This last week, my son and I sat on a ski lift overlooking one of the world’s nicest cities. We were in Vancouver for the kids’ spring break, and we had stumbled on the greatness of Grouse Mountain. Skiing within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver – on slopes particularly appropriate for younger kids like ours – was awesome. We love dining and staying in Vancouver, but our only experience with B.C. skiing had been distant Whistler. This allowed us to have our cake and eat it too and added one more facet to Vancouver’s greatness.
I always enjoy a nice ski lift chat. You’re stuck on the lift with someone different than you for just a few minutes, and (this is important) you’ll never see them again for the rest of your life. That’s an interesting recipe for a conversation. People are still generally polite because you can’t go anywhere for a bit, but you can skip the mindless banter and talk about interesting, even controversial stuff and then tell them to have a nice life.
There was a friendly Canadian (is that redundant?) with us on the lift. He was a local who lived at the base of Grouse Mountain. I told him how lucky he was to live in Vancouver, and he said something interesting: “People keep telling me that, but I haven’t been to enough other places to compare.”
He asked us where we were from, and on hearing Texas his eyes lit up. “I’ve heard it’s really nice! Is it worth visiting?” (not sure if he was really keen to go, or just being Canadian).
Candor is appreciated on a ski lift chat, so I said, “Eh…it would certainly make you appreciate Vancouver more” (Texas Tourism Board – I’ve got your Canadian campaign ready).
We got to talking about the insane run in Vancouver real estate prices and the foreign buyers who were helping fuel it. In about two minutes, this guy gave me a deeper understanding of the overall issue (crazy real estate prices, young people who can’t buy, pros and cons of foreign investors, conflicted government) than I’d gotten over the last few months of news. He was really thoughtful and honest, and he probably spoke to me more openly than he did to any casual friend.
Since it’s Saturday night I’ll keep the takeaways light, but my trip, and my ski lift chat, had some nice lessons.
Really expensive places to live are often expensive for good reason.
People from really nice places should truly cherish what they have. Paradise would seem pretty mundane if you’ve never been anywhere else.
Living in a low-cost place (e.g., Texas) can make it easier to afford visiting a gem like Vancouver (at least until your wife decides retiring there would be great…)
Unfiltered feedback can be incredibly insightful. Not sure how to get it beyond a ski lift, but that’s a start.
When I got home, I was actually excited to catch up with some of the writers I follow. Not sure if that means I’m getting more serious about blogging or I just need a new pastime. In any event, they didn’t disappoint.
I started, as always, with Nelson of Financial Uproar, because his site is like a box of chocolates, only with the crappy coconut ones already removed. Remember the Millionaire Next Door? Well, Nelson went out and found a real live millionaire who’s a lot more interesting than anything in that book. Combining a service like plumbing (not much global competition there), entrepreneurship, and some financial wisdom seems to have worked out pretty well.
Rob at Mustard Seed Money writes how an artist entrepreneur (who happens to be his sister) made the transition from corporate life to full-time artist. It’s an interesting read, and I really like how she and her husband managed their portfolio of human capital.
Physician on FIRE reminds us to live like a resident even when we become super rich doctors. In the unlikely event you’re not a super rich doctor, the ol’ “live below your means” is still great advice. The magic starts when you break the link between income and spend.
ESI Money walks through some Warren Buffett wisdom on valuing – and increasing – your human capital. He and Warren maintain communication skills can increase your human capital by 50%. I think most folks are holding out for a richer offer.
Andrew Hallam at AssetBuilder keeps telling us to look beyond our shores for investments, even if our shores are awesome and touch not one but two shining seas.
I’ve always believed we’re our own worst enemies. Sam from Financial Samurai seems to agree and has great advice to save you from yourself .
As nice as traveling can be, it’s great to be home. Happy Saturday everyone!