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Wealth

Posted on June 26th, 2012

Dave!During the "Dot Com Explosion" of the late 90's I knew more than a few people who amassed considerable wealth in a very short amount of time. This did not include me, however, because I was becoming increasingly involved with the Buddhist studies I had stumbled upon a decade earlier. Material wealth was something that took a distant back seat to my spiritual wealth back then, so chasing the buckets of money was not a priority. Even so, it was an interesting period in my life precisely because of all the money that was to be had.

And the randomness of where the money went.

Some people I knew stumbled into shit-loads of money almost by accident, but were smart enough to turn it into a personal fortune while the gettin' was good.

One guy... a kid, really... was pulling down thousands of dollars a week just making simple banner ads in his spare time. He not only earned enough money to completely pay for his college tuition, but had enough left over to pay for a bug chunk of his sister's education as well.

Another guy got a full-time job with a massive salary working from home on a corporate website. This occupied so little of his time that he ended up getting two additional "full-time" work-at-home-jobs... all of which he held at the same time. After six months he had enough money saved up that he started his own business, which he ran successfully for nearly a year before selling it for a staggering amount of money. This would be a cool story in itself, but it's made all the more incredible when you know that he kept all three of his "full-time" jobs that whole time!

Still another guy made huge, huge money because he owned a "worthless" low-rent office building that his family had purchased decades earlier. He inherited it after his dad died and had tried to sell it several times without success... until the neighborhood became a hotspot for dot-com start-ups. Luckily for him, he quickly learned the value of what he had, and was able to milk it for incredible profits... before finally selling it to a big company that bought it only so they could tear it down and build their new headquarters on the land.

Money was raining down from the heavens at an incalculable rate, and a lot of people became incredibly wealthy chasing it.

But not everybody.

Some people, try as they might, could never manage to get their piece of the pie no matter how hard they tried. They would start up one failed business after another trying to figure out where the money was... but never managed to find it.

These were some of the most bitter, angry, resentful people I've ever met. And the most educational, as they clearly confirmed that my embracing anti-materialism was the right path to be on. This was never made more clear to me as when I joined a group of them at a housewarming party thrown by a guy who was making bajillions of dollars in dot-com cash. He proudly showed off his incredible new home, only to be cut-up from one end to the other the minute he left the room. At one point some guests were discussing the "horror story" that was the kitchen decor. I found this funny... and said so, which lead to this conversation...

"You actually like that ugly mess?"

"Well, it's not my taste, but he's clearly happy with it. Since he's the one that has to live with it, what should it matter to anybody else?"

"Because he has the money to hire a decent interior decorator and still chooses to have an ugly kitchen!"

This was good for a group-laugh, which was fascinating to me...

"Well, fortunately the only thing wrong with him is something that can be fixed by a coat of paint... we should all be so lucky."

The implication of that statement went right over their heads (thankfully), but stuck with me for a very long time. Even when I strayed off the path of anti-materialism because I realized that some "stuff" made my life much more fun. Like a PowerMac G4 computer and a PlayStation 2 video game.

Eventually the dot-com bubble burst. Some people who made a lot of money ended up losing a lot more.

This, I'm sure, was a time of glee and much rejoicing by all the bitter, angry, resentful people who were so tortured by the monetary success that eluded them during those heady days. Finally, at long last, those who succeeded where they had failed were "getting what they deserved!"

The irony being that all the bitter, angry, resentful people were getting exactly what they deserved, even if they didn't realize it.

...

Which is why I am trying hard — so very hard — not to be bitter, angry, and resentful that Justin Bieber's new album, Believe, has just become the year's top-selling debut... despite being filled with songs that I loathe so badly that I can barely listen to 10 seconds of the 90-second preview snippets on the iTunes Store without gagging.

Fortunately, Matt & Kim, a band I love more than buckets of money, just released a new single to keep me on my path...

Life. Is. Good.

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Categories: DaveLife 2012, Music 2012Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

89ยข

Posted on April 30th, 2012

Dave!This is one of those times where every cent of my paycheck was already spoken for.

Which would usually be upsetting, but it's a direct result of spending a week goofing off in Europe after having just gotten back from two weeks vacation, so I'm perfectly okay with it.

Even so, you can imagine my excitement as I was rearranging books on my shelves only to have a 1000 Korean Won note fell to the floor. It had apparently been used as a bookmark. Or maybe I just stuck it between some books because it was pretty and I wanted to flatten it out for a souvenir...

