007: Buying a House

When it comes to home ownership a lot of people say that it’s a no brainer, that buying a house is the best investment you could possibly make with your money, and in many, many situations I believe that is actually true but it’s not always true, and so it’s not a fact.

Let me give you an example:

In 2006, I was living in Florida, and I was looking at buying this townhouse. It was $300,000, and it hadn’t even been built. The pre-construction sales were going on, and people were jumping all over them, and prices were skyrocketing.

Now, the general sentiment at the time was that a house will only appreciate, it will only go up in value and so you just buy and you know it’s going to go up in value. Well, what happened during the Great Recession and the housing bubble bust was that, that wasn’t true. What I saw with my own eyes was that housing prices can go down, and they did. I actually ended up not buying that townhouse and in a few short years I saw that price go from $300,000, and people bought at $300,000, and in 2009 and 2010 they were selling ’em for $140,000. The people who lived there were actually in a situation where they had a loan for $300,000, but they couldn’t sell that townhouse for anything more than $140,000, $130,000. They were so far underwater many of them had no other option but to either suck it up and pay off something that was never going to be worth that much, or they just walked away they claimed bankruptcy, and had the place foreclosed upon.

What I’m trying to say is that what goes up often times (or according to physics) must come down. I’ve been through a couple bubble busts in my life. I was in Silicon Valley from 1998 to 2002, so I saw the dot com boom and I saw the peak and then I saw the bust. I saw what that looked like. Then I was in Florida for the housing bubble bust in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

I’m not saying that’s justification for not buying a house, at all. I just want to say that housing is not guaranteed to appreciate at all times. That is not a fact because sometimes it doesn’t.

If you buy at the peak of the market where we’ve come out of a recession, well, guess what? Prices are going to go down. Eventually are they going to go up again? Most likely, but it’s not guaranteed? Depending on the city you live in, if you’re anywhere near Detroit I would say that housing is not appreciating in that area. If you’re in San Francisco housing is going crazy. It’s skyrocketing.

So you gotta evaluate those types of market conditions. Are you at the bottom of the market or are you at the top of the market? Is it a seller’s market is a buyer’s market. With regards to is this going to be a good investment: How long are going to stay in the house? Are you looking at just a short-term play, and then you’re going to move? Or are you planning on being there for the next 30 years? All of these things take into account whether or not it’s a good idea to buy a house.

It’s not a no-brainer that it is and it’s not a no-brainer that it isn’t. You have to evaluate these things.

As you’re evaluating these things, one of the things you’ll hear again is that a house is an amazing, is the best investment you can make and I agree with you that it is among the best investments that you can make. But here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t think about: While a house is an amazing investment, what happens is you buy a house and then you fill it up with liabilities?

Let’s talk about the difference between investments and liabilities.

An investment, good investment or bad investment depending, but, an investment is something that has the potential to make you money in the future. If it’s a bad investment, then it’s got a low potential, if it’s a good investment, then it has a high potential to make you money. Whereas a liability is something that is never going to make you money. So, while a house is an investment, a couch is a liability. When you buy a sofa set, loveseat, that piece of furniture is never going to be worth more than it is on the day you bought it, it’s only going to depreciate in value.

And so, as that depreciates in value, it’s a liability. When you buy a refrigerator, that is only going to depreciate in value. When you buy a washer and dryer, that’s only going to depreciate in value. When you buy a lawnmower, that’s only going to depreciate in value. So what happens when we buy a house is we buy an investment and then we fill it up with liabilities.

And these liabilities are not cheap liabilities, they’re expensive liabilities. Everything is $1,000 when you own a house. Washer is $1,000, dryer is $1,000, couch is $1,000, refrigerator is $3,000, lawn mower is $1,000. Everything, everything, everything is $1,000.

You need a new water heater, you need a fridge for the garage because you have to have the beer fridge. Everything is a liability that you stick into a house, and then you have to replace it all. So when you look at that investment, does that investment outweigh the liabilities? Well, depending on how many big-screen TVs you buy and how leveraged (in debt) you are, you can buy a house and a lot of people will go and get pre-approved for the biggest house they can possibly afford, and then in order to pay for all the liabilities, they need to furnish that house they go into debt, and then in order to pay for groceries for their kids, they’re so far leveraged that they end up going into more debt at which point that takes a strain on our previous conversation in episode five as to whether I can quit my job or not.

Well, if you’re super leveraged all over the place and in debt all over the place, I don’t know how you can quit your job because you bought a house that everybody said was a good investment, and then you filled it up with all the liabilities, and then that put you in a
poor financial situation. But at least you own a house, which, the idea of owning a house, unless you paid cash for that house, you don’t own that house, the bank owns that house, and you’re renting it from them for at least 30 years. If you’re only going to stay there for a short time, maybe four or five years, you’re barely paying off in those first couple years, you’re paying off the interest on that. If the house increases in value rapidly, then you’re going to come out just fine, but if it’s a stagnant market, then maybe or maybe not you have any equity built up in that house. So when we look at whether or not I should buy a house, there’s a lot of things to weigh.

Some of the other things to weigh are, how much do you like doing yard work? How much do you like taking care of a home? How much do you like cleaning gutters? There are so many different
aspects to owning a home. I know it’s the American Dream, I know it’s a vital variable in the formula of American Success, but that doesn’t mean that it’s for everybody.

I personally don’t own a home.

A lot of people will say, “I can’t believe you’re renting. “You’re just throwing your money away.”

