Friday, March 13, 2009

Bernie and Marty

Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty and was sent to jail. I had no money invested with Bernie. I know only one person who was affected by Bernie's scam. My friend Marty is a limousine driver in South Florida. One of his regular clients, a 78 year old eye surgeon, had advanced Marty $240.00 to pay for future trips to the airport. Marty had needed the money to play the ponies.

Marty has a unique financial life , especially for an intelligent Jewish guy from Brooklyn. First of all, he usually has all his assets in his pocket. If he makes a hit in gambling he keeps the winnings in a box in his kitchen. He has written less than 10 checks in his life. He's 62. He has never had a credit card. His expenses are $1200.00 per month plus cigarettes and herbs. He smokes two packs per day. All money above expenses is used for gambling or entertaining his classy girl friend (daughter of a Navy admiral) from New Hampshire.

When Marty has a few extra dollars in his pocket or in his box he is very happy. When he is working he is very happy that he's working and earning money. When he's not working he is very happy that he's not working. Marty is happy most of the time. He lives his life under the radar of society and likes it that way.

Marty's eye surgeon client was worth thirty million dollars. He had all of it invested with Madoff. On the day after the Madoff scandal surfaced Marty got a call from the surgeon asking Marty if he could please return the $240.00 he had advanced him. Marty did not have the money and had to borrow it from his mother. So he was a real victim of the Madoff scheme.

His eye surgeon client and his wife (she's 77) have had to sell most of their possessions, and go back to work. Marty thinks he is working as a security guard and his wife as a waitress. Although Marty took a small hit he has bounced back quickly. I spoke to him today. He had six hundred dollars in his box, He couldn't decide whether to take a few hundred and go to the casino or save the money for his girl friend's visit next week. I don't know what he did, although he was leaning to trying to make a hit. He sounded very happy, though.

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