Bloom: Get Through Tough Times and Find Your Mojo

I Want Money, That’s What I Want

December 06, 2020 Susie & Dr Steve Season 2 Episode 3
Bloom: Get Through Tough Times and Find Your Mojo
I Want Money, That’s What I Want
Chapters
Bloom: Get Through Tough Times and Find Your Mojo
I Want Money, That’s What I Want
Dec 06, 2020 Season 2 Episode 3
Susie & Dr Steve

Can money buy happiness, and how much is enough? And the ordinary, extraordinary story of a man who turned a corner… and in an instant his financial world fell to pieces. Guest Royce Kurmelovs illuminates our relationship with mortgages, debt and the financial system.

Show Notes Transcript

Can money buy happiness, and how much is enough? And the ordinary, extraordinary story of a man who turned a corner… and in an instant his financial world fell to pieces. Guest Royce Kurmelovs illuminates our relationship with mortgages, debt and the financial system.

Dr Steve  0:00  
Hey, Susie.

Susie  0:01  
Hey, Steve,

Dr Steve  0:03  
I have news for you.

Susie  0:05  
Okay, hit me.

Dr Steve  0:06  
75 grand.

Susie  0:08  
Is that for me?

Dr Steve  0:10  
I wish, I wish. But apparently it's all you need, is it? It is, admittedly, this is us. 75 grand. I was reading Princeton article by can't remember the name of the author's carnem and was one of them the guy who recently won the Nobel Prize for economics, Thinking Fast and Slow. But this was a paper by these two Princeton economists. And they were saying that above 75,000, us, you don't get happier. Up to that point, happiness is correlated with an increase in income. Above that, you don't get any happier.

Susie  0:49  
I mean, it's it's hard to talk about cost of living, isn't it? Because it's not just a pure exchange rate. It's what that buys you, depending on in which city you live, and all this sort of thing.

Dr Steve  0:59  
And you think that's the interesting part of that observation? Five or 90 or 60?

Unknown Speaker  1:06  
I got a little distracted. How did they find 75? Did they did they test people who were earning 60, 75 and 90 and see how happy they were?

Dr Steve  1:16  
Yes, more or less, they obviously they asked people how happy they were. And they asked people how much they earned. I'm sure there was a lot more to it than this. In fact, I know there was because I've read the paper. But at its heart, that's what they were doing. And what struck me as I'm sure it strikes you, as this old thought that there may be a kind of threshold or a crest, beyond which we don't really get much

Susie  1:38  
happier. Just to unpack that I'm feeling a little slow today. The idea is that at 75, or whatever the equivalent is, wherever you're living at 75, you can have, you can have a home and a car and food. And after that you get diminishing returns. So you still have a car and maybe you have a nicer car. But it's not the nicer car, you've got your basic needs covered. And the nicer car doesn't make you happier.

Dr Steve  2:09  
Yeah, I guess that is it. You know, having a car at all, that gets you from A to B makes a massive difference to your life, whether you've got a four wheel drive, one of these great big super Toorak tractors, or a modest little car that get the teutuls around, probably the difference between those two is not that great? Or at least having it doesn't make you nearly as happy as not having it might make some people unhappy because they don't have the latest toy.

Susie  2:38  
Obviously, it's very difficult if you if you have socio economic challenges. But once you're out of that, then when you're above that level, was it balanced for things like how many people are in your household, that kind of thing?

Dr Steve  2:50  
Yes. And again, it's not about picking nits out of this as to whether they've got exactly the right amount, but the notion at all, which seems so contrary to the way that we live our lives, that we think that more money does equate to more happiness, and that life is about the accumulation of wealth,

Susie  3:08  
I do understand that you're focusing on the bigger picture here that's

Dr Steve  3:12  
vague on the details. Don't push me too hard.

Susie  3:16  
You're interested in the concept that happiness is finite, I seem to be looking at I mean, money does that to me, when you say an actual number, it becomes quite interesting to think about what that number means to you and how you might live and what that number means to me and how I might live that kind of thing. So is happiness finite? So the people on the 200,000, not two and a bit times happier than the people on the 75?

