Give me your wallet

Feb 28, 2014 | Dian Chaaban


I heard a really inspiring and intriguing story over the radio while driving out to meet some clients on Monday night. The radio host was reminiscing about an interview he’d heard in 2008 about a 31-year-old social worker, Julio Diaz who would routinely end his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he could eat at his favorite diner.

On one particular evening, Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform when his evening took an unexpected turn.

A teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife “give me your wallet.”
"Here you go" Diaz says immediately.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz yells, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The boy looks at him like he’s an alien…so he explains, "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome”

So, they head to the diner, sit in a booth and enjoy a nice meal together. When the bill comes, Diaz says, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I also gave him $20 and asked for something in return — his knife — "and he gave it to me."

It’s both inspiring and intriguing to me that a simple reaction made all the difference in how this entire encounter took place. Had Diaz reacted in a violent or defensive way, he may have gotten hurt. Had he reacted in a complacent way, the boy would have walked away with his wallet and likely stolen a couple more. I applaud that he took the time to think strategically and carefully about the impact of his reaction.

So much is impacted by our actions and our reactions – affecting us in the moment and in the future. The same can be said about our reactions to the market.

The market is always going to react to the media and we cannot control that – but what we can control is our own reactions. If you simply react to a volatile short-term environment driven by emotion and media, the gains or losses you realize may not be what you planned - emphasizing again the importance of having a disciplined financial plan. Not only does having a written Investment Policy Statement and written Financial Plan get you where you want to go, but it can give you the confidence to act in your own long-term best interests and trust your investment advisor, rather than simply reacting to what you hear, see or read in the media.

I challenge you to think of the media as that boy on the platform and consider how your reaction would impact your portfolio the next time the media approaches you unexpectedly and says “give me your wallet”.

Enjoy the weekend.


Dian Chaaban

Investment & Wealth Advisor

Chaaban Wealth Management Group