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WealthBuilders for Families: Mark Stokes

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The purpose of wealth talk is to educate, inform, and hopefully entertain you on the subject of building your wealth. Wealth builders recommends you should always take independent financial tax or legal advice before making any decisions around your finances.

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Welcome to Episode 207 of wealth talk. My name is Christian Rodwell, the membership director for wealth builders joined today by our founder Mr. Kevin Whalen. Hello, Kevin. Hi, Chris. How are you today? I'm write a little weary because we had our London meetup event last night. And

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it was You look a bit worse for wear but I'm sure that had nothing to do with the drink. But we did clink a glass or two even when it was nice. It was so great to see people in reality instead of seeing them in boxes onto. And there were a few people I was thrilled to see you I've been meaning to see for a long time. And we got to do more of this north, south east and west, haven't we really? So we're committed to that now only? Yes, indeed. Yeah. Well, we were overcapacity oversubscribed last night. So yeah, absolutely. overbuild looking at the bar bill.

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Yeah, the wine was flowing. And no, it was fantastic. We had some of our wealth coaches there lots of our members, non members as well. So yeah, really great evening. And if you were there, we hope you enjoyed yourselves as well. So today's episode, we were back on the family's conversation, following up from last week, which was shares news. And this week, we've got another close friend of wealth builders, who is Mark Stokes. And I'm sure many of our listeners will be familiar with Mark, he's a, he's a prominent figure in the UK property scene. And you've known Mark for a long time, Kevin, and you both? Well, you know, multiple, four children, you've got three children. So you know, families theme does run strong. Well, absolutely. And, you know, Mark has always got a lot of really excellent things to say and no change here. He makes some great points, points that are really points of principle, I think, not just the practice of what have you done in your family, but principles like humility, for example, which, you know, you'll hear him talk about that and, and also share some of the mistakes he's made. You know, so nobody's claiming to be perfect, you know, working on our mission for wealth builders, for families isn't about perfect parenting. It's about financial preparation isn't it's about getting our young adults to be confident, responsible people to face the challenges of an increasingly complex life that in many cases they'll see 200 and beyond. So you know, we've we've got to pay attention to what the lessons and the distinctions that you get from other people, because as Kiyosaki said himself.

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And nothing you mentioned in the discussion, you know, about the power of books, and I think I've mentioned this several times. Now, Chris, and I'm gonna say it again, because I think it's a powerful one, that the real lesson of Rich Dad, Poor Dad is he had a rich dad, he had a mentor, he had a guide, he had an influencer. And we have to be that influence in our own life, because probably we don't have two dads to influence. You know, we got one dad or one dad and one mom, or whatever combination, we go. And sometimes, as he said, himself, they're not always there. At least, they might be there in body, but they're not there in spirit. And that's what I like about marquee, tells it as it is always tells the truth, never hides anything. And there's some fantastic things but also opens up when they I could have done this better, and then think that's great. Yeah. And mark left his very successful corporate career and achieved financial independence in his mid 40s. And went on to build a portfolio of multi generational assets from property through to business and investments. And, of course, alongside his long term, business partner, Nigel green, they founded equity group, and then equity Academy, which provides high performance training and mentoring supporting those with varying levels of experience in property and multi property interests span across commercial residential vitalists HMOs, you know, new builds exceeding 100 million pounds. So, you know, AI or something. No, no, I mean, it sounds like you're you're doing your prompt from a Michael Parkinson show. But bear in mind, of course, sadly. We saw his death this week, didn't we? And that was very sad. And I was very saddened to hear that. Yeah. But no, it's a great introduction. You make the mark, I think we should just go and listen to what he has to say. Yeah. So let's head on over to our conversation with Mark Stokes. Mark, welcome back to wealth talk today. How are you? Thank you very much, Kristen. Yeah, I'm very well, indeed. Thank you. How are you? I'm excellent. Excellent. And it's been a while since we last had you on Mark. But today we're going to be talking about something a little bit different and that's really looking at how you are helping your children who are you know, across the ages

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and just now to really, you know, understand more about money about what you're doing in business, and looking at some of the challenges, you know, that the younger generation now have when it comes to financial literacy. And you know why we think these issues, I guess, are not raised more at school. And more before we dive into that and find out a bit more about your family bigger to just hear how things have been going with you, obviously, your business owner, property investor developer, things have been changing over the last 12 to 18 months how you find in the markets, what's your advice for any other property investors that are listening? Yeah, exactly. Well, I love these podcasts because it's open sharing, and everybody's got their own experiences really eclectic market out there. And I wear a number of hats, as you say, and I'm a Business investor, I'm a trustee. We have property developers, and we own quite a lot of property as well, and clearly has been a massive change in the market over the last year, our cost of finance has increased significantly, volatility cost of ownership has increased with energy prices. We see a big advance now in renewable energy, moving away from you know, the mining burn fossil fuel economy. So a lot of our efforts with

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commercial conversions, and also new build developments is to encompass solid renewables. Because you know, the homeowners whether you're renting, or whether you're buying, they want that those zero energy bills or as lower energy bills as possible, the cost of finance and the unpredictability of it has been a challenge.