Dr Steve  3:41  
Well, I have read studies before that suggests that we have a kind of set point of happiness. And that radical changes to our circumstances make a difference initially, but that after something like a year, 18 months, I guess when you get used to your new circumstances, whether that means inheriting a large amount of money or losing both of your legs in a terrible car crash, surprisingly, you end up more or less around about your setpoint of happiness. It's like we have a personal capacity for happiness. And I'm sure we all know people who just seem to radiate happiness and seem to be able to experience happiness and find it much more easily than other people do.

Susie  4:23  
This is like those blowup things that you give kids and they punch them and then they come bobbing back up again. Everybody sort of lands back in there in the middle spot, the spot that's right for them.

Dr Steve  4:33  
Yes, that's right for them in the sense that this is where they're at. It might not be good enough. It might mean they go around in a perpetual funk and that nothing really is going to get them out of it. I'm sure we both know and those sorts of people as well. So nothing ever seems to make them really happy

Susie  4:50  
while you were talking just saying I was googling so I wasn't really listening. Oh, no change there then. But I've got a quote for you that I'm sure you'll recognize. Annual income 20 pounds annual expenditure 19 pounds 19 and six result happiness, annual income 20 pounds annual expenditure 20 pounds ought and six result misery. What is ought and six? I think my Google went wrong.

Dr Steve  5:16  
Ought as in nought as in zero. Yeah.

Susie  5:19  
Yeah. So it must have fallen out.

Dr Steve  5:21  
If your expenditure is a smidge more than your income. That's Mr. Micawber i think is no,

Susie  5:26  
yes, Mr. Micawber, as long as your expenditure is slightly lower than your income, then things are good.

Dr Steve  5:32  
This is a little bit like the old Maslow's hierarchy of needs thing, isn't it that you start with your basic requirements for shelter and food and water, clothing, and the absence of those is absolutely crippling and devastating. When you have them, your focus then moves up to the next thing. And then the next thing and then the next thing, it's as if we're programmed, there's a wonderful quote, which I always thought was by Shakespeare and discovered later that it wasn't cut. remember who it is now, a man's reach should exceed his grasp? Or what's a heaven for?

Susie  6:04  
So happiness comes from covering your basic needs and a little more? And also, if we follow Mr. Micawber from not overspending?

Dr Steve  6:11  
Yeah. But just to refine it a little, I think it's not so much that that results in happiness, it results in the absence of misery, think my own definition of being rich enough is to be able to go to the supermarket to be able to walk around and to buy the things that you need, and to some extent, want without worrying whether you're going to have enough money when you get to the table to be able to pay for it.

Susie  6:32  
That is riches indeed. But I think there's probably a lot of people for whom they take that for granted. And their idea of riches is an extra bedroom, or a swimming pool, or

Dr Steve  6:44  
whatever else we used to live in Brighton is a suburb of Melbourne. And it was horrible. All people wanted to talk about was how big their houses were, and price of real estate and all of that we had to leave. And largely because of that it was just so dove and people seem to be fixated on it. And I simply could not understand it. I thought there must be more to life than worrying about whether your current to big house is smaller than the one next door or than your friend has got.

Susie  7:15  
Yeah, it's a very privileged position that we're in really to be thinking about even to be thinking about mortgages and cars and all this sort of thing. And this is where houses. So I like your your supermarket analogy, that's a that feels like a good way to live in a way that's destined for more satisfaction.

Dr Steve  7:33  
You wonder if at the end of our lives, whether we look back, I mean, I'm not sure that that we may have talked about this before, I'm not sure that the way that you look back on your life at the point of view of death is really the meaning of your life or anything. But from that perspective, you might not mind too much the your car was a little bit older and a little bit rusty. And then a brand new bigger one.

Susie  7:54  
depends who you are, surely and what you what you care about. I mean, there are people for whom there, the big fancy car is very important. Do you still have the car that makes makes all the men get get mouthwatering?

