Todays question comes from Jerome in Cincinnati, Ohio., age ten, and the boy asks, “How rich will I be in the future.” Yes, ten.
You know Jerome, this is not the first time I have heard this question from an American young boy. As the years have gone by, I get less “what will I be when I grow up,” and more of the question you ask. Show me the money, like this Jerry McGuire in american movie, yes?
In my village growing up, I was the orphan child of poor cheese farmers. We had little. When their biological children got an apple, the core fell to me for gnawing. If the cats brought in a squirrel, after it was cooked in sour beer I was given the feet to suck. But my parents always made sure I was warm, fed, and without fleas. They went without so that I might have the books I craved to read and a luck charm around my neck made of walrus teeth. Did I crave money and material things? Of course. I once lured a neighbor into a bear trap to take his Sony Walkman, I know what is this desire for riches.
Jerome my young friend, you may or may not be rich, but this won’t have much to do with your happiness. I don’t know if a ten year old reads science journals, but Zamboni does and I recently saw an interesting study. This study asked people about their levels of happiness that they felt, and they found something strange. People who were poor and struggling, or simply had very little, did not report lower levels of happy-feeling. Yes it was stressful if someone just lost their job, but overall, people who simply had less, seemed more content than those with higher incomes. Instead of poor and miserable- it was poor and happy. So to ask Zamboni how rich you will be is sort of like saying “How many bumps will be on the nose of the grandmother of my true love?” What does it matter?
A Latvian card shark I knew once was fond of saying, “rich or poor, your farts still smell the same.” I cannot say I totally agree since this man lived on nothing but canned sardines and plum brandy and hence his flatulence smelled like indescribable horror, But I understand the metaphor all the same.
This being said; there is nothing wrong with money, and if you want to keep as much of it as you can, follow this advice:
Never use credit cards.
Don’t buy lattes.
And most important of all, remember these two words: Compound Interest.