What If You Lost Everything?


Sunday, November 27; 6:10pm
Austin, TX 

About 90 minutes ago I learned that on November 23 at 1:08pm someone wrote a cashier’s check and closed one of my bank accounts.

What am I doing about it?

I’m drinking Oolong tea and listening to The Runaways on repeat. First it was Live In Japan, but now it’s their self-titled. Both very solid rock records. I highly recommend them if you’re into good hooks.

What else can I do, you know? I’m sure there’s an explanation for it.

Lest you think I’m being perfectly calm about this, I’m not. I’m a bit freaked out, but again, nothing I can do. No sense in freaking out too much.

Assuming it’s gone forever? I’m not destitute, so don’t worry about me. (Please don’t send “oh no, hope you’re OK” e-mails. I’m feeling pretty outstanding.)

This situation has caused me to think about what I would do if I lost everything.

When I say “everything” I mean what the typical person would think. Money and possessions.

I can honestly say that, besides the annoyance of having to start from scratch, it wouldn’t affect me much. Maybe I’m lying to myself, but I don’t think I am. Otherwise I’d probably be crying right now.

This isn’t to say I don’t care.

I care a lot about a lot of things.

  • My brain.
  • My health.
  • My family and friends.
  • Fuji apples.
  • The pursuit of one arm pushups.

Money and stuff? Pretty easily replaceable. Maybe annoying to replace, but replaceable none-the-less.

We at the Only72 camp have learned this lesson well lately. Baker, my partner-in-fun at Only72, had his MacBook Pro stolen 2 weeks ago. That was no fun, but was it the end of the world? Nope. Get a new computer and get back at it.

Why am I not too freaked about about having one of my bank accounts completely emptied? Because entrepreneurs are used to starting from zero. The bank isn’t my ATM machine, what I have in my head is my ATM.

If you’d like that same confidence there aren’t many better ways to go about acquiring it than to become an entrepreneur. It can be scary and it’s not easy, but it’s the only way I know and a highly recommended life path.

Update (12/4): I have a new bank account. I also have the money from the old bank account in the form of a cashier’s check. Now I just need to deposit the cashier’s check into the bank account. Almost all set! :)


  1. Your statement: “The bank is not my ATM. What I have in my head is my ATM” is a good reminder for me, in the process of starting my small online business from scratch with next to no money. Thanks for the reminder of what’s important.

  2. I didn’t have it quite that bad. I discovered $1400 (and counting) missing from my bank account due to a stolen debit card number.

    I noticed it 5 minutes before going out to dinner with friends.

    The friends kept asking if I wanted to cancel, commenting on the fact that they’d be freaking out right now. I said there was nothing more I could do at that moment (it was evening and the banks were closed) and that I’d deal with it in the morning.

    Was I annoyed that someone was stealing my money – of course! There are very few people that find the theft of their property to be an enjoyable experience. But, like I said, there was not much that could be done right then and as you mentioned, I don’t believe it’s the only money I’ll ever make, so, I went to dinner. Awesome garlic gnocchi!

    I know you’ll be alright, but, I still hope you get a good explanation for what occurred.

  3. This is an awesome reminder that the VERY WORST that can happen, is not really usually that bad. Better to take the chance and risk losing everything, than to never take the chance and risk not gaining anything.

    • I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is the very worst. :) I can think of at least 5 things that would be worse. hehe

      But I’m fully on board with what you’re saying.

  4. haha… good luck to u.. hope u get a good explanation..
    and wen ever something like this happens to me i always remember wat my dad said to me.. “money is like a dust in ur hand… today it wil be on ur hand ..tomoro ur hand mite be clean…”..


  5. Well it would be a little unpractical when all the money on our bank account was stolen. But not the end of the world. Same with our house. If it burnt down and we would all come out alive, I do not think I woud really care.

    Thanx to your blog -and some other blogs- we can move (we have 2 kids and my husband has hobbies) in a Mercedes Sprinter to Norway. (if we can sell our house, which is a different story)

    There is nothing better than to be free as you can be, to love your live, work out, and do not care about all the things you are supposed to care about when you ‘grow up’. But even if you have a mortgage and kids, there is still no reason to think that you are not free.

    You are one of the persons who tought me that. Kocham cie Karols blog :) I really thank you for that. And even if your situation is totally different from mine, I still learned some valuable lessons from you. You can always be better. Be more fit. Be smarter. Be more creative. Care less about things and care more about life.

  6. Hope everything turns out well! I read a book called “How to be Invisible” by JJ Luna, a couple of years ago on how to keep bank information private like names, addresses, etc., and even tips on ‘invisible money’. For example, ALWAYS having emergency cash on you or hidden in special places around your home.

    It was a great read and definitely forced you to consider these kind of situations. I admire your attitude as it is not common. I always tell my mom as long as I have air in my lungs and can still learn, it’s all I need. Good luck! :)

  7. This is such an important lesson you’re sharing, Karol, because sometimes we have to lose the money ourselves in order to make the important decisions in our life. As you know, I walked away from a huge sum of money in pay and benefits (close to $1M in fact) to pursue my dream career. I told myself then that there are thousands of ways to make money, but I only get one life to live.

    No one likes going through a situation like yours, but it really does remind you of what’s important. Hopefully the Only72 sales help put a few dollars back in. :)

    • If I had really lost all the money that was drained from the account I’d be much more upset. I knew, if worst came to worst, that the bank account is insured and I’d eventually get it back. The situation, at this point, is 98% resolved. They mailed a cashier’s check to my PO Box. Now it’s a matter of getting it into my hands and depositing it. :)

      Also, although I knew you left a successful job, I didn’t not know it was almost $1M/year. Definitely more testament to the fact that money isn’t all that matters. :)

  8. karol, i feel the pain as well as the growth. i lost almost 3k worth of stuff when i was going on a 2 week trip to africa and got robbed by the taxi…an hour and a half before i was supposed to get on a plane and meet my husband in amsterdam. not cool. i did freak out and to make a long story short, i survived in africa with very little and realized that material possessions just don’t really matter.

    • I would like to point out that I didn’t lose any money. Everything is 98% resolved. :)

      Sorry you lost $3k of stuff. That’s no fun! But great that you came to the realization you came to.

  9. Hah, my wife and I are constantly wishing that our apartment will be burned down when we get back from an outing, so that we don’t have to deal with our stuff any more. We probably have less than 99% of America, but we still want to keep downsizing, and it’s a tedious process.

    Losing all the money in our bank account would suck, but we’d make it all back. :)

  10. I can’t help but think you’re being a little… optimistic? Or maybe just understating the annoyance of starting from scratch. It’s no easy feat.

    I understand being laid back about your bank account. I’ve had it happen – it gets sorted quite quickly. And you’re right; there is no use crying over spilt milk.

    A few years ago, only months before my boyfriend and I met, his condo flooded. And he had to start from scratch. Financially, it didn’t take a huge toll on him because he had insurance. But the mental toll of having to start from scratch exhausted him. All of a sudden this one event, that he escaped from unscathed, turned into four months of not being able to go into his condo, fighting with insurance companies and trying to figure out what was worth replacing and then looking for said objects.

    Years later, now that we live together, I’ll look for some random object and ask if he has one and after searching for something he knows for certain he has acquired in his life, he realises it was gone after ‘the flood.’

    He’s always been a possession minimalist but it still really affected him. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s more of annoyance than you’re giving it credit for.

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