Aaron Shelley – How to create wealth and happiness with your family.
My next guest is an entrepreneur that has built several businesses and moved on to writing a book that helps structure the family like a business. Don’t worry, he doesn’t talk about corporate meetings, quarterly statements, and PowerPoints. What he does talk about is the importance of communication and helping the family become transparent with goal setting and how they can achieve those goals. Inspired by the book, Good to Great, written by Jim Collins, this book is titled The Family Flywheel. Please welcome Aaron Shelley.
Payback Time Podcast
A Podcast on Financial Independence. Hosted by Sean Tepper. If you want to learn how to escape the rat race, create passive income, or achieve financial freedom, you came to the right place.
- (00:47) – Show intro and background history
- (02:35) – A bit about his book
- (04:56) – Understanding his philosophy
- (08:56) – Why money may not be a taboo subject in families
- (11:27) – How to educate kids about money and investments
- (14:52) – A little about Sean’s family background
- (22:20) – The importance of networking as a social resource
- (29:02) – Building a healthy career is not just about having a degree
- (32:30) – Balance as a key between career and personal life
- (35:36) – The concept of emergency social resources
- (37:23) – The importance of the family and mental health
- (40:29) – Deeper into his philosophy
- (44:16) – A key takeaway from the guest
- (47:05) – What is the worst advice he ever received
- (47:27) – What is the best advice he ever receives
- (48:18) – Guest contacts
[00:00:04.500] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on financial independence. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest is an entrepreneur that has built several businesses and moved on to writing a book that helps structure the family like a business. Don’t worry, he doesn’t talk about corporate meetings, quarterly statements, and PowerPoints. What he does talk about is the importance of communication and helping the family become more transparent with goal setting and how they can achieve those goals. Inspired by the book Good to Great, written by Jim Collins, this book is titled The Family Fly Wheel. Please welcome Aaron Shely. Aaron, welcome to the show.
[00:00:49.300] – Aaron
Thanks a lot, Sean. Excited to be here.
[00:00:51.230] – Sean
All right, so why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:00:55.020] – Aaron
Yes. My background, I was a mechanical engineer in college, then I got an MBA from some frustration in working with business people and not understanding their logic. Then I ended up working a number of startups and well, smaller companies that hadn’t really large. I worked for Ancestry. Com. They IPO’d while I was there. I was in a big position but watching the whole system get hardened for that was an interesting experience. Then I worked at a startup company in the genealogy space for three years, spent 11 million dollars and didn’t make it work. And it was a really frustrating experience because I was like, That was the first time I’d ever had three years of my work just get thrown away. After that, I had this opportunity to do some consulting, and I had sufficient financial resource, I could choose what I wanted to do. And in the course of that, I was doing a COO for a company. I was as well as helped a guy research a book on family and entrepreneurship levels. And that’s really where the book came from. I never intended to write a book, but after I felt like I figured out a system in terms of a model, I felt like it was very important for people.
[00:01:59.730] – Aaron
Did that, had the book almost ready to publish, and then had an opportunity to work in a SaaS company in a contractor CRM. Did that for four years. We ended up doing about… We got a private equity deal at $54 million they invested. And a year later, I’ve had the opportunity to step back. And that’s when I’m focusing on the book because I really feel like having a good solid family is great for our society. It’s also phenomenal for businesses and entrepreneurs. There’s enough chaos when you’re an entrepreneur. If you have chaos in your family life, it’s just going to make it worse. So right now, that’s really my focus.
[00:02:35.160] – Sean
Awesome. All right, so why don’t you tell us what is the name of the book and let’s dive into what is it about?
[00:02:40.520] – Aaron
So the book is called The Family Fly Wheel, the secret business principles successful families use to create sustained wealth and happiness. So really what it is is just me when I was doing the research and working in business on family and working in business, I just noticed the overlap between business and family over and over. And so in the course of looking at that, I noticed, why are we using these principles in business that are generating massive companies, but we’re not using these same principles in our families? And so a lot of it is just applying a business framework on top of families, really to a point of trying to get of people a common language to talk about in their families, as well as for all these people who are in the business world, have been trained, but they haven’t made the transition of some of their ideas over to the family.
[00:03:27.460] – Sean
Got it. Okay, so let’s dive in a little bit. I know we talked about this offline. You’ve got a few different segments or frameworks or categories the book focuses on. Is that correct?
[00:03:37.580] – Aaron
Yeah. So the core of the book I call the Family Fly Wheel, because if you’re familiar with Good to Great, it talks about you slowly build up your business, little incremental work, and then you start to get more people involved, and then you start to get more processes, and then you start to get… And those generate more resources. And that whole cycle, that’s what I refer to as the flywheel. But that’s all based on your business model. And the contrast I give in the book, talk about Google, when it was a million dollar company in 1999 and its competitor was Yahoo at 92 billion, I believe. And you look at that and go, Yahoo had more engineers, they had more money, they had more real estate, they had more experience, they had everything. If you were going to bet on them, you would say, Why would you ever bet on someone who’s so much smaller? But the business model, which was how are we going to make money and how are we making decisions, was really the differentiator. And so over time, you see that business model for Google and it turned them into, what is it, a $1.5 or $2 trillion company today.
[00:04:40.790] – Aaron
And Yahoo has now been sold to Comcast for a few billion dollars. So that’s really where I look at how do we get our business model and then our resources and how do we utilize those with the business model. But a big focus on getting a strong family business model.
