I wrote a post ‘on Creative Destruction as the Motor that propels the American economy, and so it is. There is another Motor that propels the individual’s financial reality and that’s work. In my recent post on journaling your family financial history, you might also journal your own history. If you’re honest with yourself, it will reveal your own relationship with money and work. That analysis can be invaluable.
I grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 50’s, a neighborhood kid, Catholic school and all of that. Down the block was a little park where we played baseball and football. One one end of the field they had scooped out a little area a few inches deep, when they graded the park, next to the fire hydrant. In the winter once the ground froze they would turn on the hydrant and we had instant Hockey! I thought what a cool concept, just add water! In the spring the field would dry out and it was time for baseball again, hey batta hey batta hey batta SWING! I moved from Chi to a tiny town in southern Indiana when I was about 10 or 11. It was a totally different smoke than Chi had been. The kids had been there for generations and somewhat clicky and the Ethos had more in common with Alabama than Chi. There was a kid in my new neighborhood that had a paper route and he was moving, so I got the paper route, and at age 11 I was in business for myself. It was real business. The paper charged 35 cents a week which I had to go collect. The papers were delivered to a small market 1 mile away. On Thursday the paper was double in weight because of flyers. On Sunday it was a regular Sunday paper with half a dozen sections adds etc. The paper and I split 20 cents/15 cents BUT if I didn’t collect because some prick wouldn’t pay I lost 35 cents because I still had to pay for the paper. I collected on Friday and it was funny how people were home every other day, in fact tapping their watches if I showed up 15 minutes late, but on Friday their place was a mausoleum.
This “job” was gold as a learning experience regarding commerce. I was making about 15 bucks a week (+- deadbeats) cash at my own hand. 60 bucks a month for an 11 year old in 1963 wasn’t chump change. After that I always had a job except for 2 years of medical school. I worked in a stone mill and quarry running a jack hammer, drove a wrecker, worked a gas station, drove a delivery truck in High School. I couldn’t wait for ice storms so I could get in the wrecker and go give people jumps and pull them out of the ditch, like a true Lincoln Park Pirate
In college I usually had 2 jobs. I was a janitor, a chemistry research asst., I had a pizza delivery gig on Sat and Sun complete with a free pizza so papa ate good on Sat and Sun! The pizza gig was for cash. I also tutored physics math and chemistry on the side. Eventually I went to grad school and became a teaching asst and had a rock and roll band on the side. I left academia and became an engineer and got a gig teaching electronics at a community college on the side. I also had a consulting business and was eat up with learning commodities trading. Circumstance had it I ended up getting accepted to med school. My first 2 years I had a gig teaching MCAT review to pre-meds and eventually ran out of tuition money so I joined the Navy as interest rates on loans were 18% immediate accrual. Homey don’t play that. Went in the Navy after residency and did moonlighting on the side, and paid off my commitment. My first gig post Navy was Locums, traveling around so I could figure out how practices worked and the pathology involved. I found a model I liked, Fee for Service Private Practice Solo and found a hospital in an area with a great payer mix and went to work passing gas, saving lives and winning valuable prizes! I also started a pain practice on the side. I learned how to do pain in the Navy. Later we formed a group at that hospital and even later we started a SDSC. By then I was old so I retired. I stuffed money in some market since age 25. I never had debt except for a mortgage which is proper use of leverage, instead I had work and lived within my means. I worked hard but never bled my eyes out and my work made me wealthy and wise. Healthy? Like Joe Walsh says: Some say I’m crazy but I have a good time, I’m just lookin’ for clues at the scene of the crime. Life’s been good to me so far..
That’s my motor story. None of it is about money. It’s about taking advantage of the opportunity that presented.