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
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014