Well, I think that’s a very, very, silly statement. Am I building equity in anything? No, I’m not building equity, but I don’t think I’m throwing money away, because I’m trading money for a place to live, and I think that’s of great value. Especially if it’s way less than it would be if I actually had to own the home, and if it extends me freedom to move without any type of strings holding me down on a regular basis, that to me is very important.

To some people, they might be like, “I am going to live here ’til I die, I have no desire to move, I have no desire to travel.” I, on the other hand, like to be as free as possible so that at the drop of a dime, if the good Lord were to call me and my family to go do something else and somewhere else, that we could go and we wouldn’t have any hesitations of, “Well, we have to sell this house, and we filled this house up with all these liabilities and blah, blah, blah.”

I think I heard Suze Orman say this, and I’m not a big Suze Orman fan, but this one I did like, and it is, “What’s good for your money “isn’t necessarily what’s good for you.”

Is a house a good investment? Probably nine out of 10 times yeah, you’re going to do just fine. That doesn’t make it the best move for you just because it’s the best move for your money. So when people say that, take it for what it’s worth. Do “you”, follow your path to success, to your definition of success, and don’t worry about what the rest of the folks think.


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006: Should I Quit My Job?


This question can be asked for a whole bunch of reasons but I kind of narrowed it down to just a couple of different reasons that I’m going to address right now.

The first reason would be “Should I quit my job because it’s a horrible job?” Second one would be “Should I quit my job because I’ve been at the job a long time and it’s time for a career change?” And “Should I quit my job because I don’t make enough money?”

Now, if you work at a place where you hate your job and it’s a horrible place and you don’t make enough money, then yeah, it’s pretty easy. Quit your job. Go find a better job. That shouldn’t be that big of a question and I shouldn’t have to convince you that much. Go quit your job.

The second one, though, is a lot more complicated.

“I’ve been at my job a long time.”
“It’s a great job.”
“I make lots of money but I’ve been there a long time and it’s kind of run its course. I feel like I want to go do something else and maybe I know what I want to go do and maybe I don’t know what I want to go do but I know that I’m restless here.”

That’s really the topic that I want to address because this is a super difficult one, unlike the other situations where it’s no brainer. There’s a lot of caveats in this question.

Career change is a huge thing and the different perspectives that come in and the different responsibilities that you have are big, right? You’re probably further along in your life. You’ve probably put some time in at this company, so you don’t want to lose that seniority. You’ve got responsibilities, maybe a wife, maybe kids, that you are supporting. At this point, maybe you’re supporting parents and so quitting your job and going back to school and changing careers could be a really, really, really big deal and I understand that.

At the same time, I also understand that often times, jobs don’t change and people do change. A job’s function may very well stay the same and an industry may stay the same depending on what industry you’re in. Whereas, people grow and people shift and people morph and people change.

What used to be an awesome job doesn’t feel like an awesome job anymore but you have a hard time convincing yourself that it’s time to make that move.

I guess the best advice I could give is to share what experience I went through.

I had a wonderful corporate job, making a ton of money, living a very blessed and fruitful lifestyle and I got to the point where I had to ask myself, “Is being a semi-conductor sales executive what I want written on my gravestone?” “Is it what I want to do for the rest of my life or is there something I’m more passionate about?”

When I looked at it, I looked at all the positives of the job and there were tons of them. There were the finances. It was my dream job when I had got that job. It was something that I had strived for. It was something that I’d worked for.

But after six or seven years, I got to a point that I didn’t want to be there anymore but I couldn’t justify to myself, but most importantly at the time, I couldn’t justify it to others. I couldn’t justify it to my parents.

I remember telling my parents, “Hey, I’m going to quit my job and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do next.” And they were super pissed. They were mad because they said they had worked so hard to put me through school and I was throwing everything away after achieving what they deemed success.

I had to take a step back and really evaluate, what am I looking at here? If I switch careers, and I didn’t know what career I was going to switch to, If I switch careers, what are the downsides of it? When it came down to it, my stance ended up being that I made it here once. I went through school, I went through the training, I went through the interviews, I got the job, I excelled in the position. If I made it here once, from way further back than I am now, I’m pretty sure if I leave, if I wanted to I could make it back again. Maybe not at the same company, but in the same industry. I could do it again if I had to.

But the whole reason that I was leaving is because I didn’t want to be there anymore, so the chances of that happening, buyer’s remorse I suppose, could exist. But I was trying to get out. So, I said, “Yeah, that shouldn’t be a road block for me. I need to go ahead and check that one off the list because I know that I can make it back.”

So what are some of the other pieces? Well, the finances. If I quit this job, I’m going to have to go back to school and that could be an issue or I’m going to have to give up my salary and maybe start over or start at a lower salary for a while in a new industry that I would be entry-level in. That is super scary and at the same time, staying in a place where you’re not fulfilled and you’re not happy and you’re not being fruitful, is, to me, even more scary.

I’m at a point in my life where I’ve done a lot of different jobs and I’ve started over and I’ve quit and I’ve made it back and I made a lot of money and I made a little money and I make a lot of money. Things are cyclical. After quitting the first time, quitting is no longer scary to me anymore, to the extent that my wife and I have a rule: I am not allowed to work at a job that I don’t absolutely, positively love.

I can’t just like my job. I have to love my job. And the reason we have that rule is because I’ve worked at jobs where I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t fulfilled and I wasn’t contributing to the greater good of society and when I got home every day from work, I was drained.