[00:04:55.590] – Sean
I’m looking on your site here, just the family flyer wheel. Com. And I see this diagram, it says structure, culture, and strategy. Could you talk about that a little bit?
[00:05:08.490] – Aaron
Yes. So the structure, the strategy of your company is what are you trying to accomplish? And if you look at Google, the strategy for Google was, or their mission was to try to organize the world’s data. And so that’s where if you look at Walmart, it’s to provide good quality goods at a fair price, I believe, or something along that line. So you have your strategy, that’s your mission, how you’re going to try to accomplish, what career you’re going to take, are you going to be an entrepreneur? All those things I would include in your strategy as a person. Then you have structure. Well, how are you going to work on your family? Are you going to go at this alone? Are you going to get married? Are you going to include your extended family? Because a lot of people, it’s like, I got married, then you step away from your family, and then you start to see, I made a significant financial error during 2006, seven when I invested in some real estate because I went out of the loan and didn’t talk to my in laws who had invested heavily in real estate.
[00:06:07.020] – Aaron
And so I was just doing a spec home and then it just turned sour real fast. And so you’re going, well, why didn’t I look at this as a broader structure? So that’s the structural piece is, what roles am I going to play in this in my family? Am I going to be the provider? Am I going to be the one who’s taking care of things at home? There’s all these different roles that are very clear. In a business, it’s very clear, we got to have HR. We have to have we need to have sales, we need to have product, we need to have developers, we need to have all these different people. But in a family, for some reason, we don’t look at those same roles and go, Well, who’s going to play them? And so if we do that, then it becomes much more clear about who’s doing what role. There’s a lot less conflict. And if you need help in your role… At points, I live in Utah, so I have to shovel the snow, of which we had a lot this year. But there’s cases where I’m like, I’m sorry, I got to do this.
[00:06:57.240] – Aaron
I’m out, I’m traveling. And then I’m like, Hey, can you tell my wife, can you clear the snow for me? And then I appreciate it because I understand that’s not something she normally does. So setting up those roles in your structure is important. Also, there’s a lot of different structural elements in a family. Are you going to go at it alone, single parent or single? Are you going to have children, single parent? Are you going to do a blended family? There’s all these different configurations that are super important in a family, and they all have different pros and cons. Just like in a business, are you going to go it alone? Are you going to have a founder? Are you going to have two founders? And then if you looked at the founding team, it wouldn’t be like, Well, I want to go into business with this guy. You’d say, Well, why? Is he a developer and you’re a salesperson? Good. Then there’s some good synergy. And that’s the same dynamic that we need to do in our family. Days, but people tend not to do it. They’re just selecting their, in my opinion, their co founder based on how hot they are on some app.
[00:07:54.390] – Aaron
So this is really the thing where you start to apply the business principles and go, what is that structural piece? And then the last piece is culture. And the culture is, if you’re a blue collar worker, you need to have a different culture than an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs, you don’t shut off at any time. I don’t know how you mean, you’ve talked about how you’re building a business. Was it that, Oh, I’m just going to do this for five hours a week. Or it’s like, No, I got to do whatever I have to do whenever I have to do it. There’s no overtime and you’re hoping it makes it well. But if you’re a blue collar worker, it’s like you got to go in and do some times it’s physically difficult. There’s a lot of pain that way. And you’re not really paid to be thinking and coming up with creative new solutions. You’re paid to do a specific job. And so that’s where you get into these cultural elements of your family. And I’m not saying one superior to another. It’s more what happens in a company is, and in a family is you need alignment in your strategy structure and culture, or you won’t have a successful family or company.
[00:08:56.340] – Sean
I was just watching a YouTube clip. I don’t know if you know the guy, but his name is Ramit Siffy, and he’s actually coming out with a show on Netflix based, I think he’s got a book too, but it’s called I Will Teach You to Be Rich. And he was breaking down a common mistake that a lot of people, especially families, have made for, if not decades, centuries, which is they don’t talk about money. It’s like a taboo subject. But what you’re teaching here is you want to be open, you want to be honest and really figure out what is the strategy, what are our goals as a family. Is that correct?
[00:09:31.380] – Aaron
Yeah, exactly. Just like he’s saying, if you’re not talking about money in business, can you imagine? As a CEO and the whole company, no one’s talking about money, no one’s thinking about what’s our burn rate. It would be absurd. And yet in families, we don’t talk about it. I think often because people don’t have a language for it. I mean, if you don’t have clear mission on where you’re trying to do with your family, then how do you make trade offs? Okay, we have $10,000. Should we go on a trip to Europe or should we invest in real estate or should we invest in a startup? There you go. How do you have any criteria? And so then that’s where you end up with a lot of issues in fighting. But if you have a clear strategy, then you can always be looking at this like, What investments are we making with this money? Maybe we want to do a vacation. Maybe we’ll take $1,000 and do a cheaper vacation and invest most of it into our business or real estate. But if you don’t have that common language, there’s a lot of fighting. And that’s where I think we just haven’t.
[00:10:28.940] – Aaron
My wife and I have run an Irish dance business for 25 years while I’ve been doing other stuff. We haven’t had any fights really about money because we’re both producing more than we’re using, as well as we have an objective on where we’re going. I mean, there was points when we had disagreements, and then we’d come to a conclusion, but it never got to a, Oh, she’s out of control, or I’m out of control. When I was very early on in our marriage, I was like, You spent over $25. That’s a lot of money. And now I look at this and go, Huh, now we don’t need to talk about hundred dollars, even thousand dollars stuff because we both understand the thought process. So that’s where in a company you need to put in some constraints on how much people can spend without talking to other people and what they would spend it on. And so it’s the same exact thing from what I can see in terms of you have to manage and be aware of your money because otherwise you’re going to end up in a bad situation, which is where it sounds like most people are ending up at this point.
