Tickets, Bad Luck & The South of France
Welcome back to another episode of The Chirp. As always, if you missed our last episode, you should stop everything you are doing and go listen to it! A couple of weeks ago we got the chance to talk with rising tech phenom, and kick-ass student, Miko James, and our discussion with her was an enlightening treat! No matter your successes, realizing that asking for financial help is just a part of life was a profound takeaway from our conversation with Miko. Before diving into today’s episode, certainly circle back and listen to Story 17: I'm Not Comfortable With It, But I Need To Borrow Some Money.
Our guest this week is another one of the many behind-the-scenes members of the Pigeon flock! A designer, a strategizer, a content creator, and a thinker, we welcomed Jérémy Chevallier to this show. Having realized the importance of designing and controlling your own career Jeremy walks us through the times in his life when he has had money disappear at the worst of times. It's funny how cruel life can be sometimes - enjoy!
This Episode In A Nutshell
Money has a funny way of disappearing when you need it most. From unpaid promises to overextended budgets money can often disappear in life’s most crucial moments. No stranger to this reality, our guest Jérémy Chevallier has had his fair share of loans with friends and family go wrong at the worst possible times. A friend vanishing to Vegas when times got tough, and the purchase of his dream home dependent on the status of a failed wire transfer… our conversation with Jérémy showed us that sometimes luck plays a huge role in the outcome of mixing money with your relationships—and that a is not just a nice-to-have when !
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Audio Transcript of Story 18: Disappearing Money & Trouble With The Law
Hello to all you listeners and watchers and Chirp consumers. I hope you're all well. I am your host, Cameron, bringing you tales of relationships that have been affected by money and loans and giving you a little bit of education on how loans are best conducted and for you not to make the same mistakes as some of our guests.
Speaking of which, our guest today is Jérémy Chevallier, a musician, graphic designer, career fulfillment coach, and a member of the Pigeon flock as well! Jérémy is the only person who has ever asked me to be a guest on a podcast so I felt for our 18th episode it was very fitting for me to finally get him on The Chirp.
Jeremy had lots of tales to tell when it came to money and relationships, both positive and negative and I also picked his brain on how money and relationships also affect his work as well. As you will soon find out, Jeremy wears many hats in his professional endeavors, each as impressive as the last.
So I hope you enjoy this one. You may love Jeremy for his interesting career trajectory, his up and downs when it comes to loans or maybe you want to follow his activities on social media. Whichever way, do stick around until the end of the podcast to get his details and of course, I hope you all enjoy! Let’s go.
Jérémy. You're most welcome on to The Chirp podcast. How are things with you today?
Thank you. Things are well, I just had three breakfast sandwiches, so I'm definitely in a rest and digest phase!
It will be a mellow conversation. I just wanted to you know chat, there were a couple of stories that you wanted to share with our listeners, but before we get into that, could you tell our listeners who you are and what you do?
Sure. I am a graphic designer, turned marketer, turned product leader. I consult for early-stage startups on product design and user engagement and content marketing, which is how I got involved with Pigeon. So for the past nine months now, I've been in charge of Pigeon’s content efforts, finding the writers, working with them, figuring out which topics we want to write about and how to make sure that we can get found in Google search results for the content that we put out.
And I've also had sort of an interesting secondary career, like different parts of my career have touched on career building itself, launching into a new space, launching with the new skill. And just sort of being your own boss and winning opportunities. And so I built an online school for freelancers in 2019, and that lasted for a few months and we learned some really interesting stuff there.
And then I worked for a career launch software platform that is now a newsletter. And from that point got into career coaching officially. So I do, what I like to call ‘career fulfillment coaching’, meaning I'm not here to help you get a job at a corporation, I'm here to help you design your career in a way that will enable a fulfilling life. So it's sort of borderline career coaching, and get-what-you-want-out-of-life coach!
A question I wanted to ask you about that, with regards to the career fulfillment aspect of that, obviously you want your clients to be fulfilled. You want them to enjoy what they do. You want them to go after something that gets them out of bed in the morning. I’m keen to know, where does finance come into that, or rather compensation would be a better term for it?
Is there a happy medium or, a ratio between, these are your realistic prospects, and these are the goals that you can reach. There might be a bit of sacrifice to be made financially as well. Does money come into it, or is it a conversation that you have with the clients with regards to their goals?
Yeah, always. Two big conversations that we like to, that I like to have early on are like dream big. What are the different things that you're looking to do? Are you looking to buy a house in the south of France? Are you looking to put in an addition to your house? Are you looking to be able to just travel the world?
Every chance you get. Are you looking to invest? What are sort of the big goals that you have with money that if money were no object you would be able to work on, and creating an upper bound of, from a cash perspective, what that person would love to would be ecstatic to receive from one or multiple career opportunities.
