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Michael Blank: A Candid Conversation With A Private Banker

We're going to have a very powerful and varied conversation. I'm talking with Michael Blank who is an international private banker. We go off color and we talk offshore banking. We talked cannabis, we talk hidden assets. All the things that you would think a private banker would not want to talk about, Michael leans into.

What's interesting about this show is Michael's been doing this for many years and he has some amazing experience in a varied background. If you ever wondered how the wealthy and the high net worth and affluent bank, what are some of the strategies that they call upon, you are going to find out in this show. If you want a couple of bold financial predictions about how things are going to unfold in the future, you are going to love this show.

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Dustin
Michael, you went to school for Political Science and then went on to get your Juris Doctorate in international law. I want to start with our conversation by asking you, did you know that you would get into private banking and international banking in school? Was that your track or did you fall into that?
Michael
It's more of evolutionary. I always knew since I was thirteen that I wanted to be a lawyer, but you didn't know what type of lawyer at that point in time. In the community that I lived in, you either became a lawyer or a doctor and I didn't like to be a doctor, so I decided to be a lawyer. I knew that I had a passion for people, problem-solving, other cultures and I love to travel. I created an evolutionary path for my practice of law that included travel and being with people all over the world.
Dustin
When someone hears the word private banker or even international banking, they think of a numbers guy. You’ve got your degrees, which is political psychology and you've got law. How much of what you do on a day-to-day right now in the world that you operate in involves number crunching and financing?
Michael
I do less of the number crunching and financing. I have professional people on my staff who have been with me for several years that do that every day. I'm much more of the macro person. I cultivate the client relationship. I coordinate the client relationship together with the lawyer, the accountant, the trustee and any other professionals that need to be brought to the table depending upon the nature of the client's business. I manage that relationship and I delegate when necessary.
Dustin
Was it always that way? When you were a junior guy, did you have to handle a lot of the finances to understand the world or did you always have a team to support you?
Michael
I always had a team to support me, but I know everything that they do every day.
Dustin
What's the most fascinating thing about what you do?
Michael
It’s problem-solving. Anytime you deal with humans, there are problems. The wealthier, the more dysfunctional because wealthy people have opportunity and disposition. My job is to make sure that I place boundaries around things that my clients do to protect them not only in their daily life but also to protect their financial capabilities.
Dustin
You've been on international private banking for over 23 years. Let's take a step back. What is a private banker and why does someone need one?
Michael
Not everybody needs a private banker. A private banker is a trusted advisor. That is a person that becomes close to the family member that holds the assets and becomes an advisor, not just on the banking side but in the family relationship and business relationship. It is someone who is called when the family has an issue, a problem or is looking to do something positive in the future. They will use you as a resource.
Dustin
What level of wealth are we talking here?
Michael
In terms of liquidity, anybody that has more than $1 million liquid investible assets would qualify. We have clients from $1 million up to $100 million.
Dustin
We haven't talked about private banking, but we talked about this idea of a family office. What is the difference between private banking and family office?
Michael
A family office evolves when an individual sells their company and has a liquidity event, which means they make a lot of money because most people take the risk in their businesses. They don't necessarily take a risk in their financial affairs. That's their insurance policy for the future. When someone has a liquidity event, now they have a lot of cash. They don't have someone to manage it because they've been managing the risk in their business for their whole life. They need help. They formerly had an accountant, they had a lawyer and now they need someone they can trust to manage those financial affairs for them and becomes a part of that virtual family office. It doesn't have to be physical, it can be virtual where we all work together for the benefit of that client.
Dustin
Are you a family office? Do you work with them?
Michael
I have built multiple family offices that are structured to assist clients. I have worked with other single-family offices and multiple family offices. A single-family office is one family that's had a liquidity event and they have those assets with a mission statement of how they want those assets invested. I will work with that specific type of family. I will work with multiple families who get together and form a family office, which is called a multifamily office in order to share expenses and share a vision. Our office here in Miami is structured like a family office where we offer services to clients. If a client comes in and needs trust services, corporate services, mortgage services, they want to buy a yacht, they want to finance an airplane, I can assist them with all of those services like a family office would.
