Five Points of Advice to Young People on the Spending and Earning of Money, Part One: Overdrafted Bank Accounts

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Below is the first of Five Points of advice to Young People on the spending and earning of money. The advice collected herein and within subsequent points of advice has been culled by the Author from both personal experience and a variety of Experts in such fields as Personal Finance, Mortgage Management, and Travel. While the Author him/herself is no expert, he/she can attest to the expertise of the Experts (whose names will be listed at a later date, in whole or in part as to be decided), and to the soundness of the point(s) listed below, and to the Value of sound advice about money to Spenders both young and old. All listed advice may be trusted implicitly. In finance, as in all matters by which life itself is decided, there is no room for error.

    • 1) Understand that no matter what you do, Young Spender, there will be occasions upon which your bank balance will slide into the negatives:
      • a. Understand that whether you, Young Spender, spend like a sailor or like a housewife from a ravaged country, there will be at least one occasion in which your bank account will overdraft. Reasons for this include:
        • i. Bills posting earlier or later than predicted, i.e., unexpectedly.
        • ii. An excess of purchased goods, services, or products as such to exceed available funds; i.e., overspending.
        • iii. The friend to whom you loan your debit card to buy himself a lunch turning out to be less trustworthy than your two years together at the community college would have led you to believe; i.e., Fraud. 

 

      • b. Understand that being, for a time, catastrophically broke will not be the death of you. Reasons include:
        • i. The fact that there is almost always a friend or a family member willing to loan the Young Spender a few bucks, provided he is in good standing with them, and is not a known addict of some kind (A Note for the Young Spender: Exercise extreme caution when becoming addicted to any product or activity or idea, or any combination of these three, as these addictions will inevitably lead the Young Spender to spend drastically more money than he should, and to unwise degrees).
        • ii. The fact that tomorrow truly is another day.
          • 1. A night’s sleep can, usually, take the edge off even the most desperate of times.
            • a. Clarification: this does not apply to the nights in which it is all too much, for the nights when the First and Second and Final Notices for the Loan Payments, the Utility Bills, and the Rent, whether in digital or physical form, have all grown together into a sheaf so thick they seem to have created themselves into something solid:
              • i. There are nights when they seem to have taken on physical form, a shape the outlines of which the Young Spender is sure is looming just off the edge of the bed.
              • ii. It is a shape he is sure, as his lover sleeps beside him, that he can see, as he stares into the darkness with his bloodshot eyes.
              • iii. He should be prepared, after nights such as these, to not be comforted by morning’s arrival. Its jagged light will not provide consolation for much of anything.

 

            • b. Despite the threat of these nights, however,  the Young Spender should always make the struggle to sleep, because it is good for the brain, replenishing chemicals necessary for the balance of mood and energy, which in turn allows the Young Spender the balance of mind necessary to face another day of abject poverty.

 

          • 2. New days bring with them always new opportunities, and sometimes bring also the lucky breaks upon which the early steps on the road to independent wealth are established:
            • a. Checks arrive in the mail.
            • b. Employers call back for interviews.
            • c. Rich relatives suffer sudden heart attacks on golf links, are flung through windshields in car crashes, secret away bullets into the backs of their skulls.

 

          • 3. The passage of time, the great extent of which occurs at night, the very accumulation of minutes and hours, the very fact that one is still alive, is sometimes enough to push life back into the Spender’s favor. The likelihood of the Opportunities and Lucky Breaks mentioned in the above point occurring increases in direct proportion to the number of minutes and hours a person has lasted through, the number of chips the Young Spender has on the table.

 

        • iii. If the Young Spender lives in a first world country, he does not have to starve.
          • 1. Welfare systems are in place to aid the Young Spender, if he’ll only stand in line.
          • 2. There are people everywhere wealthier than the Young Spender who are willing to pay him $20 to walk their dog, re-tile their kitchen, rake their leaves.
          • 3. Money is in such generous supply as to sometimes be found just lying on the sidewalk outside the Young Spender’s apartment, at the most absolutely necessary of times, so perfectly timed, in fact, as to make him believe again in a benevolent God. And sometimes it is not.
          • 4. The Young Spender is surrounded daily by people whose vices can be used to turn a short- or long-term profit, if he has only the vision to perceive them. 
          • 5. Dumpsters full of food are left unsecured behind restaurants every night.

 

        • iv. The fact that opportunity is, at times, only unevenly distributed, not absent.
          • 1. There exist everywhere Greyhound buses, ship’s berths, and locomotive boxcars to serve as passage to potential successes elsewhere.
            • a. Contrary to popular notion, there exists still the vast network of hobos, vagabonds, wastrels and street performers that once featured so proudly in the American mythology, and this network can still provide, in its own way, support on the path toward financial solvency. In specific, advice on dealing with hobos:
              • i. Some hobos are friendly. Most prefer to be left and alone and will keep to themselves. This is not true of all hobos, however. Some will throw the Young Spender off of rail cars or otherwise murder him.
              • ii. To protect himself from injury while riding with hobos (even those whose character he thinks he knows to be friendly, for the character of hobos can shift with the wind, like all men’s), the Young Spender cannot let his guard down. He cannot fall asleep in a box car, no matter how seductive the regular thuddings of the ties beneath him may be, no matter how much they recall to him, on a level he didn’t realize he could remember, his mother’s heartbeat, above him,  echoing through his amniotic fluid as he waits to be born. He cannot fall asleep. The time for sleep has passed.
              • iii. To establish goodwill, he should scratch together some money through a blood transfusion or, if he still has his looks, a blowjob behind the portable toilets, and with this money buy a bottle of vodka for his traveling companions. He should not choose anything fancy, as this will look like putting on airs. A plastic bottle of Aristocrat, shared around his shivering circle, will do. But he must careful with growing too intoxicated. See above.

