[00:00] Introduction Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.
Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.
But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.
I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer.
Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?
If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.
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After all, how can you master something you've never done before?
Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.
At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.
[00:01:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Running a lean single-family office isn't easy, and Adam Blakney runs the daily gambit of public portfolios, real estate, direct investments, and various board positions to keep the family on track towards its vision for future generations. Adam says that the money is the easy part and his principal focus is on the people, the health of the family, education, and ensuring that the plans the family makes now will create value, not just financial for future generations. Through history as well as personal experience, Adam has discovered that the best-laid plans of previous generations have been rendered obsolete in current times, demanding new ideas and new paths forward.
Since every single-family office is unique, Adam has relied on his MBA from Melbourne Business School, as well as his experiences in startup to build his single-family office from the ground up building a team of suppliers and advisors to help navigate these unchartered waters.
Joshua M. Peck is the founding member of the TrueCode Capital with nearly 20 years developing and capitalizing on emerging technologies. He utilizes a systems approach to portfolio management that leverages his deep quantitative background in financial engineering, machine learning, and applied mathematics.
Early in his career, Josh worked in academia in support of high-performance research computing environments where he became a regional expert in systems engineering, cyber security, and data engineering. In addition to his work, he is active in philanthropy through the Denver Mile High Rotary Foundation, where he is currently the treasurer and a member of the World Community Service Committee where most recently they were able to fund a cold storage project in Nepal.
Josh has served as an advisory board member, angel investor, and mentor for various venture clubs and accelerators, and has invested in a diverse group of companies.
Josh received his BS in Computer Science from Pittsburgh state university and his Master's of Science Engineering, Management from the University of Kansas.
Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast and has always so, delighted to have you with us. Today's going to be a really interesting episode. Now, every episode is always interesting, but this episode is really interesting because we're going to do a fascinating thought experiment but in real-time.
The challenge with most business owners, we're so focused on crossing that finish line for the liquidity event that oftentimes we drop the ball of what next, how do we manage the money? How do we optimize our life for happiness? What about next generations? And more times than not as business owners, we're just juggling and meandering from one to the next, not necessarily doing it in the best way.
So we have two special guests with us today. We're having a bit of a round table. And why don't we start with you, Adam? Why don't you give us a little bit of your background and the story behind the story of what got you to where you are today.
[00:05:00] Adam Blakney: Sure, thank you so much for having me on. So I grew up in Seattle and grew up here, went to school in the east coast, and was part of an east coast real estate family. So growing up in Seattle, I didn't really have a lot of kind of oversight. I didn't really see a lot of what was happening but I knew we had a bigger family business. And as I got older professionally, I went into marketing and market research ended up in Australia getting my MBA, and starting a career in a large events market research and data acquisition. And when I was in Australia, I was getting married to my wife and my family ended up having a total liquidity event that nobody really anticipated.
And so as being part of a bigger family, I expected to graduate with my MBA and go back and help my family. But instead, I was pushed out and I decided to continue to live in Australia and go down the startup route. Worked for a few years in corporate, started my own consulting business in event technology, grew that business in Australia until 2016, '17.
And then my immediate family decided to break away from our greater family and separate all of our assets after the sale that we had. And so I moved back to America to help my family do that, work to expand my Australian company, named events pass to America at the same time.
By the last few years, I've been building a single-family office for my mother and my sister and I, and that's really the day-to-day as managing the investment. The tax planning that we've done. And so that's my job. I am the chairman of my company.
My main focus is growing our portfolio and really diversifying our portfolio into more ventures. Because we've got public portfolios, they're under-invested at the moment. So that's my day-to-day job.
[00:06:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, Adam, that's terrific. And thank you for sharing that. It's interesting because just before we hop on over to you, Josh, on your side Adam you're really straddling a few different roles. I know offline, we're talking about what generation are you, so why don't you share with our audience, what you consider, what generation you are in terms of the family office side of things.
[00:06:59] Adam Blakney: Yeah. Thanks for that. So yeah, so technically I'm a G3. My grandfather was the wealth creator in our family. But I consider it 1.5 because after my mother took her assets, she grew the assets quite substantially, and we've created a business around that growth. Yeah, so it's interesting, but we took that wealth, but we've now invested that and we've grown it in its own right. So we're trying to forge our own kind of future in that way.
[00:07:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love it. And I know we're going to do some deep dives on what you've done and how that works, but Josh let's go over to you. So why don't we hear the story behind the story of you, Josh? What does that look like? And how did you get to where you are today?
[00:07:34] Josh Peck: Okay. It's always a winding road for me because I didn't come from wealth. And so I had to try a lot of different things that didn't work on that path. So I really break my career down into three steps. One is I did a lot of work around high-performance computing for academia early on in my career.
I worked for a university and then a statewide network where we were doing all this really high-speed networking and computing type of work. And out of that, I got a really good sense of what it takes to make computers go really fast. And then around 2009, that turns out to be a pretty useful skill set because we have the internet marketing world starting up where that being able to make computers go really fast, being able to do a lot of data analytics, do a lot of quantitative methods is a pretty valuable skillset.