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But, you know, I think the measures were necessary, they've started to take control of inflation, we've had a second drop in a row, today, I read of inflation. So starting to come round, the buyers are out there, they just need to be able to access their own mortgages to acquire products.

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And we've seen a lot of opportunities in the business acquisition space. So I spent 20 years in, in business acquisition and really want to ramp that part. So I'm very acquisitive in that area at the moment. So I think, as we both know, Christian, you know, where there's challenges out there, there's also opportunity. So it's continuous attention to protection, as well as the acquisitive elements as well seize on the opportunities. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, one of anything is risky. So diversification is of course, the the mantra wealth builders, there's multiple pillars, and you have to shift and change eight years, there's seasons. Yeah, yeah.

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So Mark, your story actually is an interesting one. I know you touched on it there, you know, moving out of the corporate world, which had been in for a long time and transitioning to becoming your own boss. And we're seeing that more now with younger people, right. They're not in jobs, as long as perhaps our generation and generations before us pensions now, not the same as they were 20 3040 years ago. So we're going to talk today about you know, how you've helped your children navigate the path by and first and foremost, let's, let's find out a bit more about your family mark. So would you mind telling us who the members of your family are? Yeah. So Sharon, and I, we celebrated last month, our 25th wedding anniversary. So that was, that was great. And we've got four children, Ben's 22, Jack's 20, Katie 16, and Emily's 13. So there's quite an age range there. And your advice to your younger self was the book that I wrote with many others, it was based on a passion of helping people, because I don't feel I was brought up with the right knowledge to talk about financial wealth, financial health, and wisdom. It was a very, it just wasn't a spoken language in our households. And I learned far too later in life. So I wanted to become better equipped, not as a business opportunity, but as a dad to have conversations with children who, you know, when Emily was three, you know, the other kids were 812 14. You know, it's one conversation doesn't cut it across four children. So I need to be very agile and learn different techniques and systems.

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So I guess Ben was the pilot programme, really, you know, he was our eldest. So we went through with him and then evolved the systems with the family as they grew older. Yeah. So let's look at you know, some of the things that perhaps is you say Ben was the first child that came along. How did you start? I guess, having those conversations around money when he was younger. Can you remember what those around the table? Was there any kind of games that you used to play? Absolutely. So I wanted them to appreciate the value of

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Money and the value of time. You know, as we both know, wealth comes in different forms and you know, wealth in terms of money and time. So we never gave the children pocket money, we gave them the opportunity to earn a certain amount through, you know, that fair exchange of value, the dishwasher, throw the Hoover around the house, that dusting washing up whatever it is. And for that, a certain amount of pocket money each year, each month, I beg your pardon.

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And we didn't do it weekly, we did it monthly. So that there was a planning phase, they had to allow their money to stretch for a certain period of time, rather than you know, just until next Saturday.

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And we use a three step system there in terms of the money that they earned, let's just use round numbers. So it was 10 pounds 70 perspective, it's 70%, they could spend, if they wished 20% would go into the savings pot, and 10% would go into the giving pot so we could consider others. And as all four children grew up, at the end of each year, we added all the 10 percents together, and then the four children voted on how that pot of 10% was given to and it was to, could be a capsule home, it could be to the RN li or a cancer charity. But it was something that they choose. So they really understood the value to others of of giving. So that was how we started very tentatively.

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What I have found is if I'm too passionate, you know, that's going off on one again, the kids does turn around and walk in the other direction. So it's the you know, being appropriate age appropriate.

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And not forcing them down a route just giving them the the telltale signs to enable them to find the right path for them. And, you know, it's generally worked very well. There's been a few hiccups along the way, of course, yeah. So So I'd really like that since 2010. And that's become a habit. Now. I guess that's something every year that you do, and, you know, nine years between Emily and Ben now? And do you find that your older children are almost passing on some of those lessons now to to you know, Katie and Emily? Yeah, definitely. And also, they are starting to get jobs of their own or be you know, ones just come out of the university system. The other is in the university system, the older the older boys.