Dr Steve  8:09  
I do, it's not worth very much. And it's 16 years old, but I love it. And it's a Mercedes and it's big. And it brings me a lot of pleasure

Susie  8:19  
Spoken like a true car enthusiast.

Dr Steve  8:22  
I'm not a car enthusiast. And I don't want another one.

Unknown Speaker  8:25  
No, I was getting "It's big. It's big". Is that the best you can do?

Unknown Speaker  8:30  
Don't ask me what color it is.

Susie  8:32  
So when we're talking about money, this is reminding me of something that happened to a friend of mine, where she got

Dr Steve  8:40  
a friend of yours is that right?

Unknown Speaker  8:44  
Yes, a friend, a very good friend first asking for a friend. It was at a time when when she didn't have a lot of ready cash. She got a bill for $700. And it was a mistaken bill. It wasn't real. And then pretty much immediately after that. She got a bill from the same people for $70,000. And what was interesting about it was the bill for $700 made her feel quite panicky and upset because she couldn't understand how this would come about and she had to pay them the $700 and but when the bill for $70,000 arrived, she just laughed clearly I don't have $70,000 so I'm not paying it. So there's obviously some mistake and it just it was meaningless to her. She really did she found it she found it quite it became entertaining rather than becoming worrying.

Dr Steve  9:29  
Suppose that's your only option and that it's like they say, isn't it if you owe the bank $700 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $70,000 you haven't got then it becomes their problem, I suppose.

Susie  9:40  
I mean, money is quite abstract in that sense, isn't it $70,000 was not real to her as a real amount that you and she didn't need to either it was a it was an error. It's not a real amount of money that you can just reach into your pocket and pull out.

Dr Steve  9:52  
There's a great series on Netflix called Mars about the colonization of Mars and it's said half of it is set in them The 2030s and the other half in 2016, when Elon Musk started the race to Mars, as it were, and the the image of one of those rockets, this phallic thrusting thing firing up into the sky with millions of gallons of fuel underneath it, I had a complicated feeling about it. And in one sense, it's the most glorious thing that humanity will achieve. Because if we can get to Mars, then we may still be around in 1000 years time. No, the chances of us going extinct if we're on two planets is then practically zero. But at the same time, I was thinking all of those people, thousands of people working in the Amazon warehouses barely scraping by on you know, ridiculously obscenely low amount of money per hour and having no absolutely nothing to fall back on. If they get ill, if they get sick, they haven't got insurance, if they get sick, they can't afford to be off work, you know, the gig economy and all of that and thinking there's there's a kind of obscenity there with this level of debt. And I was thinking principally of the United States, but it applies in our own backyard as well. There's thousands, millions of people living in the way that poverty is now defined. And it's it's an awful disgusting blight. It's a terrible judgment on us. Yeah. And

Susie  11:21  
you're thinking about the contrast between the investment for rockets versus

Dr Steve  11:26  
all that money going up in smoke, literally. Hey, that reminds me I've been reading this fantastic book, actually. It's full of stories like that about debt. And about people finding themselves. It literally starts with a fantastic story about the author, turning a corner on his way home from work, and then the whole world changes in an instant. Wow,

Susie  11:49  
you do hear about this. And this happens to people, doesn't it? They're right on the line. And one extra thing, one little thing, one big thing. Yeah, pushes them beneath that line. And maybe they're never going to be able to get back again. Or it's a long, long hole, and a lot of hard work to get them back up again.

Dr Steve  12:04  
Absolutely. And guess who our guest is this way?

Susie  12:07  
I can't imagine. So, Royce, welcome to the bloom podcast.

Royce Kurmelovs  12:18  
Thank you for having me.

Dr Steve  12:18  
Thank you for coming Royce.