I wasn’t passionate and my family felt the effects of that. They didn’t get as much attention. They didn’t get the energy. They didn’t get the motivation. They didn’t get all that I had to give when I was fulfilled and overflowing from the fulfillment that I achieved at work and so my wife made a rule. She’s like, “You are not allowed to not like your job. Either you love that job that you work at or you quit and you go get a new job and we suffer the consequences of making that transition but we can’t just sit here stagnant and suffer when you’re not in a great position at work.”

I’m coming from a very blessed perspective, I know. I’m not in any way, shape, or form oblivious that not everybody can just quit their job. You’re right. Not everybody can just quit their job, but we’re not talking about just everybody. We’re talking about you.

Can you quit your job?

I’m not saying, “Will it be easy?” or “Will the transition be smooth?” but literally, “Can you quit your job?”. Can you float yourself for a couple months and float your family for a couple months? Maybe, if you have to, can you take on some debt in order to make that transition? If it’s at all possible, then I encourage you to evaluate it.

I’m not saying it’s a no brainer. For me, it’s a no brainer but I understand that everybody’s situations in life are different. With that said, it’s possible.

I’ve seen so many people do it. Candidly, when somebody comes up to me and says, “Hey, should I quit my job?”, my answer immediately is “Yes”. The reason it’s yes is because the fact that you’re even thinking about it tells me that there’s so much more that you see in the future that is potential that you want to go after it. My absolute stance is absolutely, go after the potential.

Jobs tend to stay the same and people grow. When those jobs don’t grow with you, it doesn’t make sense to stay at the same place. I know that in the past, we might’ve come from a generation who stayed at the same company for years and retired and got a pension. That’s not where we’re at anymore. That’s not the place we live at anymore.

I think the statistic is that people have seven different major jobs or careers in their life now. You can switch and you can move and you can grow and you can morph and I don’t want you to think that whatever skills that you currently have are going to be a throwaway because you move to another industry. The skills you have are applicable in so many different routes.

Though you might be in engineering now, that doesn’t mean you can’t go into sales. That doesn’t mean that if you’re in business now, you can’t go into art or design or whatever it may be. If you’re in manufacturing, you could absolutely pivot to another place. Will it take work? Yes, absolutely but life’s a journey and that adventure of the change and the unknown is kind of why we get up in the morning. It’s what lights us on fire.

The biggest thing holding most people back when they’re afraid of that job change is just leaving their comfort zone. Yes, you’re comfortable. Yes, it’s a known place and leaving and going to a new job is an unknown, but that should be exciting because change is going to happen. Just because you decide, if you decided, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to stay here forever.” That doesn’t mean they’re going to keep you forever. Companies make decision based on P&Ls and as soon as it doesn’t make financial sense for the shareholders to have you in that position anymore, they’re going to let you go and you’re going to be in this situation regardless.

You’ve got a big decision to make and I am here to support you. What is the best decision for you? I don’t know. I encourage you to just know that lots and lots of people quit all the time and shift and change and morph and end up far better than they ever were before and you can do it too, if you so choose.

Until next time.


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005: Moving In Together


This is a question that a lot of young people ask, and the answer is super complicated, so I want to address just a couple of pitfalls that happen with regards to moving in together and maybe some reasons why you shouldn’t move in together. And then talk about why you should move in together.

Okay, so let’s start off with negatives. Let’s start off with the cons. Why you shouldn’t move in together.

The first reason why you shouldn’t move in together is if it’s motivated by finances. I hear that a lot. “Well, you know, financially it makes sense. We could split costs and it would, it would make it easier on us financially, rather than maintaining two different homes.”

Now, while I agree that yeah financially it makes sense, I don’t think that joining
your life together with another person for financial reasons is a recipe for success. I think that’s probably going to end badly if that’s the true motivation for why you’re going to move in together.

So, if you’re doing it for financial reasons, I’d say take a second and think this over.

The second thing I hear a lot is that people want to “test drive marriage”, which again, theoretically it makes sense. Yeah, you should, you should try out marriage before you actually go and get married. Getting married is a huge deal.

Unfortunately, I don’t really think that living together is test driving a marriage.

Living together is just taking your girlfriend / boyfriend status to the next level, but I don’t think that when you live together you actually behave like married people behave.

For example, here’s a big one: married people don’t just split expenses.

Some people will, because it works out best for them, keep maintaining their own bank account or whatever, but those divisions I don’t think are real. They’re definitely not real in my marriage, especially because my wife is a stay at home mom. She takes care of the household, and so I’m the one that’s working outside the home, and it’s not “my money” and “your money”. There’s just the “family’s money”.

I put all the money into a bucket and they take out as much money as they need and that’s all there is to it. My wife has full access to all bank accounts and financial accounts and all of those things.

When two people often times move in together, that’s not the way they operate.

Yes, they might share a bed and they sleep together, and so they’re playing house, but they’re not really playing married. If you’re serious about playing married, you should probably go ahead and share finances, right?

As I say that I know a ton of people are saying, “oh my gosh, no way, I’m not giving her access to my bank account.” It’s like, wow, that’s, that’s a huge double standard, because in one way, you guys are sleeping together, and so you’re playing married that way, but in another way, when it comes to your checking account and your credit card she doesn’t get access to that.

That’s a legit double standard that shouldn’t be there if you were really test driving marriage. Now, if you remove that idea that you’re actually test driving marriage, then, then I’m fine with that. But if you use that term, let’s make it a real test drive.

