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The Coffeehouse Book

The New Coffeehouse Investor Book

The Coffeehouse Investor

How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street & Get On With Your life by Bill Schultheis

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Take a risk.

Go out on a limb.

Take the plunge.

And boy, wasn’t it fun. 

A month ago our crew at Soundmark Wealth Management did the “ropes course” near the local Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.  We thought it might be fun to get out and participate in a team building activity. 

And so we did.

After harnessing up, we all climbed the rope ladder to get to the 20 foot platform and begin our journey.

You might remember I suffer from acrophobia (a fear of heights), and so when I arrived on the platform, and surveyed the course, not only did my knees weaken, but I actually felt a little anger at the two crew members who set up this adventure.  I know others felt the same, like, “What are we doing here?”

I kept on reminding myself that the worst that could happen is that I slip and fall, with the harness catching me. 

Other crew members started trekking around the course, and so I, along with everyone else, began a harrowing, 90 minute adventure. 

Except that within 15 minutes, the harrowing adventure turned in to a fun and exhilarating experience, as the rush of adrenaline overcame our fear of heights. 

As you begin your summer of adventure, both emotionally and physically, here are some thoughts that we learned in our afternoon on the “ropes.”

Commit to your adventure. Write it down on paper, and if you participate in this new adventure with others, you will probably stay committed to it.

Don’t fight the fear, accept it.  Recognize that the new adventure might seem a little overwhelming at first.  Whether you get involved with a new group, meet new people for the first time, or attempt a physical activity like we did, the anxiousness and adrenaline is a bonus!  It means you are alive, and stretching yourself.

Celebrate your success, as well as your failures. That’s right, when you fail, that means you are at least trying, and that’s more than many people do.

Risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.  Those who avoid suffering and sorrow simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love . . . Live.  Chained by certitudes, they are slaves, they have forfeited freedom. Only a person who risks is free.  Anon. 


 

I am blessed with having seven wonderful brothers and sisters scattered across the globe. 

Last week all eight of us got on a conference call from all corners of the world (skype is wonderful) to catch up and connect.  It was so much fun.

When I wrote The Coffeehouse Investor back in 1998, I did so with my seven brothers and sisters in mind.  These are people who are really getting on with their lives, and don’t want to spend one second trying to pick the top stocks and mutual funds for their retirement.  It is a total waste of their precious time.  They have got a bazillion (I like that word) things to do today, and for them, as with other Coffeehouse Investors, picking stocks is like trying to figure out a way to win at blackjack – a total waste of time. 

On top of that, I’m not sure I want to spend much time with someone who is serious about trying to win at blackjack.  I’ve been around them (stockpickers).  Something about their spirit is so empty. It’s like I want to say, “Get a Life.”       

One characteristic that ties my brothers and sisters together is their ambitious, adventurous spirit. 

Do you have an adventurous spirit?  What would that look like? 

What are some activities you could embrace this summer that would accentuate that adventurous spirit of yours? 

Take a few moments in the next day to ponder that. 

Hey, life is an adventure in itself, so might as well hang on for the ride and make the most of it.


Once in a while something happens in your life and affects you in a profoundly positive way. 

You can’t really explain how it happened, it just happened. 

Maybe it is fate.

Maybe it is a product of getting out there, embracing the world, and allowing good things to come to you.

I tend to think it is the latter.

When I look back on my life, and all the positive things that have happened, it has usually been a result of putting myself out there, risking failure, and embracing the world.

Sometimes the “positive” doesn’t materialize for a very long time, if at all.  Sometimes all you are going to experience is frustration and failure. 

That’s life.   

I have been writing about this topic a lot lately, choosing to spend time on “getting on with your life” instead of dissecting the 32 different small cap funds you might want to own, because when you get right down to it, most people don’t really care what small cap fund they own, they want to live a rich and full life, but are hesitant to go out and grab it and feel it and live it. 

Maybe it has to do with fearing failure or rejection.  Maybe the uphill climb is too steep to embark on a new goal. 

Whatever the reason might be, it’s time to ignore the naysayers and embrace the possibilities that life presents to you. 

It is the season of summer, starting today.  So go outside and take a risk, try something you will likely fail at, and feel the energy of your heart thumping away inside your chest.   

