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Thomas Piketty: New thoughts on capital in the twenty-first century
Federal Reserve Data Shows Growing Wealth Gap Based on Race
Don’t give Uncle Sam a 0% loan
Tycoon Playbook Review
As a recent IRS report on America’s wealthiest proves, the surest way to becoming rich has always been and still is by building your own business. There are two basic approaches to building a business. One way is to focus on finding the home run product or service to build a single company around. The other way is to focus on accumulating many businesses over time. The first variation requires far more luck considering just how many failures there are relative to successes. The second variation is a simple numbers game based on the reality that once you have a system and team in place for acquisitions, you will have far more winners than losers over the long run.
This second path is often referred to as the PacMan strategy because you use your company to gobble up other companies. It’s the most proven path to billionaire status.
As with most things in life, the basic concept is simple while the devil is in the details. This is where the Playbook truly shines. The three month course reverse engineers the acquisitions strategy employed by tycoons and billionaires who made their fortunes through wheeling and dealing in businesses. Then it breaks down this complex topic into easy to understand and follow action steps. Equally importantly, it also shows you how to avoid the minefields. This is not a course built on dry academic theory.
The creator of the course worked for many years helping entrepreneurs and mini-tycoons to buy and sell businesses. In addition, he has also spent decades studying how they got started in the game and built their empires. As a result, the Playbook is rich in examples of actionable steps taken by tycoons to not only get going but to get it right.
What are the key rewards of the course in my opinion?
First, if you’re thinking that becoming wealthy requires an element of good luck in addition to work and perseverance, you are absolutely correct. The course reveals how you can maximize your luck if we agree that luck is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. It does so by having the second learning module reveal how insiders spot emerging opportunities well before the masses do. The eighth module teaches you how to take a calculated risk by revealing the do-able deal test for acquisition opportunities. Once you have digested these two lessons your ability to do successful acquisitions increases dramatically.
A second reward of the Playbook is in how it takes a complex subject such as acquisition finance, which intimidates most people, breaks it down into its constituent parts, and lists the many options you have available for buying a business. You need not be a mathematical genius to understand how tycoons acquire control of businesses. By the end of the financing section you will feel like an up and coming Kirk Kerkorian.
A third reward in taking the course comes from discovering the Golden Feedback Loop used by tycoons to disrupt and dominate industries. The GFL may not be available in every situation but the Playbook shows you how to recognize pre-existing ones and even trigger your own whenever possible.
Finally, the biggest and most important pay off comes from the details in how tycoons started down the road towards fare and fortune. The difference between them and people who don’t accomplish much is that they simply started and kept moving towards their goal. Most people never even leave the starting blocks.
The Tycoon Playbook contains the details of a billion dollar strategy. If you take the course and only apply 1% you will still be further ahead than most.
Any small business owner can begin to put these lessons into action immediately.
Bill Nye, Science Guy, Dispels Poverty Myths
How Did Tycoon Meshulam Riklis Make His Fortune?
Money is to look at, not to use. – Meshulam Riklis
One of the questions that I get asked on a regular basis is about the possibility of following the tycoon growth strategy without employing debt. The answer is that it is possible to do so. Over the years I have participated on the buy-side in a number of deals with debt averse buyers. One Russian transportation company comes to mind. The management team had basically been given the company for free by the Russian government shortly after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The managers then threw themselves fully into growing the company internationally, including in the USA. However, their steadfast rule remained “no debt.” Every acquisition had to be financed with internally generated cash.
The downside to avoiding debt is that it will take longer to get started and, thereafter, growth will be slower. However, some people just prefer to avoid the use of debt. In thePlaybook we focus on those who utilize well-managed debt to grow because it’s easier to start that way and the growth rate is far higher. If you are starting out without a large war chest, it’s imperative to be creative about financing. If you wait for the heavens to drop your grubstake into your lap, you will be waiting forever. The lesson is start small and fast, then build momentum.
Tycoons are masters at the creative financing needed to get rolling. Once you learn the basics of deal-making from them and have achieved a critical mass almost any deal becomes do-able. The challenge is to get started today with what you have. Tycoons have a great deal to teach us about getting off our duffs and starting one step at a time. Let’s take a look at what I mean by this.
One of the financial tools used by tycoons is leverage. This simply means that they will use as much debt as possible to put the financing together for a deal. In many cases, for every dollar of equity they invest there are four to nine times as many dollars of debt. We could spend a great deal of time going over how this is done but today I want to leap-frog the topic to someone who took leverage to an extreme.
I refer to Meshulam Riklis who described his financing strategy as “the effective nonuse of cash.” He summed up his financing philosophy as “Money is to look at, not to use.” Recall the old joke about bankers: they will only lend you money when you can show that you don’t need it and slam the door in your face when you do need it. The joke captures the catch-22 faced by borrowers. Riklis came up with a beautiful solution to the problem which he described in the following words:
Mergers may serve several purposes, but they usually have one single aim at the start. That aim is to create a better and more rounded operation that can lead to more profitable results.
After the first acquisition of Rapid Electrotype, the determining factor in the success of all subsequent deals, has been effective use, or nonuse, of cash.
The point of cash can best be illustrated by asking the question: If you knew I was in a position to pay for the article I wished to buy would you give me credit? Of course, the answer is bound to be “yes” and vice-versa, if one did not have the cash to pay for the merchandise he wished to buy, he would certainly be required to pay cash.
