Notches & Tally Marks


GA Medicare Expert
5000 Post Club
In the old west, gunslingers (allegedly) put notches in their gun handle to note the number of kills. Over time men (and perhaps women) have kept score of their accomplishments in various ways.

Some collect trophy's or plaques. Others drive expensive automobiles (even if they really can't afford them) or live in big homes behind gated walls.

My trophy's are gathering dust, my car is a 20 year old Volvo, my home needs a new driveway and the only gate is the one to keep the puppy out of the living room.

I started a thread a few days ago about "What Drives You". Of the 26 responses, only 7 stressed money as the motivating factor.

Everyone is different. That's what makes the world go around.

Every once in a while you will see a bumper sticker that is almost as old as I am. "The one who dies with the most toys, wins".

The odd thing about that is, I have never seen a U-haul trailer behind a hearse, so what does it matter if you have more toys than me?

My wife has a plaque on the wall in our kitchen. It says:

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what was in my bank account, the kind of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove. What will matter is the impact I had on the life of a child."

Perhaps it is because I have been to the top in my profession on more than one occasion that I view things differently. The awards I have received over the years are in a box in the attic. I have made a lot of money and pissed a lot away. Twice I almost went bankrupt, mostly because of poor choices for a business partner, but fought my way back. My last venture cost me almost $1M but through it all I managed to stay afloat thanks to a loving wife, a strong will to survive without compromising values, and the blessing of a loving God.

This forum is an interesting place where personalities and values sometimes clash but more often agree. Despite my years in the industry, I find I can still learn things every week. Hopefully I have been able to pass along some things that have been helpful to others as well.

But to get back on track, my notches & tally marks are based on the number of folks I can help each day. Usually more than half never even bother to say thanks, and that is OK with me. The world is full of givers & takers but sometimes it seems like the scales are tilted in favor of the takers. In the end I have enough to sustain my business and my family. We have never missed a meal because I did not make a sale that day.

And that is OK by me.
Yet Katrina victims who had a lot of money didn't live in trailers, depend on charity, nor stand in 10 hour lines to get a free bank card so they could buy food. Could I imagine putting my family in that kind of situation?

I'm not bashing the poor at all. Some people don't have the choices or opportunities others have. But if you have opportunity and choices I think you should maximize them for the benefit of your family. You can make a lot of money and don't have to live like an ***.

I have a year 2000 Grand Prix and we have one car. We have the TV we bought 10 years ago when we got married. My cell phone cost $9.95 four years ago and it still works. So does my 6 year old computer with 128 RAM.

However, tradegy does happen. I'd like to be there if my parents need money. I'd like to be there if a friend or loved one needs it. I'd like nothing better if my father needs nursing care 10 years from now and I say "I'll pick up the tab." I'd certainly hate to say "sorry dad, but I can't help."
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"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what was in my bank account, the kind of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove. What will matter is the impact I had on the life of a child."

Outstanding quote.

I have heard numerous stories about people that live below their means, but I hear even more stories about people living well beyond their means. Most people live 2 paychecks away from being homeless.

I would rather have money in the bank then the bank owning me (car, house, loans, etc).

Poor people choose to be poor. I say that knowing that some years ago I was poor. Now I am doing well. It took time and hard work, but it has paid off. Being lazy pays right away, and that is why they stay poor. No goals, no vision, no plan, no success.
Notches and Tally Marks...

I have to agree so much with the picking up the "tab" for a sick relative or parent.

This is something I have always wanted to be able to do. What drives me?

Fear, as well as money. I can explain. I am money motivated.. but not out of feeling a greed inside that wants to hoard it all and buy big toys.

If I had more money I would volunteer more time, I would ultimately "work" as a volunteer in a childrens wing of a hospital. I have told myself if I am ever able to not have to work as much-- I would like to be able to purchase a ton of backpacks, crayons, coloring books etc. and deliver them like a "good fairy" to children... who can not get out and run, or play.

We did not have much growing up. However, my sister and I did not "realize it" until many years later. We were loved, our mom would make us homemade playdough, we would make mud hamburgers, run around the yard and act like kids..whenever we wanted.

When my father lost his job (work related MAJOR--injury) and was forced to retire at the age of 33---- I discovered quickly what I needed to do.

I needed to work. So at the age of 11 I was hired and worked for a family owned restaurant... The owner knew my parents, and knew that we needed money. He told me if anyone from the state came in .. for me to get him. I had working papers.. but I worked more than I should have... to help put food on the table. I started paying for school clothes and shoes for my sister and I. Both of us.. grew up quickly and moved out of the house.. by the time we were 17. We paid rent at an earlier age and learned how to work hard for what we wanted... and or needed.

The fear of not having something that is needed... is a hug motivation. I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad... : )
P.S. - 1991 Mazda Protege (Red Rocket) and a 1999 Nissan Maxima (Silver Bullet)

Don't knock that Mazda, I had a 94 Protege for 5 years, bought it when I was like 19 with a 125,000 miles for $400.00, fixed up a few things on it and proceeded to put another 135,000 miles on it before I sold it to a friend of mine for $500.00 about 6 months ago.

If that's not dependable, I don't know what is.

I have a 1992 325i BMW's actually older then the Mazda was, but it's in mint shape and they kept the same body style up till almost 2000 I think, people thought I was rolling around in the cash when I got that car, but it just cost me a shade over $2,800, put a little work into it and now it's good to go for 5 more years, hell it only had 80,000 miles on it when I got it, still drives like it's new.

I never saw the sense in paying off a loan to a bank just so you can have a newer car, I love cars....but I wouldn't jeopardize my finances for one.

Yet many people do this as the norm, they get out of school, get a job, buy a new car or two.....then spend the rest of their living existence in a downward spiral with debt....kinda depressing if you think about it.
Well you don't help someone who's in a hole by jumping in with them. Any program, society or fountation that really helps people depends on money or donations. I give to Kennedy Keiger which helps children with severe problem. They rely on donations. I'm not too sure they get a lot of donations from people with a lot of talent but choose not to make a lot of money.

If I can make $200K a year that's what I want. If I can make $500K a year that's what I want. That doesn't mean I have to buy a huge boat. It does mean that I can help others and secure my family financially.

And for me it's not enough that my family doesn't miss a meal. It's the food donations we give to Our Daily Bread so other's don't have to miss a meal.
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1995 Lincoln Towncar w/ 145,000 miles on it. I hope to get another 100,000 out of it.

Great place to give to John!