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But now that they're earning through full time jobs, or part time jobs, again, that 7020 10 Or they're adjusting according to their needs. And again, it was never meant to be just for pocket money. It was about thinking more laterally longer term. And and I think, you know, you and I have discussed at length, the value of suspensions. And you know, the books I've written on SAS as an example, where the kids have benefited from that is they've understood, again, that longer term thinking, when you do have a chat with somebody, you know, your story is maybe 15 years old, then you ask them to plan what they want to be when they're 30. I mean, that's twice the length of time they've been on this planet. You know, they can't comprehend that. And I think that was one of the things we've done as an education system, we don't train our children and challenge our children to forecast great goals, you know, targets. They don't have to be massively specific. It could be you know, how can I have the ability to not not work by the time I'm 40, or whatever, you know, I have a supercar or it doesn't really matter what it is, but it's thinking long term, and then you can,

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you know, create a plan to work towards that.

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And just by default, the fact that I've written books on SAS, the kids know what a pension is, they don't know the details necessarily of it, the younger ones anyway, but it just helps them to understand longer term planning. Yeah, yeah. It's that understanding of delayed gratification, isn't it, which is so important with wealth, and in a society and age now where everything is instant, and children expect things to just happen instantaneously. So I think, you know, probably a good good sort of segue into the education system. And, you know, we don't want to knock the work that the, you know, the schools and the teachers do, however, when it comes to the topic of finance, and awareness, there's still very, very little that's been taught in schools and have you seen any, you know, any any sign of that with your own children have they come back, saying, Oh, we learned about this today or we talked about tax or we understand about, you know, the value of a pension is that anything that you believe is being taught to them in school?

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Ah, no very, very little at all very underequipped from the education system, I don't want to knock the education system because, you know, it brings the children up in a lot of areas that I couldn't possibly teach them, I got a lot of respect for teachers and the system and approach. But equally, I don't want to come across it entitled as well, because I think that's just permeating into all levels of society. I don't think as a parent, the schooling system was ever there to outsource your children's education, I think it was to outsource a very certain proportion of it. And I think it's incumbent on us as parents to really step up to the plate. And what wealth builders and Welltok are doing here is absolutely admirable, and it's long overdue in society, somebody really taking grasping the nettle and helping parents step up to the plate, and apply their knowledge. And you know, what I think as, as parents

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take that responsibility.

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I think they learn how to put things in a different way they learn how to simplify the conversation, it's very easy to complicate a conversation go straight into the detail, but actually to simplify, and you have to simplify otherwise, you're not going to get your message across to an eight year old.

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So it's a system where we all were we all learn.

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And the one thing that I was very much guilty of in corporate life is not spending enough time being present in the moment with my children. You know, I was working 7080 90 hours a week, you know, if I was with the kids, maybe on a Sunday evening, you know, I was probably more thinking about the board meeting on the Monday morning rather than being present in the moment with them. So challenging yourself to have a plan, discuss, share things with children, listen to children, rather than just tell them you know, listen, and evolve the conversation has been a quite a spiritual experience, to be honest. And I feel as though I've grown because of it. And hopefully, the children have grown a bit as well. Yeah, yeah. And you mentioned the SAS pension there, of course, there's many benefits of SAS pension. And one of them obviously, is that you can have up to 11 members of the family 11 trustees, right. So tell us, you know, how have you begun to integrate the family into the SAS pension? Yeah, through through education and information, obviously, from the age of 18, they can. That doesn't mean just because he could doesn't mean you should, you know, children mature at different levels. And I'm not putting them into our SAS specifically, I'm a big believer that the time I'm 54, this year, the risk profile I have in my life is going to be very different to a risk profile that a 20 Something person might have, they might be heavily involved in artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency and, you know, when you're assessed trustees, you know, you're joint and severally liable with the other trustees. So I'm not so sure, actually, I want the kids to be part of our SAS as it sits. So if and when, and they have started showing real interest that if and when they do, we'll probably set up a separate SAS, just purely for family members, or maybe them individually and I might become a trustee, become a second trustee, if you like of their SAS. So, again, just because it could doesn't mean they should be involved in our

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SAS, in particular. But it's that that long range thinking

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and the fact that they can go and sit in our cafe, which we own in our SAS and have a hot chocolate and have a bite to eat, and it makes the word pension rather than I mean, as dull as dishwater for me 30 years.

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But it makes it relevant. Kiss isn't just a spreadsheet, it's it can be a cafe can be a garage, it can be an office, it could as well as being stocks and shares or whatever. But it makes it relevant and a bit more fun for them.

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And I really like that that's the interpretation and it makes it relevant. Yeah, yeah. And fun is an important word. I think, especially with the younger children, right? It has to be fun and, you know, certainly not boring. But when taking that point, that was one of the things that hadn't gone particularly well because I'm you know, we're all only to be humbled, don't we not everything you try goes well as a parent. And when I kind of blast it out of corporate life, I bought quite a lot of properties in the north and

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I did like case study sheets of them to show the children and we live down in sorry, for those that don't don't know me particularly well.