[00:11:27.190] – Sean
And so many people avoid the conversation. And I wish more parents… And I’m starting to talk to some of my friends about, what are you doing with your kids’ investments right now? They’re young. You can have the opportunity, for example, use Tykr to put kids into a joint or custodial account. So you’re managing what goes in there. They will inherit this at age 18, but you can put them in individual stocks to really help build for college, maybe. And have those conversations like, are you thinking about ask your 10 year old kid, are you thinking about school? Or you may be thinking about a business. I know at that age you really don’t know, but you get them thinking about the future. And at the same point, you can have those conversations like, hey, dad just got a bonus. We’re going to pull a Clark Griswold and put a pool in. Or are we going to go… You probably have these conversations. Or we can put that in something that generates recurring revenue for the family. It’s going to be a little more delayed gratification. But you waive the pros and cons and have those conversations.
[00:12:29.930] – Sean
[00:12:30.400] – Aaron
Think having a common language is super important. For my wife and I, we played Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, his cash flow game. And that’s where we were like, Now we have a common language. Assets, income. My wife was like, I get it. We’ve actually probably played that game. It’s my favorite game because I love people learning. But it was the first time where you just had a basic language for, Here’s how things work. Now, there’s a lot of assumptions there, like, Are you constantly learning? Do you know what the market is good or bad? If it’s in real estate, are you watching that? But there’s a lot of things to learn just so you have the common language. And then I’ve played it with my kids, and I have tried to be pretty open with my kids because I’m like, Well, I think a lot of parents, frankly, don’t know how they’re using their own money. And so they feel pretty embarrassed. I don’t know. I’m just winging it. And therefore, my kids are not going to learn anything good from me. And so that may be the reason for the opacity. So that’s where I think it’s…
[00:13:25.940] – Aaron
But for me, I’ve been like, I want to fund. And I’ve talked to my kids about how much money I’ve made and how much we’re putting in certain accounts and trying to help them understand some of the investments. And it’s actually been very uniting. There’s cases where we’re saying, should we invest in my son’s education, college education? And then I’m saying, well, for me, it’s a no brainer. But then I bring it up as a thing to my kids, who are, at the time, they were, youngest was probably 12 or 13, the oldest was 18 ish. And you look at that and you’re like, What do they think? And you’re trying to help them think through. That is the biggest thing that we’re trying to do as parents is teach them how to think about money. And that’s part of the culture. There’s that transparency in your culture. And so your kids can then understand what they need to do. And especially if you do that, then they’ll come back to you, I think, as a parent, and ask you for more advice on how to do that. I honestly never knew anything about my parents, how they spent their money, how much they made, what they valued.
[00:14:26.130] – Aaron
Even today, I have a little better picture, but I still don’t have a lot of that. And then I was a little frustrated because I’m like, Well, now I’m getting older, where my parents were, but I don’t know what they’re doing, what they did at this point. So I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how you thought about it, but that’s my thing is, parents have to teach their kids how to use their money. And if their parents don’t have a good system, they should get it. They should work on finding a good system that they can then teach.
[00:14:53.290] – Sean
Yeah. Growing up, my parents were very hard workers. My And there are points in time when we didn’t have any money. So there’s a lot of scarcity mindset going on, but there were gaps in employment on my dad’s side, on my mom’s side as well. Long story short, she worked with people with disabilities, a lot of autism, Down syndrome, whatnot. Really good experience there. I got to meet a lot of these people, and it was just a wonderful experience, especially a quick story here. I won’t keep this about me because I’m going to hear more about your book. But it was one of these, Take Your Kid to Work days. My mom brought me into this room and there are a few people with autism, and she’s like, Check this out. So she goes over to the radio, just turns it on to a local radio station, starts some Elton John song. And after it finished, she looks at me, she’s like, Watch this. This is one of these guys, severe autism, can’t even hold a conversation with you or I, walks up to the piano, plays it note for note without making a mistake.
[00:16:01.410] – Sean
And I was just like, What? She’s like, This happens every day. You can play him a new song and he will know exactly what notes to play. I was like, Incredible. So that was my mom’s side. My dad, he actually taught me the business side, which he was big in a sales. He sold chemicals to the dairy industry for most of his career, but he was always teaching me about business and sales. That’s the driver. If you’re not selling, you’re not making money, you don’t have a sales salary, the business goes out of business. Those concepts really have to give him credit. But anyway, we went through tough times or dark days. So Rameet hit on it hard. It’s like, then you don’t have conversations about money. And you turn into the conversations like, we can’t afford that, as opposed to flipping the equation and saying, how do we afford that? And your book is probably leaning in that direction is like, stop saying we can’t afford it and start asking the question, how do we? Well, in that case, you have to put systems in place. I have a strategy like you were talking about.
[00:17:07.150] – Sean
And how do we get there if you want that pool or that boat or that family vacation? How do we get there? So that’s my background a little bit. A long winded way to get there, but there you go.