Here’s another thing that’s different between a girlfriend – boyfriend relationship and a married couple relationship. If I’m living with someone who’s my girlfriend, quite candidly my family takes precedent over my girlfriend. My mother takes precedent over my girlfriend for sure, right?

Any guy who loves his mom and is loyal to his mom is always going to take his mom’s side over his girlfriend’s side. However, that changes when you ask me about my wife. If my mom says one thing and my wife says another, 100% no doubt absolute positive easy choice.

I pick my wife’s side every single time.

If it were my girlfriend, no, I’d take my mom’s side. But between my wife and my mom, I’m taking my wife’s side, and that’s a huge difference.

So if you’re test driving marriage, then are you going to be taking your girlfriend’s side over your mom’s side or your girlfriend’s side over your family’s side? Does she take precedent and priority over everybody else?

Because my wife takes precedent and priority over everybody else.

Does your girlfriend? Whom you’re living with?

Number three, I’ve heard people say “I’m not, I’m not quite ready for a commitment.”

If you’re not ready for a commitment, that’s completely fine, but don’t move in together, because moving in together is a huge commitment. Moving in together is
saying to the other person, “hey, we are moving towards a huge commitment, and we’re moving very quickly towards a huge commitment.”

So, if you’re not ready for a commitment, don’t get into a commitment.

I’ve given you a couple reasons as to why not to move in together. Which begs the question, “Is there ever a time when we should move in together?” Or am I some crazy traditionalist that’s like, no you have to have the big church wedding, and do everything appropriately and legalistically in order to have a successful relationship?

In no way, shape, or form am I that guy.

I have seen many successful relationships where folks moved in together and they never
officially got married by a justice of the peace or a church official or anything like that, and they were very, very successful.

I’ve also seen, as I’m sure we all have, plenty of people who had a big church wedding, and then it didn’t work out. So I don’t think it’s one or the other. I don’t think that moving in together without being married is a deal-breaker on whether or not a relationship’s going to be successful.

That said, I think there’s some qualifications that need to be in place in order for that relationship to be successful.

So the question is “Are you ready to put that other person first in your life? Are you ready to make them the top priority, and are they ready to make you the top priority?”

Because I think that’s how successful relationships work.

When it comes down to it, I put my wife first, after my faith of course, but I put my wife first, and she puts me first, and our kids are second, and our friends and family are third, and everything else comes after that. So when you talk about moving in together, if you want to make it last, you have to ask yourself these questions:

Are you ready to put that other person first?
Are you ready to make them a priority?
Are you ready to love them most and unconditionally?

If you are, then I say go for it.

If you’re not, I say run the other way and wait until you find that person whom you are ready to, to put first.

Until next time.


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004: Relationship Rules


On today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about relationships. More specifically, relationship rules for a happy life.

A lot or you might think, what the heck does this guy know about relationships? And, for evidence, I can say that I’ve had enough relationships, or enough failed relationships to know what not to do, for sure. And I’m also in a relationship of 10 years now, with my wife Bonnie, and we work on our relationships everyday.

We’ve found a couple of things that really help make everyday better and make sure that we stay on the same team. And I just want to share those with you today.

Rule #1: “Say I Heard”, not “You Said”.

This is super important and it’s a tiny little tweak, but it changes
the whole perspective of how arguments usually start. Most arguments start because one side or the other, the spouse or your girlfriend, your boyfriend, or whoever it may be, there’s a miscommunication that happened. And when that miscommunication happens, one of the parties will say “You said this.”

What that does is that it immediately puts the other person on the defensive. And they say, “I didn’t say that, I said this.”

And that turns into a literal “he said, she said” argument.

But rather than get into that and then go down that crazy cycle, and go down that horrible
spiral into you know, bringing up old stuff. That’s not what we want to do.

What we want to do is, rather than say “You said this”, what we want to say is, “I heard, this.”

It’s a small change. But what that does is, it takes the accusation away, it takes the blame putting on the other person, it takes that away. And instead it puts the blame on yourself.

So, here’s an example: Me and my wife are talking…

“Hey B, what’s for dinner?””

And she says, “What do you mean what’s for dinner? You said we were going out to dinner tonight, I haven’t made anything.”

Right there, she puts the blame on me.

As an alternative to that, she could say, “What’s for dinner? I heard this morning, that
we were going out for dinner.” At which point, a miscommunication happens. That’s okay. Miscommunications happen.

I’m not feeling accused because she said that “she heard it”. She didn’t say “I said it”,
she said “she heard it”.

I could’ve said something like, “Man, I love going out to dinner” or “I would really like to go out to dinner tonight.” I didn’t specifically say we were going out to dinner, but, I can see how she heard that or how that conversation got miscommunicated.

At which point, she says, “I heard we were going out” and I say, “Oh I’m sorry you heard that. I definitely didn’t meant to say that.”

And then, there’s no accusation. There’s no downward spiral into a “he said, she said”. It’s simply, there was a miscommunication and we leave it at that.

That rule has saved us so many times.

There’s so many times where I tell Bonnie (cause I know I just used an example that she heard a miscommunication) that “I heard X, Y, Z.” And she says, “Well I said…”

And I back off and I say, I didn’t say you didn’t. I’m actually, I’m positive
you did say exactly what you thought you said. I’m the one, I’m the bad guy, I misheard it.”