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But I hoped it would inspire the children. But it backfired a bit to be honest, because there was so remote, they could just see pictures. And you know, they were in their, you know, 789 or in their early teenage years, they actually want to physically see things that at that age, so they can relate to it. And I misjudged that if I'm honest, I, in hindsight, I wish I'd invested more locally, so the children and my wife can be a bit more inclusive in that journey.

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So that was, that was something because for me,

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yes, I want to create a legacy and the legacy is not just in assets and, you know, monetary value. But what's more important to me than legacy is the custodianship the transfer, you know, work hard to create the legacy and then just drop it like a pile of bricks on top of the, the children when I when I when I pass, is it's akin to the lottery when you know, destroying people. So it's, the legacy is more about the education, the custodianship transferring the knowledge

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and equipping them with the confidence to be able to take on the legacy and assets that we've created, but do an even better job, and keep that the wheels turning the evolution going.

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That's what I want, rather than the complacency of, you know, which often ends up being shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations. That's what I'm trying to avoid. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, you're having great success in your own right, Mark, with your businesses, with your properties with your, your education, helping others mentoring any D role, you know, as we say, many hats. How did you How are you influenced? As a younger child yourself? Did you have you know, parents that taught about money? Because often we find the dynamic between the two parents can be very different as well. or were there other influences in your life? Was there teachers or anyone that you saw as a money role model in your own eyes? Yeah, so I had a, I had a very conservative childhood,

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there wasn't a great deal of money around. So I was always taught,

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you know, to save money, not taught investment in any way, shape, or form. That was definitely not the case.

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But save money, be careful with money. But that's as far as it went. I went to an all boys grammar school, so very conservative environment. And I probably didn't have the the external influence that and I guess that's why with advice to your younger self, if you had your time again, if somebody put their arm around you in your mid teenage years, and whispered a couple of pieces of advice to you. And I didn't have that person in my life at the time. My parents were and still are absolutely fantastic. People couldn't have had a better upbringing. But sometimes you need that little bit more sooner to equip yourself. But of course, I had no idea at the time, you don't know what you don't know, in those in those years. I think it's only with a bit of sage and seasoned experience. You think, Okay, well, given a different mindset. You know, I remember reading, reading a book on a flight to Australia in 1999.

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And it was the first missed opportunity of developing a large portfolio that I had in I've moved as an expat abroad. I'd rented my property. I'd only been married for months. We rented our property. And I had a I had a tax free lifestyle, I should have been investing in assets at that point. And when we moved back from Australia, the tenant left we've moved back in and normal service was resumed. So is that ideal opportunity, but again, missed the opportunity to have somebody around me questioning Okay, is that the right thing to do? What could you do? Not saying you've done it wrong? You screwed it up, you know, what a numpty but actually just prompting and probing.

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And I think that's valuable in in all of our lives doesn't matter what age think having those somebody who will question in a very delicate diplomatic way.

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And that's what a coach or mentor does, you know, teases out of you

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the right course of action. Yeah. I know from my experience over the last 10 years or so of running events. When I asked people you know, what was the catalyst the aha moment for many people. It was reading a book right and that book is very often Rich Dad Poor Dad.

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Yeah, exactly. People go ping oh my god, there's a different way of looking at this with digit Did you have any moment? Was there any book or any any influence that made you think like that? No, I think it was It wasn't from a book. It was it was actually from my my business partner, Nigel.

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He's been a massive influence for me. And I think he would probably say similar, you know, sometimes in your life, you meet people that you just slide hand in glove together, you know, you just really gel.

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And I've done a lot of things Nigel hasn't Nigel's done a lot of things i i hadn't.

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And we just use those experiences. But the fundamental

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ones, whether it's a skill or, or an ability for me,

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which I really cherish is the ability to remain humble all the time. If you remain humble, you're not complacent, you're always cross checking, Nigel, and I've never had a bad word ever, in 25 years that we've known each other.

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But we challenge each other every single day, is because because we're both passionate, we don't care who's right and wrong, we're just passionate about getting to the best solution every time. And whatever milestone we reach, you know, we know it could have gone a little bit smoother. So we can refine it another half a percent, another 1%. of improvement. So it's that constant source. And that way, you never suffer from procrastination, you're not looking for perfection before you get off your backside. You know, it's kind of classic start with version one to get to version 10. And B got to make a start. And I didn't make start early enough. And I'm passionate that I quit my children and hopefully, you know, other families as well, to make that start and encouragement a whole lot earlier than I did. And, you know, shareholding is a good example for me.

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My youngest daughter, Emily was seven when she became a shareholder in, in our hold at one of our holding companies.