[00:17:18.380] – Aaron
Well, yeah, and that’s the important piece. The thing that I find interesting, so there’s the business model, but then there’s the resource pieces. I break it into three resource classes that all businesses have and all families have. They have a financial resources, which are liquid resources, stocks, that type of stuff. Then their tools, and then they have property. Then if you look at the social resources that a business or a family has, you have individual one on one relationships. You have group relationships. If you’re part of a family, you can be part of a church, you can be part of a sports group. In a business, you can be part of an industry group. You can partner with different companies, those type of things. Then last piece of a social resource you have is your brand. Then you have your human resources. Those are your abilities, collective abilities of everyone in the family or business, the time of everyone in the family and business, and then the health of everyone in the family in the business. And so if you look at it from this financial, social, and human resources side, businesses do not always invest.
[00:18:22.460] – Aaron
They always invest, but they don’t always invest with something that’s going to make money in the short term. You may run a PR campaign. Marketing is notorious for this. Is it going to make money? We don’t know. There’s PR, there’s ads. Pay per click people tend to like because, Oh, I pay for it and then I get performance. It’s a one to one. But a lot of things in the business world, well, you go out to lunch with someone and maybe it’s a great connection. Maybe it’s not a good connection. Some of those are just serendipitous connections which end up being super important. And that’s where businesses are constantly investing for financial, social and human resources, but often parents and families don’t realize that they need to do the same. Your mom taking you to her work is investing in your skills and your perspective and the culture. But would you say, Well, how much was that worth? What do you mean? It’s worth a good chunk. You’re spending your time with your kids, developing their skills. It’s hard to know what the long term pay off is. The same thing with serving. I went to church with a guy for 15 years.
[00:19:31.500] – Aaron
We talked at church all the time about business, just because you’re at church. It’s just a group. We were talking about business. He was the guy who offered me a job five years ago in this company that we did really well together because we had already talked and developed this relationship. And that’s what I would call social investing. And so that’s where people often look at it and they’re like, Well, I don’t have a lot of money so I can’t invest. If you start to look at the importance of knowing the market, if you know the real estate market, I’ve seen some really crazy things happen where people know the market well, even if they don’t have the money for an investment. They’re like, This is a great deal. There’s one guy who bought a 200 unit apartment building because the contractor was defaulting on a loan. He understood how much everything was worth, knew how to do it, and he went and worked with the bank, found a partner who could deal with some of the risk that the bank wanted to, and he ended up walking away with, I think it was a $20 million property for $200,000.
[00:20:32.410] – Aaron
And very little of that was… It was just from some of his investments. And he’s like, Yeah, now I can retire. I heard about him because he was going through the MBA program, but he was like, I did this while I was in the MBA program, and then I never needed to work again. It’s like, if you’re creative and you know, if you’re working on your knowledge and investing there, then the opportunities are endless. And that’s the thing I like about podcasts and whatnot, they’re free. So you can constantly be listening to some of the smartest people in the world talk about real estate. And that’s where I would say that’s just your investing in your human resources. So if you don’t have a lot of money, you better be investing in human resources, or you can be investing in social resources. I talk about in the book the story of Bill Gates’ mom, where the dad was a lawyer, and then the mom was a schoolteacher. She taught for a little bit, had three children, then she stopped teaching, invested in her family. Then when her kids got older, she started to invest in the community, which is what I’d call social resources.
[00:21:32.280] – Aaron
She was serving on the board of University of Washington. Then she served on the board of United Way, which happened to also have the IBM CEO, which was a massively important connection that Bill Gates made. And if she hadn’t been there, maybe Bill Gates, maybe Microsoft doesn’t take off. Maybe they don’t make $200 billion for the family. But that was not through a intentional, I’m trying to go make money off these relationships. She was serving in the community and had developed those social relationships. And it’s the same thing, I think, with, I would guess, with you doing your podcast, right? It’s like, I’m investing in people, giving up your time in an effort. At some point, maybe these people you can help. And if you can’t, you tried to help them. But it’s an investment with an unknown return. And that’s how most social resource investing is.
[00:22:21.470] – Sean
I’ll touch on my podcast real quick here. Then I do have a few questions. The podcast, I love hearing stories like yours and how people build businesses or what do they invest in. You’re one of the first authors I was telling you offline, one of my best friends is an author as well, does more. He will admit this, it’s drier books for the education industry. Very small print, a lot of pages, but necessity. And it’s cool to hear these stories. So that’s one reason I really enjoy the networking aspect. And in business, and you know this, you can’t get anywhere alone. You have to be build relationships with other people because you never know who they know. So that’s actually a big reason. It’s not only the stories which I love hearing, but it’s the networking is a big win for me. I could do… You won’t believe I was just on a podcast right before yours and the conversation went that direction. It’s like, Sweet, I know somebody who could may be interested in promoting Tykr. You never know. I never push it, but it’s cool how things turn out like that. But jumping back to your book, I like that you’re creating this business model l ari ing over the family dynamic.
[00:23:35.790] – Sean
Is there this balancing act? Because I feel like, for example, I know parents out there, and you probably do too, get their kids into a specific sport, maybe a few sports, but they really get them laser focused on one they’re good at. And they’re thinking of the ROI. Okay, so it costs this much per year to be in, let’s say, baseball or swimming or soccer. But if I can invest this much, by the time they’re 18, 17, 18, they get a scholarship to D1 school, full ride, then they realize the ROI, but the risk reward, it can be really off balance. And sometimes, and I know this for a fact, these kids get way burnt out and it creates a lot of stress in the family. Does your book touch on this dynamic at all?
