Financial lessons from one of my favorite stories

One of my favorite stories is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

Some valuable lessons contained within that story too, despite it being mere fiction.

Here’s what I mean:

Near the beginning of the story, you learn about this man, Jean Valjean. He is imprisoned for 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephews during an economic depression.

When he tries to escape (multiple times) he is sent back to jail and his sentence is extended. He ends up doing hard time for 19 years, “a slave of the law”.

Even after being let out on parole, the police inspector responsible for him, Javert, refuses to acknowledge his humanity. Instead, Valjean is nothing but a number — prisoner #24601.

Valjean can’t find steady work because his parole papers say he’s a dangerous man. And… of course this makes it impossible to live a normal life.

Eventually he’s taken in by a bishop who gives him something to eat and a place to stay.

But Valjean ends up robbing him and… is caught.

But when the police interview the bishop, he refuses to turn Valjean in. Instead, he tells the police that he gave Valjean the stuff he “stole”. And more… the bishop gives him more valuables he can sell and tells Valjean that he should take the stuff and use it to start an honest life.

Valjean is forever grateful but of course there’s a moral dilemma… can he live an honest life having stolen from an honest man?

It’s a fantastic story and I won’t spoil the ending if you’re into epic tales of good and evil, moral redemption and all that jazz.

There are even some great financial lessons hidden in there if you look for them.

Anywho, the reason I bring up this story is because I see a lot of people going through similar moral struggles.

No, most people don’t steal bread to feed their family, but many people today are faced with difficult moral choices.

Life-changing choices.

They also make morally questionable choices.

Choices about money, mostly.

But also about fidelity.

Some people go through a long process of redemption to pay for those choices.

Others… don’t.

And some of those people work in financial services, believe it or not. I once read a statistic that something like 10% of the financial services industry is sociopathic, and a good deal more show sociopathic tendencies.

Knowing how to spot them and their opportunistic ways will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Even if you somehow manage to find a financial advisor you trust, no one will ever care about your money as much as you will. So… you have yet another choice to make. A practical choice about how best to protect what you’ve worked so hard to save… a choice about how to protect your family from ruin (so they don’t have to steal bread or do something equally foolish). A choice about whether (and how much) control you want to have over your finances and financial future.

Here for more details on how to protect that savings and the type of control you can have (obviously only if you want it):

David Lewis, AKA The Rogue Agent, has been a life insurance agent since 2004, and has worked with some of the oldest and most respected mutual life insurance companies in the U.S. during that time. To learn more about him and his business, go here.