Get Rich Slowly started as a place for J.D. to write about money. Over the past five years, it’s grown beyond that. It’s now a multi-author blog. Two weeks ago, the staff writers shared brief bios to give readers a little background. Today, contributing writer Robert Brokamp does the same. Enjoy!
Hello, GRS’ers. Want to know my life story, with an emphasis on my history with writing, finances, and procreation? Here it is, featuring actual things I said (maybe) at certain ages.
Age 0: “Ewwwww!” Born in Chicago on 7/11/69, which some people think is a funny collection of numbers.
Age 12: “I want to be a football player!” Spend $13 to buy weights; rarely use them.
Age 15: “I want to fly helicopters for the Coast Guard!” Plan ways to get accepted to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Attend Project AIM, which puts rising high school seniors through a week of life at the Academy. Do a lot of push-ups, see people eat food that had already been chewed by someone else, and smash milk cartons against my head. Love the Coast Guard.
Age 18: “I might want to be a priest.” Despite being accepted to the Academy, decide to attend Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. Pray a lot. Live with men. Learn to lock door at night.
Age 19: “I’m not sure about this celibacy thing.” Transfer to the Catholic University of America, but still consider the priesthood as a possibility. Major in English but also take all the pre-med requirements.
Age 22: “I’m definitely not interested in celibacy.” Contribute to the conception of my first child, Jocelyn, who now attends the Catholic University of America. Hope that, unlike her parents, she waits until after she graduates from college to reproduce. Her mother and I decided not to marry.
Age 22: “I want to work for the betterment of society before becoming a doctor.” Put off med school in order to join the Teacher Service Corps of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Teach sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade language arts and religion. Live in a former convent with many other Teacher Service Corpses. Get master’s degree in education. Begin “less hair, more weight” transition into adulthood.
Age 23: “I’m definitely not interested in med school!” Friends in med school are miserable. Decide not to become a doctor (though decision is still occasionally revisited).
Age 25: “I want to be a writer!” While still teaching, begin contributing articles to a local paper, taking writing classes at Georgetown, and writing poems to girlfriend. Earn the job of person who summarizes notes of faculty meetings; write them up as parodies of “The Sound of Music.”
Age 26: “This must be the best investment!” Open first IRA. Choose the mutual fund that had the best return from the previous year. Subsequently underperform other funds for the next several years.
Age 27: “Why didn’t anyone teach me this stuff?!” Realizing that it’s very difficult to live in Washington, D.C. on $23,000 a year, I begin reading books like Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson, The Truth About Money by Ric Edelman, and The Motley Fool Investment Guide by Tom and David Gardner. Meet Tom and Dave at book signing. Be dumbstruck by all the financial education that I didn’t have, and endeavor to share my new knowledge by becoming a financial advisor.
Age 28: “Sorry to interrupt your dinner, but can I interest you in a municipal bond paying 5.5%?” Join Prudential Securities as a financial advisor. Wear a suit every day. Bug people. Learn that the financial-services industry is mostly about sales, not much about education. Write articles for a community newspaper on the side, including one about how women were getting around the new “no thongs on the beach” law.
Age 30: “The poems worked!” Marry girlfriend.
Age 30: “I want to be a Fool!” Apply for editing job at The Motley Fool. Get accused of cheating on the editing test, get hired anyway. Wear shorts every day. Begin string of victories in the company Halloween costume contest [Facebook link]. Tom and David don’t remember me from book signing three years ago. Commit to making better first impressions, possibly involving pants.
Age 31: (In Darth Vader voice) “Lukas, I am your father.” Son is born.
Age 32: “I will even wash windows!” Dot-com crash causes many companies to fail, and the Fool to lay off 75% of the employees. People who are kept are those who can do many things – in my case, edit and write and know a thing or two about financial planning. Begin writing a lot more for The Motley Fool. Get an article in Newsweek.
Age 32: “It’s French for ‘Christmas’! I love Christmas!” Daughter Noelle is born.
Age 33: “I’m on Amazon!” Begin authoring, co-authoring, or contributing to a series of Motley Fool books (such as The Motley Fool Guide to Paying for School and The Motley Fool Personal Finance Workbook).
Age 37: “The translation says she is ‘lively and moving-like.’” Adopt Zoe from China.
Age 38: “I don’t know what to say.” Get elected to The Motley Fool Hall of Fame, under the “Favorite Fool” category. While accepting award, drop pants.
Age 39: “Hi, J.D. I’m Robert Brokamp. I love your blog. Are you related to the IRA of the same name?” Begin contributing to Get Rich Slowly.
Age 41: “I think that’s more than anyone wants to know about me. I’ll just list some of my favorite articles and end this thing.”
- My Big Fat Cheap Wedding
- I Eat My Children’s Scraps
- Diversification Isn’t Dead
- It’s Already Worse Than the Depression
- Happy Birthday, Risk and Reward! (Which Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz, in an email to me, called “the second most concise, brilliant description of portfolio theory I have ever seen.” The first is a quote from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” which begins “My ventures are not in one bottom trusted.” I don’t think Dr. Markowitz really thought my article was that good; he was just being nice.)
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