Monday, May 17, 2010

9) There are 8 Million Stories in the Naked City

aked City is a 1948 film noir that took place in NYC as seen through the eyes of a couple of NYPD partners.  In 1958, it became an acclaimed TV series.  It always started with a shot of New York City’s skyline (cityscapes, I like to call them), while the male voice-over said, ‘There are 8 million stories in the Naked City, this is one of them”.  Then you’d see one with some guest stars.

So here’s one from the SFN Vault - the names are changed to protect the innocent.

Maria was trying for partner at a major consulting firm, dominated by white men.  She earned in the mid-6 figures, but the job was terribly stressful.  She had to travel often, and for extended periods of time.  She was divorced, and had neither children nor pets.  When she had a free moment, a massage was the first place to which she would run.

One thing that she definitely didn’t want to do was to have to tend her money.  She was so busy earning the money that she didn’t want to have to manage it; she wanted to earn it (step 1) and spend it (step 3), so she hired me as her Personal Business Manager to manage it for her (step 2).

For one inclusive, partly tax-deductible fee, I took care of her banking, bill paying & record keeping, her credit rehabilitation & negotiations (from having ignored the due dates), her insurances, investments & taxes.  Together, we established goals, a budget (including how much she needed weekly in cash for her pocket), and performed her financial planning.  We met weekly on Saturdays on the telephone to review reports, talk about upcoming events & expenditures, and so that she could list what checks she had written or credit card charges she had incurred.

When Maria didn’t have to work, she splurged, maybe too much.

She was always away from her many siblings and their kids, whom she adored, so when they got together, she treated everyone to everything including Disney trips which included everyone’s airfare, entry, vans for the group, hotels, food, and gifts.  If it was NYC, it was hotels, vans, dinner, Broadway shows, and shopping at American Girl dolls.

She also spent a lot of time and money on long-distance cell phone calls to friends and family.

In addition, she probably wasn’t exercising enough to control her weight and stress, so she’d pamper herself emotionally with massage, shopping, travel, cultural, and dining experiences to fill the void.  Various minor medical disorders further caused her weight to fluctuate, so clothing - good clothing - was a must.  And because she traveled so much by airplane, she always had a healthy budget for new hard cover books,

She was seldom able to save in spite of being in the highest 1% of all US income earners, and when she did, she usually ended up having to wipe it out due to debt that would inevitably pile up, in spite of my interjections and support.

Eventually, Maria needed a new car, and in order to project the image of a partner to her co-workers, had settled on a BMW.  As she was stationed in the West, at the time, I flew cross-country to help her shop.  But before I went, I researched car negotiation techniques, to supplement my general and credit negotiation skills, BMW prices, BMW dealers, and scheduled some appointments.

We went shopping, she went test-driving, I negotiated, she signed on the dotted line, and after two days, Maria had a new BMW at a price with which we were comfortable.

Maria never made partner but instead retired at 55 and became a librarian living near family.

You tell me.

There are 8 million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment