One Definition of a Debt-Free Asset

A few nights ago I was DJing an event in San Francisco for a company I have been working with for a few years now, and met a young adult who was working as a waiter with the catering company so he could pay off his school loans. At every gig, there is some level of small talk with any combination of servers, bartenders, caterers and event coordinators, but as I was talking to this one server, he asked me a question I wasn’t really prepared for: “What do you think about significant relationships?”.

My mind was probably in a million different places at once and I most likely didn’t give that question a proper response. My words came out something like this: “I think significant relationships come in different forms, possibly even from somebody I haven’t even met yet”.

How could a relationship even be a relationship if you haven’t met the person? True. I think what I was trying to say was that I can continually be inspired by someone and never have met them in my life. I value that as a significant relationship. If I can regularly draw inspiration, motivation, and guidance from someone, that could be worth more than what people who I know and have met personally can offer. Significant relationships can come in all shapes and sizes though, and what you are to one person and they are to you can change considerably.

What intrigued me about this young gentleman was how he made the connection with significant relationships and debt-free assets. I like to think about it like this: each time we meet someone we don’t realize that we have the opportunity to not only be an asset to this person, but also that they could in turn be an asset to you.

We live in a world of judgement, fear, and insecurity, and only once get beyond those things will we truly have the opportunity to know someone. My wife is the best at this, and I continue to draw inspiration from her approach. I am positive that what makes her happy (besides me cleaning the house) is that she looks for the best in everyone and focuses on that. I can admit that too often I fail to look at the best in some people, disallowing me to find the good, but every time I meet someone is another chance, and hopefully the more people I meet, the better I will get at focusing on the good.

Without having any liquid assets readily available to invest, I continue to find it hard to build wealth in a diverse way. Going into debt is how a large percentage of this country chooses to invest, while at the same time forking over thousands of dollars in interest to the bank.

Reverend Run says this quote often: “Your network, is your net worth“.

When I was touring with KRS-One, back in the day (in my old guy voice), I watched him record an album in less than a week, then turn around and hand that album over to a person for the title to a brand new Cadillac Escalade, fresh off the lot.

Another time, we were in at a restaurant where the owner was a huge KRS fan, and we all ate for free. Things like this would happen over and over again throughout the five years I spent by his side. If you can live off of your respect, you will be wealthy forever. There are certain people we have made significant relationships with that are considered assets, like in the case of the Cadillac Escalade above. That person is a huge asset to KRS, just like KRS is a huge asset to him.

When that young adult at the event asked me about significant relationships and debt-free assets, it sort of put me in check and made me realize the assets I currently have in my network. It also made me realize that I am an asset to many of these people as well. Through this strategy of kindling and nurturing these relationships, doors begin to open and opportunities to build wealth, both giving and receiving, come into fruition.

In Conclusion

After feeling overwhelmed at the idea of going into debt to create wealth, I forgot to realize how many debt-free assets I currently have. At a time where owing property in the Bay Area means buying a 3/4 million dollar and up home and going into substantial debt, building your network through significant relationships will increase your debt-free assets quickly.