“I’m one step away from being rich, all I need now is money“
Money is serious business but sometimes a lot can be learnt from the totally wacky goings on in the world.
I scoured the internet and found a load of funny, sad, surprising and just plain crazy money stories but these three really tickled my fancy and got me thinking and I just had to share them!
“And in the end it’s not the LIFE in your years that counts, it’s the YEARS in your life” (Borrowed and amended from Abraham Lincoln)
You have no doubt come across this message countless times when making an investment; “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”.
Frenchman, Andre-Francois Raffray failed to heed this warning when in 1965 he made a “slam dunk” deal with 90 year-old Jeanne Calment that he would pay her rent every month until she died in exchange for ownership of her property when that happened.
He died 31 years later still paying Calment’s rent!
She survived him by one year, having unexpectedly lived until the ripe old age of 122 years.
To add insult to injury Raffray’s family was legally obligated to continue to pay her rent until that day and ultimately the Raffray’s ended up paying way more than the apartment’s eventual market value without ever having had any benefit from it!
The lesson in this for investing and life is that nothing is certain and when it comes to both it pays to recognise there could be some “black swan” events that we cannot predict but that we can put some contingencies in place in the event they happen.
Have an emergency fund to give you a cushion against life’s challenges and when it comes to investing always remember to diversify and not put all your money into one investment!
“Education is what you get from reading the fine print. Experience is what you get from not reading it” Anon
And investors in J.D. McMahon’s mini “skyscaper” got educated in an ironically big way!
McMahon, an oil middleman and structural engineer attracted investors to the “skyscraper” he was planning to build during the 1919 oil boom in the growing metropolis of Wichita Falls Texas.
Investors realised they had been swindled when building commenced.
Evidence of the “education” they received still stands. Instead of being a 480 ft skyscraper though, it’s a 480 inch four story building which didn’t even have a stairway or lift on completion.
The plans had been 100% accurate, only they had been presented and signed off by investors in inches!
Investors found themselves on the losing side of this as the Court had to find the scheme legitimate based on the fine-print details!
And the lesson to be learned here is when it comes to investing, and of course life, pay attention to the details.
Understand exactly what you are putting your money into and be very aware of the risks.
“Giving up is not an option”
Reclusive septuagenarian Herbert J Sukenik had lived in his tiny New York rent controlled apartment in the MayFlower Hotel for 30 years.
The apartment although dilapidated had excellent views over Central Park.
Developers bought the Mayflower for $400 million planning to build ultra luxurious and exclusive apartments in its place.
Four of the tenants, including Sukenik, refused to move. Eventually 3 did, having accepted payouts ranging from $650,000 to over $1 million.
Sukenik who had no family and in his words “no need for the money” steadfastly refused to move despite the deep pocketed developers offering him increasingly attractive amounts of money and even trying to “irritate him into a deal by commencing noisy building works.
Two years later Sukenik agreed to vacate when they offered him another Central Park facing condo valued at £2 million for a monthly rental of £1 and the largest reported pay-out to a tenant ever of £17 million..
And the lesson here?
As it turns out money wasn’t the be all and end all for Herbert. He just wanted a view of the park and I guess the lesson in this is whether it relates to money or any else in life, know your values and don’t comprise them for anything. Including money.
And now for the last story, my favourite one .
“Sometimes I just want someone to say “ I know it’s hard, but you’ll be ok. Here’s a coffee and a million dollars” Anon
Phyllis Penzo had been a waitress at Sal’s pizzeria in New York for 24 years. Robert Cunningham, a 31 year veteran of the nearby police force was a regular, equally popular with the staff and fellow customers.
One day as he was filling out his lottery ticket he asked Phyllis to suggest some numbers and jokingly told her he would share the prize if he won.
Penzo laughed and forgot about it until the next evening when Cunningham and his wife showed up ticket in hand with the good news that she was about to get $3 million of his £6 million winnings!
Although this was used as the plot for a romcom, it’s actually a totally true story!
And the lesson for me in this heart-warming story is that money doesn’t change who you are it’s just a tool for you to do more of what you value in life!
I hope you found these crazy money stories as thought provoking as I did !