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one of the great things about kuwait is that once you get over the initial hurdles of setting up your business and financing it, the sky really is the limit. the lack of personal and corporate taxes, the relatively easy to get financing, a very strong and stable currency, and a relatively free market all combine to make amassing a “comfortable” level of wealthy quite likely.

for the purposes of this post i’ll ignore the “hurdles” that can at times rival the great wall of china. the thing is even the great wall of china was penetrated with nothing more than a smile.

whether you decide to sell cars, condoms or sandwiches,….. the sky really is the limit.

and that indeed is why many of our parents first came here almost 30 years ago.

thats also why alot of us wound up growing up in a country that 90% of the world has never heard of.

many of our parents came here in their 30’s and 40’s, and inspite of the odds, 30 years later, i think alot of us 3rd culture kids can comfortably say that they did a bloody good job of giving us a better life than they had.

but 30 years later,….

theyre hitting their 60’s and thoughts of retirement loom.

us “kids” on the other hand are in the prime of our lives.

now the rest of this post applies to both expats and locals as this is a “business” type post and not really an “expat” post.

now,…

we may or may not have joined the family firm.

we may or may not even enjoy what it is the family business is.

regardless of what your situation is, you know the day will come when the take over will occur.

so you have a choice to make on that fateful day:

1- do you take over, as your daddy wished, even tho you might not like the job, and give up your life?

or

2- do you sell the firm, take the cash, and move on with a twinge of guilt for ending something that took so long to build?

its a bitch of a situation to be in. and its the one thing that your envious and less fortunate friends will never understand. its something government workers, academics, some doctors and lawyers and bankers simply wont get so its pointless asking your colleagues for advice.

the only person who might be able to help is someone who has gone thru the same situation. in this case, experience over rides any Harvard MBA/PhD/blahblahfancylettersafteryourname.

now i cant tell you what to do cos my situation will differ from yours.

but i can tell you what i did.

like alot of other businesses our business involved customers of some sort.

customers / clients always involve alot of ass kissing if you are to get a job / project / deal.

i kissed alot of ass which is how i know that i dont really like the taste of sphincter.

but i did manage to land a couple of deals for the firm.

perhaps i enjoyed the experience, but i never really enjoyed the actual work cos, ultimately, i preside over the kingdom of lazy asses. i am their king and i lead by example πŸ˜›

at one point it felt like i had given up and settled for option 1 as mentioned above.

then there were shitty days when option 2 sounded better and better. add in “retire on desert island with local topless native girls in grass skirts” and yeah option two does indeed sound good πŸ˜›

but being the pain in the ass that i normally am,…. i demanded and hunted for a 3rd option.

now it just so happened that while i was busy kissing ass and running pointless errands, we had decided to invest a little of our extra cashflow into the market instead of paying it out as a dividend to the shareholders.

nothing fancy, just a few shares of the premier bank in this country.

and while i was kissing ass, it turned out that the return on our little investment far out weighed the return on my puckering up.

and thats when a light bulb went off our heads!

but being the first prince regent of lard asses, i really didnt fancy a life of hand signals and SELL SELL BUY BUY!!! it all just seemed much too stressful, and besides we could loose everything!

after doing a little research option 3 came into being.

ever heard of warren buffett? ever heard of berkshire hathaway?

no neither had i at the time.

in a nutshell, buffett bought a failing textile company called berkshire hathaway in what to this day he calls his greatest mistake. infact he chooses not to change the name to remind him of just that.

when he realised his royal blunder, he started to get rid of everything he could in the firm until it was a textile company in license only. and then he started using the proceeds of the sale to invest in companies involved in businesses that he understood.

nothing more nothing less.

today, after more than 40 years in the game, he is number 3 on the forbes rich dudes list. only just behind the mexican telecoms guy and the devil incarnate bill gates. to this day buffett remains the only one on the whole list that got there thru investing.

so thats what i did. read a couple of $20 books about him and got down to business.