So I ended up joining a startup. At this time I was living in Overland Park, Kansas, and joined an internet startup there that we were able to get up and get an offer for, I think the owner didn't quite like the offer, so we didn't actually sell that one, but eventually, we spun some things off that we really liked and start building a series of internet businesses that a number of them work pretty well.
And one of the nice things about internet businesses is that they're not super time-intensive once you have them running. So we were in the fortunate situation of making pretty good money and only working a couple of months a year and doing a little bit of traveling and having a good time.
And then I'm starting to face this question. What comes next? Because financially I'm okay. And things are getting a little bit better every year. And then and I'm trying to figure oh yeah, I know, how do you deploy this capital when you get big chunks of capital?
And you're still afraid that the stock market's going to go down tomorrow, and so I'm starting to work around these different problems that come up when you're having somewhat regular liquidity events. And so I ended up building a company that is just a management company for me to work out of, to work on that.
And I think of it as a virtual family office where it's primarily me and a couple of little helpers, but we're going outside for legal counsel. We're going outside for a lot of things. But the things that we keep in-house because of my background is the highly quantitative stuff, the algorithmic statistical computational models, and things like that for investing. And so that's what I'm doing now.
[00:09:53] Jeffrey Feldberg: So Josh, just between me and you, no one else is listening in here are you one of those mythical quants that we read about it and hear about it? You can just share that with me. No one's gonna know.
[00:10:03] Josh Peck: That's pretty well with what I've worked my way into It's funny cause a number of years ago I read a book or saw an interview with George Soros and I said, oh, those are the people who think like me.
[00:10:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: Oh, I love it. I love it.
[00:10:15] Josh Peck: Those are my people.
[00:10:17] Jeffrey Feldberg: With your Josh and Adam, I'm in the presence of greatness. I love it. So you've both come at this from different angles, but you're now both in the same situation. And that's really fascinating when you think about this. Why don't you talk to the audience?
Because the audience is in the mindset of, hey, I just want to get my liquidity event done that. If I have to have problems, let me have money problems of how am I going to invest in what's that going to look like, but it's not as simple as that. And those problems can become really big problems.
So as both of you sit here today, how do you look at the world in in terms of what you're doing with your time, how you're managing your money, what does happiness look like and mean for each of you? I'm curious what that means.
[00:10:59] Adam Blakney: Wow. That's a loaded question there. Look, I think for me at the moment I've got young kids. School and consistency is a huge kind of part of our life. And so I'd say even just the last five or six weeks, with, you know, there's a new variant now. The last five or six weeks is probably the first time I've been able to have really concrete weeks of work where I can plan and not have to pivot.
Right now it's a lot of it is just optimizing and trying to find ways, because I just don't feel like the last kind of six, seven months I've enabled to put a hundred percent into things. And so I think my position's nice because I can pull back a little bit. I can lean on more advisers.
I'm getting a lot more information, reaching out networking, and trying to find different solutions for my challenges. At the moment I just can't pivot like I used to just with kind of everything. And so I look at the kind of frame that I've built with our single-family office and that it gives me that flexibility that I can navigate.
And I look at that, being able to have that time is a huge, it's a win for me right now. And that to me is a driver of my happiness.
[00:12:06] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's interesting, Josh, in terms of that whole side of things, where are you, what does that look like and mean for you?
[00:12:14] Josh Peck: Well, I love how Adam starts it with his kids. Cause you know, one thing you learned pretty fast as you start working through a little bit of a family office space and things like that is everyone loves their kids. You might not like someone tremendously, you might not like their politics who their sports team is, but everyone loves their darn kids.
And I think that's just so universal for everyone is that brings so much meaning to our lives and the things that we're doing is we're going forward. Yeah, I think the thing that's important for your audience to know is that this is a big transition, coming from a first-generation perspective here.
And I don't think it's unreasonable after you have your liquidity event to park that money, maybe sticking it in some government-backed securities. So you don't run afoul of the FDAC rules and wait a year, start figuring some things out, start figuring out what comes next, what is your investing style?
You know, there's so much stuff there that is what's your psychological tolerance for risk, and I think that there's just a big impetus to figure it out all at once and to start making changes immediately. And I think that the cost of making a mistake there can be far higher than the cost of missing a little bit of time and returns.
So I always start there as you're making this transition, don't expect it to be a small one.
[00:13:30] Adam Blakney: Yeah.
[00:13:30] Josh Peck: If you want wealthy people problems, that's a different set of problems than maybe what you've had before. And regardless of whether they're nicer problems to have, but there are still problems.
And, it can be immensely complex at times, dealing with multi-generational estate planning, not just taking care of the kids, but how do you take care of the grandkids and their kids and going out multiple generations and what will the economic environment be and all of those scenarios how do you build a governance model that doesn't create an angst in the family? How do you create a scenario where that you're creating a blessing for the family that helps bring it together rather than driving it apart? So many families suffering. Yeah. And so that's just where my head is at most of the time right now is just making that family governance model, the investments, everything about it.
Just be something that's a blessing for our families.
