I have been thinking about money lately. A lot. I know, I know. “Join the club! It is called ‘everybody!’” Sigh. I do not know how much Social Security will be around by the time I get there. And I was told that when I grew older, I would have somebody to share the expenses with. Rent does not sound quite so bad when split between but two people. Alas, that has not come to pass yet. Thus, rent, which is supposed to only take up a third of my income, is quite a bit larger.
There is also the added fun of working two jobs. My parttime gig requires me to work a minimum of twenty hours a week. When the fulltime occupation went into tourist-hours, I was working there six days a week. Which meant squishing the parttime into the wee early hours of the morning. And we are supposed to be in a recession, which means my retirement fund is lower than I would like and and and… money.
We all worry about it, right? The easiest thing to do would be to play the lottery, right? Get rich quick, that is the answer!
(Hilarious fact-checking note. Many of these articles claim that the National Endowment for Financial Education did a study and found out that seventy percent of people that receive a quick surge of cash lose that money in a few years. NEFE says there is no such statement. Oops. We will have to file it under, “Well, it feels like it should be true.”)
I was listening to a podcast called, Missed Fortune, about a man who was on a mission to find a hidden prize. In the second episode, I heard a section that has been in my brain ever since.
So rather than working a gold mine, in the twentieth century, fortune seekers turned to treasure hunting, either alone, or in small groups. In the Florida Keys, a chicken farmer turned underwater salvager named Mel Fisher, was gripped with gold fever for twenty years, sacrificing everything. Until he found a roughly four hundred-million-dollar Spanish treasure ship in twenty-two feet of water. But in the course of his search, his boat capsized, killing his son and daughter-in-law.
In 1988, Tommy Thompson found the S.S. Central America which went down with three hundred thousand pounds of California gold on board. But he allegedly became so gripped with gold fever that he tried to hide some of what he recovered. During a long legal battle with his investors, he went on the run for nearly three years. He was arrested in 2015 and a judge ordered him to tell him where the gold was, but he wouldn’t. So he went to prison for contempt of court. More than six years later, he’s still in jail.
In 2007, the company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, found seventeen tons of silver and gold coins, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but was eventually forced to turn over every last one to the Spanish government, ’cause the cargo had originally belonged to Spain.
All this to say: it’s out there. Some treasure hunts are successful. Gold fever can sweep you off your feet. But it also, almost always, finds a way to break your heart.
Granted, the trip to wealth can be interesting, even fun. However, if you devote your entire life to it? Then your life becomes misery.
Therefore, I am trying to check my bank account only once a week. I am ditching the need to work more than the allotted hours. I am assigning value to quiet time on the couch with my cat. Embracing the longer walks to work. Letting myself be leisurely before I have to be industrious.
Money will drive you crazy all on its own. There is no need to force the process.