Susie  12:20  
So way talking about money. And you recently wrote a book just money. Can you tell us a bit about what happened that led you to write and think on this topic. 18 months ago, maybe

Royce Kurmelovs  12:32  
two years now I was involved in a car accident. The very short version of that story is that it was a bad day and a bad month, I was coming home, I was maybe less than 100 meters away from my house when I came through an intersection and they hit someone. And if you ask me, I'll tell you that car wasn't there. But I was very wrong. And what followed was a pretty bad thing. Thankfully, no one was hurt in that accident. And I'm very grateful for that. Immediately, you start to then think about how much this is going to cost about the next the secondary issues. And for me, that was a big deal because I'm a precariously employed Freelancer can be a bit of a vulnerable situation with money. The first thing I did was tried to forget about it for a few months. But that was very hard when you're ultimately a bill came in the mail and said that I owed $25,000 to buy this new person who can't walk and for me, you know, I didn't have the pay property insurance that would cover this and then I was on the hook for the whole lot. Like a lot of people in this situation when you can finance up or something like that. It's It's scary. It's you know, not only have you made a mistake, but that mistake is really costly. But you know, and then from there, I started to just kind of out of morbid curiosity more more than anything, I started to look at the paperwork and you know, see it because I've never been in the situation before I started to look at what they were saying the reports they had the photograph. And the more I looked, the more something seemed strange. And when I looked closely at the pictures that were in the paperwork that I was sent didn't line up though, it showed to two cars from two different car accidents. And from then on, I started to ask questions,

Susie  14:02  
was that incompetence or was somebody trying to pull a swifty

Royce Kurmelovs  14:07  
you can interpret it however you want. Having done this now I personally believe it was just incompetence but also like you never know some people's moments. What I found is like being able to question asking questions was a really interesting experience because the the company I was dealing with, we're not used to people answering quite asking questions and we're not used to people checking their rights and checking usage and understanding the rules and regulations and laws around this stuff. And so for a while they kind of acted as really weird and would respond to things and so eventually this cat like there was a kind of a few months of back and forth by writing and then you know, other such another situation happened where one day a debt collector appeared at my door. I know I tend to be very fair at that point. I hadn't accepted this um, I was raising a dispute I was saying you're charging me too much actually the car you know the paperwork is is wrong and the car you know, the car I hit, it's not was not worth it. So for the for this debt collector to be there was a very unusual experience. And it shouldn't have been the case. And the debt collector was also confused about what they were doing at my door. That little interaction was revealing for many ways, because it got me thinking about a lot of things, including the nature of this person's work and how every day they begin with a list of people to visit and to ask about their various debts and how they go and to ask them, What are their intentions around that debt. And so I started to do more research, looking at the way debts are made, looking at the size of the debt business, and the growth, the finance industry. And what I found was really quite incredible.

Dr Steve  15:41  
Royce. There's a sense in the book that comes through that it's like, um, well, it's kind of Kafka esque. But also this sense of, it's like an iceberg that there is all of this going on, and it and it's not what you read about in the newspapers, it's not what we talk about as people as Oh,

Royce Kurmelovs  15:57  
absolutely. And, you know, invite and write the book, that was a couple of things I was conscious of as well. Star finance is complicated. It's full of acronyms. It's written in a language that makes it inaccessible. I would argue that's deliberate. Because how do you justify earning six figures? It's something that most people don't really have a head or pay attention to? And would prefer not to think about? If they could, I would prefer not to think about it if I could. The interesting thing having done being in a position now where I have like been reading a lot about this and be able to look back is that you're right, there is this almost invisible world as this is very untransparent institutions that run this stuff. There's a way that finance or the world of finance thinks about the world that is so far ahead of where the public conversation is, because when the public conversation tends to happen around the stuff, it's in terms of pure morality, Is this good? Or is this bad, but my argument in my awareness going in was at you need to understand this stuff. If you want to be able to critique or understand or know what to do, you need to be able to understand what's going on in this world. And so you know, when you start to learn about things like securitization, you know, deregulation, how debts are made, like you know, the way lending laws work, it is revealing in many different ways

