What it feels like to be Rich

images (18)

After losing over one million a week, cash, for the entire summer of 2000, I was forced to sell my apartment. So one day in 2002, all the boxes were packed, the apartment was empty. We had two moving trucks waiting downstairs to move us an hour north of the city. It was like an exile. My self-esteem was gone, my apartment was gone, I hadn’t slept a full night in almost three years, and other things I can’t even talk about. My ex-wife, my two toddler girls, and Lynne, a close family friend who was helping us move, were taking one last look around. “Oh. My. God,” Lynne said. “This is really it.”

It’s been a decade and a lot has happened, good and bad (mostly good). Someone on quora yesterday asked the question, “what’s it feel like to be rich?” I figured I’d answer based on my pre-2000 experiences. I’ll save 2000-2010 for another time.

($100,000 bill)

A lot of people started answering the quora question with “I was able to buy this, or that, or ‘this and that’. “ Money was never about that for me, then or now. There’s never been anything I wanted to buy (other than the next ipad!)  I have minimal material possessions. If you know me you’d see I dress like crap and the edges of all of my pants are frayed. I don’t own a suit. I don’t have a drivers license so fancy cars are out.  I like comic books more than paintings. I don’t like to fly or sail. And I don’t drink wine or eat out a lot. So what did it mean for me back then:

–          DNA. I finally felt good enough about myself to pass on my genes and have children. I never wanted to have children before that.  There’s apparently some evolutionary reason that we feel a strong urge to pass on our genes. I had never felt that before but somehow having a significant amount of money gave me permission to want to have kids.

–          Safety. For the briefest of moments, I felt “safe” – like nothing could harm me and I could live forever. In 1999 I visited the Chairman of a company I was a shareholder of. I was in LA and he picked me up at the hotel in his latest Porsche. We drove to his enormous house and he gave me a tour. When we sat down he told me, “I don’t even have to do this anymore. I have so much money now that nothing can touch me.” I know it sounds unbelievable and a cliché but a year later he came down with cancer. After battling with cancer for years he was given worse and worse news about the outlook until eventually he shot himself and his kids found the body. I heard about the news when his wife called everyone in his address book. This is not meant to be a lesson. Money has its benefits but immortality is not one of them. (Although, if you must –  How To Live Forever).

Another example. A friend of mine was running a prominent gaming site and wanted to maybe sell it or do something with (it was 1999, so why not?) I introduced him to a successful guy I knew on Wall Street. I couldn’t even find the guy’s office. I had never been down as south as Wall Street.  My friend and I sat there while Shlomo (not his real name, but you get the drift) said, “look at me! Ten years ago I was a shlub. Now I have 100  million dollars. Only in America, right?” About two years later Shlomo was in the center of a massive FBI sting involving a currency brokerage he had started that had been simply pocketing investors money since the 70s. He went to jail. Even my orthodox friends turn away and refuse to talk about him whenever I ask if they knew him.

–          Scarcity. My feelings of safety and immortality quickly gave way to scarcity. After all, I thought, if I could make 10 million dollars  then it must be too easy. In fact, I honestly thought, everyone else had probably already made 11 million dollars. So then I felt poor again. I now needed 100 million dollars to be happy.  I drove in a car with a friend of mine and his wife. I said, “everyone has 10 million dollars now.” She quickly said, “not everyone”.

–          Friends.  I lost some friends. Then I made some new friends. By the time I was going down in the elevator from my apartment that one last time, 100% of those new friends were destined to never speak to me again (at least through January 12, 2011). My new friends said things like, “Mark Cuban is a stud” or “Fuck him. Take away all his shares” or “Good luck. Have a nice life” or “of course its legal!”

(one of many paintings I bought)

–          The value of money. I realized (too late then, but I learned) that I never knew the value of money. I had never even been aware of money before. My prior goals had been playing games, making fun websites, or writing novels. Now my only goal was money, money, money, and more money. I told my therapist at the time, in 2001, “its like losing a loved one” and she said, “sweetie, sounds like you’ve never really lost a loved one before.”

Money is a great thing. It’s the payoff on hard work, great luck (which is often earned luck) and you can do amazing things with it. Build new businesses, create  jobs, buy your independence and freedom from corporate America. But first you have to climb many hurdles, of which earning the money is only the first.  Very few things are better than earning a lot of money.

But money finds a home only in places where it’s appreciated. I didn’t appreciate the money. So it left me.

When we were in the car, driving to our new home back in 2002 it was in the middle of a snowstorm. I wanted to cry I felt so bad about what was happening. But it was too much to think about. So for a brief moment I watched the snow and remembered what it was like to be a kid. Tasting the first snow of the year on the tip of my tongue.

Read More: How To Be The Luckiest Guy On the Planet in 4 Easy Steps. 

What do you do after you make a ZILLION dollars?

Can a mutant douchebag change his life?

Give and you will receive.

 

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • http://profiles.google.com/bill082000 Bill carver

    Reminds me of a great quote “there are no pets on the farm” author unknown

  • http://twitter.com/stephenguise Stephen Guise

    I laughed so hard at the DNA bit. “I have 10 million dollars, so now I am allowed to procreate.” That is hilarious.

    The part about the friends made me not want to get rich. Why did you lose your previous friends? Was it because these new friends took their place or because they resented you for your wealth?

  • Wdeegan

    Sounds like your an independent women with all your points and ideas right out in front of you. Why do you care where someone gets thier hope from. Your last paragraph was at least semi supportive. It seem like so many people want to put a bandaid on others, right after they shit on them. But than again we have opinions and our history generaly leads our tongue. How well do you know Altucher…or yourself?

    Best of luck
    Single DAD w/ two girls :}

  • Sarasen

    i am from NJ, and you can definitely own a home with $72K (even if you are $60 K in debt). my dad was an immigrant, he came to the US and was making only $40K, had 2 kids to put through college, and a third younger kid and wife to support. Mom did not work. He did all of that and in less than 4 years, bought his first condo. later bough a home (selling the condo), and rented out one of the units in new home to help pay for mortgage. Put third child in a private H.S. and paid for college as well. All us three kids are independent, no debt, and have well paying jobs, with one of the kids now a millionaire.
    Let me tell you how he did it. We did not have cable for years, while everyone in my school had MTV, we didn’t. but i didn’t mind. He would never buy a coke can from the local store, but get the 24 back and take from home. He and everyone in the household took homecooked meals to college, work, or H.S. He took public transportation to work,kids took PT to college (they did not live on campus to save costs for a dad who was dearly paying for their education) so no car for atleast 4 years. I could go on and on on this, with examples.

    We all kids are thankful to our parents for supporting us thru college, and now that we are independent, we give back to them in many many ways, like sending them on vacation, or helping financially in other ways. Mind you, they always refuse the money, because despite putting us through college, they built themselves a good nest egg as well.

    So it can be done….

  • Poor Student

    My family lives on less than 30k. You have plenty for a house. Learn how to save more and stop spending for a month seeing what you can live without. Don’t forget to save for your child.

  • KIWI

    Hi Am2733, and others

    I live and study in New Zealand but i try to get some perspective from blogs like this, which I must admit, is absolutely fantastic! I can’t help feeling great sympathy for people like penelope above but i have to tell you that you are lucky to live in the United States. Almost everything, and i mean EVERYTHING in my country is more expensive.. Petrol, groceries, clothing, house prices, mortgages.. and yet our GDP in U.S dollar terms is about 40% less. It is very very difficult for the average person in NZ to buy a house. My uncle in california has told me that he can fix a 30 year mortgage at 5%! I must tell you that we dream of this in NZ. A one year mortgage rate is about 7% here. In saying this, however, i wouldn’t leave the green pastures and beautiful beaches that you find here, for a substantially higher income long term. I wont deny that i intend to leave in the short term to return at a later date.

    I am also 19 and i think James has some interesting and helpful ideas, but i cannot agree that the best way to hold money is in cash. When i read this i literally cringe with worry; you cannot ignore inflation and you cannot ignore the U.S dollar depreciation. Buy tangibles until your federal reserve stops printing money and until the U.S dollar regains some semblance of credibility. Respectfully to those living in the U.S and commenting on this page, your dollar is not what it used to be. But you know this. Do not hold it as a store of value or you will take a hit am2733. Take it from an impartial spectator from the other side of the world. I’m off to buy some renminbi BOOM! p.s James, your site has inspired me to write my first post ever!

  • Neutrina

    Life for me became so much better after i got rid of my UNREALISTIC expectations, stopped trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, got rid of my credit cards, eliminated debt, downgraded my lifestyle including going from a 3,000 5 bedroom SF home i didn’t need to a more modest 1,500 sf 3 bedroom SF home in a less expensive side of town and getting rid of “stuff” i really didn’t need.
    When I stopped trying to chase after the most amount of money possible and made sure i lived within my means, I came to realize that the only purpose of making butt loads of money, for most people, is to get more “stuff”.
    Financial security can be had with alot less money than people think. Freedom to do whatever occupation you wish can be had when you significantly downgrade your lifestyle to a more modest one.

    I can now live comfortably making as little as $27k a year (with two kids), in a profession that i have an interest in–where as before i was struggling with trying to find a job in a profession, regardless of whether i hated it or not, that paid me at least $80K a year.
    My dad. who was a CPA(Accountant) always had this quirky saying “The more money you make the more the tax man will take so better make sure you have a whole lot of deductions.”
    If it’s one thing my parents taught me which i am grateful for, is how to be happy living a simpler life.
    The one time i tried to deviate from that, the bubble burst bringing me right back down to reality.

  • Neutrina

    Life for me became so much better after i got rid of my UNREALISTIC expectations, stopped trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, got rid of my credit cards, eliminated debt, downgraded my lifestyle including going from a 3,000 5 bedroom SF home i didn’t need to a more modest 1,500 sf 3 bedroom SF home in a less expensive side of town and getting rid of “stuff” i really didn’t need.
    When I stopped trying to chase after the most amount of money possible and made sure i lived within my means, I came to realize that the only purpose of making butt loads of money, for most people, is to get more “stuff”.
    Financial security can be had with alot less money than people think. Freedom to do whatever occupation you wish can be had when you significantly downgrade your lifestyle to a more modest one.
    I can now live comfortably making as little as $27k a year (with two kids), in a profession that i have an interest in–where as before i was struggling with trying to find a job in a profession, regardless of whether i hated it or not, that paid me at least $80K a year.
    My dad. who was a CPA(Accountant) always had this quirky saying “The more money you make the more the tax man will take so better make sure you have a whole lot of deductions.”
    If it’s one thing my parents taught me which i am grateful for, is how to be happy living a simpler life.
    The one time i tried to deviate from that, the bubble burst bringing me right back down to reality.

  • Himandme

    I lived in baltimore,maryland for 20 years. Horrible and expensive! I own a home in Florida now. I never would have been able to qualify for at the prices in the northeast. Florida has a much better quality of life in the smaller cities and great place for children and twice the house for half the money! All I had to do to make my dreams come true was get the H> out of the northeast. I suggest you do the same. Try Port Saint Lucie area of florida. Cheap properties, safe. Good Luck

    • fair warning

      Careful for South East Florida there are some rapidly deteriorating areas. You also need to familiarize yourself with “sunshine pay” if you plan on trying to work down there. Basically there is an abundant work force and many employers pay poorly because so many people want to live in that warm sunny climate. I have family in Fort Lauderdale. The property values have crashed to where they were 20 years ago. On one side of their condo complex are million dollar homes on the canals. There is one house that has a Lamborghini parked in the driveway and many boats in slips. Not even 2 minutes walk away on the other side are ratty, drug infested apartments. They have had the washer stolen from the laundry room a few times over the past couple of years. Many parts of Florida could end up looking like Detroit if things continue. Tampa also seemed to have a very high crime area right next the tourist district. Going a block too far takes you instantly from nice restaurants and bars into an area that looks like a combat zone. Port Saint Lucie may be entirely different.

      Take a good look around for several blocks in every direction if you plan to move there. I saw many areas that had an extreme mix of neighborhoods very close together,

    • Lori

      Yes, housing prices are much lower in Florida, however, there are no jobs in Fla, either. 

  • Adguy

    My brother in law was a CPA. Hated it. Quit. NOw he drives locomotives and loves the work. Single never rich but very comfortable.

    Penelope, DONT BUY A HOUSE!!!!!! Home ownership is very “80’s. Rent a nice home if you like. In 2-3 years you will be able to buy a much nicer place.

