Most of the time, my life here in the City of Light is a steady but varied melange (French word) of writing, reading, phone calls, emails, meetings, long walks, and casual conversations. But every once in awhile, the routine’s sidewalk-cafe dreaminess is jolted, and I get cranky.
The most recent occasion was marked by a conversation with a young man. He had been referred to me by his uncle, who was having difficulty communicating with his nephew. It was a critical juncture in the 20-something’s life: he was gainfully employed, the paychecks were rolling in, and the money management was not happening, to put it mildly.
My mission, since I chose to accept it, was to talk some sense into the lad. During our phone conversation, I ask a few questions (always a good idea before giving advice). The answers were evasive. Finally, I pinned the young man down and asked him what the problem was with setting a budget, living within his means, and thinking of the future.
“I just don’t believe the things you talk about in your book are really going to help me,” he replied. At this point, I lost my patience.
“I really don’t care what you believe. Your belief, or lack thereof, has no bearing on the effectiveness of the principals I advocate.” After that, my memory of what I said is a little foggy because I was more than a little irritated. But I’ll paraphrase…
“If you eat nothing but fast food for a month, you’re going to get sick. It doesn’t matter what you believe. If you go to the gym and lift weights everyday for a year, you’re going to get ripped. It doesn’t matter what you believe. And if you follow the principles I’ve laid out in The Old Money Book, you’re going to reap the benefits in much the same way.
“So I really don’t care what you believe. You just have to decide if you’re going to buckle down and do it. And you’re not.”
Needles to say, the conversation wrapped up fairly quickly after that. I haven’t heard from the young man, or his uncle, since then.
The Old Money philosophy is like whiskey: it can be refined, it can be distilled, and it can be aged. But it’s still whiskey. It’s still strong. It can still burn.