Game

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Sasha Elise Briggs #21 – back right

How do we teach what we never truly experienced?

I’m sure I’d be a pretty good field hockey player if I practiced a few hundred hours & competed as much as I do the other hockeys. Actually, I’d be really good. But I don’t need to play it, I need to teach it and train my daughter to be better at it. So I can’t with good conscience teach her about body position or how to develop the right muscle memory. And I’m not sure she is ready for the cerebral aspect of the “game” itself just yet. And I’m also highly aware of not teaching her about a “skill” that will hurt her in other aspects of her life. We all know dedication, determination and the will to succeed are pretty strong traits universally. That I can teach. But what about imposing your will to break your opponents will?  Or developing a physical body that is geared for one thing and one thing only, field hockey. If I teach her to swing with force and intent, will she be learning a valuable skill or one that can used wrong? It’s a fine line for boys, and a fine line for girls.

So I believe before skill training, physical development and the will to succeed there is something that trumps it all… emotional maturity. Something that is in us already. Win or lose, it’s a journey with a finite timeline. Facing pain along with pleasure creates great leaders. Understanding the journey and the lessons with maturity and strength guides all else when it comes to sports. Being proud and humble, having humility and will power…the ying/yangs of athletes. The greats try new things all the time because emotionally they are prepared for all results. We’ve all heard the wonderful quotes from athletes about trying hard and accepting lose, but how many of us are prepared to face the real world situations that arise? Many adults have apathy, depression or fear of facing loss head-on because of the pain. But I do not. When a moment arises, I do. If I can pass along one thing to my daughter that would improve her “game”, it would be… stand tall and stand often!

Get up, get up, get up…What it takes to pull that out from someone is letting them know it’s there. We all have the ability to face pain as well as we face pleasure. Supporting their actions & respecting their entire being. You are not alone in the struggle. You’ll find many athletes will discuss the loss with the other losing players on there team to share in the misery. Coaches are there to guide wins to manage LOSS.

The next Bri99s BLOG will be about god.

S’later.

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Treasure

Searching for treasures are my life. I research the tides, check the weather and look at photos/drawings/paintings to gain clues of their whereabouts. I invest in dive equipment and tools expecting to find artifacts that build a story of the past. It never crosses my mind that my theories can be wrong until a new theory has a stronger probability.

In 1990, I began a new job fresh out of college. In the beginning, there were few “treasures”. But each time their was an opporrunity to make more money because I had the leverage, seized the day. a few times, it just wasn’t in the cards. And I also knew when to pull back the troops and fight another day. But regardless of my salary, I had a “Now” plan and a “When” plan.

The first step was shelter. Moving out but not stepping back. After meeting a wonderful woman then only 17, we each had big goals, take on world goals. The plan was to get married when we had enough and made enough to do it without debt. That plan changed fast. Getting into home of our own meant giving up her savings and I had to immediately borrow my parents. I’d pay them back every dime, but I learned immediately investing sometimes meant taking steps back. But not for long. We looked for a two-family home that already was generating income. By living in one unit, we could pay $600 with the rest of the mortgage offset by the rent flow. We then opened mutual fund accounts instead of bank accounts to save and earn more equity. We paid cash for everything else so we never spent what we did not have. Important note here is I never paid any credit card interest, ever. Still can say that today. So, those three things 1- two-family home, 2- save were you can increase wealth and 3- never spend what you don’t have… are the theories. I call them that because a theory is tested and adjusted, or proved to be sound.

The next step was food. $50 a week was the number. Makes me hungry just thinking about how we stuck to our guns and ate all our meals prepared at home. There was no dining out until that budget went up to at least $100/mo. And even then, most healthy places were off limits. We liked Park & Orchard in Rutherford. Would go with my wife’s parents in hopes of them picking up the bill. It takes a village and we were beggars with a sence of humor about it. Our pride did not taste good so we opted for free fine food. We were lucky too. Our families are special. They all shared and helped the next generation learn and earn self-respect. We gained it fast.

Finally we needed earthly delights. I’m an atheist and though frugal in the beginning, I did not want to be there very long. But we waited. My wife went to a few medical schools finding her way while I climbed the ad agency ladder by forcing hands when the leverage was there. I still remember the day, she came home, after already receiving a degree in nursing, and said she was hired full-time. Work was not foreign to her. While attending school for nursing, she worked at a hospital reception desk. and that brings me to another plan. spend money that can directly deductable on our taxes. I’d try to keep my toys to advertising related, while she could write-off education and supplies. I learned enough tax law to open a practice, but I still paid a great accountant to sign off on my work. So both of us working full-time with great drive to be leaders combined with understanding every pennies value in the USA tax system lead us down the road of success.