  • Irishgirlsusie

    When you’re single, Uncle Sam and the state taxes usually take out about 20k off the top of that salary. Without a mortgage to deduct from your taxes, there are few tax breaks a single person gets (well, she gets the kid deduction now). But, if her gross salary is 72, you can knock it down to 52 after taxes and health insurance etc. Now if you read carefully, she is a single parent with no one to fall back on for child care, so if she takes her child to daycare then you can put in for about 800 bucks a month for that which translates into about 10k per year. Now we are down to 42k per year to cover food, clothing, shelter, gas, car payments, diapers, and don’t forget to fund your retirement. Throw in her 60k in debt, which we do not know how it’s structured, and the picture doesn’t look quite as nice. People forget it’s a totally different scenario when you are a single person doing it all on your own. So judgemental! Get off your high horse!

    • Nan

      42k equals $3,500 a month.  Even if her debt is $500/mo, that still leaves a net $3,000 a month to live on…. DOUBLE the “take home” of the average working single mom in the U.S.!

      • Cmon

        She also makes hundreds of times what Chinese factory workers make. Doesn’t make it any easier for her.

  • Noone

    You only make $72k a year, give me a break. You make more than 80% of the country quit compaining.

  • Gary_UK

     ‘Only $72k’?

    Is that a typo?

    A child in Africa dies every 5 seconds from starvation. Wake up. And stop whingeing.

  • Gary_UK

     ‘Only $72k’?

    Is that a typo?

    A child in Africa dies every 5 seconds from starvation. Wake up. And stop whingeing.

    • Rafer Johnson

      Um……….”stop whingeing”?

  • Nan

    Penelope is obviously seriously mismanaging her money.  Anyone making 72k who is living in a “dark dingy little apartment” is either a DRUG ADDICT or LYING about where they live.  Chances are very good that she is living in a Luxury apartment, is a shopaholic, is driving a 2011 BMW, and rarely cooks!  The best thing that can happen to her would be to loose her job and end up on welfare!  Then she will be forced to pinch pennies just to buy a single potato or one apple to split with her child for dinner.  Quickly, she will learn that she must go to Food banks in order to survive.  There will be no more car – she and her kid will be riding the bus sitting next to stinking homeless alcoholics. Poverty is the total solution to Penelope’s problem!  It will be painful to live in ONE dark and dingy ROOM, instead of an actual apartment, but she can do it.  If she survives, and gets another job paying 72k, she will not blow money ever again.

    • Bob

      “The best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
      -Benjamin Franklin

  • Anonymous

    Everyone of us should thank our lucky stars we were born in the USA at a time where the USA was the dominant economic force in the world. That may change or may not but we all must understand that it is extremely hard for very smart people in the rest of the world to make (and possibly lose) $10 million. 

    Some of us look at these experiences as battle wounds, and education but 98% of Americans and 99.95 of the global population would read this articles and comments like they were written by Martians. 

    Not flag waving nor dismissing our hard work BUT we were born into or moved to an environment that is very unique and –again- we should thank our lucky stars.

    IMHO

    Zack

    • Rafer Johnson

      I agree Zack, I hope those who come after me have the same opportunity I did. What a wonder of a nation.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone of us should thank our lucky stars we were born in the USA at a time where the USA was the dominant economic force in the world. That may change or may not but we all must understand that it is extremely hard for very smart people in the rest of the world to make (and possibly lose) $10 million. 

    Some of us look at these experiences as battle wounds, and education but 98% of Americans and 99.95 of the global population would read this articles and comments like they were written by Martians. 

    Not flag waving nor dismissing our hard work BUT we were born into or moved to an environment that is very unique and –again- we should thank our lucky stars.

    IMHO

    Zack

  • David A

    remember having dinner with a bunch of brokers back in 2008 when I was losing a lot of the money I made over the past 20 years as a trader by trying to be the smartest kid in the class with his hand up first – by picking a bottom in financial stocks (and this after being the most negative person I knew in 2005 on real estate…go figure) – and I was sitting next to the very gracious old school market analyst Michael Metz and he shared his own experience with me about money:  “when i was younger and had money I never really enjoyed it and then I would lose it so now when I have money I try to enjoy it a little.”  Wow, I thought to myself, that is kind of like me…married for 20 years, two teenage kids, a decent amount of money and still sleeping on a mattress in a Harvard bed frame.  I had a friend who did the same thing and a older man in his 80s who was a business friend said to him, “what the hell is wrong with you?”  Yes, indeed, what the hell was wrong with my friend…and me.  Something I ask myself every day after the carnage I put myself through in 2008/early 2009 and am still dealing with. 