Tomorrow I am going to offer a few suggestions, so stay tuned . . .

(Oh, and by the way, it doesn’t really matter what small cap fund you own, so quit worrying about it.)


The stock and bond markets are closed tomorrow in celebration of Memorial Day – a day that gives us an opportunity to honor those we love who have passed away.  It is also a day to honor the men and women of this country who have given their lives in the military to defend our country.

And what a country it is.

This country has provided me the freedom to fail, pick myself up, get on with my life, and pursue my dreams in a way that many people around the world can only imagine. 

I have been especially aware of this freedom the past five months while witnessing the courageous acts of those in the Middle East and around the world who are standing up to oppressive regimes in pursuit of their own freedom.   

Sure, our country has problems, big problems.

Big deal.

Problems create new ideas and new opportunities and new businesses, but you can’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for somebody else to get the job done.

You need to get out there, take advantage of the freedom this country provides us, and get on with your life.  

The Coffeehouse Investor philosophy can be boiled down to three simple investment principles that allow you to focus on your life, not the irrelevant stock market.

Today, I want to challenge you to get on with your life by focusing on three lifetime principles shared with readers in the last chapter of my book. 

Tune in to yourself.  Call it what you want – intuition, common sense smarts, a gut feeling – one thing is certain; you know more than you think you know. Have a little confidence in what your heart tells you to be true, and go with it.  Inside of you is a creative spark that yearns to be fueled by a recognition of your talents and gifts.  It might take you ten days to fuel that spark, or it might take ten years, but it is worth lighting that fire within.    

Take it from someone who learned this the hard way:  Nothing is worse than wasting your life away at something that leaves you unfulfilled.  On the flip side, I have also found that nothing is more gratifying than waking p each morning with a zeal for your work, immersing yourself in a family, career, or community that allows you to share your essential creativity with the world. 

You don’t have to be a Nobel Laureate to change the world.  You do have to discover your spark of creativity to transform your neighborhood – the world you live in.  In doing so, you will be given opportunities to make a positive difference every day of your life.  Don’t pass it up.  The world needs it, now, more than ever before.    

 Tune in to your friends.  Stop, look, and listen to those people who inspire you, who will help fuel your fire of creativity as you pursue your dreams and careers. These are the ones who lift you up and spur you on when you are facing your fears and dealing with the inevitable disappointments along the way.   Some day you will look back and realize that these were the treasured ones who allowed you to ignite that spark and become your true self.  Take time along the way to acknowledge these people and let your thanks be the same encouragement you offer others in your world. 

Tune in to your community – it is the energy of the universe.  Some people call it God; others refer to it as a spirituality, and still others, a life force. However you define it, a wonderful energy evolves when we come together in community to enact positive change in this world.  This thing called community might take the form of your workplace environment, your church group affiliation, or your weekly golfing buddies.  Whatever the relationship might be, this connection is integral to discovering your essential creativity and living a rich life.  Step up, step out, and get involved, the world is literally screaming for your creative energies to surface, and the time to start is now. 

 


Changing habits starts with “healthy” habits.

Time to get in shape.

OK, I am not really out of shape, but I have been in better shape, and being in better shape is where I want to be. 

Every year for the past 4 years, (about the third week in June), I have run a half marathon as part of a larger 100-mile relay.  This year our team isn’t participating, so I haven’t been training as hard.

I can feel it.  I am emotionally sluggish at the end of the day.  I don’t like it.  Maybe I need to get away from my desk a little more during the day and go for a walk.

Exercise for me means running. Although I love to golf and play tennis, those activities don’t begin to compare to running.  Even though I have run 4 marathons and probably 50 half marathons in my life, I don’t enjoy running.  I never wake up in the morning excited to go running, the feeling I have when I play golf or tennis.  But running is the only exercise that keeps my body aligned and in shape. So I need to run, and have picked out another half marathon to run this summer. 

If I am going to reinvent myself in my journey to help our country reinvent the way we look at investing, I need to be at my best, which includes my physical and mental best.  For me it all starts by getting out the door and going for a run. 

Are you in the shape you want to be?  If not, what’s your excuse?  What are you going to do about it?  You might not be able to go for a run. But you can go for a walk today, a longer one tomorrow, and watch what you eat.  Give it a try.