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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blue Collar Millionaire



Back in my firefighting days, my ladder truck driver was a millionaire. He certainly hadn't made his money as a firefighter. After he got out of the army, he and his wife opened a little mom and pop store. That did pretty well, but he was a shrewd stock market investor and that's where he really made his money.

He enjoyed being a firefighter and driving the ladder truck. He did it 27 years before retiring. I had the pleasure of working with his the last years of his employment. Paychecks piled up in his wallet. The secretary had to remind him to cash them. For him paychecks were literately pocket change.

Except for the fact that he and his wife took expensive vacations, one would never know he was so rich. His house wasn't anything special. Every seven years he'd pay cash for a new car. By year seven the old car always looked pretty beat. Appearances never bothered him.

Management was afraid of him. The guy was good at his job and generally followed orders well. The only time there was trouble was when he thought an order was stupid. Then he did whatever he wanted, and always got away with it.

Once the Chief gave an order that we could no longer wash our cars at the fire station. The millionaire never washed his car, but that day he did. In fact, he made a show of it by washing it right in front of the station. The Chief came out, didn't say anything for a few minutes. In a quiet voice he requested that cars get washed behind the station from now on. To this day the guys still wash their cars at work but nobody working there now knows how that came about.

I thought it would be the greatest thing in the world to have that millionaire attitude. What did that money really signify anyway? Independence. Not caring what other people thought. Not having to do stupid things just to keep a job. While I didn't have the money, I adopted the attitude anyway. It worked for me.

My lovely wife eventually adopted the same attitude. It wasn't too far below the surface in her anyway. It's surprising how many people just assumed we had hidden inherited wealth or a lot of political power. It wasn't money that allowed us to act independent, but frugality and self reliance. In the end, it was just as good as millions.

-Sixbears



14 comments:

  1. You've heard this before but, "wise words!"

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  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)March 28, 2013 at 4:37 AM

    Sometimes attitude is worth more than cold, hard cash. One of our best friends was cash poor but you would never know it. It was the way he lived his life every single day. We learned a lot from him.

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    1. It's good to have real world examples to look to and inspire us.

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  3. I like that story. Have you ever read 'The Two Hundred Pound Millionaire' by Weston Martyr... it was written a long time ago, in 1932 but it's a delightful story, one that I'm sure you'd enjoy. It's about an old man and his little yacht...

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  4. You said it better than I. I used to be an extremely confident individual. But life in general and the wage slavery wore me down. As I get older I find that I feel more confident and sure of myself. I might only have a five spot in me pocket, but I walk with my head held high with a sure measured step. I am better off than many others, for sure. Cash is not the measure of a man, It's a better measure of a man or woman, who can cash those checks their mouth writes. Wisdom is not auto-magically conferred by reaching a certain age, It is earned by learning life's lessons.

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    1. Lessons not learned tend to be repeated. Best to pay attenion the first time.

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  5. A fitting story for all to live!There is two roads to independance 1 is enuff money to be unafraid lossing your job AKA rich or 2 reduce your expences to the point job loss isnt life threatening but means free time to find another income.I have found that most people that live payday to payday resent those of us that have removed that burden from our lives by lifestyle changes.

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    1. That doesn't mean I'm not happy to see payday come along. :)

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  6. It is like the sign I posted awhile back that I bought at the flea market. It said, "There are other things besides money; hunger, misery, and poverty".

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    1. True enough, but you don't need to have a lot of money to live well. Of course, it's difficult to anything with nothing.

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  7. I've known a couple millionaires that looked and acted as if they were just 'regular working folks'. I think it's a measure of humility. On the other hand I've met countless people (including in my own family) who try to present themselves as wealthy when all they have is debt.

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    1. Funny how those who "act rich" are the same ones who always want you to pick up the tab.

      I like people who are above the whole money=status thing.

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