RECENTLY, I FOUND MYSELF taking a long, hard look at my financial situation. I'd just decided to leave my job as a salaried employee, and it appeared that my reserves were running low.
I began my review by making a list of my debts (credit cards, car loan, etc.) and then my assets (savings and checking accounts, 401k plan, IRA, and so on). While the bottom line looked all right, the cash-flow situation seemed considerably less rosy.
The exercise reminded me of an important lesson I'd learned years ago about the nature and source of supply. One night when I was a teenager, my dad sat me down at the kitchen table and showed me a check he'd received from the US government—a check for one million dollars! He'd just been contracted to build a new post office, and the check was an advance to cover his startup costs.