I lost $8000 dollars. It could have been prevented. I could have avoided it. I didn’t. It happened. And surprisingly, I don’t feel that bad about it. Am I losing sleep over it? No, I’m not. Am I banging my head against the wall? Not even. And its not because I think $8000 is a small amount. Both vehicles that I currently drive are worth less than that. I could have used that money to fund my children’s education, to buy a better car, a nice vacation, to invest, many other things. But now that money is gone….and you know what? I probably won’t miss it.
Now you may be saying to yourself….”What the heck is wrong with you? It’s $8000 freaking dollars guy!” My response. I shrug my shoulders and respond, “Oh, well. Life goes on.” Trust me, I have a valid reason. And I would be willing to bet that if you were in my shoes you would feel the same way. I talked to somebody who lost that much money in the same manner and guess what? They did it on purpose. I, at least attempted not to lose it even though my efforts in hindsight where “blinded efforts.” That other person lost about $7500 and they did it on purpose! If you think I am crazy for not feeling “that bad” about losing $8000, now imagine somebody losing $7500 on purpose. In fact, they planned on losing that money. They planned it! So don’t call me crazy now.
Now let me explain. I have a rental property (we can call it “Ignored”) that always leases out fast. In the first week of October the tenants moved out and my wife and I did the make-ready lightning fast. I did a glance over and started doing light touch-up on the place and my wife did some light cleaning on the kitchen only. We finished in one day. Placed it for lease right away and narrowly focused on the remodel of the other home I had just purchased (we can call it “Sponge”). Sponge consumed all my time due to the fact that it was an extensive remodel. My days were filled with my daily routine, the addition of trips to home improvement shops, placing light fixtures, trim, and other decorative features on Sponge. My work days would be ending at 9 pm every day.
October passed. Like a leaf, November blew away. December left like a souped up sleigh. And now we are in January and finally I began to wonder…Why the heck hasn’t Ignored been leased? Ignored has been leased out for about $2000-$2200 before and 4 months have passed with no takers. Four months without a tenant is a loss of $8000! I go back to Ignored, and this time do a thorough walk through and what do I see? Mold. Grimy mold is on the bathroom tiles and also notice that the bottom trim is filthy all over the house. Sponge had consumed so much of my life that I overlooked many obvious defects that would have deterred any potential renters. In all my years I have never lost that many months on a rental. Now I lost 4 months. I lost $8000. And that doesn’t include the loss of mortgage, insurance, and taxes paid for those months.
The next day I scrub that mold to oblivion and paint that trim like a classical painter. That same week the property was leased. Problem solved. I blamed myself for allowing Sponge to consume my life. It cost me a lot of money. But that still doesn’t answer the question. Why don’t I feel that bad about losing that money?
I never had it. I never touched it. It was never in my account. It was phantom money. Money that I very likely could have had had I done the right thing from the start. But since I didn’t it never came. My investor friend has a place in Florida that he rents out for $1500 and he decided not to lease it out to anybody for 5 months because he wanted to stay in it on his trip there for 7 days. He lost $7500. He could have stayed in a hotel instead and used the difference to spend on his vacation. He knew what he was doing. He knew he was losing money because we talked about it. But he was OK with it. He never had it. He never touched it. It was never in his account. It was phantom money.
That being said. If that money was in my shoe box and then by mistake placed in the recycling bin, and the recycling bin had been picked up, I would be cursing like when you are barefoot and step on a Lego in the middle of night. Then I would probably curl up in the fetal position at night wondering and whispering to myself over and over again…. where is it? Why? Why? And the mental anguish of losing it would bother me for days…until time would eventually heal the pain. Yes, I lost $8000. Will I do a better job to prevent such a loss in the future? You bet. Do I feel bad about it?…Now that I think about it…a little bit more now….