Dustin
Why a family office versus just having a great CPA or a great financial adviser? What does it give people the ability to do?
Michael
Most professional people are limited to their profession. Many do not think out of the box. I've had the privilege and the wonderful experience of traveling globally my whole career, getting tremendous exposure and meeting a large number of people in various different professions. I'll give you an example. I have a client of mine since about 1992 when I met him, he was in his mid-twenties and a salaried employee. Now, he's worth $75 million self-made. He contacted me and says, “I need to go on an anniversary trip within two hours flight of my house. Where should I go?” I said, “Why don't you go to Charleston?” He said, “Terrific.” I said, “Would you like an itinerary for the weekend?” Within 24 hours, I sent him up the hotel, restaurants and everything he needed to do in Charleston. That's added value, that's a relationship, that's friendship and that's trust.
Dustin
Michael, that's not a normal thing because you're managing someone's wealth. You're like a concierge in that situation.
Michael
In certain respects, we do concierge services also at no charge because when a client trusts you, they call you for everything.
Dustin
That's how you compete in a world against people doing something similar. It's just over delivering in value.
Michael
That's correct and the team that's been with me for fifteen years over delivers every day.
Dustin
It’s interesting to be able to have that level of trust with a client that you'd get a call for that. Have you had any interesting other calls or requests that have come in then you find a solution?
Michael
I've purchased racehorses in Europe. I've purchased precious gems. I’ve purchased yachts. I've purchased airplanes. I have financed airplanes. I have purchased a Porsche and had it delivered to my client's house one morning as a wake-up gift for his wife with a ribbon around it. I've done many things.
Dustin
When you described that, I think of a high-level whale, but I think of what Vegas does for a whale just to make that impression, to build that trust and to build that value and relationship with their clientele. That's what comes to mind.
Michael
That's the goal. If you build a solid relationship with your client, you know the family, you know their vision for the future, you know their past issues and you can help advise them. It's one thing to be just a financial advisor. It's another thing to be a trusted family advisor and that's my goal.
Dustin
You mentioned traveling around the world. How many languages do you speak?
Michael
I am a dinosaur so that means that I speak English. I understand some Spanish and Portuguese, but I have bilingual or trilingual people that work with me. My chief investment officer speaks seven languages so I'm well taken care of on the language side.
Dustin
You remind me of the old story of Henry Ford when he gets called in front of a trial or a jury or something like that. They keep asking him questions and he's like, “I don't have that answer.” He picks up the phone and he's like, “Let me call the person on my team.” It’s a very powerful position to be in for sure.
Michael
We all have a role to play. Mine is a more macro play because I know the clients, I know their needs. I'm a problem solver and I have people that I work with where we all interact daily and we all have specific responsibilities.
Dustin
The one thing that you touched on that is the international side of this equation. It’s one thing to deal with people of high net worth here in the US. When you say international private banking, what are some considerations that people might not be thinking? How does international play into this?
Michael
The US is only one-third of the world's economy. As a result, we are living in an evolving world, a global world that's very close to each of us. Everything that we do touches on some aspect of China, Asia, Europe and Latin America. My role as a macro person is to find the best jurisdictions for my clients and the safest jurisdictions outside the United States to place their money. Those are called custodian banks. I have been doing that for my whole career because some clients want diversification. They want to be able to invest directly in other countries. We have that capability. They want to keep some assets outside of the United States just in case of potential litigation, which levels the playing field. I look all around the world at the best locations for my clients and I judge the risk and so far I've been correct.
Dustin
Michael, I'm going to rely on you. When one puts money into a bank in the United States, it is Federally insured for $250,000. If you've got substantial amounts of wealth, anything above two $250,000 is not insured. What you're saying is to protect that money, you can take it into different custodians in different parts of the globe as a way to protect against any downturn. Is that correct?