  • Lori

    Hi Penelope, I read your post and I am in the same boat as you, except I am disabled. All I have ever wanted was a home of my own. My husband became disabled in 1991 and I was newly pregnant with my second child. We have raised both of kids on his disability pensions, and SSD.  Now that my daughter is on her own, and my son is in his third year of college, soon it will be just me and hubby. I rent a house, that is way too big for me. As the years have gone by, my scoliosis has worsened, and I can barely walk. I stumbled upon this site for people who want to downsize.  It’s for people who want tiny or small houses.  The tiny houses are on wheels and are really tiny, however, the small houses can be built with three bedrooms, two baths, etc. The prices are just right for you. Not only will your mortgage be less than your rent, but the utilities are approximately $300 a year!!  Google, Jay Shafer, and up will pop his site and you can see the tiny house he lives in..89 sq. ft.  Do not get discouraged by his tiny house, instead look at all the different designs, and sizes that can be built just for you.  I hope that this may help you to realize your dream.  As for me, I am 52 and husband is 61.  We have not been on a vacation in 18 years, so I will settle for a cruise..LOL!  God Bless you Penelope and your little girl.  I pray that I may have helped you in your quest to own your own beautiful home. 

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    yeah, sometimes I feel like his emotions are downloaded directly into my head and they actually stay there for a while.
     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F5AUHW57BN5J2JDX77ACP35GRI ChicagoHockey

    Great article

  • http://trabajox5.com Trabajos Medio Tiempo

    Excellent article and just make me think about where I’m now… Thanks for sharing

  • doug graves

    I won $1,000 dollars in the lottery once.  I got a perm at Vidal Sasoons.  They told me to put on this brown smock and led me into a change room.  I stripped down to my jockey shorts and when I came out in the smock and shorts everyone laughed.  My mother was so angry I didn’t give her any money that she threw me out of my room in the basement.   I moved in with a gay man who had a two bedroom apartment, quit school, and got a job as a shipper receiver for a safety company.  On my 17th birthday I joined the army and they cut off my perm.  That was 40 years ago.  Life has been downhill ever since and I pray daily for a terminal cancer.

  • Randy

    If Walton didn’t have money, wouldn’t he have also died of cancer?

    Being handed a death sentence doesn’t take away the utilitarian purposes of money for the living.

    • http://www.DavidCDean.com David C Dean

      And the ability to *not* leave your family with a mountain of debt.

    • Cuchulain92

      The difference is that if you’re wealthy, death is the ultimate loss. If you’re poor, death is the ultimate relief. That’s what some pundits don’t understand about this “culture of death” concept- the idea of an event that simultaneously ends both suffering and success alike will always be viewed differently by those whose suffering outweighs their successes.

      • dratman

        That is wonderful. Is that a quote (“if you’re wealthy, death is the ultimate loss. If you’re poor, death is the ultimate relief”), or is that your own writing? Because it’s brilliant.

        I actually feel both ways about death at the same time. My feeling on the subject is something like this line from near the end of the song “Old Man River”:

        “I’m tired of living, but scared of dying.”

        We really have very little control of our lives, almost no control. We can gamble, sure, but we can’t determine whether we will win or lose in terms of happiness, satisfaction, wealth. Almost anything you can think of is actually outside our control.

        Your own health and the health and survival of people you love are the most meaningful results of life. But those are largely outside the realm of our control, and ever more so as we grow older.

  • Randy

    If Walton didn’t have money, wouldn’t he have also died of cancer?

    Being handed a death sentence doesn’t take away the utilitarian purposes of money for the living.

  • Roland

    It does one more thing … it takes away labels, given by politicking. For example, a { fill-in-unpopular ethnic group X }, upon achieving success, is suddenly a *good* American esp if they patronize the arts, education, etc.

    On the other hand, in Yugoslavia, a Croat is a Croat, a Serb a Serb, an Albanian an Albanian. The hatred and ethnic cleansings don’t stop, as a matter of economic success.