Ultimately we earned enough to enjoy life, but we also learned another big thinking idea… saving. You can save up some for later. Yes, we enoyed our leftovers, we also put money aside for a marriage. Oh, I didn’t mention that. We had no right being married or having children without seeing if “The Catucci-Briggs corp” could generate profits. Profits would be measured in units of dollars, but also smiles. We laughed a lot even without money. I think that laughter fueled our drive to get to the next steps and make money very strategically.

So when we had a few dollars, we joined legally. We also decided no children until we truly lived and explored. A 7 year of adventure it became. We moved into a new home and keep the rental home as an invest and retirement income. We had kids. And during those years, with all the great experimenting of life, we learned about things. And Apple computers and medical supply companies were making great products. So we invested in other peoples’ great plans, but only in things we used and knew very well. I still to this day, will not invest in boring, stagnant or dying industries. No banking, no insurance, no energy, no Microsoft, IBM or HP. That approach earned us 15% on average returns for 20 years.

Then came the collapse of the world economy in 2007-2008. We had just purchased a Bermuda property and I’m being told by every news media that things suck. And they suck bad and long. So the fed rate was dropped to nothing. Well, we were not able to take a mortage out for Newstead, Bermuda. So I opted for a line of credit. Well that rate dropped and I refinanced until it below 2%. Then in a moment of clarity and resolve, I used that low interest line of credit to pay off all mortage debts. Our rental home, our primary and the remaining money from Bermuda. Then instead of burning through the monies we had spending on our mortgages, I paid down the LOC until it was gone.

So today, debt free with stock portfolio in tow and wonderful past experiences, I’m taking a new step. My wife will continue to strive for her goal of running the world for a few more years and that helps with healthcare, but I think a yoga/hockey school is in her future.

My next blog will be about you. We learned plenty from you, what to do, what not to do, so yes…you.

S’later.

Creatirement

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When you’ve thought about something for a very long time, it can often become reality in your mind before it occurs in the physical world.  For creative thinkers, it can be borderline delusional. So when evaluating one’s wealth or should I say financial stability, it can be hard to separate what you want things to be versus what they truly are from an actuarial and accounting viewpoint. Why? Risk is the key.

Let me first start that as an artist, my mind is trained, from a lifetime of creation, to build manipulative ideas, word streams and imagery. These can be good or bad, beautiful or ugly, completely new or thoughtfully borrowed, truth or a lie. In my younger years, I had to often ask myself, “Are you merely trying to get an emotional response or do I 100% believe what I’m saying to be true.” Or is it something else, because the fact is, neither can be true as well. I could be completely wrong, totally delusional.

Finances are balanced from the other side of the brain. With a background in mathematics along with art, I needed to give my logical side a desk of its own without the whimsical colors and lines getting in the way of facts. I figured logic is brutally honest. It hurts sometimes, but it can set great things in motion.

So as I aged and became responsible for others, I figured I must become completely transparent and learn how to strip social defenses during conversations in hopes of getting others to be true to themselves too. By separating the “creative” defenses from the cold hard facts, I received more valuable relationships and information. Words I could take to the bank. Like putting relevant search terms into Google and wanting to get the top results, I hoped for a priori to pour out and guards to gone. The result has been a wonderful collection of friends, experiences and knowledge. I think we shared real emotions and tried to arrive at the facts of life. It helped me see clearly when I needed it most. 

Where I am going with this? After all that, can what I’m witnessing today involving a possible early retirement opportunity be possible with very low risk or is this just a molded creation of a future I desire that has a possibility of putting my family in grave financial hardship? A question leading to another question. I learned such is retirement.

I quickly realized, there are too many moving pieces to control, too many worldly factors that could change our risk. So I just looked at the number, our wealth and ran a hundred formulas. I looked at every “future” scenario I could think of and crunched the numbers. Then I did it again and again. Still more questions that needed solutions came up.

What I ultimately learned are three things:

1- Honesty, humility and respect got us here and will guide our future.

2- Letting go is what you do when you are truly in control.

3- Reality is art as well and I’ll put my retirement up near the top of the list of my greatest creations.

And though all 3 of these statements can be debated, what can not be argued is the path taken got me here and it truly is about the journey, not the arrival. You never really arrive.

Please look out for my next blog. It will be about my final days of work and what that feels like. I also expect to reveal some secrets that got me here.

S’later (see you later)