[00:14:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: Josh really well said. And Adam, I'm going to circle back to you in just a moment and we'll have a little fun because we're going to play off of what Josh you just said. But one quick thing for our listeners and Josh, I didn't do what you so wisely suggested is right after the liquidity event, take a pause, put all of your money into some government-backed and just do nothing. And you said a year, maybe it's even two years and whatever you may miss in the market. So what, you're learning about yourself and coming up with yourself, version 2.0, which is really important. So a really terrific insight. So Adam, as Josh was talking about what he's thinking about for not just himself, but for the next generation and the generation beyond what you're kind of there.
So it's almost like Josh is having a future conversation with himself vis-a-vis you? So Adam, what would you be telling Josh of what you would have done differently? So Adam, if you could have gone back to your grandfather and hey grandpa, you don't know it yet, but here's, what's going to happen, and here's what you shouldn't do. And here's what you should do when it comes to a family office and wealth. What does that look like?
[00:15:30] Adam Blakney: It's funny. To look back like that is to go back to Josh's first comment around his career and how it was. I think the way things happen, a lot of it was the right decision at the right time versus being able to really set that, hey, this is exactly how things are going.
Josh has just said some phenomenal gems in there. It's, how do you think about your kids and your grandkids and how they're going to receive that? And how do you make sure that they have their own lives and that this isn't a burden? There are people in my family where this is a burden and it's because they don't have the knowledge or the expertise, and they're too afraid to go get help or have confidence or people they haven't been able to trust people even in their own family. And it can be isolating and alone. And I think what Josh is, you know, he's really trying to articulate just how important the togetherness and the flexibility, that this is something that has to work over a transition.
And I talk in 10, 20, 30-year timeframes now. I think most people do not think about 30 years down the road. And I wish my grandfather was thinking that way. Now, this was not something that I think could have been foreseen the same way, but I think if you take even a portion of what Josh was saying into account, you're way ahead of most of the people. that are having those wealth events. And then the last thing I'll say, which is, I think the underlying of what Josh is saying is the money is actually the easy part. It's not 30 years ago, where how do you trust?
We have a symmetric market. We know people we can trust. There is our place to put money, the emotion around these transitions, the emotion around the family dynamics, and all of that. That's where the hard work is. A lot of the stuff is just having the right people around you, but being able to have your kids, your grandkids have a conversation with them and say you don't have to do what I did with this money, or I want this, those are the conversations and the flexibility that you need to have in that transition period. I think that's the hardest bit. That'd be the emotional challenges in there.
[00:17:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: Adam you bring up a really terrific insight. And so Josh, let's go back to you on that. So here you are today and you're thinking of your kids and your kids' kids and down the road with that. What goes through your mind as you think through that of how do you optimize their lives? Because we hear the horror stories of the future generations where they're just not motivated and a sense of entitlement with the money and just aren't productive the way that you've been. So how do you think about structuring it in such a way that you can really hit it out of the park on all fronts? The money is being optimized as best it can, but the life of the future generation is a life worth living. There's fulfillment, productive things are being done.
[00:18:10] Josh Peck: Yeah. That's the billion-dollar question, isn't it? And I think Adam touched on some things there that, you know, it's not really the money part that's hard. You can figure out how to manage money intergenerationally pretty well, but how do you manage the people part. And I take an assumption because I'm a quant that people are really fear and greed machines.
And those are the two forces that really drive people. And we see it in the market. You see, you know, all this greed and the markets go way up higher than they should. And you see a bunch of fear and then they go way lower than they should. From my perspective, they're fairly rarely right-priced.
And how do you start educating your family? Cause we both have young kids and I think it's just almost never too early to start teaching them the Rich Dad, poor dad guy. I always butcher his name, Robert Kiyosaki, and playing the cashflow game, starting to play things like that, where that they're starting to develop some financial aptitude.
I really think that just involving people and allowing them to have some credibility, allowing them to have some influence, allows them to make some decisions, even with a smaller amount of money early on. Give them some responsibility, give them some skin in the game, and I think it goes a little bit beyond just an allowance and giving and different things like that.
One thing that I hear a lot is you go around different groups of people that are working on these kinds of problems it's really common I think for people to be thinking about teaching the kids about giving, but I'm not sure that they're always teaching them about maintaining and growing the family inheritance as well.
And so I don't know, I think that really just comes down to experience and helping them get their reps, you know, more than anything, what children benefit from are healthy parents, taking care of yourself, making sure that you're emotionally healthy. Getting those meditation reps in and not skipping those too much.
And, cause you can talk until you're blue in the face, but they're going to do what you do. They're going to emulate your behaviors. And so for me, I try to model the behaviors that helped me get here so that I'm still working and I'm still going into an office. I'm still active and engaged in the community.
I have a lot of different things going on philanthropically or professionally. And I don't know, there's just a lot of different things there that I think you do, you have to live the example of what will help your kids. You have to involve them in decisions and help them get educated as early as you can.
And I think that it's really beneficial to be involved in the business community so that they have that experience of seeing their parents being involved and talking to lawyers and accountants and different things like that are just normal to them, reading the Wall Street Journal around the breakfast table.
It becomes normal to develop the vocabulary. So that it's a little bit by osmosis. Those are just some of the things that we're trying to do. I don't know that I'm right. And Adam might be able to tell me, better.