  • Roland

    It does one more thing … it takes away labels, given by politicking. For example, a { fill-in-unpopular ethnic group X }, upon achieving success, is suddenly a *good* American esp if they patronize the arts, education, etc.

    On the other hand, in Yugoslavia, a Croat is a Croat, a Serb a Serb, an Albanian an Albanian. The hatred and ethnic cleansings don’t stop, as a matter of economic success.

    • eh

      Yes but in Yugoslavia that kind of ethnic hatred only came about precisely because of the United States applying economic pressures and stirring up old hatreds — ironic since in the time of Tito and Yugoslavia’s version of State-Capitalism, Yugoslavians saw eachother as brothers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

    I had1-100 of Spiderman Fantastic Four X Men Avengers all the great books when I was a kid.

  • Anonymous

    That last paragraph brought tears to my eyes bro’…. 

  • Anonymous

    People always say this. In the parts of the country where many people make $70K, the houses are $500K and above. Moving to a cheaper place also means taking a job that pays much less. Why is it so difficult for people to see that these numbers are proportional to the cost of living in various geographical areas? 

    • http://twitter.com/JoseStucco jose stucco

      We moved to where the houses cost half as much and my wife only had to take a $2/hour paycut.  Our rent dropped from $1200 for 1 bedroom 1 bath to $700 for 2 bedrooms 2 baths for a nice apt with new hardwood floors and decent neighbors.  I am in school and have enough opportunity upon graduation. 

      Most Americans would scoff at the idea of living without cable, cell phones, A/C (luckily the fans keep us at 72 degrees all summer long), sharing one car, going without alcohol for many weeks at a time, and eating at home.  Most Americans have a negative net worth though.

  • http://isomorphismes.tumblr.com isomorphisms

     Yeah, the trick would be getting lent the $1mm in the first place.

  • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

    Hadn’t read the blog in a while, catching up on new and previously-read posts.  Wow, James.  Your raw bleeding honesty, the way you express what many of us feel at one time or another, and what it means or could mean, beautiful.  Good to be reading you again.

  • Anonymous

    Now that I’m not rich, I see how much I took it for granted when I was.  I appreciated it in so many ways and yet I fell back into scarcity and survival mentality just like you mentioned and then I didn’t appreciate it.  I felt scared of losing it.  So, I did.  Learning to do it differently this time and hoping I get a do over.

  • Guest

     I’m not rich, not even close,  I make a meager 12 bucks an hour  BUT  I’ve managed to create a small fortune over the last 7 years by ignoring every friend and family member who looked at me with a blank stare and told me I was crazy when I told them i was going to start buying gold and silver.
    IIn addition to my pitiful $12 an hour, my wife works part time and makes about $14 an hour. We have two children, live in a tiny rented house, have no loans, no credit cards and a single 13 inch CRT TV… We held on to our single car for 8 years.. just recently paid cash ($7000) for a new to us vehicle.
     
     I take home $650 a week.My wife takes home about $150.   My wife uses all of her $150 plus $250 of mine per week for all of our living expenses.  A Family of four on about $400 per week. We do not receive any type of welfare or government help.

     The $400 we have left over each week as well as her annual tax refund is spent on silver coins and bars.
     Silver was about $6 an ounce when we started buying 7 years ago. Silver is $30 an ounce today. The first gold coin I bought cost my $650  The same coin is worth about $1650 today and I expect gold to reach $2500 and silver to reach $100 in 2012 and both metals to grow exponentially after that..

     My brother makes $90,000 per year and his wife $20,000 and they have $190,000 in his retirement. My wife and I have a combined income of  $39,000.  At a combined income of $110,000 it took my brother 20 years to save $190,000. At a combined income of $39,000  it took me 7 years to create $100,000.

     The outlook on my investment is very positive. The outlook on his investment is bleak. In the next 5 years I expect to increase my investment by a factor of 10. I will consider my brother lucky if in five years he still has his $190,000.

     
     

  • http://twitter.com/p_kartik Kartik Patel

    so many things you have mentioned here are reflected in Indian philosophy and mythology….. it is so profound, so much common sense, and still most of us don’t get it right :)

    • Fubar

       Moral structures reflect evolution (human beings are superb imitation, or “social learning” machines) and the development of consciousness. The ancient traditions provide insight into such evolution. Evolution never intended for human morality to be perfect. Many of the later religions/philosophies promote perfection, but it is always a pathology, or illusion that people cling to that causes suffering.

