In almost a nanosecond it was all gone.
Thirty years of saving, of acting responsibly and doing the right thing—gone in the blink of an eye.
In her book Lost and Found, Geneen Roth realized that she and her husband became one of the many victims of Bernie Madoff, investing nearly $1 million with the con man, who is now serving a 150-year prison sentence for running an estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme.
A catastrophic loss like this can take down the sturdiest and most stalwart men or women.
And for many of Madoff’s victims, the emotional damage may well be irreparable.
In her book, Roth provides a confidential view at how she found her way to a healthy relationship with money by using the skills she developed battling a compulsive eating disorder.
Honest and forthright, she admitted that in many ways, she helped Madoff victimize her because she was oblivious about her finances much like the way she devoured food without thought.
Still in shock, she found momentary solace through crying, feeling sorry for herself and shopping. It wasn’t until she almost purchased a $1000 pair of glasses that she was jolted into reality and learned that overspending or overeating was not the answer to the problem.
The book’s message is that you won’t develop better financial habits — or eating habits — until you address what’s driving your decisions to do what you know isn’t good for you. She believes people don’t do the work to address their issues — addiction to shopping or overspending, or fear of anything financial — because it’s comfortable and easier to stay in their misery than the effort it takes to become more aware.
In the book, she unveils her personal revelation, “My relationship to money was no different from my relationship to food, to love, to fabulous sweaters: Because I was never aware of what I already had, I never felt as if I had enough. I was always focused on the bite that was yet to come, not the one in my mouth. I was focused on the way my husband wasn’t perfect, not the way he was. And on the jacket I saw in the window, not the one in my closet that I hadn’t worn for a year.”
Her statement is similar to one from Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.” King Solomon, remarks that chasing appetites is often like chasing smoke: once you grab it, it evaporates. We never become fully satisfied by what we consume or overconsume.
Lost and Found is a well written, fast-paced book. This is a great initiation to Roth’s life and work, and also a helpful resource for those who want to gain control over their addiction to consumption.
“This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.”
You can read more about this book here BlogHer Book Club Lost and Found