and over the period of 3 years i turned a pretty decent contracting company into a pretty decent assett management company, without, i might add, raising funds from the public as many crooks do.

one of the great dividends of this move was that the old man was pretty much born again. its a new trick that any old dog can learn. and its not really “work”.

the greatest fear alot of people have is about not having anything to do when they retire. when you stop working your mind, you start to die. the market has given the old mans brain something to get excited about again, but in a more relaxed way where you work when you want to.

even the mother is getting into it!

but the greatest dividend of all,….

i kicked options 1 and 2 in the ass and found option 3.

with option 3 i can operate from anywhere in the world, without the “hurdles” here holding me back. which is why its time for me to leave kuwait behind.

alot like MTC is now leaving πŸ˜›

and it doesnt take much money either incase you were wondering. most companies here have a basic capital of KD25,000-100,000 capital. if your family firm has been a round for a while, chances are you’ll have a atleast 20,000 in spare cash that you can start with.

if you dont have that then you got bigger problems to deal with.

with option 3 one day i will be able to work in my 3 day old boxers and bankers will still have to take my calls while i pick my nose πŸ˜›

life is sweet and full of adventure because i refused to be restrained by what seemed to be the only 2 choices i had. just remember, you always have a 3rd option, you just have to work a lil harder to figure out what it is.

it aint easy, and not everyone can do it. but it aint rocket science either!

and if this dumbass author can do it then i’m pretty sure you can too. ( cos if you read this blog then you’ve obviously got brains and taste πŸ˜› hehehe )

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27 Comments

  1. Would you be my financial planner?! My current planner (yours truly) sucks big time πŸ˜›

  2. hmmmm! heehee I didnt read it all yet! I miss the “Universal Truth” posts

  3. lol kinano, i’ll be more than happy to. free of charge of course cos financial advice should always be free! just fire away if you have any questions.

    ansam: read it all! πŸ˜›

    i’ll be getting back to those soonish πŸ˜›

  4. firstly, thanks for the compliment, dear author! πŸ™‚
    secondly, fanatastic post! i realy makes one think… (me in any case) this is so true in all aspects of life, you never look at the other options, just go the easy and well known way, without exploring the other options available.
    good luck skum, kick ass!

  5. lol, just kidding, i meant skunk! πŸ™‚

  6. hahaha now theres a new typo of my name!

    its better than “skank” tho which i’m more used to πŸ˜›

    agreed bbq8, the road less travelled and all that often makes for a more adventurous journey.

  7. HA! πŸ™‚
    it’s so funny, i was gonna use those exact words about the road less travelled, when thinking what to write, but didn’t…

  8. still.. I didnt read it all!!!!

  9. “i kissed alot of ass which is how i know that i dont really like the taste of sphincter.” LOL – you’re insane πŸ˜›

    interesting info – i finally understand why people are into buffet – i heard his name before but didnt care to look him up because i suck at maths and hence money issues etc etc … i want to be on the forbes list!

    oh and ps. three day old boxers? totally gross!! lol πŸ˜›

  10. ansam: grrrrrrr! but still thanks for always dropping by πŸ˜› even if you dont read it πŸ˜›

    cp: heres a lil secret,… i suck at math and money too which is why i put it on the market where i’m less tempted to touch it πŸ˜›

    and i think 3 days is the max i’ve gone,… i couldnt stand any longer πŸ˜›

  11. i dropped by again πŸ˜€

  12. This is awesome, I must have read it about 3 times (once for Ansam). Anyway, good luck with it all mate. Keep us posted.