[00:24:21.720] – Aaron
I haven’t touched on that specific… I’ve looked at it for myself. We do Irish dance. My kids all did Irish dance. And there’s some people who become so laser focused on it, they’re like, Oh, if I get this, then I can become world champion. But there’s all this investment up front. I’m like, What are the trade offs you’re making? I guess I talk about this a little bit from my own personal experience. I’m 6’4. I was big in high school. I played football my ninth grade year. And then I just realized, I’m doing a lot of damage to my body and my brain. What are my chances of actually going into the NFL? I don’t know anyone who went into the NFL. I have no way to follow. So I’m like, Why would I invest in this? My dad had his PhD in instructional psychology. He was a computer programmer. I’m like, I understand the white collar job a whole lot better than I do this whole professional athlete job. And so I just said, Well, why would I… My chances of becoming… That’s where I look at it. My odds of becoming successful in a white collar job are probably 95 %.
[00:25:28.020] – Aaron
I was already smart. I was doing well in school. I could probably do well there. My odds of becoming a professional athlete, when I’ve looked it up, I think it’s like 1 % or less than that of college athletes actually make it to the NFL. Then you look at the NFL and then you’re like, What’s their average lifespan, three years, they’re making good money, but then they’re moving all over. You’re constantly hurt. That was my experience with being in sports. So it’s really like, I think when people are doing an ROI analysis, and this is why I wrote the book, they’re only focused on money. And if you only focus on money when doing an ROI, what you’re saying is, but their mental health is suffering. If you’re not taking into account, that’s why I break the three resources. If you’re saying all we do is focus on money, like you’ll see doctors sometimes do, or these very wealthy people. I just focused on money. Now I’m rich, my kids hate me, my wife hates me, we’re divorced. What the freak did I do all this crap for? That’s a dumb investment. At the end of the day, at least for me, I’m like, Once you get enough money, what are you focused on?
[00:26:32.450] – Aaron
Your relationships and your community. And so if you’re making all those trade offs in the short term, Well, I can’t spend time with my kids. Okay, well, when they’re old and they don’t know you, and you just threw money at them and you didn’t teach them good lessons, how much money are you going to spend on their therapy? How much money are you going to spend? I’ve seen people spend tons of money on these kids, trying to get them out of drug rehab or trying to get them out of just depressive states. And you’re going, What were you doing it for? Again, in the business sense, it’s like if you just focused on just sales and then you’re like, Well, we had all these sales, but then no one stayed. Our customer retention was crap because we never focused on the rest of the experience. You’d go like, D uh, you need to grow the business together. Your sales and marketing and your customer success need to grow together. So that’s where you got to focus on all the resources. It’s the same thing I talk about when someone moves. Let’s say you have an opportunity, Oh, I could go make more money this opportunity in New York.
[00:27:31.330] – Aaron
I’m currently in San Francisco. There’s no monetary way to do this. Even in the business world, we don’t know how to quantify social connections and social resources. But if you move to New York and you’ve been living in San Francisco for 20 years, you probably have a lot of connections, this whole network built up of support, emotional support, financial support, all sorts of things that’s all going to get uprooted and ripped apart when you go to New York. And so if you’re like, Well, I’m getting a $20,000 raise or a $50,000 raise. Yeah, but what are your resource losses? And so that to me, even in the business world, we don’t have a way to quantify the brand value. I hate to say it, but what is Nike worth? It’s a brand. I don’t know. Gucci. We have these numbers we throw on the balance sheet, but we really don’t quantify it well because it’s just to make the numbers work. And so that’s the thing that people need to consider. What are the costs of doing that? Because I’ve seen people who have multiple kids going in all these laser focused paths. And they’re like, So what’s our family structure?
[00:28:32.790] – Aaron
What is our family culture? Oh, our family culture is get our kids to their games, get our kids to wherever. We don’t have any family things we do together because we’re so focused on trying to make our kids successful. And that’s where I think we end up with it’s just looking at the financial consequences, both positive and negative of a decision, without considering the social and human consequences of that decision.
[00:28:56.690] – Sean
Nice. And your book really rounds all of that out. That’s great. For those that can’t see Aaron, he was nodding his head in agreement and smiling here. No, that’s wonderful. That’s really good to hear because there’s so many people as I mentioned, that are focused, especially today, there seems to be more and more pressures, especially younger ages, to be you’re going to… The probability of you getting into a D1 school, if we do this, this, and this over the next 10 years, let’s say you start at eight in swimming, by age 18, you should be getting a scholarship to whatever university. And then we realize our ROI. But then then what? There’s the mental health trade off. And where was the fun along the way?
[00:29:46.130] – Aaron
Well, and there’s also another trade off that you don’t consider. Let’s say I went into football. The reality is if you are a Division 1 athlete, you do not have the ability to do the vast majority of the actual majors at the university. You have an ability to do a lot of stupid little majors that have a lot of electives. I did mechanical engineering. I have yet to see, maybe there’s one. Every time I look at colleges, look at all the players on the teams, look at all the pro athletes, I never see a mechanical engineer. You don’t see the degrees that are actually the harder ones. You see the degrees like, Well, he did psychology, or They did chemistry. You did a degree that took 30 to 50 credits, not a serious degree. And so that’s the consequence. And I’ve actually seen that where the athletes are at this school, but then they can’t do a degree that actually has a pay off. And even if you have a full scholarship, you still have living expenses, you still have these other pieces. What does it really pay off? I think if you’re saying the end of the rainbow is getting into that school, then you’re not looking at, well, what’s after that?
