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The peacock and the owl.

Not all that glitters is gold

The hidden costs of acting rich.

The young peacock was in quite a rush. He had earned a large bonus at work for reaching his quarterly targets. He needed something to show his fellow peacocks that he was doing well. The young peacock strutted down to the Elite Peacock, a fine retail outlet for distinguished peacocks. He scanned the window of the outlet and saw exactly what he needed. A fine gold ring had caught his eye. He walked in hurriedly and told the shop assistant he had to have the gold ring in the window. The shop assistant a young owl smiled and went to fetch the ring. “Would you like the ring gift-wrapped?” “No, I’d like to wear it immediately, I earned it.” Replied the proud peacock. “That will be $1,000 dollars, sir. Will you be paying by cash or card?” The peacock handed over his card and the transaction was complete. The proud peacock quickly slipped the gold ring on his leg and went to meet his fellow peacocks.

The peacock was so happy, everyone would know that this was an Elite Peacock ring. Once he was with his fellow peacocks he made sure that each and every one of them noticed his ring. He stretched his legs more often and gazed proudly at his ring. The other peacocks asked him about the ring and he told many of them that he was doing well at work. Some of the other peacocks where envious of him and swore to themselves that they too would get an Elite Peacock ring. The days went by and as he met his fellow peacocks again and again, more of them had Elite Peacock Rings. The young peacock no longer felt special; he was still doing well at work and it was nearly the end of another quarter.

On his way to work one morning he stopped by the Elite Peacock to see the new stock they had brought in. He was rather disappointed to see that the gold Elite Peacock ring he had bought was now discounted to half price. That explained why so many more peacocks now had a gold Elite Peacock ring. In the window there was a new Elite Peacock Gold necklace with a bright red ruby at the center of it. The necklace was not yet priced and the young peacock knew he had to have it. He called the shop assistant over and inquired about the price. The shop assistant advised him that the necklace was retailing at $2,500 and that there was only one in stock for now, the next shipment would not be in for another two months. The young peacock had to have it, unlike the ring it would be a while before any other peacock could have it and he was definitely on target for the next quarterly bonus. The young peacock explained to the shop assistant that he wanted to buy it but he was still waiting for his salary to come in. The shop assistant told him that if he wanted to he could place a deposit on it and ensure that no one else could have it. The peacock agreed and said he would be back soon with the rest.

Initially the peacock was content with the fact that he had secured the necklace for himself but as the days went by he grew impatient. Since he did not have enough money to pay for it at the moment he decided to see if his boss could give him a forward on his salary. The peacock told his boss he needed the money because he had some unexpected home repairs he needed to take care of. The young peacock was great at his work and his boss was more than happy to help him out. The following day the young peacock walked into the Elite Peacock and with a big smile on his face handed the card to the young owl. The shop assistant knew the peacock was there for the necklace he confirmed that the remainder was $2,000 and proceeded to charge the peacock’s card.

That evening the peacock got all dressed up and proudly put on his new necklace. He strutted out the door and went to see the other peacocks. The female peacocks fawned over him and some of the male peacocks were friendlier than usual; the prouder peacocks seemed discontent and envious. One of the envious peacocks asked him how he could afford such an expensive piece of jewelry. The young peacock said that he was doing so well that his boss had given him his quarterly bonus early. For the following few weeks he was the talk of the gatherings, everyone had something to say about him. The young peacock loved the attention, even though not all the talk was positive. His new fans also expected him to pay for rounds at the bar, some asked to borrow money and being the proud young peacock he could not refuse. By the time he got his paycheck and his quarterly bonus he had already spent it all.

Meanwhile the young shop assistant was doing quite well, new clientele had started visiting thanks to the young peacock. The young owl was hitting all her targets and had also earned quite the paycheck. The young owl opened a special savings account and negotiated a preferred interest rate for a fixed savings. The young owl had big dreams of one day owning her own retail outlets. The young owl was not worried about what the other owls thought of her. In fact she was always
more interested in complimenting others rather than drawing attention to herself.