And then the other end of that, the lower bound. So what is the amount of money that you need to be bringing in? To not worry about money, to not be worried about eating out once or twice a month, affording your rent or your mortgage affording, whatever payments you have.
Like, what is that minimum? And then what is that upper threshold where it's like, yeah, if I was, if I was bringing in 10k a month, here's what I would do with it and getting them to start to stretch their minds between those two things. And then we talk about obviously cash compensation, and then there are other forms of compensation.
So companies that offer benefits and perks, they can take away your need to pay your own health insurance or afford certain things like a gym membership. Although I tend to caution my clients away from those, I find that it is more financially strategic to pay for all of the things yourself than to have your employer or clients pay you enough.
They're paying for it, but to tie insurance…
Reimbursing you for your needs.
Exactly, because to tie things to one particular employer, as anybody who's ever been, let go or quit and had to deal with, “Oh, now what do I do about health insurance and all that?”
I just find that it's much simpler if you own all of those things, but we talk about cash compensation versus other forms of compensation and benefits, and even revenue share and equity.
I love to encourage my clients to negotiate equity when it makes sense. Like when it's a C Corp, and to negotiate revenue share if that's something that the company is open to doing, then that can create additional upside for you that may not come for a year or five years or 10 years.
But if that upside does come, it's going to unlock a lot of cool stuff for you.
And yourself, Jérémy, I know you had a couple of stories that you were going to share. Would you mind giving our listeners an idea of some examples where your relationships have been, maybe not strained, maybe that's not the right word, but definitely things have been a bit stressful. We’d love to hear it.
Yeah, absolutely. I have two stories to share about stressful money exchanges. Actually, I have three. We'll see if we get to the third, The first one that came to mind when you asked me, Cameron is a story that goes back to high school. In high school, I had gotten my first job working at Fry's grocery store.
And I had made friends with someone who was a very strong personality. I get what I want out of life. And if you're a part of that, welcome to my life type of individual.
As most of us do in our earlier years of adulthood and later years of adolescence, we were doing some stupid shit one weekend.
We had borrowed a car, a friend's car from our job cause I had gotten him a job at Fry's as well. We had borrowed one of our coworker's cars so that we could go pick up some girls from a party and we had posted up outside of the house and then, I don't know, something happened and they couldn't do it anymore.
So we just drove off, but we forgot to turn the headlights back on. And this car that we had borrowed, the dashboard lights did not come on. And the town that I grew up in Ahwatukee, which is part of Phoenix, is very well lit. So we didn't notice that the headlights were off. And so we got pulled over and he got a ticket for driving without a license, driving without proof of insurance, driving without headlights, driving without a seatbelt.
I mean, it was an expensive ticket and he was able to get some of it expunged, but he ended up owing I think like 500, 600 bucks. And he didn't want his parents to know that this had happened because of that situation, it was gonna make it worse. So, I helped him pay the ticket off. I would basically come over to his place. We would record some music and then I would also pull out my debit card and make the $50 payment on the website. And then he would pull $50 out of the ATM at work the day before or whatever, and give me that money.
And it was all fine and dandy until I was driving over to his place and I had one headlight out and I got pulled over and got a ticket for driving without two headlamps, which is the official ticket designation. And the cop made me turn around and go home. So I called him and I said, I can't come to your place.
I just got a ticket for this. And like, I'm stuck until I get this headlight fixed tomorrow. And he just begged and pleaded and just kind of pushed me into giving him my debit card number over the phone because he just needed to make that payment. And then we'll never know for sure.
But the box that you check to indicate that you only want to pay $50 an installment rather than the full ticket amount, that box did not get checked in that moment and whether it was on purpose or by accident, we'll never know. But the full amount went through and on the call, he was like, “Oh crap. I just paid off the full thing. I'm sorry. I promise I'll keep paying you”. He ended up making…
What was the full amount at this stage?
I don't remember, but it was around 400 or 500 bucks. Cause I remember it was in the low to mid-hundreds. And I remember he paid me a couple of installments from each of his next paychecks.
So he would pay me 50 bucks the following week, 50 bucks a week after that. And then he didn't show up to work and we went to the same high school and he wasn't coming to school anymore. And there was like $250 left. And when you're in high school, 250 bucks can be a lot, even if you're not in high school, it’s a chunk of money!
I didn't hear from him all through the rest of the year, he was just gone. And then one day after graduation, at like seven in the morning, I get a call that wakes me up. This is the summer, before going into college, after the year that these shenanigans had gone down and I get a call and I'm like, “Hello?”
And he's like, “Yo Jerm!”
“Alright, who is this?”
He's like this, ”The dude that owes you like a million bucks!” And I was like, “Nique?” And he told me that he like got kicked out / moved to Vegas to live with his mom. And then his phone plan got shut off, which is why I hadn't heard back from him and just like proceeded to tell me all this stuff.