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Now, at the age of seven, did she know what a shareholder was? No, of course not. But the idea there was, by the time she's 18, she'll know more about being a shareholder than I did when I was 18. And the wheels of progress and evolution, move the you know, move another circle forward. So yeah, that's has been hugely powerful for us. Yeah. And as well as being shareholders, have you used employment as a means of helping your children, you know, earn some money as well? Yes, definitely. So, pretty much all the children have become employees of one of our companies, we do that properly. When they're 16, they get a job description, a contract of employment should they wish, and is if there is a position to fulfil. So it's not a rite of passage that they absolutely will. But to date, you know, find a role, relatively light duties. Because once to 16, they get something really valuable to our household. And that's a tax free allowance. So we can pay them up to the you know, 1650, or whatever it is these days, tax free. And that's the psychology that has changed since I left corporate life. When I left corporate life, my wife did an incredible job bringing up four wonderful children. So therefore, I was the only breadwinner.

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So my stroke, our family income, was one column on the spreadsheet, and it was paye I was well taken care of, but you know, highly tax inefficient, shall we say, classic employee.

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A su soon as I left corporate life had the good sense to create a spreadsheet that had six columns. There were six breadwinners in this in this family, six potential. And the fact that Sharon wasn't earning wasn't a case that she wasn't she didn't have a job. It's just we didn't have the structure to enable her to tax efficiently, being engaged. So becoming a shareholder, she can now take dividends as an example. And so we made all the children through alphabet shares,

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obviously, they're not taking dividends before they're of a certain age, because that will come on to my tax code.

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But it gives options and that's what we want.

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But that helped me look at hang on a minute. We've actually got six ways. And might I also say, if we're employing the kids on light duties, and they're getting a salary, you know, the good Lord giveth and the good Lord taketh Christian so when they start earning they can start counting

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tributing to the household economy as well. Yes, yeah, well, that's, you know, another thing we're not taught at school is it is how to read a pay slip, and, you know, children go out and start earning and then suddenly, they see what they end up with at the end of the month and all these deductions, and they don't understand tax, they don't understand national insurance and all the other, you know, benefits that, you know, simply are not explained. And, you know, why, why is there so if they're not being taught at a school, you know, who is teaching it and and that's where our conversation really leads today, isn't it absolutely, is sadly lacking in the in the world out there. And there's lots of people who just go into blind culture and won't do anything and blame the school system. And there are a select few of us and yourself, predominantly, really forging ahead, sharing this with family units, so the whole family unit can become more accountable. And I couldn't be any more supportive. I think it's fantastic. Yeah, yeah. Well, thanks so much for sharing everything today, Mark, I guess finally, you know, reverting back to your book, which, of course, was published in 2019. I will link to it. In today's show notes for anyone who wants to get a copy. And it's available on Amazon. It's a fantastic read. timeless wisdom, really not just for your children, your grandchildren, nieces, nephews that can be passed on. But, you know, looking back, no two families are the same. No two children are the same.

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Is there anything now you look back on you think I would have done differently? Or that you're proud in the way that you did? You know, bring your children up to have a better understanding? Yeah, I think there's, I think there's just so many so many. I'm not, I'm not complacent, I think everything we could have done better sooner. So I do give myself quite a hard time. I don't give my kids a hard time. You know, I want them to have a loving childhood, a childhood free of pressures of business and shareholding and pensions and things like that. The other lovely fun childhood, and that's what a one. So it's sometimes I've gone a little bit heavy on the detail. Sometimes I've been a bit remiss and not included them in certain things, which I wish I could have. But you know, they know, they know why I've written a book, for instance, you know, might be to create profile or make some money. And by the way, the advice to your younger self book, everything goes to charity, there's nothing in it. For me, it's my kind of give back to, to society. So I think what was really important, I think, for all of us is to bring up well balanced children into young maturing adults who are prepared to contribute back to society help others create shared value, and become fantastic citizens and

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and look after us in our older ages. Well, Christian, yeah, yes. No good words to leave us on. And I've met Ben and Jack and their lovely, lovely boys. So, you know, congratulations to you, for you and your wife, Sharon for for doing such a wonderful job there. So thank you, Mark, for sharing today really enjoyed our conversation. I'm sure we'll be speaking again very soon. I look forward to it. Thanks. Again, Christian. Take care.

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So lots of interesting points from mark there. And before we look at those in a bit more detail, Kevin, let's read out one of our reviews that we've had in this week from Trustpilot. So thank you, as always to those that have taken some time to share your experience of working with us and our team. This week, I'm going to pull out a review from Richard who says wealth builders have been a fantastic support to me in venturing out away from traditional pensions and into a SAS. Kevin Whalen guided me through successfully to set up everything and the podcast and community are excellent. It's the spirit of Kevin that drew me in as he is genuinely shows he cares about each one of us in our individual journeys. I wrote to him with a confusion. I had overtax, and he kindly emailed me back with his phone number. Such dedication is rare these days. And I greatly appreciate it.