Then, we don’t have to have an argument about this, we just have to correct
it and move on with life. We love each other, and so we can pivot, and we don’t have to get
into that downward spiral.

This works n not just marital relationships or intimate relationships; This works in business relationships too.

I was in a meeting the other day, and one of my business partners said something and it was news to me. So I say, “Oh man, I didn’t catch it that way the first time, I heard…” and I explain what I had heard.

And he said, “Well I didn’t say that.”

And I say, “I didn’t say you said that. I said I heard.”

At which point, he wasn’t feeling accused, I took all of the blame and it wasn’t a big deal. We moved on, we corrected the situation and we were good to go. There wasn’t any animosity, there wasn’t any argument. It was just, forward progress. Because at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.

00:04:58,584 –> 00:05:00,510
Rule #2: The rule I have for my wife is I will do absolutely positively anything, anything in the world for you, except for one thing. There’s one thing that is absolutely off limits, and I refuse to do it and that is even try to read your mind.

I can’t do it. I’m not a mind reader and because I’m willing to do anything for you, all you have to do is tell me. If you want to try to make me read your mind, it’s just not going to work. It’s not going to happen, I’m going to get it wrong, you’re not going to be happy, you’re going to be frustrated.

So, here’s the condition: I’ll do anything for you. Just don’t make me read your mind.

That is something that has really saved us. I know when Bonnie and I first started implementing this rule, or should I say, when I started implementing this rule, there was some hesitation on Bonnies side, because she wanted me to know her so deeply and so intimately that I knew what she wanted. And as romantic as that sounds, especially for the ladies, that your husband or your significant other just knows you so much that they can just read your mind and they know what you’re thinking and you don’t have to tell them.

But, she got over it super quick. As soon as I said, “Okay, I understand that it is super romantic and it’s quite a goal, but let’s go ahead and do this: I’m going to implement
the same rule on you. I’m not going to tell you want I want, I just want you to read my mind, and I just want you to know me so well that I don’t have to tell you anything and that you can just know what I want.”

And that immediately stopped. That stopped the conversation, because it’s like, hold
on, that’s ridiculous. How could I ever read your mind? How could I ever know all of those things, even if I know you and love you?

People are complex. We talked about this a couple episodes ago. People are complex, and people change. And so it really just isn’t fair to ask that.

Number one, it’s unrealistic. Number two, if somebody agrees to basically to do anything all you have to do is tell them, then it seems like it’s not that much to ask: Just tell them. Just go ahead and tell them.

To this day, I won’t even try. Won’t even, not even an ounce of effort goes into mind reading. I won’t do it.

I’ll do anything for her… If she asks me “hey, here’s a ridiculous request… I want X, Y, Z or I want you to do this and that.” I will kill myself trying to accomplish that. But I will not try to read her mind.

And that has, that has worked out I think really well for both of us.

Rule #3

Okay, and this one’s in regards to finances. hey say that the
overwhelming majority of all arguments and all divorces, really start and
end with financial stress. So, with regards to finances, Bonnie and I again, have a really solid rule.

She can have anything she wants. Anything in the whole wide world. Anything she wants. And I can have anything I want. If I want it, I can go get it. You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.

That’s the rule.

You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.

You get everything you need. If it’s a need, covered. We’re going to work as hard
as we need to in order to make sure all needs are covered. With regards to wants, you can have anything, you just can’t have everything.

Hey, you want $300 jeans? Awesome, no problem.

Concert tickets? Wonderful.

You want to travel? Let’s travel.

Oh you want all that and groceries? Well, that’s not going to happen.

You want to have the awesomest car and a huge car payment? No big deal.

But you can’t have that, and, and, and, and, and. You’ve got to pick and choose. You’ve got to pick and choose what’s most important to you and you can have it. But we’re going to have to make sacrifices everywhere else.

So, that rule right there makes you think; You look at all the opportunities and all the different things that you want, and you pick and choose what’s most important, cause you can have anything. You just can’t have everything.

That said, I want to thank you for watching

Until next time.


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003: Man of the House


Now, this is a super complicated question and I know that men come in every shape and size, and so I’m not trying to stereotype or put labels, but more so kind of lay a foundation or baseline of what it looks like, and definitely what it doesn’t look like, to be the “man of the house”.

So, the first thing that I think it takes to be the man of the house is that the man of the house works.

That’s not to say that they have to work outside the home and that maybe a stay at home dad can’t be the man of the house, a stay at home dad absolutely can be a man of the house, because they work, they have a function, they contribute to society,
they contribute to the family.

When I say that the man of the house works, that means that the man of the house is not a freeloader, that the man of the house is not somebody who just hangs home and plays video games and collects checks from government assistance while their wife or their spouse or their mom or somebody else takes care of them and their home.

The man of the house is a care giver. He’s a care taker. He’s a provider. So that’s the first thing, that I think it takes to be the man of the house.

The second thing I think it takes is that the man of the house has a vision.

A vision for himself, a vision for the house that he’s the man of, a vision for his family, a vision for his friends, a vision for his community. He’s a community builder. He lifts people up. He seeks out to help others. He knows where he’s going and where his family is headed in the direction.

That’s not to say that he has a five year, 10 year, 15 year plan, no. That means more so what kind of family or what kind of community he’s going to be a part of, not necessarily how they’re going to get there, meaning are we going to be a compassionate community? Are we going to be a strong community? Are we going to be a giving community?

A man of the house has visions as to how they’re going to proceed forward.

