A Million For Your Thoughts

What makes those platinum-plated minds tick?

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop." --Author Unknown

There was a moment on January 6, 1990, in Providence, Rhode Island, when David Posman apparently thought he had made the business deal of his life. That moment was after he took a bottle and smashed it over the head of an armored truck driver. Posman grabbed four bags from the truck and fled. Unfortunately for him, each bag weighed 30 pounds. He painfully staggered away, and the police soon found the exhausted thief hiding in a nearby parking garage. It was right about then that Posman discovered he had stolen 120 pounds of pennies.

There's a long history of low-IQ criminals botching their get-rich-quick schemes; one just has to read the newspaper or the book America's Dumbest Criminals, or watch Jay Leno ridicule them on The Tonight Show. One robbery suspect who was apprehended a few years ago protested: "There's no way he could identify me; I had my hat down over my eyes."

If only they knew. Becoming rich doesn't have to be so difficult. "It's almost like you don't have to be a Wall Street whiz, or have a huge salary, to become a millionaire anymore. You just have to teach yourself how to become one," observes Daryl T. Logullo of the Noble Financial Group in Boca Raton, Florida. Logullo is also the host of two daily financial radio shows heard across the nation, The First Word on Investing and The Final World on Investing.

He's right. In today's nearly Utopian economy, getting the money isn't the hard part anymore--it's figuring out what you should do with it after you've got it. 1-800-SOLD-OUT's CEO Justin Fallon, 31, observes, once you've made your millions, life isn't always the way you'd dreamed it would be: "Sometimes people treat you differently. My mom just got remarried, and [at the reception], people were coming up to my girlfriend and saying, `Can you believe how much money he's worth?' "

To this, Fallon retorts, "Who cares? People think it's a big deal. That's weird. I don't want people to think any differently of me." Then Fallon recites a quote he read on a tea box 10 years ago: "Judge a man not by what he gains from his toil, but from what he becomes in spite of it."

On paper, Fallon is worth millions in equity. He founded his company, which locates hard-to-find and sold-out tickets for events, in 1987--but it exploded in 1999 with the debut of his Web site. Fallon didn't want to offer exact figures, but let's just say his financial worth is somewhere between $40 million and $60 million. And, like many millionaire entrepreneurs, he's currently trying to figure out what he's becoming--in spite of it.

Geoff Williams, like many magazine writers, is not a millionaire. He had an interesting time writing this story, even though he cried into his pillow every night. "Is hundredaire a word?" he wonders.

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Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Million For Your Thoughts.

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