How A Mad Man Does Money
Jon Hamm tells all.
WealthSimple, the financial investment company with the commercials that present a dystopian future in which we can afford pugs and clothing and not-Birkin bags if we invest right now, does a very good job with finding famous people and getting them to talk about their money.
They’ve talked to Anthony Bourdain about how much he hates debt. They’ve talked to Kylie Jenner, who shared with the public that her “number one jam” is a cherry red Rolls Royce Wraith before talking about how she feels raising the minimum wage is important in the same breath. Most recently, they sat down with a celebrity that I find both handsome and humble and kind, even though maybe he’s a jerk like every other jerk in Hollywood or maybe he’s just fine. I will never know, but this interview with him about money made me think that maybe he is as down to earth as I think he is.
Jon Hamm worked in the service industry in Hollywood for longer than he has as an actor. Jon Hamm was also a teacher, at the same school he went to in St. Louis. He also has some very clear-headed things to say about money — nothing terribly revolutionary, but it’s always nice to hear someone with lots of money speak about it in a way that resonates with the regulars.
Money, for me, is a means to an end: to pay your bills and eat. Growing up, we were never rich, but I was around money a lot — I had friends who had money. And I didn’t see that people with money seemed any happier than those who got by on less. I’ve never been driven by money — there are more important things to life.
There are more things important in life than money, though when you don’t have a lot of it, it’s hard to wrap your head around that fact. Seems easy for a fancy rich actor to say that there are more important things than money in life, but thankfully Jon Hamm recognizes the fact that when you don’t have money, that fact consumes your life.
But not having money can be a hindrance — it can make life hard, and you spend time worrying about not having it. To me, the main reason to have money is to remove the hindrances that accompany being broke. Once those hindrances are out of the way, it doesn’t matter if you have a ton of money or just a comfortable amount.
It’s really very true — money makes things easier and when you’re no longer broke, the worries that you had when you were are gone. But I’d argue that having a ton of money or just a comfortable amount when you’re not used to having any presents its own set of challenges. Maybe you worry that the money that you had will one day disappear and that consumes you just as much as the hindrances of your previous financial straits did, if not more. Maybe you overspend. Maybe you don’t spend enough. The differences between a “ton of money” and a “comfortable” amount would have to be laid out in numbers and I’m willing to bet that it differs for everyone, because I don’t know your life or Jon Hamm’s, for that matter.
But despite that, he offers some solid advice about the paralysis of choice that many of us face when trying to make decisions about anything, financial or otherwise.
I think the best advice I have for anyone facing tough decisions is not to let the stakes loom so large in their mind that making a decision becomes impossible. You have to keep a healthy sense of perspective — don’t sweat every choice too much or overthink things. If you take a wrong step, you’ll find the right one. If you lose half your money, you’ll find a way to make more. The older you get, the more crucial that is to remember.
“If you lose half your money, you’ll find a way to make more” is a nice thing to meditate on if you happen to find yourself in this position. It’s something I tell myself occasionally when fretting about a purchase. We will always find a way to make money, though sometimes it’s harder to do.
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