For those unfamiliar, a book titled “THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR” was a big bestseller back in the ’90’s. While I knew of its existence and the general gist of the text, I had never actually read the book until just recently when one of the old neighborhood boys mentioned that he’s friendly with the author. So I logged onto nypl.org, reserved a copy and started reading today.
The general thrust of the work is to reveal that America’s millionaires are inconspicuous schmucks driving half-assed cars and living in modest housing – and not douchebags in Armani suits who are so busy spending and showing off that in fact, they have no wealth. And of course, in the process of reading I began measuring myself against all those millionaires next door. When it comes to saving versus spending (a crucial factor in becoming a millionaire), I am at the extreme end of the continuum. And I don’t think I have to tell y’all which end.
While that facet of my existence is unique enough to draw the attention of the writers of “BILLIONS” (on SHOWTIME), the secrecy within which I amassed my first million was even wackier. Downlow financial types who amass a million bucks in wealth will generally have at least a few people in their lives who are aware of what’s happening. Ya know…a wife or parent or sibling. But with me, absolutely nobody knew how much I was making. And I certainly didn’t want to show off to my clients and have them think I was banking big time – even though they themselves were cashing in as I was. The only difference was that they were busy blowing their money on horse shit while I was saving mine.
To be truthful, I was in total amazement at how many dollars were coming in once I branched out from my job at Action and decided to become an advertising agency. I simply had no idea the commissions media outlets like the Village Voice and New York Press were rewarding those who would deal with the reprobates.
Well anyway, I knew where my money was and how much I had while leading the glamorous life: taking multiple subway and bus rides for hours on end all over the five boros to pick up that money. It was crazy. On Wednesday. I’d buy a $7 all day transit pass and literally take 15 subway and bus rides to service all my clients. Hardly what you’d consider a millionaire’s lifestyle!
It was a surreal moment the night I returned home from one of those Wednesdays, dropped a heap of money on my bed (or wherever) and realized “I am now officially a millionaire.” There was nobody to tell. I didn’t call my brother – or mother – or anybody! It was just me and my million bucks in a vacuum!
And of course as time went on, I had more and more business. And the money piled up like Monopoly currency. Yet still, nobody was aware – though the Koreans began to get the idea. They knew how much money they were giving me and that several of their colleagues were doing the same. But their estimates of how much I was making and how much I’d saved were still way below what I was actually earning.
In the meantime, I was writing on this blog about dollar dumplings and such while considering my huge visibility – and wondering whether I should reveal the windfall to the one entity that really mattered – the IRS! Often, I’d fantasize about writing the agency a huge check and then scanning and posting the draft to freak out my competitors.
Unfortunately, professionals advised me not to do that (confessing to the IRS part). All’s I can say is that some accountants are brighter than others and I daresay that not coming clean to the IRS when I had the inclination was about the worst decision I ever made. Not that that excuses my inactions with respect to paying my fair share. But I’d have been a lot better off if I’d followed my first mind rather than the horrible advice I’d been given.
So now here comes the IRS and y’all pretty much know the rest – or all I want to tell you. The funny thing was that all that drama was a big secret. Still, nobody fucking knew about Dollar Bill being Million Dollar Bill in actuality! And then came JOHN MARZULLI of the Daily News, whose job it was to dig up court gossip for his publication. And suddenly, I was the lottery winner who’d successfully hidden his fortune only to be outed by a reporter sniffing around for a story. In the words of one of my favorite sitcom characters, Tim Allen’s neighbor Larrabee in LAST MAN STANDING…“not cool!”
The reactions in the escort community were interesting to say the least. Clients fled from the blog. And “girlfriends” freaked out thinking I was only seeing them to get their asses in trouble. The review boards lit up with absurd conjecture. Oddly, nobody cracked on me for a loan. And when the few who did asked, I had a standard answer: “Catch me on payday. Oops! There are no more paydays. I’m out of business!”
Well anyway…I tell this story on account of reading this crazy book. To the point: The bottom line is this: If you want to be a millionaire…start making and stop spending. I know dozens of girls in this business who could be millionaires but only one who is because she, like me, was the ultimate saver.