And I had already like made peace with the $250 and he was like, ”Oh, but I still want to pay you back”. And like, we got to talk about doing these projects together and everything and I was just like, “Dude, like, I don't care. Have a nice life”, and hung up.
So you washed your hands of him.
Yep, I wash my hands of him. And it was not the last time that I lost money actually. Wait, the whole first two years of college took place. This happened in my senior year of high school. And then I didn't hear from him until after my sophomore year of college. So it was like two and a half years that I didn't hear from him.
So that's why I did not care about the 250 bucks anymore. Like I had already been screwed out of other money and other situations. And to me it was like, I'm just cutting my losses and moving forward.
Yeah. As my friend Jeff says, it costs you $250 to get rid of someone toxic out of your life. So money well spent!
Haha that’s exactly what my friend says too
And do you think that it was, obviously, he should've paid you back in some manner, but is this a case where he was just plain and simple avoiding you as an, “I don't want to give Jérémy this 250, I'm going to move to Vegas”, or were there other circumstances that he could be forgiven for?
I think that he certainly grew up with a tough family situation and his dad was not physically kind to him. There was stuff like that going on. So part of me understood that he probably didn't choose to move to Vegas and uproot his life and have to go through all of that.
But also like, I mean, we were Facebook friends, and you don't need a phone bill or a phone plan to log on to Facebook from a library computer.
It’s not like he lost your address.
Yeah, exactly. I think it was a convenience for him to not have to think about paying that back at this point, at that point in his life.
And then once he needed something from me two and a half years later, like he wanted my help with design on some projects of his or whatever. He made sure to address it, but that's why to me, it was like, well, I kind of get that you went through some tough stuff. And at the same time, it seems it was convenient for you to forget about it until you needed something from me.
So like you said, that was a cheap lesson!
Are there any kind of tales that have happened in your more recent years? I won't say your later years, because none of your years are late, but any recent stories, maybe that's more after college?
Yeah, so in 2020, my wife, Elizabeth, and I were living in a townhouse that she had purchased. And she was ready to move on to the next thing. We were starting to talk about wanting to build a family together. She also just didn't like the area that the townhouse was in. And so we started looking for houses and, in October of 2020, we purchased this house and we were going to sell the townhouse to get the money for the down payment for this.
And my Dad, when we were telling him about that plan, he said, “Why don't I just front you the money for the down payment for the new place, so that way you're not contingent on the sale of the other house, that'll make you a more attractive buyer. You're more likely to be accepted, and to have your offer accepted.
And so that's what we did and the process of wiring $18,000 from what I'm pretty certain was an American bank account. He's in Canada. Now it could have been a Canadian bank account, but I mean, it shouldn't matter either way. That's the point of wiring! The process of wiring was just ridiculously…but he couldn't get it to wire.
He had to spend hours on the phone with the customer service at his bank. And, meanwhile, we're losing days on the contract, and our realtor is like, ‘No, we promise, there's just a wiring issue with the money that's coming from family as a gift”.
And it ended up taking about two weeks for the banking system to figure out what was going on that was preventing his money from wiring to our account. Well, we finally got it, thankfully. We were so afraid that we were going to lose this place and have to keep looking.
And, we finally got it, put the down payment in and everything closed successfully. And then he was like, “That was such a pain in the ass. Like just hold onto the money, hold down to the townhouse as a rental property, and allow yourself to start building some rental income, like find some tenants and manage that.”
So he's just unlocked a revenue stream for us out of this. I'm sure part of it was generosity, but I think a big part of it was he just didn't want to deal with wiring that amount of money back to his account.
Anything to do with buying a new house or selling one house and moving into another, it never goes swimmingly, does it? There's 7 or 12 disasters just stacked up on top of each other. Why was it so difficult? Was it the amount that was causing you guys grief?
I think what happened was yes, there was probably some cap, some hidden maximum that his account type was allowed to wire. Let's call it $10,000, but it was also hidden from the customer support agents who were trying to help him. So it literally escalated back towards technical research teams. I don't actually know what ended up being the true cause of holding it up, but that's our hypothesis.
Sweet. Obviously, you wear so many hats. Are you going to be a landlord now as well, or maybe an Airbnb, or what are you thinking for your old gaff?
Yeah, so for the past year and a half, we've been renting it out. We've been doing a long-term rental model and that's been nice because the market rental rate is like 140% of what our mortgage and HOA costs have been for that place.
So originally we went into it and said, let's be super financially savvy about this. And let's put every penny that the tenants are paying for their rent., let's put that into the mortgage and let's just pay it off even faster. And then I don't think we did that for a single month. I think that we ended up using that extra for our own lifestyle investments and everything.
But actually, we just sold the place. Last month, Elizabeth brought up a really interesting point, which was that she said, if we're going to own a second property, I'd rather short-term rent it like on Airbnb and have it be in a place that we also want to spend time so that we can benefit from that place.