The young peacock also went to the bank. The peacock had finally got his driving license and wanted to buy a car. The bank evaluated the peacock’s income and advised the peacock of his maximum credit limit at the time. The peacock went to shop around for cars but he liked nothing within his price range. The cars were not fast enough, new enough or big enough to match the image he created for himself. The young peacock went back to the bank and asked if the credit limit could be raised. The bank manager advised him that the only way they could raise it, was if his income increased. The young peacock decided to see if he could get a raise. The boss liked the young peacock, he was good at his job; but, he normally only gave raises at annual reviews. The young peacock tried and tried but his boss would not budge, he told the peacock to be patient. The young peacock decided he would find some part-time work to increase his income and after a week or so of applying for jobs he found an evening job at the local cinema. Now the peacock had a higher proof of income he went back to the bank. The bank agreed to increase the peacocks limit and so the peacock bought a very nice red sports car. Being so young the insurance was quite expensive on a sports car and the insurance agent who was a family friend tried to convince him to choose a smaller economical vehicle. The peacock did not like the agent’s tone and got his car insured elsewhere.

The peacock was so proud of his red sports car, he showed off to his friends and even went on a few dates with the darlings of the group. Working two jobs however was quite tiring and his performance at his full time job was dwindling. The quarterly targets were not being met and so his income had started to decrease. When the annual review finally came around his boss did not give him a raise. The boss actually explained to the peacock that if his performance did not improve he would have to find someone to replace him. Luckily the peacock rolled his sleeves up, stopped meeting up with his friends as much and managed to start turning things around again. The risk of losing his job and possibly his car made him more focused and committed. His performance continued to improve and his boss sent him to a few courses. Within a year the peacock had received a promotion and with it a pay raise and more responsibility. He was able to quit his part-time job and focus on his new role.

Once again however he wanted the other peacocks to know how well he was doing. He decided to visit the Elite Peacock for something very special. The young owl smiled at him as he walked in. He told her how well he was doing and she listened. He explained that he needed something very special and unique. The young owl told him that they had a custom line for special clients just like him. They looked through a special catalog and discussed customization options. The peacock spotted a beautiful crown and selected a number of jewels to go in it. The young owl advised him that the total cost would be $10,000. The peacock gulped at the price but he was committed. The bank had recently increased his credit card limit but even that would not cover the cost. The peacock tried to negotiate, I have $7,000 what can we do with that? The young owl told him that for a special customer like him she could probably get him some in-store credit and a preferred client discount. The price therefore would be $9,000; he could pay $7,000 cash and the remaining balance could be paid in monthly installments. The peacock thought that was a great deal even though he really could not afford it. The young owl advised him that the crown would be one of a kind and would be ready in a few days. She advised that since store credit was involved he would have to pay the $7,000 today. The peacock handed over his new credit card and the owl went ahead and took the charge.

A few days later someone from the store called the peacock to come collect his crown. When he visited the shop he noticed the young owl was not there; he asked about her out of curiosity. The new assistant told him she had received a promotion and was now the regional manager. She was visiting the other outlets. The peacock collected his crown and walked out of the shop with a big smile. Later that day the peacock started getting ready to go out.

He was so pleased with his new crown he smiled at his reflection. When he arrived at the gathering all the other peacocks where circled around one of the older peacocks that had come to visit from a nearby city. On the peacock’s head was a crown twice the size of his and full of larger expensive jewels. The young peacock was shattered, no one paid much attention to him that day. He sulked for most of the night and sulked even more when he went back to his car. His car was not as new and shiny anymore. The other peacock had a nicer, faster, newer car too. The peacock went on like this for many years, always trying to outshine the other peacocks but the more time went by the less cash he had. When he went to the bank for a home loan he could not get one because he already had too much debt. He was also having a hard time keeping up with the payments and could not even afford small repairs on his car.

He always felt like something was missing. The young owl on the other hand had continued to do very well for herself. After many years of hard work and frugal living she had saved up enough to invest in her first retail outlet. Instead of using her own money though she got a loan from the bank secured by a few small properties she bought to rent out. The peacock wound up renting one of these apartments from the owl because he could no longer afford his current residence. The owl was not driven by outshining her friends but now she felt she could finally afford a nice new car. She did not buy anything too expensive, at least not in relation to her income bracket. The young owl bought a car worth twice as much as the peacock’s, it was shinier, newer and even a little faster.

The peacock continued to struggle with his debts and as the years went by he became more and more reclusive. He felt inadequate when he went to gatherings. No one knew his character because he was too busy trying to show his material wealth. The owl on the other hand was surrounded by friends. Most of her friends did not know how much money she had and the few that did; were happy for her.

Inspired by Dr Thomas J Stanley’s book

Stop acting rich … and start living like a real millionaire

An extremely interesting read that is an eye opener. Excellent food for though backed by years of research. Learn how to live like real millionaires.

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