Won 1000

However it got there, the only thing running through my mind now was... MONEY!

But how much? Maybe $20... probably more like $10... but wouldn't it be cool if it was $100? I had no idea, so I rushed to fire up a currency conversion app on my iPhone.

Only to discover that 1000 Won is 89¢ in US money. Which, coincidentally enough, is almost exactly the same as when I was last in Seoul back in September 2004. That's not as good as the $1.10 I would have gotten in November of 2007... but certainly not as bad as the 64¢ I would have got back in March of 2009.

In any event, whether it's $1.10 or 89¢ or 64¢, that doesn't do much for my cash on hand. Especially once exchange fees are paid.

Thank heavens for credit cards, because it's time to shop.

With the exception of grocery stores, it's getting to the point where I rarely shop at brick-n-mortar stores any more. Everything I need to buy is purchased off the internets. But I got a $10 coupon back when I paid for my eye exam at Shopko (where everything is always on sale!) and it's expiring today, so I decided to stop in and see if I could spend the $50 required to use my coupon. Sure I'm poor just now, but you gotta spend money to save money!

I ended up buying new bed sheets (on sale!) and a PUR water filtration pitcher (on sale!). This was just enough to get my $10 savings, so I was pretty happy.

Until...

Just for kicks, I checked pricing when I got home... only to find that even with the $10 coupon, I ended up paying $1.30 more than if I had bought online (and that includes shipping!). Add in money for gas and my time and I definitely lost-out on the deal.

Oh well. Live and learn.

But I'm pretty sure I learned that already.

   

Downfall

Posted on August 15th, 2011

Dave!Nothing quite like losing 15% of your retirement fund in less than two months. So happy I pay a bunch of experts to manage my money! Something tells me I would have been better off investing my money in hookers. Sure it uses my long-term asset for a short-term investment with no long-term payoff... and comes with some really heavy risk factors... but at least I would be stimulating the local economy.

And my penis.

What's odd is that my retirement plan is fairly low-risk. I can't imagine how much I would have lost were I still in the high-risk/high-yield program I was in just five years ago.

And don't think I'm not grateful that I at least have something left in my retirement account. There are many, many people out there who are not so lucky. Stupid economy.

So, yeah, I'm a little worried about my retirement.

But that's quite a ways away. And, as of today, is even further away than it was last month.

The more immediate concern is my upcoming vacation. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but if the US dollar gets much worse, my travels are going to take a turn for the worse...

DAVETOON: Will Give Handjobs for Bus Fare

On the other hand, I would be meeting new and interesting people.

   

Change

Posted on April 9th, 2011

Dave!Today I finally found a minute to file my taxes. I pretty much had to file them because I need my refund check to cover the three vacations I just took. This was made abundantly clear to me when I went to the cash machine and it refused to give me any money.

I hate it when that happens.

Life would be so much better if cash machines gave me money without checking my account balance first.

Anyway... with no money to be had, it was time to rummage through pants pockets, couch cushions, travel bags, car ashtrays, and the like. After a half-hour of digging, I managed to scrape together $20.28, which seems like all the money in the world when you've got nothing. Oddly enough, while searching for US dollars, I found out I'm actually richer elsewhere on earth. I have 45 Euros ($65.18), 27.50 British Pounds ($45.05), and 60 Canadian dollars ($62.81). If I were to leave the country I could have a real party. As it is, all I can afford is to put some gas in my car and buy a loaf of bread.

But that's okay.

I wouldn't trade my wonderful time in Venice... or seeing Matt & Kim in London... or seeing OMD and Mackintosh Braun in Los Angeles... or celebrating my sister's birthday in Las Vegas... for all the tea in China. There are some experiences you simply can't put a price on. So I'm content to be poor for a little while and live on fond memories.

And who knows? Everything could change tomorrow.

Heck, in one day I've gone from being flat-broke to having all the money in the world. Anything is possible!

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Categories: DaveLife 2011Click To It: Permalink  10 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Millions

Posted on November 13th, 2010

Dave!I often try to imagine my life without consequences or responsibilities.

And millions of dollars.

I'm sure this is no different from everybody else in the world with an active imagination, but it makes me feel special to think that I'm the only one who would know how to do it right...

DaveToon: Lil' Dave's Pimp Money

   
If anybody would like for me to test this theory for reals, please forward a couple million dollars to my PayPal account.

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Categories: DaveToons 2010Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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