I was at a function and ended up chatting over a beer with a retired businessman. The topic was initially dominated by current world economics, and moved onto lessons from the GFC.

He was a bit scathing on the way the world switched from rewarding people who grew actual businesses/assets, to paying mega millions to people who just tried to be ‘tricky’. Not just the thousands of financial traders, but regular investors who invested anywhere and everywhere with borrowed money to get a kick start. “Back in the simple days, you had to save up and build something real to get ahead”.

It’s something we have discussed before so, no surprise, until I asked him: “If you had your time over what would you do differently?”

His answer changed the topic entirely – “Not give so much to my kids!”

He went on to say the more he gave, the unhappier and troublesome they became. He would have been able to sell the business many years earlier if he had denied those at home more ‘things’ and just spent more time down at the beach with them all.

Maybe all those tricky people mentioned earlier wanted both – to be building big asset bases and be down at the beach with the well adjusted kids. Obviously either way, it’s proving elusive to ‘have it all’.

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