And so, my entire family is in France. A large portion of them are in the south of France and Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
Lovely. Not too far away from me here in Barcelona, but you wouldn't walk it! It's a good flight.
Yeah, a good skip across the Mediterranean there!
So, that's what we're going to do. We sold the place, and we're gonna buy a place in the south of France, Airbnb it, do a managed Airbnb. I still need to check into the financials just to make sure that everything makes sense, financially speaking.
But that's the goal is to have a place that we can escape to for two, three months each summer.
Yeah, what a dream that sounds lovely. And, as the landlord, Jérémy the landlord, it sounds incredibly stressful to me. What was your relationship like with your tenants? Obviously they have to pay you money for rent, but were you one of those cool landlords where everything was rosey or was there any trouble?
Yeah. Well if you can't tell by just interacting with me, my needle was definitely towards cool landlord. Actually, we talked about it with Elizabeth early on when it made sense to rent the place out, we said we want to be the landlords that we have always wished we had.
Because we've always dealt with very removed landlords who hire a property manager. All the landlords that we've had have been on the neutral to negative end of the spectrum. And we said to ourselves, we want to be the chill-ass landlords that you can like be friends with.
And so we ended up, choosing a couple out of a few people who came and saw the place. We ended up choosing a young couple that were seven, eight years younger than us, but that just reminded us a lot of ourselves at that stage in our lives. And, they made sense on paper, which was the reason we chose them.
But it also happened to be that we got to be like, I wouldn't say friends, but we were definitely friendly. And they paid us rent through Venmo the entire time that we that we owned the place. And after the first couple of months, instead of saying monthly rent payment for the month of whatever, they would be like chocolate fountain addition in the guest room, or like, just like random shit like that that was so, so funny and interesting, like tickets to Odessa or whatever, like random things. And that was like definitely a highlight of the month, each month.
That's definitely a kind of a millennial relationship between landlord and tenant! Well, Jérémy, where can people find you if they want to get in touch for some career fulfillment advice or some graphic design, whatever it is. What's the best way to find you?
Absolutely. Inspiring dot Careers is the website for all things career-related. And then I have a personal website that is thoughts that I write down myself and the projects that I'm working on and investing in and things like that. And that's Jérémy.Chevallier.net. And I'm sure you can include these in the show notes, but other than that, yeah. If anybody wants to connect on social media, I'm obviously on LinkedIn with my name, you can find me that way. And then I'm @RarelyJérémy on Instagram and Twitter.
And if people want to see your lovely garden as well, they should look at your stories. That's what I'd say!
Yeah, in the Instagram stories, it’s being documented.
Wonderful. Wonderful. Listen, Jérémy, thanks for coming on, sharing your stories, it was a pleasure to have you on, and I hope to see you soon, maybe in Marseille!
Yeah, pleasure seeing you as well. Oh, Marseille, that would be dope! Thank you.
Great to hear both a positive and a negative story side by side, especially when Jeremy starts with a negative to get it out of the way, I think he knew what he was doing there. A good old-fashioned disappearing act by his pal who moved to Vegas and didn't reach out for 2 years! We’ve heard this story time and time again and all we can do when we get rid of these friends who owe us money is HOPE that the amount we expended to rid them from our lives isn’t too hefty.
Doing this podcast now for nearly a year has fascinated me. We see the same behavioral stories pop up, much like friends falling off the face of the Earth before a loan is repaid. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to you, it’s one of life's regularities and, while it’s unfortunate, I find it fascinating that so many different people from different parts of the world have the same stories to tell.
And another familiar story we hear, one that makes the podcast all wholesome is the loan from the parents that is done properly! Now this time around with Jeremy’s father, it seemed the wire transfer and the delays and the pressure to get Jeremy’s house bought was just stressful enough for the father not to need that money back. As a gift, he allowed Jeremy and his wife to keep their old place and become landlords!
What a wonderful thing to do! We love great Dad stories here on The Chirp and as soon as I heard that Jeremy was a landlord for a spell, I wanted to know how that relationship was. I get on with my landlord, I’ve had some bad ones in the past, but the relationship between tenant and owner can be tricky.
And as the true professional podcast host that I am, I eloquently asked, “Are you a cool landlord?” But we’ve heard some bad financial stories over the last couple of years with landlords and Covid and, as I suspected, he got on with his tenants and all was well. So I was right to ask, and I was right.
Best of luck to Jeremy in all his endeavors! I can imagine how busy he is and it was great to hear some of his personal stories. Always a treat when our guests open up and let us into their lives for half an hour.
We’ll be back in 2 weeks. It's 26 degrees here in Barcelona, or 79 degrees wherever you hang your hat, so I’m going to enjoy my day, I hope you do too.
Stay safe and see you soon. Take care.