[00:30:49.580] – Aaron
What other things can they do? And you’re like, well, if they become a professional Olympian, I don’t even know if that… I don’t think that pays very well. It’s like looking at the end of the rainbow a little bit further instead of just getting caught like, But if they get into this great school, they’ll do well. I have a friend, she went to George Washington, which is a great school. And then she was like, Yeah, but it got me a lot of debt, and I didn’t really… I built the network, but didn’t do much because I didn’t have all the elite connections that some of these other students did that got them into these higher paying jobs. So I think there’s always these other pieces. And like I say, if you’re just focused on that one thing, you’re going to neglect a lot of factors.
[00:31:31.340] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break. Do you want free access to a Tykr course of your choice? There are two ways to do this. Option one, if you use an iPhone, we’re looking for a top stocks podcast, five star review. Simply go to Apple podcasts and leave a review. Option two, if you don’t use an iPhone, then you obviously can’t use Apple podcasts, which means we’re looking for a five star review on Tykr. Simply go to the Tykr homepage, just go to Tykr. Com and look for the trust index logo. It’s right at the top of the site. Click the logo and you can either leave a review on Trustpilot or Google. Now, in order to get free access, you need to send us a screenshot. So please take a screenshot of your review and send it to support. Com @Tykr. Com. But again, you can either leave a review on the Top Stocks podcast or on Tykr itself. We’ll pick a new winner every week and send a coupon code so you can gain access to a course of your choice. Okay, back to the show. I think it’s so important for parents to create a strong sense of balance.
[00:32:36.110] – Sean
You need to have time, yes, to focus on studies, but also play time. If you enjoy sports, enjoy time with friends, enjoy downtime. And I feel like so many people get into this go, go, go mode. And then 15 years later, they come up for air and they’re like, Where did it go? What did we do? What were the lasting memories I had with my kids? And you only can count a few on one hand. It’s like, Ouch, that’s got to hurt. But to create that balance at a younger age, I think, that’s critical.
[00:33:09.800] – Aaron
That’s the side where it’s that investing in your relationships. What does your family mean? I think right now, most of our families and our society is so focused on this money stuff that they have no identity. People don’t tend to be religious as much anymore. And then your family is smaller and it’s pushing in these directions just of, go try to become a professional. Go become great so you can get into this D1 school. And these kids are like, but I have no identity and I have nothing to pull back on. I never had time to develop relationships with other people. I don’t know how you are, but so many of my good friends were just through the suffering of life, playing sports together, doing those activities. Some of it’s business where you’re building companies together as well. But it’s like you’re doing stuff together. And if you’re constantly focused on, I have to compete and I have to win, then you often are not focused on building those root connections because you’re like, Well, I have to beat them. I don’t want to talk to them. I don’t want to help them because they’re going to beat me.
[00:34:11.750] – Aaron
So you’re actually in this really… To your point earlier about other people, you need other people to succeed. And I keep feeling like a lot of people are playing this life like a single player game. But it’s not. It’s a big group game. And the more people you can get in your group, the more successful you’re going to be, and they’re going to be. That’s where I think it’s important to do that social, as I call it, social investing, because that’s going to build those ties that will help get you through some of the emotional up and downs. We talk about building businesses. If it’s growing too fast, it’s hard. If it’s growing too slow, it’s hard. If it’s growing flat, it’s hard. There’s all these things that are going on in a business and ups and downs that are happening. It’s the same in family. Your kids are going to get sick, you’ll get sick. You may have problems with health. My daughter hit a pole while she was skiing and broke her leg. There’s just crap that happens. You get in car accidents and that. There’s all these things that happen in your life that people need to consider.
[00:35:10.050] – Aaron
I think it’s having those relationships be strong, that’s your emotional diversification where you may be down, but your spouse is up or your business partner is up. And so then you’re like, Okay, they can help me out there. But you see a lot of people who don’t have that support, and then they end up jumping off a bridge or something because they’re like, I had a downtime and I’ve definitely had my share of downtime in my career of trying to build businesses.
[00:35:37.480] – Sean
Yeah, haven’t we all? I think if you can train your younger generations that, hey, life is going to punch you in the gut and you got to figure out how to take it, keep moving forward. What is the old saying from Mike Tyson, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. That’s life. And how do we deal with that? And how do we navigate what comes after? And it’s not going to work out. But if you can pick yourself up, have the right attitude moving forward, that’s what counts.
[00:36:09.030] – Aaron
Well, and one of the things I’ve thought about, too, you have… Most everyone will say you need an emergency financial account, right? In case you have… Something happens, you have to go to the hospital, car gets in an accident, you need to have an emergency fund. Dave Ramsey talks about this. But they don’t look at… That’s essentially saying I’ve invested more in financial resources than I’ve taken out. And then you look at social resources the same way. Have you invested enough into those social resources where if something happens in your marriage with your children, that you have this reservoir to draw on during some of the hard times? And the same thing with your physical health. If you’re not staying in good physical health, then, and we saw this during COVID, if you’re really in bad shape and then you get COVID, that can kill you. But if you’ve invested and you tend to be in good shape, you’re doing that, you have this reservoir of health that then your body can draw on to get through sickness. And so I think it’s, again, it’s a holistic picture of just because you have money doesn’t mean you’re wealthy.
[00:37:07.480] – Aaron
I mean, would I rather have a billion dollars and my kids hate me and all my friends hate me and be sick, dying on my bed going, ew, with cancer because I didn’t take care of that? Or would I rather have more of a balanced, and I would say for me, it’s always I’d rather have more of a balanced set of resources and wealth.