Michael
That's correct. In 2008, all of my clients never called me because they knew their principal was always protected. We didn't have any banks with any issues because my mission statement is different than the American banking mission statement. In the United States, all the banks that you deal with and brokerage houses that you deal with, use your capital as soon as it's deposited. The banks ideal with charge administrative fee to custody your funds, but they don't use your funds, therefore, there's no speculation. They are not using it for mortgages. They're not using it for loans. They're not using it for proprietary trading. The principle that I'm placing on behalf of my clients and these banks are completely safe.
Dustin
A lot of people that are reading this aren't going to even know that that's possible. I didn't know that. I just figured every bank had a 10x that they can use those funds and leverage it in all the ways that they do. It leads us into this conversation. Offshore, this is a big slippery subject that people don't like to talk about. Taking money outside of the US and putting it in another bank, that's taking your money offshore. Isn’t that the government put so much fear into people to not do this that people think it's illegal? What is the way to do this? Is there a way to take your money offshore?
Michael
It's not so difficult or complicated. Every one of my clients for my entire career pay their taxes. Whether you're using Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, banking with me is the same as using these banks. It's that the banks that I use are outside of the United States. It is the same tax reporting for the bank to the US IRS. It’s the same tax reporting back to you individually for 1099. It's no different. It’s just that we changed the situs of the assets. The assets are removed from the United States and placed in very substantial, high quality, safe banks outside of America.
Dustin
Where people get into trouble is when they're trying to avoid the taxes.
Michael
That's correct but a very minuscule minority and it's never been an issue with any of my clients.
Dustin
I had read something relatively about Apple and some of these well-known institutions here in the United States. They've got a mailbox corporation in Scotland or Ireland or things like that. Do you see that as them evading or being creative? What is your stance on that? Is that them playing every known rule in the playbook and just leveraging or they are doing something sneaky?
Michael
Not at all. It’s nothing sneaky. In fact, Trump has changed those rules and regulations and I'll explain it to you. Let's use companies like Apple. Apple may have manufacturing facilities and sales facilities all over the world as it does. The US government has said, “If you are selling your products outside of the United States and you have substantial business and offices that represent you and you're making profits outside of the United States, you can keep those profits outside of the United States legally without repatriating them and pay no tax on them until you repatriate them.” It behooved very wealthy companies to expand globally, to build offices globally and to manufacturer globally. The only difference is the US wasn't benefiting from it tax-wise. These companies were holding hundreds and hundreds of billions in cash outside of the United States. Trump was the first President to give them the ability to repatriate those assets at a very small tax. That money came back into the United States and has been used for not only the employees but also to the rejuvenation of our American economy.
Dustin
Why do you think it took so long for this to occur? Is that telling about Trump himself?
Michael
I'm not acting politically one way or the other here. I'm just trying to be pragmatic. He's addressing certain specific problems that have been ongoing within our country for years that Congress and/or former presidents, whether they are Democratic or Republican have not addressed. Historically, our government is known to what's called kick the can and let somebody else worry about it down the road. Trump is a business person and he's addressing each one of these problems one after another and you can see how it's benefiting our economy.
Dustin
Did that shake up your world at all because money can flow back in?
Michael
That didn't shake up my world. I manage money on a domestic basis. I manage money on an international basis. We have assets that are custody to both here in the United States as well as outside the United States. The reason that my clients historically use banks outside of the United States is for diversification and just for an insurance policy for the future.
Dustin
You work with families that are primarily outside of the US but are trying to get in. Is that true? If so, what are the implications of that? Is it true that someone can write a check and become a US citizen?
Michael
My client base is diversified. I have wonderful US clients as families. I have wonderful non-US clients as families and I have a tremendous cross border because Miami is the cross-border capital of America. People are coming and going not only for a holiday, for education, but may live in South America or Europe or Canada and have homes in Miami or in South Florida for weather purposes or investment purposes. There is a tremendous amount of pre-immigration planning that can be done for clients. This happens to be one of my expertise. I pride myself on cross-border tax efficient planning. Based on specific clients’ needs in entering the United States, you can structure a family office for them where you introduce them to the proper lawyers and the accountants. You can provide them with trust services, banking services as well as immigration services. It makes it very tax efficient for them to want to live and invest in America.
