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Ten Year Reunion Message

Looking back at the last ten years, I want to start by talking about what is most important to me: my wife. She is truly my life partner, lover, mentor, work-out partner, and best friend. I love the way she challenges me, improves me, and appreciates everything I do for her and the way I make her feel. Even after all these years of marriage, the electric feeling I get after staring into her eyes is still there. For us, marriage is a constant process of discovery, and our love and commitment to each other grow each day.

We have two young children. I’ve realized by now that neither of them will live up to my dream for them of being Navy fighter pilots — they love the piano and drawing so much I’ve often wondered if they were switched at birth. We’re raising them to be happy, self-aware individuals and watching them grow is our greatest joy in life (outside of our marriage relationship).

I leave work by 5 pm, and it’s an easy commute as we live a few blocks from the office. On weeknights, my wife and I switch off between cooking dinner and cleaning and we always sit down together as a family. The kids are still young so we put them to bed at about 8:30, and then my wife and I have quality time alone until we go to bed. We don’t own a television, and I think it strengthens both the marriage and our relationship with the kids. On either Friday or Saturday night we make sure to have a date night out with just the two of us.

One reason I can have such flexibility in my family life is that I started my own investment partnership. I wanted the challenge, opportunity, and intellectual stimulation of investing on my own, as well as the opportunity to find value across a variety of industries. It’s amazing how much money people will invest with you when they’re convinced of your honesty, integrity, long term focus, and concern for them.

I spend about ¬ to « of my workday reading, thinking, and researching, and the rest talking with the others in the office, listening to investment ideas, and chatting with company management or similar minded investors.

I’ve hired a total of ten investment professionals over the last six years that I take on for two year stints at a time. I don’t want anyone to permanently work for me, but I like the opportunity to shape more investors who invest with an “equity as ownership” mentality, and my hope that they then go off to start their own firms. Mentoring them and watching them grow is another tremendous source of personal satisfaction. The memories of the social times we’ve had together, especially the events we host with their families, are some of my most cherished. I often wonder if I’m living up to the example set by some of my mentors.

We have a long term investing focus, expecting to hold our positions for at least five to ten years, if not indefinitely, and we base our decisions off cash flows rather than stock price movements. This gives us the freedom to think and plan for the long term, without worrying about the short term irrationality of the market.

I hate the term work-life balance, because it assumes that there are always tradeoffs. I look at them as adding to each other synergistically. The balance, esteem, and love I feel at home translate into how I deal with issues at work. And when I get home, the mental sharpness (especially in the “discussion” with my daughter over her bedtime), and positive energy I bring home uplift my family.

Outside of work I still fly, work out, and I’m active in a Toastmaster’s club. And I’ve recently branched out to serve on two non-profit boards, Planned Parenthood and Africare.

My burning interest in politics and the political process still remains. For now, I’ve limited myself to fundraising and I’m already one of the top fundraisers for one of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. I’ve ruled out running for office myself since it would take too much time away from my family and the firm.

Overall, I still struggle with finding the same sense of purpose in my work that I felt in the military. But one great thing about becoming financially successful will be giving all of it away to causes I believe in. And through my dedication to my wife and children, the influence I have on those who I work with and for, and by promoting the political causes and candidates that I believe are right for this country, I feel my life makes a difference. And just as important, I thoroughly enjoy it.

February 17, 2009
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