  13. lol ansam, ok youre off the hook this time since june read it for you once πŸ˜›

    cheers june, i hope londons been treating you well πŸ˜›

  14. june… Thanks a whole bunch πŸ˜‰

    sknkwrks yeah I have wasta.. cronyism.. whatever u call it heehee! Speaking of which, wasta is killing me here at work! I am SO ANGRY at someone arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

  15. London’s good, exams aren’t. You coming here then?

  16. ansam: lol, dont get mad, get even is what i always say πŸ˜›

    june: well good luck on the exams, and no i dont think i’ll be in london anytime soon πŸ˜›

  17. My new favorite quote from Heroes:

    “You saved the Cheerleader, Now we’re going to save the world”

  18. :O crap has it started again already?

    gotta go download πŸ˜›

  19. “i demanded and hunted for a 3rd option.”

    Wooooo Hoooooooo, SKUNK!!!!! And now yo’ Mamma is also investing? Woooo Hooooo! What a great family partnership you all must make. And your parents trust your abilities enough to go this third way? Woooo Hooooo on all of you!

  20. well shes getting into it πŸ˜›

    shes slowly going thru the books that me and my dad have already gone thru. its great getting her odd take on things as it makes us think differently about our decisions.

    we kind of do this all together. as one unit cos without family you have nothing really.

    and the strength in a singular family unit can move mountains,…. which is probably why the mafia and triads are all “family” πŸ˜› hehehe

  21. Nice post (except for the few gross details) πŸ˜€

    It’s nice that you could do something like that for your parents and enjoy it as well.

    As for your idea about a company having taken ages to build and what have you…I heard a lecturer recently talk about the lack of the company being an abstract concept in the region and how this is adverse. In other words, the company is not your child it is simply a vehicle for you to make money so if ownership doesn’t generate the right returns just sell it instead of seeing it like a baby that you have to put up with no matter what. Know what I mean?

    I especially like that you got the funds from the company’s extra cash rather than raising it from the public. My hat goes off to you πŸ˜€

  22. cheers 1001,

    that lecturer is right.

    i cant count how many “businessmen” i’ve met that arent in business to build something. instead all theyre interested in is using the business as their personal ATM machine for vacations or school fees.

    those are the ones that always say business is hard and blame everyone else for their faliures.

  23. Thank you! I always thought that “experience” indeed tops it all.

    Not a piece of paper, which you end up forgetting how you got in the first place…

    taste of sphincter…. EWWWW jad!

    applause loved your post really great.
    if you look harder you might even find option 4 and 5 even.

    Goodluck ;D

  24. thanks for the kind words blue dress.

    definately, option 4 or 5 or 6 etc can all come about if you just keep your mind open.

  25. DONE READING! Finally heehee yaaaaay I get brains and taste! Whats up with the 3 days old boxers eeeeek!

  26. The last two posts were a bit too long so I stopped half way… excuse my ignorance.
    As for the question, I would say sell the business for cash and gamble/invest
    Didn’t read the whole thing but thats where I got srry πŸ™‚
    Am glad that you posted that previous post about this music experience… I was ctualy thinking about it… when your music starts selling, do you play for yourself or teh audience? Can your music be pure? or will it get tainted by stupid execs based on marketing stats?
    Looking forward to hearing more on the story

  27. lol ansam, about damn time!

    hi kaos and weclome back to the blogging world.

    interesting question there.

    i guess when you start to sell, and i wouldnt know much about that :P,.. yet,… youre bound to get influenced by your audience and the people around you.

    its inevitable.

    so the only real course of action is to get yourself properly set up financially to begin with so your music is made for you. you dont compromise but at the same time you might not sell much but who the fuck cares about sales?

    i read somewhere that every super great band had atleast one dude who was independantly comfortable in some way,.. otherwise they would have all have succumbed to the rent.

    anyway in this day and age, waiting to get signed is ancient history. and it’ll never happen here in kuwait, unless you got big boobs and want to sell pepsi on tv.

    its all DIY these days, and internet sales.

    i’ve heard that alot of people are giving their music away free but charging for live shows, which is great cos it brings the performance aspect back into the music where its been absent for so long.

    its something to think about, and i’m thinking of doing the same thing,.. when i eventualy get my shit together πŸ˜›


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