Momentum Podcast: 135
The Decision To Fly Private
by Alex Charfen
Reagan and I are at the airport and so you're going to hear some background noise, but I thought that it was really appropriate to record this podcast at the airport with all the pressure and noise in the background because Cadey and I have set a goal in our business, in the group that we run. And once we hit that goal, we've made the decision, we're buying the Net Jets card. We've been talking for years about getting a fractional jet ownership. And a few weeks ago my closest friend did get his Net Jets card finally. We actually own a business together. We've owned a ton of stuff together. We've done a ton of stuff together
Social media has been very good for the private jet industry. Spend a few minutes on Facebook and you will encounter a lot of people flying in private jets. Speakers, authors, thought leaders And CEOs are flying private in record numbers. This is a decision that Cadey and I have been talking about for years. We have set an internal goal for our company, and once we get it, we are going to start flying private a lot of the time. I recorded this podcast to share with you how much has gone into making this decision, before you make it for yourself.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire-builders, game-changers, trailblazers, shot-takers, record-breakers, world-makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.
While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.The decision to fly private. I'm in Dallas, Texas right now with my daughter Reagan and we-
Reagan: What's up?
Alex Charfen: You want to say anything Ray?
Reagan: What's up world? It's really cool to be on a podcast. This is awesome.
Alex Charfen: Reagan and I are at the airport and so you're going to hear some background noise, but I thought that it was really appropriate to record this podcast at the airport with all the pressure and noise in the background because Cadey and I have set a goal in our business, in the group that we run. And once we hit that goal, we've made the decision, we're buying the Net Jets card. We've been talking for years about getting a fractional jet ownership. And a few weeks ago my closest friend did get his Net Jets card finally. We actually own a business together. We've owned a ton of stuff together. We've done a ton of stuff together.
And he just got his Net Jets card, he posted a picture of the jet on his desk because they send you a little model of the jet you're going to fly and I realized it's time for us to do that. But I want anyone who sees me in the future on a private jet to understand the process and decision making that Cadey and I went through before we made the decision to finally set the goal to do this. So phase one, I want everyone to understand that Cadey and I are completely out of debt. So you know, as an entrepreneur when you go to making a decision like buying the Net Jets card where you're going to pay an exponential amount more for something like flying than everyone else in the world does, you have to be sure you're completely out of debt.
You're building a financial foundation because otherwise, it doesn't make sense. And so we are completely out of debt. We don't have mortgages even though we own our home and investment properties and we live on a fraction of what we make. And we keep it that way. And so the decision to buy the Net Jets card was one that we've talked about for years. And making the decision to fly private is one we've talked about for years and we finally sat down and looked at it and not only are we out of debt, we have passive income on a monthly basis both from real estate and from ownership and other businesses and other investments. And then we have a very profitable business and it's growing even more profitable and our incomes are such that it's a ... Buying that card is a small percentage of what we make in a year.
And so when you see me in the future on social media or in photos or anything else near a private jet, I want everyone to understand that, and to understand that I now have the perspective, now I've been in business for as long as I have, that when you do anything that makes you uncomfortable over and over again, it only gets worse. It becomes more challenging over time. Like you can try and overcome things, but I've been uncomfortable in airports my whole life and I think everyone else is uncomfortable in airports and the whole going through security and the noise and the announcements and getting on one plane and off and onto another. Like I don't like any of that process.
And I know some people might listen to that and say, "Wow, what a whiner." But here's what I've grown to know. When I go through this process, it makes it harder for me to be creative. When I'm traveling, I notice just by watching myself that I am not on social media as much. I'm not as expressive as I am. Absolutely it makes me feel vulnerable, so I'm less vulnerable with how I express myself. And I've talked to Cadey about it and we realized that that exchange, that trade-off of the noise of flying commercial where we can turn it all off if we make this one investment, that the reduction of that noise is going to create an equal and opposite success. And I used to look at things like private jets as extravagances.