Dr Steve  17:09  
you tell 100 amazing stories of different people like yourself, who suddenly find almost through, it's like they've they've stepped through a manhole or something in street and their entire world gets changed. Is it as common as it seems to be in your book, it seems to be happening to everyone,

Royce Kurmelovs  17:27  
I would argue that it is, I would argue that if you ask your friends and people you know, or if you listen carefully, they will mention something and it could be and they will have their own death story. And that's certainly what I found, I didn't have to dig very hard. Let's go very far to find the stories, I would just talk about something and then someone else would tell me about a friend or someone they know or they've met who've had these incredible stories. And what you see in the book is what made it through editing, there are others that I didn't have space or time or couldn't fit in somehow that were also really interesting stories. This is part of a broader story. This is part of a portal way that we've made our economy and society work in order to generate debt. For many people, it's a matter of stumbling blindly into this world. And yeah, you can think about this along a scale, right? On the far end of the scale, you have kind of reckless indifference. People who just like, aren't interested don't know, don't want to know quite happy to go about doing whatever it is they're doing, then you have people that make mistakes. And when they make a mistake, they find they often find that mistake, because quite costly. And then you have the people at the other end of the spectrum who are actively ripped off or harmed by an institution like their bank, like their financial advisor, like that broker. And I kind of sit somewhere in the middle of that. Part of the book was being able to put this into a narrative that encapsulates all these things and kind of give some words and language to this invisible world.

Susie  18:46  
What are things that people don't know about money that would make a real practical difference?

Royce Kurmelovs  18:52  
Well, that's a hard question. Because I mean, first, I should say that I'm a fan, financial advisor, I can't tell anyone how to manage their money. And you definitely should listen to me. I do say that this is a hard question to answer, because there are two different ways of thinking about it. Right. And I think it's the approach. The first is that if you have grown up or been in an environment where you didn't have much money, you understand the importance of money, you understand what it's like to, to live an environment of scarcity. If you come from our environment, where you have always had, you know, where you've been comfortable, and you've always had access to enough, and then you suddenly lose that level of comfort. It can be a really rude shock, it may and it makes people angry. Just even that insight is enough to then start to think to then approach the subject in different ways. Because it's and this is the things it is thrown up by money, right? It means different things. On the one hand, money, people matter, our friendships, our relationships, they matter. They matter. Most of all people's health, most of all, but also without money, you can't get access to stuff, it buys you clothes, but as your food, you can't go do everything cost money. And so it's very hard for thin people because we start breaking down the different layers of this. You get different things. Sometimes they may seem in contradiction.

Susie  20:02  
So there's a real emotional relationship with money, what do we think is the right way to feel about money?

Royce Kurmelovs  20:08  
Or even that's complicated, because if even if you think about money, and also debt, specifically, debt has a long 1000 year history that has been with human beings, since we first walked, it was how we look after each other, right. And over time, it has financialized, it become associated with making a profit. And there has been very sophisticated, very determined ways to think about it and how we do that. And it has often been associated with things like religion, and morality, and these kind of really big concepts. And a lot of that has been hardwired into our language, like even the word for debt comes from an old German word that means guilt. And so when we think about debt and money, and when we have these reactions to things like being confronted with a large bill being confronted with, I wonder, how are we going to pay for stuff, we start to have these kind of reactions and promotional, that sense of personal failure of that you've done something wrong if somehow you're guilty? Yeah, because it is so hard, cold, hard coded in our culture and our language, we just can't help it. It's part of the program, so to speak.

Susie  21:08  
Ross, I found it fascinating. There was something in the book that you mentioned, which is that people who have debts, pay off the smallest ones first, to try and reduce the number of debts that they have, rather than looking at the interest rates and which which of the debts are actually costing them more. And I think that underlined for me that it is an emotion of people making emotional decisions, not decisions based on the numbers, and I'm sure I would do that. It's weird, isn't it? Money doesn't behave in my head the way I know, it should, I guess, or my reaction to it isn't the way I would like it to be, I get out of sync with the amount and it's it feels difficult.