[00:21:04] Adam Blakney: No I love it. My kids are a little bit older. Not that much, but we're doing similar things. Our kids go to my old high school and one of my old classmates has kids in my kid's class and we invested in their startup, and at one point I said, you know, these are our partners.
We're not just friends. We're a partner. I told that to my kids and they don't really know it that, but it's those little things. This is about trust. It's about building those partnerships. And I think what Josh is saying, it's using the vernacular.
It's identifying some of these lessons that kids are going to learn anyways, what Josh is saying, you're going to have to talk to an accountant and a lawyer. And what you described there is, you know, that was kind of my teens to twenties was I have a stockbroker. Can I go and see him?
My mom's like, well, of course, you can go see him. It's building that pathway. I don't want with Josh and I are saying is we're trying to grow these kids from a little age to be these little business people.
For me, it's trying to make sure that they have their own person and who they want to be, but are also learning some of these skills. So they don't feel the burden. They don't feel the weight and they know that there are people there to help them, that to me is the biggest thing is my extended family they don't ask for help.
And so my big thing is let's get a big network of people to help us. And so these are the little things I think that we can teach kids, you know, that my eight-year-old, we do a lot of tutoring and she really likes one-on-one attention from a teacher or whether it's a tennis coach or something like that. So you find those opportunities to work.
[00:22:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's interesting because both of you in different ways, you've said the same thing and that's effectively be the change that you want to see in this case, in your children or in the next generation, act it out, just be that person and be that role model for them. Now, Adam, earlier, you were saying that for your family and the family office side of things, you're putting in different kinds of best practices.
Can you share what some of those things are? And I'm thinking both for our listeners and even Josh, as he grapples with this whole area of, okay, how do I optimize the family business? What should this look like? What are some of the things that should have been obvious, but once in a while, obvious along the way that you've begun to now implement?
[00:23:13] Adam Blakney: Oh yeah. The first thing is I just really started asking you a lot of questions and did more of an audit in a not in a formal, Price Waterhouse way, but just really going in there saying, this is not my expertise. I don't have any experience.
I know how to run a team. I know how to grow a business. And I think a lot of that led to really trying to talk to all the big firms, we really just cast a wide net and just told our story and really tried to get a feeling from just different advisers that we'd never gone to.
So that was one was just going out and asking stupid questions, and not being afraid to say we don't know what we're doing here. The second is literally just putting in basic administrative stuff, like quarterly meetings and bi-weekly work-in-progress meetings. And just keep, I'm not joking just keeping a spreadsheet of tasks. These were some of the basic things that you would say, no company could run without some of this basic operation. And what's really interesting is just by those kinds of two things, getting some new advisers in and then really just bringing people together.
That's I think formulated the backbone of, hey, these are the priorities of our business now, and it's really gotten the pace that we're now a business managing these portfolios versus sprinting for compliance and make sure that we don't get audited.
[00:24:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love, it just love that proactiveness and what you're doing. So Josh let's turn to you, you know, you're the quant out there and you can do all kinds of wonderful things with capital and things that most people don't see. But what would you say to this comment that once you've had a liquidity event, not for all people, maybe some people want to do this, but for many people, life after a liquidity event or post-exit life, doesn't have to be on managing the money? That there's more to life than managing the money or growing it, that there are different strategies to allow that to happen that perhaps you go on and you can focus on other areas, whether it be philanthropy or whatever your passions are, lots of white space in your life. Josh, where are you on that? Because you could really straddle both sides of that. So I'm curious about that.
[00:25:19] Josh Peck: Yeah. That's something I've gone back on forth on a little bit is oh, you just want to go park that all in index funds and then take your safe withdrawal rate and do the things that most people suggest that you do. I take a different perspective on that and it's a little bit controversial.
But I'll share it with you guys either way. When I started thinking of what I was doing as a virtual family office I really just had the idea that you either professionalize what you're doing by managing your money or you don't. And it's really, you're operating a family office one way or the other, because you're going to have an accountant, you're going to have an attorney.
You're going to have an insurance agent you're going to have blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And from my perspective, you can either do it well or poorly. And so am I optimizing that tax situation as much as I could? Am I investing as well as I could with the amount of risk I want to take in mind? And balancing that risk-reward dynamic in your portfolio. And honestly, you know, at some point a lot of new instruments become available for you, and okay, go in and learn about those, go in and figuring those out. Now, what's available on a PPM? Well, now I have structured products out there that I can use that maybe have a capped downside, but maybe can provide me similar to stock market returns.
Where does that fit in? Where does real estate fit in with all the wonderful tax benefits? And so I think that there are people that don't want to do it and, you know, good don't do it. But you're doing it either way. You're just doing it with a different level of sophistication.
You're there doing it with a really low level of sophistication or with a really high level of sophistication. And I take the philosophy that if you specialize in it and you get really good at it, your returns go up and your risk goes down and your life gets a lot easier. You can sleep better at night because you don't have to live through 2008 again and see a 50 or 80% drawdown in your portfolio and all of that stuff. For me, the right answer, especially because of my quantitative background is just to really hyper-specialized in this and become very good at it.
