Why I’m Not Rich
So I am actually stealing the title and concept of this post from Million Dollar Journey. Originality is not as easy as it seems.
By all rights I should be rich in terms of my finances. I don’t think I am (but I add that I am a millionaire in many other ways in my life. I am not lamenting not being financially set, simply pointing out that mine is a story of opportunities missed as much as anything else.
First big chance I had to make a lot of money was in 1981 when I took BUS 111/121 at Wilfred Laurier U.. Back then it had the “Stock Market Game” as part of its curriculum. There I learned about a new tech stock that was just going IPO. The winners of that game bought only that stock and won the game handily. I could have simply invested $1000 back then and been able to pay for my education completely. Quite simply, I ignored that opportunity (what would you expect from a 20 year old?).
I could have made a lot more money had I left my money in CSB’s which back then were paying 19% interest. I guess we can ignore that “opportunity” since that really was an aberration in the whole system.
When I was about to graduate, I interviewed with Microsoft. Happily I actually got fairly far into their interviewing methodology. Unfortunately I managed to find the secret trap door and was not offered a job. If I had gone to work there in 1985, and had managed to hold onto my job long enough I would have easily been set for life monetarily, but whether I would be happy ends up being an open question. This lines up with how my financial luck has fallen throughout my working career (i.e. almost being in the right place at the right time). How real this opportunity was, I am not sure, but still an opportunity missed again.
As the 80’s ended I changed jobs and started working for Nortel. Back then, it was still just a Phone Equipment Manufacturer (with no megalomaniacal dreams of it being a Tech Superpower). Even back then I could have made some good coin by buying BCE stock, as part of a savings plan. I did actually enroll in that plan, but I simply cashed out of the plan every year to get the company “top up” portion of the savings plan. If I had held onto that stock, and simply lived on the Dividends I might have made a pretty penny, but I kept cashing out.