I read your book and really enjoyed it. I only wish I’d read it sooner.
I’m a sophomore at a New England college. The summer of my senior year, a relative of mine died and left me some money in her will. I had been accepted to the school I’d always wanted to attend, and had been awarded a scholarship which covered a lot of the expenses. My parents had also lived really under the radar and had my college money set aside, so it was all good.
I felt like I was on top of the world. When my parents sat down with me and handed me the check, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had already talked to the older brother of a friend of mine who was into stocks and knew about this IPO (initial public offering) of this company that couldn’t miss. I’d seen a classic car online and thought driving that off to school in the fall would be the bomb. Some of my classmates and I had already planned a vacation, but I decided I was going to raise the bar on that and rent a suite for everybody.
My parents asked me at the dining room table that night if I wanted any advice about handling the money. I said, no, I got this.
So the IPO went nowhere. I didn’t really lose a lot, but it didn’t take off like we all thought it would. The classic car was great until the classic insurance and repair bills started coming in. I drove it off to college and had to park it outside in the rain and snow my freshman year. I also looked like a douche, I realize now, as some of the students there had access to a lot more cash than I did and were driving hand-me-downs or nothing at all.
At Christmas, I panicked at how all the money from the IPO, the vacation (which ended up with a lot of people I didn’t know drinking booze I paid for and telling me what a great guy I was in the hotel suite for 3 days straight), and the car, it was all going out the window. So I sold the car for about half of what I paid for it and, except for a thousand dollars, I put all that in the bank.
Everybody told me to dress for the weather, but I hadn’t listened to that, either. So I took a about five hundred dollars and bought winter stuff on LL Bean, like you said. Ankle boots for the snow, wool sweater, flannel lined khakis and some dress shirts. I bought a blue blazer on sale at a local shop when I got back to campus for the social scene. So all the fashion-y stuff got left at home.
My mom offered the family SUV which is fifteen years old if I wanted to drive that. I accepted, then just went down to the basement, sat on the sofa and just cried by myself. I had about half of what I started with, but still a lot considering most people my age.
I started the second semester not spending much money on anything and trying not to get depressed, studying, which I hadn’t done the first semester because I was whatever I was.
This year, I met a girl and we really hit it off. After a few dates, we had one of those long talks where you really get down to it. She told me that a friend we both knew had told her that I’d inherited a lot of money. I was really shocked. I was really kind of pissed that a guy I knew would talk about that, and I was really surprised that she would bring it up. I didn’t think she was a gold-digger, but then I kind of took a step back.
Then she said, “You’re handling it well. A lot better than a lot of people would. Good for you.” And then she changed the subject. I tried to not show what I was thinking, like, girl, if you only knew.
We went home late, and then I couldn’t sleep. It was like she’d given me the compliment of compliments and I didn’t deserve it. Then I decided that I was going to try to deserve it in the future. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I just kind of made that promise to myself.
My parents came to visit for a game weekend, and I talked to my dad about the whole thing. He had a friend who’d read your book, and I downloaded a copy. It was like a road map for somebody lost in the woods.
Thank you. And yeah, I think the girl is old money. We’re still dating.