If they’re willing to put it on the table, take it. All of this. J. Walter Thompson (Paterson, the chief executive’s global advertising agency) really wanted me to be disappointed. This was in 1987. Thompson was threatened by a takeover by rival agency WPP, and they didn’t want to lose me. So they gave me three possible packages. I have an advisor on behalf of Tom cruise and superman – I forgot his name… Christopher reeve. I asked him which bag he should take, and he said, “these three, if they’re on the table, they’re willing to give up.” And that’s exactly what happened.
My father is a cheap bastard. He grew up in Newburgh’s New York City slum, which he called “pogey,” and his mother was a maid. So that’s what he brought to our family. The only gift is my sister, and every Saturday I go to see the double function. Otherwise, it’s a very frugal existence.
Now, I have about $300 in cash. But I remember when I was twelve years old there was a 25% allowance. You have to really think about what you’re spending that week. I remember one time when I was a boy on an altar, the boy said, “let’s go to wina, Texas, and buy fries!” As night fell, we sat on the hill and Shared them. It’s like eating at a fancy restaurant. I can still taste them: a little greasy, too much salt, just spectacular. It’s a splurge, man.
There is something strange in my wallet. I have cash, American express and visa; My driver’s license, obviously; With CARDS, you can get around the crowds at the airport. But I also have a space pen because when people stop me and ask for my autograph. Then I have a dollar bill, signed by my best friend “happy birthday, champion”, because I play golf at once. And I have calendars in June and July, and each calendar is on a piece of paper folded into a wallet, so I can take them out because I don’t have a phone – the dinosaur is special. Apart from traveling, I almost never bring my phone, because I spent some crazy money to call the hotel and I thought, “what? Seriously?
We have an absurd house in palm beach, Florida. We bought it in 2009, when people didn’t spend their money on houses. This is a complete destruction, but it makes a lot of sense financially. The house was much bigger than we needed, and a little bit of guilt. On the other hand, I like to be in this house.
I was probably too conservative in my investments, my parents were very thrifty, and my grandparents had a great depression. But I don’t look at it with regret. I mean, if I abuse someone, or if my partner left, I love her, or if my lifestyle causes my body weak before its time, I’ll regret it. But the money? Er. Of course, it’s easy to say at this stage, because obviously I don’t have a lot of financial problems.
“If I abuse someone, or if my partner leaves, I love her, then regret would be like this, but money? Er.
I’m not spending money, but I’m learning. I have a friend in Florida who is teaching me. He said, “a little silly… Why did you put all this money in the bank?” So every once in a while, I fly NetJets. But it’s hard for me. We finally went to Hamilton, which is $849-three times! How did that happen? I’m all for drama, but I don’t know what it is. On the other hand, some of the people I know in Florida… There was a man, a billionaire, who had this incredible art collection. I wanted to know what his taste was like, and he said, “oh, it’s not about art or what I like, it’s all about investing.” I don’t understand that. You go to some parties and you say, “wait a minute, how much did you spend on this party? Twenty million? Is it true?
My last birthday party was in the back of a small Italian restaurant. I told people, “please, please don’t bring gifts.” But I gave everyone a present and a great gift. I said, “birthday parties should be what you want, I don’t like gifts, but I like to give things to people.” We also give gifts to booksellers. I always get their best letters, because it’s like the money that falls from the ceiling. I think we need bookshops, especially now. To be honest, the world would be better off if the borders were still there.
“Money often costs too much,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson. It does. I mean, many of the people my son goes to school are in investment banking, for example, “I know I have to work 90 hours a week, until I’m thirty-two, and I’m going to be a millionaire. “How much do you want to live?