Blog: James Studinger

James Studinger is the owner of the JPStudinger Group, a wealth-management company. James was an instrumental advisor on Michigan's new 529 College Savings Plan and is the author of Wealth Is a Choice. James will be writing about building wealth through and outside business in Michigan's tough economy.

James Studinger - Post 3: BASO

Buy Appreciating Assets Often (BASO). If it were that easy then why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, I think now many people are doing it (401k’s and other retirement plans), some more sufficiently than others. It is apparent that many of us are adopting the shift in thinking, and many are treading waters they didn’t think they would.  

Reinventing Job Security In Michigan 

Here’s a great example. I was recently having breakfast at the Parade Company in celebration of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Parade. I met a man who works for one of the Big Three. He told me that after 30 years, he’s changing the way he views earning a living. And he doesn’t think his sons will feed their families the same way he provided for them. In fact, he’s put much of his own financial security on the line to help them start a business. I asked him if they appreciated it. He said that he thought they did, especially the oldest one, "He gets it." He told them they’re going to have to work hard and maybe put in eleven or twelve hour days. But if they can make it through this tough economy and even just survive, then when things eventually recover they should be doing ok.  

He’s also looking at his own retirement differently with the state of GM, Chrysler and Ford. He won’t be sitting idle if he does take a buyout. Even now he’s looking into self-employment brokering machinery on-line. He is familiar with the equipment, and knows how to find the product at a fair price, and has found others willing to buy it, for a profit.  

He and his family are embracing the shift in what it means to have financial security. They realize that it may take having more than one income source, being actively engaged in outside business, or by having assets that produce income or growth. He admits that there’s a challenging learning curve. He’s made plenty of mistakes over his life, but now he feels he’s experienced enough to do well. “It’s the least I can do to help my boys, and share my experiences in hopes they make better decisions than I did.”  

Recently, two close associates of mine, Curt and Vicki, re-invented themselves and transitioned out of the mortgage business.  All it took was a moment of inspiration and the couple had invented the concept for an innovative product to service the growing pet industry. A year later, the two have developed product prototypes with established, reputable manufacturing partners and have raised capital to support their efforts. They are on the verge of bringing this new product to market. 

The other day Curt said, "I never expected to transition out of a successful career and into an entirely different industry.  Now, I am manufacturing a consumer product and loving every minute of it." Curt’s always dreamed of new inventions, but actually bringing something to market is a whole new exciting challenge.     

For some, we’ll be building businesses as a side job, something to supplement our income. Maybe it will be the money that puts our kids through college, or invested in retirement accounts that eventually complete our retirement needs. For others, new businesses may totally redefine wealth, and take them to new levels they never thought possible. No matter the immediate results of any pursuit, the experiences are invaluable and "what works" can be duplicated, even in this Michigan economy. 

This is a prime example of what BASO means. This gentleman is becoming part of the solution. He is showing us how we can create wealth not just with our money, but also with our time, our ideas and our energy. To learn how to have security by having options, and not just relying on our employer or government in hopes that the $1,500 a month projected retirement income stays true.  

Stay tuned for tomorrow as I’ll talk about how to create wealth inside and outside of your business.