Dustin
Do you see the United States being friendlier to woo these types of individuals in or not?
Michael
Everyone knows that our immigration policy has been abysmal. Our country was founded on foreign people coming into the United States and making America what it is now, but the immigration policy is broken and it needs to be fixed. Because of political correctness, it's very difficult to address. There are specific programs like H-1B or EB-5 or E-2 visas where it allows specific people to come into the country for work purposes, for investment purposes to obtain permanent residence and/or citizenship. We have some excellent programs but unfortunately, the system itself is quite broken.
Dustin
What do people do desire to come through the correct way? You mentioned a couple of programs, E-2, EB-5 and H-1B. Can you break that down at a high level of what those programs are?
Michael
An E-2 is a treaty investor. If you're coming from a country where the United States has a treaty, you can invest in the United States through a corporation that you would form. You can get an E-2 visa and that E-2 visa will allow you to operate that company in the United States for whatever business purpose you have chosen the immigration has accepted. The EB-5 are various different economic zones around the United States. If you invest through one of these EB-5 programs that are accepted to the immigration service, you can potentially get your green card and then ultimately your citizenship. That's a very popular program. H-1B is a specific working visa for a company that wants to sponsor you to do a specific job. Those visas are outstanding for the United States in terms of uplifting our economy and also helping to educate people who want to come into the US and expand our business and expand their opportunities for the future.
Dustin
When something takes place in a world event or a trend, what goes into your mind in terms of maximizing that for your client?
Michael
I've had meetings all day on these subjects. The words blockchain, digital banking, cryptocurrency and secure tokens, these are words that are now coming into our vocabulary. In the next five to ten years, these will be words that will be used synonymously with words like the internet. The world is changing around us. My job is to be a trend spotter. My job is to educate my clients and show them and teach them what the future is going to look like. I've been doing that for my whole career.
Dustin
The head of JPMorgan, when it first came up, they were very anti this blockchain and crypto. They’re saying that it was just a fad and it’s going to disappear. Why do you think they were saying that and why they've changed their thought on this?
Michael
Traditional bankers normally don't change their thought. They do things in a specific way that's why they're called big box banks. They make all their money on integrated fee-related products and services and the world's changing around them so that they will have to adapt and they will. All of these banks are recognizing those words that I have just discussed with you. Everybody is forming test groups and are now slowly evolving and changing to accept the future.
Dustin
There is this blockchain element and the behind the scenes of it and then there are the actual cryptocurrency, the tokens behind it. We saw a crazy run up and it was in the news and there was all this hysteria. What's most appealing to you about this new space?
Michael
The new space involves a cashless society and I have been lecturing on that. I lecture on global macroeconomics to various different groups. I tell them about trends especially various different economic groups, whether it's real estate or banking, they would like to know what the next trend is going to be or where they can be involved in the next trend. What happened in the marketplaces, if you have kids, everybody is using Apple Pay and Google Pay. It seems very easy to transfer money over the internet now so you use Uber and you use Lyft. As you can see, we’re becoming much less dependent on physical currency. You'll see in the next five to ten years, there will be no physical currency whatsoever. Everything would be done through your mobile app. You'll be using various different types of currencies and one of them will be a cryptocurrency and it will be fully regulated.
Dustin
It's interesting to hear you make that proposition that in five to ten years, we’ll be cashless. What pops into my head is the word gold. Even though society and how we do everyday transaction or banking is trending that way. I’ve got to imagine you're a believer in diversification and having some gold. Am I correct?
Michael
You're correct. We are old-fashioned Swiss bankers so almost every portfolio has some gold including physical gold.
Dustin
You're also very intrigued by CBD into the marijuana space. Talk to us a little bit about what you see there.
