The Norman Transcript

Columns

May 14, 2013

A few ‘tells’ predict who will blow their money

NORMAN — During Kentucky Derby week, gambling was at the forefront of my life. Along with non-stop activities in my home state of Kentucky, I spoke at a dinner for the Society of Settlement Professionals in Las Vegas. A film crew flew in from Rome to interview me for a documentary about lottery winners.

My father was a professional gambler, but I went the other way. I help people who get large sums of money hang onto it. Occasionally, our two worlds meet.

I am a mediation and settlement consultant. I attend conferences with injured people — or with an insurance carrier who wants to settle an injury claim — and develop financial strategies to make sure the money that person receives makes their life better.

As I have noted in two books and numerous columns, people who get big money from a lottery often wind up worse off than when they started. The same can happen to injured people. Blowing through a big sum of money can make their situation worse.

I know in the first few minutes of a mediation if a person is likely to blow through their money. Most people give off obvious “tells.”

As Kenny Rogers sang in “The Gambler,” poker players often use body language that signals the kind of cards they have. It’s the same thing in mediations and settlement conferences. I would actually pay the attorneys and clients to bring me to mediations — as opposed to calling when a case is settled — since I can spot problems and make corrections before they get money in their hands.

The son of a gambler, I can spot a “tell” a hundred miles away. Some obvious ones are:

1. People who have a large entourage. Entertainers like Michael Jackson or Elvis are known for attracting a large “posse” of people who want part of their money. The same thing happens to injured people, but their posse usually consists of family and “friends.” The larger the entourage, the more likely that one of them has their own agenda for the money, especially if the posse includes someone with a controlling personality or a new “love” interest.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Hero of Haarlem … for common good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014