Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is life Intelligence, luck or just Timing?

My business, my wife's job and our financial lives in general are doing just fine in these interesting times we find ourselves in right now. Having said that I wonder, is this because we are somehow just plain smarter than those who have lost their jobs, homes and possessions lately or is something else involved? If it were pure intelligence, how could it be possible that people with high scholastic degrees are having some of these same problems that average people are having? How could that be? Doesn't high intelligence with Masters and Doctorate degrees exclude those people from making drastic mistakes with their money and means of employment?

Now my wife and I only have our High School diplomas plus some collage courses through the years. I of course went to Barber Collage, which involved about a year and a half full time with a state test at the end. Another test after a couple of years for my journeymen license (which they don't even required anymore) and like magic, I've been working in the hair hacking world for over 40 years now, making decent money to support my wayward and sometimes questionable ways.

Ok, this pretty much establishes that high scholastic degrees and extreme intelligence plainly don't have much to do with how one comes out in the financially competent, fit world, doesn't it? So that leave us with another possibility. Is it some kind of divine luck that only some people seem to have? Does all the super well off people just have luck on their side to get where they are? Are some people just born with luck? I really doubt that idea because we all know or have heard of folks who seem to be lucky their whole lives and then all of a sudden have super bad luck and lose it all or even lose their lives. All the recent celebrities with their dysfunctional lives comes to mind in that department, don't they?

So......that leaves us with Timing. Could it just be a simple matter of timing most of all that makes some peoples lives stand out as successful, rewarding and enjoyable? Could it be something as simple as when one was born into this crazy world? I was born in 1945. Into a much simpler and less complex world. A world where we were taught the value of being careful and cautious with our money. Our parents were products of the great depression and passed those experiences and lessons on to us. We were taught to only buy things we could afford. Credit was a rare thing indeed in those days. If you could not have something by paying cash then you could not have it. Simple as that. If you desired something you couldn't afford, you had to slowly save your money until you could buy it. Stores even had this thing called "Lay-a-way". Where you could keep putting a little money in an account until you could then pay for the item and finally take it home.

So, Timing.....We bought our house over 20 years ago. Back then there were only regular loans. Banks would only give home loans with payments you could afford long term. You had to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that you could afford the amount of payment. Plus over 20 years ago, homes were relatively cheap, especially compared to the recent past when prices were extremely over-inflated. So, for the last 20+ years our payment has been somewhere along the lines of what one might rent a one room shack or dog house for now.

Timing........I have been a Barber now for over 40 years. I started Barbering in 1964. Developing my hair butchering and bullshitting skills over such a long period of time has served me well. I worked at a shop in Sacramento for years, then came up into the foothills, oh so long ago. I actually have dozens of customers who just followed me up and have been loyal all these years. Plus during all these years in my present shop, I've developed an incredible amount of customers. Loyalty seems to be one of the driving forces in any successful business. I have customers who tell me if anything ever happens to me, they'll just have to start shaving their heads as they have no intention of finding and training a new Barber. So my business is so successful because of the large volume of super loyal customers i've acquired, bullshitted and cajoled through all these years, even in these and other questionable times in the past.

So obviously there are several complex reasons and explanations why some people seem to be in a better place in life than others, even in bad economic times. In my experience timing sure seems to be at the top of that list though. It sure seems that folks just recently born, just bought homes in the short term past and were taught to live on credit are having or will have a hell of a lot more negative financial issues than those of us lucky enough to be born long ago.


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