Royce Kurmelovs  21:48  
Absolutely. And you know, and there's a couple, there's a couple of new points on that suit. That was a particular psychological study that looked at the way people approach these issues of money. And I think that that's interesting for a start, because our financial system in our economics is, is predicated very much on the idea that people are rational optimizers, that, you know, they go through life, arranging their finances in their world in a way that is perfect for us. But as we know, everything about humans, that's the case, people have limits to what they know the most of their experience limits to their education levels, limits to their time, they may have to care for a partner or relative, they may have three kids, they may have a nine to five job, all these things get in the way of how you want to execute your finances. And the way I've expressed this previously, is, we shouldn't expect people to treat their finances as if they're an accountant. But we do when a person makes a mistake, that isn't costly. And that's the kind of fundamental asymmetry at which we're talking here, as well. Because when we deal with when you when you deal with some of these financial documents, and you look at some of the thinking that goes into how this, you know, these institutions are raised, the people who are writing these things aren't writing for you or may. They're writing for sophisticated investors, they're writing for politicians, they're writing for the people who make who make decisions in these institutions. And so I think we framing that in a way that kind of makes it accessible. And it says here is go some way to correcting the information asymmetry, and helping people understand what they're doing, giving them good information.

Dr Steve  23:20  
Money is fine is obviously connected with class. But there's a theme that comes through in the book that the rich are different than you and me, is it just that they grow up being more familiar with it and using money in a in a way rather than being the victims of it as the as the poor end up being? What what is what is going on there?

Royce Kurmelovs  23:42  
I think two almost contradictory things about this. The first I've heard I've said elsewhere, that money doesn't change, you just amplifies your personality. The second thing is, I think it's really important to recognize that the people who are wealthy aren't geniuses. And you see that in the book, people with money frequently make mistakes as well. But they're often in positions either through their employment where they're insulated from those mistakes, or they have enough money to cover them in case they make a mistake. And that's an important insight because so much of our culture says that will if you're doing well for yourself, you must know something and therefore we implicitly trust the inside. But that isn't always the case. In terms of questions of character. The listeners decide for themselves because that can be fraught and often contradictory in its in its own way.

Susie  24:28  
when my kids were little I used to childcare that was in a very fancy part of town. It was a really nice community center but right in the heart of one of the most expensive parts of Melbourne. And the the childcare director told me once that the people who had the biggest houses and the the flashiest cars. Were also the people who were ringing her saying, Oh, can I pay? Can I pay the fees a month late? I'm running a bit short this month. Okay, just give me a couple more weeks. So now I walk past the big houses and consoled myself with the thought that they're all broke underneath and racking up huge debts.

Royce Kurmelovs  25:01  
And this is the thing, right? I mean, so that's so that sense is deliberate in a way. Because you know, when you think about million dollar house prices, right, everyone's celebrating that the value of the houses 5% over the last however many years and everyone's you know, doing really well. The flip side of that is there's also a million dollar debt. Another key part of this is that that's by design. I mean, john Howard gave an interview to the ABC here in Adelaide of all places, where he was asked about this. And his response was, I've never heard anyone get angry about rising house prices. We have, especially for the last 20 years, there's easy access to credit, there's easy access to finance has allowed us to buy things that maybe we don't need to buy a big house. And part of that is because we've been encouraged to because that is how you make money by having the asset and we've built everything around that.