That said, the man of the house, I keep saying family, the man of the house doesn’t
have to be a husband, the man of the house doesn’t have to be a father, the man of the house can be just a man in the community that is a provider.

The last, but probably most important piece that a man of the house has to do is that he has to be a servant leader.

Simon Sinek says that leaders eat last and the man of the house is not somebody who pushes other people out of the way in order to get his, the man of the house instead lifts other people up so they can get theirs. He makes sure that everybody has enough. He makes sure that everyone is taken care of. He makes sure that everyone is safe and feels included and he makes space for everyone to fit in.

That’s the job of the man of the house: to be that servant leader. He makes sure that everybody gets fed and that’s not to say that he goes without because the man of the house makes sure that there’s enough for everybody. A man of the house is inclusive, he’s not exclusive.

And so, for all those guys out there who desire to be that man of the house or maybe those guys that haven’t been that but that it’s time to change…

Also, for the women out there: Who are you looking for? Are you looking to find
a man of the house? Because this is what a man of the house looks like.

That’s not to say that he takes care of everything, no, no way, because the man of the house knows what his vulnerabilities are and he knows where his blind spots are and he’s self aware and he is able to ask for help because nobody can do it on their own.

So, the man of the house is somebody who implores help and asks for help not just when he needs it, not just when he’s physically incapable of doing it himself, but also to include others nd pass on what he knows to those other people.

The man of the house has apprentices and he’s a mentor and he wants to show people what he does, what he knows, in order to make their lives better and in order to, you know, teach a man to fish.

So, get out there. Be the man of the house and know that the man of the house is always growing.

Until next time.


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002: Definition of Success?


I know that here in the United States there’s this predefined, maybe unspoken, maybe spoken definition of how you reach success and what success looks like. First off, you’ve got to go to school and get good grades, and be a good boy or be a good girl, and eventually that will lead you to success in sports and academics and that will lead to a
scholarship to a great college.

So you go to college and then you graduate and you get a great job, and a car, and a house, and a spouse, and you continue on and you have kids, and get a boat, and an RV, and you save for retirement.

You join the country club and you just continue on amassing more and more material wealth. You take better vacations, maybe you get a second home, and eventually you retire and you spend your days at leisure and …

I question whether or not all of that legitimately equals success.

The reason that there’s a question there is because “what is the definition of success?”

That is a formula to one set of successful circumstances or situations. But is that your definition of success and is that what will make you happy? That is a different answer for every single person.

Some people are more happy doing one thing than another. Money makes some people happy and yet I know enough people who have more money than they know what to do with and yet they’re still working so hard because it isn’t the money that brings fulfillment.

As I look at my life and my surroundings and my mentors, the happiest people I know are the people who serve the most. And you don’t need degrees and houses and boats and RVs in order to serve. As a matter of fact, the people who I know who serve the most probably have the least, in material wealth, that is.

They don’t have the least in love, they don’t have the least in fulfillment, they don’t have the least in any of those things that matter to them.

So, as you’re picking mentors or choosing people to follow, I think it’s so important that you understand that whoever you follow, you’re gonna end up at their definition of success. And there’s so many routes to success depending on what success is.

As a parent I see a lot of different folks striving to make sure that their kids are engaged in every sport activity, and getting such great grades, and trying to teach them how to read before they’re age three. And I think those things are great and impressive but what’s even more impressive to me is a child who’s compassionate, a child who knows how to play well with others, a child who knows how to listen, who says “Please” and “Thank you” and respects their elders and respects their grandparents.

So even those definitions of success can vary greatly and I think that you need to be conscious of what you value and what’s really valuable. That’s awesome that your kid can do calculus and he’s only in sixth grade. It’s two bad that he’s a jerk and he doesn’t know how to share his toys.

We need to keep everything in perspective. Look at the big picture and make sure that we’re valuing the right things.

When we talk about retirement, we’ve been sold this bill of goods where retirement is all that matters and that you’ll be so happy in leisure and not working, when what I’ve found is that most people love working. Their work gives them purpose and their work gives them joy and when they work they help people and when they help people they’re the most fulfilled.

So as you choose who you want to follow and what your definition of success is, keep all of these different things in mind. There’s many routes to success. Maybe you go to college or maybe you don’t. School isn’t for everybody and there’s many ways to be successful.

Not every most successful businessman actually went to school and there’s many different jobs; You don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist or some sort of engineer in order to be successful and find material wealth and financial success. You can be so many different things.

There are welders who have six figure salaries, there’s so many different jobs that might be considered blue-collar jobs: I know many owners of construction companies who may or may not have gone to college but they have plenty of material wealth and they are enjoying much success doing something that they love.

So open your eyes. Don’t think that there’s one prescribed path to success.

The only probably commonality is that you’re passionate about what you do which means that you’re going to work even harder at it and overcome obstacles. Look for something that you love. Look for something that you want to do. Look for a job that is going to not have you dreading Monday morning but loving Monday morning.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Until next time.


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001: Why Share?


As this is the first episode of the show, I just want to talk through why I wanted to do this show, and who the target audience is.

The fact remains, that life is difficult, there are so much uncertainty in life, people are complicated, and we live in a time where there’s so much going on, that it’s tough to navigate through all of these different things.

And so, if you’re somebody who doesn’t have a whole bunch of mentors, or a whole bunch of people to look up to, or you’re bombarded by all the different types of media that are coming at you, and all the different perspectives and you question what to believe, this show may just be for you.

