Both my grandfathers died before I was even two so I took to thinking of JD Spooner as a sort of surrogate grandfather, or papa as his grandchildren refer to him, as I read this book. I won't go into detail regarding all the examples he gave, however, I would like to share the following lessons I got from the book in the hopes that one or two might touch you. These are not exact quotes, they are just notes I took as I listened to the audiobook.
- Dare to be different
- Human nature never changes
- Debt can be good but it can also be downright wicked
- Build your own team, don't just take on your parents' team of advisors
- Your trustee, lawyer and money manager should all be different people
- Always pay your lawyer by the hour not as a percentage of your estate
- We can all get jammed up in life no matter how smart we think we are or how well we've planned
- Make yourself memorable
- If you're doing well for your company ask for stuff: an expense account, a company car, more holiday
- Fear always replaces greed and vice versa in the financial markets
- You can't save some people from themselves
- All in life is negotiable
- Burn no bridges
- Bet on people not on fads or concepts
- No one's going to make you rich except yourself. Don't bet the ranch on someone else's dream
- Think about how you present yourself. It's in this part of the book you realize how wealthy the Spooner family is. Mimi (papa's wife) recommended a good Channel suit as part of one's wardrobe - I don't think I have ever even been to Chanel (or any designer of that calibre) and thought of buying, maybe I'm too much of a scrooge!
- Do your due diligence. Trust but verify (he quoted Ronald Reagan)
- Never spend the money until it's in your pocket
- Cultivate a sense of flexibility
- Make your work your play
- If you arrive economically, to hell with it, go first class all the way, you've earned it, don't feel guilty about it
- Share your wealth
- In assessing companies, get to know the receptionist
- Scared money never wins
- Don't take yourself too seriously
- No matter how busy you get, exercise
- Trust your network, not the internet
- Always follow through on promises
- Word of mouth if not forced can be one of the best marketing techniques
- Don't forget what you tell people because they'll remember
- Stay in touch with people from your past, it's people who make life extraordinary
- Love is extremely important in all its forms
- You never know anyone until you deal with their money
- Suck that lemon dry - I still don't know what this means!
Some of my thoughts:
I disagreed with his property investing strategy. He paid all cash when, I think, the genius of property investing in the developed world lies in leverage, using other people's money - but that's another blog on its own.
When he covered bonds, JD Spooner didn't cover index-linked bonds, linkers. He simply said that it is equities that keep up with the cost of living, however, Linkers also keep up with inflation. Perhaps this was taking a step too far into high finance.
In the section on staying in touch with his past, JD Spooner talked about a friend of his from high school that was a plumber in a town that he moved to. He called the guy to help him out with his plumbing. I wondered, how does he feel when he's in touch with people from his past that haven't achieved nearly as much as he has: he's a multimillionaire investment advisor and author of several bestsellers. In this book, "papa" talks about owning several million dollars of Citigroup stock before it tanked and that would only be one stock in an extensive portfolio, I expect. His friends must revere him, how does he relay to them that he's still the same old guy? This is the only query that remained outstanding by the time I finished the book.
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