[00:27:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so Josh, we can go down this whole rabbit hole. Maybe let's do a little bit of it just for our audience because I'm curious and Adam, perhaps you are and the audience as well. So what is this specialization that you're doing that you're saying, if you specialize it in such a way, you don't have to worry about these crazy 2008 market drops where 80% of your portfolio is now gone? How does that work for you? What it does look like?
[00:27:47] Josh Peck: Yeah. I mean, I think that there's a lot of different well, I mean, you go look at the cornucopia of head funds that exist out there. Each one is applying a certain strategy or you're picking a manager and they have their strategy. I even take the perspective that the S&P 500 is basically a glorified momentum strategy.
You buy the 500 biggest companies in the country. You weigh them by market cap, and you own that. Now, why was that 500? Why wasn't it 50? Why wasn't it 10? Why wasn't it 200? And so these are the kinds of things we can't sit around. We wonder about it, and we start pulling on threads and saying, okay how does that work?
What if I just own the 10 biggest firms and the company or the country. And you can make an argument that if you bought Google or Microsoft or Apple, just one of those stocks has already diversified. They'll have 10 different businesses under one roof. So what are you really getting in terms of diversification for the extra complexity?
The great thing about the index funds, especially for beginning investors, is that they're simple, they're effective. And it doesn't require any knowledge. And so I always use that as the baseline. If you do that, you're going to do fine.
And that's the right answer for most families that don't want to get involved in this. And don't want to know more about it. Now, that's just a simple buy and hold strategy like I said, the 500 biggest companies in the US are weighted by market cap. But could you buy an option on the S&P 500?
Where that you have a constrained downside, but potentially unlimited upside. Well, Yes. You know, as you start going down the rabbit hole of the different types of financial instruments, then you can find different opportunities to create a different risk-reward profile that maybe is more appropriate for you, but ultimately I think the 80% of it really isn't the financial and figuring out how to do the math on the derivatives. All that's a little bit complicated, but it's not super complicated. There's nothing in there more than fractions and multiplication and division that anyone can do. But 80% of it really is like, what is my risk tolerance? Okay. Let's say the S&P 500 goes up 25% next year. And you only go at 15, but you had a 5% floor on it. Are you going to be happy with that? Because you've missed out on the upside. Let's say that next year, the S&P 500 goes down by 25%. Are you still going to be happy if you just bought and held the S&P 500 and you know, on paper, everybody's okay with it?
It really does take some reps. You have to go through some market cycles and see how that feels to you. And a really common one is should you do, how much should you be doing in terms of equity market investing versus real estate investing with all their wonderful tax benefits, and you know, when you start constructing things like that.
And it's like, okay well, in a quantitative person, we'll sit around it and we'll weight that, and I can calculate that. I can say, okay. And then go simulate at 10 million times and say, okay this is the best financial number that I'm not a big real estate guy because I really deal in paper, assets, and derivatives.
I don't really want to go deal with the hard real assets because there are people and squirrels get in the attic and you have to deal with all this stuff. So there's very frequently the correct mathematical number doesn't matter how correct that mathematical number is. You still have to manage it as a person. I don't want to go put on my tool belt and deal with broken houses.
I want to sit at my computer keyboard and write software code. And someone else who's maybe more handy and more inclined in that direction might find that real estate is just the thing for them and they want to be 80% real estate or something. I have no problem with that. Ultimately it really is just like this.
You can't forget you're dealing with humans and humans have feelings and thoughts and some people say, oh, owning all that real estate. That's maybe that's a low-brow thing I want to do, cryptocurrencies, or I want to do futures trading or all of this is just a bunch of Wall Street racket, and nobody should do any of it.
And I won't want to go do water rights investing because I want to be part of the solution to whatever that is. I want to invest in electric vehicles or whatever, and so I dunno I think that no matter what your risk tolerance is and what your personal beliefs are, you can construct a portfolio.
That's going to give you a really good return. And there are lots of financial engineers like me out there that know how to do this kind of stuff. We have more access to great funds than we've ever had in human history. Publicly traded, privately offered funds, you know, just create different risk-reward profiles, and then you start piecing those together.
And I really focus on is professionalizing the management of that box, like what goes in the box, there's maybe a lot of discretion in that, but then like how much of it and how much risk and how much drawdown, what is the impact of owning that asset versus that asset and creating a risk-reward profile that is appropriate, is manageable, is professionally managed that's where I'm really focusing my energy.
[00:32:47] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's interesting, Josh of how you look at the world and what that means for you based on really leveraging your strengths. And Adam, if we flip that to you, I mean, Josh was putting some really interesting things out there. Let's look at the, I'll call it the art side of a liquidity event, not the science side, Josh, with all your stats and data, you know, that's definitely on the science side there, and there's a lot to be said for that.
So Adam, here's what I'm wondering as you look to your family office and it sounds like you're really putting the framework in and having it on solid bedrock, not sand and just something that really is going to be built to last for future generations. Let's wave your magic wand and Adam, what does that look like?
So if everything's working in the family office and it's going, as it should, all the best practices are being followed. Everyone is towing the party line on that side of things. What does that really mean for you big picture-wise from the human element, from the daily life element of you and the family office, and really the entire family? What does that mean to everybody?
