Monday, 28 Nov 2022

How I turned $15,000 into $1.2m during the pandemic then lost it all

How I turned $15,000 into $1.2m during the pandemic then lost it all


How I turned $15,000 into $1.2m during the pandemic  then lost it all

I kept the news in all the way out of the terminal until halfway through the airport parking garage, which was as far as I could hold it. It was the kind of announcement that was too voluminous for the inside of a car, so I blurted it out to my parents in the open air in a half-mumble, half-laugh.

"So, umm, I turned $15,000 into $1.2m in the past year."

They both stopped and looked at me, silent.

"Are you on drugs?" my mom finally asked, anxiety flashing across her face. My dad said nothing. I dispelled her accusation by opening up my investment account on my iPhone and turning the screen towards her to show her the balance.

My dad remained silent, in a way that felt more accusing and harder to confront - as if I had suddenly upended his conception of the world. Both of my parents had taken vows of poverty to each other as part of their wedding vows; their guiding philosophy was to "live simply so that others may simply live". They owned no property because of their choice to be "war tax resisters", and both had consciously dedicated their careers as a legal aid attorney and a Presbyterian minister to low-paying social justice work at the detriment of material possessions and substantial retirement accounts.

But if his worry was that he didn't know how to relate to a son who was now rich, then he needn't have. Not about the money anyway, because within four weeks, the bulk of it was gone. In the span of a year, the numbers came, danced, disappeared.

What took longer was un-becoming the asshole they almost made me.

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