First off, we love individual success stories like the one you're about to hear. But we are still highly ambivalent -- to say the least -- about Wall Street investment bankers who pursue mergers and acquisitions. Of course, they play a role in our investing world, but the conflicts between the dealmaking bankers and their counterparts in sell-side research have always led unsophisticated individual investors to bad decisions.
That said, we do admire hardworking 31-year-olds who made it through the post-bubble bloodletting and have great stories to tell -- even if they work on Wall Street. Especially when the story is Foolish.
This was life for Lehman Brothers
Did young David -- then in his 20s -- lose his head, buy the $1 million Central Park West co-op or the East Hamptons weekend house, which would belong to the bank if his job went with the end of the ride? Few resisted those temptations.
But Foolish David did, according to the Journal's Robin Sidel: "Cautious by nature, Mr. Baron didn't splurge on a big house or fancy car during the boom, but instead rented a relatively modest Manhattan apartment. He did acquire a condo for his ailing father, and he helped pay for the nursing care his father required. He paid off his student loans and saved the rest of his money."
Sounds not only like Foolish thinking to us, but good ol' values that his father probably had much to do with. And you just know someone like this would survive the layoffs -- and he did -- but if he hadn't, he wouldn't have ruined his financial future.
You don't often see Street stories like David's, so far from those of former Citigroup
Go David, and everyone in our Motley Fool world striving to handle our money sensibly and live below our means. We wish we were in David's office today to see his colleagues' admiring faces.