The Problems With Money

Money, money, money. It makes the world go round, doesn't it?

Absolutely. It also helps in the achievement of power, increasing your enemy count, and paying for your mistress' apartment. As Tony Montana said in the movie Scarface: "First you get the money, then you get the power...then, you get the pussy".

But it's not all fun and games over here. More money, more problems. The more you have of it, the more other people want it. The more you have of it, the more careless you become. In the end, if you've got money and don't know how to handle the problems -- and I sound like my senile Aunt Marie when I say this -- or the responsibility of money, you'll end up a stupid cafone living in the park, sharing your breakfast with the stinking pigeons.

There are seven major problems I've seen creep up when people get a little cash under the pillow. Recognize these problems and how to deal with them, and you'll actually keep the money long enough to spend it one day (when you're 65) on that ugly Winnebago or whatever they call that piece of garbage all old people like to be seen in. (Here's a piece of advice for the young "ham-n-eggers" -- aim for a Ferrari, not an oversized minivan).

Problem No.1 - Getting caught up in the game

What game? It's not the Yankees versus the Red Sox. It's the game of keeping up with the Giovannis, putting up a show, and getting in over your head. Just because you have a wad of cash in your hand, doesn't mean you should start acting like Momo on the Ron & Ian Show, or like John Gotti in a discotheque, John Gotti had a truck full of cash when he wanted to put on a show, you might not be so lucky.

You buy a drink here, a drink there, you offer a few rounds, you book a penthouse suite for you and your buddies, before you know it, all you'll have left is six-day old ravioli in the fridge.

Momo's solution? Simple. Don't try to play the game of the filthy rich unless you are filthy rich -- they will always outspend you, you won't be able to keep up. It's not a game of showing off, it's a game of preservation of wealth, capisce?

Problem No.2 - Overindulging in vices

I know a lot of wise guys who lived their entire lives as poor peasants without any vices, until their cash flow improved and the bad habits starting coming out of the woodwork. Like problem No.1, people start living a new lifestyle, buying things left and right, without any thought to how they're spending their money. It's one thing to buy a big boat, it's another thing to piss away your life savings on gambling, cocaine and hookers. It's a vicious cycle when you get into these bad habits. You gamble to make a quick buck, the local "casino" offers a few hookers for you to forget how much cash you lost, and the cocaine is for when you realize that prostituzione won't make your money come back.

Momo's solution? Stay clean and stay away from bad habits. Sure, if everyone took my advice, I'd be out of business, but lucky for me, there are plenty of stronzos out there who don't read this, so do yourself a favor and take the straight road. Everyone thinks you're stinking rich over here...

Problem No.3 - People overestimate your wealth

The first thing I noticed when my finances improved was that everyone wanted me to be godfather to their child. In Italian families, the godfather provides financial support for the godchild during his life so, of course, you want to pick someone who owns a Cadillac for that responsibility instead of an Uncle Mario who works at the pizzeria. Soon, it wasn't just requests for godchildren, it was requests for loans, for favors, for some of my possessions, etc. People see that you have a Cadillac, and all of a sudden, you're friggin' Donald Trump. A fancy car or a fancy house, they all cost money, most people who have these luxuries don't have enough at the end of the month for breakfast at Denny's, and people expect handouts? People don't understand that though; they see a symbol of wealth and fuggedaboutit, you're loaded.

Momo's solution? Live austerely (big word of the day), keep the fancy goods for when you're older. Keep a low profile, don't show off your wealth and people won't know you have it. Act like a big shot, and you'll be expected to dish out like a big shot.

Problem No.4 - Paying taxes

Ah yes, the good old Internal Revenue Service. Don't you love these finocchios? All I know is that it doesn't take much for me to give Uncle Sam, who is no uncle of mine, 50% of my hard-earned money. 50%? Do you know how much that is? What kind of freaking partnership is that, it's worse than a shylock.

As a matter of principal, I can't stand paying taxes and I'll do whatever it takes to keep what's mine. Unfortunately, as with many things in the Cosa Nostra now, we have legitimate businesses and we have to pay some taxes. Though it still hurts to even give out a penny in taxes, you have to live with it.

Some people can't and they get stupid, or, like they'll say in court, "creative" -- don't be a wise ass. As much as it hurts, when you got money you have to write out some big checks to people you don't even know. Death and taxes, right?

Momo's solution? Deal with it, move to the Bahamas, or hire my accountant.

Problem No.5 - Enemies and jealousy

When people obtain a certain level of wealth (or power or anything), others who aren't so lucky get jealous. When you have cash, you also get a nice big fat target on your back from anyone who thinks you're a quick fix for their cash flow problems.

All of a sudden, you realize people want to steal your car (not my car, local hoods know better than to touch my car), rob your cash, sleep with your wife, etc.

People give you the "evil eye," they want to see you fail. You start picking up enemies like your flannel shirt picks up lint. You have to learn to deal with being a target. Momo's solution? Like problem No.3, don't show off your goods, keep a low profile, don't let people know your business, pick your friends very carefully (especially when you have money), and deal with your enemies; don't let them get stronger while you sit by, smoking your Cubans.

You start closing the lights and staring out the window... you freakin' moron, whaddya doin'?

Problem No. 6 - Paranoia kicks in

I've seen some wise guys with cash get paranoid. They think everyone's out to get them and their stinkin' money. They start thinking they have enemies in places where they used to only have suits. They start acting paranoid and, worse, living paranoid, protecting themselves by living in a bubble. Don't start looking for problems where there are none.

That's just plain stupid. Sure if you walk through "the hood" with a Rolex, you're going to get jumped, and for good reason. You shouldn't be in "the hood," walking through anything called "the hood," or exposing your precious Rolex in a place known as "the hood." You're not dreaming that everyone's out to get you.

That said, don't invent paranoid situations where they don't exist,. If, all of a sudden, you can't trust anyone, and you need the kind of security Al Pacino had in Scarface, you're already in way over your head.

Momo's solution? Get a freaking grip, slap yourself out a couple of times, and get over it. There's nothing else you can do about what others want. You can't please everyone, not everyone is going to be happy for you and your success. A little paranoia is fine and dandy, but don't let it cripple your life.

Problem No.7 - The God complex

This is like living a lifestyle you can't afford. You think that not only are you a king, but the royal loot is going to last forever. You start thinking that because you have some cash, you must be a freaking genius, a guy who could do no wrong. After all, your life is nothing but a success; you're invincible.

You say to yourself, "Yeah, let me start gambling with the big boys, yeah, let me take big risks and put a million dollars on some Ecuadorian gold company. Yeah, let me conduct this surgery without a nurse."

I've seen it happen over and over again. People with cash think they can do no wrong, and they end up slitting their own throats.

Momo's solution? Remember that on the path to success, you've made mistakes, and you're always going to make mistakes. Even when you die, you won't know everything. You're constantly learning, so don't act like you know it all and start following your whim instead of using your head. It might save you the child support payments too. And it'll keep you making money instead of losing it.

Avoid Headaches

All right, so go out there and make the dough so you can have the pleasure of these seven headaches too. Maybe one day you can have the big house on the water, BMW sedan, and live the high life like Big Ronnie D. Watch your backs and keep your noses clean. And always remember..."think long and hard" my friends!