[00:37:24.040] – Sean
What you described there, I’ve met those guys. And I remember having a conversation with a guy who was He was at a point where he wanted to retire, and he’s like, I worked and worked and worked, and the highest he ever got was middle management in corporate America. He always wanted to get the C suite, didn’t even get close. And he says, I only… He’s like, Sean, did you know I only attended one of my son’s baseball games? Guess what? My son and I don’t even talk anymore. I was like, Was it worth it? I was firm. I was like, Was it worth it? And he’s like, No, I made a big mistake.
[00:37:57.970] – Aaron
Well, when I think this is one of the things I’ve seen a lot of young people are coming to the same conclusion. You’ll see these people, especially women, they’re getting pushed to go, and you got to be a lawyer. Go be a doctor. Go be those things. And then they’re ending up in their 30s and they’re like, I’m not married. I have this job, but I don’t have a family, and the biological reality is picking up and they’re like, Was it worth it? No. Especially the legal profession, I think a lot of women get pushed into there without realizing how aggressive it is, how on demand you have to be to be successful. Then they get into it and like, This is a crappy life. I don’t even want this. You see this, for some reason, we’re not teaching kids to think forward much. We’re just teaching them, Hey, just value financial return. Get a doctor, be a lawyer, be these things. Without looking at the consequences of that for them. And that’s a part of what I think we as parents need to do. It’s what I’ve tried to do. My daughter, she was going into…
[00:38:53.130] – Aaron
She’s really good with biology, loved it, and her teachers were saying, Hey, you should go be a doctor. I was like, Well, what does that look like for you. That’s a 10 year path. And then it’s a lot of debt, and then you need to work that off, and it’s going to be harder to get married in there. There’s all these consequences you need to think about. And so it’s more like, Well… And so I said, Well, you could go be a nurse. And then if you want to go further, you can be a nurse and esthetician, or nurse and estheticist, CRNA, and they make really good money. So you have a career if you want, but you have the flexibility. And it turns out she found a guy was able to get married. But I think she was so focused on her college and getting her MCAT and all this crap done, I don’t think she’d be married. And then she’d be long term time down the road without kids and going, Well, I don’t think it was worth it.
[00:39:38.950] – Sean
You just hit on something really hot here, which is, what does that life look like? And this is something I talk to parents who have kids that are teenagers, we’re talking high school, and what are they thinking about? Do they want to go to college? Maybe they don’t. Maybe they want to go blue collar. And I’ll help weigh the pros and cons there. You skip college, which is an opportunity cost situation because now you’re spending money, you’re not making money. Whereas I know guys who got into welding, and plumbing, and contracting at age 18 by age 40 because they’re good at saving and investing. Guess what? They’re pretty much done and out and retired by 40. It’s like blue collar workers. This is the reality we live in. So what do you want your life to look like? And there’s other people who want to go to school for liberal arts. And I’ll ask questions like, so what salary? What job are you looking at? Well, I never thought about that. So you’re going to spend 50 grand a year at a liberal arts school for what? What are we doing here? Pain t the picture.
[00:40:39.520] – Sean
What does your life look like? And I think parents need to do a better job of that.
[00:40:44.120] – Aaron
Yeah, that’s the thing is the schools have no… I don’t know how we got to this bizarre place where we’re subsidizing, as a society, any major any kid wants to take. You’re a stupid… I was here too, so I was stupid at that age. I didn’t know. I did mechanical engineering because it was math, it was science. Those were interesting to me. I didn’t look forward. I didn’t have that looking forward. We’re all stupid at that age. We don’t know where we want to make our footprint in society. And so it’s really important for us as adults to think, Hey, why don’t you go look at these people, look at these careers, and help kids think through it? You don’t want to force your kid. You have to be a doctor. A lot of people tend to do that. I don’t know that it ends up with great results, but it’s more like, What are you interested in and how do I help you explore that? Because we’re all stupid. I think there’s this weird youth worship that’s happened in our society where young kids are smart. They are the dumbest. They have no idea about consequences.
[00:41:43.180] – Aaron
Half the kids in college, probably more, have never actually worked a day in their life. They have no consequence of, Wait, I worked, and then how much taxes are getting taken out? Wait, what’s going on? And I had to get up consistently? They have no consequence or no concept of reality. I think it’s important for us to help them see. But I think it’s important to give your kids those opportunities to see reality and be like, You think it’s bad? You think my rules are bad? Great. My son went and worked at an Amazon distribution center. He was like, Wow, that sucks. I mean, when I was young, I cleaned toilets and did dishes at a family camp. I loved it because I had this longer progression, but it was not fun work. And so it’s really important, I think, to give people context. I lived over in Russia for two years before I got married, and all of a sudden I’m like, Wow, I lived such a blessed life. I have so much clean water. I remember filling up the tub one time and didn’t even get in it. And then the sediment settled on the outside of the tub.
[00:42:43.890] – Aaron
I’m like, This is not clean water. I think it’s radioactive, actually, to a chunk. So that’s the stuff where you look at, you need context as a human being, and our job needs to be giving our kids context. I see people taking them to Mexico, Hey, let’s go to this all inclusive resort. Oh, that’s where you’re getting treated like a king. We’re helping your delusion. Let’s take you to Disneyland. Great. You’re now delusional in that you think you’re a princess. Where’s reality in here? I think there’s two sets of beliefs where it’s like, and this is from a cultural, you can like, the world’s a dangerous place out there, I need to protect you from it, or the world’s a dangerous place out there. I need to prepare you for it. And that’s where it seems like we’ve switched a lot to. We’re trying to protect everyone from uncomfortable and now kids feel super entitled to stuff. But you’re like, I’m sorry, going through engineering school was no walk in the park. And then I was working, I got married at that time, I had kids. All of those things, it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the long term.