Michael
That's another trend that's never going away. The US government many years ago inhibited and created a tier-one drug with regard to cannabis that equalized it to heroin and other opiates, which is not correct but hemp and it's different than recreational marijuana or THC. Industrial hemp has a thousand uses. The sativa plant, which grows full stock three harvests a year can be used for concrete. It can be used for cars. Henry Ford made a car out of hemp in 1910. It was used for parachutes and ropes during World War I. Our Declaration of Independence is made out of hemp. Thomas Jefferson mandated that farmers had to grow a specific percentage of hemp on their farms. It's an indestructible plant. It can be used to build houses. It’s fire retardant and it doesn't need any type of accessibility other than it can grow wild. It was affecting companies like DuPont, aluminum companies and cotton companies so it was declared an illegal drug. There's no drug in the plant whatsoever. Now, we're seeing the evolution or the renaissance of the use of industrial hemp and CBD derivatives, which for medical purposes and industrial purposes, will be life-changing. I'll make a prediction that within the next five years, everything you wear, everything you touch, everything you infuse in your body and put on your body will have hemp and/or CBD component including the house you live in.
Dustin
I like you and the reason why is it's one thing for a guest to come on and share one prediction. You've given us multiple predictions here and I love it. I love that you're calling it as if you see it.
Michael
This is the non-psychoactive, the non-THC, non-recreational. I'm talking about industrial hemp and the CBD derivatives. I have met researchers, I've met scientists who are studying the use of CBD that will address the twelve major diseases in our society. It's not just me talking, this research is taking place all over the world.
Dustin
I want to marry two of the conversations we had, which is cannabis and banking. I had some acquaintances in the space and the big concern initially was the cannabis shops in particular. Cannabis shops dispensaries were having concerns about putting their money in a federal bank. Is that still the case for them that there is that concern?
Michael
Yes, on the recreational side. The states have legalized it, the federal government has not so you're still not able to pass state lines with your cash. In many cases, it's difficult to deposit and utilize. They're doing it on a state by state basis, but these are not my clients.
Dustin
I was just going to ask, “What's the solution here?” It doesn't seem that there is one yet other than for the banks to get on board.
Michael
Eventually, that will happen. It's too important for taxation for each state. We have about half of our states now that have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. In a very short period of time, we'll have the whole country. In fact, the Farm Bill has just passed, which now enables hemp to be grown in the United States.
Dustin
You're versed in many things, money and one of those topics is uncovering hidden assets and even liquidity. When we first started chatting about doing this interview, we talked about that being one of your specialty. I want to spend some time there. Where do you think a lot of people have this opportunity to find liquidity in their assets that they already have or in their portfolio?
Michael
With regards to investing in the US, the first and best investment is in real estate. It has been currently and will be in the future because it has the greatest appreciation capability and liquidity as well as lending. You can cash out tax-free if you decide to take a mortgage based on money that you've invested in the real estate. If you are able to hold it and sell it or rent it, you have income capability as well as a liquidity event when you sell. The wealthiest people in America, other than the high-tech industry like Googles, Apples, Microsofts and etc. have all made their serious wealth in real estate. I have watched your firm over the years to educate people nationally. I have been to your offices. I understand the nature of your business and you are an outstanding educational tool to people who are interested in investing in real estate.
If you have a home that has liquidity, it's not hard to take an equity line against your home and use that to invest in real estate. You’re able to cash out on a tax-free basis and invest in a piece of real estate that could add income to your daily life based on renting that property. You can buy foreclosures, you can buy other assets and you can renovate them and resell them. There's a tremendous amount of opportunity in the real estate market. If you have hidden assets, you may have some assets at home like gold and silver that's been left to you that you may want to liquefy and then potentially invest in real estate. You could use a home equity loan to potentially invest in real estate and leverage your existing assets. For various different people, depending upon what their asset bases, they have to look internally and say, “Where can I come up with an extra $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 to enhance my ability to invest in real estate, enhance my lifestyle and potentially make some monthly income on a rental or a sale?”
Dustin
Outside of the US, is real estate as valuable or as attractive as a vehicle?
Michael
Our system is the most secure so I would say it's a great value added here. Real estate is important in other countries, but then in other countries like Latin America, you have very high inflation. You have currency issues. I don't think you have the same type of stability that you do in the United States on a long-term basis.
Dustin
You've also mentioned this idea of getting a credit partner. I want to make people aware that that is a scenario for them and they can go out and find somebody. Will you break that down a little bit and share this strategy?
Michael
If you have a home for $300,000 and you have $150,000 mortgage, you've got $150,000 in equity. A bank could potentially give you based on that equity a $50,000 line of credit or a $50,000 home equity loan. You could use that $50,000 for reinvestment into another piece of real estate, either rehabbing, purchasing, reselling. There are a lot of opportunities there and people need to look internally at their assets and see how they can create in an investment opportunity for their future.
Dustin
Is it possible to find somebody with stellar credits and partner with them or is that a slippery slope?
Michael
Not at all. You could have a family member who has better credit than you do. You could have a good friend that has better credit than you do. You could say to them, “Here's our opportunity. I found a terrific house two blocks away that's going through a foreclosure. The couple is getting divorced and needs to sell or a couple is being offered a job across the country and they need to sell their home immediately.” These are opportunities that present themselves in every community. You can partner with a person who has better credit than you by the house on credit, fix it up or rent it out and/or resell it. It's done all the time.
Dustin
When you're looking at a deal or you're looking at an investment opportunity, what is your filter or your criteria for vetting the deal or vetting the opportunity?
Michael
I will consult with somebody in the field that I trust. If I know someone who invests in real estate or develops real estate, or if I have a good friend who's a real estate agent, I will show them the property or show them the deal and get their opinion. If they have a high opinion of it, I will proceed and even ask them if they would like to partner with me. That's one opportunity, but I always seek counsel to make sure that it's done correctly. If I have a lawyer who's in real estate, I will make sure that that's done correctly or use a title company. I want to make sure that I use the correct professional so it will limit my mistakes.
Dustin
In terms of the numbers, is there cash-on-cash return and internal rate of return that you're looking for in particular or is it on a case by case?
Michael
It is case by case depending upon the opportunity. In the financial markets, anybody that can get around a 6% return net of fees and costs is doing exceedingly well. In the real estate market, it's completely different. If you find a foreclosure and you're able to buy that inexpensively and rehab it and resell it, you could potentially make 25% to 50% on your money.
Dustin
Do you or any of your clients ever enter into an investment from a tax savings standpoint? Maybe the upside on the actual gain isn't that great, but there's a tax consideration. Is that a big thing in your world?
Michael
It is in consideration depending upon the vehicle that's being used. I have tax counsel and I have a whole team of people that I outsourced to that look at deals and determine its tax consequences.
Dustin
Michael, in all your years of working with a high net worth individual or the affluent, what's been the most surprising to you?
Michael
How innocent people get taken advantage of so quickly and how hard it is to earn money and how easy it is to lose. You can take a lifetime of making money and saving money and if you make a wrong business decision or a wrong investment, a portion, if not all of your assets could be lost quickly. Due diligence is important, trusted professionals are important and a good education in that specific investment is important. If I'm a manufacturer and all of a sudden I start going into real estate development, I have the potential of losing a lot of liquidity because it's not a field that I know well.
Dustin
What's your advice for spotting an unsavory character, an advisor or someone that's going to mentor you? What is your advice for spotting that? What are your criteria for looking for a trusted advisor?
Michael
Most people have a good intuition in terms of who is savory and who is unsavory. People tend to seek like kind. If you're an unsavory person, you're normally going to be seeking out unsavory people, but most people are fairly good. What you want to do is seek people who are professional and experienced in the field. In real estate, as we were discussing, your firm is the best in the country at what they do. I would seek out professional advice from people who do this every single day. It's like going to a hospital. When you need surgery, I would like to go to a hospital that has performed several thousand of those surgeries rather than go to a hospital that's performed fifteen or twenty of those surgeries. I want to go to a teaching hospital. Your firm is the teaching hospital in real estate so I would consult with a firm like yours before I did anything.
Dustin
Michael, I want to move us into what I call WealthFit round. It's my fancy name for saying rapid-fire questions. What has been your most worthwhile investment?
Michael
A medical cannabis business in Jamaica.
Dustin
Why do you find that's your most worthwhile investment?
Michael
Because I was passionate. I believed in it. It was a startup company that several of my clients got involved in. I invested together with them with my friends and family round. I felt that it was a worthwhile company, not only for the community but for what it was doing as a template for the future and we’re being bought out.
Dustin
What's that investment that you'd rather not talk about? What's that misstep that you took?
Michael
When I was younger, I trusted somebody I shouldn't have and I invested money with them and lost it.
Dustin
Was it a great deal of money or was it just early on and it stung?
Michael
It was early on and it stung, but it's a lesson learned.
Dustin
Michael, when life is great and the economy is great and your clients are calling you up and singing your praises, what's that thing that you treat yourself to? What's your guilty spending or splurge?
Michael
A hot fudge milkshake.
Dustin
Any place in particular?
Michael
Most people would like champagne, but I do a milkshake and it depends where I am. It sounds funny, but it's true. That's how I reward myself.
Dustin
With the number of people in your network and the deal flow and the opportunities coming your way, I would imagine it's fairly easy to say yes to a lot of things because a lot of stuff can look attractive. What have you in the last few years become better at saying no to?
Michael
As you get older, your time becomes more important so you can't say yes to everybody. I have limited myself to friends, family, clients and I don't say yes to everyone. I was offered to sit on a board that I turned down. I was offered to sit on the board of a charity, which I turned down because I don't have the time for it. We just look at our daily experience and see how we're going to allocate our time. When you're young, the world is yours. You have all the time, you have all the energy and you're gaining experience in everything that you do. As you get a little bit older, you sit back and you look at the different opportunities and the different needs and you try to devote yourself to your family, your friends and your business.
Dustin
Fear and self-doubt often stop people from achieving their goals. What do you do to overcome these feelings and what would you tell somebody in a similar situation?
Michael
I don't have any fear and I don't have any self-doubt. I make sure that the people around me are smarter than I am, more capable than I am and I don't have an ego. As a result, I'm always being protected by people around me who do the things that I am not interested in doing and the things that I may not be capable of doing because I don't have the experience.
Dustin
Michael, thank you for that. That was one of the multimillion-dollar nuggets you just shared so special thanks for that. Do you have any special routines or rituals you do to get yourself ready for the day or get yourself in a peak state?
Michael
Yes. The wonderful lady I live with makes me an incredible smoothie that has everything in it I would need for the whole day. I do that in the morning. I practice yoga a few times a week because that's exceedingly important for reducing stress and balance in the core. That's something you can do for the rest of your life. People should try to reduce their stress in their life and that's one key component. Whether it's yoga or another sport, that's something that we need to address. My girlfriend is a vegetarian so she helped me eat correctly. My former food groups before I met her were pizza, marshmallows, chocolate and ice cream. I have eliminated most of those. I'm eating healthy so I could fit into the California lifestyle quite quickly.
Dustin
Michael, who do you learn from? Who are your mentors?
Michael
Everybody I meet every day.
Dustin
Do you experience overwhelm?
Michael
I compartmentalize very well so I don't think I become overwhelmed. I try to address each item and I make lists and check them off. I don't believe that I'm overwhelmed. There are overwhelming circumstances. There are overwhelming issues that confront you and I'm very objective on how I approach problems for my legal career. I'm good at problem-solving for my clients. I'm not always the best for myself, but for clients, I’m outstanding.
Dustin
Michael, thank you for being on the show. You've shared a lot of amazing information that we don't always get to hear about on this show. I appreciate you and your willingness to come on to the show. Thank you, Michael, for being on the show and sharing your wisdom with us.
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