After You Have $175 Million


When you have $175 million why start a funky band tour at age 72?  When you have more money than you can spend, what comes next?

The Wall Street Journal article  entitled “‘Oh, Yeah,’ the Song from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ Is Catchy, Irritating and the Origin of an Investing Fortune” (1) tells the story of  how Deiter Meier, a 71-year-old Swiss musician wrote this song and how it has earned several million dollars over the years.

Meier, it turns out, is more than a musician.  He is a good businessman and has turned this source of income into multiple streams of income and a fortune worth about $175 million.  He invested  in a railway company, BVZ Holding AG that benefits from tourism to the Matterhorn in southern Switzerland.  He invested in the company that prints Swiss francs.  He also invested in 250,000 acres of land in Argentina, where he grows grapes for wine and raises beef cattle.

“The Argentina products supply the six restaurants he owns with partners in Switzerland and Germany. His “Loco” Cabernet and Malbec blend sells in Swiss supermarkets for about $15 a bottle.”

He acquired the rights to a patented extraction process for cacao beans, and he is planning a large chocolate factory.

So what is his next big deal?   What he is nervous (and I imagine excited) about is his next little deal?  He belongs to  a band, called October and last year they played their first real gig in Berlin.  Mr. Meier was “semi-nervous.”   That little success has encouraged his bank to plan more European gigs and if that, the band might plan some US performances.

Why would a 72 year old with all that success, delve into this type of career?

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Get Mastery – A Mission Plan for a Life of Fitness, Purpose and Achievement 

The answer to this question, my friend, gets to the root of happiness and financial success.

Too few investors ask the question, “Why do I want to be wealthy?”  Sure we know that food has to be bought.  Rent has to be paid.  Taxes, bills, cars, gas, education, health care, entertainment all cost money.  We need income or capital for all these things.  Yet paying for the basics of life and the luxuries we enjoy does not require that we be really wealthy.  In fact, research shows that money’s ability to make us feel good is quite limited.

Advertisers try to convince us that we need lots of stuff (and they do a pretty good job with their ads) but the law of diminishing returns really does kick in when it comes to stuff.

Purposeful action on the other hand is reinforced by action. The more there is, the better we feel.

The link between positive momentum and being happy is not strong because happiness comes in two ways. The is “evaluative” happiness and “affective” happiness.

Research shows that affective happiness (“how often we experience positive emotions like joy, affection and tranquility, as opposed to negative emotions”) does not rise much after a household reaches an annual income of around $75,000.

Evaluative happiness (“a sense that we are progressing toward our life goals”) keeps getting better as we do more.

The research is clear.  Growing happiness comes from achieving goals, not getting or being rich.  When the process of  making money is divorced from a long term strategy of completing fulfilling missions, the process of investing is more likely to engender fear and unhappiness, than a feeling of fulfillment and security.

Often super rich people like Deiter Meier gain their satisfaction in making limited progress through music.  Paul Allen (entrepreneur from Microsoft), Stephen King (Writer), Dave Barry (Writer) are a few other examples.  They all have super success.  More money brings limited satisfaction so they enjoy playing in a band.

Creating New Rituals with Association

We do not have to be a performer.  Each of us, no matter how much money we have, will have something we really enjoy doing.  We each have a personal task that uncovers and faces our weaknesses and fears, that discovers and reinforces our strengths and desires.

Break down old habits of thought and emotion, some that have been with us a lifetime, with new rituals routines and habits.

Create a ritual that replaces worry with positivity in the here and now.  You become smarter… happier… healthier when you start every day with a goal to do something that creates a positive association.  Warm and fuzzy is good!  Such associations are comforting, and we are more likely to make wise decisions, based on what is right for us… instead of based on fear and dread.  That’s darned important in these times of social and economic turmoil and change that create so many feelings of threat.

This is fundamental to well-being because happy associations create positive attitudes that cut through the multitude of noise that an imbalanced society creates and leads us to making small steps and little wins.

A Super Thinking routine is one way to chip away at our personal negative forces, one day at a time.  Here is one small part of the Super Thinking Training I have included in our Super Thinking Report that can help you create evaluative happiness.

golden thread

This is a simple mental ritual that an Ecuador shaman taught Merri and me for raising this awareness. 

Get a spool of gold colored thread.  (Gold represents wealth, wisdom and prosperity.) 

Measure a length of this thread equal to the distance from your belt loop to the thumb of your right hand when you arm is extended (or left if you are left handed). 

Tie one end of the thread to thumb.  Tie the other end of the thread to your belt loop.

Leave this for a day and count how many times you break the thread.

This exercise helps us recover our awareness.  Not breaking the thread all day long is the ideal… but this is not a contest.  This ritual is a powerful reminder that loops you back to the quiet… efficient…simple wisdom that is uniquely you.  Learn more about this discipline below.

We all have purposes.  Happiness, fulfillment and contentment are guides that lead us to them and keep us on track when we are reaching our goals.  Integrating investing and business with purpose not only leads to a more enjoyable life, but can also enhance our material success.

Gary

(1)  www.wsj.com: Oh yeah the song from ferris buellers day off the origin of an investing fortune


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