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I'm blushing, I'm blushing. But thank you so much. And I genuinely appreciate that and I think people know by now, our integrity is unimpeachable, isn't it and what we do is about the results for for our members and even non members we'll do our best to help them we and we we do that very frequently. But you know Mark has been a good friend of wealth builders for a long time and many of our wealth builder students end up getting more detailed learning and knowledge from from him and from Nigel particularly on the subject of Commercial to Residential conversions way beyond you know, our abilities really, and, and, and really speaks very clearly and elegantly on SAS because you

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John that wrote a book about that.

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Very passionate about learning the mistakes of younger years. And as I said before, you know, that humility shines through. But why don't you pick up? Chris? Well, I think, you know, we've said maybe you've said many times on the podcast, you know, schools obviously served their purpose in in many fantastic ways, the education they provide, but, you know, they don't teach financial lessons at school. We know that, right? So if Where are children getting these financial lessons from? And I think Mark touched on, you know, he wished he'd learned earlier. And, you know, what we're really trying to achieve with with wealth builders for families here is, I guess, it's just giving children the opportunity, right, just to get curious. So just, you know, sowing those seeds earlier. So for those that are interested, they can pick up and they can take it from there. And of course, all children are different, not all will be interested. But those that that perhaps might hear something, you know, in those early formative years, that's really what we're trying to achieve here, isn't it? Well look, like it or not, your kids are watching, right? They're watching you. They're soaking up everything. So the language you use the actions you take, I mean, Mark made the point, didn't he, which was sometimes he wasn't there, he was so busy thinking about work the following day, that perhaps he wasn't as present as you would have liked to have been. And that's an important lesson right there. And we all fall into mistakes. And certainly, I mean, a lot of business owners, where they'll frequently admit to, they missed this from for one of their children, or they missed that, or they didn't get there on time, or they had to go away instead of doing something for the family. So there really is an important lesson to be learned in there. Not necessarily one about financial lessons. But just one about, I suppose making the kids feel like they're, there's a togetherness there. And an over reliance sometimes on one partner to do the breadwinning and one partner to do the raising. And I think it takes to to really get the lessons across when it comes to finance. And while I know you say people are interested in different times, and I think you said in the interview, Chris, you know, all families are different, or children are different. And indeed they absolutely are. In fact, all wealth builders are different. The key thing, though, is you can't escape money responsibilities. You can't be an adult without money responsibilities that have been lessons well learned, otherwise, you become exposed to dangers that, in many cases are unseen by the young people, like student debt, like

Unknown Speaker  37:41  

high cost debt, like not appreciating, as you said, tax and thinking, Oh, I've got this salary. And but the net position is significantly less than that. So yeah, we've got to teach these lessons wherever we can. And it's the parents job, I think, not the school's job to be sensitive to the needs of each individual child. I don't think schools can do that. Schools can support that, where schools do but generally speaking, I think we know they don't do it at school, they don't do it at college. They don't do it, universities don't even do it at work. So there's a gap. And that gaping gap is there to be filled. And we're going to do our best to help parents of all kinds who've got that humility, to say, Hey, I'm not perfect. I would like to get my kids to be responsible. Because in the end, you know, the baby boomers like me, and to a certain degree mark

Unknown Speaker  38:35  

that younger than me, but nonetheless, they're going to leave a fantastic legacy. And if we don't equip our younger people with the skills to be able to deal with that, and he talked about, it's like a lottery win. You know, and a lottery win in the hands of irresponsible people will be

Unknown Speaker  38:52  

a dissolution of the money, you know, the money will be distributed instant, super quick time and consumed even. And I think he used the word shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations, and that's well established as a piece of language. And I've mentioned that one before. So I think we've got to do this. And that's why I think we don't shirk from that. And I think Mark isn't either so he makes some really, really good points in there. So I think for for all of us, right, the youngest sort of memories of money is getting some pocket money, right, parents giving us some money for for for different things. And somebody talked about that. Yeah, well, you know, wasn't just handing out X amount per week, it was actually you know, okay, do something and be rewarded for you know, the value that you've done, whether that's cleaning or some chores and whatever it be. So that was how obviously Mark started off with his children when they were younger. And that developed into what he called the free step system, almost like the money jars, T Harv. eker is well known for talking about the money jars and the way that Mark did it was 70% of the money that they earn, they could spend 20% They would save and

Unknown Speaker  40:00  

10% would go to giving. And I loved the way that the whole family would come together at the end of each year, and add up all those 10 percents, and then, you know, decide between them the charity, or the good cause that they wanted to put that towards. So, so I really liked that element. Yeah. And seen lots of families embrace that in in various guises. I've seen one who said, you know, we tax them, we literally take 50% of them. I mean, they don't take 50% off them, they allocate it to a future property fund. But nonetheless, it's getting that experience, isn't it saying, Well, this is what I've earned. But this is what I'm keeping. And this is a fundamental lesson in life and in wealth, that it's not what you earn, that counts is what you keep that counts. Now, of course, at the beginning of a age appropriate conversation about value, and not just value in terms of time for money, because time for money is a lesson we want to build upon later on in life. Don't worry, we don't want to teach time and money or equal, because we want to show that by planting seeds of money, money can work itself. And assets can work. And you can sow those seeds earlier by talking about seeds. So definitely some parents have picked that up.