  • http://www.AIDSvideos.org/ Eric Krock

    This is only the second post of yours that I’ve read. I don’t know enough to say how good an  entrepreneur or VC you may be, but you’re one hell of a good writer!!!

  • http://twitter.com/strobist David Hobby

    Just think, one day you’ll be able to afford to host your own photos again so you won’t have all of those ridiculous broken picture links.  :/

  • Ned Uranus

    “If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it ‘cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he’s poor in hisself, there ain’t no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an’ maybe he’s disappointed that nothin’ he can do’ll make him rich…”—Tom Casy from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

  • Kenr0966

    Hey I lost 900,000 is some scam penny stocks  It really hurts GO VRNG

  • http://www.facebook.com/M.M.Abdelsalam Mohamed Mahmoud

    Money part is brilliant!

  • http://twitter.com/kennyfabre1 Kenny Fabre

    James

    your story is really great,, but what advice do you have for me as being an aspiring self-made multimillionaire and yes thats what I will be. I love money I want the finer things in life, but I do understand the value of money,, I understand the consequences,, and the price a person must pay for being wealthy,, right now I dont have much but I live in state of gratitude,, I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction and the power of love,, so I do understand this path that I’m choosing. SO WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ME,, and I want to know are you still rich today,, and I do want to let you know that you can always get rich again,, and lastly,, do you still want to be rich again if you are not currently

    Kenny Fabre
    http://www.kfm24.com

  • http://www.writingfromafar.com/ Tony

    I actually lost everything and then some. Best thing that’s ever happened to me. Changed my life for the better in every way! Nice article thanks!

  • kitkat30

    I never feel like I have enough money, some times it is like my own prison for me. I do not make nearly what you do, my husband and I live in a small condo and make due. When we hit $10,000 in our savings a couple months ago that was our goal, but then suddenly it didn’t feel like enough for us even though before I thought that was a lot.

    I think no matter how much you have, it is never enough.

  • Meme

    Or get a house with an extra room or two and invite another solo mother and child to live with you and share costs (company,too!) or get students in to help pay your bills. Don’t freak out, plenty of people have nothing at 40 and still make out OK.

  • dratman

    I like this a lot.

  • Sarah

    Stay strong, mama. I’m your age as well, and a married mom of three. We have made a lot of mistakes over the years, and are just starting to see things more clearly. Student loans up the wazoo? Check. Lost home to foreclosure? Check. Credit card debt? Check. Drove two cars when we only needed one? Check, check, check. Some of us start later in life, it’s o.k. It’s your life, not anyone else’s. The only thing we did right was keep our little family strong. You have strengths as well. Are your federal student loans being repaid under the IBR plan? I’d look into it. After ten years in the public sector, or 20 years in repayment in any market, your federal loans are forgiven (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). And it’s true that singles get hit hard by taxes. Start studying ways to reduce your taxable income. Look at ways to decrease your biggest expenses (probably rent, then debt?) Don’t underestimate what lowering your rent $100-200 can do for your finances, and therefore your happiness. The child will help, tax wise, and you will be able to deduct her child care expenses. Find a decent consignment store, and buy and resell all your daughter’s clothing. Garage sales are good in my area so I buy all my kid’s clothes there, then resell at a higher rate at consignment when they outgrow them. Our adult clothes are re-sold on ebay. Nearly everything we own is purchased used, and then resold later. Our groceries come from the day-old bread store, and a grocery outlet. No big deal. We survive, learn, and our kids learn from it as well. Also, one word of advice, you are still in the trenches. Still recovering emotionally and physically. Your babe is young. It gets better, I promise. The hormones adjust (for me around a year after birth, but I nurse so it probably takes longer for me than some), and you just start to feel more like yourself, you know? Anyway, don’t let the haters get you down. You actually make a good salary, (more than us!) but you are in an expensive part of the country, and I’m pretty confident your debt is a huge portion of your budget. You can do this. It took years to get through school, the debt will take years to go away. Just like building savings will take years. Start small, work your way up.