David Parker is the author of Income and Wealth and A San Francisco Conservative. In addition to a career in education spanning more than 40 years as a music teacher in San Francisco’s public schools. Parker achieved success as one of San Francisco’s leading real estate investors. A true “Renaissance man,” he is also active on the city’s jazz scene, as leader of the Dave Parker Sextet, which twice headlined San Francisco’s prestigious Filmore Jazz Festival. In addition to being an author, musician, entrepreneur and investor, David Parker, a lifelong resident of San Francisco, is also a proud father and grandfather. He is currently working on his third and fourth books, Selected Writings: David Parker Essays Volume 3, and The Environment: David Parker Essays Volume 3.
How can some make wise financial decisions with the current life-changing pandemic and volatile economy? What would be your first recommendation to a person seeking your help?
A key to making wise financial decisions, even during times that many consider challenging, is to remember that economic patterns are cyclical. We should find that fact reassuring. There are always opportunities for economic growth – whether that means investing in a carefully chosen stock or joining with a colleague to purchase residential real estate. If you exercise self-discipline during the years when the economy is strong, you’ll have cash available that will enable you to take advantage of the right opportunity. My first recommendation, when asked how to create wealth is to become more disciplined about saving money. As I demonstrate in my book, Income and Wealth, even someone working a minimum-wage job can save half their income and become financially independent in ten years–if they make it a must. There is always an unexpected variable operating in the economy – the pandemic, for example. Don’t look for excuses! Just start saving!
Your first book, Income and Wealth, includes business and economic insights carried with you since the age of 12 and provided readers with a thought-provoking examination of the foundation on which the nation’s freedom rests. What inspired you to write this book?
At an early age, one of my childhood epiphanies was the realization that “income” is not the same thing as “wealth.” When I was 12 years old, I came across the obituary of a waiter who worked his entire life at the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. He had built a fortune worth millions of dollars on a waiter’s income. That realization, one of three that prompted me to write.
Do you think the pandemic impacted how individuals may pursue that goal of achieving financial independence? What do you think is the focus of Gen Z and Millennials regarding financial independence?
When millions of people who had previously spent their working lives in an office of some kind were suddenly ordered to work from home due to the pandemic, and countless businesses were closed, a certain freedom was thrust upon us. People realized they preferred working from home–and sought ways to keep that new-found freedom. I’m not sure we can generalize, but I’ve noticed that many members of the Gen Z and millennial generations are more determined than ever not to hold off on travel and life experiences. Having learned that life can be short, they seem newly inspired to make the most of it—rather than save for the future. Yet, I’m impressed with the compassion demonstrated by these younger generations.
Can you share something about the book that isn’t in the blurb? What do you hope your readers take away from the book, Income and Wealth?
I want my readers to realize that the laws of money and economics are timeless. Babylon and today are the same. Government should not regulate or tax business Those in business always find a way to go around government regulation. The market always goes around. The cost of that evasion is much higher prices and a much lower standard of living, for everyone.
How did Income and Wealth become a favorite subject for someone who spent 20 years as a member of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and 15 years as leader of the Dave Parker Sextet? Can economics and creativity co-exist?
I’ve always enjoyed leading several simultaneous careers. For more than 40 years, I worked as a music teacher in San Francisco’s public schools. At the same time, I became an investor and entrepreneur, a writer and a musician. Those simultaneous careers keep me sharp and creative. I like to joke that “I have 150 years of experience!” The famous muralist Diego Rivera understood that the creative artist and the creative industrialist are the very same person.
While pursuing a career in education, you became a very successful real estate investor. So, what exactly motivated you to become a writer? What was the trigger moment for you?
When I first started writing, my wife took one look at what I’d written and said, “I think you’d better take a class in economics.” So, I went back to school and took 67 units of math and economics (an earned a master’s degree in economics). The same intuition I have for teaching, playing music, and investing, I have for political economy. For the last 35 years, I have been reading and writing three to five hours a day on that subject.
What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?
Success is the satisfaction of working at a professional level.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
I’m working on a collection of essays on a variety of topics – government, history and economics.
As an author, what is the change you want to bring into people’s lives to help their families and communities?
The message of my second book, A San Francisco Conservative, but also Income and Wealth, is that the Founding Fathers got it right: maximum individual freedom, maximum individual responsibility. Government cannot do for citizens what they must do for themselves.
What projects or goals are you working on or leading currently?
I enjoy playing jazz as a member of The Dave Parker Sextet here in San Francisco, several times a month. Come hear us play sometime!