Unknown Speaker  41:13  

We've definitely seen that where they talk about planting seeds and also showing there's a time delay between planting something even I remember, kids doing crests and various things, you know, so looking after plants, looking up to something is is an important life lesson to show that other things need nurturing. And I think that's a lesson that can be easily picked up in the younger ones. And then the older ones can pick up on what does that mean in terms of assets that create cashflow of themselves. And not just the idea, by the way of you sitting in a cafe, with your daughter having a hot chocolate, with your arms folded with a glum not a glammed up but a smuggler, not glum marks never glum looking at the building saying we own that. I mean, how wonderful is that to be able to involve your children, things that they can look and get. And I think showing kids things and getting them involved is much more important, isn't it? than trying to teach them? I think, made me laugh when he said, Oh, Dad's going off on one. I get that right. My kids go, oh, no, it's another Kevin ism. So you can't always judge it correctly. And again, I like that about Mark that, you know, I think you said at the end there that if you when you asked him, What would you do differently. He said, sometimes you went in a bit heavy. And with good intention, of course. But that good intention can sometimes backfire. And that's a lesson that we can all learn as well. So yeah, do what you think is right, and then get the feedback and go oops, maybe I need to. And sometimes people will learn lessons from others. As much as they learn from human, sometimes even differently, they'll take a lesson from a teacher more than that well from the parents. So we're quite happy that some of the teaching can come from what other parents are doing and what other kids are doing of all ages, so that they can pick up what they want to pick up for themselves and not be be forced not to be hurried not to be encouraged to do things which they are not really interested in. So I think it's a gradual, gentle process that I think would be best to follow. If you can do that, and recognise the lessons that you're learning yourself, because this isn't about parenting is it's just about doing the best you can, yeah, something we're researching at the moment is, you know, the different learning styles and different ways that, you know, we can make that fun. And the example you mentioned there about them sitting in the cafe that was owned inside the pench inside the SAS, right. But it was an experience. So hence why, you know, that probably resonated, it probably stuck more in their memories, as opposed to when Mark said he started buying buy to let properties up north. And it was just a list of names of houses on a sheet of paper. And, and they couldn't connect to that even his wife couldn't really connect to that. So, you know, obviously some mistakes, not necessarily mistakes, but, you know, observations or things that worked or hit home a little bit more than others know exactly right. And that that's again, good lessons, isn't it really to try and judge that. So anything else picking out a Yeah, snap? So I noticed that you ask them the question about what are you doing as far as your family is concerned itself? And I think he made a really good point. Which is just because you can doesn't mean you should because with with with our young people learning at different stages, they quite rightly made the point that the risk profile of an 18 year old is not the same as a risk profile of somebody in their mid 50s and also a SAS as a collective. It's all it's like the Musketeers really, everybody has to agree and you don't necessarily want to get 18 year old

Unknown Speaker  45:00  

seems to agree with what you're doing and you're 50. So it makes sense for them to watch. And at some point, they can have a decent pension with low charges and build up their pot and join when it's appropriate or not join, if it's not appropriate. So I think he makes a really good point, because then sometimes, our SAS clients, and we set up a lot of services every year, they ask if they can add their 18 year old kids from day one. And we always say, it's probably best you don't, that you get the hang of our SAS actually works. And then then you understand how the rules work for you to decide. Either you want to show them, because in the end, it's a trust fund. And a trust fund is really a legacy plan for the money you don't spend. And if you do it, well, you'll have a lot of money leftover in your SAS, because you're generating a high return with low charges and being able to draw good income. So I think marks right, you don't need to add kids just because you can do it. I think that's true. I've heard Mark say that a lot. When some people say should I put my property in SAS? Well, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Unknown Speaker  46:07  

