a unique perspective on this crazy world

Yesterday I was at the bank trying to figure out how to transfer euros to a German bank account.  The purpose of this mission was to pay my share of the fees related to my German divorce.  It is one of the most amicable splits in history so it was a little shocking to see how much it was going to cost me.

But Germans are good at logic so it was explained to me that we were not paying for the actual time incurred by the professionals to deal with our actual situation.  Instead, we were subsidising other couples who had made less sensible decisions.  The fees to be paid are based on a schedule determined by the net worth of the divorcing couples.  The concept behind this is to make sure that even couples with few assets and lots of anger can afford to get a divorce and don’t have to stay together because they can’t afford to be apart.

I am a socialist at heart.  So happy to pay a little more than my fair share for the greater good of the entire social framework.  It’s a concept that doesn’t go down so well with the average Republican.  I just don’t get it.  HOW rich does anyone really need to be?

I like to live my life all over the map.  I purposely tried to spend time in my room at the Four Seasons because, hey, I was staying at the Four Seasons!  And my mom and I postponed our visit to the National Gallery because they offered us free champagne when we checked into Claridge’s – and who says “no” to free champagne???  One of the best meals of my life was my private five course chef’s menu dinner at the Meridien in Shanghai with the cute French chef taking my order and then popping out to check on me after every course.

So I appreciate how enjoyable it is to have a little cash to throw around 🙂 But I enjoy it more when there is someone there with me to spoil.  And most of the best memories of my life cost less than $100, sometimes less than 10.  Most of my happiness comes from interacting with others – and that is free.  Too much money can lure you away from actually living your life.

Why I became a socialist.  It all started when I was about 12.  I was always good with my allowance and have those strong fiscal Scottish genes.  So I was a young conservative, a Republican wrapped in the Canadian flag really.  I thought my father shared all my views.  But one day I said something and his response shook up my world.  He said we did not all start with the same advantages so it was unfair – and wrong – to adopt that great conservative stance that a social safety net was not required. Making it hard would make everyone try harder.

Right now I am reading two fantastic books about money, Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money and Roger Lowenstein’s Origins of the Crash.  You will be hearing more about them in future posts.  Lots of information to support my arguments 🙂  and food for thought.

Last night I was reading about the origin of the welfare state.  Not surprisingly, Germany invented it!  German society runs really well.  Having seen it in action, I am happy to pay the fees for my divorce.  Sucking it up, paying your share and contributing to the greater good of your society really is a lot more rewarding than a pair of Jimmy Choos…

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