One of the most critical conversations I ever had, lasted only fifteen minutes at 6:00 a.m. in a hot sauna at the gym. I mean how many people expect to get life changing advice from a guy sitting across from you in the sauna. After a rather intense workout, I was sitting in the sauna trying to relax and recuperate. With a towel over my head and ear buds in my ear, it is a fair statement to say that I was pretty focused on myself and my needs, and not paying attention to the older gentleman seated on the other side of the sauna. All of a sudden through the music in my ear buds I hear this gentleman say, “You young guys are lucky, you have all the opportunity in the world and a bit of time on your side also. Too bad, most of you don’t have a clue what to do with it or are even seriously trying to find out.” This was followed by a rather amusing yet heartfelt laugh. I know you are thinking this was very weird, but think about how I felt at that moment. Can you even imagine my facial expression as I looked up and removed my ear buds? Taking a moment to remove the towel from my head and wiping the sweat that was pouring off of me, everything in me was saying who is this guy and what in the world is he talking about? This is when one of the best conversations that could happen in one of the strangest places ever began. The lighting was so dim that I could barely see this gentleman’s face. I kindly asked him to repeat his statement so that I could hear it clearly and he did, laughing again just like the first time. He had one of those laughs that made his chest rumble – the type of laugh that is usually followed by a strong cough. Following that he yells out, “I’m Dave.” I replied with my name and he began to give me an explanation for this random statement he had chosen to say to a guy on the other side of the sauna. Dave first started out by asking me a series of questions, such as how old I was, and what I did for a living. As I recall, I was about twenty-four or twenty-five years old at the time. Dave went on to ask me where did I put my money, and if I had at least hit the $100,000 mark in my savings account yet. I felt quite awkward to say the least – this conversation was getting even stranger and furthermore, I had no clue where it was going. For some odd reason, I played along and answered his questions. “My money is in my checking account sir and I also have a little in a savings account. And no, I do not have $100,000 in my savings or checking just yet.” He let out another one of those laughs, and said, “So, you really plan on working extremely hard the rest of your life huh?” This time I laughed because how exactly do you answer that question? Dave went on to share with me how he was fifty years old and hadn’t actively worked for money since his early thirties. He told me about places I needed to put money to gain maximum interest, and investments that would yield amazing results. It wasn’t like I had a pen or pad in the sauna so I had to memorize the things he said. Out of everything he said, it was his parting statement that seemed the most profound. “Everyone is either waiting on something special to happen, or following the wrong plan. They are going to really be upset that they didn’t put more thought into their strategy for life. I hope you take my advice young man. Have a good day.” In a very low tone I replied, “You have a good day too, sir.”
I didn’t really know how to feel, but knew some real wisdom had just been shared with me. Not only about finances, but wisdom about life. I went to that gym three to four times a week typically at the same time for the next year, but never saw good old Dave ever again. I often laugh when I think of that story as I now refer to Dave as the angel in the sauna who dropped a jewel on me.