Share this post

🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Learn from both success and failure, rely on community for continuous learning, prioritize wealth preservation, and adopt new practices such as meditation to stay ahead in business.
  2. While success is not solely determined by formal education, it can offer valuable opportunities and skills for personal and professional growth. Education can spark lifelong interests and open doors to new possibilities.
  3. While a college education provides invaluable knowledge of legal, government, and financial systems, success in business can also come from leveraging job experience, personal interests, and critical thinking skills. Michael Sonnenfeldt's real estate deal demonstrates the power of diverse expertise in business success.
  4. Through daily meditation and analysis, we can access parts of our brain and observe our emotions, leading to personal evolution. This helps us develop an observing mind and moderate counterproductive behavior caused by emotions.
  5. Childhood experiences shape behavior and learning from failure is crucial for personal growth in entrepreneurship. Identify strengths and weaknesses, and hire those who have experienced failure to compensate for weaknesses.
  6. Diversify investments to avoid losing everything in unexpected circumstances. Leverage failures by recognizing positive aspects and starting anew. Instill in family and employees the value of hard work and determination, and never take privilege for granted.
  7. Failure and setbacks are opportunities for growth and success. Embrace them, work harder and smarter, and take responsibility for your own shortcomings. Learn from others' experiences, avoid debt and leverage, and marry philanthropy and business for a better world.
  8. Avoid debt to reduce psychological stress and prioritize diversification to secure investments. Being a great entrepreneur does not guarantee success in investing, and diversifying capital after selling a business is crucial for long-term wealth management.
  9. Selling a business can leave entrepreneurs feeling lost in the investing world. Tiger 21 provides a unique education that focuses on personal and deal sides, helping entrepreneurs tap into their natural advantages and become better investors.
  10. Portfolio defense and peer-to-peer learning help identify financial blind spots. Wealth creation is possible at an early age in a frictionless economy, and entrepreneurs in nonprofit and for-profit sectors share similar characteristics. Rewire replaces retirement for the wealthy who prioritize creativity over money.
  11. Despite anticipating a recession, wealthy investors are increasingly putting their money into private equity, while real estate investments decrease. Climate investing presents a growing opportunity for investment.
  12. Despite political instability and inflation, solving the climate change issue is feasible, with known solutions such as implementing a carbon tax. Entrepreneurial potential can still thrive while addressing basic needs.
  13. It is crucial to not only recognize the science and technology surrounding climate change but also to prioritize political will in implementing solutions. Consider the long-term impact when making decisions concerning both environmental and personal financial practices.
  14. When selling your business, be mindful of sticker shock as passive earnings are typically less than what you were earning before. Understanding sales and psychology during a sale is crucial to maintaining your lifestyle. Aim to live on 2% of the sale to be financially prudent.

📝 Podcast Summary

Michael Sonnenfeldt: Real Estate Entrepreneur and Founder of Tiger 21

Michael Sonnenfeldt is a successful real estate entrepreneur, founder/chairman of Tiger 21 and author of the book Think Bigger: And 39 Other Winning Strategies from Successful Entrepreneurs. Tiger 21 is a private club of billionaires and first generation wealth creators who rely on each other for continuous learning as it pertains to the economy and wealth preservation. Michael's life experiences like the success and failures insight to found Tiger 21, understanding economy & preserving wealth. Michael's personal views include recession risks, education, meditation, and more.

The Value of Formal Education for Success

Success doesn't exclusively depend on formal education. Many intelligent individuals succeed without it. However, formal education does have value and shouldn't be discredited. Michael Sonnenfeldt's father overcame various challenges and was able to secure a job in a radio factory due to his engineering abilities. He later became chief interpreter of the American prosecution in the Nuremberg Trials. Although he never finished high school, he attended college and became an engineer at RCA, where he invented the final 17 patents that led to color TV. Michael Sonnenfeldt dropped out of multiple schools before eventually graduating from MIT. A course in law sparked a lifelong interest, demonstrating the value of education.

The Value of a College Education in Business

A good education gives an all-round knowledge and understanding of legal framework, government systems, and financial institutions. Such knowledge can be acquired outside college, but a college education gives you an advantage in negotiations and pays dividends for life. Michael Sonnenfeldt is an example of someone who dropped out of college but leveraged his job experience, personal interest, and critical thinking to create a successful 25 million real estate deal. The deal involved repurposing a building that had become a white elephant and moving the computer centers of the big firms from distant suburbs to a location ideal for their needs. The deal's success was due to Michael's expertise in real estate, engineering, and finance.

The Power of Meditation and Analysis for Personal Growth

Michael Sonnenfeldt believes that meditation and analysis are key to accessing parts of the brain and mind that are difficult to access otherwise. By meditating for 45 minutes every day, he has been able to calm his mind and observe his emotions, leading to personal evolution. He has also found analysis to be a useful tool in exploring the unconscious mind. He believes that our brains are not naturally equipped to deal with slow-moving disasters such as climate change because they have evolved to react quickly to immediate threats like tigers. By practicing meditation and analysis, we can develop an observing mind and moderate counterproductive behavior caused by emotions such as insecurity, anger, and jealousy.

Understanding Childhood Experiences and Learning from Failure as an Entrepreneur

Our childhood experiences shape our current behavior, and understanding this can help us take control of it. Tiger 21 is a group of successful entrepreneurs who meet to learn about investing and the challenges that come with wealth preservation after selling a business. As entrepreneurs, it is important to experience failure to learn and grow. Michael Sonnenfeldt shares his journey of being a successful entrepreneur at a young age and then facing setbacks in his next venture. He emphasizes the importance of learning from failure and using it to identify strengths and weaknesses, and hiring people who have experienced failure. This can help individuals identify their limits, master their strengths, and compensate for weaknesses.

The Importance of Diversification and Leveraging Failures for Success.

Diversification is an important strategy to avoid losing everything in case of a series of improbable events, as realized by Michael Sonnenfeldt. Recognizing his natural instinct for real estate, he started a company to acquire distressed portfolios and built it up to about a billion dollars in assets. Selling half of the business to an institutional partner gave him a second opportunity to start all over again, and he sold it to start Tiger 21. Learning from failures and leveraging its positive aspects is also important, as he instilled in his family and employees. Privilege should not be taken for granted, and the value of hard work and determination must be taught.

Embracing Failure and Growth for Success

Parents should let their kids fail and understand that their failure is a reflection of their own shortcomings. Instead of blaming others, they should work harder, be smarter, and correct their mistakes. Failure and setbacks are necessary for growth and success. Michael Sonnenfeldt's experience of not making it to the team and later getting diagnosed with cancer taught him to step back, reflect, and marry philanthropy and business in a different way. He coined the phrase 'all climate, all the time', and installed solar lights in Haiti during the earthquake. Learning from others' experiences can help us avoid making our own mistakes. It is important to be cautious with debt and leverage in personal finances and investing.

Debt, Diversification, and Investment Strategy: Insights from Tiger Investment Group

The members of Tiger investment group prefer to avoid debt as it could lead to problems and be corrosive. Though financially advantageous, debt brings about psychological stress. The luxury of wealth is not having to worry about debt's effects. Diversification is crucial for investing with portfolio defense being a key strategy to ensure investment is secure. It's a misconception that being a great entrepreneur translates to being a great investor. Members of Tiger investment group made their wealth from one business and not all of them are Warren Buffet. When selling a business, it's crucial to diversify and not have all capital tied up in one investment.

The Challenges Entrepreneurs Face in Investing After Selling Their Business

Entrepreneurs who sell their businesses lose the platform and built-in earning capacity of the business and become mediocre investors as they lack natural advantages like over-concentration and risk understanding. Investing is like watching paint dry for entrepreneurs who are action junkies and move too quickly. Tiger 21 helps these successful entrepreneurs become better investors by focusing on personal and deal sides. Vistage and YPO are CEO groups that focus on running businesses, but Tiger 21 is a graduate school for entrepreneurs who sell their businesses and graduate from these groups. Natural sweet spot or innate advantage makes entrepreneurs successful in their business, but they become cannon fodder and don't stand a chance against the world's best investors without a platform.

The Power of Peer-to-Peer Learning and Frictionless Economy

Peer-to-peer learning can be transformative and help identify blind spots. Portfolio defense, where members share their financial statements and analysis, helps to identify deficiencies and prepares a member for important financial decisions. People always strive for more, irrespective of the amount they have. Retirement is largely replaced by rewire, where wealthy individuals use their energy to create something new. Being part of an act of creativity is more important for many than money. Entrepreneurs in the nonprofit sector exhibit the same characteristics as entrepreneurs in the for-profit sector. The nature of our frictionless economy allows wealth to be created much earlier in life.

Wealthy Community Invests More Despite Expectations of Recession

Despite the majority of members of a wealthy community believing that the US is going into a significant recession in 2023, they have more invested in their portfolios than ever before, with private equity investments seeing a huge shift up to 31% and real estate falling back to 23%. Some attribute this shift to interest rates, but one of the world's biggest real estate owners believes prices are too high and they have to come down. Meanwhile, the single biggest investment theme is climate investing, driven by the need to rewire the utility network for electric vehicles and replace fossil fuels, with climate VC investing offering a lot of opportunities for investment.

The supply chain issues due to the pandemic have resolved themselves, but there are still complicated times ahead due to political instability, inflation, and climate change. However, there is unlimited entrepreneurial potential out there, and people still need basic things regardless of these challenges. The vice chairman of the Climate Pathways Project at MIT states that we know how to solve the problem of climate change and don't need a new technology to do so. Policies like a carbon tax can make a significant difference. Although it depends on political willpower, it's optimistic that we know the science and how to solve the issue.

The Necessity of Political Will in Combating Climate Change and Planning for Retirement

To solve the problem of climate change, we need more than just a carbon price. We also need to shut down coal plants and stop deforestation. Although there is technology like carbon capture that can be used in the future, it is currently expensive. We know what needs to be done, but political will is necessary to accomplish it. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a simple scientific fact, and burning fossil fuels will raise this concentration and make the earth hotter. To preserve wealth after retirement, a 2% withdrawal rate is sufficient, but a higher rate may not be sustainable. It is important to consider the science and long-term impact when making decisions about both climate change and personal finance.

Understanding Sales and Psychology When Selling Your Business

When subject to general market conditions, 2% is a prudent number to live on as it is a number that one can't go wrong with. It is a number that even if one made no money, it would take 50 years to get through it. Understanding the sale, psychology, and shock of selling a business is critical because the passive earnings you can earn on the proceeds of a sale are less than what you were earning when you owned the business, and it is a real sticker shock. Sticker shock can cause a significant decrease in income, making one unable to maintain their previous lifestyle. Therefore, it is crucial to understand sales and psychology while making a sale.