[00:33:49] Adam Blakney: Look, I think that I'm quite envious of Josh because I feel like he's been able to take his skillset from his past and he's been able to take it into investing. I was trying to take notes, what he is doing, I would love to be able to have that view.
One of my things is I can't. And so for part of it is building a team around us as we grow and get more sophisticated because all those things that Josh is saying, I'm going, I need a person for that because I don't have the appetite or the expertise to dive into that.
And so I would much rather go with my skill set, which is networking and bringing people together. And so when I look at the real estate, like Josh was saying, you know, we've set it out there saying we want to invest, 5% of the portfolio in real estate over the next five years.
We need to go find some partners. We don't want to be sole owners of that. And so when I look down the road, I'm hoping that we have, let's say, let's call it my grandkids. I'm hoping that they have an institution that's devoted to their family, whether that's a team of 50, because we're so big and sophisticated or whatever, or maybe it's a super lean team but I want them to be able to have the support to understand, what the resources that they have and what they can do.
I want a support system around them that says that they need to follow their own purpose and passion and how can they use these resources to help get them there? And I'd really like to start building like a serious long-term view, fifty years, a hundred years.
It's not a destination, but really building a journey. And I see it is family and whether that's the direct family or people marrying into families. You said it best at the beginning kind of break the mold and be the family business that I think we can be.
And yeah, so I think part of it is a bit airy-fairy. It's still in that blue skyspace, but you know, I want a support system for my kin and my sister's family and I'm hoping to bring my brother. And really build a support system because I feel like what we have can help anybody in our family, whether it's a scholarship to a college in the future that they want to go to, or whether it's we own a company that somebody can get a job at down the road. Whatever that is I think that we can both grow the wealth as well as create opportunity and happiness for our family.
[00:36:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Hey, Josh, hearing what Adam just said nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Josh, are you going to maybe open up some of your family office services? Maybe you may have a client right on this podcast interview right here he's knocking. But what's interesting with both of you, you're both really doing the same thing just in different ways when you think about it.
So Josh on the quant side and the analysis and just doing a deep dive on the data and figuring all these things out and Josh that's your strength. And Adam, to your point, hey, my strength is really networking and people. I'm putting teams together and you're really looking within, this is what I am. This is what I'm not.
Let's go with what I am and look to leverage off that. And I think that's really such an important lesson for all the listeners out there is don't become somebody that you're not, and don't beat yourself up because you're somebody who you want to be, but you're not. You've done a lot of things right to get to where you are.
And now it's just continuing that in a very different way. As you look to manage that wealth, build out the family office and think about the next generation. So when you think about that, Josh, let's fast forward, and maybe it's now the second or third generation of your family that's out there.
If they were looking back and they could speak to you today, we have some kind of special time portal as a quant Josh, maybe you built something for us that we can have this kind of communication. What would you hope the future generation is telling you as it pertains to the family office?
[00:37:44] Josh Peck: That's a tough question. I don't know exactly what I would want them to think. I know what I'd want them to feel and I'd want them to feel supported and loved. Is it this was built for them to help take care of them. And that across multiple generations we help take care of our family because as someone who didn't grow up with prosperity and actually quite converse, I grew up in poverty.
I really see this new prosperity that you know is so prevalent today as culture as an altruistic good it's a pure good. If it's handled in the right way, there's no reason for people to suffer for lack of money anymore. I mean, The Fed will print another trillion dollars for you. There's just so much money out there.
And learning to manage that, learning to adapt to the times too, because I had a grandfather and he retired from the Air Force and he invest all his money in CDs that paid 8%.
And that was how they invested then. If I tried to do that today, I would get murdered. There's no way that I could do that today. And whatever comes after crypto, when is the next thing, maybe what might my children are investing in. And I would just hope that it was something that just through the years they can grow and it can adapt with them and to your point and can adapt to their skillsets where that they can find a lot of meaning in it.
What are you the best in the world at? For me, it's not team building for Adam it's a little different and I think that Jeff, especially for your listeners, that's such an important message to hear too, is when I first started, trying to figure this thing out, what comes next problem that we all have to work on.
I had a certain mental model for what retirement looked like. I did the whole deal. I moved to Florida. I lay on the beach. I bought golf clubs, but maybe the golf stuck a little bit. I was like, no, I need to be productive. I've been productive in my whole life.
I've been, studying the world's most complicated mathematics and technology that I can get my hands on since I was 12 years old. So you can't just turn that off. You have to go find a way to apply that and apply that productive way.
[00:39:51] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that Josh, supported and loved really that's your thesis. When all is said and done all the numbers, all the facts, all the cool technology, really distills down to future generations through what you're doing today, feeling supported and loved.
So Adam, no pressure on you because of wow. Like Josh that was just one heck of a summation there, but Adam, you borrow Josh's special technology portal and the future generation is now coming back to you, what are they feeling? What are they saying that you would hope they would be.
[00:40:21] Adam Blakney: Great-grandpa, you were so like visionary and I want healthy kids. I want grandkids that are happy and have purpose and can take risks. I think you know, that's what we are forwarding our kin to be able to be the best at something.
