Biggie was wrong
Updated: May 27, 2019
How you living Biggie Smalls?
In mansions and Benzes
Giving ends to my friends
and it feels stupendous
I'm an avid consumer of multifamily podcasts. Kevin Bupp, Rod Khleif, Joe Fairless, Michael Blank - I listen to all of them and many others. If I'm in my car, at the gym or jogging I'm listening to podcasts because I want to minimize useless downtime.
A common theme in many of these podcast interviews is "knowing your why". Rod Khleif in particular is big on this and talks about the gigantic beachside mansion he built that did nothing to fill the big hole in his heart. He had accomplished goals and built wealth but failed to achieve fulfillment. He commonly refers back to how that period was pivotal in making him a better person.
Biggie was wrong. Money isn't the ends, it is the means.
There is some amount of money you must make in order to meet your needs like feeding and housing your family. The next level is meeting needs but not making enough to satisfy your wants. My partner Mark had a childhood like this - I don't think his parents were able to give him birthday or Christmas gifts that they would've loved to provide him. But he didn't go hungry and he wasn't on the streets. Up to this point you face the unfortunate reality of having to make decisions out of desperation. But beyond that things get unclear. At some point it becomes appropriate or maybe even expected for you to drive a BMW instead of a Ford but it's arguable as to whether that brings real value to your life. And lastly there's wealth, when you can afford multi-million dollar mansions on the beach, which is where Rod was. At that point it's truly inarguable regarding the inherent value of that home, Rolls Royce or Patek Philippe watch. Those items are unnecessary. It's your absolute right to have them but you do not need them.
It's once your needs have been met that you're capable of fulfillment. For proof of this, visit a third world country. People there don't smile any less than they do here. In fact they might smile and laugh more often. However more often than not we want to to earn more; we just start running harder and harder in the hamster wheel because we're convinced we need things that we want.
Mistaking money for the goal is a trap and it seems people all around us are in it. None of this is to say that you should live like a monk. We can go ahead and get nice things - we just need to keep them in perspective. Money is a means to an end, and not only must we all define end goals for ourselves, we need to seek fulfillment regardless of, and outside of our financial situation and goals.
Chihiro Kurokawa is founder of BlackRiver Equity Partners, a real estate private equity firm providing private offerings to investors seeking tax-advantaged cash flowing investments in real estate.