In no way, shape or form do I profess to have all the answers, I definitely don’t, but what I want to provide is a second opinion, a different take, a different perspective, an alternate view on some of the many different topics.

I want to title this show, this episode, and this show Real World Advice for Life’s Most Important Questions.

But again, I don’t want to say that I have the answers. I just am giving another view. I’ve actually been so blessed in my life, to have some of the wonderful mentors that a guy could ever ask for.

First off I’ve got two fantastic parents. They’re immigrant parents who came through, worked so hard, put their kids through school and through college and, continue to be wonderful mentors.

I’ve got four older brothers and four older sisters. Now talk about a diverse set of viewpoints that can come together and influence a young man, as I was growing up.

I’ve got the best friends in the whole world who are so smart and so loving and willing to stick by me as I make mistake after mistake after mistake. And just mentor me and walk along side me.

I’ve had the most wonderful bosses in the world. Now, I don’t know how many folks can say that! But I’ve had really great bosses who have been willing to mentor me, and take me under their wing and show me what it is to find that success and that and take advantage of my proper work ethic that my parents instilled in me.

I’ve had the greatest ministry leaders, who have taught me what it really looks like to live out faith, as opposed to just follow a bunch of rules.

And last but not least, I have the most wonderful wife, who walks beside me, who we challenge each other, and who, we tackle these obstacles of life together.

And so, having that I think puts me in a unique position to make a lot of mistakes and yet have a lot of different perspectives from which to pull from. Like I said, life is so complicated, right now we’re trying to put labels on everything. And we’re trying to put everybody into a box and make everything a generalization or a stereotype so that we can try to understand what’s going on and try to find some certainty.

But the thing is, life is uncertain, and so, what we need to do is we need to slow down, we need to take the time and understand that people aren’t stereotypes, people are very unique, complex individuals, full of complex belief systems, and most importantly, that not everybody has it figured out.

People are doing the best that they can, just like we’re doing the best that we can with the information we have and some of that information is actually false.

Some of that information is skewed. Some of that information is incorrect or biased, depending on the source where it comes from. And so, what I want to do is just give another take. Give another look, give another opportunity for us to tackle some of these questions.

That said, I want to thank you for watching, and I want to thank you for letting me be your second opinion. Be sure to like the page, subscribe to the channel, subscribe to the podcast, share this post, write a review, and most importantly, if you have any topics you’d like me to tackle, hit me up on social media, or send me an e-mail.

I’d love to give it a shot on one of the future episodes of the Hey Big Bro show.

Until next time.


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Relationships Are Everything

Fame.  Fortune.  Status.  Security.  They are all worthless.

Unless, you have someone to share them with.

In college, I remember one of the Jesuits (Mario Prieto) telling a story during the 10pm Student Mass about how he and his 10 older siblings used to fight over the food at their dinner table.  To combat their behavior and make sure that the little ones received enough to eat, Mario’s mother would constantly remind them:  “Sabe mejor cuando se comparte” …  “It tastes better when you share it.”

This quote and sentiment has stuck with me ever since.

More often than not, the decisions I make with my best interests in mind are not the same decisions I would make if I were thinking about the best interests of my family, community, or society as a whole.  And though there are times when it is in the best interest of everyone for me to put myself first, I believe that there needs to be a balance of these perspectives.

For example, I would have far more money in the bank if I didn’t care for my wife and kids, if I didn’t give money to the church, if I didn’t support charities, if I didn’t do pro-bono work, and if I didn’t invite my friends over for steaks & brews.  Sure, I’d have more money, but what kind of life would that be?  What would I have traded that money for?

As I reflect back on my life and recount the happiest of times, they all involve other people.  From family vacations, to my wedding day, to the birth of my daughter, I couldn’t have experienced any of them alone.  This is not to say that I’ve never been happy in solitude, but when I’ve been the happiest, I’ve always been with loved ones.

And so, rather than store my money away in an investment account or reserve my free time solely for personal ambitions, I choose to invest these resources in people.  People who are in need of a helping hand, or a listening ear, or some money for gas just to get to work.  People who have  a dream to chase, or a story to tell, or simply a moment of time and a beer to share.  Not because I’m a righteous humanitarian, but more so because I’m not.  I invest in people, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but candidly because the dividends it pays are far greater than any stock ever could!

The reward of seeing a down-trodden spirit find encouragement, or a frustrated friend rant to relief,  a student who finally understands, or a cash-strapped missionary serve one more day is simply beyond compare.  Just the same, getting to share what’s good (and not so good) in my own life with others is an enormous blessing as well.  That’s why people post pictures of their lunch, and their dog, and their baby, all over social media.  Because alone, it was simply a “really good” salad.  But, with my friends, the salad was ah-mazing!!!  “Sabe mejor cuando se comparte”, even virtually.

The fact is, we all need each other.  For love, for joy, and for meaning in our lives.

Relationships are everything.  Nothing else matters.