I think to have somebody come from nothing and be the best at something is phenomenal, but somebody who actually has a headstart, you can strive for the best. And I think I look back and I just hope that we can tool our families up and not for battle, but for life. I would much rather my kid not work and be mentally healthy because that's the best thing.
We've gone through everything and that's the best thing for her than to feel like she has to make more money than me or that she has to build a company bigger than great grandpa's company. That to me would be a failure of me.
It's funny as this conversation has gone on, I think there are some differences that I think we need to talk about. One is, Josh has the ability to direct his funds wherever he wants. That is something that needs to be stated.
Being the wealth generator gives you the ability to then choose those next steps. And I think because both Josh and I younger, we've got this 2.0, or maybe even 3.0 versus, you know, we're sixties, seventies, and we want to just lay on the beach because that's kind of a priority.
A lot of my challenges dealing with the constraints. It's saying we are way too conservatively invested. And it's dealing with decisions of the past, which were very much about protection and making sure we don't lose it to then now be in a situation going, man, we cannot get our offense up to where it needs to be.
Or I'm looking at a five-year runway to say, gosh, in five years, I'm hoping to be able to get enough out that we can be putting into venture.
I go back to Cornelius Vanderbilt he had a huge shipping empire and he got ended up in America, he sold it all. And then you put it all into the railroad. I think the American dream seems to be, you make your money and you retire.
And I think Josh and I are in this space going, okay, we've got that. What makes us happy? What makes our kids happy? And what's going to drive our own purpose. Josh is great, cause he's like me. I feel like I'm in a weird spot and Josh, too, like we're in this space where we can go do anything we want, but we've got kids. We value our kids. We've got wives and partners. We don't want to you know, get divorced. So it's not like I can go and say, hey, I'm going to go spend three weeks on the French Riviera so I find it's really about these next 10 years.
It's that purpose. It's, what's going to make us happy in our day-to-day lives. That makes our families happy and my wife wants to be with me in 10 years all that stuff. I feel are the things that money can't buy. And I'm happy that Josh is clearly working on it.
But that to me is like, this is stuff that you can't buy. And it only comes from doing the work and taking the time and thinking about it.
[00:43:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: Adam so well said and both of you have really alluded to this, and I want to ask this to both of you. And as you think both to yourself but also to the next generation. And one of the privileges of wealth is that we can direct the funds. So, Adam, you're talking about how Josh and you can choose where you want direct the funds, but there's also the opportunity and it's not for everyone and it's not mandatory, but there is an opportunity to recognize, you know, what, you know, lifetime, we can't spend all the capital that we have.
Why don't we allocate a portion of this? We can set up a foundation for philanthropy. We can select a charity. We can pick a social cause we can really make an impact. And we like to say at Deep Wealth together we can change the social fabric of society, one liquidity event at a time by enabling people to accumulate more wealth that they can choose to then put towards some kind of cause or foundation or charity.
How do each of you look at philanthropy? Is that part of your formula? And if it is, how are you building that into the next generation?
[00:44:18] Josh Peck: I guess I can go on this one. Cause I'm probably the most curmudgeonly about philanthropy because I grew up in as one of the people that people are often trying to help and I saw how little good that the money did. And so for me, it's always about impact. What can I actually solve a problem or am I enabling someone to continue on with a set of life beliefs or a set of behaviors that are going to put them in the same situation this time, next year, next month, next week?
So I'm a little bit picky about what I'm willing to support from a philanthropic standpoint. We're big fans of supporting the arts because we think that art stimulates the imagination and with imagination, you can do anything, because frequently what I see in the world is not a lack of opportunity. It's a lack of imagination for people. They don't imagine that they could ever transform their lives in a way that they, that, you know when you get down to it, it's not really that hard. You work pretty hard to stay off drugs and get an education you're going to be okay.
So we do a lot of work around the arts and then a lot for children that are no fault of their own didn't put themselves in that situation. And things like that. So that's where our focus is. That's where I think that we can have an impact where that money actually makes the Impact.
Because there's a difference between wanting to have an impact on someone's life, maybe person to person that's much easier. I think that there's a mindset that we often get into, which is It's almost like a guilt thing. I think in our culture right now it's like, well, I've made, some money, and a lot of people are suffering.
I need to write a big check and then it's almost like the old Catholic church you could buy your forgiveness if you do that. I don't really fall in that bucket if I'm going to deploy capital because I understand the power of compound interest better than probably most people do.
And I know how much money that could be in the future for that could either be used for giving or for my family. And so I'm just always mindful of impact. Am I doing something and am I not hurting anyone? Am I enabling? Or am I helping? Is the mindset that I stay on.
[00:46:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: Josh, I love that. And philanthropy really can take all different kinds of forms. And for you, philanthropy is impact or solving problems or making a difference or just enriching and that's absolutely wonderful. And thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. And so open with us on that. Adam, what about you?
How does this whole charitable or philanthropy or impact investing? What does that sit with you and the family office?
[00:46:50] Adam Blakney: We have a private foundation and it's been about 15 years. It was established. I would say it's been the backbone of our family unit. It's enabled us to have my sister and I involved with our family even before we were involved in the financial aspects of things.