And I had friends who have private jets. I've been on private jets and I used to think that it was crazy. And now, I think back to when I was younger and I used to watch my friends with the private jets and their company's growing and the people around it and the teams building. And I was always trying to do it all myself and use as few resources as possible, and I saved every penny and didn't ... Did it just the opposite way.
But what I really was doing was making it near impossible to grow because I wasn't investing like my friends were. I wasn't investing in the same way. I wasn't protecting myself. I wasn't investing in lowering the noise for myself. And I think that as entrepreneurs, that's a place where you know you don't understand how much of a return there is on investment until you start doing it and trusting it, but don't do it on a credit card and get out of debt first. Because the first step is releasing all of your debt. That will be life changing for you in and of itself.
And then the second step is starting to invest ... Well, second step is building a six month emergency fund for you and for your business so that you have a financial foundation, and then getting some passive income and making sure that you have money coming in and having confidence in the business you're in. And then do what Cadey and I did. Set a goal, set an outcome, so you're working towards it. You can celebrate a milestone and then you take that noise and you take that pressure and you buy it down, and then you watch your numbers and you make sure that there's a reciprocal effect.
So here's two things and I'll share with you is one, that's the decision making process. And two, I'll continue to share with you over time on this podcast if it worked, if it lowered enough noise that there's enough more gas in the tank, there's more creativity. The pressure and noise goes down enough that we feel like it was a valid exchange because every time that me and my family are in airports, I think to myself like, "I don't have to be part of this system anymore. I have a high enough net worth that I've ..." Cadey and I have well exceeded the net worth that most people have when they start playing flying private. And I think the fact that we went bankrupt in 2007 just has kept us really crazy conservative with our personal expenses with where we invest money. And so even though we've built a huge rehab center in our house and we have an infrared sauna and all kinds of equipment and a huge gym. And we actually have two gyms and you know, we built an environment around us that lowers the noise like crazy.
When we have to leave that environment, it goes right back up. And I'm now starting to realize that the more we can be protected from that, this is where once you've paid off the debt, once you've built the residual income, once you have the net worth, that's where money has to start going. It's like how ... Because those are the things you do to lower pressure and noise first. You buy yourself an infrared sauna on a credit card, you're not lowering pressure and noise, you're only hurting yourself. But when you do those things, the next steps are to now really start taking care of yourself and doing it in a framework where you understand that there is a return on investment.
So this has been a big decision for us, partially because I've always been the person who ... I'm always scared for an entrepreneur when they do things like they have a house on a mortgage and they have a car that they've leased and they have cash coming in and they're spending 80% of it, and then they buy the Net Jets card. I panic. And I panic if anybody's running their life that way because we don't have to have that much pressure. We don't have to have that much noise. Just because you've done it doesn't mean you have to keep doing it.
And when somebody tells me, "Here's what I've done," it doesn't affect how I see what they can do. And when somebody says, "I've done this before, I've gone through hard times." Well, then fail forward, fail fast is a great way to get started, but it's not a life success strategy. And there's a point where you start succeeding and succeeding consistently and winning on a daily basis and winning with a team and winning within an organization where there's a structure and you recognize it and you understand it and you create momentum every day to move forward.
And it might sound goofy, but flying private and the other things that you see people like me do where we have the big house and a lot of room and a lot of customization and a lot of things that you don't see anywhere else there's a reason. It's because those things make the world quieter for me. They make it simpler for me. They make it easier for me and that makes me better at everything that I do. And I think that if you're an entrepreneur who is trying to create your greatest contribution and go out and make your change in the world, start taking care of yourself.
Go in the order that I just talked about. Take care of your financial foundation first. Take care of your physiological foundation, lower the noise, and understand that when you see me flying in a private jet, it wasn't a decision we just made on a whim. And it's certainly not something we put on a credit card. If you're an entrepreneur and you want to learn more about yourself than anyone has ever been able to explain to you, download a copy of my book, The Entrepreneurial Personality Type. You can go to FreeMomentumBook.com, FreeMomentumBook.com. In the pages of that book, you'll discover why you have the behaviors you have today, why you're repeating things that do not create progress for you and how you can stop that, create momentum and move forward.