Dr Steve  25:46  
So you're saying that it's a cynical tug, that it's not necessarily what's good for people, but it's good for the politicians that play that game. Yeah,

Royce Kurmelovs  25:54  
yeah. And there's a word for this. It's the technical words financialization. So financialization is the process where stuff like a home which used to be a place to raise kids have a family have a life becomes an asset to, you know, be used to make more money. We see this like in the book, for instance, one of my most interesting moments of the book was when I went to Sydney, and I was like, Well, if Sydney is the ground zero for the year for the housing boom in this country. That's basically what it's like, I flew to Sydney, I got a train a bus, I walked 10 minutes to the very edge of the city, you know, you couldn't go much further before you hit cow paddocks. And I'm walking around this house that was being valued for something like over a million dollars, it's now a half away from anywhere. It was, there was an auction on the real estate agent who was actually really lovely guy invited me in and he goes, and I asked him how much and he tells me the price. And my response to him was too rich for my blood. But I just couldn't believe that this house was bogus. So far from anything on the very edge of the city. Sydney was valued at so much in this was at the tail end, this was when things weren't so crazy anymore. And we're all looking at the downturn, because you have to ask yourself, how do you expect young people to have families and to you know, live happy lives. And this is what we're telling them is something to aspire to.

Susie  27:03  
How has this crazy year change things

Royce Kurmelovs  27:06  
watching the pandemic unfold, it was very hard for me to process. It took me a while to learn what was going on as well. But the more I watched my understood, for me, there was a moment in the book when I'm consistently using this phrase. And something happens when something happens. That would be something small for a lot of people like for instance, a marriage breakdown or broken arm or losing their job. And that then causes cascading effect, which affects their finances, right. But then also, this can be big world events that we don't have any control over these macro events. And so I'm using this phrase when something happens when something happens, and then the pandemic happens. And then from there, I start to watch responses. They were such responses, responses from average people to entire institution. And for me, it was fascinating, because in many ways I was writing about this. And you can see this building up in its pages, no one knew where it would be. But there it is. And the response so far to me has been really scary.

Dr Steve  27:58  
Royce. At the beginning, you told us about your own personal experience with the car crash and all of that. And anyone listening is like me just dying to know what happens. In the end, I should preface this

Royce Kurmelovs  28:09  
by saying that on the way through about doing a book, it was hard for me because in the same time I tried to understand it intellectually, I'm also living it. And for me to reconcile that. And then to talk to people who are in similar in similar but very different situations for different reasons. They be really angry, and maybe more sad. And so when it comes to the end of the book, it was the question of paperwork, I was dealing with an insurance company that was stoned like so and we'll move for some time and then was and then I finally managed to get some on the phone and talk about this was very confused with other selling my rides. And by the end of it, I ended up negotiating a settlement I know negotiated that I would only pay $20,000 instead of the 25, which is a lot of money. But then when I when I finally got the paperwork back to me, I researched what was happening. And it turns out the debt that I was being handed over to a multinational debt buying company, that when you go back through the annual reports talk about how they have no slavery and their supply chains, which for me, and my dark humor was a really funny moment. And by then, you know, I could have been a better deal. But by then I was actually fed up enough. And I just kind of signed the forms and sent them back knowing that it was over and clarity. I think that's a really important thing for a lot of people is that in everyone that's been their experience with debt and money is different. And I think that once you have that certainty that you know what's going to happen next, a lot of those feelings people have suddenly left because you have a plan. And if anyone's in trouble, there's ways you can get help. There's the national debt helpline which people can call, it's free. They can direct you to government services that are free and never pay for financial advice if you're in trouble if you are being ripped off. And then the other thing you can do is if you know someone in this situation, I strongly I always say to people by buying a meal by on the beer, invite them around for dinner because I guarantee you that person is counting the cost of that meal. And it's a very kind gesture for someone in a bad situation.

Dr Steve  29:55  
I have to say Royce. It's an extraordinary book, some of what we've talked about today may not make It sound like something you would want on your reading list. But it's amazing. It's darkly humorous. I learned an extraordinary amount and so many incredible stories from people.

Unknown Speaker  30:11  
Thank you. You're very kind. For people listening Royce. What's your book called?

Royce Kurmelovs  30:15  
As the book is just money, it's out for you up and you can buy it, hopefully in your local bookstore.

Unknown Speaker  30:22  
Royce,, that was fantastic. It's been great having you.

Royce Kurmelovs  30:25  
Thank you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Dr Steve  30:27  
Thank you so much choice.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai