As another summer winds down and leisurely days make way for the routine of school, sports, and less sun, I picked up a book and headed for the beach. Unfortunately, not the latest biography of a politician, athlete, or scientist (although “American Prometheus” about J. Robert Oppenheimer is on my list!), or the latest thriller from Michael Crichton. I went with “The Thin Green Line” by NY Times columnist Paul Sullivan. It’s true – financial advisors like to read books about good financial habits! Not only did I love it, but I learned a lot along the way.
The ”thin green line” represents the wealthy living in financial comfort no matter the balance in their accounts versus those living lifestyles their finances can not support. One can be wealthy and have $10M in the bank (CEO of a big company) or $100k (retired teacher living on a pension) it depends on how you spend it. At Lighthouse, we often say those with inexpensive hobbies live the most satisfactory lives.
Paul Sullivan interviews many of the leading economists and thinkers of behavioral finance, and an investment group of wealthy individuals (be careful about what you wish for because all people have complicated lives no matter their finances) for their thoughts and secrets to success for themselves and their children. He relates their advice to his journey from growing up poor, to being “rich” and spending too much (being on the wrong side of the thin green line) to adopting better long-term financial habits.
A few notable takeaways were almost all of the Top 1 Percent have financial advisors, there are no investments you need to make right now, “Don’t live like a king for a little bit, live like a prince forever”, educate your children by showing gratitude and appreciation, and explain how you make financial decisions, and money causes stress for everyone so avoiding talking about it will not make the stress go away.
Ok, maybe I should’ve read a murder mystery or reread “A Farewell to Arms” by Hemingway!