 

            • b. Wastrels and vagabonds deserve less attention, as they are usually trapped in loops of poverty due to cycles of self-loathing and addiction (see note 1.b.i. above, or point 4, forthcoming). Traveling musicians, thanks to their traveling, can often provide solid advice on what opportunities might be located in other cities, and, thanks to the necessity of talent and practice their profession requires, can often be engaging, learned friends, overflowing (as is the nature of their lives: undying performance) with stories and jokes and song lyrics to be shared over beers for a night. They are often very charismatic, sometimes making them horrifyingly good sexual partners. This charisma can make them very easy to develop fond feelings for, but these feelings should not be pursued. Traveling musicians, by their very definition, will, one morning, be gone; their side of the bed will already be cold by the time the Young Spender awakens.

 

          • 2. The greatest limit facing the Young Spender in taking advantage of new opportunities that arise on far horizons is himself. They should never be afraid; when a notice arrives of gold discovered in Indochina, of oil deposits in the Ukraine, of archeological finds in the Côte d’Ivoire, it is only the Young Spender’s fear that limits him from taking chances and potentially finding solvency and/or prosperity and/or happiness however temporary.
          • 3. On the subject of luck and chances: be cautious attempting to use gambling as a means of income.
            • a. Do not enter a casino expecting to earn money; allow profit, if it occurs, to be a happy surprise, not a planned milestone.
            • b. Do enter a house of gambling or a backroom poker ring only with an amount of money you, the Young Spender, are prepared to lose.
            • c. Do not, under any circumstances, exceed this amount, crossing into the territory of money you, Young Spender, are not prepared to lose. In other words, if the Young Spender has the self-awareness to know that he lacks self-control, he should not gamble.

 

        • v. The fact that no matter how poor the Young Spender becomes, he must survive, because there is no hope for any Spenders if there are not those who are willing to withstand hunger or worn-through shoes or filthy hair. As a member of the human race, he has an obligation to persevere. Those who persevere are more capable, resourceful, and more knowledgeable about all of the difficulties faced in this life, and, accordingly, when the Old Money Empires wane, either next year or next century (because all Empires, all wealths, wane, it is their nature), those who have survived the poverty and sorrow shall be ready to take the place of the Old Money, to fill the vacuum left with their own growth, and perhaps make better the lives for those they left behind with No Money with their newfound influence and leverage. And perhaps they will assume the same artificial concern of their predecessors in the void. (Author’s Note: Do not trust any member of an Old Money Empire who tells you that they know what hardship is. They are fucking liars and thieves. See point 3, forthcoming.)

 

    • c. Understand that banks do, on occasion, make mistakes.
      • i. Perhaps the one point in which the Spender’s account dips into the negatives is brought about by a computer’s circuits melting during a particularly busy rush hour, a teller’s mistroked key, a vanished deposit slip.
      • ii. Sometimes, these errors can work in the Young Spender’s favor. Similar to point 1.b.iii.3, above, there may be mornings on which the Young Spender awakens to find money, its origin as oblivious to him as his own origin, awaiting him in his bank account. When this occurs, the sum of money is typically very small, usually less than $10, but, sometimes, that is enough, or more than enough: for a cheap haircut; a package of socks; a pack of cigarettes; bus fare; a gallon of gasoline and a book of matches. Yes, the Spender has, perhaps, a small obligation to learn where this money has come from. He also, probably, needs it much more than the bank.
      • iii. In the case of point i, above, or point ii as well, if the Spender is feeling an inexplicable (and unnecessary) sense of guilt or has suffered since early adolescence under a crippling weight of hyper-honesty, a phone call to the Spender’s bank will usually rectify such matters with ease. But, truly, such honesty is rarely necessary; when attempting to make ends meet it is sometimes, even, counter-intuitive. The Young Spender should not spend his time questioning from where this or that windfall has come. He should seize it before it disappears. However, should he call his bank, he should disconnect the line as soon as the business at hand has been resolved. The Young Spender should never listen to the sound of a banker saying, “Farewell.”

 

John Fram is a freelance writer whose public records show him living in Texas. He has a dog and a guy that lives with him. He tweets here, and you can contact him here. Photo: Gustavo Mazarollo/Flickr

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3 Comments / Post A Comment

Brunhilde (#78)

I would like to send this article to myself 15 years ago, please and thank you.

meg (#329)

This article read aloud in my head in the voice of Ernest Hemingway as portrayed in Midnight in Paris. Billfold, you are my new favourite place on the internet.

Mr. Skint (#335)

Mr. Fram, I just want you to be aware of how painfully relevant this piece is to me. However, I find it to be reassuring and helpful as well, so there’s also an upside. Thanks!

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