(We all dream of hitting the "big one," but what comes after?)
Many miners and treasure hunters believe that once they hit the "big one" all their problems (financial and otherwise) will suddenly disappear. The point of fact is that some problems will be resolved only to be replaced by others as potentially serious (or more so) than those that came before. This is especially true if you can't keep your act together or your mouth shut. You sharp-minded and keen-eyed readers who know I've harped on this topic in the past haven't missed a beat to this point because you know what's coming, don't you?
Exception Rather than the Rule
Well, you're right. Each and every one of you. And if that couple in California who recently stumbled onto a bunch of cans chock full of highly collectible ("numismatic") gold coins knew what you knew they wouldn't be so quick to advertise their fabulously rich find. You see, deliberately broadcasting the fact you've hit it big is one of the worst mistakes you can make from a mining, treasure hunting, or just plain damn fool standpoint.
There may be a few instances where folks hit the big one or get incredibly lucky in the above regard and someone else blows the whistle or the situation itself develops in such a manner that the lucky finders have no choice when it comes to publicity, word of mouth or otherwise. That, however, is the exception rather than the rule. In most instances the lucky finders literally can't wait to rush outside and tell the entire world about their charmed lives and the fact the fates have smiled down upon them with these sorts of unbelievable finds. Somehow all this attention and hullaballoo makes them feel special, feeds their needy egos in certain instances, or allows them their 15 minutes of questionable "fame."
Whatever the cause or the reason, that California couple deliberately screwed the pooch by taking the podium and publicly announcing "We're filthy RICH!!!" to each and every one of the following:
- shyster lawyers,
- greedy tax men,
- manipulating relatives,
- church and private donation hustlers,
- self-proclaimed former land owners,
- aspiring lowlives of every description,
- thieves and sleight-of-hand "artists,"
- con men (and women),
- and every "very bestest friend forever" (BFF) within the continental United States (not to mention parts of Puerto Rico and Hawaii).
(Thieves come in all shapes and sizes when you hit it big.)
Plain and Simple
I know what you're thinking. Even after the lawyers and the tax men get their over-sized slice of the pie and run off laughing like madmen, this couple will still have a sizable wad of dough to spend on various and sundry items, organizations, and people...many of whom I just listed in the previous paragraph. Just to elaborate on things a bit, I've heard recently that now the state is getting involved in the gold coin stash deal in California, claiming the coins may be robbery booty. Get the drift here? If the coins are ill-gotten gains then maybe the finders won't get a thing once the crooked politicians and petty bureaucrats get finished running their "legal" sticky fingered scam.
My oh my, I am remiss here aren't I? Let's not forget the taxman or woman holding out an outstretched palm awaiting his or her "share" of your fabulous find. It's estimated that even if the State of California doesn't take every red cent away from this lucky couple on the bogus robbery set up, as much as half of the stash's ten to twelve million dollar value will end up in local, state, and Fed tax coffers. I don't know about you, but when someone forcibly takes something of mine and doesn't contribute one iota of effort or money to the getting of it or the finding of it, do you know what I call that person? A thief, plain and simple.
Food for thought brothers and sisters.
In my next post I'll make some suggestions on how to avoid a few of these pitfalls if you too hit the "big one."
Until then, keep your cool.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com