What would you do if you had the wealth of a Rockefeller? This question is like asking “what would be the first thing you do if you won the lottery?” but with a little more structure. I recently read a book titled What Would the Rockefellers Do?, an informative guide on long term and sustainable wealth creation–building from the experiences of the Rockefeller family. I started to think: how can my family be able to create wealth like this? Here’s how we’re doing it, and how you can too.
As an entrepreneur I am driven to create money. It’s something about playing with the levers of “pay for performance” and “revenue relating to the size of impact” that keeps me going. At the same time, I don’t view money as a tool to buy things but to create experience or comfort of life. Money also buys me time.
Now, what do I do with my money? I could spend it, I could save it, I could give it away. Each person has their own formula of using their money as we all have different values. For example:
I personally don’t ever want to clean a toilet again. I am fine to hire that out. But, I also have no interest in owning a Mercedes, Range Rover, or boat.
I know people who see cleaning their own homes as therapeutic but have their eyes set on the next Tesla release.
After asking the question “what do I want to use my money for?” (put house cleaning on that list), now I’m asking “what are my priorities within that list?”
Jess and I love to travel, buy vacation excursion experiences, and fly first class when possible.
If we travel, I am fine paying a couple of hundred dollars for someone to come and homesit my pets so they don’t have the stress of a boarding environment–less stress for me, less stress for them.
Charity and giving back is important to me. Whether it’s giving back to friends, family or the community–what good is wealth if you’re the only one benefiting from it?
Family time is so precious, and we have noticed this even more during the COVID-19 lockdown. As a result, I never want family time to be limited by money. When I can, I take the bill for extended family dinners, family vacations, etc. I don’t want my family to miss out on family time or an experience just because they can’t afford it.
If I were to have my formula of money well spent, it would include these four things. How I design my use of wealth is how I design my life–to be centered around family, experiences, giving back, and comfort.
You can do this too, no matter the size of your bank account.
- Start with your own mindset on money. Are you a mattress stuffer? A minimalist? Do you like extravagance? It really doesn’t matter. The goal is to bring in money sustainably to have what you want, but also be prepared for the unknown.
- Take a moment and write down how you would design your life. What kind of money does that take? As a coach, I am always surprised when someone excitedly describes in detail what their dreams and goals are, but also has no idea how much that costs. A lot of times it’s more attainable in the near future than they think.
- Make sure your mindset on money and life design match. If they don’t, what changes can you make to be sure that they will match?
Back to the Rockefellers:
What inspired me about the book is that 6 generations later, over 150 members of the Rockefeller clan still receive money monthly stemming from the original fortune amassed by John D Rockefeller and his brother William.
This book gives you the tools to wealth by teaching you why having certain financial vehicles gives you the advantage to keep money over time and not have it taxed to depletion. It will also teach you how you can actually have a family bank which is the key to having money for generations. A family bank means your credit score is always good enough and that everyone who has access to that money participates in the longevity of that bank for generations. The Rockefellers followed this approach, giving me confidence that this method works.
How I acted:
After I read this book, each of my kids received a copy for Christmas. We started with opening a family foundation for giving back to other nonprofits and our community. We are also reallocating funds and creating a family bank that will serve our grandkids, great-grandkids, and so on for generations. We hope to give enough for whatever their dreams are as far as education, entrepreneurship, and homeownership. The possibilities are endless and that’s just the way I like it.