we have so much exciting stuff going on here at the firm, and with the show, and I’m just naturally driven. I enjoy work, I love doing it. I could easily work 18 hours a day and not have a problem with it at all. But I recognize that if I did that, I wouldn’t be a great husband, father, friend, or member of my community. So, I have to purposely and specifically say, “Okay, at this time every day, I’m going to stop working. I’m going to go home. This is family time.” You’ve been able to implement some systems or traits that have allowed you to become successful and build wealth as you’ve achieved millionaire status. So, I’m just arguing that one of the goals you ought to have if you’re motivated and driven is to make a goal to purposely spend time with folks you love, folks that you care about, folks that you want to be around.
I have an experience that I think will be somewhat well-received because it will give context to some things. When I was in middle school, my father lost his job. Now, this was the job that was paying well for my family, where we were very comfortably in the middle class. He had a company car, lots of benefits. We used to go on vacation to Augusta, Georgia because my dad was a sales manager for both Atlanta and Augusta. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which had cable TV and a swimming pool in the backyard. It was high-time living. That’s why I saw Clash of the Titans at least 26 times on the same trip because that’s how HBO worked back then. But then, my dad lost his job in middle school, when I was in seventh and eighth grade. The company completely got out of the division, and he lost the company car. It was the hardest time economically for my family. My mom will still talk about that. It was such a struggle for them. That’s why, when I tell the funny stories of recycling soap, where my parents’ vacations for those two years were going on timeshare presentations so we could get free vacations and things like that. Here’s the cut through all the noise of my parents’ stress, the anxiety of not having enough money, my dad driving around a jalopy that he was keeping running they bought for less than a thousand dollars. When I look back on my childhood, and this is really important because my dad has been gone since I was in my mid-20s. He passed away. The best time of my childhood was when my parents were the poorest. You know why? Dad was there. Because you were together. That’s the thing that I think we have to clear the air on. Just like time in the market is important, you have to have that time component to get the compound and growth and everything. Time with loved ones is what is going to create the depth, the relationship, the memories. When you lose your father in your mid-20s, you know what helps get you through it? Having all those memories and having those periods. But I’ve always really internalized the poorest time for my parents was the happiest time for me as a kid. And it probably goes for a lot of kids out there that they’re not paying attention to what cars the parents drive, the houses they live in. It’s really how loved they feel, the sense of community, and then how healthy the relationship is in that house.
Another thing you can do that’s in the same vein is figure out how to maintain a community. Now, one thing I love and someone just said this in the chat, I think it’s so great, we have a community here every Tuesday at 10 A.M. You guys come and hang out with us, and you interact. And what I think is awesome is if you bought one of our courses or used one of our tools, we have a private A Private Financial mutant group, and I love seeing you guys interact on there. Hey, I’ve got this problem, I’ve got this issue, I’ve got this question. I’d love for you guys to weigh in, and there is a sense of community, even though it’s virtual, even though it’s not like next-door neighbors talking. I think it is awesome if you can find ways to do that. I think you’ll be amazed at how much sweeter life can be.
You said something that I think is so awesome, right? You went to spring training with your group of buddies from high school. I mean, high school was a long, long, long, long time ago for you, and yet you’ve been able to maintain that. I’ve got the same thing. I’ve got three best friends in the whole world. We all went to school together, and we still do a trip together every year. If you can find ways to maintain those communities in your life, it will help re-center you on those things that really matter and not get lost in the hustle and bustle of trying to chase wealth, trying to chase money.
You know, we talked about, and I’ve talked, we’ve both bragged about that our poorest wives and uh are the spouses that have to probably put up with more than anybody else because we’re very unique characters to live with. I do think it’s important to, if you want to do it well, choose your partner wisely. This is somebody who has spent a lot of time with you, go make a lot of financial decisions. Whatever mistakes or struggles they have will also become part of your struggle. So, just have good communication, make sure you have those discussions before you start talking about engagement, you know, do all the heavy lifting. Don’t let it just be, does that person make my heart go flippity-flop, and other exciting things that happen when you’re in that early part of a relationship. Actually, think about what long-term success looks like and choose your partner wisely.
Yeah, I want to be very clear because if you’re seeing the slide right now, it actually says “choose your partners wise.” I was like, “why on earth put that up there?” With the people with whom you interact, it means even if you go like, so you talked about the intimate, the marital relationship, the spousal relationship, right? It’s also, “hey, if you’re going to go into business with someone, make sure that you’re choosing your partner wisely. If you’re going to commit to something long-term with another human being, make sure that you’re choosing that wisely because a lot of your happiness and a lot of your fulfillment will be tied up in how well you get along with that person.”
Brian, it’s been great doing this with you for as many years as we’ve been doing it. There are a bunch of other knuckleheads in my life who would have driven each other crazy by now, but for some reason, this thing works. So, if you can make those decisions right on the front end and not hastily rush into it, not make a flippity-floppity decision like Brian said, then you’re going to set yourself up for success.
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