And it was really led by my mother. When my mother had kind of her exit and so she started the foundation for my grandfather in his name. We saw her growing up giving to the schools that we were a part of to institutions. And so the last 10 years, my mother has been a phenomenal benefactor, and to Josh's point, and she's really taught my sister and I, it's about imagination and stimulating people. And we created the foundation which requires us to run it. And my sister, my mother, and we have another director, but we have to run it and we were in charge of giving and that has actually been way better at connecting our family. And it started with my mother creating a mission statement that was very specific to her, what she liked and what she was interested in. In the last few years, we work towards that vision and now we've changed it.
And so we've incorporated my sister and I in that, and it's really been able to get my sister more involved. We're just understanding more about what she cares about. We really like using the foundation because I'll give you an example. She and I both went to a Jewish summer camp that we both feel very passionate about.
They were having some challenges during COVID. She and I gave directly unrestricted. We said, hey, here's some money unrestricted, do whatever you need. But if you have any programs that you want to build in these key areas, we'd love to talk to you about, getting a grant from our foundation.
And that year they ended up getting about $40,000 from our family, 10 unrestricted, but 30 that were very specific to a program that we helped them build. And we make them report just like a startup would report to us. And so I think that's actually where we've gotten the glue.
It's helped a lot of our other conversations because we can really be passionate and inclusive in the foundation. So it's a big part of us.
[00:48:55] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, you know, two very different approaches, but both approaches that no matter how different they are, are really making a difference. And that's really what it's all about. So as we begin to wrap up this episode earlier in the episode, we went into the future and we're going to wrap this episode up by going into the past.
And this is one question we ask every single guest. So, Josh and Adam, I want you to remember the movie Back to the Future. And in the movie, you have this incredible DeLorean car that can really go back to any point in time.
So I want you to imagine now is tomorrow morning, you look out your window. And low and behold, the DeLorean car it's sitting there, the door is open and it's welcoming you to jump into the car you go in and you can now go back to any point in your life. Maybe you're a young child or perhaps a teenager, adult, whatever it would be.
What would you be telling your younger self in terms of, hey, do this, or don't do that? Or life lessons or wisdom? What would that be for you?
[00:49:52] Adam Blakney: Some of those things I look back that I wasn't enjoying at the time. I probably should have enjoyed. So I think enjoying that journey a bit more you know, I think when you look into the future and wait up there like, you know, we kind of knew that I knew that this eventually would happen.
I think I was scared of it. And I think I look back going, I really should have relished the time in my life where I can focus on those things, that the core things that I wanted to be able to grow it into the future. Enjoy that journey a bit better.
[00:50:21] Jeffrey Feldberg: Great message, Adam. Thank you so much. And really the journey is really where things are at not necessarily the destination. Josh, how about yourself? Where are you on that question?
[00:50:30] Josh Peck: Yeah, I'm not quite sure. I jokingly say I would tell my younger self to go buy more Tesla stock,
[00:50:36] Adam Blakney: Yeah, right.
[00:50:38] Jeffrey Feldberg: Spoken like the true Quant. I love it.
[00:50:43] Josh Peck: I think that there was like a really common error that probably is because I did so much schooling and stuff. And even in the education system, we have a lot of trouble with it. Where that we think that the theoretical and the actual are much closer than they are.
And I think that when you get into life, you have to start looking at what's real, don't take the high-minded ideals from maybe that mathematical theory you know, a lot of times those are they're good as an illustration tool, but they're not as good for making money or for your life. And I think it's pervasive. Whether that's set in a religious context, a political context, or, you know, you trust your eyes and ears, what you see here and feel because the world has changed probably since those ideas were put out there.
And you're going to have to live in the world as it is today. Not in the world that maybe we wish we had.
[00:51:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. That's terrific, Josh, some wonderful insights. And I suppose another way of saying that is, you know, sometimes we can just get in our head with all these theories. And just take it in such a different direction, but in reality, it's so far different than maybe just being in the moment and making the most of it and blending what both of you have said, enjoy the journey, be in the moment, be present because that's really all that we have, even if we wanted to do more than that, we can't, all we have is the present moment.
So Josh and Adam, as we begin to wrap up this episode, I will put this in the show notes. If our listeners want to reach out and get in touch with you, perhaps they have some comments or questions, Adam, why don't we start with you? What would be the best way for someone to reach you?
[00:52:13] Adam Blakney: Oh, LinkedIn's probably the best way. Just send me a connect message and happy to chat.
[00:52:19] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And again, we'll put that in the show notes, so there'll be a point and click to make it all too easy for you to do that. And Josh, what about you? What would be the best way?
[00:52:26] Josh Peck: I think that's the best way for me too.
[00:52:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. So we'll have both your LinkedIn profiles and so gentlemen, as we begin to wrap up this episode, a heartfelt thank you for taking part of your day and sharing that with us and really opening up and sharing your personal experiences, your wisdom, and your insight. Really appreciate that. So as we say so long, please, as always stay healthy and safe.
[00:52:47] Adam Blakney: Thank you so much for the opportunity. It was great chatting with both of you.
[00:52:50] Josh Peck: Thank you, Jeffrey. Very nice to chat.
[00:52:52] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.
Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.
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Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?
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