And you have to judge each one because the SAS is a vehicle where the money is growing inside the SAS, well, what if you want to grow a business and you want the money in a business? So you want to be able to make a choice as to where do you want the money in your business, and your SAS a bit of both, you know, because the lessons can be shared with the children, whichever way you go about it, but what your personal ambitions are, and the needs of your business and your income needs and so on. They need to be decided by you not necessarily by your kids. Now, we've had Mark speak many times on stage, and he's a smart guy, when it comes to business, he talks a lot about creating your own personal economy, you know, keeping that money circular inside, not not letting it out. And he showed an example of being tax smart with employing children inside the business so that you know, you can make use of those tax free allowances for the family. And then beyond that, as well, you know, making them shareholders so that they can earn dividends. So you know, really clever, and all of those things, actually, we'll be covering in the wealth builders for families, you know, offering we'll be covering what age can you employ kids, you talked about 16. But you can actually do it earlier than that. In fact, if you've got children who are performers of some kind singers, or dancers, or actors or models, or whatever they would be, they can earn money from the get go. And the current allowance as we speak is a bit more than then marks recollection of, it's now over 12 and a half grand, and that's a lot of money tax free. And you definitely do not want to misunderstand those rules and get that income added to your chores,

Unknown Speaker  47:46  

as Mark identified. So yeah, we'll teach all those things. So you know, what's a good thing to do, when is a good time to engage your children, if you've got a business or even not, you know, they could get experience of working elsewhere. Because whatever they may want to do the passion, the purpose they find in life, they have nothing to do with property and nothing to do with the business you're in. So encourage them to find that work elsewhere, but play on a team, but deliver full on participate full on, create as much value as possible. So at the very least you just get a glowing reference, you know, and some money in the bank. And why not do that. Now, we you know, we've mentioned at start of the episode, we were at our event last night in London, and you know, so many people coming up to us, so many conversations being had talking about families talking about things that they were doing games, they're playing ideas. So you know, we're constantly every day just building up these resources. And if you're listening now, if you've been inspired by what you've heard today, if there's something you're doing, or have done with your own children that you think would be helpful to share them, please do get in touch with us. Because you know, we're really curating Kevin, all of this amazing content, aren't we to create something very special that we hope will you know, have that ripple effect on so many people so, you know, do get in touch with us, there's a couple of ways you can do that. If you just want to be kept up to date, as we start to release more of the family's content out there, then head to wealth forward slash families. Or if you'd like to, you know, speak to us or send us something, then you can drop us an email Hello at wealth. That's a great point you make as I was talking to one of our members last night, David and his wife, and he was saying you've been thinking about this a long time, Kevin, haven't you said yeah. He said, But I heard you say on the podcast, you're you're really going from preschool right? The way through all of those transitions, all of those major changes, you know, that children will go through

Unknown Speaker  49:47  

how on earth you're gonna write well, that's a mammoth task. And I said, I'm not going to, you know, I'll create the principles, but then I'll invite other people to tell us what they're doing the games they're playing that

Unknown Speaker  50:00  

participation like Mark and John Dale on a previous podcast and others to come. Shares, for example, what else are they doing that to conserve to inspire, somebody else said, Hey, that's a good idea, I'll give that a try. If it works, keep it if it doesn't work, try something different. So I think we're going to curate. So I'm going to become a librarian, Chris, a curator of other people's ideas, as well as the ideas we've got with our own. And like the podcast, just give a little bit of a wealth building request to make sure it fits in with our fundamental values. But I'm looking forward to people sharing and there were enough people last night, were telling me what they were doing with their kids, you got to come on podcast. So I don't think you're gonna be sure to have people to be chatting to. But of course, we need to temper the knowledge that we're passing on to our youngest, with making sure that our our grown up members are still continuing to build their wealth as appropriately in whichever pillars they want to so we won't deviate from that. But right now, we're just getting a bit carried away with the families piece because you know, it's a big, it's a bit of a mission, isn't it for us right now? Yeah, yeah. Well, if you couldn't join us last night, then definitely head to the wealth builders Facebook group. The photos should be uploaded by now. And you'll see the family wealth declarations that everyone was signing last night as well. And we'll, we'll be uploading that to the website. You can download your own copy and share that with your own family, if you so wish to. So I think that wraps up today, Kevin, thank you for your time. Thank you Mark, as always for for sharing your wisdom and insights with us. And we hope you enjoyed listening. Kevin, we will catch up Same time, same place next week. When indeed until then my friend See ya.

Unknown Speaker  51:42  

We hope you enjoy today's episode. Don't forget that we are constantly updating our resources inside the wealth builders membership site to help you create, build and protect your wealth. Head over to wealth right now for free access. That's wealth

Episode notes

Join us as we sit down with business owner, property investor and developer, author, husband and father, Mark Stokes. 

Mark left his successful corporate career to build a portfolio of multi-generational assets from property through to business ownership and investment, achieving financial independence in his mid-forties.

In the episode, Mark delves into the importance of education, communication, and aligning family values with financial goals. This episode equips you with the tools to embark on your own journey of building and maintaining wealth that stands the test of time.

If you're looking to secure your family's financial future and navigate the complexities of generational wealth, this episode is a must-listen.

Resources mentioned in this episode