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Quit Today, Pay Cash, Don’t Retire, Die Broke

In about 1999, I read a book by Steven Pollan called “Die Broke” and his four tenants about financial management have completely shaped my view and relationship with money ever since.  Since we are all getting older and have parents who are also getting older, the topics of retirement, inheritance, and savings (or lack there of) seems to be surfacing more and more each day.   As such, I thought I would share the simple ideas that I learned from Pollan’s writings, along with some stuff that I picked up along the way:

1.  Quit Today

Whatever you do, do not let your job “define who you are.”  You are not your job.  Often times, people allow their title at work and the degrees hanging on their office walls define them.  And this is ok, so long as you maintain that title.  But, what happens when your company downsizes and you lose your job (and your title)?  Rather than simply having a financial issue (no more income), you also have and identity crisis.  You are no longer “Senior Vice President”…  You are now “unemployed”.  Thus, in order to maintain a proper perspective and protect your future sanity, it is necessary to separate “who you are” from “what you do”.  And the best way to do that is to “Quit Today”.  Not literally.  But in your mind, quit today.  Quit letting your job define you.  Understand that though your job is important, it is not all encompassing and that when (not if) you part from this job, your life and your identity will be just fine.

2.  Pay Cash

This is rather obvious.  Just as you shouldn’t let your job title define you, you shouldn’t let your material possessions define you either. So, there should be no reason to go into debt to boost your capitalist ranking compared to that of the Jones’.  Sure, student loans, home mortgages, and car leins are often times necessary, but going into debt for the latest pair of shoes or a new video game console is not a wise move for bank account or your mental health.  Financial debt can be a major burden that increases stress and strains relationships.  [One of the topics that divorcing couples cite most as the source of their arguments is finances.]  That said, if you can’t afford it, and you don’t NEED it, don’t buy it.

3.  Don’t Retire

Retirement, as we understand it now, came out of the Great Depression when President Roosevelt introduced the Social Security Program.  Prior to it’s implementation, the only time a person would retire is when they were too old to physically do their job effectively.  But, at that time (1935), there was an abundance of young adults who were unemployed and a large population of older people currently in the workforce.  So, in order to shift these younger adults into the workforce and jumpstart the economy, the Social Security Program provided the older workers with a monthly check so that they could vacate their positions and still remain financially well, i.e. Retirement.  And it worked!  The younger generation entered the workforce, the older generation enjoyed retirement, and the economy grew.

Here is the (First) Problem

At the time that Social Security was implemented, the age of retirement was set at 65 years old.  Unfortunately, the average life expectancy of an American Male in 1935 was only 59 years.  The program was never meant to work long term.

Problem Two

When all of the workers in the U.S. were farmers or laborers, it made sense for them to retire as there came a point where the work was just too physically demanding for an old man.  Such is no longer the case for many Americans.  As we moved passed the Industrial Revolution and into the Information / Internet Age, our jobs have become less physically demanding.  Many of us now spend our days tied to a desk and a keyboard, which we could physically continue to do well into our 80’s if not longer, thus eliminating the need to retire due to physical limitations.

Problem Three

If you love your job and you’re making the world a better place through the work that you do, why would you want to stop (retire)?  “I’m a doctor who saves lives, but I have enough money so I think I will spend the rest of my life golfing and collecting sea shells with my wife.”  Seriously?!  If your making a positive difference, why stop?  Do you really think golfing and collecting sea shells will be more rewarding?  The idea that people are happier in leisure than they when they are actually contributing to society is a farce!  I know that if my work remains effective and valuable to my community, who cares if I turn 65…  I’m not going to stop.  That said, if your current work is neither making a difference, effective, or valuable such that you can’t wait to stop (retire), my advice is to stop immediately and find a different career, but that’s a whole other topic.

Problem Four

Working your entire life and saving up all your money so that you can “travel around the world” when you’re old doesn’t make any sense.  Having literally spent months aboard cruise ships, I have seen it over and over again:  65 year old couples, using canes and walkers, trying to experience all that “Cabo San Lucas / Costa Rica / Alaska” has to offer.  Talk about a missed opportunity.  When we docked in Costa Rica, Bonnie and I went white water rafting, zip-lining, and kayaking through the rain forest.  All of the “retired” passengers went shopping.  When we docked in Alaska, Bonnie and I went crab fishing and hiking.  All of the “retired” people went shopping.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for delayed gratification, but I also believe in carpe diem and living for today as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone.

So, rather than save up all of your money and wait until your old and can’t walk so well, I think you should work hard and take lots of vacations now.  So what if you have to work until you die?  What will you be missing out on?  Golf, seashells, and shopping is over-rated when compared to white water rafting, zip-lining, and making a positive difference in the lives of others.

4.  Die Broke

What good is your money once you’re gone?  You can’t take it with you.  “But what about my legacy and leaving an inheritance for my kids?”  Good kids don’t want or need their dead parents’ money.  Good kids have their own money and would rather have their parents alive than their money.  In actuality, having an inheritance for your kids puts an unnecessary burden on them by forcing them to associate a positive cash flow upon your death.  “I could use some extra cash…  Well, once the folks die…” This is a terrible thought process to put on your children.  Rather than wait until you die to help your children financially, give them the money now.  There are many benefits to doing so:  a) They need the money more when they are younger and just starting out than when they are middle aged and already established.  b) You get to watch / help them enjoy the money – “Grandma’s buying us a new car / kitchen / pool / tuition!”   and c) You remove any sadness or guilt that may be associated with the money  – “Grandpa’s taking us all on vacation!” vs. “Grandpa died and left us some money…  Whose up for Hawaii? (tear)”

It has often been said that “money is the root of all evil”.  In actuality, money is neither good nor bad.  It is a tool, that is to be used.  Now, we can use it to do good or evil, but by itself it is neutral.  As such, I’m on the bandwagon and I invite you to get on board:

Quit Today, Pay Cash, Don’t Retire, Die Broke.

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