May 1, 2023
The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
I finished reading The Wisdom of the Bullfrog by Admiral William H McRaven. Many of you will know him from the viral commencement speech in which he told the graduates to make their beds every morning. Professionally, he is credited with organizing and overseeing Operation Neptune’s Spear, the special operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
In the book, he repeats the phrase, “The only easy day was yesterday,” It made me think of my older brother, Karn. Growing up, my parents were focused on keeping a roof over our heads and putting down roots in a foreign country. Going 0 for 4 at the plate in little league or missing my assigned block in pop warner football was not high on their priority list. On the other hand, Karn would tell me a variation of the old Navy saying, “Yesterday was easy, today is hard, tomorrow will be harder.” It was his way of telling me that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to work harder today than I did yesterday, and if I kept working hard, what I was capable of will start to show.
I never made it to the MLB or NFL, but reflecting back, I am amazed at what the words of a 16-year-old older brother can do to an 11-year-old child.
Brothers, Navy, and Wealth
Forgive me for the following few sentences as I brag about my brother. He is an M&A banker and a partner with his firm and was always the child who picked a direction and marched in a straight line toward his goals. As a child, I liked to take the scenic route to reach my goals. Growing up with parents from India, academic achievement and competition were fostered in our house like many of you might have experienced growing up. It has shaped me as an adult, not as I thought it would, and rather than building a drive to succeed, it created a drive to try and show I did more or had more than the next person.
High school was full of trying to impress my peers until I was leaving for college, and I got one last piece of brotherly advice. He told me that the people who wanted to be in my life because of the stuff I had rather than the things I was made of were the worst people. It didn’t kick in right away, but it is a lesson that has served me well as an adult.
Building wealth is hard. Like Navy Seal training. Now, I am not foolish enough to compare the two completely, but turning a blind eye to the similarities both have mentally would be wrong. Admiral McRaven describes Navy Seal training in his book but barely talks about the physical nature of it; instead, he describes the mental toughness required to succeed. Building wealth is no different.
When I was growing up, the only 24-hour news cycle I could count on was one of the multiple ESPN stations playing that day’s episode of SportsCenter on repeat. I bet we all just heard the familiar DaDaDa DaDaDa that every SportsCenter started with. Unfortunately, the world and journalism are very different in 2023, designed to elicit outrage and anger, both emotions that cloud your ability to make rational decisions.
Social Media and Guilt
Anger and outrage will always cloud your judgment, but jealousy and shame are worse when building wealth. For example, someone recently told me they NEEDED to sit down with me, but they were embarrassed and ashamed of their spending habits. This is a family I know personally and respect, but their shame in their spending habits stopped them from taking the steps they needed to help themselves.
As a parent, one of the biggest hurdles to building wealth is social media and the emotions it brings up when you see a brief snapshot of other families and think you must be failing because you aren’t doing those things. Whether seeing friends on a cruise or vacation or the new outdoor patio they put in, the emotions it stirs up can derail building wealth. This isn’t to say we should never go on vacation or improve our homes, but rather to remind everyone that you are seeing a snapshot of someone else’s existence without any context of what led up to that moment or what comes after.
I can write about First Republic Bank, interest rates, recessions, politics, Jerome Powell, and about a thousand topics you hear about daily on our society’s 24-hour news cycle. For most of us, that is detrimental to our mental health and doesn’t provide us with any substance to take away from and change how we are living our lives. We feature stories each week about my life because I need everyone to know that even a financial planner feels jealous when his older brother buys a new car, guilty when I see my peers on vacations, and shameful when thinking about some of the frivolous purchases I make. I just bought a new coffee maker for over $150, and I hate it. I want my old drip coffee maker back—the one we have used for a decade. Don’t tell Christina!
We are all experiencing similar emotions when it comes to life and building wealth, which should help you eliminate some of the guilt you might feel or shame you feel about spending. Unfortunately, the only easy day was yesterday.
Stock market calendar this week:
MONDAY, MAY 1
|9:45 AM||S&P U.S. manufacturing PMI|
|10:00 AM||ISM manufacturing|
|10:00 AM||Construction spending|
|TUESDAY, MAY 2|
|10:00 AM||U.S. job openings|
|10:00 AM||Factory orders|
|WEDNESDAY, MAY 3|
|8:15 AM||ADP employment|
|9:45 AM||S&P U.S. services PMI|
|10:00 AM||ISM services|
|2:00 PM||Federal Reserve interest-rate statement|
|2:30 PM||Fed Chair Powell press conference|
|THURSDAY, MAY 4|
|8:30 AM||U.S. productivity|
|8:30 AM||U.S. trade deficit|
|8:30 AM||Initial jobless claims|
|8:30 AM||Continuing jobless claims|
|FRIDAY, MAY 5|
|8:30 AM||U.S. employment report|
|8:30 AM||U.S. unemployment rate|
|8:30 AM||U.S. hourly wages|
|8:30 AM||Hourly wages year over year|
|3:00 PM||Consumer credit|
Most anticipated earnings for this week:
Did you miss our blog last week?
About Amit: I am a first generation American, the son of a working-class Indian family, and I lived through my parents’ struggle to find their place in this country, to put down roots that would sustain them as well as their children in a new land. As they encouraged me to excel in school and fostered my hobbies and interests, I was keenly aware of the dynamic between them. I understood that there was a difference between where they came from individually and where we were now. They worked hard in their individual capacities, but they weren’t always on the same page about financial issues – and that can make or break a family’s future. I didn’t know it at the time, but this laid the groundwork for my passion towards financial services and helping families succeed.