109th Edition – March 7, 2021
Each evening he concluded the day’s business by meticulously tallying every conceivable expense and source of income in a black notebook. More constant as a companion than any friend he had ever known, the little pocket ledger accompanied him everywhere.Peter Doran on the financial disciplines of John Rockefeller
1. What is Success?
I had dinner with my favorite CPA and financial advisor this past week. We both share similar views about what success really is. I’m reminded of this discussion about success from a former CEO.
I’ve always wanted to be successful. My definition of being successful is contributing something to the world … and being happy while doing it … You have to enjoy what you are doing. You won’t be very good if you don’t. And secondly, you have to feel that you are contributing something worthwhile … if either of these ingredients [is] absent, there’s probably some lack of meaning in your work.Those are the words of Norman Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin. Source: Good Business by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, p. 29.
Speaking of money, I’m impressed with the first question financial advisor Carl Richards asks every new client:
Why is money important to you?
In his book, The One Page Financial Plan, Richards goes on to explain that he keeps asking the ‘why’ question to their initial answer.
That’s also a great question for CEOs whether you are one yourself or if you serve on. Here’s a point system for CEOs on this question as it’s an important one:
- 1 point if the CEO can clearly articulate the answer
- 2 points if they can put that answer in words
- 5 points if they can share those sentiments with everyone on the team
Now we’re getting to the heart of ‘real’ core values.
3. Giving It All Away
Financial advisors and CPAs are amazing, especially in the world of transferring wealth to the next generation in the most effective way possible.
Take Rockefeller for instance. When he turned 90, he was earning $33 million a year with an estimated net worth of $800 million, and that was after giving away $500 million to numerous charities and schools.
His last act of giving? He paid off the mortgage of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Cleveland.
Source: Breaking Rockefeller by Peter Doran
4. The Bookkeeper
At the age of 15, he got his first job at a produce brokerage making $15 a week.
The bookkeeper later celebrated the anniversary of that first job with close friends and family. He frequently asked himself, “What if I had not got the job?”
As he entered the twilight years of his life, this bookkeeper named John D. Rockefeller would have to figure out where to pass on the wealth he amassed.
5. The Accountant
Jean didn’t do too badly herself. Jean always wanted to be an accountant because she liked numbers and how they could tell a story.
She ultimately became a 3-time CFO. That’s not all. She wrote three books and became a global thought leader on lean accounting.
I chose to be a financial person because I wasn’t sure as a kid what I wanted to do. Somebody told me that getting an accounting degree was the hardest business degree to get. Well, heck, then I’ll get an accounting degree because I figure if I can do that, then I’ll be able to do whatever I want. Jean Cunningham, author of Real Numbers, The Value Add Accountant and Easier, Simpler, Faster
You can learn more about Jean’s story on this week’s podcast.
Thank You For Reading. Thank you for making this a successful newsletter.
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Always be learning and growing.
Photo by Andres Alvarado