Oh, No! Poor Tipper, Rich Tipper

Sun Flower courtesy of T.C. YenIf you’re looking for gossip, stop reading this right now, but wow – after forty years of marriage – they call it quits. Of course we can all acknowledge that any high profile separation or divorce, especially in a political marriage, always has a lot more complications than everyday Mary and Joe Down the Street. Political marriage is often viewed as more of a “business partnership,” and really, if you look at the Gore’s from a business angle, it’s actually not too bad. Maybe especially for Poor Tipper. Why?

We all know the typical divorce rate for individual couples is about 50%, but “divorce rates” for business partnerships is nearly 70%, according to Kenneth Liss Incubators: The New Venture Capitalists? Harvard Business School and Business Partnership Success. So perhaps, if we look at the Gore’s marriage as more of a business partnership, divorce, even after forty years, is not so shocking.

One of the interesting things repeatedly reported in the media about this high profile separation is that the Gores claim to have more than $100 million net worth. Which could lead us to understand that the underlying message to notice here is the Gores seems to have “multiple sources of income,” including board memberships, chairman positions, investments, etc. From a business stand point, I say this partnership really had something we all could all learn from!

You see, you manage, or steer, your corporate ship. You make sure your business has multiple sources of income so the business is well diversified in the revenue column and can continue to sustain that revenue for a long period of time. But as you steer your personal ship, have you considered creating multiple sources of income in those waters too? Why can’t we apply the same principal as the Gores in income diversification? 

Really? Be like the Gores? Well, not in all areas of life, obviously! But keep in mind, a diversified income relieves some of the stresses of life, and helps you live with an assurance that money issues can be taken care of. It allows you to pursue whatever you want to do most.

My mother always told me that there are two things in marriage we all need to pay attention to.  I believe that if you take care of them well, you’ll have more fun and can enjoy your life to the fullest. It’s simple – Number one is MONEY and number two is SEX. (Yes, my 74-year-old retired school principal mother told me this when she was in her 40s.) By SEX, I think she really meant giving attention to all aspects of a relationship. Most of the time, it’s MONEY that triggers problems in a marriage even when, like most of you, one of the marriage partners may hold a high-ranking position in a big corporation. Money may not seem like an issue at the moment, but why not strive to make sure that remains true while building toward your personal financial independence?

Let’s start by taking a look at five types of assets that can generate income for you:

  1. You: A job that you directly or indirectly fulfill makes YOU an asset.
  2. Portfolio: Any type of savings you have accumulated that can provide investment income or principals including a 401(k), pension, an IRA, brokerage accounts invested in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, CDs, annuities, life insurance, etc.
  3. Real Estate: Rental income from multi-family rental property, apartment complex rentals, vacation condo, commercial office condo, buildings, etc.
  4. Business: Working in or investing in a business.
  5. Intellectual Properties: Including royalties, patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.

Your financial advisor can help guide you in the Portfolio classification. However, it is up to you to create the other four, so remember, you have full control over all asset classifications! You can have it all, have your money, sex/relationship and all the other things that are important to you by paying attention to income diversification. I’m sure Rich Tipper (the now-estranged wife) is not too worried about her income, because (now-estranged husband) Al has built a nice, well diversified income stream that should generate enough income for each of them for a long time. And she will surely get her share of it if she is now Smart Tipper! And when she does, our advice to Rich Tipper? You got it. Diversify.

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