In my never ending search to try to understand human behavior, I have come across another phenomenon that exists in some people, (and it's more than you think), known as the "gambling gene". For those of you who missed the article on the "car gene", it can be found in my column's for 2006 on October 7th. The gambling gene truly has me baffled. I might have been born with one, but as a Young man in my early 20's, I went to Las Vegas with some friends and lost all my money while the room was being cleaned before I could take possession of it for a three night vacation. It was fair to say I got cleaned quicker than my room and to be able to even eat for this vacation, I had to go to a loan shark and pay huge fees to cash a couple of checks. I am quite sure that is when the gambling gene left me body, basically never to return.
I do not know whether I am lucky or not to have lost the gene but I go to gambling meccas with my wife to enjoy the amenities not the action. I love the night life, restaurants, shopping centers and, of course, the golf courses. Most places are also in beautiful locations that are generally very relaxing if you keep out of the casinos, but back to my point about the gambling gene. Over the last 45 years, I have watched Las Vegas grow from a nice resort town to one of the worst traffic spots known to man kind. If you don't know the back way into the hotels and shopping centers, my advice is to take a cab everywhere and give up any semblance of a time schedule. The City of Las Vegas has created untold amounts of wealth for the business people, land owners, hotel and casino owners, entertainers, etc. and has depleted the monies of people from all over the world to the tune of many trillions of dollars. (Just a guess, and I am probably way below the actual number). Take this scene and multiple it again and again across the country and the world and you can see an amazing statistic: if people had a never ending supply of money such as a pension, they would receive every month the world wouldn't probably need any other type of industry to survive quite nicely!
The same people who go to super markets to buy their groceries and spend 15 minutes in front of me messing with the coupons to save some money, which is absolutely the thing to do except in front of me, will go to one of these gambling spots and throw four or five times as much away in the pursuit of the jackpot. Is there something wrong with this picture? The line that always makes me crazy is "I only lose what I can afford!". I have been counseling people for decades and have never asked or have been told by anyone how much they can afford to lose. Never! I think Las Vegas made up that line to go along with "gamble responsibly".
Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.