Horns, Hats and Whistles.
A long time ago I remember the senior VP talking about some mining guy who had made a fortune and was broke. In case you were wondering, this is a common occurrence in the annals of resource speculation. He continued by saying he asked the guy what had happened, to which the mining speculator replied: “I spent my money on women, booze and cars; and I wasted the rest of it.”
When you enter the field of finance you will be surrounded by all kinds of people with a plethora of wants and desires. There will be many blowing smoke up your ass about all the cool new toys they have and you will be hard pressed not to envy them. But under this facade of superiority there is often a story or a cover for why they have all this stuff. Most of the time its due to the fact that they feel inadequate because the guys above them have more and better shit than they do, so they mask their inferiority, by doing the same to you.
After a time you will hopefully get a bonus. For many this will be more money than they have ever had before and the temptation to start catching up with that prick above you will be tempting….however, there a few things you may want to consider:
1) If you are starting out and you have debt, start getting that under control. Firms want you to be in debt because it reduces your personal flexibility and makes you beholden to them. They own you. Less or no debt = more freedom.
2) You need some cash in the bank. If you have all your money in stocks or bonds at some firm that suddenly restricts your assets….which usually happens right when you need the money, you will be hooped. Always keep some cash aside and hopefully in a couple of different accounts in case you have a setback or there is a problem. As they say: no mon no fun.
3) Thinking about getting long your company stock? Well ask yourself this: how much of your current income is directly or indirectly associated with the firm? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
4) Assuming you have most of the above under control, you are probably feeling like a king and you want the spoils to say that. So what about a car? Well if you will use it, great; but do you think that Ferrari makes a whole lot of sense? I mean if you are an art collector and that work of art will be sitting in the living room of that one bedroom apartment….from which you will watch movies on your 50 inch…like a drive inn? Or perhaps you can pick a more modest vehicle that will be drivable 12 months of the year, fit more than 2 people and you won’t be murdering with city driving. A Ferrari was built for the track and open road, not light hopping. So modesty might be a lowly M3.
5) You want a watch? Why would you jump immediately to the Patek? What’s wrong with something like an Oris or a Blancpain? You know, a little foreplay first. The truth is, your cellphone, (you know that thing you are looking at 5 million times a day), already has a good clock on it.
6) Killer stereo? OK I’m with you here. The only problem is that it’s not showy. A stereo is in your place and available to you and your guests. Go crazy….(uh, getting carried away again). Why not get a high quality sound system. That means 2 channel and no sub. If you hook it to the TV you will be able to hear the shills on CNBC screech with a level of clarity never before conceived….or you can get back to rocking some Metallica like normal people.
7) Custom clothes? Not a bad idea, but resist the temptation to outdo the CEO of your firm while wearing square or pointy toed shoes; those will make you look like Peter Pan, and no one will take you seriously. Well tailored clothing looks good and can help you advance in your career, but be wary of uber expensive tailoring. $1200, properly tailored are as good as the $10000 ones…unless you need to tell someone.
8) Shoe fetish? Sure I get it, but the $1000 pair? Get the $300 ones instead, otherwise your boss might be jealous and view you as uppity and disrespectful.
A local radio station often has contests where cash prizes are awarded for some interesting trivia question. When the person wins there is a great celebration track and then the DJ asks the person what they will do with the windfall….as the winner hesitates, the DJ interjects: “Hookers and blow?” and everyone laughs hysterically.
So when you finally get that bonus and that insecure boss awaits tales of bounty that is newer, cooler and better than his, you can reassure him by telling him facetiously that it’s for “hookers and blow” and you can have a good laugh together.
After that its all horns, hats and whistles time, as you quietly acquire a fine bottle of whisky and a great stereo so you can rock out to Godsmack .... while seated in the R8 spyder in your living room… wearing $700 shoes, your Zegna underwear and a Breguet…
Just don’t waste the rest.