It is hot here in France. After weeks of cool weather, we are finally getting something that feels like summer. The mornings are still fresh and beautiful. We sit outside to drink our coffee and eat our croissants. But in the afternoon, we barricade ourselves behind closed shutters…waiting for the heat to pass.
Our son Will and an associate from Buenos Aires are here working on a new project. They were asked to take charge of the family office. What’s a family office? Ah…glad you asked. A family office is a way for a family to deal with its money in an organized, disciplined fashion. The idea is to treat the family itself as though it were a business…and to maximize its return on capital and labor invested.
Your editor follows the markets every day. But he does not necessarily invest, manage his money, minimize his taxes, or control his expenses any better than anyone else. And yet, he has available to him one of the finest groups of analysts and advisors in the world. The Family Office – run by Will – is a way for us to put 2 and 2 together…to use the resources we already have at our fingertips. We aim to manage our family money in a more professional way…to reduce the effect of taxes (especially estate and gift taxes…from one generation to the next)…and to manage our resources better.
As Yu Faz put it: “Making money is hard. Losing it is easy.”
We’ll let you know how the family office works out.
Last night, friends came down from Tour. We sat outside on the terrace for dinner. Then, we made a campfire beside the pond…next to where we had parked the gypsy wagon. The wagon was a project from 2 years ago. Your editor put his children to work turning an old hay wagon into a “roulotte” – a gypsy wagon. And so, like a group of gypsies, we got out our guitars and sang songs around the campfire.
The trouble was, none of us knew the same song. Jules is a good guitarist, singer and composer. But his music is more contemporary than ours. He knows songs and composers from the ’90s and ’00s. Your editor’s taste in music stopped evolving during the Carter Administration. We know the old Hank Williams, Percy Sledge and Johnny Cash tunes. But we’d never heard of Limp Bizkit.
Our two guests, meanwhile, came from a different tradition all together. One, a beautiful Argentine woman, sings songs derived from the pampas and the barrios of Buenos Aires. Enchanting, light, melodic…but we have not idea how to play them on the guitar. Her companion was an Italian fellow – Lino – who played the guitar like Django Rhinehardt.
Like Rhinehardt, Lino is missing a finger on his left hand. We wondered how he was able to hold down the strings. But his three fingers worked the frets so well…he serenaded us until three in the morning. By the end of the show we felt like cutting off one of our own fingers.
for The Daily Reckoning Australia