[00:43:45.610] – Aaron
And that’s where a lot of kids now they’re like, Well, I want the rewards of doing all that work without all the pain of doing that work. Okay. As soon as you disconnect risk from… I mean, this is basic investing, right? Risk, reward. You want high risk reward with no risk? Go buy T bills if you want the low risk, I guess, maybe. But don’t go buy these IPO stocks if you don’t want that. And it’s always weighing that in the financial realm makes sense, but also weighing that in your life.
[00:44:16.710] – Sean
Well, you’ve got a lot of good takeaways here, and I do recommend people go check out your website. I’ll have you do a quick little snippet at the end here talking about where can they reach you, where’s the book, all that good stuff. But first, before we jump to the rapid fire round, what is one key take away you can give our audience today?
[00:44:34.920] – Aaron
I would say the biggest one is make sure you’re investing in social connections. And when I say investing, usually that’s in the form of service or joining groups. I think most men, in my experience, we all want to be alone until we want to get something done, right? Until we want to build a business, until we want to do those things. But invest in those. Invest in those relationships. Spend time with those people. Find people that you get along with. It’s going to be a lot of sifting through people you don’t get along with and join groups, whether it’s a sports group, a church group, some activity group where you have those people coming together. Because I’ve seen a lot of benefits. I have a volleyball group that’s been very beneficial. I have my college group, I have my church group. All of those have been very beneficial to my wealth generation as well as to my health.
[00:45:23.600] – Sean
Right on. Great take away. All right, let’s dive into the rapid fire round. This is part of the episode where we get to find out who Aaron really is. If you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You ready? What is your favorite podcast?
[00:45:39.430] – Aaron
Freak economics because it’s talking about the hidden side of everything. You think you’re doing one thing, you actually do something different. It actually gets a different result. So it’s really data driven and data thinking.
[00:45:51.090] – Sean
Nice. What is the recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:45:55.340] – Aaron
The one I liked recently was called Slicing the Pie, I Think. We talked about about equity and how to distribute that. I think it’s a very interesting take on it because equity is very dangerous and causes a lot of friction in companies. So getting that right is important.
[00:46:10.160] – Sean
I appreciate that recommendation. I actually just added it to my Amazon cart. All right, next question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:46:19.620] – Aaron
Maybe this is recent C Bias, but I really liked R R R. If you’re familiar with that, the.
[00:46:24.670] – Sean
Indian movie. I did see that.
[00:46:25.640] – Aaron
It had so many elements. It had a lot of these trade offs and dilemma s. It had a lot of happiness and it had the sadness. So it had a lot of emotional movement. So I just loved that. Really enjoyed it. It’s probably my favorite movie in at least the last 10 or 15 years.
[00:46:41.800] – Sean
That’s a curve ball. Not too many people here in the States are watching a lot of Bollywood, but I like cinema all over the globe. And the same director who did R RR, if you haven’t seen these two movies, there’s Bahu Bolly 1 and 2. I don’t know if you’ve seen those.
[00:46:57.990] – Aaron
I haven’t seen them. My friend said I should watch those. I’m going to they’re on my list to see.
[00:47:02.670] – Sean
They’re very good. Yeah, definitely check them out. All right, next up here, we got a few business questions. What is the worst advice you ever received?
[00:47:11.500] – Aaron
I think some people have pushed… Maybe it’s not advice, it’s just what I’ve seen. There’s an element of impatience, I think, that I’ve got in terms of how long it could take me to do things. I got into this impatient mode. I would think I was failing when I was actually just on the path, just not far enough.
[00:47:26.550] – Sean
Okay. All right. And best advice?
[00:47:29.640] – Aaron
I think the best advice or best learning was probably from the cash flow game. It was me finally seeing this flywheel effect in money and understand how money worked and giving me a common language for my wife and I to speak on.
[00:47:43.700] – Sean
Got it. All right. And the last question is a time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:47:53.410] – Aaron
It would be somewhere in my teens, probably focus more on, like I’ve said, I think I didn’t invest as much in the social connections. I viewed life like zero sum, and I didn’t view it as expansive pie. And so I think if I could go back, I think I would have approached people a little bit differently.
[00:48:12.020] – Sean
I love that. I love the strong thread here is really focused on building relationships with other people. That’s outstanding. All right. So where can people reach you? You get your website, you got the book out there. Give us the whole rundown.
[00:48:26.120] – Aaron
Yes, I have the website, thefamilyflywheel. Com, where I talk through the ideas, have some resources to try to help people build out their own business model and look at their own resources. And then I have the books on Amazon, also the A udible books, audiobookbooks on everywhere, I think. And then I have my LinkedIn and Facebook, Aaron K. Shelly, you can find me there.
[00:48:46.230] – Sean
Awesome. All right, Aaron, well, thank you so much for your time. This is great.
[00:48:49.650] – Aaron
Yeah, appreciate it, Sean.
[00:48:51.080] – Sean
We’ll see you.
[00:48:51.630] – Aaron
[00:48:53.740] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. Talk to you later. See you. You.