So Riklis began hoarding his cash and flashing it in front of lenders whenever he was raising financing for a new acquisition. The sight of the cash served to assuage their anxiety about lending to Riklis and helped him to keep his equity stake to a minimum.
Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? – Lugen Family Office
It’s amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there’s good news too. (Filmed at TEDxMarin.)
Paul Piff studies how social hierarchy, inequality and emotion shape relations between individuals and groups.
Why You Should Listen To Him?
Paul Piff is a post-doctoral researcher in the psychology department at the University of California, Berkeley. In particular, he studies how wealth (having it or not having it) can affect interpersonal relationships.
His surprising studies include running rigged games of Monopoly, tracking how those who drive expensive cars behave versus those driving less expensive vehicles and even determining that rich people are literally more likely to take candy from children than the less well-off. The results often don’t paint a pretty picture about the motivating forces of wealth. He writes, “specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism, and ethical behavior.”
“When was the last time, as Piff puts it, that you prioritized your own interests above the interests of other people? Was it yesterday, when you barked at the waitress for not delivering your cappuccino with sufficient promptness? Perhaps it was last week, when, late to work, you zoomed past a mom struggling with a stroller on the subway stairs and justified your heedlessness with a ruthless but inarguable arithmetic: Today, the 9 a.m. meeting has got to come first; that lady’s stroller can’t be my problem. Piff is one of a new generation of scientists—psychologists, economists, marketing professors, and neurobiologists—who are exploiting this moment of unprecedented income inequality to explore behaviors like those. “ Lisa Miller, New York Magazine
Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will
by Tom Deans
At a farm convention in Chicago, I was approached by an audience member who explained that gifting a working farm to her children was preferable to selling and leaving them each $5 million. When I pressed her for more details – such as – “what do your children think of your plan?” She snapped her head back and proclaimed, “why would I tell them?”
I have to confess it wasn’t the first time that I had heard someone say that silence was going to be the key ingredient of their estate plan. It got me thinking how many beneficiaries – children especially — truly know the contents of their parent’s wills?
When I put the question to my audiences, “how many people hold a copy of their parents’ wills?” Only 10% on average acknowledge they do. The more interesting question is: “how many in the audience will play a lead or significant role in providing care for an aging parent?” The response — an average of 75% — agreed they would. I find the disparity between these two pieces of data, striking.
The relationship between inheriting money and the provision of health care is an issue moving into the media and cultural spotlight for two major reasons – we’re living longer (a lot longer) and the cost of health care and assisted living are rising faster than inflation and saving rates.
For some who live much longer than the average age of 76 for men and 81 for woman, many will turn to family for financial support and care when their savings are fully depleted – the same family from whom secrets were kept when a surplus seemed assured.
Why do so many people keep secrets from those who will likely be providing them with late in life care? How do secrets serve beneficiaries or add to relationships before we become old and dependant? Talk to enough estate planning professionals and they’ll tell you it almost always comes down to a lack of trust and a debilitating fear of death.
For those who view their money as an absolute source of power and control you can see how the aging process and the concomitant relinquishing of power and control makes dying and death such a wretched, fearful experience. Compare that to individuals who seriously prepare family, friends and charitable organizations to receive not just their wealth but their wisdom and you’ll find some extraordinary relationships built purposefully over a lifetime – even when years outstrip savings.
Sharing the contents of a will requires judgment – some might call it wisdom nurtured over time. A wisdom both taught and harvested through conversations with intended beneficiaries not in the last year of life, when death seems imminent, but precisely the opposite, when death is a distant abstraction.
A will doesn’t need to be seen as a solo “end of life document” but rather a collaborative work of art monumentally improved by living in relationship with our intended beneficiaries.
It is the act of collaboration, supported through frequent and deliberate conversation about the future that we leave something more valuable than just our money. This is, in part, how our fear of death recedes when we know with confidence that our beneficiaries—our emissaries — will take our ideas and perhaps our surplus assets at death and live purposeful lives themselves.
Have you shared the contents of your will with your intended beneficiaries – the ones likely to be providing late in life care for you?
As we approach the end of the calendar year, there is someone we recommend you have a friendly conversation with: your accountant.
The end of the calendar year carries its own due dates that create boundaries and opportunities for you. A coffee with your accountant would be a smart move. Here are a couple of things you might want to say [choose your own words, of course] to spark some useful and potentially profitable conversation:
1. There’s a rumour out there that non-eligible dividend tax rates are rising in 2014. Should I pay out a larger dividend in 2013?
2. I heard that there are changes in how we have to report my foreign assets – is there anything new I need to put together to help you prepare for tax season?
3. I have a feeling that interest rates are going up – should I top up my loan to my spouse?
4. I sold my business in 2013 and have been thinking about giving back a bit, or getting more serious about philanthropy. Do I need to make a donation before year-end to offset this one-time tax hit? Is there anything I can do to still give me some time to strategize, or do my gifts need to be finalized by the 31st?
Also, there are less urgent, but not necessarily less important, tasks like:
• Review the beneficiary elections on your insurance contracts
• Any contributions you might want to make to TFSA, RRSP or RESP accounts
• Update wills and shareholders agreements
Finally, to take this up to our more customary big picture, before you make decisions on financial issues, it’s an excellent moment to think about four things: your values, the vision for your family and wealth, the mission you’re working to accomplish, and the specific goals you are working to achieve.
This is a good time of year for you to have a conversation with your key advisors, and especially your accountant. Your decisions are worth the extra few minutes.