Free advice that’s not cheap

April 14, 2009

Foolish MoneyOver the years, I have had to go in and clean up many messes of the rich and famous, and the famous and stupid. Sometimes those who never had “real” money have a terrible fear of losing what little they have earned or conned and tend to make bad decisions in the course of wanting to look smart. When in fact they may be devious or lucky but definitely not smart…there is a difference. Believe me, I have seen this hundreds of times over the last 18 years. And many people who have found wealth can be cagey. You know, always whining about being broke, and in doing so they make some terrible and sometimes life-changing decisions. They can almost become similar to grifters, freeloaders, and for a lack of a better term, a “con.” Those with real money don’t act this way.

Over the years, not everything I have attempted worked out as I had planned and that is fine with me. How, you ask, can I be “fine” with that? It is simple. I promise a client that I will do my best and in the end that is all I can do. And then I have another hurdle to get my old ass over and that is the client. Over the years if I had $10 for every client who chose to do it “their way” and not take my advice I would have a 2010 Phantom sitting in my garage. It is the nature of the beast, I guess. Pay for advice and do not take it. Another adage and a Nazarian original, if it is free or cheap, it has no value . This should be taught at every business school across the country. That along with “no good deed goes unpunished.”

One example of being cheap not paying off is the child abduction case involving Syrian nationals who took there children by trick and deceit and fooled their unsuspecting wives, telling them they and the children would be gone a few days. Early on in this case, I had a source that told me that I should look down a little past Rosarito Beach, Mexico, this was solid intel. Well when I told the clients, it was, “I am not paying for that.” “That” being myself and a couple of agents to go to Mexico immediately and check out the places that could service a large motor yacht in the area. Well, April 11, 2009, I was told by a police source that it is being reported that the kids were on a large boat at one time in this very same area. And may be in the area of Guatemala now. All I have to say is thanks for my retainer and thanks for not taking my advice. I have another example that I will not talk about at this time as it involves an on-going criminal case, this one is funny in a very sad way. You will all have to wait for that laugh in about 9 months…or less.

When I look back at some of the Hollywood legends I have worked for, and having spent dozens of holidays and special occasions at their homes, there is one thing that always comes to mind. If I went to that house 100 times, I saw the same faces, no outsiders, old friends and family…I was the newest member in two of these situations. And to this very day, no scandals have ever been written or reported, why you ask? They surrounded themselves with trusted staff and real friends not those around for just the good times, these types were never allowed in…these legends of old Hollywood paid well and respected those in their inner circle. Freedom is not free and loyalty from employees sometimes comes with a price. Someones respect cannot be bought and not everyone is your friend. One issue that I would have to address was to make sure we were not letting a “virus” into the house, in the form of new employees. That being a thief or a liar, nothing could be worse. Even when help was sent from an agency, they were kept on a very short leash and I was often at the other end — background checks were done by us and we paid attention to what the potential “virus” was saying. Another interesting thing was many of the staff in the homes of these legends had been with these people for 20 to 40 years, the same people! When a couple of these legends needed to be hospitalized, we brought our own nurses in addition to the hospital nursing staff at St. Johns. Security, you guessed it they brought us (Nazarian and Associates) along and we were nice to the hospital security, but no one got near our clients unless one of the clients’ nurses was present, ever. And every time I came by I would go and look at the client myself (my security staff was at the entrance of the suite and could only enter in the event of an emergency). And again the salaries that were being paid were high but the accounting people and family members always had smiles on their faces when they would bring the checks.

These are just some of my thoughts on not taking the advice of people who are wiser than we are. If this article helps just one person it would have been worth my time in writing this article. Birds of a feather, they do in fact flock together. Also, one of my biggest assets in the journey of life is having “street smarts” as well as a good education. Through the years this strategic advantage has been a great asset in dealing with the people I have had to deal with. The work that I do is seldom appreciated except for very short periods of time. This is to some degree part of our society, a little like the word, “sorry,” it is used so often that it has no sincerity to it and can be as short lived as, I am sorry.

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